This was your 4th tour of Japan. How does touring now differ for your?
My first tour for Japan was just a fly by trip. I only worked two shows for REINA as a SHIMMER representative. Now I represent S-Ovation as a freelancer and I can work for a few different companies, and I get to train in many places. I also understand more Japanese now, and understand the train system. So I can freely wander around without fear of getting lost!
This time around you wrestled in Nagoya, Sendai, Osaka, Fukushima, and of course Tokyo. Did you get to do any sightseeing?
Usually when I am travelling around I don’t get much of a chance to sightsee. We did get a pretty good view of Mt. Fuji from the bullet though, and I ate wonderful food in Sendai!
I explore Tokyo a lot. The temples are my favorite part. I go to Sensoji temple each year on New Years Day. I have visited quite a few temples and have loved each one. The girls and I spend way too much time in Harajuku; and Roppongi, of course! Continue reading →
‘There was a lonely girl whose dreams were impossible. She was sick. She was bullied. She was lonely. She had no one to talk to about her problems. No one who would listen. No one who would help. She took a bottle of toxic cleaner and drank it, hoping to end her life…’
This was the story Sonny scribbled on a notepad for me to read prior to meeting up with Act Yasukawa. He and Yoshiko gleaned it from an article about Act’s life in Weekly Pro Wrestling magazine. I was floored; although I was already a fan of Yasukawa’s as a character and wrestler, I had little idea about how gripping her personal story was. I wanted to find out how that sad, troubled girl became the brash, cocky Stardom Joshi pro wrestler.
Act told us the whole story over dinner at her favorite restaurant, an Italian eatery in Tokyo called NICE. This was DDS’ most in depth interview. We hope you find Act’s story as engrossing was we did.
We walked past Act on our way to the restaurant without noticing. Aside from the cherry red streaks in her hair, Act looked like a typical young Tokyo woman on the way home from work or to the bar. “My image in the ring is very cool and masculine and I have many female fans, but they’re surprised when they see me outside the ring as I’m very feminine.” She apologized for dressing so casually, and informed us, “Now, you are just talking to Yuka Yasukawa,” That’s the name Act goes by outside of wrestling or Act’s twin older sister, depending on your level of imagination. She had come to the interview straight from a hard day training with Stardom, “I got slammed a lot.”
Act ordered a glass of white wine, though she said she was taking it easy on drinking since she had a title defense coming up. After a kanpai, we started her story from the beginning:
Act was born in Aomori Prefecture on the northern tip of Japan’s main island. Her relationship to Aomori is “complicated,” as her family moved around for her father’s work in the Self Defense Force.
As a child, Act was a “tomboy” with a vivid imagination. “When I was growing up I watched a lot of samurai movies and action movies.” Abarenbo Shogun was her favorite series. “I used to play with a walkie-talkie and I could hear transmissions from a US military base. I’d go to a storage shed and pretend to be an action hero!” Continue reading →
AJW’s 1988 tour of Thailand was historic. It set a record for wrestling attendance in Thailand, as 10,000 fans filled an arena that only had 5,000 seats. Event organizers had to scramble for extra chairs, while most had to stand for the entirety of the show. That was how huge AJW was in Thailand.
The following article is a tour diary from one of the local Thai staff that helped AJW run the shows. It was originally printed in Joshi Puroresu Magazine, author unnamed. See Birth of a Lioness, and Manami Toyota: The First Interview for more classic articles from this magazine.
Friday, March 11th, 1988
It is the day after AJW’s flight landed in Thailand. They are staying at the Ambassador Hotel. This morning we invited the face wrestlers to come and visit the war veterans at Phra Mong Koot Hospital. We gave them time to prepare and eat breakfast before we left.
We traveled there with Chigusa Nagayo. There were many reporters waiting for arrival, from both Thailand and Japan. The veterans were waiting for us in private room that the hospital prepared. Chigusa is a very kind and polite woman. She answered all the reporters’ questions with a smile on her face. However, because we had limited time, Chigusa could only spend 10 minutes with them.
While the veterans were waiting in the room, the president of AJW gave a speech for all the soldiers and saluted their hard work. AJW’s entire face roster then came in and gave flowers to the soldiers to cheer them up.
However, there was some trouble. There was one soldier that got into accident and lost his legs, so he had to sit on wheelchair. The reporters from Japan and Thailand were trying to interview the wrestlers while ignoring this soldier. Then, his shoes fell to the ground but nobody helped him. Chigusa saw this and became angry. Continue reading →
Since Billy Corgan is the creative director of Resistance Pro, we have a legitimate excuse to post The Smashing Pumpkins on our wrestling music Friday at any time. Today’s offering is SP’s cover of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity.”
