In yesterday’s Ringbelles Roundup, we led with a preview of next Monday’s Stardom show at Tokyo, Japan’s Sumo Hall. Ryōgoku Cinderella‘s card is headlined by the final match of model-turned-wrestler Yuzuki Aikawa, who held both the Wonder of Stardom and Goddesses of Stardom titles during her short career.
Short, indeed – she debuted in October 2010 with much fanfare, and started with a baptism of fire to prove that she wasn’t going to just rely on her beauty in the hard-hitting world of joshi puroresu. She did so by taking on veteran Nanae Takahashi in a contest which was designed to show that she could take the lumps, earn her stripes in quick order and make it clear that she was not just going to coast through or just leech from the profession to boost her own profile.
For someone in their first ever match after just five months training, it’s a minor miracle of a contest, and despite it not being that far in the past, it is this week’s Retro. Watch the kicking commence after the jump. (more…)
Allison Danger isn’t going to Terry Funk her retirement. After her match at SHIMMER volume 57 on Sunday, she took the microphone to explain the reason why she is quitting the ring and won’t be coming back.
In January, the 36-year old suffered a minor stroke, after which doctors performed some tests and found out that she had lesions on her brain. She explained that they were not life-threatening, but did mean that she would have to stop wrestling for good. While she was thinking of stepping away from the ring, the diagnosis sealed her fate. However, the 13-year veteran is not going to be leaving the business completely, as she will shift her attentions to behind the curtain, assuming a backstage role in SHIMMER to help develop new talent.
The announcement came at the end of a match which raked up history, exposed old wounds and saw someone who she considered a friend take advantage of an old injury which she actually caused. Back on volume 17 in 2008, Danger suffered a broken collarbone at the hands of an Air Raid Crash from Cheerleader Melissa which put her out of action for three months. During her match alongside Regeneration X partner Leva Bates against Melissa and Ayako Hamada, Danger backed off from Melissa’s attack saying that her clavicle was hurting – to which Melissa responded that Danger was milking the moment for attention and sympathy, helping to make sure fans got behind Danger and didn’t have their loyalties separated. However, as the contest developed, Melissa’s aggression went into overdrive, refusing to tag her partner in and setting out to injure Danger on her way out. (more…)
The reign of inaugural World Of Stardom Champion Nanae Takahashi is over. Her run with the title – which began on July 24, 2011 – came to an end at today’s Korukuen Hall show in Tokyo, Japan at the hands of Alpha Female.
The 6’1″ German – who went to a 30 minute draw with the Takahashi last October – snared the title in the main event of the show which was hyped by a hell of a show poster last month. The win is a massive boost for Alpha as she is the first European to hold any top joshi championship – which is a landmark moment and something that she can use as a marketing point in the future – and remains undefeated in the promotion. More pressing is the fact that as champion, she has a future in Stardom as she will have to defend the belt at some point.
Alpha is one quarter of the imposing Kimura Monster-gun stable, which enjoyed more success on the card… (more…)
First off, just look at that poster. It’s bloody awesome.
Right, now that you’re back, here are the details: Alpha Female is returning to Japan in March to wrestle for Stardom, and is gunning for the big one. The 6 feet tall German will challenge Nanae Takahashi for the World Of Stardom title on March 17 at Korukuen Hall in Tokyo. It’s likely to be a big challenge for the current champion, considering their previous bout was inconclusive.
On October 21 last year, the pair fought to a 30 minute draw in a bout which was so hard hitting that one of Alpha’s teeth was knocked out. It was one of two matches that she wrestled while there – the other being a victory alongside Hailey Hatred & Kyoko Kimura to defeat Act Yasukawa, Cherry & Hikaru Shida 11 days previously. She must have made a good impression, as to be invited back to face Takahashi with her belt on the line is big.
However, she is not the only European to be heading to Stardom next month. Making her debut in the promotion two weeks before will be the Amazon Ayesha Ray… (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.
Funny how the past comes back to haunt you.
In June, while she was still campaigning to be Connecticut Republican candidate for the US Senate, Linda McMahon’s past as the CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment was brought up, including the effect the programming may have had on women and men’s views of how to treat women. One particular incident keeps cropping up – the segment on the March 5, 2001 episode of Raw Is War when Linda’s husband Vince forced Trish Stratus to crawl on all fours, bark like a dog and then strip in the middle of the ring, all in an attempt to humiliate and degrade her.
Even at the time, the event was seen as so offensive that it was never shown in the UK, and it is still great ammunition for opponents of McMahon. Back in June, Linda’s opponent Chris Shays said during a debate: “I think when you force a woman to take off all her clothes in an arena, and get down on the ground and bark like a dog, I think that’s assault on women.” (more…)
“I don’t think there’s a better female wrestler in the world right now.”
Not my words – though I agree with them – but the words of WWE Champion CM Punk, who confirmed that Sara Del Rey has been employed as a trainer for the company and will be working in its developmental facilities in Florida.
We have stayed deathly quiet over Del Rey’s signing with WWE since we found out, as they notoriously hate their private business affairs being discussed openly, and would not want to jeopardise the position of anyone signing a contract with them. For that reason, we wait until the ink is dry and they appear in WWE facilities. That happened on September 28 when Bill DeMott sent out a Tout video of Joey Mercury, Norman Smiley and Del Rey in NXT trainers’ shirts offering a small pitch for wrestlers to come and try out. A photo of the trainers soon followed, and then came the confirmation from Punk at the Ohio Comic Con on September 29.
