The 🤼 プロレス thread! Learning Japanese through pro wrestling

I could be wrong, but I don’t think she’s saying they’re the best - more like expressing the enthusiasm for the present situation - 今 is the best, because they had a great match at 両国国技館.

Note: the below is extremely not perfect - parts I’m not sure about, others I didn’t manage to wrangle into a phrasing that makes sense, and a couple tidbits I actively ignored, but I hope it’s at least something!

ミサヲ: 勝ったぞーーーー!!高木三四郎に勝ったぞ!秒殺するっていって、勝ったも嬉しくないんといったんだけど、やっぱメチャクチャ嬉しい!高木三四郎が入場してきた時、正直、やられたのと思った。(泣)やられたはもう、出オチ台をと思った。メチャクチャ大人げねえよ、あたしの格好するなんて!一経営者だよ!私の格好して、乳首まで塗られて、それでも、大人げなく、私にいろいろしてあげてきて、やっぱ、やっぱ、高木三四郎や。大社長、やっぱあたしの憧れたあなたはピーターパンですね!これからも、ハチャメチャずっとやてえ、ずっとメチャクチャな無茶する経営者にいてください。あなたがそのピーターパンでいる限り、私は絶対なんどでもあなたの首狙いに行きますから!なんどなってもっともっと完全勝利目指して、あなたの背中、追って、追いついてやりますから。でたらめなままいてください。

高木: ミサヲ、今日、国技館で、朝四時が入って、八時からずっとこの格好んだよ。売店ロビーで社員とスタッフ全員集めて、この格好で朝礼あったんだよ。でもみんな笑顔だったよ。たぶんこの人たちも, 今日、笑顔で帰るじゃないか?東京女子プロレスは国技館できたよ、でも、これクールじゃないからね。ここはスタートだよ。そして、ハイパーミサヲ、お前が、八年前に、まあ俺とった、葛西純とか、路上プロレス戦った人たちを憧れたように、お前俺に勝ったんだから、お前が本当のヒーローだよ!だから今度は、お前が、今日来たお客さん、そして、WRESTLEUNIVERSEをとして見てるお客さんを、幸せしなきゃ、ヒーローじゃねえだぞ!お前は今日本当の本物のヒーローになったんだぞ!!!! 最後にひとつの望み許してくれ。東京女子プロレス、両国おめでとう!!Music Start!

(cue Takagi’s theme song)
(Misao stunners Takagi)

ミサヲ: このあたしハイパーミサヲ Music Start!

甲斐バンド: ヒーロー!ヒーローなる時、Ah ha、それは今!

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Thank you for your help as always, and thank you so much for taking the time to transcribe this for me, wow! I’m touched :pleading_face:.

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They uploaded World Climax to Stardom World!
I had Friday off so I scrupulously avoided spoilers and watched both days then. That was… a lot of wrestling, but I enjoyed the show!

Stardom World Climax thoughts

My endurance was definitely flagging in day 2, and it suffered a bit from ‘too much good wrestling’ syndrome, where nothing really has problems but blends together almost because of it (some AEW pay-per-views have given me that feeling too).

Also - despite the name, it really didn’t feel like a ‘climax,’ since the major storylines all feel like they’re just getting started, for example:

  • Syuri’s “朱世界” is only beginning, and we didn’t get much concrete information about the faction she put together (I would have liked at least a name! Especially at the end of day 2 some more details would have been nice)
  • Donna Del Mondo vs. Prominence and particularly Suzu Suzuki vs. Giulia seems like it’ll go at least one more show in the future (surely they’ll have a singles match… maybe even a no-DQ or death match?)
  • Obviously, Kairi’s return is just beginning.

In retrospect, the show being two-days felt a little bit like the event equivalent of making a routine title defense a triple threat to add as much excitement as possible to it while mainly still just building for the future.
Still – I’d definitely prefer a good show that’s routine in a way that fits the arc of the story than a show that packs in memorable moments and swerves even if it doesn’t make sense. And the show certainly did the main job of keeping me excited to come back and watch the next show, with a really impressive set of matches along the way.

The biggest highlight for me ended up being Kairi’s first match back – she’s just so cool… the pirate stuff is fun, that ‘cutlass’ backhand is neat, and obviously her flying elbow is unmatched. I assumed that match would just be ‘hey Kairi’s back’ and that would be totally fine - but Unagi Sayaka and Tam Nakano both got good character work in opposite her (Unagi with her confidence, Tam with her intensity), and Kairi and Mayu both very visibly having a great time made it feel really special.

I also quite enjoyed Giulia/Syuri (although it really suffered from the two-day card making the result even more obvious than it would have been otherwise… in what world would Syuri being the one to fight Suzu have made any sense at all with that build??) and the tag championship match (Starlight Kid and Momo Watanabe meshed really well as Black Desire I thought! Although I do hope FWC stick around as a tag team too… - Stardom might not keep tag teams consistent, but I do think there’s fun to be had too in how their wrestlers will end up together with coordinated costumes and a silly name).
Mei Suruga showing up also made me belatedly notice a striking similarity to a certain NEO Biishiki-gun member… (and not for the first time made me google to doublecheck Sakisama and Kashima Saki aren’t the same person too). Her title shot should be fun!

It’s interesting how much a different configuration can change how a venue feels. This didn’t feel that different from other Stardom shows, while Grand Princess’ stage setup went really well with the great climactic feel of that show.

週刊プロレス No.2165

For their 50th year, New Japan is reviving some older event names, so the magazine has some pictures reminiscing about past Sapporo wintertime shows, including this picture of an Antonio Inoki snow sculpture (you can tell from the chin) that looks to me like it’s giving the finger for some reason:
image
Looks like Sapporo all right!

In Naito’s column, it sounds like Okada wore some kind of NJPW-history-themed robe or something. Naito says as fans before being wrestlers, Okada wasn’t intensely NJPW-focused like Naito was, but Naito was never very keyed into history and details like that, just focused on the moment. He kinda wants to try on the robe though, although he says he wouldn’t look good in it.
The interviewer also asks if he would ever wear a championship belt - since he always carries them without actually putting them on. Naito says he just always thought it looks cooler when wrestlers hold them so it’s not like there’s a big meaning behind it, but he probably won’t change the habit.

Giulia gives her thoughts on the magazine’s year-end awards. She can’t help but be disappointed her status fell with her out of action for the end of last year, but is thankful that the hair vs. hair match stood out in people’s memories so well despite happening so early into the year. Her goal though is best bout period, regardless of gender lines. “これからもお客さんたちの心に残るような試合を見せていきたい。”

There’s a long interview with Tiger Queen (her first, apparently), the promising wrestler recently debuted for the first Tiger Mask’s promotion, Strong Style. It sounds like she’s undefeated (or at least has won a lot) so far, including against major names like Rina Yamashita and Takumi Iroha.
I wondered if maybe she was a previously known wrestler under the mask, but I don’t recognize her (not that that’s saying much) and googling a little makes it sound like probably not.

The history column talks about a time the author saw a video collection of NJPW’s best heels that focused on Tiger Jeet Singh, and he was grumpy about it because he felt the best heel in NJPW’s history wasn’t Singh but Umanosuke Ueda. (I just thought that was interesting because I think I’ve got at least decent name recognition for famous past wrestlers but I don’t think I’ve ever heard of Ueda. One to watch out for if I ever go back and watch old New Japan I guess!)

There’s a feature on Pheremones, including a lewd picture of Iino, an interview with Dino, and a column with Imanari.
Dino says that while a past group of his had the goal of プロレスのリングで変態行為をする, Pheremones is different and the guiding principle is 「価値観に囚われるな」. He attributes criticism to being prisoners of what society’s arbitrarily deemed acceptable, and says they aren’t doing anything illegal so it should be fine.

A column points out Tam Nakano’s success in the awards for 2021, as she placed highly in multiple awards and Cosmic Angels won best unit. It says she can often be underestimated by critics etc. because of her bubbly idol presentation, but her character has grown more complex than that and she’s really shone as a wrestler.

The industry column at the back of the magazine is an interview with Rossy Ogawa, executive producer of Stardom. It talks about how successful Stardom has been, and while the pandemic’s weird seating considerations possibly influenced the success of their frequently running big shows recently to some, there’s no denying that Stardom has accumulated and developed a ton of wrestlers people want to see – apparently in the top 50 from that 好きなレスラー poll in the magazine’s year-end awards (where you could list up to three names), 15 Stardom wrestlers made the list, up from 6 the previous year, and by that metric tying for the #1 most with NJPW.
The interviewer asks Ogawa about that quote Tenryu also mentioned that I pasted in the last recap. Ogawa says that you can’t really 統一 joshi pro wrestling, but what he meant is 女子プロレスを巨大ブランド化させたい. He mentions the peak of 全日本女子プロレス. It sounds like although joshi pro wrestling is doing well and getting bigger, there’s still a long way to go before it’s as big a force as the peak of the boom of those times.

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I’m glad the Stardom shows were fun and not too exhausting! And I’m glad that Syuri’s reign has been going well! According to my friends, you’ll get more information about her new faction soon :wink:.

