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Waka Tsukiyama’s MOONDOM Shines in First Outing

9 months ago

Waka Tsukiyama’s MOONDOM Shines in First Outing

MOONDOM’s first event is a success at the Post di Amistad

By: James Carlin

It was only in the lead up to this week that the news was broke of a new show named MOONDOM – a collaborative effort between Waka Tsukiyama and STARDOM.

Although MOONDOM was only able to be watched from the venue, its aim was to help encourage English-speaking tourists in Japan to watch Japanese women’s pro-wrestling. This was done by promoting the show on STARDOM’s social medias in English alongside giving instructions on how to buy and attend tickets in English too compared to how most shows are, understandably, in Japanese. Tickets were also sold at the venue for those who didn’t buy them online prior to October 4th.

The first match of the show saw Saya Iida taking on Itsuki Aoki. Iida was looking for another win after very recently winning the New Blood Tag Team titles with Hanan only five days ago. However, Aoki has routinely spent her time in Marvelous, Pro-Wrestling WAVE and Oz Academy and knows opponents like Iida very well. She may have had her number this time and getting the win over the newly crowned champion, but a rematch down the horizon is sure to take place.

Next, Waka Tsukiyama and Iida’s tag team partner Hanan looked to score a victory over COLOR’S member Yuko Sakurai and newly inducted Cosmic Angel Yuna Mizumori. The four went back and forth, trading a variety of different moves as Mizumori sought after her first win as a fully fledged Cosmic Angels member, but ultimately it was Tsukiyama and Hanan, whose teaming ability had proven to be effective throughout the course of the match, that ended up with the win.

For the main event, attendees were given two great pairings as former Actwres girl’Z Tae Honma and Ami Sohrei teamed up against Maika and Haruka Umesaki. This match was originally scheduled to have Miyuki Takase teaming with Ami Sohrei, but Tae Honma substituted in Takase’s place at the last minute. I don’t think anyone would have complained if Sohrei and Takase had a re-match of their 2021 outing.

Both teams worked extremely well together, with Umesaki and Sohrei exchanging hard strikes against each other whilst Honma and Maika also had some excellent moments. In the end, it was Maika’s Michinoku Driver II that ended the match by pinning Ami Sohrei. The power and technique of all four were on display here, marking a fantastic main event for MOONDOM’s first show.

Waka Tsukiyama celebrates her victory.

Waka Tsukiyama and Momo Kohgo talk about MOONDOM

After the show, Monthly Puroresu was able to speak with Waka Tsukiyama, who produced the show with help from STARDOM, and Momo Kohgo, who provided commentary from within the venue.

The two look back on MOONDOM’s first show, as well as what could be in store for the future now that the debut show was a success, as well as speaking positively about the one-of-a-kind appeal of Japanese women’s pro-wrestling.

Monthly Puroresu: How long ago did the idea for MOONDOM come around? Was this a recent concept, or something that you had wanted to do for a long time?

Waka Tsukiyama: I came up with the idea for MOONDOM after the pandemic had settled down and the number of inbound visitors to Japan increased. I have wanted to have my own produce event for around a year now.

Monthly Puroresu: What made you choose the Post di Amistad as the location for MOONDOM?

Waka Tsukiyama: I chose it because all the audiences’ faces are visible from the ring of the Post di Amistad.

Even without words, in wrestling, audiences and wrestlers can share their emotions if they can see each other’s faces.

Monthly Puroresu: You told me last week that it was a big challenge for you and STARDOM to produce this show – how do you think it went? Did it go as you had hoped?

Waka Tsukiyama: For my first produced event, I think it was a success. I am a little relieved. We will continue with trial and error, and in the future develop it into a more meaningful event.

Monthly Puroresu: You also said that this was “the first MOONDOM”. Does this mean that you hope that more events under this name will be hosted in the future?

Waka Tsukiyama: Of course! YES!

Monthly Puroresu: With MOONDOM looking to continue in the future, how often do you expect these shows to take place?

Waka Tsukiyama: I want to be able to hold several MOONDOM shows per month. To do so, we’ll need to collaborate with other women’s wrestling organizations.

Monthly Puroresu: Could we see any championships being defended in MOONDOM? I noticed that Haruka Umesaki brought her title from World Woman Pro-Wrestling Diana with her today.

Waka Tsukiyama: That’s an interesting question. MOONDOM was just born, so it’s up to the future fans whether or not this can happen.

Monthly Puroresu: Is there anything that you would like to say to English fans of STARDOM and joshi puroresu following MOONDOM’s show today?

