Joshi Spotlight: JWP Super Major Queens FLASH!


-Right in the midst of the Interpromotional Era comes this show- a JWP event with almost every match featuring an AJW invader, capped off by an Ace (vs) Ace bout- Dynamite Kansasi fighting the WWWA Champion, Aja Kong! Also wrestling is Kyoko Inoue against an up & comer, the legendary Chigusa Nagayo (on her JWP run to regather her strength) against Mayumi Ozaki, and an Idol (vs) Idol match- Takako Inoue & Cutie Suzuki! This is thus JWP’s biggest show ever up until this point, with major stars all over the place and a great Main Event. Weirdly, there’s no commentary at all for this show, giving it an odd feel… provided you notice it (I was 3/4 the way through Takako/Cutie before I realized “Hey, nobody’s talking here”).

“TL;DR- Why Should I Watch This?”: Standard-issue Joshi excellence, in that four matches hit around ****, and some rare “Dream Matches” you’ll literally never see again. The stars of  yesterday versus the stars of tomorrow is particularly excellent.

* Rookie Mayhem!! Maekawa, in blue & pink, later became a big, big star for AJW, but is the baby here. Rie, in blue & red, later got quite good, but never maintained a big push anywhere- just too small and not as good as the other itty-bitties who were her contemporaries. Yagi, in pink & black, is my Favorite Tiny Wrestler Ever, being a mini-judoka who flips people around and does other cool stuff. Nouchi, in a cool red, white & blue complex design, is somewhat unmemorable in that I’ve seen her a half-dozen times and nothing stands out. She is a two-year vet here, but retired only two years later. Everyone here looks about fourteen years old- keep Lawler away!

It’s every rookie match ever, with lots of stetching and weirdly-timed cross-bodies and kicky offense, with Yagi looking a million times better than everyone else. The crowd mostly sits on their hands, but reacts well to certain big strikes or Maekawa slamming Yagi’s head on the mat to counter a bodyscissors. This just goes on FOREVER, with them all taking turns as “the one getting put in a Boston Crab”. The “elders” at least show good fire, getting into the notion of the rivalry at play between JWP & AJW- slapping each other while one holds a kneebar, for example. Yagi does her Super Judo Flip for only a one count to Maekawa, who just comes right back with dropkicks. Um, okay- guess she’s the “legit fighter”, but come on. Crowd gets into some near-falls with Yagi spamming out five judo flips in a row on Tamada, and Stereo Missile Dropkicks get two- Maekawa breaking it up. They do a bunch more stuff and then a positive SHITLOAD of dropkicks bring down Yagi, two second-rope ones from Tamada doing her in at (15:33). Way, way too long for rookies to be going, but this is how they learn, I guess.

Rating: *3/4 (absolutely WAY too long for the offense they had, leading to spamming of dropkicks and crab-holds. Some stuff looked good, at least. Little selling, though)

* Yes, it’s a “Mirror Match”, as JWP’s tiny star, Bolshoi Kid faces AJW’s equally tiny Chaparita ASARI, who is calling herself “Command Bolshoi” as a cutesy joke. I don’t know why she’s using the future name of Bolshoi, but that’s definitely ASARI (as is obvious later, though the tiny shoulder pads and ASARI design patterns make it pretty clear). Kid is in red & green with yellow pants, and Command is in a blue, yellow & red version of the typical ASARI gear, so they at least look different. I’m just calling her ASARI because it’s easier. There’s also a stipulation, but if I say what it is, it gives away the ending.

Bolshoi does her classic comedy stuff to start, hopping around and checking the ref for weapons, and ASARI counters some flippy-technical stuff with leg work. Bolshoi makes the ropes using the tip of her finger, and when the ref says that doesn’t count, she puts the tip of her hat’s pom-pom around it instead. Bolshoi uses the Rope-Walk Armdrag… by walking from one corner of the ring to the next… and the next one after THAT. eh, still not faker than hitting a Super Canadian Destroyer for two. Bolshoi reverses an armbar… by pulling out a chunk of hair from a wig in her pants and pretending that it’s either hers or ASARI’s and freaking out. Okay, THAT’s a unique counter. The crowd loves it, too. They fight over the hair, then Bolshoi scores a Rock Bottom for two. They trade a few of those before Bolshoi nails a dive, a Missile Dropkick and a Moonsault, as we’ve hit the “actual match” portion- ASARI pushes her off the top and hits a Missile Dropkick, Plancha, Running Knee off the apron and her Handspring Mule Kick in the corners to come back, but Bolshoi reverses a second with a running knee. A Tombstone is reversed, and ASARI goes up… and time expires at (10:00) seconds before she throws out a Sky Twister Press… and hits the mat even though Bolshoi didn’t move.