The theory I heard is that Tiger Queen is portrayed by Asuka/Veny! I remembered seeing a tweet about it a while back, but when I searched our discord server for it, the account that had shared the tweet (with photos) no longer existed, so I guess you’ll just have to trust me, haha. But, essentially, if you compare photos of the two of them from around the same time, they appear to have basically the same haircut and look very similar, so it seems very likely that’s who Tiger Queen is.

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Interesting, I could see it! And that would be cool. She talks at the start of the interview about shutting out the static of peoples’ expectations and opinions and reminding herself 「令和の女性タイガーマスクは私しかできないからってことだけを考えて。」 which seemed like a weird thing to say if she were a rookie under the mask - and she talks about wanting to modify the costume to be more her while wearing a new costume to the interview that seems similar to something 朱崇花 would wear (particularly the lacelike design around the legs)…

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I feel like I always start these with “wow a lot has happened in the wrestling world” but… well, a lot has happened in the wrestling world!

Probably the biggest recent news is that AEW now has a streaming deal with NJPW! AEW Dynamite and Rampage are going to be streamed live on NJPW World! With Japanese commentary! Unfortunately for non-Japanese fans, this content will be region-locked to Japan (otherwise, I was seriously considering adding AEW to the list of recommendations for listening practice), but, well, I suppose if you get crafty with a VPN, a NJPW World subscription has a lot more value now…

It’s fantastic news for both AEW and NJPW, though, and above all else, it’s great for the Japanese fans, since they’ll have a much easier time following AEW’s stories with more regular translation. Unlike most Japanese wrestling companies, AEW is a lot more talk-heavy (instead of most of the storytelling happening in-ring), so it’s harder to follow along without English fluency, and as previously discussed, they didn’t really have anyone who was equipped to handle Japanese media, so they were under-reported in shupro and other places. Hopefully this will help change that!

It’s also really funny because DDT’s Konosuke Takeshita is about to go on a year long excursion to AEW, so this means that his matches will be featured on NJPW’s streaming service haha.

On the Japanese to English side, Mr. Haku has a ko-fi and a youtube channel now! I’ll link his channel once he actually gets some content up there. He’s expressed an interest in doing a lot of different things, including summarizing stuff from shupro, interviewing Japanese wrestlers from various companies, and various other things. Should be super fun!

The new DDT English translation account also did in fact do a (delayed) translation thread for Hiragana Muscle 6! Watching it was a blast as usual, and I highly recommend checking it out if you have a Wrestle Universe sub. It was a nice send-off for Takeshita.

In other news, I barely managed to finish translating both of the latest TJPW shows before their big show today :sweat_smile:. I’ll split them into two posts so that it’s a little easier to read. Their Korakuen show, which is in a few hours, is being streamed (partially) on youtube, though I believe it’s only the first half hour, and I’m not sure how long the video will stay up.

But first, their March 26 show, featuring Nodoka’s retirement match! Here’s the recap, and here’s Mr. Haku’s delightful translation thread for Nodoka’s last match, featuring some great context that even I didn’t know, like apparently Miyu has basically been living with Yuki and Nodoka??

It was a really good, really emotional match. I thought they did a great job conveying so much history with it, and really making me root for the Bakuretsu Sisters. Nodoka also received streamers from the crowd for her retirement, and it was the first time I’ve seen streamers in Japan since 2020 (it had been so long, I realized I forgot to even mention them in the opening post of this thread). Streamers used to be pretty ubiquitous in Japanese pro wrestling (basically everyone besides NJPW used them). Fans would buy them to throw at the wrestlers during their entrance and such, and it results in a pretty cool effect! Unfortunately they’ve been banned for the past couple years due to coronavirus fears. TJPW decided to bring them back just for Nodoka’s retirement.

After the match, Misao came out and tried to stop Nodoka from retiring by taking Koda (the person who runs TJPW) as a hostage, haha, but Nodoka basically said “sorry Koda, but I’m still retiring,” so it didn’t work. It ended with all of the wrestlers coming into the ring to attack her one last time, and then they all pinned her at the very end.

Right before Nodoka retired, her sister Yuki challenged Shoko for her belt! At first I thought her timing was kind of funny, but then I realized that she was basically making a statement that she was moving on as a singles wrestler now that her tag partner was retiring.

Shoko said that the thinks this will be a fresh start for Yuki, and she thinks it’s a fresh start for herself, too, because the weight of the belt feels different from the last time she wore it. So she’s approaching Korakuen as a fresh start for the both of them.

The other big thing that happened on this show was that TJPW’s two rookie teams, Suzume & Arisu Endo and Yuki Arai & Moka Miyamoto, faced off to see which of them would get to challenge the Magical Sugar Rabbits for the tag belts. Suzume got a similar opportunity last year when Mirai was still with TJPW, but unfortunately Mirai leaving the company kind of hurt Suzume’s momentum, so I’m glad to see her starting to build a nice team with Arisu now. I like Arai and Moka, but I think Suzume and Arisu deserve the chance here (MokaYuki beat AriSuzu last time they faced off, and Arai recently pinned Suzume leading up to her recent title challenge), so I was delighted to see them win!

I really liked how Suzume said that her and Arisu want to see the world as MagiRabbi sees it. She said that MagiRabbi are TJPW’s sparkling tag team, and they’re strong, cute, and radiant, and she wants her and Arisu to be like that.

I doubt Arisu and Suzume will win, but it’s great for them to get this opportunity, and I think the match will be a lot of fun!

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The most recent show was on April 2. Here’s the recap for it, as well as transcripts for both contract signings. It was a fair amount of work translating all of this, but I think the contract signing stuff was definitely worth it.

I really liked Yuki’s comment where she admitted that despite saying “I want to become someone who leads TJPW”, she’s actually just an ordinary nerd who isn’t good at group activities, and who wants to stay home as much as possible (same :sweat_smile:). She says that the reason she wrestles is because she fell in love with TJPW. And if she could show that love bearing fruit, wouldn’t that give someone hope? She thinks that she can’t reach her 先輩たち, but she thought she could lead TJPW in that way.

The part that gave me by far the most trouble was Shoko and Yuki being huge tokusatsu nerds. The second half of their contract signing was basically wall-to-wall Kamen Rider analogies :sweat_smile:.

Shoko started it by saying that she thinks Yuki is 太鼓の使い手 from Kamen Rider Hibiki. I have no clue what she’s referring to, haha, and googling the phrase wasn’t especially helpful. Is this referring to a specific person or role in the show?

Then Yuki sent me down an hour long rabbit hole on the Kamen Rider wiki with this comment: “中島さんは仮面ライダーオーズの数あるコンボの中の一つのライオン、トラ、チーターのコアメダルで変身できる「ラトラーター」が変幻自在の攻撃で何より圧倒的な加速力があって、そういう闘い方をする選手だなと思ってます。なので私はサゴーゾのコンボのように力づくでいきたいと思います。”

I think this is what she was saying? I’ve never watched Kamen Rider and have very little familiarity with the genre, so I tried my best to use the wording the wiki used:

One of the many Combos from Kamen Rider OOO is the “Latorartar”, which uses the Lion, Tora, and Cheetah Core Medals to transform, and which has ever-changing attacks and the power to go faster than anything. That’s how Nakajima-san fights. So if I use something like Sagozo Combo, I think I still have a slim chance of victory.

After the match (a challengers vs champions preview match), Yuki said that Shoko keeps leveling up faster and faster, so she feels more and more that she has to keep up with her.

Shoko said: “ユキの戦い方次第によっては、もう“ドラえもんは未来に帰ったんだよ”とか言ってやろうかと思ってたんですけど、すごくかっこいい目をしてた。” I couldn’t quite parse all of this. I think she said that depending on how Yuki fights, Shoko was thinking of saying something like “Doraemon has returned to the future”, but then the last bit confused me. My best effort at translating it was something like “but she had such a cool gaze” or “but her eyes were cool”, which made even less sense. Might be a Doraemon reference I just don’t understand, haha.

The build for the tag team match was also good. It’s clear that Yuka and Mizuki want the best for Arisu and Suzume, but don’t think they’re quite there yet.

Yuka’s response to a question about her plans after defending the belts made me laugh. She said: “まず一つ目はディ●●ーランドでミ●キーをボコボコにすることと、二つ目はサ●●オピュー●ランドでキテ●ちゃんをボコボコにすること。あ、ポコたんでもいいな。そういう感じです。” Obviously the transcriber took some precautions here so that TJPW didn’t get in trouble from a particular pair of companies. I was able to figure out that she said that the first person she wanted to beat up was Mickey at Disneyland, but I had to get some help from a friend to figure out the second person she wanted to beat up (Kitty-chan at Sanrio Puroland), haha. The third person is Pokotan, DDT’s mascot, who was in a match I linked earlier in this thread.

Mizuki said she wants to fight in various places, not just inside the ring. She named Disneyland, Puroland, and also LaQua, which seems to be a sauna/spa spot? She should be careful, or TJPW might end up feuding with DDT’s sauna-loving faction The37Kamiina, haha.

Suzume basically reiterated her point about wanting to have a presence like MagiRabbi. She said: “東京プロレスがギュッと詰まった2人だと思ってて、その2人を見て東京女子プロレスに興味を持った人ってたくさんいると思う。” I was a bit thrown off by the use of 詰まった here. Is she basically saying that those two people (MagiRabbi) are essentially the essence of TJPW (in that they sort of fill the entirety of TJPW)? Or is that translation a stretch? In any case, it was a nice statement.

