Joshi Spotlight: AJW Summer TV & Dangerous Queen Forever

AJW TV (Aug. 1994):
* Here’s a couple of random matches I found from AJW in August! Plus a video all about Akira Hokuto’s career- match clips and interviews that would probably be awesome if you understood Japanese!

TL;DR Version: Hey, two ***+ matches in one TV show- not bad, right? AEW hasn’t spoiled us THAT much! And this is like *1994*!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1FshXiGCE_w

YUMIKO HOTTA & TOMOKO WATANABE vs. SUZUKA MINAMI & MIMA SHIMODA:
* This was from Aug. 31st, and is pretty much a “random grab-bag of wrestlers” match (though Minami sometimes pairs up with LCO). Minami’s in a hideous red outfit with floral-print, a zipper, and a wide collar, while Shimoda’s in the usual red & black. Tomoko’s in the black with tassles, and Hotta’s in blue & yellow.

Minami attacks right away, gets Shimoda to splash both opponents, then whips Tomoko around by her hair and stands on her hands. Yup, she’s in a mood. Hotta does better, kicking Shimoda at half-speed, so it’s not the lethally-stiff stuff from bigger shows. Rolling Corner Kick gets two, but Shimoda hits the falling clothesline on Tomoko to come back. Minami adds running knees and some good stretching- Tomoko bites free, but Hotta eats the tilt-a-whirl backbreaker- that’s pretty impressive. That gets two, and they chain-wrestle each other for a bit- Hotta taunts Shimoda by holding Minami’s hand out too far to tag… forgetting that Shimoda’ll just run in anyways, but Hotta swats her and Tomoko comes in with her judo flips. Slingshot back elbow gets two- Minami escapes and Shimoda flies around with clotheslines for two.

Tomoko misses a slingshot attack but hits a bulldog for two. Shimoda hits another clothesline but Hotta catches her up top- Tomoko superplex gets two. Hotta gets an Owenzuigiri on Minami, but is dumped and Minami hits a dive onto both opponents. Missile kick gets two, but Shimoda dives into a boot. She recovers with a backslide but Hotta facecrushers both women and hits a Tiger Driver- Minami saves. Tomoko tries her rana and gets powerbombed, but gets it on Minami for a close “2”. But she charges and gets booted & Powerbombed for two- Hotta saves. Shimoda clotheslines both women, and Hotta stops both a Tiger Suplex & Death Lake Driver, but Shimoda reverses a double-team with a Tiger Suplex and Minami runs interference for the three-count (12:08)- Shimoda & Minami win!

This match came off as kind of a showcase of Minami, so much so I had to check to see if she had a big match coming up (nope). She controlled so much of the early going. This was effectively a good, solid bout, with very little resting but nothing flashy and “let’s have a great match” out of it, which is weird- you usually either get ultra-hard work or lazy; not something in the middle. So they keep going and going and it never gets dull, yet there’s no “Finisher Surge” or anything, and someone just hits a move for the win.

Rating: *** (very solid TV match and a good showcase)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ir6sSKsxjfg&ab_channel=U-channel

MANAMI TOYOTA, KYOKO INOUE & SAKIE HASEGAWA vs. AJA KONG, REGGIE BENNETT & KAORU ITO:
* From the same show, featuring a pretty big-name match- Manami & Kyoko as a flashy duo (Manami beat Kyoko for the All Pacific Title not too long before) and Sakie as the up & comer up against the two strongest wrestlers in AJW, plus Ito, who is also getting a bit of a mini-push this year. Aja’s in yellow & black, Reggie in an orange shirt, Ito in the yellow Peter Pan shirt, Manami in black, Kyoko in pink & yellow, and Sakie in paint-spatter pink.

Sakie charges right into Reggie to start. yeah, great plan. Manami fares no better, and Ito kicks her ass, then Aja LITERALLY kicks her ass, then directs the lightest THREE-WAY CLUBBERING you’ll ever see before Manami hits the Running No-Hands Springboard Cross-Body to reverse a whip from Ito, and escapes. Kyoko runs through her stuff on Ito, andm now Manami’s recovered enough to hit Dropkick Spam. Aja hits her with the oil can to break the pin and whips her around outside, throwing a table (Manami blocks it with her feet) and then chucking Sakie into the seating, hitting her with folding AND regular chairs. Sakie sells that big, while Manami’s Rolling Cradle is reversed by Aja and we get a “15:00 passed” announcement with about 7:00 gone by YouTube’s timer, so we know it’s clipped. The next Rolling Cradle DOES work, but Aja cross-bodies Kyoko & Sakie, then dumps Sakie AND Manami into the corner to hit… three avalanches, one from each wrestler! Okay, that’s fun. Sakie’s crushed with piledrivers for two, but escapes Ito, who dodges Kyoko’s Slingshot Backsplash. But Kyoko avoids a triple team, slaps each woman once, then does the “corner chase” spot and lariats Ito (… twice, since Ito botched the first).

