AJW DOCUMENTARY- “LES DIABLESSES DU RING”:
* So in 1991, the “La Une” channel in France decided to do a documentary on All Japan Women’s Pro-Wrestling. They were invited to go on tour with the, interview the wrestlers, and see the day-to-day operations of the show. It’s about 55 minutes long, and focuses on a small handful of people: Highly-ranked Bull Nakano & Aja Kong, rising star Manami Toyota, and American trainee on an excursion Debbie Malenko. Thankfully, YouTube has an English subtitled version.
Despite pretty well everyone knowing the secret of pro wrestling by 1991, this whole thing is in kayfabe- rivalries are treated as real, people want to win matches to make more money, etc. Curiously, the promotion’s owners, the Matsunagas, are not really given much attention.
We start with Aja Kong & Bison Kimura doing a rad “Jungle Jack” theme song that sounds like it should be being played at the Foot Clan’s headquarters in the Ninja Turtles movie. The host speaks to the audience directly about how women’s pro wrestling is extremely popular in Japan, but it’s a harsh world where “The losers get no pay”, and while the top star is a Queen, everyone else are “like monks”, unable to have love affairs and have to do all the drudgery work like cleaning.
We start with Bull Nakano, then the Ace and WWWA World Champion- “The Blue Queen” makes 48,000+ yen per fight (like $409 in 1992 U.S. dollars?) and weighs 260 lbs. (she’s big, but that seems high- she’s only 5’8″! Are they using “Adam Cole pounds”?). Half-Black, Half-Japanese Aja Kong weighs 242 lbs. and makes 31K yen per fight. Glamorous Manami “Cinderella” Toyota weighs 138 lbs. and makes only half that. Okay, that’s news to me that either used those nicknames (unless the doc just invented it- the subtitles keep using “Manami” while the narrator repeatedly says “Cendrillon”- Cinderella’s French name). And they use that as Manami’s ONLY name during the advertising for one show! She hadn’t even won major singles gold at this point, so I have no idea why they decided to focus so much attention on her.