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

I actually didn’t recognize that his character was a reference to anything specific, haha, but I think you’re absolutely correct that this is what he’s going for; his look is just too similar.

He joined NEO Biishiki-gun before I started watching TJPW, so I don’t know the original circumstances of his character joining (the, well, expanded Bi-gun rarely shows up as an entire group in TJPW), but all of the members of Bi-gun are considered different people in kayfabe than the wrestlers who “play” them. His character is Yukio Saint-Laurent, and he probably has some sort of fun kayfabe backstory, haha, like how Sakisama found Mei Saint-Michel in the woods while playing a flute. Maybe we’ll get lucky and the English commentary team will mention it during the match!

Some fun trivia: Sakaguchi is in Saki Akai’s faction Eruption in DDT, which is fun because the wrestlers are also both in Bi-gun (predating Eruption’s existence). I figure they’re probably friends in real life who like working together, haha. The other member of the “expanded” Bi-gun is Martha, who is portrayed by Masa Takanashi (my friends and I couldn’t figure out who played Martha at first, so we looked it up, and you can imagine our groans when we realized her name is just a pun on “Masa”). Masa is actually one of the people who trained Saki originally!

If I remember correctly, Yukio Saint-Laurent wields syringes full of some type of weird medicine that he injects his opponents with. He makes for a fun occasional opponent in TJPW, just because Sakaguchi contrasts so much with the typical house style of the promotion, though his Bi-gun character is pretty different from his normal self!

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I watched TJPW Grand Princess '22ツーツー

I really enjoyed it a lot!

Thoughts on Grand Princess

One thing I did miss from when I was watching WWE was the feeling of a PPV as a special occasion, an excuse to eat a lot and relax a lot watching a wrestling show on the weekend and making a time of it.
So I’m glad that this year I’m making more of an effort to pay attention to when shows are coming up and be excited about them beforehand to capture that feeling, instead of just watching them whenever I get to them (also glad for AEW PPVs filling that gap in a different way)! Picking up a bunch of fast food and watching Grand Princess really delivered on that feeling very well!

And I was very impressed with how throughout the show was good wrestling with an impressive amount of emotional investment tied to each show. It felt like TJPW really firing on all cylinders, although that might have been just my being more invested in it through the build and how I was watching it. There wasn’t really any match where I wasn’t entertained.

Obviously Hyper Misao’s match was a major standout. Doesn’t get much more emotional than the backstory to that one, and I love that it works both as an intense emotional match and an extremely silly comedy match.
My favorite match though was the main event! I love kaiju, so I was immediately rooting hard for Shoko right out of the gate, and obviously Yamashita is a perfect dominant foil for an underdog like that. Shoko’s post-match promo was also I think maybe the most moved I’ve been by a wrestling promo entirely in Japanese – which is to say, very moved indeed!
(Not that you need more motivation in this area but) it really went to show for me how studying the language really does make a difference and add something to the show - I knew astronomically more about what was going on than I would have otherwise (through shupro, this thread, etc.), could actually listen to the commentary like commentary and help stay engaged and keep track of who was who or what moves are 得意技 or which Toy Story is which, etc. (and I appreciate a lot how the Japanese commentary works as deadpan for the silliness - something about them not remarking on how silly NEO美威獅鬼軍 are, or treating characters who are clearly the same person as being different people, makes the whole thing that much funnier). And being able to hear and (mostly) understand what wrestlers actually say in the ring in the moment goes a really long way. Noticing that those like, “foreign” barriers had almost entirely dropped away was awfully cool.

Overall I do personally still prefer Stardom’s more competition/fight-oriented presentation. I don’t know that I need to have まけたくない stuck in my head at the start of every show, and the part at the end where everyone stepped up to the microphone and expressed happiness/thanks was fun but personally the “everyone’s happy to be here / idol performance” vibe of TJPW doesn’t click with me as much as Stardom’s really solid grounding in feeling like a prestigious fight league (come to think of it - it’s funny that it works out like that, since from their names you’d think it would be the reverse :sweat_smile:). It’s obvious though that TJPW is doing a ton of things right, and it’s great that they have their own flavor and are running bigger and bigger shows! I’ll be sure to catch more in the future - I wanna see Shoko’s championship reign.
It’ll be interesting to see next week how Stardom’s shows in the same arena will be! Even though I’ve got more prior investment in Stardom - I could see this one big emotional show stealing the spotlight - I don’t know if I’ve seen a 2-day pro-wrestling show yet where I’ve been fully enthusiastic through both days… Looking forward to hopefully enjoying that too!

I’ve been neglecting posting about shupro for a while, so here’s three at once! I’m rather behind, so these are from January I think still. Notes will probably be lighter since it’s been a while since I read the first one (and they aren’t incredibly dense issues)

週刊プロレス No. 2161

In Tanahashi’s column talking about the KENTA match, they talk about how “ノーDQ” is a confusing phrase in Japanese, since “disqualification” isn’t exactly an easy and clear English word. Tanahashi says it just sounds like a “No Dragon Quest” match!

The NOAH vs. NJPW Wrestle Kingdom show had just happened. Kenoh 100% dodges talking about it in his column. Talking about an upcoming match instead, he says when in Saitama to be sure to visit きいろいタコ, a food truck run by 新崎人生, a retired wrestler (Hakushi in WWE).

There’s a double page obituary for Strong Kobayashi, an older wrestler who passed away. It talks about how he was the ace for 国際プロレス and pulled very respectable ratings when that promotion was on television amid New Japan and All Japan. He also ran shows in Europe against Andre the Giant. His most famous match was when (with that history of being a star from another promotion) he went to New Japan and fought Inoki - here it is on njpwworld. And here’s a picture of him with Andre (warning - blood):

Here’s a picture of Hazuki and Koguma with the Stardom tag belts - not for any particular reason, I just think they’re neat.

