One of my greatest fears in life is that Joshi City will just turn into a review website, which was not the original intention when I first created it almost a year ago (see all those categories on the right on the main page?). With how quickly Stardom uploads events now, however, the bulk of the posts have been reviews as since Stardom is the most popular Joshi promotion I did not want to skip any of their events. I still intend to review their shows, however I also am going to try to do other updates as well so that the site doesn’t turn into Stardom City.
With that in mind, welcome to the first edition of The State of Joshi! This will be a special collector’s item in a few years like the first Wrestling Observer, so be sure to print it out and have it professionally graded. I do not want to just do a results report as I find those tedious to type up, but just give an update on what has been going on around the scene. I do not know if this will be a weekly, monthly, or random type of column but I hope to keep people up to date on all the bigger stories going on in Joshi Wrestling while sprinkling in my opinion on Joshi as well.
Stardom – Championships Held Hostage by Threedom
Joshi promotion Stardom currently has a very unique situation with their title scene, with three wrestlers holding all eight titles in the promotion:
Io Shirai – World of Stardom Championship, Goddesses of Stardom Championship, Artist of Stardom Championship
Mayu Iwatani – High Speed Championship, Goddesses of Stardom Championship, Artist of Stardom Championship
Kairi Hojo – Wonder of Stardom Championship, Artist of Stardom Championship
The promotion as a whole only has nine active contracted wrestlers according to their website, but even with a small roster all the belts are held by the Three Daughters of Stardom (aka Threedom). In most promotions, this would be a very bad thing, as if a promotion is this top heavy it leaves them vulnerable if something happens to one of the top stars. There is literally no upper midcard in Stardom, as in the last year Threedom has elevated themselves so high that no other wrestler is close to their level. So far in 2016, no contracted wrestler in Stardom has pinned any member of Threedom, with their small handful of losses coming against Freelancers.
Short term this is an issue, a gap this noticeable is never a good thing as it leads to the matches being less compelling and if there was a major injury then no other wrestler is poised to step up. Some of it is not Stardom’s fault, as last year they lost three wrestlers that would have been upper midcarders or challengers of Threedom: Act Yasukawa, Yoshiko, and Koguma. The new rookies that debuted aren’t up to speed yet and Stardom doesn’t usually have Freelancers hold their major titles unless it is for a specific storyline. It takes time to build up wrestlers so it is a waiting game while they get there.
Long term they should be ok as long as none of the Threedom wrestlers get hurt. Oedo Tai should have a title (or two) by the fall, as they are building Kagetsu well. If Kagetsu loses her title challenges this summer, she will be knocked right back to the midcard like everyone else and the cycle will continue. Yoko Bito is in the same boat, if she comes back and is able to pick up where she left off, she could challenge Threedom by the end of the year, or she could become just another midcarder as well. I am holding off judgement until the end of the year as things can change so fast in wrestling, but at the moment Stardom has the largest gap between the top and everyone else in wrestling and sometime within the next few months it is an issue that needs to be addressed to shake things up a bit in the promotion.
Catch The WAVE – The Biggest Tournament of the Year (that we can’t watch)
Unbeknownst to many wrestling fans, Pro Wrestling WAVE is currently in the middle of one of the largest tournaments of the year as 32 wrestlers are participating to take the crown. Unfortunately, none of these matches have ‘made tape’ yet so we haven’t gotten to watch any of it. WAVE’s show on V*PARADISE will eventually catch up but it tends to be at least a month behind, and matches on the show are clipped. We heard rumors of WAVE starting their own online subscription which may have helped, but as of May 22nd there has not been any additional news.
