The latest and greatest in women's wrestling

Beginner’s Guide to 2017 Joshi

1

About this guide: The work I’ve put into this beginner’s guide was inspired by the incorrect statements made by some people in the wrestling news/reviews world about joshi wrestler Asuka and the hyperbole of how much the impact of Kairi Hojo and Io Shirai leaving for WWE will have on the entire scene. People who know about the joshi industry even from a distance know that she’s never stepped foot in Stardom, but so many don’t know a thing about joshi after the boom period of 1993-1998. As a fan of both past and the current product it’s annoying seeing someone/people speak with authority about the current scene without much proper knowledge and it inspired me to try to get people to learn about what’s what in the modern joshi scene. It’s not 2006 anymore, multiple promotions have managed to claim over 1,000 people in attendance at Korakuen Hall in recent times, some promotions can regularly pull an attendance number of 800 or more people at the legendary wrestling venue. There are many skilled women from different generations still active in wrestling today, Tokyo Sports’ 2016 Rookie of the Year was a woman, there are young people who aren’t even two years into their careers and are already having great matches and making improvements in strides. All these things tend to be ignored by Western fans due to them not knowing who and what is out there besides Io and Kairi matches in Stardom within the last two years or they only know of boom-era joshi wrestling and assumed it all died after 1998 and haven’t bothered checking it out again after Aja Kong and Kyoko Inoue left AJW. These feelings I had about people talking out of their ass was combined with seeing people greatly enjoying Stardom and I want to show them that there’s more out there that is worth checking out, so at the end of all of this I just wanted to help people discover the current joshi scene and maybe enjoy some of the wrestling that I greatly enjoy. This guide has heavy emphasis on wrestlers that appear on taped shows meaning not every joshi promotion and wrestler has been written about and I’m also one person, who doesn’t watch every promotion. Gatoh Move, Reina, Tokyo Joshi, freelancers like Saki, and other women like Cherry, Saki Akai, Bambi, and others aren’t present in this document. Unless specified all the matches found on this guide can be viewed on the Real Hero Drive.

Major Promotions

Ice Ribbon

 

Started in 2006 by Emi Sakura, who now runs Gatoh Move, Ice Ribbon features a young roster that can have high-speed matches that are go-go-go with little stopping. Some Ice Ribbon shows have a light-hearted feel to them with comedic matches and some games played instead of matches. Big matches in Ice Ribbon can be some of the best high-speed matches around, like Tsukushi vs Tsukasa Fujimoto from late December of last year, and Ice Ribbon always has some of the highest Korakuen Hall attendance numbers.

  • Titles
    • ICEXInfinity Championship: Risa Sera
    • International Ribbon Tag Team Championship: Vacant
    • Triangle Ribbon Championship: Manami Toyota
  • Roster
    • Tsukasa Fujimoto – Debut: August 8, 2008

For a second career after getting some wrestling training for an acting role Tsukasa Fujimoto has become one of the better joshi wrestlers and one of the top acts in Ice Ribbon. Some of her best work is with Arisa Nakajima in their tag team, The Best Friends, Best Friends vs Yoshiko & Nanae Takahashi is a great introduction to their work together. Tsukasa fits the high-speed, dangerous top rope moves type matches that have a slight touch of boom-era AJW feeling to them like in her match against Tsukushi at RibbonMania last year.

      • The Best Friends vs Yoshiko & Nanae Takahashi (JWP 7/24/2016)
      • The Best Friends vs AKINO & Kaho Kobayashi (Oz Academy 11/13/2016)
      • Hiroyo Matsumoto & Tsukushi vs KAZUKI & Tsukasa Fujimoto (JWP 12/28/2016)
      • Tsukasa Fujimoto vs Tsukushi (Ice Ribbon 12/31/2016)
      • Tsukasa Fujimoto vs Arisa Nakajima (Ice Ribbon 3/26/2017)
      • Tsukasa Fujimoto & Tsukushi vs Manami Toyota & DASH Chisako (4/15/2017)
      • The Best Friends vs Lovely Butchers (Ice Ribbon 4/24/2017)
      • Tsukasa Fujimoto vs Hiroyo Matsumoto (Ice Ribbon 5/05/2017)
    • Tsukushi – Debut: March 14, 2010

Another Ice Ribbon roster member that started training as a child and debuted young, Tsukushi is younger than 21 and already has 7 years of wrestling experience to her name. Tsukushi doesn’t even stand 5 feet tall and isn’t bigger than a minute and fast pace matches fit her stature very well.

      • Leon vs Tsukushi (JWP 7/24/2016)
      • Hiroyo Matsumoto & Tsukushi vs KAZUKI & Tsukasa Fujimoto (JWP 12/28/2016)
      • Tsukasa Fujimoto vs Tsukushi (Ice Ribbon 12/31/2016)
      • Hiragi Kurumi & Tsukushi vs Homiko Hoshi & Hiroyo Matsumoto (Ice Ribbon 1/29/2017)
      • Tsukushi & Hiragi Kurumi vs Ryo Mizunami & Misaki Ohata (Ice Ribbon 3/26/2017)
      • Tsukasa Fujimoto & Tsukushi vs Manami Toyota & DASH Chisako (4/15/2017)
      • Tsukushi & Hiragi Kurumi vs Azure Revolution (Ice Ribbon 4/24/2017)
      • Tsukushi & Hiragi Kurumi vs Kyuri Maika Ozaki (Ice Ribbon 5/05/2017)
    • Maya Yukihi – Debut: November 24, 2014

When wrestling in her home promotion Maya Yukihi sports blue and is a babyface that doesn’t carry around a whip. She’s one-half of the team Azure Revolution with Risa Sera, the other team she’s a part of is Seiki-gun with Mayumi Ozaki. When Maya Yukihi appears in Oz Academy she wears all black gear, makeup with heavier eye shadow, carries a whip with her, and has the tendency to break the rules.

      • Dynamite Kansai & Mayumi Ozaki vs Maya Yukihi & Rina Yamashita (Oz Academy 11/23/2016)
      • Maya Yukihi vs Aja Kong (Ice Ribbon 1/29/2017)
      • Maya Yukihi, Mayumi Ozaki & Yumi Ohka vs Aja Kong, Tsubasa Kuragaki & Yoshiko (Oz Academy 4/12/2017)
      • Tsukushi & Hiragi Kurumi vs Azure Revolution (Ice Ribbon 4/24/2017)
      • Risa Sera, Maya Yukihi, & 235 vs Mochi Miyagi, Akane Fujita, & Rina Yamashita (Ice Ribbon 5/05/2017)
    • Risa Sera – Debut: October 20, 2012

If everything goes well Risa, Maya, and Tsukushi should be the next generation of top stars for the Ice Ribbon promotion. She’s the current ICEXInfinity champion, Ice Ribbon’s top title, and her team with Maya Yukihi known as Azure Revolution will probably be a force to be reckoned with for the International Ribbon Tag Team titles in the future — she also isn’t afraid to have a deathmatch either.

      • Risa Sera vs Rina Yamashita (Ice Ribbon 3/26/2017)
      • Tsukushi & Hiragi Kurumi vs Azure Revolution (Ice Ribbon 4/24/2017)
      • Risa Sera, Maya Yukihi, & 235 vs Mochi Miyagi, Akane Fujita, & Rina Yamashita (Ice Ribbon 5/05/2017)

Stardom

Started in 2010 by Rossy Ogawa, Nanae Takahashi, and Fuka, Stardom is another Rossy Ogawa production with high emphasis on a wrestler’s beauty and selling gravure-like photobooks and cards of the talent. It only takes one look at the roster page on Stardom’s official roster page to see who their target audience is, but like another hyper-visual fighting promotion, the in-ring wrestling can produce match of the year candidates featuring some of the best women wrestling today (as of the writing of this editorial). Thanks to the popularity of Io, Kairi, and Mayu, more recently Western fans know of Stardom and watch matches but that comes with the con of people not knowing the history of the promotion and the industry past 2014 like some newer fans of NJPW. All matches from Stardom can be viewed on their wonderful English-subtitled streaming service Stardom World.

