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

One point I’d say (maybe being wrong of course) is that 最高 gets thrown around so often that to me it doesn’t have as much contrastive weight as “my best opponent.” Like I guess I’d think of it more here like “ideal”/“you’re the best!” kind of best than “person X is my best friend” kind of best. :sweat_smile: Shoko’s a 最高の相手, but she’s not necessarily specifically ゆかの最高の相手, I think.

The other part I also think is made trickier by her kind of reaching for something to say and so the transcript not coming out as clear as a professionally written essay or anything like that.
The way I would read it is:
いい緊張感を持って → “we’re gonna have いい緊張感, so…”
(埼玉。。。) フェス、-> “… Festival audience, (she first addresses Saitama, then フェス, seemingly reaching for the right phrase or some promo energy that’s escaping her that day)”
うちらが一番盛り上げるので見ててください → “we’re gonna 盛り上げる the most so please watch.”

A tip for the future is I’d say you understandably likely got tripped up on the “持ってフェス、” part? And the て there can be a tip off that it’s the “I’m talking and need a conjunction” て, not a modification of フェス (since it doesn’t end in る). And then that might make it easier to pick apart what exactly “フェス、” is doing there, which I think ends up sort of an addressee for the “見ててください” at the end.

I’d say Shoko’s talking about how 前哨戦 are a chance to see as much of what an opponent can do as possible, and while やっぱり she wasn’t able to fully draw out 100% of what Yuka can do (so Yuka will still have tricks up her sleeve), Shoko now intends to brush-up on and review everything she did learn about Yuka so she can face her in the best possible condition.
(Which isn’t really a disagreement with your translation, just a note about nuance for you to check if you took away exactly the same thing or not - basically I think she’s talking about 手 she wasn’t able to 引っ張り出す, and then in the next sentence all the ones she has been able to up to this point, 引っ張ってきたもの)

I’d break it down like:
向かい合って(見て) → “facing them…” (in the video I think she says 見て which may make it a little clearer)
Xような気もする. → “… I feel as though X” (in this case, that she uncovered a chance of victory over Yuka and Mizuki even though it sounds like they lost this particular day) (Incidentally, I hear “気がする” distinctly in the video, so I wonder if the switch to も in the transcript is just to tie it in slightly more cohesively with what Shoko says, without the bookends from Misao of her talking about the day and then bringing it back to her hopes for their challenge that do the same job in a wordier way in the audio)

ooh, the crying Tana one seems useful… :sweat_smile:

@ironcladfolly welcome! And please don’t be scared away by long posts!

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@rodan Thank you! No worries, I’m so here for them — these are the kinds of in-depth breakdowns and translations of プロ I’ve been trying to find for years! Turns out all I needed to do was start learning a whole new language :joy:

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I’m super excited to see you here! And honored that this thread was your first post, wow! I hope you keep coming back :blush:.

Thank you for your compliment on the opening post! I spent ages drafting it, haha. I think I was posting in my study log about starting this thread for over a month before I finally actually did it. If you want more wrestling discussion, there’s also some of it happening in my study log, though I try to confine the more detailed stuff to this thread.

If you want to add anything to any of the opening posts, by the way, feel free! I’ve been too busy to check youtube to see if there have been other good free matches uploaded there recently (and I’m biased toward the promotions that I spend most of my time with), so if there’s any match that you really love that’s available for free, please add it as a recommendation!

I completely understand checking out of wrestling during the pandemic. I had times where it was very hard to keep watching. Still do, honestly, because it’s an industry that can be really awful. But I’m still here because I truly think that as a medium, it’s one of the most beautiful forms of art in the world.

Honestly, you not paying attention to NJPW for the past few years was probably for the best :pensive:. They’ve had… a rough past few years. Some of it has been misfortune outside of their control (injuries, sickness, a global pandemic and travel restrictions, etc.), but a lot of it has been problems of their own making (horrifically exploiting their workers after they get injured, continuing to book abusers and people complicit in a culture of abuse, and just bad booking in general and a lack of willingness to adapt creatively, which isn’t morally bad but does not make for compelling content).

I was originally excited about Forbidden Door, too, but actually just ended my own NJPW subscription last month, due to the ongoing situation with Kota Ibushi that I’ve been posting about in here over the past month. I’ll probably still watch the show, but not on my own dime.

The good news is that things have been much brighter for Stardom and DDT and many other companies! I’m not really watching Stardom anymore (I was putting way too much time into watching wrestling and something had to give), but from what I’ve heard from folks who still are, they’ve been on a fantastic run lately.

DDT and TJPW (and AEW) are where I’m mostly focusing my energy currently. TJPW is my favorite company, but they recently became much less accessible to English-speakers after Mr. Haku left CyberFight and they lost their translator. So I’ve been trying to translate as much as I can on my own with my (upper beginner) Japanese, haha, hence many of my recent posts in this thread.

It has definitely been hard, and I truly could not be doing this without rodan’s help. I’m hoping that when I get good enough at the language, I’ll be able to give back some, too, and help other beginners out in the same way :blush:.

But yeah, all of that is to say that I’m very grateful that I started learning the language, because I needed it a lot sooner than I thought I would when we lost TJPW (and temporarily DDT) translation. I’ve actually been able to stay more or less caught up on TJPW’s storylines for over half a year now! And I’ve made some pretty big leaps in understanding with all of the practice I’ve gotten with it, though I’m still far from being able to understand promos on the fly during shows.

Feel free to post about shows that are exciting to you, funny tweets, interesting articles or interviews, or really anything that catches your attention. Even as a beginner, you’ll be surprised at how far you can get with enough enthusiasm, haha!

Thanks for all of your help as always! I’m proud of myself for actually managing to figure this one out!

feelstana is one of the emoji that I believe to be honestly essential, tbh. It should be included as a default emote because no existing emoji quite captures the feeling of Tana stoically crying.

The other one that I consider absolutely essential is tamu_believes_in_you:

tamu_believes_in_you

We use that one mainly for expressing solidarity and support and sometimes gratitude. If I could make just one of our wrestlemoji part of the existing emoji canon, it would be this one.

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I watched CyberFight Festival 2022!
I didn’t have giant expectations, but I was totally ready to spend a lazy sunday watching wrestling and eating a ridiculous amount of garlic fries, and I ended up loving the show!

First of all, oh my god Kenoh’s hair, him coming out after the build-up of those entrances is one of the funniest things that’s ever happened. I feel like… Kenoh might be the best professional wrestler? No one does utterly ridiculous things with the utmost seriousness like him, huh.
Other thoughts:

  • I was very impressed with the expensive-looking presentation. So many extras! And that screen on the second-level that opens up for wrestlers to enter through is so cool.
  • Shoko Nakajima has very quickly ended up at the top of my “anxiously rooting for them to win” wrestler list so I was most looking forward to the TJPW title match and was very engaged watching it! Yuka’s amazing and is one of those people who winning a title would be a believable outcome for at anytime, anywhere so her being pre-occupied with Magical Sugar Rabbits’ reign was no reason for me to rest easy that Shoko would retain. But she did! Yaaaaay! I was very happy about that albeit quite disappointed they didn’t give her any post-match promo time.
  • Satoshi Kojima’s GHC title shot seemed a little random, and I had no expectation that he was going to win, but he seems super likeable, I’m bread club 4 life :bread: :croissant: :baguette_bread:, and of all the 剛腕s in the world, he’s the 剛腕est, so I was more than happy to root for him too, and enjoyed that match. And he actually won! Yaaaaay! The second ending lariat was a super cool moment. I should find some bread to eat…
  • The Kenoh/Sasaki no-DQ match was really fun! That last stomp off the top of the ladder has gotta be now at the top of my list of moves I’m glad to never ever take. Holy cow did that not look fun! Not in an unsafe sort of way, just in a… grown man landing directly on my stomach from some height sort of way.
  • The match with Endo and Nakajima (assuming the ending was planned) definitely did it’s job of making me really really really want to see Nakajima challenge for Endo’s title, which I’m hoping was the point. I thought the stuff between them that we saw was electric. they’re so pretty… The heavies in the match weren’t bad either. Hopefully not the last we see of whatever all that was, anyway.
  • I was surprised how good a foil Rob Van Dam was for Kiyomiya.
  • I quite liked the tag match with MAO and 朱崇花 et. al! A lot of inventive spots I feel like I hadn’t quite seen before.
  • It looked like Simon Gotch was wearing Junji Ito themed trunks, and I had mixed feelings about that. On the one hand, I was tempted to think that was cool. On the other hand… the hair situation, for starters, absolutely prevented me from thinking that.
  • I think I’m probably willing to try just reading Pheremones in a positive light. Nothing wrong in principal with sexy dudes who are clearly very very aware that they’re sexy dudes. Or butts! lots of butt
  • I should probably watch more DDT now that my listening comprehension is kinda decent. The commentary adds a consistently funny level of deadpan! Like this exchange between the commentator and a guest, Marika Tani from SKE48 who was there mainly for Saki Arai and said she’d never seen a DDT match before, as in the ring a man is hypnotized by a pair of sunglasses to uncontrollably participate in a dance battle:
    “えええ。。。谷さん”
    “はい”
    “ご説明いたします!”
    “お願いします!”
    So simple, but awfully funny while what’s happening in the ring is completely ridiculous.
  • I will say though - it seems like Cyberfight tends to tend to use celebrities / non-wrestling personalities as guests and stack up a lot of them during a show, which is somewhat less interesting to not-knowing-general-Japanese-media me than Stardom’s tendency to use active wrestlers. Though I admit, they’re probably more professional as commentators! The comedian Kendo Kobayashi for example, was good throughout (it seems like he’s longtime enjoyed/been involved in pro wrestling in some way).
  • Coulda done without the Cyberjapan dancers interlude tbh…
  • My heart goes out to those poor audience members who suffered an assisted flying cross body from Yoshihiko :pensive:

