Joshi Spotlight: LLPW Women’s Sparkling Fireworks

Thankfully, this uploader (Joshi Puro Oshi) puts all their stuff in a playlist.

LLPW WOMEN’S SPARKLING FIREWORKS (LLPW vs. AJW):
(11.09.1993)

* This show has popped up a couple of times during these Spotlights, as I recognized this extremely distinctive arena (looking like a high school gym with high bleachers on one side), but didn’t realize that these matches were all from the same show. This actually precedes the mega-show LLPW vs. AJW: Nagoya Super Storm by a couple of weeks, meaning this is much less of a big deal. But in that, you kind of get some freedom- silly matches, squashes, true rarities, etc. The Main Event is the cap-off to the Akira Hokuto/Rumi Kazama mini-feud that’s sprouted up over these shows during the summer months, while the Ace of LLPW is in a unique tag match right before the main, and AJW’s Ace is facing a jobber.

“TL;DR- Why Should I Care?”: So the interesting thing from a “wrestling nerd” perspective is all these stars you rarely find on these shows otherwise, plus things like utter squashes. LLPW is throwing mid-tier star up against top-tier AJW foes, but also dumping many of their lower-tier stars in one-sided contests against big names. Some of the matches are clipped, but not by much.

The crowd here is REALLY sparse at first, with empty chairs seen everywhere. And there’s four weirdos who spend all the matches sitting in the aisle while facing the crowd, then stand up to block the fans during entrances. Are these out-of-work train workers?

SAKIE HASEGAWA & CHAPARRITA ASARI (AJW) vs. LEO KITAMURA & MICHIKO NAGASHIMA (LLPW):
* Rookie Mayhem! Except Sakie, in blue, is getting a solid midcard push, and yellow-clad dwarf ASARI is a hot new star, given a recent name-change and a finisher in the Sky Twister Press. Leo, in orange & black “LLPW Gear” (they all have these sorta designs) had a very minor career, lasting only from 1991-94. Michiko wrestled from 1989-98, and has a white leotard with long sleeves.

Generic “running & screaming” joshi opener to start with Sakie & Michiko, and AJW double-teams her, but ASARI comes embarrassingly short on a Cartwheel Handspring Mule Kick, drawing laughs from the audience. I think Michiko planned that or didn’t expect it, as she didn’t spring out of the corner at all (which is normally how you take that). Double suplex and Leo backdrops Michiko onto the kid, but ASARI bridges out. Leo actually hits a good Moonsault of all things, but Sakie breaks up the pin. ASARI & Leo reverse stuff for pin attempts, then ASARI corrects her Mule Kick but flipping THREE times and doing a backsplash just to get some accuracy. Backflip kick wows the crowd even more, and Sakie adds Savate Kick Spam, setting up the Sky Twister Press… but Michiko catches her with the RAZOR’S EDGE of all things, and picks up the three count (5:19 of 9:28 shown). Very quick, “get a bunch of our shit in” match, abridged down to quite little, as Sakie barely did anything. It had a good pace, but everyone was kinda green and unfamiliar, making it awkward.

Rating: ** (good enough opener)

SKY FLOWER ROCK:
MANAMI TOYOTA (AJW) vs. CAROL MIDORI (LLPW):
* So we have AJW’s flashiest wrestler against Carol Midori, who had a serviceable career in LLPW and didn’t get a big push until the 2000s, winning the LLPW Title twice. Toyota’s in the “Hostess Roll” black leotard, while Midori’s a shorty in leather pants, which she switches out for a blue sports bra & shorts like a true jobber.

This isn’t even close to competitive, as Manami no-sells dropkicks and scores her own lethal one. Carol gets a lucky German, misses a Turning Splash, and does a flash-pin for two, but then Manami throws her into the Cradle for a full minute and a half for the pin at (2:50). Hilariously, 50% of this match takes place in the Rolling Cradle, as Manami rolls her around for FIFTY REVOLUTIONS. The crowd finds this HILARIOUS and marks out completely, despite being cheated out of what would have probably been a cool match (Carol seemed skilled).

Rating: 1/2* (I mean, what we saw was good and flashy)

I love how you can tell from the video’s thumbnail that they’re like “LOL this is hilarious how easily we’re winning”.

