For months Ring of Honor has been including Women of Honor matches at their television tapings. While not being aired on their weekly television programming, they have been uploaded for viewing on their YouTube channel. Typically it has been one or two matches, varying from singles to tag team to four corner survival matches. In response to demand for more, Ring of Honor announced that at their February 6th Nashville television taping they would have a “special spotlight” on their women wrestlers. They will be filming multiple Women of Honor matches for an upcoming VOD release, in addition to debuting their newest female graduate from the ROH DOJO. A list of great talents has already been announced, including ROH regulars such as Veda Scott and Taeler Hendrix, in addition to the likes of Amber Gallows and Sumie Sakai.
New Japan Pro Wrestling Wrestle Kingdom 10
On the surface, the news coming out of NJPW’s January 4th Tokyo Dome show is dire. Attendance for the annual spectacle dipped to 25,000, reflecting critically on what many have called attention to over the past year: the at times stale booking of NJPW matchmaker Gedo. If losing 11,000 fans wasn’t enough to cause panic, the next day saw the rumored and all-but-confirmed departures of top draws Shinsuke Nakamura and AJ Styles, and the tag team of Karl Anderson and Doc Gallows, for World Wrestling Entertainment. On the upswing, however, Wrestle Kingdom 10 was an artistically satisfying, hugely significant show that is completely worth spending five hours with.
Leaving aside the NJPW Rumble (King Haku! Cheeseburger!), the main card featured nine matches, eight of which were for championships. The first of these, a four-way scramble for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship, is easily the most exciting of the opening contests. Tag team wrestling is largely inconsequential in the United States in 2016 and NJPW’s Junior Tag Team Division, while exciting, has suffered from repetitive booking, but that’s hardly a reflection of the talent in the division. Matt and Nick Jackson, The Young Bucks, are by far the best tag team in wrestling right now, and no team, not even the other three in this match, can touch them. Just listen to them wrestle: The two are in constant communication with each other, in peril or otherwise. All four teams (reDRagon, Aerial Dogfight, and Roppongi Vice) have great tag team moves and work cohesively as a unit (which is more rare than you’d think), but it’s the way the Bucks talk to each other that puts them over the edge, in a way that’s over the top while belying the extreme cohesion you’d expect from a pair of brothers who’ve been teaming for over a decade.
The middle of the card featured two matches that symbolized a changing of the guard, and the evening’s one non-title affair. In the Junior Heavyweight Division, Kenny Omega lost his IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship to KUSHIDA. The match more than set-up KUSHIDA as the new ace of the juniors, fighting, as he did, from underneath Omega and his Bullet Club back up, The Young Bucks. Omega’s a human cartoon on offense and when he’s selling, and that’s either a thing you like or have a big problem with. I happen to be a big fan, and Omega was over the top against KUSHIDA, who is a very serious competitor once the Marty McFly bubble vest comes off.
The evening’s one non-title match, between Tetsua Naito and Hirooki Goto, was interesting mostly as a means of tracking Naito’s progress as a scumbag heel. Naito is currently the dark horse of New Japan’s roster, a former semi-main event caliber wrestler who turned heel and really found himself as a member of CMLL’s Los Ingobernables. His heel persona took off in NJPW, but the creation of Los Ingobernables de Japón seemed to weigh him down a bit, if only because it feels so forced. Joined by junior heavyweight BUSHI and laughably named and attired heavyweight KING OF DARKNESS EVIL (with whom Naito nearly won the World Tag League), Naito’s matches have largely become a showcase for routine cheating and sneak attacks, and this match against Goto did nothing to shake that pattern up. After two Bullet Club matches that began with surprise sneak attacks, that a third match on the card began the same way was noticeable, and I can’t get over how backyard KING OF DARKNESS EVIL is. BUSHI, though, is a good compliment to Naito, someone who has spent time in CMLL and, as a masked character, was ripe for reinvention. The match does its job, which is to establish Naito’s stable as a legitimate threat while also establishing Goto as a threat to the IWGP Heavyweight Championship.
