Monday, April 13, 2015

Fare Thee Well, Tomoka Nakagawa

Happy retirement, Tomoka
Photo Credit: Greg Davis/Pro Wrestling Is Art
Tomoka Nakagawa began the weekend co-holder of the SHIMMER Tag Team Championships. She ended it as a retiree. Of course, fans had known of the sunset of her career for awhile now; she'd announced that she would be hanging up the boots last year. However, the end of her career, especially at the tender age of 33, still is hard to swallow. In wrestling, 33 might as well be adolescence, and I haven't heard any inkling of her having nagging injuries putting her on the shelf, like her contemporary Ayumi Kurihara. But in a business that can tend to use a person up and spit them out when the flavor's gone, Nakagawa setting out on her own terms is bolder than any bump she could have ever taken.

She didn't go out with a whimper either. Without divulging specific match spoilers of tapings I won't see until December at the earliest, she brought over some heavy guns to participate in her final weekend of pro wrestling action. Mayumi Ozaki may have been to America for a SHIMMER weekend last year, but Aja Kong, Dynamite Kansai, AKINO, and Kyoko Kimura tag along just to say farewell, then yeah, I'd say the festivities were a big deal. Even without seeing a minute of footage, just the names alone gave me a shiver up my spine.

Although it's odd for a wrestler from Japan to end her career in America instead of her native land (at least to me, it is), no one could deny that Nakagawa over the years had become as much a member of the essential SHIMMER fabric as she was of promotions in her native land. In a way, her final matches taking place in Berwyn, IL seemed appropriate. Either way, I'm glad she got to go out on her own terms, and I hope retirement finds her well enough. She burst into wrestling on her own terms, so of course she should go out the same way.