Joshi star Ran Yu Yu is retiring this weekend, capping a career lasting just over 19 years with a final match against Mayumi Ozaki in Oz Academy this Sunday. Much like her famous regular tag team partner Toshie Uematsu, who retired in April, Ran had made it clear for some time that this was her final run as an active joshi competitor – including running her own self-produced “StarlightsRegret” show this past Sunday as a precursor to her retirement, which saw her team with Aja Kong, Akino, Hiroyo Matsumoto & Tomoka Nakagawa to defeat the team of Carlos Amano, Chikayo Nagashima, Meiko Satoura, Sonoko Kato & Tsubasa Kuragaki in an all-star ten woman tag match. Ran picked up the win for her team in 62:54, defeating Kuragaki. Yes, the match lasted over an hour.
In this week’s retro, we turn the clock back on Ran’s career ten years to 2002, and a feud she was having with the now retired Azumi Hyuga, who was at the time the JWP Openweight Champion. This is May 19th, and Ran is challenging Hyuga for her title in a streetfight. Ran, first to the ring, is clothed for a fight and brandishing a baseball bat, while Hyuga (in normal wrestling gear) comes out with a chain. It’s vicious, it’s uncompromising, and it won the “Best Bout of 2002″ award for JWP that year – and as Ran Yu Yu departs as an active competitor, it probably represents one of her greatest career matches. Enjoy. (more…)
It’s all about the build-up this week on the TV digest, as both WWE & TNA actually put some effort into building up some future matches and programmes. In WWE, the build is towards this coming Monday on Raw, when Eve Torres will defend her Divas title against Natalya, while TNA are promoting their “Against All Odds” PPV this weekend, as Madison Rayne is set to defend her Knockouts Title against Mickie James in a “Last Knockout Standing” encounter.
TV match of the week this week goes to the challenger for the Divas Title, Natalya, who took on Alicia Fox on Superstars this week in a match that was a significant cut above the Melina vs Tamina mess from the previous week.