The show definitely did it’s job in the sense that I feel very positively about Wrestle Universe and would recommend it to anyone interested as clearly a great value for the money! For the future, I’m definitely bought in on Shoko Nakajima’s run at this point, and I’ll be very curious to see Kenoh’s title shot… And the Mutoh retirement run should be emotional!

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I’m really glad that you enjoyed the show! They certainly did not hold back with the production value, haha!

Sadly, DDT’s translator did not translate the TJPW comments, so it looks like I have a little work ahead of me after all! There was also a press conference leading up to TJPW’s Korakuen show. I’m going to try my best to get through both of those before the next show!

Here are some individual responses to some things re: CyberFight Fest that I'm putting under a cut to spoiler guard them:

I legitimately think that he’s one of the best comedy wrestlers in the world! He’s so good at this! His shupro column is frequently the highlight of your recaps for me, haha, and just his entire manner and character, he’s a delight!

I loved his hair, and him singing his own entrance theme (Kenoh in TJPW when??), and the way that the match had all of these little callbacks to the last CyberFight Fest, like Yoshihiko’s cameo, the bike (used by Kongoh!!), and that sort of thing. It was very much a DDT hardcore match specifically. Kenoh won it by playing DDT’s own game!

I honestly think that he’s the true star of this year’s CyberFight Fest, and that part of the reason why is because he was so involved not only in the show last year, but also in DDT’s Peter Pan show in 2020, right after NOAH had been acquired by CyberAgent. He has been an absolutely essential piece to making the whole ragtag group of companies function thematically.

I’m so glad you enjoyed this match, and that you’re enjoying Shoko! Her entrance was probably my favorite out of all of them, because how often do you see dancers wearing inflatable t-rex costumes at a huge title match??

I really enjoy Shoko and Yuka’s friendship because once upon a time, they used to be tag partners, but they ultimately ended up not being each other’s true life partner. They’ll still work together on the rare chances they have to tag, and still appreciate those moments, but they like fighting each other equally as much. It’s just an interesting dynamic that I’m not sure I’ve quite seen before in wrestling, where they’re ex-partners but without any bitterness.

My friends and I spent… I think the entire match, from his entrance all the way to the end, talking about bread, haha! I love bread dad!! That match was a delight for me because I really like Go (he’s one of my top three favorites in NOAH), and I also really enjoy Kojima, so I would be happy but also sad no matter who won. I hadn’t realized just how similar Go and Kojima’s styles were, so it made for a really compelling dynamic between them. So many chops and lariats!

I was really happy for Kojima, though I was a little sad that Go’s run with the belt ended so soon. I’m hoping they’ll get a rematch so that we get to see that match again, haha, and that Go wins the next time. Kojima posted on twitter about how much he loved getting to have an entrance like that, and it made me so happy for him that he got the chance to be on this show, because he’d never get that treatment in NJPW, not at this point in his career.

I thought the same as you when I watched it live, but unfortunately, the ending was not a work, and Endo got concussed for real :pensive:. I do hope they revisit that match at some point, because I loved what little we did get. I really like Nakajima typically, so it’s unfortunate that he messed up here, but unfortunately that’s always a risk with wrestling.

despair_kagetsu

That match was great because it truly felt like DDT showing off the wild side of the company that’s just the incredibly athletic side of it. I love Mao and Asuka’s team, and I’m glad that Asuka gets to tag with the 37Kamiina sometimes, so it just made for great fun.

The Pheromones have done some matches that I’ve enjoyed, and some that I have really not enjoyed, haha, so the gimmick is pretty hit or miss for me (the sexual aspects don’t inherently bother me, but it does bother me when it’s portrayed as very non-consensual, which really just gets back to the core issue with Dieno’s gimmick for me), but admittedly I did really enjoy Akito joining them. They seem like a great fit for him. His gear upgrade was pretty incredible!

I think you’ll definitely get more out of it now, yeah! It’s certainly a company where the ability to understand Japanese is more important than it is with other companies because it’s often a pretty big part of the humor. If you’re feeling especially ambitious, you should absolutely try watching a ひらがなまっする show at some point!

In agreement there…

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週刊プロレス No.2175 (from late march/early april, around Wrestlemania)

There’s an interview with SHO which came across to me like a pretty straightforward heel interview, with SHO seeming particularly intent on convincing the interviewer that the Bullet Club / House of Torture version of himself is who he’s been deep down all along.

In Tanahashi’s column he talks about returning to promotional and fan events, incl. one that involved him and two comedian Tanahashi impersonators! He’s impressed that their Tanahashi costumes are homemade and surprisingly up to date with his costume changes, and says he’s happy to be impersonated because like Mickey Mouse he can be in more places than once, though it may cause some to wonder 「今日の棚橋は小さいな」… The interviewer offers for free the name タナーズ if he does events with them as a group in the future.

AJPW’s Champion Carnival is starting up, and there’s an interview with Jake Lee, who won the championship with a harder edge last year and went into this anniversary year on top but had to vacate the title due to an eye injury. The vibe I’d say he has in this interview as a character is “guy being frank and thruthful about the state of the company, and demanding more, but being kind of a jerk about it” if that makes sense. Despite being from Hokkaido he says he doesn’t want to win the title at an upcoming Sapporo show because the stage would be too small.

Yuma Aoyagi says in the metaphorical cafeteria of AJPW and the Champion Carnival, wrestlers like Jake or Suwama or Ishikawa are 定食 but sometimes you get tired of that and he’s a ゲテモノ like チョコラーメン.
On wrestling X tokusatsu watch, for some reason the picture for Aoyagi here has him posing with Daimajin!

The blocks for the Champion Carnival look pretty nice! I enjoyed the one of those I watched, and I’m glad it’s a little bigger of a tournament this time. If time weren’t a factor and if the matches hadn’t all happened like months ago at this point I’d definitely be curious to see how Jake, Miyahara, and Aoyagi would do.

Kenoh talks about Hideki Suzuki in his column and is complimentary of his fighting style, which can connect with the crowd and ゼニを取れる in any era. I feel like he also complains about something or other in a Kenohish sort of way but I don’t have quite enough context to parse exactly what. :sweat_smile:

There’s an interview with Tetsuya Endo following his championship win over Takeshita in DDT. He says since Takeshita and him both debuted in 2012 and Takeshita devloped and succeeded earlier than him, some jealousy burnt, and while now he still doesn’t like him it’s at least as equals. He suggests bringing back some of the DDT-ish “まさか” element to the title, and floats the idea of picking a challenger via election, which, of course Yuki Arai would win thanks to SKE fans…

A nice picture of 路上プロレス from that train show a while back! I guess they were on a small private scenic route in Chiba, based on the station sign. don’t gotta blur anything if I crop carefully!

Giulia’s column is about the Cinderella Tournament and how the オーバー・ザ・トップロープルール is it’s 面白いところ. I agree!

The ad for the back issues available on the app shows a snippet from a time in 1989 when (newly elected to real life government, I think) Antonio Inoki got attacked and stabbed in the head by a “暴漢.” Geez!
also there’s a picture of young Minoru Suzuki - as always, with absolutely no noticeable things different from how he looks today.
image

The history column recounts an odd bit of wrestling history – in 1980, New Japan and All Japan had a softball game against each other! Apparently it was a good day for Inoki, as he struck out Baba as pitcher, hit a home run as batter, and New Japan routed All Japan 22 to 5.
This despite something I didn’t know – Giant Baba had a baseball career before wrestling! Who did he play for? The Giants of course! Go figure.

Suzume and Arisu Endo are interviewed ahead of their challenge for Magical Sugar Rabbits’ tag belts in TJPW. They decide on a new team name and go with “Daisy Monkey,” recounting how they came up with it:

「でいじー」は2人が好きな花の名前で、そこに何を付け加えるかファミレスでずっと悩んでて。そこで奇跡的に2人同時に「もんきー」を思いついたんですよ。

なる。。。ほど?

