Joshi Spotlight: JWP Stars on Tour (October)

(Oct. 30th, 1994)
* As we continue through the last part of 1994, here’s a set of JWP bouts from a VERY dark arena, with a bizarre set-up- it’s an elevated stage in an auditorium like how you watch lectures and live theater, so the fans can only see one side of the ring (you can only see this in the final bout). It has two AJW/JWP Junior League matches (where rookie wrestlers fight each other), and is capped off by an 8-woman tag from people who’ve already wrestled that day.

So it’s an interesting look at tiny rookies putting in 10-minute sprints (a welcome change from “20 minutes, but half is padding”), and leads to some very good matches, especially considering the last one is everyone’s second match of the evening! So come take a look at Joshi’s #2 (or #3 if you REALLY like Megumi Kudo’s FMW stuff) promotion when left mostly to its own devices!

* An interpromotional rookie match, as the lower-card wrestlers get more shots against each other. Candy’s in black & white, and Rie’s in white & blue.

Rapid-fire stuff to start, as they jockey for position and Candy hits rollups, but Rie controls with a chinlock and stretching. Candy comes back with her own, and the camera bounces around a lot, doing random close-ups. Candy tries Manami’s Running No-Hands Springboard move again, but overshoots her feet and falls- Rie covers for it and Candy soon hits a Run-Up Cross-Body out of the corner instead for two. Backslide gets two for Rie, but Candy slips AGAIN on a Run-Up, then tries again and Rie simply dodges. Rie hits two missile kicks for two, then two spinning cross-bodies for the same. Candy does her corner-dodge missile kick, and another big one gets two. Flying Splash… Rie “F--- YOU!” bridges out! Candy tries and tries for a German, finally hitting it for two. She aims for another, but Rie rolls forward and wraps her up for the three (10:45).

Hoo boy- poor Candy was trying super hard, but it’s hard to overlook botching twice in a short match when you’re trying to be a super-athlete rookie. They otherwise looked to be around the same level, just scrapping as hard as they could and trying for every pin. That really makes them the stand-out rookies around this time, though Candy has the higher upside and is usually better.

Rating: **1/4 (really hard-fought rookie match, but Candy kept slipping on big moves)

* Another match in the tournament, with AJW’s spot machine gymnast up against a lower-tier JWP rookie. Nouchi’s in red & silver, ASARI in yellow & white.

Standard Joshi Running & Screaming to start, then an armbar reversal sequence and groundwork. ASARI hits her jumping knees, and hilariously Nouchi’s actually small enough for them to knock her over instead of treating them like a jab, like everyone else does. ASARI works the leg, but Nouchi comes back with rookie-fu. ASARI hits her own dropkick and settles for a chinlock when a sharpshooter can’t get locked on. Nouchi pulls hair and gets a good reaction for an X-Factor, but ASARI small packages her for two. Some slaps and flash-pins make things hard-fought and intense, and ASARI hits the Cartwheel Handspring Mule Kicks! Backdrop & Standing Moonsault get two. She goes up to finish, but gets thrown off and missile dropkicked twice for two. Nouchi’s splash misses, but she manages a Superplex for two. Nouchi reverses a German for two, but misses another splash. She bails, but ASARI follows out with a plancha, slams her back in the ring, and hits the Sky Twister Press for the win (11:47).

Good, hard-fought little match. A bit too chinlocky in the opening half, but they just kept tossing out big moves in the end, acting like two rookies who knew all their flash-pins weren’t gonna work so they just swung for the fences every time. And paid for it on almost all of them- not for nothing that most of Nouchi’s stuff ends up being missed moves off the top by the end.

Rating: **1/2 (fine rookie match)

* Interesting interpromotional bout, as the JWP Champion teams up with a rookie against a lower-ranked rising star (Hikari) and a GAEA wrestler. Hikari’s in the leopard print, KAORU in black, Devil in black & purple and Sugo in a super-jobbery blue singlet. These bouts are always fun, because they can go either way- the rookie can easily lose the game, but Devil can beat anybody.

