There are a lot of big talking points focussed on this Saturday’s SHIMMER Volume 53 in Secaucus, NJ, and also being broadcast on iPPV (click here to order). As well as the SHIMMER title cage match between Saraya Knight and Cheerleader Melissa, the returns of Amazing Kong, Madison Eagles and Serena Deeb, the debuts of Evie and Kimber Lee and much more, Ayumi Kurihara makes her final appearance in the promotion before retiring in August. She’ll take on SHIMMER original Mercedes Martinez in what is likely to be a bruising affair – especially since the former CMLL World Women’s Champion has vowed to keep competing at the highest level possible before bowing out, despite the nagging injuries which are forcing her out of the grap game before the age of 30.
Kurihara was a hot prospect from very early on in her career following her debut in April 2005. Two years later on April 30, 2007, Kurihara squared off against Manami Toyota for the JD Star promotion as part of its GRAPPLE BEAUTY ~ FUTURE07 season, which is the match we have for you in this week’s Retro. (more…)
Last November, we posted a match to hype the build-up to the (frankly excellent) three day JoshiMania event featuring Manami Toyota against Aja Kong from Big Egg Wrestling Universe back in 1994, which was given a five star rating by the Wrestling Observer. That match is one of ten five-star encounters which Toyota was part of – all of which took place between 1992 and 1995. We have another one for you today, and this one was voted the Match of the Year.
That’s right – a women’s match was deemed the greatest professional wrestling contest of 1995. Even better than Diesel v British Bulldog from WWF In Your House 4.
The match in question saw Toyota defend All Japan Women‘s WWWA Championship against Kyoko Inoue at Tokyo’s Korukuen Hall which featured moments like piledrivers on the floor, moonsaults, German suplexes off the top rope, top rope dives to the outside onto tables and more.
Sit back and enjoy this one – it’s a belter. (more…)
Following last night’s Monday Night Raw (which we will get to in a minute, be patient), Beth Phoenix was approached by fans outside the Times Union Center in Albany, NY, asking if the rumours about her planning to leave WWE and retire were true. Lords Of Pain reports that she replied she was neither leaving WWE or retiring in the near future.
To paraphrase Mandy Rice-Davies – a model involved in one of the biggest scandals of in British 1960s politics, the John Profumo/Christine Keeler affair and discredit of the Conservative Government at the time – “well, she would, wouldn’t she?”
Wrestling Inc was the first website to report that Phoenix was intending to leave WWE. It posted a piece last Thursday saying that they had heard from a source that she would be going in October. This was later picked up by other wrestling news sites, and was given extra weight by the Wrestling Observer, which says it has had it confirmed by other sources within the company. However, Phoenix is a professional, and will likely not be addressing the rumours – if she is leaving, she will do so in the right way, quietly slipping into the shadows, likely putting over remaining talent along the way. (more…)
Back on April 1, 2000, Manami Toyota was already a bona fide legend. Having already claimed singles and doubles championships in All Japan Women’s Pro-Wrestling, GAEA, JWP and OZ Academy, winning tournament after tournament, as well as accruing ten five star matches and two Match of the Year awards from the Wrestling Observer, Toyota had already done it all by the turn of the millennium.
So why is that date so special? Well, as it happens, April 1, 2000 was the date when her tag team partner for the upcoming Ice Ribbon March event was born.
Last month, Stew discussed who could end up being Toyota’s teammate for her challenge of the International Ribbon Tag Team Championship against Tsukasa Fujimoto and Tsukushi. Names that were suggested included Ray, Hikari Minami and Hikaru Shida, with outside bets on Miyako Matsumoto, Dorami Nagano, Maki Narumiya or Riho. As it turns out, none of them would gain the honour – after seeing off Matsumoto and Narumiya in a four woman tournament that also included Neko Nitta, Kurumi earned the right to tag with Toyota against the champions. It is a massive show of support for the 11-year old, who has come a long way since we first started watching her wrestle close to a year ago… (more…)
New International Tag Champions Tsukasa Fujimoto & Tsukushi have a big challenge on their hands on March 20th at Korakuen Hall, as they face the legendary joshi puroresu queen Manami Toyota in a title defence. Toyota’s partner? That will be up to Toyota herself, who will handpick her partner from the regular ICE Ribbon roster.
