Ayumi Kurihara - Professional Wrestling Career

Professional Wrestling Career

Ayumi entered training with the women's pro wrestling promotion AtoZ and then transferred to M's Style, where she learned the craft from well-known Japanese female wrestlers Gami, Mariko Yoshida, AKINO, and Michiko Ohmukai. Ayumi debuted in 2005, at the age of 20. She is viewed as one of the future stars of joshi puroresu in Japan as she has a hunger and desire second to none in the younger class. In a "1 Day Tournament" Kurihara had her pro debut and defeated GAMI in her debut match in 9:08 when she reversed a pin attempt into a roll-up. She then lost her following tournament match in 6:54 when Toshie Uematsu beat her with a flying body press. M's Style closed in the fall of 2006. The final match was a six-person tag match, pitting Tojuki Leon, Bullfight Sora and Ayumi against AKINO, Ohmukai and Yoshida. The younger generation won the match. Since then, Ayumi has wrestled as a freelancer, in NEO, JWP, Jd', Ibuki and Pro Wrestling SUN. Near the end of her tenure in M's Style, Ayumi incorporated a stronger finishing move to her moveset. Ohmukai was shown teaching her how to perform a uranage, which she then went on to use in a tag victory with Ohmukai against Ayako Hamada and Cherry. In December 2006, Ayumi wrestled Shuu Shibutani in a special show geared toward the upcoming generation of wrestlers. The fans voted the match the best of the night and both women received trophies.

Ayumi often hits numerous dropkicks during her matches, including missile dropkicks off the top turnbuckle. She's not afraid to hit hard and take hard hits, prompting American wrestler Steve Corino, who works for Pro Wrestling SUN and faced her in a mixed tag match, to call her "lil' Kawada girl." (Toshiaki Kawada is well known in puroresu for his stiff strikes) This has led to Ayumi taking a beating from veterans like Nanae Takahashi and Dynamite Kansai in matches due to her hard-hitting work rate. On July 16, 2007 at the Pro Wrestling NEO "Summer Stampede '07" show in Korakuen Hall, while teaming alongside Shuu Shibutani versus Aoi Kizuki and Nagisa Nozaki, Ayumi broke her clavicle receiving a hard flying clothesline by Kizuki. Ayumi finished the match, hitting three more missile dropkicks before scoring the pinfall. This injury caused her to miss the remainder of 2007.

She returned to action on December 9, 2007 to compete in the main event tag match in Michiko Ohmukai's retirement show, but re-aggravated her injury causing her to need surgery. On December 20, 2007 Ayumi underwent the surgery in which the doctor removed bone and bone marrow from her hip to use to reconstruct her clavicle along with a titanium plate and screws. While out of action for several months, she kept occupied with her family restaurant, some photo modeling, fan meet & greets and supporting joshi pro wrestling in Japan, often alongside mentor and trainer AKINO. She also picked up modeling endorsement for the Chiba Lotte Marines advertising soba noodles and Yebisu beer. She was also in negotiations with ROCKST★R energy drink, but never signed.

Around mid-March 2008 Ayumi began light training again with Mariko Yoshida and in the U-FILE Dojo. On June 8, 2008 she announced on her blog that she has finally resumed full training including her signature dropkick. Her new return to action was scheduled for December 14, 2008 at Tokyo Shinjuku FACE for her personally produced show titled "STARTING☆OVER." At her event she wrestled twice, first in the opening bout victory against good friend Shuu Shibutani and then in main event 2/3 Falls Tag Team match where she teamed with Natsuki☆Taiyo against veterans AKINO and Nanae Takahashi. In August 2009 Ayumi traveled to Mexico City, Mexico to participate in Ultimo Dragon's DRAGOMANIA IV show on August 25, 2009 in Arena México. She also participated in some smaller independent events while in Mexico. Here Ayumi debuted a new costume with a mask, calling herself A☆YU☆MI. Kurihara teamed with Yoshiko Tamura to challenge Nanae Takahashi and Kana for the NEO tag team championships on December 31, 2009 in Korakuen Hall. Kurihara and Tamura became the 12th NEO tag team champions after Ayumi pinned Kana at 21:32. This was the first championship of Kurihara's career. In February 2010 it was announced that Ayumi and several other joshi wrestlers would be appearing for Shimmer Women Athletes pro wrestling in Berywn, Illinois on their March shows. Ayumi would also be appearing for Jersey All Pro Wrestling the same month. This is Ayumi's first trip to the USA.

On April 10 and 11, 2010, Kurihara took part in Shimmer Women Athletes' tapings of Volumes 29 to 32. On Volume 29 she defeated fellow joshi wrestler Tomoka Nakagawa, on Volume 30 Nikki Roxx and on Volume 31 Sara Del Rey, before losing to Daizee Haze via countout on Volume 32.

Ayumi returned to Mexico in late May/early June for her 2nd Mexico tour. On May 29 at the LUCHA FAN FEST in Circo Volador de Mexico City A☆YU☆MI won the Women X-LAW Extreme Championship, a title belt from Xtreme Latin American Wrestling. The match was an "8 Way Dance" of La Chola vs. Dama X vs. Afrodita vs. Lady Monster vs. Luna Mágica vs. A☆YU☆MI vs. Cassandra vs. Xena.

That same day Ayumi Kurihara then returned to the Arena Mexico and DRAGON MANIA V for a tag match, where she and Marcela defeated Mima Shimoda and La Comandante.

On May 30 A☆YU☆MI participated in an 8-Women tag match at the Arena Lopez Mateos for the AULL promotion (Alianza Universal de Lucha Libre).

Soon after rival joshi wrestler Tomoka Nakagawa traveled to Mexico to challenge A☆YU☆MI for her newly won title belt. After Nakagawa defeated her in a non-title match on June 3 for IWRG in Arena Naucalpan, A☆YU☆MI successfully defended the title belt against Nakagawa on June 5 at the Arena Lopez Mateos for the AULL promotion again.

On September 11 and 12, 2010, Kurihara returned to Shimmer Women Athletes to take part in the promotion's tapings of Volumes 33–36. On Volume 33 she defeated Daizee Haze in a rematch of Volume 32, on Volume 34 she unsuccessfully challenged Madison Eagles for the Shimmer Championship, on Volume 35 she defeated Cheerleader Melissa and finally on Volume 36 she, Ayako Hamada, Cheerleader Melissa and Serena Deeb defeated Daizee Haze, Tomoka Nakagawa, Madison Eagles and Sara Del Rey in an elimination tag team match. On December 31, 2010, Kurihara defeated Yoshiko Tamura in Tamura's retirement match to win the NWA Women's Pacific Championship and the NEO Singles Championship. On October 1, 2011, Kurihara and Ayako Hamada defeated Daizee Haze and Tomoka Nakagawa to win the Shimmer Tag Team Championship. On November 8, Kurihara made her first appearance as A★YU★MI, a villainous version of her masked persona.

On November 26, 2011, Kurihara defeated Marcela in the main event of an Ayumi Kurihara Produce event to win Mexican promotion Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre's World Women's Championship. After successful title defenses against Cherry and Hailey Hatred, Kurihara lost the title back to Marcela on March 9, 2012, in Mexico City. After seven successful title defenses, Kurihara and Ayako Hamada lost the Shimmer Tag Team Championship to Courtney Rush and Sara Del Rey on March 18 at the tapings of Volume 48. On July 16, Kurihara defeated Ryo Mizunami to win Pro Wrestling Wave's 2012 Catch the Wave tournament. On August 19, Kurihara teamed with her trainer Akino to defeat Aja Kong and Sonoko Kato for the Oz Academy Tag Team Championship.

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