Interview with NOMADS' Miyuki Takase, Maya Yukihi, Rina Yamashita, and Sumire Natsu

On May 5, 2022, Volume 1 of the NOMADS' Freelance Summit led by freelance wrestlers Miyuki Takase, Maya Yukihi, Rina Yamashita, and Sumire Natsu took place at a sold-out Shinjuku FACE in Tokyo, Japan. The six-match event featured many of the best Joshi freelancers in Japan and was able for wrestling fans to view worldwide. NOMADS' Freelance Summit Vol. 1 was headlined by Takase teaming with Ryo Mizunami of AEW fame to defeat the duo of Yukihi and Yamashita. By all accounts on the outside looking in, it was a success and they announced at the conclusion of the show that Volume 2 will take place on August 5.

As fans await the next chapter of NOMADS', I took the opportunity to reach out to the four women powering NOMADS' to ask them about the first show, their overall expectations for NOMADS' going forward, if there are plans for championships to be introduced, the potential of them going overseas in the future as both Takase and Yamashita have recently, and so much more.

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Answering as a group, here's what they had to say:

Q: How happy were you all with the success of the first summit?

A: 70%. On the day of, after asking all customers to take COVID precaution measures such as temperature checks, disinfection at the entrance, wearing of masks, etc., we lifted all other recent restrictions on pro-wrestling shows (in Japan, there are still many shows that limit cheering and the number of seats).

Therefore, those that attended the show said that it reminded them of the enthusiasm at pro-wrestling shows pre-COVID. On the other hand, we also found many areas for improvement. In running a show, we want not only the fans but also the participating wrestlers and staff to be able to work in a comfortable environment, so we feel that we could have done some things differently.

Q: Why should international fans check out NOMADS’ upcoming shows moving forward?

A: There are many pro-wrestling promotions in Japan, ranging from major to local. Recently, while the number of promotions that focus on overseas streaming, such as major companies, has increased, there are still many environments where the dissemination of video and information to overseas fans has not caught up.

All the wrestlers who compete in NOMADS' are freelancers, and the recognition from overseas fans is inevitably influenced by the environments they wrestle in. Therefore, we would like overseas fans to watch NOMADS' by all means; we want fans to know that there are still many attractive wrestlers in Japan, and hope that fans find wrestlers they can get behind.

Q: NOMADS’ Freelance Summit Vol. 1 had a great variety throughout the card. Do you credit that to the talents and what they bring to the table as performers?

A: For each match and the wrestlers, all we wanted was for them to do whatever they want. We wanted each wrestler to show what they want to show here and now, without any restrictions. That is the “sell” of NOMADS', not only to the fans but also to the wrestlers when we book them, so if those who saw the previous show felt that the show was above expectations, the credit largely goes to each wrestler.

Q: What freelance wrestler(s) should fans keep an eye on in the future?

A: As we are not a promotion and are just operators of a show with freelancers, we are not in a position to make judgments like that. Having said that, it is a wonderful thing if fans can find a wrestler to keep an eye on through NOMADS’, and we believe that the participating wrestlers go into our shows with the mentality that they will make new fans through their performances at our shows.

Q: Are there plans for ASUKA and Saori Anou to face each other at the next show after the double countout at Vol. 1?

A: We can't say for sure if that's feasible at the next show, but we are hoping for a rematch between the two. We saw a lot of passion in that match as if they were putting their pride as freelancers on the line against each other.

Q: International fans enjoyed what they saw in the first NOMADS’ event. Without revealing any of the card, what can fans expect to see the Volume 2 and moving forward?

A: The previous show was the first show, so we think there was an element of it being a showcase of sorts. However, in the future, we would like to provide more things that can only be seen at NOMADS'.

Q: While NOMADS’ is all about freelance, it’s worth asking — Would you consider NOMADS’ an unofficial promotion for freelancers? Almost like a home base for them?

A: NOMADS' may be a place for freelancers to gather at their own will, but it is by no means a place to bind them or bundle them together. Therefore, it is not to be looked at as a promotion or a home base, but rather a party or festival.

Q: Has there been any interest in introducing a championship in the future for NOMADS’?

A: Not at the moment. A championship is a part of a promotion’s culture and history, so we think that is something that is a part of the enjoyment of following wrestling promotions, and it doesn't make much sense for NOMADS', which is just an event, to introduce belts.

