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

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」.

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.


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.

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!


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!

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

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:
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:

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.


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!


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…

Wrestle Kingdom 16 thoughts

I did end up enjoying Wrestle Kingdom! Especially the first night.
I managed to watch it without staying up late, seeing spoilers, or getting too drunk, by watching the preliminary matches on the morning of the 4th with breakfast, the midcard in the afternoon with lunch (hawaiian barbecue!) and the last few matches in the late evening with beer. Not a bad way to do it!
I thought Shibata’s match (Ren Narita impressed me and Shibata is wild), the tag championship match, El Desperado / Takahashi (a good example of a very good match despite not really having wild giffable moments like some of their others), the Stardom match, and the KENTA/Tanahashi No DQ match (ouch! And a super high fly flow!) were all major highlights.
And I honestly loved the main event of the first night. I think all I’m really looking for in a wrestling match story is being able to tie it to like, big broad emotional beats, and Takagi embodying “it’s 2022 and we’ve got a new belt and we gotta move forward even if things kind of suck” vs. Okada “let’s just pretend all of this never happened and go back to how it was before” felt big and archetypal in a way I was able to get drawn up in. And Okada’s doing Rainmakers again! And Takagi immediately broke out of every Money Clip!

I would certainly have been happier if Takagi had won - but I do think there’s some smart poetry in having Okada take that moment in the Dome to say goodbye to the old belt and accept the new one (waaaay better outcome ultimately than if he had stuck to reinstating the old, I think). And I mean – I started watching NJPW in 2017, so on some level “Okada’s IWGP Champion” can’t help but inspire a little bit of silly “all is right with the world” style hope. I can’t really imagine in practice it will rival that out-of-this-world championship run of his back then and revitalize my interest in the promotion, but it’s easy “I want to believe” territory for sure.
As for the Ospreay match… at least he’s a full-on heel I guess? I felt nothing.

A big drawback I thought though is can they really not figure out anything else to do with non-Ospreay United Empire members beyond “special” singles matches that they lose for the second year in a row?
I would have liked to see maybe like, one of them fight Ishii instead of EVIL for the NEVER belt or something. Or if only they had another championship to contend for… something with a cool lineage and history and the IWGP name… like something that might be fought for between continents or something…

Stardom thoughts

I felt a bit bad because the year-ending Stardom shows got put to the side for Wrestle Kingdom, but it’s really only because JANUARY 4TH is such a big important date that it’s fun to make a giant deal about, and I know the show will immediately be up. Whereas I don’t keep up with Stardom’s schedule enough to avoid twitter until the show gets posted, so I knew all the results by the time I got around to watching Dream Queendom.
It was still really really good though! I might have to try to make the effort to make their shows into an event for myself down the line, because I thought it deserved it as much or more than Wrestle Kingdom. I especially really liked Tam asking for the belt after the match only to tie it around Saya’s waist and all of the main event.
I haven’t seen too much actual shows since then, but the news is interesting! The new additions to Donna del Mondo I wasn’t expecting, but are intriguing! I think I remember Mirai impressing me the first TJP show I watched, and I know of Thekla a little from Ice Ribbon and saw her talk about watching Female Prisoner Scorpion with Giulia and singing the theme song on the road with her which sounds like a grand old time .

Momo’s heel turn at Osaka Super Wars is also interesting! I hope it works out for her! She always seemed kind of pissed off in the ring and so far at least it seems like she’s having fun in the role so hopefully that’s promising. And the change probably gives Utami Hayashishita a position of authority to have even without the belt, so that makes sense.

Kinda weird how many character turns in Stardom are based around convoluted Oedotai stipulations though. In kayfabe do they have any incentive to not just keep converting people to the dark side?? Seems like it’s worked out great for them so far!

