May 1 & 11, 2019 in Tokyo, Japan
I had the opportunity to see DareJyo present a special showcase show at Itabashi Green Hall on May 1st, then again as a pre-show for Big Japan Wrestling on May 11th. Given the nature of DareJyo I won’t be trying to analyze things match by match here, but will still be giving thoughts in quite a bit of detail.
*Note: While I’ll be talking in length about both of the DareJyo shows I’ve seen so far here, pictures were only allowed at the May 1st showcase at a couple of key moments so the majority of the pictures are from the May 11th pre-show.
DareJyo is short for “Daredemo Joshi Puroresu” or Anyone’s Women’s Professional Wrestling. Run by Gatoh Move founder Emi Sakura, the idea is to offer a suitable environment for any woman, regardless of age, experience, etc, to learn the basics of pro wrestling in a casual manner within a professional, safe environment. There are limits on the types of things the participants will learn and try (avoiding more difficult and potentially dangerous aspects like certain types of strikes, etc) while still giving a strong introduction and base to build off of.
It’s a wonderful concept, making wrestling extremely approachable while providing the right framework and support system to learn properly. And it works particularly well because the philosophy and experience of one of the greatest trainers in wrestling, Emi Sakura, is behind it.
The approach to their shows is also wonderfully unique and engaging. They start with warm up drills and “competitive” practice sequences (two wrestlers locking up then trying to force each other into the ropes, etc), then proceeded to exhibition matches. As a wrestling fan the little deeper glimpse of preparation and training was really cool to see.
Mei Suruga, an incredible rookie roster member in Gatoh Move “proper” who started via DareJyo, was heavily involved in the showcases both helping to run the drills and participating in matches (two on 5/1 and one on 5/11).
On the longer 5/1 standalone show there was also a period of dropkick practice, where the participants attempted dropkicks to a kickpad held by Mei. They were judged by a panel including several wrestlers as well as the visiting promoters of Pro Wrestling Eve in England. Afterwards the participants who performed the best dropkicks in the judges’ eyes were recognized.
The exhibition matches were a couple of minutes apiece, and in a lot of ways were a breath of fresh air for someone like me who watches so much wrestling.
The participants ranged in age from 8 to 48, and along with their exceptional effort Emi Sakura’s measured and brilliant approach to wrestling in general is what really made it all shine.
The showcase show featured seven exhibition matches:
- Mei Suruga vs Hime
- Sayuri vs Rin Rin
- Yokochin vs Megumi
- Hotaru vs Tokiko
- Kaori vs Yamada
- Sayaka va Erimo
- Mei Suruga & Blue vs Aitama & Pyon
Each match was clearly well designed to stay within each individual’s limitations while making the absolute most of their skills. Things were understandably kept basic, but an incredibly solid foundation of learning was evident and everyone got a chance to shine a bit.
From the playful opener seeing Mei facing an 8 year old to a match centered around one wrestler’s double jointedness, and so on, each short contest was a captivating example of being able to tell an engrossing story in clever ways by utilizing individual strengths.
As I mentioned on May 11 DareJyo also presented a preshow before Big Japan, which was similar in format but abbreviated compared to the standalone show.
In this case there were three exhibition matches:
- Blue & Pyon vs Aitama & Tokiko
- Saito vs An-Chamu
- Hime, Rin Rin, & Etsuko vs Yokochin, Erimo, & Mei Suruga
This time around was a nice chance for the participants to push themselves a little farther, and it included another Gatoh Move “proper” regular who has ties to DareJyo in An-Chamu. Again I was impressed with how everything was structured and approached, and it was a lot of fun.
DareJyo is the type of thing wrestling needs a lot more of. I think it’s both a fantastic way for interested women to give pro wrestling a try and an extremely fun thing to have experienced as an audience member. I wish all the participants the best whether they choose to keep training on a casual level or pursue wrestling in a professional capacity.