The main feature in all three of these issues is picks of (mainly younger) wrestlers to watch in 2022. I didn’t read these super carefully or find them all that interesting, I confess. Master Wato is the pick for NJPW (I did not recognize the others in this issue).

I remember Tenryu’s column being really interesting in a way that’ll be hard to summarize from memory… He talked about the unfortunate situation in AJPW where right at the start of the year Jake Lee had an eye injury and had to vacate the championship – apparently this was in a match with a relative rookie, Ryuki Honda. Tenryu says the injury may have come from Lee underestimating Honda, and he hopes that in the fight for the vacant championship, Honda gets a larger spotlight from the situation.
He also talks about Prominence and groups of wrestlers going independent - he quotes Rossy Ogawa (the head/booker for Stardom - that old guy who comes out before every championship match) rather ominously: 「(’22年は)女子プロ界統一。。。じゃなくて(笑)、女子プロレス界をもっと上に上げたいと思います」. I remember he said something about how the temptation as a smaller group is to look at what the most successful company is doing and try to do that, but what you need to do to survive is find your own niche (like e.g. FMW).
He also talks a bit about Chono getting surgery.

合体! (oh no, Tenma’s the base? What will they do once she’s retired!)

週刊プロレス No. 2163 (2162 is a wrestle kingdom special issue I think)

Kenoh in his column explains more about his thinking behind not commenting on the Wrestle Kingdom match.

There’s a pretty cool interview with Naito talking about the anniversary show match with Okada, and how ten years earlier the 40th anniversary match was also Naito vs. Okada.
A sidebar has a rundown of their ten matches together - they are (were) 5-5, with apparently every match ending in a 片逆エビ固め (?!)

Giulia’s column is about cheering not being aloud in wrestling crowds. She talks about how since she only started getting fully popular in Stardom quite recently, there’s really only two moments that stand out where she got big cheers - her singles match with Hana Kimura, and the Cinderella Tournament final. She talks about the seconds in Stardom who pound the mat etc. to get people to clap, and says she does wish they would be sure to let the match breathe sometimes and build excitement on its own (personally, the Stardom seconds are my pandemic MVPs for masking the silence well – hard to believe I’ve not really ever seen a Stardom show with cheers, except maybe once before I got into it fully)

The wrestlers to watch in 2022 column this time has women wrestlers - Stardom’s is Koguma, and it talks about her history more and how she earned the “highspeed genius” name by especially standing out before she retired for 6 years. She talks about how now her power is 「引退してもいい」全力 - she’s giving it her all all the time, so that if she retires then and there, that’s fine. Sort of like, living every match like it’s her last, I think… Her standout moment in 2021 was jumping from the top of the ladder, and she says she wasn’t scared in the least when doing it - she was climbing and jumping off the roof a lot as a kid, so it was nostalgic!
Yuki Arai is the pick for TJPW, and it talks some about her path from idol to wrestling.

Here’s Takumi Iroha looking cool with three belts:

There’s a small recap about the OZ Academy show that had to be stopped due to a fire alarm in the building. It doesn’t sound like it had anything to do with the show or that anyone was hurt. The show took place at Shinjuku FACE, and the pictures reinforce my belief that the place where that venue is is 100% the inspiration for theater square in the yakuza series.

I did watch that (very fun) TJPW pool wrestling show by the way - and speaking of pools and wrestling, apparently All Japan Women’s Pro Wrestling in 1988 had their own pool built at their venue, リングスターフィールド - I don’t know if any wrestling happened in it, but here’s a Crush Gals concert:

The history column is very interesting in this issue - apparently in Sumo there was some recent controversy as a wrestler broke with tradition and took a position in the front office as well. So the columnist talks about that tradition’s history in wrestling and how it was broken.
Apparently in the early days - it was seen as like, “well, it’s fine for Rikidozan, but no one else” - like Rikidozan was part of management while still wrestling, but Rikidozan was so exceptional that the taboo still held even if he didn’t follow it. In his day, management types and “ときには裏社会の大物” but not wrestlers except for Rikidozan. After Rikidozan’s murder, 豊登道春 succeeded him, but the columnist paints a very negative picture of his management - making it sound like pro-wrestling seemed doomed to slip further and further into the corrupt and illegitimate sides of society. But 豊登 quit due to illness, and Giant Baba took over and took things in a much more positive direction.
I’m not full up on the details, but it sounds like from there 豊登 talked to Inoki and helped plant the seed in Inoki’s mind of starting his own promotion - because if he didn’t he would never surpass Baba because now Baba was management too, not just a wrestler. (later on, of course, Inoki would found New Japan and Baba All Japan, which NOAH would eventually split from, and the rest is history)

There’s pictures of Yuki Aino and Nodoka Tenma’s trip together as sisters to their home prefecture of Okayama ahead of Tenma’s retirement. Looks like it was fun!

There’s another Michael Nakazawa report on AEW - always nice to see.