  • Titles
    • Artist of Stardom Championship: Io Shirai, AZM, & HZK
    • Goddesses of Stardom Championship: Jungle Kyona & Hiroyo Matsumoto
    • High Speed Championship: Kris Wolf
    • SWA Undisputed World’s Women’s Championship: Toni Storm
    • Wonder of Stardom Championship: Mayu Iwatani
    • World of Stardom Championship: Io Shirai
  • Roster
    • Io Shirai – Debut: March 4, 2007

One of the top female wrestlers in the world today, her matches in Stardom are one of the big reasons people started to have a renewed interest in the joshi scene. Her, Kairi, and Mayu have been dub the Daughters of Stardom and they’ve held the top singles belts in recent memory and having match of the year contender matches over these titles. She recently created her Queen’s Quest stable with HZK (Hazuki) and AZM (Azumi) after turning on her former tag team partner, Mayu Iwatani, in late 2016.

      • Io Shirai vs Mayu Iwatani (Stardom 12/22/2016)
      • Io Shirai vs Kairi Hojo (Stardom 1/17/2016)
      • Stardom vs World Selection (Stardom 2/7/2016)
      • Io Shirai vs Meiko Satomura (Sendai Girls 7/2/2016)
      • Chihiro Hashimoto & Mayu Iwatani vs Io Shirai & Meiko Satomura (3/9/2017)
      • Io Shirai vs Kairi Hojo (3/20/2017)
      • Io Shirai vs Viper (Stardom 1/15/2017)
    • Kairi Hojo – Debut: January 7, 2012

One of the Daughters of Stardom, Kairi Hojo’s matches and moves helped make Stardom gain visibility with Western fans. Everyone’s favorite pirate has fast paced matches that don’t slow down, even if it means Kairi having her fair share of concussions and injury scares. A couple months after Yoko Bito’s return to wrestling she and Kairi teamed up to form BY Ho and won the Goddesses of Stardom titles, and now Kairi holds the Artist of Stardom Championship with Konami and Hiromi Mimura.

      • Io Shirai vs Kairi Hojo (Stardom 1/17/2016)
      • Stardom vs World Selection (Stardom 2/7/2016)
      • Io Shirai vs Kairi Hojo (Stardom 3/20/2017)
      • Kairi & Yoko vs Kay Lee Ray & Nixon Newell (Stardom 1/15/2017)
      • Kairi & Yoko vs Kyoko Kimura & Kagetsu (Stardom 12/22/2016)
    • Mayu Iwatani – Debut: January 23, 2011

The third Daughter of Stardom in multiple ways, despite being an early member of Stardom Mayu has never held the top belt. She was in a long time team with Io Shirai known as Thunder Rock before Io betrayed her and retained the Wonder of Stardom title in their MOTYC bout from late December of 2016. Mayu is the high speed queen of Stardom, you can see this in a single match from her High Speed title defense against Kay Lee Ray from early 2016 and you have to watch her match against Io for the Wonder of Stardom title.

      • Io Shirai vs Mayu Iwatani (Stardom 12/22/2016)
      • Mayu Iwatani vs Kay Lee Ray (Stardom 1/17/2016)
      • Stardom vs World Selection (Stardom 2/7/2016)
      • Chihiro Hashimoto & Mayu Iwatani vs Io Shirai & Meiko Satomura (3/9/2017)
    • Yoko Bito – Debut: January 23, 2011 / Return: June 23, 2016

After retiring due to injury all the way back in 2012 after just one year of active wrestling Yoko Bito returned to wrestling and Stardom in the middle of last year. Months after her return she joined forces with Kairi to form BY Ho and they captured the tag titles, losing them to Jungle Kyona & Hiroyo Matsumoto in 2017. She’s been a good part of the mid card but with Kairi & Io due for departure maybe there’s a chance for her to move up in the pecking order.

      • Yoko Bito vs KONAMI (Stardom 2/23/2017)
      • Kairi & Yoko vs Kay Lee Ray & Nixon Newell (Stardom 1/15/2017)
      • Kairi & Yoko vs Kyoko Kimura & Kagetsu (Stardom 12/22/2016)
      • Io Shirai vs Yoko Bito (Stardom 10/30/2016)
    • Jungle Kyona – Debut: November 15, 2015

A young member of the Stardom roster who’s starting to ascend the ranks, Jungle Kyona is a powerful wrestler full of positivity. Like Mika Shirahime over in Sendai Girls, once Kyona got her Senegal flag ring gear she started to gain momentum and even won the tag titles with Hiroyo Matsumoto from BY Ho. Kyona is the second power wrestler on the native Stardom roster besides Io Shirai and that helps her stand out being able to crush the rest of the roster with lariats and other power moves.

      • Jungle Kyona vs Chihiro Hashimoto (Stardom 6/5/2016)
      • Jungle Kyona vs Io Shirai (Stardom 8/28/2016)
      • Jungle Kyona & Momo Watanabe vs Io Shirai & Mayu Iwatani (Stardom 11/11/2016)
      • Jungle Kyona vs Kay Lee Ray (Stardom 1/29/2017)
      • Jungle Kyona vs Kairi Hojo (Stardom 2/23/2017)
      • Jungle Kyona & Hiroyo Matsumoto vs Kairi Hojo & Yoko Bito (Stardom 3/5/2017)
      • Jungle Kyona vs Toni Storm (Stardom 3/20/2017)
    • HZK – Debut: July 6, 2014

Since her heel turn HZK (Hazuki), a member of Io Shirai’s Queen’s Quest, has been slowly climbing up the ladder in the Stardom pecking order. She beat Jungle Kyona in the first round of the Cinderella tournament and went to a 10 minute time limit draw with Kairi in the second round.

      • HZK & Io Shirai vs Kairi Hojo & Yoko Bito (Stardom 1/3/2017)
      • Queens Quest vs Yoko Bito, Mayu Iwatani, & Hiromi Mimura (Stardom 1/29/2017)
      • HZK & Io Shirai vs Hiroyo Matsumoto & Jungle Kyona (Stardom 4/9/2017)
      • HZK vs Jungle Kyona (Stardom 4/30/2017)
      • HZK vs Kairi Hojo (Stardom 4/30/2017)
    • Kris Wolf – Debut: October 10, 2014

She’s a wolf that likes meat and is a member of Oedo Tai, Kris Wolf is the only full-time foreigner on the Stardom roster. She’s not a main event talent but Kris is very entertaining and easy to remember due to her tail and heel antics with her Oedo Tai crew.

Sendai Girls

Based out of Sendai in Miyagi Prefecture Sendai Girls has created a truly unique roster in the joshi wrestling world in northern Japan. On the surface level, no one else can offer what Sendai Girls offer: they have a shoot wrestler, the best heel character in the business, a high-speed tag team specialist, a fiery rookie, and a legend all on a single roster. Some of the best mat-work and charismatic young wrestlers will be found here along with a match diversity unseen in other promotions. Matches range from a hard-hitting bout in Meiko Satomura vs Hiroyo Matsumoto, a hardcore tag match between KAORU & DASH Chisako vs Ryo Mizunami & Kyoko Kimura, and matches with more mat work and grappling like Chihiro Hashimoto vs Cassandra Miyagi.

  • Titles
    • Sendai Girls World Championship: Hiroyo Matsumoto
    • Sendai Girls Tag Team Championship: Hikaru Shida & Syuri
  • Roster
    • Meiko Satomura – Debut: April 15, 1995

Arguably the best female wrestler in the world right now, after the closure of GAEA Japan in 2005 Meiko Satomura created Sendai Girls Pro Wrestling the following year and has slowly but surely made it a top promotion in the modern joshi scene. Over the last couple years, Meiko has racked up an amazing list of matches with all sorts of opponents from multiple promotions, from Io Shirai to her old time rival Aja Kong. She wrestles with pure heart and determination and it feels like she’s always giving her all even in 6-person tag matches on smaller shows, I’ve never watched a Meiko Satomura match and felt that she was being lazy and just coasting along.

