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 watchÂ Arisa Nakajima prove she was on the same level as multi-promotional iconoclastÂ Kana. Only two of those things happened, and JWP could have used a new motto by the end of the show.
Dirty Dirty Sheets brings you another selection of some of the worldâ€™s finest wrestling, handpicked for your enjoyment on this wonderful Saturday morning.
NJPW: Prince Devitt vs. Pac
New Japan’s Best of the Super Junior’s tournament is in full swing now.Â PrinceÂ DevittÂ is killing it even more than usual, thanks to his attitude change and formation of the Bullet Club stable. Here’s a match from last year’s tourney with the Real Rock’n’Rolla versus Pac. Respect the shooter.
AAA: Hector Garza vs. El Brazo
Wrestling fans we were recently shocked by the passing of Lucha Libre standout Hector Garza. See a young Hector take on El Brazo in a Hair versus Hair match.
World Of Sport: Johnny Saint vs. Mick McManus
Also, British Wrestling legend Mick McManus passed away at the age of 93. Here, see “The man You Love To hate” against Johnny Saint. Also be sure to readÂ The Guardian’s obituaryÂ for McManus, it’s in depth and incredibly informative.
Beyond Wrestling: Jarek 1:20 vs. Darius Carter
Back in America, Beyond Wrestling has been making a number of big moves from a partnership with Yahoo Sports, to a special name your own priceÂ show, and it’s upcoming massive AmericanaÂ event.Â They’re bringing in Steen and Cabana but the heart of Beyond has always been the guys who hadn’t quite made a name for themselves nationally, yet. The Debonair MillionaireÂ Darius Carter is just about to blow up to that level. See him against Jarek 1:20 (who is well on his way to being an international star, in magic). Continue reading →
Lots of stuff happened at Wrestlecon, most of which you can buy on iPPV at WWNLive.com and you can already download the CHIKARA show here at Smartmarkvideo. Greg was on-hand for plenty of it. Here are his pics from SHIMMER and CHIKARA, featuring the returns of Serena Deeb, Madison Eagles, and Amazing Kong, Ayumi Kurihara’s final US match, and Cheerleader Melissa taking back what’s hers. Oh, and a bit of Jyushin “Thunder” Lyger.
Here’s our final gallery from the most recent SHIMMER tapings. This was the one where Allysin Kay, as she long ago prophesized, got in the ring with The World Famous Kana (although rumor has it she’s still looking forward to a one-on-one confrontation). Also, Athena continued making her case that she is the best by taking onÂ the best in Ayako Hamada. All this, and lots of ninjas. Enjoy!
SHIMMER Volume 50 saw the cross-generational Joshi dream match ofÂ Kana versus Ayako Hamada come to American soil, in what is now largely considered, “the best fucking match ever.” There was also the welcome return of SHIMMER originalÂ Lexie Fyfe, who looked fantasticÂ in the main event elimination match. Please enjoy our photos, volume 51 and 52 are coming soon!
Greg, boss that he is, attended yet another three day international wrestling summit with theÂ AAW/SHIMMER Weekend. Here’s his wonderful photos from the first of the four SHIMMER shows. This was the one where Athena found herself in the main event, Courtney Rush lost herself in the past, and, delivering on months of trash talk,Â Portia Perez actually, finally, for real beat Kana. Enjoy!
When established Japanese Puroresu news outlets Tokyo Sports and Weekly Puroresu named Stardom’s Yuzuki Aikawa as the top Joshi in 2011, many foreign followers of the sport were a bit surprised. While Yuzupon gained lots of mainstream attention in Japan and helped make Stardom’s debut year a smashing success, looking purely at in-ring accomplishments there was a woman who stood head and shoulders above every other female wrestler in Japan in 2011. She won and defended multiple titles and multiple tournaments. She dominated her home promotion and conquered a growing list of outside companies. She had numerous great matches and was involved in some of the best feuds in recent Joshi Puroresu memory. She even made a highly successful excursion to the United States. This woman is, of course, Hailey Hatred. Or Kana, depending on who you ask.
Both Kana and Hailey have legitimate claims to being the best Joshi wrestler of 2011 (and the best wrestler in the world, period). 2012 begins with both eyeing more fame, more success, and more gold. Itâ€™s obvious and inevitable: these two women need to meet in the ring. In spite of wrestling in the same countries, and companies at times, Hailey and Kana haven’t crossed paths since 2009. As Aikawa enjoys her #1 trophies given to her by journalists, we hope to see #1a and #1b fight it out in the ring.