週刊プロレス No. 2164

The big thing this issue is the reveal of the winners of the 2021 プロレスグランプリ!
This is a vote by shupro readers and mobile users, with 4376 votes in total. So it’s a reader popularity contest, not editorial decisions.
Let’s run them down why not:

  • プロレスグランプリ - Shingo Takagi wins with almost double the votes of second place, Keiji Muto, who in turn got almost triple the votes of third place, Kota Ibushi.
  • ベストマッチ - Shingo Takagi vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi at the dome in summer takes first place! This was the one that came together so suddenly because Ibushi had to drop out - and it would probably have been my pick too so I can’t complain. Second is the hair vs. hair match between Giulia and Tam Nakano. Which is cool! Because the way the magazine talked about it at the time, I thought maybe audiences were negative on this, but I guess it was just a case of the negative voices being disproportionately loud! Third is Shiozaki/Mutoh, fourth Hayashishita Syuri (I’m arbitrarily cutting off when I stop mentioning these - so there’s more runners up than these, just to be clear)
  • 女子プロレスグランプリ - Utami Hayashishita wins, then Tam Nakano, then Syuri, then Miyu Yamashita. Starlight Kid, Tsukasa Fujimoto, Maki Itoh, Yuki Arai, and Rina Yamashita are also on the list.
  • ベストユニット - Cosmic Angels wins, followed by United Empire, Los Ingobernables de Japon, and Donna Del Mondo. This list got me so grumpy :sweat_smile: – United Empire so high?! and above Donna Del Mondo…. A Very funny detail to me about lower in the list is Magical Sugar Rabbits coming in just above Bullet Club - not that I disagree!
  • 最優秀外国人選手賞 - Jeff Cob, then ZSJ, then a big drop in votes and Will Ospreay. I wonder what this list would have looked like if travel were more normal?
  • 新人賞 - Yuki Arai takes first place. Second place is Tiger Queen, from Strong Style, which I think is a promotion run by the first Tiger Mask? Don’t know anything about her but she looks cool! third/fourth are a couple of young lions.
  • 好きなプロレスラー - for this award, people voting could write in a list of 3 names. The top 5 are Hiroshi Tanahashi, Tetsuya Naito, Yuki Arai, Tam Nakano, and Kazuchika Okada. And boy, before I caught a glimpse of this and the build to Grand Princess - I had no idea Yuki Arai was that popular an idol! That’s wild, seems like a major asset!
    If I’d voted I probably would have written… Tanahashi, Giulia, and… Starlight Kid, I think.

This issue includes a poster of Syuri on one side and Saya Kamitani on the other - and can I just say I wish they would pick cooler pictures for these. Every few issues there’s a poster and I’ve never actually clipped out and put up any of them because they’re like, them posing normally against a white background.

Giulia talks about people complaining that MIRAI challenging for the belt immediately lowers its prestige - I think her point generally was that it’s a way to show another side of the competitors and bring out excitement that way.

More wrestlers to watch in 2022 - Suzu Suzuki picked for Prominence, and she chose to write a characteristically violent aphorism for the year:

The ‘here’s old back issues you could read on the mobile app’ page mentions Andre the Giant starring in ‘プリンセス・ブライド・ストーリー’ which made me really badly want to find a Princess Bride dub in Japanese, or at least subtitles for some of the famous lines - but alas, I couldn’t find one.

the Champ Talk (that’s usually just like, a promo) has Hanan talking about how much she looks up to Mayu Iwatani, and how she wants to follow Mayu’s path and slowly take all the belts in Stardom, rather than jump straight to the red belt. I feel like there’s always the (100% reasonable) chance that wrestlers who start so young decide they want to do something else and retire early, but at least according to her here she’s planning to be in Stardom for a long time it sounds like.

Takumi Iroha talks about those belts she won in that picture above – they’re the AAAW single and tag championships, tag belts with an old (for joshi wrestling) history, coming from GAEA Japan in the 90s, reactivated for GAEAISM recently, shows which Iroha regrettably had to miss due to injury. She wanted badly to win them here because it earns her the right of succession to GAEA, basically, and GAEA was apparently founded by Chigusa Nagayo and Takumi Iroha is like, really intensely Nagayo’s successor (again… they have matching tattoos), so this brings the belts to their promotion, Marvelous. Iroha says Nagayo always said if she wanted Marvelous to have championship belts, to go and take them from someone else - so she did!

the costume column is about Yuki Arai - it sounds like at least the first version of her costume was done by SKE48’s regular costumers, and she’s tweaked it some. She likes the buttons a lot, but they especially hurt when she gets kicked. Apparently she likes black leather but it looks too heelish so she’s going to maybe try to discreetly include more of it over time and see if she can get away with it that way…

There’s a column talking about Hideki Suzuki getting quickly fired from WWE. He’s a longtime indie wrestler in Japan who had a column in the magazine when I started reading - he went to NXT, where they changed his name to “Hachiman,” and then very quickly was let go along with a lot of others at the start of the year. Some of the shupro staff I think are definitely close friends with him, and Giulia definitely is, and they all tease him quite a bit here, while also hoping for the best in the future and wondering what he’ll do next.


I’m glad you liked the show! And I’m so glad that my posts have helped make it more enjoyable to you! :blush:

Your experience with your Japanese knowledge really adding to the show is very aspirational to me! Slowly but surely, it’s improving my experience watching, too, though not enough to make a substantial difference quite yet. I feel like when Mr. Haku was still translating, it let me approximate the experience of watching with actual fluency, but without him, I still have such a long way to go :sweat_smile:

Cut for a long digression about TJPW's overall style and some possible spoilers for the show.

Yeah, one of the things that I love about TJPW is that their big shows pretty much always deliver. Their undercard rarely feels like an undercard, if that makes sense. Each match has a purpose. I really liked this show especially because I thought it really let them show the diversity of the kind of stuff they were capable of, from very straightforward wrestling, to the character-driven comedy of the NEO美威獅鬼軍 match, to the intense and emotional but simultaneously absurdly ridiculous Misao vs Takagi match.

TJPW’s product is definitely not for everyone, because I feel like to fully appreciate it, you have to reframe your thinking a little bit. Their booking is pretty slow-moving, for instance. I’ve seen it compared to AJPW’s king’s road style booking, haha, where the climb to the top is very long, and it’s hard for newcomers to sort of break in. They really have to earn it. Because of that, it makes it so satisfying when someone does finally make it to the top, but it does mean that often your faves won’t get the title reigns you might wish for them.

