At SHIMMER last month, we saw Evie and Kimber Lee earn their roster spots and Jessicka Havok take her spot, whether we liked it or not. We saw Serena Deeb and Madison Eagles make their first trip back to Berwyn after long absences due to injury, and they did not miss a beat. We saw Allysin Kay TwitPic mid-match. We saw Mercedes Martinez and Ayako Hamada try their absolute best to destroy each other. We saw one of the most wild, goofy, amazing spectacles of a four-way match that wrestling has seen. We saw Nicole Matthews and Portia Perez cheat and cheat and cheat and cheat and cheat and be dicks. We saw Cheerleader Melissa take a very dark turn as she began her second reign as champion. We saw that the Global Green Gangsters, Kellie Skater and Tomoka Nakagawa, truly “Got this.” We saw the end of an era as Allison Danger, one of the founders of the company and a pioneer in the world of “American joshi” wrestling, compete in the final match of her career.
This is the first of our four part gallery for the SHIMMER weekend, enjoy.
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 on the best in Ayako Hamada. All this, and lots of ninjas. Enjoy!
SHIMMER Volume 50 saw the cross-generational Joshi dream match of 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 original Lexie Fyfe, who looked fantastic 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 the 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, Portia Perez actually, finally, for real beat Kana. Enjoy!
One of the hidden gems of 2011, Davina Rose is a name fans slowly are becoming more aware of. With her appearances for SHIMMER and ArenaChicks, Northern California’s Rose has made an impressive step into the national spotlight and is severing as a worthy ambassador for her home promotion, Big Time Wrestling. Her passion, heart, and constant smile reminds fans of the woman who happens to be her mentor, the amazing Serena Deeb. An admirable, but daunting, comparison. Filling those boots won’t be any easier with the likes of Portia Perez and Nicole Matthews already gunning for her. Luckily, she has an Egyptian god watching her back. DDS is proud to present, Davina Rose!
Becoming a wrestler isn’t something the average person aspires to. Who or what captured your imagination and made you a fan? What was the defining moment when you knew you wanted to become a wrestler?
Well, I was always a tomboy growing up (and still am), playing all kinds of sports everyday so I already had that love for sports in my blood. The first time I saw wrestling, my Dad and brother were watching it and I honestly thought nothing of it until I saw Randy “The Macho Man” Savage. All I saw was huge muscles, bright colors, and a big smile on this guys face. It looked like he was having the time of his life. That was when I was when I got hooked into wrestling. It wasn’t until I saw the women wrestling, like Ivory, that I knew I wanted to actually be a part of it. Throughout time like my teenage years I fell in love with the Hardy Boyz and Lita, and they are definitely a big part of me being a wrestler right now.
Tell us about your gear. You of course have a rose, but you also have an Egyptian symbol. Can you explain the symbol’s significance to you?
I try to keep my gear very athletic looking. Ever since I was younger, I knew I wanted to treat wrestling as the sport that it is and not use my body or showing off skin to get any other attention. As for the rose on most of my tights, it obviously symbolizes my name. “Rose” is actually my middle name. My Mom gave me that name because ever since she can remember, my Grandpa would give my Grandma a dozen roses every week, so it meant a lot to her, which made it mean a lot to me. Even more now that my Tadgu (Grandpa in Welsh) recently passed away in June.
The Egyptian symbol is the “Eye of Ra” which symbolizes protection. Before my first wrestling match my family was excited but, of course, worried about me. So a few days before my match I got the Eye of Ra tattooed on the back of my neck to feel protected and know that someone is always watching my back. It’s also just a cool design; I was getting bored of the roses!
Big time wrestling seems to be your home promotion, give us some insight on that company and how you discovered them? Who were you trained by and what was your training like?
Yes, Big Time Wrestling is one of the biggest promotions in Northern California and it is run by Kirk White. My Dad first found out about them back in 2001, because he saw a sign outside of the San José Boys and Girls Club near his work and it had Buff Bagwell on it. I was 11 and that was the first live wrestling show I had ever been to. Since that night I never missed any of the Big Time Wrestling shows.