But on the other hand, we think it could be interesting and would let us show a new type of breadth to wrestling if we could, in the future, host freelance-only tournaments or tag leagues with combinations of wrestlers that you can only see at NOMADS’.

Q: Both Miyuki Takase and Rina Yamashita have traveled to the United States recently for matches and Maya Yukihi has expressed interest in doing the same — would you like to potentially travel as a team in the future?

A: There is nothing but interest. We want to bring that heat in our venues to international fans live, and have them experience Japanese wrestlers up close, so if NOMADS’ can be the vehicle to do that, we would absolutely love to go as a team (we’re talking to YOU, overseas promoters!)

Q: Is there a match you’re really hoping to see happen in NOMADS’?

A: If a single match between wrestlers involved in different Japanese championships can be realized, we feel that we would be able to contribute to the pro-wrestling industry.

Q: Do you have an opponent you’re hoping to face in the future that you’ve never faced before?

(Natsu, Yukihi, and Yamashita could not narrow it down to one answer, but Takase said she would like to fight EVERY wrestler she has never faced before.)

Q: What’s your ultimate vision for the future of NOMADS’ now that the first show happened?

A: We would be very happy if wrestlers who are currently only active in Japan become active worldwide through NOMADS'. We’d also like make it a place that can help promote wrestlers and their activities; we want to be able to do things like support/run their anniversary shows, etc.

As part of the interview, I also asked each wrestler a specific question based on their future with NOMADS' and outside. Here's what each of them had to say.

Q: For Miyuki Takase — You’ve wrestled in multiple opponents against so many top-tier talents like yourself. Who was your biggest test? Who would you like to test yourself against next?

Miyuki Takase: A, It is very difficult to decide just one among many wrestlers. Powerful wrestlers, wrestlers who break down body parts, huge wrestlers, agile wrestlers; they all have different characteristics and are formidable in their own way. In having matches with them, I always fight with myself internally. My biggest rival will always be myself, and the one I never want to lose to is the Miyuki Takase of the past. In the future, I would like to fight many overseas wrestlers in front of overseas fans!

Q: For Rina Yamashita — Would you like to do a deathmatch on a future NOMADS’ show? If so, who would you like to face?

Rina Yamashita: I’m not interested in having hardcore or deathmatches at NOMADS’. That’s not what I’m looking for in the NOMADS’ ring.

Q: For Maya Yukihi — What has been your favorite part of being a freelancer since the end of 2021? Where would you like to compete next?

Maya Yukihi: My favorite thing about going freelance is getting to compete in more promotions and getting discovered by more fans that did not know me previously. The place I’d like to compete next is OVERSEAS!!

Q: For Sumire Natsu — After wrestling the exhibition match with Takase at the first show, how did you feel? Would you like to wrestle more moving forward?

Sumire Natsu: It was the first time in my career that I had been away from the ring for so long. Although it was in the form of an exhibition match, I am very happy that the opponent I met in the ring for the first time in a long time was Miyuki Takase. Because it was her, I felt safe and reassured having that match. However, as for the content of the match, I have to say I was disappointed in the fact that I felt a distance between me and the audience, due to the fact that I had been away.

I intend to keep wrestling, 100%. I am very aware of the reactions from overseas fans who are waiting for me to come back, and I promise to see you all again.

A huge thank you goes to Mr. HAKU of KOTATSU STUDIOS (Twitter: @misterhakusan) for helping set this interview up and translating their responses. You can check out his YouTube page here, where he's interviewed Yamashita and ASUKA (VENY) as part of his pilot series.

And of course, a huge thank you to Sumire Natsu, Miyuki Takase, Rina Yamashita, and Maya Yukihi for taking the time out of their busy schedules to take part in this interview.

If you want to follow along with NOMADS', you can follow them on Twitter (@NOMADS_fs) for announcements and more. You can also follow each wrestler on the following accounts:

Miyuki Takase: @myuki3114

Maya Yukihi: @yukihi_maya

Rina Yamashita: @wryyyyna66

Sumire Natsu: @SMR_sptmber_luv

NOMADS' Freelance Summit Vol. 2 hails from Shinjuku FACE on August 5, 2022 at 6:00 a.m. EST. Stay tuned to their Twitter for details on ordering the stream for the event.

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