TECHNICAL FLASH:

KYOKO INOUE (AJW) vs. MIKIKO FUTAGAMI (LLPW):
* So one of AJW’s top stars is in there against someone I’ve only ever seen in tag matches on mixed shows. Futagami eventually becomes GAMI and has a serviceable career, but in the ’90s shows, she’s entirely in tag matches that run from middling/poor (a “Rookie 6-Woman Tag” at Dream Slam 2) to very good (Big Egg and Wrestlemarinepiad ’93 have her in good ones against rivals). Gami’s in blue, black & white “LLPW Gear”, while Kyoko’s in pink & yellow.

They grapple for a minute, letting you think it’s gonna be competitive and a long one, but Kyoko slaps Gami and earns a beating and a ton of facecrushers for it. Kyoko swiftly counters a chinlock with kicks, however, and promptly eats her opponent alive with Mongolian Chops and forearms. Gami keeps trying a pumphandle thing, but Kyoko hiptosses out of it before taking a backdrop suplex, letting Gami finally hit the move- it’s a Pumphandle Sit-Out Powerbomb. Not much elevation, and it gets two, but when she goes for another, Kyoko just runs off the ropes and hits a standard lariat for the win (4:01), doing an arrogant one-armed cover. Well that was abrupt. Gami got only a little, and Kyoko totally dissed her like Manami did her own opponent.

Rating: 1/2* (pretty generic filler stuff, like the start of a long match that just got cut off)

DREAM KICKOFF:
TOSHIYO YAMADA vs. YUKARI OSAWA:
* I’ve seen Osawa in the Legacy of Queens show, and she seems okay. Tall-ish and wearing a Bison Kimura-like suit in green & red, with armbands. Yamada’s in the pink & black tonight.

Bizarre match, as Osawa throws out a TON of great-looking kicks and has good size, but Yamada of all people just tanks them like Yumiko Hotta would, doing the “aaahhhh!” no-sell, and takes three belly-to-belly suplexes in a row, kicking out at one and doing her own, then an enzuigiri and a snap suplex. Osawa reverses a whip and hits a bridging fallaway slam for two, but Yamada reverses Osawa’s whip and just Kick Demons the kid to death at (1:41). Osawa’s moves looked good, but neither went up very far for the suplexes (Osawa looked like she didn’t even know how to bump right). Perfectly serviceable squash, and Osawa is seen softly crying backstage, disappointed over going down so easily.

Rating: 1/2* (another hard-to-rate jobber match- this is why Bayless & Scott don’t rate these, lol)

AJA KONG vs. MIKI HANDA:
* Haha, oh jesus. Aja, the Ace of AJW, now goes up against a mid-tier “card filler” wrestler from LLPW. Handa’s a “Good Hand” kind of wrestler, but has zero credibility here. Aja has a rad shirt with her own face on it, and tosses it into the crowd after seeing which side can be the loudest, while Handa contemplates her own demise (I mean, Aja brutalizes EVERYONE, but takes special delight in killing the pretty ones). Aja’s in the purple & white variant of her gear, and Handa’s in black & pink with lots of frills.

Aja bullies the shit out of her in a test of strength to start, and no-sells dropkicks even while Handa runs around her. Handa trying an octopus stretch just draws laughter from the crowd, and Aja reverses it so casually its gets over. Then she hits the avalanche (“Han-DAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!”) and some of her patented “I’m slowly and confidently kicking your ass” stuff, but goes for the Super Mountain Bomb and Handa reverses to the Sunset Powerbomb! For one, lol. Handa runs in, ducks an Uraken, and grabs a Bridging German, but Aja’s out before the ref even hits the mat! Aja takes some missile dropkicks, but calmly waits for her chance, catches Handa, and hits a 2nd-rope splash, getting up at one and doing the Rick Rude hip swivel to applause. Backdrop Driver finishes at (4:16 shown of 6:28). Another gobbling-up, but Aja gave Handa a bit of offense, while still making this look like a walk in the park. Hell, she gives more to Ito & Tomoko by this point!

