Thursday, July 31, 2008

Super Heels run wild at Ito Dojo

Normally I'm not able to write about Ito Dojo shows. They don't run a lot of shows and fans aren't going. I rarely see pics or any kind of fan reports. And the Ito Dojo website and blog are useless. But the main event of the July 27 Shin-kiba 1st Ring show had an interesting main event with Takako Inoue & Yumiko Hotta facing Nanae Takahashi & Ayako Hamada. And thank you Takako Inoue for posting pics and a match report on your blog. Takako turned heel and formed an alliance with Hotta at the last LLPW show but they're not running until Aug. 10. So she hasn't had the opportunity to test this new team. And Takako loves being a heel. And of course Takahashi & Ayako are former WWWA Tag Team Champs reuniting for the first time since they held those titles in 2004. So it has the potential to be better than the average Ito Dojo match with the usual trainees.

Takako says that she and Hotta are calling themselves Super Heels. They waste no time and beat the crap out of Ayako and bust her open with a steel chair. Takako delivers a Yakuza kick to her head. Then she traps her on the ropes and chokes her with her foot. This is followed by a DDT on the chair. Ayako's face is a crimson mask. Takako applies a camel clutch and Hotta delivers a homicide kick to the face. Takahashi tags in and lariats Takako but Takako comes back with an avalanche style choke slam. Takako pulls out the stun gun. She says it misfired. Takahashi nails Takako with the chair. Somebody brings a ladder into the ring. Takahashi hits Hotta with a flying body press off the ladder. But Hotta moves to avoid Ayako's moonsault press. Takako hits a knee from the top rope to the back of Ayako's head. Ayako pins Hotta but Takako hits Ayako with the ladder to break it up. Hotta brings a chain into the ring. Takako says she's having trouble with the on/off switch of the stun gun. The end comes when Takako's attempt to nail Ayako with the chain hits Hotta by accident and Ayako pins Hotta to get the win for Ayako Hamada & Nanae Takahashi.

Afterwards, Ayako challenges Hotta to a singles match. If Ayako wins, Hotta becomes her servant. Hotta laughs. "Are you sure you want that?" Takako says she wants a piece of the action too. Kaoru Ito comes to the ring and says they were going to do a six girl tag on the next show but how about Ito, Takako & Hotta against Ayako and two of the young generation. Ayako turns around to face all of the Ito Dojo young generation with an ominous look on her face. So we'll see what they decide to do. In other matches, Ayako Sato defeated Mai Ichi, Aki Kambayashi defeated Ranmaru, Manami Toyota defeated Hanako Kobayashi and Kaoru Ito defeated Tomoko Morii. Takako Inoue Super Heel. I like the sound of that. Thanks to Takako for the pics.

Model suffers setback in quest to be MMA fighter

Many womens MMA fans are aware that promoter Jeff Osborne is currently producing a reality series called FIGHT SKOOL. The concept of the show is to chronicle the journey of six neophyte women training in MMA and culminating in a big fight card at the Evansville Colosseum in November. The info in this post, the video and the photo are courtesy of Jacob Bennett of the Evansville Courier-Press in Evansville, IN. This show airs locally in Evansville. 26 year old Kanna Domangue is a model who has also worked as a ring girl at MMA shows. Growing up deaf in Lodi, CA, she was constantly picked on and had serious self esteem issues. Her boyfriend John Gauer suggested that she try out for FIGHT SKOOL. Osborne was interested in Kanna because her story makes for good TV. So now it's coming down to the final cut. Seven girls left and only six will be used. It looks like Kanna will make the cut. But John talks her into going inline skating to firm up her legs. She takes a tumble and breaks her wrist. She'll be in a cast for four weeks. But she won't be ready for the taping of the opening episode and Osborne has to cut her. Kanna was disappointed but asked Osborne if she can come back next season. So a sad ending for Kanna Domangue but let's wish her luck in reaching her goal next year. Meanwhile she will continue to model in Evansville. Check out the video courtesy of the Evansville Courier-Press.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Jeffrey Osborne

Artist:Jeffrey Osborne

Song:Only Human

Album:Ultimate Collection

Jeffrey Osborne was one of the most popular R & B singers of the 80s. He had a tremendous run on A & M Records but Only Human was released after he left A & M. He was born Mar. 9, 1948 in Providence, RI the youngest of 12 children. His father Clarence "Legs" Osborne played trumpet in big bands. He moved to Los Angeles in 1969 to play drums in Love Men Ltd. This group would turn into the popular 70s group L.T.D. and Osborne was lead singer on hits like Back In Love Again. He left L.T.D. to go solo in 1981 and signed with A & M Records. Most of his singles were Top 30 pop hits and Top 5 R & B hits. His biggest hit was 1986's You Should Be Mine (The Woo Woo Song) which reached #13 on the Billboard Hot 100. Osborne wrote a lot of his own songs and usually worked with producer George Duke. By the end of the 80s, things were slowing down for Osborne and his music was getting stale so he left A & M for Arista. His 1991 album Only Human returned Osborne to a more R & B groove produced by Barry Eastmond (Freddie Jackson). Only Human the single reached #3 on the R & B charts. This Hip-O comp covers Osborne's music with L.T.D. and his A & M years with Only Human thrown in so it's pretty complete. Not sure what happened at Arista but Osborne resurfaced in 2003 on Windham Hill's Private Music label but found himself without a deal when BMG acquired the Windham Hill catalog and closed the label. Jeffrey Osborne has repositioned himself musically in the Smooth Jazz market and now produces his own music through Koch Records. His most recent CD From The Soul is an album of covers and was released in Oct. 2005. Here's the video for Only Human by Jeffrey Osborne.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

AKINO's 10th Anniversary show

AKINO's 10th Anniversary show Happy Birthday To Me was held July 26 at Shinjuku FACE. She's in almost every match on the show so some fans are comparing it to Manami Toyota's 20th anniversary show. Except Toyota made sure she had quality matches and it appears AKINO went a little overboard with noki-A silliness. The "nudge nudge wink wink" of noki-A was over a long time ago. She should retire the character. But there are a couple of decent matches on the show. The show led off with a debut of four of her students at her training program at the U-File dojo. Ayumi Kurihara was the guest ref. The names and result is irrelevant at this point. I'm just glad to see AKINO make a renewed committment to joshi especially after she quit the business a couple of years ago to go golfing.

