Tag Archives: shinsuke nakamura

Update: Womens’ Wrestling at NJPW Dontaku 2015

Last week, I speculated on the nature of Wrestling Dontaku’s six-person tag featuring Maria Kanellis and Amber Gallows alongside their respective husbands and their husbands’ tag team partners. Now that the event has come and gone, let’s look at it.

The backstory is silly, and very pro wrestling: Karl Anderson was obsessed with Maria, and his obsession had led to the loss of the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championship for him & Gallows. As a result, Gallows brought in his wrestler wife Amber to try and keep Maria under control in the grudge match. It’s funny that Maria, a professional temptress, gets into so much trouble when she does her job well. Maybe she should tone down her siren song or something.

Let’s take a minute here to examine the dynamic of Maria Kanellis in New Japan Pro Wrestling. Her boys are the champs. Maria has her own t-shirt. Her tag champs don’t. This is in the pre-match video package:

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This is Amber’s entrance:

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This is Maria’s entrance:

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This is Shinsuke Nakamura’s entrance, just as a point of comparison:

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The depictions of Maria & Amber are nearly night and day, though they’re both beautiful women. To be fair, they zoomed in on Amber’s chest a bit as she walked to the ring, but her ring-announced in-ring intro was flashy and athletic. I’m not sure whether Japanese wrestling fans and/or NJPW are so obsessed with Maria that they’d legitimately prefer to film the whole show with a picture-in-picture of her ass, or if the gimmick of Maria-in-Japan has reached some apex of self-parody that they’re just pushing every time they get her on TV. In any case, Maria’s depiction in NJPW doesn’t make me uncomfortable as a female fan — I think it’s hilarious, if a little much. The ass zooming shots went on for a minute or more, when thirty seconds would have been more than sufficient for both lusty and parody purposes.

The match itself was fairly standard. The rules were mixed-tag — when Maria was tagged in, Amber had to be tagged in. The highlight of the entire situation was Karl Anderson daydreaming so hard about Maria that he forgot to do his signature machine gun taunt in his entrance. I was actually shocked, and so were Amber & Doc. So was referee Tiger Hattori.

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The wrestling match was a wrestling match sprinkled with shenanigans. The women hit some nice moves on each other and it looked like Amber wanted to murder Maria. The culmination, as you might have anticipated, was Maria hitting a low blow on Karl Anderson to get the advantage for her team, and then rolling up Amber for a surprise win. Amber went into full-Wicked-Witch-of-the-West meltdown mode, which was another highlight.

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Post-match, Doc and Amber still want to murder Maria, but Karl Anderson protects her. That is, until he SURPRISE turns on Maria, and he and Doc hit the Magickiller on her.

Some points:

  • This wasn’t an intergender match, so Maria was not competing against the men — they’re bad men who just assaulted her post-match (at Amber’s urging) outside the bounds of competition because they were mad that she got the win.
  • It’s reasonable that a bad girl like Amber would sic her men on Maria when she herself couldn’t get the job done.
  • It’s oddly refreshing in entertainment when bad guys are beating up a woman because they’re mad at the woman rather than using the woman to get at the woman’s husband/boyfriend/otherwise associated man.
  • I’m not even sure Gallows & Anderson care about Taven & Bennett at all. Maria’s match, Maria’s belts, Maria’s feud, Maria’s win, Maria’s post-match consequences.
  • I don’t know where this leaves the feud. Reasonably, Amber could want to get her win back. Taven & Bennett could want to beat up Anderson & Gallows for beating up Maria. Or it could just be over for now.

For it being the first time women are featured as wrestlers in NJPW in thirteen years, we’re off to a decent start. Let’s hope this opens up the door for future storylines with women and even more talent.

 

Fan Edition | Hard Femme Fashion

The wonderful Courtney from Wrestling With Makeup sent in a submission, check out her fierce fashions.

Name: Courtney Rose @ChicagoCRose

Age: 27

Location: Chicago

Describe your ringside style:

Hard Femme. I am nothing without baby doll dresses, leggings, docs and red lipstick. I started Wrestling With Makeup simply because I needed more ways to involve wrestling into my wardrobe aside from shirts. Even if no one else knows what I’m doing, I feel a little more badass inside.

How did you become a wrestling fan?

I was about 7 or 8 years old when I first remember watching WCW. My sister and I would stay with our uncle & grandmother after school until my parents could get off work, and my uncle loved wrestling. We would stay there Monday nights to watch Nitro, then he’d tape Raw for us to watch the next day or vice versa. We still have our first pieces of Wrestling memorabilia: mine was a DDP brawling buddy and my sister had a NWO Macho Man.