At the top of the card, Wrestle Kingdom 10 featured three matches that showcase what New Japan Pro Wrestling does better than any promotion going right now, in-ring and long-term storytelling. A title like the NEVER Openweight Championship may seem superfluous in a promotion that has two top-tier championships (or, I suppose, the IWGP Intercontinental Championship may be the superfluous one), but has largely been defined by the stout, hard-hitting brawling of Tomohiro Ishii and Togi Makabe, who switched the title back and forth several times over the course of 2015. With Makabe in the tag division, Ishii took on Katsuyori Shibata, who pinned the champion twice during the 2015 World Tag League. Looking at the two next to each other, the odds would seem to be pretty clearly in the larger man’s favor, but for all the pain and misery a Tomohiro Ishii lariat so obviously inflicts, Shibata’s kicks are capable of that and much more.
The NEVER Championship, thematically, is about proving one’s worth as a warrior, and Shibata and Ishii exchanged a sort of delicious violence that can be heard and felt, not just seen. Though the two come out of the gate avoiding each other’s strikes, they soon dare each other to take the other’s strikes. Ishii loses an opening kick battle, flinching with every blow as Shiabata dusts his off. Shibata is, throughout the course of this contest, a man who will not be denied. Every time Ishii has the advantage, Shiabata finds the will, somehow, to turn the tables on the Stone Pitbull. The brutality of his attack, focused around kicks and submisisons, is a beautiful counterpoint to Ishii’s lariats, chops, forearms, and disgusting suplexes. Ishii, for his part, is resolute and terrifying. Every blow seems like a killing blow. Every submission feels like an end. But Shiabata or Ishii gut up and get back into the fight until the point where they’re exchanging headbutts in the center of the ring. All of this to see who the better man is, which is simplicity itself in professional wrestling. I’ve never been much for tracking a wrestler’s “moveset” as a measure of skill, and the NEVER division is proof that such metrics are overrated. With both men working loud and brutal, it’s the subtle things that Ishii does, on the attack and in selling Shiabata, that put this over the top. You know he’s in trouble early from Shiabata’s kicks and the way each one makes him flinch though none are as lethal as the heart-stopping PK. And you know he knows he’s in trouble when he accidentally illegally chops his challenger in the throat, sees that it works, and purposefully does so again. Just an exhausting, classic encounter that revels in physicality.
Outside of the IWGP Heavyweight Championship, there is likely no more important a title in wrestling than the IWGP Intercontinental Championship, largely because of the man who currently holds it, Shinsuke Nakamura. Nakamura is New Japan’s top draw and, in terms of sheer presence, virtually unmatched as far as charisma goes. Nakamura put out an open challenge to any wrestler in the world to face him for the title and was answered by AJ Styles, setting up a rare first-time-ever dream match between two stars of equal stature that’s actually worthy of the “dream match” billing.
I watched the match live, and while I forget what time it was playing and didn’t have the benefit of caffeine, I was really, really alive for it. Thanks to the invaluable live translation of E. Key Oide (@e_key_oide), I know that the announcers for the contest (which included Jushin Liger and Masahiro Chono) put over the match as a clash of two true originals in the world of professional wrestling, and that’s exactly what it felt like. By extension, this is what the IWGP Intercontinental Championship seems to represent: Stars that are IWGP Championship grade (as Nakamura’s t-shirt has it) but who stand just outside or above it, Nakamura being above it and his Wrestle Kingdom challengers (Styles here; Kota Ibushi, Tanahashi, and Kazushi Sakuraba in the past) just to the side of the dominant narrative of Kazuchika Okada’s ascendency to the position of New Japan’s ace. Unlike last year’s match against Ibushi, this one doesn’t start with The King of Strong Style toying with his opponent—there’s a certain amount of gamesmanship, to be sure, as when Nakamura catches Style’s pantomimed bullet and swallows it whole—Styles has nothing to prove to Nakamura, and the two wrestle an even contest from the start. While I find the story of Nakamura/Ibushi to be the best of his Wrestle Kingdom championship defenses, I absolutely love the pace of this match, a measured heavyweight clash that is punctuated by bursts and flurries of violence and technical wizardry. Both men are in scary-good control of their body’s motions and language, such that spots like an early-match counter backbreaker from Nakamura manage to look and feel more gruesome for managing to be a successful audible.
