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

週刊プロレス No.2167

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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I have a couple neat things to share!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This one:

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

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

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I’d say アホ is pretty much squarely along the lines of バカ – the connotational difference feels to me (for whatever that’s worth) as being like, アホ is probably a bit less childlike and more like something a gruff adult might say*, but it’s definitely I think more dumbass than asshole (even though it kinda sounds like the latter to English ears).

That part was easy but I had trouble helping with the second part. :sweat_smile:
I took a look at the video and I found this yonkoma via google (source for credit although I haven’t read it) that may help (it’s about a student and teacher one-upping each other in thanking each other at a graduation ceremony):


and I also found a tokyo sports article that summarizes the comments slightly differently.

And all together… I think you got it right! :grin:
I got tripped up myself because I forgot the context you mentioned about the ring post and such - and thought from the wording in the recap (and the thing she said in the video just before that I couldn’t quite make out) that she was responding more directly to what they said.
But I’m pretty sure from the tokyo sports article that she is indeed talking about the heelish weaponry, and from the yonkoma that “そっちがその気なら、こっちだって” means like a “oh so that’s how you’re playing it? Well check THIS out!” type of comeback, So I wrapped back around to agreeing with you once I remembered that context!
I think it’s like a (very roughly) “are you stupid? You did it because you thought it would help you win but we’re just gonna come back at you harder” type of thing, which is how the アホ fits in to me.

And yeah, I agree she wants to properly get their win back in the ring and aboveboard. The tokyo sports summary plays that up a bit too, emphasizing Yuka’s anger even while she expresses regret for her part in the violence since “Mizuki doesn’t like it”

バックステージでも怒りは収まらず「瑞希はこういうの嫌だろうからやらない方がいいんですけど、ブン回しちゃいました」と弁明しつつも「勝つために考えたことだと思いますけど、そっちがその気ならこっちだって」と吐き捨てた。

瑞希も「コーナーポストより、ゆかっち(坂崎)の方が凶器やから」とした上で「これが2人の戦い方なら、その土俵に立った上で勝ちを取り返したい。やり返したいです」ときっぱり。何やら危険な香りがする一戦になってきた。

Seems like Yuka’s promo is about retaliation (although not quite outright saying that retaliation will take the form of escalating violence/DQ-able offenses), and Mizuki is conspicuously more definitive about wanting to win properly. 何やら危険な香り indeed…

*I looked a little into the アホ/バカ difference and it sounds like it might just be basically that バカ is more kantoish and アホ is more kansaiish, so it could just be that Yuka is from the south, and my impression of it being slightly more adult-sounding could just be associating kansai speakers with characters from the Yakuza games…
The article also says アホ is harsher in Kanto and バカ is harsher in Kansai just because the other is more common in those places and so it’s desensitized through use.
Anyway, they’re definitely both about 愚か-ness, without a mean/jerk type of connotation

P.S. whoops read 瑞希 completely wrong without thinking :sweat_smile:

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Dood… this is hilarious, thanks for sharing.

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I just realized I forgot to mention this, but Wrestle Universe is free for the next couple weeks! Golden Week is a pretty good time to check out the service.

I managed to finish the April 29 TJPW show already (recap here)! The April 30 one should take a little longer, because there are a couple contract signings at the beginning of that one :sweat_smile:. But I think I can do it!

The April 29 show was very much a house show, so there wasn’t a whole lot of plot-relevant stuff. Shoko is back from her excursion to EVE in the UK, and she had a pretty good showing today as well. After the match, Misao was frustrated that she couldn’t beat Shoko here.

She said: “まだまだ最終的にベルトを取るために必要な段階なのかなって思って。今、踊り場なだけですね。“ゴーテンサン”が最上階ということで、明日は踊り場を抜けて最上階にたどり着くために私が勝利します”.

This part was a little confusing to me, but I think I figured it out? This was my translation: “I think I’m not yet at the stage I need to be to take the belt. Right now, I’m just at the ground floor, right? ‘GOTENSAN’ is the top floor, so tomorrow, in order to pass through the ground floor to get to the top floor, I must win.”

I was very confused by ゴーテンサン at first, haha. Especially since googling it only brought up TJPW stuff and was absolutely no help in clarifying what exactly it meant. But I did actually manage to figure it out! I believe it’s a play on イッテンヨン, which literally just means “1.4”, referring of course to January 4, which is a big day for wrestling shows in Japan. By the same logic, ゴーテンサン is “5.3”, or May 3, the date of TJPW’s Korakuen show! The staircase metaphor did confuse me a little bit, though, haha. It was one of those cases where I feel like I understood the gist, but maybe not enough to properly translate it.

Another thing that threw me off was Miyu’s comment after her singles match with the rookie Moka Miyamoto. Miyu said: “もかは今日は私と、明日は伊藤とってことで、仕上げてきてるなって。そこに関してはもかの気持ちだったり、このカードに入れられた意味をわかってるなって感じました”. The first sentence was confusing to me, and I couldn’t quite figure out who was doing the わかってる in the second. This was my best attempt at a translation, though it’s not one I’m confident about at all: “Moka had to get through me today, and Itoh tomorrow. I feel like I understand Moka’s feelings, and the significance of her getting added to that match.”

And that’s all for that show!

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google image search is helpful with this one!
踊り場 is (apparently) this sort of thing:
image
image
" 階段の途中に、やや広く場所をとった平らな所。" per weblio. I suppose in English we’d probably just call that a landing?
So it seems like it gets used as a metaphor for stuff that halts growth and plateaus for a bit, like in economics.
Misao’s not on the ground floor - she’s come a long way, but she’s still got a ways to go!

