STARDOM: Kyoko Kimura, A Joshi Puroresu Icon

Amber looks back at the career of Kyoko Kimura!

Kyoko Kimura [木村 響子/ Kimura Kyōko] was born on 19th March 1977 in Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan. Over a 14-year career, she would compete in both professional wrestling and mixed martial arts, being well known for her hardcore style and barbed wire deathmatches.

Kyoko Kimura: From Humble Beginnings

In 1993 Kyoko would fall in love with wrestling, after watching a documentary about The Sheik and watching an AJPW match where The Sheik and Abdullah the Butcher would face off against Terry and Dory Funk. Kimura was just 16 and would drop out of school to become a professional wrestler, training at the FMW dojo. During this time Kimura would suffer a knee injury, deciding to retire early before ultimately changing her mind, moving to Mexico to gain a more well-rounded education in the sport. She would return to Japan sometime later, owing to running out of money to fund her dream.

A true free spirit, Kyoko began working odd jobs to save up money to yet again leave Japan, this time traveling around Southeast Asia. While there she would work part-time jobs to support herself and fall in love while in Bali, the man’s name is unknown, but we do know he was a tour guide and described as a truly kind person. At some point the two married and returned to Japan, having a daughter, Hana, together. After the two of them worked hard to support their new life together, it would become too much, with their relationship looked down upon as he was a foreigner and the culture being vastly different from his own, Hana’s father would return to Indonesia, leaving Kyoko to raise their child alone.

Kyoko is a strong fearless woman who despite all the odds against her and the social taboo of a young woman being a single mother in Japan, she was around 20/21, chose to raise Hana singlehandedly while pursuing her dreams. In pursuing her dreams Kyoko would join the JWP dojo in Tokyo, restarting her training often taking Hana with her.

Kyoko Kimura and her MMA career

A Legendary Career in Joshi Puroresu

Kimura made her in-ring debut in JWP Joshi Puroresu on 20th July 2003. She would remain with the company for two years, used rarely before quitting in late 2005, choosing to become a freelancer allowing herself to pick and choose where she worked.

She would appear in many different promotions which included Ibuki, Oz Academy, Pro Wrestling SUN, DDT [Dramatic Dream Team], and Pro Wrestling Wave.

On 21st August 2005, Kyoko would pin her daughter, Hana, to win the DDT Ironman Heavymetalweight Championship, losing it very quickly to Yuka Nakamura. At some point in her career, she would also become a one-time SUN Champion.

But she would make her home in NEO Japan Ladies Pro Wrestling, in 2008 she would become the leader of the villainous stable, Revolucion Amandla which also included Tomoka Nakagawa and Atsuko Emoto.  In October 2009 Kyoko would return to Mexico, the first time in over a decade, this time with her stable Revolucion Amandla. Kimura was used to her full potential while with NEO, having major storyline rivalries with Las Cachorras Orientales, which consisted of Etsuko Mita and Mina Shimoda, and Passion Red, which included Kana [Asuka], Nanea Takahashi, and Natsuki☆Taiyo, who she would work with later in her career at STARDOM. NEO would fold in December 2010.

While at NEO, Kimura would win the NEO Tag Team Championships twice, once with Amazing Kong and once with stable mate Atsuko Emoto.

Kyoko Kimura: MMA, Stardom & New Challenges

After NEO folded Kyoko Kimura wanted a new challenge and found it in MMA, her debut match would be against Megumi Yabushita on 12th November 2011 at the Pancrase Impressive Tour 11. She would win her first fight via TKO.

Kimura’s second MMA match would come on 28th January 2012 against Mizuho Sato at Pancrase Progress Tour 1, the match would end in a draw. On 1st April 2012, she would win a battle against Kim Sung Eun via TKO in 61 seconds at Progress Tour 4. Kimura’s first defeat would come on 20th May, being submitted by Rin Nakai at Progress Tour 6.

Kyoko Kimura began working for STARDOM, after a lengthy career on the Japanese wrestling scene, in May 2012 joining the villainous Kawasaki Katsushika Saikyou Densetsu Plus One stable.

On 5th August 2012, Kimura formed her own stable, after quitting KKSDPO due to being defeated for the leadership role by Natsuki☆Taiyo, called Kimura Monster-Gun recruiting Hailey Hatred at the same time. Between 29th to 30th September she participated in the first 5★Star GP only to be defeated in the finals by Yuzuki Aikawa leaving soon after to work in Ice Ribbon.