Despite how even the two are, Nakamura is on offense much of the time, with Styles opting to employ the Calf Killer as a defensive submission maneuver designed to neutralize the BomaYe. It’s smart, and gives Styles an edge after all the work Nakamura puts in on his back, but the BomaYe’s success as a finishing blow is such that Nakamura goes for it regardless of injury. On equal footing, the two break out the big strikes and moves, a particularly good near-fall being Styles’ counter knee lift into a brutal 450 splash. It’s a beautiful match that I can’t recommend enough, even if Nakamura and Styles’ tenures with NJPW are over and the future of the Intercontinental Championship uncertain except for its pending vacancy when Nakamura leaves for the United States. Their coda, a tag team match on New Year Dash that also featured Kenny Omega and YOSHI-HASHI in a match designed to make Omega the new ace of the Bullet Club and credible challenger to Nakamura’s championship, which it did, but now mostly serves as a teaser for a match that will not be happening. There’s certainly a number of possibilities for New Japan now, none of which I am qualified to speculate on, but as far as final images go, the mid-ring fist bump between Nakamura and Styles in the Dome is a particularly neat one, complete with the required zoom in.
The culmination of a years long rivalry that’s headlined the Dome on a number of occasions, Kazuchika Okada’s quest to defeat Hiroshi Tanahashi on a January 4th show came to an end in the main event of Wrestle Kingdom 10, where he successfully defended the IWGP Heavyweight Championship and staked his claim as the true ace of New Japan by defeating the man who previously held that spot. It’s a contest that goes nearly an hour, which was rough going live, and really pays off well if you know the history of the two, just an old-school match wrestled at a classic pace, Tanahashi (who doesn’t look anything like he’s near 40 or ready to relinquish the role of ace) playing the sure veteran to Okada’s justifiably cocky younger rival.
The first time I saw the match, it was in sequence with the rest of the card, at the end of a very long night, and I just did not have the patience for it. About 10 minutes in, it seemed like the two would be doing everything in their power to go the 60 minute time limit, which, not including a video package and introductions, they very nearly do. The focus of the match is Okada’s leg, which Tanahashi works over fiercely with dragon screw leg whips, dropkicks to the knee, and targeted High Fly Flow splashes from all over the ring. Okada, never one to back down, often sacrifices his leg or knee if it means punishing Tanahashi. That means not selling the leg when he goes into sequences that involve his leg drops, but if that’s a flaw in the storytelling of the match, than it is a very small one in what has largely been a very satisfying epic novel. That legwork is largely what won Tanahashi the match at Wrestle Kingdom 9, the conclusion of which was one of my favorites of a major wrestling event, Okada exiting the arena in tears as Tanahashi played air guitar. It seems like the strategy will work for him again, only it wouldn’t make much sense narratively for Tanahashi to beat Okada in the Dome for a third time. This is the story of Okada’s ascendency, after all, and torch-passings don’t end with the bearer sucker-punching the recipient and taking the torch back.
While I’m able to appreciate the match more in a second and third viewing, I have to admit that my mind continued to wander from the match. There was a sense of destiny to the whole thing, and, in a wrestling match, that’s something I can’t claim to be that big a fan of. Okada fighting from underneath Tanahashi and establishing that he truly is the most dominant force in New Japan Pro Wrestling is fine and necessary, but this one just lacked the nuance of previous encounters and didn’t have a classic moment like Okada crying on his way out of the Dome. With both men in the semi-main event on their way out of the promotion, it’s good that Okada is being firmly planted as the new figurehead of NJPW. The next few months will be vital, both in building the promotion around Okada such that a situation like his and Tetsua Naito’s losing the Wrestle Kingdom main event doesn’t happen again, and in filling the holes left by styles and Nakamura. Wrestle Kingdom 10 showed that the way forward for New Japan is not without hope—this still-young year may be the most interesting in recent memory.
Match Results (Recommended Matches in Bold)
Pre-show) Jado won the New Japan Rumble
1) The Young Bucks (Matt and Nick Jackson) def. reDRAGON (Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly, champions), Aerial Dogfight (Matt Sydal and Ricochet), and Roppongi Vice (Baretta and Rocky Romero) for the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Championship.