That was kinda weird- they do seven minutes of comedy spots before they throw out a wicked spotfest and then the time expires just as ASARI throws out her big crowd-pleasing spot… and hitting nothing? Was that supposed to be a hit? In any case, the comedy was pretty funny (they did a chinlock spot where honking the nose was “you get a five count”-able, and the hair bit was good) and the moves were good, but I have no idea how to rate matches like this.

Rating: **1/2 (I feel they’d have a “legit” match that was leagues better than this)

* The war between each company’s top “Idol” (aka “pretty girl who does photoshoots) continues! They had wrestled the year prior, with Takao taking particular relish in annihilating her rival Idol from JWP. Takako seemed to have, um, issues with other attractive women in other companies, and was at her sadistic, murderous best as she eventually flattened Cutie with her Takako Panic (Flying Knee) in a match I rated ****1/4. I reviewed this match for my Spotlight on Takako, so I’ll shorten this one a bit.

Takako IMMEDIATELY stares Cutie down like she wants to rip the kid apart. Yikes, woman. Cutie defiantly slaps her, but Takako puts Cutie on her ass with another, in a mirror of their ’93 bout. She tortures Cutie for a while (often smirking while Cutie yowls in pain), then play to the crowd before Takako kills her with four Tombstones in a row, then it turns into an ugly scrap as they brawl. Straightjacket Shoulder-Seated Backdrop, Chokeslam and the Super Chokeslam do some damage and then she tears Cutie’s leg to pieces. Cutie comes back with a Flying Stomp to the outside of the ring, a German & flying thing (none of it particularly smooth). They actually get into a pretty hectic bunch of near-falls, with Takako getting Germaned out of her Backdrop, hitting a NICE Bridging Vertical Suplex out of the corner, and setting up the Flying Knee that beat Cutie last time they fought! This time Cutie’s ready for her, and she dodges it, hits a German, a Flying Knee of her own, and a Dragon Suplex! Another Knee misses, but Takako’s Bridging Backdrop is reversed to another Dragon, and a pair of Cutie’s own Flying Knees finishes at (19:09)!!

Jesus, that was actually kind of scary. Takako has some kind of Evil Queen thing going on when she gets angry, and she tortured poor Cutie for half the match until the girl managed to pull off some good comebacks with bridging suplexes and some high-flying. Cutie doesn’t really have great offense (her suplexes and flying stuff always seem very sloppy, and not in that manic Akira Hokuto way), but it comes off as “desperate”, which fit the match, as Takako was clearly much better, but would often get caught with things, probably not expecting the underdog to have such an intense fighting spirit.

Rating: ***3/4 (some pretty good stuff, though Cutie looked quite sloppy in move application for a lot of it. Nice callbacks to their last match, though)

* WELL now. Chigusa is of course the biggest star in Joshi history, and had recently gone through a comeback, though her only matches after her return have been in JWP, which allowed a lot of older retirees a spot. She largely had a lot of “smoke & mirrors” matches that hid her cardio weaknesses and diminished offense & speed, but her charisma and timing are still top-tier. Ozaki is a perennial “second-tier wrestler”, able to hang with any of the top names, but rarely seems to win the big ones. Her moves are terrific, and she has an understated amount of character work that should make this very interesting. Chigusa is, I swear to god, dressed as WOLFGANG KRAUSER for the match- golden armor and a big red cape with “Neo*Geo SNK” written on the back- straight up evoking the Fatal Fury villain. This is epic.