Waka Tsukiyama: When you go to New York, you go to Broadway. When you go to Thailand, you go to see Muay Thai. And when you come to Japan, you watch women’s pro-wrestling.

That day will come. Because Japanese women’s wrestling is great! Come and see it.

Monthly Puroresu: Momo, I believe that you have done English commentary before at STARDOM PPVs, as well as interpreting for Mercedes Mone but this is your first time that I can recall that you’ve done English commentary solo. That is a very big task and Waka Tsukiyama clearly trusted you to be able to do so. How do you prepare for commentating on your own? Or did you trust your instinct and just “go for it”?

Momo Kohgo: This was actually my first time doing English commentary at all. I was supposed to do PPV English commentary before at All Star Grand Queendom, but I got injured during the pre-show match which meant I was unavailable to do commentary afterwards.

I was so happy to get the opportunity this time around. I prepared a lot – I wrote down explanations of each wrestler in English because I wanted everybody attending to know the characters and stories of each wrestler, and to be able to be interested in them.

The most important thing is to give live commentary of the matches, so I didn’t have the chance to say half of what I had written down and prepared with. But still, if I get another chance next time, I will prepare just like I did this time.

I hope that I can provide valuable information to new fans and that it will help everybody become interested in Japanese women’s wrestlers. I really appreciate that Waka trusted me and gave me the opportunity to do this.

Momo Kohgo at MOONDOM.

Monthly Puroresu: Now that you have done commentary, interpretation and promos in English, are there any other areas that you would want to put your English to use in the future?

Momo Kohgo: There are a lot of things I’d like to do overseas. Not only would I like to participate in more and more matches in other countries, but also I want to expand my activities beyond wrestling matches. It could be doing cosplay overseas, media appearances such as on TV, or even movies and musicals in English.

I would be happy if people who don’t know about pro-wrestling became interested in me and eventually find pro-wrestling through me, as I did with my cosplay work at Comiket (A bi-annual doujinshi convention in Tokyo).

Monthly Puroresu: Both yourself and Waka have put a lot of thought and effort into helping English-speaking fans, even representing STARDOM overseas in NJPW Strong and IMPACT Wrestling. How do you feel about being given this level of trust not only by your peers, but by STARDOM and its fans to have these opportunities?

Momo KohgoI feel very fortunate and honored. There was a pre-show rumble that New Japan and Stardom held together as part of Historic X-Over, and after the match I commented in English that I wanted to participate in New Japan shows in the United States.

That wish became a reality and I was able to enter the tournament to crown the first NJPW STRONG Women’s champion. The response was great, not only from Japan, but also from many American fans, who accepted me and cheered me on. I think that led me to the next opportunity. I’m proud that I was able to take advantage of the opportunity, and that led to being able to gain new trust there. I’m very grateful to them for believing in me and giving me the opportunity to perform overseas.

Monthly Puroresu: What are your own hopes for MOONDOM? Do you want to continue offering commentary, or would you like to step in the ring at some point?

Momo Kohgo: I hope that MOONDOM will be a window to expand Japanese women’s pro-wrestling to the world. I hope that Japanese women’s pro-wrestling will become a part of Japan’s unique culture, just like Kabuki, kimono, and anime.

I would like to continue doing English commentary, and when I recover from my injury, I’d like to wrestle in a MOONDOM ring. I want to do both!

Monthly Puroresu: Waka Tsukiyama had high hopes of the potential of Japanese women’s pro-wrestling, comparing it to going to see Broadway when people visit New York. What do you think the potential for joshi puroresu is, and the heights that it can reach?

Momo Kohgo: I completely agree with Waka.

I think it has the potential to become a culture that foreigners who come to a country to experience, like a form of tourism such as Broadway in the United States or Muay Thai in Thailand.

Considering the fact that Japanese anime has been accepted around the world, I think that Japanese women’s pro-wrestling has a lot of potential to become a part of people’s lives, because there are several wrestlers who are reminiscent of characters from animated media such as Pretty Cure, as well as other heroic women.

They can charm people with their movements and facial expressions as if the characters were alive and real.

Full Results for MOONDOM’s debut show:

Itsuki Aoki def. Saya Iida

Waka Tsukiyama and Hanan def. Yuko Sakurai and Yuna Mizumori

Maika and Haruka Umesaki def. Ami Sohrei and Tae Honma

All photos by Masahiro Kubota. Copyright Monthly Puroresu LLC.

Written by:

Initially hired for social media management and Joshi coverage, I lead the coverage of joshi between May 2023 and March 2024, and worked behind the scenes in multiple roles since August 2022 that allowed Monthly Puroresu to smoothly operate.