Next up was a commemorative battle royal called From ARSION To The Present. Participants are Carlos Amano, Commando Bolshoi, Atsuko Emoto, Fuuka, GAMI, Hikaru, Dynamite Kansai, Sonoko Kato, Kyoko Kimura, Chikayo Nagashima, Ranmaru & Manami Toyota. Though I'm tired of battle royals, I don't mind it in this kind of show. It's the usual stuff, a lot of standing around. Kansai attempts a Splash Mountain on Bolshoi but Toyota breaks it up. GAMI does something goofy that cracks everyone up. They do a test of strength chain. Maybe they should chant Kumbaya. Fuuka & Hikaru try to toss Emoto over the top rope. Ranmaru does a warrior pose which results in a group beatdown. GAMI goes after Hikaru with a kiss lock. Hikaru tries to escape but GAMI does kiss her and Hikaru is distracted and pinned by Fuuka. Nagashima & Kato double team Fuuka but GAMI breaks it up with her megaphone. Everyone takes turns bodyslamming Fuuka followed by a beatdown. This morphs into a beatdown of Toyota. But Toyota gets that back by tying up wrestlers in the ropes and doing her dropkick in the back spot. Then they do a dance but Fuuka spots Amano going to the top rope and Toyota eliminates her with a dropkick. So it's down to Fuuka, GAMI & Toyota. GAMI offers Fuuka a sushi lunch if she helps her gang up on Toyota. Cake would have worked better. It backfires when Toyota hits a cross body on them. Then Toyota & Fuuka tie up GAMI in the ropes. Toyota hits a dropkick followed by a Fuuka 619. Toyota gets an Indian deathlock on GAMI but Fuuka breaks it up. GAMI wants Fuuka to team up with her again. But GAMI nails her with an elbow and the result is Fuuka is eliminated. GAMI pins Toyota with a German suplex and starts celebrating her victory. But Bullfight Sora sneaks into the ring and rolls up GAMI for the win. Is that goofy enough for you?

Next AKINO teams with Tojuki Leon vs Tsubasa Kuragaki & Fake noki-A. The fake noki-A has appeared in the past. I don't know who it is. Kuragaki hits Leon with a shoulder block but Leon comes back with a missile dropkick. AKINO & Leon hit noki-A with a double dropkick and AKINO gets her in a camel clutch followed by a Boston crab. Leon tags in and continues to pound her but Leon misses a shoulder block into the corner and noki-A traps her in the corner. AKINO breaks it up. Leon dropkicks her in the corner. Kuragaki breaks it up and gets AKINO in an Argentine backbreaker. Meanwhile Tojuki Leon nails noki-A with a missile dropkick. Both AKINO & Tojuki Leon hit dives to the floor. Back in the ring, Leon hits a spear on noki-A followed by an attempted airplane spin. Kuragaki breaks it up. After a hip attack, she attempts a second one and Leon rolls her up for two. Then a moonsault press for two. AKINO tags in and after some switches, Kuragaki hits a suplex but misses a moonsault press. noki-A breaks it up. Kuragaki chokeslams AKINO and tags noki-A. noki-A rolls up AKINO for two followed by a surfboard and elbow smashes. Leon superplexes AKINO onto both of them. Then Kuragaki does her double backbreaker spot and everyone tries backbreakers. Kuragaki powerslams AKINO for two. The end comes with an AKINO hurricanrana on Fake noki-A and AKINO & Tojuki Leon win.

Next is a Team noki-A mixed match. It's noki-A & Men's noki-A vs Aja Kong & Mohammed Yone. Yone & men's noki-A start with a test of strength. noki-A tags in and Yone takes her to his corner and tags Aja. Aja gets noki-A in a neck wringer. Yone comes in and kicks her and Aja kicks her in the back. Aja applies an armbar and holds her arm out to tease men's noki-A. Aja follows this with a flying elbow drop. Aja & Yone double team her outside the ring. Aja piledrives her and tags Yone. Yone continues to punish her until men's noki-A breaks it up. noki-A applies a cross arm breaker but Aja breaks it up and tags in. Aja hits a lariat to the corner, picks her up in an inverted body vice and slams her into the corner and gets a two count. Yone tags in and noki-A applies an armbar. He escapes but men's noki-A traps him in the corner and climbs to the second rope and throws several punches. Aja breaks it up with a facebuster. noki-A dives off the top onto both of them. Yone hits men's noki-A with a lariat to the corner followed by a leg drop. noki-A tags in and takes Aja down. But Aja comes back with a vertical suplex and an elbow drop. men's noki-A breaks it up with a dropkick. All four are in the ring and Aja & Yone miss a double lariat and noki-A wins over Yone with a hurricanrana.

Of course AKINO's career is defined by her very popular tag team with Ayako Hamada. So it's appropriate that the two are opponents in the main event of AKINO's 10th anniversary show. Ayako's 10th anniversary show is coming in September. They begin by exchanging armbars. They stand there and look at each other for a moment. Ayako kicks AKINO and applies a half boston crab. Ayako forces AKINO into the ropes and hits a high kick followed by an arm stretcher. AKINO excapes and traps Ayako in the corner with a facewash. AKINO hits a mule kick but Ayako turns it into a sunset flip for two. AKINO hits a missile dropkick and applies an arm scissor over the top rope. She has to break that and Ayako hits a power bomb for two. Ayako hits a cross body off the top rope then tries a moonsault press but AKINO gets her knees up. AKINO gets a two. They're both tired and AKINO tries to cover Ayako for two. They exchange blows but Ayako gets the best of the exchange and hits a spin kick. AKINO ducks a second spin kick and rolls up Ayako for two. AKINO comes off the ropes and Ayako catches her in a power slam for two. They exchange blows again and AKINO finally gets the win with the Tornado A.

AKINO & Ayako Hamada embrace and shake hands after the match. Chikayo Nagashima & Sonoko Kato come to ringside. Nagashima says it's good to see the two shaking hands. Kato says they're still looking for opponents for the Aug. 10 OZ Academy show. What about you two? AKINO says sure but Kato asks Ayako if she's still in Japan that day. Ayako says yes. She usually goes home to Mexico in September. I think she's going at the end of August this year. So it will be AKINO & Ayako Hamada reuniting to face Chikayo Nagashima & Sonoko Kato on the Aug. 10 OZ Academy show. They have a celebration in the ring with flowers and a cake. I think someone dropped the cake and Fuuka was checking it out. See, I told you GAMI should have offered her cake. AKINO rubs the cake in Ayako's face. A fun time had by all.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Jimmy Thackery & The Drivers

Artist:Jimmy Thackery & The Drivers

Song:That's How I Feel

Album:Drive To Survive

Guitarist Jimmy Thackery made his name with 80s blues rockers The Nighthawks. He leads his own band now and has a strong fanbase. He was born May 19, 1953 in Pittsburgh and grew up in Washington, DC. He played in bands in high school and joined The Nighthawks in 1974. He left to go solo in 1987 and called his band Jimmy Thackery & The Assassins. It doesn't look like that band ever recorded and they split in 1991. Thackery formed a new band in 1992 called Jimmy Thackery & The Drivers with Michael Patrick on bass and Mark Stutso on drums and vocals. They signed with Blind Pig and debuted in 1992. Drive To Survive is from 1996. Thackery ususally does a solid mix of originals and covers. That's How I Feel is a Thackery song with a great vocal from Stutso. Jimmy Thackery moved to Telarc Records in 2002 and his latest CD Solid Ice was released in May 2007. Jimmy Thackery knows his place in the music world and continues to tour the blues festival circuit. He's recommended to those who enjoy solid hard driving blues guitar. I usually prefer to post professionally shot videos but all of the Jimmy Thackery videos are fan shot videos. They're not top quality but the music is still good. So here is Jimmy Thackery & The Drivers featuring Reba Russell performing That's How I Feel on the 2008 Rhythm & Blues Cruise.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Memphis Slim