Assemble, the 女子プロレス combination / benefit show that started during the pandemic tried a proof of concept for a new format: an outdoor wrestling show at a theme park called Lake Sagami Resort Pleasure Forest, where you can bring your dog, so there’s an interview with Akira Hokuto about it, and here she is with Paddington Bear and some puppies:

Mutoh’s column wraps up his comments on the 50th anniversary year of NJPW/AJPW with some pondering the impermanence of life… He says in 焼肉屋 terms, 50 years of continued business is really something, but it’s not like a 老舗店 with a name and secret タレ stretching back to the Edo period - in terms of イズム he feels both companies have changed completely along the way. He says he didn’t know Baba when he went to All Japan and ran the company after Baba died but there was a 匂い that remained that faded by the time Mutoh left, even though nowadays Suwama for example admires Jumbo Tsuruta and Baba and the old AJPW and picked the company for that reason.

In the short industry column, there’s recommendations for NXT 2.0 and comments on what it’s like following a show in a different language (noting there’s more fun in the skits and stuff outside the ring than the matches themselves). Just kinda fun to see the other side of the coin…

The long industry column is about deathmatch wrestler Jun Kasai, who lost a belt in Freedoms recently. It remarks on how the documentary about him last year brought more popularity to him and the promotion, and how of non Cyberfight or Bushiroad affiliated wrestlers in Shupro’s 好きな wrestler reader poll, Kasai ranked the highest at 21. Kasai says ”これやめちゃったら死んだも同然。だから死までやるしかない。”
The included photo is of one photogenic crazy monkey! Content warning: blood (of course)


And the best part is he’d be really really grumpy about that! :sweat_smile:

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I translated some things a little out of order this week because I decided to prioritize the press conference that TJPW had on June 13 before finishing the CyberFight Fest translations. So I will start with that! I’m not sure I’ll be able to finish the CyberFight Fest translations before the Korakuen show tomorrow, but I’m getting a little faster at this, so I’ll try.

First of all, here’s the recap for the tag team championship part of the conference. Here’s the video of it.

I’m excited for this one because I really like both teams, and I honestly can’t decide who I think needs to win it more :sweat_smile:. Shoko and Misao have never held the tag team titles (with each other). If Shoko wins, she’ll become the first double champion in TJPW history. So, on the one hand, I really want them to win, and I think it would be very deserved after everything they’ve been through as a tag team, especially recently, but… well, I also really love MagiRabbi and don’t want their reign to end so soon! So I’m torn.

During the press conference, Misao said that she saw Yuka and Shoko’s match at CyberFight Fest, and she was happy to see Shoko defend her belt. She felt proud of their match, and was very inspired by it, and she wants the tag title match to make the other TJPW wrestlers feel proud in that same way. She thinks it can be said that as far as TJPW is concerned, MagiRabbi really stand out. She feels like they can be called a 看板 (I struggled with how to translate this, but ultimately settled on “draw”, despite the slightly insider-y language) for TJPW, which is why she wants to beat them.

I think I figured it out, but her last sentences here confused me a bit. She said: “すごく価値のある状態になったマジラビに勝ったら、“東京女子に享楽共鳴がいるぞ”って言えるような存在になれると思ってます。享楽共鳴の価値を上げるためにも、絶対にこの試合は勝ちたいと思ってます.”

Here was my attempt at a translation:

MagiRabbi are in a very valuable state, and if we can beat them, I think we’ll be able to say ‘For TJPW, it’s Kyoraku Kyomei’ in that same way. For the sake of raising Kyoraku Kyomei’s value, we have to win this match.”

Shoko said that until her match with Yuka, that was the only thing that she was thinking about, so she’s only just now getting excited about the tag title match. She wants to have a friendly competition with their best rivals as a team, “引っ張ったり引っ張られたり”, pulling each other and being pulled. She’s looking forward to seeing what kind of match they’ll have next.

She said: “ハイパーミサヲと力を合わせて、私たちらしい戦い方で勝ちにいこうと思っています.” I was a little confused, but translated it as: “I’m going to join forces with Misao, and we’re going to fight in our own typical style and win!”

Mizuki said that she couldn’t win the fourway match and felt really frustrated, and then when she watched Yuka and Shoko’s match and Yuka lost, she felt Yuka’s frustration as if it were her own. She said: “ユカっちが私を選んでパートナーとしてやってくれてるので、私も東京女子を大きくしたいと思う.” The first part of this sentence really confused me, haha. This was my translation: “Since Yuka-chi chose me, as her partner, I also want to make TJPW bigger.”

Mizuki went on to say that she wants to defend the belts together with Yuka, and spread the message all throughout Japan, throughout the world, throughout the universe, that “MagiRabbi are the tag champions of TJPW.”

Yuka said that her match with Shoko was about the pride of TJPW, and carrying her pride in a match, but the tag belts are a different thing entirely. She says they’re belts that expand the diversity, fun, and possibility of TJPW (I think I would agree with this!). I got a little bit tripped up on her last sentence here, partially because it was long. She said: “対戦相手が享楽共鳴ってことは、もっと可能性が広がった、どんな試合になるのか分からないような試合になると思いますので、また違った楽しみ方があるのかなと思います.”

Here was my attempted translation:

I think that as our opponents, Kyoraku Kyomei will expand the possibilities even more, and because we don’t know what kind of match it will be, I think it’ll offer a different kind of fun.

Concerning what to watch out for from the other team, Misao said that they’ve defended the belts many times, so she’s very wary of the strength of their tag team power. She said: “しかも油断させつつの感じなんです。見た目かわいい感じで、ハピハピな感じだけど、やることがえげつない.” Both of these sentences confused me, haha. Here was my attempt: “They always catch you off guard. They put up a cute appearance and say ‘HAPPY HAPPY’, but the things they do are despicable.”

Shoko said that she thinks 享楽共鳴’s strength is that they’re able to have matches that feel like upturning a toy box. MagiRabbi are a tag team that breaks toys with smiles on their faces. That’s what scares her.

Mizuki answered: “パミさん(ミサヲ)のふざけてるというか、ずる賢い部分に翔子さんが乗っかっちゃうというか.” Another tricky one for me. My translation was: “Pami-san’s (Misao’s) pranks, or maybe I should say that Shoko-san takes advantage of her devious side.”

She said that they have excellent synergy, so even though Misao is the number one concern, surprisingly Shoko is also someone to watch out for. It feels like the two of them are sharing their brains.

Yuka said: “タッグには色が違う面があるので。スピードだったり、悪さ、ずるさ、2チームともあると思いますので、だまし合いをしていきたいと思ってます.” This one caused me some trouble both in understanding the Japanese, and in figuring out how to word it in English, haha. Here was my (very not confident) attempt: “They wear a different face as a tag team. I think both teams have speed, mean mischief, and cunning, so I want to outsmart them when we meet.”

Shoko talked about how feelings were a big part of her match with Yuka, who is a wrestler who is very special and who she thinks is incredibly strong. She said that that doesn’t mean she doesn’t have big feelings toward the tag title match. Then pretty much the whole rest of her comment here confused me: “ただ、2人いるんで、気持ちが半分になってるような気がしてるんです。そんな気負わずとも思いっきり羽を伸ばして試合をすれば、もし私がつまずいても、ミサヲがなんとかしてくれるっていう気持ちあるので。その分、1対1より、思い切りバクチができる気はします.”

Here was my best shot at it:

But there are two people, so it feels like my emotions are halved. Even if I don’t get worked up and have as much fun as I possibly can, if I falter during the match, I feel like Misao will somehow save me. Because of that, I feel like I’m able to take more risks than I could in a one-on-one match.

And finally, Yuka said that since Mizuki is here, she doesn’t have anything to worry about. She says: “私以上に私のことを分かってくれてる子なので。そこは安心して、完全に乗っかって、おんぶにだっこ.” My attempt was: “She knows me better than I know myself. So I can rest assured there, and climb on and completely rely on her.”

Then Yuka asks Mizuki to “お姫さまだっこしてもらって・・・”, to carry her like a princess, ahaha. I was very disappointed that they did not show the actual princess carrying in the video. But there are photos of it, and I feel like I have to share this one specifically because it’s such a great representation of both of these teams:

The other half of the press conference was devoted to Shoko’s upcoming title defense against Rika Tatsumi. Here’s a transcript of that one.

Rika said: “4WAYなんだから、もっと場外で潜んでたり、休んだりとか作戦を練ってやれたらよかったとか思ったんですけど・・・。ぶつかって当たっていくしかできなくて、結果的にそれでよかったのかなとも思っていて.” Various bits and pieces of this were confusing to me, but I think I got the general idea at least? Here was my translation:

Since it was a fourway, I thought it would have been better if I’d planned more tactics like lurking outside the ring and taking a rest… I had no choice except to hit and hit, but it got results, so I think it was the right thing to do.