I think you pretty much did get it - this one’s tricky for me too so I could certainly be wrong, but I think Miyu is remarking that Moka is honing her skills (仕上げてきてる, she’s become complete/perfect) by these matches with her and Itoh. And Miyu felt she understands Moka’s feelings about that honing and the significance of being added to this card.
Like - Miyu thinks Moka is improving and can tell she’s invested.

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I’ve spent the past few days watching, uh, way too much wrestling, haha, but I managed to finish the translation for the last TJPW house show (including the contract signing) in the nick of time,! The recap for the April 30 show is here, and the transcripts for the two contract signings are here and here.

Most of the meat of this show, plot-wise, (and the parts that confused me), were in the contract signing at the beginning. They started off with the contract signing for the tag title match between the Magical Sugar Rabbits (Yuka Sakazaki and Mizuki) and Free WiFi (Nao Kakuta and Hikari Noa).

Nao said that from their standpoint, the two members of MagiRabbi are like symbols of tag team wrestling to her and Hikari. Then she said a very long sentence that confused me a bit: “尊敬の気持ちはすごくあって、まだ私たち2人で試合するようになってまだまだ経験は少ないけど、今まで見たことがない東京女子プロレスのタッグチームとして攻めて攻めてベルトを奪って、5月3日後楽園ホールのリングの上で『電波良好ビビビビー』をやりたいと思います.”

Here was my best attempt at a translation: “I have a lot of respect for them, and although we still don’t have a lot of experience wrestling together and there is a lot we haven’t shown as a TJPW tag team, we want to attack and attack and take the belts, and we’re going to make a “good reception noise” happen in the Korakuen Hall ring on May 3.”

I couldn’t really figure out “電波良好ビビビビー” haha so I just made my best guess. Apparently ビ can be used for a high pitched sound, so from context, it made me think she was probably referring to the sound of good wifi reception?

Then Hikari mentioned that this is her third time challenging for the tag belts. She won the International belt on her third try, too, so she feels like she has to win with “三度目の正直”. Then there was… this very confusing sentence, hahaha. “その中ですごくすごく強いマジラビが大好きでかわいくて強くて優しいマジラビよりは、すごく強くて厳しくて怖いマジラビを超えたいので、今日もいっぱい怒らせたい.”

This was my best attempt, though I’m not certain about it at all: “Therein, I want to surpass the super strong and strict and scary MagiRabbi, rather than the super, super strong MagiRabbi whom I love so much, the cute and strong and gentle MagiRabbi, so I want to make them really angry today.”

Then Mizuki and Yuka gave their comments. Mizuki said that Free WiFi are making comments like they’re goody two-shoes, but the things they do aren’t goody goody at all. She tells them to go ahead and hit her with everything they have. She says that she wants to win, and she thinks she has to make up for the loss in the preview match, and wonders how far they’re going to go against her. Then she says “そこをまた超えたいと思うし”, which I think means basically “I want to overcome that again”?

Yuka follows that up by confusing me in her first sentence, haha. She says: “結局のところいい子ちゃんなんですよね.” I think the “いい子ちゃん” in this is referring to Mizuki? I think it follows from what we talked about in the last show. Yuka goes on to say: “だからすごく複雑な部分はあるけど、私の宝物に何かあった時には知らないよっていうことだけだから.” I translated this (very uncertainly) as: “So although I have some mixed feelings, it’s only because I don’t want anything to happen to my treasures.” She finishes by saying that this is just another title match that MagiRabbi will win handily.

Namba asks all four of them what they think gives them an edge over the other team.

Nao says that MagiRabbi have been together a long time, but even though she and Hikari don’t have a lot of tag team experience, she thinks it’s because they’ve done so few tag team matches that they’re winning now. (I was not quite able to follow this logic, but that might have been my own failure to translate it haha).

Hikari says that although their name is Free WiFi, she has experienced the great responsibility of carrying and protecting a belt. But because she doesn’t have that same burden as a challenger, she has nothing to worry about when they fight, and that’s how they’re going to win.

Yuka starts out by saying that she’s thought about it hard, but doesn’t think there is anything. Then she realizes that there are actually lots of things. First of all, she and Mizuki are almost always together, whether they have a match that day or not (aww), and they use almost all of the same cosmetics, and “私が口にしたいことを先に瑞希が言う「後追い」みたいになるところとか.” I translated this as: “and Mizuki says what I want to say before I say it, like we’re echoing each other.” The word echo isn’t quite a literal translation, but it seemed to fit a bit better than the literal meaning of 後追い.

Then Mizuki said: “東京女子のタッグとしてこういなきゃいけないという覚悟じゃないですか?” I struggled with this one, haha, especially because I felt like I wasn’t quite getting the joke. My best attempt at a translation was: “As a TJPW tag team, don’t you have to be prepared to act like this?” Then Yuka points out that it’s an 後追い, and both of them laugh.

The other contract signing was for Hyper Misao vs Shoko Nakajima, and Misao managed to do it again, and said some things that got me to strongly root for her. This was what she said:

ずっと王者の資格ってなんなんだろうって考えていたんですよ。いろんなチャンピオンが誕生するのをずっと見てきて気づいたんです。王者の資格って意識的なのか無意識なのかわからないですけど、みんな自分のことを信じていて、「自分が一番正しい」「自分が一番強い」というのをどんな逆境でも信じている。よく言えばプライドがある、悪く言えば傲慢さを持っている人が王者の資格を持っているなと気づきました。正直私にも自分が正しい、強いという気持ちはずっとあったんですけど、いかんせん雑音をすごく感じてしまうタチ。ずっとここまで雑音を感じてきたから挑戦しなかったというのはあるんですけど、最近になってその雑音がまったく聞こえなくなってきたんです。だからもしかして私にも王者の資格があるんじゃないかなと、私がチャンピオンになる準備ができた証拠なんじゃないかなと思ってます。ゴーテンサンは私がチャンピオンになりますので、皆さん応援よろしくお願いします。