Artist:Memphis Slim

Song:Feel Like Screaming And Crying

Album:Blue Memphis Suite

Bluesman Memphis Slim typified the urban sophistication of the Memphis blues sound and he was a tremendous pianist. He was born John "Peter" Chatman Sept. 3, 1915 in Memphis. He took the name Peter in honour of his juke joint owner father. He moved to Chicago in 1937 and began a long association with legendary bluesman Big Bill Broonzy. He first recorded for Okeh in 1939 and moved to Bluebird where producer Lester Melrose dubbed him Memphis Slim. He played sessions at Bluebird and also joined Broonzy's band for several years. He started Memphis Slim & The Houserockers in the mid-40s and offered more of a big band sound than the usual Chicago blues sound. Memphis Slim's most memorable composition was Every Day I Have The Blues. He had a hit with it in 1952 and of course it's been covered by many artists over the years. His band with guitarist Matt "Guitar" Murphy was very popular in the 50s. Memphis Slim first toured Europe with Willie Dixon in 1960. He liked it so much he moved to Paris in 1962. He was very successful in Europe. Blue Memphis was recorded in England in 1970 with young guys like Peter Green of Fleetwood Mac, Chris Spedding, John Paul Jones and Duster Bennett. It was designed to be an autobiographical audio revue. So it has some narration along with great music. It was originally released in the US by Warner Bros. but Universal Music France released the unedited version in 2006. Sunnyside Records released it in the US. Memphis Slim continued to enjoy his blues royalty status in France until his death on Feb. 24, 1988 at age 72. Here's Memphis Slim performing Every Day I Have The Blues.

Monday, July 28, 2008

JB Angels reunite at Daily Sports 60th Anniversary show

The Daily Sports 60th Anniversary joshi show was July 21 at IMP Hall in Osaka. There will be a second show at Korakuen Hall on Aug. 3. The emphasis here was on nostalgia with the reuniting of the Jumping Bomb Angels and Dump Matsumoto doing her thing. There is also a Daily Sports Women's Tag Team Championship tournament. The show was booked by JWP owner Commando Bolshoi so there's a lot of suspect booking as well. I'll get to that. Considering that the reuniting of JBA is a big deal, the attendance was a very disappointing 613 fans. Maybe nostalgia isn't enough anymore and I think it was a very poor decision to have JBA strictly in a nostalgia match and not have them as a part of the tournament. I understand the decision but it's wrong anyway. At 45 years of age, Itsuki Yamazaki looks in better shape than many current wrestlers. She always took a lot of pride in her mat skills so I'm sure she could have played a more significant role. And you'll notice JBA is wearing those denim jackets they used to wear back in the 80s.

There were eight matches on the show and I can't help thinking that a couple of the matches weren't needed. The only purpose of a battle royal is to get a large number of wrestlers on the show thinking that it makes the show seem important. I wouldn't mind seeing a ban on battle royals for six months so I won't dislike them anymore. The show could have done without the opener too. It had Ayako Sato & Misaki Ohata vs Ryo Mizunami & Pinkie Mayuca. Tyrannosaurus Okuda was pulled due to a back injury. I know what they're thinking. Oh, look! It's the new generation of joshi wrestlers! The future of joshi is bright. Nobody told them that the light at the end of the tunnel is another train. Delusional idiots! It was a standard match and nothing special. And how long does Ayako Sato have to be in the business before she's considered a veteran? Sato hits a dropkick on Mayuca. Ohata tags in with a bodyslam. But Mayuca comes off the ropes with a cross body and then goes for a victory roll. Ohata rolls through for a two. A change of partners and Mizunami hits a shoulder breaker on Sato followed by a Mayuca missile dropkick. The end comes when Sato hits Mayuca with a missile dropkick followed by a German suplex for the win at 15:16.

Next was what was called a Clan Battle. You have Devil Masami, Toshie Uematsu & Ran YuYu vs Kaoru Ito, Takako Inoue & Hanako Kobayashi. I guess it's supposed to be GAEA vs Ito Dojo or something. And what's Kobayashi doing in this match? She should have been in the opener. Unless a major upset is planned, I'm not a fan of telegraphing the jobber. Of course the story of this match is Kobayashi getting spunky with the veterans and getting her butt kicked. She stands up to Devil and then Uematsu and all three beat on her. Kobayashi escapes with a cross body on Ran and tags Takako. Takako & Ito take over for a while but Kobayashi tags in and Uematsu abuses her. Uematsu's lariat is followed by a superplex and a flying body press off Ran's shoulders. Uematsu gets the win with a tiger suplex at 13:11.

Next up is the 12 girl battle royal. Participants were Yumi Ohka, Kana, Ryo Mizunami, Misaki Ohata, Devil Masami, Pinkie Mayuca, Toshie Uematsu, Ran YuYu, Harley Saito, Kei'to, Tomoko Morii and KAZUKI. It was the usual notion of thinking a battle royal is special when it isn't because promoters do them too frequently. There's a lot of silliness as one would expect. In joshi, a wrestler can be eliminated by being tossed over the top rope or by pinfall or submission. It's just a lot of confusion and goofy group spots with Uematsu & Ran directing traffic. You have a figure four head scissors chain. They all get turned over and Mayuca applies a Boston crab on Ohka. Then a chain brainbuster. Oy! Mayuca hits Morii with a missile dropkick but in trying to follow it up, she gets tossed over the top rope by Ohka & Kei'to. Ohka & Kana are left in the ring. Kana hits a hip attack followed by a neck breaker. Ohka comes back with chops and wins with the Big Boots at 9:48. Well, her fans will be happy.

Next is this goofy masked wrestler match. Commando Bolshoi teamed with Tigers Mask Lady vs Ranmaru & Fuuka Kidd. It turns out that Tigers Mask Lady was a tribute to the Hanshin Tigers baseball team. It's obviously Tojuki Leon. I can't tell who's under the Fuuka Kidd mask. It's what one would expect, a mix of flying around and goofiness. Bolshoi & Tigers Mask both dive to the floor on the opponents. Bolshoi does a handstand elbow to the corner on Fuuka Kidd. Bolshoi walks the ropes as always. Fuuka Kidd tries to break up a double team with a dropkick. The end comes with a double team suplex on Ranmaru followed by Tigers Mask Lady's Tigers Splash for the win at 10:36.

Now it's time for some blood with Dump Matsumoto & Sasori vs GAMI & KAORU. Of course Dump brings her gang with her. Sasori starts out with GAMI and traps her on the ropes followed by a double toehold. Dump tags in and after a lariat, she pulls out her greco roman fork and stabs GAMI in the forehead. This is what you get with Dump. I liked her in the 80s but it's not entertaining anymore. Dump continues to rip away at GAMI. When KAORU comes in, she gets the fork too. So now they're both busted open. Sasori misses with a metal can and hits Dump over the head. She no sells it. Dump nails KAORU with a piledriver. GAMI comes back with a tiger suplex on Sasori. One of Dump's pals wraps a chain around KAORU's throat. Dump hangs KAORU with the chain wrapped around the top rope and hits her with a kendo stick. KAORU tries to hit Dump with the desk board. The whole thing ends in a schmozzle when Dump's pals attack ref Tommy Ran and KAORU & GAMI win by DQ at 9:11. The whole thing was one big mess.

