Joshi Wrestling Retirements in 2019

Command Bolshoi Retirement

Any fan of Joshi Wrestling knows one of the basic truths of Joshi – wrestlers retire at a younger age than most other subcategories of wrestling. The frequency of Joshi retirements is due to a number of factors – many Joshi wrestlers start before they are 18 years old and lose interest/choose education or a different profession once they become adults, some get married and retire to start a family, and others simply retire due to injuries. While some Joshi wrestlers do have long and storied careers, most Joshi retirements are from wrestlers with under five years of experience.

This was certainly true in 2019, as only one wrestler that retired had what most would consider a long career. So we start with her, the legendary Command Bolshoi. Since sometimes wrestlers leave promotions without announcing a retirement, for the sake of this article I am only covering wrestlers that had official in-ring retirements or made an official retirement announcement through the promotion.

Command Bolshoi Retirement
Command Bolshoi
Debut: November 26th, 1991
Retirement: April 21st, 2019
Primary Wrestling Promotion: JWP (and later PURE-J)
Major Accomplishments: Two Time JWP Openweight Champion, Six Time JWP Tag Team Champion, President of JWP, and Founder of PURE-J

Once a year or so, one of the legendary wrestlers that started in the 80s or 90s retires, and in 2019 that wrestler was Command Bolshoi. Bolshoi had a long and storied career that began in 1992, where she debuted in JWP. For many years, Bolshoi wrestled as a comedy wrestler as “Bolshoi Kid,” wrestling in a clown outfit and hovering towards the bottom of cards. Hiding behind the gimmick however was a talented wrestler, and she finally won her first championship in JWP in 1999. In 2000, she won the promotion’s top title as she defeated Ran YuYu for the JWP Openweight Championship. By then, she was more than just a wrestler in JWP, as she was also the President of the promotion and was one of the trainers. She continued to help lead the promotion until JWP dissolved in 2017, but Command Bolshoi started a new promotion called PURE-J that maintained most of the roster and two of the titles so that the JWP spirit would live on. In 2018, she announced due to lingering injuries she would retire in 2019, and she had her last series of matches on April 21st, 2019. She continues to lead PURE-J however, and for a foreseeable future will still be involved in wrestling. With over 15 championship wins in her career that spanned 27 years, Command Bolshoi had a long and successful career that will always be remembered by her fans and followers of JWP.

Debut: July 6th, 2014 (16 years old)
Retirement: December 24th, 2019 (22 years old)
Primary Wrestling Promotion: Stardom
Major Accomplishments: Four Time Artist of Stardom Champion and High Speed Champion

Hazuki’s career was much shorter than Command Bolshoi’s, but she still made an impact. Hazuki first debuted as Reo Hazuki in 2014 at age 16, and she stayed mostly under the radar until she suddenly left wrestling in 2015. Hazuki shocked Stardom fans when she returned in November of 2016, wrestling as HZK in Io Shirai’s Queen’s Quest stable. With a new look and a new attitude, Hazuki’s fan base began to grow and she won her first championship in 2017. She joined Oedo Tai in 2018 and frequently teamed with her good friend and trainer Kagetsu up until her retirement. Hazuki really took it up a notch in late 2018, as she won the High Speed Championship and defended the title frequently in the “high speed” style that the title was originally named for. In 2019, she got the opportunity to wrestle in Madison Square Garden, which she said was a career highlight. In November of 2019, she shocked Stardom fans once again by announcing she would retire the following month, and had her final match against stablemate Natsuko Tora. Hazuki’s 2018 and 2019 run in Stardom showed her potential, and the promotion certainly will miss Hazuki’s unique style of wrestling.

Tequila Saya
Debut: March 12th, 2016 (32 years old)
Retirement: December 31st, 2019 (35 years old)
Primary Wrestling Promotion: Ice Ribbon
Major Accomplishments: International Ribbon Tag Team Champion and Triangle Ribbon Tag Team Champion

Tequila Saya is a rare case of someone that got into wrestling later in life, as she did not debut until she was 32 years old. In her 3.5 year career, she started slowly as she didn’t start being highlighted on cards regularly until 2018. While she failed in her three attempts to win the ICExInfinity Championship, in 2019 she did win the International Ribbon Tag Team Championship and the Triangle Ribbon Tag Team Championship, so she still had success. She may be best remembered for her tag team with Giulia called Burning Raw, both for their success in 2019 and their surprising breakup when Giulia left for Stardom, which actually delayed Saya’s retirement by several months due to the general confusion around the situation. Still, for someone in their 30s diving into wrestling for the first time, she had a respectable career and fit in very well during her time in Ice Ribbon.

