Wednesday, May 31, 2006

JWP's 15th Anniversary show

JWP held their 15th anniversary show May 28 at Korakuen Hall. Of course the amazing part is that JWP even got to their 15th anniversary. JWP was a very good company back in the joshi heydays of the 90s. They had some of the most popular wrestlers like Mayumi Ozaki, Dynamite Kansai, Cuty Suzuki & Hikari Fukuoka. Then some of the wrestlers started to retire and others jumped ship. Things were pretty bad by 2002. The company should have closed but Commando Bolshoi found a way to keep JWP going and they're even on TV now. They still don't draw. They couldn't even fill Korakuen Hall for a big show and they run too many shows in front of too few fans. But JWP has improved a lot over the last couple of years but that's not saying very much.

Former JWP wrestlers Devil Masami, Mayumi Ozaki, Dynamite Kansai, Ran YuYu & Carlos Amano returned for this show. Also retired JWP wrestlers Hikari Fukuoka, Cuty Suzuki, Kana Mizaki & Hiromi Yagi. Yagi was an excellent wrestler who unfortunately never got a proper retirement show. As many of you are aware, I am a huge Hikari Fukuoka fan. She looks fantastic and has a child. Cuty Suzuki was very popular in her day. Cuty got married in May of last year and is expecting her first child in July.

Devil Masami, Mayumi Ozaki & Dynamite Kansai returned for a special 15th anniversary 6 woman tag match. It would be Kayoko Haruyama, Kaori Yoneyama & Devil Masami vs Commando Bolshoi, Mayumi Ozaki & Dynamite Kansai. It was said to be a very good match with the "old timers" really delivering the goods. Haruyama won over Bolshoi in 19:17. The main event had Manami Toyota winning the JWP Open Weight Title from Tsubasa Kuragaki. Kauragaki put on a very spirited defense but Toyota won with the Queen Bee Bomb at 29:57. Here's the results of the show.

JWP - 5/28/06 - Korakuen Hall
KAZUKI def. Sachie Abe in 10:30
GAMI & Ayumi Kurihara def. ECO & Yasusato Nakajima (GAMI over Nakajima in 17:30)Kayoko Haruyama, Kaori Yoneyama & Devil Masami def. Commando Bolshoi, Mayumi Ozaki & Dynamite Kansai (Haruyama over Bolshoi in 19:17)
Azumi Hyuga & Ran YuYu def. Carlos Amano & Yuki Miyazaki (Hyuga over Miyazaki in 22:08)
JWP OPEN WEIGHT TITLE MATCH:Manami Yoyota won the title over Tsubasa Kuragaki in 29:57)

Two matches added to June 11 G-Shooto show

Two more matches have been added to G-Shooto's June 11 show at Kitazawa Town Hall. Here's the updated card. All matches are scheduled for two five minute rounds.

G-SHOOTO - 6/11/06 - Kitazawa Town Hall
CLASS C+ 48KG BOUT-Misaki Takimoto vs Maho Muranami
CLASS C+ 49KG BOUT-Eri Kanetari vs Yuka Okumura
CLASS C+ 52KG BOUT-Youko vs Seri
CLASS C+ 48KG BOUT-Wakako Sunayama vs Madoka Ebihara
CLASS C+ 58KG BOUT-Miyuki Ariga vs Mamitora

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Tower Of Power
Song:Back On The Streets Again
Album:What Is Hip?:The Tower Of Power Anthology

Jazz/rock horn bands were very popular in the late 60s but San Francisco's Tower Of Power probably had the best horn sound. They were popular with other musicians and would turn up on plenty of sessions. The group was led by tenor saxman Emilio Castillo, baritone saxman Stephen Kupka & trumpeter Greg Adams and added singer Lenny Williams for their big hit You're Still A Young Man. Castillo & Kupka wrote most of the songs including Back On The Streets Again from their first record East Bay Grease. What Is Hip? is a 2CD comp from Rhino and is the one to get if you like funk and you want to get into these guys. Tower Of Power continued to record into the 80s & 90s but you're best to stick with their 70s Warner Bros. recordings.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:John Coltrane
Album:The Complete 1961 Village Vanguard Recordings

Because the recordings from these sessions are spread out over several releases, this 4CD box set is probably the best way to get them. Mostly it features the "Classic" John Coltrane quartet; John Coltrane-tenor sax, McCoy Tyner-piano, Jimmy Garrison-bass, Elvin Jones-drums. Eric Dolphy also appears on alto sax on some songs. Impressions features the quartet and is a tremendous performance. Considering that John Coltrane died at age 40 of liver cancer in 1967, he has had more impact than any musician in jazz history.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Kasey Kahne wins Coca Cola 600

The main issue at Sunday's Coca Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte in the NASCAR Nextel Cup was pit strategy. This was because NASCAR mandated smaller 13 gallon fuel tanks at Charlotte meaning more pit stops. This was done because of tire problems at Charlotte last year and they wanted that minimized by shorter runs. But with the track repaved and Goodyear providing a more durable tire, it wasn't necessary and will likely be changed for the fall race. So there were a lot of leaders during the race mostly due to varying pit strategies. The Ray Evernham Dodges looked strong with Scott Riggs & Jeremy Mayfield in the front row.

For the second night in a row, a tire problem forced Tony Stewart-#20 Home Depot Chevy into the wall hard on lap 34. And for the second night in a row, Tony was taken to the hospital. He was diagnosed with a broken right scapula and it is not known if he will race next week at Dover. I'll bet that he does. The other major incident was at lap 314 when Casey Mears-#42 Texaco Havoline Dodge lost control and bumped Kyle Busch-#5 Kellogg's/Disney Pixar Cars Chevy into the wall and out of the race. Busch proceeded to throw part of his HANS device at Mears. There will be some discipline for this. Like his brother, Kyle needs to control his temper better.

The pattern for the race was whoever was leading would pull away until the next pit stop. The lead would change depending on how many tires you took or if you took tires at all. The guys are mostly pitting for fuel. Scott Riggs-#10 Valvoline Dodge & Kasey Kahne-#9 UAW Dodge Dealers Dodge seemed to emerge as the strongest cars. But a pit mistake at the wrong time killed Riggs. On a green flag pit stop on lap 362, Riggs stalled his car and then his pit crew took equipment out of the pit while trying to push him. Jeff Gordon-#24 Dupont Chevy hit the wall to bring out a caution on lap 363 so the penalty to Riggs wasn't as bad. He was sent to the back of the longest line on the restart. But it cost him a possible win and he finished 13th.

Carl Edwards-#99 Office Depot Ford led on the restart followed by Kasey Kahne & Jimmie Johnson-#48 Lowe's Chevy. Kahne took the lead on lap 371 followed by Johnson. Johnson closed the gap but Kahne held on for the win.

Congratulations to Kasey Kahne, crew chief Kenny Francis and car owner Ray Evernham for the victory. Big top ten finishes for Jamie McMurray who has had a tough year as well as rookies Denny Hamlin & Reed Sorenson. Jimmie Johnson still leads the points. Next week the Nextel Cup boys are in Dover, DE. Here's the top ten of the race.

1.9/Kasey Kahne/UAW Dodge Dealers/Dodge/Ray Evernham
2.48/Jimmie Johnson/Lowe's/Chevy/Rick Hendrick
3.99/Carl Edwards/Office Depot/Ford/Jack Roush
4.6/Mark Martin/AAA/Ford/Jack Roush
5.17/Matt Kenseth/R & L Carriers/Ford/Jack Roush
6.31/Jeff Burton/Cingular/Chevy/Richard Childress
7.16/Greg Biffle/National Guard/Ford/Jack Roush
8.26/Jamie McMurray/Smirnoff Ice/Ford/Jack Roush
9.11/Denny Hamlin/FedEx/Chevy/Joe Gibbs
10.41/Reed Sorenson/Target/Dodge/Chip Ganassi

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Chaka Khan
Song:I'm Every Woman
Album:Epiphany:The Best Of Chaka Khan Vol. 1

Chaka Khan became known as lead singer of the group Rufus. When she left the group she became even more popular. Though she is closely identified with I'm Every Woman, it was written and produced by uber producers Valerie Simpson & Nick Ashford. When Whitney Houston covered the song it was interpreted as a tribute to Chaka but Val was in the video too. This collection is probably worth getting. Chaka hasn't made a decent record since the 80s.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Roy Hargrove
Song:Forget Regret
Album:Hard Factor

Roy Hargrove is one of the Young Lions of today's jazz. He became a musician when Wynton Marsalis visited his high school in Waco, TX and Marsalis asked Hargrove to sit in with his band. Hargrove his a great trumpeter but he has also ventured into R & B territory with his group RH Factor. That's what he's done with Hard Factor. He likes to work with a lot of the Philly Neo Soul artists. Forget Regret features Erykah Badu on vocals. He still does jazz recordings but recently has concentrated more on RH Factor. The guy is good regardless.

