Joshi Spotlight: JWP in China

(May 1995)

* So now I finally hit more JWP matches in Rico Kasai’s YouTube channel, and these seven matches are all from a JWP tour of China in May 1995! I’m really curious what their effort-level will be. “Bret at a House Show”-tier since the crowd isn’t even aware of them? “We want to leave a good impression” tier? PPV-tier? Um, probably not that one.

The first match opens with a bit of sightseeing and clips of Chinese people doing things, while the second involves the gang at the Great Wall of China. The first show takes place in a very small auditorium with most of the crowd being Chinese military, and a “Pure Heart China” sign that looks like it was scribbled in felt-tip market the minute before showtime. There’s some announcer talking during EVERYTHING, which is weird and kinda distracting.

“TL;DR- What’s The Deal?”: Overall, this ends up being kind of an interesting look at how you make wrestling fun to an audience that’s unfamiliar with it… while also saving your bodies by not throwing too much effort into the actual moves. And also that Candy Okutsu is very spotty and botch-y at this point.


* Rookie Mayhem between the bottom-tier JWP wrestlers. Sugo looks like Dynamite Kansaicito with her yellow & green-diamonds look. Soyama’s got that black/salmon thing, Miyaguchi’s in a red/black Jobber Swimsuit, and Amano’s in a black/blue & yellow Jobber Swimsuit. That only one side has real gear makes it pretty clear who’s gonna win, I think.

They engage in Jobber-Fu while a bell is rung every time a move is applied- boy I bet THAT won’t get annoying. Soyama actually gets a running superkick though- that’s pretty sweet. The elders just flatten the kids, who look pretty bad and clumsy- the crowd gets into their comebacks, though (but nobody on any camera is moving so I dunno who’s cheering- I think it’s the soldiers). Lotsa restholds from everyone, which kills the crowd (and at some point the bell guy just gives it up, so that’s good). Soyama slaps the shit outta Miyaguchi’s chest, hangs her in the corner, and her team tees off on the kid’s back. Double-DDT & backdrop suplex get two-counts. Miyaguchi shoots her shot, but can’t get anything bigger than a bodyslam. Amano takes more running basic stuff for a two-count, and kicks out of Soyama’s Russian Legsweep Spam. Chokeslam finally finishes it in Soyama’s favor at (15:43), thank christ.

Rating: DUD (My GOD I can’t stand the “15 minute jobber matches”, lol. It’s a good training tool but excruciating to sit through. It’d be *-ish if it was under 7 minutes, but that’s enough restholds and “running whatever” stuff for one lifetime)

* An ideal lower-card match, as the up & coming Candy takes on lower-ranked Comedy Wrestler Bolshoi (now “Bolshoi Kid” again), and you just KNOW her antics will translate. Candy’s mostly in black, while clownish Bolshoi sucks up to the crowd by tossing stuff (presumably actual candy?).

Bolshoi uses speed to start, but fakes a dive and ends up just taunting Candy in the ring. Candy smashes her into the corner, hits a flying cross-body, and they work holds, Bolshoi tweaking Candy’s nose and pulling hair. Lots of basic stuff, goofy posing, and stretching. A lotta basic holds. Bolshoi teases Candy for missing punches at one point, but Candy hits a middle rope (there’s actually four ropes in this ring)… and it snaps! Yikes that coulda been bad. They recover well enough with Bolshoi’s victory roll for two. They reverse pins on each other and Bolshoi hits two Rock Bottoms for two-counts, but misses a flying cross-body and Candy slaps on Rolling Germans, hitting three for the pin (11:33).

Rating: 1/2* (Yeah, that was a lot of “sitting around in holds”- it moved around a tad, but was sooooo basic and never really got going)

* Interesting bout, as the Satanic upper-carder takes on the rising rookie. Ozaki’s in red & black like usual these days, and Yagi’s in her black & purple get-up.

Ozaki pounces immediately, dragging Yagi in front of the soldiers to beat her up. Back in the ring, Oz pulls hair and stands on fingers, then grinds away with holds while smirking- Yagi fires back with punches and holds of her own, including working a sleeper & armbar. Ozaki comes back with a hooking clothesline & backdrop hold for two. Bridging vertical suplex gets two, and she works the arm, then slams her on a table. Yagi comes back with running stuff & a rollup, but takes another clothesline & a German. Yagi gets another rollup from a second try, and Judo Flip Spam gets two, but she tries an Irish whip and Oz just boots her in the gut and hits a Ligerbomb for three at (13:52). Well that was outta nowhere.

Perfectly fine, lower-effort match, mostly set up in holds with Ozaki’s usual expressions carrying the day. She dominated, but didn’t even show 50% of her offense, and won with a random reversal. Which is sad because these two have ***1/2 in them, easily.