While Hailey Hatred is generally thought of as a power wrestler, in reality sheâ€™s always had a technical, multi-discipline martial arts basis. While in Japan she’s spent her time training extensively in one of the top MMA dojos in the world. Of course Kana has done much the same and her Fujiwara/BattlArts/Combat Sambo mash-up style is a most beautiful form of violence. When these two met back in August of 2009 on Vader Time 4, they stole the show with a 10 minute, non-stop, high-speed Strike/Suplex/Submission battle. Their technique made for a great bout then, but now both are harder, better, faster, and stronger.
What stands out most in that match is the constant aggression Kana and Hailey unleash upon one another. It wasnâ€™t personal. They tried to end each other, for no other reason than the spirit of Joshi Puroresu competition. Since that time both Kana and Hailey have stated their respect for each othersâ€™ ability, and their desire to wrestle. However, recent events may have turned that professional admiration into some serious personal animosity.
Last December when Kaori Yoneyama chose to retract her retirement mid-ceremony, it caused quite a bit of controversy in the wrestling scene. Of course â€œcontroversyâ€ plus â€œJoshiâ€ meant that Kana would be involved. Kana used her weapon of choice, the keyboard, and wailed on both Yoneyama and JWP, going so far as to say actions like theirs are the reason sheâ€™s become the â€œAnti-Joshi.â€
Besides being Triple-Crown Champion tag partners, Hailey and Yoneyama are extremely close outside of the ring. Itâ€™s safe to assume that Hailey did not take kindly to Kanaâ€™s harsh words for the woman she’s called her best friend, regardless of the reasoning.Â Even prior to that, Kana’sÂ Triple Tails faction staged a brief, but successful, invasion of JWP while Hailey was champion. This did not go unnoticed. Although sheâ€™s technically a freelancer, thereâ€™s likely no person on the JWP roster with more motivation to defend the company’s honor from the Queen of Poison than Hailey.
Luke Matsuki is the world’s greatest Kana fan. Her worldwide fame is due in no small part due to his consistently beautiful documentation of many of her matches and events. We’ve all seen the countless great shots he’s taken of our Queen of Poison, so we decided to ask him to pick a few of his personal favorites and share with us. We also asked this top flight photographer a few questions about his work. Enjoy!
How long have you been a Kana fan?
IÂ knewÂ her as a trainee from before she debuted. I saw her debut on June 16th, 2006 and immediatelyÂ becameÂ a fan. I was sadÂ when she retiredÂ once, and am very thankful she returned.
How many Kana shows have you seen?
I have notÂ countedÂ exactly,Â until last yearÂ IÂ watchedÂ aboutÂ 70 gamesÂ a year.Â IÂ have seen littleÂ less this year, as the number of her local city matches has increased.Â Still I’ve seen about 45Â gamesÂ to date, more than half of her matches this year.
What camera do you use?
Have your pictures appeared in magazines?
No, but they have beenÂ usedÂ several timesÂ in smallÂ adsÂ and posters.
What makes Kana such a special wrestler?
ItÂ is aÂ very difficultÂ question, as she defies comparison.Â WhileÂ takingÂ photos or watching her matches, she touches your heart.
When you see her matches you can’t be satisfied with other wrestlers.
For me, there is not another wrestler that compares to her. Whether it’sÂ looks,Â fighting style,Â speech,Â ability to act, andÂ everything else.
Another month, another edition of SMASH bringing variety and color to the wrestling world. This edition featured the crowning of the first ever SMASH men’s Champion, a #1 contender’s match to determine the first challenger for Kana’s Women’s title, and the next chapters in the love/hate stories of Kito/Mio and Kovac/Bairon.
