BIG EGG WRESTLING UNIVERSE:
(“AJW Doumu Super Woman Great War”)
(Tokyo Dome- 20.11.1994)
-And now it’s the second part of this quick, breezy 10-hour wrestling show! At least this time, I’ve reviewed two of the matches already, so I don’t need to re-post them!
TL; DR- Why Should I Watch This?: Well, one of the greatest matches in history is fought tonight. Also, Aja Kong surpasses Bret Hart’s “Three good matches in one night” achievement in terms of quality, several people put on AMAZING performances, and you see Joshi in its biggest spectacle in history- something women’s wrestling has never matched since.
V*TOP WOMAN TOURNAMENT:
* So this one-night, eight-woman tournament takes up the majority of the second half of the show, and features a spectacular list of major stars of Joshi. LLPW & FMW don’t utilize their Aces, though, instead throwing out Eagle Sawai & Combat Toyoda, in what looks like a pretty clear case of “no way are we jobbing out Kandori & Kudo to this thing”. Those two, plus Kyoko Inoue & Yumiko Hotta, are our obvious Jobbers To The Stars tonight, as they’re all credible, but CLEARLY have no chance at winning. I’d imagine they’ll all look good in defeat, though. For added drama, Hokuto suggested that should she lose in the Dome, she’ll retire.
COMBAT TOYODA (FMW) vs. YUMIKO HOTTA (AJW)
* Interesting to see two of the “non-winners” against each other, but that keeps things unpredictable. Yumiko’s in a very cool all white & silver outfit with her trademark kickpads, while Combat’s in this incredibly-detailed bodysuit.
This match has a COMPLETELY different feel than the others so far tonight, with the two selling it like a War of the Gods, trading huge blows back and forth while selling like hell. Combat in particular is great, getting rocked by kicks and trying to cover up with her forearms. Hotta hits a Rolling Koppou Kick and more, getting extra kicks in every time she finds an opening, but Combat keeps reversing to holds to settle her down. Hotta trash-talks in the Figure-Four, getting the crowd into it, but finally starts to sell the pain. Combat gets a great lariat, and then there’s a fun bit where they fight in the corner and Combat ends up in the tree of woe on the OUTSIDE, so Hotta just walks onto the apron and starts kicking her. Flying Kick misses and Hotta eats a Powerslam and a great Sit-Out Powerbomb or CLOSE two-counts. Another one! Then Combat hits a FLYING SPLASH for two! She’s in utter disbelief, and can’t hit her big finish (the Combat Driver- a Shoulder-Seated One-Armed Powerbomb)- she blasts Hotta down with a lariat, but a second gets reversed to a Tiger Driver for two. And now SHE hits a second one! A third one is barely reversed to a backslide of all things, as Combat is REALLY pulling out the stops. Hotta actually has to reassure herself that it wasn’t a three count, but she takes a back elbow off the top when she tries a Super Backdrop, and Combat hits the Combat Driver for ANOTHER two count! Combat goes up, but a Straightjacket SUPERPLEX sends her crashing down for two! Hotta fucks up a Flying Koppou Kick, then repeats the spot for a good one. Combat sells a KO from some more head kicks, but Hotta keeps up the punishment with Combat in the ropes, throwing away the ref repeatedly until he finally drags her off- Combat hits a miracle German out of that, scoring the three (16:95), letting Hotta save some face. She has to be restrained from killing the ref after the match, as the crowd boos the FMW girl winning heavily.
Holy crap, this was a WAR. These two absolutely showed me something I’ve never seen from them before, looking like they were ready for any Main Event, ever. Combat has never wowed me like this (she didn’t even look as great against Minami, the ultimate carry-artist), and Hotta’s best bout was against the great Kansai- that they would pair off and have a match THIS good was a real sight. The only pity was the less decisive finish, as Hotta only lost because her temper got ahead of her instead of from a big reversal or something. It fit her “character”, but a more decisive win would have been great.