She said that her opponents were all really cool wrestlers, so the fact that she was able to survive them gave her a lot of confidence. She said: “自信とかすぐになくしちゃうタイプで、もともと自信ってあってないようなもの.” This one had a little too much going on for me to be able to figure it out unassisted, so my heavily DeepL-influenced translation was: “I’m the type of person who loses confidence easily, and I never had that much confidence to begin with.” Rika says that she was able to regain it, so with her chest held high, she wants to challenge Shoko at 大田区 on July 9.

Rika also said that concerning Shoko vs Yuka, she’s happy no matter who wins, but she also really doesn’t want to see either of them win. But she also thought “no matter who wins, we’ll be able to do something great”. She says that she was on the edge of her seat, and was cheering so hard her hands hurt.

She said that Shoko is unbeatable. She’s invincible, and she doesn’t have any blind spots. But that kind of state can’t continue for long, so how is Rika going to disrupt it? Rika said that at Ota Ward, she’s going to bloom again a second time as the champion. This next part of her comment was a little tricky, but I think I managed to figure it out? She said: “私はクレイジーな人間が好きなんですけど。好きでい続けたら自分もそう言っていただくことが増えて。だから私はチャンピオンに“狂い咲きたい”と思ってます。辰巳リカは狂い咲くのほうが似合うと思うので.”

Here was my translation, with my attempt at sort of keeping her pun, haha:

I like crazy people. If I continue liking them, more and more people will say that about me, too. So that’s why I want to ‘bloom out of season’ and become champion. I think ‘crazy blooming’ is more suitable for Rika Tatsumi.

狂い apparently means “insanity” or “deviation”, and 咲く means “to bloom”. 狂い咲く means “to bloom out of season”, but the phrase literally translates to “crazy blooming”.

They ask her about fighting in the main event at a big show, and she said: “ビッグマッチでメインに立つのは初めてなんで、いろんなものがのしかかるなって思うんですけど。自分で勝ち取ったものなので、胸を張って、思い切りやるしかない.” The beginning of the last sentence there was particularly confusing to me. I felt like I understood the literal meaning of the words, but what she meant by saying it was unclear to me.

Here was my attempt at that whole chunk:

But this is my first time being in the main event at a big show, so it’s a lot of responsibility. I won by myself, so I have no choice except to hold my chest high and give it my all.

Rika says that she has been away from the singles front, but she seized her chance. She thinks the time for a “チャンピオンに狂い咲き” is now. She wants to become champ again and make TJPW even bigger, and stir things up even more.

And finally, I have one last question, haha. Rika talks a little bit about her upcoming preview match at the Korakuen show (she’s teaming with Suzume against Maki Itoh and Hikari Noa). She says that she has no choice except to win all of her matches until the title match, then says: “相手の伊藤ちゃんも、(インターナショナル・プリンセスの)チャンピオンではあるんですけど、鈴芽と協力して勝ちにいきたい。勢いつけます.”

I translated the first sentence as: “My opponent, Itoh-chan, is also a (International Princess) champion, but I want to cooperate with Suzume to win.” But that very last sentence completely lost me. I couldn’t figure out つけます at all :sweat_smile:.

That’s all from me for now!

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Not really much to correct! Only small nuance comments for the most part.

For the “東京女子に享楽共鳴がいるぞ” part, I think it’s as simple as “享楽共鳴 are in 東京女子” like it’s about them prominently being there, like in a “on the map” sort of way.
The audio is a little bit clearer – her part about “東京女子に享楽共鳴がいるぞ” refers back to a part that was truncated in what she said before about マジラビ being a 看板. After that in the video she says something like “東京女子プロレスにはマジラビがいるというように、いるような存在だと感じています。” and while I don’t think I transcribed that in a way that completely makes sense, I believe she’s talking about how マジラビ are a stable and established tag team to the point that you’d say like, ah, Tokyo Joshi, they’ve got マジラビ, and go watch the show because of that. And by beating マジラビ, 享楽共鳴 will be put on the map and be able to achieve a similar existence as an established marquee tag team.

No notes!

I would read the “ユカっちが私を選んでパートナーとしてやってくれてるので” part as one block.
“ユカっち chose me and やってくれてる’s as my partner, so…” with やってくれてる being very roughly like, “is doing stuff/this for me.” So I’d just tweak your translation very slightly and say “Since Yuka-chi chose me as her partner, I also want to make TJPW bigger”!
Incidentally – as seems to be a common theme with confusing clauses, right before this she says something that leads into this that didn’t make it into the transcript. Something about how Yuka had a lot of something but still picked Mizuki. Perhaps it would be easier to make out if I knew more about マジラビ’s history.
P.S. Yuka’s reaction when Mizuki says 宇宙中にも is very good!

No notes!

She’s saying like – even though you know how how strong a tag team マジラビ there’s something about them that makes you let your guard down - their cute and happy-go-lucky aesthetic. I’d maybe go with something like “viscous” rather than “despicable.”

Not really any notes! (ふざけてる is tricky to translate but you can understand it by just seeing most anything Misao does :sweat_smile: and “pranks” is fine I suppose!)
I just wanted to mention a fun thing from the audio is when she’s looking for words what she says ends up like:
ずる賢い部分が。。。を。。。に
I’m sure if I held any conversations in Japanese that particle cycling would feel very relatable!

I think the transcript tidies up what she says in the first part, as it’s constructed differently from what she said in-person. But I think the transcript is clearer to me? I think it says like, “there’s different sides to tag team wrestling” as in like – different flavored sides, or like, the above-board side and the cunning side, that kind of thing, I think. And because of those shared qualities she lists, she wants to have a battle of wits.
After this there’s some batter and I can’t make out really at all what everybody says but it sounds to me I think like Mizuki and then also Shoko light-heartedly declaring an intent to take the match seriously (since だまし合い implied some ふざけてる might go on…), with Yuka and Misao perhaps being a bit less vocal on that front.

The first thought is elaborated a little in the video where she says something like – it’s not that the emotions for a tag match aren’t big too, but since there’s too people in some ways the 緊張 is lessened. Then in the video she says そんなに気負わず not そんな気負わず so it’s a bit clearer for me (I thought maybe the そんな気 was referring to the 気 in the previous thought but I think not).
So anyway, yeah, I believe she’s saying even if she doesn’t work herself up tension-wise, and fights the match freely, if she trips up, Misao will be there to catch her so she can take more risks.

Would “she’ll carry me” be edging too close to insider-y language? Since she quite literally asks to be carried here, like a princess. :sweat_smile:
The video is significantly more fun than the transcript! Mizuki interjects “無理!” and Yuka insists she wants to be carried like a princess and it’s gonna happen!
From the picture, Yuka clearly got her way and Mizuki 頑張る’d. :smile:

No notes!

No notes!

I don’t really have any help with the translation for this one, but yeah, the phrase 狂い咲く comes up like, a bunch in Stardom too. Giulia and Maika’s tag team name in one of the tournaments was “Crazy Bloom” for example. I honestly don’t have an incredible handle on it but I guess it just means blooming/succeeding at an unexpected time.

I’d say like, “I won it myself” rather than “by myself” – the point is she won the right to challenge in that match at Cyberfight Festival, so there’s nothing to do but wear that with pride and give it her all.

A good tip off with something like 勢いつけます that looks like a noun and verb squished together is it’s probably had a particle like が or を dropped, and googling around shows indeed, 勢いをつける means like, to build momentum. Which fits with the context of her building up momentum until her title shot.

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週刊プロレス No.2176 (from early april, around the time of NJPW’s 両国国技館 show and wrestlemania day 2)

During the match recaps for the New Japan show, there’s a little section about that time Great O-Khan (in real life) saved a young girl in distress from a creep. His account is interesting – he does still use 余 as his personal pronoun. He says at first when the girl and her parent were thanking him and asking who he was he said 「いえ、名乗るほどの者ではございません」 in an “I always wanted to say that” sort of way, but when the police arrived and were taking information and heard he was an NJPW wrester they said ”名乗った方がいいですよ” so here we are. He says to help if you see someone in distress, and “人生のスパイスが欲しくなったときはプロレスラーを見よ、新日本プロレスを見よ。”
Later there’s this fan photo of him looking oddly photogenic.
image

In his column, Naito talks a bit about 後楽園ホール and says that while he went earlier times when he was a kid, the first time he paid for a show there himself was, it sounds like, coincidentally the day Hiroshi Tanahashi debuted!

There’s some really rough pictures from the Zero-1 “20&21” (it was delayed a year) anniversary show where Ohtani very badly injured his neck. The end of show confetti going off with Ohtani still lying in the corner, unable to move… :frowning_face:
The match recapper says Ohtani particularly always drew strength from crowd cheers and that he would say 「ハラの底から声をだせたい」, so it’s especially sad that these were the circumstances when the crowd would chant 「オオタニ」 again, when the audience simply had to put aside covid protocols for a moment and show their support him and his recovery. We can all only hope and trust that the 「立ち上がり続けてきた」男 will “立ち上がってくれる.”

On a lighter note, Kenoh’s column is about how he launched a youtube channel! There’s a lot of back and forth about his ambitions for the channel and what youtubers he watches (I think mostly martial arts related stuff?) and a lot of name dropping. Among the loftier ambitions mentioned is to rival Logan Paul in subscriber count and, like him, fight Floyd Mayweather and perhaps have a match at Wrestlemania as well.

The papaya ads are back! This one has an insert where Tatsumi Fujinami and his wife extol the virtues of papayas and some promotional papaya dish they got to make. I feel like some papaya mogul must just be wrestling adjacent and have connections or something, the ads in this magazine are still just wrestling-wrelated things, cigarettes, horse racing, and papayas.

Giulia’s column is an admirably frank run-down of all of the various injuries she’s accumulated over her (still rather short) career. It’s a good source for unpleasant medical vocabulary, and another important reminder about the toll the regular wear and tear of sports/performance like this takes on the body. She says looking back on injuries like this and how they happened is important for accumulating information about how to avoid them, not just for yourself but for the wrestlers who come after you, saying 「こうして培った知識を、次の世代にも伝えて、リスクを最小限に抑えていくのは、先輩レスラー達の大きな役割だ」

Genichiro Tenryu’s column includes talk about DDT’s Konosuke Takeshita excursion to America and Tenryu is all for it, saying the experienced learned from that kind of a trip is invaluable, with the only main risk being the chance that he likes it too much and wants to stay…

I like this 3コマ featuring Hyper Misao and Shoko Nakajima!
さすがヒーローですね!

The short industry column is about the Up Up Girls (pro-wrestling division) auditions. They talk to someone from YU-M Entertainment, and apparently there’s no set number of people they’re looking for, and very little in the way of restrictions for who can apply (basically, healthy girls/women who are older than 13 is it), so they’re just looking for whoever the right people are, and apparently while it presumably would be very unlikely to happen from just these auditions, the end-goal is like… 30 people (which seems like uh, way more than the 3 they currently have). They talk a bit about the possibility of running full Up Up Girls cards and how with just a few more people that could be possible for small shows.

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Just thought I'd post some more updates on the Kota Ibushi/NJPW situation, for anyone who isn't following it but would like to know more.

First of all, a couple weeks ago, NJPW announced the punishments they’re issuing for Kota, Ohbari, and Kikuchi (who is not named). I was… really not fond of the way they gave Kota and Ohbari basically exactly the same penalty (a 10% pay cut) :expressionless:, not to mention barely punishing Kikuchi more than that.

I think at bare minimum, they should have forgiven Kota any punishment for this. They do not need to punish him any more on top of what already happened to him. He is (ostensibly) being punished not for whistleblowing/breaking kayfabe, but for breaching his contract and appearing at the Just Tap Out show. I really hate the way this equates “minor contract violation” with being just as bad as “labor exploitation to the point of causing life-threatening distress.”

On a more positive note, though, Kota was posting about trying to acquire a triangle or star shaped wrestling ring, which is much more in line with his old self. (It reminds me of something he said in one of my favorite interviews). There were a few other tweets that seem to suggest he was getting excited about wrestling again, and he had some sort of project in mind, though he seemed to make it clear that it couldn’t be done through NJPW (he rejected a fan’s suggestion that he try to do something with the KOPW title). He also changed his twitter account to a business account.

Just this past weekend, there was a big kickboxing(?) event, which Kota attended, seemingly on NJPW’s dime. But Kota made it quite clear that despite that gift, he’s still not happy with how things were handled with Ohbari, and he’s still planning on pushing the matter.

Also, Karl Fredericks, an English-speaking wrestler from a recent batch of Young Lions, started making some very negative tweets about NJPW and the workplace culture there. He mentioned “physical/mental/emotional abuse”, and alluded to the company treating him poorly and not believing in him or respecting the work that he’s done. He sounded really discouraged.

I wasn’t following Karl super closely, so I don’t know what else he’s been saying besides those recent tweets, but it’s unfortunate that he was treated poorly as well. Reading between the lines, it sounds like NJPW gets a lot of wrestlers to put up with exploitation by promising to give them opportunities if they tough it out.

Karl is not a very big name wrestler, and his tweets unfortunately didn’t seem to get a lot of attention (granted, it has been. quite the month or so in wrestling). I hope that other NJPW wrestlers feel emboldened by him and Kota and speak about their own experiences, because I’m sure the two of them aren’t the only people who have been exploited by the company. It’s good that someone was tweeting about it in English, too, because that way, English-speaking fans can’t use the language barrier as an excuse not to listen.

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On a much lighter note, I think I forgot to share the first video, but Mr. Haku started a series of English-subbed interviews with Japanese wrestlers!

The first one was with Rina Yamashita:

The second was with Asuka/Veny:

I thought the section in this where she talked about her gender identity, and just the concept of pronouns and such in Japanese, was really interesting. The whole interview was great!

I also watched the third episode of 夢プロレス-dream on the ring-:

It was fun to learn more about 上原わかな! I thought it was sad that she faced opposition from her parents when she wanted to get into the entertainment industry. She seems like she has a decent skillset for wrestling, with experience in cheerleading and kickboxing and working as an idol. She also really loves food.

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Thanks for the warm welcome! I’m excited to join you all in the discussion of this niche but wonderful world — even if I’ve been away for nearly two weeks since my last post :joy:

The only thing better than meeting fellow wrestling fans in a community is meeting fellow wrestling fans who are also willing to look at it through a critical, progressive lens. Because, yeah — it can be a super scummy industry! I was really disappointed to hear about all the stuff that went down behind the scenes in NJPW, and yet not remotely surprised. The ongoing struggle with being a pro wrestling fan is that your favs will always be problematic, no ethical consumption, etc etc. But yet, there’s still so much wonderful stuff out there, and I’m so glad to be able to find so much of it in プロレス.

I’ve been the biggest Okada mark for years, so him finally showing up on Dynamite last night was the biggest pop I’ve had in a good long while. I’ve never been too hot on Adam Cole, but if there’s any match that can get him over for me, it’ll be with Okada, Page, and White.

Outside of the NJPW/AEW scene, I’ve long tried to get more into DDT and other promotions, but it’s a lot harder to consistently find their content in a way that’s easily accessible. I’m sure I missed it in the posts above, but can y’all direct me to the best places to dive in to other promotions, whether it’s DDT, TJPW, or anything else that you’re following closely these days?

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Hi! I’m not very active here (yet) but I agree it’s nice to meet other wrestling fans. If you go to wrestle-universe.com you can sign up for a two week trial. It will give you access to NOAH, DDT, TJPW and Ganbare. The sign up is in English so you won’t have to navigate around a language barrier while you’re learning Japanese.

I find that these companies have really become more accessible to international fans in the past couple of years, and the big shows all have English commentary. All 4 promotions recently teamed up to do a show called CyberFight Festival, and I think that will give you a good taste of what each company is all about. Also if you love big flashy entrances, this show had some great ones.

I hope you give it a try! DDT will be different than what you’re used to but they really have some of the most outstanding wrestlers around.

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Thank you for this! That looks like a great entry point for Puro-Outside-NJPW-Puro. CFF sounds super fun.

I’ve casually followed DDT for years, insofar that their comedy matches are entirely my jam and I’ve picked up on them in bits and pieces. Much as I love a good technical match, wrestling is an inherently ridiculous art form, so I’ve got a deep appreciation for any match or character that leans fully into that. (See also: Kaiju Big Battel).

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I would enthusiastically second the recommendation for https://www.wrestle-universe.com/ (as I’m sure will @fallynleaf :sweat_smile:).
At this point with the renovations and support they’ve put into it I’d say it’s pretty much undisputedly the best wrestling-related streaming service, and videos go up quickly and accessibly for all the promotions under that umbrella, with easy access to options like switching between English and Japanese commentary. I pretty much don’t have any complaints at all except the videos are sorted a little confusingly sometimes.

Otherwise I use https://www.stardom-world.com/ to follow Stardom – it’s pretty much like https://njpwworld.com/ but for Stardom. A major drawback is there’s a fairly lengthy delay between when shows happen and when they go up on Stardom World (I think it would be possible to buy the PPVs somewhere or something sooner but I’ve honestly never done it since I wouldn’t be able to watch live anyway due to timezones).

there’s some other options out there beyond those too, like All Japan has a site, and I know there’s some intriguing nico nico channels… but those are the main ones, I think, and honestly just Wrestle Universe is plenty to sate any appetite!

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Yes! I totally agree. The comedy/avant garde stuff is so special to me. Check out Kazuki Hirata, he’s amazing. He is very good at wrestling inanimate objects.