      • Io Shirai vs Meiko Satomura (Sendai Girls 7/2/2016)
      • Meiko Satomura vs Syuri (Sendai Girls 3/11/2016)
      • Meiko Satomura vs Aja Kong (Sendai Girls 4/8/2016)
      • Meiko Satomura & Mika Iwata vs Hana Kimura & Kyoko Kimura (Oz Academy 7/18/2016)
      • Alex Lee, Chihiro Hashimoto, & Hiroyo Matsumoto vs Ayako Hamada, Meiko Satomura, & Mika Iwata (Sendai Girls 9/29/2016)
      • Meiko Satomura vs Chihiro Hashimoto (Sendai Girls 10/18/2016)
      • Aja Kong & Hiroyo Matsumoto vs Meiko Satomura & Ayako Hamada (Sendai Girls 11/9/2016)
      • Chihiro Hashimoto & Yoshiko vs Aja Kong & Meiko Satomura (Oz Academy 11/23/2016)
      • Chihiro Hashimoto & Mayu Iwatani vs Io Shirai & Meiko Satomura (Stardom 3/9/2017)
      • Meiko Satomura vs Syuri (Sendai Girls 3/11/2017)
      • Meiko Satomura vs Hiroyo Matsumoto (Sendai Girls 4/6/2017)
    • DASH Chisako – Debut: July 9, 2006

One of the first wrestlers produced from the Sendai Girls dojo and one of two veterans on the roster, for most of her career DASH Chisako was in a tag team with her sister, Sendai Sachiko, until her retirement in early 2016. DASH easily excels at tag team wrestling thanks to her near ten years’ experience at the craft and she also has good high-speed style matches. Her tag team with KAORU and their short title reign after winning the tournament was one of my favorite runs in 2016 wrestling, the two meshed together extremely well and had excellent matches against Syuri & Hikaru Shida and Kyoko Kimura & Ryo Mizunami. After losing the tag titles she had more singles matches and has even teamed up Cassandra Miyagi to challenge for the belts in 2017, a team that I would definitely like to see happen more in the future.

      • DASH Chisako vs KAORU (SenJo 2/28/2016)
      • Chihiro Hashimoto & DASH vs Aja Kong & Rydeen Hagane (Sendai Girls 7/2/2016)
      • DASH Chisako vs Sareee (SenJo 7/30/2016)
      • DASH Chisako & KAORU vs Hana & Kyoko Kimura (Sendai Girls 9/29/2016)
      • DASH Chisako & KAORU vs Syuri & Hikaru Shida (Sendai Girls 10/16/2016)
      • DASH Chisako & KAORU vs Kyoko Kimura & Ryo Mizunami (Sendai Girls 10/18/2016)
      • DASH Chisako & KAORU vs Command Bolshoi & Kyoko Kimura (Sendai Girls 1/9/2017)
      • DASH Chisako & Cassandra Miyagi vs Hikaru Shida & Syuri (Sendai Girls 4/6/2017)
    • Cassandra Miyagi – Debut: November 24, 2014

Once upon a time, there was a wrestler named Michiko Miyagi, a young woman with jet black long hair and bangs, now she is the 10,002 year old entity known as Cassandra Miyagi. Half-bleached hair with her bangs gelled up into a spike, black and purple eyeliner with a gear of matching colors, and charisma that fills an entire room, Cassandra is one of the best characters in all of Japanese wrestling today, male or female. Whenever she steps into a room she commands everyone’s attention with her head banging and yelling, but she isn’t just a character. She has the skill set to back it up. Her tag matches with Aja Kong from last year’s tournament to crown new Sendai tag champions and her title match against Chihiro Hashimoto exemplify her in-ring ability, her move set won’t set the world on fire like everything else about her but you can still tell that she was trained by Meiko with how crisp her attacks are and her ability to shoot for a takedown.

      • Aja Kong & Cassandra Miyagi vs Syuri & Hikaru Shida (Sendai Girls 9/29/2016)
      • Aja Kong & Cassandra Miyagi vs Hiroe Nagahama & Ryo Mizunami (Sendai Girls 10/16/2016)
      • Chihiro Hashimoto vs Cassandra Miyagi (Sendai Girls 11/9/2016)
      • DASH Chisako & Cassandra Miyagi vs Hikaru Shida & Syuri (Sendai Girls 4/6/2017)
    • Mika Shirahime – Debut: July 12, 2015

Debuting a few months before Chihiro Hashimoto as Mika Iwata, Mika has been a part of the normal rookie experience in Japanese wrestling in that she lost most of her matches in the first couple of years. According to her Cagematch profile, she lost all of her 2015 matches and 39 of her 43 matches in 2016 but after getting new white gear and picking her new ring name, Shirahime (meaning white princess), she finally started to get over the rookie slump and picked up her first singles win in early 2017. As the kick pads suggest Mika has a lot of kicks and strikes in her arsenal in contrast to the two other young talents in Sendai Girls. One of my favorite moments in a Mika Shirahime match is when she starts to get fired up, her hair gets a bit frazzled, her eyes get wider, and she yells before attacking her opponent in hopes of making a comeback. It may be easy for a new fan to put Mika aside due to her not being as over the top as Cassandra or having to go through the normal rookie losing streak phase but by 2018 Mika Shirahime should be winning more matches and showing more fire in her in-ring personality to match the power of her kicks.   

      • Ayako Hamada vs Mika Iwata (Sendai Girls 7/2/2016)
      • Meiko Satomura & Mika Iwata vs Hana & Kyoko Kimura (Sendai Girls 7/18/2016)
      • Mika Iwata vs Sareee (SenJo 9/29/2016)
      • Alex Lee, Chihiro Hashimoto, & Hiroyo Hashimoto vs Ayako Hamada, Meiko Satomura, & Mika Iwata (Sendai Girls 9/29/2016)
      • Mika Iwata vs Yako Fujigasaki (Sendai Girls 10/16/2016)
      • Mika Shirahima vs Konami (Sendai Girls 4/6/2017)
    • Chihiro Hashimoto – Debut: October 25, 2015

Tokyo Sports’ 2016 Rookie of the Year and one of the most promising young talents in the joshi scene today, Chihiro Hashimoto stands out from the crowd with her shoot wrestling background and amateur-based move set. A former member of the Japanese junior national wrestling team (the Japanese Women’s freestyle wrestling team is the most dominant in the sport) Chihiro made her professional wrestling debut teaming with legend Shinobu Kandori against fellow rookie Mika Iwata and the legendary Manami Toyota. Since her debut Chihiro has gotten a strong push, not having the traditional year-long losing streak that most rookies in Japanese wrestling experience. According to her Cagematch profile she’s won 52% of her 67 matches, an unheard of number for a rookie but it’s obvious that Meiko Satomura wants to build up Chihiro Hashimoto as a future face of the promotion and she’s doing that by having Chihiro win in dominant fashion. In 2016, at Sendai Girls’ tenth-anniversary show at Korakuen Hall, Chihiro defeated Meiko Satomura to become the second Sendai Girls World Champion, she lost the title to Aja Kong early this year but defeated Aja in their rematch on April 6 at Korakuen Hall in a great match. Not even a full two years into her career Chihiro Hashimoto has title match wins over Meiko Satomura and Aja Kong, an amazing feat for an amazing wrestler.

      • Chihiro Hashimoto & DASH Chisako vs Aja Kong & Rydeen Hagane (Sendai Girls 7/2/2016)
      • Alex Lee, Chihiro Hashimoto, & Hiroyo Hashimoto vs Ayako Hamada, Meiko Satomura, & Mika Iwata (Sendai Girls 9/29/2016)
      • Meiko Satomura vs Chihiro Hashimoto (Sendai Girls 10/18/2016)
      • Chihiro Hashimoto & Yoshiko vs Aja Kong & Meiko Satomura (Oz Academy 11/23/2016)
      • Chihiro Hashimoto vs Cassandra (Sendai Girls 11/9/2016)
      • Chihiro Hashimoto & Mayu Iwatani vs Io Shirai & Meiko Satomura (Stardom 3/9/2017)
      • Chihiro Hashimoto vs Aja Kong (Sendai Girls 4/6/2017)

WAVE

Started in 2007 after the closure of Jd’ Star by Yumi Ohka and GAMI that has seen many now popular faces through its doors, including current WWE NXT star, Asuka, and Io Shirai before joining Stardom, WAVE helped provide a place to wrestle and to call home during joshi’s rough period of the 2000s after the closure of AJW, GAEA, Jd’ Star, and Arsion/AtoZ. WAVE has their own streaming service called the WAVE Network.

  • Titles
    • Regina Di WAVE Championship: Ryo Mizunami
    • WAVE Tag Team Championship: Yumi Ohka & Yuki Miyazaki
  • Roster
    • Yumi Ohka – Debut: August 19, 2001

The head of WAVE along with GAMI, Yumi originally started as an athress over in Jd’ Star and after its closure she and GAMI founded WAVE in 2007.