2) The Briscoe Brothers (Mark and Jay Briscoe) and Toru Yano def. The Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale, Tama Tonga, and Yujiro Takahashi) for the NEVER Openweight Six-Man Tag Team Championship.
3) Jay Lethal (champion) def. Michael Elgin for the Ring of Honor World Championship.
4) Kushida def. Kenny Omega (champion) for the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship.
5) G.B.H. (Togi Makabe and Tomoaki Honma) def. Bullet Club (Karl Anderson and Doc Gallows, champions) for the IWGP Tag Team Championship.
6) Hirooki Goto def. Tetsuya Naito.
7) Katsuyori Shibata def. Tomohiro Ishii (champion) for the NEVER Openweight Championship.
8) Shinsuke Nakamura (champion) def. A.J. Styles for the IWGP Intercontinental Championship.
9) Kazuchika Okada (champion) def. Hiroshi Tanahashi for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship.
It’s only a week away, so time to get your pants spooked off by one of the best wrestling shows around when Lucha Va Voom returns with their annual two-night Halloween spectacular shows on Wednesday, October 28 and Thursday, October 29 at The Mayan in downtown Los Angeles.
We’ll be giving you a play by play follow up after the show occurs, but you still have time to go if you’re in California. You’d be daft to miss it.
This Halloween celebration will feature: All Mini Monsters Match; an exclusive U.S. appearance by Japanese luchador Mr. Cacao and professional wrestler Kikutaro; Evil Doctor’s vs. Mexican Masked Maniacs (Dr. Cerebro/Dr. Maldad vs. Extreme Tiger/Relampago); The Poubelle Twins (the sister duo of Fifi and Bibi dressed up as French Maids); multi-Guinness World Record holder Marawa The Amazing; a HEINO! Tribute to Vicente Fernandez (feat. aerialist Kate Minwegan); Miss Rita and the L’il Homies; plus Chickens; Aliens; Dirty Sanchez and much more.
Event/Date: Lucha VaVOOM’s “Mexican Horror Story” shows on Wednesday, October 28 and Thursday, October 29, 2015
Location: The Mayan (1038 South Hill Street / Los Angeles, CA 90015). Click here for map.
Doors: 7:00 p.m.
Start Time/End Time: 8:00 p.m./10:30 p.m.
Admission: Click here for tickets. General Admission tickets are available for $40 and Ringside Seating tickets are available for $55. 21+ event.
Today millions of wrestling fans around the world have received a monumental, unavoidable surprise: their fave is problematic.
As you may have seen on our front page, we at Femmezuigiri promote a Hulkamania-free space to grapple with the nasty -isms rampant in professional wrestling. So when the hot button issue of the day is the icing on the red and yellow cake which sent Hulk Hogan abruptly out of WWE, it brought up a lot of different feelings.
If you’ve been anywhere on social media since yesterday evening when warnings of a breaking story — as well as the removal of the Hulkster from WWE’s website — first got out, you’ll probably find most everyone else is at varying stages of processing the information, and are there ever levels to process.
It started last night when a thread on forum site thecoli warned of an audio recording that would be published so full of racial slurs it would lead to WWE severing all ties with Hogan. Several hours later WWE.com had removed as much Hogan-related content from its site. His profile was removed from the Superstars roster, he was no longer listed as a judge on the Tough Enough reality series already in progress, Hulk Hogan merchandise was removed from WWE Shop and Curtis Axel who had been running wild with Axelmania as of late returned to his pre-Royal Rumble incarnation.
Hogan’s first statement on the matter was a brace for impact tweet at 1:00 am EST suggesting what was to come was in the hands of God.
Even before the Enquirer’s article was published word had spread of Hogan’s potential wrongdoing through a misleading article which cited a podcast where Hogan uttered a racial slur. The Enquirer would then publish the content of the recording, thoroughly demonstrating the degree of trouble the Hulkster had gotten himself into.
WWE would soon follow up the story with a statement confirming the termination of Hogan’s contract stating they are “committed to embracing and celebrating individuals from all backgrounds as demonstrated by the diversity of [their] employees, performers and fans worldwide.”