Now it's time for the big JB Angels reunion against the Dynamite Gals. So it's Itsuki Yamazaki & Noriyo Tateno vs Jumbo Hori & Yukari Omori. I can't believe how great Yamazaki looks. Look what she's wearing. And Omori is wearing a baggy t-shirt. Oh well. Yamazaki & Tateno nail Omori with a double lariat followed by a double dropkick. Yamazaki climbs the ropes and hits a flying armdrag. Hori tags in and has a test of strength with Yamazaki. Tateno tags in and Hori traps her in the corner followed by a figure four leglock. Tateno gets to the ropes but Hori jumps on her leg. Yamazaki tries to break it up. She tags in and Hori hits a gut wrench suplex. Yamazaki & Tateno nail Hori with a double lariat and a double suplex. The match ends in a ten minute draw and the JB Angels make a triumphant return. Like I said before, they should have been part of the tag team tournament.

In an attempt to try and create some heat for this tag team tournament, Kayoko Haruyama said that she was already JWP Open Weight champ and one half of the JWP Tag Team Champs. She bragged of her plans for a trifecta by winning this tournament. Yumiko Hotta looked at her like she was from Mars. Haruyama even called Hotta & Toyota "aunties". So it's obvious where they're going. The first semi final has Kayoko Haruyama & Tsubasa Kuragaki (in matching outfits) vs Yoshiko Tamura & Arisa Nakajima. Tamura traps Haruyama in the corner and gives her a facewash. Nakajima dives onto both of them on the floor. Haruyama & Kuragaki double team Nakajima and have her in a combined camel clutch and toehold. The abuse continues and Haruyama applies a camel clutch. Nakajima finally escapes and comes off the ropes with a flying forearm. Tamura traps Haruyama in the corner with a facewash. Nakajima hits a northern lights suplex for two. Tamura hits a flying forearm for two. Kuragaki tags in and lifts Tamura & Nakajima in an Argentinian backbreaker. They try to double team Kuragaki but she hits a double lariat and a double backdrop suplex. Kuragaki lifts Tamura in an inverted body vice. But Tamura rolls her up for two. Nakajima tags in and hits a tiger suplex for two. Nakajima tries to lift Kuragaki in a body slam but Kuragaki turns it into an attempt at her Metal Wing finisher. Nakajima slips out but is nailed with a lariat. Kuragaki hits a moonsault press but Tamura breaks up the pin. A double lariat gets rid of Tamura and a double team facebuster followed by Kuragaki's Metal Wing finishes Nakajima at 18:43.

The second semi final is Manami Toyota & Yumiko Hotta vs Chikayo Nagashima & Sonoko Kato. Kato hits Toyota with a knee while Nagashima hits a facebuster off the ropes. Toyota nails Kato with a missile dropkick. Toyota applies a double toehold and bridges into a chinlock. She turns it into a camel clutch. Kato reaches the ropes and tags Nagashima. Toyota gets her in a camel clutch while Hotta kicks her in the face. Hotta applies a figure four leglock on Kato. Toyota tags in and hits a front suplex on Kato. Kato comes back with a forearm smash and Nagashima applies the hanging head scissors over the top rope. Toyota traps Kato & Nagashima in the ropes and hits a dropkick to the back. Hotta tags in and kicks Kato. Kato comes back and Nagashima hits the diving foot stamp from the top. Kato goes to the top but Hotta follows her and throws her to the floor. Toyota dives from the top rope onto both of them. Toyota hits Kato with a missile dropkick. Kato comes back with a full nelson suplex for two. Nagashima tags in and hits a German suplex for two followed by a side suplex and a full nelson suplex. Hotta breaks it up. Nagashima hits a diving foot stamp but Hotta distracts her and Toyota wins with the Japanese Ocean Queen Bee Bomb at 22:36. So not surprisingly, it will be Manami Toyota & Yumiko Hotta vs Kayoko Haruyama & Tsubasa Kuragaki in the Daily Sports Women's Tag Team Championship final on Aug. 3 at Korakuen Hall. The "aunties" could be looking to kick some JWP butt.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Owen Gray

Artist:Owen Gray

Song:My One Desire

Album:Independent Jamaica: Songs Of Freedom From The Treasure Isle

This various artists comp from Trojan looks at music from 1962, the year Jamaica declared independence. I've featured it previously and it's a very interesting collection. Owen Gray is a pioneer of Jamaican music. He was born 1939 in Kingston and grew up in Trench Town singing in church. By the late 50s, calypso music had become very popular. So there was an international interest in developing more music from the Caribbean. A key figure in this was British record producer Chris Blackwell. He would go on to found Island Records. Owen Gray's recording debut with The Caribs called Please Don't Let Me Go was produced by Blackwell in 1960 and became a hit in Jamaica and England. It also made Gray very popular with Jamaican record producers and eventually he would get together with Coxsone Dodd and record his first album in 1961. My One Desire was one of his early hits in 1962. Gray sweet singing style made him very popular in England and he moved there in 1962. Gray signed with the fledgling Island Records and he continued to be very popular in Europe. Owen Gray has recorded periodically over the years and still tours today. Though some may classify him as reggae because he's Jamaican, his style is probably closer to R & B and he's also recorded gospel albums. This comp is a good sampling of Jamaican music pioneers. Here's Owen Gray performing at a ReggaeFest in Brazil.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Cris Cyborg wins by TKO

EliteXC had their second CBS show last night at the Stockton Arena in Stockton, CA. We had a womens match to lead off the show with Shayna Baszler facing Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos. Baszler's a veteran with strong grappling skills. Cyborg is married to veteran fighter Evangelista Cyborg and trains at Chute Boxe in Brazil. Her previous fights demonstrated an aggressive standup fighting style but her ground skills were an unknown as she had never really been challenged. So Baszler's strategy was to go to the ground and go for a submission. This is a gamble because if it works, she wins. If it doesn't work, Baszler is in big trouble. Having to do this in a three minute round probably influenced Baszler's decision. Baszler just wasn't able to hook anything on Cyborg and by the end of round one, Cyborg gained control and won the round.

Cyborg went to her strength in round two and started hammering Baszler with strikes. A front knee really put Baszler in trouble. She went down and Cyborg thought the fight was over and she started celebrating. But it wasn't over and Baszler had the opportunity to recover. It didn't help much as Cyborg hammered her until Baszler went down again and the ref called the fight. Cyborg wins by TKO. Baszler said afterwards that the one thing that surprised her was Cyborg's patience in round one. She also showed defensive skills that she hadn't had to show in her previous fights. Obviously she's been working on that and it paid off big in this fight.

The big controversy in this fight is that the women are fighting three minute rounds while the men fight in five minute rounds. The perception is that it puts the submission fighter at a disadvantage to the strike specialist. That may have been a factor in Baszler's first round strategy. The way to end this controversy is for EliteXC to have the women fight five minute rounds. The fighters want it. The fans want it. Even EliteXC broadcasters Mauro Ranallo & Frank Shamrock want it. There's no reason for three minute rounds other than the usual promotional dopiness, typified by Gary Shaw. Well, he's gone and EliteXC Chairman Doug DeLuca and CBS exec Kelly Kahl have demonstrated that they will listen to fans. They got rid of the damn dancers, didn't they? Maybe it's time for some sort of organized petition demanding five minute rounds in womens matches be sent to Kahl.

