We touched on the retirement of joshi puroresu competitor Natsuki☆Taiyo in this week’s Roundup, including warm sentiments from Kellie Skater – and it’s fair to say that the 30 year old will be missed by a multitude of fans around the world. If you’ve never had the good fortune to see her wrestle either live or even on video, it’s safe to say that she was one of the most incredibly fearless and dynamic wrestlers to ever step foot in the ring. The Roundup story lists a number of titles she won during her decade in wrestling, but to me for the last few years she has been synonymous with the High Speed Championship – a title which she was the inaugural (and eventual four times) holder of – but a title that was quite simply made for her. Having lost her High Speed Championship to Io Shirai last month, Taiyo took on STARDOM founder Nanae Takahashi for her retirement match – an unsurprising choice, not only because Takahashi & Taiyo have been super close for years, but because when they’ve wrestled in the past, they often create magic. The show, aired in Japan live on Samurai TV, was capped and uploaded on Dailymotion within hours, and we’ve got it for you here in four parts.
It’s a four part upload and a four match show, and for ease of access, we’ll talk you through what to expect in each part from an in-ring perspective. In part one (below) you’ll get the opening match, which saw a STARDOM team compete against the ‘Enemy Army’ in an eight-person elimination match. Team STARDOM was Yoshiko, Act Yasukawa, Kairi Hojo & 16-year old rookie Koguma while the ‘Enemy Army’ was comprised of Alpha Female, Kyoko Kimura, Tomoka Nakagawa and their partner – japanese indy sleaze legend, Danshoku Dino, who is, if you’ve never seen him, an aggressively homosexual male wrestler!
By the end of part one, you’ll have seen the ring introductions for match number two, which is featured in part two (below), and it features a defence of the Artist of STARDOM (trios) Titles, as Hiroyo Matsumoto, the wacky Miho Wakizawa & Mayu Iwatani make their fourth defence of the titles against the team of Kaori Yoneyama, the masked Hatsuhinode Kamen & Sayaka Obihiro. Following that relatively short match, there’s a cracker of a singles match as World of STARDOM Champion Io Shirai puts her red belt on the line against Takumi Iroha. Check this one out – Io Shirai has been having a pretty great 2014 so far, and this is an excellent title defence against someone who has only just passed her first anniversary as a pro-wrestler in Iroha.
The main event features in part three of the video (below) and really doesn’t require any further buildup. This is Taiyo (in the white) in her last match, taking on her friend and colleague Takahashi in a stellar match full of drama and emotion. Part four (further below) features the extended retirement ceremony and all the pageantry you’d come to expect from a big joshi retirement match. Take it all in and enjoy.
Photography via STARDOM official website