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

Tana and Yano’s tag team is seriously the best part of World Tag League this year (not that this is saying a lot, since WTL is traditionally the least exciting regular tournament that NJPW does). I had to miss a bunch of the WTL shows (and I intentionally skipped a bunch of matches in the tournament), but their team was a highlight for sure!

Kenoh’s right about good matches not necessarily needing to be long, but it’s really funny to read this after he just wrestled a sixty minute time limit draw, haha!

I saw someone on twitter complaining about Kenoh and Nakajima’s double title match being such a long match, and the official NOAH twitter responded with a link to their (much shorter) match in the N-1 finals, ahahaha.

Actually, I’ve been meaning to post that one! I feel bad that I haven’t shared any NOAH here, but this match was good and very different from everything else I’ve been posting. I think maybe they only uploaded the English commentary version of this one? I’m not entirely sure. But here it is:

For those who are unfamiliar with the promotion, the N-1 is Pro Wrestling NOAH’s version of NJPW’s G1 Climax tournament. It’s a round robin tournament, and the winner gets a shot at the GHC Heavyweight Championship. The blocks this year looked a little different than the G1 (there were four of them, and they were much smaller), but the two finalists were Kenoh and Katsuhiko Nakajima.

Kenoh is a regular in @rodan’s shupro update posts, haha, so if you’ve read any of those, you probably have a sense of who he is. He’s very serious and angry all the time (which naturally makes him one of the funniest wrestlers to me, because any comedic situation becomes ten times funnier with him in it). He’s also very Buddhist and is very passionate about his own style of wrestling. He’s the leader of the 金剛(こんごう) faction in NOAH. They’re technically heels, but they’re not really straightforward villains in the sense you might be expecting. They just have a very particular vision for NOAH that doesn’t necessarily match the company line.

Katsuhiko Nakajima is… complicated. He’s one of my favorites in the company, haha! In 2020, he betrayed his tag partner Go Shiozaki and joined Kongoh, then went on to win the N-1 and challenge for Go’s title, the GHC Heavyweight Championship. Nakajima failed to capture the belt then, and several months later, Go dropped the belt to someone else and then disappeared from NOAH to get some much needed surgery and healing. In the meantime, Nakajima found a new (old) tag partner, got betrayed himself, lost his hair after losing NOAH’s first cage match, and ultimately managed to integrate himself into Kongoh after spending his first few months there as a bit of a lone wolf.

This is an interesting match because it’s between two people in the same faction who have come to respect each other, but because this is wrestling, there is still some underlying tension, since both of them want to win this tournament, and go on to win the belt. For Nakajima, winning here would mean back to back tournament wins and a chance to redeem himself from failing last year. For Kenoh, winning would mean an opportunity to become double champion.

If you haven’t watched NOAH before, I should warn you that their style tends to be more hard-hitting than many other companies, so it can be a little brutal to watch sometimes. Nakajima and Kenoh both have very stiff kicks, which can be amazing to watch, but also often make me wince, haha!

There’s actually some pretty big news relating to NOAH that I’ve been meaning to share here, because I think it’s very cool, but I haven’t quite been able to get a post together about it.

Unfortunately, there’s also some sad news relating to TJPW and DDT, at least from a translation/accessibility perspective. I might have to move those companies down a category in the masterpost at the top of the thread, because my favorite wrestling translator Mr. Haku is leaving CyberFight, and he was the person doing the vast majority of translation work that kept those companies accessible to non-Japanese speakers. I’m very bummed about this! I really wish my Japanese was better so that I could understand more without relying on his work so much, but alas :pensive:. I’m hoping someone else will step up, but it seems unlikely that any replacement would be willing and able to do the same level of work that he was doing.

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週刊プロレス No.2153

Kenoh gives his predictions for the Grand Prix awards:

  • Grand Prix: Keiji Mutoh (as the best shot for a NOAH wrestler, and because he’s so old he’ll be popular with the magazine’s audience, which apparently skews late middle-aged)
  • Best Match: Takagi/Ospreay
  • Women’s Grand Prix: He wants to say AZM (doesn’t say why) but it’s gonna be Utami Hayashishita
  • Best Unit: Kongo (duh). He says Los Ingobernables de Japon are popular but they didn’t do anything as a unit this year.
  • Best Foreign Wrestler: he predicts Jeff Cobb because he started standing out this year (while ZSJ continued strong). It’s painfully true (耳が痛い is the exact expression) that nobody really travelled to Japan for NOAH this year.
  • Best Debuting Wrestler: he predicts one of the new young lions since a lot of NJPW will be voting.

Lastly he says you should buy three copies of the magazine for three ballots and vote for Kenoh three times (or at least once).

Naito says that even though he and SANADA are partners in the tag league, they exchange barely any words, and he was more surprised than anyone that SANADA called him “内藤てっちゃん” in a post-match promo. Without “うるさい鷹木” around, he and SANADA are often alone in the 控室 but they’ve talked no more than 5 minutes tops.

Giulia talks about the Grand Prix. She won last year and entered this year with ambition to have it happen again, but this year didn’t make it on the cover of the directory issue. Next time!
She talks about six women wrestlers who stand out to her:

  1. Rina Yamashita (ジュリアが女子プロレスを好きになったきっかけの人)
  2. Tsukasa Fujimoto (ジュリアが女子プロレスラーになったきっかけの人)
  3. Miyu Yamashita (She says she wants to see Miyu vs. Syuri, and wants a match with her herself too. Definitely agree those would be extremely cool to see if they could happen. Hey, come to think of it if that NJPW vs. NOAH show can happen…)
  4. Tam Nakano
  5. Syuri
  6. Utami Hayashishita

The history column is about a 1970 match that was reportedly the peak of Giant Baba and Antonio Inoki’s work together as a tag team, BI砲. I was hoping to find online, but I only found it as an obvious rip of a not-that-old (I think) television broadcast pro wrestling history show called (I think) 至高の昭和プロレス名勝負列伝〜伝説の貴重映像〜. The show looks really neat though so if you can find a less sketchy way of watching it have at it and let me know.

The industry column is about what a tumultuous year it was in terms of moving promotions and retirements particularly for women’s wrestling (that’s certainly held true through December huh…).
They talk to Great Sasuke about it since apparently he’s up there with Inoki in terms of experience with sudden departures from his promotion, particularly a time when apparently Super Delfin and a bunch of others left Michinoku Pro in one big group and caused a stir.
Sasuke says 「第一に悲しみ、第二にショック、第三にそれに耐えていかなきゃいけないという思いでしたよね。」

The feature at the back is about Tam Nakano and reflecting on her past year.
I like this part that she says:

白いベルトを戴冠してから「強い」と言われるようになって、私のなかではすごく違和感があります。「弱い」ってずっと言われてきたので(笑)。これは私だけじゃなくコズエン全体に思ってることで、弱いところが武器。私たちはキャリアのわりに年齢はいってるし、身体能力が高いわけでもない。人生で挫折を繰り返してきた人間の集まり。そういうひとの弱さを知ってるからこそ、あきらめない気持ちで闘えるこころが私たちの強さなんです。

She says now her reason for living (生きがい) is to protect the white belt.
She also says she has absolutely no interest in the red belt, only the white, for one out of admiration for fellow idol-turned wrestler and first champion Yuzuki Aikawa, but also because in terms of Stardom’s belts, 「赤はプロレスの強さ、技術を競う。白は感情のベルト。」 And that emphasis on emotion is why the white belt is the biggest symbol of Stardom, and it’s too bad fans tend to apply men’s wrestling logic to Stardom and treat the red belt as the most important one.