The next EliteXC show on CBS will be on October 4. EliteXC has already announced that Gina Carano will be on the show. Of course fans want her to lock up with Cris Cyborg. Gina even teased it after the match. It would be interesting because they're both strong Muay Thai fighters. But EliteXC's Jeremy Lappan said last night that Carano vs Cyborg isn't a sure thing and no decision has been made. And Sherdog reported last week that Kelly Kobald (16-2-1) is the leading candidate to be Gina's opponent on that show. And Kelly has confirmed that possibility. I don't care as either matchup has potential to be a good fight. Kelly is a great fighter. I suspect EliteXC may save Cyborg for early in 2009. It will be fun to find out. Here's the match video for your enjoyment. I saw Cyborg's brief post match statement but it had to be translated and was nothing special. But I did find a post match interview with Shayna Baszler courtesy of MMA Rated. Enjoy!

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Paul Bley & Gary Peacock

Artist:Paul Bley & Gary Peacock

Song:Hand In Hand


Pianist Paul Bley has been at the forefront of the avant garde jazz movement since the early 60s. Bassist Gary Peacock has been a frequent collaborator. Paul Bley was born Nov. 10, 1932 in Montreal. Gary Peacock was born May 12, 1935 in Burley, ID. Bley started playing piano at age 8 and studied at Julliard in 1951. He played with Charles Parker on a 1953 CBC TV show and also worked with Charles Mingus. He moved to New York to join Jackie McLean's band and then moved to Los Angeles. It was there that he started hanging around with Ornette Coleman and others who started the avant garde jazz movement. Meanwhile, Peacock was in the military and moved to Los Angeles after his discharge. They first worked together in 1962 and have worked together many times. Both have been married to musicians. Bley was married to Carla Bley and then later married Peacock's ex-wife Annette Peacock. So it's all intertwined. This 1989 album was rereleased by Sunnyside Records in 2001. It's a duet record but Bley & Peacock also play solo tracks as well. It's not for beginners. It's intended for fans of the two musicians. Peacock joined Keith Jarrett's trio in 1983 and continues to tour with Jarrett & Jack DeJohnette. Bley continues to tour and record. His latest CD About Time was released by Justin Time Records last month. Here's Paul Bley performing Lucky as part of a 1998 documentary.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Yabushita wins in GCM Demolition

GCM Demolition has occasionally run womens MMA matches. They added one at the last minute to their July 27 Differ Ariake show. You might think it was with obscure fighters but womens MMA legend Megumi Yabushita took this fight against up and comer Emi Fujino. That's a little strange. The fight was scheduled for three three minute rounds and there was no ground and pound allowed. Well, that fits in with Yabushita's judo and submission style. Fujino's goal was to keep attacking Yabushita with strikes to keep from being thrown around. That didn't work too well. Fujino backed Yabushita into the corner but Yabushita's judo throw put Fujino into the position of being subjected to various submission attempts. That was the basic pattern of the match. Fujino would attempt the same strategy but it was ineffective against Yabushita. All she could do was survive. Yabushita wasn't able to put Fujino away but won a unanimous decision. Here's a few pics from the match.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Dwight Yoakam

Artist:Dwight Yoakam

Song:You're The One

Album:Last Chance For A Thousand Years:Greatest Hits Of The 90s

Dwight Yoakam started out in the 80s as one of the artists who returned country music to its roots but by the 90s he had to reinvent himself. That's what this comp is about. Though Yoakam's music is obviously influenced by the Bakersfield sound of Buck Owens, he was born Oct. 23, 1956 in Pikeville, KY and grew up in Columbus, OH. He grew up listening to his mom's country music records and played in garage bands as a teen. He moved to Nashville in the late 70s but his attempts at reviving honky tonk music was not received well. He met guitarist Pete Anderson and the two moved to Los Angeles and found a more appreciative audience there. They not only played country clubs but played punk clubs and along with acts like The Blasters were called cowpunks. Yoakam released an EP independently in 1984 that got airplay in Los Angeles. This earned him a contract with Reprise Records and his 1986 debut album Guitars, Cadillacs, Etc. Etc. was a huge hit as Yoakam's reinvention of honky tonk music seemed fresh. He had a lot of success into the 90s. You're The One was a top 5 country hit in 1991 from the 1990 album If There Was A Way. Yoakam had adjusted his sound a bit to a more traditional country sound that would serve him well for the rest of the 90s. This comp covers that material though Rhino has also released a Dwight Yoakam box set covering his entire career. Dwight Yoakam left Reprise in 2001 and now records for New West Records. His latest CD Dwight Sings Buck was released in Oct. 2007. He has also built a career as a character actor in films, most notably the 1996 film Slingblade. He has two films being released later this year. Here's the video for You're The One by Dwight Yoakam.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Tal Bachman

Artist:Tal Bachman

Song:She's So High

Album:Tal Bachman

Of course Tal Bachman is the son of Guess Who and Bachman Turner Overdrive guitarist and Canadian music legend Randy Bachman. Tal had a big hit in 1999 with She's So High and then "Wha' Happen?" He was born Aug. 13, 1968 in Winnipeg and grew up in Vancouver. Of course he grew up in a musical household and taught himself to play guitar. He lost interest in music as a teen and studied political philosophy in Utah. He returned to Vancouver and started writing music and sending out demos. One of those demos got the attention of executives at EMI Music Publishing and this got him a deal at Columbia Records. She's So High was a #1 hit in Canada and a top ten hit in the US. The album did very well on the Adult Oriented charts. It's a pretty good mainstream pop record. It was produced by Bob Rock. He's produced Metallica & Motley Crue among others and started out with the Canadian pop group The Payolas. I would guess he's pals with Tal's dad. Tal Bachman's 2004 CD Staring Down The Sun did OK in Canada. It was released on Artemis Records in the US in 2006. Tal renounced his Mormon faith a few years ago and appeared on the PBS Frontline documentary called Mormons. He's been touring with his dad lately. His website is currently under construction so I expect we may get some new music from this talented musician. Here's the video for She's So High by Tal Bachman.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Airto Moreira

Artist:Airto Moreira

Song:Romance Of Death

Album:The Best Of Airto

Percussionist Airto Moreira is one of the all time jazz greats and was an important figure in the jazz fusion movement of the early 70s. This comp covers his solo recordings from the 70s. He was born Aug. 5, 1941 in Itaiopolis, Brazil and raised in Sao Paulo. He was a professional musician at age 13 and first recorded with percussionist Hermeto Pascoal in 1967. Airto married singer Flora Purim and they moved to the US. He started playing with jazz musicians in New York and was introduced to pianist Joe Zawinul by bassist Walter Booker. At the time, Miles Davis was experimenting with electronics and funk in jazz and of course Airto and Zawinul were a big part of the landmark 1969 album Bitches Brew. He stayed with Miles for two years and then formed Weather Report with Zawinul, Wayne Shorter & Miroslav Vitous. Airto left Weather Report after their 1971 debut and along with his wife Flora joined Chick Corea's fusion group Return To Forever and appeared on their first two albums. Meanwhile, Airto was busy playing percussion and drums on sessions and signed a solo recording contract with Creed Taylor's CTI Records. This 1992 Columbia/Legacy comp covers those recordings. Romance Of Death is from Airto's 1973 CTI debut Fingers with Flora on vocals, David Amaro on guitar, Hugo Fattoruso on keyboards, Jorge Fattoruso on drums and Ringo Thielmann on bass. Airto Moreira always brings a lot of energy to his music and he plays all kinds of crazy percussion instruments that you might think looks weird. But it works. At least he doesn't play a pig like his buddy Hermeto Pascoal. Airto Moreira & Flora Purim still tour and their daughter Diana Moreira sings with them too. Here's Airto Moreira & Flora Purim performing at Nelson Ledges July 30, 2007.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Shayna Baszler on hometown TV station