It’s a game of “Trounce the Rookie” to start, working Sugo’s leg. She finally escapes and Devil’s in, calling out “POWAHBOMBU!” before hitting a big one on KAORU. Sugo tries again, but they work her over with more basic stuff- KAORU’s Perfect Plex gets two. Devil helps Sugo hit a missile dropkick, but Hikari comes back with a flying sunset flip to Devil for two. Hikari slaps her and puts on a figure-four, and KAORU runs in with a dropkick and headscissors! Devil finally powers out and hits a surfboard, but KAORU’s in and hits a reverse “rocking surfboard” (like Kyoko’s move), showing a lot of strength as she swings Devil back and forth. Devil finally suplexes her after a leghold, and Sugo uses a crab on KAORU- Devil adds a legdrop to the neck in revenge for all that other s---. Oh s---, now a GUILLOTINE legdrop! And a proper Rock The Cradle from Devil!

KAORU escapes and Hikari uses speed to keep Devil down, but eats a DDT. Sugo does more holds and Devil tries to save her from a reversal, but accidentally missile dropkicks her. Hikari actually misses her Moonsault and Devil’s in, but Hikari avoids the powerbomb and now KAORU flies in with a missile kick- GREAT Rana gets two. Another’s reversed to a Ligerbomb- Hikari saves. Sugo has a flying cross-body set up for her, then hits a running knee to Hikari & KAORU in the corner- this sets up a DOUBLE GUILLOTINE LEGDROP, but Devil sadly misses. KAORU hits Bridging Germans on Sugo, but Devil stops both pins and hits an Overthrow Powerbomb on KAORU. But Hikari sees this, runs in to dropkick her off the apron, and they set up a Backdrop/Moonsault combo, followed by KAORU’s own Moonsault, to finish Sugo (18:24) while Devil’s still outside- clever!

Fun “exhibition”-type match, as the psychology is pretty clearly “give Sugo some match-time and let her use holds whenever Devil comes to save her”, with only Devil being really effective. So like, they didn’t swing for the fences but it had a lot of revenge spots and the match shifted with every tag because of the differing levels of credibility everyone had. I liked Devil repeatedly saving the rookie in the end, but they got caught- Sugo was the legal wrestler at the wrong time, leaving Devil as the “helper” until she got knocked to the floor and the kid was left helpless.

Rating: *** (nothing wrong with matches like this- had slow spots and Sugo’s offense is super-basic, but the psychology was sound and the Moonsaults & Powerbombs were top-tier)

* Another Ace/Rookie vs. Upper-Mid Stars match, as Kansai has to lead the tiny Kid against two elites. Kansai’s in yellow & blue, Bolshoi in red/green/yellow, Cutie’s in white, and Ozaki’s in red & black. After years dressed as a fruit roll-up, Ozaki looks odd in skin-tight black & red “tights with shorts”.

Cutie & Ozaki kill the clown for a while, Ozaki actually GRABBING THE NOSE, but freaks when the same thing is done to her, slapping the s--- out of Bolshoi for the audacity. Oz rules. Bolshoi now grabs CUTIE’s nose, trading off the hold to Kansai, who slaps at it, and you can see Ozaki LAUGHING ON THE APRON about it. Big Kansai lariat and running elbowdrop get two, and she throws kicks and a headbutt. Bolshoi’s assisted with a lariat and does her “dancing jig” kicks, then works the nose and the hair, cracking up the crowd by counting along with the ref. Kansai adds more punishment, but Cutie reverses out and Ozaki’s in. Kansai takes her, then swipes in a kick when Bolshoi does a dramatic martial arts pose. Bolshoi does Taker’s ropewalk… then walks BACKWARDS, ending in an armdrag for two. She does arm stuff, but Oz uses speed to take over on Kansai. Cutie does a long Octopus Hold (assisted by Oz), ending with a DDT for two- Oz adds a Cannonball and Backdrop Hold for two-counts.

Ozaki holds Kansai for a flying move, but of course eats it from Cutie by accident. But she promptly kicks Bolshoi’s ass once she’s tagged in, doing an X-Factor and her own “dancing jig” kicks. Cutie does knees, a backdrop & bridging vertical suplexes for two-counts. Bolshoi tags out and Kansai hits a Northern Lights Suplex- Oz saves. Kansai hits corner lariats, and Ozaki stops a superplex, but Kansai kicks Cutie on the way down when she’s coming off the top. She adds beats on the floor for both opponents, but Cutie manages to German Bolshoi in the ring for two. Ozaki cross-body & powerbomb get two. Bolshoi lands on her feet from another and hits Rock Bottom Spam for two, but Ozaki DDTs out from a forth. She climbs, but Kansai helps Bolshoi hit her Super Rock Bottom- Cutie saves! Kansai beats on Ozaki, hitting a backdrop for two. Bolshoi goes for a Moonsault, but hits knees- she rolls right to the other corner, eating a Flying Double-Foot Stomp from Cutie, barely kicking out when Oz dives for the pin! Kansai stops Tequila Sunrise (Tiger/Dragon Suplex), but Cutie runs in to German her, leaving Bolshoi alone, and BAM! Big Ozaki Ligerbomb finishes Bolshoi at (16:38).

