Joshi Spotlight: Legendary Goddess VII-VIII (Bull Nakano & Toshiyo Yamada)

Image result for bull nakano

I’d share the link to the YoutTube, but it turns out that Bull wears clothing and decorates her room featuring photographs of nude women on them, so I actually can’t, lol. So here’s that rad Bull Nakano fanart again!

And now it’s two remaining Legendary Goddess VHS reviews before I’m finally done with all the Joshi I could find from 1993! A “Year In Review” article will be up this Friday.

* We get our “LG” tape release for Bull Nakano at last! And immediately it’s bizarre, as a denim-clad Bull, with normal hair and no flashy facepaint, walks gingerly through a ratty old shipyard while 1980s-sounding screeching guitars play. Bizarrely, her dour expression and outfit make her look older here than she does today. And then she starts breathing heavily and just goes mental on a chain link fence while her jacket is now made of leather, and says fuck across the back- God I love joshi.

Then she goes walking down some of the grimy bar-filled streets in Japan (that actually reminds me more of the real Japan than the shiny yachts & harbors they normally go on in these), shows that her jacket has a photo that is DECIDEDLY not safe for work on it (a topless woman pantomiming fingerbanging herself- well now I can’t put the YouTube video in the review, then!), then puts on a Chicago Bulls jacket, and prepares for her first match. Tremendous.

* Fantastic roster of wrestlers, but in a bush-league arena and shot so close-up you can’t see what’s going on. Toyota at least sells a TON for a house-show bout. Ito’s wearing her blue Peter Pan gear, but WHITE shorts, which is actually her best look from this era, believe it or not. Bull goes “woah” at Kyoko’s helicopter slam on Ito, but Aja squashes Sakie when she tries to bridge out of a test of strength. Man, there are empty seats EVERYWHERE. Kyoko earns the nunchucks, but she leads Aja & Bull on a chase, then Backplashes both of them in a good bit. Manami hits a flying cross-body to the outside on all three women, and the camera shows Bull selling a ton, and she misses the Guillotine Legdrop. Aja eats Manami’s Moonsault, but the pin is broken up, and then something we don’t see has Aja pin Manami at (9:44). So weird that they spend so much time on these and don’t even show the finishes, lol.

They show the Bull/Kyoko vs. Akira/Aja match from a prior collection (it’s a good ***1/2 match), then, in an AMAZING bit, the host goes into Bull’s bedroom while she’s sleeping and her room is full of Disney plush toys and she has a Peter Pan calendar over her bed. Pretty great for a woman they’re portraying as a bad-ass kaiju of destruction! And there’s some vintage jewelry. And she’s pinned what I think is a Playboy centerfold to her wall. Wow, and she’s a huge Marilyn Monroe fan- a whole vanity chest decorated with photos of her.

Finally, it’s the very long Bull/Aja vs. Manami/Kyoko match from the AJW Grand Prix ’93– a ***1/2 bout marred by some sloppiness, and them acting as if they’re in the midcard, so the usual A+ effort isn’t there.

This VHS was the GREATEST, if only for finding out Bull decorates her bedroom with a combination of nudie pics and Disney merch (NO WE DON’T HAVE THE SAME DECORATOR SHUT UP). The two matches they showed in full were both quality as well.

* Yamada is by far the lowest-tier wrestler of the Legendary Goddess set, but as the All Pacific Champ and WWWA Tag Champ by the end of 1993, she pretty much had to be here. She starts off by running up sand dunes in a purple track suit, and later we get the mandatory “Joshi eats food” segment (she is apparently a sloppy eater). After all the matches are done, we get a look at her apartment… which is like the smallest and most depressing of all the AJW living spaces. Just this tiny lil’ bachelor suite (kitchen leads right into a bed with a TV).

* It’s in her bright green Peter Pan gear with yellow shorts, while Yamada’s in the pink. This is a TEENY-ASS gym; like, the lowest-tier venue I’ve seen on any of these.

