Friday, December 23, 2011

Confessions of a Joshi Puroresu Blogger

Ayako, Ayumi, and Hiroyo @ SHIMMER
(Photo: David Falcon)


I am going off-line for the foreseeable future beginning at midnight tonight.  But before I do, let me thank you for sharing my enthusiasm for women's wrestling and Joshi Puroresu in particular.  Well over 10,000 visits have been made to Falcon's Joshi Blog in the past several weeks.  It's exciting to see that people from every continent (except Antartica - haha!) click in to follow certain promotions, wrestlers, photographers, or just get my idiosyncratic take on the wrestling world.  There is a lot of content on this blog (290 entries since it began last February - that's almost one entry per day).  I will leave the blog up for a while so enjoy the photos, interviews, and stories of women athletes around the world

Malia Hosaka
(photo:  Gilda)

But who is the women's wrestling fan behind this blog?  David Falcon has been watching women's wrestling since the 1970's.  In 1981 I drove through a snow storm in Denver, CO, to a movie theater to see "All the Marbles," a fictional film about a women's tag team named the California Dolls (the great 1980s joshi babyface Mimi Hagiwara made a cameo wrestling appearance in that film).  I continued to watch LPWA and WCW in the late '80s and early '90s -- my favorite wrestler was Malia Hosaka.  I remember when LPWA invited LLPW from Japan over to Minnesota.  I remember when Akira Hokuto, Toshie Uematsu, and Chigusa Nagayo came over from GAEA to work WCW shows in the mid 1990's.  All this began to turn my interest to Japan and the Joshi Puroresu scene.  But it wasn't until 1998 that the Internet and Joshi Puroresu came together for me in the form of ARSION, GAEA, AJW, and JWP websites and blogs that gave me access to the Japanese scene on a timely basis.  I followed the golden age of Japanese wrestling 1989-1994 as a history student:  Hokuto, Bull Nakano, Kyoko and Takako Inoue, Manami Toyota and Toshiyo Yamada.  I discovered Aja Kong, Mayumi Ozaki, Megumi Kudo, and Mima Shimoda.  I followed the ARSION promotion with Aja and Mariko Yoshida training the likes of Michiko Ohmukai, Tamada, Fukawa, GAMI, Ai Fujita, the young AKINO and Ayako Hamada.

In 2004 I had the chance to visit Japan, and without planning too much in advance, I was able to see two shows -- A to Z and Jd' at Korakuen Hall (in late February).  What a thrill to see Momoe, Kayo Noumi, Yumi Ohka, Mirai, Fuuka, and Mika Nishio live and in person!  It was a thrilling day -- my first live shows, my first photos and memorabilia. 

When I returned to New York, I occasionally visited ROH shows in New York and saw the likes of Lacey and Nikki Roxx.  But mostly I surfed promotion sites and wrestler webpages in hopes of seeing recent match photographs.

Mia feels the slap of Angel Dust (JAPW WD 1/10)
(Photo: David Falcon)

In November of 2009, I saw some of Marshall's photos of a JAPW-WD show featuring a match between Annie Social and a new athletic wrestler, Mia Yim.  This set of photos from JAPW Girl Power to be exact (11/09):!cpZZ3QQtppZZ28   
Mia reminded me of the young Toshiyo Yamada -- a sporty ass-kicker with serious intensity.  With JAPW beginning a women's division in New Jersey, I thought it was finally time to get out from behind my computer screen and drive to Bayonne, NJ, for a wrestling show.  On the card January 9, 2010, were Sara Del Rey, Cheerleader Melissa, Hailey Hatred, Rachael Summerlyn, Ayako Hamada, Sumie Sakai, Annie Social, Brittany Force, Portia Perez, and, yes, the young Mia Yim (just 20 yrs old).  It was a thrilling show and a great opportunity to begin taking photos and collecting signed photos.  It was exciting to meet Mia that night and begin following her career.  I contacted her on MySpace and began a fan/supporter relationship with Mia.  In the almost two years since, I have seen Mia wrestle at least ten times at JAPW, PWR, PWS, and SHIMMER/SPARKLE.

Following Mia made me want to meet and follow other talented wrestlers.  Marti Belle and Divina Fly/Rosita were two that I had the privilege to meet and support in the NY/NJ area.  I credit them with being two of the sweetest, most talented and committed wrestlers I know.  We are already seeing Rosita's career taking off in TNA, and Marti has an ever growing fan base who are fiercely loyal to her.