After the match, both Yuka and Mizuki basically said that they wanted Arisu and Suzume to find their own identities as wrestlers, and as a team. Mizuki credited her time as part of MagiRabbi with helping her find her own identity, and she wants that for Arisu and Suzume, too. I thought it was a nice sentiment because Arisu and Suzume made it so clear that they idolized MagiRabbi and wanted to be like them, and Yuka and Mizuki’s response was wanting them to form their own identity.

So far, they seem to be on the path to do so. As of just a few days ago, Arisu and Suzume have a proper team name now: Daisy Monkey! I think it’s endearing how much they idolize MagiRabbi and see them as so emblematic of what TJPW’s all about. I feel the same!

I don’t think today’s show is going to result in any titles changing hands, but that’s okay. It seems like it’ll be a nice start to this new chapter for TJPW. I do hope that all of these challengers do eventually win these titles, though!

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I haven’t watched any kamen rider of any kind yet so in my role as resident tokusatsuXpuro intersection explainer I have failed :pensive: Your translation seems fine to me though!

I don’t really have justification for it, but I thiiiink the すごくかっこいい目をしてた here is just, like, “she looked really cool to me” or something along those lines.
The Doraemon aspect might be about how like – Doraemon’s whole impetus for traveling back in time is to help Nobita to sort his stuff out and end up less of a dweeb, so perhaps if Doraemon has gone back to the future that implies that the protagonist totally has things together and can take on anything. And maybe there’s a moment like that at some point in the franchise. (just guessing though I’ve only read a couple volumes of Doraemon…)

That translation’s probably fine! It makes me (again without any actual justification) think of phrases like “inseperable from” or “right in the heart of” or something which isn’t far off.

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週刊プロレス No. 2166

There’s an interview with YOSHI-HASHI talking about his first “IWGP” title win in the form of the tag belts with Goto. Good for him! He tells an odd little story about warming up to each other when Goto invited him to eat while YOSHI-HASHI was injured and YOSH-HASHI liked カキ so Goto bought him カキ and while YOSHI-HASHI was eating カキ Goto said “オマエも一人前になったな.”
When I read this in my head I was picturing persimmon, but googling カキ it’s primarily all oysters which makes a lot more sense, sort of…

Tanahashi appears to be the kind of person who gets excited about any holidays and special occasions, so his column is about valentines’ day, primarily about him and the magazine columnist reminiscing and remarking how 昭和 their memories are.
Tanahashi is married with two kids and apparently won a “ベストファーザー賞” from somewhere (god… imagine if Hiroshi Tanashi was your dad…) but he still looks forward to getting chocolate on valentine’s day. It’s okay if fans give him ”エアチョコ” because he will repay them in good wrestling matches. And what’s nice about Air Chocolate is you can assume you received 何万個 as you would like, and you don’t have to worry about the calories…

Giulia’s column is about Suzu Suzuki. She says about two years ago, Suzu Suzuki was her 妹. Suzu had come to Tokyo and Ice ribbon at 16 from Kyushu with only “大きな夢とカバン” and while Giulia was in Ice Ribbon they dormed together, and so spent almost all of their time together and talked lots about “昔の話、今の話、将来の話.” Then Giulia left Ice Ribbon for “色々” reasons and circumstances, and it was only when Suzu invaded the ring in Stardom that she realized that all that time in the intervening years she’d been simply happy for Suzu’s accomplishments from afar had been 能天気 and that Suzu had grown to resent and hate her for leaving in that time.

I like this picture of Starlight Kid and Natsupoi!

Genichiro Tenryu is here to sell you some coffee – there’s a collabo between Shupro and Wonda coffee, where you can buy Wonda shots with wrestling magazine covers on them from Family Mart throughout Japan.
This is a fun weird little interview - Tenryu says he didn’t drink coffee in his early wrestling/sumo days but his wife is really into coffee so now he does, but when the interviewer asks what he thinks of Wonda coffee he just says 「飲んだことありますよ。赤いラベルが印象的だよね。こんなところで、こんな話がくるなんて夢にも思わなかったけど(ニヤリ)。」
The collabo involves 12 wrestlers picked with a magazine cover each, and Tenryu’s relates to this 1990 match with Randy Savage. I don’t think I’ve actually seen a Tenryu match before! But this one’s really good so I should probably fix that some time!
Gotta admit, I’ve had not a small amount of canned コンビニ-style coffee, incl. from Wonda, and I’m a sucker for acting like I know more about old Japanese pro wrestlers than I do, so this promotion would probably totally work on me…

There’s Valentine’s Day themed interviews with some wrestlers.
TJPW’s Arisu Endo says that she would like someone to buy her a tiger.
Suzu Suzuki says if she met the right person she would want to immediately get married so as to score a shupro interview and make the cover of the magazine in a wedding dress.
Whenever there’s a picture of Unagi Sayaka in streetwear I’m always really impressed at the confidence she has to pull of her particular fashion sense.

There’s an interview with famous ring announcer Kero Tanaka (I think he showed up at Grand Princess recently, right?) following his miraculous recovery from coronavirus!
I’m actually gonna put this behind a spoiler tag because it’s a rough read - especially if you live alone.

He collapsed at home after being diagnosed, and found since his daughter (who was staying elsewhere to avoid contact) was alerted by the health center to check on him. Then he was unconscious for a month + in the hospital, and his daughter had to decide whether to take him off life support or not. Thankfully not only did she choose to keep waiting but she forbid procedures that would have opened a hole in his throat and risked his announcing voice and therefore livelihood - and he did regain consciousness. Perhaps most sobering, apparently Rumi Kazama, the wrestler who passed away while alone in her home of a non-corona illness recently - posted something beforehand like “Kero was found by his daughter - if I collapsed like that who would find me?” :grimacing:

In any case, it sounds like truly a close-call and a great recovery!

The history column is about the newly formed New Japan getting a TV deal a year after forming and operating at a loss in the meantime. It sounds like at the time Giant Baba had gotten All Japan into the NWA and was stoically choosing to each follow their own path rather than focus on competing with each other, and meanwhile the promotion they’d both left was crumbling.

Tenryu talks about the NJPW vs. NOAH show and Kiyomiya’s performance. I think he thinks he did fine but in a characteristic old wrestler opinion thinks he shouldn’t have cried after losing. Sort of similarly, when talking about Hideki Suzuki’s abrupt firing from WWE/NXT he suggests as one possibility that Suzuki could probably make a good living starting a wrestling school in America and billing himself as a “former WWE coach” which is a carny idea if I’ve ever heard one.

There’s an interview with Miu Watanabe and Rika Tatsumi ahead of the tag tournament finals - they might not have a huge history as a tag team but they’d like to send off the 爆れつシスターズ properly and then challenge magirabi.

in the column at the back of the magazine, Suzu Suzuki gets to tell her side of the story with Giulia - she echoes the sister relationship described by Giulia, but goes into greater detail about Giulia’s sudden departure, saying despite their closeness she wasn’t notified any more than any one else was, only learning she was leaving when she had already gone. And she talks about that resentment brewing into hate, especially amid having to step up in Ice Ribbon as things were in a dicey condition all while having to hear more and more about Giulia’s accomplishments in Stardom. It’s that grudge that’s driven her to show up in Stardom.

… Also somewhere in there Prominence fought some 鬼

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I think I’ve said this before already, haha, but this is why Jun Akiyama is my favorite old wrestler, because he said literally the exact opposite after Kiyomiya cried after their match. I giffed that moment and transcribed part of Mr. Haku’s translation because it left an impact on me:

When I spoke to Kiyomiya after the match, I think he was crying. I was like, “Wow, this guy has the purity to cry in the ring about wrestling.” It made me happy, and I don’t think I’ll be facing him much, but I’m wishing the best for him. To be honest, I think he’s being pressured by the company to deliver at such a young age. It was the same for me, and it’s the same for Takeshita in DDT. I’m sure there are others that have started from the bottom up, unhappy about the treatment that Kiyomiya’s getting too, but he has to deliver despite all of that, so it’s hard. I get it; I’ve been through the same, and that’s why I want him to do well. Kiyomiya, don’t cave in. I’ll see you again somewhere… whether it be in the NOAH ring or DDT ring…

(Did it get you motivated that Muto won the GHC title?)

Not really; for me, the motivation from that show came from Kiyomiya’s tears. I don’t know that many guys that can genuinely cry in the ring. I’ve cried out of frustration backstage, but he did it in the ring. I want to face him again on a big stage; not “give him a match” anymore—next time it will be “face him” in a match. That meant more for me than Muto.

Tenryu needs to get on Jun Akiyama’s level, honestly!! :triumph:

EDIT:
Oh, I was so incensed, I forgot I wanted to comment on something else, haha. That covid story is so scary! I always worry about something like that happening to me, because I’m unlikely to have children or find a romantic partner, so I will probably have to get used to living alone. Hopefully I will have friends or kind neighbors that will care enough to check in on me from time to time? :cold_sweat:

I’m really glad that everything turned out alright for Kero Tanaka in the end!

