Joshi Spotlight: Bat Yoshinaga

Bat Yoshinaga vs Tomoko Watanabe (Clipped) - YouTube

Sometimes I have the work of trying to sum up some of the greatest workers of all time in a handful of paragraphs! Other times I just have to sum up people like this.

JOSHI SPOTLIGHT- BAT YOSHINAGA:
Real Name: Eriko Yoshinaga
Billed Height & Weight: 5’4″ 165 lbs.
Career Length: 1989-94

-Bat Yoshinaga is one of those peculiar oddities where a wrestler is very poorly remembered, but only for their non-worked stuff. She was a perfectly cromulent undercard wrestler for much of her run (with a jobber tag team with stablemate Tomoko Watanabe in the early part, and as a martial arts bruiser for the last year or so), but on many of the most famous Joshi cards of all time (in particular the Dream Slams), she was in the worst matches- most notably, an infamously boring shootfight over her trophy WWWA Martial Arts Title. So this kind of equates “Bat Yoshinaga” with “UGGGGGHHHHH” in the eyes of many joshi fans, and since she was already gone by 1995, this kind of stuck to her.

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Joshi Spotlight: Debbie Malenko

Debbie Malenko Sakie Hasewara | Tops, Women's wrestling, Women

Debbie Malenko with her regular partner, Sakie Hasegawa.

JOSHI SPOTLIGHT- DEBBIE MALENKO:
Real Name: Debbie Drake
Billed Height & Weight: 5’6″ 143 lbs.
Career: 1990-1993, Barely-Active since 2000-something

-So one of the few bad things during AJW’s rise in the early 1990s was the very short career of the promising Debbie Malenko, who was the sole foreigner on many AJW shows of the time period. She had formed a spunky undercard tag team with Sakie Hasegawa, and was utilizing some very unique stuff for the “GO GO GO!” joshi style (being more of an American-style technical wrestler with precision offense taught by Boris Malenko, who let her use his worked surname). Hitting big-time STFs and stuff as major offense was typically not done around this point, as AJW’s style was more “you sit on them for stretching to kill time between major periods and to take a rest”, save a few exceptions. Best of all was the duo dressing like the Steiner Brothers in distinctive multicolored amateur-wrestling singlets and even doing the “Rick Steiner barking run” and Debbie crawling under Sakie for the “Steiner Pose”. Great midcard tag stuff.

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