These two just stare the shit out of each other before the bell rings, which is great, as is Ozaki slugging Chigusa while the ref’s patting her down. And then she hits two jumping DDTs, a pescado, and then hits her with the timekeeper’s hammer. Well shit, so this is gonna be a brawl, I see. Then they do the Attitude Era Walk and Ozaki tosses her into the hard camera’s crane and throws a piece of the barricade on Chigusa repeatedly. And then she finds a toolkit down the aisle and drills her with a PIPE, and then earns 1/4* extra just for smashing Chigusa into the toolkit while holding the pipe between her teeth so she doesn’t have to put it down. Ozaki talks shit on the mic while Chig does her trademark “slow walk back while bleeding”. Ozaki tries the Tequila Sunrise (Tiger/Half-Nelson German Suplex), but Chigusa tosses her off and uses a goddamn Tombstone lift into a POWERBOMB for her first actual move. Chigusa bludgeons the shit out of her with kicks, then throws on restholds for a few minutes, punctuating them with a floatover DDT & belly-to-belly, but Ozaki brawls and bites to come back, hits an X-Factor, then dramatically gnaws away at Chigusa’s forehead right to the audience. Aaaaaaaand now the pipe’s back. Ozaki’s swagger as she just grinds away with it is tremendous heeling.

Chigusa’s favorite game is next: Selling while in restholds, which actually WORKS with her because she’s got that aura. Like, no one else in Joshi can pull off “sitting in a chinlock” like that. Perfectly-timed comeback leads to her manhandling Ozaki into a Sharpshooter so bad the crowd turns on her, so she just flips them off. Chairshot, staredown, plancha and Attitude Era Walk into a Piledriver on a TABLE finally busts open Ozaki, and she turns into a complete mess, making sure to both bleed on a white banner AND lick her own blood off her hand on-camera. Chigusa keeps kicking her down every time she gets up, making it a methodical brawl at this point. Ozaki FINALLY fights up, looking like a Voorhees victim the entire time, all scraggly-haired and bloody, but can’t hold the bridge on a Tiger Suplex and gets killed again- only Chigusa’s selling & exhaustion giving her a respite. Senton Body Attack, sharpshooter & STF mount the Ozaki comeback, and she grinds on Chig with a chair. Perfect Plex gets two… but Chigusa snaps on a sleeper, then suplexes her onto the top rope and dives out, but Ozaki fires back with an Asai Somersault Senton Attack! Springboard Rana sorta flops over to the side, and I bet that was a botch, because they realign and Ozaki rushes Chigusa, bounces off, and gets picked up for the Tombstone Into Powerbomb move again, but reverses to a Rana. Tequila Sunrise! She actually hits FOUR IN A ROW, failing to get the pin every time, and a desperate Ozaki heads up, but misses the Somersault Senton Attack and gets crushed with a Tombstone lift into a RUNNING Over-The-Shoulder Powerbomb, and that FINALLY gets the three at (27:02).

One of the best matches you’ll see that’s 70% full of both the 1980s way of wasting time, AND the 1990s way of wasting time- chinlocks, headlocks AND “grab them by the hair and walk around with them”, all in one match! Yet Ozaki & Nagayo are such tremendous sellers (Ozaki does the “I’m dead and am struggling to stand” sell better than almost anyone) that it’s great regardless- tons of attitude and fighting, even while struggling, and once BOTH are bleeding, it just gets ugly, with Chigusa relentlessly blasting Ozaki down with kicks & stomps. It was like an entire match comprised of “Oh, you THINK SO, do you?”, with restholds to cover the cardio (probably of Chigusa) and cover 27+ minutes. Didn’t need to be that long, and I didn’t really like Ozaki hitting FOUR of her ground-based finisher and never getting a three-count, but it put over both as great warriors, though poor Ozaki always comes up short against top-level opponents. This was definitely the predecessor to her modern style, though- she’d turn into a Pint-Sized Vicious Brawler 100% eventually.

Rating: **** (fantastic use of Chigusa’s limitations, and a GREAT showcase of character and fighting spirit, but was probably 7-8 minutes too long)

* Well this is one-sided- Candy largely has no chance in hell against one of AJW’s Sub-Main Eventers and one of the best workers in the world- she’s at-best mid-tier in JWP right now. This is obviously gonna be a “Young Star w/ Fighting Spirit” game. Kyoko’s in the usual pink & yellow Warrior gear, while Candy’s in that JWP-ish detailed singlet- white, gold & black. She already looks like a nervous child out there.