Carl Edwards wins Charlotte Busch Series race

Sometimes in racing a race car driver doesn't actually win a race but another driver actually loses the race. That's what happened at Saturday's Carquest Auto Parts 300 NASCAR Busch Series race at Lowe's Motor Speedway at Charlotte. Matt Kenseth won the pole for the race.

Jamie McMurray-#64 Top Flite Golf Dodge & Tony Stewart-#33 Old Spice Chevy crashed very hard early in the race. Both guys were taken to hospital as a precaution but are OK. Thank God for the SAFR barriers. Concrete would have been catastrophic. The caution for Tony's crash was followed by a long green run dominated by Matt Kenseth-#17 Ameriquest Ford. He lapped most of the field.

Unfortunately, Kenseth blew an engine on a restart and Casey Mears-#42 Texaco Havoline Dodge took the lead. Mears' crew chief Todd Parrott decided not to stop to take fuel and tried to run 80 laps on a tank of fuel. Everyone else took on fuel. So when Mears sputtered with six laps left, he lost the race and finished fourth. Carl Edwards-#60 Ameriquest Ford won the race. Kevin Harvick still leads the points race.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Shantelle Taylor signs with the WWE

As expected, Toronto based wrestler Shantelle Taylor has signed a developmental contract with the WWE. She announced this on her website today. The rumours started last week when Shantelle cancelled out of the SHIMMER tapings. The WWE will get her working papers in order and then she will report to Deep South.

Ron Hornaday wins Mansfield Craftsman Truck race

The race track at Mansfield, OH is one of those half mile tracks that is very difficult to race on because you can't pass. So pit strategy would be very important. Teammates Todd Bodine-#30 Lumber Liquidators Toyota & Ted Musgrave-#9 ASE Toyota led early. Their strategy was to pit halfway through the 250 lap race. But they lost track position and were never able to get it back. They finished 15th & 16th respectively. Musgrave complained about the track afterwards. He said they shouldn't be racing there.

Ron Hornaday-#33 Kevin Harvick Inc. Chevy led at the halfway point followed by Jack Sprague-#60 Con-Way Freight Toyota & David Starr-#11 Red Horse Racing Toyota. This brought back memories of battles between Hornaday & Sprague from the 90s. Hornaday held off Sprague for the win. Todd Bodine still leads the points race.

Sendai Girls announces card for debut show

Sendai Girls has announced the lineup for their debut on July 9 at Sendai SunPlaza. As previously announced, the main event will be Meiko Satomura vs Aja Kong. The theme of the show is Senjo vs Outsiders. Where do you think Satomura got that idea? She is taking her four trainees and they will all have their debut matches on this show against veterans. Four debut matches and the main event. That's it. Though I can appreciate what Satomura is trying to do to revive the joshi business, this is not a good idea for a debut show. Unless these rookies are extraordinary, this has the potential to be a major train wreck. Here's the lineup.

SENDAI GIRLS - 7/9/06 - Sendai SunPlaza
Mariko Yoshida vs Yurie Kaneko
Mayumi Ozaki vs Akari Okuda
Dynamite Kansai vs Chisako Kanari
Kyoko Inoue vs Sachiko Kanari
Meiko Satomura vs Aja Kong

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Eric Dolphy
Song:Out To Lunch
Album:Out To Lunch

Like Ornette Coleman, alto sax player Eric Dolphy was criticized by the jazz establishment for being too "out there". Years later, Dolphy is considered a major influence on the avant garde jazz sound though he wasn't around very long. Out To Lunch is probably his best known record and features Freddie Hubbard on trumpet & Bobby Hutcherson on vibes. Like a lot of jazz musicians in the 60s, Dolphy moved to Europe to make a better living. Out To Lunch was recorded in Jan. 1964 and Dolphy died in June 1964 from a diabetic coma at age 36. It speaks to the power of his music that Out To Lunch is still a big seller for Blue Note.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Big Winner Take All main event announced for June 30 Smackgirl show

Smackgirl has announced that the main event for their June 30 Korakuen Hall show is a Winner Take All match between Yuka Tsuji & WINDY Tomomi. Not only is this likely to be the biggest womens MMA match this year but it may be the most important match in Smackgirl history because of the attention it's going to get. It will be a standard MMA rules match for three five minute rounds with the stipulation that the winner of the match gets all the prize money.

Yuka Tsuji is the current Smackgirl Lightweight Champion and is also the number one ranked fighter today. She is 12-0 and has defeated Hisae Watanabe, Erica Montoya and she also defeated Tomomi four years ago. Like her pal Hisae Watanabe, WINDY Tomomi is a kickboxer and the current IKMF Oriental Womens Bantamweight Champion. She has been training at Pancrase and has improved tremendously in the last couple of years. She is on a five match winning streak and called out Tsuji at her last match as she wants revenge for her loss four years ago. It should be a great match but if Tsuji wins it will cement her status as the number one female MMA fighter in the world today. Here's the card to date. All matches are scheduled for two five minute rounds unless noted otherwise.

SMACKGIRL - 6/30/06 - Korakuen Hall
OPEN WEIGHT BOUT-Youko Takahashi vs Michiko Takeda
WINNER TAKE ALL 52KG BOUT-3 5 min. rounds-Yuka Tsuji vs WINDY Tomomi

A tribute to the oblivious

One of the things I've learned since running around in this power chair is that people in the street are so oblivious to everything around them that I'm considering getting a horn for this thing. This morning I almost had a big accident. I was rolling down Lakeshore Blvd. W. to McDonalds for breakfast when a young woman came out of one of the storefronts and literally walked into my chair while I was moving. I had a split second to warn her or I certainly would have collided with her. A horn wouldn't have helped. I don't know what would have happened and I'm surprised I didn't run her over with my rear tires. This just illustrates how people need to be more alert walking down the street. I am trying to kill a pigeon with my chair. ROADKILL! Just kidding.

Next week is the People In Motion show at the Queen Elizabeth Building at the CNE. It's a free trade show for the disabled. All the wheelchair and van vendors will be there and if you're in the market for either of those things you should go. Of course as a trade show veteran, it's a good place to get free pens too. The show is June 2 & 3. I'm probably going on the Saturday. I went last year while at Lyndhurst and I am writing about the show for the Canadian Parapelegic Association. Hope to see you there. Maybe I'll buy a horn while I'm there.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:The Impressions
Song:Keep On Pushing
Album:20th Century Masters:The Definitive Collection:Curtis Mayfield & The Impressions

When Jerry Butler & Curtis Mayfield got together in 1957, little did they know that The Impressions and subsequently Curtis Mayfield would turn out to be a major influence in R & B music and the civil rights movement. Mayfield took his church background and combined it with his political beliefs to write classics like Keep On Pushing, Amen & People Get Ready. Of course he also went solo with Superfly. This budget comp is OK but the 2CD Anthology comp released in 1992 is better. Mayfield became paralyzed in 1990 when a light standard fell on him while he was performing on stage. He continued to make great music until his death in 1999. Curtis Mayfield is a true legend of modern music.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Three bouts added to June 11 G-Shooto show

G-Shooto has added three bouts to their June 11 show at Kitazawa Town Hall. They had already announced the Strawweight Tournament final between Masako Yoshida & Ikuko Tamada. Here's the card so far. All matches are scheduled for two five minute rounds.

G-SHOOTO - 6/11/06 - Kitazawa Town Hal
lSTRAWWEIGHT TOURNAMENT FINAL-Masako Yoshida vs Ikuko Tamada
CLASS C+ 48KG BOUT-Misaki Takimoto vs Maho Muranami
CLASS C+ 49KG BOUT-Eri Kanetari vs Yuka Okumura
CLASS C+ 52KG BOUT-Youko vs Seri

New Japan star Minoru had a WWE tryout

You may recall that a couple of weeks ago Simon Inoki of New Japan said that he has talked to John Laurinitis about renting wrestlers to the WWE. You may also recall that New Japan star Minoru appeared on the recent TNA PPV. I don't know how much truth there is to what Inoki said but it appears that Minoru had a WWE tryout while in the US

According to the Multiple Romantic blog in Japan, Minoru was scheduled to go to the CMLL in Mexico after working for TNA in Orlando. It seems that Minoru is old pals with Funaki. Funaki invited him to a WWE tryout. So he cancelled his trip to Mexico and went to San Diego and had a tryout before the Smackdown tapings. Ricky Steamboat, Dean Malenko & John Laurinitis were all very impressed with him and Laurinitis told him to come to the WWE if there is no problem with his New Japan contract. Minoru declined the offer. Funaki asked him why and Minoru said that for now his goal is to win the X Division Title in TNA. This was reported in Weekly Fight magazine. So though we don't know if the WWE are interested in renting New Japan wrestlers this certainly indicates the WWE is interested in signing New Japan wrestlers.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Winans Phase 2
Song:Who Do You Love
Album:We Got Next

Marvin Winans Jr., Mike Winans Jr., Carvin Winans III & Juan "Coconut" Winans are all sons of the original Winans brothers. A third generation of great talent. They were still teenagers when this CD came out in 1999. It did very well but they've never done a follow up. They used a lot of hot producers like Narada Michael Walden, Rodney Jerkins & their uncle Cedric Caldwell (he's married to aunt Angie). Coconut even does a rap about Winans family history. These guys are still around doing other things (Coconut worked with his mom Vickie Winans) but I sure would like to see them reunite.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Smackgirl announces Youko Takahashi 10th anniversary show

Smackgirl has announced that their June 30 show at Korakuen Hall will be a celebration of Youko Takahashi's tenth anniversary in MMA. Takahashi has been a Smackgirl regular since 2001 and usually trains with Megumi Yabushita at the soon to be closed SOD dojo. Her opponent will be Michiko Takeda. Smackgirl also announced a couple of semi final matches in the 2006 Next Cinderella Tournaments. Here's the card to date. All matches are scheduled for two five minute rounds.

