Joshi Spotlight: AJW Wrestling Queendom- SUCCESS

The first part of the Main Event. Searching this is a bit of a pain- type in “Success” in this guy’s channel and you’ll find the matches, but all split up because it’s from ten years ago, before YouTube allowed longer videos.

* Four months after the biggest show in Joshi history, Big Egg Wrestling Universe, comes what is actually a PAIR of Wrestling Queendoms- SUCCESS and VICTORY. This show is a bit unusual in that it’s built entirely around a one-night tournament for the WWWA Tag Team Titles- the 99th champions, Double Inoue, willingly vacated the Titles, hoping to become the 100th champions as well! Which is kind of funny, but also TOTALLY BOSS, because they’re so confident that they can win that they’d do such a thing. This is an 8-Team Tournament, which is crazy considering how much damage it usually takes to finish off one of these wrestlers- tag bouts in Joshi are LONG. So we get this interesting thing, where most of tonight’s matches are 13-16 minutes long, but the losing team carries most of the offense so as to not look weak.

“TL; DR- Why Should I Care?”: It’s a really kickass tag tournament. And a good example of how to shake things up when the same bunch of people are fighting all night long. There’s a Super-Team, a Veteran/Rookie team, a Kicker Team, and the heelish delights known as LCO!

DOUBLE INOUE (Kyoko & Takako Inoue)- The previous champions. Like an All Japan wrestler and an Idol in one team.
REGGIE BENNETT & SUZUKA MINAMI- A gaijin Powerhouse and a wily veteran- both Upper-Midcarders. Obvious JTTS team tonight.
MANAMI TOYOTA & BLIZZARD YUKI- The main-eventer megastar with the future “Sure Thing”. Yuki is Sakie Hasegawa under a mask, imitating a manga character in something that worked for Tiger Mask & Jushin Liger and not many others. It’s expected that she’ll be a future Ace some day. Toyota is wrestling in the match of her life for the WWWA Title only one week from this tournament, so expect the methodical pace and slight effort from her, as usual… no, wait.
RAIJIN ARMY (Jaguar Yokota & Lioness Asuka)- ’80s superstars out of retirement. Both are former WWWA Champions, with Yokota being one of the best workers of the ’80s, and Lioness one half of the famous Crush Gals. Both are only in their mid-30s and still have a lot in the tank. Asuka’s gear says “RIDEEN Array” on it, which explains why I’ve heard both names used for their stable/team, though I think it’s supposed to be “Raijin”- the Japanese God of Thunder. Her leg also has “ASKA” on it, so god knows who spellchecked her gear.
LAS CACHORRAS ORIENTALES (Etsuko Mita & Mima Shimoda)- Evil Demon Waifus, cheaters, and up & coming tag superstars. Typically in the upper-mid ranks around this point, having won the JWP Tag Titles last year and holding them for a while. They’re LEGIT, but have never been champion.
AJA KONG & MARIKO YOSHIDA- The WWWA Champion & Ace… with a rookie clean off of her return to the ring. Very odd pairing.
TOSHIYO YAMADA & YUMIKO HOTTA- The two best kickers in AJW. Yamada typically teamed up with Toyota the year prior, but they split when Double Inoue beat them.
LADY APACHE & LA FELINA- Loaners from CMLL. One is Gran Apache’s then-wife, and the other is more well known as La Diabolica.

* This bout features all the rookies of AJW, plus Tomoko for some odd reason. I’ve seen most of these girls in rookie bouts before, but barely remember most of them. ASARI is of course a rookie sensation, and Tamada’s rising up slowly behind her. Watanabe later becomes “Misae Genki” and is a bigger star. Takahashi is apparently only in the business for this one year, and retires to do karate shootfighting full-time after ’95! Shiina wrestled all the way to 2006 apparently, but only one NEO’s tag belts. Tamura wrestled until 2012, also for NEO, and was a WCW Cruiserweight champion.

