AJW Beauty Pair
The Tag team to bring Joshi Puroresu and women’s wrestling promotion All Japan Women (AJW) to soaring heights in popularity during the 1970’s was the Beauty Pair. For those not familiar with Joshi Puroresu in the 1970’s their history and influence parallels greatly to the Crush Gals fame of the 1980’s. Music and wrestling idols the pair grabbed the imagination of hundreds of teen-agers, enticing them to try out for AJW.
Naoko "Jackie" Satou ( Jackie Sato ) and Maki Ueda began their wrestling career wrestling against each other. Jackie Satou debuted against Maki Ueda on the 27th of April 1975, at Korakuen Hall, Tokyo.
Jackie Sato was an ex basketball player in high school and a strong athlete. Jackie Sato inside the ring grabbed the interest of the audience with her amazing charisma. During the 1970’s the pair were successful in both tag team and singles competition.
On February 24th, 1976 The Beauty Pair (Jackie Sato and Maki Ueda) became the 63rd winners of the WWWA Tag team titles. The Beauty Pair on this occasion defeated Mach Fumiake and Mariko Akagi. The Beauty Pair held the tag team titles for three months before loosing them to Jackie West & Yukari Lynch on the 27th of May 1976. Never far from championship contention during the remainder of 1976 the Beauty Pair regained the WWWA tag titles on July 17th, 1976 against the reigning champions Jackie West & Cheryl Day.
Both wrestlers were high profile stars in AJW in 1976. Makie Ueda also won the WWWA singles world title from Jumbo Miyamoto on June 8th, 1976. Her first of two singles title reign lasted for 5 months.
Beauty Pair signed a deal with RCA Records and in November of 1976, the Beauty Pair released their first single, "Frolicking Youth." The single became a hit song and the wrestling stars helped introduce a new cross culture of pop music fans to the sport. The music / wrestling idol combination was originally established by Mach Fumiake who joined All Japan Women's in March 1974.
Successful songs of the Beauty Pair included: “Kakemeguru Seishun” (1976), “Shinseki Na Seishun” (1977), “Ban Ban Ban” (1977), “Seishun Wa Bara Ga Iranai” (1978), and “Ai No Kemmono Tachi” (1978)
With a newly invigorated teen fan base created from their musical success the Beauty Pair remained a dominant force in AJW bookings for the remainder of 1976 and 1977. The success of the Beauty Pair also influenced a new generation of tag teams including: Golden Pair (Nancy Kumi & Victoria Fujimi), the Queen Angels (Volumes Aoyama & Lucy Kayama) and the Young Pair (Rimi Yokota & Seiko Honawa)
Maki Ueda’s second singles title reign commenced in mid1977. While Maki Ueda competed in singles events Jackie Sato teamed with Nancy Kumi in a second version of the Beauty Pair. Sato & Kumi won the tag team titles on July 29th, 1977 defeating the Black Pair.
With the popularity of The Beauty Pair the inevitable singles championship match took place. On November 1st, 1977 Jackie Sato (Naoki Sato) won the WWWA title for the first time, defeating her Beauty Pair partner Maki Ueda.
Jackie Sato was successful as a singles champion and held the WWWA title belt until July 1979, making her historically the longest reigning champion up to that point in time.
The end of the Beauty Pair came in February 1979. Plagued by back problems Maki Ueda was forced to retire. Her final match was a “Loser must retire” match against Beauty Pair tag partner Jackie. The match occurred on February 27th , 1979, Ueda lost the match and promptly retired.
After Maki Ueda’s retirement Jackie Sato held the title twice more defeating Monster Ripper and Nancy Kumi. Jackie Sato lost the singles title the final time to a young Jaguar Yokota on February 25, 1981, heralding in the new generation. Jackie remained an active wrestler for only a few months more and had her retirement ceremony on May 21, 1981.
During the 1970’s the Beauty Pair were an inspiration to wrestling, music, film and fiction. In a Beauty Pair movie Jackie Sato is a basketball star who joins AJW after the wrestlers save her from a gang. Portrayed as a strong girl Sato kicks the wall in at training. Mack Ueda is presented as her weak opposite. The pair become firm friends and Jackie toughens up Maki. In the film the Beauty Pair battle the Black Pair ( Yumi Ikeshita & Shinobu Aso.) In the match Jackie's knee is hit with a chair, breaking her leg. The end of the movie has the classic rematch of the Beauty Pair versus the Black Pair and also featured the Beauty Pair singing.
On August 17th, 1986 Jackie Sato returned to wrestling with tag partner Nancy Kumi. With the popularity of the Crush Gals paralelling the fame of the Beauty Pair in the 1970’s Jackie helped form the rival JWP promotion. On JWP’s debut show Jackie Sato fought Shinobu Kandori,who was a gold medalist in Judo before becoming a pro wrestler. The pair commenced a feud that resulted on July 18th 1987, of Jackie being severly beaten by Kandori.
February 1979 not only saw Maki’s retirement but also the first Dirty Pair story appeared in print. The Dirty Pair was a science fiction series created by writer Takachiho Haruka. The Beauty Pair had grabbed his imagination and were used as inspiration for his Lovely Angels called the “Dirty Pair.” The story idea evolved after Takachiho Haruka, a wrestling fan took fellow author A. Bertram Chandler to an AJW event. A. Bertram Chandler made a comment during the show "Those two up there in the ring may be the 'Beauty Pair', but the two with you ought to be called the 'Dirty Pair."
Jackie Sato retired from wrestling and stayed away from Joshi puroresu for ten years. On the 29th of Novemebr 1998, Jackie appeared at AJW’s 30th anniversary show. Her public appearances were well received as one of the true legends of the sport. Less than a year later however Jackie Sato died of stomach cancer at Kawasaki Municipal Hospital, 7:30am on August 9th, 1999, at the age of 41.
Maki Ueda appeared in March 2007 as a special guest on Jaguar Yokota’s 30th Anniversary wrestling show. Maki Ueda presented the trophy to the winner of a 30 girl Royal Rumble style battle royal, Chikayo Nagashima.