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 →
Written by Leslie Lee III
Conducted by Sonny Gutierrez and Leslie Lee III Translation by Yoshiko Naoe, Pumi Boonyatud, and Melchor Hernandez Jr. Additional Photography courtesy Resuner (3), Kenji Nuruki (5, 6), Pumi Boonyatud (2,7,8)
‘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 →
Drew Cordeiro AKA Denver Colorado (the man, not the place) is the mastermind behind the trangressive, progressive, post-modern Pro Wrestling outfit known as Beyond Wrestling. We talked to him about the creative process behind his unique company, the Beyond wrestlers you should be watching, the advantages of working together, the value of social media, and the nature of the art of Pro Wrestling. Enjoy!
I love the versatility of Pro Wrestling as an art form. I have access to a plethora of creative outlets which ensures that my work always remains fresh and exciting. In fact, I enjoy what I do so much that it very rarely feels like work. I can trace the origins of many of my longstanding friendships back to one common bond – wrestling. As strange as it may sound, when Beyond Wrestling was formed, I always wanted to use it as a platform to give back to the industry that had given me so much growing up. Even though Beyond Wrestling has come a long way since our pilot taping in May of 2009, we want to provide the wrestlers involved with the tools that they need to complete their individual goals. We’re just lucky that, by and large, the byproducts have been too good not to share.
Initially Beyond was described as a wrestling utopia where guys could come and perform free from the politics and pressure of the outside wrestling world. With the growth Beyond has gone through and the changes in creative direction, do you think that still applies?
It becomes more and more difficult to balance total freedom while trying to find our place within the world of independent wrestling, but it is a challenge I am willing to endure. We’ve taken countless steps to legitimize Beyond Wrestling which in turn lends more credibility to our achievements. The more popular Beyond Wrestling becomes the better chance we have pushing those who have sacrificed the time and energy to contribute to our project up the ladder. We’re not 100% effective in maintaining an environment absent of political influences (not that we ever were) but it is still something to strive for.
For those who don’t follow Beyond yet, who are some of your wrestlers you feel they should be seeking out?
Right now, for my money, Drew Gulak is the best on the roster, and that covers a lot of ground. Gulak is most prominently featured at CZW, but I feel like he is often overlooked since some fans are turned off by the deathmatch genre. Mark Angel hasn’t had a bad match since debuting for Beyond Wrestling in February of 2011. His change in disposition is disheartening but he is still producing between the ropes. Sugar Dunkerton has used Beyond Wrestling to demonstrate that he can connect with his strikes just as much as he can connect with his fans. In the time that he had to take off to heal his broken arm, he has only become more focused. He knows exactly what he wants out of wrestling which will only serve to further motivate him.
Jonny Mangue, Darius Carter, and Anthony Stone are all on the verge of something amazing. It is a shame that the scene is more exclusive than ever before, but we’re lucky to have these guys making positive contributions to our events. As more footage becomes published from our recent tapings, fans will be shocked that they haven’t seen more of the New Englanders that joined up with us when we relocated to the Northeast.
Veda Scott needs little introduction, which is astonishing considering she still has one week left in her rookie year as a professional wrestler. A combination of fan support, high-profile gigs (including Ring of Honor TV), and just plain old fashion sense has made her a recognizable figure in a very short time. Veda was kind enough to chat with us about her whirlwind of a career thus far, her recent matches with some top names, as well as music, art, fembots, and obsessive love for Pro Wrestling.
Photos 1, 4-6 by Gregory Davis
When did you first fall in love with Pro Wrestling?
I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t completely wrapped up in Pro Wrestling to a distressing degree. I’m a fairly obsessive person who needs to go headlong into any of my interests. I don’t follow other pro sports and never have. Never had “my team.” Just wrestling, always.
Also, I was a weird kid (who grew into a weird adult, I guess) and I always felt the need to accumulate and consume as much pro wrestling as possible. Making my own really shoddy “comps” and trading tapes – you know, with the multiple VCRs going? Awful! I also grew up in an area of the country that’s always been hot for wrestling.
Before actually getting in the ring you were involved in a very interesting project called WrestlingInterviews.com. Tell us about it.
I don’t want to go into the details of the WI project only because it wasn’t my idea and I don’t know how much the person behind it wants disclosed. However, my involvement came about from my often weird but always amusing friendship with Hydra and UltraMantis Black. Though they had their obvious differences, I was the best person to try and bring them together. In front of a studio audience. I’m still a bit bruised from the rejection from Orange Cassidy, I must say. Also, it’s completely baffling that some clips have found their way back online.