They go a hundred miles an hour right away, with everyone spamming dropkicks (… coulda just said “Typical AJW opening” I guess). Tomoko is about to kill Tamada, but she hits a Helicopter Cross-Body and the entire team piles on the six-year-veteran, which oddly is legal, but Tomoko’s partners save her. All for beat on her, but she hits the ropes and does her Slingshot Cross-Body to the ENTIRE TEAM, which is amazing. She no-sells Yoko’s dropkick and hits one of her own… of three (3:31)? Well, she is a jobber. ASARI & Endo go next, with ASARI wrapping up the tall, lanky rookie with a Rana (4:26). Handspring Mule Kicks and the Sky Twister Press get rid of Shiina (5:33). Tamada spams dropkicks on Tamura and pins her with one of those “struggling through it” pins (6:11), leaving only Tomoko left! She kills Tamada with a lariat, but they actually do the “kneel down to trip them” trick with ASARI dropkicking Tomoko over Tamada, and all three girls dogpile her for the win (7:46)! Tomoko appears more amused by the whole thing than angry, and shakes her team’s hands before they bail. She laughs it off in the back, too. Such a quick exhibition match it’s hard to rate, especially as most people lasted a minute before being killed.

Rating: ** (perfectly fine, lightning-paced stuff, though everyone dropped to basic shit like it was the Survivor Series, and the most-established wrestler jobbed and then laughed about it)

* Reggie is surprisingly not in her goofy construction worker gear, but a pink & blue singlet. Minami’s in all the colors again, Takako’s in black & Kyoko’s in red.

Minami hits the Butterfly Backbreaker & Reggie lands a lariat & Splash on Takako to start, but Double Inoue DDT the crap out of Minami. The torture her for a while in holds, but Reggie comes back to slam Takako all over the ring- she goes up, but ends up in the Aurora Special (Waistlock Backdrop). Kyoko pops the crowd by going for a SURFBOARD on Reggie, but her hand slips, so they try to settle for a Double Suplex… but she instead suplexes both Inoues. Kyoko quickly tags out and Takako does her armdrags & Tombstone on Minami, and Kyoko does the “Dancing Deathlock” thing. Reggie double lariats both Inoues down, however, and teases a dive (!) before Minami hits one. Fireman’s Carry slam & splash get two each for Reggie, and a 2nd-Rope Splash has to have Kyoko saving her partner! Reggie unwisely goes up when Takako’s up top, and sure enough she eats a Super Chokeslam for two. Kyoko tries to finish, leading to a weird spot where she holds Reggie in Powerbomb position while Takako does a Flying Knee to her ass, then completes a Ligerbomb- Minami saves! She tags in, but takes a HUGE Run-Up Superplex by Kyoko! She magically recovers, however, hitting Powerbombs on each Inoue, and a second gets two on Kyoko. THIRD Powerbomb and Reggie adds a 2nd-Rope Splash, but Kyoko AGAIN kicks out (from a Jacknife pin!). Reggie heads up, but Kyoko Superplexes her off, and they finish Minami off with a Niagara Driver/Super Chokeslam combo at (12:17).

Quick, fun little match, as Double Inoue have to wrestle again, so showed a ton of ass and made their opponents look good for a while before pulling one out. However, it suffers from a remarkable lack of selling (people take three powerbombs and then pop up to hit superplexes?) and “Kyoko Kicks Out Of Everything” syndrome, because I guess they needed a quick match, but still needed to make everyone look durable by taking a ton of offense.

Rating: *** (hard to hate a 12-minute sprint, even with a lack of selling)

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Aja Kong is the terrifying Ace of AJW, but has been vulnerable last year to Akira Hokuto. Can she carry her partner, a rookie back from injury, to victory?

* This one’s a bit interesting, as it’s two in the second tier against the Ace and a JTTS- can they single out Mariko and win? Or will Kong alone be enough?

