Women’s wrestling in Japan has become a huge trend, so much so, that the Japanese are able to fill huge gyms while cheering the audience with their keys and strategies on the ring. Shrieking costumes, shouts, sweat… and a lot of respect, both among the wrestlers, as with the veteran public.
Perhaps very few people know that Japan is the only country in the world where women’s wrestling shows are a thing, this combat sport emerged in the Japanese islands back in 1948, when it hadn’t been three years since the Japanese defeat in World War II. Its origin is dark and could be found in the theaters, cabarets and strip clubs that swarmed in the postwar period, due to a large number of women who lost their men or their whole families during combat. Back in the day, these shows served as a form of entertainment for a male drunk audience.
Originally, it was an erotic show in which the opponents struggled to snatch the garter belt. This practice was banned by the police, but by 1954, two well-known wrestling stars in the United States, Mildred Burke, and Mae Young were invited to fight in Japan. The fight was held in a building that was used for sports competitions, and that’s how wrestling reappeared in the country, this time as a professional discipline.
By the decade of 1960, various groups dedicated to promoting women’s wrestling in the Japanese archipelago were unified and Japan’s Professional Women’s Wrestling organization was born. Also, the combats began to be broadcasted on television. At the time, female wrestlers faced dwarves and sang songs in the ring. The years passed and the female wrestling of the 1990s became the most dangerous and violent one in the world. The cruelty presented in it made people look away from the ring, but, at the same time, it showed a certain purity, greatness and enormous attraction that made viewers come every time.
However, few women were willing to enter a world in which the risk was such that it could cost them their lives or cause them severe and disabling injuries for really low pay. Yes, the female wrestlers during the recession of the early 90s contemplated the decline of their art. This period of recession in the Japanese economy meant that the number of spectators who acquired the expensive tickets for the combats decreased dramatically. But now the sport is rising from the ashes, female wrestling became very popular again in Japan in the last years. The female wrestling of the 21st century is of an extremely small size.
At the beginning of the 90s, shows were held several times a year in places with a capacity of over 10,000 people, and there were even more than 50,000 spectators in a stadium; however, at present, the normal thing is that the combats have an audience of about 200 people plus all the online and pay-per-view spectators. Nowadays, the public can enjoy “Singles Match” (One versus One) or teams of two. Men still constitute the majority of the spectators of this sport. This young Japanese fighters definitively are giving us something to talk about.