Yuki Aino — “Burnin'”

“Burnin'” is Yuki Aino’s entrance theme. Available on TJPW Saikou Music vol. 1.
Vocals: Yuki Aino (featuring Nodoka Tenma)
Lyrics: Nodoka Tenma
Music: typhonKAZ

If you stop moving, you’ll be left behind
The city itself feels like it might take off running
I stretch and fake a smile
A truly foolish girl that can’t be tossed away

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Nodoka Tenma — “Existence”

“Existence” is Nodoka Tenma’s entrance theme. Available on TJPW Saikou Music vol. 1.
Lyrics and vocals: Nodoka Tenma
Music: Kurama Adachi

The time has come to raise the curtain and start the show
I want to make the dream you drew come true

“I’m not one to be lonely, I can fight on my own”
Or so I thought, but I wonder if it’s true

Isn’t a blind leap into darkness the perfect chance to change destiny?
To change the world?

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Rika Tatsumi — “Love and Revolution”

“Love and Revolution” (in Japanese 恋と革命, Koi to Kakumei) is Rika Tatsumi’s entrance theme. Available on TJPW Saikou Music vol. 1.
Lyrics and vocals: Rika Tatsumi
Music: typhonKAZ

I want to hold tight to the fantasy, whatever it may be
I won’t wake from this dream
I’ll keep on going, keep on shining
Ah, say hello, say goodbye

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MAO: When to Hit Your Boss with a Van

(This interview originally appeared in Japanese in Rolling Stone Japan under the headline “Why did pro wrestler MAO hit Sanshiro Takagi with a car?”)

Employing several dozen wrestlers across multiple sub-brands, Dramatic Dream Team has reached the point where it’s hard to call it an indie promotion. One wrestler who stands out among their roster is 22-year-old wunderkind MAO. One half of the graceful, acrobatic tag team Moonlight Express (along with Mike Bailey), MAO carved out his place in professional wrestling in DDT’s infamous Street Wrestling events – an off-the-wall format that fits him to a T.

Some fans call MAO “the second coming of Kota Ibushi” for his physical prowessand also his affinity for nonsense. Why is it that he prefers such a bizarre style? We caught up with MAO as he prepares for DDT’s Wrestle Peter Pan 2019 event, coming soon to Tokyo’s Ota City Central Gymnasium.

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666’s Ram has “no intention of playing along” with joshi wrestling

(This article originally appeared in Japanese on Battle News under the headline “A singles match between Ram Kaicho, former elementary school heel, and ‘underclassman’ Tsukasa Fujimoto!”)

The Japanese indie promotion Pro-Wrestling Of Darkness 666 held their 90th event on June 6 at Shinkiba 1st Ring. This event, which celebrated the fifteenth anniversary of wrestler Shinobu’s debut, also featured wrestlers from 666’s Shinjuku Nichome Pro Wrestling sub-brand. The event came with a surprising announcement: 666 wrestler Ram Kaicho (“Chairperson Ram”) will soon have a singles match with Ice Ribbon‘s Tsukasa Fujimoto.

Ram made her wrestling debut in 2005 and, being in elementary school at the time, immediately captured media attention as the youngest wrestler in Japan. She’s been called “the O.G. child wrestler.” Despite her young age, Ram retired in 2009but not before facing Riho, who made her own debut as an elementary schooler in 2006, in a famous match in Ice Ribbon.

After her retirement, Ram kept her distance from professional wrestling. That is, until 666 founder The Crazy SKB fell ill, and then-president Kana left the promotion to join WWE (where she now wrestles under the name Asuka). Seeing her home promotion in a pinch and hoping to help out, Ram returned to the ring in 2016.

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The Big Kaiju Raids Again! Interview with Shoko Nakajima

The following interview with Shoko Nakajima originally ran in Japanese in Weekly Pro Wrestling issue 2009.

Shoko Nakajima, the “1.47-Meter Big Kaiju” of Tokyo Joshi Pro Wrestler, has kept a comfortable distance from TJPW’s title scene recently. But that all changed at Shinkiba First Ring on April 13, when she issued a heartfelt challenge to Miyu Yamashita, the current Tokyo Princess of Princess champion. As her May 3 title match with Yamashita approaches, Nakajima bares her feelings towards her fellow wrestlers, as well as towards the belt that she’s yet to claim for her own.

