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…)
Sitting in the Tokyo ward of Sumida, Japan, Ryōgoku Kokugikan is primarily a venue for sumo wrestling, hence the alternative name of Sumo Hall. Hosting tournaments throughout the year as well as three special events in January, May and September, the 28-year old building holds a lot of tradition for sports other than sumo. The building also hosts boxing, concerts and professional wrestling. However, when it comes to joshi, Sumo Hall may well have been in Narnia, as there has not been a show there since Ladies Legend Pro Wrestling held an event there on February 12, 2007.
The show featured the semi-finals and final of a 10-woman All Star Tournament with Shinobu Kandori pinning Meiko Satomura to win the whole shebang. Attendance numbers are disputed, though the reported figure was about 5,800, which is less than half of the 13,000 that the building can hold.
Since then, there has not been a joshi show held there, though that will change next Monday, when Stardom presents its biggest and most ambitious show in its two and a half year history with a stacked card which features wrestlers from a number of different joshi promotions. (more…)
ICE Ribbon present their year-end big show from Korakuen Hall, their first RibbonMania without founder Emi Sakura, and look to the future right from the opener to the main event.
1. New Wrestler Elimination Match: Risa Sera, Hiroko Terada (debut) & 235 (debut) beat Rutsuko Yamaguchi (debut), Eri Wakamatsu (debut) & Ayano Takeda (debut) (8:26).
– Takeda eliminated 235 with a Fisherman Suplex (3:46). Terada eliminated Takeda with an Anaconda Vice (4:31). Sera eliminated Wakamatsu with a modified Shubain (6:31). Yamaguchi eliminated Terada with a Heel Drop (7:16). Sera eliminated Yamaguchi via over-the-top-rope elimination (8:26).
2. Duel 120Kg!!: Jaiko Ishikawa beat Kuzira Oshima (4:31) with an Abdominal Stretch.
3. 4 Way Match: Makoto Oishi & Neko Nitta beat Cherry & Meari Naito and Hailey Hatred & Kurumi and Aki Shizuku & Shoko Hotta (8:21) with a Cross Kneelock from Nitta on Naito.
4. Yumiko Hotta vs. Hamuko Hoshi – Time Limit Draw (15:00).
5. Kazunari Murakami beat Miyako Matsumoto (5:19) with a Haraigoshi.
6. International Ribbon Tag Team Title & REINA World Tag Team Title: Aoi Kizuki & Tsukushi beat Kyoko Kimura & Sayaka Obihiro (c) (17:36) with a Denden Mushi from Tsukushi on Obihiro – New Champions.
7. Special Tag Match: Nanae Takahashi & Natsuki*Taiyo beat Hikaru Shida & Tsukasa Fujimoto (20:51) with a Taiyo*Chan Spanish Fly from Taiyo to Fujimoto.
8. ICEx60 Title: Maki Narumiya beat Mio Shirai (c) (13:28) with the You’ll Never – New Champion.
Last month, Mio Shirai claimed her major singles championship when she defeated Hikaru Shida for Ice Ribbon‘s top prize, the ICEx60 Title. She ascended to the top of the promotion’s roster on September 23′s Knights Of Ribbon show at Tokyo’s Korukuen Hall – an event which Ice Ribbon’s adopted mother hen Tsukasa Fujimoto admitting that the event was not a good day for the promotion.
On that day, outsider Hailey Hatred claimed the Triangle Ribbon championship be beating outgoing titleholder Neko Nitta and fellow challenger Shuu Shibutani on the undercard, and then Shirai rocked the promotion by ending Shida’s 273 day reign, which was the longest in Ice Ribbon’s history.
Recently, video of joshi events have been hard to come by, but the Knights Of Ribbon event has made it onto the internet, and we’re able to bring you the Shirai v Shida match, as well as the post match comments and celebrations, if you are able to speak Japanese… which we aren’t. (more…)
We like X-Cute Sweet. Until WAWW‘s Bellatrix 2 last month, we hadn’t seen much of her, but her tandem with Eloanne against Briony and Violet O’Hara showed off both the 23-year old’s wrestling skill and her ability to pull out some nice comedy moments without things getting too silly.
Last weekend, she wrestled the visiting Mio Shirai as part of the annual Japan Expo event in Paris, which also saw Kana take on Morgane Leigh. Earlier today, Sweet posted a singlecam view of her match with Shirai to her YouTube account, and as you can tell, quite a lot of the visitors to the convention stopped by to watch the action. This was an opportunity to make a good first impression, and the pair went for it – engaging in some technical action, brawling around the ring and bringing weapons into play.
