All Japan Women's Pro-Wrestling


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Zen Nihon Joshi Puroresu
All Japan Women's Pro-Wrestling
Acronym Zenjo
Founded 1968
Defunct 2005
Headquarters Japan
Founder(s) Matsunaga Brothers

Zen Nihon Joshi Puroresu (全日本女子プロレス, All Japan Women's Pro-Wrestling), commonly shortened as "Zenjo" by Japanese fans and abbreviated as AJW by English-speaking fans, was a joshi puroresu organization. It was founded by Matsunaga Brothers in 1968. Virtually monopolizing the female division of the sport until the mid-1980s, it was a primary organization for women's pro-wrestling in Japan.

History

In 1968, All Japan Women's Pro-Wrestling Association, which had overseen the women's pro-wrestling promotions in Japan since 1955/8, split due to conflicts between the members. Matsunaga Takashi and his brothers left the Association and founded All Japan Women's Pro-Wrestling Corporation, and the quasi-monopoly of the Matsunaga Brothers began. In the same year, Fuji Television aired joshi puroresu for the first time. Finally in 1970, the second WWWA World champion Marie Vagnone loses the title to Aiko Kyo, who became the first Japanese to win the title. The title stayed in Japan thereafter.

In 1974/3, Mach Fumiake, who went to the final of an teen idol singer audition "Star Tanjō", joined Zenjo. Fumiake became the first female pro-wrestler in the country to have to release a song record. She also defeated Jumbo Miyamoto in 1975/3 to become the youngest to hold the world championship at the age of sixteen.

Fumiake's pro-wrestling career lasted less than three years as she went to show business full time in 1976/1. In the following month, 16-years old Maki Ueda and 18-years old Jackie Sato won WWWA World Tag Team Championship, recently vacated by Fumiake. The new team, Beauty Pair, also became a national celebrity as their song from 1976 "Kakemeguru Seishun" sold 400,000 copies. In 1977, they won the "new singer of the year" in various music awards.

The era of Beauty Pair ended when Ueda lost a loser-must-retire match against Jackie in 1979/2. Zenjo suffered the popularity until new era was started in 1981 by three stars: Jaguar Yokota, Mimi Hagiwara, and Devil Masami.

In 1983, Lioness Asuka and Nagayo Chigusa formed Crush Gals, which would become a national phenom. In 1985, over 680 girls gathered at the audition of Zenjo due to the popularity of Crush Gals. Their feud against Gokuaku Dōmei (Dump Matsumoto, Crane Yu, Bull Nakano, etc.) sold out almost every card.

The monopoly of Zenjo ended in 1986 when Japan Women's Pro-Wrestling was formed with Jackie Sato, Nancy Kumi, and Kandori Shinobu as the top stars. The promotion later splits into JWP Project and Ladies' Legend Pro-Wrestling in 1992. Also, Ōnita Atsushi started Frontier Martial-arts Wrestilng in 1989 with several female pro-wrestlers in its roster.

The early 1990s saw co-promoting between joshi puroresu organizations as they promoted all-star cards in 1993 and the first ever joshi puroresu card at Tokyo Dome in 1995. Still, Zenjo stayed as the dominant force of joshi puroresu throughout this period.

However, the promotion would suffer higher competitions as more new promotions were started in the mid 1990s, noticeably GAEA Japan by Nagayo in 1994 and Arsion by former Zenjo business manager Ogawa Hiroshi in 1997. Also with existing financial problem, the wrestlers continued to leave the dying promotion.

Finally in 2005, Zenjo closed its door after 37 years of the great history. The last card was promoted by a third party while the Chairman Matsunaga Takashi was in hospital due to diabetes, and soon after, President Matsunaga Kunimatsu committed suicide.

Championships

External links



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