JOSHI SPOTLIGHT: AJW SUPER WHIRLWIND:
Only one match from this show appears to be on YouTube, but the rest of the card doesn’t look too promising, aside from one match. This gives me the opportunity to review that one, then make notes on the two big Joshi shows that I already reviewed, but putting them more into the context of what’s been going on in the promotions, having seen much of 1993 so far.
The tag match itself features Takako Inoue & Yumiko Hotta fighting the reformed Marine Wolves- Akira Hokuto and Suzuka Minami.
There’s a Midget Match, then:
Infernal KAORU d. Chaparrita ASARI (5:40)
Candy Okutsu (JWP) d. Chikako Shiratori (AJW) (14:07)– that sounds REALLY LONG for a Chikako match, but they’re throwing a bone to JWP here with Candy beating a nothing rookie.
Akira Hokuto d. Numacchi (0:07)– HAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA oh jesus, I really wish I could see that one. (EDIT: READ BELOW- WE HAVE IT!)
Bull Nakano d. Tomoko Watanabe (12:44)– Pretty long match for Tomoko to fight Bull-Sama.
“Captain’s Fall Elimination Match” Manami Toyota, Toshiyo Yamada & Las Cachorras Orientales d. Kyoko Inoue, Aja Kong, Sakie Hasegawa & Kaoru Ito (25:31)– apparently Kyoko beat Mita (8:24), Shimoda beat Sakie (18:17), Ito beat Shimoda (18:23), and then Manami took out Kyoko to end it early, thus keeping Aja safe from jobbing. Depends on how “big” they were working, that could be a hell of a match.
AKIRA HOKUTO vs. NUMACCHI:
* Haha, oh God! So upon learning that this match was missing, The Boy Who Shot Wolves, who is now my favorite poster ever, uploaded it based off of an old Hokuto compilation he had. So here’s the yellow-clad Dangerous Queen up against a Comedy Jobber- here’s hoping she doesn’t wear herself out too much for the tag match.
Numacchi taunts Hokuto with her stupid shovel and poses, Hokuto smirks to blow it off, and the bell rings! So Numacchi just grabs the shovel again, takes a swing, Hokuto dodges, Dangerous Queen Bomb, goodbye at (0:07). HAHAHAHAHAHAHA BEST!! This shit is why Hokuto is such a legend. She gives Numacchi nothing, kills her in one move, cuts a promo to taunt the writhing jobber, then has a conversation with Rumi Kazama, who presumably challenges her to the Hair vs. Hair Match in November.
Rating: 1/4* (The Dangerous Queen Bomb is worth a quarter-star to a seven-second match- it’s a rule)
UWA WOMEN’S WORLD TAG TITLES:
THE MARINE WOLVES (Akira Hokuto & Suzuka Minami) vs. YUMIKO HOTTA & TAKAKO INOUE:
* This is a match for the vacant Titles, which are like, a weird vanity thing added to the WWWA Tag gold in 1992 for some reason, then separated from them when a JWP team won the Titles. Looking at the title lineage, it’s pretty clearly a “random title reign for a team we like but don’t want to push as the top team yet” thing after a point. Not a bad idea in a company where title reigns can last around a year, and the tiers are strongly defined. Minami and Hotta were partners for most of ’92, and Hokuto beat Hotta for the Grand Prix crown months before, so there’s history here. Here’s hoping Akira’s grueling match earlier in the evening doesn’t hurt her chances here. Minami’s in lavender, Akira’s in black, Hotta’s in the yellow & black singlet, and Takako’s in that weird sparkly turquoise get-up.