However, I think fans who watch TJPW and focus primarily on their title scene are missing at least half of the picture. In TJPW, titles are important, but they’re not really the true bread and butter of the promotion. TJPW’s strength lies in its character interactions, and the strong relationships between all of the wrestlers. They don’t really have a lot of straightforward feuds, but instead have dozens of relationships that are gradually evolving and unfolding with each show.

Because of this, TJPW really, really rewards following them long-term, and paying attention to the details. This show was a great example, because there were so many nods and references to stuff from throughout their history. I think Mr. Haku commented on twitter that they brought back pretty much every single former member that they possibly could to appear in some capacity, and of course the main event was built around the two wrestlers who have been there since before the company even existed.

I got struck really hard by seeing Misao cameo as her Bi-gun self, haha, since that story meant a lot to me when it happened in 2019. Three of the other former Bi-gun members were entirely before my time, but I’m sure that for those fans who have been following TJPW for longer than I have, that appearance meant a lot, too.

I’ve made multiple solid efforts to get into Stardom, first at the end of 2019 through early 2020, and then the end of 2020 through most of 2021, and the thing that I always personally struggled with was how much the company was always changing. I watched three of their tag leagues, and I think almost all of the tag teams were completely different combinations of people from the previous year.

As someone who really loves long-term storytelling, and who loves tag team relationships especially, they just had the tendency to rip the rug out from me every time I got invested in something :sweat_smile:. Tag teams would break up, or new people would join the roster and get mixed in with established members in different combinations, and as a consequence, I felt like I never really had the time to get invested in anything. It simply moves too fast.

Stardom definitely does have a lot of history that it often touches on in stories, but so many of the feuds seem to be primarily driven by current stuff rather than older stuff. I guess that makes it more accessible for new people just popping in, but for me, it always gave me a bit of whiplash.

I actually have the same problem with NOAH’s jr division, which is constantly rife with betrayal and upheaval :sweat_smile:. People will frequently change factions super suddenly completely out of nowhere. Usually the Stardom betrayals make more sense, at least.

But hey, maybe I just watch wrestling for reasons that are different than most other fans! I get the appeal of lots of dramatic change, too.

What’s funny about this is that I feel like part of what appeals to me about TJPW is that it’s more realistic, haha, at least as far as presenting the wrestlers as being friends with each other instead of being arbitrarily divided into kayfabe factions where they can’t really show that they’re friends outside of those boundaries.

One of my favorite parts of wrestling is that opponents are actually working together to keep each other safe in a collaborative performance. And something that I know many wrestlers have said is that they have their best matches with the people they love and trust the most (since you have to quite literally put your life in someone else’s hands). So to me, TJPW appeals because it doesn’t really hide this fact. It doesn’t break kayfabe when talking about the matches, but it is very much a company where the roster is, for the most part (with the exception of Sakisama and crew), actually friends with each other in kayfabe despite fighting each other all the time. It makes the emotions of the matches feel so much more real to me.

But that’s definitely a different tastes thing. I have friends who dislike that part of TJPW, too, haha, but I guess I just strongly prefer the emotions of a match like Misao vs Takagi, or Yuki Aino vs Nodoka, or the other various matches on the card of this show rather than, say, a NJPW match with a manufactured faction feud. I can appreciate manufactured wrestling drama as much as the next person, but it always hits harder for me if it’s based in something real. And in TJPW, when they do have a manufactured feud (like when Misao joined Sakisama, and everything that followed), it usually gets tied back to actual real stuff (like Misao’s real life backstory with wrestling).

As far as the idol stuff goes, that was actually one of the things that really turned me off when I first started watching TJPW, haha. It’s not my favorite aspect of the company, either, though I feel like I can appreciate it more now because I’ve gotten used to it and also have a more nuanced understanding. The thing about the idol-to-wrestler pipeline in TJPW is that… it mostly seems to go in one direction, haha. TJPW has more ex-idols than they do current idols.

I think Mr. Haku was the one that put it this way, but Miyu started out wrestling because she wanted to become an idol, and Hikari became an idol because she wanted to become a wrestler. Miyu’s path ended up taking a very different direction than she expected, and she evolved into an incredibly talented wrestler, and as far as I know, no longer harbors any ambitions about becoming an idol. Hikari is still balancing both worlds, but its clear where her real passion is.

Maybe it’s just because I’ve watched the Up Up Girls evolve so much over the past few years, but to me, TJPW is largely about women discovering that they have an intense passion and love for wrestling, and how wrestling then changes them and uplifts them.

With Yuki Arai, I’m honestly really curious to see how her career goes, because she genuinely has a real talent with wrestling, and she’s clearly talented as an idol as well (I don’t think any of the other idols in TJPW ever had even a fraction of her popularity). It actually presents quite a lot of interesting tension in her stories with the ex-idol members (as well as current), because naturally there’s a lot of respect but also resentment there. Honestly, some part of me is hoping that TJPW steals another one, and Arai ends up primarily pursuing wrestling instead of her idol career.

I guess I don’t really have grounds to complain about their shows featuring singing and dancing, haha, because I love it when men’s wrestling does that as well (I wish men’s wrestling did it more often, honestly). And Stardom, too, has a lot of former idols on their roster, so it has been an element of their presentation, too, though they do seem to be distancing themselves more from it recently. But Kamitani was the product of an idol collab project they were doing in 2019, if I recall correctly.

But, in any case, yeah, I totally understand disliking that aspect of TJPW’s presentation. I think if that was all TJPW had going for it and it didn’t have strong characters and emotional stories, I probably wouldn’t be watching it still.