This Saturday at 9PM Eastern, EliteXC will make their second live appearance on CBS. The big match for readers of this blog will be between Shayna Baszler and Brazilian Cristiane Cyborg. It will lead off the show. The winner will face Gina Carano in October for what is expected to be an EliteXC womens title. There was a conference call yesterday and when Shayna was asked about Gina as the face of womens MMA, she said she plans to be the second face of womens MMA. The match is a contrast of styles as Shayna is a strong grappler and Cris is a strong standup fighter. I've seen Cyborg's fights and she's never been tested by a fighter of Shayna's caliber. So it should be a very interesting matchup.

Cris Cyborg said in an interview that she has been training hard at Chute Boxe to improve her ground skills and though her last pro fight was in 2006, she has competed in several grappling tournaments. She also said she intends to exploit Shayna's weakness in Muay Thai. She even said she believes Shayna is afraid of Cyborg's punching power. Somehow I suspect that Shayna and her trainers at Josh Barnett's Angels Of Destruction have been equally diligent in working on improving Shayna's Muay Thai skills. But we all know what her bread and butter is. Of course Shayna Baszler is from Sioux Falls, SD and she was recently featured on KELO-TV or Keloland TV, the CBS station in SIoux Falls. So naturally I'm here to bring that video clip to you. That's the main purpose of this post. Enjoy!

OZ Academy puts the spotlight on Matsumoto/Hiren

OZ Academy held a press conference to promote the Aug. 10 Korakuen Hall show. And though the emphasis was on the rivalry between Mayumi Ozaki and Carlos Amano and the hair vs hair tag team match, Ozaki also shined the spotlight on the match between youngsters Hiroyo Matsumoto and Hiren. And they don't even work for OZ. Obviously I'm not crazy about another hair match but at least the recent tournaments in OZ Academy have led to a decent payoff and compelling storylines. Meanwhile, other joshi companies like JWP & NEO are running pointless and boring tournaments and you don't have to be a genius to see that they're leading nowhere. They're just killing time on a dead end street. Show some imagination and stop doing the same old stuff.

Hiren sat down at the OZ Academy press conference accompanied by Mika Nishio. Hiroyo Matsumoto said that yes, she was defeated by Hiren in the six girl tag team match. But she plans to return the favour on Aug. 10 as long as there is no outside interference. She accused Hiren of cowardice for bringing Nishio to the press conference. Why can't she come alone? Hiren says it doesn't matter. She still won last time. Matsumoto said she wouldn't have won without help. Hiren says she'll win again with or without help. Nishio backed that up. Matsumoto told Nishio that D-Fix doesn't have confidence in Hiren. Hiren blew her off. Nishio laughed but Matsumoto isn't convinced. Matsumoto was asked about the use of the name Jungle Jack. She says she is excited about using the name and believes they have the opportunity to exceed the success of the original Jungle Jack. I like that Ozaki is creating interest in this feud between two youngsters and hopefully they run with that and make it mean something.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Kevin Mahogany

Artist:Kevin Mahogany

Song:Nature Boy

Album:Another Time Another Place

Kevin Mahogany came along at a time in the early 90s when it looked like jazz singing was dying. He was a big part of revitalizing the art of jazz vocal. His voice will remind you of Joe Williams or Jimmy Rushing but Mahogany has forged his own identity. He was born July 30, 1958 in Kansas City, MO. Kansas City is something else he has in common with Rushing. He started out playing baritone sax but decided during his high school years to take up singing. He sang in various groups while studying music at Baker University. In 1991, he met big band leader Frank Mantooth and joined his band. This eventually got the attantion of Enja Records owner Matthias Wincklemann and Mahogany recorded his solo debut Double Rainbow in 1993. After three albums with Enja, veteran producer Matt Pierson signed him to Warner Bros. Another Time Another Place is the second of his two CDs for Warners and features Joe Lovano on tenor sax and Cyrus Chestnut on piano. Mahogany performs an excellent version of the Nat King Cole standard Nature Boy that may remind you of Johnny Hartman. Kevin Mahogany currently records for his own label and released Kevin Mahogany Big Band in Jan. 2005. Jazz vocal fans should check him out. Here's Kevin Mahogany performing Please Send Me Someone To Love Montreux 1997.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Phillip Walker

Artist:Phillip Walker

Song:The Blues And My Guitar

Album:Heritage Of The Blues:The Best Of Phillip Walker

This comp from Hightone Records is an excellent introduction to the tasteful and underrated blues guitarist Phillip Walker. He was born Feb. 11, 1937 in Welsh, LA and grew up in Port Arthur, TX. As a teen, he was already playing guitar in Houston clubs with Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown and Lonnie Brooks. Zydeco pioneer Clifton Chenier hired Walker to play guitar in 1953 and he remained for three years. He moved to Los Angeles in 1959 and recorded his signature song Hello My Darling. Walker mostly played sessions through the 60s until he got together with producer Bruce Bromberg to record the 1973 album Bottom Of The Top for Playboy Records. Yeah, Hugh Hefner started it to record his then girlfriend Barbi Benton. But they released some good stuff and this album is now available from Hightone. Walker has recorded sporadically and this comp covers his music pretty well. This excellent cover of Lowell Fulsom's The Blues And My Guitar was on the 1984 Rounder album Tough As I Want To Be. He was recording for High Top until they went bankrupt a few years ago. His latest CD Going Back Home was released on Randy Chortkoff's Delta Groove label in Feb. 2007. So Phillip Walker is still delivering his classy and entertaining brand of blues guitar. Don't overlook him. Here's Phillip Walker performing Hello Central in Sweden 1979.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Mai Ichii joining MMA full time

Ever since pro wrestler Mai Ichii won a recent MMA match over Satoko Shinashi, it has been rumoured that she plans to leave pro wrestling and become a full time MMA fighter. Her current record is 1-2. Ichii recently confirmed those rumours to Lady's Ring magazine. She has been training at the White Dragon dojo with her sensei Kaneda. Apparently the two have known each other since they were children and he's been after her for a while to switch from pro wrestling to MMA. Ichii has been a wrestler for five years. She's not the first to attempt the switch and it's not likely she was going to main event any wrestling shows. So if she has the MMA skills, there could be a future for her. Haneda says he's very happy with her training and they are aiming for at least one MMA match by the end of this year. I didn't much care for Mai Ichii's win over Satoko Shinashi as I thought the ref was very lenient with Ichii. But here's the video and you can check it out for yourself.