There’s also an ad for the Stardom-themed school manga, which has its first volume out December 29.
I think you could have (or still can?) read this for free on the Bushi Road website as part of the Bushi Road magazine. But it’d probably be nicer in volume form - and it looks pretty fun and easy.

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I ended up deciding not to move DDT and TJPW down to the less accessible promotions category, despite losing Mr. Haku’s translations. Both promotions continue to have more English support than most of the others, and Wrestle Universe is one of the easiest streaming platforms to use in English. I would consider them kind of on the edge, though.

I talked about this more in my last study log post, but to make a long story short, I’m going to try informally translating the DDT post-match comments after each show! I thought I’d post about them in here instead of my study log.

The first one I tried to tackle was the December 12 show. Here’s the official recap article for it (the source of my translation), and a fan-written summary of the show in English. I started with DeepL, but went through the machine translation line by line to make sure it was accurate. Some of the post-match comments exist in video form but were not transcribed on the website, so unfortunately I will have to miss out on those until my listening comprehension improves.

DDT uploaded the main event, and you can watch it here! There is no commentary, unfortunately, but it’s a fun match. There’s not a lot of story to this one, though it pulls on various story threads from the past year that are a little complicated to explain. It’s a special tag match between six of DDT’s top wrestlers who are tagging with people they usually don’t tag with.

The big thing in this match was Konosuke Takeshita (current KO-D Openweight Champion) winning after demonstrating “秋山準直伝”のジャンピング・ニー for the first time. The word 直伝(じきでん) was new to me, though I know both of the kanji from WK! It means direct transmission (of mysteries or skill). The Jumping Knee that Takeshita used was taught to him directly from Jun Akiyama (who learned it from Jumbo Tsuruta).

I thought it was funny that Tetsuya Endo referred to Akiyama as a どう猛な獣を簡単に飼い慣らせる, basically a ferocious beast that can’t be easily tamed. Before Endo officially formed his new faction BURNING (which Akiyama is part of), his original plan was to name his next faction after Animal Crossing, so I appreciate that the animal theme continued for a bit!

I laughed when Endo talked about how he wasn’t able to take in 秋山準の毒. Jun Akiyama is a respected wrestling legend, so there’s something really funny about Endo talking about his teaching in terms of poison or evil influence. Endo was just recently in the heel faction Damnation, and he’s a different person in some ways after Damnation dissolved, but at the same time, he’s not really that different, haha!

Regarding the other matches:

I had a little trouble figuring out how to translate 本部(ほんぶ)(せき) here: 本部席からベルトを持ち出す. I could understand that it was referring to where Daisuke Sasaki grabbed the belt from, but I don’t know the proper term for this table in English! I think it’s where the general manager Hisaya Imabayashi usually sits, hence 本部, which means headquarters or the main office.

In his post-match comments, Sasaki said “アイツら絶対許さない” and a friend helped point me on the right path with translating it. I started with “I’ll never forgive them”, but according to one of my friends, it’s more like “I won’t let this slide”, which is frequently said in anime. This makes a lot more sense for his character.

I laughed at Kazuki Hirata’s last line: “秒殺だけはやめてください”. DeepL gave me “please don’t kill me in seconds”, and that actually seems to capture the sentiment pretty well, haha! 秒殺(びょうさつ) was a new word for me, but its meaning is very straightforward! It means instant killing, basically. Or winning in a flash/instant defeat.

All in all, it was fun trying to translate these, and I was surprised by how much I could feel all of the wrestlers’ characters coming through, even with my very low level proficiency with the language. I’m going to keep doing these as long as I can, and hopefully they’ll get easier as I continue to learn more vocab and grammar!

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I finished trying to translate the recap (warning for some pictures with blood/hardcore spots) for DDT’s “Dramatic Explosion 2021” show on December 18! There were some creative matches in this one. And lots of details from comments that were left out of the official recap, sadly (here’s a summary with some).

The “dramatic explosion” in the show name referred to the 電流爆破デスマッチ, which was predictably pretty wild, though maybe not exactly the way you would expect from the name. Something that tripped me up at first was trying to figure out クロニタ軍団 until I realized that it was a portmanteau combining Kuro-chan and Atsushi Onita’s names. I don’t remember if Mr. Haku ever came up with a romanization for it, but I went with KurOnita Army.

Watching DDT is great for language learners because you will learn very useful words like 禁断の大放屁 (“forbidden big fart”)! I laughed when I saw this one, haha! I’m pretty sure this is referring to a recurring spot in just about every explosion match featuring Danshoku Dieno where they blast a fire extinguisher from between his legs. I don’t think I remember Mr. Haku referring to this spot by name before, but I might’ve missed it.

I had a little trouble translating this line from Kuro’s comment: “オマエの名前なんか、クロニタ軍団に入ってたか。” The best I could figure is that he was essentially saying “Was there a name like yours in KurOnita Army?” basically saying that Sanshiro Takagi never belonged in the faction because his name isn’t represented in the name (unlike Kuro and Onita).

I really liked the term 連係技 for referring to tag team moves. I thought it was a really cute term for the concept. I was a little confused by the word 控室, where Yuji Hino was described as returning to after leaving the ring. I guess this is the word for the backstage area where the post-match interviews happen?

The other marquee match was an intergender hardcore match between Shunma Katsumata and TJPW’s Hyper Misao. They actually uploaded this one to youtube, though warning: there’s a little blood in this one, and some hardcore spots involving things like staples and skewers and thumb tacks (画びょう). Not for the faint of heart!

Because of this, I’m linking it instead of embedding it. The match does have Japanese commentary, though!

The backstory behind this one is that Shunma and Misao fought each other in DDT’s latest empty Tokyo Dome rojo show when their teams faced off. Misao doesn’t like Shunma and thinks he’s faking his love of saunas (not only is Shunma in a faction called 37Kamiina (pronounced “sauna kamiina”; he actually manages a sauna in real life), and Shunma doesn’t understand why Misao hates him so much or why she always resorts to underhanded tactics in her matches despite calling herself a hero.

Shunma has done loads of hardcore matches (his trademark weapon is legos, and he always carries a lego bat). This one is Misao’s very first. However, Misao, like Hikari Noa, and like many other wrestlers, is heavily inspired by Jun Kasai (he’s actually not only the reason why she became a wrestler, but also basically gave her a reason to live). So there’s a part of her that has always been drawn to hardcore wrestling.