Rating: ****1/4 (completely awesome “Gods at War” thing, here. Trading bombs left and right)
AKIRA HOKUTO (AJW) vs. EAGLE SAWAI (LLPW):
* The outcome here wouldn’t seem to be in doubt, but this is Akira’s big return from injury, and Japan loves “losing on the return”. I’m loving Eagle’s garish sparkle-cape with leopard print, and her feathered headdress. Akira’s all in blue, but Eagle’s in this bisected black & red thing with extra bits randomly stapled on and a rainbow on her ass- just crazy.
Akira totally turns her back on Eagle’s taunt to start, so Eagle immediately levels her with the Thunderfire (Over-The-Shoulder) Powerbomb, beats the shit out of her, then hits a SUPER URANAGE!! Haha- BEST! So now Akira has to fight from beneath, taking six minutes of offense before Eagle goes up for a Super Vader Bomb and misses, allowing Akira to land two spin-kicks and a plancha. Fun bit as they fight for a solid minute over a superplex (Eagle’s too big to haul up there, so Hokuto fights like crazy, pulls hair and armlocks her, but still gets tossed off), but Eagle hits a 2nd-rope dropkick when Akira hides in the ropes, then hits feet on a second Bomb attempt and misses a Senton after THAT. Akira chokes away and has to improvise some offense to get past Eagle’s weight advantage, like going for lower-angle Germans and doing dropkicks. Eagle reverses a Dangerous Queen Bomb (Sit-Out Powerbomb From a Reverse Waistlock) into an armbar, stifling Akira, but a second ThunderFire Powerbomb is reversed to another D.Q.Bomb! VERY low elevation, though, and Akira can’t get the pin. Northern Lights Bomb (Head-Drop Side Powerslam)! Eagle kicks out, and a second one is reversed to a small package. Akira gets up and plants her with another Northern Lights Bomb for the three (11:07).
Good, smartly-wrestled match- Eagle’s “less good” than the other top-level Joshi I’ve seen, but Akira’s super good at this wrestling thing, it turns out, and makes Eagle look strong, taking a bunch of offense and making sure all her surges come from comebacks and reversals. She even makes sure to put over Eagle’s size (or… she’s just really, really sloppy) to hit a superplex & some Germans. She’s legit not strong enough to land great versions of her moves on the larger LLPW star, but the match kind of took that into account, and it worked.
Rating: ***3/4 (smart match- good Big versus Little thing going on, Akira winning through scrappiness)
AJA KONG (AJW) vs. MANAMI TOYOTA (AJW):
* I already reviewed this one for my Spotlight on Aja Kong, and suffice to say, it’s AMAZING, and possibly my favorite match ever. An absolute 18-minute WAR, consisting of a desperate underdog Toyota throwing everything in the world at Kong but can’t hit her Japanese Ocean Cyclone Suplex, and so is forced to just repeat all the spots that did so well earlier… but Aja’s now ready for them, and counters every single one, pulling out a Steiner Screwdriver-like move for the three-count. *****, easily.
JWP’s Ace, Dynamite Kansai.
DYNAMITE KANSAI (JWP) vs. KYOKO INOUE (AJW):
* The JWP Ace put up against the ultimate Spunky Babyface, though one who hasn’t gotten her Main Event Push yet. Kyokos’ in that “can hang with anyone and has ****+ matches in her sleep, but hasn’t actually beaten a top-tier wrestler yet” phase, so the winner is pretty clear. Kansai has her hair dyed blonde, which is a look she maintains in all her later stuff that I’ve seen. She’s wearing a much greener, spandex-ier outfit than usual, with less baggy stuff going on.