As expected, the wipe out Mariko to start, kicking her taped-up leg and stretching her out. She starts fighting back using ROOKIE SPIRIT on Yamada in a great bit, impressing the previously-silent crowd by repeatedly slapping Yamada defiantly before a kick to the face drops her. The crowd pops huge for Aja coming in and ANNIHILATING Yamada, and she lets Mariko hit more stuff repeatedly- the story seems to be that Aja dominates, allowing Mariko to take some offense. Hotta ain’t having that, though, and methodically beats the junior down. Yamada hits about a thousand kicks, turning Mariko inside-out, but the crowd keeps getting behind her comeback attempts. Aja uses her METAL BOX to interfere, but blasts her partner by mistake, holding the opponents for a Run-Up Plancha to make up for it. Aja goes for the Super Mountain Bomb, but Yamada hits the Sunset Flip Powerbomb to reverse, Aja rolling over from the pinning combination. Hotta hits an Enzuigiri out of an Uraken (Spinning Backfist) attempt, but Mariko prevents her from hitting a Tiger Driver to follow-up, then gets kicked out of a Flying Thing. Mariko Victory Rolls out of The Finisher That Never Hits, but eats a release Tiger Driver- Aja barely saves her, then hits an URAKEN on Yamada out of another finisher attempt, orders Mariko to make the pin, and Hotta has to save her! Hotta saves Yamada from a Backdrop Driver, but Mariko suplexes her, allowing Aja to reverse a kick with another Uraken for the pinfall (18:11)!

Very fun bout, with the whole story being that Mariko tried REALLY HARD, but needed Aja to do stuff for her or else get killed. Hotta was barely in the bout, leaving Yamada (the better seller and faster worker) to do almost everything, which kind of fit, as Hotta is probably too “legit” to be dropping quick falls or sell much for Yoshida. I liked the little bits like Aja hitting an Uraken and telling Mariko to try for the pin, or getting her to tag in and hit flying moves- she came off as the respected veteran.

Rating: ***1/2 (a lot of fun, with some clever booking)

* This’ll be interesting to see, but the YouTube video isn’t overly long. Felina’s got a white Tiger Mask-style get-up on, with a kitty mask and a demonic face on her chest- and a big, fake white wig. Apache is wearing black & red with a whole lotta tassles. LCO have their purple & white gear on.

LCO do their standard “Running & Screaming” match-opening, then Felina does some uncoordinated stuff with Shimoda, and Apache does a cool headscissors/armbar takeover of both Joshi at once. She throws LCO around a bunch, then does a cool flip to impress the crowd, but Mita’s soon launching Felina across the ring by her wig, and LCO do the Bitch Pose on her after some stretching. Apache gets thrown around and dumped outside, then Shimoda does some awkward-ass running attacks on her- Felina finally hits a cool move with an Assisted Tope Con Hilo, and Apache follows with a dive. Several double-team attempts go awry for everyone, but then Apache walks right into a Blazing Chop, setting up the Death Valley Driver for an easy win (10:06).

This was a weird one- they clearly weren’t on the same page, and it came off very awkwardly, but LCO stretched the Luchadoras and managed to make things okay despite not even running through their LCO Match Template in the ten minutes they had. It was weird how Shimoda messed up a double-team and hit her partner, only to have Mita make the instant comeback and win anyways.

Rating: **1/4 (one of the lesser LCO matches, given the length and awkwardness)

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Lioness Asuka, Causing spellcheck nightmares for years!

RAIJIN ARMY (Jaguar Yokota & Lioness Asuka) vs. MANAMI TOYOTA & BLIZZARD YUKI:
* Toyota & Yuki are in their usual gear (black leotard w/straps and red & black cartoon fighter gear), while Jaguar’s in all white and Asuka’s in a navy blue outfit. It’s weird how tiny Jaguar is compared to her opponents- I’m not used to seeing Manami as a giant. I’ve actually never seen Jaguar & Manami fight before, so I’m really interested in this- they’re probably the best female workers of their respective decades.

