Joshi Spotlight: JWP (May to July 1994)

JWP IN 1994 (May-July):
* So here’s a short collection of JWP bouts from that YouTube channel I found, mostly timed to spring 1994. August 1994 is VERY well-represented, and so will have its own review a couple weeks from now. Some of these I’m not EXACTLY sure on, as the tiny promotion often had the same people wrestle a lot. Tonight, there’s a handful of filler, and then a pair of VERY good tag matches, one of which features AJW’s Suzuka Minami teaming with Hikari Fukuoka against a demon team of Devil Masami & Mayumi Ozaki!

MAYUMI OZAKI vs. FUSAYO NOUCHI:
(May 1994)
* High-ranked Ozaki takes on the rookie Nouchi in a shorter match. Ozaki’s in red, and Nouchi’s in that white/red/cyan one. And it’s that cool arena with the big theatre stage and curtain on it!

Ozaki, a real pro, jumps Nouchi early and drags her up the steps to the stage (inching them both past an obstacle), and bodyslams her on it, then strikes a pose. She beats on Nouchi in the ring and does a submission that’s equal parts casual and fucking painful-looking, holding it for ages, even biting Nouchi’s hands and tauntingly holding her hands close to the ropes. They bite each other’s feet and Nouchi mounts a mini-comeback, with Ozaki selling the holds more with disgust than with pain, like this is some sort of nuisance to her. Ozaki SLAMS her into the mat for two, demanding the audience’s applause for it, then counters a tornado headlock takeover with a backdrop, but misses the Cannonball Senton- Nouchi gets a victory roll for two, but Ozaki stuffs her comeback and hits a backdrop suplex hold for three (9:16).

Rating: ** (Ozaki’s so great- a completely one-sided bout, but she makes both her stretching and Nouchi’s seem fun with good character bits)

May also saw the major event JWP Super Major Queens Flash!, showcasing a ton of Interpromotional bouts, including the second meeting between Aja Kong & Dynamite Kansai- for the WWWA World Title!

Joshi Spotlight: JWP Super Major Queens FLASH!

It suffered from JWP-esque issues like going too long, as two major matches should easily break ****+ but struggle there because there’s so much filler. Sadly the YouTube channel is gone, but my old review’s still up.

Maekawa/Tamada d. Yagi/Nouchi (missile kicks from Tamada to Yagi, 15:33): *3/4 (way too long for rookies)
Bolshoi Kid vs. Command Bolshoi (10:00 Time Over): **1/2 (ends just when it starts getting good)
Cutie Suzuki d. Takako Inoue (Flying Knee, 19:09): ***3/4 (super-long, but with good callbacks to their last bout. Cutie gets her win back)
Chigusa Nagayo d. Mayumi Ozaki (Tombstone to Over-The-Shouler Running Powerbomb, 27:02): **** (extraordinarily long and padded, but some amazing brutality and great brawling from Oz in particular)
Kyoko Inoue d. Candy Okutsu (finisher series to Toehold Chickenwing, 15:31): ***1/2 (amazing Rookie vs. Veteran match, as Kyoko gives up a ton to Candy, eats Rolling Germans, and only then can finish her off when Candy’s out of stuff)
Devil/Bull d. Sakie/Hikari (Devil Guillotine Legdrop to Hikari, 28:54): ****1/4 (absolutely dead for about ten minutes in the middle, but GREAT “spirited rookies eaten alive by lethal monsters” stuff around that)
Aja Kong d. Dynamite Kansai (multiple Urakens, 22:03): ***3/4 (huge disappointment considering every other bout between them is ****1/2- good and brutal, but way too slow and Aja never looked to be that much in trouble)

COMMAND BOLSHOI vs. HIROMI SUGO:
(June 1994)
* Bolshoi, here decked out in some AWESOME green & blue gear like Rey Mysterio Jr.’s bodysuits, is up against one of the lowest-tier rookies in JWP, Sugo. Sugo’s in a red & blue Jobber Swimsuit.

… oh God, this is like JUST rookie stuff. I mean, the stuff I normally skip when recapping other matches because it’s such basic filler. All camel clutches, crabs, leglocks, etc. haha, I just realized Bolshoi has this hugely-elaborate outfit… and basic running shoes. Nouchi does stuff first, then Bolshoi dominates. DEAD silence from the crowd. Bolshoi goes into the corner and slips- oh boy, just what this match needed; some BOTCHING. Rock Bottom gets two. Nouchi scores some dropkicks but Bolshoi does a slingshot one. Rock Bottom, missile dropkick & Flying Hurricanrana get the three at (12:28).

Rating: DUD (oh god, that was 12 minutes of restholds and one final flourish of stuff)

EXHIBITION MATCH:
PLUM MARIKO vs. FUSAYO NOUCHI:
* This is an “exhibition” (aka 5:00 time limit), and looking at it again, I think this might be from Oct. 1993. Plum’s in the blue frills, and Nouchi’s in red, white & blue.

Nouchi tries rookie stuff, but Plum keeps tying her in knots, even hitting a stretch plum, fittingly enough. More stretching & some suplexes, mostly looking good, but Plum doesn’t have enough to squash the kid in this amount of time, and a German gets two as time expires (5:00).

Rating: * (I mean, it’s solid stuff, but it’s more “the beginning of a good match” than even a completed match by itself, given the joshi style)

MAYUMI OZAKI vs. HIKARI FUKUOKA:
* This is either from June or August, and since August is PACKED and has another match between these two, I’ll put it here. Ozaki’s in red & Hikari’s in her Tarzan gear.

Amazingly, Hikari climbs the ropes before the bell, hits a missile dropkick, then adds her snap powerslam and whips her into the railing. Ozaki’s “oh, you fuckin’ bitch…” smile is pretty great, like she’s planning to REALLY enjoy torturing Hikari later. And yup- there’s some shots to the face and Happy Fun Ozaki Torture in submission holds, including tearing off her armband and MACHING-GUNNING the arm with a chair! Hikari sells that a while, and after taking some shots back in the ring, does the cartwheel dodge and a bunch of running attacks to take over. Hikari stretches her out, giving us a TON of close-ups of Ozaki’s great snarling, twitching, etc., as she works to make even restholds appear to be part of the story. After about four minutes of that, she finally slaps her way free- suplex, cannonball off the top & backdrop hold all get two-counts, but Hikari Moonsault dodges out of the corner… but eats a DDT.

Hikari misses the POPEYE PUNCH~~ after a slugfest, but dropkicks Ozaki in the ass to set up the rolling cradle for two. Ozaki bails and dodges a plancha, but misses her own pescado, and Hikari gets a Superduper Powerslam for two. German gets two as well. Moonsault! Perfect arc! That gets the same- another one gets two and she’s out of shit. At a loss, she aims for a third, but Ozaki dodges this one. Tequila Sunrise (half-nelson/half-Tiger suplex) gets two. Powerbomb hits, but Hikari kicks out again. Ozaki hits a big Ligerbomb, but pushes Hikari over, signals the end, and finishes with another Tequila Sunrise for emphasis at (16:54).

Some fun spots, but a very leisurely-paced match. Stuff like Ozaki ripping the arm to pieces but Hikari making the comeback and selling none of it comes off as odd (if typical for this style of wrestling), but Oz brings the good facial expressions and character work, as always. But man, 2-3 stretches of a few minutes of restholds, then a few extended sell-jobs on the outside after big moves… that’s the sign a match is in “kill time” mode. Their “Final Gear” got pretty decent in the end, though- the classic “you don’t have enough to beat this opponent yet” ending, with Hikari throwing every move she had at the wall, but it just not being enough. Ozaki hitting 4-5 moves in a row for the easy win was as emphatic as you’re gonna get.

Rating: **3/4 (fine enough, and with a good ending, but a very slow, drawn-out match)

DEVIL MASAMI & MAYUMI OZAKI (JWP) vs. SUZUKA MINAMI (AJW) & HIKARI FUKUOKA (JWP):
(July 1994)
* Now THIS is an interesting Dream Match! AJW’s Minami joins a JWP show, teaming up with a JWP loyalist against two of JWP’s top stars! Minami is perfect for shows like this, as she has just enough credibility to be a threat to a top-tier wrestler, but is solidly midcard in AJW by this point, so is a “safe loss” in these bouts. So she could pin Ozaki or take the pin herself- who knows? Hikari’s in a Toyota-esque black outfit with lots of cut-outs & Minami’s in the bright floral singlet. Ozaki’s in red, and Devil’s in this wild, Macho Man-esque white & black tassled number. That’s tremendous.

Ozaki acts like a shit to start, so Hikari jumps her, does the cartwheel dodge, hits a gigaton slap and then it’s the POPEYE PUNCH~~!! But the heels slap her around and torture her a while. Devil beats on her outside and Minami’s hilarious just standing there on the apron, not getting involved until she just goes and leads Hikari back. Four minutes in, Minami gets the tag, and gets a big pop for kicking their asses and hitting piledrivers on both! Hikari takes some relish in giving Ozaki her receipt, too. Restholds, then Minami hits a huge Samoan Drop & butterfly backbreaker, Ozaki selling that with this “FUCKKKKKKK” look on her face. Hikari drags her back from Devil for more stretching, but Oz finally escapes and Devil blasts Hikari all over. Overthrow Powerbomb & surfboard/dragon sleeper, then a butterfly backbreaker- “Fuck YOU!” bridge! Devil stretches her and holds her arm tantalizingly close for Minami’s tag, then Ozaki gets a superplex for two. BIG Powerbomb gets two.