Michelle McCool is the first WWE Divas Champion

Here's the video for Michelle McCool's win over Natalya to become the first WWE Divas Champion from last night's Great American Bash. I don't know how long it will be up. The WWE is very aggressive when it comes to removing videos from Youtube but I don't know about MySpace. The match was OK but typically the WWE put the girls on after the Jericho/Michaels match and gave them less than five minutes. If the ending seems a little rushed and somewhat ridiculous, that's because it was. The WWE never seems to learn that if they want fans to care about these women, they have to make the matches seem more important than a standard Smackdown or RAW match. So Mark Henry vs Tommy Dreamer was on this show because...? Well, I know why but they could have saved that for Tuesday. JR & Mick Foley try very hard to put the girls over but the WWE needed to do something special with this match and chose not to do that. It's a new title belt. Make it seem important. The WWE can be so stupid. But I know fans want to see the match so here it is.
Michelle McCool VS Natalya Great American Bash 2008

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Hoagy Carmichael

Artist:Hoagy Carmichael

Song:Georgia On My Mind

Album:Hoagy Sings Carmichael

Howard Hoagland Carmichael is one of the great composers of the 20th century but he was also a popular performer. This album from the 50s has him in a jazz setting. He was born Nov. 11, 1899 in Bloomington, IN. Carmichael started playing piano as a child but was planning to be a lawyer. He earned a law degree at the University Of Illinois. But he got the music bug when he befriended trumpeter Bix Beiderbecke in college. He went to Miami to join a law firm but when he failed the bar exam, he returned to Indiana and started writing music. He sang his song Washboard Blues in Paul Whiteman's band and songs such as Stardust started getting him more attention. Georgia On My Mind was written in 1930. Many artists have recorded it but it was never a big hit until Ray Charles recorded it in 1960. It is now the official state song of Georgia. In the mid 30s, Carmichael started singing at parties and his laconic vocal style eventually got the attention of film studios and he started turning up in films like The Best Years Of Our Lives. His popularity continued on TV in the 50s. Carmichael recorded some pop records in the 40s but he could see that Rock 'N' Roll was not good for him. So he recorded Hoagy Sings Carmichael for Pacific Jazz in 1956 with arrangements by Johnny Mandel and featuring Jimmy Rowles on piano, Art Pepper on sax and Harry "Sweets" Edison on trumpet. It's worth checking out. Hoagy Carmichael still tried to write songs but even with the success of Georgia On My Mind, his kind of songs weren't in vogue anymore. But he got a big lift when John Lennon said Hoagy Carmichael was his favourite songwriter. Hoagy Carmichael died on Dec. 27, 1981 at age 82. He is in the Songwriters Hall Of Fame. Here's Hoagy Carmichael performing in the 1941 short film Lazybones along with a very young Dorothy Dandridge.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

How about Danica & Milka in The Octagon?

Normally I write about women beating each other up in MMA fights or pretending to beat each other up in joshi puroresu. I have also occasionally written about auto racing. Today I'm going to combine the two because Indy Racing League star Danica Patrick had a heated confrontation with Venezuelan driver Milka Duno after an practice altercation yesterday preparing for today's IRL race at Mid Ohio. Most of you should be familiar with Danica but who is Milka Duno? She drives in the IRL for Dreyer & Reinbolt Racing. The car is sponsored by Citgo. I don't if she's a poor driver or the car is poor. She runs in the back and is simply much slower than everyone else. And that was the problem with Danica yesterday. Danica was trying to pass the much slower Milka and Milka kept blocking her.

After practice, Danica decided to go to Milka Duno's pit to ask her if she saw her on the track. We've seen Danica's temper before especially last year at Milwaukee when Dan Wheldon crashed her. Milka's response was to throw a towel at Danica. Fortunately, somebody brought a video camera and the footage was posted on the IRL website. So I have included video of ESPN's report on the incident including the practice footage in question and the spat itself. I can understand why Danica was annoyed. Milka Duno's blocking during practice was way out of line. But she probably should have asked her boss Michael Andretti to talk to the team instead of going there herself. I think if they want to settle this properly, they should go into The Octogon and have a real grudge match. I'm just kidding but it sure would make a lot of money on PPV.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Raul Midon

Artist:Raul Midon

Song:Ain't Happened Yet

Album:World Within A World

Singer songwriter Raul Midon combines an interest in soul music with his Latino heritage to make a dent in the adult oriented music market. He was born Mar. 14, 1966 in Endubo, NM. Both Raul and twin brother Marco were blinded in an incubation accident. His father is an Argentinian dancer and his mother is black. Midon learned guitar and attended the jazz program at the University Of Miami. He started out professionally as a backup singer and toured with Shakira. He released his debut CD independently and moved to New York. His CD got the attention of legendary producer Arif Mardin. Mardin had a lot of success at EMI with Norah Jones. Midon signed with the EMI label Manhattan and Mardin's son Joe Mardin produced his 2005 CD State Of Mind featuring Midon's idol Stevie Wonder. Midon also performed the theme for Spike Lee's film She Hate Me. The album did very well on the adult oriented charts. Midon is also a strong live performer and is currently touring with Jason Mraz. World Within A World was released in Sept. 2007. I would say Midon's music is mostly soul with some Latin elements. And he writes his own songs. He likely has a bright future within the adult music market. Here's the video for Pick Somebody Up by Raul Midon.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-The Five Satins

Artist:The Five Satins

Song:In The Still Of The Night

Album:The Doo Wop Box

Here is yet another classic from Rhino's 4CD Doo Wop Box. Fred Parris (born Mar. 26, 1936 in New Haven, CT) formed The Scarlets in 1953 while he was still attending high school in New Haven. They had a local hit with Dear One in 1954. Parris reorganized the group and launched The Five Satins with Al Denby, Ed Martin & Jim Freeman. Parris wrote In The Still Of The Night in a church basement and it was recorded & released on the B-side of The Jones Girl in 1955. But DJs liked In The Still Of The Night better and Standard Records released it in the spring of 1956. The song finally got national distribution through Ember Records and by the end of 1956 reached #3 on the R & B charts and #25 on the pop charts. It's one of the most memorable and durable doo wop songs. Parris was drafted into The Army and was replaced by Bill Baker. The Five Satins continued to record. To The Aisle was a top ten R & B hit in 1957. Parris returned in 1958 and reorganized The Five Satins. Over the years Parris & Baker have led competing versions of The Five Satins. This got very confusing in the 80s. Bill Baker died in 1994 and Fred Parris continues to lead The Five Satins today. Here are The Five Satins performing In The Still Of The Night in the 1959 film Sweet Beat.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Arisa Nakajima visits Sendai Girls

One of the better developing rivalries over the last year has been between Arisa Nakajima of JWP and Tyrannosaurus Okuda of Sendai Girls. The two have had several spirited matches and have even swapped the JWP Junior Championship. Nakajima is the current champ. So Nakajima decided to visit the Sendai Girls training camp to get more up close and personal with her chief rival. Nakajima's Sendai Girls diary was posted on the Lady's Ring blog.