As expected, Kyoko eats her alive to start, with Candy going through a lot of Kyoko’s early-match moves (Surfboard, Dancing Deathlock, Running Toss, etc.) before coming back with a hooking clothesline and desperately holding Kyoko down with various bits of rookie offense. Kyoko ties her up in knots after that, but gets caught with a run-up flying cross-body, cleverly stuffs some German attempts and wags her finger… but tries her Slingshot Backsplash move, and Candy GRABS HER and launches her back with a great German. HAH! She dumps Kyoko and follows with a Run-Up Plancha! And adds a German on the floor! They do a walk, then add another! Bridging one in the ring gets two- great use of Rookie Moves here. But alas, a Rookie is a Rookie, and so Candy has no other big moves- she attempts another German, but BAM- DDT, and that’s that for her comeback. Rolling DDT out of the corner gets two. Candy attempts another shot, but gets caught up top with a huge top-rope Overhead Belly-To-Belly- took a bit long to set up, but BIG ovation for that kickout, though. Big running lariat gets two. Desperation Sleeper & Dragon Sleeper by Candy draws a big reaction, and the exhausted rookie does a run-up missile dropkick, a German, FLOATS OVER, does another, floats over a second time, and finally bridges for two. Crowd is AGHAST and poor Candy can’t believe it- poor thing has nothing left, so she desperately tries another German, which is stuffed by Kyoko, who hits a Jacknife Powerbomb, Run-Up Flying Back Elbow, and finally just locks her up with a Double-Toehold Crossface Chickenwing thing (a legit finisher of hers) for the submission at (15:31).

This was a REALLY great “She has no chance, but wow- look at her try!” match, as Kyoko was clearly a league beyond her, but generously sold the comebacks and let Candy have a bunch of offense. Candy doing a lot of run-up moves for her comeback put over her athleticism, the repeated Germans her ingenuity, and the final kickout of the Back Elbow her spirit. But it just wasn’t enough- Kyoko was too durable (she kicks out of Toyota and Kong’s finishers- a bunch of Germans had no chance) and had too many weapons in her arsenal. Whole damn time, I wanted Candy to win but knew she wouldn’t- the mark of a well-booked match.

Rating: ***1/2 (I’m a sucker for these kind of matches- a great use of Candy’s somewhat limited Rookie Offense by using perfect timing and flurries of moves)

* Oh shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit. An amazing concept for a match- the Stars of Yesterday (vs) the Stars of Tomorrow. Devil Masami was AJW’s top heel during the early ’80s, and their Ace during 1985-ish, and Bull was the Heel Ace between 1989-92. Meanwhile, Sakie is by this point the “Obvious Ace of the Future” for AJW (injuries would derail that, but it seemed inevitable until then), and Hikari is the same thing for JWP- both had looks and tremendous in-ring skill that specialized in “FIGHTING SPIRIT” and always trying their best even in impossible odds. And an added wrinkle- they spent 1993 feuding with each other on their respective shows- Sakie winning at Dream Slam II and Hikari begging forgiveness from JWP’s President, then getting her win back at the Thunder Queen Battle! But yeah- they’re right proper fucked here- his is like children fighting Gods. Sakie’s wearing neon yellow with a lot more straps in the back, while Hikari’s in her usual Tarzan gear. Devil’s in the black tights as usual, while Bull’s got that “brown top/black leotard” thing.

The rookies get cute and spam out dropkicks on Masami and take shots from the apron, but get slapped down like little kids for it. And then Sakie’s knocked outside, and Masami press-slams Hikari onto her. Hee. And then Bull absolutely MURDERS Hikari with a vicious lariat that has the whole arena going “Woooaaahhhhhh!”. They beat the shit outta her and then it’s Sakie’s turn, and I think I was put on this Earth to watch Sakie try her “Fighting Spirit!” shit with powerhouse veterans, cuz Masami just drills her with chops, knocking her down after each one to teach this kid some RESPECT. But Sakie didn’t learn shit, because she counters stretching by PASTING her with slaps, so Masami suplexes her and slaps her in revenge. Sakie reverses on Bull, though, and they work over her leg for 3 minutes until Bull locks on an armbar and Devil then launches Hikari with Overthrow Powerbombs and a sick Surfboard/Dragon Sleeper. And talks shit at the fans for cheering for Hikari, because she rules. Huge-ass Powerbomb and she doesn’t even bother going for a cover- instead flipping the crowd off.

