Yuzuki Aikawa retires
The 2012 Joshi MVP has decided to call it quits on 4/29 after STARDOM's big Sumo Hall event.
Yuzuki Aikawa was a former gravure idol in Japan. Basically, a model who doesn't get naked. She made albums, photobooks, DVD's and appeared on stage and on television. Because of this, she got hooked up with Fuka and Rossy Ogawa, who convinced her to be a pro wrestler. She debuted on September 7, 2010 on her very own show against Nanae Takahashi.
Since then, she's been Stardom's undisputed top star. While she wasn't pushed to the moon, she had a pretty good push and was being groomed to be a star from day one. She's been near or at the top of each Stardom show and has appeared in other companies like DDT and Zero-1.
Yuzuki Aikawa cited her reasons for retiring as being too "old" at the ripe age of 29 and because her body is "sore".
As much as I think idol's in wrestling can be a good thing, generally, they leave things worse off than when they started. Having non-wrestling fans become pro wrestlers usually turns out to be a bad idea. You can look at some past idols like Francoise, the Jd' Athresses and masu-me to see how little idols usually contribute aside from a few sexy picture sales. Part of it is a lack in understanding of how wrestling works but a bigger part of it is idols generally getting into wrestling for themselves and leaving it when they either got or didn't get what they wanted out of it. Off the top of my head, it is hard to think of a non-wrestling fan idol who was recruited who turned out to be really good. Yumi Ohka of WAVE has probably been the best bet.
What is funny about this situation is that Aikawa basically went down the same path that her mentor Fuka did, which alot of people didn't support. She was often in main event roles, had her own shows and did what was good for herself, but bad for everyone else. Aikawa basically arrived, became a star immediately and got a big push through Stardom and magazines. Now, less than two years into this, she is calling it a day and leaving things worse than when she started.
I find the reasons for retirement to be bogus, as with alot of Japanese reasons for doing anything(that's another story). I don't think she has ever wrestled more than four matches in one month tops, so it is hard to say that wrestling could have really affected her that bad. Afterall, the AJW girls and tons of other companies worked triple to quadruple times that without problems. I also find the excuse of being too old next year at the age of 30 to be little more than a joke. She obviously hasn't fallen off in the looks department and if she's planning to retire in April, having a kid is pretty far off.
Stardom has to be pretty upset about this mess. They did an excellent job with her and put a ton of time into trying to make her a success. While she was a small draw on her own, aside from some sexy picture sales, she hasn't really done much. She left too soon to really develop and it's not like she can really put anyone over. This leaves Stardom now without two of the top stars as Yoko Bito retired earlier this year due to injury, causing some problems. While Stardom is going to have to scramble to find a new direction, they have some back up plans. Stardom has pushed a few people like Io Shirai(who may be too tainted after her drug scandal last year), Yuhi and Yoshiko, who will take them into the next year. Still, it is hard to lose your top star.
I think this whole situation is bad for joshi as a whole and reminds me of some of the rough years that joshi had like 2009-2010. I think Stardom will still be fine without Aikawa but I'm sure it is making Stardom question how well the idol direction has worked out for them.