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.
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.
This weekend Madison Eagles returns to SHIMMER. As well as Serena Deeb. As well as Amazing Kong. All three of these amazing wrestlers (and lovely people) have been away for far too long. I wish I could be there, but thankfully there’s a live iPPV option. It’s 1AM on Sunday for me, probably a more reasonable hour on Saturday for you.
Watch the above video by our own Chris C., with a massive tune by Coheed and Cambria, to get hyped. Enjoy the bonus matches as well and get ready to stomp-clap-stomp-stomp-clap to Prelude 12/21 again.
SHIMMER: Madison Eagles vs. Jessie McKay
SMASH: Serena Deeb vs. Tomoka Nakagawa
AJW: Amazing Kong vs. Ayako Hamada
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!
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.
Photos courtesy Tabercil Whom. See his amazing collection of photographs here.
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!
To learn more about Cherry Bomb follow her on twitter. (@cherrrybomb) and like her Facebook Fan Page. Also visit Classic Championship Wrestling, Tri-City Wrestling, and Neo Spirit Pro Wrestling. She’ll be appearing at AIW Girl’s Night Out 5 this weekend in Cleveland, Ohio! Below, see her take on Courtney Rush in Neo Spirit Pro Wrestling last year: