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THE PULSE, Summer 2023

9 months ago

THE PULSE, Summer 2023

By: Mavs Gillis

Now with the conclusion of the G1 CLIMAX Tetsuya Naito and New Japan Pro-Wrestling are in the enviable scenario of finishing the story. A sight from a full Tokyo Dome in 2020, a lone figure standing in the middle of the cerulean blue achieving a task a decade in the making. From a Stardust Genius who burnt out like a supernova, to the reinvented & now global star Tetsuya Naito hoisting double gold and about to give the LIJ supporters the roll call of roll calls – only to have the elusive gold just outside his reach. And this was just the start of the Pandemic, see?

The moment shattered, a crowd incensed and The Outsider – not just Bullet Club’s, no – but also throughout the predominant history of Pro Wrestling NOAH it was KENTA, KENTA who had shattered what was meant to be an iconic moment in the canon of Wrestle Kingdom.

Naito eventually captured that IWGP Heavyweight Championship and IC Strap both that summer of 2020, only to lose them to Kota Ibushi who followed through on his threat to combine the titles before exiting the NJPW picture all together, a Golden Star trailing off into space…

Indeed, the road back to this potential moment has been rocky and looking to regain form through betrayal, injury, self-doubt and watching former protege SANADA begin to look all-too-elegant with that gold strapped around his own waist after shedding the Cold Skull mask and leading his own stable of Guys.

It was this time, this year’s G1 CLIMAX and a decade after he first sheepishly made this claim, Naito dispatched Kazuchika Okada filled with the confidence of one who has found out what it truly takes to say this and mean it – Tetsuya Naito is now the Shuyaku – and the road to January 4th Tokyo Dome all runs through him.

Speaking of roll calls when we all put our hands together in the middle of the Monthly Puroresu mat for this issue our writers are screaming about starting with our cover athlete and feature interview Miyu Yamashita, the Ace of Tokyo Joshi Pro-Wrestling and the adventure she is on in bringing Joshi flare all over the world. Renowned for her striking work she sits down with Thom Fain in the midst of stops at over 20 promotions during that span. Plenty of stories from in the ring over the run, plenty from outside the ring including tales of the future she sees with Maki Itoh.

From trailblazing with Joshi to setting the path for history, Lyric Swinton gives us a tremendous retrospective on the Black wrestlers who took the first steps through the ropes in New Japan that led the way for Kevin Knight, the first Black Young Lion in the 51-year history of the NJPW dojo system. A history that goes back to Muhammed Ali vs. founder Antonio Inoki through the international headlines of today with the return of Mercedes Mone at the Tokyo Dome last winter. Representation matters. Inspiration matters. Read from Kevin and Lio Rush on their desire for more of the younger generation of wrestlers like them to get their passport stamped at Narita and Haneda.

In talking about the future Jeff Brown gives his look into the future of a young lady who we have given her flowers in past issues: AZM. 458 days AZM held the STARDOM High Speed Championship… Relive the entire run and see how some foreshadowing in our layout plays right into James Carlin’s retrospective on the history of the STARDOM White Belt, the Wonder of Stardom title. He gives readers a who’s who of the elite of Joshi wrestling. Io, Kairi, Mayu, Giulia, just some of the talent who only need one name to be instantly recognizable for their championship efforts in the squared circle. All have held that White Belt, all have gone on to have their hand raised across the world, all connected by a Wonder of Stardom championship written in the stars.

Jeff also gives us wonderful insights from Tae Honma, an Actwres Girl’z original, a heart and soul of that promotion, now taking her name across Japan and even around the globe from stints in CMLL to the independent scene. Read on to discover her talents and passions… she’s a surefire true renaissance joshi with hands in music, art, acting and bringing it all together in the wrestling world.

If art is on your radar, be ready for the stunning calligraphy from Yumi Agawa. There is an art to wrestling but the art that accompanies our sport is the cherry on top of the presentation and Agawa’s work so accompanies the talent it showcases.

In the term renaissance you think of eras, for a new era of New Japan there’s a new set of Musketeers: the Reiwa Three Musketeers… Ren Narita, Shota Umino, and Yota Tsuji. Jeremy Peeples gives you his thoughts on the trio to lead the Lion Mark into the next 15 years. These young men have had the terms “potential,” & “franchise,” & “future main eventer,” & “future ace,” & “future champion” placed on their nameplates. Jeremy gives you his thoughts on the similarities between two previous generations of Three Musketeers to this modern era.

There’s one thing I could say for the opportunities awaiting these stars and it’s that pressure will make a diamond, stress will break a pipe, so shine bright gentlemen.

We hope this issue of Monthly Puroresu has shone bright for you, we hope to keep bringing you excellent journalism from the world of Puro and Joshi to you, and we hope to keep bringing you the passion and love of this sport forever, Forever, FOREVER…

This foreword first appeared in Issue #12 of Monthly Puroresu.

Written by:

I've been a local sports broadcaster in Halifax, Nova Scotia for more than eight years. You might have also heard me on New Japan Pro-Wrestling broadcasts as one of a handful who have worked as an English announcer. When Thom reached out to me about doing the first Monthly Puroresu magazine, I gave him two thumbs up – and have kicked off every issue since with a column that serves as a foreword.