October 28th, 2011
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
World Tryout Match: AKIRA defeated Sugar Dunkerton with the Musasabi Press at 7:29
YO-HEY defeated HajimeOhara with the Dragon Fly at 4:31
Handicap Tag Match: Keizo Matsuda & Katsumi Hirano defeated Takuya Kito with a Lariat from Matsuda at 5:11
4 Way #1 Contender Elimination Match: Tomoka Nakagawa defated Syuri, Ray, and Makoto for a shot at the SMASH Women’s Title at 5:24
Genichiro Tenryu & Yusuke Kodama defeated Michael Kovac and Rob Raw with Diving Crossbody from Kodama to Raw at 8:21
Tatsumi Fujinami & Ultimo Dragon defeated Yoshiaki Yago & Kengo Mashimo with a Backslide from Fujinami to Yago at 12:45
Kana defeated Aki Shizuku with the Kana Lock at 8:06
SMASH Title Tournament Final: Starbuck defeated TAJIRI with a Piledriver to become first SMASH Men’s Champion
Yes, FCF founder Starbuck bested SMASH founder TAJIRI to become the first ever SMASH Champion. As people who read our SMASH.21 recap know, this is not the first time a title has changed hands between the two. Previously it was Starbuck bringing the FCF belt back to Finland after TAJIRIÂ had captured it. No doubt TAJIRI will look for the first opportunity to bring his promotions’ top prize back to Japan, but before he has a chance,Starbuck faces a huge challenge from another European competitor.
Michael Kovac had been dropping hints1 about the “God of European Wrestling” coming to SMASH. Starbuck had already sent the God of Mexico, VENENO, packing. He’ll no doubt have a bit more trouble with Dave “Fit” Finlay. Yes, the Belfast Bruiser is coming to SMASH and will be the first challenger for the title on November 24th’s SMASH.23. This will surely be a phenomenal match and a tough challenge for Starbuck. It will also keep the SMASH roster from holding theirÂ own title for at least another two months.
Sugar Dunkerton finally made his SMASH debut, and managed to get his basketball through customs without raising suspicion. He may have wont he tip off, but SMASH ace AKIRAÂ pulled out the clutch jumping splash to win in the 4th Quarter. Somehow, some way, Hajime Ohara lost to YO-HEY, continuing his skid. Soon, hopefully, he’ll retrieve that swagger he had when he pinned KUSHIDA before his departure to New Japan.
Kito’sÂ latest ploy to winÂ Mio Shirai’s cold, black heart failed miserably. He put himself in a tag match, sans partner, hoping that Mio would run from the commentary booth to his aid. No such luck. Pro-Tip Kito: She has SadisticÂ in the name of her faction. She’s not capable of empathy. She enjoys both watching and making you suffer. Sort it out.
The death of love continued. Lin “I got your ‘bitch’ right here!” Bairon made her shocking return, low-blowing her former lover Michael Kovac,Â costing him a match. Kovac and Lin have quite a history and while Kovac hoped to reconcile (after attacking her and driving her away from SMASH for several months), Lin was having none of it. In fact she seemed back to her old, pre-Kovac, pre-bitch self, and was no longer under the suave Austrian’s sway. She wants revenge.
In an, apparently, ultra-high-speed elimination match, Tomoka Nakagawa secured the first shot at Kana’s title by turning back Syuri, Makoto, and Ray. TAJIRI has said that he feels Tomoka is the Best in the World, and I’m sure he’s giddy about the possibility of her taking the title away from his best frienemy. Makoto came out with some cosplay maids, probably from the Maid Cafe she moonlighted at on her birthday. Oh! And Bull NakanoÂ was ringside to promote her upcoming retirement show on January 8th.
And finallyÂ Aki ShizukuÂ made her jump from the backyard to the big league’s in what was reportedly a great non-title match with SMASH Women’s ChampionÂ Kana. This was a huge opportunity for Aki since, as we talked about in our exclusive interview with her. she is a relative unknown even to dedicated Joshi followers. To go from obscurity to the semi-main event in Korakuen Hall is a rare opportunity. She made the most of it.
As you can see in the photos the amateur stand-out tossed the champ around with ease in the early going. Even though Kana handpicked Aki as an opponent, she still seem surprised by Aki’s strength and technique. Aki put up a great, impressive fight but could not avoid the inevitable as Kana put her out with the Kana Lock.
This was a non-title match but still an important one for Kana, and especially Aki. It was great of SMASH and Kana to give her this opportunity to showcase her talent to a wide audience. SMASH should be commended for their constant effort to bring fresh blood into the promotion, and Aki deserves a hand for delivering in such a high-pressure situation. Kana even showed Aki an extremely rare post-match sign of respect.Â As TAJIRI tweeted, “SMASH is where dreams come true,” and Aki’s dream of being one of the top Joshi has officially begun.
And that was SMASH. Enjoy the pictures below the cut, see you next month! And, after that, we’ll be reporting liveÂ from SMASH.24 on December 30th at Korakuen Hall. Peace!