週刊プロレス No. 2157
I didn’t get an e-mail about new issues arriving for a few weeks - I guess because of the new year, and I think the magazine itself might have taken a week off in there too as this is called a 合併号 spanning two weeks on the listed date (although it’s the same size as normal). So without the incentive to keep up with the subscription, I put off reading this for a while until this week the two next issues arrived at once. It’s also a pretty routine issues, and feels like old news after the year-end shows, so I didn’t read it as closely as maybe I should have, but here it is!

Shingo Takagi has an interview about winning MVP, looking back on his year (I forgot how the first half of the year was mostly down for him, but it certainly bounced back in the latter half), and the upcoming fight with NOAH.

In Tanahshi’s column looking back on 2021, he forgets who he fought on January 4th in the Tokyo Dome, and the interviewer also has to look it up before remembering it was O-Khan. Ouch.

Kenoh talks about Kiyomiya in his column, and says that it was good for Kiyomiya that Mutoh came back when he did because it forced the domesticated, coddled-as-a-future-ace Kiyomiya to fend for himself more and come back stronger. He says though that he needs to find something distinctive - the wrestlers that really stick in people’s minds have imitatable poses (Like say… Kenoh’s!) and catchphrases and moves and stuff. Nothing like that comes to mind yet for Kiyomiya.

Giulia looks back on 2021 as well. The hair vs. hair match was really this year? That feels way longer ago to me for some reason… Her column’s gonna continue at least into next year, so that’s nice.

Here’s a fun game: guess what the people in this ad are supposed to be reacting to! I bet you can’t!


A horse race.

宇宙大戦 16 meanwhile looks like it was a hell of a thing!

I’m blurring this one because it’s lewd


I think this is a Drive My Car reference

A memorial service was held for the 58th anniversary of Rikidozan’s death.
Something I genuinely really appreciate about wrestling is that masked wrestlers still wear their masks even on the most solemn of occasions.

The costume column is about Stardom’s recent very tall newcomer, Lady C!
She’s a former home-ec teacher, and after her sudden debut led to other plans falling through, she’s ended up making her costumes herself! Inspirations include the anime アイドリッシュセブン, and WWE wrestler Sasha Banks.

There’s an ad for a book about sociological lessons seen through the lens of wrestling.

The business column at the back is from an interview with a NJPW official. He kayfabes an interesting response to people complaining online about House of Torture’s constant interference:

In a couple of places in the magazine I saw the word 収束 in reference to コロナ as a thing that was tentatively happening or might happen soon. That seems… optimistic, in retrospect.

Oh - P.S., but I don’t remember much language-wise from Wrestle Kingdom, except I learned the word for folding chair from the US championship match! パイプ椅子! Surprised that hadn’t come up for me before, honestly… It’s one of those interesting words where the English word and the Japanese word both latched onto a completely different distinctive feature about the thing in question, which is fun.


I finished translating the recap for DDT’s January 22 show! Some really good stuff in this one, and also some confusing stuff, at least for my current level of skill :sweat_smile:.

They actually uploaded the match that was most interesting to me from this show! This is Chris Brookes & Saki Akai vs Soma Takao & Maya Yukihi. Saki and Maya’s feud is the main point of this match, which I’ve already spent a lot of time talking about. Something interesting happened at the end of this that I didn’t even notice until I was doing the translation. There’s no commentary (English or Japanese) for this one, sorry!

The story they’re telling with Maya and Saki is actually probably my favorite feud in wrestling at the moment. I love how every single time they fight, it drags out more and more deeply hidden feelings from Maya.

This time, after the match, Maya reveals that she had dreamed of winning the Rookie of the Year Award the year she debuted, but then she broke a bone, broke her heart, and couldn’t achieve her wild dream. She went on to watch Saki Akai win the Rookie of the Year Award, after Saki got the job with DDT that Maya had been unable to get. Once again, Saki had everything she wanted.

And here was the line that stopped me in my tracks while I was translating: “そして新人賞という技で今日負けました。” In this match, not only did Maya lose, she specifically lost to the move that Saki had named the Rookie of the Year Award.

