Photos by Leslie and Sonny
The JWP logo promises fans “Pure Heart, Pure Wrestling.” It lied on August 18th. 1200 passionate JWP fans came to pay tribute Plum Mariko, see their homegrown stars blossom into main-eventers, and watch Arisa Nakajima prove she was on the same level as multi-promotional iconoclast Kana. Only two of those things happened, and JWP could have used a new motto by the end of the show.
Manami Katsu successfully defended the JWP Junior double crown against STARDOM’s Eri Susa. A certain number of STARDOM fans did come out to see Eri Susa. The two factions managed to coexist and cheered on both wrestlers for their best in-ring effort to date. Pure Wrestling? Done.
Hanako Nakamori and Morii took the JWP Tag Titles from veterans Kayako Haruyama and Tsubasa Kuragaki. Morii broke her wrist in the match but still managed to counter a Tsubasa Falcon Arrow to gain the pinfall. The fans were ecstatic. They’ve been cheering Morii to the main event to JWP for at least a year. She might be ready. Morii ripped off her post-match sling as it was getting in the way of her post-match celebration. Pure Heart? Covered.
Then it was time for the main event.
Three years after declaring war on the world of Joshi, Kana won its most prestigious title. In only her fifth appearance this year for JWP, Kana ripped through its champion. For 15 minutes Arisa was outmaneuvered, out-wrestled, and plain out-fought. The fans looked on in disbelief as their idol was dissected by a grimacing, face-painted lunatic. A guy behind me tried to ‘boo’ Kana, but no one believed him; Nakajima was beyond saving.
Kana kept Arisa on her back, fighting out of submissions for the early part of the match. When it went to the feet, Kana battered with strikes. Arisa answered earnestly with a kick to the face of her own, but it had no lasting effect. Kana bucked out of a capture German Suplex then escaped the Dragon Suplex, that was when everyone knew it was over.
Three backhand blows and a head kick later and Arisa was out, cold. Kana put on the Kana Lock anyway the ref called for the bell shortly after. I cheered. The guy behind me, the unconvincing ‘boo’ stormed out in anger. Most everyone else was just in shock. The fans got Pure Wrestling (it was an excellent match), but not how they wanted it. Things got worse.
The title not being enough, Kana decided to take Arisa’s dignity too. She painted Arisa’s face with the nose and whiskers of a guinea pig, posed for photos, then kicked her in the head once more. This brought the JWP roster into the ring with Command Bolshoi and Manami Katsu actually laying hands on Kana as the rest of the wrestlers tried to separate them.
It was an ugly scene. The fans were livid. Kana got on the mic and said she didn’t need their support, and chastised them for being foolish enough to think she wouldn’t walk away with the title. Pure Hate.
The JWP faithful are used to outsiders agitating things, but Akira Hokuto never took their title. Emi Sakura never embarrassed their idol. Hailey Hatred tried to fight the entire locker-room at once. Kana, as she promised years, has brought something new to JWP and all of Joshi wrestling.
While the Arisa supporters responded with vitriol, everyone else, including the media, responded with interest usually reserved for retirements. After the departures of Yuzuki Aikawa and Ayumi Kurihara, this was something Joshi needed. Joshi Puroresu is exciting again, thanks to a woman that some feared wanted to destroy it. Pure Kana.