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Ask 411 Wrestling: Would WWE Let Jey Uso Work In Japan?

August 14, 2023 | Posted by Ryan Byers
Jey Uso WWE Smackdown Image Credit: WWE

Welcome guys, gals, and gender non-binary pals, to Ask 411 Wrestling. I am your party host, Ryan Byers, and I am here to answer some of your burning inquiries about professional wrestling.

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Paris is burning:

Would WWE be bold enough to let Jey Uso wrestle in Japan (or whatever other promotion they are cool with/talent scout from) so as to appear like he actually quit/he can show clips to his fans of his matches (against guys WWE already have interest)?

I doubt it.

The last time WWE ran an angle similar to Jey Uso leaving the company was their version of the “Summer of Punk” in 2011, which saw CM Punk’s contract with the E expiring while he was holding their top title. Though Punk did appear on one independent show during that period, it was just one show . . . and he didn’t wrestle, despite threatening to do so in promos before his brief absence from WWE television.

Admittedly, we are now twelve years removed from that angle and there have been some changes in the company’s hierarchy, but it’s still the same guy making the high-level calls for the promotion, i.e. the sort of call that would involve one of the participants in what has been the promotion’s biggest storyline for the past year.

As unrealistic as I think Jey appearing outside of WWE is, I really don’t see him working for a company like New Japan Pro Wrestling due to the fact that it is currently allied with AEW, which Vince and company obviously see as competition. This means that, if Jey were to show up someplace else, it would almost have to be a much smaller promotion, and footage from a much smaller promotion showing up on WWE TV would make Jey look second rate – something that the company employing him most likely wants to avoid.

My prediction is that we’ll see Jey Uso back where we’re used to seeing him much sooner rather than later.

Spunaround on Disqus wants to go inside baseball:

What’s the average wait time for getting a question answered? I submitted one by email asking for your views on how you’d define and list the biggest current wrestling promotions in the world (top 20/ top 30) over a month ago. Sorry to be impatient – I’m just really, really interested to get your take on this!

It really varies quite a bit.

When I took over this column on a full-time basis in 2018, I started keeping a running Word document of questions submitted for my consideration. When a question gets answered, I delete it from the Word doc. I very rarely delete questions without answering them, unless something significant changes after the question is asked that makes it totally irrelevant. Even then, it’s probably less than five percent of the questions sent to me over the years that have been deleted for that reason.

If you looked at that Word doc, you’d see that the oldest unanswered questions sent to me were sent . . . in 2018.

So, yeah, there are questions that have been waiting for an answer for in excess of five years now.

However, I don’t necessarily take the questions in the order that they are asked. If you go back to the question about the 1991 Great American Bash that I answered a couple of weeks ago, I actually received that question literally the day before I wrote the column, making it one of my shortest turn around times ever.

Why do things get handled so differently?

It depends. Sometimes I find a question particularly interesting and want to get to it sooner rather than later to satisfy my own curiosity. Sometimes it’s a type of question that I don’t care for (e.g. most fantasy booking questions), so it sits on the sidelines for a while. Sometimes I’ll have had a question for months and months and when re-reading the list it just hits me right and an answer clicks immediately. Sometimes I’m low on time to write and have to pad out a column with questions I can answer off the top of my head without much research. Sometimes I run. Sometimes I hide. Sometimes I’m scared of you. But all I really want is to hold you tight.

I will say that I do try to start every column with a question involving a major wrestling star and/or current events, because it makes for a better headline for the site. Thus, your question about Hulk Hogan will probably get answered more quickly than your question about John Nord. Also, I try not to answer similar questions in short order, which explains why most of the questions on my list from 2018 relate to lineal championships – I just don’t want to do too many of those for fear of them taking over the column.

If you’ve submitted a question and it takes a while, just hold tight. There’s a lot to get to and only so much space to cover it all in.

Tyler from Winnipeg is a family man:

How many matches did Booker T have vs Ricky Steamboat?