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One thing I forgot to post is this picture of Masakatsu Funaki in Liverpool in 1989 when he transferred to UWF. Especially knowing there’s multiple wrestling Funakis I double and tripled-checked that this is definitely the same guy who as of February had joined Kongo and won the GHC National championship.
He looks completely different now!


Similarly, I had a difficult time believing that the sign next to him portrayed the Beatles…

While double-checking I also found this picture of him with Minoru Suzuki:

I’m not really familiar at all with his work (and skipped a double-size interview with him in this issue), but for some reason this process made me more curious to pay attention.

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週刊プロレス No.2167

Naito talks a little bit in his column about the New Japan exhibit accompanying the anniversary show - says he’d definitely go if he were still just a fan (and might go in secret anyway). Apparently the display includes Iizuka’s legendary iron finger! On loan from Taichi’s custody, of course.

Kenoh talks about that Wonda promotion. He doesn’t have a collector mindset but he thinks it’s cute that “丸藤正道くん” tweeted about having collected them all. He pitches a Kongo or a NOAH themed follow-up (they are in Kongo colors after all…) and says that if he were to pick a magazine cover to represent itself it would be from when he won the league, insisting that the magazine staff definitely don’t photoshop a mock-up using the magazine cover from when he transferred made the jump to NOAH, with its “チープな吹き出し” (but of course they do exactly that)
image
image

They featured a hero for the costume column!


I’d actually been kinda wondering about the 唐草模様のマント since I associate it most with 泥棒 - but the explanation makes total sense! It harkens back to Showa-era kids playing hero with what cape-like cloth they could get their hands on - 唐草模様の風呂敷! She says about it「大人になるにつれてみんなが忘れかけている幼心、かつてみんながヒーローに憧れていたという気持ちを忘れないように」.
She picked a バットマン風のマスク out of ダークヒーローへの憧れ, and its 脱ぎやすさ makes it easy for her to use it herself as a weapon.
There are apparently 5 hidden M’s in this version of the costume.
She started using pink as the highlight color after leaving NEOBishikigun so it stands out and to reflect warming up to the promotion at large’s brighter vibe.
She says she thinks she wants to take it in a 宇宙的, 近未来的 direction in the future, but it’s hard to find great green clothe so if anyone knows some beautiful emerald fabric of the right type let her know and she’s open to costume ideas too!

Giulia talks about rookie Mai Sakurai deciding to join Donna Del Mondo and says at first she wasn’t all that impressed, but she saw her dancing with Cosmic Angels and saw her heart wasn’t really in it - she just wanted to focus on wrestling, and that spoke to Giulia and made her see her potential.
It’s very funny reading her then explaining that whole storyline where Giulia (and… Thekla and Mirai I guess?) are meant to have been the ones terrorizing Mai and Waka in masks for a while there:

でもライバルユニットのリーダーが、面と向かって桜井本人に気持ちを聞くわけにもいかない。どうすればいいんだろう。。。?面と向かって。。。面と向かって。。。面。。。覆面。。。?
そうか、覆面をかぶって桜井に襲いかかって、その隙に喋りかけてしまおう!覆面かぶってりゃ口の動きも分からないだろーし。こりゃ名案だ!
というわけで、桜井たちにハンマーで襲いかかったジュリアは、倒れてる桜井にコソっと声をかけた。
「DDMに来いよ」

And thus the seed was planted. Truly, a brilliant 名案!!
Come to think of it, that is actually totally in line with her handling of the Suzu Suzuki situation… if something’s hard to say, just don’t say it until there’s a way to say it with extreme violence!

There’s a long interview with Hideki Suzuki about his firing from WWE NXT that caused a bit of a stir when parts got translated in English.
I can see how that would have happened and why he wouldn’t be happy about it, because as always he’s clearly good friends with the magazine staff so it’s a frank interview but he’s totally clear up front that the only reason he was fired was he failed to make himself indispensable to them. He does talk about at least one incident of firmly disagreeing with more senior coaches and insisting on a wrestler-focused approach where they don’t have to change just for the sake of change. But he doesn’t make it out to be a huge conflict of ideals or a political thing or anything, he just went in knowing he was going to coach his way and doesn’t have regrets about that. And he’s glad for the stuff he did with Diamond Mine.
He says he had been a guest coach for them a couple of times, so originally coming in it felt more familiar than when he coached in Ice Ribbon.
When he learned he got fired he sent a message to William Regal apologizing and Regal replied back that he got fired too…
As for what’s next he said he sent a message to Tsukasa Fujimoto about coming back to Ice Ribbon but didn’t get a reply back yet (and jokes about it), and the interviewer offers him his column in the magazine back and says he should get in touch with a particular editor about it. On the one hand - it would be weird timing to start the column again, but on the other WWEをクビになるという、ある意味一番アツいタイミングですし。

the almost-at-the-back-of-the-magazine industry column talks about the NOAH vs. NJPW show from the perspective of a relatively new lens into a show like that: the comments section for the ABEMA PPV! It sounds like raither than a 対抗戦 vibe throughout there was more of a 交流戦 sense at a lot of points, like NJPW fans might say “Sorry in advance, the next match involves The House of Torture!” and NOAH fans might reply “no no, sorry for our so-and-so too” or the opposite enthusiasm might be expressed of hoping the fans from the ‘other side’ might check out something cool coming up.
One aspect that did bring out the competition though was the rookie match - something about pride for your home-grown prospects maybe brings out the competition in a way that the rest doesn’t.
And they note that the audience is more “スマート” in the サブスクライブ時代 and more focused on the drama and emotion of the outcomes than who wins - noting that それぞれのファンたち were moved by Kiyomiya’s tears.

The very-end-of-the-magazine industry column is an interview with 甲田哲也代表 of Tokyo Joshi Pro-Wrestling talking in the lead-up to the 両国国技館 show, with the Itoh/Arai match just having been announced. He expresses strong conviction that what TJPW has to offer is エモいプロレス, 感情に訴えかけるプロレス and they’re going to offer and have confidence in that in the same way that a ramen shop has confidence in the flavor they offer.
The biggest obstacle isn’t whether the customer will be satisfied with it or not once they see it, it’s the きっかけ for them to see it in the first place, and so opportunities like Sakurai Arai’s huge crossover popularity, or the Wrestle Universe package, are things that can be that きっかけ.

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It took a week, but I finished translating TJPW’s Korakuen show on April 9 (here’s the recap)! I wasn’t able to finish translating the TJPW Inspiration show that happened shortly after, but at least that one is much shorter :sweat_smile:.

The Korakuen Hall show was fun as usual! The main event ended up stressing me out a little, but I was delighted to see Misao come out to challenge Shoko afterward. Misao and Shoko have been tagging pretty regularly for the past few years as 享楽(きょうらく)共鳴(きょうめい), but Misao said that she thinks the reason why they haven’t been able to win when it counts is because of her own weakness. She thinks in order to become stronger, and to make their team stronger, she has to beat Shoko for the title. Because she is who she is, Misao then attacked Shoko with a stunner, haha (which Takagi complimented her for on twitter). If this was anyone else, this might look like a wrestler turning on her tag partner, but this is just how Misao is as a person. I liked how Shoko described her as a 極悪ヒーロー afterward, a “heinous hero”.

Something interesting was that Misao used one of her old finishers, the Vanitas, to beat Miu Watanabe earlier in the show (leading up to her challenge after the main event). This was her finisher when she was teaming up with Sakisama during her heel turn in 2019.

I want to double check to make sure I translated her comment about that correctly, because it’s pretty important. Misao said: “そのときはホントにベルトとか欲しくてたまらなくて。とっさに今日はアレが出て。まだギラギラした気持ちを持ってたんだなってことに気付いた”. I translated this as: “At that time, I felt an unbearable longing for things like titles. Today, in the moment, that surfaced. I realized I still had that intense desire.” Is this correct?

This is drawing on a lot of history that I’m not sure I’ll be able to fully explain, but basically Misao seems to be repeating some of her old patterns. Back in 2019, she really wanted to be a tag team with Rika Tatsumi (whom Misao has an unrequited crush on), but Rika didn’t reciprocate, and so they had a match where if Misao could beat her, then Rika would tag with her. Misao lost (and has still yet to beat Rika).

After losing that day, Misao just couldn’t take it anymore. She ended up joining Sakisama later in the show (who, coincidentally, had also just had a singles match with Miu), turning heel and cutting up her hero mask. The two of them won the tag titles shortly after that (they would ultimately lose them to Rika and Miu at the end of the year). During their reign as tag champs, Misao challenged for the Princess of Princess title. Shoko was the champ at the time. Misao lost.

Misao turned face again the month after she and Sakisama lost the tag belts, and then she refocused by first facing Shoko in a fun gimmick match during the 1.4 Korakuen show (the two of them having a wild match on that day would become a tradition). They started regularly tagging together shortly after that, but despite challenging on multiple occasions, have yet to win the tag belts.

So, basically, Misao seems to be falling back into her old patterns here. There’s that insecurity she feels and a need to beat her tag partner for the sake of their team, and then drawing on her NEO Biishiki-gun self, and all of the parallels to the situation with Sakisama in 2019.

