Io Shirai, Dark Angel win major titles and Yuzuki Aikawa retires at historic “Ryogoku Cinderella” event
It was a historic day today at the fabled Ryogoku Kokugikan (Sumo Hall) in Tokyo as Stardom presented Ryogoku Cinderella – their most ambitious card to date – in the hallowed building, and it was a day of change, as three of the promotion’s titles changed hands while the curtain came down on the career of Yuzuki Aikawa. Attendance was announced at 5,500, though it seems from live reports that the actual attendance was quite a bit smaller than that (inflated attendances are fairly common in wrestling worldwide, but especially in Japan – although reports last week suggested 3,000 tickets had been sold), which while impressive for a joshi crowd in 2013 appears disappointing given the size of the venue and the hopes/expectations Stardom had to have had for the event.
In title changes, Io Shirai won the World of Stardom Title (aka “The Red Belt”) from Alpha Female, who drops the title that she won last month from inaugural champion Nanae Takahashi. Alpha’s transitional run lasted just 43 days, but you have to imagine Shirai is now going to be considered Stardom’s “ace” going forward. It was a bad day for Monster-Gun, as the recently dominant stable lost the Goddesses of Stardom (Tag) Titles also, as Kyoko Kimura & Hailey Hatred fell to the team of Hoshow Tennyo (Kairi Hojo and Natsumi Showzuki) when Hojo upset Hatred. The other new champion in Stardom is Dark Angel (aka Sarah Stock), who won the decision match against Act Yasukawa to determine only the second ever Wonder of Stardom champion. That title had been vacated earlier this month by inaugural champion Yuzuki Aikawa ahead of her retirement.
Speaking of Aikawa, she fought one of her toughest rivals one last time – finally losing to Yoshiko in her farewell. During her retirement ceremony, the ring was bathed in yellow streamers. The win for Yoshiko sets her up as the first challenger for Io Shirai’s World of Stardom title – with that match announced for Stardom’s June 2nd show back at Korakuen Hall. Click through for full results. (more…)
In a recent interview with Edge, he was asked why so many women are voluntarily choosing to leave WWE. His reply: “I don’t think they get a shot and that’s why most leave. No incentive.”
Now, I was all set to expand on this, but there is the flip side – what about the fortunate ones who do get a shot? Do they seize the opportunity with both hands? Well, one is certainly doing so at the moment, and she seems to be the only one on the main roster taking the her role as a wrestler deadly seriously.
Consider what WWE Divas Champion Eve Torres has been up to in the last week. She was featured in a profile video for American Latino which focuses a large amount of time on the self defence for women programme she offers – something that she believes very passionately about. She teamed up with the Gracie Academy for the Women Empowered DVD set, and has worked hard promoting women being able to take care of themselves in potentially dangerous situations.
The interview also saw Torres justifying her heel character in WWE by saying she is a woman who gets what she wants, and her holding the WWE Divas belt is proof of that. It’s weird logic, but she has a point – it gets around the fact that she is a heel too, even though she is purporting herself to be on the side of the good girls. (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…)