She would then move back into professional wrestling, working regularly for Ice Ribbon that September. While there she would become the International Ribbon Tag Team Champion and the Reina World Tag Team Champion alongside Sayaka Obihiro on 19th December at Ice Ribbon 434. They would lose the championships quickly to Aoi Kizuki and Tsukushi [Seishun Midori] at Ribbon Mania on 31st December.

Upon her return to STARDOM, Kyoko Kimura received her first title shot on 14th January 2013, winning the top title in the company, the World of Stardom Championship, defeating Nanae Takahashi. She would follow it up by winning the Goddess of Stardom Championship alongside Hailey Hatred on 17th March, defeating Natsuki☆Taiyo and Yoshiko of KKSDPO. By that November Alpha Female and The Female Predator “Amazon” would join Kimura Monster-Gun with the three of them winning the Artist of Stardom Championship. This would not be the only achievement for Kimura that month, winning the Goddesses of Stardom Tag Tournament 2013, alongside Act Yasukawa.

On 26th January 2014 she would become the first two-time Goddess of Stardom Champion, this time alongside Alpha Female, she would go to JWP Joshi Puroresu in May and then Pro Wrestling Wave in October.

Kyoko Kimura, Kagetsu and Hana Kimura

Kyoko would be phenomenally successful while with JWP Joshi Puroresu and Pro Wrestling Wave. She would team with Command Bolshoi defeating Rabbit Miu and Tsukushi for the JWP’s vacant Daily Sports Women’s Tag Team Championship on 4th May 2014, holding the titles until 28th December 2014 at Climax 2014.  While at Wave, Kimura would reform Revolucion Amandla with Tomoka Nakagawa with the two going on to win the 2014 Dual Shock Wave Tournament and the Wave Tag Team Championship on 15th October 2014. The two women, along with Gami had previously won the 6-person Tag Tournament in 2013.

Kyoko Kimura would return to STARDOM on 18th January 2015 to form Oedo-Tai with Act Yasukawa, Dragonita, Heidi Lovelace, Hudson Envy, and Kris Wolf. In April that same year, she would make her debut for Shimmer Women Athletes, her first appearance for an American promotion.

2016 would be a fantastic year and her last inside the squared circle. Kyoko would marry fellow professional wrestler and mixed martial artist Isao Kobayahi, while continuing to work for both Stardom, teaming with daughter Hana, and JWP.

On 14th August Kyoko would win both the Daily Sports Women’s Tag Team Championships and the JWP Tag Team Championships alongside Hanako Nakamori, losing both titles on 9th January 2017. On 2nd October 2016, Kyoko would win the Artist of Stardom Championship alongside her daughter Hana Kimura and Kagetsu. She would follow this up on 9th October by winning the JWP Openweight Championship at the Fly High in the 25th Anniversary show in Tokyo, Japan. She would lose the belt to Arisa Nakajima on 3rd November at Pure Dream 2016.

Life After Wrestling

Hana Kimura, Kyoko Kimura and Isao Kobayahi

Kyoko Kimura would retire on 22nd January 2017 at an event called “Last Afro” in Korakuen Hall in a mixed tag-team match, where she teamed with her husband Isao and daughter Hana Kimura to face off against Aja Kong, Minoru Suzuki, and Meiko Satomura. She would face off against her daughter Hana in a bonus match, refereed by her husband, being defeated and thus handing the mantle over to the young Hana Kimura.

She currently lives in Tokyo with her husband and their cats. Since the death of her daughter Hana Kimura, due to cyberbullying, Kyoko has founded the non-profit organization, Remember Hana, as a way to remember and bring justice to those who cause this kind of heartache, she also supports the #StopTheHate hashtag.

Final Thoughts:

Kyoko Kimura had a phenomenal and interesting career, making a name for herself all around the world, all while being a strong woman who raised her child alone. She is a true inspiration and her strength should be admired, especially in the face of losing her only child Hana Kimura. Her greatest achievement isn’t the championships she has one but her daughter and the non-profit organization, Remember Hana, she founded in the aftermath of her death. Kyoko Kimura is a true Joshi legend.

Written by Amber McCrudden

Writer | Podcaster | Streamer | Photographer | Content Creator | Wrestling's Sweetheart

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