The termination also includes Hogan’s removal from the WWE’s Hall of Fame which he was inducted to in 2005.
Hogan has since apologized, expressing disappointment in using language “inconsistent” with his beliefs. Hogan has also selectively replied on Twitter to fans pledging their continued solidarity to Hulkamania, and standout members of society have been at ready to have Hogan’s back such as MMA fighter and domestic violence enthusiast Tito Ortiz as well as Dennis Rodman.
In a situation where the largest professional wrestling company in the world unsanctimoniously excommunicates the biggest star wrestling has ever seen — and the one who arguably put said company on the map — it comes as a surprise to no one that the news has garnered attention from out there in the real world, and it hasn’t all been pats on the back for WWE removing a racist from its payroll.
Articles from several well known publications’ online platforms have made ample light of the numerous occasions where WWE’s characters, storylines and Chairman of the Board have far from celebrated and embraced cultural diversity. Many of you reading right now can probably count at least five of these occurrences off the top of your head, onscreen and off (take your time, I’ll wait it should only take you a few seconds). On top of that, it is an open secret that POC wrestlers are rarely if ever granted the opportunity to propel themselves to the main event. With the extensive (and The Rock means EXTENSIVE) laundry list of terrible race representation in the WWE, it’s incredibly suspect that only now and in this moment they’ve decided to rise above racism. After all, Michael P.S. Hayes is still employed.
For WWE, this was a case of the receipts being so good they couldn’t not do something. It’s conclusive evidence of one of the most recognizable names in wrestling and greater pop culture being overtly racist. An offensive storyline, gimmick etc. is only a problem when the negative backlash goes beyond the fanbase eg. that fucked up Muhammad Hassan bit on Smackdown (interesting to think about whether WWE would have even backtracked were there no timely real life terrorist attack). If D-Generation X puts on blackface to impersonate the Nation of Domination or another POC wrestler debuts with a painfully stereotypical gimmick a few of the overly-sensitive lefties may go up in arms but WWE figures they’ll be back next week tuning into Monday Night RAW anyway. Once the outer reaches of society uncharacteristically pay attention to professional wrestling for once, then it’s an issue. Then a McMahon has to actually be accountable to someone who has no shares or any ownership of the company.
Because of this, 90% of fans remain incredulous, a little bit puzzled and definitely skeptical that this is a sign of WWE trying to leave the blackface, racist caricatures and glaring inequality on the roster behind. For all we know JBL will be back on commentary saying black wrestlers lack intellect, the Prime Time Players could end up returning to their old spot being a charismatic tag team that’s overlooked by creative and Team BAD may only ever see themselves wrestling on Main Event or Superstars. It’s a horrifying stretch but some would be neither shocked nor appalled, it’s something fans come to expect from WWE.
Despite skepticism on WWE’s policies regarding POC talent, we are still left with the reality that the biggest star in wrestling history has been not only axed, but wiped clean from the records. It’s incredibly difficult to wrap your head around, isn’t it, considering this is someone who main evented seven of the first nine Wrestlemanias, (eight if you count the whole Bret/Yokozuna/Hogan thing at WM IX) consistently drew crowds and admiration, and up until today was praised by WWE for his legacy (read: he got them a buck or two more when he showed up).
Ignoring how weird it’s going to be for WWE to overlook many iconic moments in professional wrestling history, some won’t find it too difficult to adapt to Hulkamania not running wild in the company: the late Lou Thesz did say Hogan “couldn’t tell a wristlock from a wristwatch” and that his “grandmother could do a better leg drop.”
There are still of course, the countless fans who regarded Hogan as a hero, looking up to him during childhood, appreciative of the fond memories his work in wrestling brought to their lives. While the past can’t be erased regardless of WWE redactions, the reframing of what Hulk Hogan means and represents can happen. Remember when you found out that Hogan loved the backstage politics and had a tendency of making it all about him? Similar process, only racism.
Come all ye lady fans of pro graps who want an intersectional, inclusive space to share and explore their passion.