SMACKGIRL - 6/30/06 - Korakuen Hall
OPEN WEIGHT BOUT-Youko Takahashi vs Michiko Takeda

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Tarralyn Ramsey
Song:Where We Are
Album:Tarralyn Ramsey

Tarralyn Ramsey is a young singer who had a false start to her career on the gospel label Verity. She made a very good record for them in 2000 and it just didn't go anywhere. Then she won a talent contest on the Disney Channel which got her a contract at the newly relaunched Casablanca Records. The producer of the talent show Cory Rooney is behind her career now. The CD did pretty well when it came out in 2004. I really like her voice and that she's switched to a more mainstream style doesn't bother me. I'm not sure what happened at Verity but I suspect there may have been unkept promises about releasing her CD on Verity's more mainstream sister label Jive.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Al Green
Song:Let's Stay Together

The 4CD box set Anthology is the definitive collection from one of the best teams in R & B history, All Green & producer Willie Mitchell. Let's Stay Together was one of their best songs and biggest hits. They split up when Green decided to become more of a preacher but have reunited for Green's recent CDs on Blue Note. The magic is still there.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Dynamite Kansai defeats AKINO at May 21 M's Style show

M's Style had their latest show on May 21 at Shinjuku FACE. The main event featured AKINO vs Dynamite Kansai. Also, highly regarded M's Style rookie Ayumi Kurihara would challenge M's Style owner Michiko Ohmukai. A lot of fans would like to see Kurihara go over but that may be wishful thinking.

Hikaru is a wrestler who is in a very unusual situation. She is the only joshi wrestler with a devoted fanbase of schoolgirls but some within the joshi business don't feel she has what it takes to be an ace. She's had a lot of false pushes that ultimately becomes a vicious circle. It's not consistent. This may be a symptom of the chaos of the current joshi scene. We may never get to see if Hikaru can really be an ace. On this show, she was given the assignment of wrestling Aja Kong for the first time, I think. Hikaru gave a spirited performance but in the end Aja won with the diving elbow in 16:57. Afterwards, Hikaru was excited about the opportunity to meet Aja. Aja just sneered at her.

The match between Michiko Ohmukai and Ayumi Kurihara was a disappointment for fans with high hopes for Kurihara. Ohmukai toyed with the rookie and finished her off in about ten minutes. The main event had M's Style GM AKINO vs Dynamite Kansai. Kansai won the match with the Splash Mountain at 18:06. Afterwards, Kansai asked AKINO if she wanted revenge. Of course AKINO said yes. Aja Kong offered to be AKINO's partner. AKINO said sure but who would be Kansai's partner. Kansai said she would get Mayumi Ozaki to be her partner. So it's AKINO & Aja Kong vs Dynamite Kansai & Mayumi Ozaki. Then GAMI came out and made some disparaging remarks about Amazing Kong. Lucky for her, Amazing Kong was in Berwyn, IL for the SHIMMER taping. GAMI won't be so lucky at the next M's Style show when she gets a beating from Amazing Kong. So two matches are announced for the June 18 M's Style show at Shinjuku FACE.

M'S STYLE - 5/21/06 - Shinjuku FACE
Carlos Amano def. Bullfight Sora in 12:18
GAMI def. Ran YuYu in 14:02
Aja Kong def. Hikaru in 16:57
Michiko Ohmukai def. Ayumi Kurihara in 10:15
Dynamite Kansai def. AKINO in 18:06

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Sam Cooke
Song:(What A) Wonderful World
Album:Sam Cooke's Greatest Hits

Like a lot of R & B singers, Sam Cooke grew up in the black church and recorded gospel records until he was discovered and turned into one of the most popular pop artists of the early 60s. He just had a very smooth voice and his music still sounds great. Cooke died under mysterious circumstances. There has been speculation over the years that he was a mob hit but no one knows for sure.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Jimmie Johnson wins Nextel All Star Challenge

Jimmie Johnson has dominated Nextel Cup races at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte for the last couple of years. That could continue at next week's Coca Cola 600 but Saturday was the Nextel All Star Challenge. It's not a points race but the winner gets a million dollars. It starts with the 30 lap Nextel Open. The winner advances to the main race along with a driver voted on by the fans. The main race is divided into three segments and the winner of the third segment gets the money.

The evening started with a one hour rain delay. Scott Riggs-#10 Valvoline Dodge won the pole for the Nextel Open and led every lap to advance to the Nextel All Star Challenge. Kyle Petty-#45 My Coke Rewards Dodge was voted into the race by fans. Coke did a promotion promising that if Petty was voted in a large donation would be made to the Victory Jucnction Gang. So it wasn't surprising that he won.

Kasey Kahne-#9 UAW-Dodge Dealers Dodge won the pole of the Nextel All Star Challenge. He led the first couple of laps but was passed by Jimmie Johnson-#48 Lowe's Chevy. After mandatory green flag pit stops, Kyle Busch-#5 Kellogg's Chevy takes the lead on lap 20. Rain stops the race at lap 34. When things get started again, Kyle Busch wins the first 40 lap segment. At that point, part of the field is inverted so Kyle Busch goes back to tenth and Ryan Newman-#12 Alltel Dodge leads. Kasey Kahne gets the lead on lap 43 and then Michael Waltrip-#55 Napa Auto Parts Dodge brings out the caution when he hits the wall. On the restart, Kahne gets loose and drives Mark Martin-#6 AAA Ford into the wall and takes out several other cars. Kahne said he didn't know what happened but Martin said that if you're under someone coming out of turn four, you have to get off the gas or you'll spin out. Obviously Kahne forgot to do that.

The crash changed the complexion of the race. Kevin Harvick-#29 GM Goodwrench Chevy won the second segment but Jimmie Johnson was right on his tail and took the lead on lap 71. Johnson extended his lead and won easily. So he's a million bucks richer. It should be interesting to see what happens next week when these guys have to run 600 miles.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Charlie Parker
Song:JATP Blues
Album:Bird:Complete On Verve

Of course Charlie Parker is likely the most influential jazz saxophonist in history. This 10CD box set covers his entire recorded output on Verve Records from 1949-1954. But it also includes Parker's participation in the Jazz At The Philharmonic concerts promoted by Verve owner Norman Granz. JATP Blues is from the 1946 concert and also features Dizzy Gillespie, Lester Young & Coleman Hawkins along with Parker. The JATP concerts were freewheeling jam sessions and are fun to listen to. These guys were great at improvising and that's what JATP Blues is all about. Sixty years old and this track still sounds fresh.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Hiroko Suzuki interviews Meiko Satomura

For those who don't know, Hiroko Suzuki has periodically written a column for the Pia Ticket Agency. Now that she's back in Japan on a regular basis, she is writing more frequently. Hiroko's latest assignment was to go to Sendai to interview Meiko Satomura to promote the Sendai Girls debut at the Sendai Sunplaza on July 9.

Hiroko asks Meiko Satomura if she has always wanted to be a wrestler. Meiko says she never saw pro wrestling until her second year of junior high. Her older sister took her to a New Japan show and Meiko was hooked. So she joined GAEA at startup and was trained by Chigusa Nagayo. Meiko says that not only was the training hard but the girls weren't allowed to drink, smoke or see men. She wasn't allowed to go out for any reason, especially for a date. Hiroko reacts with horror. Of course that's the way things have been in the joshi business for decades. And Chigusa knew that this worked as she went through it herself. Meiko said this was her life for seven years. Hiroko says "Don't you want to quit sometimes?" Meiko says no but plenty of girls do quit because they can't handle it. She says GAEA was around for ten years so they must have been doing something right. Hiroko says she admires Meiko's determination and her own wrestling training has been tentative. Hiroko doesn't believe that she could take the intensity.

Hiroko asks Meiko why she is starting a new company in a recession. Though Meiko knows that the joshi business isn't good right now, she believes that she can turn the business around by creating a company where the wrestlers want to work all the time. She says too many freelance wrestlers has led to chaos and she wants to change that. Sendai Girls will use veteran wrestlers for now but Meiko currently has three trainees at the dojo and she will work them in gradually. Meiko says that pro wrestling used to be a desired profession for young girls in Japan and now it isn't. Sendai Girls is her three year plan to change that perception and she hopes to have plenty of rookies by that time. Meiko's goal is for Sendai Girls to be successful and to change the current perception of the joshi business. Right now she is working towards the debut in July.