Exactly one.

WCW did an eleven-card house show tour of Germany in 1994 called “Battle Stars.” On the second night of the tour, which took place in Cologne on March 9, Steamboat defeated Booker T. (then known as “Kole”) in a singles match that was part of the first round of a European Cup tournament that the company was doing on the tour.

Interestingly, both members of Harlem Heat participated in the tour, but they actually didn’t compete as a tag team until the eighth night, instead wrestling mostly in singles matches. Booker also teamed with Ron Simmons on night three in a losing effort to Johnny B. Badd and Marcus Alexander Bagwell, while on the same show Stevie Ray (then known as “Kane”) lost a singles match to Frank Andersson, a Swedish wrestler who WCW featured in matches taped for its television shows that aired internationally but who never really appeared on any cards aired in the U.S.

Dylan sent in several questions about wrestling siblings, any one of which is going to take a while to answer, so we’ll start with one here and move to others in subsequent weeks:

Sisters in wrestling seem to be far less common than brothers. I can only think of three: Bella Twins, Renegade Twins and Io and Mio Shirai. Have there been any other wrestling sisters of note?

Brothers certainly are more common than sisters, largely because there have been significantly more male wrestlers in history than there have been female wrestlers. However, there are still quite a few sisters in the history of our favorite pseudo sport who were not mentioned in Dylan’s question. Let’s take them one set at a time . . . and let’s also see if I missed something obvious that the comment section yells at me for.

The Wingo Sisters
We’ll start by going all the way back to the 1950s, where we meet a trio of sisters from Columbus, Ohio: Betty, Ethel, and Marva Wingo. All three of the Wingo sisters became professional wrestlers as part of a touring troupe of grappling ladies promoted by Billy Wolfe, the same guy who launched the careers of Mildred Burke and the Fabulous Moolah.

The Wingo sisters didn’t wrestle under their real names, becoming Betty Wingo, Ethel Johnson, and Marva Scott, respectively, nor did it seem to be commonly acknowledged that they were sisters. They were noteworthy because they were among the first – if not THE first – Black female wrestlers in the United States.

I say “among the first” rather than definitively stating that they were the first because the history of professional wrestling from that era is not recorded particularly well and there was plenty of regional wrestling that only would have been viewed by local fans. In any event, the Wingo sisters were the first Black female wrestlers to gain national attention and wrestle the era’s biggest white stars of ladies’ wrestling.

The family’s name did come back into the spotlight somewhat in 2021, when WWE decided that they would induct Ethel Johnson into the “Legacy Wing” of their Hall of Fame, a largely ignored designation for wrestlers who the company wants to acknowledge in some way but who don’t have the sort of mainstream cache that would make them a draw on the primary HOF induction show. As was documented in the April 12 and 19, 2021 issues of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, the induction was a bit controversial, in part because WWE did it without notifying Ethel’s family, in part because they referred to her as the first Black woman wrestler even though the family claims Betty started wrestling before Ethel, and in part because – and this is the really bad one – WWE used footage of THE WRONG BLACK WOMAN in Ethel’s induction video. Yeah, they used clips of a wrestler named Sandy Parker, whose heyday was twenty years after Ethel’s.

If you want more information about the Wingo sisters from media that uses actual footage of them and not footage of the first Black woman wrestler that the producer found, there is a documentary about their careers called Lady Wrestler, which you can watch on Amazon Prime if you are so inclined.

The Moreno Sisters
Moving from Columbus, Ohio to Mexico City, Mexico, wrestler and promoters Alfonso Moreno had five children who became professional wrestlers. One was a son, best known by his ring name El Oriental, but the other four were daughters, namely, in order of birth, Rossy, Esther, Cynthia, and Alda Moreno.

All of them had respectable careers, but Alda’s was the shortest, lasting from the early 1990s through 2001 and mostly taking place in Japan despite her being a Mexican native. Perhaps her career highlight was winning the tag team titles of joshi promotion ARSION in 2001, though she did that under the name POKO, doing a masked clown gimmick with her teammate PIKA.

