VIEW FROM THE RISING SUN
by Masanori Horie
Miss Mongol...........................................Luna Vachon
(Photos courtesy Masanori Horie)
Who Is Miss Mongol??
"Aki", a high school girl, found herself glued to her TV, watching Tor Berg's LPWA, a women's wrestling program, which was commentated by Wally Yamaguchi (Yamaguchi-san), on a local channel late at night. Then she was longing to become a woman wrestler one day. She may be weird, because Japanese girls usually idolize Japanese "super heroines" like Chigusa Nagayo, Manami Toyota, or Aja Kong. She became a big fan of American style women wrestlers like Leilani Kai and Judy Martin.
Aki Kambayashi was born in Sapporo City in Hokkaido (the northernmost and second largest of Japan's four main islands) on 9/2/76. She grew up learning Kendo and Karate. To be a wrestler, she decided to come to Tokyo. She trained with Toshie Sato (Sugar Sato of GAEA Japan), Kiyoko Ichiki (Indie), and Misae Watanabe ( Misae Genki of Neo Japan Ladies) in a wrestling Dojo for a TV program. Then, she was hired by Atsushi Onita's FMW. They were a unique office in Japan which had both male and female wrestling in their show. Of course, she had to have hard training and perform routine duties (set up the ring, regulate the crowd as a second, etc.) over a year. It was very tough work. She debuted as a wrestler against Yukie Nabeno in Jooetsu, Niigata on 10/25/95. She was 19 years old. She became a member of Megumi Kudo's babyface army, but she still had to do routine duties which top stars would never do, because she was one of the underdogs.
In those days, Victor Quinones and Terry Funk returned to the FMW from the IWA. They formed "Funk Masters of Wrestling" (F.M.W.). They were the top heel army with The Gladiator (Mike Awesome), Super Leather (Mike Kirchner, formerly Corporal Kirchner in the WWF), etc. Then she had an opportunity to have broad views. They traveled together on the bad guys' bus. She could be taught the English language by gaijin (foreign) wrestlers every day. She found there was another world. She turned BAD at the All Japan Women's Nippon Budokan show on 8/12/96. She was named "Miss Mongol" (154cm / 65kg = 5.1 ft / 143lb) with purple face painting.
FMW women's top babyface Megumi Kudo was obviously a HARD CORE wrestler who did death matches. But, she retired from wrestling after beating Shark Tsuchiya in a "Barbed wire / Electric / Explosion death match" at Yokohama Arena on 4/29/97. After that, FMW women had sunk in popularity until today. (Kaori Nakayama is a popular young star and she is a "thoroughbred"; her father, Mr. Nakayama, is a local promoter in Osaka, and her mother, Miyoko Hoshino, was 2 times WWWA [All Japan Women Pro's] champion, who beat Sara Lee and Sandy Parker in the '70s. But, she is too tiny [153cm / 50kg = 5.1ft / 110lb] to be a top star. By the way, Shark Tsuchiya appeared at "Wrestle Fest / 50 Years of Funk" in Amarillo, TX on 9/11/97. It was funny to see how Amarillo rasslin' fans were surprised at her HAIRY SHINS.) After Megumi Kudo's retirement, the FMW office started to treat woman wrestling as very low. They didn't even send women's information and actual results, which was actually held, to magazines and newspapers. Miss Mongol decided to quit the office, and she thought she should go to the U.S.A. to get new opportunities. Her friends explained how horrible American women's wrestling was, but she wanted to study wrestling and its business in the U.S.A., and she just wanted to wrestle for herself. She also disliked worrying about human relations in the female offices (All Japan Women, JWP, LLPW, GAEA, JD, Arsion, and Neo Ladies are run by only female wrestlers. Human relations is one of the biggest problems for young girls who have just started wrestling.)
Miss Mongol left Narita Airport on 3/25/98. She joined the Victor Quinones Family. For her, Quinones was like her father figure, and KAIENTAI (Taka Michinoku, Dick Togo, Mens Teioh, and Shoichi Funaki) are like her brothers (She is really proud that she was taught the "Michinoku Driver Bomb" by Taka himself). She was taken to Wrestlemania XIV at the Fleet Center in Boston, Mass. on 3/29/98. She was very happy that The Undertaker and Sunny were very kind to her; they remembered she had taken care of them on Michinoku Pro's big show at Ryogoku Kokugikan (Sumo Hall) on 10/10/97. She posed with L.O.D. and Sunny for Gong Magazine's picture. Then, Luna Vachon asked an agent about a job for her, and Miss Mongol was thrilled at Luna's kindness, though she couldn't get a job.
Miss Mongol has been traveling and wrestling and training in Mexico City, Puerto Rico, and Ikebukuro, Tokyo this summer. Japanese wrestlers who go to Mexico usually lose a lot of weight, but she came back heavier. She found out by herself that it was important to believe somebody and something, and she would follow her dreams until they come true. She loves being a wrestler, and she loves the wrestling business itself. She is a professional wrestler, and she wants to be a booker and matchmaker.
Terry Funk catches Miss Mongol
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