It’s an intriguing match for a couple of reasons, not least of which is the fact that Toyota has history in the promotion with both members of the new championship combo. In the second half of 2011, Toyota defeated the 14 year old Tsukushi on a couple of occasions, but was sufficiently impressed that she was moved to take the youngster as her partner in the International Ribbon Tag Title tournament at Yokohama’s Radiant Hall on September 24th. Together, Toyota & Tsukushi made the finals (with Tsukushi picking up the pinfall in both the quarters and semi finals), before dropping in defeat to Sendai Girls’ DASH Chisako & Sendai Sachiko in the finals. Tsukushi was able to show Toyota her growth during an extended mid-match confrontation at Bull Nakano‘s EMPRESS show last month, and in fact it was Tsukushi’s team (led by Dump Matsumoto) which emerged victorious on that day. Likewise, Fujimoto has also crashed into the imposing wall of Toyota lately, falling in defeat at Sendai Ribbon on January 7th.
So who are Toyota’s likely options? (more…)
Legendary Bull Nakano returns on her 44th birthday to finally bid farewell to her fans, and shines a light on the current stars of joshi puroresu
1. Ayako Hamada beat Aja Kong (15:14) with an AP Cross.
2. Guillotine Drop Match: Kayoko Haruyama & Ryo Mizunami beat AKINO & Maki Narumiya (13:34) with a Diving Guillotine Drop from Mizunami on Narumiya.
3. 50s & 40s & 30s & 20s & 10s: Dump Matsumoto, Kyoko Inoue, Leon, Sawako Shimono & Tsukushi defeated Jaguar Yokota, Manami Toyota, Tomoka Nakagawa, Natsuki*Taiyo & Cherry (16:15) with a Powerbomb from Inoue on Cherry.
4. Kana beat Kagetsu (11:23) with the Kana Lock.
5. Nanae Takahashi, Meiko Satomura & Emi Sakura beat Ayumi Kurihara, Yoshiko & Tsukasa Fujimoto (21:41) with a 450 Splash from Sakura on Fujimoto.
6. Yuzuki Aikawa beat Hikaru Shida (15:11) with a Yuzupon Kick.
7. Bull Nakano Retirement Ceremony
• Ayako Hamada and Aja Kong go from headlining at JoshiMania the previous month to opening the show here. Not that these two toned anything down for an opener.
• The Guillotine Drop match was four women (each from a different promotion) who all use the legdrop, as per Bull herself. Sendai Girls’ Mizunami eventually hit a top rope version on ICE Ribbon’s Maki Narumiya for the win.
• The concept for the ten woman tag match is genius. Each team has one competitor in their 50s, one in their 40s, one in their 30s, one in their 20s and one in their teens. Cherry is a bit of a cheat on her team, as she’s portrayed as a teenager, but otherwise the gimmick works very well.
• Kana vs Kagetsu was a total change of pace – a grappling and striking clinic early, leading to suplexes and submissions later. Stuck between two multi-women tags, it’s a bit of an unsung gem.
• The six woman tag in the semi-main slot was my most anticipated match of the card, and it was the one I ended up enjoying most. Emi Sakura pinned Tsukasa Fujimoto to win, but more about this match below.
• The positioning of a match between Hikaru Shida and Yuzuki Aikawa as the main event on the show (or at least the last match before the extended Nakano retirement) showed a lot of faith in these two. Aikawa is limited in experience, while Shida has only just moved to the top of ICE Ribbon cards. That being said, they did a phenomenal job in delivering a quality main event, with Aikawa eking out the win.
Click through for observations, match of the night and overall impressions (more…)
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…)
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…)
(Yesterday, I focussed on Anarchy Championship Wrestling as an alternative to the lack of female wrestling in Ring Of Honor. As it turns out, the article was pretty well-timed, as Portia Perez won the ACW Heavyweight Title, if only for an hour. Today, let’s look elsewhere…)
The other promotion that has done equally well by it’s female talent is Chikara. Started by Mike Quackenbush and Tom Carter in 2002, it started integrating female wrestlers right off the bat. Its sixth show, which took place June 28th, 2002, was one that featured talent from their sister promotion Kiryoku Pro in an almost all-female show (there was a ten person tag team match that came as a result of interference in an earlier women’s match). After that all-female show, there were two other regular shows that had women’s matches billed as “Kiryoku Pro Showcase” matches.