We dive out of the ring right from the start, and Takako commences to trying to grind Minami through the mat with all her weight. They beat Minami’s ass until she finally hoists Takako the sadist out of a bodyscissors and Akira does the usual “start of match” stuff with the Idol- roundhouses kicks, etc. Akira talks shit while Takako’s in a resthold and chest-kicks her, drawing the absolute greatest “you BITCH” reaction ever, but Hotta takes over and they work Akira’s knee while repeatedly cheating. Hotta using her full “Kick Demon” powers on Hokuto’s famously-shite knee is pretty drastically lethal, I gotta say. And then Hotta holds the leg out on the apron and Takako fires off her kneedrop onto it! Akira’s so fucked she actually collapses on a whip, but finally Takako gets reckless and Akira escapes- Minami tosses out lariats and a tombstone for two, then adds two backbreakers and stereo missile dropkicks nearly get the win. Hotta’s in and fares little better, being generous to her ex-partner. Minami makes some downright FEROCIOUS faces slapping on a figure-four- very uncharacteristic, but she’s nearly silent while doing so.
Two minutes of legholds and we’re back with Akira’s roundhouse and sharpshooter, then the Wolves catch her in a lucha-esque thing until Takako breaks it up. Hotta facecrushers out and Takako engages in reversal-heavy pins with the Wolves, then drops her Flying Knee ON AKIRA’S LEG. Hotta misses her back elbow, but Takako blocks Akira from the tag (good psychology), requiring her to actually do the “rolling attack” to get Takako off the apron and finally tag out- Minami hits a dive and Akira uses the Tope Con Hilo! Akira, you’re HURT- just settle down a bit! Minami adds tilt-a-whirl backbreakers to both inside the ring (though fights hard to get Takako up). Hotta tries a dive but Akira smokes her- Assisted Powerbomb gets two! Minami climbs, but Takako Super Chokeslams her for two! Flying Knee to the back of the head gets two! Akira’s in- Dangerous Queen Bomb to Takako for two! Rocket Launcher Con Hilo in the ring for the same- that was like a flying axe kick. Hokuto climbs but gets caught by Hotta and takes a TERRIFYING bump off of the Caribbean Splash (straightjacket Super German), landing on her neck and tumbling over it. Minami saves at two, and Takako chokeslams her on the floor while Hotta tries the Pyramid Driver (straightjacket ligerbomb), but Akira falls on her for two instead! She tries the Northern Lights Bomb, but Hotta just snaps her into the Pyramid Driver for the quick three (24:55)- Takako & Hotta are the UWA Tag Champions!
Very good match, largely dominated by holds to start, which is probably why the crowd was so quiet (even the best technical stuff isn’t gonna convince the fans someone’s gonna tap from a move that isn’t a finisher, ya know?). Akira’s selling was off the chain as usual, doing her best “I’m ten seconds from dying, but five seconds from killing you” act. Almost all of the first ten minutes was “kill Hokuto’s knee”, which is a solid plan, as it gets the submission stuff out of the way early and justifies the injured leg being part of the match’s story- now you can just go into high gear and keep going. And after all that, the final five minutes were a great Joshi Sprint, throwing out everyone’s coolest stuff until Hotta kind of pulled a lucky one out. The finish seems weaker than typical joshi tags, but kind of WCW-ish in how one person’s finisher was reversed to another’s- it was pretty slick, too, and puts over the Pyramid Driver as a big move.
And so Hotta & Takako, the disparate tag team who impressed in losing performances over much of the year, now have a pair of trophy tag belts in the UWA gold.
Rating: ****1/4 (felt like a lot of padding, but Akira has the best “padding” in her matches thanks to her great selling. And the finishing rush was typically great)
Since this is a much shorter review than normal, I can detail the specifics of another pair of shows that followed it. Since I already reviewed them, there’s no need to re-post, but they fit into the timeline here:
AJW NAGOYA SUPER STORM (Sept. 29th): This is an AJW/LLPW “Super-Show”, built around their part of the rivalry. However, perhaps because it’s right before Wrestlemarinepiad ’93, they don’t put out a ton of competitive match-ups- more like one-sided “the winner is obvious” ones where the show is sold around the unique interpromotional match-ups that’ve never been seen before.
CHAPARITA ASARI & CHIKAKO SHIRATORI (AJW) vs. CAROL MIDORI & MICHIKO NAGASHIMA: Fast, uncoordinated match as ASARI jobs out to Midori’s Spinning Splash (11:21). *1/2.
