In a story that was widely unreported on, one of Japan’s legendary joshi wrestlers thwarted an early morning assault on a woman in Japan back in late November. Chigusa Nagayo, former joshi star with the legendary Crush Gals in All Japan Women’s Wrestling (AJW) and the co-founder of GAEA Wrestling and Marvelous joshi promotions in Japan, was heading to her car at 3am on November 19, following the November 18 Marvelous show in Sapporo. According to reports, Nagayo – who was with another Marvelous wrestler – heard women’s screams and upon investigation, so a woman being assaulted by a man in the parking lot. According to a report from Japan Today:
“While her first instinct was to fight back, Nagayo stopped herself from harming the man, saying later that she knew if she were to lay a hand on the assailant, it would jeopardise the careers of the young female wrestlers in her Marvelous company.
Instead, Nagayo decided to employ a defensive hand technique to keep the man at bay, locking her fingers into his in such a way that he would not be able to escape. During the intense scuffle, Nagayo could feel the bone in one of the fingers on her left hand moving in a bad way, but she refused to loosen her grip as she was determined to not let him escape.”
It turned out the victim and assailant were a married couple, and the police soon arrived to arrest the husband, with no further harm done. Although Nagayo was slightly injured in the incident, the assault was prevented and she returned to her duties with Marvelous the next day.
The 54-year-old Chigusa Nagayo began wrestling in 1980 and immediately became a national sensation with AJW as a part of the Crush Gals, who not only dominated joshi tag team wrestling but the pop charts as well.
But while Crush Gals pop charts run was fleeting, it was the in-ring skills of Nagayo and tag partner Lioness Asuka who left their mark on pro wrestling history. Nagayo herself was a 2x AJW Junior Champion before the pairing, who ultimately became 4x WWWA Tag Team Champions in AJW during the 1980s.
In 1995, Chigusa Nagayo departed AJW and co-founded GAEA Wrestling with Yuka Sugiyama, a promotion that lasted for 10 years. During her run in GAEA, she was a 2x AAAW Heavyweight Champion, and also captured the AAAW Tag Team titles once more with a reunited Lioness Asuka in 2004.
Following the closure of GAEA in 2005, she started a new promotion, Marvelous, that continues to be one of the top joshi promotions in Japan. Although Nagayo retired from in-ring competition in 2005, she continues to wrestle special exhibition matches, in Marvelous as well as ZERO1, Pro Wrestling WAVE and OZ Academy.
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