Interview with GAMI

The Pia Ticket Agency interviewed GAMI to promote THE WOMAN show on June 23 at Shin-kiba 1st Ring. GAMI was asked why she decided to start her own company this year. She says that she dabbled a bit in producing shows last year and evaluated the results. With AJW & GAEA closing last year, there are fewer joshi shows being run. So she thought there was a place for her to run shows once a month under her own banner. Also, Riki Choshu encouraged her to start her own company. There are pros and cons to being an independent promotion but GAMI is happy with the results to date. GAMI was asked about being taken seriously if only running once a month. She says she talked to Commando Bolshoi of JWP about that and Bolshoi told her not to be concerned about that. Run what you can afford.

GAMI was asked about finding a balance of different wrestling styles. She says she's trying to find a balance between the joshi style of the Showa era, the newer joshi style and comedy. She believes there is a demand for all these styles but finding a balance is very difficult. She says she wants to help the young wrestlers too but THE WOMAN relies on the veterans to carry the shows. She feels that some of the young wrestlers are timid and need to be more aggressive in the ring. It's almost like they're afraid to get hurt and it affects their performance in the ring.

On the June 23 THE WOMAN show, GAMI will team with Toshie Uematsu & Yuki Miyazaki against Aja Kong, Dynamite Kansai & Manami Toyota. What kind of match should fans expect? GAMI says to expect a little of everything; a little violence, a little wrestling and a little comedy. GAMI isn't sure about retirement yet but it's going to come in the near future. She thinks it will be easier to run THE WOMAN if she retires and can concentrate on running the promotion exclusively. She says her immediate goal is to expand THE WOMAN and run a show at Korakuen Hall. Maybe she should do her retirement show there. Her plan is for THE WOMAN to be a long term success but she's not successful yet.

Kyle Busch wins Charlotte Craftsman Truck race

A lot of eyes in the NASCAR Nextel Cup garage were watching Friday night's Craftsman Truck race at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte, NC. This is because the track was repaved during the off season and no one knows yet how things are going to go at next week's Coca Cola 600. During testing it was discovered that the cars were too fast with a softer tire and were hard to control. So Goodyear has provided a tire so hard that it will never wear out. So during practice guys were using tires for several laps and plan to use those during the race. New tires make the cars too loose. So this was the first opportunity to see a race on the new pavement. Mike Skinner-#5 Toyota won the pole and history was made as Erin Crocker-#98 Cheerios Dodge became the highest qualifying woman ever in a NASCAR race by qualifying second. She finished 18th. The third qualifyer was interesting too. Marcos Ambrose-#20 Team Australia Ford is from Tazmania and is a champ in Australia. He is trying to break into NASCAR and this was his best qualifying effort. But he crashed on lap 4 and finished last.

Mike Skinner led early but eventually had mechanical problems and dropped out of the race. Kyle Busch-#51 Nationwide Land Liquidators Chevy took the lead on lap 37 and was never really challenged and won the race. Terry Cook#10 Powerstroke Diesel Ford finished second but never came close to Busch. Todd Bodine-#30 Lumber Liquidators Toyota finished third and still leads the points. It was Kyle Busch's second consecutive Charlotte Craftsman Truck series race. But the race itself was nothing unusual and that bodes very well for tonight's Nextel All Star race.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Aretha Franklin
Song:Didn't I (Blow Your Mind)
Album:Young, Gifted & Black

Aretha Franklin is a very important figure in pop music because of how her roots in the black church were brought into the forefront of her music. A lot of the credit for this should go to Atlantic Records producer Jerry Wexler. When Aretha started her career at Columbia, John Hammond tried to turn her into a jazz singer of sorts and didn't really use her gospel roots or musicianship. Wexler saw her church background as something that should be emphasized and that's how Aretha was presented. Young, Gifted & Black is one of her best records and every song is a winner. I have the 4CD Queen Of Soul box set which covers the prime of her career at Atlantic. It's probably best to steer clear of anything else as Aretha has proven to be inconsistent when she doesn't have a great producer like Wexler.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Lester Young
Song:On The Sunny Side Of The Street
Album:Lester Young With The Oscar Peterson Trio

Lester "Pres" Young was a true innovator of the tenor sax who became known for his work with Billie Holiday. Like a lot of jazz musicians, he had a serious drinking problem and basically drank himself to death in 1959 at age 50. But this 1957 album with Canadian pianist Oscar Peterson proved that poor health didn't affect the quality of his music. Verve reissued it on CD with a couple of bonus tracks in 1997. Young developed a very unique sound and was a major influence on the musicians that followed him.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Interview with Hitomi Akano

Rising womens MMA star Hitomi Akano will make her US debut at the June 3 MFC show in Atlantic City against US fighter Tara LaRosa. Akano trains with The Sambo Queen Megumi Fujii and had a big win in February over Debi Purcell. Here's a link to an interview with Hitomi Akano from She looks very tough.

Strawweight tournament final at June 11 G-Shooto show

G-Shooto has announced that the Strawweight tournament final will be on June 11 at Kitazawa Town Hall. They have announced that Masako Yoshida will fight Ikuko Tamada. Yoshida won her semi final match easily but Tamada went to a draw with Kayo Nagai in her semi final match. So that's a somewhat controversial decision. Yoshida fought Tamada last October in Smackgirl and Yoshida won easily.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers
Album:Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers

Not only was Art Blakey one the all time great hard bop drummers but he used his band to introduce many young musicians to the world. Infra-Rae is from a 1956 recording reissued by Columbia on CD with some extra tracks from the same sessions. Horace Silver was still on piano but would split with Blakey soon after. Donald Byrd is on trumpet, Hank Mobley on tenor sax (he wrote the tune) and Doug Watkins is on bass. Most of Blakey's recordings from that time are on Blue Note but you don't want to overlook this album.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Ibuki announces 1st anniversary show

Mariko Yoshida'a Ibuki promotion has announced that their first anniversary show will be at noon on July 16 at Shinjuku FACE. They also launched their new website at Up to now Yoshida's personal website was being used but it's good to see Yoshida giving the promotion its own identity.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Miles Davis & John Coltrane
Song:On Green Dolphin Street
Album:Miles Davis & John Coltrane:The Complete Columbia Recordings

Columbia has released plenty of Miles Davis box sets and this 5CD box set is essential for any jazz fan. It has everything that Davis & Coltrane recorded together at Columbia from 1958-1961. Of course a lot of the music is on albums like Kind Of Blue but there are some rarities. On Green Dolphin Street was issued on a long out of print 1958 LP Jazz Track. Columbia rereleased it on CD as 1958 Sessions with some unrelated live tracks. So this box set is the best place to find this particular song. It comes in a metal box and if you're a fan of these two it's a must.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

T-1 announces next T-1 GP show

T-1 president Futami announced that the next T-1 GP show will be June 24 at Battle Sphere. Though Futami still talks about wanting to destroy joshi puroresu, it's obvious that he's not planning to do that and is in fact selling DVDs of the shows on the T-1 website. He's even advertising for a personal assistant to help him in the destruction of joshi puroresu. He wants a teenage girl so maybe he wants someone to use in an angle. Rookie Yasusako Nakajima, Sachie Abe and T-1 Mask 1 & 2 will appear on the show. Nakajima was at the interview but Futami was upset that Abe wasn't there. He said she boycotted the interview. When asked if he will continue his feud with Yumiko Hotta, Futami claims not to know if she will be appearing on the show. Uhh, right. Just wait for the other shoe to drop. Futami is also planning to host a talk show and he will screen the Mar. 19 & May 3 A To Z shows and comment on them. What do you think will happen? He also says he intends to auction off the broken sunglasses again. He said he was going to do that last time but changed his mind at the last minute. This guy is getting sillier by the minute.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Van Morrison
Song:And It Stoned Me

Van Morrison started out as a pop singer with the hit Brown Eyed Girl but it soon became obvious that he is a much more serious musician. Moondance is a classic album from the late 60s that labeled Morrison as an innovator and and explorer of American music. His latest record is a country record. His music is so wide ranging that it's difficult to recommend specific albums. But Moondance and some of Morrison's other Warner Bros. recordings from that period are a good place to start.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Jumping Bomb Angels reunion in LLPW

Of all the goofy stuff that goes on in the joshi business these days, LLPW is consistently the goofiest. It starts with the masked Eiger with her mysticism gimmick. Then you have the Glamour Girl Angels transvestite tag team. Lately LLPW owner Shinobu Kandori has been bringing in comedian Toshino. He does an Antonio Inoki impersonation. The fans seem to enjoy him and when he wasn't on a show a couple of months ago fans were outraged. With all this, former JD wrestler Obacchi Iizuka and her grandmother gimmick fits right in. It makes one wonder what kind of drugs Kandori is on.