It’s no secret that you are pursuing a Law degree while building your wrestling career. What was it about becoming a Pro Wrestler that you felt such a need to do it while already engaged in something as all-consuming as Law School?
I’ve had several points where I was so close to training; I always stumbled into something more, I guess, practical right at that moment. The Wrestling Interviews gig was a total one-off situation. It didn’t spawn anything and I didn’t intend it to. Until I had my first match, I’d never been in front of a crowd, never did the valet/manager thing.
The reason I finally said “Eff this, I’m wrestling” is bifurcated. First off, I kept pursuing other paths (obviously, if I’m in law school, I’ve already gotten my BA and I worked as a TV producer for a while as well) and was completely miserable because I’d never done the one thing I really wanted to do. The other reason, which I don’t discuss often but was huge is that I was unhappy with the quality of people who I saw breaking in. Not the quality of the wrestling. The quality of the person. But there’s really no use in being annoyed by that if you aren’t going to step up yourself. I know I have a different sort of mindset than someone who started this whole deal at 18. It makes me prioritize differently because I’ve been out supporting myself and living “on the outside” for quite some time. Yes, there are times when I acknowledge I’d have a much different potential career trajectory if I was younger or had less to lose. But there’s so much in wrestling that’s silly, trivial, obnoxious frippery and my other experiences have given me perspective on that.
But seriously you guys. Don’t go to law school and also be a pro wrestler. It’s dumb and you’ll never sleep. Law school is like two full time jobs – being a full time student competing against 200 other insane overachiever plus the whole outside of school work experience component. I’m looking forward to the stroke no doubt awaiting me on my 30th birthday.
Dear wrestling fans around the world, I would like to present you this interview with Emi Sakura, the founder of Pro Wrestling in Thailand. She’s doing her best and wants all of you to support Bangkok Girls Pro Wrestling. This promotion is based in Thailand but we want to increase our fanbase worldwide as much as we can. This is only the beginning! BKK PRO promises you: We will be the top promotion in the world.
Interview conducted by DDS and BKK Pro staff member Pumi. Additional Translation and editing by Chris Vicious
Please introduce yourself to Thai fans.
Hello! My name is Sakura Emi. I was the 2009 Joshi Wrestler of the Year. I came to Thailand to establish the first Joshi Puroresu promotion here.
Why did you choose Thailand? It’s far from Japan and has never had any wrestling promotion before.
Because there are many wrestling promotions in Japan, but not in Thailand. Also, wrestling fans in Thailand have had a chance to watch many Japanese wrestling promotions on TV, including Ice Ribbon, my former promotion. So I think this is a good place for me to start new things.
You have lived in Thailand for a few months. Since Ice Ribbon focused on developing wrestlers from a young age, can you tell us the difference between Thai and Japanese teens?
If I think about things related to wrestling, there are many differences. All Japanese know about Pro Wrestling, but in Thailand, you can only see a small group of teens who know a lot about Pro Wrestling.
So, I would like you to talk about how Pro Wrestling is different from the other famous fighting sports in Thailand such as Muay Thai, Judo, or Taekwondo.
(Laughs) In my view, Muay Thai is not the best combat sport in the world! Although, I agree that all fighting sports are awesome in their own way, but pro Wrestling is totally different. Wrestling is more interesting. As you know, Pro Wrestling is sports entertainment. It focuses on both good matches and good entertainment. This is Pro Wrestling.
Then let’s talk about the training. I got this question from many fans. They want to know about the qualities of a wrestler. Do you have any minimum requirements? Does myopia, height, or weight affect their training?
I don’t have a minimum requirement, and I can confirm that those sorts of things won’t affect their training. Everybody can be a wrestler. For example, in America, there was a wrestler named “Zach Gowen” who worked for WWE. He has only one leg, but can be a good wrestler. In Pro Wrestling, you can build your character and it can help you be successful. The most important thing is to work hard. If you can do that, you can be a wrestler for sure.
Oliver Hurley’s Wrestling’s 101 Strangest Matches is one of the most interesting books on Professional Wrestling in quite some time. Far from being a simple listing of odd bouts, the book provides in-depth background and context on each of the matches featured, revealing details that are both historically significant and genuinely entertaining. Comments from the wrestlers themselves reveal the little known details behind many of these infamous battles. We spoke to the veteran journalist about the book, his process for developing it, and his undying love for the sport that, admittedly, can be somewhat strange at times. Enjoy!
