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…)
Nikki Bella won the WWE Divas Championship on Raw last night. There are a couple of issues that stem from this, so let’s deal with the Bella situation first.
First off, this title change has been on the cards for weeks, so it wasn’t a kneejerk reaction to the “twist” in the match. However, according to previous reports, the Bella Twins’ contract expires on Monday, and unless they have signed a contract extension – which we don’t believe has happened – they are set to go. Putting the Divas strap on Nikki is a curious choice, as it has to be a short reign – don’t be fooled, she won’t be taking the belt away with her like CM Punk did with the WWE Championship last June after winning it at Money in the Bank – so there are only three shows where she could conceivably drop it – SmackDown, Extreme Rules on Sunday, or the Raw the following day. Realistically, option 2 is the most likely, meaning a six day reign, and there is a prime candidate for winning the title, probably in some sort of open challenge…
I really hope that in one year, when I come back, you two will still be here.
That’s the parting words Kharma gave to the Bella Twins last May before taking a sabbatical following the announcement of her pregnancy. As has been reported, things tragically didn’t work out with that, but it seems that she is ready to get back onto the scene after being interviewed for a TV news piece about GLOW while she was at the Cauliflower Alley Club reunion in Las Vegas last week (more on GLOW later). Besides, if she wants to make good on her threat to destroy the Bellas, she has a window of a mere few days to get the job done, and the cherry on top would be taking the Divas Championship in the process. (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…)