They trade strikes to start, then actively fight on the ramp, using the ropes for Kyoko’s Springboard Backsplash on the OUTSIDE of the ring, which is a great use of that thing. And then the most terrifying Giant Swing in history right in the middle of it, which could have sent Kansai to a career-ending injury if they’d fucked it up. Kansai takes over inside pretty quickly, her basic strikes being treated as death by Kyoko & the crowd. NICE running elbowdrop from Kansai. They fight over a surfboard hold for a while, and Kansai’s so good that she can wow the audience simply by pushing her arms forward to block it. They trade really awesome submissions, too- not mere “filler”, but devastating-looking stuff that gets the crowd into it through character interaction. Then they just go to TOWN on each other, throwing huge lariats, including a double one on the apron. Both reverse each other’s Powerbomb finishers, and Kansai kicks Kyoko’s head off repeatedly, setting up her big move- SPLASH MOUNTAIN (Sit-Out Razor’s Edge)! Beautiful last-second kickout by Kyoko, and when Kansai tries a Super (!!) version, Kyoko BLASTS her with a lethal back elbow to the back of the head from there. Kyoko rolls her up with a headscissors for two, so Kansai snaps off her Northern Lights Suplex, but takes an amazing Pop-Up Belly-To-Belly Superplex for another near-fall! After a big struggle (she’s pretty beaten up), Kyoko hits the Niagara Driver (Over-The-Shoulder Sit-Out Powerbomb) for two! Both are absolutely floored, but they actually get into a slugfest on their hands and knees because they’re physically DONE- Kyoko hits a lariat and goes up… and in a FANTASTIC finish, Kansai kicks out the leg to spin Kyoko around, then hits a SUPER SPLASH MOUNTAIN for the three count (17:39)!!! Fucking amazing finish!
This was a really awesome strike war- both killing each other with big bombs, filling the rest with top-tier charisma and cool submissions & Powerbombs. They had great chemistry, and both sold the accumulated damage and exhaustion SO well, often collapsing during moves. That final stretch, where they both end up on the ground due to exhaustion, and have to resort to beating on each other from a prone position, made this look SO awesome, and Kansai pulling out an MDK to win put over Kyoko like crazy. Keep in mind they’re following a perfect match in Kong/Toyota- not easy, and they STILL threw out a Match Of The Year Contendor.
Rating: ****1/2 (an amazing strike-based war, building perfectly with their great finishing moves)
Megumi Kudo- it’s an AJW event, so she’s not getting set on fire tonight!
CUTIE SUZUKI (JWP) & TAKAKO INOUE (AJW) vs. HIKARI FUKUOKA (JWP) & MEGUMI KUDO (FMW):
* Lol, well this is cute. An “All Idol” match! After a year of back & forth scrapping, JWP & AJW’s biggest two idols, Cutie & Takako, have now formed a team, and their opponents are FMW’s most idol-esque wrestler, their Ace, Megumi Kudo, and JWP’s OTHER “Pretty Girl” wrestler, Hikari Fukuoka! Hikari’s less of an Idol and more of an up & comer, but as she did regular nude photography (something I SWEAR I only found out by accident!), she still fits. I’m not sure if there was anything more to this match than “let’s get the the most Idol-y wrestlers we can find to fight”, but it’s pretty funny. Obviously this is just a bridge between the V*Top bouts, but it’s interesting how JWP has a wrestler on both sides- probably so they have at least one victorious wrestler. Hikari & Megumi get a standard “walk to the ring” entrance, while Cutie & Takako get this giant celebration with hundreds of little balloons and giant glowing ones that pop to reveal the two idols. Interestingly, both teams are in the only equal order you could make- the junior Hikari with the FMW Ace Kudo, up against two high-tier upper-midcarders. Kudo’s in some black & pink futuristic leotard I’ve never seen before (one-legged as always), Hikari’s Lady Tarzan again, Cutie’s in a white ballerina get-up, and Takako’s in blue covered with white lace.
Cutie gets beaten on to start, with Hikari in particular looking to impress with cartwheels and flying, but Takako comes in with her “knees to the face” Tombstone on Kudo. Then she walks her onto the ramp, does the knees AGAIN, and plants her a second time- too bad that piledrivers don’t mean shit in Joshi, or else the crowd would be going NUTS for that. Cutie seems to have been taking some heelin’ lessons from her former rival, as she’s throwing out back kicks and grinding on submissions and smack-talk now, then they hit a mini-Doomsday Device on Hikari! The crowd is just dead, though- probably a combination of the show’s length and this being obvious “card filler”. Hikari makes her own comeback with a Rolling Cradle & Moonsault on Takako, but Kudo walks right into a Chokeslam. She comes back with a DDT on Cutie, then Hikari hits a cool Tilt-A-Whirl Powerbomb. Kudo in, but Cutie hits a Missile Dropkick into the back of her head, and a Backdrop Hold gets two. Kudo tries to stop a flying move, but YOU CAN’T SUPERPLEX TAKAKO (ie. Super Chokeslam). Takako*Panic (Flying Knee) gets two, as Kudo’s now taken both of Takako’s finishers. Another misses, and Kudo hits a Perfect Plex and her opponent’s can’t get their double-teams together (looks weak in kayfabe AND reality). Cutie interferes again, and Takako hits a SWEET Takako*Panic to the back of Kudo’s head again, but Kudo rolls her up out of an Aurora Special (Waistlock Backdrop Hold), then plants her with a pair of Kneeling Tiger Drivers (almost a ’91 version) and then a sit-out version for three (14:05).
Hikari worked her ASS off for this one- I feel like everyone else was going through the motions and putting out a “just good enough” effort, but Hikari wanted a PUSH, dammit, and it was gonna happen! Though the entire last bit of the match was all Kudo surviving things before hitting a few moves for the win, likely a political move because FMW had only sent two girls to the show. The match itself felt very disjointed, with nobody having teamed before and showing it, as the double-teams were weak, and there was an awful lot of running around and getting tangled up with each other- the kind of “sloppy” that some paint all Joshi as being. Cutie & Kudo didn’t really add much, and Takako led the bout, with Hikari being the flashiest one.
Rating: ***1/2 (super-disjointed and a bit of a mess, but they still threw out a lot of cool stuff).
SIX-MAN TAG MATCH (Michinoku Pro):
GRAN NANIWA, JINSEI SHINZAKI & SUPER DELFIN vs. SATO, SHIRYU & THE GREAT SASUKE
* Hahaha oh Jesus- a show this loaded and they want to add ANOTHER match. An unrelated match! Featuring MEN! And they’re all high-fliers so they can actually steal some thunder! Okay, quick bios- Gran Naniwa looks like a crab, Shinzaki is Hakushi, and Super Delfin is a dolphin (yellow mask w/ pointy nose) and was the top guy of Osaka Pro, a goofy comedy promotion. Great Sasuke is a legend and the Ace of Michinoku Pro, Shiryu (skinny, in white) & SATO (fat, red Oni mask, shirtless) are a baby Kaz Hayashi & Dick Togo, respectively. So everyone in here is a legend, of sorts, though I’ve never seen Naniwa or Delfin in action before.
They start slow, with a fairly deliberate “flip, then pause for clapping” spot actually drawing a reaction, unlike Yuki/Yoshida. Everyone pairs off to start, with their acrobatics coming off a bit more impressively than that of Joshi (being a bit more adept at tumbling and jumping than their much smaller counterparts). Even the deceptively-stocky Togo manages a pair of awesome backflips! Naniwa draws laughs with his slow sideways “Crab Walk” along the middle rope, having to repeatedly stop and chasing a rolling Shiryu around the ring. Shinzaki does his Praying Ropewalk on Sasuke, too, though you typically see only one or two impressive moves anyone tags out or pauses for laughs, and eventually things delve entirely into elaborate comedy routines. Like, ten+ minutes of it. They work over Shiryu’s testicles, Delfin armsnaps everyone (including Naniwa by mistake), there’s a goofy triple-submission, etc. Sasuke’s team his triple stereo Ranas, then everyone starts hitting dives with three minutes left- Sasuke’s & Shinzaki’s of course being the prettiest. Deflin hits a Tornado DDT & Delfin Clutch (Leg Grapevine/Double-Arm Pin) on Shiryu, but it’s broken up. More dives! Then Sasuke just grabs Naniwa and hits a ThunderFire Powerbomb for the three (21:45).
