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Wrestling / Lioness Asuka

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Tomoko Kitamura (born July 28, 1963) is a retired Japanese Professional Wrestler best known for her work in All Japan Women's Pro-Wrestling as Lioness Asuka. She debuted in 1980 and made an immediate impact, winning the AJW Junior Title within her first year. She would hold the AJW Singles Title twice. In 1983, she and Chigusa Nagayo formed the Tag Team the Crush Gals, who would be hugely successful, both in terms of titles won and in terms of television ratings. They were 3x AJW WWWA Tag Team Champions, and, long after their initial breakup, they won the GAEA AAAW Tag Team Titles. Asuka also competed for Aja Kong's ARSION, NEO, Jd' and various other promotions. She made her PPV debut in the women's match at Survivor Series 95, where she was on Team Bertha Faye, and was the first one eliminated, courtesy of Alundra Blayze. She was inducted into the AJW Hall of Fame in 1998 and into the Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame in 1999.

Not to be confused with WWE's Asuka - Kanako Urai picked Asuka as a ring name as a tribute to Lioness.

"Troperhacker Bomb":

  • Action Girl: Being a female competing in pro wrestling rings obviously calls for it, especially in Zenjo. To be a Zenjo breakout is extra special.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: She briefly, but successfully all the same, forcibly took control of the GAEA promotion.
  • Annual Title: When she and Nagayo reformed their team in the year 2000, they changed the team's name to Crush 2000.
  • Author Avatar: She was the booker of Hyper Visual Fighting ARSION after Aja Kong left.
  • Badass Long Coat: Her entrance attire.
  • Became Their Own Antithesis: Early in AJW she inspired many young girls to become pro wrestlers as The Crush Gals overcame the Atrocious Alliance trying to run roughshod over the company. But then she was forced to retire. That Asuka continued to work for AJW almost exclusively for the first two years of her return suggested she wasn't that bitter about it but when Nagayo founded her own company capable of standing on near equal footing with AJW, GAEA, which largely made up of women inspired by The Crush Gals, Asuka lead a hostile takeover with the help of other AJW veterans, which included some of The Crush Gals' old Atrocious Alliance enemies, in order to put the new comers out.
    • Hilariously, even becoming a wrestler counts; as early on in life she hated how it would interrupt her favorite TV programs up until she managed to sit through a match.
  • Captain Ersatz: The Crush Gals were too good for Fire Pro Wrestling to pass up.
  • Crossover
    • On the first of CMLL's 63rd Aniversario shows she defeated Lola González for the Trans World Federation World Women's Title, a belt that was owned by the Japanese promotion Jd'
    • Lioness Asuka won the belt for the third time against Kyoko Inoue on NEO show.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: The first two years of career working in the opener as "Tomoko Kitamura"
  • Finishing Move: K Driller(reverse pile driver), LSD(fisherman's buster), LSD II(fisherman's version of Hayabusa's falcon arrow), LSD III(cut throat falcon arrow), Towerhacker Bomb(Argentine back breaker to sit out power bomb)
  • Girly Bruiser: An informed attribute, as Lioness Asuka was such a tomboy she made another tomboy in Nagayo look girly by comparison, but Asuka was one of the top stars of Jd' during its "beauty athlete" phase all the same and gave the even more girly "athress" period a chance, wrestling three matches while some of her contemporaries abandoned the promotion all together.
  • Humiliating Wager: After returning from her forced retirement Lioness Asuka gained a reputation for taking on multiple "rookie" wrestlers at once. She didn't always win, but on an August 1997 Jd' show she beat Yuko Kosugi and Miyuki Sogabe rather easily, shaving the latter.
  • Leotard of Power: In AJW. It was usually a dark color with stripes to contrast with Chigusa's bright red.
  • One-Steve Limit: Jd's various iron man matches used an "LSD" naming scheme in spite or because of Asuka using one herself and Jd' continued to do so even when Asuka was not around.
  • Power Stable:
