Previously: (Kellie) Skating Into Japan: An Aussie Abroad
On March 4th 2012, for Universal Woman’s Pro Wrestling REINA, Kellie Skater, 24, was defeated by veteran joshi wrestler Mima Shimoda. This match took place at the Radiant Hall in Yokohama, Japan, and was Skater’s last match in Japan… this time around.
Wrestling in Japan had always been a dream for the Bacchus Marsh, Australia native, ever since she began her wrestling career at the end of 2007. She achieved this dream during a brief trip to the Land of the Rising Sun in May 2011 where she wrestled twice for REINA. However, the experience only left her craving more and she was invited to return.
Fast-forward to December 2011.
Arriving in Japan on December 22, Kellie was almost straight away thrown into action, working two shows on Christmas Eve (for Joshi4Hope, she wrestled Hailey Hatred and Rabbit Miyu while tagging with her fellow SHIMMER star Tomoka Nakagawa; and for REINA, she teamed with Kyoko Kimura, who she feels she gelled really well with, to defeat Aki Kanbayashi and Saya) and another on Christmas Day (Io Shirai toppled her in her debut for STARDOM).
“It was a really different Christmas for me as it was the first time away from my family,” Skater admits. “But, after the show on Christmas Day, I went out for dinner and bowling with Hachi (S-Ovation’s manager) and friends. On Boxing Day, I attended the STARDOM Christmas party, which was really fun! I witnessed a karaoke battle!”
Kellie says that she fits right in with her STARDOM family, saying that they are all “very hyper, which is great, because I am too!” So much so, that they’ve even dubbed her “genki girl”. Genki, roughly translated, means energetic or full of life – a description that fits Skater like a glove.
Skater has found that residing in Minato, where she lived with two other people she now calls her “Japanese family”, close to the Tamachi Station, is very convenient for her. Not only is Tamachi Station on the Yamanote Line (one of Tokyo’s busiest and most important rapid transit loop lines), which makes it easy for her to explore Tokyo, but her home is close to the Zero-1 Dojo, where she’s been training under the guidance of Mr. Hidaka.
The self-proclaimed ‘Rate Tank’ praised his coaching skills: “He is an amazing coach, and I feel very lucky to be under his guidance.”
Although training at the Zero-1 Dojo is tough, Skater also says the experience has been awesome, because it has allowed her to hone her skills and even attend a few interesting shoot boxing classes. Training there also afforded her the opportunity to appear on one of their Dojo shows (produced by Mr. Hidaka), where she tagged with her fellow gaijin Craig Classic in a match against Daichi Hashimoto and Hiroyo Matsumoto.
Working for the likes of Zero-1, Joshi4Hope, REINA, STARDOM and WAVE had her wrestling on a full-time schedule. Kellie clocked in a total of at least fifteen matches during her time there – an amount some wrestlers will only work in a whole year. She gave us a rundown of all the promotions she worked for in Japan… and the matches she participated in while working there.
Skater wrestled twice for Joshi4Hope, a promotion that features the joshi talent who travel to the USA. On their Christmas Eve show, everyone came out in Santa hats for a kick-off ceremony where they would find out who they would be wrestling that evening. It was a completely random draw – Tomoka and Kellie ended up drawing position one for their aforementioned match against Hatred and Miyu. On the bright side, Tomoka and Kellie ended up teaming up again for her second Joshi4Hope show on February 22nd against Yumi Ohka and Canada’s Courtney Rush. Sadly, they met defeat both times.
She made quite a few appearances for STARDOM. After debuting on Christmas Day in a match against Io Shirai (whom Skater calls an “amazing talent” and “super athletic”), the two teamed up on January 7 to take on AMA: Arisa Hoshiki and Mayu Iwatani. Shirai then proceeded to align herself with AMA to form PLANET. So, on February 5th, in a ‘Unit Warfare Match’ (three on three), Nanae’s Army (Skater, Hiroyo and Eri Susa) took on PLANET in the main event of the show – Skater’s first main event match in Japan.
“It was a nerve wracking experience.” Kellie recalls. “Especially as the venue was sold out and packed!”
However, perhaps one of her most exciting moments came on January 15 for REINA, when she teamed up with Mima Shimoda and Cassandra to take on Manami Toyota, Yumiko Hotta and Aoi Ishibashi.
“When I started wrestling the company I loved most to watch was AJW, so to be wrestling two legends of AJW was a huge moment. ”
In reference to another veteran of wrestling, Toshie Uematsu, she says “I am very happy to witness some of Uematsu-san’s last matches because I have a huge amount of respect for her.”
Although her matches have been plentiful, she has been doing more than just wrestling and training – she has been exploring Tokyo too. Skater says that while “Nakano Broadway is epic” and Odaiba is “pretty amazing”, she tends to hang out in Harajuku a fair bit. She’s been in good company as well with two of her fellow Australians in Damian Slater and Bruiser Barry, plus Daniel Beaumont, Yumi Ohka (who spoiled her with a ton of Pokemon presents), Hiroyo Matsumoto, Tomoka Nakagawa and her “ace Mexican amigas”, Lady Afrodita, Cassandra and Silueta.