I don’t think it’s likely that Misao will go back to being evil, haha, considering the fact that they’ve tried to show that she’s grown in the past few years, but it should be interesting to see her revisit these old themes and aspects of herself. It’s a really compelling story for sure.

Concerning the title match that just happened, I was a little lost with Yuki Aino’s line here, “中島さんのぶれない、自分のより理想に近づくための芯みたいなものを感じて”. The best I could figure out for a translation was “I felt something like the core of Nakajima-san’s unwavering commitment to get closer to her own ideals”, but I was not very confident about it.

My favorite match on the show was probably the tag title match. It was fun to see Yuka and Mizuki actually get serious and really show Arisu and Suzume just how much they have left to learn. After the match, Mizuki said: “2人も高め合って、お互いがお互いを越すじゃないですけど、超える気持ちでタッグとしての視野も広げていったら、個としての強さも身につくと思う。個としての強さが身についたら、タッグとしての強さも身につくと思うんで.”

The grammar here was a little confusing to me, but I think she was basically saying that if the two of them can lift each other up and seek to surpass each other, then that desire to surpass each other will broaden their vision as a tag team, and they will also become stronger as individuals. She believes that if they gain strength as individuals, they will also gain strength as a tag team.

Free WiFi (Hikari Noa and Nao Kakuta) came out to challenge them next, and Yuka and Mizuki pretended like they couldn’t hear them because the wifi signal wasn’t getting through, haha. I really liked how the recap described MagiRabbi’s response as “煙に巻いた”. That’s a fun word.

Hikari mentioned that she has always wanted to win the belts from MagiRabbi specifically because they were champs when she challenged with Miu, as well as when she challenged with Natsumi Maki (Natsupoi in Stardom). Nao said that there were rumors that she was going to leave Hikari (all of Hikari’s previous partners have left her), but she’s still here.

I thought Suzume’s comment after the match was cute. She said that in the language of flowers, daisies mean “I feel the same as you”, and she and Arisu share not only positive feelings, but also frustration and a desire to get revenge together. (Their team name is “Daisy Monkey”).

Yuki Arai and DDT’s Saki Akai (a rare appearance from Saki Akai in TJPW) teamed up for the first time, and I thought it was funny that they had gotten together a couple days before specifically to practice their entrance. I laughed when Arai did Saki’s usual pose, haha!

After the match, Saki said that depending on the timing, she wants to team up with her again and fight with her, and she’s looking forward to seeing their fates intertwine again.

The last match covered by the recap was Miyu Yamashita vs Juria Nagano, which was Juria’s second wrestling match, ever. It was a fun karate showcase reflecting both of their backgrounds. Juria, predictably, got absolutely wrecked, haha.

Afterward, she said “すごく重い、握手したときに“またやろう”って言ってくださって愛も感じましたキックだった。いろんな意味で重かった”. This was a little hard for me to parse. My best attempt at a translation was: “It was very weighty; when we shook hands, she said ‘let’s do it again,’ and I felt love in that kick. It was important for multiple reasons.”

Miyu said: “私は言わないですけど、何かおもしろいルールでやるのもいいかもしれない”. Basically she suggested that the next time they have a match, maybe they could do it under some interesting rules. The implication, I think, is that she was suggesting the two of them have a special singles match at an Inspiration show with karate rules? That would be awesome to see, even though I know nothing about karate.

Inspiration shows are really fun because TJPW gets really experimental with them and does matches that are very different from their usual house style. I’ll talk about the one they just did after I get around to translating it, haha.

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Yeah, I’d say so. I found an entry for the phrase ぎらぎらした欲望 which helps confirm it.

I could certainly be wrong here, but I think it’s something like she’s saying that, more than her (Yuki), Shoko has an unwavering core that allows her to reach an ideal level.
Like I think the 理想に近づく here is more about unlocking one’s potential and reaching an ideal state yourself than about ideals like values. And I think the 自分 in 自分のより is about Yuki, and she’s saying Shoko’s core is better at doing that than hers. So I think it’s about how Shoko’s unlocked her full potential in a way Yuki hasn’t and that’s what Yuki took from the match.

I watched that show too, and enjoyed it! :slight_smile: Hero vs. Kaiju for the title should be a really fun match!

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I have a couple neat things to share!

The first is that DDT did a street wrestling tournament. Several of the matches are available on youtube! There are a couple more in addition to the two matches linked in that tweet. I didn’t have time to watch these shows, but the last match linked here has Suzu Suzuki in it, so I wanted to give a special shout out to her match. Warning, these are more hardcore than normal wrestling, so they might get a little intense. They all have Japanese commentary!

DDT also did a show on a train, which I have not yet watched, but have been meaning to! I don’t have a link to this one for free, but it’s on Wrestle Universe. This show has very notable commentary, because they brought in TJPW’s biggest train enthusiast, Raku!

Another highlight from DDT is that Yoshihiko (the wrestler who’s a blow-up doll) now has a twitter account! It’s a 25th anniversary thing for DDT, so his account is only for this year. I’ve been enjoying learning new Yoshihiko lore, like apparently he’s a Lady Gaga fan? It’s been fun reading practice, haha.

I also finished the translation for TJPW’s April 10 Inspiration show (recap here)! Inspiration is TJPW’s experimental show, so they do a lot of matches that are pretty different from their usual fare, and the main highlight of this one was Marika Kobashi getting to team up with her favorite wrestler, Abdullah Kobayashi, vs SAKI and Antonio Honda.

It was a pretty fun match because Abdullah is a large wrestler from Big Japan Pro Wrestling (it only just occurred to me that I didn’t even think about including BJW in the intro post haha) with deathmatch scars all over him, and Marika is a young fashion-obsessed wrestler with a ギャル gimmick, so on the surface, they couldn’t be more different. But as the recap mentions, Marika first met him when she was in elementary school, then saw him wrestling in a shopping district when she was in junior high, and she ended up joining TJPW because she admired him.

They have a fun tag match, which ends with Marika pinning Honda! After the match, Abdullah suggests they have a singles match, and so they have a match with a three minute time limit. Unsurprisingly, this match ends in a draw. Afterward, Abdullah tells her that graduation means she’s coming back, right? So they’ll just have to continue this years from now.

Marika clarifies that she’s graduating, but not retiring (I’m happy to hear this!), and when she comes back, she’ll have grown up more, gotten stronger, and “かっこいいレディになって”, become a cool lady. She says she’s going to crush him, so he can’t retire yet.

I had a long conversation with my friends over the term “graduation” vs “retirement”, and what it meant to graduate without retiring, haha. Marika was a little unclear on what exactly her future plans are with wrestling, though it does seem like she’s taking a long break, hence having a whole formal ceremony. It occurred to me that maybe her statement about becoming a レディ was meant to contrast with her ギャル fashion gimmick, saying that she will no longer be a “gal wrestler” when she comes back, but instead something different in a new phase of her life.

The other match covered in the recap was Rika Tatsumi vs Suzume, which was the main event of the show. This match is a lot more straightforward. For Suzume, Rika was the person who inspired her to become a wrestler. I loved how Suzume described her: “私は成長できたかもしれないけど、やっぱり私にとって、リカさんはずっと変わらずあこがれで、この世界に入った理由で、私の原点です”. She said that even though she’s grown up a bit as a wrestler, she still admires Rika, who was her reason for entering this world, her starting point.

The match itself was fun, though poor Suzume lost one of the wings on her costume, haha. She commented that she will grow stronger wings.

Suzume has been sort of on the cusp of breaking into the TJPW midcard for a while now, so it’s exciting to see how far she’s come. She debuted about when I started watching TJPW, so I think I’ll always have a fondness for her.

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AEW and NJPW just announced that they’re doing a combined supershow (in America) in June, so that should be fun! More information on that to follow. I’ve been really excited about it since Wednesday because I’m pretty certain we’re going to get a new Golden Lovers development out of it, albeit probably not a match. I’m still waiting on the other true Forbidden Door matchup: AEW’s Hikaru Shida vs Stardom’s Syuri. That’s my number one most desired match if they do get Stardom involved with this (which there is no guarantee). Shida and Syuri are long-time best friends, but haven’t been able to work together since 2019.

I also forgot to link this in my last post, but my friend translated an interview with Maki Itoh! It’s another interview by Mugiko Ozaki, who is our favorite wrestling interviewer. Her interviews with women wrestlers tend to be really, really good, and we all like to hear her perspective on them.

I finished translating TJPW’s April 17 show (recap here)! This one had Marika’s graduation (but not retirement). It was also weirdly difficult for some reason? There were a lot of sentences I struggled with :sweat_smile:

I learned a little more about Marika’s wrestling history from reading the recap. I hadn’t realized just how many starts and stops she’d had in her career because of school and other things! But I can’t imagine starting something like this in middle school. The way the recap described it, I do think when/if she does come back, she’ll be back with a new gimmick that isn’t being a gyaru wrestler.

Her graduation match was a 1 vs 20 match, first to three falls, with her facing basically the entire TJPW roster, haha. It had lots of fun moments, including Marika pinning Tetsuya Koda, TJPW’s booker, but the pin didn’t count because he wasn’t technically in the match. I liked how Raku was one of the people to score a pin on her, reflecting their close real life friendship. I also loved the final stretch of the match when it was Miyu vs Marika, and you could just see on Miyu’s face how much she didn’t want to have to do this, because she knew that when the match ended, they’d all have to say goodbye to Marika. The recap described Marika hitting a series of elbow strikes “決死”, prepared for death.