      • Yumi Ohka vs Kagetsu (Oz Academy (7/9/2016)
      • Yumi Ohka & Mayumi Ozaki vs Hikaru Shida & Syuri (Oz Academy 8/14/2016)
      • Yumi Ohka vs Mayumi Ozaki (Oz Academy 8/21/2016)
      • Yumi Ohka & Yuki Miyazaki vs Ryo Mizunami & Misaki Ohata (WAVE 1/28/2017)
      • Yumi Ohka & Yuki Miyazaki vs Ryo Mizunami & Misaki Ohata (WAVE 3/12/2017)
      • Maya Yukihi, Mayumi Ozaki & Yumi Ohka vs Aja Kong, Tsubasa Kuragaki & Yoshiko (Oz Academy 4/12/2017)
    • Ryo Mizunami – Debut: November 11, 2004

A late trainee of GAEA Japan and an early student of Meiko Satomura, Ryo has the fighting style and heart similar to other GAEA Japan students. Formerly in a tag team with Misaki Ohata named Avid Rival, who were the tag champions in WAVE and Ice Ribbon in the last bit of 2016 into early 2017.

      • Ryo Mizunami vs DASH Chisako (WAVE 6/2/2016)
      • Ryo Mizunami vs Nanae Takahashi (WAVE 7/6/2016)
      • Dynamite Kansai & Rina Yamashita vs Chihiro Hashimoto & Ryo Mizunami (WAVE 10/10/2016)
      • Yuu Yamagata vs Ryo Mizunami (WAVE 9/25/2016)
      • Yuu Yamagata vs Ryo Mizunami (WAVE 12/29/2016)
      • Takumi Iroha vs Ryo Mizunami (WAVE 4/19/2017)
    • Misaki Ohata – December 10, 2006

A student of Mariko Yoshida & Leon and getting her start in JD Star, Ohata stayed with Mariko Yoshida and her project until 2010 and eventually joined WAVE & Osaka Joshi Pro in 2015.

      • Misaki Ohata vs Nanae Takahashi (WAVE 1/3/2016)
      • Misaki Ohata & Ryo Mizunami vs Yumi Ohka & Yuki Miyazaki (WAVE 1/28/2017)
      • Ryo Mizunami vs Misaki Ohata (WAVE 2/11/2017)
    • Ayako Hamada – August 9, 1998

Ayako Hamada is the daughter of the legendary Gran Hamada and the young wrestler that got a serious push early in her career in Arsion. Due to who her father is and her relationships with wrestlers in Mexico Ayako has a lucha influenced moveset including a ropewalk and great arm drags. Earlier this year Ayako went back to Mexico and has been wrestling for AAA for most of 2017 as of writing this editorial.

      • Ayako Hamada & Yuu Yamagata vs Ryo Mizunami & Misaki Ohata (WAVE 8/7/2016)
      • Ayako Hamada & Rina Yamashita vs Nanae Takahashi & Yoshiko (WAVE 8/14/2016)
      • Ayako Hamada & Nanae Takahashi vs Rina Yamashita & Yoshiko (WAVE 11/27/2016)

Oz Academy

Originally a stable in JWP Project & GAEA Japan led by Mayumi Ozaki, what started as a couple produce shows eventually became its own promotion. Oz is slightly similar to World Women’s Wrestling Diana in that the roster is all longtime veterans of the industry, you’ll see many freelancers and women from many promotions make appearances on Oz Academy shows. This is also the home to Mayumi Ozaki’s current stable, Seiki-gun (some online will also refer to this group as Ozaki-gun), who are experts in cheating and causing shenanigans.

  • Titles
    • Oz Academy Openweight Championship: Hiroyo Matsumoto
    • Oz Academy Tag Team Championship: Hikaru Shida & Syuri
  • Roster
    • Mayumi Ozaki – Debut: August 17, 1986

A JWP & JWP Project original Mayumi Ozaki is one of the biggest heels in joshi history and a great tag team worker, nowadays you’ll see her fight her matches with the help of Police and the rest of her stable, Seiki-gun. A modern Ozaki singles match has the same layout, Police drags her opponent through the crowd and throws chairs at them, Ozaki hits her opponent with her chain and probably chokes them too, other members of Seiki-gun will attack Ozaki’s opponent, and maybe they have a chance of winning the match after all of that.

      • Mayumi Ozaki, Saki Akai, & Yumi Ohka vs Cherry, Shida Hikaru, & Syuri (Oz Academy 7/18/2016)
      • Hikaru Shida & Syuri vs Mayumi Ozaki & Yumi Ohka (Oz Academy 8/14/2016)
      • Mayumi Ozaki vs Yumi Ohka (Oz Academy 8/21/2016)
      • AKINO & Kaho Kobayashi vs Mayumi Ozaki & Yumi Ohka (Oz Academy 9/4/2016)
      • Hana & Kyoko Kimura vs Mayumi Ozaki & Yumi Ohka (Oz Academy 9/11/2016)
      • Dynamite Kansai & Mayumi Ozaki vs Maya Yukihi & Rina Yamashita (Oz Academy 11/23/2016)
      • Dynamite Kansai vs Mayumi Ozaki (Oz Academy 12/11/2016)
      • Mayumi Ozaki vs Manami Katsu (JWP 4/2/2017)
    • AKINO – Debut: July 21, 1998

An Arsion original and trained by Mariko Yoshida, until she was asked by a retiring Dynamite Kansai late last year AKINO had been a freelance wrestler after the failure of M’s Style. She’s currently a member of Mission K4 with fellow roster member Sonoko Kato, Kaho Kobayashi, and Kagetsu.

      • AKINO & Sonoko Kato vs Syuri & Hikaru Shida (Oz Academy 7/9/2016)
      • AKINO, Dynamite Kansai, Kagetsu, Kaho Kobayashi, & Manami Toyota vs Kyoko Inoue, Leon, Sareee, Yoshiko, & Yuki Miyazaki (Oz Academy 7/18/2016)
      • AKINO, Kagetsu, Kaho Kobayashi, & Sonoko Kato vs Command Bolshoi, Kaori Yoneyama, Tsubasa Kuragaki, & Yuki Miyazaki (Oz Academy 8/21/2016)
      • AKINO & Kaho Kobayashi vs Mayumi Ozaki & Yumi Ohka (Oz Academy 9/4/2016)
      • The Best Friends vs AKINO & Kaho Kobayashi (Oz Academy 11/23/2016)
      • AKINO & Sonoko Kato vs Syuri & Tsubasa Kuragaki (Oz Academy 6/26/2016)
      • AKINO & Kaho Kobayashi vs Hikaru Shida & Syuri (Oz Academy 4/12/2017)
    • Aja Kong – Debut: September 17, 1986

The legend herself, with over 30 years in the business there’s not much that hasn’t been said and written about Aja Kong. After 30 years though Aja Kong has expectedly gotten slower and mainly features in multi-women matches or tag matches, but when she does have a singles match she usually does her best to pull out all the stops and make it good. Her rare singles matches also help elevate the person that’s able to defeat her, like rookie Chihiro Hashimoto did to regain the Sendai Girls Championship.

      • Aja Kong, Rina Yamashita, & Tsubasa Kuragaki vs Hikaru Shida, Manami Toyota, & Misaki Ohata (Oz Academy 9/4/2016)
      • Aja Kong & Cassandra vs Hiroe Nagahama & Ryo Mizunami (Senjo 10/16/2016)
      • Aja Kong & Cassandra vs Syuri & Hikaru Shida (SenJo 9/29/2016)
      • Meiko Satomura vs Aja Kong (SenJo 4/8/2016)
      • Aja Kong & Hiroyo Matsumoto vs Meiko Satomura & Ayako Hamada (11/9/2016)
      • Chihiro Hashimoto & Yoshiko vs Aja Kong & Meiko Satomura (11/23/2016)
      • Aja Kong & Ayako Hamada vs Kagetsu & Kaho Kobayashi (Oz Academy 6/26/2016)
      • Chihiro Hashimoto & DASH vs Aja Kong & Rydeen Hagane (SenJo 7/2/2016)
      • Aja Kong, Rina Yamashita, & Tsubasa Kuragaki vs Hikaru Shida, Manami Toyota, & Misaki Ohata (Oz Academy 9/4/2016)
      • Aja Kong vs Chihiro Hashimoto (Sendai Girls 4/6/2017)
    • Sonoko Kato – Debut: April 15, 1995

Sonoko Kato is a member of GAEA Japan alongside Meiko Satomura for its lifetime, unlike Meiko, Sonoko stayed freelance for a couple of years before joining the Oz Academy roster and eventually forming the current stable, Mission K4. Her finisher is the wonderful Kowloon’s Gate and she has seemingly taken a step back from the main event seen in Oz after losing the Openweight title to Hiroyo Matsumoto in late November of 2016.

