Sunday, May 15, 2022

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The Legacy Of Bull Nakano

As is the case with most 90s Joshi, my first look at Bull Nakano came from scrolling through the internet. On one of my binges of the 90s All Japan Women’s Pro-Wrestling (AJPW), I was making my way through a bunch of Manami Toyota matches, a woman who holds as many 5-Star matches as Kota Ibushi. One match, in particular, caught my eye. Manami’s opponent was a blue-haired punk. Utterly different in shape and size from the much smaller and dainty Toyota. That woman was Bull Nakano.  

Bull had the grandeur and spectacle associated with 90s Joshi wrestling with her elaborate flowing gowns. But Bull also had a punk/metal edge. She had bright dyed hair and a gelled fringe so big it could easily add six inches to her billed height. 

She came to the ring in tattered Megadeth and Anthrax tees, back when the E in ECW still stood for Eastern. In many ways, Bull tapped into the early 90s grunge and metal scene aesthetic way before anyone else.  

Then, of course, there are her in-ring skills. Bull has the hard-hitting Joshi style we all know and love about Japanese wrestling. Between the smaller high flyers and the larger women like Aja Kong and Bull’s mentor Dump Matsumoto, Bull had the perfect combination of power and speed along with her unique look. 

When Hulk Hogan was dropping the immortal leg drop night after night, Bull hit leg drops from the top rope. And if you were really lucky (unlucky if you’re her opponent), it was from the top of a cage, or a somersault was thrown in. 

Thanks to her run in both WCW and WWF, Bull is someone who stands out from her peers. Her feud with Alundra Blaze is firmly planted in her WWF’s history of the women’s division. However, WWE’s failure to acknowledge Bull’s legacy is a shortcoming in treating the women of the past with respect.

Nevertheless, the legacy of Bull Nakano transcends WWF. She is a true icon of women’s wrestling.

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