After the match, Marika talked about how wrestling at TJPW made her become a strong and loving person, and she reiterated that she hadn’t used the word “retirement” even once (but that doesn’t mean she’s planning on going somewhere other than TJPW). Then she said: “長い人生のなかでやらずに後悔するっていうのが、私のなかでなくて.” The double negative here threw me off, haha. It seems like she’s saying: “In my long life, I have never regretted not doing something else”? But that’s a weird way to word it.

Backstage, Marika said that she can’t stop wrestling until she has achieved her goal of beating Abdullah Kobayashi. The press asked if she was going to return in the future, and she said: “決めてはいないです。今のことしか考えてないので。そのときを全力で生きるのがギャルなので。先のことは考えてないです”. She basically said that she hasn’t decided, and she’s only thinking about the present. Then I struggled to parse that third sentence. DeepL said “I’m a gal who lives life to the fullest in the moment”, which makes sense in context and seems to fit her character, so maybe there’s a set expression here that I was missing? She then said that she isn’t thinking about the future. The recap seemed to be a little cheeky about it, pointing out that her being vague with her answers seems to be hinting at a possible return, haha: “と将来的な復帰に含みをもたせた”.

The other big thing that happened during this show was a preview match for Misao vs Shoko. A lot of things stood out: 1) Misao didn’t start the match with her custom of asking for the mic (she just immediately attacked Shoko), and 2) referee Kiso got knocked out (ref bumps like this are very unusual in TJPW), and 3) Misao stole the title belt and attacked Shoko with it, haha.

Once again, these are things that in any other promotion would telegraph a heel turn, but in TJPW, I’m not so sure. I really love to see it, though. It’s fun to see TJPW doing some of these tropes. If it does result in another heel turn for Misao, I’ll certainly be the last person complaining, haha, but it still feels unlikely to me.

After the match, Misao said that she sees Shoko going on excursion to the UK as Shoko deserting under enemy fire. She also said that she was able to show today that the belt will come to her sooner or later, and said that she stole it so that Shoko could take the opportunity to imagine it in her possession.

Shoko said that when she and Misao are standing next to each other as tag partners, it’s fun to put their heads together and play tricks. But when it comes to fighting each other, Misao makes her furious. Then she said: “東京女子のなかで一番遠慮しなくていいと思ってるし、完膚なきまでにズタボロにしても大丈夫そうな相手だと思ってるので”, and I really struggled to parse it. Is she saying basically: “I don’t think I have to be the most restrained member of the TJPW roster, and even if I rip her to shreds, I think she’ll be alright”? That reads weirdly to me, but I couldn’t figure out anything else, haha. I went to look up the comment video, but the caption wasn’t a lot of help.

I am finally caught up on the translations, at least until tonight! I think things might be quieter until their next Korakuen show because several roster members are going on excursion, and there are no more graduation ceremonies happening (thank goodness).

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I think it’s more like… “It just isn’t in me to end up later in life regretting all the things I didn’t do.” That kind of thing. This → “長い人生のなかでやらずに後悔する”, isn’t in 私のなか.
I think she’s saying that it’s not that she got dissatisfied with TJPW and wanted to go somewhere else, she just wants to try different things now because otherwise later on she might regret it.

Kinda similarly (that のが again… I’m interepreting it in both places as a nominalizing の turning the preceding verb phrase into a noun + the subject が) I think it’s like, “Because living in the moment is what being a gal is all about.”
This → “そのときを全力で生きる” is ギャル, and that’s a reason for the thing she was saying. I think she’s saying that she’s not thinking too far ahead because she’s a ギャル and it comes with the territory.

I think you got a bit tripped up in the first part - I think that part’s like, “I think out of everyone in TJPW, she’s the one I can most just let loose on.”
遠慮しなくていい is like, “you don’t have to worry about it, just go for it.” So the 一番 of that, would I suppose be the #1 that you don’t have to worry about and can just go for. I think she’s saying that Misao comes across as extraordinarily resilient (or masochistic…), and even if Shoko completely destroyed her she’d still be fine and bounce back and be the usual Misao.

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I’ve been watching quite a few wrestling shows recently, but they’re mostly bits and bobs, often used as background noise while I’m working.

Thoughts on various wrestling shows
  • Stardom CINDERELLA TOURNAMENT 2022 and 愛媛・松山大会
    I’ve been enjoying the Cinderella Tournament! I like how the “Over the Top Rope” stipulation gives the matches a different feel while also adding a clear reason for top-card wrestlers to participate without just dominating. I used to have mixed feelings about the “the winner gets to wear a nice dress” aspect, but honestly that’s a much more relatable and fun motivation for winning a tournament than like, “here’s a huge trophy.”
    It’s too bad the smaller shows don’t have commentary though… I’m at the listening comprehension where having (Japanese) commentary to listen to really adds a lot of positive engagement. Especially for Stardom shows since they pretty much always have a wrestler do guest commentary, and it’s fun to hear more from them that way and see how they do. Like Mayu’s really personable and great at reacting believably big to stuff in ring whereas Giulia is cool and aloof and less good at doing that lol. Tora’s fun and loves Maria from Marvelous. Himeka strikes me as shy genuinely but she had an impressively professional commentator delivery. Etc…
  • NJPW HYPER BATTLE’22
    Good guy Tama Tonga redeemed by Tana’s benevolence is an interesting development.
    Taichi really excels in weird, memorable matches (that one with Ibushi and all the kicks…) so I’m actually really curious to see what he might do with the King of Pro-Wrestling trophy – which so far I’ve just thought of as an excuse to have Yano matches on big cards (which I’m fine with).
    Enjoyed the championship matches, but I do wonder if maybe they should cool it for a bit on the “it’s the same match-up as X number of years ago” storylines between this and the anniversary show…
  • TJPW Still Incomplete '22
    I think I mentioned I watched this and enjoyed it! I especially liked Hyper Misao’s applying for the Up Up Girls opening. Looking forward to kaiju vs. hero!
  • DDT 路上プロレス世界一決定戦
    I watched the first leg of the 路上プロレス tournament. It’s fun! Although I’m very very very much not the type to make a scene in public so it goes against every instinct of mine… It’s fun to see the locations they wrestle in! 江ノ島 looks very picturesque! And you get a nice buffet of silly things, from Takagi’s genial visit to the Big Japan dojo and Abdullah eating an alarming number of raw eggs, to spooky 666 stuff.
    I haven’t watched the second part yet though (probably would have been more motivated to if Suzu Suzuki had won :sweat_smile: - I noticed though that Prominence shows are on Wrestle Universe… maybe I’ll check those out)

Looks like the next big shows to look forward to are around Golden Week! I think I’m most curious about Shoko Nakajima vs. Hyper Misao, the Cinderella Tournament finals, and how Maika’s Wonder of Stardom title shot will go in her hometown of Fukuoka :eyes:

週刊プロレス No. 2168
Tanahashi’s column is about the New Japan ring announcer retiring and his replacement, someone named 大星, an interesting name. I’ll have to keep an ear out to see if I notice a difference – the ring announcer is one of those areas of presentation that’s fundamental but hard to notice from just an English speaking perspective. The retiring ring announcer’s name is 尾崎 and he worked as the ring announcer for New Japan for about 15 years (following Kero Tanaka’s tenure).

Giulia’s column is about the non-Suzu Suzuki members of Prominence. 柊くるみ is a モンスター with an impressive jumping press. 藤田あかね was Giulia’s 一番苦手な先輩 when she was starting out in Ice Ribbon, and she says she still has トラウマ from one of her first matches being against her - fighting a wild boar would have been more pleasant. Giulia wonders what a singles match now would look like, perhaps she’d be the one to make Akane cry this time. 宮城もち apparently describes herself as “wrestling’s 佐々木希.” Giulia praises her technique, and says that as a person she was the most もともな person in Ice Ribbon. Giulia’s got a lot of things she’d like to tell her about since leaving, so she’d like to chat with her after crushing Prominence. 世羅りさ, the boss of Prominence. Giulia recalls the pain of a match with her and her psychopathic, “人間の匂いがしない笑い” during it. But Giulia says she was a reason she wanted to leave Ice Ribbon, as she didn’t like that despite being so powerful Sera would ふざける - sounding a bit Kenohish in (I think) expressing distaste for some of the sillier things that happen in Sera’s matches. She also doesn’t like that Sera didn’t show interest in 後輩 at the time and didn’t like her announced intention to marry and quit wrestling at 30.

Kenoh talks about the GHC junior tag belt being cursed lately, and compares the dynamic at the moment in some way to the currently running Taiga Drama 鎌倉殿の13人.