After the match, Misao thanked Shunma for showing her the beautiful gateway to hardcore wrestling, and Shunma said something that stumped me, haha! He said, “またどこで会うかわからないですけど、お互いに自分の星を守って。” I could not for the life of me figure out how to translate 星 in this. My best guess is that he was saying that they each have to protect their own “planet”, referring to DDT for Shunma, and TJPW for Misao (she always refers to herself as a hero protecting love and peace in TJPW, and Shunma says that he will protect the DDT ring as a hero). But I don’t know, maybe I’m missing some other nuance or meaning of 星!

There are a couple other DDT things I want to link, but I think I’ll save that for another post. I will also try to eventually link some other stuff that is not DDT, but DDT has been monopolizing more of my time/energy lately because I’ve been having to put substantially more work into it in order to follow the stories. I’m learning a lot of words, though, so it’s been good practice :blush:

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I finally had time to actually watch this, and it’s delightful! This isn’t a match, but please watch this! This video is Mr. Haku’s parting gift to us. There are (English) subtitles, so if your listening comprehension still isn’t there yet, you can still appreciate it.

Minoru Suzuki (NJPW) is going to be wrestling in DDT! He’s going to be teaming up with Maki Itoh (TJPW) and Chris Brookes (DDT), so the two of them went to visit his store.

There are actually quite a few connections between these wrestlers, though I doubt most of those connections will actively come up during the upcoming match, haha!

Suzuki is the leader of the Suzuki-gun faction in NJPW, which is a company that does not currently have any relationship with DDT, though Suzuki can wrestle in DDT if he wants because he’s a freelancer. This year, Maki Itoh actually befriended another Suzuki-gun member, Lance Archer, who is currently wrestling for AEW in America. She started off commenting on his beard (he wore it in braids that she thought resembled her own) on twitter, and then ultimately got to meet him when she was in America. Chris Brookes, too, has spent a good portion of the year flirting with El Desperado (another Suzuki-gun member) on twitter.

The Itoh Respect Army has had a lot of history as a faction, though I wasn’t there for its first iteration. Chris Brookes joined in 2019 when he teamed up with Itoh for a few one-off matches and it turned out that they had good chemistry together. They’re an especially fun tag team as a language learner because Itoh has spent the past couple years working on her English, and Chris has spent the past couple years working on his Japanese, and it’s just really fun and inspiring to me to see how far both of them have gotten.

Their opponents in their upcoming match at 2.26 Yoyogi are some other favorites of mine! The NEO Itoh Respect Army is going to be facing Eruption, which is a faction in DDT consisting of Saki Akai (the woman in my profile pic!), Kazusada Higuchi, and Yukio Sakaguchi. The match is extra special because it’s Sakaguchi’s return match from injury, and he and Suzuki have some history (it’s briefly touched on in the video above).

DDT uploaded the singles match that Sakaguchi and Suzuki had in the past. I haven’t seen this one yet, but it does appear to have Japanese commentary, and knowing both of these wrestlers, I’m sure it’s worth watching!

Sakaguchi and Suzuki are similar characters in many ways, (scary shoot fighters), but I especially enjoy them in DDT because DDT allows the wrestlers to show their sillier side, too, and I think it makes characters like this more compelling. Sakaguchi had an entire feud last year where his weakness was that his opponents could completely disarm him by being funny and he couldn’t fight back because he’d be laughing too hard.

Part of the reason why this upcoming match and the video in Suzuki’s store is so much fun because it weaves together history from NJPW, DDT, TJPW, and even touches on the time Suzuki spent in America, wrestling for AEW and various indie promotions. I think it’s fun just as a novelty in itself even if you don’t know the full history, though!

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週刊プロレス No. 2155

Because of the NJPW vs. NOAH show announcement, Tanahashi talks in his column about past interactions NOAH. Apparently once he won the GHC tag championship with Yuji Nagata while also touring for New Japan and the experience had a positive impact on his wrestling. So he notes that the point of a crossover like that isn’t just the fights but to further the development of both promotion’s wrestlers by giving them new experiences.
A funny story is when Jun Akiyama (then working for NOAH) participated in the 2003 G1 Climax against a young Tanahashi, he joked about taking Tanahashi with him back to NOAH: 「NOAHに連れて行くぞ」.
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Kenoh is sad because the match he promised would end with a quick victory went to a time limit draw, and also because NOAH apparently drew 917 people to the arena that the previous day Stardom drew 1119 people to, and as part of the main event he sees it as his personal responsibility and his failure to not have drawn more people.
They talk a little about the NOAH/NJPW show and Kenoh remarks that KENTA (who was once a big NOAH star pre-WWE) is fully a NJPW wrestler now: 「KENTAがすっかり新日本の人間っぽくなっちゃったよな。」

There’s a big report on the mass Ice Ribbon departure. This was really interesting to me since I didn’t read much detail in English when the news broke so this gives a much clearer picture.
Sounds like Risa Sera, Suzu Suzuki, Kurumi Hiiragi, Mochi Miyagi, and Akane Fujita are leaving to form a new deathmatch and hardcore focused unit named プロミネンス. Basically, it’s spinning out Risa Sera’s produced deathmatch shows in Ice Ribbon into its own independent thing, because it felt like they’d reached the limit of what they could do as part of Ice Ribbon. In an interview with Sera, she talks about how she had previously said she wanted a 10 year career and to then retire… well that would be in 2022, and it’s a much harder decision once the time actually arrives than beforehand (as you can tell from every wrestling retirement ever). And so she was talking about how she was thinking of quitting to Akane Fujita and Suzu Suzuki and they said if Sera quit, they would too. So then she floated the idea of not quitting but going independent to do what she wanted instead, and they immediately said they would join her.

「私が引退せずにやりたいことやるって言ったらどうする?」って言ったら「ついていきます」って即答だったんですよ。

They’re exploring options and offers about what exact form this new unit will take. They’re open to traditional wrestling rules as well as “D&H” (deathmatch/hardcore) but the latter is what they especially want to do.
I really hope it goes well for them! Sounds like a case where through Sera worked really hard to make as big of an impact in Ice Ribbon as she did, putting on the matches she wanted to put on. And it’s just a case of wanting to take that farther without the restriction of like, having to change Ice Ribbon’s identity or spin off a sister promotion or anything like that.

Meanwhile, Maya Yukihi is separately going independent but will still likely appear in Ice Ribbon. She says she wants to spread her name beyond Ice Ribbon, so it’s a way where she can appear in other promotions and have more control over her personal legacy and not just support Ice Ribbon’s.
(And also separately, with less fanfare, Thekla is leaving and 弓季 who I think was injured is retiring from wrestling)
Tsukasa Fujimoto says it’s definitely a shock, and you never get used to departures even over a long career, and it’s sad that plans to incorporate the wrestlers’ deathmatch interests better weren’t able to come to fruition, but she expects the remaining wrestlers to be able to support Ice Ribbon. She especially doesn’t like seeing twitter messages like “as long as Fujimoto is there it’ll be fine” since it’s not like she’ll be there forever either.
A management person says spinning off a deathmatch promotion would have been too logistically risky, and that the biggest risk about the departures is less the damage from the departures itself but more the perception of so many at once.

