Why Americans should be excited about SPARK Joshi Puroresu?

Americans should be excited about their own Joshi wrestling organization.
Women's Pro-Wrestling "Stardom" - ALL STAR GRAND QUEENDOM
Women's Pro-Wrestling "Stardom" - ALL STAR GRAND QUEENDOM / Etsuo Hara/GettyImages

Enter SPARK, an American indie fed that caters to Joshi wrestling. Joshi is a Japanese all-women's wrestling style closer to cruiserweight style wrestling. Almost all Joshi's were run in Japan until SPARK came along and invited wrestlers from both sides of the Pacific.

SPARK opened its doors in 2023, but more recently, Triller TV+ picked up their shows on their premium subscription. I was able to watch SPARK Trailblaze 2024, which aired during WrestleMania weekend. The founder and head booker of SPARK is Chibi C.B. who is a young entrepreneur who really wears the name Chibi well. She is so soft spoken I could not really hear her on the mic.

The first thing I noticed is that the show has humble beginnings. The lighting, sound, and camera quality suggests that the company has a long way to go before they are TJPW and STARDOM level. The arena was the Monster Factory in New Jersey, the promoters were difficult to hear, and the cameras switched from a wide shot to a close-up. That is to be expected from a grassroots federation. The good news is that the US is more than ready for a Joshi-style federation and SPARK is no slouch to booking the top Japanese indie female wrestlers.

The greatest difference is that SPARK has a good variety of non-Japanese wrestlers, which they pride themselves in for allowing everyone to participate in Joshi. Not only will you see popular stars like Sumie Sakai, Saki, Rina Yamashita, Konami, and Mayu Iwatani, but the likes of Masha Slamovich, Vertvixen, Janai Kai, and Billie Starkz.

Like most Japanese-based wrestling companies, each wrestler is part of a stable (team) where they support members of their own group. SPARK has one notable group called Xtinguish, which is run by Dani Mo, Vertvixen, Billie Starkz, Chibi C.B., and Sumie Sakai. Other traditions include one of the wrestlers coming out and singing a pop song to start the show.

Where SPARK differs from its source is the use of heels and faces. Joshi wrestling in Japan is closely linked to becoming a social media influencer, a model, or a singer so the rosters do not focus as much on bad wrestlers versus good wrestlers. SPARK dabbles with the Western idea of story and morality. Sumie Sakai challenged Billie Starkz to her world title and proceeded to bully her around the ring, winning heat from the fans. Sumie tricked the ref into disqualifying Billie, which made Sumie the new champion. Sumie then declares that she can beat anyone in the back, prompting The Starlight Kid to come out and gain a victory over Sumie. You wouldn't see such hijinks in a traditional Japanese match.

Another story was between Saki and Vertvixen for the Atlantic title. Sumie was going to interfere with that match, but one of her closest faction members, Chibi C.B. stopped her. This prompted Chibi and Saki to start their own faction The Cute Sisters. They announced their next show in June which will be a crossover show with Girl Prowrestling Unit COLORS.

On one hand, SPARK wants the in-ring action to portray the fluidity and agility of Joshi, but there is room for twists, turns, and dramatic reveals. While the budget is a tiny meow compared to the roar of STARDOM, the wrestling quality matches its source. Wrestlers performed brutal brain busters, moonsaults, and spinning kicks. I wish the camera crew could keep up with it and the lighting in the ring was more visible, but the spirit of the art is there.

If you want to support a rising promotion with a lot of heart, while it is on the ground floor, SPARK is a charming and fun show to take in. I wish them the best and I hope they get the fame and funding they need.