AJW JUNIOR TITLE- NUMACCHI (AJW) vs. MIZUKI ENDO: Endo ends the Comedy Jobber’s only title run in AJW, beating her and losing it to Chaparrita ASARI a couple months later. Forgettable, nothing bout (10:30). *3/4.
LAS CACHORRAS ORIENTALES (AJW) vs. TOMOKO WATANABE & INFERNAL KAORU: KAORU barely spends any time in the match, as LCO work over Tomoko, who justifies her bad reputation from this time by messing up a lot of moves. Mita ends it with her incredible Death Valley Driver on Tomoko at (12:51). ***
JAPANESE TAG TEAM TITLES- KAORU ITO & SAKIE HASEGAWA (AJW) vs. LEO KITAMURA & MIKIKO FUTAGAMI (LLPW): Sakie does an incredible job at playing up the rivalry between companies, ripping into Mikiko & Leo, who cheat like good heel invaders. Ito pays back their cheating by flying in with her Double-Foot Stomp, then Sakie’s Uranage, triumphantly sitting on Mikiko’s chest for the three (16:30). ***3/4
SUZUKA MINAMI (AJW) vs. UTAKO HOZUMI (LLPW): Minami completely dismantles the rookie, but carries her very well, feeding comebacks like letting her “slip” out of a Powerbomb. She hits a Bridging German for the win (9:01) for a miraculous **1/2.
TAKAKO INOUE (AJW) vs. YASHA KURENAI (LLPW): Great Takako performance, as she responds to Yasha’s stick attacks and posing by stealing the stick and posing like a supermodel on the top rope, hits her own Super Chokeslam (Yasha also uses that move) and hitting her Aurora Special at (11:62). **3/4.
BULL NAKANO (AJW) vs. NORIYO TATENO (LLPW): A disappointing match between the former Ace and one of the Jumping Bomb Angels, as Noriyo had slowed down a lot by this point, and it’s mostly selling in holds and a sloppy final four minutes. Guillotine Legdrop and Moonsault get the three (15:36). **1/2.
MANAMI TOYOTA & TOSHIYO YAMADA (AJW) vs. HARLEY SAITO & MIKI HANDA (LLPW): Not really a match that’s in doubt, but the dethroned former WWWA Tag Champs build credibility by taking out LLPW’s #3 and Handa in a good match. Manami’s Japanese Ocean Cyclone Suplex gets Harley once they deal with Handa at (16:49). ***1/2.
AJA KONG & KYOKO INOUE (AJW) vs. EAGLE SAWAI & YUKARI OSAWA (LLPW): Osawa is a low-tier wrestler, so gets badly beaten, but they play off the excitement of Aja/Eagle pretty well in anticipation of future match-ups. Kyoko easily beats Osawa with the Run-Up Flying Back Elbow (11:12). **1/4.
SHINOBU KANDORI (LLPW) vs. YUMIKO HOTTA (AJW): Kandori is the Ace of LLPW, and Hotta nearly never wins the big one, so this is a good “sacrifice” match. Kandori actually works super-hard, though, giving Hotta a lot and putting her over, selling TKO spots as potential match-enders. Kandori’s “can finish it from anywhere with a hold” thing pays off by dragging Hotta off the ropes and the ref calling the match due to a leg-hold (20:43). ****.
AJW WRESTLEMARINEPIAD ’93 (Oct. 9th): More interpromotional mayhem, with a few “obvious winner” matches, filler, a great Devil/Kyoko match, the big AJW/JWP rivalry split up into two tag team matches, and a Main Event between the two biggest stars in AJW!
ETSUKO MITA, TOMOKO WATANABE & NUMACCHI (AJW) vs. CAROL MIDORI, MIKIKO FUTAGAMI & MIZUKE ENDO (LLPW): Mostly trading average, “house show” quality stuff until Tomoko hits a Pumphandle Cross-Armed German Suplex on Endo at (18:53). Little flow beyond “working over the rookies”. **1/2.