Giulia talks about her being decided as the partner for Konami’s last match. She says she doesn’t really have the in-ring history with her that Syuri does, but they have a complicated emotional history. It sounds like when Giulia came to Stardom, Konami would often pull pranks on her, and amid Giulia’s cold reception in Stardom at the time it was hard to tell if that was bullying or affectionate. Then when Hana Kimura passed away they shared a wordless emotional moment, and since in Giulia’s last match with Hana she promised one more match, and Konami said she would accomplish everything Hana wanted to do in her stead… it makes sense in a way for those promises to lead to this as Konami’s last match. It sounds like there’s a lot of complicated feelings involved.

Sort of interesting vignettes in the mobile app back-issue ad section. Apparently there was an AJW themed カフェテラス in the 80s called SUN族,
and Giant Baba making a wry joke poking fun at Inoki’s island match is recounted: 「宮本武蔵は巌流島で闘った後、大人になったんだよな。。。」ジャイアント馬場が巌流島決戦を皮肉る. Which I thought was sort of interesting just because I’ve heard about that weird island match, and also I don’t know really anything about 宮本武蔵 but would like to learn soon.

There’s a feature about Stardom wrestler Saya Kamitani meeting back up with Hana Matsuoka, who was in the same idol track as her but kept going with it and now is in the group HKT48.
Kamitani admits that she did feel jealousy and thought of all her failed auditions when seeing Matsuoka’s accomplishments like when she took lead on a major song, but that she wants to channel that into accomplishing a lot in wrestling by winning championships and matches. After all, it’s even the same venues idol shows run in too a lot of the time.

Genichiro Tenryu says in his column that although NJPW can just lean on the novelty of a crossover for the vs. NOAH show, they should be sure to put thought into making the card an interesting one to avoid the audience’s expectations feeling betrayed. He floats Okada/Kiyomiya as an especially interesting possibility.
Having seen the later-announced card for that show… I feel like they did not heed this advice…
Tenryu also talks about Mutoh achieving a grandslam of having won the main title and tag belts for NJPW, AJPW, and NOAH over his career, and how that’s great and all but NOAH need to really make sure that Mutoh isn’t their most prominent star going forward.

Mutoh talks in his column about awards and stuff and I glossed over that but at once point when I thought they were saying he won a music award and I researched that I found out he did a song and music video for Jumanji: Enter the Jungle??

There’s an industry column talking about ringside photography and the difficulty involved, particularly about suplexes, and how these shown are remarkable for being great photos of great suplexes (from Io Shirai and Tam Nakano) that are also portrait instead of landscape, showing a smart split-second decision on the part of the photographer.
I never really thought about it but gosh yeah, if you gave me a camera and put me at ringside and told me to take great photos I would not know where to begin at all.
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週刊プロレス No. 2156

Kenoh doesn’t approve of the recent wave of wrestler departures (except Zeus), because it’s really hard out there these days for promotions not backed by huge companies (i.e. CyberAgent and Bushi Road) and wrestlers should wait to leave until things calm down, or at least head for money/security of the larger companies themselves.

The regional venue column shows pictures of a Niigata venue with a “What’s Niigata” tourism sign out front and I don’t know how anyone can look at that and not immediately follow it up in their head with “do, gata do with it”

In AJPW, Kento Miyahara and Yuma Aoyagi won the world’s strongest tag league for the second year in a row and seem in much higher spirits than I’ve seen them in the past.


Giulia talks about when she was a guest commentator frequently while injured, and gets advice from the regular commentators. Apparently you should always look at the screen when commentating, because that’s what the audience at home sees and that’s who you’re commentating for.
The regular commentator says in general Giulia’s commentary is good - the co-existence is fun between in-ring domineering Giulia and the nicer version of her on commentary. But she should interject more often - it’s fine for wrestlers to interrupt the main commentators more.
(I agree! It’s fun to listen to her and the other guest commentators, which are pretty frequent in Stardom. Although you can definitely tell she’s not a professional at it and she doesn’t seem great at acting shocked.)

In Michinoku Pro, it’s time for the 16th 宇宙大戦争!
I definitely don’t have the context to understand what’s going on, but it sounds like last year The Great Sasuke opened a time portal to pre-Corona, so the Earth should be A-OK now, so he’s decided to recover his spaceship and go back to space, admitting finally that he is from space after denying the Baramon Twins’ assertions to that end in previous space wars.
The Baramon Twins want to stop him from doing that for the sake of peace on earth, and they’ve teamed up with Pretty Ota who has a lot of money embezzled from that kickstarter he ran a while back.
Here’s some cultural references I either got or figured out:

  • 帰ってきたシン・ウルトラまんたろう is a reference to Ultraman Taro, the upcoming Shin Ultraman, and Return of Ultraman, the joke being that (I assume) his name is Mantaro and he’s back “from America” they say.
  • Kanegon from Ultra Q. I assume Ota is dressed like that because he has money, and Kanegon is a money-themed kaiju.
  • pictograms from the olympics (they make good allies because they’re a master of every sport)
  • The Great Sasuke is dressed up as Johnny Depp from the movie Minamata for no clear reason
  • The doctor from Godzilla
  • Also, I don’t know myself what the “my spaceship is hidden on a mountain and I need to find it” is a specific reference to, but funnily enough the current Intermedia book club pick 地球星人 references that exact trope too.



The history column is very interesting this issue. It talks about what it describes as probably the most important 事件 in Japanese pro wrestling history (mentioned alongside Rikidozan’s murder as the biggest two), which happened 50 years ago on December 15, 1971: Antonio Inoki’s ousting from 日本プロレス (both the company called that, and as consequence, the Japanese pro wrestling world in general).
It sounds like the exact details are a bit murky to this day, but Inoki was snooping around the company’s finances under claims of working to reform them, and this ended up causing the management to see his actions as a coup to take control of the company. Baba and others were unwilling to back Inoki, and Inoki was expelled from the company, with the only other major promotion in Japan at the time, 国際プロレス, uninterested in employing him due to pre-existing bad blood, therefore in effect spelling the end of Antoni Inoki’s career as a wrestler in Japan. The author talks about his then-middle school impressions of how everyone was saying regrettably Inoki’s career was done.
Instead, Inoki’s response was to found New Japan Pro Wrestling the next year, which led directly to Giant Baba also breaking from 日本プロレス to found All Japan Pro Wrestling, therefore establishing the industry status quo that would persist for a very long time, even through to today 50 years later (albeit with obviously many other changes along the way).

Nanae Takahashi is leaving SEAdLINNNG, which she co-founded. She says that she was diagnosed with depression in 2017 and felt that the trials of managing the company and performing for small crowds was wearing on her heavily and causing her to lose sight of herself. She will always wrestle SEAdLINNG-style, but she wants to reconnect with who she is as a person by working for herself again.