      • Sonoko Kato & AKINO vs Syuri & Tsubasa Kuragaki (Oz Academy 6/26/2017)
      • Sonoko Kato & AKINO vs Syuri & Hikaru Shida (Oz Academy 7/9/2016)
      • Sonoko Kato, Kagetsu, Kaho Kobayashik, & AKINO vs Command Bolshoi, Kaori Yoneyama, Tsubasa Kuragaki, & Yuki Miyazaki (Oz Academy 8/21/2017)
      • Sonoko Kato vs Dynamite Kansai (Oz Academy 9/11/2017)
      • Sonoko Kato vs Hiroyo Matsumoto (Oz Academy 11/13/2017)
      • Sonoko Kato & Kaho Kobayashi vs Aja Kong & Yoshiko (Oz Academy 1/8/2017)
      • Sonoko Kato vs Kaori Yoneyama (Oz Academy 5/28/2017)

Minor Promotions

Pure-J

Pure-J is the promotion born from the ashes of the former JWP. JWP had to close down due to a dispute with Daily Sports over the use of the name and property. In a way it’s a little like how JWP Project came to be after the original JWP (Japan Women’s Pro Wrestling) shut down due to differences backstage between talent, something happens that causes the promotion to close down, but everyone picks up the pieces and creates a new promotion with a slightly different philosophy. The promotion plans to have its official debut on August 11 and since JWP closed on April 2 they’ve been running small shows under the Dream Joshi banner and they already have a new rookie in their dojo, so Pure-J is on a positive path to getting started on the right foot.

  • Titles
    • Princess of Pro-Wrestling: Yako Fujigasaki
    • Daily Sports Women’s Tag Championship: Command Bolshoi & Leon
  • Roster
    • Command Bolshoi – Debut: November 26, 1991

A member of the original JWP and a member of JWP Project for its entire lifespan Command Bolshoi has been the backbone of the JWP organization since the 2000s and still intends to lead Pure-J into the future. Command Bolshoi doesn’t do many singles matches these days outside of the rare Bolshoi Kid appearance, now she’s usually in a tag match with her teammate Leon or in multi-man tags.

      • AKINO, Kagetsu, Kaho Kobayashi, & Sonoko Kato vs Command Bolshoi, Kaori Yoneyama, Tsubasa Kuragaki, & Yuki Miyazaki (Oz Academy 8/21/2016)
      • Jumonji Sisters vs Kyoko Kimura & Command Bolshoi (SenJo 1/9/2016)
      • Manami Katsu & Tamu Nakano vs Command Bolshoi & Leon (Pure-J 6/2/2017)
    • Leon – Debut: March 15, 2000

Leon is an Arsion original who stayed with the company until it finally closed its doors as Major Girl’s Fighting AtoZ. In 2007, she joined JWP and has been with them until the end of JWP and the formation of Pure-J. She’s the member of the roster who can have a great high-speed match with the likes of Kaho Kobayashi & Tsukushi but also stand with larger opponents like Yoshiko & Nanae Takahashi.

      • Nanae Takahashi & Yoshiko vs Leon & Rydeen Hagane (JWP 11/3/2016)
      • AKINO, Dynamite Kansai, Kagetsu, Kaho Kobayashi, & Manami Toyota vs Kyoko Inoue, Leon, Sareee, Yoshiko, & Yuki Miyazaki (Oz Academy 7/18/2016)
      • Leon vs Tsukushi (JWP 7/24/2016)
      • Leon vs Kaho Kobayashi (JWP 8/14/2016)
      • Manami Katsu & Tamu Nakano vs Command Bolshoi & Leon (Pure-J 6/2/2017)
    • Yako Fujigasaki – Debut: August 18, 2013

Currently the youngest member of the Pure-J roster and the final JWP Junior Champion, Yako Fujigasaki has gone through a character evolution over the last year. Thanks to a feud with WAVE’s Sumire Natsu last year stemming from Yako’s lack of beauty, Yako evolved into the Visual Hunter. Yako and Sumire’s feud escalated to a final battle dubbed “Battle without Honor or Humanity,” after that match she kept the Visual Hunter name and now battles other pretty women in wrestling.

      • Mika Shirahime vs Yako Fujigasaki (Sendai Girls 10/16/2016)
      • Yako Fujigasaki vs Hirori (Pure-J 6/2/2017)
    • Hanako Nakamori – Debut: July 16, 2006

The final JWP Openweight Champion and current ace of the promotion, Hanako Nakamori and Arisa Nakajima had been the top people in JWP through the 2010s.

      • Arisa Nakajima vs Hanako Nakamori (JWP 12/28/2016)
      • Kagetsu & Sawako Shimono vs Hanako Nakamori & Makoto (JWP 2/21/2016)
      • Aoi Kizuki vs Hanoko Nakamori (Pure-J 6/2/2017)
    • Manami Katsu – Debut: April 3, 2011 / Re-debut: April 3, 2016

Manami Katsu originally retired back in 2014 to take care of her mother but decided to come back to wrestling in 2016 and has shown a renewed fire since her return. On JWP’s final show she fought Mayumi Ozaki in a losing effort and has recently earned a Daily Sports Tag title match with her new tag partner, Tamu Nakano, with the team name Violet With. She and Tamu seem be a great tag team and their near future should be one to look out for.

      • Command Bolshoi, Rabbit Miyu, & Manami Katsu vs Meiko Satomura, DASH, & Cassandra (Chikara
      • Manami Katsu & Tamu Nakano vs Command Bolshoi & Leon (Pure-J 6/2/2017)
    • KAZUKI – Debut: May 26, 1997

Originally a part of Jd’ until its closure in 2004 and joining JWP in 2005, KAZUKI’s eventually become the go-to person to wrestle a debuting wrestler. She’s also the leader of the unit ‘The Wanted’ although it’s currently just her and Rydeen Hagane in the group.

      • Hiroyo Matsumoto & Tsukushi vs KAZUKI & Tsukasa Fujimoto (JWP 12/28/2016)
      • KAZUKI vs Miyuki Takase (Pure-J 6/2/2017)
    • Rydeen Hagane – Debut: August 18, 2012

The biggest wrestler in JWP/Pure-J and a member of The Wanted with KAZUKI, Rydeen Hagane is the resident hoss of the promotion.

      • Meiko Satomura vs Rydeen Hagane (SenJo 2/28/2016)
      • Chihiro Hashimoto & DASH vs Aja Kong & Rydeen Hagane (SenJo 7/2/2016)
      • Nanae Takahashi & Yoshiko vs Leon & Rydeen Hagane (JWP 11/3/2016)
      • Rydeen Hagane vs Hiroyo Matsumoto (Pure-J 6/2/2017)

SEAdLINNNG

SEAdLINNNG is Nanae Takahashi’s newest promotion formed after leaving Stardom with some friends, including the shortly retired Yoshiko. After a press conference she started up SEAdLINNNG and in its near two years of existence, it’s finally starting to gel together and get its own identity. The two notable roster members are obviously founder Nanae and Yoshiko, in 2017 they were joined by a newly freelance Arisa Nakajima & Sareee with a sixth roster spot still empty on the profile page on the official website. Besides hard-hitting wrestling, the SEAdLINNNG roster probably does the most shoot fighting of any active promotion, with Nanae doing Lethwei kickboxing & Sei Za and Yoshiko fighting in MMA for South Korea’s ROAD FC.