Marti Belle (AIW 7/10)
(Photo: David Falcon)

SHIMMER was a game changer for me.  Though I have never met Dave Prazak, I want to thank him for his vision and follow through in getting serious women wrestlers together to work superb matches in an epic, all-day format that is heaven for wrestling fans!  I got to meet my joshi heroes like Ayako Hamada and Ayumi Kurihara, meet new favorites like Hiroyo Matsumoto and Tomoka Nakagawa, and be introduced to some of the finest wrestlers in the world:  Sara Del Rey, Cheerleader Melissa, Mercedes Martinez, Madison Eagles, Nicole Matthews, Jessie McKay, Athena, and so many others.

I also met some fanatical wrestling fans that were serious about this sport.  I will take this time to thank John Hyperion, Michael Liao, Oliver Saupe, Diva Dirt's Steven, and Wrestling Wally the legendary ring photographer.  All of them were kind to me and answered my questions or at least shared my enthusiasm for the women's wrestling world.  I was privileged to attend great shows at CHIKARA this year as well -- what a fabulous promotion.  If I were a wrestler, that's where I'd like to work.  WSU and AIW staged some great shows over the last two years that I was privileged to attend and I would like to thank them for their commitment to women athletes.

L to R:  Billy, Oliver, John, Malvi, Matt, Dasa, Sonny, & Michael in SHIMMER line.
(Photo:  David Falcon)

The year could not have ended better for me than with a trip to Asylum Areana in Philadelphia for the opening night of Joshimania sponsored by CHIKARA.  A big thank you to Mike Quackenbush for having the vision to bring the grand old stars of Joshi including Manami Toyota and Aja Kong, two of the best of all time, as well as the great Mayumi Ozaki, Toshie Uematsu, GAMI, Meiko, Ayako Hamada, and younger stars Yoneyama, Kuragaki, Nakamori, Mio Shirai, Cherry, and others.  What a dream come true to meet these stars and get photos with them.  I topped off the evening with a cheesesteak from Tony Luke's -- what a night!

Manami Toyota under pressure from Toshie Uematsu (Joshimania 12/11)
(Photo: David Falcon)

Now it's time for me to unplug.  Though I will no longer blog, attend live shows, or have an online presence (Twitter and Facebook will be disabled at midnight also), I will still follow the promotional websites and the occasional ippv.  It is so gratifying to see the success of my "Four to Watch for 2011" -- Mia Yim, Rosita, Marti Belle, and Athena -- it is hard to imagine four other women who have had better years in the business than these four had.  Seeing their growth and success has been deeply satisfying, even though I had nothing to do with it.  I wish each of them well in 2012.  If I were picking Four to Watch for 2012 "Lexxus, Mercedes KV, Davina Rose, and Evie (NZ)" would top my list.

So thank you all, wrestlers, promoters, fans, and my Internet family for including me for this past year.  I have enjoyed meeting you all.  There is so much good content out there from photos to write ups, to results, that I doubt this blog will be missed -- but thank you for visiting it occasionally.  Enjoy the growing athletic and commercial success of women's wrestling -- it has the brightest of futures!


(Photos: David Falcon)


  1. I'm sorry to hear (read?) that you're calling it quits. I haven't been following your blog all that long, but I have really enjoyed looking at the photos (especially CHIKARA and SHIMMER) over the past few months. I'll miss that daily routine if nothing else. And my chance to view these various shows from afar (being a Canadian it's a smidgen tricky for me to get to the US shows).

    I certainly understand the need to switch things up, though. All the best, David.

  2. Hope you will reconsider! You have made excellent contributions to the joshi community on the web.


  3. Thank you both for the encouragment and the affirmation. I hope my passion and respect for these athletes comes through. I would like to get back into it some day, but life will not allow that now. DP, I will always follow SHIMMER with great interest -- I'm a huge admirer!

  4. Amen DP, amen. David, your blog was one of the online compass points people like me discovered while also growing my own enjoyment of REAL women's wrestling. I am truly sorry to see you go. But at least I know that in October 2011, we were both there in person to witness what is in my mind the greatest female wrestling event to be held on American soil so far. Good luck in whatever you do in 2012, and know that those who have benefited from your hard work will not forget it.

  5. Thank you so much, Craig. I'm pleased to hear that you enjoyed the blog. It's most encouraging to read your comments. I truly enjoyed attending the past three SHIMMER shows -- nothing short of phenomenal! All the best to you -- a true women's wrestling fan -- in the new year.