How long have you been writing about pro wrestling? What is it about the sport that you love?
I first wrote about wrestling in anow long-forgotten UK fanzine called Crunch, which I launched in the summer of 1995 on the back of an independent show in London featuring Sabu – the first UK show explicitly aimed at ‘hardcore’ fans. Crunch only lasted for a few issues but people quite seemed to like it, I think largely because it was a bit irreverent. In a roundabout way, that eventually led on to me writing for Power Slam, the UK’s best-selling wrestling mag, which I’ve been working for on a freelance basis since 2001.
As for what I love about wrestling, can anyone really answer that question? I just started watching it on TV when I was young, somehow got hooked, started going to live shows and that was it. As Thomas Aquinas put it, “To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible.” Although I’m not sure he was necessarily talking about wrestling at the time, given that he was a 13th-century Italian Dominican priest. But there you go.
Why did you decide to write this book?
I’d been wanting to write a wrestling book for a while – something that covered a wide variety of performers and eras, rather than yet another wrestling biography – but couldn’t quite come up with the right idea. I toyed with the notion of something on wrestling’s greatest matches but that seemed a bit vague. In the end, I came across a book called Boxing’s Strangest Fights and nicked the idea from that. As a concept, it just seemed to lend itself perfectly to wrestling, while allowing me to write about everyone from Strangler Lewis to Stalker Ichikawa.
How did you go about researching and narrowing down what to include?
While I was pitching the book to publishers, I spent quite a long time – probably about a year – working on a long-list of matches. That ended up consisting of just under 200 bouts, each with quite detailed notes on where footage of each match was available (if it even existed), references to the bouts in books or articles, old newsletter stories, interviews and so on. When it came to writing the book, in addition to as much reference material as I could get my hands on, I also conducted my own interviews with some of the wrestlers involved.
Coming up with the final 101 matches was based on having a pretty good idea of which ones would be the most entertaining to write about, while trying to ensure that I had a range of different wrestlers and promotions. It was a bit of a balancing act but I think it works – and I can’t think of any other wrestling book that would include both Lou Thesz and an inflatable sex doll. Continue reading →
Cherry Bomb’s career has been on a steady incline for the past few years. She’s firmly established herself as the Sovereign ruler of Ontario wrestling by holding titles in two companies and outright dominating a third. She also branched out across the globe, appearing in places like SHIMMER, WSU, and AIW. And, by the way, she toured Japan, facing the likes of Madison Eagles and Yoshiko Tamura. As 2012 begins, Cherry has her sights set on establishing herself as more than just an up-and-comer. She’s a match away from an AIW title shot, featured in highly touted major motion picture, and managing to stay one step ahead of her nemesis Courtney Rush. Hello world, here’s your Cherry Bomb.
What do you love about wrestling that’s made you spend the past seven years of your life doing it?
Wrestling holds a very special place in my heart. I lost my dad at a very young age and wrestling was something we used to watch together. I remember being a kid and going to watch live events with him, and they are some of my happiest memories. It wasn’t until I got older that I even considered becoming a wrestler, but the first time I stepped into a squared circle I felt a closeness to my dad. Wrestling is the glue that keeps us together.
You stay in incredible shape. What’s your training regimen like?
I bust my ass six days a week! Typically I lift weights, followed by 50 – 100 flights of stairs, and then I do between 100 – 300 free squats in a row. Never underestimate what regular squats can do for you, I challenge you to 100 – 200 everyday! Then I finish it all off with a cupcake; red velvet, obviously.
You’ve steadily been moving your way up the ranks of the wrestling scene. One of the matches where people really began to take notice of you was against Sara Del Rey and Femmes Fatales. Tell us what it was like taking on the woman many consider the best in North America.
To be honest, I felt honored. I had been wanting to wrestle her for a long time, and I feel like I walked away learning so much. She is such a talented wrestler, and constantly proves to everybody just how amazing she is. I would like the opportunity to face her again, as I feel I have come along way since September 2009.
This weekend is AIW’s Girl’s Night Out. You’ll be taking on Allysin Kay. What are your thoughts on her and this match? Are you worried she might bring a machete?