Rating: *1/2 (not a bad mini-match with a few comebacks, but still mostly a squash, with Aja more or less openly waiting for her comebacks)

ELIMINATION TAG MATCH:
YUMIKO HOTTA, SUZUKA MINAMI, LAS CACHORRAS ORIENTALES (Etsuko Mita & Mima Shimoda) & NUMACCHI vs. EAGLE SAWAI, HARLEY SAITO, NORIYO TATENO, YASHA KURENAI & MIZUKI ENDO:
* Having seen a preceding match just like this at Legacy of Queens, I realize more fully that they were doing a “repeat” of sorts. Except three rookie wrestlers have been swapped out for Yasha the brawler, midcarder Endo, and Tateno of the Jumping Bomb Angels fame! Meanwhile, AJW dropped Bull Nakano & Bat Yoshinaga for… Hotta & Numacchi. Hotta’s in black & yellow, Minami’s in blue, Mita’s in the white variant that’s like my favorite gear of hers, Shimoda’s in black & red tassles, and Numacchi’s in green with pajama pants. Eagle’s in red & black, Harley’s in an ugly multi-colored Mortal Kombat thing, Tateno’s in purple (with white & black accents), Yasha’s in white & red, and Endo’s in the jobberiest blue singlet ever.

The teams take turns beating on each other’s jobbers (god help me, Numacchi’s screaming and her plastic helmet being used as a weapon is funny), with LCO doing their Bitch Pose on Endo, and Hotta shaming her shitty strikes before murdering her with a Backdrop Driver. She manages a tag, but Yasha gets similarly annihilated, eating the LCO Electric Chair Drop/Splash, then Powerbombed & German Suplexed by Minami for the pin (5:11) during a group melee. Jesus, already? Numacchi gets murdered by the LLPW team for a bit (Tateno hitting a Flying Knee and the Stone Cold Stunner of all things), but Mita gets in… and Saito deflects her Chest Slap with a kick! That was pretty fucking cool! Eagle hits Endo by mistake, Mita’s DVD is reversed for two, and Shimoda boots Eagle off the apron while Minami hits Harley & Endo, allowing Shimoda to whup the rookie with a Death Lake Driver (Tiger Superplex), killing her at (9:43). Now it’s 5-on-3.

Shimoda & Tateno in, and they take turns biting each other’s wrists during submissions (then Tateno bites the REF). Then everyone runs in and the match breaks down, but Minami takes Stereo Flying Headbutts from Tateno & Saito, and is done (12:10). Huh- didn’t think she’d take the first fall. Saito misses a kick and hits Tateno by accident, and Hotta uses that to hit her with the Pyramid Driver (straightjacket Ligerbomb) for the pin (13:10). I like the “team psychology” in these things- you notice during the falls that teams are actually physically blocking opponents from entering the ring, since Joshi is so based around partner-assisted kickouts. It’s 4-on-2 now, but Harley & Eagle are pretty fresh. Harley reverses Mita’s DVD to a Tiger Suplex for two- Shimoda saves. Harley’s Flying Headbutt & Eagle’s Vader Bomb both get two thanks to more interference. LCO tries to double-team Eagle, but she bullrushes them over by reversing a double-clothesline to a great pop! LCO hit dives to the outside, but then Numacchi ends up flattening her whole team, leading to Harley getting all of them with a dive, and then Eagle hits a BBW FLYING DIVE, wiping out everybody! Jesus.

Hotta sets Eagle up for FOUR Missile Dropkicks from LCO, but then Numacchi runs in with the goddamn shovel and ends up smoking Hotta, who gets pinned (16:43). Hotta’s like “Can you believe this shit?”, almost amused, and Shimoda runs in and is immediately Bossman Slammed and pinned after a Powerbomb (17:06). Did someone hit the “Go Home” signal? And then Mita runs in, slaps Eagle, and gets clotheslined- Eagle just folds her over and pins her (17:19)- holy shit, this IS a Survivor Series match! So Numacchi wraps a Headband Of Some Japanese Thing I Don’t Know About around her forehead, jumps down, stumbles, and is just pushed over for one last pin (17:39 shown of 26:49).

This was a fun match, no major stakes, and people jobbing to basic shit, but had a lot of inventive spots and a good “everybody dives” moment or two. Half the elimiations were total jokes and some people like Minami and Mita were absurdly weak to regular offense after taking little prior damage, but there’s 9 minutes missing, so who knows? Pretty much a “filler house show” event, especially with the comedy character in there, and one of AJW’s top up & comers getting pinned by her shovel attack by mistake. If they hadn’t spent 5 minutes on each rookie, and just bowled through four AJW women in a minute’s time, this could have been a **** match or so, but it’s not to be.

