Never heard of the name? I cannot blame you. Jaguar Yokota has not appeared in WWE or TNA. She made her presence known in Japan, in one promotion.
She demonstrated, in my opinion, that she is nothing less than the greatest women's champion in the history of pro wrestling.
What makes a good champion? They represent their company, they lead the company forward and are expected to produce great matches and ideally help the company grow and continue with a new generation.
Jaguar Yokota certainly represented AJW, All Japan Women's Pro-Wrestling, not just on the occasions she was champion, but in her time in the promotion in general. She represented the zenith of technical ability that all others were to strive toward.
At the same time, she sang. Yokota was clearly female, as many of the women in AJW strove to be. AJW was about women putting on a show on a par, or better than the men's promotions, but not at the expense of femininity.
In addition to her singing, for most of her career Yokota had long, sleek hair and even now she has not lost her athletic, slender figure. She was very much a woman and a divine and charismatic wrestler on top of that.
Technically, Yokota was as good as they come. You know a great representative of a company when you see that they are capable of carrying a great number of opponents in a great number of styles.
Yokota was a reliable performer and a reliable draw. Reliability is a crucial component for a good champion.
Yokota, in fact, is responsible for one of the most important revolutions in the history of wrestling. With her great ability, Yokota helped usher in a new style for AJW, an ultra-athletic style with the emphasis on work rate and psychology.
Yokota amazed people—as she still does today—with her repertoire of moves and her execution. This led to a shift in wrestling style, partly due to how effectively she used this style.
This style not only changed wrestling in Japan, but it influenced Mexico and the United States. It influenced the rise of the light heavyweights in Japan and the development of lucha libre itself.
This style has since become a vital element in pro wrestling; intermingled with elements introduced by others, including the movements she helped influence.
Today, the style Yokota helped influence continues on the Japanese wrestling scene, in SHIMMER and ChickFight, as well as everywhere you see a fast-paced cruiserweight style. It has shaped countless wrestlers.
Jaguar Yokota also has contributed many matches for the ages. Her matches with Lioness Asuka and Devil Masami (as The Queen's Combo), her brawls with La Galactica, which sometimes went hardcore, are among the many matches that are still very enjoyable today.
Some of these matches are still considered amongst the best matches of all time. Yokota was a very credible champion because she was evidently at such a high level that she could work such great matches with wrestlers who came close to her level.
How many great matches has The Fabulous Moolah been in?
Most of Yokota's matches were against opponents that weren't nearly as good as her. Yokota's ability to make her opponents look good—and her more special and rarer ability to make it seem like more things went on in the match than actually happened—made a considerable number of matches and wrestlers far more watchable simply by virtue of being in the ring with her.
She produced tolerable matches when—given the opponent—the match was expected to be dreadful. That is perhaps a greater feat than having great matches with a opponent where a great match is expected.
Yokota also shaped the next few generations not only of AJW, but of pro wrestling in general. She also invented the Suplex Powerslam, better known as Goldberg’s Jackhammer.
She stayed on as a trainer of the AJW Dojo after her first retirement in 1986 and later trained wrestlers independently, which she continues to do. Her students are a "Who's Who?" of Japanese women's wrestling in the 1990's as well as stars of today.
These trainees include: Aja Kong, KAORU, Etsuka Mita, Mima Shimoda, Megumi Kudo, Yoshiko Tamura, Sumie Sakai, Takako Inoue, Kyoko Inoue, Toshiyo Yamada, Manami Toyota, Akira Hokuto and Mariko Yoshida to give a few names.
Yokota was WWWA World Heavyweight Champion for close to five years in two reigns separated by a month (an extremely long time for AJW, where there was a early mandatory retirement age for many years).
She vacated the title due to retirement in the end. She was revered by everyone, fan and wrestler alike and still is revered by many.
The Fabulous Moolah reigned for an extraordinary amount of time. She also had few rivals that really had what it took to be champion.
On the other hand Yokota had to continually prove why she and not legends such as Lioness Asuka, Lola Gonzalez, Chigusa Nagoya, Irma Gonzalez, Devil Masami, Mimi Hawagari, Nancy Kumi, Jumbo Hori and Yukari Omori deserved to lead the company and women's wrestling as the champion of the undisputed biggest women's promotion in the world.
As World Champion, she made heaps of wrestlers look good, put on great matches, trained future champions and legends.
As World Champion, she led to the rise of Devil Masami and the Crush Gals, the most successful women's tag team ever. She championed AJW forth in developing a style widely used today.
Most champions, like the Fabulous Moolah, Sherri Martel, Awesome Kong, Trish Stratus, and Chigusa Nagayo are products of their time, however great they may be.
Wrestling today, is a product of Jaguar Yokota and perhaps this should be the main reason why she may be the greatest women's champion ever and indeed, a goddess in the truest sense.
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