Here was my best attempt at a translation, though parts of it were tricky:

I have always wondered what the qualifications of a champion are. I have watched the birth of various champions, and I realized something. I don’t know if the qualities of a champion are conscious or unconscious, but everyone believes in themselves, and says “I am the most righteous” and “I am the strongest”, and believes it no matter the circumstances. I realized that people who speak well with pride and speak badly with arrogance both have the qualities of a champion. To be honest, I’ve always felt that I was righteous and powerful, but regrettably I strongly feel the background noise of criticism. Until now, I have always felt that criticism, and that is why I never challenged, but only recently, I don’t hear that noise at all anymore. So maybe I’m also qualified to be a champion, and I think that’s proof that I’m ready to become one. At GOTENSAN, I will become champion, so please support me, everyone.

Shoko said that her match with Alex Winter at EVE in the UK gave her a huge confidence boost, especially since Shoko was able to win with her fighting style despite the size difference. She doesn’t think she has any blind spots now. She mentions that she has a match with Misao at イッテンヨン every year under special rules, and she looks forward to it throughout the year. She says that the person who has the most fun is going to win their title match.

Then Namba asks them to say what about their opponent they’re most wary of.

Misao says that Shoko’s greatest strength is her “主人公力”, her main character power. She says that Shoko is like the protagonist in a shounen manga. No matter how much adversity she encounters, she turns that adversity into power and fights back. At times like that, she displays a mysterious power and does things that we cannot imagine. So during their match, what Misao is most wary of is the moment where she gains the upper hand, or rather, the moment when she thinks “いけるかな?” (this just means “Can I really do it?”, right?). She thinks this is when she has to be very careful.

Shoko said: “ご存じの通りハイパーミサヲは私にはできないプロレスに対する切り込み方ができる選手.” Another sentence that gave me trouble, haha, but I settled on translating this as: “As you know, Hyper Misao has a way of cutting deep into pro wrestling that I lack.” Shoko says that Misao is a “一流の二番手” (a top notch second in command?), though she means it in a good way.

She finishes with another line that confused me: “その意識が自分の中にあるというのは、自分が油断するところがあるんじゃないかという弱みの部分でもあるので、私はミサヲの隠し持っているハードな武器も警戒して試合をしたい.” This was my best attempt at a translation, though I feel like I missed the point she was actually making: “That awareness that I have, I can be negligent despite it, so that’s a weakness, and I also have to be vigilant of Misao’s concealed weapons during the match.”

Phew! That was a lot!

The actual show itself was fun, but most of the action happened during the champions vs challengers main event. At the start of the match, Misao presented her cans of cold spray that she’d hidden all over her gear, emphasizing that the match would be fought “fair and square” (you can probably guess how that went). Free WiFi also got in some more cheating, haha, taking away the corner pad again. Ultimately Misao won with the Vanitas (her finisher from when she was a heel), pinning Shoko directly.

After the match, she said that yesterday, it felt like she’d twisted her ankle on the landing. But today, she could run all the way up to ゴーテンサン, the rooftop. She declared that on the appointed day, she’s going to capture the belt from Shoko, and she will demonstrate that the main character of 享楽共鳴 is her.

Shoko said: “今日負けてしまった分は、態度じゃなくて、行動で示せればと思います。はゴーテンサンの結果で示したい.” This gave me a little trouble, but I think she said: “I hope it was apparent that what cost me today wasn’t my attitude, but my actions. I’ll show that with the final outcome at GOTENSAN.”

And that’s all I have to share before ゴーテンサン, the 5.3 Korakuen show! I’m really looking forward to both of those title matches, as well as the rest of the show!

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From the context, it’s a cheer of theirs.
She wants to attack, attack, take the belt, and then 『電波良好ビビビビー』 on stage. What happens after you take a belt? The in-ring promo!

You can actually see Nao come up with it at the end of the Spring Tour show where they beat MagiRabbi - the idea is they say “電波良好!” and then the fans say “ビビビビー”! or as the case may be, raise their hands like this imitating the sound sort of in a covid friendly way:

Reception (har har) to the new cheer from the other wrestlers was a bit mixed at the time - I heard ダサい but also かわいい. It’s corny, but cute.

Anyway, yeah – the ビビビビー is vague onomatopoeia for devices of some kind receiving wifi loud and clear :slight_smile:

I think here it’s like this:
すごくすごく強いマジラビが大好きで → she loves the incredibly strong MagiRabbi, so
かわいくて強くて優しいマジラビよりは → rather than the “cute, strong, nice!” MagiRabbi…
すごく強くて厳しくて怖いマジラビを超えたいので → …she wants to beat the “strong, cruel, scary” MagiRabbi, so…
今日もいっぱい怒らせたい. → she wants to keep making them angry.

She paused and put in a bit more connective tissue after the 大好きで in the video so it’s a bit less of a mess of MagiRabbi descriptors there… also 今日も comes up most I think as a phrase around stuff that happens every day like “today too (as usual)” which is a a bit harder to convey in the same way in English, so anyway I imagine she’s referring to the ring pole thing and she’s not gonna let up when it comes to the actual match (like it’s not just today that she’s gonna be making her angry I don’t think).
The general point is - MagiRabbi present themselves as cute and fun and strong - Noa likes the strong parts so she’s gonna draw that part out as much as possible by pissing them off. :slight_smile: I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of the stuff she says there is playing off of stuff MagiRabbi’s own catchphrases and stuff, also.