Ito tosses Yamada around to start in a rookie flurry, but Yamada’s like “fuck that” and fires off a dropkick like a shotgun, her snap suplex, and more, then stretches her out for several minutes, then Ito gets several of her own. Yamada fights back after four minutes of leg stuff and is right back to kicks, then hits the Stretch Muffler and spinning version, but goes right back to resting. Ito finally gets a sunset flip & Ass Attack to come back and speed things up 11 minutes in, but goes to MORE leg stuff until Yamada finally hits Enzuigiri Spam for two.

Yamada climbs, but Ito brings her down with a superplex and spams Running Stomps for two. She misses the Flying Stomp, recovers on the landing, and hits her Rolling Senton out of the corner and THEN hits the Flying Stomp in a smooth bit, getting two. But that’s like all her shit, so the crowd is like “well she’s done”. Yamada fends off a German, kicks out of a victory roll, and gets two with a backdrop, then tries to finish with the Flying Enzuigiri, but Ito knocks her down, then rolls through on a flying cross-body for two. Yamada reverses a whip by just rifling Ito’s head off with a kick, and the Flying Enzuigiri hits this time at (15:42).

Holy JESUS- that was like 13 straight minutes of restholds except for the beginning and end. You know none of that’s scoring a win, or even mattering to the match at some point (Yamada’s ENTIRE OFFENSE is kick-based just about, and Ito works the leg… so Yamada finishes with a shitload of kicks anyways), so it’s pretty much just “sit on your hands” stuff the whole way. Nice little finishing segment, but it’s clear they didn’t have much to do until then.

Rating: *1/4 (the worst thing about really long Joshi matches is how they pad that time out- endless legholds that go nowhere)

* Akira’s two notable Tag Champion partners on opposite sides of the ring here. Yamada’s in blue, Minami’s in black (with fire-colored flowery frill at the chest), Akira’s in black, and Shimoda’s in red & white.

LCO immediately launches their opponents into chairs outside, and take right over on the team. Yamada & Minami only get the slightest of comebacks amidst being stretched out, and LCO do double-bites to Minami. Finally they come back, with Yamada hitting lariats, snap suplex & Stretch Muffler on Shimoda- the spinning version gets a good reaction. But then Hokuto’s in and Minami gets stretched out over the top rope and Akira blasts her with the stick to the chest. Minami comes back with the tilt-a-whirl backbreaker and double-arm version, then works a crab until Akira bites her leg.

Hooking clotheslines by Shimoda! Flying version gets two! Hokuto gets a weak jumping piledriver & roundhouses, with a lot less stink on them than usual, then Minami catches her with a Kneeling Powerbomb for two. Akira facesmashes both off of a double-team and avoids Minami’s next Powerbomb. Rocket Launcher misses and Shimoda gets caught with Enzuigiri Spam and a flying elbow smash for two. A double-team fails, but Akira missile kicks Shimoda by mistake, and Yamada hits a weird Super Uranage (with a sloppy lift into the corner) for the three (13:21). Well that was abrupt.

Standard-issue “We’ll try just hard enough” match, with a HUGE chunk of stretching out and hair-pulling to start (a bit better than “lie around in crab-holds”, but still), but then it just kinda goes on a bit with no real story developing until one team wins after a series that barely matches up to the typical finishes in AJW.

Rating: ** (Very odd low-tier match, with some sloppy move applications- they were just kinda “doing stuff”)

And then they show the match against Sakie Hasegawa from that summer’s Grand Prix, which is at least a very good match… except it’s an upset win for Sakie! Like, why show THIS on a Yamada tape?

And that’s it for the Legendary Goddess collections! These were actually a bit of a slog to get through, no word of a lie- if you don’t speak Japanese and don’t want to see matches shot from up people’s nostrils, then you won’t get as much out of them. Everyone’s in “House Show” mode for the bouts, so the best you’re getting is ***1/2, and it’s actually kinda depressing seeing the identical tiny-ass apartments even big joshi superstars had to live in at the time- only Bull Nakano seems to have a good-sized room! Japan has always had an issue with living space, but the fact that I have an apartment 4 times the size of some of the best wrestlers in the world is depressing.

But no worries- this actually completes my 1993 set for the Joshi promotions! So this Thursday will be my “Joshi in 1993” summation of the entire year!