“We recently hired Sara Del Rey to train our future Divas. I know a lot of people will be like, ‘Oh, that sucks, Sara should be on television’ and maybe you’re right, but I’ve talked to her about it. This is her dream job. She gets to wrestle everyday and she gets paid for it.” (more…)
We are coming up to the time that the winner of the Pro Wrestling Illustrated Female 50 is revealed – though the magazine itself will not be released until mid to late November. Since its launch in 2008, the second week of September is when the winner’s name comes out, so I’ve been having a think about who PWI could possibly select as the woman who will sit atop the heap.
Now bear in mind that PWI still bases the criteria for the winner in the way any legitimate sport could be judged, so victories, title wins and lengths of reigns come way above match quality or column inches, so whoever you may think would win may not necessarily be the same as who PWI has in mind. When we asked the question on who you would think would win on our Facebook and Twitter, AJ Lee‘s name popped up a couple of times, with the reasoning being that she is the WWE Raw General Manager and has been embroiled in the WWE and World Championship pictures this year. However, she is unlikely to win the PWI editors’ pick because as an in-ring performer, she has only wrestled a handful of times, and hasn’t won any championships. Likewise, Sara Del Rey is probably an outside bet to win – despite placing in the men’s PWI 500 due to her victories over men in CHIKARA – as she doesn’t have many championship wins or reigns to speak of, and has lost quite a bit recently. (more…)
The Ringbelles team has been raving about this match in private for weeks. Now, we bring it to you.
By that, we mean that unlike other wrestling matches, which can feel like a sequence of arranged moves designed to pop a crowd, this feels like both women are having a fight, and are reluctant to give the other a thing. Of course, they’re co-operating, but your suspension of disbelief means that you are absorbed into the contest – and that’s exactly what it is… a contest. One that you will love, and one that you can watch by clicking the jump. By the way, keep an eye out for the moment at the ten minute mark… (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…)
In the Roundup a few weeks ago, we talked about joshi legend and STARDOM co-founder Nanae Takahashi, her fifteen years in the business, and the fact that for her fifteenth anniversary show, she selected a very special opponent for herself – none other than WSU World Champion Mercedes Martinez. We covered the results of that very show in this week’s Roundup. We were even able to bring you pictures of the show via our twitter feed within the day. Well, now, only five days out from the battle, we’re able to bring you video footage of Mercedes Martinez making her Japanese wrestling debut against Anniversary girl Nanae Takahashi! Enjoy!
Back in the July 5 Roundup, we let you know about Nanae Takahashi’s 15th anniversary plans, and how she would be facing Women Superstars Uncensored World Champion Mercedes Martinez in the semi-final of the Queen of Stardom tournament to crown its first champion. That event took place on Sunday at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo in front of a full house of 1,310 paying fans, with Takahashi not only defeating Martinez, but going on to beat Yoko Bito – who got by Mika Nagano earlier in the night to make it to the finals – to claim the championship in the promotion that she helped to create.
Some may complain that Takahashi winning the championship is a bit of a swizz, considering that she’s a founder of Stardom and has been booked to be the first champion. I can understand that complaint, considering it seems that it’s an exercise in ego-stroking, but I believe it means more than that. For example, Nanae winning the title is a recognition of her work since debuting in 1996, and if she is the best wrestler in the promotion – which is somewhat likely, considering its main function is to season younger wrestlers to get them ready, then should she not be the first champion to give the title some traction, so when one of the younger wrestlers matures, it will be a more prestigious title to win? (more…)
Nanae Takahashi could have chosen to wrestle anyone in her 15th anniversary match. After all, she is one of the founders of STARDOM – a promotion formed in late 2010 to help season the younger generation of aspiring joshi stars and train up new ones from different aspects of the entertainment industry, such as Yuzuki Aikawa, who had been a model, ballet dancer, and girl group singer. Takahashi could have picked any woman from any promotion in Japan, seeing as many promotions share and exchange talent these days. However, the 32-year old decided that instead of picking a domestic star to take on, she would select someone who has never wrestled in Japan before – the Women Superstars Uncensored World Champion Mercedes Martinez.
We’ll get to Martinez in a moment, but first, a quick biography of her opponent on July 24 in Tokyo, and the promotion that is her current pet project.
Takahashi debuted in 1996 at the age of 17, and shot out of the blocks, winning two All Japan Women tag team titles in two years. Taking the bull by the horns in the previous decade, Nanae started 2000 by winning the AJW singles gold on March. She followed it up over the next 10 by winning the WWWA singles and tag titles (her first WWWA solo title win was over Ayako Hamada on May 11, 2003), and was the singles champ when the promotion folded in 2006.
During that year (which was also her 10 year anniversary, in case you weren’t keeping track) announced her intention to start her own promotion. That promotion was Pro Wrestling SUN, which still exists to this very day, under the handling of one Allison Danger and is based in the US. At the time, the promotion recognised the AWA Women’s Championship and had Takahashi as its champion, though she lost it to Amazing Kong, who then entered a war with then-NWA World Women’s Champion MsChif.
After SUN entered inactivity in 2008, Nanae won the NEO singles and tag titles, the Ice Ribbon Triangle Ribbon and International Ribbon Tag Team Titles, and even the JWP Openweight championship. As you can tell, this is a woman who has had her fair share of success. And other people’s share. And on July 24, Takahashi could add another title to that list of accomplishments – the newly created World of STARDOM championship. (more…)