It’s nice that wrestling is a family thing in our house. Our uncle got us into it and remains a huge fan, my mom watches it semi-regularly and has hilarious opinions as a casual viewer and my dad used to dress up as wrestlers for Halloween to amuse us. My sister and I have a really great bond, we’re best friends, and a lot of that connection was built on our mutual love of performance, traveling, and watching men beat each other up at our feet.

Fave Wrestler:

Kenny Omega & Chris Hero

Fave Promotion: 

It changes often, but right now I’m hugely into PWG and New Japan on repeat.

Fave Move:

Omega Driver, Cattle Mutilation, & One Winged Angel.

Fave Match: 

Impossible question. I have a YouTube playlist of matches I watch because they’re amazing, and one of guilty pleasure matches that make my insides fill with glee. Here are some:

Dream Tag Team:

  • Height of career Goldust and Kenny Omega
  • Chris Jericho & Chuck Taylor
  • William Regal & Chris Hero
  • Nakamura & Daniel Bryan (I know everyone wants to see this match, but I can dream of a tag team first right?)
  • Lita & Candice Le Rae
  • Luna Vachon & Jessicka Havok
  • Sensational Sherri & Sasha Banks
  • Heidi Lovelace & Paige

    Like I said, trouble making decisions. 

If you had to choose your entrance theme, what would it be?

If I had my way, Pony by Ginuwine would play every time I enter a room.

Also I have a life goal of creating a stable that enters the ring to “Ruff Ryders Anthem” by DMX, entirely dressed as Teddy Roosevelt.

But if we’re serious: 

 

Varied Ways of Feeling about Boy Wrestlers: A Confessional

Babygrrls, today I want to tell you about something that bothers me a lot. As a heterosexual woman and a wrestling fan, many people assume I’m attracted to the boy wrestlers. (For the purposes of this article, we’ll set aside the weird creeps who think women like wrestling only because of the attractive boy wrestlers.)

I’m attracted to men and some wrestlers are men — assuming I’m attracted to some wrestlers is reasonable. What bothers me is that this assumption implies that I feel the same kind of attraction to every kind of boy wrestler. This is flatly insulting because frankly, I’m a very introspective person and I’ve spent the better part of a decade parsing all my varied and delicate feelings about so many wrestlers in so many circumstances.

I feel differently about every wrestler I’ve ever had feelings about, and all of those feelings are important and valid and contribute to my enjoyment of and engagement with the whole sport. This is serious and nuanced, people! The world will be better when we articulate and embrace the complex ways that all kinds of people (cis people, trans people, men people, women people, nonbinary people, kids, grandmas, etc etc) deal with their wrestler feels. I want to hear yours, too, so let this serve as the start of a discussion.

So here are some ways I as an individual human person feel about some of the wrestlers that so many fangirls like to do the fangirling over lately (fangirling is also a serious and valid feeling, yes):

Shinsuke Nakamura

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Let’s just get this out of the way: Shinsuke Nakamura is the most beautiful human ever to set foot in a wrestling ring. His physical beauty is actually distracting during his matches and this has never happened to me before ever with anyone else and kind of makes me angry honestly Shinsuke PLEASE. Why and how does he carry himself so? How can I learn to have such swag? Like the Toshiro Mifune of pro wrestling, he communicates more with a facial expression that some wrestlers do in an entire match. Why does it seem like he has sunlight trapped just under his skin? Does he know that his hair is always perfectly placed to make someone wanna reach over and push it away from his face a little? I mean goddamn. I bet he knows. I’d join a religion if he started one. I cannot even.

Shinsuke Nakamura is also the best wrestler I’ve ever seen and the fact that in my world the Venn diagram of most beautiful wrestler and best wrestler is a circle is just amazing, 10/10 five million stars A+ thank you strong style gods. That said, I’d never want to carry on a personal relationship with him. I’m sure he’s a great friend. Just, no thanks, I’m busy absolutely worshiping him, you know? Let’s leave that there where it belongs. But all the warmth and sensuality he shares as a performer — oh, I will take it so gratefully and for as long as he will give it, from a respectful distance.

Minoru Suzuki

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If I weren’t already happily married I’d be actively trying to marry Minoru Suzuki. I mean, probably to no avail, of course, but I think you have to try for the things you want in life. These feelings stand in stark contrast to my feelings about Shinsuke Nakamura. I respect and love and worship Shinsuke from afar, but theoretical-target-of-my-affection-Minoru-Suzuki would probably have to be like “Hey lady, it’s great that you pay money and come to all my shows, but could you like not stare at me so creepily, maybe?” I don’t even know. I don’t understand these feelings myself but it probably has to do with fishing and One Piece and maybe even a good amount of mind control. I spend my days trying not to capslock shout at him on Twitter about how much I love him. It’s pretty terrible but my husband is kind of okay with it and I know lots of people (or at least two other people okay whatever) share these feelings and they help me deal with my life. Maybe it’ll pass? God I hope it passes, this is exhausting.