There’s a big feature on Cosmic Angels!
The first part is an interview with Tam Nakano and Mayu Iwatani recounting how and why Tam broke away from Mayu and Stars, and Tam’s growth from out from under Mayu’s shadow into a fully-fledged faction leader on equal standing.
The second is some gravure pictures and a brief interview with Mina Shirakawa - The magazine writer notes that there’s always been some portion of wrestling fans who are against グラビア, and she notes that she has the most social media followers in Stardom, and if that motivates some one out of thousands interested in bikini pictures to try out watching wrestling, then that’s good. “それを期待してるから、私はこれからも脱ぐ.” She says she wants to marry and raise a family but would come back to wrestling after maternity leave since she loves it.
Then there’s cooking with Unagi Sayaka! The magazine staff heard she was a good cook so they had her make like, a full multicourse meal in a big rented kitchen. The food looks good! Apparently the salmon in butter sauce was especially うまい. She says she honed her cooking skills the first time she was living with a partner - she worked a バイト at a pachinko parler during the day, and as a バニーガール at night so there was a brief window of time they were together throughout the day and so she filled that with cooking as a way to spend time together and try new things. They tease the possibility of a recurring ウナキッチン column.
Finally, there’s a spotlight on the newest member, Waka Tsukiyama. Apparently she was born in New York, but moved back to Japan when she was 5. Both her parents are doctors, and she went to college and had a successful career as an OL at a firm related to medical stuff, but her real passion was acting and eventually she built up savings and quit her job. She came to wrestling via Actwres girl’Z and loved it (especially the training - the intensity of actual matches was intimidating). When Actwres halted wrestling shows during the pandemic, she wanted to focus on wrestling and have a lot of matches and get stronger, and quickly ended up in Stardom. She’s still just been losing, but wants to feel victory - especially against Mai Sakurai, whose departure to Donna Del Mondo felt like a betrayal.
P.S. can I just say I’m confused by the amount and configuration of denim Mina Shirakawa is wearing here? It’s like if you wore three denim vests on three different parts of your body and then took off the middle one…

There’s an interesting bit in the “back-issues you could check out on the mobile app” section about how in 1989, when 昭和天皇 died, beginning the 平成 era, all the wrestling shows (like everything else) canceled… except seemingly a Riki Choshu produced New Japan show, which failed to notify any customers about a cancellation, leading to the whole roster from Inoki on down and New Japan staff lining up in Korakuen to apologize to any fans who came expecting a show.

The history column talks about how the orthodox path to success for 昭和 era wrestlers was 海外武者修行を終えて凱旋帰国 - Rikidozan did it, Giant Baba did it, Antonio Inoki did it, Yukio Sakaguchi did it, Strong Kobayashi did it, etc. - and anyway, apparently Tatsumi Fujinami was especially successful in this regard, causing something of a sensation upon his return to Japan in 1978 when he was hailed as a successor to Inoki.
(I don’t think I put together just how far back the roots of the “excursion” model go…)

There’s an interview with Tsukasa Fujimoto, the main figure in Ice Ribbon. She promises big changes to come, big enough to make you forget the year-end with so many departures. She’s also producing her first entire show (I’m not sure but I think they mean still affiliated with Ice Ribbon but it’s Fujimoto’s show in the way those Risa Sera produced shows were?). The magazine staff tease her a little more about her not being married yet – I heard it’s been announced since that she got married, so perhaps part of the joke was they knew more than the public at the time!

The costume column is about Tetsuya Endo, showing off his new velour ensemble for his induction into the stable Burning. There’s a flaming B on the butt and gown which stands for “Burning.” Another こだわり point is the 少ない面積. Endo says he aims to not neglect tanning and weight training and to be a 肉体だけでお金を取れる選手.

Mutoh’s column is about injuries, to which he is no stranger. Apparently his first knee issue arose when he was in Puerto Rico and he wrestled immediately after surgery and ended up getting a push there and wrestled more, making it worse. If he had Doraemon’s time machine he might go back and tell his young self to not do that, but his knees would have run into problems some other way. There’s the sudden kind of injury and that kind of nagging injury where there’s always a tough decision about when enough is enough and it needs to get taken care of.

Michael Nakazawa’s AEW report is a spotlight on the Japanese women’s wrestlers in AEW, which is nice to see.

There’s a column about Hikari Noa and her then upcoming bout with Hikaru Shida after Noa recovered from covid (it was physically fine but mentally rough). She says 「両国国技館で血を流せたら最高ですね!志田さんの血を誰よりも近くで見たいし、私の血も志田さんに見てほしい.」 :hushed:

週刊プロレス No. 2169
Here’s a good picture of Nakajima getting slapped by Fujita.
(blurred because it looks like it hurt)

Kenoh talks about Fujita joining NOAH and winning the GHC heavyweight championship, and gripes that he’s in his 50s. The interviewer asks about Funaki, who’s in his 50s but in Kenoh’s stable, Kongo, and Kenoh draws the distinction as being that Funaki wisely is staying independent and therefore hungry and motivated, like a stray dog as opposed to one brought in as a pet that loses its survival instinct, using Mutoh and his current injury as an example I suppose of the latter.

There’s an interview with Ryusuke Taguchi and Master Wato about their successful quest to become the 69th IWGP junior tag team champions. Said quest is largely driven by Taguchi and his 「”69”への異様な執着」, Master Wato is just politely along for the ride. The interviewer grills Taguchi on why he swapped out Rocky Romero for Wato and whether he just wants to be the 69th champion with anyone.
Apparently despite his demeanor in backstage interviews, Taguchi is very quiet off camera, and Wato is quiet too so it’s been a tentative warming up to each other as partners across such an age gap, but Wato feels like he’s learning something. They’re pretty frank about not having a chance in the New Japan Cup as individual wrestlers.

Giulia’s column is about fan votes held for match order (apparently one of the recent shows had a fan vote to decide which would go on last, highspeed or wonder of stardom). She doesn’t really like them because they distract from the matches themselves, and she says by analogy, an Italian chef wouldn’t say to a customer “which of these courses would you like last?” (frankly, I agree with her!)

There’s a double page ad for American Spirit cigarettes with the slogan タバコは、農業だ, and a picture of someone picking a package of cigarettes out of the dirt which I feel like makes me think more of litter than 農業…
Anyway, I just think the ads in the magazine are sort of interesting. The vast vast majority are things directly or tangentially related to wrestling, and the rest are like… cigarettes, horse racing, and papayas.

The history column talks about this match involving the team of Giant Baba and Antonio Inoki, BI砲, and famous luchador Mil Mascaras.
It also mentions a cage match between Rusher Kimura and Ox Baker (the wrestler who was in Escape From New York), but alas, can’t find the specific one.

Looks like Hikaru Shida announced a challenge for an upcoming Ice Ribbon show – cool she’s popping up in more than one place!

The costume column is about Mai Sakurai, the new addition to Donna Del Mondo in Stardom. Her black costume is apparently not actually new one from a previous promotion that she didn’t use very much at the time. It includes レガース even though she’s not a kick-centric wrestler, she trained on kicks before coming to Stardom and wants to incorporate them more in the future.

As promised, Hideki Suzuki’s “偏屈論” column returns following his WWE firing, with a fresh coat of paint and a new interview format. It sounds like a major factor in his decision to go to NOAH was money. As it was when WWE paid him the most money he’d received as a wrestler. In contrast, he notes, the magazine staff are paying him [REDACTED].

This ad for the New Japan mobile game featuring Tanahashi is uh… very direct! (not that far off from my genuine phone background though come to think of it…)
(blurred for propriety?)

(Reminds me of the グッズ ad they ran during some shows a while back that was 100% just “if you buy New Japan merch, Tanashi might smile at you”)

週刊プロレス No. 2170
I thought this picture from the NJPW anniversary show was kinda interesting - it’s Tanahashi caught in a Fujiwara armbar. And… that’s Fujiwara, the guy the move is named after.
image
(This is a tangent, but for a little bit I thought this was the guy who was rumored to have ordered the murder of Rikidozan, the rumors of which I have a 700 page book apparently refuting that I’m curious but intimidated to try reading some time… but anyway I doublechecked and I was thinking of Kimura of the Kimura lock. Anyway it’s interesting the gravitas lent to someone by their name preceding them in wrestling move name form.)

Tanahashi talks about the anniversary show in his column - apparently the final moment when Tatsumi Fujinami gave (NJPW founder) Antonio Inoki’s catchphrase (“ダー!”) wasn’t planned. They talk about Tanahashi’s longtime admiration for Fujinami, and the interviewer says that Tanashi is the key bridge between legends like Fujinami and wrestlers like Okada - 現役とレジェンドの橋渡しにピッタリです。 to which Tanahashi, #1 dad, replies ”棚橋渡しですね。”

In Giulia’s column she talks with Maika about a wrestler participating in Stardom’s New Blood show, 稲葉ともか. Tomoka is Maika’s 妹分 the way Maika is Giulia’s 妹分. I didn’t know who they were talking about at the time, but look up pictures - I think I’ve seen her around, in shows or the magazine. Her style looks karate centric.
P.S.I remember being really struck by Utami Hayashishita’s look at this press conference with her short haircut and stance…

I didn’t actually notice this while I was reading, but caught it just now - an interesting item in the mobile app section is a brief recounting of Chigusa Nagayo’s first retirement in 1989. She sang songs and wrestled, and apparently at one point introduced to the stage as “私のベストパートナー”, Rossy Ogawa (current head of Stardom, then involved in management in AJW).
This isn’t mentioned in the small column (and I haven’t verified the source or anything), but I looked up on wikipedia why she retired, and it claims “in 1989, Nagayo reached age 26, the mandatory retirement age for female wrestlers in AJW at the time. Nagayo claimed to be getting married, however later admitted that it was a lie.” Geez! Makes her tearful speech quoted in the magazine about loving pro-wrestling and “今度また、この世に生まれてきたら、またプロレスがやりたいです。” and her continued involvement in the wrestling business today especially meaningful.
There’s a lot going on in that one historical trivia blurb about the industry then and now and gender roles and all kinds of things… I would be curious to try to learn more to have more context about this kind of thing in general.