Well that was a thing. Comedy Piss-Break stuff is fine, but TWENTY MINUTES? Like the show wasn’t long enough? Though oddly enough I find both Meltzer and a Quebrada review went 4+ with this one, which seems insane to me, as it wasn’t even a “match” so much as comedy. It actually felt like they could have hit ****1/2 with a spotfest, but chose not to, and instead just made people laugh. Well, the crowd loved it. Dunno how to rate it, but it’s hard to argue against something the crowd liked.
Rating: **3/4 (how the frig do you rate comedy matches, really?)
And now it’s time for the V*Top Semi-Finals!
FMW’s brutal Combat Toyoda- herself AJW-trained.
V*TOP WOMAN TOURNAMENT:
COMBAT TOYODA (FMW) vs. AKIRA HOKUTO (AJW):
Akira’s really going up against the heavyweights in this thing, geez. She starts out like lightning, too, hitting a bunch of kicks and then a Somersault Plancha to the outside! But a smiling Akira takes it too lightly and eats a Backdrop Driver soon as Combat gets back in, and then a Combat Driver gets two. Akira hits a sloppy Sunset Flip Powerbomb to come back, but Combat shames Davey-Boy Smith’s Rumble performances by remembering that a Gorilla Press works best when you dump them OUTSIDE the ring, then throws a goddamn table like a ranged weapon and drills her with a Powerbomb. She sets up a huge Flying Thing through the table, but Akira moves, leaving Combat to dent it with her ass on the way down- she sells the leg, screaming her head off, allowing Akira to hit the Northern Lights Bomb for three (5:48).
The quickie result is to be expected when the YouTube video is only 13 minutes long, lol. But it was a smart result, though- every single person in the arena knew that they weren’t main eventing Big Egg with COMBAT TOYODA, so why throw in a 20-minute classic when you can be done with it, ya know? And they just threw bomb after bomb at each other (Akira selling each one like it was almost fatal), eschewing wear-down holds or kicks at all, so it was pretty fun, and Combat gets to “save face” because she got injured. Smart kayfabe move from her, as she was probably supposed to go THROUGH the table, but when she skidded off harmlessly, she played up a “leg injury” so that it still looked legit that Akira could take advantage.
Rating: *** (about the best match you’re gonna get at under six minutes)
Aja Kong has one of the finest nights any wrestler as ever had during this tournament. How many people wrestle more than one ****+ match in a single day?
AJA KONG (AJW) vs. DYNAMITE KANSAI (JWP):
Oh shit- now it’s ACE versus ACE. And both went through the equivalent damage last round, having fought Toyota and Inoue- the MOVEZiest of Joshi’s wrestlers. So both have taken a dozen head-drops each tonight, and now have to face terrifying opponents- each other. And because they want this over quickly, they go out and just throw every bomb they possibly can at each other- Aja Urakens Kansai right in the face as the opening move! But it wasn’t flush, so Kansai recovers, and they blast each other with lariats until Kansai takes over with speed and submissions. Aja finally knees her, hits some nasty kicks, and does some holds of her own, but in a fun spot, she charges into a Tree of Woe’d Kansai, who just sits up and drills her. She tries a splash for some reason, but eats feet and gets annihilated with a series of brutal Backdrops. Aja misses her Back Elbow and takes some horrifying kicks, and then Kansai somehow gets her up for Splash Mountain as the Tokyo Dome ROARS. Holy SHIT that was a great move!