Arisa Nakajima arrived at Sendai Station and of course the first place she went was the souvenir counter. She found a Tohoku regional limited edition of Pretz sea urchin snacks and bought them for Azumi Hyuga as Hyuga enjoys sea urchins. She bought a similar package of Pinky snacks for Pinkie Mayuca. She took a few pictures at the hotel. Nakajima visited the Sendai Girls dojo to observe training. She said it was a very unique experience because she's normally training herself and rarely has the opportunity to watch other wrestlers train. She says she learned a lot just watching Meiko Satomura training the Sendai Girls wrestlers. Arisa Nakajima said her meeting with Tyrannosaurus Okuda went very well and will be published in an upcoming issue of Lady's Ring magazine. Arisa concluded by thanking Meiko Satomura and everyone at Sendai Girls for their hospitality.

Kyoko/Matsumoto win, Genki retires

NEO held their Summer Stampede show at Korakuen Hall on July 13 featuring the return of the Mid Summer Tag Team Tournament. Kyoko Inoue & Hiroyo Matsumoto won the fan poll on the NEO website and we all know that Kyoko loves to put herself over. But the big news was that Misae Genki announced her retirement at the end of this year. Coincidence? I dunno. When asked, Genki said that she's 35 years old and it's time to go while she's still healthy. I'm not a big fan but her departure leaves a big hole at the top of your average NEO card. She won't be easy to replace. NEO also announced that they will work with Ice Ribbon on a joshi themed film called Three Count. And NEO debuted 16 year old Nozomi Dai in the opening match against Toshie Uematsu. Dai bodyslams Uematsu. Uematsu applies a headlock but Dai reverses into a front facelock and takes her down. Uematsu eventually reverses it and chokes Dai. The ref pulls her off. Uematsu applies a Boston crab and traps her in the corner. Dai comes back with forearm smashes, a dropkick and a backslide for two. Uematsu attacks with dropkicks and a diving body press for the win at 8:23. It looks like Uematsu was charitable to the rookie.

The first of the tournament quarterfinals had Fuuka & Haruka Matsuo vs Misae Genki & Aya Yuki. Matsuo & Yuki begin with a test of strength. Genki & Yuki get the edge but wind up outside the ring and Fuuka hits a dive from the top rope. Back in the ring, Fuuka tags in and Yuki hits an Atomic Drop. Genki tags in and Fuuka attempts a jumping cross arm breaker. Genki choke slams her for two. Matsuo tags in and gets a Victory Roll for two. Yuki tags in and Matsuo hits a Northern Lights suplex for two. Genki breaks up another pin. Matsuo hits a double dropkick. Genki takes Fuuka to the top turnbuckle and drops her on her face. She does the same to Matsuo. Yuki hits Matsuo with a German suplex for the win at 7:56. The second semi final was Kyoko Kimura & Atsuko Emoto vs Etsuko Mita & Makoto. Amandora wisely focused on Makoto. Emoto bullies Makoto in the corner. Mita comes in and bodypresses Makoto onto Emoto. Kimura tags in and ties her up in the ropes. Then Emoto bodyslams her. Mita tags in and cleans house but Kimura stops her with a kick to the chin. Mita hits a Death Valley Driver and they all go outside and Makoto dives from the top rope. The end comes when Mita tries bodypressing Makoto onto Kimura and misses. Kimura suplexes Makoto and a head butt gets the win at 10:47.

The third quarter final was Nanae Takahashi & Natsuki*Taiyo vs NEO Tag Team Champs Tanny Mouse & Yuki Miyazaki. Takahashi & Natsuki attack the NEO Machine Gunz but they come back with a double roll up. Miyazaki hits a missile dropkick on Takahashi followed by a sidwalk slam, a vertical suplex, a German suplex and a cross body. Natsuki lifts Yamazaki and Takahashi hits a clothesline from the top. Natsuki follows with a suplex. She goes to the top but Yamazaki catches her in a suplex followed by a neckbreaker. Miyazaki goes to the top but Natsuki catches her with a German suplex followed by the Peach*Latch for the win at 11:53. NEO wants fans to read too much into this loss for the champs. Try to resist that. Tournaments don't usually transfer to angles. Next was Kyoko Inoue & Hiroyo Matsumoto vs Yoshiko Tamura & Arisa Nakajima. Inoue begins by throwing her weight around but Tamura comes back with a flying knee to the corner followed by a double suplex. Inoue & Matsumoto apply a double Argentinian backbreaker. Well, you knew they were going to do that. Matsumoto goes back to it two more times but Nakajima rolls out of one and Nakajima breaks up the other while Inoue is outside the ring and Tamura gets a two count. Inoue comes back and shoulderblocks Tamura but Tamura fights back and traps her in the corner followed by a swinging DDT for two. Nakajima tags in and attempts to suplex Inoue. That fails and Inoue turns that into a power bomb for the win at 13:13.

Next was Kana vs Misaki Ohata. Kana starts with a hip attack. She applies a sharpshooter and turns it into a double toehold. Ohata escapes and stomps on Kana's hand. Ohata goes to the top and Kana hits a superplex. They exchange blows but Kana hits a German suplex followed by a hip attack for the win at 10:57. The first semi final had Misae Genki & Aya Yuki vs Nanae Takahashi & Natsuki*Taiyo. Takahashi hits Genki with a backdrop suplex. Natsuki tags in and Genki hits a backdrop suplex followed by a chokeslam. Takahashi controls Yuki but Genki distracts her and Yuki hits a German suplex. Genki & Takahashi exchange power moves but Genki gets the win with the G Driver at 12:21. Next was Kyoko Inoue & Hiroyo Matsumoto vs Kyoko Kimura & Atsuko Emoto. Matsumoto gets Emoto in the Argentinian backbreaker and tags Inoue. Emoto hits a flying elbow drop from the top rope. Inoue comes back and hits a double lariat. While Matsumoto cuts Emoto off, Inoue hits Kimura with a power bomb for two. Then they do the double Argentinian backbreaker. Kimura & Emoto takes things out of the ring and use chairs. They bring chairs into the ring to double suplex Inoue. But Inoue will win with a superplex and a lariat on Kimura at 9:08.

There was a comedy match with Masako Takanashi & Choun-ko over Sakura Emi & Cherry at 6:47. The final of the tournament was Kyoko Inoue & Hiroyo Matsumoto vs Misae Genki & Aya Yuki. Genki & Yuki hit a double choke slam on Matsumoto. Genki follows with a high kick. Matsumoto hits a shoulder block off the ropes followed by a backdrop suplex and a neckbreaker. Inoue tags in and they both hit lariats and both no sell. Inoue hits a lariat followed by a superplex. Yuki tags in and tries to lift Inoue. They all wind up outside the ring. They go back and forth out there. Back in the ring, Inoue hits Yuki with a lariat for two. Matsumoto tags in and lariats Yuki. She applies the Argentinian backbreaker followed by a stomachbreaker on her knee. Yuki comes back with Genki's help and hits a German suplex for two. They exchange blows and Yuki gets a Victory Roll for two followed by two more German suplexes for near falls. Matsumoto ends it with a backdrop suplex at 11:50. Kyoko Inoue & Hiroyo Matsumoto win the NEO Mid Summer Tag Team Tournament. I can understand why some fans might be annoyed by this result. But considering that Inoue & Matsumoto were the favourites and even won the poll on the NEO website, I don't think anyone should be surprised that they won.