Eventually the overall ethos of the promotion changed. They no longer saw gender as a wall – rather, the company wanted wrestlers to wrestle each other, regardless of sex. This started in 2003, at the first annual Tag World Grand Prix on July 5th, where the Kiryoku Pro team of Mercedes Martinez & Sumie Sakai took on The Wild Cards of Eddie Kingston and Blackjack Marciano. On October 18th, 2003′s International Invasion Of The International Invaders Sumie took on Jigsaw.
Granted, 2004 saw less female v female or female v male matches than 2002 or 2003 but 2005 was a sort of rebirth for women in Chikara. You had a slew of talent that made for some interesting matches (Chris Hero v Sumie Sakai? It happened at Running in the Red on November 13th, 2005). This also coincided with the birth of SHIMMER in November 2005 and the high point of IWA: Mid South‘s women’s division. It felt like women on the independent circuit had more choices than ever before. In 2006, two women debuted that would become Chikara mainstays: Sara Del Rey and Daizee Haze. These two would also become part of Chikara’s biggest storyline to date in late 2009: The Bruderschaft des Kreuzes versus the rest of Chikara. (more…)
It’s fair to say that we at Ringbelles have become quite the fans of Ice Ribbon – on the back of their weekly, free to air 19pro Ustream show, the easily accessible English information about the product (on twitter, tumblr and facebook) and the fact that their wrestlers are just really fun to watch – so when I got the chance to watch Ice Ribbon’s most recent Korakuen Hall show a mere two weeks after it happened, I jumped on it. Ice Ribbon usually run shows at their small Warabi Dojo in the Saitama area, but every so often they run Korakuen Hall in Tokyo (one of seemingly hundreds of promotions that run there regularly), and this most recent edition, entitled “Ice’s Adventures in Wonderland” promised the most enticing IR lineup at Korakuen this year.
The ethereal intro video introduces the main stories running into the show – Manami Toyota mentoring and encouraging Tsukushi, Sayaka Obihiro returning to face the challenge of JWP’s Kaori Yoneyama, Makoto’s final appearances (for now) with the company before heading off to SMASH, the feisty Riho challenging SMASH’s head man TAJIRI and the ICEx60 Title defense of Tsukasa Fujimoto against the dynamic Hikari Minami.
Sara Del Rey beat Claudio Castagnoli at CHIKARAsaurus Rex: King Of Sequel, night 2 in Philadelphia on Sunday.
Billed as BDK v BDK, the co-leader of the faction was taken down by a crucifix as part of the round robin tournament known as the 12 Large: Summit to crown a CHIKARA singles champion. The main story about it is that Del Rey and her buddy Daizee Haze are starting to recognise the contributions that they bring to the table of Die Bruderschaft des Kreuzes and refuse to bow down to their so-called superior. Castagnoli and fellow BDK leader Ares urged Del Rey to “do the right thing” and lay down last Sunday so Claudio could get the easy win and put himself in a better position in the tournament. Refusing to dampen her strong spirit for competition, Del Rey fought for 13 minutes before getting the pinfall, putting her in a strong standing, considering she beat Icarus last month in Chicago.
Please note: NOWHERE in that storyline does it once mention that Del Rey is a woman fighting a man, and that this is a battle of the sexes. This is CHIKARA – where men wrestle women, and nobody bats an eyelid. It’s a showcase of the best athletes – which is why Del Rey is part of the tournament in the first place. She has proven that she is one of the most skilled grapplers in the promotion, and has earned her spot not due to (or in spite of) her gender, but because she is excellent at what she does. Likewise, Haze beats up the guys on a regular basis, and she is treated as a threat because of how she is presented. Her gender is irrelevant in the promotion, as the guys have no problem throwing her about just as much as she lays into them.
The problem I have is when it’s claimed that Del Rey’s win on Sunday is a victory for women over men, as it isn’t. It’s a victory for one wrestler over another. (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!
As she discussed with us a month ago, SHIMMER Champion Madison Eagles is leaving the US and returning to Australia. She’s made the decision after suffering continued problems with her shoulder following a car crash in April, just after wrestling Manami Toyota at CHIKARA King Of Trios.