The older sisters had longer and more productive careers, with Rossy debuting in 1978, Esther debuting in 1984, and Cynthia debuting in 1987, all three of them having matches in the late 2010s, and Cynthia still wrestling somewhat regularly in the 2020s. All three of them have primarily been associated with Mexico’s AAA promotion, though they have toured with joshi promotions in Japan as well. Esther and Rossy are both former AAA Reina de Reinas Champions with Rossy also winning the CMLL Mexican National Women’s Championship. In 1991, Esther and Cynthia held the All Japan Women’s Tag Team Titles, while in the 2000s, Cynthia held the prestigious AAA Mixed Tag Team Titles with the Moreno sisters’ brother, El Oriental.

Mari & Faby Apache
Sticking with stars of lucha libre, pro wrestler Gran Apache’s two daughters, Mari and Faby, made their in-ring debuts in 1996 and 1998, respectively. Like the Morenos, they have split their time between Mexico and Japan, with most of their careers being spent with AAA south of the border and ARISON in the Land of the Rising Sun, though Mary would also work for Stardom in Japan in the late 2010s.

Perhaps the thing that the Apache family is best known for is a long-running storyline in AAA during the mid and late 2000s that incorporated many elements from soap operas. The story began with Faby marrying wrestler Billy Boy and Gran Apache taking on the role of a disapproving father. As noted above, the story ran for many years and involved just about every member of the family, including Gran Apache’s wife (Mari/Faby’s stepmother), who was appropriately named Lady Apache, and eventually Faby and Billy Boy’s real life infant son Marvin. Sexy Star, who American fans may remember from Lucha Undeground, even had a part to play for a period of time as Billy Boy’s mistress.

While Mari appears to have had her last recorded match in 2022, Faby has kept a fairly regular schedule to this day.

Xochitl & Ayako Hamada
Gran Hamada is a Japanese professional wrestler who debuted in the 1970s and spent time in Mexico during his early career, ultimately incorporating lucha libre into his wrestling style even when he came back to his home country. He ultimately created a style called lucharesu which would eventually have entire promotions built around it and would be the precursor to the style currently used in Dragon Gate.

In addition to innovating lucharesu, Hamada also had two daughters, Xochitl and Ayako, with a Mexican woman. Both of those daughters became professional wrestlers, though with an eleven-year age difference between the two, Xochitl debuted in 1986 while Ayako did so in 1998.

Like her father, Xochitl split her career between Mexico and Japan, almost always working for major promotions in Mexico and switching between CMLL, AAA, and UWA, holding the top women’s championships in the former two promotions. In Japan, she not only competed for women’s promotions like Jd’ Star and ARSION but also appeared in promotions that typically focused on men’s wrestling, mostly those that her father wrestled for, like UWF and Michinoku Pro. Ayako’s early career was predominantly in Japan, working for just about every joshi promotion of the late 1990s/2000s, including those that her sister wrestled for as well as AJW, GAEA, OZ Academy, and more. Ayako didn’t really start showing up in Mexico on a regular basis until the late 2000s, when the bottom really fell out of joshi.

And, of course, Ayako Hamada spent about eighteen months in TNA between 2009 and 2010, which is probably where most people reading this column remember her from. Following her release from TNA, she went back to Japan and mostly worked for the joshi group WAVE until she was arrested for possession of methamphetamine in 2018. This effectively ended her career in Japan, where these things are taken far more seriously than hey are in the U.S. She continues to wrestle in Mexico to this day, occasionally appearing on an AAA show but mostly wrestling for indy groups.

