Yesterday it was announced WRESTLE-1 and Wrestling New Classic had come to terms on an agreement that would be going into effect on July 1st as AKIRA, Ysukue Kodama, Koji Doi, Jiro “Ikemen” Kuroshio, Rionne Fujiwara and TAJIRI would officially be a part of the WRESTLE-1 roster. According to Puroresu Spirit, all male talent within Wrestling New Classic will be integrated over into WRESTLE–1 going forward. Founder TAJIRI will be making his debut for the promotion on July 21st at the Korakuen Hall while the rest of the talent are still in talks to begin on July 12th. TAJIRI has cited that since he has been the producer for Wrestling New Classic that is looking forward to becoming an active competitor and stepping away from that position and will be apart of Keiji Mutoh’s proposed global expansion of WRESTLE-1 and future developments.
With that said, WNC will be going on definite hiatus following their June 26th show at Shinjuku FACE, featuring Syuri taking on Aki Shizuku. It’s female talent, Makoto, Kaho Kobayashi, Lin Byron, Haruka Kato and WNC Women’s Champion Syuri will all still be affiliated with WNC-REINA, through the promotion’s established working relationship with REINA Joshi Puroresu. In the wake of the announcement, up and coming competitor Koharu Hinata has decided to split with the promotion. Hinata debuted last July and featured on number of cards, even going up against the likes of Dump Matsumoto.
However, the promotion had suffered losses in the past, back in 2012 Kana abruptly quit after not receiving compensation for four months. Kana stated in an interview with Ringstars following a loss to Nagisa Nozaki in the Women’s Championship tournament, that she contacted the promotion’s President, Tsutomu Takashima concerning the matter and was met with no acknowledgement. Instead, the “World Famous” competitor became a freelancer again and the decision has served her right.
Currently in her second reign, Syuri has continued to hold the title while collecting the REINA World Women’s and CMLL-REINA International Championships. On March 16th, she added a mixed martial arts title, the KRUSH Women’s Championship, accumulating to four championships in total. Syuri dropped the CMLL-REINA International Title to Amapola during a cross-promotional tour with Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre (CMLL) in Mexico City, Mexico on April 20th. Her collection has dwindled down to three, but Syuri has an upcoming fight against Kanako Taniyama for the Krush Women’s Title on July 13th and will also be performing with acting group, Mizuiro Kakumei, from June 20-22nd.
As for the remainder of the roster, Lin Byron received her rematch for the the WNC Women’s Championship against Syuri back in November. In March, she(under her persona as “Ray“) and Leon vacated the REINA World Tag Team Titles, ushering in an eight-team tournament. Byron has resumed her heel character, donning all black attire in both promotions and has self-produced two shows this year. Kaho Kobayashi and Makoto won the vacated titles and loss them to Shizuku and Ariya the following month. Makoto and Kobayashi will be challenging Risa Sera and Maki Narumiya for the International Ribbon Tag Team Championships on REINA’s June 29th show. The winners will be defending the titles against Yuka and Mio Shirai on July 21st for Ice Ribbon.
Keiji Mutoh reportedly has stated that he wants a joshi division within WRESTLE-1 at some point. Hikaru Shida, Kyoko Kimura, Hiroyo Matsumoto, Mio Shirai, “Amazon” Ayesha Ray, Kellie Skater, Syuri, Bambi, Hinata, Hibiscus Mii, Makoto and AKINO have all appeared under the promotion since its launch, including Ice Ribbon’s Tsukasa Fujimoto, Risa Sera, Maki Narumiya, STARDOM’s Yoshiko, Mayu Iwatani, Shu Shibutani, Ryo Mizunami, DIANA’s Sareee, Kaoru Ito and Gatoh Move’s Emi Sakura, Riho and Kotori. As part of their working relationship, the promotion was part of TNA’s One Night Only pay-per-view, “Outbreak.” The show featured Gail Kim against then Knockouts Champion Madison Rayne in a non-title contest ahead of their Steel Cage Match at Lockdown. On the other side, REINA Joshi Puroresu has suffered its own setbacks, consequently forced its relaunch in 2012. But the current roster consists of on regular competitors like Mima Shimoda, La Comandante, Dump Matsumoto and has featured international talent from “Crazy” Mary Dobson, Alex Lee, Seleziya Sparx, Allysin Kay to Jenny Rose.
Photography courtesy of Yuichi Kojima