I sit here, having watched 21 matches as part of the three JoshiMania events which took place at the start of December 2011. As I watched the three DVDs, I jotted down notes of the big moments and key incidents in the matches. I now have EIGHT pages of bullet points to go through, and one thing because blatantly obvious: doing a match-by-match review of JoshiMania would be incredibly laborious, repetitive and dull for you, the good reader.
So instead of going through JoshiMania chronologically, what this review will be about is the best matches, the standout stars and moments, and which shows were the best if you absolutely, positively can only by just the one DVD…
The shows had a bumpy road leading up to the first event in Philadelphia on December 2. Meiko Satomura, Madison Eagles and Command Bolshoi all had to pull out due to injury, leading to replacements such as Ayako Hamada, Kaori Yoneyama, GAMI and Portia Perez and a fair bit of rewriting to the matches, as the trio who didn’t make it would likely have been part of the matches at the higher end of the card. Hamada was the biggest beneficiary, as she ended up in two of the three main events (against Aja Kong on night 2, and taking on Sara Del Rey on the final show).
However, nothing can take away from the huge amount of organisation that took place to bring JoshiMania to fruition. As Mike Quackenbush revealed to us on the Women Of Wrestling Podcast the week before the shows, the introduction of Manami Toyota to CHIKARA came about thanks to retired Jumping Bomb Angel Itsuki Yamazaki. From there, it was thanks in part to Toyota’s reputation and contacts that facilitated stars from across Japan to come together for the shows, effectively closing down the joshi scene while tars from promotions like JWP, WAVE, OZ Academy, Union Pro and more came together for a series of interpromotional contests. Indeed, a lot of potential issues were circumnavigated and resolved to come to the point that these shows even took place. So how were they? Well, let’s see… (more…)
As 2011 comes to a close, and Christmas is just around the corner, around this time people look back at the year and reflect on their blessings. This is true in wrestling fandom as well as anywhere else. If you are a fan of female wrestling, there was a ton to be grateful for in 2011, although if you concentrated on WWE, I feel bad for you – nothing good, aside from Kong’s debut as Kharma, happened in 2011 in that company. I wanted to take the time to look back and write about what I, personally, was grateful for this year and share with you my thoughts. Feel free to comment and tell me what you were grateful for in wrestling this year.
Thanks to my trips to SHIMMER: Women Athletes, I was able to see a number of women wrestle in person for the first time that I personally admire and look up to.
With her health problems in 2010 and being rotated out of the September ’10 SHIMMER tapings, I had worried I’d not get the chance to see her in person. Fortunately that fear was baseless as Lufi was back and stronger than ever. In April, I thoroughly enjoyed her matches with Tomoka Nakagawa (it’s always a treat to watch her wrestle joshi women), Sassy Stephie, and the four way match with her, Portia Perez, Cheerleader Melissa and Serena Deeb. However, at the October tapings I wasn’t sure she would be there. She had had heart surgery in July to repair a hole in her heart, and with the precautions she now has to take, I felt it doubtful.
To my great pleasure, she was not only there but had some of the best matches of the tapings. The four way between her, Tomoka, MsChif, and Kellie Skater was just plain fun. I popped huge for MsChif’s Freddy Krueger gear (I’ve been a fan of Nightmare on Elm Street for years) but Lufi’s Pink Power Ranger gear was incredibly cute! Her match against Mia Svensson is a personal favourite – you have the up and coming taking on the veteran, giving the former a chance to see what she can do. However, Lufisto was involved in one of the best matches of the weekend, and given the talent that was on display, this is a bold statement but entirely true. In Kana‘s last match, she wrestled Lufi and it was tremendous. Kana pulled out the win, but while everyone else stood, I remained in my seat. I refused to applaud unless Kana shook Lufisto’s hand – I felt that Lufisto had gone toe to toe with her, and unless she also recognised this and shook her hand, I didn’t feel that Kana was worthy of respect. However, she did.