Hikari gets hiptossed out of a Rolling Cradle attempt, but a second try works… and when it gets two, she just rolls AGAIN. Never seen that before. Sakie tries a Savate Kick but Devil just nopes her on her ass and Bull throws down on the kids. But she gets cute with a double-lariat and so they lock her in a DOUBLE-Cross-Armbreaker! But then their own double suplex is itself countered and she suplexes both of them over. Devil Powerbombs Hikari to set up Bull Guillotine Legdropping BOTH of them, but both manage to dodge it. The kids knock them outside, Hikari hitting a Handspring Body Attack out there, and both hit Planchas (though Hikari slips the first time), but they slow things down too much and the crowd just completely dies. Bull fails to hold Sakie in the Angelito, dropping her on the lift, so Devil comes back and dominates in her decisive, methodical way with a Superduperplex, Missile Dropkick and brutal Powerbomb. Sakie sells the shit out of a half-crab and fights back against Bull to tag out, but Hikari’s segment kinda dies and the elders take over again.

Bull beats on Hikari with nunchucks and a short powerbomb for two, and Devil adds a gorilla press slam onto the connector cable behind the top turnbuckle! Half-hearted Hikari comeback ends up with a couple minutes of stretching, but the kids manage to hit a trio of corner attacks on both elders, then reverse stereo lariats to stereo Germans for two! German & Savate Kick set up the kids’ big move- Hikari Moonsaults off of Sakie’s shoulders for two! Bull had to save, but Sakie’s lured into hitting her Savate Kick on her partner by mistake and Bull lariats both, but Sakie Savate Kicks her and locks on a desperation sleeper that excites the crowd… but Devil just stomps on her head to end it. The crowd boos her, and a furious Sakie URANAGES her for revenge, but the vets slam her down with a Double Chokeslam. Hikari gets the same and a Powerbomb nearly finishes Sakie, setting up a finish in a Powerbomb/Guillotine Legdrop… but Devil eats mat and Sakie Savate Kick Spams her! Hikari flies in with a Missile Dropkick, but Devil just rolls back onto her feet and crushes them with lariats. Hikari gets irish whipped, but she swings right into her Cartwheel Handspring Elbow to take Bull off the apron, but takes a Backdrop Superplex from Devil! Sakie saves her from the pin, but RIGHT THEN Bull comes flying in with the Guillotine Legdrop, and she grabs Sakie to allow Devil, the legal woman, to execute her own, killing Hikari dead at (28:54). The veterans win after a long, hard-fought match- they yuk it up in the back, with this “WOW, those kids put up a hell of a fight!” look, while Devil drinks something from a Hello Kitty glass.

Damn, I was thinking this was an easy ****+ match to start, but something just HAPPENED in the middle there with the pacing, and they lost the crowd and took ten minutes to win them back. The audience got really quiet and after the “outside” portion, and it was only the odd cheer thereafter. I think it’s just a pacing issue, as you suddenly saw a lack of urgency from anyone present and the speed scaled down really badly, and the elders became WAY too dominant, gobbling up all the offense for several minutes and kinda making it a foregone conclusion instead of the “Scrappy Underdogs” thing. The time was likely a factor- this was nearly 30 minutes long, when 20 would have been great and picked up that pace. As it stands, the dead period in the middle can’t hurt it TOO badly, and it kinda makes sense- the veterans getting a long heat segment because they’re just too good and managed to slow the juniors down and take them apart until they got fired up again, and then have to blitz them with huge moves to finally get the win. And in any case, they came ROARING back with a very hot ending sequence, with the juniors pulling off a bunch of great comebacks and looking as if they had a chance again, until Bull slickly finishes Hikari by flying in from off-camera.

Rating: ****1/4 (A ton of false-finishes and reversals made for a fun ending to a weirdly-paced match- enough was awesome that I’m oddly back at my original rating after scaling my expectations back, lol)

* And it’s now the second of their massive four-match war for the top title in Joshi- AJW’s Ace comes to JWP territory to fight their own top wrestler, putting up the Big Red Belt! Aja’s won once so far, hitting a Super Mountain Bomb. Kansai is wearing neon yellow with gold trim, while Aja’s in her black variant, with gold trim. Yup- I think that’s symbolic there. For the first time I’ve ever seen, Aja doesn’t do her trademark “run out of the corner and raise her fist” when her name is called- she just stares Kansai down.

