Last Sunday, Hailey Hatred made her first defence of the JWP Openweight Championship against Kaori Yoneyama, who is on the retirement trail, which is due to end in December when she hangs up her boots for good. The 4’11″, 30 year old veteran of ten years was looking to regain the title which she won on July 18 last year, and dropped it to Leon on March 4. Current champion Hatred won the belt on June 26, and had to face her outgoing friend with three of her four championships up for grabs.
Steve was one of the 957 in attendance at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan, and has given his permission for us to repost his review of the show here for you. Enjoy.
Sunday lunchtime my host and I went to JWP Pure Slam at Korakuen Hall, through tickets my host had been left at the door by JWP Openweight Champion Hailey Hatred. Having a chat with Hailey before finding our seats was surreal, but there was plenty more surreal to come later. Korakuen Hall itself was smaller than I imagined; the seats were clearly not designed with the idea that a “Western” pelvis might want to occupy them – and why would they have? – but I got it. Squeeze it was, but never truly uncomfortable. I should add at this point going up the steps to our seats and looking at all the wrestlers’ (and fans) signatures/writing/doodles on the famed walls was akin to a religious experience for me. I’m taking a marker pen on Saturday to immortalize my visit, but I’m not sure what to write… (more…)
It’s been announced that joshi freelancer Kana has been booked to wrestle for SHIMMER: Women Athletes as part of the promotion’s DVD tapings for volumes 41-44 in Berwyn, Illinois on October 1 and 2. As part of her visit, she will also wrestle for CHIKARA the following weekend.
Kana will follow in the footsteps of fellow joshi talent Ayako Hamada, Ayumi Kurihara, former tag champions Hiroyo Matsumoto and Misaki Ohata, as well as current tag team titleholder Tomoka Nakagawa in wrestling for SHIMMER – and will follow Manami Toyota, Tsukasa Fujimoto and Makoto as it pertains to CHIKARA – and is likely to be a hit, considering the buzz surrounding her, and the demand for her to wrestle for the promotion over the last 18 months or so.
The 29-year old Osaka University graduate debuted on June 16, 2004 for the AtoZ promotion, splitting her time between there and ARSION before going freelance in 2007. She won her first championship on October 10, 2009 when she and Nanae Takahashi won the NEO Tag Team titles from Kyoko Inoue & Hiroyo Matsumoto, successfully defending the titles once before dropping the belts to Yoshiko Tamura & Ayumi Kurihara on New Year’s Eve 2009.
In April 2010, she produced her own wrestling event – another took place in January this year, and a third is scheduled for next month – and has become a regular in SMASH, currently part of the Divas Title Tournament, and will face Syuri in the semi-finals on August 11. On top of her singles work, Kana is also a part of the group known as Triple Tails (along with Mio and Io Shirai), which has shown up in a number of different joshi promotions. However, it looks as if the trio will become a duo soon, as Io has made it known that she wishes to work as a singles competitor after the Triple Tails show on September 18. (more…)
As many may or may not know, Chikara is bringing over two of Japan’s finest young Joshi talents in Tsukasa Fujimoto and Makoto on July 30th & 31st. They’re also bringing in the veteran, Mima Shimoda, all for their Chikarasaurus Rex: King of Sequel weekend. This will be all three lasses’ U.S debuts, and they’ll start off in a six-woman tag match with three of North America’s top stars in Sara Del Rey, Daizee Haze, and Portia Perez. July 30th in Reading, PA, Fujimoto and Shimoda will team with Portia to face off against Del Rey, Haze, and Makoto, in what I expect to be a thrilling match-up. The following day, July 31st in Philadelphia, PA, we’ll be treated to Shimoda vs. Haze, while the Ice Ribbon girls square off in a singles match. But who are these international talents and what do they bring to the table? Let’s investigate!
I’ll be the first one to admit that I’m a complete novice when it comes to joshi. Sure, I know of certain wrestlers, I know a few companies and I may be able to recall some matches – but for the most part, I am very much a beginner, with ambitions to become an intermediate.
However, YouTube is great. There’s so much Japanese female action on there, just asking – nay, begging – to be watched, but sometimes it can be a bit daunting to find out where to start. I know that was the situation with me, but something I eventually latched onto was how I discovered other promotions – association.
For example, through watching ChickFight, I found Cheerleader Melissa. Through Melissa, I found SHIMMER. Through SHIMMER, I found Nikki Roxx and Ariel. Through them, I found World Women’s Wrestling. You see the point that I’m making. However, though SHIMMER I also found Hiroyo Matsumoto, who is my favourite of all the joshi stars who’ve made their way to Berwyn over the last couple of years. (more…)
We at Ringbelles are extremely proud to be able to bring you a rare interview with joshi legend Kyoko Inoue as she arrives in the US for a weekend which includes signings, a seminar and a wrestling appearance for CZW. One of the top stars of the joshi boom in the 90s, multi-time champion and founder of NEO, Inoue recently launched the Diana promotion in Japan.
Ringbelles: Kyoko, first of all, welcome back to the United States. You have not been in the country since 1995. Why has it been so long since you were last here?
Inoue: Since I used to work for All Japan Women’s Pro-Wrestling and then NEO, I wasn’t able to travel without the company’s permission. Now I’m the president of a company, so I decided to visit the US.
Ringbelles: The last time you were in the US, you were working with the WWF. Tell us about your experiences working for them. What was your role and how were you treated by the company?
Inoue: I was impressed by the way they handle the dress code when the wrestlers come to the arena and also physical checkup before the match. I was so happy when the audience went along with “Kyoko, clap-clap-clap!!” in a country that I visited for the first time. I wanted to show my best performance in the United States and WWF.
Ringbelles: In the 1990s you were involved with many great matches and competed with a lot of great wrestlers. Many people consider your series of matches with Manami Toyota to be some of the greatest matches of all time. What are your feelings on those matches, and of Toyota as a competitor?
Inoue: Since Toyota-san was a senpai whose career was a year longer than mine, she was one of those I wanted to beat as soon as possible. I think my passion to beat her led to some of our best matches.
Ringbelles: You have been part of many firsts, including being the first woman in Japan to hold a men’s championship when you were one half of the WEW Tag Team Champions in 2000. What message do you think this sends to women? (more…)
The descriptively named “19 O’Clock Girls’ Pro-Wrestling” group (or 19 Pro-Wrestling) has announced the institution of a brand new championship in Japan – the IW19 Championship (aka the Internet Wrestling 19 Championship), which is to be implemented soon. The announcement comes on the heels of a long term injury to 19 Pro-Wrestling’s top star, Sayaka Obihiro (more…)