Moments like that really show the true beauty of wrestling as a storytelling medium, I feel.

In other news, Minoru Fujita has actually got me rooting for Daisuke Sasaki to win their upcoming title match, because Fujita is acting extremely overconfident, and Sasaki is acting extremely pathetic. Fujita also pulled out what I believe are some gambling metaphors? I had a hard time figuring out how to translate them, because I don’t understand gambling even in English, haha, and he seems to be invoking a concept that we don’t really have an equivalent for.

Fujita said, “今日の勝利で確変にまた入ったので。あとは後楽園で次の当たりを待つだけ。” The first sentence immediately threw me off because I couldn’t figure out what he meant with 確変(かくへん). Yomichan gave me the extremely helpful definition of “stochastic variable” or “random variable”, and my monolingual dictionary didn’t have anything for it. Google told me that it’s an abbreviation of 確率変動, so I went to the wikipedia page in the hopes of finding an English version of the article to help me understand the concept, but had no luck.

I have absolutely no idea how to actually translate it, haha, but I think I understand his metaphor, at least. This site had a short description that gave me the gist. Basically, when a machine goes into the 確率変動(かくりつへんどう) state, the probability of winning a jackpot is increased. Fujita is saying that with today’s victory, he has once again entered this state, so therefore he is more likely to win the “jackpot” in Korakuen Hall.

In any case, I was proud of myself for figuring all of that out!

The other thing that threw me off was a couple of Danshoku Dieno’s lines. Here’s part of what he said: “そのタイミングがなぜ今なのか? 逆に問おう。何で決められなきゃいけないんだ。決めた瞬間が一歩目だ。それが今だ。タッグリーグ? 優勝だけが優れた価値観だという思い込みこそひっくり返してやる。まずは世界の青木真也をシングルマッチのタイトル戦で破れば、飯野の偉大な一歩目になる。”

There were too many new verb forms for me in this: “何で決められなきゃいけないんだ。” I tried my best to figure it out, and ended up interpreting it as essentially, “If nothing can be decided, it’s pointless.” Basically, Dieno started out asking why now is the time (for him to declare that Yuki Iino is aiming for the top in DDT), then flipped the question, saying that making the decision/setting the match is the first step.

The other line that I kind of got a bit lost in was this one: “優勝だけが優れた価値観だという思い込みこそひっくり返してやる。” I ended up translating it as basically “I’m going to overturn the assumption that winning it is the only thing that matters.” But the sentence was a little long for me, so there were parts that I couldn’t quite figure out how to break down. My translation was in line with Dramatic DDT’s, so I felt like I probably at least got it in the ballpark, haha!

Sidenote: the Pheromones won second place for Best Tag Team in the Net Pro Wrestling Awards for 2021 (unlike shupro’s awards and many other wrestling awards, these ones are voted on by fans, so they aren’t kayfabed). I was kind of surprised by that! I think they won an indie award, too, so they’re clearly pretty popular in Japan.

I always enjoy the Net Pro Wrestling Awards because I feel like they can be revealing. It was interesting seeing that AEW has climbed the ranks for best promotion and made it to number 5, despite the relative lack of media coverage in Japan. It also made me happy to see Hiragana Muscle at 10 (and 4 on the list of best shows)! I’m glad to see Stardom and TJPW doing pretty well, too. Both of them beat AJPW and Dragon Gate. NJPW still has the lead, but the gap between them and NOAH seems to be narrowing, and NOAH was right on their tail this year…

There are a handful of miscellaneous other matches I want to share that just got uploaded to youtube, but there are enough of them, I thought I better save them for another post!

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A little language support, if it helps, but you really are doing well I think!