Debut: December 31st, 2013 (15 years old)
Retirement: March 28th, 2019 (20 years old)
Primary Wrestling Promotion: Ice Ribbon
Major Accomplishments: Potential Future Ace of Ice Ribbon

Yuuka’s retirements is one of those that hurts more than it should considering the length of her career, as she had so much potential. Debuting at just 15 years old, she had her last wrestling match in 2016 before leaving Ice Ribbon for personal reasons. Ice Ribbon kept her on the roster page for years afterwards, but in March of 2019 they announced she would not be returning and Yuuka had an official retirement ceremony on March 31st, 2019. In her short career, Yuuka had several title chances and appeared to be positioned to become one of the stars of the promotion. Sadly, it was not to be.

Shiki Shibusawa
Debut: July 16th, 2017 (27 years old)
Retirement: March 28th, 2019 (28 years old)
Primary Wrestling Promotion: Stardom
Major Accomplishments: Rookie of Stardom 2017 Tournament Winner

Even though Shiki wrestled for less than two years (her last match was on November 4th, 2018), due to Stardom’s packed schedule she still had over 100 matches in that time period. Shiki started later than most rookies as she debuted at age 27, and perhaps even more unusual is she had no background in athletics. This made her learning curve much steeper than most, and it took her longer to get fully caught up to speed. Shiki did have two title challenges in her career, but came up short both times, and left the promotion suddenly due to injury issues and possibly due to being impacted by criticism she received online. Shiki was a popular underdog and showed that regardless of your background, anyone can be a pro wrestler if they try hard enough.

Pinano PiPiPiPi
Debut: January 4th, 2018 (19 years old)
Retirement: April 5th, 2019 (21 years old)
Primary Wrestling Promotion: Tokyo Joshi Pro
Major Accomplishments: None

Pinano PiPiPiPi, originally debuting as Hinano, will best be remembered as part of the Up Up Girls (Pro Wrestling). The Up Up Girls are a popular Idol group, while the Up Up Girls (Pro Wrestling) are a separate group that does both wrestling and singing. The group debuted in January of 2018 and mostly stayed in the lower to midcard, not getting serious in-ring pushes from Tokyo Joshi Pro. Pinano never had a title shot during her stay in wrestling and didn’t even pick up her first pinfall victory until February of 2019, but she was popular with the crowd nonetheless. While she didn’t have a long career, between her wrestling and singing she did her best to entertain, and at 21 years old she still has plenty of time to find her true calling.

Dorami Nagano
Dorami Nagano
Debut:  June 19th, 2010 (15 years old)
Retirement: March 25th, 2019 (24 years old)
Primary Wrestling Promotion: Ice Ribbon
Major Accomplishments: None

Like Yuuka, Dorami had not wrestled in Ice Ribbon for several years prior to her retirement announcement on March 25th, 2019. In fact, her last wrestling match was way back in 2012, so Ice Ribbon hung onto the chance she may come back for a long time. During her two year run in Ice Ribbon, Dorami mostly stayed in the midcard but did have two title challenges, failing to win in each. While it is unusual to have an official retirement announcement almost seven years after a wrestler’s last match, since the announcement happened in 2019 I didn’t want to exclude her from the list.

Nao Yamaguchi
Debut: March 4th, 2018 (28 years old)
Retirement: March 28th, 2019 (29 years old)
Primary Wrestling Promotion: Stardom
Major Accomplishments: None

Of the 2019 Joshi Retirees, Nao had the shortest career as she only had 15 matches. Nao is a former gravure model that at age 28 decided to give wrestling a chance. Unfortunately, Nao had bad luck with injuries and wrestled her last match on May 6th, 2018, just two months after debuting. She remained in the promotion as Oedo Tai’s manager, but officially retired from both wrestling and managing in March of 2019. Always enthusiastic, sadly we didn’t see enough of Nao to know what her future in wrestling could have been.