    • Super Star Unit
    • Dead Or Alive
    • Moudou Kai
  • Power Trio: The Rideen Array with Jaguar Yokota and Bison Kimura(sometimes called the Raijin Corps)
  • Queen Of Beasts: She's called Lioness, after all. She even does some of the same moves as Jushin Liger.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: The Blue to Nagayo's Red. She even dressed the part.
  • Signature Move: Giant swing, fisherman's driver, fisherman's suplex, brain buster, iconoclasm, roundhouse kick, Ajisegiri(or "rolling koppu kick"), diving foot stomp, Ligerbomb
  • Tag Team
    • The Crush Gals are only the most successful women's tag team of all time. They were Zenjo's hottest draw and their reunion gave GAEA its greatest financial success.
    • Averted in Jd', where Lioness Asuka's only reign with the TWF World Women's Tag Team Titles was the result of a victory during over then champions Sumie Sakai and Megumi Yabushita by herself when Sakai was forced to forfeit due to an injury. Rather than defend the belts against tag teams solo Asuka awarded the titles to FMW wrestlers Crusher Maedomari and Drake Morimatsu.
  • 10-Minute Retirement: She retired in 1989, due to Zenjo's "retire at 25" policy, but came back in 1994. Being one of their biggest stars ever helped in that regard, but she was in and out of the promotion after that, wrestling for several others.
  • Teen Genius: Debuted at age 16 and claimed gold from what was the top women's promotion on the planet in her rookie year.
  • The Rival
    • The Jd' brand may have been launched to revive career of Jaguar Yokota but she faced fierce competition from Lioness Asuka over just who was the ace. Otherwise the two were Rideen Array teammates. Asuka's old Gokumon-to Kyoko Inoue also fought her fiercely for the TWF World Women's Title.
    • Lioness Asuka spent the majority of her time in ARSION beating up "Fighting Cheetah" Rie Tamada, often alongside Tamada's old tag team partner Mariko Yoshida. When Yoshida and Tamada got back together Lioness Asuka kept beating up Tamada with Tamada's ReDragon partner GAMI.
    • Michiko Omukai was a persistent opponent of Lioness Asuka's non Crush Gal tag teams, especially in ARSION, where Omukai came up short a lot, although she found a winning formula with Ayako Hamada, Asuka went right back to ending and denying Omukai Twin Star Of Arison reigns when Hamada moved on. Asuka was also the opponent for Omukai's 10th anniversary match(a draw) and the opponent Omukai beat when she finally became Queen Of ARSION. After winning the belt though Omukai was on the wrong ended of a handicap match Asuka was a part of then lost a handicap match where her side had the numerical over Asuka's.
    • A fairly minor but memorable one with Yuko Kosugi in Jd', FMW and FMW spinoff Fuyuki Army. The main rivalry in all three enterprises was between Lioness Asuka and Kosugi's tag team partner Jaguar Yokota but there was the question over whether Kosugi or Asuka had the better diving foot stomp. On that front, Kosugi was probably the winner, but Asuka still won the majority of their matches, including all of their one on one matches. Also, Asuka had the better fisherman's buster.
    • Mariko Yoshida and Lioness Asuka usually worked together as a tag team, but Asuka's first order of business was proving that Yoshida was not "the best woman wrestler in Japan" just yet. After that they beat Asuka's old buddies Etsuko Mita and Mima Shimoda for the Twin Star Of ARSION and stayed tight until Yoshida challenged Asuka for the Queen Of ARSION Title. Asuka retained the belt but lost her tag team partner.
  • Sickly Child Grew Up Strong: She was ill off and on for a good portion of her early life, and eventually became one of the most beloved professional wrestlers in Japan.
  • Ur-Example: Innovator of the Towerhacker Bomb.
  • Villain Team-Up: Super Star Unit took up Akira Hokuto and Las Cachorras Orientales in their efforts to retain control of GAEA. That ended being a mistake, as though Etsuko Mita and Mima Shimoda were old friends Asuka proved unable to get along with Hokuto, the group's defacto leader. Asuka went so far as to personally tag with the notorious Mayumi Ozaki, which proved to be an even bigger mistake.
  • We Used to Be Friends: She and Nagayo had a huge feud after they split as a team.