They forearm and slap the ever-loving shit out of each other to start because Joshi is awesome, then do stretching puncuated by lariats and knees to the face. They work a LONG series of Aja stretching Kansai, lasting a good six minutes or so, with Kansai finally lariating out, but she soon gets caught and stretched AGAIN. 13 minutes in, and Aja hits a Piledriver to start the “proper” match, but the Avalanche into the corner meets a punch and a Flying Splash. Aja Mountain Bombs out from a lariat and hits a trio of Piledrivers (remember, those aren’t major moves in Japan) and a 2nd-Rope Splash for two. Kansai knocks Aja off the top, but this time her splash hits knees and she eats a Backdrop Driver for two, but when she goes up, Kansai aims for a running Splash Mountain (Razor’s Edge Sit-Out Powerbomb)… but Aja slips out and they collapse! Dramatic moment for the crowd, evoking their 1993 match. Flying Back Elbow to the spine gets two, and Aja gears up the Uraken (Spinning Backfist)- first try misses, and Kansai blocks two more before catching one and turning it into an arm-wrenching backdrop suplex!

Kansai works a cross-armbreaker and repeatedly kicks Aja in the shoulder, neck and face before trying to haul her up again, but the ref insists on doing a 10-count on the mat- Aja only barely gets up (and possibly only because Kansai caused a re-start by trying to pick her up again), but Splash Mountain is reversed to an Uraken! And now the same thing happens- Aja breaks up a count that re-starts and hits nine… but this time Kansai stumbles right into a HORRIFYING Uraken! She doesn’t fall, though, so Aja blasts her with two more, misses one, then hits one to the back of the head- Kansai is doomed, but summons all her remaining fighting spirit for the biggest Running Forearm Smash ever, bowling Aja over and sending them both down! Aja’s up at 7 and Kansai at 9, and then it’s a war between Uraken Spam and Forearm Spam, Kansai finally being rocked enough to get pasted with a few more in a row before finally dropping and Aja gets on her for the three (22:03). Now THAT was a war, though very one-sided for Aja, who only got in trouble a couple of times and didn’t get hit with most of Kansai’s death moves. Kansai is actually in tears in the post-match interview, showing more raw emotion than I recall seeing from her.

This started great, but built more like a “standard match” with the slow feeling-out process lasting several minutes, with none of the aggression and hate of their other matches- it was really strange. And then they hit “go” 13 minutes in and start firing away with their big stuff- Kansai can’t hit her finisher, and Aja ends up rocking her with the Uraken like in all their other bouts. But as usual, the more she hits, the less effective they are (she needs the full “hit a standing opponent with a full spin”- spamming them out renders them more like a basic strike). And that turned into the story of the match, as like at Big Egg, Aja just hits too many and Kansai eventually runs out of spirit.

Rating: ***3/4 (easily the worst match of their series… primarily because they have a ****1/2 basement, apparently. These two are crazy)

Match Ratings:
Yagi/Nouchi vs. Maekawa/Tamada: *3/4
Bolshoi Kid vs. Command Bolshoi: **1/2
Cutie Suzuki vs. Takako Inoue: ***3/4
Chigusa Nagayo vs. Mayumi Ozaki: ****
Candy Okutsu vs. Kyoko Inoue: ***1/2
Devil/Bull vs. Sakie/Hikari: ****1/4
Aja Kong vs. Dynamite Kansai: ***3/4

-Not a bad show for JWP! Hard to top two matches at **** or higher, and two just under that. Every match but the first two had excellent as their baseline score, so this was a definite plus for them. My only criticism would be that a chunk of the matches were MUCH too long- “Manami Toyota Fever” may be responsible, as I don’t see too many 20+ minute bouts before she hit big outside of main events. Two matches above 27 minutes is a tad excessive, and ends up with these emotional wars ending up in “they lay around in submission holds and slowly make the ropes” stuff for big chunks. Though JWP’s own talent actually lost in most of their big AJW/JWP Rivalry matches, with Kansai, Ozaki & Candy all falling- only Cutie pulled out a win solo. At least Devil & Bull count for half.