In my opinion, I think TJPW has been evolving to have a style a little closer to DDT’s, honestly. Grand Princess really illustrated that to me because I watched it back to back with DDT’s anniversary show, Judgement, and both shows were structured fairly similarly, where there was a lot of comedy mixed into the undercard, along with some regular wrestling, and some absolute ridiculousness with real emotion, and then the last few matches were more straightforward solid title matches.

DDT is very much a variety show, and I think TJPW is becoming even more of one than they already are, especially with wrestlers like Misao continuously pushing the envelope. I will say also that DDT big show endings are very similar to TJPW’s, at least in terms of getting the whole roster together to celebrate. DDT shows also usually have happy endings, haha, and frequently end with wrestlers reconciling or at least respecting each other.

It’s something that I really like about them because it’s just so different from most other wrestling. But, yeah, for folks who watch because they like the drama and destruction, haha, it’s not always as fun to see people try to kill each other in a fight and then end the match by hugging and making up and talking about how they want to make the company better together. For me, those endings are relieving because they feel true to the emotions of the real people portraying the wrestlers. I like to know that everyone is okay.

I’ll be back with another post in a few days with some highlights from the post-match comments for Grand Princess and probably also translation questions, haha.

I'll put my DDT Judgement thoughts in a separate section in case anyone doesn't want to get spoiled.

I thought Judgement was good! It wasn’t quite as strong of a show overall as Grand Princess was, in my opinion, but at this point Grand Princess is my favorite show of the entire year, so that’s a pretty high bar! It might’ve been a different story had travel been more open, and had a certain pair of wrestlers been able to participate in the show…

But, well, speaking of those wrestlers, the thing that I really love about DDT more than anything is how much DDT’s history just infuses the entire spirit of the promotion. The Golden Lovers have been gone for years, and yet DDT’s love for them still shines so loud and clear. The anniversary show was, at least in part, a love letter to the Golden Lovers, and their legacy in the company after leaving.

They were both very prominently featured in the opening video montage of footage from DDT’s past, and of course were referenced over and over again in Michael Nakazawa vs Takagi (which, sidenote, props to Takagi for having that kind of very demanding match two days in a row at his age, haha). They made it so clear that Nak was in this show as a stand-in for both Kenny and Ibushi, who couldn’t be there. And the Golden Lovers were there in the video package before the main event, because they were the ones who had entrusted the company to Takeshita and Endo years ago, and now Takeshita and Endo were both trying to live up to that. And, during the match itself, both wrestlers showed Kenny and Ibushi’s influence on them. It was just really incredible and really emotionally moving to me to see how much their spirit still lives on in the company.

Though, speaking of that, how about that announcement that DDT and AEW officially have a working relationship now? Truthfully this was one of the worst kept open secrets in wrestling, but now it has at least officially been put into words, haha!

I still can’t believe it, honestly, that Kenny actually managed to do it. He managed to get AEW partnerships with both NJPW and DDT at the same time. I loved this tweet of his because of the Golden Lovers reference (we’re back to Kenny not even being able to say his name), and also because he still considers himself to be part of DDT, even now.

I’m looking forward to it, because I think a lot of DDT wrestlers would do great on a bigger stage in America, and there are lots of fun story possibilities there. Sadly, I doubt we’ll be seeing Yoshihiko live on TBS anytime soon (or the Pheromones, though that’s probably for the best), but they have a lot of talent on their roster that can put on great regular matches, too.

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TJPW/Stardom differences discussion

I think it’s mainly just a matter of perspective! I never really thought of Stardom as fast-paced, for example. :sweat_smile: I think of the factions as a vehicle for that long-term continuity, and they’re stable enough that when someone switches or a new faction is born it’s a big deal. And something I like a lot about Stardom compared to NJPW, is the factions seem a lot more meaningful to me in Stardom than there. Seconds from a wrestler’s faction are always by ringside supporting them, and my impression at least from interviews is that they really do train together.

And so storylines like Syuri vs. Giulia coming up have all the history of Donna Del Mondo and アリカバ baked into it, amid complications covering basically Giulia’s whole (not very long) career like Thekla coming in and them clearly being super close friends and that maybe overshadowing the rest of DDM, or Suzu Suzuki showing up meanwhile angry at her. Plus just the interest in how the two wrestler’s fighting styles will mesh in a fight for a major championship, which I think Stardom can lean on a lot more in general. Like whoever wins Night 1, I’d like to see their match the next night with Mayu Iwatani just sort of inherently, since Mayu is in an interesting wrestler with an interesting backstory, and Giulia and Syuri are both different interesting wrestlers with interesting backstory, so the combination and seeing how those stories continue is interesting even if they aren’t directly interlinked.

I definitely want everyone to be okay, and hugging at the end of a wrestling match is like, the #1 way to end a wrestling match in my book :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes: - but I guess I like seeing more the component structure within the promotion, what individuals want as individuals, what their values are, who they’re friends with, etc. and I like that Stardom’s factions make that more visible. Team loyalty feels a lot more real and powerful to me personally than company loyalty, I suppose too. So sometimes I struggle with idol-adjacent things since it seems like brand positivity is a big part of idol presentation.

Not trying to argue, to be clear! The different perspective is just interesting (and a good thing! :slight_smile: ).
Like Tenryu was alluding to - a landscape of multiple groups each successful with different focuses and flavors is much better than all doing the same thing! I’m really glad joshi wrestling seems like it’s on such an upswing lately!

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Continuing the discussion

Yeah, it’s definitely a matter of perspective, but from my experience, relationships and such just shift so fast there. Even Syuri and Giulia’s relationship has radically changed since both of them joined the company. It just feels like to me like a tag team in Stardom has at max a shelf life of two years before they break up :sweat_smile:.

