As expected, Fuuka returned to action on the May 18 JD Star show. Normally I would talk about the show but JD Star general manager Daisuke Kobayashi announced on the May 20 show that Grapple Beauty would cease to exist on July 16. Does this mean that JD Star is closing for good? Not necessarily. It means they've lost the financial backing of Kakutobi. But this company has threatened to close before. I would not be surprised if they came up with a new financial backer.
So after Fuuka's return on May 18, she gave a teary speech thanking everyone for their support. Then when the announcement was made on May 20, she was shocked. Well, not really. Fuuka posted on her blog that she was given the bad news ten days earlier. Basically, three wrestlers are employed by JD Star. Yumi Ohka still works there but not as a wrestler. So the fate of Fuuka, Shuu Shibutani & Misaki Ohata isn't known yet. But there is already speculation in the Japanese dirt sheets about Fuuka including that she could work for Antonio Inoki's new company IGF. Fuuka thought this was pretty funny and so did I.
As a company, JD has been around since 1996. GM Kobayashi has worked there the whole time. They started out with wrestlers like Jaguar Yokota & Bison Kimura and developed their own talent like Sumie Sakai & Megumi Yabushita. Naomi "The Bloody" Kato was one of their best wrestlers but she was trained by Jaguar at AJW and came to JD with Jaguar. But the company was losing money and then they got the idea of the Athtress concept; part athlete, part actress. It's a faulty concpt because it assumes that sex appeal and ring skills are mutually exclusive. All you have to do is look at someone like Mimi Hagiwara or Takako Inoue to know that is nonsense. They have plenty of both.
None of the original Athtresses are wrestling anymore. Of course Yumi Ohka suffered a knee injury and still works at JD Star but Emi Tojyo wound up doing porn. In 2004, it looked like JD Star would close but they were able to get Kakutobi as a financial backer in May 2004. The first thing they did was get rid of the wrestlers like The Bloody & Fang Suzuki and emphasize the Athtresses like Ohka & Tojyo. They also decided to run all their shows in one small building thinking they could be profitable by being small. At the time, someone said it was a good business plan for a zombie fed. But it was still a zombie fed and therefore doomed to failure. And JD Star continued to hang their collective hat on the Athtress concept and you can't base a promotion on mediocre wrestlers. They still had TV but they weren't making money and now the plug has been pulled...for now.