Interview by Yuuki Ishii.

“Yamashita = Champion” — A hard truth to swallow, but the truth

What’s your impression of Miyu Yamashita right now, as you prepare to face her at Korakuen Hall?

Yamashita’s been the ace of TJPW since the moment it was founded, right? She’s carrying the whole promotion, right? I don’t think she was even aware of her position at first. But once she got the belt, I think the idea started to sprout in her head, like, “Okay, I’m the one who’s gonna lead this promotion.”

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Wild MOTHER Party – Part 8

This is part 8 of Wild MOTHER Party – a round table discussion on the MOTHER/EarthBound series of video games with series creator Shigesato Itoi, musician Maximum the Ryokun (of Maximum the Hormone) and Kenny Omega.

You’ll probably want to start with Part 1 if you’re just joining in.

In this final installment, Shigesato Itoi invites Kenny and Ryokun to look into their future creative endeavors.

Parting Comments

Itoi: It looks like we’re running out of time. Before we go, I’d like to hear about what’s coming up for the two of you.

Kenny, can we expect Japanese pro wrestling to get more interesting as long as you’re around?

Omega: I think you can. But, um, especially as the champion, it’s a little embarrassing to say so myself.

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Wild MOTHER Party – Part 7

This is part 7 of Wild MOTHER Party – a round table discussion on the MOTHER/EarthBound series of video games with series creator Shigesato Itoi, musician Maximum the Ryokun (of Maximum the Hormone) and Kenny Omega.

You’ll probably want to start with Part 1 if you’re just joining in.

Styles Clash

Ryokun: Kenny, when you’re wrestling, which do you consider more important – your own performance, or the audience’s response?

Omega: My thinking about this has changed a bit lately. At first, I was only focused on my own performance and the reactions I got from the live audience.

But social media and video streaming are a huge part of wrestling these days. The audience isn’t limited to the people sitting in the stands anymore; it’s spread out all over the world. I’ve been trying to take the fans watching from afar more into account.

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Wild MOTHER Party – Part 6

This is part 6 of Wild MOTHER Party – a round table discussion on the MOTHER/EarthBound series of video games with series creator Shigesato Itoi, musician Maximum the Ryokun (of Maximum the Hormone) and Kenny Omega.

You’ll probably want to start with Part 1 if you’re just joining in.

In this installment, Shigesato Itoi has some professional advice for Maximum the Hormone.

Senpai Notices Ryokun

Ryokun: There’s one thing I wanted to ask if I ever got to meet you, Mr. Itoi.

Itoi: What is it?

Ryokun: When you first brought your pitch for MOTHER to Nintendo, I heard they pretty much ripped it to shreds. Is that true?

Itoi: Everyone tells it so dramatically, but truth be told, the whole process was more professional than the stories make it sound. I went in expecting to be showered with praise for my ideas. On my way to Nintendo, I felt like [seminal Japanese rock musician] Eikichi Yazawa, back when he was on top of his game – “I’ll blow ’em away in one hit!”

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Wild MOTHER Party – Part 5

This is part 5 of Wild MOTHER Party – a round table discussion on the MOTHER/EarthBound series of video games with series creator Shigesato Itoi, musician Maximum the Ryokun (of Maximum the Hormone) and Kenny Omega.

You’ll probably want to start with Part 1 if you’re just joining in.

Of MOTHER 4 and Mr. Saturn

Omega: EarthBound, the international version of MOTHER 2, came in a much bigger box that other Super Nintendo games. Was that your idea, Mr. Itoi?

Itoi: Nintendo of America came up with that.

Omega: Ahh, okay. It was really surprising to see that huge box.

The first time I saw EarthBound was back in Canada, at a game rental place. I was looking through the shelves for a game to rent, and suddenly saw this huge box among all the others. “Whoa,” I thought, “what the heck is this?” It made quite an impact.

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