  • Roster
    • Nanae Takahashi – Debut: July 14, 1996

One of the founders of Stardom and founder of SEAdLINNNG, Nanae Takahashi has a loyal friend group that has helped her promotions start off on a good foot. Along with wrestling Nanae also participates in shoots fights for Lethwei Japan and new budo style organization Sei Za, she was even present ringside at the this year’s first Rizin FF card next to the women of LLPW-x. Unlike her shootfighting record, Nanae is a great pro wrestler that isn’t showing any signs of slowing down with her age.

      • The Best Friends vs Yoshiko & Nanae Takahashi (JWP 7/24/2016)
      • Nanae Takahashi & Yoshiko vs Leon & Rydeen Hagane (JWP 11/3/2016)
      • Arisa Nakajima & Nanae Takahashi vs Hiroyo Matsumoto & Ryo Mizunami (SEAdLINNNG 3/25/2017)
      • Nanae Takahashi & Sareee vs The Best Friends (SEAdLINNNG 5/5/2017)
    • Yoshiko – Debut: January 23, 2011

The infamous Yoshiko, most known in the west for shooting on Act Yasukawa and breaking her face. After retiring for a short time after the ‘Ghastly match’ she came back to wrestling to join Nanae Takahashi’s newly formed SEAdLINNNG promotion. Despite what Western fans think of her, the native fanbase and wrestlers don’t hate her and willingly work with her, almost as if shoots have happened before in wrestling, and if she was hated she’d had difficulty finding work in major joshi promotions. Recently, Yoshiko has added MMA to her resume, winning her first match in South Korea’s ROAD FC and having her second fight in July. Like Tsubasa Kuragaki, Hiroyo Matsumoto, and Rina Yamashita, Yoshiko is a hoss that lays in hard hitting attacks and doesn’t back down from a fight.

      • The Best Friends vs Yoshiko & Nanae Takahashi (JWP 7/24/2016)
      • Nanae Takahashi & Yoshiko vs Leon & Rydeen Hagane (JWP 11/3/2016)
      • Chihiro Hashimoto & Yoshiko vs Aja Kong & Meiko Satomura (11/23/2016)
      • AKINO, Dynamite Kansai, Kagetsu, Kaho Kobayashi, & Manami Toyota vs Kyoko Inoue, Leon, Sareee, Yoshiko, & Yuki Miyazaki (Oz Academy 7/18/2016)
      • Meiko Satomura vs Yoshiko (SenJo 7/30/2016)
      • Maya Yukihi, Mayumi Ozaki & Yumi Ohka vs Aja Kong, Tsubasa Kuragaki & Yoshiko (Oz Academy 4/12/2017)
      • Yoshiko vs Rina Yamashita (SEAdLINNNG 5/24/2017)
    • Sareee – Debut: April 17, 2011

Sareee was a former member of World Women’s Pro Wrestling Diana before being transferred to SEAdLINNNG this year in a bit of a surprise to fans. Her former home promotion doesn’t make tape so her appearances in other promotions were the only time the at-home audience could see her work, now that she’s in SEAdLINNNG hopefully more of her matches make it on film. Despite being under 24 years of age Sareee has been wrestling for 6 years and hopefully she continues to grow as a wrestler in SEAdLINNNG.

      • Sareee vs Rabbit Miu (JWP 12/28/2016)
      • AKINO, Dynamite Kansai, Kagetsu, Kaho Kobayashi, & Manami Toyota vs Kyoko Inoue, Leon, Sareee, Yoshiko, & Yuki Miyazaki (Oz Academy 7/18/2016)
      • DASH vs Sareee (SenJo 7/30/2016)
      • Mika Iwata vs Sareee (SenJo 9/29/2016)
      • Sareee vs Yoshiko (SEAdLINNNG 3/25/2017)
      • Nanae Takahashi & Sareee vs The Best Friends (5/5/2017)
    • Arisa Nakajima – Debut: January 3, 2006

Late last year Arisa Nakajima shocked fans by saying she was leaving her home promotion for the vast majority of her career, JWP, to go freelance. She didn’t stay freelance for long as she went to join SEAdLINNNG after wrestling there against Nanae Takahashi in early 2017.

      • The Best Friends vs Yoshiko & Nanae Takahashi (JWP 7/24/2016)
      • Arisa Nakajima vs Kyoko Kimura (JWP 11/3/2016)
      • The Best Friends vs AKINO & Kaho Kobayashi (Oz Academy 11/23/2016)
      • Arisa Nakajima vs Hanako Nakamori (JWP 12/28/2016)
      • Arisa Nakajima & Nanae Takahashi vs Hiroyo Matsumoto & Ryo Mizunami (SEAdLINNNG 3/25/2017)
      • Tsukasa Fujimoto vs Arisa Nakajima (Ice Ribbon 3/26/2017)
      • The Best Friends vs Lovely Butchers (Ice Ribbon 4/24/2017)

Beginning Pro

Home of the Actwres Girlz (a pun on actress and wrestler), a concept about bringing in beautiful actresses to the squared circle that isn’t too far from JD Star’s ‘athtress’ idea except that it’s arguably better executed and received. Yuna Manase was the original face of the promotion when it opened its doors in 2015 and since her departure in 2017 Saori Anou and Natsumi Maki have become the new faces of the promotion.

  • Roster
    • Saori Anou – Debut: May 31, 2015

Saori Anou is the current face of Beginning Pro along with Natsumi Maki after Yuna Manase left and she’s just shy of passing her two year anniversary of being a wrestler. If Beginning Pro is being represented outside of the promotion there’s a high chance it’s Saori Anou carrying the flag for her home promotion. Her home promotion doesn’t make tape but you can find her in some Stardom matches and on the final JWP show. She’s also been on some Pure-J “Dream Joshi” cards so one can assume she might show up on future Pure-J shows.

    • Natsumi Maki – Debut:  May 31, 2015

One of the main faces of the current Beginning Pro, she along with Saori Anou are the go-to women to represent the company on other promotion’s cards. Most of her recent stuff outside of Beginning Pro has been tag matches with Saori Anou or in multi-person matches, like the battle royal from JWP’s final show.

Osaka Joshi Pro

The sister promotion to WAVE, Osaka Joshi Pro (aka Daijo) has a smaller roster that also features on WAVE shows. Recently, they’ve been on hiatus due to Sawako Shimono taking time off to get treatment for her Alopecia earlier this year.

  • Roster
    • Rina Yamashita – Debut: November 4, 2013

2017 has been a great year for Rina Yamashita so far, her home promotion has been on a hiatus of sorts since Sawako Shimono announced her own hiatus from wrestling. Rina has been in more promotions this year and has meshed well with all of them, most recently she has been in SEAdLINNNG wrestling Yoshiko.

      • Hiroyo Matsumoto & Rina Yamashita vs Kaori Yoneyama & Tsubasa Kuragaki (Oz Academy 8/14/2016)
      • Aja Kong, Rina Yamashita, & Tsubasa Kuragaki vs Hikaru Shida, Manami Toyota, & Misaki Ohata (Oz Academy 9/4/2016)
      • Syuri & Hikaru Shida vs Dynamite Kansai & Rina Yamashita (Oz Academy 10/25/2016)
      • Dynamite Kansai & Mayumi Ozaki vs Maya Yukihi & Rina Yamashita (Oz Academy 11/23/2016)
      • Rina Yamashita vs Syuri (SEAdLINNNG 3/16/2017)
      • Rina Yamashita vs Risa Sera (Ice Ribbon 3/26/2017)
      • Rina Yamashita vs Yoshiko (SEAdLINNNG 5/24/2017)

Marvelous Pro Wrestling

Marvelous Pro Wrestling is Chigusa Nagayo’s current promotion that formed in 2015 and had its first official show in 2016. Unlike Nagayo’s last promotion Marvelous is a smaller group that runs modest venues and outdoor shows. The promotion itself doesn’t have a TV deal or streams on NicoNico, but you can find the older talent on other shows, like Sendai Girls, WAVE, and even the occasional ZERO1 show.

  • Roster
    • Mio Momono

One of Chigusa Nagayo’s first students in her new promotion, Marvelous Pro Wrestling, Mio Momono’s gear color is pink and she has an infectious smile that makes you want to cheer her on. Though Mio is out of her rookie phase and wins matches now, she still hasn’t started to craft a unique move set and uses all the standard pro wrestling moves many rookies use: dropkicks, basic suplexes and holds, and such. The recent big news was Mio picking up a pinfall against a member of Voodoo Murders on a ZERO1 show, so watch out, Mio means business.