I began training in 2008 when I was 18 with my head trainer Jason Styles, along with Ryan Von Kool, Kimo Kanaloa, Chico Navarro, Mike Silva, and Shane Kody. My first day there were also 3 other guys starting who were all best friends. I was the only girl there, and still am to this day. We trained twice a week for 2 hours in this small warehouse that barely had enough room for the ring and no bathroom! It was perfect. It was a very intimidating being a teenage girl with all these men, in a man’s world, but I loved it.
Southern California wrestling gained a lot of national attention last year. As someone in Northern California, how do you view the scene? Would you say you’ve had great opportunities there?
I believe Northern Cali and Southern Cali are two very different wrestling worlds. Southern Cali has way more promotions, way more exposure, and way more women wrestlers! I’ve only wrestled there a few times for NWA Hollywood and I had a great time.
When I first started, all the girls I wrestled were from SoCal. With the exception of Christina Von Eerie, whom I had the pleasure of working with a few times, I think I’m the only NorCal girl around right now. But honestly, I cannot complain one bit. Kirk White has given me the biggest opportunities with BTW and I couldn’t ask for more. He has never let me down since day one, I was never left out of a show and he’s always brought someone in for me to wrestle. Through Kirk and BTW shows I’ve had the opportunity to wrestle ODB, Awesome Kong, Daffney, Serena, and many more great women.
Is there any place you’re very interested in working or training outside the country? Any promotions you have on your radar to perform for?
I want to go anywhere! The more I wrestle, and the more people I meet, the more anxious I get to see the world. Like any other wrestler I would love to go to Japan, Mexico and Australia being that wrestling is very big and respected in those places. But I’ve got my eye on Canada for the next place I want to train and wrestle in. I love the Canadian style; I believe it will add so much to me as a wrestler. I would love to work for ECCW over there. In the states, WSU in New Jersey is the next promotion I’d like to wrestle for.
Each night of CHIKARA‘s JoshiMania raised the bar. As good as Philly was, Boston was that much better and as good as that was, New York easily ranks among the best wrestling shows in the US in the past several years. The wrestling, the crowd, the atmosphere all contributed to an unforgettable night in Manhattan.
The build for JoshiMania began with a promo by Aja Kong claiming that CHIKARA made a grave error in presenting Manami Toyota as the representative of Japanese women’s wrestling. Last Sunday the good friends and bitter rivals were given a chance to settle the issue in Manhattan. Likewise Sara Del Rey and Ayako Hamada were scheduled to face each other in a rematch of what many consider the greatest SHIMMER match of all time. Take that, then consider this was the last chance for all the visiting women to astonish US crowds and it’s no wonder JoshiMania ended with a standing ovation.
CHIKARA JoshiMania Night Three
December 4th, 2011
Highline Ballroom – New York City, NY
- Los Ice Creams defeated Dasher Hatfield & Saturyne
- GAMI defeated Portia Perez with a Fisherman Buster
- Brodie Lee defeated Ultramantis Black with a Lyger Bomb
- Toshie Uematsu & The Batiri [Obaryon, Kodama, Kobold] defeated Cherry & The Colony [Fire Ant, Soldier Ant, Green Ant] with a Top Rope Splash from Uematsu to Cherry
- Mayumi Ozaki defeated Kaori Yoneyama with an Running Enzuigiri in 10:22
- Aja Kong, Tsubasa Kuragaki, & Mio Shirai defeated Manami Toyota, Sawako Shimono & Hanako Nakamori with the Metal Wing by Tsubasa on Nakamori
- Sara Del Rey defeated Ayako Hamada with a Piledriver
The card was filled with legends and established stars, but began with the debut of someone brand new to Pro Wrestling. Saturyne. She took the took the place of the absent Sugar Dunkerton and teamed with Dasher Hatfield against Los Ice Creams in her CHIKARA debut. The rookie flipped circles around the soft serve goons with a level of athleticism rarely seen. Given more experience the US could have a masked high-flyer of the same caliber as Japan’s Ray. She was very, very impressive in the losing effort.
GAMI found a way to go 3-0 this weekend. Even without her noisemaker she bested Portia Perez with a Fisherman’s Buster. Portia was likely still reeling from the previous night’s match with Toyota (Portia told us it was the hardest she’s ever been hit in her life). Advantage GAMI!