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I’m glad you appreciate it! I don’t engage a lot with most internet wrestling communities because, well, I’m an asexual lesbian, and many of those communities aren’t exactly welcoming places, so I try to at least make this one a good place to be. And, yeah, it can be a struggle to be a wrestling fan for sure. I try to be well-rounded when talking about it, addressing the good along with the bad, because it feels disingenuous to leave out, well, the material conditions of how the medium is made.

I do hope that you (and @bonessa) end up posting more here! It often ends up primarily just being rodan and I making the majority of the posts, but feel free to share stuff of your own!

For better or for worse, Kenny Omega was the wrestler (along with Kota Ibushi) who got me into this whole thing, so the appeal of that match to me is that it’s four people who all have such deep history with Kenny.

Overall, my feelings on Forbidden Door are, well, extremely complicated. Mostly for Kota Ibushi reasons. But I think my biggest complaint (besides all of the shoot issues) is that they didn’t really book the show around much of the actual history that exists between many of the AEW wrestlers and the NJPW wrestlers. I think the main event and the semi main event are a little bit better built, though, in terms of stuff they can draw on, so I’m looking forward to both of those matches.

If you want info and links for following DDT and TJPW (and several other companies), check out the second post in this thread :wink:. I can say that you’re in the right place if you want to learn more about TJPW specifically, haha! Unfortunately it has gotten way harder for English-speaking fans to follow since their translator, Mr. Haku, left CyberFight at the end of last year. So I’ve been trying my best to translate what I can myself, though at this point I’m pretty limited to what I have in text form (so mainly the official recaps and the captions on the tweets for post-match interviews).

With TJPW, their big shows these days typically have English commentary (usually DDT wrestler Chris Brookes and Baliyan Akki from ChocoPro, who are actually I think my favorite commentary team in wrestling, haha), but don’t expect pretty much anything else to be in English. There are a couple fan accounts that report on various news and translate extremely occasional things, but if you want to know in detail what the wrestlers are actually saying, your best bet is either translating it yourself or reading my ongoing attempted translations here :sweat_smile:.

With DDT, you’re in much better luck, as they actually hired another English translator after Mr. Haku. So they have live translation on twitter for all of their shows, and the post-match comments also get translated, as well as press conferences and such.

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週刊プロレス No. 2177 (from mid April)

There’s a Kazuchika Okada interview talking about the the NJPW 50th anniversary show and his upcoming match with Naito. When the conversation shifts to NJPW legacy and Inoki and that kind of thing, the interviewer asks “オカダ選手にとってストロングスタイルとはなんですか?” with the initial answer being “ストロングスタイルは。。。なんなんですかね?” and the eventual answer (after some mutal back-and-forth about how it’s vague and changes with the times) “リングで闘っている気持ちがストロングスタイルなんだと思っています。”

Tanahashi in his column talks about New Japan returning to the Fukuoka (now PayPay) Dome after 21 years since the last time - and realizes he’s the only New Japan signed wrestler on this card who was on the last time. Tatsumi Fujinami was there both times, but he’s a freelancer now, and Satoshi Kojima was there last time but he’s not on this card. (Out of curiosity about whether the eventual circumstances would have changed this factoid, I looked up what Tomohiro Ishii was doing in 2001, and it turns out… he was wrestling in DDT! Huh, go figure!)
Tanahashi also compares his being scheduled to go against heel Will Ospreay for the US title after SANADA vacated it because of an injury, to when Shinsuke Nakamura left New Japan and vacated the Intercontinental belt, asking Tanahashi to keep it from heel Kenny Omega in their match for the vacant title. He failed that time, but this time he’ll succeed.

The 60th anniversary of Korakuen Hall show happened, with two days of shows, one focused on women’s wrestling and one on men’s with wrestlers from various promotions across the card, and anyway I just like this picture of Hiroshi Tanahashi and Kento Miyahara from the men’s night - two big cheesy aces.

Kenoh’s column is double-size, but it’s more or less just an ad for a collaboration between this magazine and ボクシング・マガジン that’s a クロストーク between Kenoh and super featherweight boxing champion, Kenichi Ogawa, with the reason being they were classmates - they were both in the 明治大学日本拳法部. Kenoh had hoped they would both be champions (and both with red belts for that matter) at the time of the feature, and he is very indignant the interviewer points out he lost the GHC National belt to Fujita. An interesting factoid that was news to Kenoh is that this magazine and that boxing magazine were from 1957 to 1972 one weekly magazine, 「プロレス&ボクシング」.

Speaking of boxing (or at least shoot fighting of some kind) In Giulia’s column, she talks about a match, or rather, “The Match,” 那須川天心 vs. 武尊, set to take place at the Tokyo Dome, with front row tickets apparently going for 300万円. This shocks Giulia, as she says the highest front row ticket price in Stardom has been 10万円, and she wonders what it would take to have such a big draw in 女子プロレス. The answer she settles on is an intense promotion rivalry, noting that “ライバル団体が欲しいって、ロッシー小川はよく言ってる” and she agrees.

This week the one with the photogenic fan photo is Satoshi Kojima!

There’s a really really nice interview with Muscle Venus, the tag team of Tsukasa Fujimoto and Hikaru Shida, reunited after 8 years, as Shida is back in Japan and freelancing. Fujimoto is in charge of Ice Ribbon, which has had an extraordinarily troubled year, with lots and lots of departures (including all of the members of Prominence, Thekla, and shortly, their reigning champion Tsukushi who’s retiring from wrestling), so it especially means a lot to have Shida return now for some matches.
Shida says she didn’t do it out of like, an altruistic wish to save Ice Ribbon or anything, it was personal feelings: “「つっか大丈夫かな」「つっかのそばにいたいな」って” (つっか is Fujimoto’s nickname).
Throughout all these magazines, interviewees laughing will be denoted by a parenthetical kanji or two like this: (笑), (苦笑) and so on, and anyway, the quote from Shida above prompted one from つっか I haven’t seen before: (泣笑)
They talk about how they weren’t particularly close before becoming a tag team, but when they did a very strong bond quickly formed, and they became very close. Like, staying over frequently, side-by-side futons, borrowing each other’s underwear sometimes, wouldn’t mind if the other person used your toothbrush levels of close. So it hit especially hard when Shida decided to leave Ice Ribbon - Fujimoto says she was hurt particularly by Shida’s comparison at the time of Ice Ribbon to “ぬるま湯” and sometimes to this day she still remembers it and Shida if she gets into the bath a little late and the water’s become tepid.
But they both then talk about how the other’s journey since is like seeing a path they didn’t take and a life they didn’t end up living, and express deep respect and admiration for the other’s paths along those journeys.
Fujimoto talks about how she’s been stressed enough recently to break out into hives, especially during it sounds like a one-month span where she and the Ice Ribbon 社長 had decided that Ice Ribbon would disband and Fujimoto would retire on May 4th, but that decision was revised after hearing support from the other wrestlers. It sounds like Fujimoto (and maybe Ice Ribbon in some form? I’m not sure) will still have a “休業” period starting on May 4th, but she talks enthusiastically about wanting to wrestle at some point after that, including in Ice Ribbon.
Shida will be in her last pre-休業 match and it means a lot.

藤本:志田ちゃんはアイスのことも、私のことも忘れて前に進んでるんだろいうなって思ってたから、こういう言葉を直接聞けてうれしいです。「おかえり!」って言えて、「ただいま」って言ってくれて。
志田:あんな抜け方して、8年経って帰ってきた私に「おかえり」って言ってくれるのって、正直家族以外ないじゃないですか。やっぱりアイスリボンだなって思いました。

(泣笑)

Nanae Takahashi has it sounds like found a new 団体 after leaving SEAdLINNNG a while back - she’ll be working for the women’s division in GLEAT, which will hopefully be a mutually beneficial relationship of the fledgling division getting an experienced veteran to mine knowledge from, and her getting a new project to be enthusiastic about. She also says she wants to wrestle CIMA. And she’ll be the opponent for Tsukushi’s retirement match.