This one is maybe a bit clearer in the video - she ponders sort of solemnly for a bit around that clause and emphasizes そこ in a way that I think makes it clearer than in print she’s talking about the previous thing she said.
I believe what she’s saying is something roughly like:
She wants to win, she definitely wants to get the title back - so then how far is she/Yuka willing to go to retaliate the escalating violence to make that happen? THAT feeling is what she wants to overcome again.

From the video I think she’s talking about herself something like:
“At the end of the day I’m a good girl. So It’s a complicated situation. All I can say is I don’t know what would happen if something happened to my treasure.”
I didn’t render that great in English and I could be wrong in the first place, but I think she’s talking about the turmoil Free Wifi is stirring, and she’s conflicted because she’s an いい子. But if her belt’s threatened… who knows.

Just a note the video is a lot funnier here! She managed to get turned around somehow and was trying to think of 負けてるところ instead of 勝っているところ, hence not coming up with anything! (the transcript really doesn’t spell that out very well)

In the video, the humor definitely comes through! Yuka’s struggling to think of another thing to list, and Mizuki fills in the last thing for her, which makes me think 後追い is less like an echo and more like filling in each other’s sentences - since it comes across like a 100% natural example of what she was just talking about!
She was wondering what to say, and Mizuki was thoughtfully listening and filled in exactly what she would have wanted to say and all Yuka had to do after was go “そうだな!” And they laugh a lot once they realize it was an 後追い.


(as for what Mizuki was saying - I think it’s just like… roughly their resolve in being a Tokyo Joshi tag team and leading the division, I suppose)

One small note about Misao’s speech translation - I think the タチ here is the 質 type of tachi like in phrases like “たちが悪い” to say someone is of bad character - and 雑音 mainly calls to mind like - static noise. So I think she’s saying she’s the type where unfortunately her self-worth is drowned out by (internal) noise. I think she’s talking about self-criticism rather than external criticism, so I thought I’d mention since from the translation it looks like you might have been unsure which and hedged your bets :grin:

I think basically, yeah. いける is like… to go fine / pull it off, sort of, so I think she’s talking about the moment when things are going well enough she might think “wait, I might really do it! I’m gonna be champion!” Like “Can I really do it” but in a positive way - Hang on, maybe I can really do it!
She’s gotta stay vigilant of Shoko’s protagonist energy at that point.

I think this part is a chunk: 私にはできないプロレス, so Misao has a way of cutting into a kind of pro-wrestling that Shoko can’t do, I think.

As for 二番手, she was talking about how Misao called her a protagonist, so I think she means more like “sidekick” than second in command :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes: googling around, Luigi is a 二番手 - I don’t think it’s quite as hierarchical as like a Batman and Robin type “sidekick” - but definitely the #2 player like Luigi… Hence her clarification about meaning it in a good way!

I think she’s saying that sense of Misao being a 二番手 to her like she was talking about is a confidence, but that confidence can bring 油断 too, so she needs to be vigilant and watch out for Misao’s weapons.

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Thank you so much for all of your help, as always! This is so great!

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I was going to recommend some matches that NJPW made freely available on their site as promotion for the AEW/NJPW show, but Japanese pro wrestling twitter is currently a little bit on fire right now, thanks to some tweets Kota Ibushi made airing out his grievances with NJPW, and I don’t feel especially inclined to recommend their product right now. I’m proud of Ibushi for speaking up, and I hope that the company shapes up, and that he comes out of all of this alright.

In other news, the lineup for CyberFight Festival 2022 was announced! It’s… a little underwhelming, at least in comparison to last year, though I feel like part of that is how cold NOAH feels right now. NJPW isn’t the only company making poor decisions and having management issues currently :grimacing:. There are a couple names I’m not excited to see on the card for this show, let’s put it that way.

The press conference for it is worth watching, though, even if just for the Kenoh vs Daisuke Sasaki part. Knowing Kenoh’s shupro antics thanks to this thread made it even funnier for me, haha. I sincerely think that Kenoh might be the best comedy wrestler in the world.

Regarding TJPW, I finally finished translating the May 3 Korakuen show (recap here)! I’m working on the May 5 show still, but should get it finished before their next show, hopefully.

I did have a question about the word (まる)()む. I see this a lot in the recaps, and have sort of just been assuming it means basically a roll-up?

Misao vs Shoko was a lot of fun! It was a very interesting match because Misao drew on her NEO Biishiki-gun stuff a lot, including pulling out the Vanitas again (though she wasn’t able to hit it), but without going full heel. It made me wonder how the crowd would have reacted if they had been allowed to boo. I was really sad to see Misao lose, even though I kind of expected it :pensive:.

After the match, Shoko was really complimentary toward Misao. She said: “私のことを主人公みたいな言い方してくれたじゃない? 私はミサヲのことを最高の二番手って言ったけど、二番手がベルトを巻けないわけじゃないから。” Basically, Misao referred to Shoko as being like a hero, and Shoko said that Misao was the best sidekick, but that doesn’t mean that a sidekick can’t wear the belt. She also said: “東京女子のオモチャ箱を2人でひっくり返していきたい。” She wants the two of them to turn over TJPW’s toy box together.

Shoko went on to say that her dream is to have a title match at CyberFight Fest. It does look like that she will in fact achieve this! She’s set to have a title match with Yuka in the semi-main event of the show. I think the last time they wrestled was at DDT Ultimate Party in 2019, when Yuka beat Shoko for the same title, so it should be interesting to see them revisit that feud here.

In her backstage comments, Misao said something that I thought was neat in Japanese, but had trouble capturing in my English translation, haha. She said: “享楽共鳴として、私が足を引っ張ってたって思ってたんですけど、そういう気持ちがなくなったというか。これからは私が中島さんを引っ張っていく決意ができました。”

There’s a play on words here with (あし)()()る and ()()る. The first means to hold back someone from achieving success or to stand in someone’s way, and the second means to pull, to lead, etc. It’s often a hard word for me to pin down in these translations, but it seems to be used a lot referring to a wrestler talking about wanting to lead TJPW, or lead a group?

