Joshi Spotlight: AJW TV (Feb. 27- Manami/Yamada vs. Aja/Sakie)

AJW TV (Feb. 27th, 1994):
* Here’s another AJW TV show, though I could only find two matches from it, making this a shorter review. One match missing off of what was taped is Bull Nakano beating Etsuko Mita- another thing is Numacchi’s retirement. So Saemi Numata had been jobbing throughout most of 1993 and engaging in some pretty horrible matches (and one miraculously “pretty good” match by Mayumi Ozaki), including jobbing big-time to both Akira Hokuto & Reggie Bennett, losing in 10 seconds and 3 minutes, respectively (in a promotion where it can take ten minutes to kill off a rookie). Her last bunch of bouts were in Oct. 1993, and one match in Jan. 1994, so I dunno what happened. Either injures or “you know what? There’s no future as a comedy jobber in AJW” and she was done. A few years later we’d get Tanny Mouse in a similar role.

Other, unaired matches: Chikako Shiratori & Kumiko Maekawa d. Rie Tamada & Tomoko Watanabe (that’s kind of a shocker- Tomoko way outranks everyone), and Suzuka Minami d. Mima Shimoda.

* The Takako/Hotta team continues on a bit longer, this time taking on Kyoko and the up & coming Ito. Kyoko’s in yellow & pink, Ito’s a yellow Peter Pan, Hotta’s in red & black, and Takako’s in light blue & gold, which I only saw a few times, I think.

Takako & Ito have a fun nasty scrap to start, Takako biting and stomping away, then Hotta beats Ito to death, barely sells her stuff (surprising, right?) and hits the Rolling Corner Kicks- Kyoko stops the Tiger Driver early, and they spam dropkicks into her back & ass. Hotta gives ’em both lariats and escapes, but Takako eats Running Stomp Spam, then gets stopped on the top rope and they hit a dramatic Fireman’s Toss/Flying Foot Stomp combo! Holy crap! Hotta stops the pin but the crowd bought that early finish. Takako chokeslams free of a German and they hit a backdrop/back elbow for two. Tiger Driver- Kyoko saves, so Hotta hits the Straightjacket Superplex, but gets the same result. Jesus, that move. Kyoko hits lariats to stop the Pyramid Driver (straightjacket ligerbomb) and hits a German.

She tries the Run-Up Flying Back Elbow, but Takako stops her with the Super Chokesla— no, she jumps off without Kyoko, who kinda falls back but hauls herself up, so they have to struggle to repeat the spot. Oh well. Takako hits chokeslams and a Superduper Armdrag for two, but misses the Flying Knee and Kyoko lands that Elbow for two. Slingshot dropkick & Powerbomb hit, but Hotta does another rolling kick and Ito gets two on Takako with a senton. Flying Stomp misses and Takako hits the Aurora Special (shoulder-seated backdrop), getting two, then finishes with the Flying Knee (9:55 of ???) while Hotta holds Kyoko down on the outside.

Good match that cuts out the early bit entirely, judging by how they just dive into the Finisher Surge so early. Smart psychology and good use of reversals and Ito’s limited offense, though that Chokeslam spot was PERFECTLY timed if not for Kyoko hanging on too tightly to steady herself, wrecking the move. You can’t win ’em all, unfortunately.

Rating: ***1/4 (obviously abridged by a very good final run of moves)

2/3 FALLS:
* Oh man, this is a big one, and only a week after the champs lost to Kyoko & Hotta- Aja is a former Tag Champ (Toyota & Yamada BEAT her team for their first title run, in fact), and the current Ace of the promotion, and generally invincible. Sakie is the remaining member of her stable, and they’ve been paired up as a Veteran/Rookie duo with a bit of success. But taking on the champs is a big, big deal, as we get the full 2/3 rules and everything. This is clipped by at least 13 minutes, as the original bout went 47:51 according to Cagematch and the YouTube video is only 41, including introductions and post-match. Aja’s in red & gold, Sakie’s in that pink paint-splatter singlet, Yamada’s in silver & black and Toyota’s in black.

FALL ONE: Manami & Sakie run it at a million miles an hour to start, Sakie countering her and Aja coming in to whup some ass before going methodical. Sakie does a crab, but eats two rollups (Toyota tries the Running No-Hands Springboard, but slips off and settles for a sunset flip in a good recovery) and Yamada hits lariats and her snap suplex. Two Backdrop Drivers! Stump puller and Sakie defiantly slaps away, but gets murdered with kicks for it. Aja machine-gun slaps Toyota but earns a Manami Roll, then catches Yamada and hits a Vader Attack. Sakie ends up taking a beating, but Aja keeps saving her and she eventually hits a snap Uranage for a close two. Yamada keeps reversing on her, but Sakie eats a missile kick before rolling her up for two. Yamada kick & German gets two. Aja stops a Flying Enzuigiri while Toyota keeps trying to run interference on her, but Yamada finally hits it for the first fall (10:47). The timing was off on things, but it was fine.