Another very solid match- much less resting than you might expect from a match on a card like this, with everyone making sure to do revenge spots and have fun with it. The comedy didn’t hold it down, and again you had huge momentum shifts with Kansai easily dominating her opponents, but Bolshoi needs help or she dies. And sure enough, the result’s the same as last match- all you have to do is harry or hold down the Ace and take your shot, and Bolshoi’d taken enough of a beating to bring down with one big last move.

Rating: ***1/4 (another very sound match with good psychology)

* And now eight of the prior wrestlers team up in something out of the end of a house show to pad the card (which… I guess is what this is)- Kansai has TWO top-tier partners, but the weakest rookie, so this is anyone’s ballgame. Oz/Cutie and Devil/Sugo are now on opposite sides.

Candy & Sugo start, treating dropkicks that seem to connect like misses, and then everyone takes turns beating Sugo up until she escapes a couple minutes later. Hikari & Kansai beat up Candy- Ozaki throws shots to Kansai when she’s got Candy in the sharpshooter, and Kansai gets sick of that and lariats her in a funny bit. Kansai’s team does some cheating by switching off on half-crabs without tags. Candy finally throws clotheslines on Kansai to come back, and now Devil tries. But she gets whipped right over the ropes (… never actually seen that bump in joshi before) and now Everybody Fights, finally giving us a look at this weird auditorium as they fight all over it. Devil & Kansai doing their “clothesline each other” spot right in front of the fans is great. Back in, Ozaki flies onto Kansai, but takes a side suplex. Hikari hits a helicopter slam but Oz escapes and we get our first shot of Yagi in the match- she gets tossed around, but manages a sunset flip on Kansai for two and bails. Kansai grabs a chinlock on Candy, but Oz snags a sleeper, Cutie sleepers HER, and now we get Devil for the crowd-pleasing quadruple-sleeper spot. Yes, Joshi was doing that spot in the mid-90s. Devil shooing away Yagi so she could do it instead was hilarious.

Everyone trades off and Devil press-slams Cutie. She escapes and Hikari does her Moonsault dodge but cartwheels right into a knee from Devil. Devil charges but eats the Rolling Cradle for two, Cutie takes Devil’s overthrow powerbomb when she comes in, and Yagi starts judo-flipping Cutie. And Candy finally hits her Run-Up Cross-Body for two! Oz’s clothesline turns to Cutie’s Dragon Suplex to Ozaki’s stunner, but Oz runs right into a bridging fallaway slam for two. Hikari comes in, but eats a clothesline & Ligerbomb for two. Devil hits a powerbomb, but a dogpile knocks her over at two. Hikari headscissors out and brings in Kansai, and the Aces clothesline each other AGAIN. She goes for Splash Mountain, but Devil is saved- Kansai settles for a backdrop suplex for two. Cutie tries a Dragon suplex, but gets German’d by Ozaki, then lariated by Devil. Candy hits Rolling Germans on Cutie for two! Candy uses her rope-leap dodge to avoid Cutie’s counter and hits a missile kick, but the next one hits Devil by mistake! Then Devil charges and accidentally hits Candy! Then everyone charges the ring to play interference and Cutie finishes Candy with the Dragon Suplex at (15:25).

haha, oh man, this was such an exhibition match. Several minutes of “grab rookie and then throw them”, a long “beatdown outside the ring”, and people actually working super-light compared to normal- they were just doing fun stuff and making the fans happy. Not bad, since they already wrestled that day anyhow. It was actually a pretty fast pace, too, with little resting since everyone could just tag out.

Rating: ***1/4 (shockingly good for an “exhibition”)

So that was our look at the rest of JWP’s stuff in 1994! This Friday will be a look at the two major shows of late ’94- since I’ve already reviewed them, it’s just me listing the matches and giving small descriptions, but having watched all of 1994 till this point, it gives me better context, so that will be added. Plus there’s some Yoshida VHS with some matches (… which I’ve also already mostly reviewed) as well. After THAT is Monday’s review of Wrestlemarinepiad ’94 EX– a side show with some other semi-big matches on it.