Joshi Spotlight: The Crush Gals

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“Japanese crowds are usually respectful and quiet.”
-Chris Jericho (paraphrasing)

JOSHI SPOTLIGHT- THE CRUSH GALS:
CHIGUSA NAGAYO:
Stats:
Billed Height & Weight: 5’5″ 192 lbs. (lighter in the ’80s)
Career Length: 1980-today (still active; retiring shortly)
Trained By: Unknown

LIONESS ASUKA:
Stats:
Real Name: Tomoko Kitamura
Billed Height & Weight: 5’7″ 172 lbs. (lighter in the ’80s)
Career Length: 1980-2005
Trained By: Unknown

“She’s [Chigusa] the single most popular and arguably the most historically important female wrestler who ever lived. To this day, in pro wrestling or MMA, not Hulk Hogan, Steve Austin, Kerry Von Erich, Dusty Rhodes, or Chuck Liddell could match the reaction I saw that woman receive live in her heyday.”- Dave Meltzer, who LOVED to point out how big the reactions the Crush Gals got compared to Hulk Hogan. If you write a Gals article, you have to mention them equaling Hogan in popularity. I think it’s a rule.

Read moreJoshi Spotlight: The Crush Gals

Joshi Spotlight- AJW Wrestlemarinepiad ’93 (Part One)

AJW WRESTLEMARINEPIAD ’93:
(09.10.1993)

It’s the fifth Wrestlemarinepiad! With the Dream Slam having happened earlier in the year, “Interpromotional Matches” are the new norm! This led to a series of increasing houses for the various joshi companies in a new age, though of course this had that issue you always run into- once you escalate things to that point, what are you going to do once the fans get bored… or worse, if you eventually stop co-promoting stuff and have to go back to regular shows? But tonight, we have a ton of Main Event-quality matches that are also Dream Matches in many regards!

Read moreJoshi Spotlight- AJW Wrestlemarinepiad ’93 (Part One)

Joshi Spotlight- All Star Dream Slam I (Part 1)

ALL STAR DREAM SLAM I (April 3, 1993):
The two Dream Slams are events that took place about a week apart, meant to be interpromotional shows between the top Joshi (women’s wrestling in Japan) companies around. All Japan Women’s Pro Wrestling, or AJW, had been the top company for years, but several upstarts had gained a lot of traction (often using former AJW talent), and the rivalries brought on a surprising amount of working together- in this case, the sheer amount of money to be made from interpromotional “Dream Matches” was too good to turn down. So at the peak of the business, all the companies got together and put on a few Supercards, creating a new status quo that lasted a few years- AJW, the dominant promotion, actually being rather magnanimous, realizing that there was big money in continued shows, so everyone got to look competitive and strong (titles even change promotions!).

When I first got into puro stuff in the early 2000s, this was one of the “Holy Grail” shows in terms of “stuff that had to be seen”. Unfortunately, joshi was very hard to come by back then unless you had deep pockets, so it wasn’t until YouTube uploads became common that I saw much more of it.

Here, they’re in Yokohama Arena, drawing 16,500 to the show. Yes, women’s wrestling in Japan used to draw THOUSANDS to shows- now you’re lucky to draw 1,000.

HOW THIS IS SET UP:
I’m doing this in two parts, because I’m long-winded and it’s a five-hour show. There’s a handful of information up front about the nature of Joshi you can skip if you don’t care about it. Every match is prefaced with stuff in italics about who the performers are and their general gimmicks & careers, just so it’s not all “here’s some Japanese women you don’t know”.

Read moreJoshi Spotlight- All Star Dream Slam I (Part 1)