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Wrestling / Chigusa Nagayo

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The Brave Heart
Her many dedicated fans, before nearly every match
Chigusa Nagayo (長与千種, born December 8th, 1964) is a semi-retired Joshi Professional Wrestler, Trainer, Actor, and Promoter; who is most notable for her run in All Japan Women's Pro-Wrestling as part of the Crush Gals tag team and as a singles competitor, and has the distinct honor of being one of the most popular professional wrestlers in Japanese history, and quite possibly one of the most popular professional wrestlers in the world.

Nagayo did not have it easy getting into the business. She was at best an extra once she graduated from the AJW Dojo; only wrestling eight times total in 1980, and she cried after losing her first match, which earned her a scolding. But she never once gave up, and gained a hard-earned reputation of having hellacious fighting spirit underneath her small frame, even in defeat. Then, she ended up in the ring with Lioness Asuka.

The both of them found that they had excellent chemistry with each other, and set about to become the Crush Gals. From there, both wrestlers' popularity exploded to the point they went from mere pro wrestlers to national celebrities; even ending up as pop singers for a time. The pinnacle of their fame came in the mid-80's against Dump Matsumoto and her Atrocious Alliance, where a series of high-profile matches that exploded in popularity, regularly capturing mindboggling 10.0 ratings from japanese TV. It would all culminate in 1986, where the Crush Gals would fail to beat the Alliance at Tag Team The Best, but she would individually defeat Matsumoto to the jubilation of her fans.

In 1989, Nagayo was forced into retirement by AJW's mandatory age limit, and her retirement show was one of AJW's highest rated shows of all time, only broken by a supercard in 1985. She then took about five years off from the sport, before returning to the ring not only as a wrestler, but also as a promoter, creating the promotion known as GAEA Japan, where a good portion of her fellow AJW wrestlers and students would once again face off. She would continue the good times of 80's AJW and perhaps even go further, depending on who you ask. In 2005, the promotion closed along with her full-time career, and Nagayo became a trainer once more, before opening the independent promotion Marvelous in 2014, which has run shows in the Chiba prefecture ever since.

Nagayo is one of the most decorated Joshi performers of all time; holding the All Pacific Championship and AJW Junior Championship twice, the WWWA World Women's Championship once, the WWWA World Women's Tag Championship 4 times, the AAAW championship once, and the AAAW World Tag Championship with Lioness Asuka.

CH-GU-SA tropes:

  • Audience Surrogate: For Early-80's AJW's audience of pre-teen and teenage girls. This gave her a dedicated cult following that has shown up at events supporting her for years; complete with cheerleading routines and chants that they still know decades later.
  • Boyish Short Hair: Her hair was never that long to begin with, but by the 1990s was almost exclusively shaving it down to an extremely short buzz.
  • Brawn Hilda: In the 90's, she began to put on weight, which better fit her style.
  • Determinator: One of her greatest strengths in the ring was her ability to sell devastating offense and genuinely look like she was fighting through the agony to win. By her time in GAEA, she had honed this to an art.
  • Groupie Brigade: Has a long-standing one that actually made her life quite difficult in the 80's, to the point she had to start staying in different places in order to avoid them.
  • Law of Chromatic Superiority: Red was her chosen color on her gear and merchandise from very early on, and she only very occasionally went away from it, such as when she was under her alter-ego as ZERO.
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: Her wrestling style was primarily power based, tossing her foes around the ring when she was in charge of the match. This became her default style in GAEA.
  • Training from Hell: Got it inflicted on her by the AJW dojo, and then gave it nearly tenfold as the head trainer in GAEA. Though from her perspective, it was the only way her students could be ready for the often unforgiving world of joshi wrestling, and she earnestly wanted to see them succeed.
  • Troubled Childhood: She was a Military Brat whose father unfortunately took out the stress of the military on his family. She used wrestling as an escape from that