There’s a 中澤マイケルのAEW通信 which is nice to see, recapping Hangman Page and Kenny Omega’s feud in light of Full Gear. At the end he says to watch it on FITE TV and says 「早く日本語の解説が入れられるようにボクもいろいろ尽力していきます!」


Otherwise I’ve been watching a little bit more of that wrestling history program I mentioned… It’s got footage from the 80s of old American wrestlers sharing memories about (and cutting promos on) Rikidozan to Japanese reporters, so if you want to watch Freddy Blassie talk about how Rikidozan’s in hell and too much of a coward to fight him again, it’s good for that!
It was also interesting seeing Rikidozan’s wrestling venue - I knew that guy was extremely popular but I feel like seeing that puts it extra in perspective.

I tend to take the first week of the year off as a tradition that’s ostensibly because it’s a nice way to start the year but goes back to wanting the time to stay up late watching Wrestle Kingdom and then recuperate after…
So even though I’m not really excited for this year’s version, I’m doing a bad job so far of avoiding spoilers on twitters for year-end shows, and I’m definitely 100% not going to try to stay up to watch anything live… hopefully I’ll have some fun with wrestling anyway at the start of the new year!

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I kept meaning to post about the upcoming NJPW and NOAH crossover show, but kept not finding the time, haha! You probably know more about the companies’ history with each other than I do, but I found this article really helpful in contextualizing NOAH’s own history as well as where NJPW fit into that (since I knew that that partnership didn’t… exactly go well for NOAH the first time around). Warning to anyone reading this: NOAH is a company with a lot of bleak history, so there’s a pretty vivid description of a tragic death and its aftermath. But despite their misfortunes, NOAH has managed to stay afloat, and they continue to tell compelling stories.

I think this crossover show might be a good point for new fans of either NJPW or NOAH to jump in, since the companies are expecting new fans coming from the other promotion, and there’s a lot of recent promotional material out there introducing the wrestlers.

Also, the Pro Wrestling NOAH English account compiled a list of match recommendations, all of which can be watched on youtube for free! Some of the videos have English commentary, and some have Japanese commentary.

Of that list, the one I most recommend is Katsuhiko Nakajima vs Go Shiozaki from November 22, 2021. I’m so delighted that they uploaded this! This is one one of my favorite matches from 2021, and is largely responsible for getting me into NOAH. I’ve written literally thousands of words on this match, but I’ll try to be a little more concise :sweat_smile:.

The story behind this one is a little complicated, haha, but the core of it is that Shiozaki and Nakajima were tag partners (as AXIZ) for a few years, until Nakajima turned on him at the end of summer 2021. So going into this match, Shiozaki is dealing with the ongoing pain of a broken heart as well as a lot of physical pain due to lingering injuries he accumulated over the course of the year while he essentially carried NOAH on his back for the entire first year of the pandemic.

It’s a long match, with some brutal kicks and chops, but it’s extremely compelling, and the wrestlers have a lot of chemistry with each other.

NOAH is actually just about to run this same match again on their New Year’s show, Go Shiozaki vs Katsuhiko Nakajima with the GHC title on the line, only this time around, Nakajima is the champion, and Shiozaki is the challenger.

I actually have mostly positive feelings on the card, haha! I think I like it better than many other fans, but then again, I’m a fan of tag matches, and my expectations were more in line with the kind of matches at CyberFight Festival, so this was about what I was expecting.

The match I’m most excited for is Kongoh vs Los Ingobernables de Japon, which is probably the most fun faction matchup they could have done, considering that both of those factions have probably the strongest group identity in their companies (Suzuki-gun in NJPW would’ve also been a good choice, but I think putting them elsewhere is fine, especially considering that most NOAH fans probably don’t have especially positive memories of Suzuki-gun in NOAH…).

The big disappointment to me, though, is Tana and Okada vs Kiyomiya and Mutoh. If they’d swapped out Mutoh for Shiozaki, that would’ve been an absolutely amazing match up!! I see so many parallels between Tana and Shiozaki (especially in terms of ace figures who are known for carrying their company through hard times), and of course there are plenty between Okada and Kiyomiya, too. Plus then the complicated dynamics between Tana and Okada, and between Kiyomiya and Shiozaki, with all four having some claim to the “ace” label.

But alas, NJPW and NOAH seem a lot higher on Mutoh than I am personally (I did enjoy that music video you shared, though, haha), so I just get to be bitter about what could have been. In any case, I think the show will be fun, and there will probably be plenty of compelling interactions between the wrestlers up and down the card, and I bet there’s a chance some of this could spin off into further storylines down the road.

Regarding other stuff:

It’s interesting to hear a little more about the Ice Ribbon departures! The women who left have been doing things with GanPro, and have an upcoming appearance at DDT that seems like it’ll be loads of fun. I’m crossing my fingers for some sort of TJPW crossover next, especially since Misao, Hikari, and Nao all apparently want to do more hardcore wrestling.

And yeah, I have so much respect for wrestling photographers! One of my favorite fan photographers, Koito, unfortunately deleted her account earlier this year, largely because she got tired of people stealing her photos. I always loved to see her photographs after the show because it was such a different viewpoint of the wrestlers, and she had a really clear artistic vision with the shots she chose to take and share.

Michinoku Pro sounds absolutely delightful, haha! I don’t know a whole lot about them, but they seem really fun. Amazing job catching all of those references!

And I’m glad that Michael Nakazawa was able to publish a piece on AEW! I hope they’re able to get Japanese commentary at some point, especially if they keep doing more and more with Japanese promotions and wrestlers. Nak’s a great person to talk about the Kenny and Hangman story, though, because I bet he has a lot of insight into what Kenny was trying to do with it, since they’re really close friends. Out of curiosity, does it mention or allude to the Golden Lovers at all? That was heavy subtext all throughout the story, though it only directly came up at the very end.

I actually just found out that apparently NJPW wanted to get Nak in 2019, not to have him wrestle, but to have him basically as support for Kota Ibushi. So he ended up sort of having to choose between Kenny and Ibushi, and he chose AEW because they had approached him first.

I completely understand wanting to take the first week of the year off to watch Wrestle Kingdom live, haha! I’ve been fortunate enough that I’ve been able to stay up late the past couple years without needing to work the next morning. I’m also not especially pumped about the card this year (I’m actually more excited about the NOAH/NJPW show than Wrestle Kingdom proper), but I’ll probably tune in just because, though I’m going to be skipping several of the matches.

Thanks as always for sharing these summaries!