I have faced Allysin a few times in Canada, and first let me say this, what people say about her is true; she’s out of her fucking mind. Does that intimidate me? No. This match is for the number one contenders spot for the AIW Women’s Championship. I don’t care if she brings brass knucks, a machete, or a grenade launcher: I’m going to superkick her face off!
That night either Mickie Knuckles or Sara Del Rey will leave the building with the AIW Women’s Title. Which of those wrestlers would you rather face for the title and why?
I have my sights set on that title, so regardless of who walks away the champion on Sunday I will be ready to steal the gold.
Last year you had a historic opportunity in AIW to win the JWP Open-Weight title in its first defense outside of Japan. You faced Hailey Hatred, who was possibly the wrestler of the year in 2011. Not a lot of people gave you a chance going into that match, and most were shocked when ou refused to back down from her vicious strikes. Tell us what that match was like for you.
I knew going into this match that everyone was going to assume that I couldn’t hold my own against Hatred. I think I even took her by surprise when, no matter what she threw at me, I wouldn’t give up. I put my body through hell and kept asking for more. In the end I may not have walked away the champion, but I feel I earned the respect of Hailey, and the fans. I know that people underestimate me, and I love proving them all wrong.
You completed a stint in Japan in late 2010. Describe for us your experience on the tour. Would you consider following in Hailey’s footsteps and going back full time?
Wrestling in Japan was a goal of mine since I had started, so when I was asked I jumped on the opportunity. It was such an incredible experience. I had the opportunity to work for several different companies and train in the dojos. I learned SO much while I was over there, and have changed my style to incorporate a Joshi flare to it. The only thing that I really had to get used to was the food. I’m a vegetarian, so I pretty much lived off protein shakes and these little chocolate bears which I am now obsessed with. If given the opportunity I would definitely go back! I feel like I have grown since my last tour and have so much more to bring to the table.
Some huge news for you last year involved your role in the film Beat Down 1. First, tell us about the film and how you got involved.
The film is centered around a young girl named Fran, who wants to get involved in the wrestling business against her fathers wishes. I was contacted to audition for stunt work, but discovered that they were looking for someone to play the role of a rival wrestler. I had never acted before, but I figured it wouldn’t hurt to take a crack at it and I’m so thankful I did!
What about this particular film that made you want to try it?
I liked the fact that this was a film about wrestling, and more so that it was about women in wrestling. After meeting Deanne Foley, the director, and seeing how much research she had done, and how much respect she had for what we do, the film became very special to me.
You actually play “Cherry Bomb” in the film as well. Without giving too much away, are there going to be some differences between the real Cherry Bomb and the Big Screen version?
You may notice some small differences to say the least! Cherry in the film is very threatened by Fran. She is spiteful and nasty, and stops at nothing to make Fran’s life a living hell. She views Fran as an outsider who doesn’t deserve a spot, because she hasn’t earned it. There is one scene in particular where Fran shows up thinking she is going to wrestle a match, but instead is forced to sell t-shirts. Rather than accepting that that is part of paying her dues, she complains that it isn’t fair. Any wrestler will tell you the importance of paying your dues, it’s how this business operates, so I can see how that would rub Cherry the character the wrong way.
Another female wrestler who is in the film is someone you know very well, Courtney Rush. You guys have known each other for a while and were at one point friends. How did you come into contact with one another and what were your early matches with her like?
First of all, I wouldn’t say Courtney and I have ever been friends, acquaintances maybe, but I wouldn’t call her my friend. We had a few matches in 2009 and 2010, but to be honest we worked for different companies so I never paid too much attention to her until last year.
Of course these days Rush is waging a full on war against you. She’s become increasingly bitter, hostile, and aggressive. What exactly is her issue? Do you think some of Rush’s animosity comes from the fact that you were more heavily featured in the trailer that was released? Or the fact that she has trouble beating beat you fair and square with any of her 3,980 suplexes?
Courtney Rush is threatened by me, plain and simple. There can only be one person in the top spot in Ontario and I am standing there. It drives her insane that she has to go to such extreme measures to beat me. Everytime she loses she rattles off all of these excuses for why she lost, and how I did this and that; it’s pathetic really. Let’s be honest: Courtney Rush and her 3,980 suplexes don’t stand a chance against my BSE, and it’s eating her alive.
In spite of Rush’s efforts, you remain NSP’s Queen. You’re also TCW champion and CCW Champion. What can you tell fans about these companies, and what it means for you to be the top woman in each them?