I think for Stardom’s case, the fast-paced storytelling happened a bit out of necessity, because for a long time they would always lose their top stars to WWE (maybe this part is changing, haha, since they actually managed to get one of them back), and they’ve always been plagued with a lot of retirements and such, which make longer term stories harder to pull off. They build on older stuff when they can, but there’s just so much change all the time, whenever I start to like a tag team, they almost always break up months later or maybe a year later if I’m lucky.

I guess to contrast that with TJPW, because TJPW doesn’t really have factions (with one exception), they can build lots of relationships at once and have them all in place whenever they want to revisit one. So you get Misao’s extremely complex relationship with Rika (Rika not only brought her back from her Bi-gun phase but also stopped her from retiring), and then also Shoko and Misao’s evolution as a tag team, plus also smaller stories like Shoko, Nodoka, and Yuki Aino trying to 合体 during their matches. Shoko and Misao actually had an earlier feud with Bakuretsu where if Shoko and Misao beat them for the tag titles, Bakuretsu would join them as heroes haha (this happened when Shoko had to change her name for a month, so she was “Shin Ultra Shoko” and was a hero instead of a kaiju, and it was great because she obviously loved it, but kept pretending that she hated having to be a hero).

I definitely agree that Stardom’s factions make this kind of stuff more visible (in TJPW, this kind of storytelling is more subtle and kind of opaque unless you’ve been following it for a while), but I think factions can also be kind of limiting. TJPW essentially does have a bunch of regular groupings and pairings, each with their own flavor and particular dynamics (some of them get along very well and work great together, and some of them… do not), but the wrestlers aren’t tethered to those groups in the same way, so they can explore different sides and aspects of themselves with different people at the same time.

Basically, it’s just two different booking philosophies, each with its own positives and negatives! In TJPW, change is slow and gradual (except when it’s not, haha), and tag team relationships are relatively stable (they’re way more likely to break up because a wrestler gets poached or retires as opposed to having a dramatic breakup, with a few notable exceptions), so it lets you get a really strong core sense of each of the characters.

In Stardom, change is constant and everything is always in motion, and stable relationships can at basically any time fall apart due to differing ambitions or other conflict. This can be a really effective way of adding stakes and tension to a match (it’s an essential building block of wrestling storytelling for a reason, haha), but for me at least, seeing too much of it tends to discourage me from getting too deeply invested. Or I guess it encourages you to get invested in individual wrestlers whose style and personality you like, but not in relationships. Definitely agree about Stardom’s factions being more meaningful than NJPW’s, though!

Regarding company loyalty, I guess to me, this is a theme in every single wrestling company, haha. It’s honestly not my favorite thing either, at least when it’s used to put down freelancers or criticize wrestlers for leaving a particular work environment. But every single company I watch incorporates pride for the brand into their stories, and often wrestlers are really respected for carrying the company through hard times, and all of that. I do like it as a theme in the sense of the wrestlers all working together toward one goal, and wrestlers taking pride in their past work instead of ignoring it (especially in terms of like DDT, which many modern fans have no respect for). But for what it’s worth, my biggest wish for my two favorite wrestlers is actually for both of them to go freelance, haha!

But yeah, I’m definitely seconding your point that it’s awesome that joshi wrestling seems to be on such an upswing, and it’s great that the landscape is so diverse. I’m especially excited for the future of groups like Prominence and Nomads. As I’ve seen people pointing out, Prominence started in a situation not unlike TJPW’s beginning (wrestling on a mat in a bar), and TJPW managed to go from there to running Ryogoku Kokugikan!

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Still a bit of discussion

Hmmm… yeah, I’ve been having a hard time honestly seeing what you meant about Stardom being fast-paced - and maybe what it is is yeah, I’m more inclined from the start to be invested in individual wrestlers and groups, and so to me the change that does happen over time feels (mostly! They do definitely indulge sometimes in jarring ‘heel turn’ type changes) fairly naturally paced. Like, groups like Oedotai or Queen’s Quest stretch back long before I started watching, and individual reigns like Utami’s are given plenty of room to develop.

Looking at specifically relationships of two I guess I can see what you’re saying though – it’s definitely true that they just plain don’t have stable tag teams - even though Syuri and Giulia for example surely have more room to explore as tag partners but it looks like this next match will mark an ending for that. (and I’d certainly be happy if duos like Hazuki and Koguma or Himepoi got a longer time in the sun in the future)
In some ways I think that those changing relationships can add richness rather than detract - like anytime Mayu Iwatani interacts with Starlight Kid going forward I think I’ll be a lot more invested than if MK Sisters was still going - and at least some tag teams like that make a big enough splash to echo down through matches later on. But it’s certainly true there’s nothing like, for example, the Golden Lovers where two wrestlers are so strongly associated with each other that they remain in each other’s orbit in some ways even as single wrestlers doing completely different things in different companies.

That’s different perspectives for ya!
Every so often I think what a really funny coincidence it is that there’s exactly two people on this forum (so far!) who post a whole bunch about wrestling and one of us is clearly a bit more inclined towards Cyberfight and the other clearly a bit more inclined towards Bushi Road. :grin:

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What’s funny about this is that I actually got into NJPW first, haha. Or, well, I started out watching old Golden Lovers DDT matches (then went from there into streaming NJPW and AEW shows live, basically), but I didn’t regularly start watching current DDT until the beginning of 2020. My first year as a wrestling fan, I primarily just watched AEW and NJPW.

I got into TJPW in late 2019, watched very casually for a couple months, then Misao’s storyline kicked into another gear and that’s when I got seriously hooked on the company, haha. By November 3, I was crying my eyes out when she lost the tag belt. I also started watching Stardom around that same time, but nothing quite managed to grab me that same way.

