Here We Go Again: My Research On Joshi Candidates for GWE 2026

Hey y’all, it’s been a very long time since I’ve sat down and seriously watched wrestling for reviewing purposes. My dive down the “hardcore wrestling fan” hole started with me writing show reviews on my tumblr in 2016 in an attempt to, “…improve my writing and do more than just put a star rating into a spreadsheet.” Spending time at Wrestling With Words, Squared Circle Sirens, and this blog were very important and formative but I still feel that my match reviews are seriously lacking and don’t stand up to the works of my longtime friends (Hello Slack Chat), but within the last two years I had an epiphany and began my passion project, the BeruBara Tag Boom, and I finally felt like I found my stride in writing and being able to convey my emotions and thoughts about wrestling.

I was still a very casual wrestling fan when the last GWE voting happened and the final list was released but the PWO forums and all the associated podcasts provided me with a great starting point in binge watching. There’s still a lot of time left before the next GWE is set to be revealed but I wanted to switch my brain from cultural examination to wrestling fan mode and begin to discuss and dissect what I think set some women apart from their peers in the wild world of joshi wrestling.

My research is going to consist of going through three separate lists of joshi wrestlers; those that I know will be on my top 100, those who are on the bubble, and anyone else that I know I’ve enjoyed watching but need to review their career to get a more complete picture. I’ll make a list of three or five recommended matches that’ll represent their highs and what I like most about their style of work, and once I get through a single list I’ll expound on my reasoning for if anyone moves up to my final lists or drops off.

The Criteria

  • What makes this wrestler stand out?
  • What was her peak?
  • How long was the peak of her career?
  • What’s her consistency?
  • What’s her range? (ex. the inter-promotional period of the early 90s allowed many of the best women in the industry to wrestle each other on numerous super-card level events. How does a specific wrestler look like when working against an Ace versus midcard talent in a 6-woman tag match or a rookie in a ten minute match)
  • Specific to the joshi wrestling industry after the collapse during 1996, looking the height of someone’s career in relation to whatever could be considered the highest possible achievement/popularity level. Basically, in the time of no major tv deals and the AJW belts being retired what was the mountain top for a joshi wrestler?

I ultimately want to use this project to get back into the part of wrestling fandom that involves actually watching matches and discussing with others what I enjoy about them and take a step back from researching and trying to educate others about why joshi wrestling is the way it is. The first wrestler I’m going to examine for the project under my third tier is Manami Toyota.


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