They do Stereo Manami Rolls to start (though Yuki stumbles back as Yokota tries to climb over her). Jaguar & Manami show off with slick bridge-outs and then Manami hits a 16-revolution Rolling Cradle on her trainer. Asuka with some basic stuff on Yuki, and Jaguar adds a cool Rolling Armbar thing. Yuki chokes out Asuka & Manami hits Dropkick Spam, but Jaguar interferes and plays “Fold Manami In Half”. Asuka adds some power, and Jaguar cranks a Figure-Four in a way I’ve never seen before (slamming the leg down across the bent shin to add extra pain). They work the leg for a while and then Jaguar does her wicked Straightjacket Suplex for two. Yuki kicks her in the ass while doing another “lock the hands” set-up, so Manami does one of her own! Moonsault misses, however, and Manami ends up doing her Running No-Hands Plancha to her own partner! Huge Powerbomb by Asuka gets two on Yuki (Manami saves), then Jaguar’s Vertical Drop Pedigree gets the same. Another and Manami breaks it up again. Yuki gets a Dragon Suplex to come back, but is wrecked by a Backdrop Superplex from Asuka when she tries to capitalize- Jaguar comes off the top with a sunset flip… but Yuki rolls through for three (13:42 minutes)!

Another fun match! The veterans controlled the entire thing and looked the best, with the younger wrestlers seeming like they were holding a lot back in favor of further matches- they spent most of it with Manami in holds or taking an ass-kicking. And the finish came off pretty well, as it was more of a “Bret Hart Finish” with someone just getting a good pin from a reversal instead of the teams beating each other down for the finish- I like that a lot more in 13-ish minute matches, especially in a finisher-intensive style like AJW’s.

Rating: ***1/2 (another fun contest with a very different concept than you usually get- wily veterans controlling the entire pace until the rookie scores a lucky pin)

* Hey, a singles match! It’s another Raijin Army member, as Bison Kimura’s out of retirement, too, and taking on an AJW up & comer. Ito’s outfit is another horrific one (I know, I’m as shocked as you), looking like someone made a singlet out of 1980s placemats, and strung a children’s art project around it. Bison’s in a one-legged singlet with red & black stripes going up diagonally.

Kaoru attacks before the bell, and the two actually get into a chair-throwing brawl on the floor! They alternate stretching, then Bison starts methodically beating her down before taking a couple Running Ass Attacks and a Rolling Senton. Ito keeps up the offense, reversing anything Bison tries until she finally lands one of her overhand Bison Chops. Ito takes a Perfect Plex & a Tombstone, but gets her feet up on a flying move and hits the Flying Double Stomp. Bison gets dumped, dodges a Stomp to the outside and still gets her ass kicked, but ultimately manages a few Chops to Ito when she climbs up again, and that’s all she needs- a running Bison Chop, then a final big one on a running Ito, and she picks up the pin at (13:49). An okay match, though it seemed to suffer from Ito constantly stuffing all of Bison’s attempts at momentum (it was like Goldberg/Regal), leading to a lot of her spamming similar moves and stretching. Not that Bison has a varied offense, either.

Rating: **1/2 (perfectly fine undercard match. Neither is super-versatile at this point)

* Oh DARN- this one doesn’t appear to be on YouTube. SHUCKS. And I so look forward to aimless, uncoordinated brawls on these shows. Ishimoto wins, apparently.

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Takako is much lower-ranked than the super-babyface Kyoko, but often holds the matches together with selling and sadistic heelishness.

* Can Aja bring Mariko to a win over AJW’s top team? Well, she’s wearing Dudley Boy-esque camo gear, so maybe! Gotta love “Jungle Emperor” and Kyoko’s “Panama” rip-off theme coming out in succession.