Neo Spirit Pro Wrestling has been a top promotion in Ontario since 2001. The energy backstage at a NEO show is like no other company I have ever worked for. Every single person in the locker room is ready to give everything they have to make that show something special for the fans. “Showtime” Eric Young has even gone on record saying NEO is one of the best wrestling companies in the world! I am very proud to be a member of their roster.
I have been working for Classic Championship Wrestling since 2005, and was their first ever women’s champion. I love working for CCW because they put a serious emphasis on women’s wrestling. They usually have two women’s matches per card and they always have the women’s championship match as the semi-main event, which I think shows the importance of that title.
Tri-City Wrestling is a newer company out of Kitchener, Ontario. Much like CCW, this company focuses a lot on the women’s division. I have successfully defended my title against Allysin Kay and Courtney Rush who, by the way, didn’t take too kindly to that and attempted to beat me with a chair. What a surprise.
You’re often called a “rising star” and “one to watch” but at this point in your career are you anxious to start being considered a current top star, like a Portia Perez or LuFisto?
I already am a top star, the world just doesn’t know it yet.
You’re obviously a beautiful woman and committed to being a serious wrestler. Many people don’t think those two things go together. Do you ever have to deal with a conflict between embracing your femininity and being respected for your wrestling ability?
I am so sick and tired of people having this idea in their head that women wrestlers can’t look good and be good in the ring. I have worked incredibly hard to be where I am and I continue to work on my craft. Do I still enjoy getting my nails done, and going to the tanning salon? Yes! Do I love make up, shoes, and getting my hair done? Yes! This shouldn’t be a deciding factor on whether or not I am a good wrestler, and anybody that thinks that way is a close minded idiot.
What are some other future goals you have in wrestling? What promotions and places would you like to wrestle?
I would love to go back to SHIMMER and WSU, as both are great companies with women that I would love to compete with. One of my major goals is to obviously work for a company that allows me to do what I love for a living, but above all else, I would love for people to look at me one day and say “Cherry Bomb, she is a good wrestler.” Not a good “women’s wrestler,” a good wrestler, period.
What’s Cherry Bomb like away from the ring? What sort of music, movies, and games are you into?
I am a personal trainer Monday through Friday so I spend a lot of time in the gym. When I’m not working or on the road, I love spending time with my cock-a-poo, Hulk Hogan, or getting hooked on RPG games like Fable. I have a few shows that I am glued to: Dexter, Vampire Diaries, Boardwalk Empire, Modern Family, Happy Endings, The League, True Blood and I am obsessed with Friends and Big Bang Theory (BAZINGA!). In terms of music I listen to just about anything, but prefer rock/punk/alternative. Some of my favorite bands are The Misfits, Rise Against, Pennywise, Hawksley Workmen, among many others.
Who are some wrestlers you would you like to face in the future?
There are so many! Some that come to mind are Madison Eagles, Sara Del Rey, Serena Deeb, and Angelina Love. But if I could work anybody, it would be Trish Stratus. Trish is one of the reasons I started wrestling in the first place, she was my inspiration. To be able to wrestle a match with her would truly be a dream come true.
Is there anything else you’d like to say to your fans?
Thank you! Thank you for all of your support, if it wasn’t for you I wouldn’t be here! The best is yet to come, 2012 will be the Year of the Bomb!
Today we bring you a special interview, conducted by Mary from Honour Magazine, with another star on the way up. Derek Cornell is hoping to take his natural talent and charisma to the next level in the coming year. Already a standout in buzzworthy Midwest promotions like Magnum Pro and Adrenaline Pro, expect to see him trash talking into a camera near you, sooner rather than later. Until then, check out his numerous matches on Youtube, follow his hilarious twitter, and read this in depth interview.
I grew up absolutely infatuated with the sport. It’s the one thing a lot of my family could come together and talk about; I just fell a little more in love with it than them and became a part of it.
What made you decide to start training to become a wrestler?
There was never really a “big moment” that made me decide that I was going to become a wrestler. I wish there was some big heart-felt moment that I could tell you about, but honestly, I just knew I was going to become a wrestler, like it was what I was meant to do. The showmanship, the athleticism, the prowess– I loved it. So after high school, I packed my things and left Pittsburgh to go to Iowa for college and to start training. The Midwest was where I was told to go, not for the booming scene, but where the hungry young guns go, and so I did.