With that in mind, LLPW's May 14 Korakuen Hall show was filled with surreal moments. It starts with Toshie Uematsu against Eiger. Eiger was DQd when several Eiger clones came to the ring. Uematsu didn't know what to do and neither did the ref so he just DQd Eiger. The Glamour Girl Angels are a transvestite comedy tag team. They've been around LLPW for a while now. After their match, they announced their retirement later this year. What will Kandori do now?

Of course many joshi fans have great memories of the Jumping Bomb Angels tag team from their WWF days of 1988. Noriyo Tateno has worked for LLPW since 1994. Itsuki Yamazaki lives in New York City with her husband and owns the GO sushi restaurant. The match was Noriyo Tateno & Eagle Sawai vs Dump Matsumoto & ZAP-T. Itsuki Yamazaki made a surprise appearance during the match. She's in Japan to promote her autobiography. Much to everyone's surprise, Yamazaki turned her back on her partner and sided with the heels as a gag. Dump & ZAP won and their opponents were a bloody mess. Yamazaki was chuckling about the whole thing backstage but Tateno didn't look too happy.

The comedian Toshino teamed up with Harley Saito against Takako Inoue & Mizuki Endo. The fans loved Toshino's antics and his team won the match. So everyone went home happy and another LLPW show is finished. I guess you might enjoy this if you like comedy. If you're a wrestling fan, I'm not so sure. But LLPW is on TV in Japan so you will get the opportunity to buy this on DVD.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:John Coltrane
Song:Spring Is Here
Album:The Stardust Sessions

Originally Prestige Records scattered the songs from this 1958 session over several LPs but reunited them on 2 LPs in 1975. They are now available on CD. Coltrane does all standards. Spring Is Here is a Rodgers & Hart song. Wilbur Harden is on flugelhorn along with Red Garland on piano, Paul Chambers on bass & Jimmy Cobb on drums. This is the trademark Coltrane sound from that time period and I think it may have been at the end of his contract with Prestige.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Greg Biffle wins Darlington Nextel Cup race

Greg Biffle has had a very tough start to the NASCAR Nextel Cup season. He's probably led more laps than anyone but engine failures and wrecks have put him at the back of the pack. His fourth place finish at Richmond last week was his first top ten this season. Could he keep up the momentum at Saturday's Dodge Charger 500 at Darlington, SC? Biffle started in the front row with Kasey Kahne on the pole.

The main issue at Darlington is tire wear. Some guys are going to be strong on long runs and some guys will be good on short runs. It wouldn't be long before Greg Biffle-#16 National Guard Ford would lead at lap 36. He's led in every race. Matt Kenseth-#17 DeWalt Ford took the lead at lap 127 and Biffle faded to fifth. Then Jimmie Johnson-#48 Lowe's Chevy took the lead at lap 192. After pit stops, Biffle retook the lead at lap 264 but Johnson, Jeff Gordon-#24 Dupont Chevy & Kenseth passed Biffle on lap 301. He needed new tires.

Green flag pit stops began when Biffle came in on lap 312. New tires give such an advantage that the leaders would have to pit very soon. They all did but Jimmie Johnson had trouble when while coming out of his pit he almost collided with Ken Schrader-#21 Air Force Ford going into his pit. This cost Johnson the race and gave Biffle the lead. Johnson finished fourth. Jeff Gordon was closing fast on Biffle. Could he hold him off? On the final lap Biffle lapped Schrader but it looked like Schrader didn't give Gordon enough room to pass him in a timely manner. Greg Biffle wins the Dodge Charger 500.

Congratulations to Greg Biffle, crew chief Doug Richert and car owner Jack Roush for the win. Biffle moved up six spots to 14th in the points standings. There's no question he can still make the chase. Jimmie Johnson still leads the points. Big top ten finish for Ryan Newman who has had a rough start to the season and another top ten for rookie Denny Hamlin. Here's the top ten.

1.16/Greg Biffle/National Guard/Ford/Jack Roush
2.24/Jeff Gordon/Dupont/Chevy/Rick Hendrick
3.17/Matt Kenseth/DeWalt Tools/Ford/Jack Roush
4.48/Jimmie Johnson/Lowe's/Chevy/Rick Hendrick
5.8/Dale Earnhardt Jr./Budweiser/Chevy/Dale Earnhardt Inc.
6.12/Ryan Newman/Alltel/Dodge/Roger Penske
7.5/Kyle Busch/Carquest Auto Parts/Chevy/Rick Hendrick
8.6/Mark Martin/AAA/Ford/Jack Roush
9.31/Jeff Burton/Cingular/Chevy/Richard Childress
10.11/Denny Hamlin/FedEx/Chevy/Joe Gibbs

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Bill Withers
Song:Lovely Day
Album:Greatest Hits

Bill Withers was a tremendous singer songwriter who had several big hits in the 70s including Lovely Day which he didn't write. Sussex Records tried to rip him off for royalties. He sued and among other things received ownership of his recordings which he sold to Columbia. This Greatest Hits comp is OK but Sony recently released a 2CD comp called Lovely Day:The Very Best Of Bill Withers that is more complete. His music is great listening.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers
Song:I Want You to Be My Girl
Album:The Doo Wop Box

Frankie Lymon died of a drug overdose at age 26 in 1968 but he was still an influential figure in pop music history. First, he was the first teenage popstar. Second, his music was very influential on the Motown sound and more specifically The Jackson Five. Lymon's personal demons and record company problems destroyed his life. The Doo Wop Box is a 4CD box set issued by Rhino in 1994 and is probably the definitive comp for just about every doo wop song from the 50s. Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers were only around for a year and a half in the 50s but their music is still fresh today

Friday, May 12, 2006

Jaguar Yokota is pregnant

Nikkan Sports reports that 44 year old joshi puroresu living legend Jaguar Yokota is three months pregnant. Of course not only is Jaguar an all time great of joshi but she has also trained many other all time greats of joshi. Lately Jaguar has been wrestling freelance occasionally and she co-owns the Empress Produce promotion with her long time pal and joshi living legend Devil Masami. Jaguar married her doctor husband in July 2004 and this will be their first child. Congratulations to the happy couple.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Bill Evans
Song:My Romance/Five
Album:Turn Out The Stars:The Final Village Vanguard Recordings

When Bill Evans came on to the jazz scene in the mid-50s, he was somewhat unique because of his classical piano training. It actually made him more accessible to some audiences and he was still influential on many musicians. These live recordings were made a few weeks before Evans died at age 51 in 1980. The tapes sat around for 15 years until Warner Bros. issued them in a massive 6CD box set. There's also a more modest single CD available. Though not as well known as Evans' earlier recordings, they will be of interest to his fans.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Mika Nishio update

I will be following Mika Nishio's recovery through her blog. May 11 was Mika's first time out of bed and into a wheelchair. I'm sure a ceiling lift was used for that. She washed her hair which is very difficult to do in bed and she got to roll around outside her room and go outside for the first time. Mika was put in a plastic cast last week and will be fitted with a corset on Saturday. She is also receiving injections for the pain. Mika expects to be moved to a rehab hospital in the next week. Then she can start daily physiotherapy.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Duke Ellington & His Orchestra
Song:The Old Circus Train Turn-Around Blues
Album:Ella & Duke At The Cote D'Azur

Of course Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington is one of the great innovators of jazz especially as it relates to the use of a large band. I always like it when Duke is jamming live with his big band. That's what he's doing here. Duke is channelling Thelonious Monk on the piano and then saxman Johnny Hodges starts wailing and that's always a lot of fun. This 2CD package from Verve is from a series of concerts in the south of France in July 1966. Ella Fitzgerald is also featured with her band and also on a couple of songs with Duke. These are jazz immortals at the top of their game.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Double shot in Yokohama

Golden Week concluded on May 6 with a double shot at the Red Brick Warehouse in Yokohama. There was an Ibuki show in the afternoon followed by a joint JWP/NEO show in the evening. Great news for joshi fans. The Ibuki show is scheduled to be on Samurai TV for the first time. Previous shows have been released on DVD. So this show should be available at your favourite joshi video dealer in the next couple of months.

This was also the first time Ibuki ventured outside Tokyo. As usual, the show featured all of the young wrestlers training at Mariko Yoshida's gym. And the special guest star was Meiko Satomura. The main event was an elimination tag team match with Atsuko Emoto & Ayumi Kurihara vs Bambi & Kyoko Kimura. There's been a lot of talk about Bambi lately but it appears she wasn't very good on this day. Emoto won the final fall over Kimura with an avalanche brainbuster.