I couldn’t exactly capture the wordplay, but I tried my best with the translation, and I ended up with: “As Kyoraku Kyomei, I thought I was dragging her down, but I don’t feel like that anymore. From now on, I’m determined to pull up Nakajima-san.” I thought the dragging down/pulling up parallel was nice to emphasize, though the latter word also has the connotation of leading her as well, which is sort of lost in the English. But oh well!

Regarding the rest of the show, I really loved the tag title match, which was moved to the opening match last minute due to Yuka having to very quickly catch a plane to America so that she could wrestle for AEW, haha. As the wrestlers and the recap emphasize, this was a pretty different match for TJPW, and it wasn’t quite like anything else Yuka and Mizuki had ever faced before. Hikari and Nao spent the whole time relentlessly cheating, and Mizuki and Yuka had to constantly be on alert for missing turnbuckle pads and other dirty tactics. MagiRabbi did manage to defend their titles, though!

Afterward, Yuka said something that confused me, haha. She said: “読んでたけど、あっちも考えてきてた。2人の絆のベルトが守れてよかった。” I couldn’t wrap my brain around that first sentence. “I’ve been reading about it, but I’ve been thinking about it over there, too”? It just doesn’t seem to make sense, though maybe there’s context they didn’t include that would clear things up a little.

Yuka went on to say that she’s glad that they were able to protect the belts that bind the two of them together, and that now she can get on the airplane with peace of mind and go to the US.

Hikari said that that match was the toughest and scariest title match that she’s done. “でも、ここまで引き出したのは自分たち。” But she and Nao were the ones who took it this far. She also said that when she came here today, she was afraid that the two members of MagiRabbi would hate her. Thankfully, I don’t think she has to worry too much about that, haha.

After the tag title match, they had Reika Saiki’s final match (a three minute exhibition match with Arisu Endo), and then retirement. This was actually my first time seeing Reika wrestle, because I started watching TJPW just after she stopped wrestling in 2019. I didn’t know that she actually had history with Arisu, or at least both of them were in Cheer♡1 at different points, so Reika started mentoring Arisu when she started training to be a wrestler.

Arisu said this about Reika: “私の才木玲佳さんは私にとってのキューピットです。” I’m not exactly sure what she means by referring to Reika as her cupid?

I got really sad because of this line of Reika’s after the match: “もっと有栖と戦いたいって思ったし、またこれから一緒にやってたら、どんなストーリーが紡げるんだろうって、想像も膨らんだし、ワクワクもした.” She said that she wanted to fight Arisu more, and thinking about the kind of story they could tell if they worked together in the future, her imagination swelled, and she was so excited"…

But, even though wrestling again made her consider withdrawing her retirement, she’s sticking with her decision. (This wasn’t mentioned in the recap, but she’s also “retiring from muscles”, meaning that she isn’t going to keep up her amazing arm muscles anymore, either :pensive:). She said that if she’s going to do something, she wants to do it with all of her might, and not just put half effort into something.

I really hope this is the last retirement in a long time that I have to translate, because they just make me sad.

On a brighter note, the rest of the show was fun! A particular highlight for me was Suzume vs Juria Nagano, which was Juria’s third ever wrestling match. She has such an amazing intensity to her, it really made her feel super deadly even though she’s just a rookie, and Suzume looked really crafty how she outmaneuvered her.

I was a little unsure how to translate a few things due to lack of karate knowledge, haha. Here’s a line from the match recap: “長野は得意の突き、手刀、蹴りで攻め込んだが、鈴芽の丸め込みに苦戦。” I think I understand 蹴り, but I wasn’t quite sure what English words to use for 突き and 手刀.

The other match covered in the recap is Miyu Yamashita & Maki Itoh vs Moka Miyamoto & AEW’s Hikaru Shida. This one was really fun because Shida had loads of respect for Miyu, and practically none at all for Itoh, haha. Afterward, Shida said: “伊藤は目障り”. Another tricky thing to translate, but I decided on “Itoh was in my way” because Itoh constantly got in Shida’s face when it was clear that Shida’s primary interest was facing Miyu.

Shida finished by saying “アイツ、米国まで来そうなんだよな。会う度にボコボコにしてやります”. I was a little unsure exactly how harsh to translate that last sentence. Is it like “I’m going to beat her up every time we meet,” or is it more like “I’m going to beat the shit out of her every time we meet”? That was DeepL’s suggestion, and I’m always hesitant with using more charged vocabulary in my translation, though there are times in wrestling where that’s absolutely the tone and intent. It’s just hard for me to tell when exactly that is :sweat_smile:.

I enjoyed the matches that didn’t make it into the recap, though I was confused by Kamiyu’s comment here. Kamiyu said: “まなせゆうなが見てたけど、あの人目立つのは身体だけにして欲しい。” I couldn’t really make heads or tails of this. My best attempt was: “I saw Yuna Manase, but I want her body to be the only part of her that stands out.” Yuna and Kamiyu both do modeling, so I think that’s what she’s referring to? Perhaps there is context from the full video that I’m missing, haha.

I think that’s all I have to say about that show! Golden Week was fun, but I’m also very glad that it’s over :sweat_smile:

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Yep I believe so! For example there’s this line in the recap:

ゴングが鳴ると、ミサヲは首固めを連発して丸め込もうとするも、中島はクリア.

And I checked the first thing that happens in the match after the bell rings, and I would describe it in my own words as “Misao tries to roll up Nakajima twice unsuccessfully.”

