Ayumi Kurihara is a young joshi star who, it could be argued, was born to be a wrestler. Her parents’ Tokyo yakiniku (焼肉) barbecue restaurant, “The Three Treasures of Buddha” (三宝) was not only a place where wrestlers often ate, but is also a sponsor of pro wrestling events. Because of this involvement, Ayumi has had to work twice as hard training and in the ring to avoid the stigma of being a sponsor’s daughter. After playing basketball in high school and working at her parents’ restaurant, she decided to take up wrestling and was trained by veteran wrestlers AKINO, GAMI, Mariko Yoshida and Michiko Ohmukai. Ayumi debuted in 2005 for M’s Style and worked with them until the promotion folded in 2006. Since then she has been a freelancer and works for all the major promotions, although at this time she sees the most action in NEO. Her hard-hitting work rate has led to her being called “‘Lil Kawada Girl”, a reference to stiff-striking puro legend Toshiaki Kawada, and also to taking quite the beatings from veterans in some matches.
Ayumi’s career hit a major bump in the road in July 2007 when she suffered a broken clavicle during a NEO event. She finished the match but the injury took her out of action for several months. An attempted return in December 2007 caused her to reaggravate the injury, which required surgery and kept her out of action for a year. During her injury downtime she kept occupied with her family restaurant, some photo modeling, fan meet & greets and supporting joshi puroresu in Japan, often alongside AKINO-the wrestler who trained her and who is given credit for training the woman viewed as one of joshi’s top future stars.
Ayumi made a successful return to the ring in December 2008 and while she has yet to win any titles or significant accolades in her career, the future looks very bright for this young superstar-to-be. In summer 2009 she began more regular participation in OZ Academy alongside fellow rising star Misaki Ohata. On the last day of 2009 she may have finally had her big breakthrough moment, as she won her first championship-the NEO Tag Team Titles with Yoshiko Tamura. Could this be the win that finally launches Ayumi into stardom in 2010? Time will tell but it looks like she’s finally on her way there. And although it may have been little more than symbolic given the timing, she finally won singles gold at the end of 2010 when she beat Tamura for the NEO Singles & NWA Women’s Pacific Titles at NEO’s final event on 12/31/2010.
Ayumi produced her second independent wrestling event on December 12, 2010 to commemorate her 5th anniversary in wrestling. The first one was her return event in December 2008 when she returned from a long injury layoff. She also produced a special mini-event on April 24, 2011 to commemorate the 6th anniversary of her debut. She continues to work as a freelancer but primarily competes in WAVE & OZ Academy with occasional appearances in JWP and elsewhere, and will also be featured in a “dream match” of sorts in May against popular bikini idol/wrestler/Stardom star Yuzuki Aikawa.
On occasion Ayumi akso competes as the masked wrestler A*YU*MI, usually when making special appearances or appearing on Fukumen Mania events.
Stats & info:
Weight: 126 pounds/57 kg
Experience: 6 years
Finishing move: Missile Dropkick
Current affiliation: Independent/Freelancer
Alternate names/gimmicks: A*YU*MI
1-time NEO Singles & NWA Women’s Pacific Champion
1-time NEO Tag Team Champion
1-time X-LAW Women’s Singles Champion (as A*YU*MI)
Best Bout Award at 12/31/06 NEO 4th Jr. All-Stars event
Official websites (Japanese):
http://www.alfoo.org/diary2/kuriayu/ (No longer updated)
http://homepage2.nifty.com/ayumi-kurihara/ (No longer updated)