決められなきゃいけない - a contraction of 決められなくてはいけない, one of the many “if not X, that’s no good” forms that’s a main way to convey “must” in Japanese. So, “must decide.”
The intense amount of grammar involved and difference from how you’d say it in English means that’s one form that takes a long time to ingrain!
The 何で at the beginning is like a “what gives?!” and makes the phrase into a question.
The んだ is a contracted のだ that’s kind of hard to describe but I think here like, ties in with なんで and makes it clearer that he’s asking about the expectation behind 決められなくてはいけない.

So he’s doing the 問う’ing he suggested in the previous sentence:
“Why does it have to be decided?”
or maybe Englishing it up to match his tone, something like “Who says it’s gotta be decided already?”

I think your translation was just fine but here’s the breakdown:
優勝だけ - only winning
優れた価値観 - superior values
優勝だけが優れた価値観だ - only winning is superior values (like, might makes right - if you win you’re better, period)
優勝だけが優れた価値観だという思い込み - the assumption that only winning is superior values
こそ - (emphasis on that noun phrase specifically)
ひっくり返してやる - I will overturn (it).

So your translation is good!
It loses the emphasis from the こそ but you could throw a “specifically” in there.
Or rearrange it a bit like “the assumption that winning is all that matters is exactly what I’m here to disprove.” or something like that perhaps.


I’ve been meaning to share some more links to favorite matches, since there have been some good ones uploaded lately!

First of all, here is the best match from DDT’s empty arena 路上 show at the 東京ドーム on October 31 from last year. The premise of this show is that five teams of wrestlers are competing to try to win 500万円. Each team contributes money to the pot, and the last team left standing at the end wins it all.

This match featured my two favorite teams: DDT’s The37Kamiina faction (Konosuke Takeshita, current KO-D champ, Shunma Katsumata, Yuki Ueno, and Mao) vs a team of four wrestlers from TJPW (current Princess of Princess champ Miyu Yamashita, International Princess champ Hikari Noa, Maki Itoh, and Hyper Misao). Naturally, I was rooting for the TJPW team, haha! The match has Japanese commentary, and you even get to see TJPW’s entrance, complete with Miyu’s music.

There are a lot of really great exchanges in this. Part of what’s compelling about it is we get to see some people mix it up who usually don’t get a chance to face each other. There’s a teaser for DDT’s young ace Takeshita vs TJPW’s ace Miyu, for example. And aspiring deathmatch wrestler Hikari gets to dip her toes a little bit more into hardcore wrestling (though nothing in this match is especially intense). This match is also where Misao’s feud with Shunma started! I shared the singles match that resulted from that already.

I was also happy to see that DDT uploaded Takeshita and Tetsuya Endo’s last singles match from July 15, 2019! As I mentioned before, I still haven’t seen this one (it was the main event of the same show that the single light tube deathmatch was on), but this match was extremely well-received. I don’t have enough background on the lead-up to this to explain the specific story, but the KO-D title is on the line, and Endo is the champion, with Takeshita challenging him. The video has Japanese commentary.

TJPW is in the middle of a tag tournament right now, and so far it has been a blast! I have way too many favorite tag teams in this company, so I’m always rooting for everyone, but I think my favorite in this tournament is Asuka and Kamiyu (Yuki Kamifuku). Asuka is a freelancer, not a TJPW regular, but she and Kamiyu befriended each other by becoming drinking buddies, haha.

The best match in the tournament so far, I think, is Asuka and Kamiyu vs Miyu and Itoh (who each hold the top singles title in TJPW and the International title respectively) on January 29. This match doesn’t have any commentary, but it does, for some reason, have their entrances? Maybe they realized that Kamiyu and Asuka’s entrance is absolutely essential.

This is a tournament match, so it’s pretty high stakes: whoever loses this will be eliminated from the tournament, and whoever wins will advance for a chance to win a shot at the tag titles. Additionally, in wrestling, if you pin a champion, that usually gives you a pretty strong claim to challenge for their title… So if Kamiyu and Asuka can manage to pull off the win and pin either of their opponents, not only will they advance in the tournament, but they’ll probably get a shot for a singles title, too.