Kazuchika Okada

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I don’t actually know what happens to my brain when Beautiful Actual Angel Kazuchika Okada is on my television but it’s just incessant high pitched squealing. I wanna hug him so hard he can’t breathe. He’s like the human version of the cutest puppy. If I were gonna write fanfiction about us (and dude I MIGHT) he’d be my little brother and I’d buy him ice cream all the time and we’d play video games and I’d probably paint his nails and I’d finally get to hear him sing the Gatchaman theme karaoke. Actually, I wonder if his parents would adopt me. I would call him Kazu-kun and bite Tanahashi’s face off for making him cry at Wrestle Kingdom 9. I’d be the best big sister, you guys.

Dean Ambrose

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My feelings about Dean Ambrose make sense to me, but it’s hard to articulate them. I’m not attracted to him. I have eyes and a brain, I know that he’s an attractive young man. His physique is like a young, leaner Tully Blanchard. It’s amazing. He’s beautiful. He’s charismatic. But. Nope. All my feelings about Dean Ambrose lie so squarely in the workratecompartment of my brain with a few bonus feels sprinkled in the goddamn how can I get a waistline that good? compartment. I love his wrestlery charisma and his silly promos. I love his technical-brawler style. I love that his character is what would happen if the Hollywood Blondes were fused together in a transporter accident and then tried to grow into their later personas simultaneously. I LOVE it, I love him. But it’s all pure prowres love, and hope, and enthusiasm, amen.

Kota Ibushi

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I have no feelings about Kota Ibushi. I like to watch him wrestle sometimes. He’s really good. He was in my favorite match ever. But I don’t need to see every match he’s in. I don’t even think about him at all unless I’m watching a match. His physique is obviously remarkable but the extent of the fucks I’ve ever given about that is “His trunks are great, they really highlight the unique angle of his thighs in relation to his hips.”

Hiroshi Tanahashi

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This one is difficult. I don’t want to hate him, but I do. I feel like things might be a little backwards either in my head or in his, but he’s an incredible heel. His tactics infuriate me. His air guitar infuriates me. As a person, I recognize his amazing skill and incredible devotion and the fact that he deserves every last shred of my respect for helping to revitalize New Japan Pro Wrestling when everyone else was kind of sucking. But as a wrestling fan, oh my god, I hate Hiroshi Tanahashi and I LOVE hating Hiroshi Tanahashi and I pray that I never stop hating Hiroshi Tanahashi because hating a wrestler for the right reasons is a deeply satisfying feeling that has been missing from my life ever since Bret Hart retired. In other feels: holy shit, that haircut. Amazing.

So that’s a brief-ish summary of where I’ve been for the past couple years, rummaging around in my brain and trying to articulate the discrete and potentially unique feelings I feel for the performers I admire so much in so many ways. There’s more to dig up from childhood, to be sure (I was a wrestling fan before I knew I was a heterosexual woman, so that’s pretty interesting!), and I didn’t even discuss women at all this time! Watch this space for more things-that-women-feel-about-wrestlers.

Fan Edition | Shelly Deathlock

In today’s “Who’s That Girl?” we focus on another fan of pro graps and their awesome fashion sense. This time it’s our very own Shelly Deathlock!

Name: Shelly Deathlock

Age: Play Button (see that’s what WWE made the 31 in “Wrestlemania 31” into because 31 sounds like it’s too old HEY WAIT A DAMN MINUTE.)

Location: Connecticut

Describe your ringside style: Early to mid 90’s heavy metal.

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How did you become a wrestling fan?

I turned on Raw one night in 1993. Yokozuna was delivering several Banzai drops to Crush and Tatanka wasn’t coming out to help him. I was AMAZED. Slippery slope from there, and I began watching all the time. It’s totally a prototypical scene for my wrestling fandom: Good guy is getting murdered by bad guy; good guys friend… isn’t helping? How good can good guys be, then? Good guys aren’t very good. So, murdered good guy joins bad guys, gets to hang out with Mr. Fuji and beat the shit out of Randy Savage. Life lessons.

Fave Wrestler: Shinsuke Nakamura, King of Strong Style and saviour of professional wrestling.

Fave Promotion: NJPW

Fave Move: The… @indiandeathlock. 😉

Fave Match: This isn’t even difficult. Nakamura vs. Ibushi at Wrestle Kingdom 9 this year made most other matches I’ve seen look like they weren’t pro wrestling at all, but some sad shadowy version of it. That match was amazing.

Before that, it was probably Bret vs. Owen at WM X & also their Summerslam ‘94 cage match. I was super invested in those as a baby Owen Hart fan.

Dream Tag Team: Sasha Banks & Kazuchika Okada. $$$$$$$

If you had to choose your own entrance theme, what would it be? 

But then I’d have to also literally bleed black somehow to keep it kayfabe. I’m working on it.