Where and when did you get your initial training?
Training for me started in 2008 in a cold ass brick building with a few other guys, some there longer than me, some just starting. I remember that first day being fast and I was in there with guys who’d been around six months or longer and keeping pace. It just clicked for me.
Were there any wrestlers influences you had in mind as you trained?
I tried modeling myself after Chris Hero and Josh Prohibition. Two of my all-time favorites, never got bored watching their tapes, and after months of trying to be like them, a light went off, “There’s already a Prohibition and a Hero, but there isn’t a Derek Cornell.” So I started patterning myself after them instead of trying to copy them, and so far it’s worked out pretty well for me.
Was there skepticism from your peers and family with your decision? Looking back, would you have changed anything?
My family hated it. My mom hated the idea of me getting hurt, and my dad wouldn’t have anything to do with it. Friends back home expected it; I think they knew this was what I always wanted to do, so they just supported it. Looking back, I wouldn’t change a thing. I’m too good at what I do; I wouldn’t take back what makes me happy to make someone else happy.
Tell us about your first match.
My first match was Donnie Peppercricket in Wellman, Iowa in that cold ass brick building. Donnie had been around for about seven years at the time, had a hundred pound weight advantage on me, and hits like there’s a god damn ball bat attached to his elbow. I’ll be honest, I impressed myself. I kept on him for most of that match, cut the big man down, and if that big bastard didn’t jump off the top and damn near broke my nose, I probably would’ve had a win.
Were there anyone who mentored you as you were training?
The big “X” factor in my career when it came to a “name” that took me under his wing is Jaysin Strife. Former NWA Midwest X-Division champion, internationally traveled, and by far the most underrated wrestler in this business. He and I have had our wars, but at end of the day, I owe everything to him. Donnie took me in as well, and together, those two helped me get even better.
One of the less well-known companies featured on CHIKARA’s Joshimania this weekend will be Osaka Joshi Puroresu, or DAIJO. It’s top star and US representative will be Sawako Shimono. While most woman toil for years before any similar recognition, Sawako Shimono began her career by immediately debuting in a main event. That was less than two years ago and since then she’s had a number of highlights in her career, the most recent being winning the JWP Jr. and POP (Princess of Pro Wrestling) titles from Kagetsu. Joshimana presents Shimono an amazing opportunity to show her skills abroad this weekend, amongst all time greats like Manami Toyota and Aja Kong. We caught up with Osaka Joshi’s young ace for a brief interview as she prepares for her trip to America.
Please tell us when you made your debut and against whom.
My first opponent was Kagetsu from Sendai Girls Pro Wrestling on March 21, 2010.
Prior to that, you were experienced in other sports, correct? Who trained you to become a pro wrestler?
I practiced judo for 12 years. I have a first degree black belt in it. I trained Puroresu at Osaka Pro Wrestling’s school.
Until my debut, Rie Nakamura [Bad Nurse Nakamura, formerly of FMW] trained me. Recently, I have studied under GAMI who is president of the Pro Wrestling WAVE, and also a forewoman of Osaka Joshi.
What made you decide to become a professional wrestler? Why have you chosen Osaka Joshi as your home as opposed to Pro Wrestling WAVE?
I was invited to join when I went to the Puroresu school. It was just in time, as I was wondering whether to quit the job and return to my hometown or start new work. I thought this life might be good, I decided.
I am referred to as a starting member of the Osaka Joshi. There was an absence of junior and senior wrestlers. I’m interested in the fact that we built it up from nothing.
What are your finishing moves.
Ebisu Otoshi, Raiden Drop, Nandeyanen!
Who are some of the wrestlers that you emulate and have inspired you? Your greatest rivals?
There is no wrestler I emulate.
The wrestler that inspired me is Tadasuke of Osaka Pro Wrestling. He is the wrestler who caused me to begin to look at professional wrestling. I think, my rivals are wrestlers from my same generation and Kagetsu.
One year and eight months after your debut, who is the most impressive wrestler you’ve faced? And what is your greatest match?
All of my the matches in my 10 Match Challenge series, that began in January 2011. Especially against Kaori Yoneyama that was my 1st anniversary match. And also, the final round of that series against Kagetsu. Also, my match against Aja Kong October 30, 2011.
You hold the JWP Jr. & POP title. How did it feel to become the champion? Moreover, are there any titles you aim to win next?
