(Pictured, left-to-right: Top row-Akiko Narikuni, Mariko Yoshida; Middle row-Ray, NAO, Tomoka Nakagawa, Hiroyo Matsumoto; Bottom row, seated-Yuko Motohashi, Misaki Ohata. Not pictured-Esui)
IBUKI was a joshi promotion launched in 2005 by joshi veteran Mariko Yoshida. The promotion and it’s goal were best summed up by it’s mission statement: “MARIKO YOSHIDA’s IBUKI Pro Wrestling sets the stage for the new breed of Joshi Pro Wrestlers to have constant training. Launched in 2005 in coorporation with S Ovation Co., Ltd., IBUKI holds events every 6 weeks in the Tokyo area. IBUKI keeps the door open to all Women Wrestlers in the entire world. IBUKI’s goal is to inject new energy into Women’s Pro Wrestling and with the help of Mariko Yoshida to train the next generation of Joshi Stars.” They certainly succeeded as 3 of their young stars-Hiroyo Matsumoto, Tomoka Nakagawa and Misaki Ohata-have become very successful across joshi puroresu and have both won and/or are contending for titles. The promotion ran throughout Japan and, like the other joshi promotions, maintained its own stable of talent while cross-promoting with other joshi promotions.
IBUKI closed on February 11, 2010 with the promotion’s final 2 events, shutting it’s doors after over 4 1/2 years. There had been rumors for months of financial difficulties and that Mariko Yoshida was considering retiring due to inactivity for several months. Their now-former talent all have taken different career paths-Tomoka Nakagawa, Hiroyo Matsumoto & Misaki Ohata all remain active as freelancers; Akiko Narikuni, NAO & Yuko Motohashi haven’t been heard from much if at all, Ray is now competing in SMASH as Lin Bairon/Byron, while Esui retired from wrestling and is now competing in MMA. Mariko Yoshida appears to be inactive.
IBUKI had no titles.
The promotion’s official websites can be accessed at the following URLs:
http://s-ovation.com/wrestling/ibuki.html (Japanese) (No longer updated)
http://www.yoshida-mariko.com/ (Japanese; Mariko Yoshida’s personal website)
http://twitter.com/ibuki_j (New, created February ’10)