I’m not sure exactly when TJPW sort of supplanted NJPW for me, but I think it was probably late 2020. For the first part of the year, I’d still prioritize NJPW and AEW over everything else. Then by the end of the year, NJPW was mostly just making me sad, and I was deeply invested in a few AEW storylines (Kenny and Hangman…), but my heart was really more in TJPW and DDT and the Go Shiozaki/Katsuhiko Nakajima storyline in NOAH. I guess it was NJPW’s pandemic-era booking that really caused me to fall off of it.

I actually got excited about NJPW again in early 2021 when Ibushi won the belt (his match against Jay that year at Wrestle Kingdom is still one of my favorites), but… well, the whole title unification debacle tainted that pretty early, and although I loved his match with Despy, Ibushi losing the belt to Ospreay after that left an incredibly sour taste in my mouth, and then his struggles with illness and injury after that took away the main thing I was interested in NJPW’s product for.

Even though from the start, I was watching NJPW for Ibushi, they have actually done plenty of other stories that I’ve gotten invested in. Though at this point, if he leaves the company, I don’t think I’ll keep watching them regularly. It’s funny, despite being owned by the same company, NJPW is at the opposite end of the spectrum from Stardom in terms of pace, haha. Though I think that has changed recently. The pandemic really screwed with long-term booking plans for everyone.

I guess yeah, at the end of the day, I’m really still just a Golden Lovers fan above all else :sweat_smile:. I’m more invested in particular relationships than I am in individual wrestlers or companies. There’s a part of me that really loves DDT’s style, and a part of me that really loves NJPW’s style (at least, their pre-2020 style), and a part of me that really enjoys AEW’s stories (televised American wrestling is, hands down, my least favorite style, though). I also just love the Golden Lovers story because it truly transcends companies.

Of course, there isn’t really a strong connection to the Golden Lovers in TJPW, haha, but I think my absolute favorite aspect of TJPW is how meaningful they make tag team relationships feel. I think they do a better job with tag team storytelling than pretty much every other company, at least from the perspective of someone who prioritizes tag team relationships over singles title success.

I do really like the diversity of a bunch of different companies and styles, though, and I absolutely love it when companies collaborate with each other, so I think in this sense, it’s a great time for wrestling, because we seem to be moving more and more toward a world where this is possible :blush:

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I can commiserate! I started watching wrestling with NXT… :sweat_smile:
For a bit there I was new enough that I actually thought that stuff would be the future of WWE for the better… I think it’s safe to say now that it’s been fully dismantled and changed into something else that that was never going to happen and AEW’s diverted a shockingly large amount of that energy into a far more positive direction than WWE ever could have done!

And I suppose I drifted away from NJPW at the same time you did too! :grin: just to Stardom instead, and not really letting myself acknowledge I’d left…

It’ll be interesting to see what the future holds!


I had a busy weekend, so this was delayed a little bit, but I did finally finish translating the recap/comments from TJPW’s Grand Princess show on March 19! All of it combined ended up being almost as long as both press conferences, at 7600+ characters :sweat_smile:.

The main recap is here, though unfortunately (maybe fortunately for my time?) it left out a lot of matches, including the one that made me cry the most. I worked with what I could, though!

Shoko Nakajima beat Miyu Yamashita for the Princess of Princess title in a really great main event. I liked what Shoko said backstage about how despite the fact that they debuted at the same time, Miyu always stands above everyone else, at the very center, and wins again and again no matter what. When Shoko realized just how far away she was, she wanted to catch up.

Shoko also said that she wants to represent TJPW at CyberFight Fest this year. I really hope she gets to be in the title match there! It occurred to me that her career is actually almost as long as Tetsuya Endo’s (this is his 10th year, I believe), so it’s cool to see both of them at the top of their respective companies at the same time. Last year, at CyberFest, they picked the order of the three main events based on combined length of the wrestlers’ careers (hence why it went TJPW, DDT, then NOAH, considering the fact that Jun Akiyama and Keiji Mutoh were champs at the time, and they’ve been wrestling for longer than many people in TJPW have been alive :sweat_smile:), so depending on who Endo and Shoko’s opponents end up being (assuming they still have the titles), TJPW could maybe get the semi-main event spot instead…

During the tag title match, one of my friends asked me about the name of Yuka’s finisher, since the English commentary team translated it several different ways, which were different than how Mr. Haku had translated it. When I read the recap, I was able to answer her question! Yuka’s strongest finisher is the 魔法少女にわとり野郎. Mr. Haku translated it as the “Magical Girl Chicken Dude,” but I’ve also heard it translated as “Magical Girl Chicken Bastard” and now “Magical Girl Chicken Son of a Bitch”. I had a suspicion that the tricky word was 野郎, haha, and sure enough, yep, that’s the word she uses.

I did have one question from Yuka’s post-match comments. She said, “全然余裕の勝利じゃなかったけど、あんなに一進一退の、本当に紙一重で勝てた。今はもう最高です” I think I understood the first part well enough: “It wasn’t an easy win at all, it really could have gone either way, and we won by a thin margin.” But her next sentence was a little tricky for me. Is she saying essentially “We’re the best now.”?

I really liked the way the recap described the beginning of the International Princess title match between Maki Itoh and Yuki Arai: “伊藤の場外での洗礼を受けた荒井だ”. I love how it described Arai as receiving Itoh’s “baptism” outside of the ring. She’d never had a match go outside the ring like that before, so Itoh initiated her into the real pain and suffering of this world.

The match itself was interesting because it was sort of Itoh’s first time in this spot, where she is the dominant champion and not the underdog trying to claw her way to a victory. It really fits with the way she and Yuki Arai are sort of each other’s shadows in a sense.