While most bands approach cover songs the same way an 8-year-old approaches her mother’s makeup, the Pumpkins know how to make a tune their own. In the hands of Billy, Mike, Jeff, and Nicole the classic becomes harsher and louder, but it doesn’t lose the quiet despair of the original rendition.
If you’re in the Chicago area, you can see the next Resistance show on July 26th. Full info and tickets on resistancepro.com. Likewise, the Pumpkins are on an international festival tour this summer and the details at smashingpumpkins.com.
If Darius Carter, one of wrestling’s most promising young stars, wants on your show you should probably consider booking him. At least put more thought into it than Beyond Wrestling’s Drew Cordeiro did, because he may just show up anyway and ruin your night.
This is a pretty insane, amazing scene. Safe to assume the wrestling before and after it was pretty good too. You can get the raw cut of Beyond’s “We Care A Lot” right now at LookMaNoFans.com for whatever you’d like to pay for it. Eddie Edwards, AR Fox, and a near riot for “name your own price” is a pretty solid deal.
Megumi Fujii, the woman who spent years as the undisputed best female MMA fighter on the planet, has announced she will have her final match on October 5th’s Vale Tudo Japan 3rd show.
Megumi is a legendary mixed martial artist that racked up an unprecedented 22 consecutive wins before losing, in a controversial decision, to Zoila Frausto in October of 2010. Given her Greatest of All Time-level status in Mixed Martial Arts, most of her fans would probably be surprised to learn that her earliest recorded bout in a professional ring was in Pro Wrestling.
Above is Megumi’s first Pro Wrestling match in the ARSION promotion. ARSION distinguished itself as a promotion early on by presenting a more intense and grounded form of fighting than traditional Joshi promotions. Mariko Yoshida epitomized this style. Yoshida began her career as a shiny, happy high-flyer in AJW, but became a limb-ripping, roundhouse throwing shootstylist when she joined ARSION. She showed off her impressive grappling skills against the young but already accomplished Fujii in a three round exhibition match.
Megumi Fujii is fast. If you give her the slightest opening, she will move on that chance and you could be in an armlock so quickly. Wrestling against her, I’ve never experienced that kind of tension in the ring before.
Fast, like snapping an opponent’s ankle in 20 seconds flat fast. When Mariko started her own promotion, IBUKI, she called in Megumi for this tag match also featuring Shuu Shibutani and Natsuki*Taiyo (spoiler: she doesn’t tear anyone’s foot off): Continue reading →
I’m sure the full match will find it’s way to you soon, but until then here’s a Vine clip of Ice Ribbon’s Hikaru Shida after her war with Mayumi Ozaki in Oz Academy. Ozaki, with the help of Mika Nishio and Police, brutalized Shida with chairs, chains, and anything else she could get her hands on. Shida tried to even the odds with her signature kendo stick, but was eventually overwhelmed.
Shida remains one half of the Oz tag team champions, one half of the ICE Ribbon tag team champions, and a complete and utter bad ass who pours her heart out for wrestling.
Today’s MF is brought to you by Joshi Queen and post-punk aficionado Hailey Hatred.Hatred has usually rocked something from The Mars Volta catalog as her theme throughout her career. However their last few albums haven’t had to many Pro Wres entrance friendly tracks. So when it came time to pick a new tune for her stint in Stardom 1, she went to TMV’s previous incarnation, At The Drive-In and picked out this sick, sick song.
At The Drive-In reunited, then dissolved again in 2012. Then The Mars Volta called it quits as well. Devastated and distraught, Hailey Hatred deleted her social media accounts thereafter (they were her favorite band after all). Well at least we can still see her and hear them in Korakuen every month.
Being part of a mostly foreigner Monster Army, she needed something that had English lyrics to replace Shonan no Kaze, ↩
Some serious shit went down at CHIKARA’sAniversario iPPV last Sunday. I’d suggest reading Thomas Holzerman’s full live report here, but in summary: nefarious private military contractor Condor Security was called in by the equally nefarious multi-national conglomerate that owns CHIKARA during the main event of the show. Condor rushed the building causing the match, a pivotal title tilt between Eddie Kingston and Icarus, to end in a no-contest. They then dismantled the set and forced fans out of the building ending the show, and seemingly ending CHIKARA as a company.
This gritty finale was a massive departure from CHIKARA’s typical comic book and science fiction influenced story lines. Private Military Companies doing the dirty work of shady corporations and secretive government agencies have been a go-to plot point TV shows, films, and video games for some time, so it was inevitable for them to make their way into Pro Wrestling. We see PMC’s as the hired guns of mustache twirlers from The A Team to24 to Metal Gear Solid to Batman: Arkham City and now CHIKARA. Why are they so infamously popular in recent years? It’sthanks in large part to the journalistic work of Jeremy Scahill.