Lufisto is a lady I have so much respect and admiration for, I can absolutely say it was wonderful to see her wrestle in person. (more…)
Well, that’s not strictly the case – in fact, Phoenix wrestled for Kiryoku Pro a sister version of CHIKARA which started out as a female-heavy promotion in June 2002, though featured a ten man tag match on the card. As we discussed with Mike Quackenbush on the most recent Women Of Wrestling Podcast, the promotion only existed for three shows – the latter two were joint cards with CHIKARA, before it was elected to do away with gender specifications and have the women and men wrestle each other.
Kiryoko Pro was a successful failure of a promotion. It showed fans that female wrestlers deserved to be regarded on an equal platform as men, and should not necessarily be separated from wrestling anyone they choose. This week’s Retro comes from the promotion’s final outing in collaboration with CHIKARA from November 23, 2002, around 18 months after Phoenix debuted, and before her Glamazon character had been esatablished. By the way, did you know that Phoenix’s first match was against Alexis Laree, AKA former WWE Women’s, Divas and TNA Knockouts Champion Mickie James? It’s funny how tight some wrestling circles can be, isn’t it? (more…)
JoshiMania is in the history books, and is already available to buy. Click here to take a look.
In the week leading up to the three nights of action, there had been a lot of buzz concerning the event. With joshi talent from a number of different promotions in Japan, female wrestling there had largely stopped (Ice Ribbon carried on as normal, and WAVE also held a card), as many of the top stars had crossed the Pacific and international datelines to wrestling in Philadelphia, PA, Everett, MA and Manhattan, NY for the CHIKARA promoted cards.
The shows main focus – other than showing off some of the great Japanese female talent – seemed to be to provide a platform for CHIKARA talent Sara Del Rey, who won both of her main events against her idol Aja Kong on night one – in a match that she reportedly dominated – and against Ayako Hamada on night 3 in a match which was said to be equal to (or greater than) their SHIMMER volume 28 outing two years ago. Considering Hamada was brought in as a late replacement for the injured Meiko Satomura, she made a strong impression, and also showed TNA what they missed out on by having this woman on its roster, not using her, mismanaging her and letting her go. (more…)
Tonight (or this afternoon, to be more accurate, considering it’s a 4pm EST start) is the final JoshiMania card, emanating from Manhattan, NY. You can check out the results from night one and night two to see how things have gone down so far. In the final main event, Sara Del Rey - who so far has defeated Aja Kong and Tsubasa Kuragaki – will take on SHIMMER Tag Team Champion Ayako Hamada – who is 1-1 after teaming with Cherry to beat Mayumi Ozaki & Mio Shirai on night one, and was defeated by Kong last night.
Click after the jump for the matches that will be taking place, and keep hitting refresh to see the latest results… (more…)
Following a successful first night in Philadelphia, PA, JoshiMania rolls into Everett, MA for night two of the three day extravaganza. As with last night, bell time is 7.30pm EST, and we will be bringing you results as they happen, with the main event being joshi legends Aja Kong (who was defeated last night by Sara Del Rey) taking on current SHIMMER Tag Team Champion Ayako Hamada. Click after the jump for the results… (more…)
Good evening everybody, it’s Night 1 of Chikara‘s JoshiMania this evening at The Asylum Arena in Philadelphia, PA. Belltime is 7:30pm, and we’re hoping to bring you live results of the show as well as any news coming out of the shows. Click through to after the jump and keep refreshing the page for results as they come in. (more…)
This week’s Retro doesn’t need much build-up. It was match 16 of 23 at the massive, 10-hour long All Japan Women Big Egg Wrestling Universe held at the Tokyo Dome in front of 32,000 fans on November 20, 1994, and was Aja Kong meeting Manami Toyota in the first round of the V*TOP Five Star Tournament. Dave Meltzer at the Wrestling Observer gave the match a rare five star rating – though even though the top mark is seldom given, it was Toyota’s second perfect match of the year – the first was on August 24 against Kyoko Inoue. In total, Toyota had ten matches rated five stars, while Kong enjoyed two.
Both women will be part of this weekend’s JoshiMania events (December 2nd in Philadelphia, PA, December 3rd in Everett, MA & December 4th in Manhattan, NY). If you have the chance to see these two joshi legends in action, do so. It will be the treat of all treats.
Click after the jump for the match. (more…)
Friday, December 2 will be a big day in Sara Del Rey’s life, as she finally get the chance to wrestle her hero.