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I think it should definitely be a fun show, and tag matches are fun (and surely much much easier for two companies to wrangle together politically than singles), and LIJ/Kongo should be especially interesting. But I was hoping for at least one big marquee singles match or two, especially since I heard it’s not going to njpwworld until a week later or something, but you can buy it as a ppv earlier. Since I’ll be off anyway it would be a fun time to go the earlier option! But the tag matches alone probably wouldn’t be enough to win me over, especially if I’m already wrestle-addled from ittens yon and go :sweat_smile:

I think it’s just really tough to get into a wrestler so late in his career like that… so much of what makes a wrestler is accumulated mystique and pomp from the years and decades they’ve been consistently important and it’s tough for that to be effective without having been a part of it. Mutoh doesn’t seem like he’s completely falling apart (yet) but I have to imagine he’s probably not going completely the way he did that made him famous… I wonder what it’ll be like in a generation’s time when like, Tanahashi is getting to that point career/age-wise…

It’s pretty short and picks up starting with AEW’s formation, but Ibushi is mentioned in explaining barbs Page traded with Omega (something like, roughly, “you were my tag partner but you’re not up to my level” → “didn’t you once have a tag partner who thought you weren’t up to his level?” → “(he was alluding to Kota Ibushi)” )

That should be really fun! I’ll have to keep an eye out for them on Wrestle Universe - I’ve only watched a tiny bit of Ice Ribbon but I’ve seen was enough to make me a big Risa Sera and Suzu Suzuki fan, so it would be really neat to see them on a site that’s more accessible!

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This is true, haha! Then again, Jun Akiyama managed to win me over. I feel like I’d like Mutoh more if he spent more time chopping pop stars at a concert, teaming up with Yoshihiko the blow-up doll, posting English-subtitled videos on youtube where he tries to talk to his cat, and wearing a leopard print thong beneath his gear to wrestle Dieno. Well, that and I think Akiyama also genuinely wants to spend the rest of his career trying to help out younger wrestlers (he taught his jumping knee to Takeshita, and just gave his old ring jacket to Tetsuya Endo), whereas Mutoh might be helping out younger wrestlers like Kiyomiya, but he has a really grating way of doing it. I guess he’s probably heeling, but, well, it’s working on me :sweat_smile:.

And thanks! That was the part I’d hoped he had mentioned! That’s the only direct time that Ibushi has come up in that story, but it was right before Kenny and Hangman’s title match, and it basically revealed the entire core insecurity that had driven Kenny this entire time (he’s talked in shoot interviews about how the Golden Lovers story was sort of the blueprint for part of his story with Hangman. Not the “lovers” part, but the tag team struggling with feelings of insecurity and not wanting to live in each other’s shadow. But that line was the first time it had been addressed in kayfabe!). I’m glad that that part made it in, haha!

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It took me a week, but I finished translating the recap for DDT’s last big show of the year, Never Mind 2021 in Yoyogi on December 25, in time for their next show! Lots going on in this one. I’ll skip to the stuff that especially stood out to me.

One of the things that confused me a bit was this line from Daisuke Sasaki after he defeated Masahiro Takanashi. He said: “高梨、テメエに勝つためなら、足の1本くらいくれてやる。” I translated it as basically: “Takanashi, I’d give up one of my legs if I had to in order to beat you.” As a sentence, it makes sense to me, but it seemed a bit odd for his character, so I wasn’t quite sure that I’d read it correctly.

(Sidenote: One of the last things Mr. Haku translated for us was Emi Sakura’s video message of support for Masa before the match. This didn’t make it into the official recap, but she essentially said that the Universal title could open the door to an AEW appearance, and I thought that was cool! The Universal title would be a great one to take overseas.)

I liked this line from Minoru Fujita, Sasaki’s next challenger: “ただ、地獄の近所まで行って引き返してきたので、生命力は強いと思いますので、タイトルマッチでその辺を見せられればいい。” I just really liked “I went to the neighborhood of hell and returned”. I’m pretty sure he’s referring to the fact that he just spent the past couple months in the ICU. I’m glad he’s doing better now, and I hope he stays in good health.

Tetsuya Endo and Jun Akiyama’s new/old unit, Burning, wrestled their first match as a full faction. There was a very sweet moment during their entrance when Jun Akiyama took his old entrance robe from the earlier incarnation of the faction and put it on Endo.

DDT actually uploaded this one to youtube! Here it is. It has Japanese commentary! It’s a fun tag match that mostly exists to establish the new faction, and it even includes their entrance for once (though it looks like The37KAMIINA got theirs cut, haha, I’m guessing because they use copyrighted music).

I absolutely loved this line from Jun Akiyama: “遠藤哲哉が立ち上げたBURNING、これからまた違う歴史を紡いでいく。” The word (つむ)ぐ was a new one for me, but the word’s primary meaning appears to be spinning yarn. As a fiber artist, I love learning this! It looks like it’s a level 59 WK word, so it’ll be quite a while yet before it shows up in my reviews, haha!

I loved that line because I thought it was quite beautiful, honestly. I think it’s more beautiful in Japanese, but I translated it as basically: “Tetsuya Endo launched this version of BURNING, and from now on, we are once again weaving a different history.” Wrestling is constantly, well, repeating the past, and wrestlers are always bringing back old gear, old factions, and old moves. I believe this is the fourth incarnation of Burning, so it’s already been brought back on multiple occasions and has looked different every time. Yet, all of those older versions of it get woven into the same fabric that is the faction’s identity, even as the actual makeup of it looks different and shifts and changes over time.

Of course, the match I enjoyed the most was the one I was most looking forward to: Minoru Suzuki’s return to DDT, teaming with Chris Brookes and Maki Itoh. I talked about the match itself in my study log, but I only just now got around to reading (part of) the backstage comments, haha, and they’re pretty funny!

Basically, Suzuki was annoyed at Brookes and Itoh because their team essentially only won because of him, and Itoh got mad and told him to acknowledge how much effort she put into the match, because she endured a lot of offense from the opposing team, and Suzuki said that if she wants acknowledgement of her effort, she’ll have to spend 10,000 more yen in Piledriver.

In another part of the comments, Itoh remarks that the Itoh Respect Army won, and she promises to do her best the next time they team up. Suzuki says that Suzuki-gun is the best (“鈴木軍、イチバーン!”) and Itoh responds that the Itoh Respect Army is better ( “伊藤リスペクト軍団が一番だ!”). The transcription leaves it inconclusive whether or not they actually became friends, haha, though apparently in the full version of the comment, Itoh gets angry at him for refusing to wear her merch, and says he’s fired from the Itoh Respect Army.

There was one match with a Super Sasadango Machine trademark powerpoint presentation. I was excited for this because 1) powerpoints in a wrestling show are really funny, and 2) text onscreen means I have a better chance of understanding what’s going on. I tried my best to follow along, but I missed the core premise of the powerpoint (which Mr. Haku helpfully summed up), which is that the entire purpose of the match was apparently because Shinya Aoki wanted to confess his love for Yumiko Hotta, whom he and Sasadango were teaming with against DDT’s most NSFW faction, the Pheromones. On paper, this was a match for the Pheromones’ 6-man tag team championship belts, but Aoki and Sasadango did not care at all about the titles.

The match is, well, a Pheromones match, so there was a lot of 尻 (while translating the match description, occasionally I would ask myself “is this a double entendre?” and I’d assume “probably yes”). Oh, one thing I did figure out while doing these translations is that 式 is the word used for “style” in terms like Gotch-style piledriver! That’s good to know. I could not figure out フェロトッツォ, though. It’s presumably the name for the European clutch (合体式のヨーロピアンクラッチ) that Dieno and Yuki Iino beat Sasadango with. I’m guessing that it’s a Pheromones (フェロモンズ) pun on something, but I can’t figure out the second half of the word.