And the Takagi-supervised wrestling dictionary has:

Yeah, searching for images of 引っ張る of any kind brings up stuff like:
image

image
and 足を引っ張る:
image

I’d probably go personally with holding back vs. pulling forward - but yeah, the feeling she was holding back Shoko is gone and now she’s resolved to lead her forward instead (even though she lost).

Incidentally, I got muddled myself from glossing over a bit too much a subject/object or two based on my assumptions (I assumed it was about realizing Shoko was pulling her forward, not back - but then was like ‘wait that’s an を’ :sweat_smile:), but interestingly the tweet with the video is worded a lot more clearly than the summary.

I don’t have super great justification for it, but I believe she’s saying, like, “We planned well for anything they could throw at us, but they were doing some thinking too and had some suprises for us! I’m glad we were able to protect the belt that represents the bond between us.”

I’m thinking of 読む in the sense of, sort of, reading an opponent / reading the situation. Weblio has a definition for it as thinking about your next move in Shogi or Go. So I think it’s that kind of thing.
And the あっち here is like - the other guys (as opposed to こっち to mean us). So MagiRabbi planned but so did Free Wifi.

Probably her cupid in the sense of like – cupid brings people together, Reika brought her together with pro-wrestling? (just speculating)

突き would be a straight punch like this I think - so I guess in English that’d be a “jab”?
image

And 手刀 seems to be when you hit someone with your hand like this – so looks like that’s a “chop”! Makes sense come to think of it!
image

I think yours is completely fine! It’s inherently pretty rude to say you’re gonna beat someone up but I don’t think she was over the top about it - she still used ます and could have picked ruder things to say than アイツ :sweat_smile:. And the alternative makes it sound cruel in a way that I don’t think it would be in this context. DeepL doesn’t know you’re cutting a wrestling promo after all :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

I think there is! She’s talking very fast and I don’t really know enough about the people involved to parse context great, but she’s talking, very roughly, about how someone doesn’t have アピールポイント other than like, ビジュアル and winning. So by winning over Manase they’ll take one of those away and leave just the ビジュアル I suppose.

Some thoughts of my own on various shows I watched around Golden Week:

  • DDT 小湊鉄道列車プロレス
    Wrestling on a train, why not? I watched while working and didn’t pay a lot of attention to be honest. The spring scenery looked extremely beautiful! But I’m very glad I wasn’t on that train :sweat_smile:
  • NJPW ゴールデン・ファイト・シリーズ
    This one was similar I think I pretty much just focused on the cumulative count KOPW match - it was fun! Takagi doesn’t necessarily strike me as the type to have a big interest in coming up with weird stipulations - an impression that was confirmed in the backstage somewhere when he said “what about a 3-count match” and Taichi yelled “that’s just a normal match!!” :sweat_smile: (he meant like, a cumulative 3-count match though)
  • NJPW Wrestling Dontaku 2022
    This one I watched pretty much all the way through though!
    A nice highlight for me was face Tama Tonga - I feel like I’ve been wanting to root for him since I saw him so it was nice to see the face/heel dynamic totally work with him and EVIL.
    The biggest highlight for me though was the US Title match - not to wish absences on anyone (especially since I don’t actually know the circumstances) but Ishii replacing… basically anyone would be a major improvement to a match in my book, and I really liked the match with Tanahashi. It felt very, like, New Japan, in the sense of reminding me of the feeling when I got into my first G1 Climax. As warm and fuzzy in that way as something that looks extremely painful can be.
    For the main event… I was very tired by that point, and the thing about a Naito/Okada match I always struggle with is you just know it is going to take a million years, and neither of them are like, “I’m gonna root for them really loud” type of favorites for me. I did enjoy it though as it got on! I feel like once I realized the structure is like, “beautiful move! → long pause → beautiful move! → long pause, etc.” like sure it’ll be slow but the dropkicks and destinos are going to be picture perfect, I could accept it and get into the inevitable drama as increasingly tense nearfalls accumulated.
    Mixed feelings about the Bullet Club developments - but Jay White being back could be cool.The Best of the Super Jrs. brackets looked interesting too! At this point I have no idea if crowd noise will return this year, but if guest wrestlers are back in tournaments that could be exciting?
  • TJPW YES! WONDERLAND 2022 ~夢の翼を広げ~
    Helping with the recaps in this thread definitely improved this a notch for me as I was a lot more invested in the storylines as I would otherwise have been, so thank you!
    I enjoyed the main event – it was more orthodox than I was expecting! But Misao played into the more dominant heelish foil for Shoko well. And I think Shoko is just fantastic at post-match promos - her sort of, bunched-up, shy looking mannerism really sells that she’s speaking thoughtfully and from the heart.
    The other match that turned out to be a major highlight for me was the non-title tag. I guess it makes sense when you look at who was involved, but they really didn’t hold back!
    I also hadn’t seen Reika before this retirement, but first impression-wise she seems absurdly well suited for pro wrestling, and it was easy to get wrapped into the emotions of her retirement speech.
  • Stardom Cinderella Tournament 2022 優勝決定戦
    Mei Suruga’s Highspeed title shot against AZM here was super fun! I liked that match a whole lot - really lives up to the title’s name.
    For the tournament, I was rooting for Koguma or Hazuki, but can’t really complain. It’ll be interesting to see MIRAI’s arc in Stardom? I’ve had to resist personally a little bit of unfair saltiness since she’s gotten a lot of shots while the roster was already quite deep – but I like seeing that the crowd is doing her clapping thing and I was happy for her winning promo!
    For the main event, I had no real expectations that Himeka was going to win, but she acquitted herself well and hopefully built legitimacy for successful title shots in the future! Syuri vs. Risa Sera should be something to look forward to as well!
    Yuji Nagata was on guest commentary and came across (with respect) like “respected VIP who isn’t familiar with what’s going on but we’ll explain it to him and he’ll seem impressed.”
  • NOAH MAJESTIC 2022
    This one I watched while working again and it ended up a surprisingly busy day so I didn’t pay attention to as much as I might have liked. The increase in foreign guest wrestlers could maybe bring exciting things, or at least variety (although it also brought… not that… let’s say).
    The main match I was curious about was the GHC tag title match, because I haven’t actually ever seen Hideki Suzuki wrestle despite his prominence in shupro, and Nakajima and Kenoh are the wrestlers I’m most interested in in NOAH so they’d be great foils, so I made sure to pay attention to that match. I thought it was really good! Suzuki has an interesting, orthodox/European (?) style. I could see why a company with William Regal would be interested in him… and why a company that decided somehow it should fire William Regal would also fire him…
  • Stardom 福岡女神祭り~ばってんスターダム~
    This was the show I was most excited for around Golden Week, because I heard Miki Motoi was on commentary (and she’s my favorite play-by-play commentator), and because the title shots all seemed like they could go either way (after mostly predictable title matches recently in Stardom).
    And I enjoyed it a whole lot!
    Motoi, Oe, and Jushin Thunder Liger make for a good commentary team. A moment I liked was Liger cheering loud for Saya Iida (which he’s right to do! Iida’s really cool!).
    The elimination match between DDM and God’s Eye was really fun and highlighted each of the wrestlers really well especially Mai Sakurai in her biggest spotlight yet.
    The tag title match was a intense wild back-and-forth between two great teams. Really happy for FWC and that it means they’ll still be tagging, although I’d have been completely happy with Black Desire retaining too.
    And the main event was a really good title match between Saya Kamitani and Maika showcasing their different strengths. I was rooting for Maika and thought she had a very real shot, although Mirai’s announced challenge + FWC getting the hometown victory + the idea that Kamitani would give up the phoenix splash if she lost did introduce some doubts to the back of my mind :sweat_smile: Still, it was fun to root for her, she was a good foil for me to appreciate Kamitani, and hopefully I’ll get to root for her in victory sometime in the future too!