Ratings: ***1/4 (good enough, fast enough, and with some decent-looking moves. Not a classic, obviously)

BULL NAKANO & TAKAKO INOUE (AJW) vs. SHINOBU KANDORI & UTAKO HOZUMI:
* Interesting set-up here, as the former Ace of AJW is in a dream match against LLPW’s current Ace & Champion, Kandori, except Bull has an excellent midcarder on her side and Kandori’s backed up by a glorified jobber. Ace/Idol on both sides, then! Takako’s in turquoise of all things, Bull’s in the fire-shirt, Kandori’s in a plain white & gold singlet, and Hozumi’s in black.

Funny bit to start, as Takako ignores Utako to taunt Kandori, who ignores Takako to taunt Bull, as everyone thinks their opponent is weaksauce, then Kandori scares Takako half to death by no-selling a turnbuckle shot and manhandling her. Then she flips off Bull, being one of the only people on the planet who may do that and live. Utako comes in and gets armdragged around (once off the top!) and Bull comes in to a great pop and lariats her to death, then BOTH girls flip off Kandori, and Bull hits a powerbomb, gets up at two, and lariats Kandori for the hell of it! Kandori, of course, runs in and strangles Takako, releasing it to hit a powerbomb of her own, and now SHE gets off at two and lariats Bull off the apron! ACE FIGHT!!! The crowd loves all this, but they settle things down with Utako using basics on Takako to not “give away” Bull/Kandori too much. Bull locks on the Angelito, but Utako hilariously comes back with an octopus stretch that looks like a spider monkey wrestling a gorilla. Bull casually gets out of that, but goes down for a FRANKENSTEINER, and when she reverses a second, Kandori just trips her.

AND NOW KANDORI COMES IN!! The giants have a Hoss Fight, no-selling each other until Utako tags herself in right away, thus teasing the fans AGAIN, but she flops harmlessly and Bull rampages over both LLPW girls with a huge double-lariat! Bull goes for the Guillotine Legdrop but gets stopped, Takako stops Kandori’s super judo flip, and Utako charges in to stop Takako’s dive, but Bull lariats Kandori from the apron! Crowd brawl goes Kandori’s way, and Utako trips Bull into a Fujiwara Armbar from the Ace! Bull desperately escapes a horrifying leglock on the arm, and Takako has to save her- Utako gets swatted down from a missile kick and Bull absolutely slaughters her with a vicious lariat. Kandori breaks that up, and stops Takako’s Flying Knee, so Takako hits it on HER- Backdrop Hold on Utako! Kandori breaks it up, and Utako escapes the Aurora Special and tags. Takako catches KANDORI in an armbar, which is suicidally brave of her to try, and Kandori punishes her presumption with a cross-armbreaker… BULL GUILLOTINE LEGDROPS HER FROM THERE! Utako with the save, now! Takako looks to finish with a German, but Kandori kicks out and slides it into an armbar, getting the submission as she lets go to reapply and Bull breaks it up (14:38)- odd timing on the finish there.

Great, great fun, and a SUPER-heated rivalry that made it look like AJW & LLPW wrestlers specifically wanted each other DEAD, and a hilarious “tease” in that the Bull/Kandori square-offs were so minimal. Great risk there, but neither promotion wanted to look too weak, I guess. But then they had these great interactions, brawling outside, lariats off the apron, the armbar, then that fantastically-timed Guillotine Legdrop interference. And then the Ace just takes out Takako because LLPW only really gave a shit about protecting her & Eagle during these feuds.

Rating: ***1/2 (really awesome fun, as even the lesser workers put on a ton of effort, and Bull proved herself to retain her elite timing)

Yes the video’s thumbnail is literally the loser cutting their hair.

HAIR vs. HAIR MATCH:

RUMI KAZAMA vs. AKIRA HOKUTO:
* So now, on LLPW soil, in the main event of an Interpromotional Show, Rumi Kazama has challenged Hokuto one more time, putting her HAIR on the line in the process! And given how much of a giant mop of ’80s hair Rumi has, you know it’s serious. I would imagine this would create a ton of drama- the last Hair Match in joshi was at the Midsummer Typhoon the previous year, which saw Toshiyo Yamada get her head shaved. The pre-match thing sees a plainclothes Hokuto talking some shit on a sobbing Kazama, presumably after a losing effort against Suzuka Minami & Bat Yoshinaga. Follow-ups see Akira talking a LOT of smack until Kazama finally challenges her again- looks like this was a pretty nasty feud. Akira’s in black for the match, and Rumi’s in PURPLE leopard-print this time.