I also loved how Itoh described Arai afterward: “パワー、スタミナ、根性もある。一つだけ足りないものがある。素材としてはいいけど、料理人としてはまだまだ。” My translation was: “She has power, stamina, and guts. There’s just one thing she lacks. The ingredients are good, but as a cook, she still has a long way to go.” I think it’s a really great way to describe someone who’s a bit of a prodigy but also a rookie.

Juria Nagano’s debut match was fun! I didn’t realize that she was a nurse on top of a former karate world champion and an actress and all of the many other things she’s done! In her post-match comments, she mentioned that she lost her last karate match before she retired (at 18), so she was frustrated to lose her debut, and wants to keep wrestling because she doesn’t want to end on a loss there as well.

Hikari Noa vs AEW’s Hikaru Shida was fun! I’m glad to see Shida wrestling in Japan again. After the match, they both said they wanted to have a hardcore match next time (Shida originally won the AEW title in a hardcore match with Nyla Rose). Hikari said that the gap between them was even further than she’d imagined.

Those were the only matches covered in the recap.

Working from the comments videos shared on twitter, I really liked this one from Nao Kakuta. I liked the way that she described that her team was four people who weren’t good at asserting themselves. She confessed that she didn’t actually want to get involved with GanPro, but then she was disappointed when the match ended, and found herself wishing for a next time.

Yuna Manase was not impressed, haha. She said that she’s not convinced, and she knows that TJPW can be hotter. She said they’re holding out on her, and told them: “出せよコラ!!今出さないでいつ出すんだ!” If TJPW doesn’t bring it out now, when will they bring it out?

Kamiyu and Asuka thankfully appear to still be on good terms after their match, and Asuka said she wants to keep teaming with her. Kamiyu said that even if she loses in wrestling, she will never lose in drinking.

After Nodoka Tenma’s first and last match with her sister Yuki Aino, she said, “妹は子供の頃から病弱って言われて控えめな子だったけど、負けん気はあるんだなって。” If I’m understanding correctly, she basically said: “Ever since she was a child, it was said that my sister had a weak constitution and was a reserved child, but she has proven to have such a competitive spirit.” From having watched Yuki’s matches, I never would have guessed that about her as a child! She fights with so much heart, and incorporates a lot of power wrestling into her style. I’m going to miss her team with Nodoka so much, though I’m looking forward to seeing what she does as a singles wrestler.

From the post-match comments of everyone involved in the NEO美威獅鬼軍 match, it seems to me like they’re hinting pretty heavily that Marika might join the faction if she ever ends up deciding to come back to wrestling (unlike Nodoka, Marika seemed to leave the possibility open). Sakisama hinted that there might even be a NEO美威獅鬼軍 member lurking among you. And Marika said that maybe Sakisama giving her the rose at the end was her way of showing respect. She said that normally, she’d tear it up, but today, she took it home with her… She also said, “実は愛がある人なんじゃないかなって”, which is a sentence I think I understand in Japanese, but really struggled to translate, haha.

This match also resulted in some fun interactions on twitter between Ram Kaichow and Raku. Raku entered with a new headpiece that looks like a wedding veil, and she and Ram made their entrance together like they were getting married. Afterward, they started talking about being married on twitter, haha, and also hinting that they wanted to challenge for the tag belts together (Ram is not a regular member of TJPW, but has been showing up recently for their big shows). If you looked closely, you might have noticed what’s at the top of Raku’s headdress. It’s Doctor Yellow, the train she named her finisher after, which is a tester train that is rarely seen in Japan, but is said to bring good luck to whoever sees it.

Out of everything on the show, I think the match that left the strongest impression on me was Hyper Misao vs Sanshiro Takagi, the buildup to which I have already talked about. Sadly the best part of the match, which was what was said in-ring afterward, was not transcribed anywhere that I can find :sweat_smile:. I had to go off of the translations from the English commentary during the show.

They certainly lived up to their promises for bringing the most nonsense into the match, haha. Takagi showed up with his full body painted to match Misao’s gear, and he brought his trademark plastic crates to the match, as well as his Dramatic Dream Mobile (Misao faced off against him on her Hyper Misao Mobile). He also brought the chair tower stacking knowledge to TJPW’s rookies (the DDT rookies built one exactly like it for his match the next day against Michael Nakazawa in DDT).

The match was a falls count anywhere match, of course. All of the most significant matches in Misao’s career end up being falls count anywhere matches because watching Jun Kasai vs Sanshiro Takagi in a falls count anywhere match was the match that quite literally saved her life.

One of the things I love the most about wrestling is how it can be utterly over the top ridiculous and also so incredibly serious and real at the same time, and boy did this match accomplish that. In the end, Misao managed to beat Takagi! She cut a very teary promo afterward. She told him that he should stay immature, stay “Peter Pan”, and as long as he is still Peter Pan, she will come for him. She asked him to please stay as ridiculous as he is, because he gives people like her hope.

Takagi tells her that just as Jun Kasai and Takagi inspired her, she is the hero now, and she has to be the one to show the dream from now on. She has to be the one who puts smiles on people’s faces.

All in all, the show was so good, and I’m so glad that I know at least some Japanese now so that I could follow the lead-up to it, as well as where they’re going from here.

I still have another recap from last week’s show (Nodoka’s retirement show) to translate :sweat_smile:. I was very grateful that Mr. Haku took pity on us and did another live translation thread just for that match. He actually has a few potential wrestling translation projects in the works, and I will share more information about those as it comes!


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

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

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

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

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

ミサヲ: このあたしハイパーミサヲ Music Start!

甲斐バンド: ヒーロー!ヒーローなる時、Ah ha、それは今!

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

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

Stardom World Climax thoughts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

週刊プロレス No.2165

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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週刊プロレス No. 2166

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

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

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

I like this picture of Starlight Kid and Natsupoi!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

… Also somewhere in there Prominence fought some 鬼


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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