The history column is especially interesting today. The author reflects on how the 50th anniversary year of New Japan and All Japan makes him realize how short-lived 日本プロレス was in the end. Founded by Rikidozan, 日本プロレス was active from 1953-1973, ending just short of 20 years. Despite that, the “Big Three” of Rikidozan, Giant Baba, and Antonio Inoki being weekly fixtures and national stars on television for 日本プロレス makes it feel somehow longer in the author’s head.
And he directs quite a degree of scorn towards the mismanagement that lead to its shuttering, saying that not even managing to last 20 years with the television sponsors they had was “興行会社経営という観点からすれば大失敗、「幹部があまりにも無能だった」と書かざるを得ない。”
The one in charge of 日本プロレス at the time (apparently the abbreviation in English is JWA by the way, so maybe I’ll use that and stop pasting that whole string every time) was 大木金太郎, and another JWA wrestler from the era is quoted as telling a story where, when a television network announced they were going to broadcast New Japan going forward, 大木 said along the lines of “well, if it’s only every other week, they’ll surely still broadcast us on alternating weeks, and we can get by with two payments a month” and needless to say… of course that wasn’t going to happen, why would they broadcast competing wrestling shows on alternating weeks. And so JWA lost all of its TV deals, and the remaining 9 wrestlers were absorbed into All Japan, which had a light roster at the time, setting the stage for a 3 promotion status quo of 国際, 新日本, and 全日本.
The article ends on this interesting, vehement (if maybe also melodramatic…) section about the event by way of the word used to describe those 9 wrestlers:

日本のプロレス歴史本には「9人の残党」という表現をされて書き残されているが、先輩ライター陣が残した「残党」という単語の持つ怒り、悲哀、怨念、野望、悔恨。。。私は自分の著書で何度かほかの単語に置き換えようと試みたが、まったくオルタナティブ・ワードは見つからなかった。
「残党」には英語では表現できない、日本人にしかわからない響きがある。

There’s an interview with Risa Sera and Suzu Suzuki ahead of Prominence’s official 旗揚げ, which has sold out at the time of the interview. Suzu is really really enthusiastic and confident about it and you better be too! Their first pre-旗揚げ show got the building management mad at them, and Suzu says “新木場の人に怒られるぐらい旗揚げでメチャクチャやろうと思います!” which gets a (苦笑)and a “we don’t actually want to make anyone mad” from Sera.
The interviewer quotes an interesting phrase: “出る杭は叩かれますが、出過ぎた杭は叩かれない” and Suzu says: “それ!鈴木すずはムチャクチャ突出してくから!”

The costume column is about Moka Miyamoto from TJPW!
She majored in 日本文化 in college and always loved and studied “茶道や香道、書道” etc. so when she became a prowrestler she thought to incorporate that into her costume and got the advice “和=袴” hence, well, the 袴. She then altered her costume in a really neat asymmetrical way to make it cooler and more maneuverable.
Funnily enough – I notice like I mentioned recently Risa Sera has in her costume, Miyamoto also wears a “さらしが見えるデザイン” about which fans reportedly tell her 「任侠映画に出てきそう」. In the main photo, her hair is cleverly positioned to maintain the illusion by hiding the straps!

Keiji Mutoh’s column is about the election of a wrestler to the governorship of Ishikawa Prefecture.
The wrestler’s name in the magazine is 馳浩, and it turns out it’s a name I loosely recognized in English, but wowee I wouldn’t have guessed it from the kanji - it’s Hiroshi Hase. What an interesting name!
Anyway, Mutoh is too cagey (ha HA!) to I think say much definitive about how exactly he feels about what I suppose amounts to a work friend ending up in politics. But he seems kinda net negative about it, pointing out he won with about 1/3 of the vote and it’ll be a very difficult situation.

Michael Nakazawa has a topical AEW report coinciding with Dynamite starting to go up on New Japan World, which runs down New Japan’s history in AEW, including a fun sidebar explainer for Japanese audiences about “the Suzuki Incident.” bit of a pity like, a full majority of the wrestlers prominent in this recap won’t be able to make the show tomorrow but what can you do I guess.

In the industry column, the head of Zero-1 talks about how the promotion must continue and remain strong to cheer on Ohtani, and recounts being at ringside after he was injured and seeing his lip make a strong reaction after the word 首 when the doctor asked 「どこが痛い?頭?肩?首?」, taking that as a hopeful sign of consciousness. Oof… The manager also discounts rumors that Ohtani’s recent return from a different injury meant this one was caused by rushing back to the ring, saying Ohtani was fully recovered.

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I also read a wrestling-related book (or at least, what I’m somewhat arbitrarily calling one book since I don’t see an 上 on the cover) and ended up watching an old wrestling show because of it!

thoughts on 中邑真輔自伝 KING OF STRONG STYLE 1980-2004

This is the first volume in a two-part Shinsuke Nakamura biography, that’s probably one of the very first books I purchased in Japanese when I’d just started learning. In fact, learning it existed is probably one of the most concrete things that planted a seed in my head that led to giving learning the language a shot and somehow winding up here. Because of that, reading it now was an interesting bridge (they’ve said 架け橋 in a context like this a few times in the magazine recently, so that phrase is on the mind) back to how I felt about wrestling back then, in like, 2016-2018 or so, which was really completely different from now. Because of losing faith in Nakamura’s run in WWE before I started learning to read in earnest, and nowadays mostly being into wrestlers who weren’t on my radar at all back then, they’ve been completely disparate experiences until now, which is interesting.

The book itself isn’t tremendously interesting though! :sweat_smile: It’s a compiled and edited run of interview columns recounting Nakamura’s life, and it doesn’t really have a hook like the other wrestling biography I’ve read so far (Mayu Iwatani’s, which tracks her arc from hikikomori to icon, charting the beginnings of a scrappy new promotion along the way) - Nakamura’s an unusual wrestler with an unusual career, but his entry into it is pretty orthodox: he talks about idolizing Jackie Chan and Sho Kosugi, and deciding to be become a professional wrestler because he was a fan and becoming a Hong Kong action movie star or a ninja seemed infeasible, and then he did amateur wrestling in college, and tried out for the New Japan Dojo and got in. That’s fine because I mean… it’s his life! But it does mean that the book feels a lot more wrestling-oriented than Mayu’s book - it feels like mainly a recap of Nakamura’s most famous matches and the background behind them, with the biography elements being build-up to that.

On the one hand, I knew almost nothing about Nakamura’s most famous matches (before like, 2015-2016 and even then… not really that much) so I didn’t enough context to really parse everything very carefully, but on the other hand, I knew almost nothing about Nakamura’s most famous matches, so it was interesting to learn!

In brief, Nakamura came up in New Japan in a time when new and popular MMA was intermingling heavily with Japanese wrestling, and people (especially Inoki) thought that MMA or some mixture could be the future of professional wrestling. And it seems like Nakamura was picked by Inoki’s camp from the dojo as an especially promising vehicle for that mixture, and so he got sent to (a previous incarnation of?) New Japan’s LA Dojo (where he briefly roomed with Bryan Danielson) on New Japan/Inoki’s dime (he talks a bit about Inoki and Inoki’s daughter and brother in law) to train there and in MMA gyms, and then when he came back it was as a “super rookie” who almost immediately scored a shocking upset over Tenzan for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship.

One note from the early part - Often in the book, particularly when describing his brief time at the main New Japan dojo, Nakamura casually jokes about (the future) Yoshi Tatsu who was a trainee at the same time as him, saying he briefly roomed with Yoshi Tatsu but Tatsu was too much of a slob so he swapped to room with Goto, or that he quickly put aside the fandom mindset - unlike Yoshi Tatsu who for example, see Chono’s sunglasses and launch into a Chono impression (ガッデム!) like a fan, or that kind of thing. At first I was amused since Yoshi Tatsu being painfully unprepared to commentate a Nakamura Wrestle Kingdom match in English is one of like, my indelible wrestling memories from the early days. But as it continued, and Nakamura described him as “みんなの避雷針” I kinda wondered if maybe reading between the lines everyone was just bullying Yoshi Tatsu… after all, since I don’t really know anything about the New Japan dojo except that it’s probably a bit old-fashioned, rigorous, full of young men, and related to professional wrestling… if I were compiling a list of “learning institutions that probably seem like everyone’s emotions and whatnot are being totally well-handled and there’s no weird power dynamics” it probably wouldn’t make the cut. But on the other hand it’s also possible Yoshi Tatsu’s just a bit of a goober and that’s all it is.
There’s also an anecdote in there about a time Liger yelled at the trainees for like, not being properly deferential to their senior while they talked nonchalantly with each other near him in a common area, or something like that. That one’s tricky to square with Liger’s jovial public persona – but it’s not like that’s ever been a good barometer for how people are behind the scenes!

Throughout they’re speaking in the usual quasi-kayfabe mode where they aren’t talking about booking but aren’t really talking about the (pro wrestling) matches as though they were fights either, which is too bad because I feel like the most interesting aspect of Nakamura’s career is why did they book him like that! But it can only get into Nakamura’s own experiences. I have no idea how worked or not worked any of the K-1 fights or whatever from this era were, but they had Nakamura doing both pro wrestling matches and MMA, and I do think there’s a difference in how he talks about them - the wrestling ones tend to be about the responsibility given to him for the opportunity, and how he had to tell himself he was the only one who could fill the role. While the MMA ones are like, he wanted to show the strength of his pro-wrestling training against the MMA guys and cried bitterly when he lost. That kind of thing.