Quoth YouTube: “When the first move of the match lays BOTH of them out, you know it’s gonna be good”- indeed, Akira fires off a backbreaker that destroys her own knee, but leaves Rumi rolling around on the floor, as both sell this as a crippling pair of injuries. Akira slams her on a table while Shinobu Kandori brawls with Akira’s seconds at ringside, and NOW the bell rings! Akira hits a piledriver, torture rack and sharpshooter to rip the back apart even more, and Rumi’s selling is EXCELLENT, just screeching in the last hold. Akira hits a lethal backdrop driver and picks her up at two, completely turning the crowd on her, and her taunting from the top rope pays off in spades, as Rumi beats on her up there, then leaves her hanging by the injured knee! Kneecrusher on the table buys Rumi some recovery time, and she kicks the knee apart in the ring to the joy of Kandori on the outside.

Perfect Plex gets two, hooking that knee, and more stretching keeps up the punishment- Rumi’s character work is great, just tasting blood and loving every minute of it. Flying Rolling Kick impresses the crowd, but Rumi can’t capitalize, having hurt the back again! Psychology! This lets Akira recover first, and a sickening Inverted Brainbuster gets two. Akira calls for the Northern Lights Bomb, but Rumi reverses to a Tiger Suplex for two! A good Flying Senton keeps up the hurt, but she goes for one too many and misses- Akira responds with a Missile Dropkick right to the spine that Rumi sells like a sledgehammer blow, shooting across the ring on her face! Akira sells the pain for a bit, but staggers to her feet and killshots Rumi with a Dangerous Queen Bomb on the FLOOR! She milks the count, Rumi barely getting in at “18”, and pounces again- Dangerous Queen Bomb… for ONE, as Rumi rolls forward for a flash pin! 1…2… KICKOUT! Akira’s “Oh, holy fuck” reaction and desperation sleeper are excellent, and she calls out the judoka Kandori and finishes with another choke in the dead center at (13:47), Rumi passing out.

Akira refuses to release the hold, so Kandori comes in for a fight, and finally things settle down- Rumi awakens, and calmly sits in the chair, cutting off a few chunks of that soccer mom mane. In a great scene, a ring girl tries to block her from using the scissors, Rumi insists on doing it herself, then she offers Akira the winner’s right to chop some off, but Akira cuts a promo and bails instead. Rumi thus asks her second, Kandori, to do it, but a shaken Kandori has to call in the barber, who gives her a buzzcut before she gets taken away.

This was a GREAT scrap, showcasing Akira’s selling and carrying abilities, as they work around Rumi’s obvious lower status by getting Akira hurt good and early (and it’s easy to buy, because she’s always hurt), and this makes all the stretching very important, and makes Rumi seem like she has a chance, especially main eventing an LLPW show. Hokuto was wonderful, snarling in pain and never building sympathy, sold like a champ, and only won because Rumi perhaps got TOO ahead of herself and missed an important shot. Rumi’s own selling and character work was great, too, as she maybe got too cocky and aggressive, thinking this was her shot, before Akira reminded her what a Main Eventer truly is. But then AKIRA got too arrogant, calling out her moves or taking her sweet time, getting stuff reversed on her and nearly losing her hair! She sold those reactions like gangbusters, and the sleeper was a perfect finisher, Akira calling out Kandori one more time by finishing an LLPW wrestler with a choke..

Rating: ***3/4 (one of the better carry-jobs you’ll ever see, but Rumi looked great, too)

Match Ratings:
Sakie/ASARI vs. Leo/Nagashima: **
Manami Toyota vs. Carol Minori: 1/2*
Kyoko Inoue vs. Mikiko Futagami: 1/2*
Toshiyo Yamada vs. Yukari Osawa: 1/2*
Aja Kong vs. Miki Handa: *1/2
Hotta/Minami/LCO/Numacchi vs. Eagle/Harley/Tateno/Yasha/Endo: ***1/4
Bull/Takako vs. Kandori/Utako: ***1/2
Akira Hokuto vs. Rumi Kazama: ***3/4
-All in all, a pretty “typical” wrestling evening, with nobody really going all-out to kill themselves. Hell, four of AJW’s top wrestlers more or less had the night off, doing almost no work at all! The final three matches were all great fun, even if they weren’t “mat classics”, and the Dangerous Queen proves that she’s having the best year anyone in wrestling ever had yet again.