Like A River Flows Surely To The Sea; A Journey Into Actwres girl’z Fandom

Credit: Actwres girl’z

To begin to know a new world is exhilarating. There is nothing like those early days of discovery, to go from walking blindly on some unfamiliar road to mapping every curve of the path, be it in wrestling, sports, or a literary genre. This is my happy place.

This is where I am with Actwres girl’z.

As I write this, I know more about cricket than I do about the joshi promotion. That is to say, very little.

Even as someone who consumes far more than the FDA’s recommended daily amount of joshi wrestling, Actwres girl’z remains alien to me, a corner of the wrestling world I just haven’t stepped into. But I’m curious. Folks within my online bubble have been buzzing about it. From the sounds of it, the company is in the midst of some sort of resurgence.

That, the fact that they have someone with a ninja gimmick, plus wrestlers like Himeka and Saori Anou used to work there is all I know about AWG.

Time to change that. But where to start? Trying to dive into a new promotion can be intimidating especially when there’s a language barrier.

My approach has always been to seek out a favorite and branch out from there. Rooting for one new fav is more mentally manageable than trying to understand the mythos of a whole alien world right away. And once you’re attached to a wrestler, you become emotionally invested in what they and the folks around them do.

So, let’s find someone to stan.

Logically, we have to start with the ninja. She’s the one AWG wrestler I’ve seen the most clips of, and she has a badass look.

I’ve popped on the AWG show from January 9, ACTwrestling in Kitazawa with open to help with names. The ninja’s name is Mari and she’s striding to the ring with a fox mask on her face and a big ass sword in her hand.

Okay. This might be a short new-fave search.

Mari tapped out a wrestler named Chika Goto in like six seconds. Then proceeded to beat her again in a second match right after. Wow.

Mari has all sorts of swagger. She’s cold-blooded with convincing offense. Plus, that gear is boss. I need to go watch some highlights and see more of what she’s about.


I’m back and even more convinced Mari is the one. She is a killer a la Miyu Yamashita. Kicking thighs and taking names.

I have to keep looking, though. Just to be fair. You’re not supposed to buy the first house you look at without seeing what else it out there.

I’ve put on the January 9 show again with an eye on who could be cooler than the red-clad Mari.

Wait. Stop everything. There is a wrestler on my screen with a black cloth across their eyes, an ornate red and black robe swishing as they walk, and she’s taking a healthy swig from a sake bottle before screaming up to the heavens. And she’s got a sword, too?

Sorry, Mari. Someone has taken your spot. Everything about this woman screams cool.

I dug around the internet to find out that this blindfolded, sword-wielding warrior is none other than Act Yasukawa herself. I didn’t recognize the former STARDOM champ at all. She’s sporting a new look and looking rejuvenated.  

Oh damn. Just read an interview she did with James Carlin on Monthly Puroresu and apparently Yasukawa plays three different characters on AWG including the masked Wild Bunny.

Beat that, AWG roster. I dare ya.

Natsumi Sumikawa said challenged accepted, I guess. She stands out from the crowd with those granite abs and big-time stage presence.

No disrespect to the other women in the tag match with her, but I can tell that Sumikawa is on another level from them in-ring wise. Everything is crisp. She’s effortlessly confident. From my first impressions, she seems like someone AWG would tap as their ace.

I have to see more of her work.

A match against Misa Matsui is up for free on YouTube. It’s shot in VR 3D which is a fun departure from the norm.


Sumikawa works fast. She jumps on Matsui, going for an armbar. She’s fluid. She’s tough. Man, that’s a lot of swagger.

Her diving knees to the gut look great. Her transitions are butter smooth.

The internet is telling me she used to wrestle in STARDOM (as Natsumi Showzuki) back in 2012 and 2013 which I guess I missed/forgot about. There’s a massive gap between that run to her starting up with AWG in 2021.

Back to the Kitazawa show and a battle royal ensues. Excellent. That kind of match is one of the easiest ways to get introduced to a lot of wrestlers at once.

There’s a wrestler that has a Squirrel Girl-like gimmick—Marino Saihara. She’s got a sweet dropkick and wears fuzzy ears. I can get behind that.

The rest of the battle royal field didn’t stand out much to me. Some good moves and interesting vibes but nothing that compete with my newfound attachment to Mari or Sumikawa.

Onto the main event, a six-person tag.

There’s someone in action called Bulldozer Todokori. That’s the best name I’ve heard in a long time. She’s hitting people with a stick. She’s an immovable object with purple Bam Bam Bigelow-esque gear. I like.

There’s someone just named Allen? She’s got stylish, shoulder-length hair with a purplish tint. She’s carrying around a glittery umbrella and definitely has an interesting vibe. Color me intrigued.

But my eyes are locked on someone else—Miku Aono.

Her entrance gear is a sparkly red and black dress/robe that feels inspired by Victorian fashion. She carries herself like a star. Miku’s got that “walk into a room and everyone take notice” quality.

In the ring, she’s bringing it. Everything is tight and on point. Even something as simple as a snap mare is artful and crisp as hell. There’s something about the way she works that reminds me of Miyuki Takase.

Aono just punched MARU’s lights out. Now she’s kicking people like they stole something from her. That is how you win me over as a fan. I’m easy.  

She’s known as The Brilliant Rose. Great nickname.

Pardon me while I go look for more of her matches.

She wrestled Sumikawa last fall. And it’s free on YouTube? Praise be the wrestling gods.


That was good. You could tell they have more to give of each other, but they had solid chemistry to work with. Add all the hair-yanking, fat lariats and emotion on their faces, and you have quite the enjoyable match here.

Aono is an ace in the making. It’s official; I have a new fav.  

Now I’m sitting here feeling like a dope for missing out on AWG all this time. This is a fun promotion with some strong wrestling.

I guess I assumed there would be more comedy and cutesiness than good action, and I’m happy to report I’m wrong on that front. I’ve only scratched the surface, but my initial findings are that AWG is at least as good ring-wise as several of the other joshi promotions like WAVE.

Its appeal, though, I think will be the varied assortment of characters.

A ninja. A squirrel. A sake-drinking samurai. A faction full of women toting guns. Someone smacking the snot out of everyone with a teddy bear. AWG sure as hell looks like a circus worth checking out.


I’m not sure where Actwres will end up on my promotion hierarchy, but it clearly deserves a spot in the rotation.

And as I watch Sumikawa, Aono and company kick ass, I will continue to learn all the intricacies of this promotion. There are backstories to understand, faction to figure out whether to root for or against, rivalries to explore. There’re layers to this, man.

I stand on the entrance of a winding path full of the unknown and all the thrills that bring, ready to walk and wonder and be wowed.