Sendai Sachiko & Dash Chisako
Sticking around Japan, we come across sisters Sachiko and Chisako Jumonji. Perhaps to avoid confusion with the cursed board game, they dropped their family name when they got in to wrestling and became Sendai Sachiko and Dash Chisako. These sisters were among the first trainees of legendary joshi wrestler and current WWE employee Meiko Satomura, debuting for her promotion Sendai Girls in 2006 when they were mere teenagers. Though Sendai Girls was always considered their home promotion, thanks to the fractious nature of joshi from the 2000s onward, they really wrestled all over the place, both as a tag team and as singles wrestlers.

In 2016, Sachiko retired from professional wrestling at the ripe old age of 26, as she wanted to focus on domestic life after getting married. Chisako, however, continues to wrestle a regular schedule to this day, still mostly for Sendai Girls.

The Blossom Twins
Hailing from Manchester in the United Kingdom, Holly and Hannah Blossom broke in to the British independent scene in 2007 and eventually came to the United States in 2010 to gain further experience in Ohio Valley Wrestling. Their timing turned out to be rather good, as they actually joined OVW about a year before it became a developmental territory for TNA. This in turn lead to the Blossoms landing spots on British Boot Camp, a reality TV program about about up and coming professional wrestlers that TNA produced exclusively for the UK television channel Challenge.

The exposure on British Boot Camp resulted in Holly and Hannah having a couple of matches on TNA house shows in the UK and even one bout on TNA Impact proper when it aired from the Wembley Arena. After that, the duo returned to OVW and continued wrestling as a unit until November 2013, when Holly called it quits. That same month, Hannah did get a one-off match against Gail Kim on another episode of Impact, after which she vanished before wrestling a handful of indy matches in Florida in 2017 and quickly dropping off the face of the earth again.

The MK Twins / The Tonga Twins
Continuing the proud tradition of Pacific Islanders in professional wrestling, Ashley and Steff Manukainiu, twins of Tongan descent, began wrestling in 2021. Their first matches of note occurred in April 2021, getting a couple of matches as enhancement talent on AEW Dark. Eventually, they were snapped up by the current version of the David McLane-founded Women of Wrestling promotion, being renamed Kaoz and Kona. They’ve appeared for WOW as recently as April of this year, though their careers have been pretty silent other than that.

Alica Fox & Caylee Turner
We all remember WWE Legend Alicia Fox. (That almost hurt to type.) However, did you know her sister was also a pro wrestler? Alicia Fox’s real name is Victoria Crawford, and her sister Christina Crawford was in WWE developmental from 2010 through 2012, competing under the name Caylee Turner. Her career highlight was being the final Florida Championship Wrestling Divas Champion, defeating Raquel Diaz – a.k.a. Eddie Guerrero’s daughter Shaul – for the belt. Her reign lasted only a matter of days, though, due to WWE switching its developmental program from FCW to NXT. Caylee wrestled on exactly one NXT show before getting released. After that, she did some indy appearances and had one dark match for TNA in November of ’12 before calling it quits.

Nidia & Nurse Lulu
This is similar to the story of the Crawford sisters. Nidia Guenard was the female winner of the first season of WWE Tough Enough and later had a memorable stint as Jamie Noble’s valet. This also lead to her sister Lourdes Guenard getting a developmental contract. Lourdes was mostly a valet in Ohio Valley Wrestling in 2003 under the name Nurse Lulu, though she did have a handful of matches and eventually moved from OVW to the Heartland Wrestling Association before leaving wrestling roughly a year after she started.

Cavinder Twins
There is one pair of sisters under WWE contract currently . . . sort of. Haley and Hanna Cavinder were NCAA basketball players who developed a strong social media presence, ultimately signing Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) deals with the E. They recently appeared on an episode of NXT and will likely report for training at the Performance Center soon, if they have not already.

We’ll return in seven-ish days, and, as always, you can contribute your questions by emailing [email protected]. You can also leave questions in the comments below, but please note that I do not monitor the comments as closely as I do the email account, so emailing is the better way to get things answered.

article topics :

Ask 411 Wrestling, Jey Uso, WWE, Ryan Byers