Friday, February 23, 2007

Takako Inoue - Japanese Women Wrestlers

takako inoue wrestling
Takako Inoue (no relation to Kyoko Inoue)
Height: 5' 4" (163cm)
Weight: 138.6lbs (63kg)
Date of Birth: November 7, 1969
Debut: October 10 1988 vs. Kyoko Inoue
Promotions: AJW (1988-1999), Free (1999-)

Before joining All Japan Women, Takako Inoue was, not surprisingly, a magazine model.
She joined All Japan Women in late 1987, and had her first match on October 10, 1988 against Kyoko Inoue (no relation), who was also debuting. She began getting her first push by early 1991, when she won her first title, the AJW Japanese title, from Kyoko Inoue on 4/29/91, losing it exactly one year later to Mariko Yoshida. Her first regular tag team partner was Mariko Yoshida, and the two held the AJW Japanese Tag Team titles twice totalling the better part of sixteen months from 8/91 to 12/92, dropping them briefly during that run to Sakie Hasegawa and Debbie Malenko. After her second Japanese Tag Title run ended, Takako didn't have a lot to do other than act as a placeholder for the occasionally-defended UWA Women's Tag titles with Yumiko Hotta.

She began getting serious main-event exposure in October 1994, when Takako formed a team with Kyoko Inoue, calling themselves the "Double Inoues". They won the WWWA World Tag Team titles from Manami Toyota and Toshiyo Yamada on 10/9/94, ending Toyota and Yamada's almost 2 1/2 year domination of the titles. They defended the titles once, and then vacated them because they were the 99th WWWA tag champs and they wanted to be the 100th. A one-night tournament was held on 3/21/95, and the Inoues won three matches to regain the titles. The Inoues would go on to have their own stranglehold on the tag titles, becoming the new dominant tag team in AJW for the next eighteen months, holding the WWWA tag titles three times. Their primary rivals during most of their reign was the team of Manami Toyota and Sakie Hasegawa (or her masked alter ego, Blizzard Yuki), which produced some outstanding matches, including the one-night tournament final. After losing the titles to Manami Toyota and Mima Shimoda in June of 1996, the Inoues split up, as Kyoko began getting a serious push at the WWWA title.

Takako would also win singles titles during this time. Takako won the IWA Women's title from Reggie Bennett on 12/4/95, and would defeat Bennett again on 11/21/96 to unify the IWA title with the All-Pacific title. Takako challenged WWWA champion Kyoko Inoue on 1/20/97 in a match that would unify the three titles. Unfortunately for Takako fans, she lost. She would regain the All-Pacific title on 6/18/97, defeating Toshiyo Yamada to win the title after Kyoko had vacated the title earlier. Takako would suffer a severe eye injury about three weeks later, forcing her to miss three months and vacate the All-Pacific title. She would win the All-Pacific title back on 1/3/98 from Tomoko Watanabe before losing it to ZAP T (Tomoko Watanabe in a new masked heel gimmick) on 4/21/98 in a farce.

Takako's wrestling style is not very spectacular. She does a tope suicida from time to time, but is not given to the high-flying style used by some of the more prominent women workers such as Manami Toyota, Hikari Fukuoka, and Kaoru Maeda. She is a solid mat wrestler, using submissions effectively, and uses a variety of basic suplexes and slams with a couple of other more spectacular slams (choke slam off the top rope, arm drag off the top rope) thrown in. She also works well with youngsters, trying to make their offense credible and give and take away comebacks as needed. Takako's good looks help make her a draw for All Japan Women's arena shows and probably play some factor in the push she gets. Her looks have also resulted in several picture books. Despite her looks, she is definitely not afraid to work stiff or stretch, either in terms of being the punisher or the hapless victim. Early in her career, she had a "pretty-girl" babyface attitude. By mid-93, she was beginning to develop a little streak of insolence.

She has probably worked almost as many or more inter-promotional matches than any other worker in All Japan Women, and was among the first to work them, notably in matches against Cutie Suzuki and Mayumi Ozaki of JWP Project. She has never been positioned as a top-level singles wrestler in All Japan Women, basically being the top of the pack in the midcard, moving up to the main events for tag matches. She has only had two WWWA title challenges: the aforementioned match against Kyoko Inoue and a match against Dynamite Kansai in October 1995 after Kansai had just won the WWWA title.

How the future looks for Takako is hard to say due to the mass exodus of most of their experienced talent to other promotions such as ARSION and Neo Japan. As a result, Takako is the third most senior worker in the company besides Yumiko Hotta and Manami Toyota, which one would think would lead to more WWWA title matches for her. It seems as though that she is becoming involved in an angle (the ZAPS) which could either take her up to main event status as a singles worker if she is turned full heel, or she could become saddled with a ridiculous feud if the angle is booked poorly.

Hanako Nakamori v Takako Inoue

No comments:

Popular Posts