The history column is pretty interesting - talking about the first year of NJPW pre its television deal, and how 日本プロレス strongly pressured newspapers against giving the new promotion major coverage, to the point that the 旗揚げ show was relegated to back pages while a nothing 日本プロレス match got the headlines. Tatsumi Fujinami also recounts how apparently at the time, he was still new and so had to help put up posters for shows, and they would frequently be found torn down or defaced later that day, apparently due to 日本プロレス affiliated promoters attempting to stymie the new promotion.

There’s an interview with Shoko Nakajima ahead of her match against Miu Watanabe. She talks about memories of meeting her at the start of TJPW, and what she thought of her then, saying Miu had great reflexes and she doesn’t, and she’s always felt a notch below her. She says now she thinks of Miu and her as 兄弟, with her as the 兄 and Miu as the over-achieving 弟.
She says that for a long time she thought about how she didn’t have an answer to the question “Miu has kicks and Yuka has high flying, what do you have?” - and so she felt she had to figure that out. Now she would say the answer is 「私は小細工が得意です。」in the sense that she feels that as much as she might train, she’d still be able to only do what everyone else can do, not anything new. So she’s accepted that and focused on knowing how to use precisely the tools she does have.
I also really like her look in the photo with the interview.

Speaking of Shoko, this picture of Raku defeating the Tokusatsu club’s 合体 maneuver with her lullaby made me laugh.

Tsukushi, the current Ice Ribbon ICE✕∞ champion announced she’s retiring, saying she wants to try things outside of wrestling (which is completely understandable since she’s a former kids’ wrestler). It’s another blow to Ice Ribbon, but it sounds like it was at least planned since before the 7 other wrestlers left the promotion, and that just extended the timeline a bit.

Genichiro Tenryu talks in his column about Fujita joining NOAH. He was especially struck by how it looks like Fujita is really enjoying pro-wrestling. He recounts a story a long time ago when Fujita was new in New Japan and Tenryu was running WAR, visiting New Japan and seeing Fujita sitting alone eating and looking sad, and wondering if he didn’t like プロレスの社会, so when Fujita went off to do MMA stuff internally he thought やっぱり. So anyway, it’s nice that Fujita looks like he’s enjoying himself.
He says that NOAH in the CyberAgent era is feeling less and less like the All Japan inheritor that it started as, with many newcomers associated with other promotions, and Fujita’s entry being a new symbol of that ”変わるNOAH” but he says this is good and only natural. 「変わっていくのがプロレス団体だから。」
He also talks about the NJPW anniversary event, and particularly Okada talking about Antonio Inoki, who since his departure NJPW have largely avoided talking about (I think just to chart a new course and stuff, and get some distance from the rough 2000s era of the company? But he was also like, a politician and had scandals and stuff so I wonder what the extent of the アンタッチャブルness is). But with Fujinami (strongly associated with Inoki) brought in so prominently, New Japan is bringing those historic connections and references more to the forefront in a way he speculates they wouldn’t have done if they were still on their pre-corona hot streak.
He also says he’s envious of New Japan in a way to see so many prominent figures of the company alive and well, from Inoki to Fujinami, Maeda, etc… he started in All Japan, and some of the most prominent figures from there of Giant Baba, Jumbo Tsuruta, and Mitsuharu Misawa have all passed.
Finally the magazine staff ask him to comment on the first ever 3-week streak of women’s wrestling being on the cover of shupro. He says there’s been a lot of change and gossip in the world of women’s wrestling recently, and with men’s wrestling pretty stagnant, it’s completely natural that people would be drawn to where the interesting topics were. He says it’s just about what sells magazines.

the costume column is about Go Shiozaki and his プロレス界のマント themed costume. He says it’s not going for a Superman style superhero cape sort of look, but a regal, Harley Race type of look. But he’s not a king, he’s a prince.

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I loved the cumulative 30 count pin stipulation for Taichi vs Shingo, haha. DDT did that same stipulation for a match last year, and it was hilarious. (NJPW spoilers) I was really hoping it’d come down to someone winning on a one-count, because personally I think it’s extra funny when a one-count has real stakes, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. That was my favorite Shingo match this year. I’m bummed that Taichi lost, though :pensive:.

Haha yeah, I wish that had happened, too. I feel like they’ll eventually revisit her feud with Chris Brookes, though. And I hope you enjoy the Prominence shows! I half-watched the first few, and I like how someone described them as “deathmatch Gatoh Move”, haha, because somehow that’s the exact vibe. I feel like you’ll get more out of them with better listening comprehension. I watched their official proper show, too, though I had to bow out pretty quickly because the hardcore matches were too much for me :sweat_smile:. I kept the window open so that I could give them more hits, just… minimized and off to the side.

Hikari rules, ahahaha. I’m honestly amazed at some of the stuff she can get away with as an idol.

Thanks for sharing the pictures, and for the bits of history! I find that stuff fascinating. I’m also really interested (and sometimes discouraged) by a lot of gender stuff in the industry back in the day (as well as now). It’s a fascinating topic for sure. It’s part of why Misao’s retirement-turned-unretirement when she got married at the end of 2020 left such an impression on me, though that show was quite stressful to watch live :sweat_smile:.

I do think that it seems like exciting things are ahead for joshi wrestling, though, and I hope it continues to get more and more popular!

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Finished the translation for TJPW’s April 24 show in decent time for once! It helped that there was less going on, haha. The recap for this one is here.

The most notable thing from this show happened during the main event, which was a preview tag match leading up to Free WiFi’s tag title challenge. Once again, we saw a very rare instance of traditional heel tactics showing up in TJPW, when Nao Kakuta removed one of the corner pads, and Hikari hit Mizuki into the exposed steel and then pinned her shortly afterward. Afterward, an enraged Yuka Sakazaki grabbed the corner pad and came into the ring and beat Nao and Hikari with it, as the bell started to ring telling her to knock it off.

Again, because this is TJPW, you can’t exactly expect things to go how the typical wrestling narrative goes, so we’ll just have to see how things develop from here, but I’m enjoying how things are going. The upcoming preview match for both championships (Princess of Princess belt and the tag belts), with Misao, Hikari, and Nao on one side vs all three champions (Yuka, Mizuki, and Shoko) should be loads of fun, considering that the challengers have all been resorting to heel tactics haha. I like how one of my friends described Free WiFi as having “I can make her worse” energy.

I think I understood Yuka and Mizuki’s post-match comments, but wanted to double-check in case I missed something. Yuka said: “アホなんじゃないかなって思います。勝つために考えたことだと思いますけど、そっちがその気なら、こっちだって”. I wasn’t quite sure about the exact connotation of アホ. I tried googling it and found (Japanese) sites comparing and contrasting it with バカ, but it was a little bit above my level trying to understand the nuance from reading those.

This was my best attempt at a translation: “I think they’re assholes. I think they considered it in order to win, but if that’s the way you’re going to do it, then we’ll do it that way, too.” “Assholes” might be too harsh of a word to use, but it was one of the DeepL suggestions, and it made more sense to me than “fool”, “idiot”, or “simpleton”, which were the direct dictionary translations. I think Yuka is saying here that if Free WiFi is going to play dirty, then she’s going to play dirty, too?

Mizuki said: “これが2人の戦い方なら、その土俵に立った上で、ちゃんと勝ちを獲り返したい。もちろん防衛できるように。やり返したい”. My best attempt at a translation was: “If this is the way the two of them fight, I want to get back in the ring and get our win back the proper way. So that we can defend the belts, of course. I want to get back at them.” I wasn’t exactly sure what to do with ちゃんと here. It seemed like she was almost saying the opposite of what Yuka was saying? Yuka wants to do this Free WiFi’s way, but Mizuki wants to win “properly”. If this is indeed the case, then that might be cause for trouble for MagiRabbi…

From the part of the comments that was not transcribed on the website, Yuka and Mizuki had a funny exchange where Yuka was still refusing to acknowledge Free WiFi’s challenge and claiming that they still didn’t have a signal, but when Mizuki said that she wants to get revenge, Yuka changed her mind and decided that they’re going to do it after all.

There was also a fun exchange between Maki Itoh and Miyu Yamashita. I was confused why they were talking about “cactus” (サボテン) suddenly, but I think it must be the name of one of their tag moves that they attempt to do every match haha and which almost never works out for them.

This one:

Miyu also said that even though the サボテン got interrupted, things went smoothly for them as a tag team, so maybe it’s all right if they keep their distance and just team up occasionally. Itoh said basically that spending time apart makes the heart grow fonder.

And with that, I am caught up! Until they have two shows in fairly quick succession, haha, and then the Korakuen show shortly after that :sweat_smile:. I’ll just have to try my best :blush:

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