All Japan Women’s Pro Wrestling (AJW) is one of the biggest pro wrestling companies in the history of Japan. The all women’s promotion housed some of the biggest women’s stars in wrestling history. Legends Of AJW will take a look into the careers of some of AJW’s legendary talents. This edition focuses on the biggest heel of her era Dump Matsumoto
Every hero needs an equally good villain – Batman needed Joker, Stone Cold Steve Austin needed Mr. McMahon, The Avengers needed Thanos, we could go on and on. The key takeaway though is that the biggest heroes always have villains to play off of. In AJW the heroes like the Crush Gals had the vile, monstrous Dump Matsumoto to battle against. Matsumoto was everything you could want from a villain – she didn’t need to bend the rules given her physical advantage, but she did anyway. She wasn’t afraid to bring weapons into the mix to bludgeon her opponents and even employed the services of a crooked referee. While Matsumoto was undeniably cool as hell, she was completely unlikeable and provided the perfect foil for the Crush Gals and other babyfaces.
Dump Matsumoto had mellowed a bit by then. pic.twitter.com/0MAe5AHbv8
— Puro Central Shop (@purocentralshop) July 31, 2016
With her crazy hair, a swastika painted on her forehead, and always being accompanied by her other unruly faction mates Dump Matsumoto had a dangerous aura to her that most wrestlers could only dream of. Whenever she entered the ring you knew things were about to be bloody and violent. Dave Meltzer wrote in the 1988 Wrestling Observer Yearbook that “Matsumoto actually pioneered the gimmick that the Road Warriors would later use to great fame in the United States, of being face-painted bikers with bizarre haircuts and monster heels who sold very little, if at all, for the smaller, under matched babyfaces. […] Matsumoto’s impact was so great that she often brought crowds literally to tears with her villainous tactics, and when she would merely walk down the street in any major city, people would scatter in fear (Laprade and Murphy, 291)”
If Dump Matsumoto attacking people with a fork isn't all that is pure and wonderful about wrestling than I dunno what is. pic.twitter.com/CvI8EMjwZj
— Joshi City (@JoshiPuro) April 29, 2017
Dump Matsumoto debuted in 1980 competing under her real name, but her early career didn’t see her find much success as her only title win in the first few years of her career was winning the AJW Championship from future rival Lioness Asuka. It wouldn’t be until she began feuding with the Crush Gals that she would hit her peak
Gokuaku Domei (The Atrocious Alliance)
Matsumoto would change her name to Dump Matsumoto in 1994 and became the leader of the villainous faction Gokuaku Domei (The Atrocious Alliance), the faction including a young Bull Nakano, as well as Condor Saito, Crane Yu and other assorted minions most famously waged many wars with the Crush Gals who were the biggest stars of their time that transcended wrestling and became cultural phenomenons. The Alliance and Crush Gals would meet many times in 1985 with each match seeing Dump and co. cheat without remorse getting the crowd more and more behind the Crush Gals with each passing match. The feud reached it’s arguable peak in 1985 when tensions between Matsumoto and Nagayo grew following Matsumoto eliminating Nagayo from the Japan Grand Prix. The two would have a highly acclaimed hair vs hair match in August 1985. Matsumoto mercilessly bludgeoned Nagayo before winning thanks to copious amounts of cheating, the members of Atrocious Alliance held Nagayo down as her hair was cut with many fans in tears at what they were seeing.
Dump Matsumoto vs Chigusa Nagayo Hair vs Hair
I’m highlighting how much the crowd responded to the matches in AJW during the 70’s and 80’s. pic.twitter.com/pYkR7JNac6
— Allan (@allan_cheapshot) November 11, 2016
The Crush Gals would get retribution shortly after by defeating Matsumoto and Nakano in the finals of the 1985 Tag League The Best basically ending the feud between the two teams as the Crush Gals would split up not long after. The enormity of this feud cannot be understated these two teams sold out practically every show they wrestled on and the feud drew huge ratings for AJW’s TV show. It also played its part in making Chigusa Nagayo one of the biggest stars in AJW as the feud between her and Matsumoto would continue with even more high stakes matches to come for the two.
Rematch With Chigusa Nagayo
While the feud between the tag teams was all but over, Dump Matsumoto and Chigusa Nagayo retained a hatred for one another. After losing to Nagayo in a singles match for the All Pacific Championship in April 1986 the Atrocious Alliance escalated the feud by cutting up Nagayo’s clothes following a performance. The rematch was set and on November 7th 1986 at Osaka Jo Hall Matsumoto and Nagayo had yet another violent match where Matsumoto even busted the referee open. Chigusa Nagayo would come away with the win receiving one of the biggest pops this writer has ever heard as she finally got her revenge and slayed the biggest villain in AJW.
Dump Matsumoto would retire in 1988. Her official retirement saw her team with Yukari Ohmori against the Crush Gals in a match that was as chaotic as we’ve come to expect from Matsumoto. It speaks volumes that she ended the match by attacking and bludgeoning her own partner. Following that match, she requested to team with Nagayo just once before her retirement and the two would have a short match with Ohmori and Asuka, it was surreal to see two long time rivals team up but incredibly fun all the same. Matsumoto’s actual retirement match came against stablemates Bull Nakano and Condor Saito but her official ceremony followed the match with the Crush Gals and Ohmori. Like all retirements, it would not last and Matsumoto wrestled as recently as 2019 but this was the end of her main run.
Dump Matsumoto retired as a two-time WWWA Tag Team Champion and a former AJW Champion, she was also inducted into the WON Hall Of Fame and the AJW Hall Of Fame. While she never won the big one in AJW it’s safe to say that she didn’t need it. Her reputation was enough to keep her as one of the most credible acts in the company, there was even a video game made for the Sega Master System named after her and her faction which goes to show how popular she was. She has become the archetype for what came after and defined what a heel stable and a hoss wrestler can be. Without her and the Atrocious Alliance the Crush Gals may never have hit the heights they did as it was the feud between the two teams that really made the Crush Gals into top names in AJW and made tag team wrestling a big draw for the company.
Stay tuned to the Last Word on Pro Wrestling for more on this and other stories from around the world of wrestling, as they develop. You can always count on LWOPW to be on top of the major news in the wrestling world, as well as to provide you with analysis, previews, videos, interviews, and editorials on the wrestling world.