Wrestling is fixed but occasionally the competitors can get a little carried away. We continue our countdown of 5 lesser known shoot incidents, with number 2: Act Yasukawa vs Yoshiko and beware – this one is nasty!
Be warned, this instalment is unpleasant so reader discretion is advised.
Yuka Yasukawa hasn’t had the easiest of lives. During her teens she started to lose the vision in her right eye, was diagnosed with ADHD and depression while being bullied at school. After being referred to a surgeon for her eye, he branded her a bad, lazy child who was making up an illness just to get out of school which led to Yasukawa trying to commit suicide. After that she’d spend most of her time in the school nurse’s office as she was being bullied so badly that she didn’t want to go to classes. However, she discovered drama classes and her mental health improved as she fell in love with acting, going on to appear in the live action version of Death Note. During this time though her health started to decline but she finally received a diagnosis of Grave’s Disease which had now totally blinded her in the right eye and led to her becoming very weak, but she kept working. When she appeared in a stage production called Wrestler Girls, she met Yuzuki Aikawa, a wrestler signed to Japanese promotion Stardom, and ended up joining the company to train as a wrestler. By this time she was incredibly frail and struggled with the training with her doctor advising her to give up wrestling as she faced a huge decision – she could medication to help her condition allowing her to continue wrestling but the medication would make her infertile.
Yuka debuted as Act Yasukawa in 2012 for Stardom and became a success thanks in part to her creativity. Wearing an eye patch over her blind eye, Act would come to the ring with asymmetrical outfits while swigging rum with the fans perceiving her as a modern day pirate, while the gimmick was actually based on a Samurai warlord. Either way, despite being a heel, the fans loved her and would cheer her especially after her life story became public as women’s wrestling (Joshi Puroresu) was a stiff, physical style. Her popularity led to her becoming the Wonder of Stardom Champion in 2013 but in 2014 she had to vacate the title to take some time off in order to have cataract removal surgery to save the vision in her left eye. In December Act Yasukawa made her return to stardom and in January recaptured the Wonder title, becoming the first (and to date, only) woman to hold the title twice. On February 22nd 2015 the showdown happened that everyone had been waiting for, the continual underdog against her former team-mate, the World Champion, the huge, dominant Yoshiko.
The match had a big time feel to it as the two champions stared at each other across the ring, but within seconds Yoshiko was laying in stiff punches to the face on the challenger before taking her down with a headlock which the referee had to physically break up. While Yoshiko was marched back to her corner, Act Yasukawa crawled back to her own with blood streaming from her nose. When the two women locked up again, more legitimate punches followed but then things seemed to settle into a match, albeit a stiff one. Going for a collar and elbow tie up, Act was met again by genuine punches and then was taken to the mat by Yoshiko who continued a ground and pound until the referee broke it up. Rolling out of the ring, Act now very clearly had a broken orbital bone causing Kyoko Kimura (WWE star Asuka’s mother) to throw in the towel on her behalf. Act Yasukawa was taken to hospital and underwent surgery to fix a broken nose, broken orbital bone, broken cheek bone and a detached retina.
Three days later Stardom held a press conference where Yoshiko apologised for her actions, was stripped of the World Championship and suspended indefinitely. On May 31st they announced that Yoshiko was retiring but she would walk out half way through her retirement ceremony in June. She would resurface in January 2016 for new promotion Seadlinnng and would compete there while also fighting in MMA matches for Road Fighting Championship, winning her first two MMA fights but losing her third.
Act Yasukawa vacated the Wonder title on May 1st due to her facial injuries and didn’t return to the ring until September. Sadly, on December 1st she announced that due to her injuries her upcoming match on December 23rd would be her last, leading to her retiring and becoming an on screen manager for Stardom. She eventually left wrestling, returning to acting and becoming a model.
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