Rating: **1/4 (fine enough low-tier match)

* Our main event, featuring most of the top stars. It’s kinda anyone’s ball-game, here- each has a monster and each has an Idol who’s kind of legit. Kansai’s in yellow & blue, Hikari’s in leopard-print, Devil’s in black & purple, and Cutie’s in… pink with lavendar frill. That’s a new one.

The idols go through an awkward punching sequence, naturally ending with Hikari’s POPEYE PUNCH~~. Then she does a bizarre “kicking & fussing” thing ending with a martial arts pose like it’s Power Rangers or something. Kansai beats Cutie’s ass to the delight of the soldiers, some of whom REALLY like seeing her take punishment. Kansai adds the “face-stretching” so Cutie’s making piggie-faces, and so Devil comes in and does it to Kansai, and Hikari does it to her, breaking up the restholds a bit with crowd-pleasing comedy. Devil gets in and does holds to Hikari, then Cutie makes like Takako & grinds away with heelish stuff and foot-biting. LOTS of hair-pulling, but Devil pulls off her “no-sell the hairpull and toss them using her own hair” spot. Devil & Kansai circle each other, Devil getting the fans way into it- a couple of powerful Kansai kicks have the crowd going :O. More wear-down stuff, but Devil manages to press-slam Hikari.

Hikari uses her cartwheel dodge on Cutie and Kansai adds a lariat, but Cutie escapes the methodical beating with a German, popping the crowd. Devil senses her chance, but they do their double-clothesline spot, Kansai popping up for her taunt… and then slumping over dead. Hah, well that’s a fun variation of the All Japan Sell. Devil hits an ax kick, but takes a Northern Lights suplex- Cutie saves. Hikari comes in and eats an overthrow powerbomb, but hits a spinning headscissors and rolling cradle on Devil for two. Moonsault gets two- Cutie barges in and everyone hits the floor! They brawl right in front of the soldiers and the Aces clothesline each other again in a great bit. Devil press-slams Hikari onto a table, too. Cutie adds a flying stomp back in the ring, but Devil misses her cannonball, so Hikari tags in Kansai- Devil foils a Splash Mountain on Cutie, but she adds a snap powerslam and she & Hikari double-whip Cutie into a Backdrop Driver for the win at (17:35).

This was an interesting one, because it was VERY lazy even by JWP standards, yet had all the crowd-pleasing comedy spots and “being shitty by pulling hair” stuff, so the crowd loved it, never having seen wrestling before. I mean, why give workrate and kill yourself if THIS works? So they just kinda ramped up the charisma and dropped the physical intensity, walking through piledriver and restholds spots, and it all worked. And then of course because it’s JWP the last five minutes is pretty hard work, with a crowd-brawl spot at the PERFECT time (because it was late and they were not expecting that).

Rating: **1/2 (mostly lazy and long but hey, the small crowd dug it, despite being unfamiliar with the wrestlers- how can you call that a failure?)


* Rookie fight! These two are both in Jobber Swimsuits- Miyaguchi in red & black, and Amano in mostly black with blue & yellow strips.

As expected, they do the basics- the crowd is really impressed by snapmares, apparently. Miyaguchi actually seems pretty good, hitting crisp stuff and doing good submissions. Like, a headscissors or “pull their arms back” surfboard are usually bullshit moves but she’s CRANKING these on. *researches* Oh, this is Ran Yu-Yu- she actually becomes a decently-big star- hooray, I can recognize talent! Miyaguchi bites her way free of a clutch and works the arm. Amano does running stuff for two-counts, but eats a big shoulder-check, a snapmare off the second rope, and a Samoan drop for two. Flying Cross-Body finishes at (11:36) for Miyaguchi.

Well that was kind of a surprise- usual “Basic Rookie Bullshit”, but every time Miyaguchi got on offense, she fought with a real presence and viciousness. The other one still seems useless, but both are green as grass- less than a year in.

Rating: *1/4 (actually not bad and not the usual “excruciatingly-long JWP Rookie Match”)

* Rookie fight #2! Yagi’s in black, Bolshoi’s in mostly red clown gear, Sugo’s in a yellow Dynamite Kansai get-up & Soyama’s in red/pink/white again.

Note: intersperse most of this with “they do a half-crab”. Sugo takes a beating, then Soyama- Bolshoi’s over with the crowd. Yagi controls Soyama but gets shoulder-checked for the comeback. Crabs and an Argentine backbreaker into the post hammer Yagi, along with avalanches and a bad double-DDT. Yagi draws applause for kicking out with the “Fuck YOU!” bridge at one point, then escapes so Bolshoi can torture the rookies in nose and hair-pulling, doing so from all four sides of the ring. The fans get into her counting alongside the referee, and then Yagi comes in and starts biting wrists in a judo-hold. Sugo & Bolshoi go for a while, screwing up one move in the middle, and then Yagi throws Judo Flip Spam on Soyama, who avoids the last one and chokeslams her for two. Soyama wins a chest-slap-fest, but Yagi & Kid score stereo Germans. Stereo Missile Dropkicks, but the rookies kick out! Sugo reverses a German with a go-behind, but is taken down with a Fujiwara Armbar by Yagi, and that’s the tap-out at (14:47).