Brodie Lee delivered what was, I’m sure, the hardest Powerbomb in the history of the CHIKARA ring (it sunk at least a foot on impact), when he soundly defeated Ultramantis Black. After the match Brodie signaled that he wanted a shot at the CHIKARA Grand Championship. Current Champ Eddie Kingston will need to continue to channel the spirit of Aja Kong if he wants to hold on to that belt. Lee looked unstoppable.
Toshie Uematsu, in her final US appearance, wore the face paint of The Dark Army. In her full her Demonic Empress form, she lead her minions to victory over The Colony and Cherry (who definitely should have been given a Pink Ant mask).
Mayumi Ozaki, founder of Oz Academy, took on former JWP Open-Weight Champion Kaori Yoneyama in a rather significant cross-promotion singles match. It meant all the more knowing that, like Uematsu, this would be Yoneyama’s final match in the United States before her retirement. Kaori looked as fantastic as she had at every JoshiMania night. America was fortunate to have her even for this short time. Ozaki won without using her signature chain. Ozaki really showed she still had more good years left in her illustrious career and didn’t have to relly on the usual entourage and weapons she has in Japan.
Then, Tsubasa Kuragaki destroyed New York.
The six woman tag match seemed like it would be about Toyota and Kong going at it one more time. Instead, it was about all six
putting on a 30 minute epic. Far too mucfaceh went on to capture accurately in detail. Everyone in the match gave their all. The young Hanoko Nakamori and younger Sawako Shimono had their best JoshiMania performances. There were no other options as Kong and Toyota battled like it was 1995, stage diving, piledriving, and avalanching each other as if they were back in the Tokyo Dome. Mio Shirai was as “Dangerous, Cheeky, and Foxy,” as her T-Shirt advertised. Again, a total star.
At the end, though, it was Tsubasa Kuragaki who stood alone on top the pile of broken bodies and smoldering ashes that used to be the Highline Ballroom. The crowd gave her a standing ovation and begged her to return to CHIKARA once again. If Tsubasa wasn’t an elite level Joshi when she came to America, she is now1. The woman is totally amazing, and it’s probably safe to expect her back in the US at some point.
The 6 Woman Tag was not the main event though. Any normal wrestlers would have had an impossible task in following it. No worries for Ayako Hamada and Sara Del Rey, with their combined 23 years of experience, most of which they’ve spent as the go to main-eventer in their respective countries. The two had another glorious and vicious fight that kept the crowd high on adrenaline. Each used nearly everything in their arsenal: Hama-chan cutters, Del Reyzors, Axe Kicks, AP Crosses, Royal Butterflies and more had to be deployed before this could end. Sara narrowly gained her second win over Hamada with a cringing Piledriver, propelling herself to 3-0 on JoshiMania weekend. The Queen Reigned Supreme.
After the match, fans rose and thanked Hamada for her efforts. She invited all the other women at ringside and in the back to join her as fans chanted, “Joshi! Joshi!,” and “Arigatou!” to the women who made this amazing event possible. That included former Jumping Bomb Angel Itsuki Yamazaki, whom Mike Quackenbush has credited for being the brains behind the JoshiMania. A tremendous moment to end a tremendous weekend for Professional Wrestling.
JoshiMania exceeded all expectations. It delivered shows that impressed neophytes and veteran followers of Japanese women’s wrestling alike. The New York audience especially had several audience members who weren’t regular wrestling fans at all, but came because they knew of the cultural importance of an event featuring the likes of Manami Toyota and Aja Kong.
That’s something special. Joshi Puroresu is something special. We talk about it a lot here on DDS because the athletes deserve it, for giving us decades of fantastic, innovative, entertaining, and relevant wrestling to enjoy. Joshi is filled with some of the nicest, kindest, and most interesting people in the sport and we are happy to do our small part to support them.. We love Joshi Puroresu and couldn’t be happier that more and more people are starting to feel the same way. We give our thanks to the entire crew at CHIKARA, as well as Itsuki Yamazaki and our friends Shiori and Yama from M-Drop.com for helping to make this special event happen.
- We’ll be in Korakuen Hall on December 23rd when she challenges Hailey Hatred for the JWP Open-Class Title. Hailey’s had a fantastic 2011, but it looks like 2012 will be Tsubasa’s year. ↩