Here’s another fun match from the same tournament on the same day: Rika Tatsumi (in white) and Miu Watanabe (in pink) vs Shoko Nakajima (fur costume) and Hyper Misao (in green). Shoko and Misao are both very much tricksters, haha, but I always root for them anyway. They’re a fun team because Misao calls herself a hero protecting love and justice in TJPW, and Shoko is always billed as the “147cm Big Kaiju.” But who said heroes and kaiju can’t be friends?

Rika and Miu are actually former tag team champs, and Misao’s last team (with Sakisama…) was who they won the titles from. Misao had turned heel and joined up with Sakisama in the first place because she loved Rika, but she wasn’t strong enough to convince Rika to tag with her. But in the end, ultimately Rika’s love for her is what snapped her out of it and caused her to leave Sakisama.

One of the continuing threads in any match containing Misao vs Rika is the fact that Misao loves Rika, but has also never been able to beat her. That tension is in this match as well.

And finally, Pro Wrestling NOAH uploaded Go Shiozaki vs Katsuhiko Nakajima from the January 1 show! I’ve talked about their previous match before. I think I still like their last one a little better than this one, but this one was still very good. This match has Japanese commentary! It’s also a NOAH match, so it’s a little more intense than a lot of the others I post, so just keep that in mind. It doesn’t get bloody, but they don’t pull their kicks.

This time, Nakajima is the champion, and Go is the challenger. There are a few things at stake here beyond the title, too. The deeper subtext, of course, is the shadow of their old tag team relationship, with Go clearly still longs for. He actually tried to make it a condition of the match that if he won, Nakajima would have to reform Axiz and tag with him again.

During Go’s absence (he took most of 2021 off to get surgery), Nakajima was tag champions with another partner, got betrayed by that partner, lost his hair in a cage match against that partner, won the N-1 tournament for the second time in a row, and then finally won the belt that he had been unable to win from Go in 2020.

As soon as he won the title, Nakajima stole Go’s catchphrase and proclaimed, “I am NOAH” (only Nakajima’s version was in Japanese). And sure enough, a couple months later, Go made his return and immediately challenged him for his belt. This time, it was more than just a fight between two ex-partners: it was a fight over who had claim to represent the company as a whole. They decided that whoever lost the match would lose the right to call himself NOAH.

I think that’s enough for now! I’m going to try to add some of these (and some others I’ve shared) to the match recommendations post at the top of this thread, since I’ve been slacking on that front :sweat_smile:.

Finished translating another DDT recap! This one was for the 1.29 show, which is the start of DDT’s Ultimate Tag League.

The biggest thing to happen in the show, though, was Daisuke Sasaki vs Minoru Fujita for the DDT Extreme title (and its aftermath). I did have to laugh, though, when I translated the match description and tried to figure out what it meant when it said that Sasaki hit a トラースキック. DeepL thought this was a “trash kick”. Which sounds like exactly the type of move that Sasaki would do. But I had some doubts, haha, so I googled the word and ended up on the Japanese wikipedia page for it, and found out that it is actually a thrust kick! That makes a lot more sense.

Sasaki managed to barely pull off the victory. After the match, Fujita shook his hand and embraced him, but Fujita’s friends from ChocoPro stopped him. Fujita prepared to leave the ring with them, but then Sasaki called out to him and asked him to join his faction, Damnation T.A!

Something I found interesting is the recap described this as a ラブコール . A love call! It doesn’t seem to necessarily have a romantic connotation, though two of the three definitions in my monolingual dictionary were about lovers or courtship between animals. Made for a bit of a tricky translation choice, haha.

Fujita actually said a pretty romantic line in response to this: “こうなったら言葉はいらないよな。藤田ミノルをすべてオマエに預けるよ”. He said that he leaves all of Minoru Fujita with Sasaki. Then the two of them shook hands, and that was that! Fujita is in Damnation T.A now! I’m amused by this development because Fujita is also in Pencil Army in ChocoPro, and I truthfully cannot imagine two factions that are more different in tone than those two.

