In the latest episode of Count 2.99, Koji and Sean run down their predictions for G1 Climax 28 and the Mae Young Classic, then talk with Japanese Stardom fans to get their perspectives on foreign talent, Stardom alumni in WWE and more.
Bear with me for a little bit of introduction before the translation this time around. Tokyo Joshi Pro Wrestling, as a promotion, is more character-driven than most. Though there’s little in the way of official translated content available, many of the characters fit into archetypes – Wannabe superhero! Serious martial artist! Disgraced pop singer! Snooty aristocrat! Hungry zombie! – that any audience can immediately identify, no matter what language they speak.
Nodoka Oneesan (my personal favorite member of the TJPW roster, incidentally) is not one of these characters.
Nodoka’s current character is based on hosts from Japanese children’s shows – most specifically, from a program called Okaasan to Asobou (Let’s Play with Mommy!) that aired from 1966 to 1982. One incarnation of this particular show is the origin of both her entrance music and Pin Pon Pan Taiso, the aerobic dance she leads as part of all of her pre-match promos.
Similar programs still air on TV in Japan today, most notably Okaasan to Issho (Together with Mommy), the inspiration for much of Okaasan to Asobou, which has run on NHK since 1959. A cast of “Big Brothers” and “Big Sisters” hosts the show, leading children in songs and simple exercises. Each of them suffixes their name with oniisan or oneesan and writes it in easy-to-read hiragana, just like Nodoka Oneesan’s current ring name. Big Sister Nodoka.
Anyway, now that you know all that, read on to find out why you don’t need to know all that anymore.
(This interview was originally published in Japanese in the August 2018 issue of Ladys Ring.)
For this installment of Ladys Ring’s “Dangerous Women” series, we sat down for a candid interview with Maki Ito – the outspoken “idol wrestler” who has an army of Tokyo Joshi Pro Wrestling fans calling her name whenever she brings her unique presence to the ring. Interview by Junichi Sase.
Your wrestling career has a lot of people talking. When is it that you feel most like you’ve truly become a wrestler?
Back when I was an idol, all I did was sing and dance, week in, week out. But nowadays, working out – not to mention getting tackled and so on – has become more of an everyday thing for me. As an idol, I just felt blank. But now that I’m a wrestler, I’m constantly suffering. I’m finally feeling something! It’s like, “Ah, this is what it means to be a wrestler!”
Your wrestling career has roots back in 2013, when you participated in DDT’s Idol Lumberjack 4-Way at Ryogoku Sumo Hall as a member of LinQ. What did you think when you first got that offer?
I was completely on board! I had absolutely zero interest in pro wrestling, but it’s Sumo Hall, right? I’d never performed there before, of course, so I said yes for the chance to get on such a huge stage. Besides, it’s not like I did any actual wrestling in that match! Just headbutts.
Wait, wait, wait! Before I give up, everyone, please… I wrote a new story for you all. I stayed up all night last night writing it! Please, just listen to my story, and as soon as it’s over, I’ll go over the top rope myself. I promise.
(This article originally appeared in Japanese on Tokyo Sports under the headline “Minoru Suzuki: A wicked morning meeting with the innocent children at his old school.”)
Minoru Suzuki (49), known to pro wrestling fans as “the man with the worst personality in the world,” returned to his original elementary school, Hiranuma Elementary in Yokohama, on May 21. During his visit, he revealed one of the ideas behind his upcoming “Great Pirate Festival” event (June 23-24, at the Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse). This event celebrates Suzuki’s 30-year wrestling career.
Suzuki appeared as a guest at the school’s regular morning meeting, where he offered advice to nearly 600 students on how to make their dreams come true:
Kagetsu (age 25), the leader of Stardom’s heel stable Oedo Tai, issued an ultimatum to Mayu Iwatani (age 25), the promotion’s icon, on May 14.
At Korakuen Hall on May 23, Oedo Tai (Kagetsu, Hana Kimura, Sumire Natsu and Hazuki) will face Iwatani’s stable STARS (Iwatani, Saki Kashima, Tam Nakano and Shiki Shibusawa) in an eight-woman tag match. In an unusual move for Stardom, it’ll be a three-fall match with a 30-minute time limit. Kagetsu had this to say… Continue reading “Kagetsu to Mayu Iwatani: A Final Threat”
Count 2.99 is a great wrestling bar in central Osaka. The bar hosts a regular YouTube series where owner Koji Kitayama and Sean Bradley break down hot topics in the Japanese wrestling scene for an international audience. I get to help out by writing Koji’s subtitles.
In episode 6, they talk about Japanese fan reactions to Wrestlemania 34 (including Maki Ito’s) and issues with fans posting GIFs of matches on social media.