The tournament is using what they referred to as “World Cup” rules, which are pretty simple. The 32 wrestlers are split into eight Blocks of 4. Within each Block, each wrestler has a singles match against the other three wrestlers in their Block. After all the matches are done, the two top wrestlers in each Block move on to the Knockout Round. That begins the 16 wrestler single elimination tournament until only one wrestler is left. Pro Wrestling WAVE added wrestlers from a variety of promotions, including SEAdLINNNG, Daijo Pro, Sendai Girls’, Ice Ribbon, JWP, REINA, and even Ryukyu Dragon. The winner of the tournament gets a shot at the single’s championship and 1 Million Yen. So far most of the Blocks have had two of the three matches while others are just about done, here are the current standings:
1. *Tsukasa Fujimoto 
2. *Rabbit Miyu 
3. Cherry 
4. Moeka Haruhi 
1. Chikayo Nagashima 
2. Aoi Kizuki 
2. Ryo Mizunami 
4. Meiko Tanaka 
1. Hikaru Shida 
2. Kaori Yoneyama 
2. Kaho Kobayashi 
2. Rina Yamashita 
1. Tsukushi 
1. Melanie Cruise 
3. Mika Iida 
4. LEON 
1. Yoshiko 
2. Kagetsu 
2. Ayako Hamada 
4. Sawako Shimono 
1. Yumi Ohka 
1. Hiroe Nagahama 
1. Sareee [Diana] 
4. Mayumi Ozaki 
1. *DASH Chisako 
2. ASUKA 
2. Hibiscus Mii 
2. Yuki Miyazaki 
1. Hanako Nakamori 
1. Makoto 
1. Misaki Ohata 
4. Yuuka 
The wrestlers I put a * have locked up a spot in the Knockout Round. LEON is injured and has forfeited the rest of her points. The tournament goes through June 5th so we still have a ways to go, but I hope the standings at least shows the quality of wrestlers that WAVE assembled and hopefully some of these matches (or maybe all of them on DVD) will be released soon.
Makoto – Ace of a Forgotten Promotion
While I try to discuss as many different promotions, there is one I don’t talk about very often – REINA. REINA got a bit more love in 2015 as it was one of the promotions that Kana wrestled in quite a bit and Syuri was the ace. Unfortunately, Kana has left and Syuri is now a Freelancer, leaving the promotion without the wrestlers that many fans identified with. Add in that REINA rarely makes tape, and it is easy to forget that they even exist.
Normally this wouldn’t be a big deal, not every promotion can get maximum coverage as there are simply too many promotions, but it does leave Makoto in the dark. Makoto won the REINA World Women’s Championship on March 25th against Tsukasa Fujimoto, and has taken over the role of Ace of the promotion. Makoto’s next big match is against Miyako Matsumoto on May 24th at Shin-Kiba 1st Ring, which likely won’t be taped. She is in the Catch the WAVE tournament I mentioned above, which hopefully will keep her in the spotlight and maybe bring some fans back with her to REINA. Makoto is a nine year veteran but is only 26 years old and has many years in front of her to compete at a high level, so we can hope more of her matches become available as the year progresses.
Big Matches In the Pipeline
One of the good things about Joshi is they like to tell us way in advance what we should be looking forward to. Here is what we currently have announced:
May 24th – Makoto vs. Miyako Matsumoto (REINA)
June 5th – Io Shirai and Kairi Hojo vs. Meiko Satomura and Mika Iwata (Stardom)
June 16th – Thunder Rock vs. Kagetsu and Kyoko Kimura (Stardom)
June 16th – Yoko Bito vs. TBD (Stardom)
June 19th – Aja Kong vs. Hana Kimura (Oz Academy)
June 22nd – Riho vs. Kaori Yoneyama (Gatoh Move)
July 18th – Sonoko Kato vs. Mayumi Ozaki (Oz Academy)
July 31st – Hiroyo Matsumoto vs. Aja Kong (Matsumoto Produce Show)
That is it for this week, next time I will give some news and thoughts on SEAdLINNNG, Marvelous, and probably whatever Stardom is up to. Until then, if you have any suggestions or feedback feel free to reach out to me on Twitter @PuroCentral.