The second entry into the Fightful Joshi Journal takes a look at the final match of KAORU's career as she wraps it up following the Marvelous' Korakuen Hall show this past weekend, as well as taking some time to appreciate the efforts by NOMADS' in their second Freelance Summit. Plus updated standings on the 5STAR Grand Prix following the second weekend of tournament action.
A career dating back to 1986, KAORU has officially retired from professional wrestling following her final match at Korakuen Hall with Marvelous. The retirement for KAORU was a long time coming as it was originally set for 2021 but an injury prior to her final match forced her to work her way back so she could have her last match. The show itself suffered a lot of changes, fitting seeing that KAORU's retirement wasn't as originally planned either. Chigusa Nagayo, Rin Kadokura, and Ai Houzan all had to be removed from the show due to COVID-19, forcing three of the five matches to change. But no fear as Marvelous did all they can to make it arguably their best show of the year.
Starting with the main event, the emotions were (mostly) saved for the post-match rather than during. The match from start to finish was just so much fun. KAORU got to team with her W-FIX faction featuring Chikayo Nagashima, Megumi Yabushita, and DASH Chisako to take on the Marvelous team of Takumi Iroha, Mio Momono, Maria, Leo Isaka, and Tomoko Watanabe. Each wrestler had their moment with KAORU before Iroha put her career to rest with the Running Three, and that's where the emotion poured out for Iroha. Wiping away tears, she hit her finish and got to be the final person to pin KAORU. Almost instantly, she embraced the Joshi legend as the match completed, sharing words that will surely be special ones for both of them for the rest of their lives. Thankfully for fans, KAORU did in fact get to hit her signature Moonsault before wrapping it up and almost left as the winner. After the match, they celebrated KAORU's retirement with a wonderful ceremony. The love and care all the wrestlers had for KAORU spoke volumes to how important of a match and night this was for all involved.
And while the main event was fun and emotional, the impromptu AAAW Championship match was everything a world title match should be. Takumi Iroha was supposed to team with Chikayo Nagashima to challenge Itsuki Aoki and Rin Kadokura for the AAAW Tag Team Championship. As noted, Kadokura was forced to miss the match and with Nagashima already set for the main event, it was easy to do one-on-one between Iroha and Aoki. The Marvelous ace would put her title on the line and proceed to battle Aoki in one of the best matches Iroha has had since returning from her knee injury last year. Her previous vicious brilliance was back and was matched by Aoki time and time again. The match had the drama needed to bring any match from good to great, convincing the fans in attendance and watching worldwide maybe, just maybe Aoki could become a double champion.
But as Iroha often does, she turns it up to a notch few in wrestling can, let alone Joshi. Devastation was the name of the game as Iroha never stopped hitting Aoki, even when Aoki showed that life. And credit to the challenger -- she matched Iroha for most of the match. It was a valiant effort by Aoki as she had what could be considered a career-best performance but it was not enough as she fell victim to Iroha and the Running Three. Terrific bout from start to finish. Potentially the best Joshi match of the weekend.
Also on the card were Riko Kawahata and Maria, continuing the rivalry they've had throughout the year with the Joshi legends no longer in their corners. Kawahata had been set to team with Nagayo meanwhile Maria would be teaming with Yumiko Hotta. With Nagayo having to miss the show, the tag turned into a singles match much like the world title match, allowing them to showcase themselves once more. If you're looking for a wrestler in the Joshi indie circuit that has watched their stock rise in 2022, it's Maria. Her consistency and energy in every match she participates in is worth taking notice of and much of the reason Marvelous has such a strong core despite less buzz than they had a year ago.
The feud between Kawahata and Maria spilled over big time in this match as they tried to slap each other's faces off with nothing but a win on their mind. Maria ultimately won with a wicked Michinoku Driver II, being the first of these two to win one of their singles matches. Keep an eye out on both of these women moving forward but especially Maria who impresses each and every time she has a match. She's been impressive all year.
NOMADS' Freelance Summit Vol. 2 has come and gone, proving to be yet another success for the freelance promotion headed by Natsu Sumire, Miyuki Takase, Rina Yamashita, and Maya Yukihi. Sumire had her return match, teaming with Takase in a losing effort to SAKI and Hikari Shimizu.
The match worth talking about was the main event as two shows in, the main event has proven to be a must-see affair each time to this point. The match saw Nanae Takahashi and Hiroyo Matsumoto showcase their old-school style against the modern-day powerhouse team of Rina Yamashita and Yuu. From the opening bell, this match was physical. All four competitors bring something slightly different despite having a powerhouse style and it made for a top-tier tag team clash. It was Takahashi and Matsumoto who walked out victorious as Takahashi pinned Yamashita, but maybe the biggest story of all of this was Jungle Kyona arriving and making clear she will be in NOMADS' when she returns from her American excursion in the coming weeks. The match delivered and the surprise was just as good, if not better.
Full results from the show are below.
NOMADS' Freelance Summit Vol. 2 (8/5/22)
- Maya Yukihi def. Yuko Sakurai
- Saori Anou, Tae Honma & Maika Ozaki def. Kaho Kobayashi, Makoto & Moeka Haruhi
- Ryo Mizunami def. Rina Amikura
- galaxyPunch! (Hikari Shimizu & SAKI) def. Miyuki Takase & Natsu Sumire
- Nanae Takahashi & Hiroyo Matsumoto def. Rina Yamashita & Yuu
Here are the updated standings for the STARDOM 5STAR Grand Prix following their second weekend of action.
RED STARS BLOCK
4 - Risa Sera
4 - Koguma
4 - Utami Hayashishita
4 - Himeka
2 - Syuri
2 - SAKI
2 - Mai Sakurai
2 - Tam Nakano
2 - AZM
0 - Maika
0 - Unagi Sayaka
0 - Momo Kohgo
0 - Saki Kashima
BLUE STARS BLOCK
4 - MIRAI
4 - Hazuki
4 - Mina Shirakawa
4 - Saya Kamitani
4 - Natsupoi
2 - Ami Sourei
2 - Starlight Kid
2 - Mayu Iwatani
0 - Giulia
0 - Saya Iida
0 - Suzu Suzuki
0 - Momo Watanabe
0 - Hanan
Matches Worth Checking Out (8/10/22)
- NOMADS' Freelance Summit Vol. 2
- Rina Yamashita & Yuu vs. Nanae Takahashi & Hiroyo Matsumoto
- Riko Kawahata vs. Maria
- Takumi Iroha vs. Itsuki Aoki
- Leo Isaka, Maria, Mio Momono, Takumi Iroha & Tomoko Watanabe vs. W-FIX (Chikayo Nagashima, DASH Chisako, KAORU & Megumi Yabushita)
- Mayu Iwatani vs. Hanan
- Syuri & Ami Sourei vs. Utami Hayashishita & AZM.
- Hazuki vs. Starlight Kid
- Saya Kamitani vs. Momo Watanabe
Other notable Joshi results from the weekend:
TJPW Yuki Kamifuku Local Return - Kewlest Town In Shonandai! (8/7/22)
- Hikari Noa def. Haruka Neko
- Hyper Misao def. Mahiro Kiryu and Pom Harajuku
- Yuna Manase def. Moka Miyamoto
- Yuka Sakazaki & Raku def. Kaya Toribami & Suzume
- Hakuchumu (Miu Watanabe & Rika Tatsumi) def. Arisu Endo & Shoko Nakajima
- Maki Itoh & Yuki Kamifuku def. Miyu Yamashita & Nao Kakuta
You can check out the latest episode of the Joshi Dream Cast here.