Takako hits a nifty slingshot armdrag on Yoshida to start, not being shown up by the youngster’s quickness, and Double Inoue work her over for a bit (DDT & Tombstone from Takako!), but she soon fights back with speed, hitting her Run-Up Cross-Body on Kyoko. Aja folds up Kyoko and directs Yoshida to do some double-teams. Kyoko soon takes over with a Slingshot Dropkick, however, and Takako armdrags the shit out of Yoshida until getting caught in a catapalt, which Aja uses to lariat her head off! They methodically work away on her, then do a cool thing where Aja smooshes her into the corner, throws the rookie in for her Cartwheel Elbow, then comes ROARING in with her avalanche, popping the crowd. Takako FINALLY tags out after whipping Yoshida off the top, and Kyoko goes to work until Yoshida does this rad move where she counters a bodyslam into a leaping Victory Roll in one motion. Kyoko’s Slingshot Backsplash takes out both opponents, but Aja cross-bodies Double Inoue down in turn.

Aja splash, but she misses her big Flying Elbow and gets lariated down twice by Kyoko for two. Her own Flying Elbow misses, but Takako knees Aja in the ass to set up a German. Takako*Panic flying knee for two! She roars with disappointment and tries another, but gets kicked on the way down and Dangerous Backdropped. Double Inoue pounces on Yoshida now that Aja’s hurt, but she cartwheels through their offense, Aja dropkicks them both, and La Majistral gets a CLOSE two-count on Takako! Run-Up Splash gets two, and an excited Yoshida looks to finish… and makes the terrible mistake of putting Takako on the top rope. And sure enough, a SUPER CHOKESLAM rifles Yoshida down onto the back of her head. Aja saves, the Takako*Panic misses, and Aja Urakens Kyoko, but a second one clocks Yoshida (who does the death sell, slowly arching backwards with her mouth hanging open), Kyoko tackles Aja down, and Takako finishes with a Bridging Backdrop Suplex (16:19). Aja giving props to Yoshida after, getting the fans to cheer for the kid, is great stuff.

Another long, really fun match, this one consisting of Aja & Yoshida beating Takako’s ass for several minutes until Double Inoue smartly singles out Yoshida while holding off Kong- Yoshida ended up looking phenomenal in defeat, hanging with the veterans and reversing their stuff excellently, nearly pinning Takako for an upset before a rookie mistake (YOU CAN’T SUPERPLEX TAKAKO) costs her, and soon even Aja can’t help her out when Takako dodges that last Uraken.

Rating: ***1/2 (hard to hate these bouts with the frenetic endings)

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Toyota’s got the biggest match of her life in one week, so of course she fights repeatedly in huge matches tonight.

* Toyota is now wrestling her former partner (Shimoda) and the rising LCO while teaming up with a much younger star. So it’s kind of the same mentality as the previous match, with the Main Eventer/Up & Comer vs. Established Team set-up. LCO come down looking like someone just shot their puppy. Man, I haven’t seen a look like that since Disney security took away my “Love Quest” sign.

Mita attempts a DVD on Toyota right before the bell, but LCO settles for wearing down Yuki instead. Largely simple stuff, with the best bit being Shimoda stomping on her ass from the apron while she’s in a hold. The one-hand choke finally puts a smile on Mita’s face, and she targets a taped-up wrist with the simplest submission ever- she grabs it with two hands and twists. Yuki screams in pain for a good while until Mita arrogantly just tosses her into Toyota’s corner, drawing an “oooooooh” from the crowd. Toyota immediately runs to the corner and armdrags Mita from there and Missile Dropkicks her. Mita reverses a whip with a HUGE Blazing Chop, stopping Toyota dead, and Shimoda adds a “fold her in half” crab before Manami hits a No Hands Springboard Cross-Body. Crowd seems pro-LCO, so Manami stiffs Shimoda and they copy LCO’s Bitch Pose, the crowd booing until Toyota demands they start clapping! Moves AND charisma! Rolling Butterfly Suplexes from Yuki get two, and a neat Rolling Senton hits. Missile Dropkick again, but Mita’s in and immediately sits on Toyota’s head in a crab. She hits a Camel Clutch while lying back in a bodyscissors (Manami’s of course bent in half), so Shimoda comes in to sit on Toyota’s chest while flipping Yuki off. Jesus, LCO rules.

