Joshi Spotlight- AJW TV (Feb. 18- Toyota/Yamada vs. Kyoko/Hotta)

AJW TV (Feb. 18th 1994):
* Weirdly, I somehow nearly missed this one entirely. A random check of Grand Prix matches from the summer somehow showed U-Channel’s two February AJW shows uploaded. I mean, I normally work a bit ahead, and this BARELY made it on time. I normally search names in English & Japanese, so I shouldn’t have missed this quite so badly. But in any case, here’s a pair of TV shows with likely some fairly edited shows.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_K5vYC7bsHA&ab_channel=U-channel

ETSUKO MITA, TOMOKO WATANABE & RIE TAMADA vs. SUZUKA MINAMI, CHIKAKO SHIRATORI & KUMIKO MAEKAWA:
* It’s a combination of Giant, Rookie & Bottom-Tier Wrestler, though Tomoko way outranks Chikako at this point, so Minami’s practically fighting by herself. Rie’s in white & red, Tomoko’s in green & blue, Mita’s in black, Minami’s in red & black, Chikako’s in blue & white and Kumiko’s in the jobberiest blue swimsuit ever.

Chikako takes the beating at first, everyone working her over, then she escapes and Rie gets her turn as victim. Finally, after 7 minutes of this, it’s Tomoko hitting her judo flips and slingshot elbow onto Minami. Mita adds hair tosses and a Northern Lights Suplex for two- Blazing Chop but there’s a foot in the ropes. Tomoko misses a flying thing but slingshots onto Minami & Chikako. Chikako gets a clumsy comeback but Minami hits her coming off the top by mistake, then saves her from a triple-dropkick. Mita reverses on Minami and dives onto her & Chikako, then hits the electric chair drop for two. Tomoko nearly misses a Moonsault Press but gets two. Mita hits knees off a flying nothing and a Minami Powerbomb gets two. Missile Dropkick… gets three (11:17)?? Huh? Since when does THAT get three-counts against established stars in joshi?

Very, very basic “hammer the rookies” match for ages, then hit the “meat” with some decent stuff. Oddly got a lot of focus on Minami/Mita, ending unexpectedly with a Powerbomb & Missile Dropkick. Which I guess says a lot about how “MOVEZ”-y Joshi is that those two big moves are a shocker pin, but Mita’s just challenged for the Tag Titles and goes down pretty easy here. Unexpected.

Rating: ** (fine enough once they stopped hitting basic stuff on rookies)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xaf5uLf_Vn0&t=96s

MIMA SHIMODA vs. TAKAKO INOUE:
* These two sorta “found themselves” in a 1992 match against each other, and now both are established as sadistic nutjobs whose looks bely their joy in hurting other people. Takako, in white & grey, comes down to “Pretty Woman”- Shimoda’s in red & silver.

Naturally, they’re scrapping and slapping before the bell even rings. And we get hair-pulling, posing and biting before Shimoda hits her falling & flying clotheslinesfor two. She tosses her around outside and stretches her out for a WHILE, even hitting a surfboard, making sure to use the hair at every available opportunity. Takako manages an armdrag, but the chokeslam is halted and she’s clotheslined again- Shimoda hits feet coming off the top, but rolls up out of the Aurora Special for two. She gets a sloppy German, but Takako gets a fluid one for two out of a Tiger Suplex attempt. Shimoda shoves her off the top and hits a dive. Missile kick gets two (SEE? Mid-match move!), then Takako reverses a charge to a backdrop hold for two, and Shimoda gets the worst German ever for two (Takako was hanging onto the ropes and Shimoda kinda hauled her off and fell backwards). Backdrop gets two and Takako looks like she’s dying… but she snaps off a chokeslam when Shimoda charges, hits another, then does a third onto her KNEE (Shimoda’s head cracking it on the way down), setting up Shimoda for the Flying Knee Smash to the back of the head, getting an emphatic, confident three (10:02 of ?? shown). JWP’s Cutie Suzuki immediately comes out in street clothes to make challenges.

Solid, if unspectacular, midcard match, with Takako doing the honors all match to Shimoda’s stuff, since she was winning in the end. Shimoda’s stuff always has that fun, scrappy look to it, but crossed the line to “sloppy” a few times with those suplexes, and Takako just sorta stopped selling at one point, and hit four moves in a row for the win. Shimoda looked more pissed than hurt by that chokeslam onto Takako’s knee, too.

Rating: **1/2 (good enough, but abridged and missing important aspects of a complete bout)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cKcdvUhGsFQ

SAKIE HASEGAWA & KAORU ITO vs. AJA KONG & BULL NAKANO:
* This was rated **** by Meltzer, apparently, but we’re getting a clipped version so he might have seen it in person. Looks like Sakie’s team is about to get DESTROYED by the Kaiju Konnection. Ito’s a yellow Peter Pan tonight, and Sakie’s in blue. Aja’s in red & gold and Bull’s in the neon tie-dye shirt.

The kids attack before the bell and get slapped around for it, but do-si-do into dropkicks to bring the monsters down, then double-team Aja and do the Steiner taunt! But now we enter the “rookies dying” portion of the festivities, as Aja kicks the shit out of Sakie and hammers her with corner clotheslines. They stretch her out with painful-looking stuff (a crab that’s more “pull the leg right off” and Bull’s Angelito- loose, because Sakie’s so tall). Stereo sharpshooters wear them out even more, but Ito eventually runs in to break up more stretching and Bull murders her with lariats and a powerbomb- great bump from Ito on one lariat, just snapping her whole body on the sell-job. Lariat off the second rope gets two. Ito tries the Ass Attack but gets caught in Aja’s German, but reverses a backdrop to a good one of her own for two. Running Stomp Spam! She tries a Flying one, but Aja dodges and Bull lariats her again. Sakie delays the Guillotine Legdrop enough that it misses, and Ito gets the Flying Stomp on Aja for two.