Some of the most interesting stuff is his description of the bind being booked to win the top championship as a rookie put him in. All the young lions felt distant from and resentful of him since he got picked to immediately be not just a main eventer but a top champion - and would only second for him when made to by the office, and if he seconded for other wrestlers like a rookie is supposed to, he’d get people criticizing him for lowering himself as a main-eventer, and if he didn’t second he’d get criticized for shirking as a rookie, and of course it’s not like older wrestlers were happy about the situation either, so he ended up in a lonely position of just having to rely on his own strength and push it as far as it could go - while still in this dual role of being a main event pro wrestler while also doing Inoki-ist MMA bouts between defenses. No wonder his first reign ended in vacating it due to injury! (which is about where this first volume ends)

One kind of snide remark I’d indulge in here – I’m sure some English commentators down the line alluded to some of this stuff and it didn’t really stick in my memory since there’s a difference between an off-hand comment and reading a whole book about it – but I do think it’s funny/a genuine shame that my impression Nakamura’s early years based on English/WWE commentary throughout the years I was watching would have been like, “Michael Jackson and Prince…?? Surfing?”
Granted the Chaos/King of Strong Style stuff comes later so maybe it’ll come up in the second volume, but there’s such a world of difference between the MMA-influenced/super rookie/chosen one origins here and the “the artist known as Shinsuke Nakamura.” Both are still him in some way I’m sure, it’s just nice to be able to easily access the deeper one too.


Thoughts on NJPW Wrestling World 2004

In the book they talk about how an early intimidating rival/obstacle for Nakamura was Yoshihiro Takayama, at the time, wrestling’s 帝王. I didn’t know anything about Takayama except he was paralyzed a few years ago, and I’d seen he’s one of the few triple crown holders across NJPW/AJPW/NOAH. So out of curiosity I ended up looking up early Nakamura matches, watched a few, and found this show, 2004’s iteration of イッテンヨン (before the name Wrestle Kingdom), on New Japan World that’s headlined by Nakamura’s first title defense against Takayama.
I was going to just watch the one match, but then I got curious about the surrounding context and… well, 全部みっちゃた。

Overall, it was an interesting time! The show was a lot better and more familiar than I was afraid of - it felt like a pretty good New Japan Tokyo Dome show, with remarkably similar presentation for the most part. There’s definitely a lot more MMA influence felt in some of the athletes and matches, but thankfully there’s no outright MMA matches on the card, and there’s lots of surprising familiar faces, both in the form of young versions of current stars and still-old-but-not-as-old versions of 80s/90s-era stars (apparently a lot of them had left but ended up back this particular year).

One thing I appreciate is once again I’m really glad to be able to get use out of the commentary. The unfamiliar context meant I didn’t hang on every word, but it really goes a long way to feeling like a fuller show when I can refocus on the audio if I catch myself not paying attention, or catch the name of a finishing move or a little context. Another bridge to wrestling experiences past, the year I got into wrestling I had lots of freetime and ended up watching lots of old WWE and WCW shows on the WWE network, and I’ve never really done that in at all the same way with Japanese shows, and I think the lack of that language access to the context - both surrounding and in the commentary is probably the main reason why. So anyway, it was enjoyable to tap into that!

Other thoughts:

  • New Japan World just has the matches and cuts and mutes absolutely any hint of music, so no entrances and no post-match celebration or cool-down except for when there’s a promo. It’s really too bad, but I guess it is what it is. I remember the couple of Ice Ribbon shows I watched were like this too so I suppose it’s a normal scorched earth approach to avoiding copyright issues. I think I honestly maybe prefer it to covertly dubbing in new music or things like that… but I wish we could just be like “ehh forget it who cares” and preserve the whole show as it happened. It’s cool all the matches are uploaded, at least!
  • List of familiar wrestlers with unfamiliar mid-2000s looks:
    Young Lion versions of Goto, Yoshi Tatsu, Taguchi
    Tag champs Jado and Gedo! Jado especially is mobile and has hair (kind of), and I didn’t notice all his tattoos before
    Tanahashi’s hair is so bad!

    Suzuki’s blond!!

    Young Manabu Nakanishi also was a surprise to me.
    Finally, being pretty familiar with young Mutoh and old Mutoh seeing in-between Mutoh messed with my head a bit. Salt and pepper beard!
  • The best match that I was completely surprised to see on this show was Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Sugiura for the GHC jr. heavyweight title. It was a surprise to see a GHC title match on this New Japan show but more than that - only being a little familiar with his 2020s work I never would have imagined Sugiura woulda been considered a jr. heavyweight.
    There’s a bit in this one where Sugiura plants Liger with a move on the entrance ramp directly in front of a Liger cosplayer. And his olympic slams are pretty spectacular!
  • Tanahashi’s match is a U-30 title defense, and the belt is called that because it’s meant for people who are under 30. His opponent literally turns 30 the next day, January 5th, 2004, and also it’s Tanahashi so I really didn’t feel any suspense for that match…
  • Manabu Nakanishi vs. Genichiro Tenryu would make Big E very happy because it was big meaty men slapping meat through and through. Literally, too! They used very loud chops as copious seasoning around power moves.
  • Yuji Nagata vs. Kensuke Sasaki was shocking to my 2022 sensibilities! It’s like… old school blading: the match. They very quickly go outside the ring, and one immediately after the other get knocked in the head and conspicuously have line of sight blocked to their hands and forehead for a few moments. And then the rest of the match is entirely forehead-targeted offense so the wounds are absolutely as open and lasting as possible. And then it’s just a “who will pass out from blood loss first” match. I’ve seen blading before of course but never so… straightforwardly? Like, it’s just… the entire match.
    Nagata didn’t quite do that 白目 face he does while he was submitted Sasaki with gore dripping down his face… but it was intense anyway that’s for sure.
  • The main event I came for was good! Takayama was a good foil for Nakamura’s super rookie character, which mainly consists of getting beat real bad while trying to spring on the other guy and wrap him up with a surprise submission. I love it when wrestlers do submission moves that wind up with the aggressor completely off the ground wrapped around the other person (Giulia does this frequently too) and this reminding me how great Nakamura’s tall lanky body is for that. I think you can see what management saw in him. And Takayama’s mean looking kicks and strikes look extra bad since Nakamura has a visible eye injury from one of those MMA fights.
    Nakamura’s post-match promo is quite short and sounded a little shallow - he has kind of a unique voice? I don’t know how to describe it. He doesn’t enunciate super clearly… so it was tough for me to make out exactly what he was saying.
  • There was other good stuff but they was mostly in the category for me of just “pretty fun to watch wrestler does his thing” like Suzuki’s gotch-style match, Shibata in a surprisingly MMA-ish match considering his later “The Wrestler” name, etc.

I’ll probably try to immediately start reading the second volume of the biography, but I don’t know if I’ll get sucked into other shows that it talks about… On the one hand - it was fun to watch an older show alongside a direct source of surrounding context. But on the other hand I don’t really have that big of a well of enthusiasm for mid-2000s NJPW, and I suspect the novelty would wear off quick.
Then again… the next match I see in the archive is Nakamura vs. Tanahashi, a 10±years-earlier version of a match-up that for sure was one of the things that got me into wrestling in the first place. So I am curious… and it’s the main event of 2005’s Tokyo Dome… so it is tempting to fall into the same trap…

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This is really cool! It makes me think about all of the wrestling biographies I want to read, and if they’ll live up to my expectations or not, haha. I feel like when something is inaccessible to us, we have a tendency to view it as somehow containing all of the answers and secrets to the universe, but usually that turns out not to be the case :sweat_smile:. With Japanese wrestling biographies specifically, I imagine they run up against kayfabe a lot, which makes it harder to get to the juicy stuff.

It’s definitely interesting having become more familiar with the non-NJPW Japanese wrestling scene, and looking back at old DDT shows on cagematch and that sort of thing and seeing these wild matches just absolutely littered with wrestlers whose characters are so different these days. And yeah, a lot of the NOAH guys were truly from a different time.

I haven’t watched a lot of old wrestling yet, personally, because most of my interest is in keeping up with the present day stuff (and there is so much of that). Maybe I’ll do more of a deep dive when my own Japanese is much further along, haha. My experience with a lot of the older guys is probably so different from the average fan, because I mostly know Satoshi Kojima for his bread club, and Jun Akiyama is just a DDT guy to me (whose rare comedy matches are a particular delight), and the Mutoh I’m familiar with is the one at the very end of his career, with a very broken down body.

I sadly missed Shinsuke Nakamura pretty much entirely. I’ve seen a few of his matches that, well, relate to the Golden Lovers, but that’s about it. And nothing at all recent, since I don’t watch WWE. You probably already know this, but both Kota Ibushi and Kenny Omega’s knee strike moves (the Kamigoye and the V-Trigger, as well as the Golden Trigger) were inspired by Nakamura. So I have actually seen many echoes of Nakamura, especially in Kota’s matches.

It’s easy to see the hole he left behind in NJPW when he went to WWE. It’s really too bad AEW didn’t exist at the time, or he could have gone there instead and continued to wrestle in NJPW as well.