“Something I grew to understand about her was her idolisation of Aja Kong,” said CHIKARA’s Mike Quackenbush when discussing Del Rey in the latest Women Of Wrestling Podcast. It is due to the 31-year old’s continued great body of work and the first opportunity to have them in the same place at the same time which has led to Del Rey and Kong facing each other in the main event of the first of three days of JoshiMania shows spanning the northeast of the United States.
Their paths have never really crossed during Del Rey’s tours of Japan, and there has been no chance of Aja being on the same card as her in the US, as she hasn’t been in the country since late 1995 when she was working with the WWF and was set to challenge Alundra Blayze for the Women’s Championship before the titleholder jumped to WCW, taking the belt with her – Sara didn’t debut until 2001. However, their paths WILL cross on Friday with one of the best joshis of her generation meeting one of the best female wrestlers in the world at this moment. It should be a titanic encounter, and while Del Rey may be all intense on the outside, you can expect her to be a giggling mess inside, and who can blame her? I know that Skye felt the same way when she wrestled her idol Daizee Haze at ChickFight VII back in 2007…
Del Rey also gets the chance to repeat her epic match with Ayako Hamada that took place at SHIMMER Volume 28 in late 2009 on the third and final JoshiMania show, while the second evening’s main event will complete the round robin with Hamada taking on Kong – not bad on Hamada’s part, seeing as she was brought in as a late replacement for the injured Meiko Satomura, who will still be there as part of a training seminar, but isn’t cleared to wrestle. She’s been announced as a participant at Ice Ribbon’s Ribbonmania on December 25, so here’s hoping she’s given a clean bill of health before then. (more…)
It’s a two guest show once again as we continue the Road to JoshiMania this weekend by welcoming Chikara‘s Mike Quackenbush to the show to discuss the weekend’s activities. Mike discusses exactly how JoshiMania came to be (and the part that a former WWF wrestler played in that vision), Manami Toyota‘s refreshing opinion on coming to Chikara so regularly, the names you can expect to see at the shows, and highly interesting news about one joshi legend who was at one point on the verge of coming in. If you’re going to JoshiMania this is your hype show, and if you’re on the fence, this is your reason to make the trip. Before that, we are also joined by the newest edition to the Pro-Wrestling: EVE roster – Holly Rocamora. Find out how she threw herself in at the deep end with her wrestling career, her training at the London School of Lucha Libre, her upcoming EVE sponsored match at Southside next month with Nikki Storm and her aims for 2012. Oh, and awesome Batman sleeve tattoos! Plus, before the show we discuss opinions on the recent WAWW and WSU big shows. Check it out!
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As Chikara gets ready for JoshiMania this coming weekend (December 2nd in Philadelphia, PA, December 3rd in Everett, MA & December 4th in Manhattan, NY), we at Ringbelles are helping to point everybody in the direction of the sort of action and introduce some of the performers you can see on this groundbreaking weekend. A total of 12 joshi names from a handful of different booking offices and promotions will be represented at this festival of fighting females, and in today’s “In Video” segment, we’re taking a look at a fairly recent trios match featuring three of the participants of JoshiMania.
From WAVE on August 28th, 2011, we’re presenting a match which was billed as Yumi Ohka‘s tenth anniversary match, as she and her BLACK DAHLIA faction (comprising here of Ohka, Misaki Ohata and JoshiMania participant Ayako Hamada) against the team of Tomoka Nakagawa and two JoshiMania participants in WAVE founder GAMI and the legendary Aja Kong.)
Kong will headline nights one and two of JoshiMania, firstly against Sara Del Rey and then against Hamada, whilst Hamada will take on Sara Del Rey in the main event in Manhattan. Keep an eye on Ringbelles this coming week as we continue on The Road To JoshiMania. If you’re lucky enough to be attending live, please get in touch, we’d love to get reports and opinions from anybody attending the shows.