FALL TWO: Sakie escapes immediately and Aja hits a Mountain Bomb for two. Super version gets the mandatory Sunset Powerbomb reversal for two, but the crowd obviously doesn’t bite- way too early for the champs to win so easily. A third Flying Enzuigiri misses and Aja throws backdrops for two. 2nd-rope splash and Flying Back Elbow- Toyota breaks the count. Aja accidentally Urakens Sakie, and shockingly that’s only a two-count. Manami dropkicks Aja off the apron in a great bit, but their big double-team on a vulnerable Sakie… just sees them stand around and hit a side slam. Aja stops the Moonsault but Manami hits a Running No-Hands Springboard Cross-Body to both challengers. Moonsault… misses! They reverse each other’s finishers for nearfalls and Manami pounces, but eats the Savate Kick… for three (4:00)! SAKIE WINS THE FALL! Aja’s congratulatory fervor is so great. She’s a monster, but she always loves her partners.

FALL THREE: Manami hits the Rolling Cradle, and Yamada adds the swinging stump puller and holds a sleeper for a solid two minutes. Sakie tries to slap away defiantly, but Yamada rips her apart with kicks- Sakie finally clotheslines Toyota and escapes. Aja’s back for her favorite pasttime- killing pretty girls. “TOYOTAAAAAAAA!” avalanche! Piledrivers! A bloody-faced Sakie hits Rolling Butterfly Suplexes and a standing dragon sleeper, but Toyota keeps “F--- YOU!” bridging out of pins. Assisted chest kicks to both champs and it’s an outside brawl, as everyone’s sweaty as hell and exhausted. But Aja hits the Mountain Bomb on Yamada THROUGH A TABLE! And Toyota’s piledriven through one! Superplex to Toyota after a long sell-job, then a Super Powerslam, but she AGAIN bridges out- both times! She tries a Manami Roll but takes a huge powerbomb for a close two. And just like that, the fans are back into it.

Sakie hits two Uranages for two, then it’s a Double Superplex… BRIDGE OUT! Damn, Manami. She finally escapes after a double-clothesline and Yamada hits a big face-kick and flying elbow smash to Aja. Toyota gets her butt kicked again, though, and everyone tries Germans, Aja helping Sakie land one for two. A scramble sees Manami hit a Moonsault Suicida to the challengers, and the Double Flying Headbutt gets two on Aja! They try the Double Flipover finisher, but Sakie yanks ’em off and Aja hits a DOUBLE Back Elbow onto both of them! Great spot, there. Sakie hits a Savate Kick on Yamada for a close two, Manami saving, and Manami missile kicks both and they hit a crazy Doomsday Cross-Body on Sakie, Aja javelining in to break up the fall! Moonsault- two! Double Flipover Backdrop splats Sakie, but AGAIN Aja saves. Sakie reverses the Japanese Ocean Cyclone Suplex for two, but they finally get rid of Aja, and that’s that- Manami hefts Sakie up again, and it’s their new finisher- the DOOMSDAY J.O.C.S./Flying Kick combo, for the win (18:19)!

The first fall was hella-disjointed- fine but with everyone kinda standing around awkwardly and mistiming things. The story was clear, though- Aja had to keep saving Sakie, who was the weak link. The second was kinda like that, too, with Aja’s Urakening Sakie being super-telegraphed (Sakie was in FRONT of Yamada for Aja’s swing), to the point where Manami’s big crowd-pleasing stunt spot barely got a reaction. But here we see Sakie can “hang” with a surprise win in a short fall.

The final fall was a MUCH slower pace, with clearly-tired wrestlers faltering badly and killing time. Aja bringing it back with two table-spots in a row was pretty great, though, and immediately the fans are back into it and the match becomes an awesome BeamSpam fest of big moves, then they settle down again, then MORE big moves, as the crowd is now fully won over and they’re having a great match full of near-falls, most of the kickouts justified because they’re being saved by the partner. So it’s like two ** matches followed by a **** one. Not the best match for the champs (who are normally ****+ machines), but yeah, literally a WEEK after they went 20+ with another team in a ****1/4 match, and Toyota & Aja have ANOTHER huge match in only a week at Korakuen Holy War– honestly, I’m impressed all three matches are as good as they were- a real testament to everyone here.

Rating: ***1/2 (yeah, I dunno- two kinda disjointed, messy falls and then it’s BeamSpam in the finale- like if you just skip the first two it’s a way better match)