I was avoiding twitter and wrestling news until I could watch that Stardom Fukuoka show, so I came back just in time for the Kota/NJPW stuff :grimacing: I guess we’ll see how all that unfolds! Hoping for the best for those involved - whatever and whoever that is…

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Thank you as always for all of your help, and for tracking down all of those illustrations!

I was the exact same, haha! I really wanted to see that match because DDT did a cumulative count stipulation for the Extreme belt last year, and it was hilarious. I think I preferred DDT’s because they let it come down to a 1-count, ahaha, and it’s really funny and tense when even a 1-count has stakes. I think I agree with your other impressions of those NJPW shows as well.

I’m really glad that you enjoyed the TJPW show! And it sounds like Stardom is also doing some interesting things, which is nice. I’m admittedly happy for Mirai even though I haven’t been watching her Stardom run haha because I liked her in TJPW and want her to do well.

Oh, and speaking of Risa Sera, that reminded me, I don’t know if you heard about this, but Prominence showed up in DDT! Suzu wants to destroy Shunma, haha (a popular opinion in DDT), to get revenge on him after he defeated her in the rojo show.

I also watched that NOAH show, and that was my first time seeing Hideki Suzuki as well! I also thought he was fun, though apparently there’s some, uh, backstage history where he refused to put Nakajima over before, then promised he would after coming back, and then… well… :sweat_smile:. NOAH’s in a kind of weird place right now. Their old booker, Nosawa, just left the promotion (there are rumors about why, but I don’t find the source of those rumors particularly trustworthy), which might be a good thing, considering how things have been going recently. It’s amazing how they were on such a hot streak at the beginning of the year, and then kind of managed to blow it like that. But, well, such is wrestling. NOAH is, if anything, good at enduring through hardship.

I think I’m going to save the Kota Ibushi/NJPW stuff for its own post, because it’s pretty depressing and there’s a lot there, but I think it’s worth talking about.

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Here's a long post about Kota Ibushi's tweets concerning NJPW, bad labor practices in wrestling, and the taboo against breaking kayfabe in Japan.

So, first of all, I recommend treating all of the English language reporting coming out about the situation (at least thus far) with a healthy dose of skepticism, because what Voices of Wrestling was reporting was directly contradicting Kota’s literal words in his own tweets.

Most of my understanding comes from reading translations of his tweets done by other people, since my Japanese is definitely not up to the task. The best thread about the whole situation is probably this one, since it includes the timeline with Kota’s injury alongside the recent tweets for context. I’m really hoping that Japanese media will investigate it and we’ll find out more, but for now, the best source is what Kota himself has shared.

The basic summary is that Kota is accusing NJPW of several bad labor practices, including the company trying to force him to come back to wrestling when he still hasn’t recovered yet from his injury.

As I think y’all probably already know, I follow his career about as closely as someone who isn’t fluent in Japanese can :sweat_smile:, so a lot of the stuff leading up to this is stuff that I’ve been discussing with my friends, including my friend who is fluent in Japanese (and who has been following his career since 2014), who has been listening to his podcast and closely reading his previous tweets and such.

We were very worried for him back when they initially announced that his projected recovery time was in December, since that seemed much too soon, and were relieved when they didn’t put him on the Tokyo Dome card. Around the beginning of the year, my friend noticed that he sounded really depressed on his podcast, but we thought it was probably because he was depressed about not being able to wrestle, and having to miss a show like Wrestle Kingdom.

Then they announced that he was going to be in the New Japan Cup (with a bracket that looked to be designed around him winning), and we were worried again, and then were very relieved when they announced that he wouldn’t be participating, though we were alarmed that they tried to put him in the tournament despite his condition clearly not being ready.