Aja resists Sakie’s Uranage, but Sakie ducks the Uraken and hits it the second try! Another two for a two-count! She tries the Savate Kick, but Aja ducks it and hits a backdrop driver- Ito saves. Sakie ducks Bull’s lariat, misses the Kick and gets clobbered… but BULL eats Aja’s Uraken! The crowd senses an upset as Sakie hits Savate Kick Spam for two- Bull’s “falling tree” selling is great on the last one. The kids are running out of steam, but hit a double-dropkick after ducking a double-lariat… but make the mistake of trying a double-suplex, and Bull hits her signature “suplex them both over” spot, selling the back like it’s killing her. Aja sets up Bull’s Guillotine Legdrop for the win, but Ito manages to break up the fall! So Aja just hauls her up and Urakens her right in the frickin’ face, setting up STEREO Guillotine Legdrops for the emphatic win, sick of the kids’ bullshit (10:18 of 22:31). Poor Sakie is still motionless two minutes after the bell rings- she is DEAD.

Yeah, this was a GREAT example of the “Big vs. Little” story, with the rookies having no chance and getting tortured, but the monsters feeding them all sorts of comebacks and making it look like a miracle COULD maybe happen. Everything from the missed Uraken hitting Bull on was PERFECT, with Sakie firing out all her best stuff, then her & Ito trying to double-team to make the most of their advantage. I’m a little amazed they cut out more than half of it and I still nearly hit what Dave did, but that was great storytelling, especially how Aja finally upends the rookie strategy of double-teaming by killing Ito herself.

Rating: ***1/2 (I wish the whole thing was available- that was a ton of fun with great storytelling in ten minutes)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dx-kpJz4hpQ

MANAMI TOYOTA & TOSHIYO YAMADA vs. YUMIKO HOTTA & KYOKO INOUE:
* This is a non-title match featuring the WWWA Tag Champs going up against two solo stars almost exactly on their level. Toyota’s in black, Yamada’s in blue & black (huh- haven’t seen that one before), Hotta’s in red & black and Kyoko’s in yellow & pink. Meltzer gave this ****1/2.

Yamada blasts Kyoko to start, but Hotta soon plasters Toyota and all’s right with the world. She does a crab and a fireman’s toss, but whips Toyota and eats the Running No-Hands Springboard Cross-Body as a result, and Yamada comes in with kicks and lariats! Snap suplex! Hotta actually powers up out of kicks and tries to defiantly no-sell them (in her “this hurts, but I’ll fight through it” kind of way), so Yamada just charges her with a takedown, which is smart. Hotta catches her with a tilt-a-whirl slam off the ropes, but Kyoko eats a boot and Toyota flies in with Dropkick Spam! But she whips Kyoko and eats the Slingshot Backsplash, then Hotta kills her with Rolling Kicks in the corners. Toyota manages her dropkick reversal and Yamada cranks on the Assisted Chest Kick, then Toyota hilariously gears up her own by kicking the turnbuckles before hitting a kick! Hotta narrowly wins a strikefest with Yamada, but Kyoko eats the Manami Roll for two. Dropki– no- Giant Swing! 25 revolutions!

Toyota fails two Rolling Cradles before Yamada comes in to help her get one on Hotta for two. She & Kyoko are stopped from flying moves, and Hotta kicks her out of a dive attempt, then Yamada pulls out Kyoko and it’s an outside brawl, leading to a Running No-Hands Springboard Suicide Dive to Hotta & Kyoko! Moonsault in the ring- Kyoko saves Hotta. Yamada hits Enzuigiri Spam for two, but meets a kick with a Flying one. Spinkick brings down Kyoko, though, but she Backsplashes onto the champs- Run-Up Flying Back Elbow for two. Yamada fights out of two Niagara Drivers but eats a lariat for two. Toyota stops Hotta’s Tiger Driver and they hit their double backdrop suplex and Double Flying Headbutt finisher… two! Toyota tries to finish, but settles for a German for two. Kyoko stops a Double Flipover Backdrop Superplex attempt, but gets dumped with Hotta, but Yamada’s dive only hits Manami! Manami rolls out of a Pyramid Driver for two, but gets clobbered- Tiger Driver! Yamada saves and hits a German, but Kyoko hits her own, then lariats Toyota when she tries to German Hotta! Great timing on Hotta’s ducking there. Hotta finally hooks the Pyramid Driver (straightjacket ligerbomb), ending it at (15:22 of 22:02 aired). The champs lose!

Frickin’ fantastic match in the classic “Toyota Style”- painful stretching and fun kick spots to start, then we upgrade into bigger and bigger moves until there’s some intricately-timed, super-precise stuff as the match builds and builds. Hotta usually no-selling in matches pays off in situations like this when she’s forced to sell for the big stuff, and the champs pulled out some great double-teams until Kyoko finally upended them by undoing it. Everyone hitting Germans was a fun bit, especially when it sealed Manami’s undoing as she got lariated trying hers, and Hotta’s repeated finisher teases pay off with the Pyramid Driver finally ending things. You’d think this’d put them in line for a title shot, but I don’t believe that happened- I guess it just keeps the champs looking vulnerable to occasionally drop one.

Rating: ****1/4 (yeah, a great example of the “Toyota Style”- that missing seven minutes could have made it even better, too)

All in all, a fantastic night of television- hard to beat a ****+ main event on regular TV. The up & comers looked great against the Kaiju, and there was a good Shimoda/Takako match in there as well.