In a blog post on CHIKARA’s website, Eagles informed us of her current situation:
This has to be the hardest thing I have had to write in a long time. I regretfully am having to remove myself from CHIKARA action, only a short time after I petitioned to the Director of Fun to have me added to the fulltime roster. The whole reason I wanted to be a part of CHIKARA is because it meant I could regularly compete alongside, and against, the top wrestlers in the world. So I have to ask myself “how can I compete against the best when I am not even nearly at my best?” (more…)
A third joshi name has been added to the lineup for the weekend of CHIKARA shows at the end of July.
Standing at 5’6″ and weighing 143lb, 40-year old Shimoda made her name wrestling in her native Japan, winning singles and tag team titles in AJW, WWWA, NEO, ARSION and JWP. She began her career in AJW in 1987 alongside Manami Toyota – who made her CHIKARA debut last year and competed at the King Of Trios in April – even teaming together as “The Tokyo Sweethearts” in their formative years. Shimoda’s now in her 24th year of wrestling, and has been wrestling on a freelance basis since 2005, sharing her time between Japan and working in Mexico for CMLL.
Joshi legend, multi time champion and Diana promoter Kyoko Inoue is making a whistlestop tour of the US in the middle of this month, wrestling for Combat Zone Wrestling, taking part in a training session and doing some signing appearances.
The 41-year old debuted in 1988, and in that time, has won countless titles in AJW, WWWA and NEO, as well as winning mens’ championships in DDT and WEW – additionally, she was the first woman to hold a male belt in Japan. Having wrestled for more than 22 years and wrestling four matches which were give five stars by the Wrestling Observer, Inoue also won Match of the Year in 1995 for her contest against Manami Toyota on May 7.
1995 was a pretty big year for Inoue, as she also gained some exposure to an American (and possibly worldwide) audience by working briefly for the WWF, competing in an 8-woman elimination match at the Survivor Series and also competing on Monday Night Raw in December (click the links to see the matches). Unfortunately, the division crumbled the following month when Women’s Champion Alundra Blayze‘s contract expired and she jumped to WCW. (more…)
Okay, let’s be honest, if you’re a fan of women’s wrestling, the “Big Two” haven’t exactly been doing much of late of any note or value. The Divas Champion didn’t even get to defend her title at WrestleMania, and last night at TNA’s Lockdown PPV, Madison Rayne’s record-breaking 188 day reign as Knockouts Champion came to an end with a whimper as a clearly seriously injured Mickie James squashed her in 35 seconds. If you paid for that, you have our sympathies. However, as we always like to remind people here at Ringbellesonline.com, there’s a lot more out there than just WWE & TNA, and we’d like to draw your attention to a number of alternate ways to spend your hard earned money that will offer you far more bang for your buck.
We’ll start with Chikara’s annual King of Trios tournament, which happened this past weekend at The Arena (formerly the ECW Arena) in downtown Philadelphia, PA. For fans of women’s wrestling, you need look no further than the woman who has often been termed as the greatest female wrestler who ever lived, Manami Toyota. Toyota competed in the KOT tournament alongside male partners Mike Quackenbush & Jigsaw in the sixteen team tournament, and on the final day, wrestled a dream match against the woman who many call the best female wrestler in the world today, Madison Eagles. In addition, the BDK combination of Sara Del Rey & Daizee Haze took part in a gauntlet match on Night 3. Smart Mark Video have done a double quick turnaround on these DVDs, and they are available already, ONE DAY after the final. In a world of depressingly predictable and dull professional wrestling, Chikara is an oasis in the desert, and we fully endorse checking out what many people are already saying will be hard to beat as show(s) of the year. (more…)
We at Ringbelles want to wish arguably the great woman wrestler who’s ever lived, Manami Toyota, a happy 40th birthday.
To see Manami Toyota in action in the US, head down to Philadelphia on April 15th, 16th and 17th for CHIKARA’s King Of Trios.
Manami Toyota, lauded as being one of, if not THE best women’s wrestler to have ever lived, is slated to participate in what’s described as the biggest tournament in pro-wrestling – CHIKARA’s King Of Trios.
Toyota made her debut for the promotion on September 18 last year in Baltimore, Maryland, where she defeated Daizee Haze in her first match on American soil. The following day in Brooklyn, New York, Toyota and Mike Quackenbush defeated the Bruderschaft des Kreuzes (Claudio Castagnoli and Sara Del Rey) in a tag team match. (more…)