Joshi star Ran Yu Yu is retiring this weekend, capping a career lasting just over 19 years with a final match against Mayumi Ozaki in Oz Academy this Sunday. Much like her famous regular tag team partner Toshie Uematsu, who retired in April, Ran had made it clear for some time that this was her final run as an active joshi competitor – including running her own self-produced “StarlightsRegret” show this past Sunday as a precursor to her retirement, which saw her team with Aja Kong, Akino, Hiroyo Matsumoto & Tomoka Nakagawa to defeat the team of Carlos Amano, Chikayo Nagashima, Meiko Satoura, Sonoko Kato & Tsubasa Kuragaki in an all-star ten woman tag match. Ran picked up the win for her team in 62:54, defeating Kuragaki. Yes, the match lasted over an hour.
In this week’s retro, we turn the clock back on Ran’s career ten years to 2002, and a feud she was having with the now retired Azumi Hyuga, who was at the time the JWP Openweight Champion. This is May 19th, and Ran is challenging Hyuga for her title in a streetfight. Ran, first to the ring, is clothed for a fight and brandishing a baseball bat, while Hyuga (in normal wrestling gear) comes out with a chain. It’s vicious, it’s uncompromising, and it won the “Best Bout of 2002” award for JWP that year – and as Ran Yu Yu departs as an active competitor, it probably represents one of her greatest career matches. Enjoy.
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