So that’s it. After announcing in March that she would be retiring, embarking on a farewell tour which would start in SHIMMER in April and making final appearances in OZ Academy, WAVE, Diana, Ice Ribbon, Gatoh Move and Sendai Girls, Ayumi Kurihara has made her final appearance as an active wrestler.
Despite citing nagging injuries for her reason for bowing out of her eight year career, the 29-year old certainly didn’t hold back or take it easy on herself as she did her farewell rounds. She made the promise in her blog where she revealed her intentions to walk away that she would “continue to fight with all her strength and all her heart until August 4th”, regardless of the damage that it could do to the clavicle injury which was forcing her out. As a result she took part in more than 40 matches in 5 months, including some hard-hitting contests with the likes of Mercedes Martinez and Mayumi Ozaki – something which earned her a recognition in our Good Half Year series last month. (more…)
On Sunday, I sat among 400 people in a hall in a small city in the west of England. The only reason why I had decided to go – well, apart from it being a 15 minute walk from my front door – was that it featured a women’s match that was pretty hyped up about. Unfortunately, the billed contest between Kay Lee Ray and Shanna had to be scrapped because of KLR suffering a broken toe two days previous, then wrestling for about 40 minutes on it the previous day – though as it turns out, her metatarsal had been broken for about a month, which was compounded by the broken toe. As a result, a suitable replacement was brought in to replace Ray, and it would more than compensate.
The fans at Alternative Wrestling World in Wolverhampton had no idea who Emi Sakura was. To them, she was a Japanese woman who wears a lot of fabric, doesn’t show much skin and visually, didn’t look like much to write home about. Around me, I heard some borderline racist jokes about the “Chinese” woman in the ring and some unfunny gags about ordering Chinese cuisine in a mocking Far Asian accent. Her opponent also got the heckles, with a guy yelling “get your tits out” to Portugal’s Perfect Athlete – as if that line has EVER worked. Needless to say, we were dealing with an audience with spectacularly low expectations for the contest, and more than their fair share of xenophobia and ignorance. I’m stunned that I didn’t see anyone get up to go to the bar or toilets. They would have regretted it if they had, as little did they know, but they were going to be treated to a showcase featuring one of Europe’s best against one of the best in the world… (more…)
Joshi4Hope ran their fourth standalone show today at the Tokyo Kinema Club, headlined by the return of MsChif to Japan, where she challenged Hailey Hatred for her Remix Pro Women’s Championship.
1. Yuhi pinned Veda Scott (6:10) after a Firebird Splash.
2. Tomoka Nakagawa & She Nay Nay bt Maki Narumiya & Yumi Ohka (16:28) when Nakagawa made Narumiya submit to the CRB.
3. Ayumi Kurihara & Mika Iida bt Leon & Manami Katsu (15:32) when Kurihara pinned Katsu with a uranage
4. Hiroyo Matsumoto & Ryo Mizunami bt Arisa Nakajima & Aya Yuki (15:37) when Matsumoto pinned Aya Yuki after a backdrop suplex.
5. Remix Pro Women’s Championship: Hailey Hatred (c) pinned MsChif (17:12) with a running Ligerbomb
For ringside photography, and a pretty amazing bit of what can only be described as stop-motion animation of Yuhi’s Firebird Splash finisher on Veda Scott, visit Lady Go!. Hiroyo Matsumoto, Tomoka Nakagawa, Yumi Ohka and Ryo Mizunami are all scheduled to travel to the US this month to join MsChif & Veda Scott for SHIMMER Vols 49-52 in Berwyn, IL (Oct 26 & 27), while Matsumoto & Mizunami will stay in North America for NCW: Femmes Fatales X in Montreal, QC (Nov 3).
Up for review here is Ice Ribbon‘s “Ribbon March” show at Korakuen Hall on March 21st, headlined by ICEx60 Champion Tsukasa Fujimoto defending her title against the masked Ray. This was the first big Ice Ribbon show since the Tohoku Earthquake/Tsunami that crippled the country only ten days prior, so this show not only has the emotional weight of the disaster on its shoulders, but is presented basically “bare bones” as far as presentation is concerned, due to energy conservation – so no special lighting effects etc.
Elimination Match: Hikari Minami, Kurumi & Tsukushi vs Tamako, Riho & Maki Narumiya
So we start with a six girl elimination match. I don’t know an awful lot about some of these girls, and in fact one of them (Tamako) is making her pro debut here, while another (Narumiya) had only debuted less than a fortnight earlier. It does feature a bunch of the absolute youngest girls on the roster though… Kurumi is 10 years old, Riho is 13, while Tsukishi and Hikari Minami are both 15 years old. Bizarrely, the aforementioned new girls Tamako (at 21) and Narumiya (at 26 years old) are double the age of some of the other competitors here. Absolutely insane. Anyway – Tamako is super cute, but is clearly not at all ready, muddling her way through 54 seconds with Tsukishi before being pinned by a terrible schoolgirl. Riho works with Kurumi and pins her with a Northern Lights Suplex Hold at 2:43 to even the odds. Narumiya doesn’t look too bad before Hikari Minami pins her with a Finlay Roll – which leaves Riho alone against Tsukishi & Minami. Here’s where it started to pick up. Riho worked for three here, handling both with the polished aplomb you *really* don’t expect a girl of 13 to have. She eliminated Minami via ringout (causing your opponent to hit the floor – a common Japanese variant of the usual elimination rules), duelled with submissions and rollups with Tsukishi before eventually being pinned in 8:40 with a victory roll. The first half of the match was pretty awful, but Riho saved it with some excellent stuff in the second half. Good job.
Ice Ribbon has announced the tournament to crown a new champion. As previously reported before the site went live, 19 O’Clock Girls’ Pro Wrestling has plans to introduce a fresh title – the IW19 (Internet Wrestling 19) belt. The champion will be decided next Tuesday in a four-woman tournament, with Tsukasa Fujimoto vs Mika Iida in one semi-final, and Mochi Miyagi vs Tsukushi in the other, with the two winners meeting in the final to determine the first titleholder. (more…)