Another endless JWP Rookie Match, with content so uninteresting I can’t be bothered to recap most of it. Some good energy from Yagi in particular, but it was mostly Jobber-Fu and clown antics.

Rating: 1/2* (I dunno- like, you can tell they’re working hard, but COME ON with the endless matches of half-crabs)

* Kansai & Devil are top-tier, but Hikari outranks Candy by a ways. However, the “Candy Push” is definitely a thing as of this year, so I can see her doing well. Kansai’s in yellow & blue, Candy’s in white with black, Devil’s in purple & black, and Hikari’s in leopard-print (but like, actually STYLISH this time. She changed it up!).

Hikari “gets” the fans right away by forward-flipping out of an armbar, but Candy does a bunch of clumsy, awkward stuff. Candy takes a beating, and Devil does her “they grab her hair and DEVIL tosses them by it” spot, and then Kansai’s in and the vets do their signature “double clothesline” spot. Kansai’s kicks impress the fans, and they brawl outside, the fans getting into Devil’s chairshots. Kansai’s double-clotheslined for two, but comes back on Hikari. Candy does a giant swing so bad I immediately PM’d Maffew to show him, finally resting in a crab- both vets interfere, then Hikari impresses with a headscissors & rana on Kansai. Candy’s in but gets overthrow powerbombed by Devil, who gets the crowd way into her second try. That gets two, as does Hikari’s missile kick.

A slugfest ends with Hikari’s POPEYE PUNCH~~ followed by weird theatrics- Northern lights suplex gets two. Devil’s surfboard gets a big reaction, but Candy tags out and Devil crushes Hikari with a lariat & backdrop for two. Hikari cartwheel dodges on Candy, but Candy gets the better of Devil with a German- Flying Stomp from Kansai gets two. Devil escapes Splash Mountain and Candy hits her partner with a missile kick by mistake, but Hikari soon takes a backdrop suplex, then Candy’s Rolling Germans for two. Candy splashes onto knees and takes Hikari’s rolling cradle for two- Moonsault hits, but Kansai saves at “2”. Candy escapes Devil’s somersault senton and Kansai saves her from a powerbomb, but Devil press-slams Hikari onto Kansai on the floor and Devil flattens Candy with the Powerbomb at (17:42).

OOOOOOOOOOOOF Candy. She was just NOT good here, doing a Botchamania highlight reel and looking weak and clumsy. Everyone else was in “House Show Mode”, milking stuff and doing restholds, but Devil proved her crowd-mastery yet again.

Rating: **1/4 (some fun stuff, but too long for the effort-level shown)

So, um, this whole show was mostly ** matches and featured some of the most slack-ass “House Show performance” stuff ever, but was a good indicator of how wrestlers can use charisma, comedy spots and smack-talk to still send the fans home happy regardless. Kind of a good lesson for would-be wrestlers, in a way… not that any of that translates to match quality. Recapping can be tricky in cases like this, because I’m all “the crowd loved it, but holy shit, 14 minutes for a ** match?”. But yeah, you can tell there was no “GO GO GO” in most of the wrestlers here.

JWP IN 1995:
* Here’s a brief stopover of what JWP was doing in the middle of 1995. Mainly because it’s the only other thing on 1995’s JWP list by Rico Kasai.

* JWP’s rising midcard ends up paired off, which is probably good experience. This is from either May or September 1995, probably the latter. Candy’s in white, black & gold like usual, and Yagi’s in a black & pink singlet.

Impressive start, as Yagi judo flips a charging Candy, dodges a run-up corner move, then flips her again and again and controls on the mat. They trade holds and flash-pins until Candy hits the Kick of Fear for two. She gets a sleeper, but Yagi fights for a cross-armbreaker, switching to a Fujiwara armbar. She stays on it after Candy makes the ropes, but ends up in one herself. Neat bit as Yagi’s tossed to the corner, jumps up, gets caught by Candy, but turns around and judo flips her off the top- good sequence. Missile kick gets two- flying cross-body misses, but she manages a judo flip. Candy fakes her out with a JB Angels armdrag, jumping back instead and plastering her with a release German. Missile kick gets a near-fall, but she botches her Run-Up move and settles for a DDT & flying splash for two, then a German so smooth it actually reveals how it’s done (she just slowly arches back while the receiver does all the jumping). Oh, and that’s the pin, haha! I legitimately paused to type and didn’t realize that was gonna be the finish. Candy wins at (12:38).

Rating: **1/2 (pretty good match where they fight for holds and do a few cool things, but Candy was botchy as is rather common, and the finish came outta nowhere… possibly because that wasn’t the planned one)