As usual, some of Sasaki’s lines tripped me up a little. He said: “こんなにすんなりいくとは思わなかった。ようやく3人目が揃った。DDTの生ぬるいヤツら、俺とMJポー、藤田ミノルで、破壊と混沌をもたらしてやる”. That last line was tough because I was pretty sure that he was referring to himself, MJ Paul, and Fujita as the DDTの生ぬるいヤツら (DDT’s weakest bastards?), but I wasn’t 100% sure because it’s a pretty strong statement to say about yourself and your faction after you just defended your title and added a new member, haha!

The line that really confused me was this line of his from backstage: “DDTのヤツら、なめたことばっかりしやがって。俺たちがメチャクチャしたら、放置してるオマエらを地獄の底に落としてやる”. I tried several times to figure out exactly what he was trying to say here, but couldn’t really grasp it.

An interviewer asked Sasaki why he recruited Fujita, and he said “この人の底知れぬ人間性、下の方に広がる懐の深さ”. The first half is pretty straightforward, “his bottomless humanity,” but the second half threw me off. Yomichan says that 懐の深い means broad-minded, but 懐 can also be a pocket or a purse, so is there possibly a double meaning here where Sasaki could either be talking about the depth of his feelings/mind or saying he has deep pockets? 下の方 seems to mean essentially “down there”, which maybe makes the deep pockets meaning more likely, haha, but I could see the double meaning being used for comedic effect. Or maybe I am completely off base? With wrestlers, I never rule out the possibility that it could just be a dick joke.

On last note on this sudden unexpected scumbag romance: I really liked what Fujita said in his comments when he was asked about his time in the hospital. I commented several weeks ago on a line I liked where he talked about going to the neighborhood of hell and back. And after the match with Sasaki, he said, “俺を地獄から救ってくれたのは、もしかしたらこちらのカリスマ、佐々木大輔かもしれない”. “Maybe it was Charisma, Daisuke Sasaki, who saved me from hell.”

The Tag League matches on this show were also fun, though no one said anything especially interesting in their comments this time, haha!

I did enjoy this comment from Eruption, which sadly wasn’t transcribed on the results page, so I could only really understand the part quoted in the tweet. Yukio Sakaguchi told Okatani, Eruption’s new rookie member, not to attach “san” to Jun Akiyama’s name because he’s an enemy. Okatani seems to have minded him, though I’m sure it’s a bit of a struggle for him, because he used to be in Akiyama’s faction Junretsu before they disbanded.

The other major news coming out of this show is that the TV personality LiLiCo is going to have her retirement match in DDT (she’d wrestled for them before, but apparently injured herself outside of the ring years ago and couldn’t really wrestle anymore). I really liked the word 心残(こころのこ)り, “regret”. The recap described her request to wrestle one more match as a 要望(ようぼう), and I feel like that’s one word where the English gloss (“request,” “demand for”) doesn’t quite capture the nuance. My monolingual dictionary defined it as “実現を強く望むこと”. LiLiCo requested that her opponent be a man, preferably a handsome one.

They also announced which AEW wrestler will be coming to DDT for the anniversary show, and as I expected, it was Michael Nakazawa! I’m positive they wanted Kenny, but it just doesn’t seem to be quite feasible now, considering his injuries and the travel restrictions in place. The video Nak sent absolutely teased that it would be Kenny at first, though. I smiled at the end of it when he did Kenny’s usual sign-off “goodbye and goodnight, bang”, except in Japanese.

Sanshiro Tagaki posted a sweet message about the match on twitter afterward. He described Nak as the closest man to Kenny Omega and Kota Ibushi. So in a sense, Nak is sort of standing in for both of them, since they won’t be able to make it.

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