週刊プロレス No.２１７１ (from mid march)
(I read this one around golden week… I wonder how much I’ll remember)
Kenoh in his column talks about how there’s a whole bunch of 両国国技館 shows this spring, suggesting that it partly has to do with pandemic seating density restrictions making there more of an incentive to run big shows than usual. He also says an interesting aspect of the 両国国技館大会ラッシュ this spring is comparing the women’s promotions and the men’s since both are running there. He suggests part of why 女子プロレス is particularly successful right now is that it helps to have a somewhat more niche audience during a pandemic, since they’re going to be more likely to still commit to going to a live show than general audiences would be for the larger men’s promotions. He compares Tokyo Joshi fans to “地下アイドルヲタ” in the sense of being deeply invested.
(Giulia’s column is just her running down the card for the then-upcoming 両国国技館 Stardom shows)
There’s a long and interesting obituary feature for 風間ルミ, the longtime joshi wrestler who passed away recently, including career recaps and an interview with her friend, Mayumi Ozaki. It’s unfortunate I’m not writing this closer to when I read the issue, as I can’t do it justice now, but it’s a good tribute, and a couple interesting details I remember: she had a single (the vinyl was heart-shaped!), a manga, 蹴撃エンジェル RUMI (sadly out of print, I did check…), once she got married in-ring to pro-wrestling itself, and when she founded LLPW she was reportedly “日本マット界初の女性社長.”
Tsukasa Fujimoto of Ice Ribbon got married! It’s been a running gag that the magazine staff tease her about her love life so they’re as shocked as anyone. The groom is someone not involved with wrestling she’d known for a little over a year. If I recall correctly - she’s not retiring (though she doesn’t plan to wrestle forever either), and hopes that fans keep following the story of Ice Ribbon amid changes like this.
One for the “80s pro wrestlers looking cool in a very 80s sort of way” scrapbook
The first Tiger Mask donated some ランドセル to an orphanage. That’s nice!
There’s a couple interviews ahead of TJPW’s Grand Princess.
The first is with Yuki Arai… but I confess I don’t remember what she said!
The second is with 長野じゅりあ, and my main takeaway is that she sounds like a strange, incredibly busy person! The title of the interview is 空手X看護師X女優Xプロレス and is about how she’s variously pursued (successfully) each of those career paths, more or less at the same time, and she’s also popular on Tiktok and youtube. That seems like a gigantic, incomprehensible amount of work to me. The way she got into pro wrestling is also wild - apparently Sanshiro Takagi saw her karate videos on Tiktok and just offered her a job, and she said yes since she missed fighting in a ring from when she retired from karate.
There’s an interview with Hikaru Shida about her doing an Ice Ribbon show where she’ll reform her tag team with Tsukasa Fujimoto, マッスルビーナス.
The industry column, kind of weirdly, is about the magazine staff talking to Fujimoto’s dad asking what he thinks about the wedding. If I remember right, he’s happy about it!
The longer industry column is about Zeus and his decision a while back to leave AJPW to return to his home promotion (the much smaller) Osaka Pro Wrestling to help run and revitalize it. There’s some interesting history of the promotion included - apparently it was founded in '98 when スペル・デルフィン split away from Michinoku Pro, and it closed (except as a name for other promotions to run shows under) in 2014 - now Zeus is aiming to revitalize it to the pre-2014 state, and it sounds like he has a strong love for the promotion and wants to especially make it a local institution and something fun for families to enjoy.
週刊プロレス No.２１７２ (from the week of Grand Princess in lateish March)
I get that they’re going for a play on “Just Tap Out,” but uhh…
There’s an interview with Guerillas of Destiny and Jado from NJPW, about their recent face turn. Tonga and Loa say they don’t want to be thought of as “ガイジン” wrestlers - NJPW is their home. Jado says that their dad, King Haku, was very nice to him (or y’know, a better way to translate スゴクお世話になった) so he’s with them to the end.
(Giulia’s… still running down the card for those 両国国技館 shows…)
Sort of an off-topic thought, but I’m a big fan of the costume Risa Sera uses for deathmatches, and this picture was the first time I noticed it’s a wrap-print top rather than an actual wrap. Anyway - much like Orange Cassidy’s denim-print sweats, I think that illusory form + practical function combination is a fun wrestling thing!