Aja barely kicks out, so Kansai rushes in to finish– URAKEN! Aja slaps her around when she recovers and hits another one! Kansai’s up at nine, and suplexes out of another. She goes up to finish, but Aja meets her with a Super Mountain Bomb! Two count! Super Back Elbow! Two! Flying Double Foot Stomp for two! Aja tries the Falcon Arrow thing from the Toyota match, but Kansai slides out, sweeps the leg, then kills her with two straight kicks to the face, and a couple big roundhouse kicks- she blocks an Uraken, then another, but gets dinged by a third, then BLASTED with a fourth, but again only for two! Kansai miraculously survives, but looks fucked up from the impact, so a desperate Aja hauls her up and LEVELS her with a fifth Uraken, finally getting the pin (12:39)! AJW’s Ace wins!
I’ve heard it said that this is the greatest match under fifteen minutes ever- it’s hard to argue. It’s this almighty slam-bang, brutal hoss-fest, with each wrestler throwing bombs, then trying to wear each other down, and then kick it into high gear with their MDK moves. Kansai’s Splash Mountain here may be the coolest powerbomb I’ve ever seen in my life- Aja is HUGE and Kansai hit a perfect one. And then when that failed, Aja manages a miracle Uraken, then drives through a never-ending series of Match Enders, with Kansai surviving each and every one until Aja finally hits flush with a final Uraken for the win.
Rating: ****1/2 (one of the best Hoss fights of all time)
WWF WOMAN’S TITLE:
ALUNDRA BLAYZE (WWF) vs. BULL NAKANO (WWF/AJW):
* As I reviewed for my “Joshi in the WWF” 1990s edition, this bout was under ten minutes, and was mostly Bull dominating Alundra, finishing her with a Guillotine Legdrop in something I called **1/2. It’s been considered a better match by legend, though I think it was a lot of people repeating a rumored “I heard they had a great match”.
Akira Hokuto’s entrance, complete with Mini-Hokutos carrying her train.
V*TOP WOMAN TOURNAMENT FINALS:
AJA KONG (AJW) vs. AKIRA HOKUTO (AJW):
* And now we come to the Main Event, after like ten hours of stuff. Both get this AMAZING entrance, featuring a red skybox lifting down to the ramp with smoke spewing everywhere. Akira’s Noh uniform’s train is carried by two Mini-Akiras, which is awesome. The psychology here is strong, as Aja is the Ace, but just left two parts of her soul in the ring tonight, while Akira has had much shorter matches against lesser opponents… but because she’s Akira, she’s still badly hurt and maybe dying. The longterm story here is that Aja is the top wrestler, but Akira is close behind her and rising, if not for her possible retirement/s and maybe leaving- Hokuto seems destined to be Ace someday.
Because it’s Joshi, the first move of the match is a Tiger Suplex, and the next is Aja reversing Akira’s roundhouse kick into a lethal Backdrop Driver. After that, though, they take their time, Aja slowly dismantling Akira before they reenact the opening of New Order’s True Faith video. Aja does a TOPE of all things, but misses, so Akira hits her Tope Con Hilo to finally take the offensive as Aja screams from a knee injury and has to be helped for a bit. That eats up literally three minutes of match-time, padding this further. Aja howling in pain while Akira does a Mexican Hat Dance on her knee is amazing- how did a Monster Heel ever learn to sell this well? Northern Lights Bomb! And another! Makes up for all the weak ones earlier in the show. Snap Uraken buys Aja some recovery time as Hokuto’s in her trademark “heap” pose.
Aja’s selling is so good that she has to hold herself up on the ropes, and collapses on a simple suplex, but she swipes Akira’s finisher, hitting an NL Bomb of her own, because it has less elevation required! Splash misses, causing more agony, and Akira hits that horrifying “flip ’em backwards onto their head” move for two. Aja kicks Akira out of a Missile Dropkick, but takes a Super Chokeslam when she tries to follow it. Northern Lights Suplex! Aja feints her with an Uraken, allowing her to plant a real one. Another one, but Akira’s in the ropes. She comes back with a sloppy rollup, but that allows her to hit THREE Northern Lights Bombs in a row, finally winning the match (20:53)! And then, in one of those endings you can only find in Joshi, a tearful Aja actually GIVES AKIRA THE WWWA TITLE, but Hokuto refuses, strapping the title back around a bawling Aja’s waist, and the two titans embrace and cry together. We end with the Tokyo Dome chanting a triumphant Hokuto’s name.