I did manage to catch after the match that Hotta agreed to be in a tag team with Aoki, if not a relationship. I assumed this meant she wasn’t interested in a romantic relationship with him, haha, but then when I translated the recap, I realized that the joke was actually that despite saying they were just a tag team, they were already pretty much acting like a couple.

I didn’t watch the NOAH show that happened a couple nights later, but I did see this hilariously surreal clip from the show featuring Kendo Kashin (one of the very few comedy wrestlers in an otherwise very serious promotion) after his match, with Jingle Bell Rock playing in the background, and sure enough, there’s Aoki and Hotta in the audience, sitting together and watching the show.

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It’s been a very busy week for wrestling! Some good news is that one fan started doing live translation threads on twitter for DDT! If this translator is able to keep it up, I’ll add the twitter account to the DDT info at the beginning of this thread. So far, it’s more or less the equivalent of the kind of unofficial work Mr. Haku did, though this fan isn’t doing full translations of the post-match comments like he did (only the highlights). It absolutely makes DDT a lot more accessible, though. Sadly, I don’t know if this fan translator is also planning on tackling TJPW.

I considered whether or not I wanted to continue trying to translate the recaps if we have better translation again, but I’ve been learning loads of vocabulary from them, and I like having a more complete version of the post-match comments, because I think it’s important for conveying the characters’ unique voices. Plus, I’ve learned that we really can’t rely on DDT translation continuing to exist, so it’s a good idea for me to do what I can to improve my Japanese as much as possible in the meantime in case we lose another translator.

So, all of that said, I barely managed to finish translating the recap for DDT’s 1.3 show before their next show happened. I thought this show was funny because the full official title of it seems to be “DDT25周年開幕スペシャル!全席3000円興行!!” Very snappy :sweat_smile:

Something that tripped me up this time was trying to figure out a few move names. I’m bad at moves in English, so trying to figure out the Japanese names for them is hard. I wasn’t quite sure what a 飛びつき逆十字 and a ワキ固め were in this sentence here: “青木は飛びつき逆十字、ワキ固めで攻め立てるも、逃れた竹下は場外にエスケープ。” In another match, I also got confused by エビ固め. Here’s the context sentence for that one: “雪妃と赤井は火花を散らしたが、最後はエビ固めの応酬から高梨がオクラホマロールで勝俣を丸め込んで、雪妃組が勝利。” I found someone’s blog post about it, but it wasn’t terribly helpful, haha. A couple of my friends said that it just refers to a pin attempt.

My favorite thing that happened on this show happened after the main event. Takeshita defeated current Extreme champ Shinya Aoki, and then he talked about how he will be going into DDT’s 25th anniversary show as KO-D champion. At this point, Tetsuya Endo walked out and challenged him. Endo said, “俺しかいないだろ” (“it can only be me”), and it made me really emotional, because it’s basically exactly what was said about Kenny Omega and Kota Ibushi’s 2012 singles match for that same title, on DDT’s 15th anniversary in Budokan Hall. The Japanese commentary team even mentioned Kenny and Ibushi’s names, though I don’t know what exactly was said about them.

I loved this line from DDT president Sanshiro Takagi after the event: “25年の歴史のなかで、今のDDTは竹下、遠藤で回ってると思ってるんで。” I translated it essentially as “In DDT’s 25 years of history, it has revolved around Takeshita and Endo.” Because it’s true! Takeshita and Endo are really the heart of the company today, and every time I think about that fact, it makes me emotional, because they were essentially Kenny and Ibushi’s successors.

The Golden Lovers dropped the DDT tag titles to Takeshita and Endo before they left DDT in 2014 (at this point, Takeshita and Endo were still a tag team), and that match was explicitly about the Golden Lovers essentially entrusting the company to Takeshita and Endo (Ibushi still had a DDT contract at the time, as he was the first wrestler to have an unprecedented dual contract with two companies, but that didn’t last very long because he got really burned out and ended up resigning from both).

A fun fact for me personally is the first DDT show I ever watched live was Wrestle Peter Pan on July 15, 2019. This was the last singles match between Takeshita and Endo, though I actually didn’t watch that match, haha! I stopped watching the show after the single light tube deathmatch for the Extreme title between Asuka and Akito (linked in the opening posts of the thread!), because the rest of the DDT show overlapped NJPW, and I wanted to watch the G1 instead. So I’m looking forward to finally getting to see a singles match between them, now that I’ve come to actually appreciate their characters in their own right in addition to all of their history.

Regarding the rest of DDT’s January 3 show, this line from Sakaguchi was a little confusing to me: “口だけかと思ってたけど。根性、覚悟、うちらを食ってでも上に登っていくっていう気持ち。” From what I could tell, he was essentially saying: “I thought you were all talk. But you have guts and determination and the will to climb to the top even if you have to eat us.” I was confused by うちらを食って, haha, but as far as I can tell, it’s just “eat us”. I guess he was complimenting Okatani’s willingness to fight hard even against the members of the faction he desperately wanted to join.

The other thing I want to note is I liked what Maya Yukihi said after her match with Saki Akai: “沙希ちゃんが紅一点で守ってきたDDTの華やかなステージ、踏み荒らす気はないけど、荒らすかもしれないな!” The verb 踏み荒らす meaning essentially “trample down” was some nice evocative imagery. I translated this as roughly: “Saki-chan has been protecting DDT’s gorgeous stage as the lone woman, and though I don’t have any intentions of trampling it, I might just damage it.”

Interestingly, machine translation had a difficult time with 紅一点. Saki Akai is currently the only woman wrestler signed to DDT, and that word refers to a lone woman among a group of men (according to the Japanese dictionary I have installed onto Yomichan, it’s apparently derived from a Wang Anshi poem about pomegranates, and refers to a single crimson flower blooming in the midst of all of the greenery). Saki objected to Maya singling out her gender, saying that she’s in the same position as all of the other wrestlers here. She also said that she welcomed changes to DDT, but made sure to add that if there’s anything that she thinks is even a little bit outside the bounds, she will simply crush it.

The story gets a little more interesting in the next show, because we find out a little more about Maya’s backstory, but I’ll talk about that once I’ve translated the next recap!

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逆エビ固め I know from the pro wrestling dictionary I read a while back - it’s a boston crab!
It’s a classic common pro wrestling submission hold, so for example it’s the young lions’ go-to finisher to convey they are learning the basics.
Pretty sure it’s called a shrimp hold just because the person taking it looks sort of like an upturned shrimp (so dropping the 逆 and just saying エビ固め would just be the same hold I think). 固め here I figure is sort of like “lock” in English wrestling move names.
Anyway, it’s a memorable one because it’s such a common move, and because it’s funny English and Japanese looked at the same technique and came up with different marine life comparisons somehow!
image

ワキ固め by the same token would just be… armpit lock! Wikipedia suggests this comes from Judo and is the same thing English wrestling commentators call a Fujiwara Armbar
image

飛びつき逆十字 I didn’t know but looking at it, 飛びつき just means like, flying onto someone, and 逆十字 looks like “reverse cross.” It looks like 逆十字 is this kind of armbar:
image
So I would guess the whole thing is an armbar takedown like when the other wrestler is standing, and you jump on them and take them down into an armbar.

