Towards the end of 2021, it was announced that Actwres girl’Z was ending its brands (color’s & beginnings) and that they would move away from professional wrestling activities. At the time many fans of the company thought that we were seeing the final days of one of the most interesting Joshi promotions on the scene. While I’m still not sure what AWG exactly considers itself to be nowadays I am certain that it is still one of the most entertaining and interesting promotions on the scene.

In typical me fashion AWG is a promotion that I failed to fully appreciate until I thought it was dying, but its reinvention and subsequent reset has been one of my favorite things in Joshi this year, and it’s not even close.

SEE THE NEXT BIG THING

One thing about Actwres that I always appreciated was its developmental abilities. Some of the top wrestlers in the Joshi scene today came through AWG. Names like Tam Nakano, Natsupoi, Hikari Shimizu, Saori Anou, Himeka, and Miyuki Takase were trained by Actwres. Actwres tends to recruit those who aren’t wrestling fans, it aims to give entertainers some extra work and if they’re good enough they can go further and explore wrestling as a career with a “real” wrestling group. For that reason, it is an incredibly interesting melting pot of talent that’s given the Joshi wrestling world some of its most unique and charismatic stars over the years.

One thing that a lot of people love is being the first “discover” the next big thing. Half the fun of watching independent wrestling for years was picking out those who had the potential to go major league versus those who didn’t. I’m not sure why but people, and I’m included here, LOVE being able to puff out their chest and say “well I saw x wrestle in front of 50 people in their debut.” One of the things that’s so appealing about Actwres girl’Z in 2022 is the sheer number of new wrestlers debuting, they’ve completely reloaded their roster aside from a handful of holdovers from the previous roster.

Watching these new wrestlers develop and trying to figure out who has the potential to head off to the bright lights of Stardom (or TJPW) versus those who could become cornerstones of Actwres is one of my favourite things about watching shows. It’s especially fun seeing obvious future stars like KOUKI or Maya Fukuda take their first steps in the world of wrestling and watch as they put it all together as the shows progress.

EASILY ACCESSIBLE

I am knee-deep in the Joshi community, I am aware of the existence of Shinsyu Girls Pro Wrestling and I’ve even watched matches on their YouTube, I’ve even helped make a Joshi mod for TEW! Even for someone like me that’s constantly plugged into the scene some Joshi wrestling is unbelievably difficult to access, or just isn’t accessible at all (looking at you Nico PPVs). Actwres girl’Z doesn’t have that problem and it’s one of the big reasons I’ve been able to become a fan. They have their own VOD service that most people just call Actwres Nets and it is incredibly user friendly. It’s easy to sign up, it’s easy to navigate, there’s an English translation option, the video player is impeccable, and they’ve got a very deep archive.

As someone that’s tried to deal with Confetti to buy WAVE shows, almost banged my head off a table over Stardom World, and cried with joy over PURE-J setting up a YouTube Membership the ease with which I could use Actwres girl’Z service was a welcome change of pace from the norm in Joshi wrestling. For that reason alone I believe that alongside Stardom, Sendai Girls (who upload to YouTube for free) and TJPW, AWG might be one of the most accessible groups in Joshi.

ENTERTAINING STYLE

Almost everyone on AWG shows now is debuting, or made their debut within the last nine months roughly. To compensate for some of the weaknesses of having a roster without much experience AWG has tailored its style to cover for these weaknesses. You aren’t likely to see “notebook matches” or “spreadsheet matches” in Actwres girl’Z but what you will see is a woman in her third match ever hitting a forearm loud enough that it’d scare Katsuyori Shibata himself. What the roster overall lacks in experience they make up for in enthusiasm, passion, and striking ability. If you’ve watched Joshi for any period of time and enjoy wrestlers who primarily use kicks like Momo Watanabe, Miyu Yamashita, or Arisa Hoshiki, then you’re going to find some new favourites on this Actwres roster as it has a few wrestlers with killer strikes. Natsuki is a personal favorite and has a lot of similarities to the aforementioned Arisa Hoshiki even with her limited wrestling experience.

The in-ring aspect of Actwres definitely won’t be for everyone but the matches are always kept short enough, nobody gets overexposed, and you’re going to see a lot of wince-inducing strikes, which to me makes for a fun time even if there’s only the occasional blow away match. That said, I do think the roster is already at the point where there could be multiple really good-great matches per show.

SIMPLE PRO WRESTLING

Much like any form of entertainment, there are a few different types of pro wrestling. There are “cool match” promotions where each show exists in a vacuum, there’s weekly American TV wrestling with storylines and promos mixed with matches, and then there are some Japanese companies where I feel like I need a notebook out with detailed notes on the lore of each match to fully enjoy it. And just like any other form of entertainment sometimes I want to watch something that I don’t need to pay attention to, something where there is no detailed backstory that I’m missing. Actwres girl’Z is exactly that right now. There are no storylines, there are very few character arcs to pay attention to, there’s no going back and watching each show to fully understand what’s happening. When it comes to Actwres girl’Z I can just throw on a new show or new match and sit back and enjoy. I also feel no need to keep up to date with absolutely everything because even if I am busy and miss a match I know I won’t have missed any necessary story beats.

This is arguably the best thing about modern Actwres girl’Z. At a time when so many wrestling promotions demand my attention, AWG is doing its thing and waiting to entertain me any time I need. Sometimes we all need to switch off and watch something entertaining that doesn’t require too much thinking, Actwres girl’Z fulfils that role for me in the Joshi wrestling sphere perfectly.

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