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Tomoko Kitamura
Ring name(s) Lioness Asuka
Tomoko Kitamura
ZONE
Born July 28, 1963 (1963-07-28) (age 46)
Tokyo, Japan
Trained by AJW staff
Debut May 10, 1980
Retired April 3, 2005

Lioness Asuka (ライオネス 飛鳥?) (born July 28, 1963) is a professional wrestler from Tokyo, Japan. Along with long-time tag team partner Chigusa Nagayo she formed The Crush Gals, known for their mainstream popularity in the 1980s, and the most successful women's tag team of all time.

Contents

Career

Born Tomoko Kitamura (北村智子 Kitamura Tomoko?) on July 28, 1963, Asuka joined All Japan Women's Pro-Wrestling (AJW) in 1980, and had her professional debut on May 10 of that year. She was an immediate success, winning her first title, the AJW Junior Championship, the following year, and the AJW Singles Championship in 1982. In 1983 she formed a tag team, called the Crush Gals, with Chigusa Nagayo. The Crush Gals were huge stars for the (AJW), in the mid-1980s. They feuded with Dump Matsumoto and the Jumping Bomb Angels. Thanks to their fame, AJW's weekly television broadcast consistently brought in ratings over 12.0.[1] Their fame also carried over into other media, including recording top ten singles.

In the late 1980s, the Crush Gals broke up, and Asuka began a lengthy feud with Nagayo, which culminated in her achievement of the WWWA World Heavyweight Championship in 1989. She retired later that year, but came out of retirement in 1994 and formed the Rideen Array, a faction consisting of fellow freelance wrestlers Jaguar Yokota and Bison Kimura. She subsequently wrestled for many of the new women's promotions that arose at that time, such as Jd' and ARSION. In 1998, she made a significant move when she joined GAEA Japan, the promotion run by her former partner, Nagayo. Asuka began her GAEA career as a top heel, feuding with Nagayo, and, in one storyline, winning control of the organization from her and eventually creating the Super Star Unit (SSU), a faction composed of veteran stars such as Akira Hokuto, Aja Kong, and Las Cachorras Orientales, among others. However, near the end of 1999, Nagayo and Asuka united against a common rival, the Mayumi Ozaki-led faction Team Nostradamus, and, the next spring, reformed the Crush Gals. The storyline was huge news in Japan, and GAEA's April 4, 2000 show, featuring the debut of the reunited team, now called CRUSH 2000, was the biggest in the promotion's history.

Due to a neck injury, Asuka announced her retirement on November 3, 2004. Her retirement was made official on April 3, 2005.

In wrestling

Championships and accomplishments

  • ARSION
  • Queen of ARSION (1 time)
  • Twin Star of ARSION (3 times) – with Mariko Yoshida (1) and GAMI (2)
  • TWF World Women's Championship (4 times)
  • Ladies' Legend Pro Wrestling
  • LLPW Six Woman Tag Team Championship (2 times) – with Eagle Sawai and Shark Tsuchiya (2)
  • NWA Pacific Women's/NEO Singles Championship (1 time)

References

  1. ^ Molinaro, John F.: Top 100 Pro Wrestlers of All Time, page 167, Winding Stair Press: 2002
  2. ^ "Finishing Moves List". Other Arena. http://www.otherarena.com/nCo/finish/finish.html. Retrieved 2009-08-28. 
  3. ^ "All Japan Women's Pro-Wrestling Hall of Fame". Puroresu Dojo. 2003. http://www.wrestling-titles.com/japan/zenjo/hof.html. Retrieved 2007-10-09. 

External links

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