Shimoda pulls at Manami’s face and they tumble down from a Manami Roll, but a Rolling Cradle sends her around the ring. They whup on Yuki again, however, and Mita hits a Northern Lights Suplex. Toyota runs in, but LCO still takes out their paltry double-teams, and it’s the Assisted Plancha/Dive combo and Electric Chair Drop/Flying Splash on Yuki! Yuki boots Mita and they try a Doomsday Device on Shimoda, but she drops down and Tiger Suplexes Yuki while Mita shakes the ropes on Manami- Toyota barely sweeps out the leg from Shimoda’s bridge. Toyota breaks up the Death Lake Driver (Tiger Superplex) and pulls out LCO from a double-team, so Yuki hits a great Tope Con Hilo! And Toyota… oh jesus- Running No-Hands Springboard Plancha! Doomsday Device Dropkick in the ring, but Mita breaks up the pin. Japanese Ocean Cyclone Suplex & DVD are both reversed to pinning combinations, then a Moonsault attempt results in Manami taking a Super Electric Chair Drop! Yuki flies in with a dropkick on LCO, letting Manami use the Japanese Ocean Suplex (Double Hammerlock German), but Shimoda breaks it up at two. Yuki finally tosses her, allowing Manami the full Ocean Cyclone Suplex for the three (20:56)!

They took a while to get going- clearly going for a “long match” while keeping their cardio together, but by the end it’s non-stop great timing and double-teams (Toyota/Yuki initially do some very basic stuff that looks kinda like they rarely team- awkward double mat slams and stuff like that), with everyone reversing each other’s big moves to prevent a fall. LCO hit most of their big moves, but Mita repeatedly had her Death Valley Driver foiled, and once Manami got her vulnerable, the Future Ace was just too good- both of her Japanese Ocean Suplexes are devastating, and Mita’s not advanced enough to be kicking out of those. Yuki didn’t look nearly as impressive- she mostly just sold- though a couple of her flying moves were good.

Rating: ****1/4 (very good match, even though both wrestled matches earlier, and one team had to wrestle immediately thereafter and thus kind of kept some “in reserve”)

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Sakie Hasegawa as the manga-inspired Blizzard Yuki.

* So Double Inoue have had a 20+ minute rest, while Toyota’s team is right out there again, and easily vulnerable to big moves.

Double Inoue pounce on Yuki to start, tagging out and hitting a DDT about three times in succession. Kyoko does one out of the corner, and now Takako of course bites the bandaged arm like a psycho. Toyota in, but Takako sleepers her and hits the Tombstone. Kyoko adds a Giant Swing & a Surfboard, while Takako steps on her and flips off the crowd, because Takako. Toyota attempts the Manami Roll but gets murdered with a Powerbomb by Kyoko, and Double Inoue tries Death By A Million Crabs, folding Toyota up repeatedly. She tries her No-Hands move, but Kyoko’s wise to it and dodges! But she goes up, gets booted off, and both Inoues takes a murderous Missile Dropkick to the outside! Moonsault in the ring gets two! Doomsday Device Dropkick, but Takako breaks up the pin. Manami then goes for the JAPANESE OCEAN CYCLONE SUPLEX already, but Kyoko flips out… but takes Yuki’s Solebutt (Spinning Heel Kick) and it throws her right back into it- Takako AGAIN saves, and Manami’s already done her big move!

