Tuesday was full of sad. I’m talking Amanda Palmer solo set sad. First came the above video, a tear-jerking clip of Ayumi Kurihara saying goodbye to her SHIMMER fans before flying back to Japan, where she will retire in August.
Lots of Joshi retire, and lots retire young but most everyone seemed to think of Ayumi as a lifer. Her retirement announcement was completely shocking. Ayumi is an amazing wrestler and always a joy to watch. Joshi Pro won’t be the same without her.
Then came news from LuFisto, confirming fears that she was injured during the SHIMMER Volume 53 iPPV this past weekend. You should read her thoughts here on her Facebook page. At least this sad is mitigated by the fact that LuFisto is one of the toughest, strongest, and hardest working people in the world. She’s come back from major injury and medical issues before, each time being in better shape, each time a better wrestler than before. I have no doubt we will be able to say the same after this setback. I believe in LuFisto.
And then came news that Rachel Summerlyn is taking time off due to a lingering neck injury. Rachel is one of my favorite wrestlers and favorite people due to her love, passion, and perpetually positive attitude. I think she’ll be making dudes bleed their own blood before we know it.
In the meantime, she’s enlisted Khris “Texas Rainmaker” Wolfe to kick Gary Jay’s ass in her stead at St. Louis Anarchy’s massive Circus Maximus show (in a 10,000 Thumbtacks match). Anyone in the area should check it out.
And then, in the main event of Final Sad:CLIMAX 2013, SHIMMER announced that Allison Danger would be ending her in-ring career this weekend. The announcement hit me hard. Danger’s career has meant a lot to me and honestly, she’s largely responsible for the existence of DDS.
The first Ring of Honor show I watched was not very good. I had already stopped watching other wrestling entirely, giving ROH a chance was a last ditch effort at seeing whether or not the art was worth following anymore. I wasn’t sold, at all. However, Danger’s performance as Christopher Daniel’s disciple and her religious devotion to his “prophecy” intrigued me. I’d never seen anyone in wrestling quite like her and I wanted to see where things went, so I decided to give ROH, and wrestling in general, another shot.
There were plenty of great things going on in ROH during that time: Danielson, Joe, Punk, Low Ki, Cide, etc., but Danger’s contributions will always hold a special place for me. Sometimes they had an off night (see: my first show), but Danger was always, always on point through the multiple transformations her character underwent.
When Danger transitioned into a more regular in-ring performer for ROH that eventually led me to looking into her work in other places, which led me to her work in Japan which, of course, helped me discover my true wrestling love in Joshi Puroresu which eventually lead to this site.
Danger has meant that much to many people. She laid the groundwork for the late 00′s US women’s wrestling renaissance with those ROH matches, a renaissance which entered its Silver Age when Danger uttered the phrase “American Joshi” on the first SHIMMER tapings. A phrase Danger brought meaning to with her matches against the likes of Del Rey and Martinez and Melissa and Haze and MsChif and Knox and Rogers and Perez.
Danger was stellar outside the ring as well. She was one of the first to take an active role in social media. She blogged about her travels in Japan, engaged fans in weekly SHIMMER chats, and MySpaced when it was still a verb. She even offered epic take downs of the worst elements on wrestling message boards, in between being an outspoken advocate for women in wrestling.
Allison Danger started a charity drive at SHIMMER to help mothers in need provide necessities for their kids. Danger also once promised to fuck a fan’s mom after a show in Montreal. Danger beat Bryce Remsburg in a Lady Gaga dance-off. Danger pissed off an aged woman so badly that the old lady rose from her wheelchair in order to get at her.
Allison Danger has done great things in wrestling, far too many for me to do them justice in a small post like this. I’m saddened that I’ll never get to see another Allison Danger match live, but I feel privileged to have been at so many. I’m sure she’ll still be around wrestling in some form, and hopefully still as a performer, but her absence in the ring will leave a hole that can never be properly filled.
She will be dearly missed.