It don’t take a call to Mean Gene to know that Femmezuigiri is coming into its own as a feminist menace, with the hot takes and cold blooded critical beatdowns that keep patriarchy up at night. We are growing beyond a niche site into a resource servicing a long overlooked community.
To meet the forward momentum needed to sustain that growth and open a non-re-sealable can of whoopass on the sexist elements of wrestling, we’re looking to bring on some more contributors who can easier take on subjects outside the immediate scope of our current staff.
We can’t pay yet, though our site runners are actively working to bring in advertising and merchandise revenue, which will be distributed amongst all active contributors.
We are very amenable to people with patreons or other crowdfunding models of income using our site as an avenue for distributing your work. The benefits of the team itself and their combined skills/access/connections should also be taken into account!
(If pay is absolutely non-negotiable, send us an email and the editors will see what we can work out.)
We’re looking for:
Lucha correspondent, especially if you speak/write Spanish!
Japanese-speaking puro + joshi correspondent. If you’re not down to write whole articles, please contact doing some translations-for-hire.
Florida correspondent, especially if you attend the NXT tapings.
Roller Derby correspondent. A since estranged sports entertainment sister. Time to reunite the family.
UK-Based correspondent who can also serve as archnemesis to Maffew? And participate in snack exchanges with the US and Canada-based writers? Plz : 3
Wrestling game enthusiast. We’d love playthroughs of Joshi/women’s wrestling games, but we’d be easily sated with a funny review of Superstars of WrestleFest, if we’re being honest with ourselves.
Hit us up over at a.v.christensen at femmezuigiri dot com and doublecakes at femmezuigiri dot com. Let’s make a deal!
Thank you for reading this, for spreading the word, and helping us make this hobby into a maybe semi-part-time profession.
-DoubleCakes & Aquavulva
Someone out there is listening to us. WWE hasn’t quite gotten the picture, but it seems TNA is ready to be on the ball. Tonight at 9pm EST TNA will be broadcasting “A Night of Knockouts” featuring different members from their women’s division.
Normally, I don’t tune in to TNA but I will be tonight. You know everyone is going to be checking their ratings and their social media, so speak up. They are, in their eyes, taking a gamble and doing something that no other major promotions are currently tackling: featuring women front and centre. Now, this has been done before on a PPV, but not as part of their regular broadcast. Tonight, the men are getting the treatment that the women normally do and are subject to one match somewhere in the middle of the card.
We’re going to be seeing a great mix tonight and I have faith that the storylines will be interesting and the fighting will be top notch. The match ups are not your typical fare, and I don’t think we could ask for anything more to start off:
- Main event between Knockouts Champ Tayrn Terrell against my personal favourite Awesome Kong
- A fatal fourway between Gail Kim, Madison Rayne, Brooke Adams and Angelina Love! The winner of this match will take on the champ from the main event going forward. Let’s see how this stacks up to the NXT Rival Fatal Four Way from a few months back
- They are debuting a new faction called the Dollhouse
- Cherry Bomb and Mickie James will each be making an appearance as well
That sounds pretty great to me. Now, if only the men’s match would be just as much focused on eye candy as the women’s matches usually are, then they would have a recipe for success. That’s how this works, right? The oppression has to be shifted someplace!
Jokes aside, let’s hope that this leads to a huge step forward for women’s wrestling across the board and a larger representation of our talents and for female fans who tune in and want to see themselves on screen.
The kick ass League of Lady Wrestlers hosted their first ever ISLAND RUMBLE at Artscape Gibraltar Point on Toronto Island September 6th, 2014. Analog Preservation Network was there to capture some of the footage on glorious VHS. Here’s a quick overview of the nights events.
Watch Kitty Stardust and Cuntzilla go at it.
Whipper Cream runs her mouth like a winner while her client, Great White Snatch, does her thing against the tough Ladyboy.
See Sweetie snatch her victory over league leader Big Jody Mufferaw.
And Doughnut Messaround cuts a really messy, sweaty promo on Mumu Dairy Air at the end of the night after tearing down the ring.
Our very own A.V. Christensen, as Doughnut Messaround, starred in Ian Keteku’s new video for his poem “Lumumba” as part of the anarchy team in a fight against the system.