  • Mio Momono & Konami vs Mika Shirahime & Syuri (Sendai Girls 1/9/2017)
  • Mio Momono vs Mika Shirahime (Sendai Girls 1/28/2017)
    • Rin Kadokura

Another original Marvelous Pro trainee, wearing blue gear Rin has evolved as a wrestler sooner than Mio in-ring. Outside of her home promotion Rin has been in SEAdLINNNG and in WAVE, currently she is participating in WAVE’s annual round robin tournament, Catch the WAVE.

  • Rin Kadokura & Takumi Iroha vs Hiragi Kurumi & Sareee (SEAdLINNNG 5/24/2017)
  • Rin Kadokura vs Rina Yamashita (WAVE 6/4/2017)
    • KAORU

A longtime friend of Chigusa Nagayo, from GAEA Japan to Marvelous, KAORU has always had a presence in a Nagayo promotion. She and Tomoko Watanabe serve as the in-ring veterans to all of the younger wrestlers that make up the majority of the Marvelous roster. Last year she was in a great tag team with DASH Chisako in her second home, Sendai Girls, wrestling for the titles and having a fun hardcore match against Ryo Mizunami & Kyoko Kimura. For a wrestler that’s approaching 50 years old KAORU hasn’t really slowed down in her wrestling, she still does her Valkyrie Splash and takes her fair share of bumps.

  • DASH Chisako vs KAORU (Sendai Girls 2/28/2016)
  • DASH Chisako & KAORU vs Kyoko Kimura & Hana Kimura (Sendai Girls 9/29/2017)
  • DASH Chisako & KAORU vs Hikaru Shida & Syuri (Sendai Girls 10/16/2016)
  • DASH Chisako & KAORU vs Kyoko Kimura & Ryo Mizunami (Sendai Girls 11/9/2016)
  • KAORU vs Meiko Satomura (Sendai Girls 1/28/2017)
    • Takumi Iroha

Takumi dropped out of college after watching a Crush Gals video and seeing a Stardom Korakuen show to become a pro wrestler. In 2015 she left Stardom to join Chigusa Nagayo’s new promotion, Marvelous Pro Wrestling, and now has gear that’s a throwback to Chigusa’s mid 90s ring attire. In 2017 Takumi has mostly been in her home promotion and ZERO1 helping Chigusa in a Current Blast Deathmatch or winning a 6-person tag against the Voodoo Murders.

      • Takumi Iroha vs Ryo Mizunami (WAVE 4/19/2017)
      • Rin Kadokura & Takumi Iroha vs Hiragi Kurumi & Sareee (SEAdLINNNG 5/24/2017)

Notable Freelancers/misc. promotion wrestlers

  • Hiroyo Matsumoto – Debut: July 16, 2006

My projected MVP of joshi in 2017, after winning the Oz Academy Openweight title and changing her hairstyle last year Hiroyo has become a machine and has been appearing anywhere feasible and having great matches. She’s become one of the key freelance wrestlers in joshi wrestling and one of the strongest women, being able to carry two opponents with ease. She’s also one-half of the Goddesses of Stardom champions with Jungle Kyona. When watching one of her matches expect power moves combined with some “fighting spirit” as Lady Godzilla tears down her opponents.

  • Hiroyo Matsumoto & Rina Yamashita vs Kaori Yoneyama & Tsubasa Kuragaki (Oz Academy 8/14/2016)
  • Alex Lee, Chihiro Hashimoto, & Hiroyo Hashimoto vs Ayako Hamada, Meiko Satomura, & Mika Iwata (SenJo 9/29/2016)
  • Aja Kong & Hiroyo Matsumoto vs Meiko Satomura & Ayako Hamada (11/9/2016)
  • Hiroyo Matsumoto & Tsukushi vs KAZUKI & Tsukasa Fujimoto (JWP 12/28/2016)
  • Hiragi Kurumi & Tsukushi vs Homiko Hoshi & Hiroyo Matsumoto (Ice Ribbon 1/29/2017)
  • Aja Kong & Yoshiko vs Hiroyo Matsumoto & Tsubasa Kuragaki (Oz Academy 2/26/2017)
  • Jungle Kyona & Hiroyo Matsumoto vs Kairi Hojo & Yoko Bito (Stardom 3/5/2017)
  • HZK & Io Shirai vs Hiroyo Matsumoto & Jungle Kyona (Stardom 4/9/2017)
  • Tsukasa Fujimoto vs Hiroyo Matsumoto (Ice Ribbon 5/05/2017)
  • Hikaru Shida – Debut: July 20, 2008

Like Tsukasa Fujimoto, Hikaru Shida was an actress that got wrestling training for a role and decided to continue wrestling as a primary career. Over the last two years Hikaru and Syuri’s tag team has become one of the best, claiming the Oz Academy and Sendai Girls tag titles. Hikaru has also had great singles matches while on her quest to win the Oz Academy Openweight championship like her contest against Kagetsu from this February.

  • AKINO & Sonoko Kato vs Syuri & Hikaru Shida (Oz Academy 7/9/2016)
  • Hikaru Shida & Syuri vs Mayumi Ozaki & Yumi Ohka (Oz Academy 8/14/2016)
  • Aja Kong, Rina Yamashita, & Tsubasa Kuragaki vs Hikaru Shida, Manami Toyota, & Misaki Ohata (Oz Academy 9/4/2016)
  • Hikaru Shida & Syuri vs Kaori Yoneyama & Tsubasa Kuragaki (Oz Academy 9/11/2016)
  • Aja Kong & Cassandra vs Syuri & Hikaru Shida (Sendai Girls 9/29/2016)
  • Syuri & Hikaru Shida vs Dynamite Kansai & Rina Yamashita (Oz Academy 10/25/2016)
  • Hikaru Shida & Syuri vs Tsubasa Kuragaki & Kaori Yoneyama (Oz Academy 1/8/2017)
  • Hikaru Shida & Syuri vs Hiroyo Matsumoto & Kagetsu (Oz Academy 1/25/2017)
  • Hikaru Shida & Syuri vs DASH Chisako & Cassandra Miyagi (Sendai Girls 4/6/2017)
  • Kaho Kobayashi vs Hikaru Shida (Oz Academy 5/28/2017)
  • Syuri – Debut: October 26, 2008

Leaving Reina in March of 2016 and going freelance has improved Syuri’s stock, when she quickly afterwards had a good match with Meiko Satomura, making herself a semi-regular on Sendai Girls and Oz Academy cards. Her background in kickboxing translates to the ring with her heavy use of kicks, it doesn’t take much to see how she would’ve become friends with Asuka based on just their wrestling styles. After leaving Reina, Syuri ditched the hand mirror for an Indian Club and tries to use it to weigh down and shatter her opponent’s’ ribs in tag matches.

  • Syuri & Tsubasa Kuragaki vs AKINO & Sonoko Kato (Oz Academy 6/26/2016)
  • Hikaru Shida & Syuri vs Kaori Yoneyama & Tsubasa Kuragaki (Oz Academy 9/11/2016)
  • Aja Kong & Cassandra vs Syuri & Hikaru Shida (Sendai Girls 9/29/2016)
  • DASH & KAORU vs Syuri & Hikaru Shida (Sendai Girls 10/16/2016)
  • Hikaru Shida & Syuri vs Tsubasa Kuragaki & Kaori Yoneyama (Oz Academy 1/8/2017)
  • Mika Shirahime & Syuri vs Konami & Mio Momono (Sendai Girls 1/9/2017)
  • Hikaru Shida & Syuri vs Hiroyo Matsumoto & Kagetsu (Oz Academy 1/25/2017)
  • Syuri vs Meiko Satomura (Sendai Girls 3/11/2017)
  • Rina Yamashita vs Syuri (SEAdLINNNING 3/16/2017)
  • Hikaru Shida & Syuri vs DASH Chisako & Cassandra Miyagi (Sendai Girls 4/6/2017)
  • Hana Kimura – Debut: March 30, 2016

Debuting just last year and affiliated with Wrestle-1’s Pro Wrestling A.C.E. brand, Hana Kimura is the daughter of the recently retired Kyoko Kimura and also currently a ring girl with MMA promotion Pancrase. She’s just barely a year into her career and still has a barebones rookie move set with dropkicks and simple holds, but with Pro Wrestling A.C.E. now putting on shows and being a member of a short-handed Oedo Tai in Stardom, Hana should be able to get plenty of singles matches and general in-ring experience to help flesh out her character.