The evening show was JWP vs NEO. It had some goofiness like JWP masked wrestler ECO defeating Tanny Mouse by spraying hair spray in her eyes. ECO is supposed to be an ecological warrior so it's very silly. The main event was a JWP vs NEO 30 minute iron woman match with JWP's Tsubasa Kuragaki, Commando Bolshoi, Kayoko Haruyama & Kaori Yoneyama vs Kyoko Inoue, Misae Genki, Etsuko Mita & Haruka Matsuo. Most falls in 30 minutes. Kyoko worked the match on a bad ankle from her May 5 match with Nanae Takahashi. She will have X-rays this week but torn ligaments in her ankle are suspected. Bolshoi won the first fall over Mita with a hurricanrana at 3:16. Mita tied it up at 1-1 with the death valley driver on Haruyama at 23:29. With time running out, Genki gave the G-driver to Yoneyama and the bell rang at the count of two. A tie meant the match continued in sudden death. Yoneyama got a flash pin on Genki in 34 seconds. JWP wins. Here's the results of both shows.

IBUKI - 5/6/06 - Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse
Mai Ichii def. Ayako Sato in 10:11
Leon def. Cherry in 13:08
Mariko Yoshida & Shuu Shibutani def. Meiko Satomura & Tomoka Kakagawa (Shibutani over Nakagawa in 15:48)
Kaoru Ito def. Natsuki*Head in 19:46
ELIMINATION TAG TEAM MATCH:Atsuko Emoto & Ayumi Kurihara def. bambi & Kyoko Kimura (Kimura over Kurihara in 11:22, Emoto over Bambi in 15:23, Emoto over Kimura in 22:51)

JWP vs NEO - 5/6/06 - Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse
Yuka Shiina def. KAZUKI in 8:54
Yuka Nakamura def. Electric Wave Mask Woman in 3:42
ECO def. Tanny Mouse in 7:11
Yoshiko Tamura & Yuki Miyazaki def. Azumi Hyuga & Ran YuYu (Miyazaki over Hyuga in 22:16)
30 MINUTE IRON WOMAN MATCH:Tsubasa Kuragaki, Commando Bolshoi, Kayoko Haruyama & Kaori Yoneyama def. Kyoko Inoue, Etsuko Mita, Misae Genki & Haruka Matsuo (Bolshoi over Mita in 3:16, Mita over Haruyama in 23:29)
SUDDEN DEATH:Yoneyama over Genki in 34 sec.

Dream Catchers Special on NEO show

As I mentioned previously, NEO veteran Yuka Nakamura announced her retirement on the May 5 Korakuen Hall NEO show. The other notable event on this show is that it was a Dream Catchers Special with the three former AJW wrestlers Nanae Takahashi, Hikaru & Saki Maemura appearing in the top three matches. They are known as the Dream Catchers. They've been running a couple of their own shows but mostly they've been freelancing and that means there's a lot of backstage wrangling going on.

NEO made one concession. Saki Maemura defeated Haruka Matsuo. It's funny because Maemura should probably have "jobber" written on her forehead but Matsuo is even more of a jobber. Then Nanae Takahashi had what was described as a very good match with NEO owner Kyoko Inoue. Kyoko won with the Niagara driver though she apparently hurt her leg towards the end of the match. Now Takahashi has been very careful about doing clean jobs since returning in January but I guess when you're working with the company owner, you don't have a whole lot of choice. Kyoko is known to be selfish but Takahashi shouldn't be jobbing to her. It's a little surprising that Takahashi would allow that.

Finally Yoshiko Tamura successfully defended the NEO Singles & NWA Pacific Titles against Hikaru with a running elbow. That's not surprising. Also, Misae Genki won the DDT Ironman Title from Shining and then lost it to Tetsuhiro Kuroda. I guess she held the title for five minutes. Here's the results of the show.

NEO - 5/5/06 - Korakuen Hall
Kayoko Haruyama & Shuu Shibutani def. Yuka Shiina & Tomoka Nakagawa (Haruyama over Nakagawa in 13:34)
Azumi Hyuga & Ran YuYu def. Yuka Nakamura & Mima Shimoda (Ran over Nakamura in 10:23)
DDT IRONMAN HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE:Misae Genki won the title over Shining in 35 sec.
DDT IRONMAN HEAVY WEIGHT TITLE:Tetsuhiro Kuroda won the title over Misae Genki in 9:11
Etsuko Mita & Manami Toyota def. Tanny Mouse & Yuki Miyazaki (Mita over Tanny in 13:39)Saki Maemura def. Haruka Matsuo in 11:46
Kyoko Inoue def. Nanae Takahashi in 25:12
NEO SINGLES & NWA PACIFIC TITLES:Yoshiko Tamura defended her title over Hikaru in 15:05

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Heather Headley
Song:Wait A Minute
Album:In My Mind

Heather Headley is a young R & B singer born in Trinidad. She appeared on Broadway in The Lion King & Elton John's Aida. The rave reviews for her performance in Aida got her a record contract at RCA. Her first CD was very successful. This is from her new CD. Heather's music is from the neo soul school and she has tremendous pipes. Like a lot of singers, she uses various producers. Wait A Minute was written & produced by Shep Crawford who has worked with Tamia among others.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Tye Tribbett & G.A.
Song:Taste 'N' See

Tye Tribbett comes across as very eccentric mainly to get attention that most gospel artists can't get. But he's actually a very talented musician from New Jersey. He just looks and acts a little goofy. Tribbett was playing keyboards on a showcase for R & B singer Vivian Green. She was signed but Sony Music head Don Ienner wanted to know who the pianist was. So Tribbett was signed too. Life did cross over to hip hop very well and Tye's new CD is out in a couple of weeks. They're also a very energetic live act so check them out.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:The Beach Boys
Song:California Girls
Album:The Best Of The Beach Boys

Of course it's a classic. The Best Of The Beach Boys is a budget comp. There's only ten songs so it's not the greatest value. I would suggest the Pet Sounds album or the 5CD Beach Boys box set instead. I have the box set.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Modaferri gets her revenge at May 6 G-Shooto show

In the World Remix tournament in Nov. 2004, US fighter Roxanne Modaferri lost to eventual tournament champ Megumi Yabushita. Roxanne has been training in Japan for the last year. A major goal has been to get a rematch with Yabushita. This came true on the main event of the May 6 G-Shooto show at Shinjuku FACE.

Yabushita started the match with some of her trademark judo throws. But when Yabushita tried for an armbar, Modaferri got behind her and pounded Yabushita for the remainder of the round. Yabushita attempted a judo throw to begin round two but Modaferri staggered her with a right hook. Modaferri pounded Yabushita for the rest of the bout and won by unanimous decision. Modaferri said after the match that she wants to fight Laura D'Auguste & Amanda Buckner. Buckner is the current Smackgirl Open Weight Champ. Congratulations to Roxanne Modaferri on the victory. Here's the results of the show. All matches were scheduled for two five minute rounds.

G-SHOOTO - 5/6/06 - Shinjuku FACE
CLASS C+ 47KG BOUT-Youko Yamada def. Asuza Yasui by armbar at 10 sec of round 1
CLASS C+ 51KG BOUT-Yuuko - draw - Misaki Takimoto
48KG GRAPPLING BOUT-MIKU def. Madoka Ebihara by armbar at 3:28 of round 1
STRAWWEIGHT TOURNAMENT SEMIFINAL-Masako Yoshida def. Maho Muranami by unanimous decision
CLASS B 62KG BOUT-Roxanne Modaferri def. Megumi Yabushita by unanimous decision

Dale Earnhardt Jr. wins Richmond Nextel Cup race

Richard Childress had his big press conference Friday to announce that Kevin Harvick has re-signed with RCR until 2009. Meanwhile the Toyota sweepstakes continues. Dale Jarrett says he will make a decision in a couple of weeks and Casey Mears is the next target as his contract with Chip Ganassi is up at the end of this season. But Harvick is staying at RCR and he is hot. He won the Nextel Cup race at Phoenix and has been dominating the Busch Series. He won Friday's Busch Series race and was looking to sweep the weekend by winning the Crown Royal 400 at Richmond International Raceway.

Polesitter Greg Biffle-#16 National Guard Ford led the first 50 laps and then Kevin Harvick-#29 GM Goodwrench Chevy took the lead. Biffle would get caught a lap down on a green flag pit stop but would recover for a top ten finish. Contenders Kasey Kahne-#9 UAW Dodge Dealers Dodge & Matt Kenseth-#17 DeWalt Ford both have problems and go behind the wall for repairs.

Karvick dominates for most of the race. The turning point of the race came when Martin Truex Jr-#1 Bass Pro Shops Chevy blew an engine on lap 287. On the ensuing caution, all the lead lap cars made pit stops...except leader Harvick. Crew chief Todd Berrier made the call and Harvick knew immediately the he gave the race away by staying out.

Harvick still had the lead but Dale Earnhardt Jr-#8 Budweiser Chevy, Denny Hamlin-#11 FedEx Kinko's Chevy & Kyle Busch-#5 Kellogg's Chevy were breathing down his back. Hamlin passes Harvick for the lead at lap 330. Harvick is shuffled back to fifth on his old tires. The leaders make their final pit stops when Robby Gordon-#7 Menards Chevy hit the wall on lap 346 and brings out the caution. Kyle Busch led on the restart on lap 352. Earnhardt takes the lead on lap 356 and holds Hamlin off for the win.