Kota started making some tweets after that that were confusing to us because at first we thought he was legitimately implying that he wanted to quit working under contract at NJPW and go freelance again (this is what we’d been wanting for him), but there was enough playfulness there and elements riffing on stuff that O-Khan had said in his promos, it seemed like he was mostly just fueling his feud with O-Khan through twitter, and we were just being worked. Obviously in hindsight, our first instinct was right, and he wasn’t just trying to build a storyline.

The thing is, it’s very evident that NJPW has a culture of encouraging wrestlers to overwork themselves, and push through injury instead of taking care of their health. There are so many examples you can point to! Tanahashi has done it loads of times, Okada reportedly did last year, and Naito very much did as well. And of course, Shibata’s recent return, which has always seemed a bit medically questionable…

Also, I haven’t read it, but in the Young Bucks’ autobiography, apparently Kenny talks about that pressure as well, and he says that he knew he couldn’t sign with NJPW again (after 2018) because he thought that he would legitimately die if he kept wrestling there, not because of direct pressure from the company, but from the pressure that he puts on his own self to perform at an incredibly high level at all costs. Then he… went and did basically exactly that in AEW :disappointed_relieved:. I hope that he can take things easier when he comes back now that he’s not having to carry the pressure of an entire brand new company during a global crisis…

But, anyway, yeah. There’s copious evidence of NJPW having a culture that encourages the wrestlers to overwork themselves and not take care of their health. I guess the main difference between before and after Kota’s tweets is that before, I assumed it was like an informal company culture that encouraged that mindset, but now that he’s come out with this, it’s very clear that there is also formal pressure from company officials basically forcing the wrestlers to sacrifice their own health for the benefit of the company. Really, really not great!

There’s other stuff that Kota alluded to besides the injury stuff. Some of it gets a little confusing/muddled because he hasn’t made a direct statement about what some of this is about. He mentions exposing an “ex-cheater brigade” which seems to include, at minimum, Taka and Taichi, considering the context of the Just Tap Out show that Kota appeared at (which got him reprimanded by the NJPW office), and reading a little bit between the lines with some other twitter interactions with those two. It’s also notable that he no longer follows Tana on twitter, though who knows why that is specifically.

The “sexually harassing bosses” is another question mark, because I don’t believe he’s clarified anything yet on this point. We thought at first that this might also be in reference to Just Tap Out and Taka Michinoku’s (already documented) history, but since most of his tweets seem to be about NJPW, there might be something else that he’s waiting to talk about.

Regarding the stuff that he talked about in detail and posted text screenshots for, there are a few notable things (besides the actual content of the messages, which pretty much speaks for itself). One of those things is the existence of this Kikuchi person. He’s clearly a NJPW official of some sort, but I don’t think Kikuchi’s role in the company was really known or documented before all of this, and nothing really came up if you searched for him (I suspect this has changed now), either in Japanese or English.

This ties into my other point, which is that Kota breaks kayfabe here by including a conversation where he mentions going to talk to Gedo. As I think we’ve discussed either on this thread and/or in my study log, breaking kayfabe like this is a huge, huge taboo in Japanese wrestling. Kota is someone who made a great effort to keep kayfabe all throughout the Golden Lovers story, even at significant personal cost to him and Kenny, so with him choosing to break it here, he must be really fed up.

My friend actually noticed, upon diving into Japanese-language wrestling twitter fandom, that some Japanese fans actually hadn’t even known that Gedo was the booker until they read Kota’s tweet. This is in stark contrast to NJPW’s western fandom, which constantly shakes their fist at Gedo, haha, and posts memes and such complaining about his booking. That really showed me how different the average Japanese fan experience is from the average western fan.

There have been plenty of controversies in Japanese wrestling, but as far as I know, most of them have involved either criminal activity or scandals from wrestlers’ personal lives (such as the aforementioned Taichi and Taka examples, as well as Shibata’s own cheating scandal). I’m honestly not sure if anything quite like this has happened in Japanese wrestling, where a wrestler directly calls out a company for bad and unsafe labor practices like this. It’s an incredibly brave thing for Kota to do.

Japanese company culture already has a tendency to encourage overworking, and wrestling especially has this (globally), so in speaking out against it, he’s breaking multiple taboos (in addition to breaking kayfabe). I’ve been really discouraged by a lot of the responses he’s received from other wrestlers, which seem to be mostly very dismissive of him.

I really, really hope that Japanese media picks up on this and examines the situation more thoroughly, because clearly there are longstanding issues within the company and within the wrestling scene in general, and I think this has the potential to bring about positive change if enough people raise an outcry.

In the past, NJPW has had plenty of negative press from western fans for continuing to hire and push sexual abusers, and people complicit in sexual abuse. However, whenever there has been any controversy over this, it has primarily just stayed within the English-speaking wrestling sphere and NJPW has done practically nothing in response. The only times that NJPW actually has made attempts to punish or publicly reprimand wrestlers is when Japanese wrestlers have had scandals become big news among their Japanese-speaking fanbase.

So I hope the fact that Kota was the person exposing this, and the fact that his tweets about it are in Japanese, means that there’s a greater chance of it actually reaching Japanese media and NJPW not being able to just brush it under the rug. He has all sorts of obstacles in his way, though, and as talented and popular as he is, it might not be enough for him to have the leverage he needs to bring about change.

As far as his future in the industry goes, he’s been unclear about whether or not he intends to keep wrestling. He seems just generally very pessimistic and down about the industry, for very good reason. His health is much more important than any wrestling story, so I just hope that whatever happens, he’s able to be happy and healthy.

I was tentatively excited about BOSJ, which seemed almost like it would be a soft reset for the company, but after all of this, I’m not sure I’m going to keep watching NJPW, unless the company makes some serious changes.

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