Considering Shirai and Kana’s reputations and swing in Japan, it may be the best chance for Sweet to get a foot in the joshi door… (more…)
It’s been Golden Week in Japan, which has meant a slew of wrestling across the country. However, we have a brief history lesson first…
Golden Week starts at the end of April and runs through until May 5, and incorporates a number of Japanese public holidays, including honouring the birthday of the late Emperor Hirohito, Constitution Memorial Day, Greenery Day – which is to commune with nature – and Children’s Day, which does exactly what it says on the tin. It is also the longest vacation period of the Japanese year, and many people are given paid time off as many companies completely close during that period. For that reason, Japan has a lot of spare time – many people travel, and the west coast of the US and Canada sees a slew of Japanese tourists during that time, but others stay at home, and can entertain themselves during their leisure time by watching pretty much any wrestling promotion that they choose, as most of them hold a show, while some stage supercards. Here’s a rundown of some of the things that went down during Golden Week in the world of joshi:
Kurumi’s push in Ice Ribbon continues – she and Ribbon Takanashi won the Golden Ribbon Mixed Tag Team Tournament on Saturday, defeating Hamuko Hoshi & Hoshi Tango, Hikari Minami & Dynasty and Maki Narumiya & Masamune to win the whole shebang. As well as winning tournaments to win the IW19 Championship and to earn the right to become Manami Toyota’s tag team partner to challenge for the International Ribbon Tag Team Titles at Ice Ribbon March, 12-year old Kurumi is quickly becoming the tournament queen in the promotion. Don’t bet against her in the future – you’ll lose money if you do so. (more…)
Japan can come up with some amazing stipulations, and even better names to hype them. Here’s the background to this contest at Union…
Back in February, Cherry claimed had a big announcement to make, and it was that she wa moving the host site to her blog. To be fair, she’s “Forever 18″, and that’s a big deal for a teenager. However, Mio Shirai came out, saying that she expected that the announcement was going to be that Cherry was going to finally reveal her age – one of the best kept secrets in wrestling. She then challenged Cherry to a match at the March 18 show, where if Shirai won, Cherry would have to tell everyone how old she really is. Cherry ended up winning that contest, making sure her secret remained so.
However, GAMI stole her passport that she had brought along as a proof of age in the event that she lost, with GAMI saying that Cherry could only get it back if she won a match against her on April 8, but would have to spill the beans on her age if she lost. Cherry won – but it didn’t end there, as Shirai once again challenged Cherry, but the extra caveat was put on top so both had something to lose. If Shirai won, Cherry would have to reveal her real age, but if Cherry won, Shirai would have to remove all of her makeup and expose her bare face to the world.
In the week before the match which took place at Golden Union yesterday, Shirai had to pull out due to injury, but a replacement was found in new JWP and Daily Sports Tag Team Champion Emi Sakura, though the original stipulations would stand. Click after the jump to watch the match, where the price for losing for both Cherry and Shirai is horrendously high. (more…)
There had been some speculation about the future of a number of joshis following the closure of SMASH on March 14, as wrestlers like Makoto and Syuri had made it their home promotion, and others like Kana, Serena Deeb and Tomoka Nakagawa had enjoyed success there too. As it turns out, SMASH founder Tajiri moved fast to announce a replacement, which was unveiled today.
Wrestling New Classic has already announced its first two shows – the first on April 26 at Shinjuku FACE in Tokyo, Japan, with the follow-up a month later on May 24 at Korukuen Hall. The first show already has a joshi match booked featuring Makoto and final SMASH Divas Champion Syuri taking on former Divas titleholder Kana and her Triple Tails S partner Mio Shirai, in a match that actually took place in SMASH in Osaka on October 26 last year – for the record, Kana and Shirai won…
This announcement is particularly good news for Syuri and Makoto, who considered SMASH their highest profile exposure. Makoto had started to keep herself busy, securing her in-ring debut for Union Pro, while Syuri seemingly did not have any more wrestling bookings on the horizon, though she could always have gone down her other avenue of interest, shootboxing and kickboxing. Kana did not have such quibbles, as she regularly works for other promotions including Dramatic Dream Team and Pro Wrestling WAVE. (more…)
Seeing as it’s Valentine’s Day, how about a look at two of the romances running in WWE that involve two of the biggest storylines going on at the moment?
On Raw this week, the relationship between Zack Ryder and Eve Torres ground to a halt when Eve decided to kiss John Cena after he helped to rescue her from the clutches of Kane. Unfortunately, a crushed Ryder saw the whole thing, though Torres claimed it was a heat of the moment thing, then called things off with him, hoping that they can remain friends.
On the plus side, this storyline is the best opportunity that Torres has every had to show some personality in her near five year WWE tenure, even though it has caused her to experience derision from the audience for knowingly or unknowingly screwing over one of the favourite wrestlers in the promotion right now – someone who has captured the hearts and imagination of fans by standing up to his bosses with his YouTube Z! True Long Island Story, getting over in spite of his booking (or lack of it) and then being sucked into one of the most asinine and ridiculous storylines in years, that being Cena v Kane, by being the whipping boy who is the real life equivalent of Kenny from South Park being murdered on every show. By screwing over the guy who has the sympathy of fans, Eve is positioned as a heel… for now. (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…)
With the WWE Championship having changed hands a near inconceivable nine times since May this year, wrestling fans in the West have gotten used to hot potato title changes. Thankfully, such quick swaps are far from the norm in Japan, but in what one hopes won’t be a regular thing, one of the more “Americanised” puro products (Yoshihiro Tajiri’s SMASH) followed up crowning first ever champions in both the male and female divisions by having both champions lose their titles on their first defences at today’s SMASH.23 event at Korakuen Hall.
While former WWE wrestler (and Divas trainer) Dave “Fit” Finlay captured the SMASH Title from the Lance Storm trained Starbuck, former SHIMMER Tag Team Champion Tomoka Nakagawa took her opportunity and lifted the SMASH Divas Title from the inaugural champion Kana in a fairly brief 8:53 match, avoiding a kick and rolling up the “Most Dangerous” one with a schoolgirl. Quite a surprise, then, to see SMASH’s most prominent and vocal female competitor lose her title on her first defence – but you can’t argue that it’s great to see Tomoka win a major singles title. Somewhat underappreciated by the masses, Nakagawa is long overdue a spotlight. The question is – what sort of a reign will she get? The next main numbered SMASH show will be SMASH.24 on December 30th – and you’d imagine that Kana will want her title back pretty damn quickly.
Click after the jump for a shot taken seconds after Tomoka’s victory, video of the match, and other related results from today. (more…)