Congratulations to Dale Earnhardt Jr., crew chief Tony Eury Jr. & car owner Theresa Earnhardt for the victory. Denny Hamlin had a career best second place finish with a throbbing left hand that required 19 stitches after he sliced it open earlier in the week. Harvick finished third but was very upset and hid from the media. Great top ten finishes for Greg Biffle & Ryan Newman who have both had problems this year. And a top ten finish for Sterling Marlin celebrating his 30th anniversary in NASCAR. Rookie Clint Bowyer had a top ten as well but that doesn't seem very surprising anymore. Jimmie Johnson's 12th place finish kept him on top of the points standings. His car was terrible so that's pretty good. The Nextel Cup boys are in Darlington on Saturday night. Here's the top ten of the race.

1.8/Dale Earnhardt Jr./Budweiser/Chevy/Dale Earnhardt Inc.
2.11/Denny Hamlin/FedEx Kinko's/Chevy/Joe Gibbs
3.29/Kevin Harvick/GM Goodwrench/Chevy/Richard Childress
4.16/Greg Biffle/National Guard/Ford/Jack Roush
5.5/Kyle Busch/Kellogg's/Chevy/Rick Hendrick
6.20/Tony Stewart/Home Depot/Chevy/Joe Gibbs
7.99/Carl Edwards/Office Depot/Ford/Jack Roush
8.12/Ryan Newman/Alltel/Dodge/Roger Penske
9.14/Sterling Marlin/Waste Management/Chevy/MB2 Motorsports
10.07/Clint Bowyer/Prilosec OTC/Chevy/Richard Childress

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Bebe Winans f/Cece Winans
Song:My Heart
Album:Love And Freedom

Of course Bebe Winans is a member of the wonderful Winans family and is best known for singing with his sister Cece. He's also an accomplished writer and producer. His solo career has been rocky because he's had record company problems. This 2000 Motown release had a big hit in Coming Back Home featuring Brian McKnight & Joe but Motown was having management problems so Bebe left to be Jill Scott's labelmate at Hidden Beach. My Heart is a great song featuring sister Cece Winans on backup vocals. Bebe wrote and produced it with Warryn "Babydub" Campbell, best known as producer/husband of Mary Mary's Erica Atkins. Bebe gives a great vocal performance.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Maze Featuring Frankie Beverly
Song:Too Many Games

Maze was a very popular R & B group in the 70s. Though Frankie Beverly was born in Philly he move to the Bay Area so he wasn't really part of the Philly sound. Beverly's idol Marvin Gaye heard him and got him a contract with Capitol. His roots in the church and doo wop always was in the forefront of his music and unlike a lot of black groups of that era, he never went disco. Interest renewed in Maze when in 1988 DJ Rob Base used their song as the basis of a popular rap song. Frankie was happy. He got plenty of royalties. The 2CD Anthology features all their hits.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Yuka Nakamura announces retirement

Yuka Nakamura has been out with an injury. She returned on NEO's May 5 show at Korakuen Hall. She teamed up with Mima Shimoda against Azumi Hyuga & Ran YuYu. After the match Nakamura announced that she would retire on the July 17 NEO show due to a neck injury that isn't going to get any better. The main event had Yoshiko Tamura defend the NEO double titles over Hikaru. We're seeing more and more of these kind of retirements these days. These girls are killing themselves and they're not making any money. Yuka Nakamura is wise to get out while she can still walk.

Hotta announces A To Z closing...we hope

Yumiko Hotta announced at the May 3 A To Z show that the company is closing and this would be her final show as a promoter. I hope she means it. Hotta has been a total disaster as a promoter from the moment she partnered up with Hiroshi Ogawa to purchase ARSION in 2003 and changed the name to A To Z. She made the mistake of putting herself over at the expense of talent. That is a cardinal sin in the wrestling business. Also, many wrestlers fled the company after working for her for a few months. Ai Fujita, AKINO & Mariko Yoshida all left A To Z by the end of 2003. It got so bad that Mima Shimoda, who was supposed to work in the front office, had to come out of retirement. It wouldn't be long before A To Z became just another zombie fed.

The beginning of the end came when Hiroshi Ogawa decided to merge A To Z with JD Star in September 2005. He did this mainly to take advantage of JD Star's TV deal. Shimoda left and Hotta stayed but found by the end of the year that she couldn't work with JD Star management and left. Then she started producing her own shows again. She's been doing this angle with T-1 president Futami but if he's going to keep promoting shows, there's no need to have two companies. Hotta will probably end up working mostly for T-1 GP.

Sachie Abe was the wrestler most loyal to Hotta so the May 3 A To Z show featured the celebration of Abe's tenth anniversary in the joshi business. She wrestled three successive matches, each with a ten minute time limit. Abe defeated Sasori, drew with Aya Koyama and then lost to Nanae Takahashi. The main event had Yumiko Hotta & Mima Shimoda vs Manami Toyota & rookie Yasusato Nakajima. Hotta & Shimoda beat the crap out of the rookie and Shimoda finished her off with an axe kick. Hotta made her announcement and had a final match with her pal Shimoda. Hotta won in five minutes with the Pyramid Driver. Such is the legacy of Yumiko Hotta as a promoter.

T-1 GP had their show later that day. The scheduled T-1 special tag match turned into a handicap match. It was the three T-1 masks against Yumiko Hotta & Sachie Abe. Abe removed T-1 Mask V3's mask. It was Gutsworld rookie Yuri Urai. There was a ref bump and then Futami got involved and Hotta finally got her hands on him. Also, he didn't auction off his sunglasses. He said he could still use them.

Futami said in an interview with Sportsnavi that he wasn't happy with how things went. He was upset with Hotta for announcing A To Z's closing because it meant the A To Z/T-1 GP feud didn't mean anything on the T-1 GP show. But he did credit Hotta & Abe for giving their best and making the show better. I guess we can expect the spirit of A To Z to continue in T-1 GP because it looks like the Futami/Hotta feud will continue.

Club DEEP adds womens tag team match to May 27 show

I'm more of a pro wrestling fan than an MMA fan but I know enough about MMA to scratch my head when MMA companies try to do stuff resembling pro wrestling. It never works and MMA fans don't want to see it anyway. So DEEP has added a womens MMA tag team match to their May 27 show at the Seiki-Ku Sports Center in Hiroshima. It will be Shiho Yamato & Taeko Nagamine vs Mari Kaneko & Misaki Takimoto. The match is scheduled for three five minute rounds.

May 3 Smackgirl results

SMACKGIRL - 5/3/06 - Tokyo Kinema Klub
All matches scheduled for two five minute rounds
58KG BOUT-Seri def. Maki Koyagaya by unanimous decision
2006 NEXT CINDERELLA TOURNAMENT MIDDLEWEIGHT FIRST ROUND-Kanako Takeshita def. Tachiwaki Yui by split decision
2006 NEXT CINDERELLA TOURNAMENT MIDDLEWEIGHT FIRST ROUND-Kazu Moroboshi def. Miyuki Ariga by armbar at 31 sec. of round 2
EXHIBITION-Megumi Yabushita - draw - Mika Nagano
2006 NEXT CINDERELLA TOURNAMENT FLYWEIGHT FIRST ROUND-Mitsuki def. Yuka Okumura by front choke in round 1
2006 NEXT CINDERELLA TOURNAMENT MIDDLEWEIGHT FIRST ROUND-Miki Morifuji def. Mizuho Sato by TKO at 2:16 of round 2
62KG BOUT-Rei Murakami def. Benkei by submission at 3:59 of round 1

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Big Bill Morganfield
Song:Champagne & Reefer
Album:Rising Son

Not only is Big Bill Morganfield the son of a bluesman, he is the son of Muddy Waters, considered by many to be the greatest bluesman of all. Needless to say, that's a tough act to follow. Bill does a pretty good job of covering some of his dad's songs on this 1999 CD released on the Blind Pig blues label. Of course the song is a classic about the depravity of Chicago blues. It's fun.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Mary Mary
Song:The Real Party (Trevon's Birthday)
Album:Mary Mary

This very energetic song is from the latest CD by the gospel singing Atkins sisters. They both have small children so I'm not sure whose son this song is dedicated to.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Mission accomplished

Just wanted to let you all know that I did go to Bad Boy Appliances today and I bought an air conditioner. It's a Whirlpool 8000 BTU unit. They will deliver it on Friday and Marlon says he will install it for me.

NASCAR newsbits

Just a couple of significant NASCAR stories from the last couple of days.

Associated Press reported yesterday that Kevin Harvick has agreed to a new contract with Richard Childress. Childress will announce this at a press conference this Friday. Of course Harvick was a main target of Toyota but he said recently that he doesn't need their money and will stay with Childress if he feels he can win races. So that's what he will do.

NASCAR Scene Daily reported today that Dale Jarrett told Robert Yates last week that he will leave to sign a two year contract to drive a Toyota for Michael Waltrip. Michael told the media last Friday that he had made an offer to Jarrett. UPS's contract with Yates runs out at the end of the season. They may go with Jarrett but it appears that they will give Yates the opportunity to find a new driver for the #88 and they may stay if they like him.

