clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Jimmy Yang ready for one last run; Jazzy Yang following his footsteps

It’s been over 20 years since Jimmy Yang first went over to Japan to hone his skills inside the squared circle. Nowadays, you can him Daddy Yang, and Daddy Yang is on his way back to Japan for one final run. He’s also going to watch his daughter make some history.

Pro Wrestling NOAH will be putting on One Night Dream next Saturday, July 15th. Jimmy Yang will be taking part in a 6-man tag team match, teaming with fellow WWE alums Stallion Rogers (fka Curt Stallion) and Super Crazy.

It will be Jimmy’s first official match on record since he took part in the Clusterf*** Battle Royal at GCW Joey Janela’s Spring Break 6 back in April. His daughter, Jazzy Yang, was also booked in that match, but she has seen significantly more in-ring action than her dad over the last few months.

The 20 year-old has been all over the Indie scene down in Atlanta, GA and will now travel overseas for the biggest opportunity of her young career.

For the first time in the 23-year history of Pro Wrestling NOAH, the Japanese promotion will feature an American female wrestler on one of their cards. On the same night that her father steps back into the ring, Jazzy Yang will also compete in tag team action at One Night Dream.

Cageside Seats had a chance to catch up with Jimmy Yang this week for our “Going Over” interview series. This should come as no surprise, but Daddy Yang is incredibly excited for next weekend.

“This is a really big deal for Jazzy Yang, being the first gaijin (Japanese word for foreigner) women’s wrestler on a NOAH card... in Tokyo at Korakuen Hall. Like, that’s a lot of pressure,” Yang said. “Hopefully she can handle it.”

She may be young, but Jazzy Yang is no stranger to high pressure situations. Her in-ring debut happened when she was a sophomore in High School. Fittingly, that show was also in Japan - Tokyo Dream Wednesday Nitro in 2018. That night Jazzy teamed with her father and his old WCW tag team partner Kaz Hayashi.

As she’s done so many times in the years since, Yang says Jazzy rose to the occasion that night.

“She was so young and didn’t really understand the pressure of what was going on. But that’s the moment that sparked her wrestling dream, at Tokyo Dream when she was 15... She didn’t know there [were] 5,000 people out there.” Yang said, agreeing that ignorance truly is bliss. “She went in there and just killed it, and then [she fell in love with] the adrenaline you get in front of a live audience and the pops that she got, and then afterwards, the buzz.”

Despite her father’s many years in the business, Jazzy did not grow up a wrestling fan. Not always booked to the caliber of his in-ring ability, Jimmy joked that Jazzy wasn’t too keen on watching her dad get beat up on a semi-regular basis.

That all changed after that one special night in Tokyo.

“After the show, we walked back to the hotel and they had paparazzi at the hotel and I thought, they’re coming toward me, and everybody, they just zoomed past me... asking her for pictures and autographs. And by the time we got to the hotel, to the rooms, she’s like, “Dad, this is what I wanna do. I wanna become a professional wrestler.’”

Much wiser to the industry, now in her early 20’s, Jazzy Yang is very cognizant of the high pressure environment that comes with being an in-ring performer, but Daddy Yang says his daughter has never failed to answer the bell.

“She really delivers every time she’s out there... NWA EmPowerrr, she killed it there. She’s been killing on the Indi scene in Georgia, you know, but this is a really big step for the next step in her career.”

NWA EmPowerrr was Jazzy’s first introduction to the hardcore television wrestling audience and the “ShoYang of Wrestling” made an immediate impression as a member of the Fabulous Freebabes.

After being tagged into the match, Jazzy channeled her inner Sho’nuff (The Last Dragon, 1985), and picked the ankle of her opponent before ripping at her wrestling boot with her teeth.

Since that PPV, which aired in the summer of 2021, Jazzy Yang has gone through an evolution. The Dragon Princess has a new look and a newly found belief in her abilities.

“She’s blown my mind in the last two years,” Jimmy Yang said about his daughter’s development. “I think with her mind and how she thinks about the matches and how she executes everything, I’m like, she’s better than me at 20... The one thing that she was lacking was confidence. And you build confidence with repetition after repetition, after repetition, you know? But like... down in Atlanta, she’s been wrestling every week. We’ve been training every day, and [I’ve] just seen that confidence grow and grow and grow and she’s ready man. This One Night Dream is gonna be a big moment. And as a dad, as a trainer, I think she’s gonna absolutely knock it outta the park.”

Much like his daughter, Jimmy began his wrestling career at an early age. He was signed to WCW in 2000 and made his television debut as a member of the Jung Dragons stable alongside Jamie-San and Kaz Hayashi.

When WCW was purchased by Vince McMahon in 2001, Yang’s contract was bought out by WWE. He was assigned to a developmental territory in Cincinnati, OH before being released by the company that December.

Despite having nearly two years of experience as an on-screen performer at that point in his career, Yang’s faith in his abilities was lacking. Once again mirroring the path of his daughter, Jimmy needed to find his confidence. So at 20 years-old, he left the United States after he struck a deal to wrestle for All Japan Pro Wrestling.

“Everything I did [in Japan] prepared me for my runs in WWE. Like, that’s the first time I had that confidence of being the man, really. Like, being like Becky Lynch or [whomever] you wanna say, the man in that company and have that confidence. Yeah, put me up against the Great Muta or, you know, Kojima... I can go toe-to-toe with these guys. And that really [came from] doing those repetitions and building my confidence and tearing it up over there.”

Two decades later, Jimmy Yang is heading back to Japan where, maybe, he’ll find that confidence in himself once again. He admitted to Cageside Seats that he’s a bit worried about the match. Questioning whether he can still go at a high level.

“I just turned 42... and I try to tell myself I can still do it. You know, I wanna do it. And my body’s telling me you need to slow down,” Yang said. “I’ve been wrestling 25 plus years and, really, I think this is my last run... it’s not my last match, but like, I don’t think I can do this for another year or years.”

In his younger days, Jimmy would fly out to Japan twice a month to do a few shows and then fly back home. He says that heavy travel schedule just isn’t for him anymore.

Yang hasn’t been a full-time wrestler since a brief stop in TNA following his release from WWE in 2010. His retirement from being a full-time competitor allowed Jimmy the free time to let his body heal up - after several hard years on the road. It also gave him the time to start up a few businesses, and most importantly, be there more often to watch his daughter grow into the woman she is today.

Now it’s her love and passion for pro wrestling that his bringing Jimmy’s in-ring career full circle. His “final run”, as he calls it, gets kicked off in the country and environment he fell in love with all those years ago.

“Everything about [Japan] was awesome, and at the time, I guess I didn’t really appreciate it as much because I was just on the move nonstop, you know? But then you get taken away from that and you appreciate it so much more. Like, oh man, I missed that. I missed this,” Yang said. “I thought Jasmine’s debut for Tokyo Dream five years ago was gonna be my last trip. I was like, there’s no way they... I don’t think people are going to keep on bringing me back.”

Much to Jimmy’s surprise, he keeps getting called back. Jimmy “Wang” Yang, as he was called during one of his latter WWE runs, has built up a cult wrestling following over the last decade plus.

As wrestling streaming libraries have become more popular, fans in larger numbers are giving Yang his flowers - recognizing him as an incredibly talented performer who the creative team should have pushed a bit more prominently.

“I’m really satisfied [with] what I’ve done in wrestling. I’m glad people still remember me and that’s super, super cool.” Yang said. “I haven’t really wrestled in years, like I’ve wrestled once or twice a year, and people still [come up to me], you know, like at the WrestleCon’s and everything, ‘Man, you were my favorite wrestler when I was eight years old!’ You know, like, oh no... I’m old (laughs), but whatever. You know, I appreciate it and I’m [happy I’ve] made an impact on the wrestling business.”

When asked whether his last ride as an in-ring talent might lead him back to WWE one final time, Yang played coy. His most die hard supporters have been calling for him to get one of the coveted legacy spots in the Men’s Royal Rumble match for years - a match that Yang never received the opportunity to enter in his career.

Not too long ago, Jimmy Yang served as a backstage producer in WWE. Did the idea of him competing in a Rumble match ever come up? Could it happen next year?

“There’s always talks around January (laughs). So, we’ll see.”

Check out our full conversation with Jimmy Yang in the video at the top of the page to hear his thoughts on AEW and NJPW working with each other, his experiences with Bryan Danielson and more!

You can follow Rick Ucchino on Twitter and subscribe to the Bleav in Pro Wrestling Podcast Channel for more of his work.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Cageside Seats Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your pro wrestling news from Cageside Seats