Ozaki stretches her Hikari out with stuff until she herself gets tired, and Hikari reverses a whip to escape- Minami scores some near-falls on Devil with reversals, but gets caught in a friggin’ Doomsday Device for two. Devil Powerbomb- Hikari saves. Minami eats a falling clothesline, but hits her tilt-a-whirl backbreakers on Ozaki. Devil comes in, but Hikari does a Moonsault dodge out of the corner into Minami’s dropkick, then a Cartwheel Elbow. Devil hits a lariat, but Ozaki cross-bodies her by mistake- Minami’s Powerbomb is countered and Oz cannonballs her for two, then Kidmans out of a Powerbomb and hits her own for two! Devil misses the Guillotine, and Hikari’s Rolling Cradle gets two, then she Germans both women! Powerbomb/Moonsault- Ozaki saves! A second Moonsault misses, and a plancha hits Minami, so Devil just press-slams her own partner onto them in a good spot. Devil hits two monster Powerbombs, but Minami stops the pin right away- Devil then Overthrow Powerbombs her ONTO Hikari, then Ozaki hits the Cannonball Senton… Minami still stops it! That looked like the finish. Doomday Powerbomb is stopped and Hikari ranas Devil for two. Everyone scrambles and Devil hits a backdrop superplex… and Hikari “Fuck YOU!” Bridges out! That gets a big ovation, but she’s done- Devil finishes with the Guillotine Legdrop at (23:16).

Wow, this got pretty nuts- started really slow and was all “character” bits, but then they were just throwing bombs out there, doing the “minimal selling; big moves only” stuff, with lots of false finishes. Looked like they were trying to evoke the “Dream Slam Style” mega-match with all those huge moves getting the pins broken up, too.

Rating: ***3/4 (hard to say- they were gearing for *** and then revved it up several notches into a very good Spotfest Match, with Devil’s team dominating)

DYNAMITE KANSAI & COMMAND BOLSHOI vs. PLUM MARIKO & CUTIE SUZUKI:
(July 1994)
* Here’s a mismatched team, as Kansai is the Ace and Bolshoi typically jobs hard. Plum & Cutie are on a similar tier as upper-midcard babyfaces. Both can crush Bolshoi, but Kansai is better than either. Plum’s frilly bright blue gear is AMAZING, as always. Cutie’s in white, Kansai’s in yellow & orange, and Bolshoi’s in the blue & green.

Kansai gets pounced at the bell, eats a dropkick out of the corner and a rana from Plum for two immediately. But Cutie throws some wimpy kicks and dies to a backdrop, so Kansai feeds her to the rookie. Kansai mimicking Cutie’s running kicks but trying to drive her through the Earth’s core with them is pretty awesome. Cutie’s selling as Kansai rips into her is fantastic, too. Plum keeps cheating, so Bolshoi chokes her to a big pop, then Plum convinces the ref to let her touching Cutie’s FOOT count as a tag. Man, Monsoon would be all over that shit. Plum stretches out the kid, but Bolshoi uses a bunch of athletic comebacks to harry her, and Kansai throws a MURDEROUS ki– no, Plum catches the foot and takes her down! The crowd marks out hard for that one. Cutie hits Germans for two, then a DDT and some snotty-ass restholds that are going to get her killed, stretching out Kansai’s nose and lips. And yup, there we go. Kansai mimics the moves with some epic “How’d you like THAT?”, showing the each side of the arena Cutie’s agony.

Cutie finally escapes, and Bolshoi does some excited jumping stuff on Plum and stretching- Kansai adds a spine-kick and tombstone. She misses a Flying Headbutt, so Cutie Dragon Suplexes her and they hit Double Missile Dropkick! Assisted dropkick hits her, but she scores a lariat, but Plum dodges the next and armbars her! Plum gets a German, but Cutie earns a backdrop driver from hell for two- Plum saves. Bolshoi hits Rock Bottoms but takes a DDT- they kick her out of a double-team and a German gets two. Bolshoi’s Rock Bottom off the second rope gets two, but Moonsault eats feet! Plum Superplexes her… bridge-out! Kansaii charges in with a save, but STEAMROLLS poor Bolshoi with a lariat- Straightjacket German gets two. Flying Stomp from both women— still two? Damn. Kansai finally runs in to save her, and she nearly Splash Mountains Cutie twice. Backdrop Driver sets up another, but Plum missile kicks her over! Bolshoi runs in for a Rock Bottom/German thing for two, but tries another and gets caught in a Dragon Suplex for the three as Plum Thesz Presses Kansai off the apron (18:09).

Actually a very good little match all the way through- Bolshoi didn’t look out of place, Kansai looked good, and Plum’s reversals created some fun, unique moments- her being the one joshi other than Kandori to have legit submissions adds a lot to some matches. This was 18 minutes long and didn’t feel padded at ALL, and had solid psychology- Kansai could slaughter either one, but couldn’t always be there to save Bolshoi. Her kicking out of two Flying Stomps under her own power is a bit odd, but emphasizes that she’s gaining some cred.

Rating: ***1/2 (surprisingly very good, with no padding!)