The Toronto Sun reported today that two Toronto men are trying to put together a deal to buy Cayuga Speedway. Their plan is to expand the track to one mile and to have a crowd capacity of 60,000. NASCAR is monitoring the situation as they are looking for a track in Canada to have a Busch or Truck series race. They are already looking at Curcuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal. The lack of a suitable track is the main barrier to NASCAR coming to Canada.

WWE signs developmental Diva, releases another

The WWE has signed Tracy Taylor to a developmental contract. Tracy is married to WWE developmental wrestler Mike Taylor. She has worked at Deep South since November and has been used mostly to valet her husband's tag team.

Meanwhile, PW Insider reports that the WWE has released developmental Diva Trenisha Biggars. Trenisha was a 2005 Diva Search reject. She was a top 25 cut. Kevin Dunn took a liking to her and she was hired in Sept. She trained with Marty Janetty for two months and was assigned to Deep South. She was used mostly as a valet for The Shane Twins before they became Gymini. Trenisha never actually wrestled a match. Maybe her training wasn't going very well.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Michel Camilo
Song:Why Not!
Album:One More Once

Jazz pianist Michel Camilo was born in the Dominican Republic but moved to New York as a teenager. He became popular when Why Not! became a hit for The Manhattan Transfer. This is a big band version recorded in 1994. It features Camilo's mentor Cuban sax player Paquito D'Rivera. Camilo's sound is very percussive and aggressive. He can make a very small band sound very big. For more on Camilo, check out the documentary about latin jazz called Calle 54.

Well, I'm finally going to Bad Boy on Finch Ave. to buy an air conditioner today. I couldn't get a decent ride from Wheeltrans last week but I wasn't in any big hurry. I got what I wanted today.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

T-1 Mask No. 1 to Appear on A To Z & T-1 GP shows

T-1 president Futami announced today that T-1 Mask No. 1 will appear on the May 3 A To Z show at Korakuen Hall in the afternoon and the T-1 GP show in the evening at Battle Sphere. At the A To Z show she will team with a partner to be announced against the two A To Z rookies Makashima & Mizunuma. Futami says he will have a big surprise at the A To Z show. On the T-1 GP show, T-1 Mask No. 1 will team with T-1 Mask V3 against Yumiko Hotta & Sachie Abe. Here's a link to a pic of T-1 Mask No. 1. Who do you think it is? Don't worry. I already know.

Toshie Uematsu suffers concussion

Toshie Uematsu suffered a concussion on the weekend and will not work any of the Golden Week shows.

Jimmie Johnson wins Talledega Nextel Cup race

The Aarons 499 at Talledega Speedway was rained out on Sunday so it was run on Monday. The main thing at Talledega is the cars run in packs like at Daytona so winning is more of a chess game than who has the fastest car. And if someone makes a mistake, THE BIG ONE can take out half the field in a second. So the key is to avoid THE BIG ONE and be in a position to win at the end.

THE BIG ONE came early at Talledega. Guys shouldn't be running five wide ten laps in. It's just stupid. So they were five wide going into turn three and Kyle Busch-#5 Kellogg's Chevy got loose and took out Ryan Newman-#12 Alltel Dodge & Martin Truex-#1 Bass Pro Shops Chevy. Fourteen cars were involved in the crash including Kasey Kahne-#9 UAW Dodge Dealers Dodge, Mark Martin-#6 AAA Ford & Clint Bowyer-#07 Jack Daniels Chevy from the top ten in points.

Things basically settled down until the end of the race. Three Hendrick Motorsports teammates, Jimmie Johnson-#48 Lowe's Chevy, Brian Vickeres-#25 GMAC Chevy & Jeff Gordon-#24 Pepsi Chevy, were at the front along with Jamie McMurray-#26 Irwin Tools Ford & Tony Stewart-#20 Home Depot Chevy. When the caution came out at lap 166 for Bobby Labonte-#43 STP Dodge's blown engine, half the lead lap cars pitted and the fresh tires really helped them get to the front.

The second BIG ONE on lap 174 was also caused by five wide going into turn three. Denny Hamlin-#11 FedEx Chevy was penalized a lap for going under the yellow line and causing the crash. A total of seven cars were involved. A lot of the guys who stayed out on the previous caution pitted this time. The lead went back and forth between Stewart, Gordon, McMurray & Vickers. When it finally looked like Vickers might get his first Nextel Cup victory, Jimmie Johnson got a push from Stewart to take the lead on the white flag lap for the victory. Jeff Gordon was shuffled back to 15th place.

Congratualtions to Jimmie Johnson, crew chief Chad Knaus and car owner Rick Hendrick on the victory. And Johnson is leading the points again. Big top ten finishes for Brian Vickers, Jamie McMurray, Scott Riggs & Robby Gordon. Nextel Cup will be in Richmond this Saturday night. Here's the top ten of the race.

1.#48/Jimmie Johnson/Lowe's/Chevy/Rick Hendrick
2.#20/Tony Stewart/Home Depot/Chevy/Joe Gibbs
3.#25/Brian Vickers/GMAC/Chevy/Rick Hendrick
4.#31/Jeff Burton/Cingular/Chevy/Richard Childress
5.#26/Jamie McMurray/Irwin Tools/Ford/Jack Roush
6.#17/Matt Kenseth/DeWalt Tools/Ford/Jack Roush
7.#2/Kurt Busch/Miller Lite/Dodge/Roger Penske
8.#99/Carl Edwards/Office Depot/Ford/Jack Roush
9.#10/Scott Riggs/Stanley Tools/Dodge/Ray Evernham
10.#7/Robby Gordon/Menards-Turtle Wax/Chevy/Robby Gordon

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Charles Mingus
Song:Open Letter To Duke
Album:Mingus Ah Um

Charles Mingus is known as the greatest bassist in jazz history as well as a tremendous composer and innovator. He was also one of the most colourful characters in jazz. This album was recorded in 1959 and features great performances by Booker Ervin on sax, Horace Parlan on piano & Dannie Richmond on drums. Mingus recorded three albums for Columbia at that time and they have been released in a 3CD box set. Great music from a great band.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Exhibition match featuring Megumi Yabushita added to May 3 Smackgirl show

Smackgirl has added an exhibition match featuring Megumi Yabushita to their May 3 show at the Tokyo Kinema Klub. Her opponent is Mika Nagano, an amateur wrestler who recently competed in the Japan Queen's Cup. So I guess this is some sort of wrestling exhibition. In related news, Soft On Demand announced Monday that the SOD dojo will close at the end of May. Yabushita trains there so she'll have to find somewhere else to go. When SOD opened the dojo in 2002, the plan was for the company to start a womens MMA company. That never happened. Of course now they're cutting their losses. Here's the final card.

SMACKGIRL - 5/3/06 - Tokyo Kinema Klub
58KG BOUT-Seri vs Maki Koyagaya
62KG BOUT-Rie Murakami vs Benkei
EXHIBITION-Megumi Yabushita vs Mika Nagano

Mika Nishio seriously injured, probably through with wrestling

The other day Manami Toyota asked Mayumi Ozaki for a match with Mika Nishio on the April 30 OZ Academy show at Shinjuku FACE. In recent years, Toyota's role has been the grumpy old bitch upset with younger wrestlers and of course Nishio is a younger wrestler. The match was going fine for ten minutes when Toyota hit a plancha on Nishio on the arena floor.

We don't know what went wrong but Nishio was motionless and the match was stopped by the ref. Nishio was taken out in a stretcher. Unfortunately this was not an angle. Mika Nishio suffered a serious spinal cord injury and was taken to the hospital for emergency surgery. I am told she could feel her feet after her surgery. Will she ever wrestle again? At this point it isn't even known if she will walk again and she has a long rehabilitation ahead of her to get to that point. She'll have a rough time living a normal life so I think the chances are pretty good that she's finished as a wrestler. It's a very sad story and on behalf of all her fans I would like to wish Mika Nishio a speedy and complete recovery.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Out Of Eden
Album:More Than You Know

Out Of Eden are gospel singing sisters Lisa, Andrea & Danielle Kimmey from Nashville. They're in a strange situation because though their harmonies give away their black church upbringing, they are more popular with the Contemporary Christian Music audience because their record label, Gotee Records, is a mostly CCM label and have had some difficulty selling the group to the black gospel audience. The girls have even commented on this themselves. This has more to do with the silly heirarcy in the Christian music industry than Out Of Eden's music. Out Of Eden is a tough sell to the black gospel audience while they eat up a mediocre CCM singer like Martha Munizzi because a black gospel artist, Israel Houghton, fed her to them. It doesn't make any sense but there you have it. If Out Of Eden were on a black gospel label like Verity, this wouldn't be an issue. Eldest sister Lisa Kimmey writes, produces & sings lead on most of Out Of Eden's music. Their music is aimed at a younger audience but it's very well done with great harmonies.