Manami’s missile kick hits Kyoko by mistake, and Ito’s senton gets two on her. Aja stops interference and two big splashes set up Ito’s Flying Stomp for two. Ito sets up another, but eats the Run-Up Belly-To-Belly Superplex! Niagara Driver is reversed, but she reverses on Aja for two. Sakie’s Uranage is stuffed, so Manami helps her get it. Four Savate Kicks in a row get two for Sakie, but Manami misses a Moonsault. Manami Roll- two! Aja stops a double-team and hits Backdrop Drivers on all three women- 2nd-rope splash gets two on Manami. Aja’s dumped trying the Flying Back Elbow, and Kyoko sets up Manami’s Running No-Hands Springboard Plancha to all three opponents! Kyoko lets her do a Moonsault for two as well. Aja skooshes Manami on a Japanese Ocean (double-hammerlock) Suplex attempt, then hits a big German for two. Reggie misses an avalanche, but DESTROYS Kyoko & Sakie with a double-clothesline- 2nd-Rope Splash gets two (Manami saves). Double-dropkick stops the Reggie Rack on Kyoko, and they hit Stereo Flying Splashes, then Kyoko’s Run-Up Flying Back Elbow… gets two! Well THAT puts Reggie over. Kyoko hits a huge Ligerbomb (no way is she hitting the over-the-shoulder part for her finisher) for the three at (16:37 of ???).

They started out kinda “by the numbers”, and you never QUITE got the “Main Event Effort” from them, but holy cow they got really good by the end of it, just tossing out all sorts of stuff. Aja & Manami left a lot in the tank, but even THEN Manami hits two No-Hands Springboards, and Aja raising hell outside. Kyoko really went big in the end, showcasing her great offense and hard-hitting stuff- she gets the final pin on Reggie, who just got killed by double-teaming to the point where she can maintain some cred for kicking out of three high-flying moves in a row (this also helps prevent backlash from pushing her too quickly). Sakie & Reggie were used very sparingly in the parts that aired

Rating: ***1/2 (like their version of a “House Show Match”, easily hitting the upper echelons just because of how good most of them were)

AKIRA HOKUTO- DANGEROUS QUEEN FOREVER:

-So this is a 2:40:00 VHS released by AJW in 1994 to commemorate Akira Hokuto’s career so she could go off to Mexico for a couple months, go “screw this”, and end up back in AJW at Big Egg Wrestling Universe. This is more or less a big biography, with an interview with Akira’s parents to start, clips of the “Class of 1985” (you can see Akira as Hisako Uno, as well as Suzuka Minami) being selected, then her first match, wearing a Rookie Swimsuit. Most of these are just scattered clips of the matches- her opponents aren’t even mentioned.

We see her win the AJW Rookie of the Year (I think), and then assorted other stuff. At 50:00, there’s what looks like a HELL of a match between the Marine Wolves (her & Suzuka Minami) against the Crush Gals, and HOLY SHIT does it maintain the Gals’s tendency towards drawing reactions. Amazingly, Hokuto divebombs Chigusa right before the bell, hitting a Dragon Suplex… for the THREE! Chigusa loses her shit and the fans don’t let up all match long, as Hokuto gets closer and closer to winning a second. Sadly we leave before we get what happened.

She slowly upgrades over the years as the Marine Wolves become the dominant team, and you see her have a lot of close contests with Bull Nakano (then the Ace and WWWA Champion) where she does well. Akira’s gear gets increasingly elaborate with time, though constantly changes. Her hair stays short until 1992, when she comes back from Mexico as a lunatic. Then things build up as she beats Bull in a cage match, we hit Dream Slam and the REAL start of her legend against Shinobu Kandori, and more. Dream Slam‘s match ended with Hokuto, near-dead along with her opponent, scoring a last-ditch punch and landing close enough to pin her opponent- a great finish. Their rematch at St. Battle Final pays it off when Kandori comes EXPECTING a brawl, and is ready for her, uppercutting Hokuto to death while her subordinates bawl on the outside.

Then we suddenly swing back to some of her most legendary promos- her & Minami are up against Manami Toyota & Etsuko Mita in a dramatic exchange, then it’s her & Bull.

OK I skim-watched it- it’s fun seeing match clips, especially from her rookie years, but it’s hard to match in context with the language differences.