ELIMINATION “CAPTAIN FALL” EIGHT-WOMAN TAG- MIMA SHIMODA, KAORU ITO, CHIKIKO SHIRATORI & CHAPARITA ASARI (AJW) vs. CUTIE SUZUKI, PLUM MARIKO, HIKARI FUKUOKA & COMMAND BOLSHOI (JWP): ASARI’s Sky Twister Press takes out Bolshoi, Ito’s Flying Stomp takes out Hikari, Plum beats Chikako & ASARI. Captain Shimoda falls to Plum’s Super Frankensteiner at (27:47). Good match that got intermittently slow because the match was so long. The early falls by JWP built suspense, since they were otherwise much higher-tier. ***1/2.
TAKAKO INOUE & SAKIE HASEGAWA (AJW) vs. SHINOBU KANDORI & YASHA KURENAI (LLPW): Both AJW girls get bullied by LLPW’s Ace, who easily shreds them while they can only take her out in double-teams. Sleeperhold finishes Sakie at (11:04). ***1/2.
BULL NAKANO & REGGIE BENNETT vs. YUMIKO HOTTA & SUZUKA MINAMI: Reggie’s first match against real competition! Minami does a good carry-job and puts over Reggie tremendously, jobbing to her running splash & Torture Rack (11:02). Since Bull’s team was winning, Bull did most of the selling. ***.
KYOKO INOUE (AJW) vs. DEVIL MASAMI (JWP): Kyoko, after “hovering” all year, gets a huge match against the former Ace of 1980s AJW. The match is AWESOME, as Devil plays it like a classic methodical powerhouse (hilariously admonishing the crowd for cheering Kyoko), but Kyoko just has too much “go” for her, and keeps countering stuff with speed and power. Kyoko pulls out a shocker flash-pin by reversing a suplex, winning at (19:52). ****1/4.
MANAMI TOYOTA (AJW) vs. MAYUMI OZAKI (JWP): The first half of the “Tag Rivalry”, and a fantastic match that was done at a slower pace than you’d imagine, using more venom and hate that MOVEZ, as typical for Manami. Manami wins with the greatest Japanese Ocean Cyclone Suplex in history, literally walking the diminutive Ozaki around the ring before dropping her at (19:58). ****1/2.
DYNAMITE KANSAI (JWP) vs. TOSHIYO YAMADA (AJW): JWP’s Ace takes out Yamada, who fights with a similar style, giving her 80% of the match, but winning with her Splash Mountain finisher at (19:44). Others have noted that ending both of these “split tag team” matches with the finishers was important, as most of their prior bouts were built around near-falls, with the finishers ending in kick-outs and MDK Super-Double-Teams being needed to win. So these two matches now re-establish their big moves. ***3/4.
WWWA WORLD TITLE MATCH- AJA KONG vs. AKIRA HOKUTO: AJW’s two biggest stars have the ultimate kind of Main Event. Tragically, Hokuto’s knee is too badly injured and she had surgery on it, changing the course of the match… but both proved their talent by threading that into the match. One of the best matches by a cripple person you’ll ever see, as Hokuto does wild selling to Aja’s brutality- and Aja comes off as sympathetic! Like she’s torturing Hokuto because she respects the title and needs to win, but isn’t happy about having to do it this way. Akira counters by crippling Aja’s HAND, deflating the Uraken’s deadly power. Aja is barely able to escape an Inverted Brainbuster & Northern Lights Bomb, countering Akira’s dive by catching her in a Falcon Arrow, and using the Super Mountain Bomb (20:11). The sight of Aja literally crying out of respect for Akira’s bravery is amazing, and part of why she’s so good. ****1/2.
So obviously ending with four straight matches where ***3/4 is the worst one renders this an all-timer. Oddly, the ratings you’ll see for this one are all over the place- Meltzer gave Manami/Ozaki ****, while Mike Lorefice gave the main **3/4 because he hated Akira’s injury wrecking it because she “couldn’t physically compete with Aja”- I think he’s more “flash” over “story” in this regard.