I was very glad and I can not express with words. At this time I am not challenging for other titles, as I feel a strong sense of responsibility as the JWP Jr. and POP champion.
You will be wrestling for CHIKARA in the U.S. soon. What do you think of this show? What do you hope to show American fans?
I’m very, very excited about the shows in the US! I have the least experience among the Japanese wrestlers, but I will do my best not hide among senior wrestlers.
What are your goals in your wrestling career?
My present goal is to continue to holding the JWP Jr. and POP titles and break the defense record.
Do you have any hobbies? And What is your favorite food?
My hobbies are cycling and visiting various cafeterias. My favorite food is white rice, strawberry jam and margarine bread.
Is there anything else you would like to say to your current and future fans?
Thank you for always giving me a lot of support. I will continue every day to face every challenge and then grow bigger as, “The face of Osaka Joshi Sawako Shimono.”
Thank you for replying to our interview today. We look forward to your future and wild rampage in the U.S.
Thank you very much!
Learn more about Sawako Shimono by following her on Twitter (@sawako_shimono) and her blog. Also check her complete match history, as organized by Flying Suihanki. Here is her JWP Jr. Title & POP Title defense against Nao Komatsu of OZ academy this past August at Korakuen Hall.
Wrestler. Champion. Eldritch horror. MsChif has been desecrating rings for a decade now, and she’s only grown more terrifying with time. We conducted the blood-rites necessary to speak with MsChif and got her thoughts on AAW’s War is Coming iPPV, which she will be competing on this Friday, as well as SHIMMER, Cenobites, and demonic fashion. Just in time for Halloween! Enjoy.
First things first: You could torment souls anywhere. Why spawn forth from the Inferno and lay waste to professional wrestling?
What better place to be more involved with the fans beyond the fight.
For those of us who haven’t been, tell us a bit about the Inferno.
No. Perhaps I’ll meet you there one day.
You have been known to utilize a poisonous green mist against your opponents. Rumors have it that the Great Muta was born with a special gland that produces it. Where does yours come from?
I had the gland surgically implanted.
Ever since people became aware of your incredible flexibility, there has been debate as to whether or not you have a spine. Care to finally put the issue to rest?
Even a snake has a spine.
You’ve shown off some horrifyingly beautiful wrestling gear recently, featuring themes such as Medusa, Freddy Kreuger, and Cthulhu. Please tell us the significance of each to you.
Don’t forget Cerberus and Alien. I love horror characters. They deserve tribute. It would take too much time to go into detail about each character. There shall be more to come.
You’re known for inventing new ways to inflict pain on people, from the Desecrator to the Obliteration. How do you come up with it? Are you working on anything else?
I always have my mind working through other things. Sometimes gravity defies me. Desecrator was inspired by Tekken Tag, the others just form in my imagination.
At the upcoming AAW iPPV “War is Coming,” the long-awaited singles match between you and Mena Libra will finally happen. What sort of torment do you have planned for Mena?
Come and find out.
At “AAW Proving Ground” last month, you teamed with Nevaeh who turned against you, costing your team the match. Any plans for Neveah?
Maybe something good. Maybe something bad. Who knows?
At the most recent SHIMMER tapings, you allied yourself with Leva Bates and Allison Danger, collectively known as Regeneration X (a mutant and Time Lord, respectively), and known zombie Christina Von Erie. Is this the start of some sort of inhuman super faction?
You have accomplished much in the world of wrestling. You’ve been to Japan, you’ve held the SHIMMER title, the NWA Women’s title, and the NWA Midwest Women’s title simultaneously, the list can go on. What do you consider your greatest achievement? What future goals do you have?
[My greatest achievement is] creating such a great fan base. Future what? I’ve made everything I’ve dreamed.
Your love for black metal is well known. What other music are you into that, as a demonic entity, would surprise people?
Ask me some other time, that’s privileged information!
From the beginning, your gear has consisted of black, spikes, and chains. What do these represent for you? Has Pinhead ever contacted you about joining his Cenobite stable?
Everything that I am about, my own personal style. Don’t get too personal about Pinhead, Bub. That’s info that stays in the Inferno!
Any final words of warning for your enemies?
I don’t warn, I torment.
Learn more about MsChif on her website MsChif.net and her Facebook. Also, check out the video below as she talks her upcoming grudge match with Mena Libra which will be available on iPPV: