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Who Are Prominence?

11 months ago

Who Are Prominence?

By: Jeff Brown

Prominence one of the freelance groups that formed as COVID restrictions lessened in Japan. Originally from Ice Ribbon, these Joshi wanted to have shows specializing in hardcore and deathmatches. Risa Sera had a history of doing hardcore and deathmatch themed produce shows in Ice Ribbon and wished to start a sub-promotion that would be more frequent, but Ice Ribbon had other plans in place, and the five wrestlers departed. As with her previous produce shows, these feature intergender matches, various weapons, barbed wire, thumb tacks, and whatever else a wrestler’s imagination conjures up.

There are moments and matches that are more comedy-based, so it isn’t just full-throttle serious violence. This group has been all over the Joshi scene, from Pro Wrestling Wave, Diana, YMZ, and Stardom to venues such as Yokohama Arena, Shinjuku FACE, Shin-Kiba 1st RING, Akihabara Talk Live BAR From Scratch, and Korakuen Hall. The configuration of Sera, Suzu Suzuki, and Hiragi Kurumi saw Prominence achieve gold in Stardom as the Artist of Stardom Champions for 115 days.

Risa Sera – Debut: 11.10.2012

The leader and founder, Risa Sera, delved into hardcore and deathmatches in 2015, setting the stage for all of this. She began in 2012 under her real name, Risa Okuda, but changed to Sera after her hometown prefecture in Hiroshima. An actress turned Joshi, her path to deathmatches came from doing ticket sales at a BJW show and witnessing light tube warfare. Sera met opposition from Ice Ribbon and her own mother, who, like many when first learning about deathmatches, was apprehensive about embracing the style. So her early attempts had to be creative since they weren’t allowed to use the traditional hardcore or death match implements.

Sera had spent time in Stardom teaming with Takumi Iroha in 2014 but returned in 2022, grabbing attention with bouts against the likes of Utami Hayashishita and Maika. Wave was the site of her bout against Hikaru Shida once again after having a hardcore war in 2018 for Ice Ribbon. One of her signature moves is the giant swing, which she doesn’t release as much as she launches her opponents at the end. She was the inaugural FantastICE title holder, with a nearly year-long reign that saw her go to war with fellow PROMINENCE members as well as Thekla and Syuri, bookended with Rina Yamishita matches. Her time in Ice Ribbon saw her become a versatile tag wrestler, having great teams with a variety of partners. She is a 5 time International Ribbon Tag Team Champion, with 4 of those with Maya Yukihi as Azure Revolution and an early career run with Maki Narumiya as STAP.

READ: Deathmatch Ghost of Hiroshima: A Tale of Risa Sera

Suzu Suzuki – Debut: 12.31.2018

A protege of Sera, Suzu Suzuki, has stated she wanted to be in Joshi and do death matches due to seeing Sera. She is an incredible athlete and took to the sport quickly; her nickname “Violent Prodigy” is also reflected in her intergender hardcore and death matches at such a young age, which sparked controversy in some circles.

The young Suzuki was not bothered by the criticisms and forged ahead into more bloody battles with men.

The retired Tequila Saya is where she learned the breathtaking Tequila Shot, a move that is an unforgettable and lasting impression from Saya’s short career. Suzuki is also not shy about using sharp objects on her opponents, or, for example, afraid to have her cheeks pierced or forehead stapled; there appears to be no limit to her hardcore or death matches.

She has since exited the group with a focus primarily on Stardom, which is also home to her former Ice Ribbon friend and now rival Giulia.

Akane Fujita – Debut: 05.25.2013

Ice Ribbon veteran and a worker’s worker, Akane Fujita is very much the Arn Anderson of the group, or Maika for Stardom fans; she is a no-nonsense machine set on hard-hitting ultraviolence. Earlier in her career, she teamed with Ryo Mizunami as High Voltage, primarily in SEAdLINNNNG. She and Sera had strong tag team chemistry in Ice Ribbon, with a love/hate relationship since they had so many wars against each other.

Over the past few years, she has visited a variety of promotions, including GLEAT, Ganbare, DDT, JUST TAP OUT, Ice Ribbon, Grace Project, and Stardom.

Fujita has held EXIT Pro Wrestling’s WUW World Underground Wrestling Women’s Championship as well as Ice Ribbon’s Triangle Ribbon Championship, and she is the current FantastICE Champion with a 545-day run.

She has had some injuries that have slowed down her number of appearances, but she has wrestled weekly for most of the last decade.

Mochi Natsumi – Debut: 12.25.2010

 

A bit of a wild card, Mochi Natsumi will participate in the hardcore and embrace the brutality, but she is also right at home with her frequent ChocoPro appearances. She originally wrestled as Mochi Miyagi, after her birthplace of Miyagi, but took on her real name of Natsumi early in her PROMINENCE tenure.

She is a veteran of 12 years and was previously a part of The Frank Sisters with PROMIENCE members Kurimi and Fujita.

Natsumi also had a long tag run with Hamuko Hoshi as the Lovely Butchers. She is a four time International Ribbon Tag Team Champion (3 times with the Lovely Butchers and once with the Frank Sisters).

Natsumi has a ton of charisma and plays to the crowd wonderfully, like her former tag partner Hoshi.

Hiragi Kurumi – Debut: 05.03.2010

Hiragi Kurumi is an imposing force who had a long career in Ice Ribbon prior to becoming just Kurumi.

She started very young, at about 9 years old. She has a sizable list of title runs, holding the ICExInfinity Championship twice, the IW19 Championship twice (a title that was originally contested with a 19-minute time limit on the 19 O’Clock Girls ProWrestling TV show), and the International Ribbon Tag Team Championship six times.

Kurumi was also recovering from a knee injury and was unable to be very active in the early days of the group. Shortly after her recovery in the summer of 2022, she faced Syuri at the first Stardom in Showcase in an I Quit match.

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Written by:

I mainly focus on making music, while writing on the side. After graduating high school, I studied guitar in the Seattle area. Music reviews really got me started with blogging and journalism. Meantime, I watched ‘90s AJW and Gaea throughout the 2000s & parachuted in for Ice Ribbon, Stardom, Actwres Girl’Z. I live in Edgewood, WA and am a proud member of the Duwamish tribe.