I’d recommend google image search for figuring these out! It can give you an idea and you might be able to spot the move from that, and also when I was doing that it often came up with a wikipedia page in Japanese that I could set to English to get more info too.

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Thank you! I read that エビ固め can refer to a boston crab, but it also seems like it could be used more broadly, so I wasn’t exactly sure what it meant! I suppose I could go back and rewatch the end of the match and see what moves they exchanged, haha.

Thank you so much for helping with the others, too!

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I ended up checking the match footage, and I believe エビ固め was referring to this:

So a boston crab being a reverse/inverse of this makes sense, because in a boston crab, your chest is against the mat, and with this hold, your back is against the mat! However, I’m not sure what the English name for the above move is :sweat_smile:.

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Back with another DDT translation! But first, here’s a DDT match from the January 3 show, haha! This one wasn’t mentioned in the recap, but I think the story to it is pretty self-explanatory: Chris Brookes, a horrible man, faces Pokotan, DDT’s beloved mascot. There’s even Japanese commentary!

Translating the January 7 show was fun! Also a little confusing, haha! my main question in this one came from Daisuke Sasaki’s comments leading up to his title match with Minoru Fujita.

Here was how the recap described it:
バックステージで佐々木は「あれが藤田ミノルだ。俺が望んだ闘いだ。俺の何個も上を行ってる汚い野郎だ。コンディションがどうとか、たぶんあれはウソだ。アイツは昔より強くなってる。自信なんかない。今日でさらに自信なくなった」と三味線とも思える弱気発言を連発していた。

The first thing that really confused me was “と三味線とも思える弱気発言を連発していた”. My best guess was that it essentially said: “He rapidly fired off a series of cowardly statements like a shamisen”. A friend of mine said she’d seen that same expression before, and that she thought my interpretation was basically correct, but I couldn’t quite wrap my head around the grammar in this, so I just tried my best.

The second thing that confused me was that I translated a few lines of this as Sasaki saying, “He’s probably lying about his condition. He’s stronger than ever”, but when I went to look at Ash’s (brief) translation of the comment on twitter, they interpreted it completely differently! Ash translated it with a completely different tone, and read it as Sasaki saying that Fujita was lying about Sasaki’s condition, not his own.

It’s one of those cases where it could go either way, because Fujita has talked about his own condition being poor, as well as saying that Sasaki is in poor condition, but the way the recap spun it, Sasaki seems to be afraid of him. I listened to it, and as far as I could tell, he didn’t say アイツ in the actual video, so I’m assuming the recap added it for clarity to avoid this exact problem, haha.

I think Ash might’ve just translated the text in the tweet without watching the full video and ended up misinterpreting it, but I’m also inclined to doubt my own translation, since I’m far less experienced :sweat_smile:. In any case, Sasaki’s character being how he is, either interpretation feels possible to me.

But the coolest thing that happened on this show was after Saki Akai and Maya Yukihi’s mixed tag match. Maya revealed that the reason she wanted to become a wrestler in the first place was because she was a DDT fan, and she met with Sanshiro Takagi about joining DDT, but he turned her down because he didn’t feel that DDT had the resources to train a woman wrestler. Shortly after that, though, Saki debuted in DDT. This was eight years ago. Maya went on to make her career in joshi wrestling, while Saki made a name for herself in DDT. But instead of respecting and admiring Saki, Maya resented her and felt ugly jealousy.

In response to this, Takagi apologized for his shortsightedness when Maya first wanted to wrestle for DDT, and he honored her request for a singles match with Saki by booking it for… DDT’s 25th anniversary show in Ryogoku!

It’s a really compelling story, honestly, and despite being a fan of Saki, I’m 100% behind Maya here. I hope she wins the match, but regardless of the result, I hope she finally gets to become part of DDT like she had wanted to be eight years ago. I think it’s a cool story for DDT to do for their anniversary show because it acknowledges their own shortcomings with regards to a lack of featuring women’s wrestling (they’re leagues ahead of many other companies, but they could’ve taken more strides and done it much earlier).

It’s also cool because of how long-term it is. Eight years, stretching back to the beginning of both women’s careers! I think we can all relate to Maya getting turned down from being able to live her dream, and carving out her own path for herself before finally fighting her way back to where she wanted to be at the very beginning.

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I didn’t watch the entire thing, but wow that mascot match. Every time I stumble onto one of these videos I inch closer to being a fan, haha. I’d imagine this is the first match where someone’s head fell off… but then again, these keep surprising me so much that I might be wrong!

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I’m glad you watched part of it, haha! If you haven’t seen it yet, I highly recommend checking out the single light tube deathmatch I linked in the match recommendations post at the beginning of this thread (I should add more to that list :sweat_smile:)! It’s not a “real” deathmatch, since the goal is not to break the light tube, but it’s really tense and entertaining nonetheless!

And Pokotan’s head coming off is a bit of a running joke in his matches, haha. There’s a small thrill in that moment because the fans enjoy getting a glimpse of whichever wrestler happens to be playing him, so I think they do it on purpose. Of course, everyone treats it as if it never happened because it breaks kayfabe, but the crowd reacts to it every time nonetheless.

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I did see the light tube match! There’s some phenomenal acting/choreographing talent that goes into a lot of this stuff. I get worried I’m going to break one of those by just touching it, haha.

Is it customary for the mascot to lose too, or does it vary? Cause I’ve gotta say, it’s cruel to put up a mascot and not have them win. I don’t care about the normal guy in this context! :stuck_out_tongue:

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It definitely varies, haha! The video stops before this part, but after Chris beats Pokotan with such cruelty, Yoshihiko the blow-up doll shows up in the balcony and then leaps down from there and attacks Chris. So the horrible man gets his comeuppance! Yoshihiko and Chris then went on to have a fantastic singles match that I’ll absolutely link if they upload it. I love unconventional matches like that because they really take a lot of skill to do, and they’re so creative! DDT is fun because it’s a company where Pokotan and Yoshihiko and such can absolutely win titles and get their big moments. Even though they often lose, they’ll get their occasional chance to shine, too :blush:

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思える is potential for 思う, and も is often like, “even”, emphasizing or broadening the range encompassed, so
三味線とも思える taken literally be like, “you could even think it was a shamisen.” Or worded more simply, “like a shamisen.”
It seems like a shamisen is played pretty quickly with a bit of a rapid-fire staccato rhythm from the clacking of the bachi, so the 弱気発言 were 連発していた’d in that kind of a way.
So I agree with your friend you got the idea! I think it would be very difficult to phrase it in a natural way in English and keep the shamisen simile…

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