I remember this is where I neglected reading further in the magazine for a long time because I was reading bits of it while watching the NJPW golden week show at the time and they announced the participants of the Best of the Super Jr.s tournament, including El Lindaman, so I thought “oh, neat! What a coincidence! I guess I should read this long El Lindaman interview I just got to then.”
Anyway, I never did get around to watching any of the tournament yet…
In the interview, El Lindaman visits his old school after winning the G-Rex championship in GLEAT, which has an interesting pointy design. A brief interesting detail is it sounds like Shingo Takagi made the connection that got him into wrestling.
The history column is about an interesting minor side-note in wrestling history - in 1978, a single Championship Carnival show was broadcast over the radio, because a radio station was restructuring and tried giving wrestling a shot. They didn’t stick with it and said that the visual appeal of wrestling just means it’s not suited for the format, but the columnist (who listened at the time) thinks that the presentation was too bland and if they’d gotten a great color commentator the idea coulda had legs.
In the champ talk column, Hazuki mentions Kairi contacted her both when she (Hazuki) retired, and when she (Hazuki) returned to wrestling. That’s nice!
There’s a listing for an unusual match in the misc. news section.
There’s also a brief obituary for Scott Hall. I wonder if he’ll get a larger one later.
There’s an installment of the regional arena spotlight series - there isn’t usually anything to say about these in particular but I like them! This one is about 伊万里市 in Saga, and it looks very pretty.
There’s an interview with Giulia ahead of the Stardom 両国国技館 shows - she describes Syuri as being very nice and caring (she always casts Syuri as her wife when describing DDM as a family and here she talks more about what a good wife Syuri would be) and a natural babyface who balanced out DDM when it was more heelish initially. She approves of her growing into a leader and setting out on her own though, and thinks it would be great if everyone in DDM did that eventually.
She sees her other potential opponent, Mayu Iwatani, as very talented and impressive but sort of an enigma for her - she wonders what Mayu thinks about and says the answer is maybe ‘nothing at all’ that’s how pure she is.
She’s rather more cruel on the subject of Suzu Suzuki, criticizing her weight gain and Prominence’s stamina.
KAIRI has an interview too - the parts recounting her stay in America are particularly interesting. She says she said from the start she was going to study and would be back some day. Some of her big takeaways are that in Japan you perform for the audience, but in WWE you perform for the camera, and that she was a lot more self-conscious about her smaller build in WWE. She practiced glaring at her opponent and showing her emotions and toughness more. She says there you get lots and lots of advice from many people, a lot of it conflicting, and you need to learn to not follow all of it because otherwise you’ll lose sight of what makes you unique.
Apparently now she’s a freelancer so she might turn up in places other than Stardom, she got married, and also she opened a gym near 江ノ島 called PARA-FIT24.
I like this picture of マッスルビーナス!
There’s an AEW Revolution recap. If you want a recommendation for a wrestler to follow for the month, Michael Nakazawa’s got you covered. (I’ve seen Miki Motoi tweet about doing color commentary for Rampage before, and she seems to be a particular fan of Hook and Danhousen as well)
Mutoh’s column is about him participating in NJPW’s 50th anniversary show as an ＯＢ. He says he saw a lot of people working there he remembered from when he wrestled for them. They compare AJPW and NJPW (I think in the context of why he went to NJPW’s 50th and not AJPW’s although I’m not positive about that) and he says a lesson he took from Inoki is 「常識なんてクソ食らえ」, to avoid being just ordinary (a translation that captures fully 100% of the tone in that quote I’m sure you’ll agree )
The short industry column is about how Saki Kashima in Stardom has started wearing レガース and trying out using kicks. Whether or not a wrestler uses kicks is a decision that seems to consistently be given a surprisingly large amount of weight in these issues.
The long industry column is an interview with Sanshiro Takagi on the occasion of DDT’s 25th Anniversary. He compares the main event of Takeshita vs. Endo to a rivalry in a Taiga drama, and talks about how Omega (vocally) and Ibushi (implicitly) left DDT in care of those two, and how their rivalry is every bit as good as that storied one that came before. And with them DDT marches brightly into a new chapter.