Manami goes up, but Takako brings her off and they do an Aurora Special/Flying Back Elbow combo! Bridging Backdrop gets two! Super Chokeslam for two! Takako*Panic, but Yuki dives in at the last second- Niagara Driver/Super Chokeslam on Toyota! But AGAIN Yuki’s in before the three! Kyoko looks to finish, but the Niagara Driver is reversed to a Manami Roll for a close call- great idea, as it gives Manami a last surge without ignoring all the damage that’s been done- she’s dead, but tags out to Yuki. Yuki does a big roundhouse, but Kyoko ducks under and prepares a deadly Lariat- URANAGE REVERSAL!! Three more Uranages, but Kyoko barely gets the shoulder up. Takako stalls Yuki, letting Kyoko hit her running headscissors off the top for two. Kyoko goes up, but Yuki tries to stop her… SUPER POWERSLAM! Yuki only barely kicks out- a really impressive bit for the up & comer. Manami interferes, but they miss the Stereo Flying Headbutts- Stereo submissions nearly have Yuki submitting in Kyoko’s STF/Hammerlock thing as the crowd freaks out, but she dramatically makes the edge of the ring. Yuki Solebutts out of a Niagara Driver for another close two, but Kyoko MURDERS her with a lariat out of an Uranage for two! Run-Up Back Elbow, but Toyota interferes! Finally Kyoko dumps her and Takako hits the Takako*Panic to the outside off the apron, allowing Kyoko a moment alone at last- NIAGARA DRIVER! This finally gets the three (14:49), as Double Inoue get what they wanted- they are the 100th WWWA Tag Team Champions!!

Really, REALLY good match, as they took all that accumulated damage from before, allowing them to have all the “set up” work done beforehand, which made this bout a Finisher Fest after all of five minutes. And it ignored some of the pratfalls of that style by having people break up 90% of the pins instead of move-killing kickouts, or at least by having the fresher person kick out. This was REALLY tightly plotted and paced, with Toyota having wasted her big moves early and being murdered right away, then Yuki having this AMAZING comeback (the Uranage reversal is my favorite bit of the match, actually) before Kyoko can run through her big series on the weaker partner. It was completely breathless once they picked up the pace, and really stands out as a spectacular bit of timing and using everyone’s moves in the best possible place.

Rating: ****1/2 (one of the better matches under fifteen you’ll ever see- part Spotfest and part Well-Orchestrated tag team war)

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Double Inoue- 99th and 100th WWWA Tag Team Champions!

Match Ratings:
Tamada/ASARI/Takahashi/Misae vs. Tomoko/Shiina/Tamura/Endo: **
Double Inoue vs. Bennett/Minami: ***
Yamada/Hotta vs. Kong/Yoshida: ***1/2
LCO vs. Apache/Felina: **1/4
Raijin Army vs. Toyota/Yuki: ***1/2
Bison Kimura vs. Kaoru Ito: **1/2
Fumiko Ishimoto vs. Kumiko Maekawa: Didn’t See
Double Inoue vs. Kong/Yoshida: ***1/2
LCO vs. Toyota/Yuki: ****1/4
Double Inoue vs. Toyota/Yuki: ****1/2

Yes, really- Manami Toyota & Blizzard Yuki wrestled a ****1/4 match and a ****1/2 IN SUCCESSION. Just crazy shit, even though the first bout was largely LCO doing the lion’s share. Almost the entire tournament defaulted to ***1/2, which is a positively insane average to have- they were all nearly exactly the same level of quality, each with their own story (the vets beating on Toyota/Yuki, Aja having to save Yoshida, etc.) and being between 13 and 18 minutes apiece, with Face Pace/Slow Stretching/Escalating Big Moves being similar to most of the bouts. The killer schedule left people being more vulnerable for big moves earlier as time went on, making things more exciting as well. I was expecting to think “too much tag team wrestling” for this, giving the match lengths and Joshi typically following similar match templates, but I was delightfully surprised by how they shook things up.

Double Inoue ends up with the bragging rights of being the 99th AND 100th Tag Champions, albeit beating a team that’d just fought a 20-minute match. Fantastic one-night tournament.