Akira/Aja bouts are always interesting, because they’re the only two Joshi who know how to sell limbwork for more than five minutes at this point, and thread it into the match. The point of going nearly twenty minutes after having wrestled TWICE already is enough that they had to “Smoke & Mirrors” it, but these two just happen to have the best mirrors and smoke in the biz, and Aja’s injury meant all the stretching was now devastating-looking instead of “filler”, and gave us a match story. Aja’s selling in particular was top-tier, and it made the bout, as even her storm of Urakens was weakened by the lack of a proper “spin”, and Akira could plant her again and again with the one move that she can easily do even to someone as large as Aja. And man, that emotional scene- you don’t ever see that kind of stuff in men’s wrestling (barring the loss of a smile, I guess). Terrific cap-off to a legendary night.
Rating: ****1/4 (great work from both- some of the best, most consistent selling you’ll see. And this is Aja’s WORST MATCH OF THE EVENING)
ASARI/Hikari vs. Sugo/Yagi: **1/4
Buta/Little Great Muta vs. Tomezo: DUD
Candy Okutsu vs. Rie Tamada: ***
Suzuka Minami vs. KAORU: ***1/2
Kickboxing & Amateur Wrestling: N/A
Chigusa Nagayo vs. Reggie Bennett: **3/4
Kandori/Futagami vs. Yamada/Watanabe: ***1/2
LCO vs. Kurenai & Nagashima: ***3/4
Yokota/Kimura vs. Asuka/Ogura: ***
All India: No Rating
Blizzard Yuki vs. Mariko Yoshida: ***
Combat Toyoda vs. Yumiko Hotta: ****1/4
Akira Hokuto vs. Eagle Sawai: ***3/4
Aja Kong vs. Manami Toyota: *****
Dynamite Kansai vs. Kyoko Inoue: ****1/4
Takako/Cutie vs. Hikari/Kudo: ***1/2
Six-Man Tag: **3/4
Combat Toyoda vs. Akira Hokuto: ***
Aja Kong vs. Dynamite Kansai: ****1/2
Alundra Blayze vs. Bull Nakano: **1/2
Aja Kong vs. Akira Hokuto: ****1/4
-Objectively speaking, this is about as good a card as you’re ever gonna get, where there are FOURTEEN MATCHES that hit at least ***, five matches above ****, and one all-time perfect ***** match. The shortened times of the other matches was a bit of a hindrance and a benefit at the same time, as there was no “filler” and instead just straight wrestling, but many bouts didn’t have the opportunity to have really good stories told as a result- leaving the rest of the card sitting at “Cody Rhodes” levels- GOOD, but not as good as it could have been (especially the All Idol match or the Returning Veterans match). But overall, it’s pretty well impossible for any other show to match this one in terms of sheer snowflakes being tossed about.
-While Manami Toyota arguably had the performance of her life tonight, the one I’m most impressed by is Aja Kong, who was typically never spoken of in terms of “Greatest Workers of All Time” the way Toyota or Hokuto are. Because look at this… THREE MATCHES in one single night, and every one was over ****. For comparison, Bret Hart is justifiably proud of his King of the Ring performance, where he had three good matches in one night with a trio of very different opponents. And here’s Aja easily SURPASSING that, having three matches as good as any Bret had that night- sure, her opponents were at a higher level than Bret’s (Mr. Perfect’s great but Toyota’s way better; never mind Hokuto & Kansai vs. Razor & Bam Bam), but still. Also, the Main Event was barely twenty minutes after Aja had a ****1/2 war with Kansai.
-But this event crowns Hokuto as the dominating star… which unfortunately amounted to her leaving AJW eventually and joining GAEA Japan, never working with much of the top talent ever again. But this still stands as an all-time great card- one that has the distinction of headlining the Tokyo Dome- something Joshi has never matched since.