  • Meiko Satomura & Mika Iwata vs Kyoko Kimura & Hana Kimura (Oz Academy 7/18/2016)
  • Hana Kimura & Kyoko Kimura vs Maya Yukihi & Mayumi Ozaki (Oz Academy 9/11/2016)
  • DASH Chisako & KAORU vs Kyoko Kimura & Hana Kimura (Sendai Girls 9/29/2016)
  • Kaho Kobayashi – Debut: June 28, 2013

A WNC original and member of the Mission K4 stable, Kaho Kobayashi is a high-speed wrestler and good at playing a babyface in peril. She’s best in tag matches but that isn’t to say she doesn’t have good singles matches, her match against Leon at Oz Academy’s Plum Mariko memorial show on August 14 is her best singles bout in my opinion.

  • Kaho Kobayashi vs Leon (Oz Academy 8/14/2016)
  • AKINO, Kagetsu, Kaho Kobayashi, & Sonoko Kato vs Command Bolshoi, Kaori Yoneyama, Tsubasa Kuragaki, & Yuki Miyazaki (Oz Academy 8/21/2016)
  • Kaho Kobayashi & AKINO vs Mayumi Ozaki & Yumi Ohka (Oz Academy 9/4/2016)
  • Kagetsu & Kaho Kobayashi vs Maya Yukihi & Yumi Ohka (Oz Academy 10/25/2016)
  • AKINO & Kaho Kobayashi vs The Best Friends (Oz Academy 11/23/2016)
  • Sonoko Kato & Kaho Kobayashi vs Aja Kong & Yoshiko (Oz Academy 1/8/2017)
  • AKINO & Kaho Kobayashi vs Hikaru Shida & Syuri (Oz Academy 4/12/2017)
  • Kaho Kobayashi vs Hikaru Shida (Oz Academy 5/28/2017)
  • Kagetsu

Kagetsu is a member of Mission K4 and a former member of the Sendai Girls roster before becoming freelance in 2014. During her time as a freelancer Kagetsu hasn’t been back to Sendai Girls but has enjoyed success in Stardom as a member of Oedo Tai, and some moderate success in Oz Academy with Mission K4. She went on a short hiatus this year and made her surprise return to save Oedo Tai teammate Hana Kimura from losing a match to Mayu Iwatani that would’ve caused Oedo Tai to break up.

  • Kagetsu & Sawako Shimono vs Hanako Nakamori & Makoto (JWP 2/21/2016)
  • Kagetsu Kaho Kobayashi vs Aja Kong & Ayako Hamada (Oz Academy 6/26/2017)
  • AKINO, Dynamite Kansai, Kagetsu, Kaho Kobayashi, & Manami Toyota vs Kyoko Inoue, Leon, Sareee, Yoshiko, & Yuki Miyazaki (Oz Academy 7/18/2016)
  • AKINO, Kagetsu, Kaho Kobayashi, & Sonoko Kato vs Command Bolshoi, Kaori Yoneyama, Tsubasa Kuragaki, & Yuki Miyazaki (Oz Academy 8/21/2016)
  • Kagetsu vs Hikaru Shida (Oz Academy 2/26/2017)
  • Kagetsu vs Hiroyo Matsumoto (Oz Academy 4/12/2017)
  • Kaori Yoneyama – Debut: November 29, 1999

A longtime JWP member since her debut, until 2013 when she became freelance and created her YMZ group with Hagane Shinou. Kaori is a really fun wrestler that knows how to engage a crowd and warm them up in her opening matches. If she’s slotted on the bottom half of the card it’s probably with tag partner Tsubasa Kuragaki, another former JWP wrestler. She and Tsubasa Kuragaki are former Oz Academy tag team champions and are one of my favorite tag teams today.

  • Hiroyo Matsumoto & Rina Yamashita vs Kaori Yoneyama & Tsubasa Kuragaki (Oz Academy 8/14/2016)
  • AKINO, Kagetsu, Kaho Kobayashi, & Sonoko Kato vs Command Bolshoi, Kaori Yoneyama, Tsubasa Kuragaki, & Yuki Miyazaki (Oz Academy 8/21/2016)
  • Hikaru Shida & Syuri vs Kaori Yoneyama & Tsubasa Kuragaki (Oz Academy 9/11/2016)
  • Hikaru Shida & Syuri vs Tsubasa Kuragaki & Kaori Yoneyama (Oz Academy 1/8/2017)
  • Sonoko Kato vs Kaori Yoneyama (Oz Academy 5/28/2017)
  • Tsubasa Kuragaki – Debut: January 8, 1995

Another former longtime JWP wrestler that went freelance in the last couple of years, Tsubasa Kuragaki is one of the few hosses in joshi wrestling and has an underrated finisher with the Metal Wing. You can see her in tag matches with frequent partner Kaori Yoneyama and others, using her strength to hit high impact moves.

  • Syuri & Tsubasa Kuragaki vs AKINO & Sonoko Kato (Oz Academy 6/26/2016)
  • Hiroyo Matsumoto & Rina Yamashita vs Kaori Yoneyama & Tsubasa Kuragaki (Oz Academy 8/14/2016)
  • AKINO, Kagetsu, Kaho Kobayashi, & Sonoko Kato vs Command Bolshoi, Kaori Yoneyama, Tsubasa Kuragaki, & Yuki Miyazaki (Oz Academy 8/21/2016)
  • Aja Kong, Rina Yamashita, & Tsubasa Kuragaki vs Hikaru Shida, Manami Toyota, & Misaki Ohata (Oz Academy 9/4/2016)
  • Hikaru Shida & Syuri vs Kaori Yoneyama & Tsubasa Kuragaki (Oz Academy 9/11/2016)
  • Hikaru Shida & Syuri vs Tsubasa Kuragaki & Kaori Yoneyama (Oz Academy 1/8/2017)
  • Aja Kong & Yoshiko vs Hiroyo Matsumoto & Tsubasa Kuragaki (Oz Academy 2/26/2017)
  • Konami – Debut: February 25, 2015

Konami is the protege of Asuka (fka Kana) and former member of the Reina roster until she had to take a hiatus from wrestling for health reasons. She announced her return to wrestling a month later in September under the GPS Promotion. It’s very obvious that she trained under Asuka by just looking at how Konami wrestles, her strikes and ground game are almost a complete copy of her teacher’s.

  • Mika Shirahime & Syuri vs Konami & Mio Momono (Sendai Girls 1/9/2017)
  • Mika Shirahime vs Konami (Sendai Girls 4/6/2017)
  • Aoi Kizuki – Debut: May 1, 2005

Aoi Kizuki is a former Ice Ribbon member who’s become freelance in January of last year. Aoi is easily recognized for her near-constant smile, ring gear, and entrance. She’s currently trying to become a member of the stable Mission K4 after recently losing to AKINO at Oz Academy Disorder in late May.

  • Aoi Kizuki vs AKINO (Oz Academy 5/28/2017)
  • Aoi Kizuki vs Hanoko Nakamori (Pure-J 6/2/2017)
  • Tam Nakano – Debut: July 16, 2016

Unlike her seniors, Tamu Nakano doesn’t have many matches on tape to be able to see, but from the one match that recently became available, Tamu seems to already be a good wrestler just a year into her career. She also seems to become growingly invested into wrestling, citing her growing desire to wrestle many places as to why she decided to leave Beginning Pro. Currently, she’s one-half of Violet With with Pure-J’s Manami Katsu and based on interviews they seem to mesh together well and could be a top team in the future year.

  • Manami Katsu & Tamu Nakano vs Command Bolshoi & Leon (Pure-J 6/2/2017)

 

  • Miasma Cognitio

    Thank you for writing this. I completely agree with your opening statement. It’s great that people are getting to know Stardom and Io and Kairi’s work. But some people seem to think there’s nothing before that. I am glad you mentioned the 90’s boom period. I started watching Joshi stuff a few years back. It was the rivalry between Kana (Asuka) and Syuri. I loved all of their matches. I think it’s nice that people are taking notice of Joshi now. But it’s good to know about it’s past too. Anyways. This was a great article and very informative. Nicely done.