Sunday, July 12, 2009

Hyuga Retires/Chairman Matsunaga Passes Away

Azumi Hyuga (real name Tomoko Kuzumi) announced her retirement from wrestling. She is 34 years old and has been wrestling since the end of 1994, as she was part of the great mid-90s class that JWP produced that also included Carlos Amano, Ran Yu-Yu, and Kanako Motoya.

Hyuga has been JWP's ace for most of this decade, carrying the JWP Openweight title 4 times. She has had knee troubles, including surgery in 2008 after she lost the title to Kayoko Haruyama. Her final show will be "CLIMAX 2009", JWP's year-ending show at Korakuen Hall on December 27th.

Joshi puroresu lost one of its founding fathers, as former AJW chairman Takashi Matsunaga passed away on July 11th from pneumonia at the age of 73. He had been battling health problems related to diabetes for years. Takashi, his 3 brothers, and several other family members (including sisters, wives, cousins) promoted women's wrestling in Japan and started AJW in 1968. AJW in its heyday was the most successful joshi company ever and produced a multitude of stars. AJW finally shut down in 2005. R.I.P. Chairman Matsunaga.

In the ring, Ibuki and Oz Academy ran a doubleheader at Shinjuku FACE. In the Ibuki show, the retiring Hyuga defeated Hiroyo Matsumoto (on her 3rd anniversary) with the Michinoku Driver II and Misaki Ohata had her 1st defense of the JWP Junior/POP titles, beating Io Shirai. Oz Academy featured the 4th of 5 match days in the "Rating of the Strength" points system for determining Dynamite Kansai's next challenger. Carlos Amano pinned Manami Toyota in a tag match, while Aja Kong beat Kansai with the Backfist, also in a tag match. Four of the five in this competition can still become the next challenger. Toyota, Kong, and Hiroyo are all on 6 points and Amano is on 5 points. Poor Hiren lost again and has 0 points. Matchups for the final day (August 2nd) haven't been announced yet, but expect shenanigans and back-stabbing.

The OZ tag titles stayed with Mayumi Ozaki and KAORU, as they defended against Ran Yu-Yu and AKINO. Apparently, Yu-Yu got disqualified for violence against the referee. I need to see this or hear more, as its hardly possible to get DQd in the land of OZ. They've gone back to the stipulation well, as Chikayo Nagashima and Sonoko Kato are betting their hair that they can regain the tag titles from Mayumi & KAORU on August 2nd.

WAVE drew a nice crowd of 500 to a special show in Fujeida City. Shu Shibutani and Kana had singles wins over Chihiro Oikawa and Moeka Haruhi, respectively. Ryo Mizunami drew with Pinkie Mayuka, which eliminates Mayuka from advancing in the Catch the WAVE league and sets up Miz vs Ayumi Kurihara for a winner takes all meeting in the Young Person's Block. GAMI got a pin over Cherry in a mid-card tag, but then lost to Harley Saito (yeah, the LLPW one) in the main event tag.

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