Since the last Roundup, Allison Danger has received another British stamp in her passport, and her luggage going home was a little heavier, as it contained the World Association of Women’s Wrestling’s World Championship belt. The 34-year old defeated Sweet Saraya for the vacant belt on Saturday – after Blue Nikita was stripped of the title – in the main event of WAWW’s The Return show, which was the promotion’s first card in two years, and its first all-women show in three. Danger won the belt with an armbar with manager Tommy Lee pushing against her for extra leverage out of the referee’s view. It was Danger’s sole win of the weekend, as she was beaten by Saraya the previous evening for the vacant Herts and Essex Wrestling Women’s title and was on the losing end alongside Liberty against Saraya and daughter Britani Knight on Sunday.
That tag team match was also Britani’s last match in World Association of Wrestling – her family’s promotion where the 19-year old made her in-ring debut at the age of 13 back in 2005. Couldn’t tell you what she’s doing next though… (more…)
Earlier this week, Ringbelles found out about a show taking place on January 8, 2012. We knew nothing about it except that it was taking place at the Tokyo Dome CIty Hall and would be called Bull Nakano Produce “EMPRESS”. And that’s all we knew… until Dave Meltzer furnished us with more information as part of this week’s mammoth Wrestling Observer.
Keiko “Bull” Nakano will be appearing – but not wrestling – on her retirement show on her 44th birthday. Barring a very brief nostalgia comeback when she teamed with her mentor Dump Matsumoto in 2001, Nakano has had very little to do with wrestling since retiring in 1997 at the age of 29 due to injuries suffered because of her hard-hitting style and weight, which was around 220 pounds at the time.
After her retirement, Nakano dropped a shedload of weight – last year, she was reportedly down to 130 – and took up professional golf in 1998. The learning curve turned out to be very steep, and finished 250th place of 251 in a LPGA Futures (essentially a farm system for rising golf stars) Qualifying Tournament in November 2004, and didn’t fare much better the following year when she finished 261st out of 271. However, she managed to make it into Futures in January 2006 a couple of weeks after her 38th birthday. (more…)
CHIKARA is presenting its second annual Chikarasaurus Rex supershow, and expanding on last year’s edition (which featured Dragon Gate participation), this year’s “King of Sequel” is split across two shows and features stars from three Continents. As far as the ladies are concerned, C-Rex has participation from Ice Ribbon stars Tsukasa Fujimoto & Makoto, CMLL’s Mima Shimoda, Chikara regulars Sara Del Rey & Daizee Haze, and making her first appearance for the promotion in several years, Portia Perez. By now, we hope you’ve had a chance to check out our primer on Shimoda, Fujimoto & Makoto. And without further ado…
In results from Night One:
Chikarasaurus Rex: King of Sequel, Night One @ Reading, PA, July 30
- Mima Shimoda, Tsukasa Fujimoto & Portia Perez def Sara Del Rey, Daizee Haze & Makoto when Shimoda pinned Haze after a Death Lake Driver (tiger superplex).
Early reports from Mako Reco indicate that the match was well received, though birthday girl Fujimoto made a few errors before settling down into the contest.
In results from Night Two at the Asylum:
Chikarasaurus Rex: King of Sequel, Night Two @ Philadelphia, PA, July 31
- ICEx60 Champion Tsukasa Fujimoto beat Makoto in a non-title match with the Venus Shoot (step up enzugiri).
- Daizee Haze pinned Mima Shimoda after reversing a German suplex.
- Sara Del Rey pinned Claudio Castagnoli in their “12 Large:Summit” meeting via crucifix. After the match, Castagnoli attacked Del Rey. Del Rey’s BDK partner Daizee Haze stood up for her, but got chokeslammed for her efforts.
Chikara had several blockbuster announcements to make too – firstly that the DVDs of the Chikarasaurus Rex shows will be available for order tomorrow on SmartMarkVideo (much like the King of Trios shows from earlier this year); secondly, that they will make their iPPV debut on November 13th, and finally, that they will present a show called JoshiMania in December, featuring the Chikara return of Manami Toyota, the debut of Aja Kong, and presumably much more!
Congratulations to all at Chikara for what sounds like a truly amazing weekend. Not only were the ladies front and centre, but you had the amazing Johnny Saint and Johnny Kidd bringing the British style, and the unannounced appearance from CMLL luchadors Atlantis & Rey Bucanero. Unbelievable!