Joshi Spotlight: GAEA Japan Miracle Night

* Whoops- I missed one in the GAEA list somehow! This one is from early August. I can only find a couple of matches on YouTube. We apparently miss Bomber Hikaru beating Toshie Uematsu (3:35).

* KAORU takes on another invader in a Dream Match- Candy is well below her on the pecking order, but it seems clear that JWP has high hopes for her. KAORU’s just the worker to reign in Candy’s slippy-sloppy flying, too. Both are in white with black, KAORU in her singlet and Candy in a tasseled thing.

We’re joined in progress at the halfway point, Candy controlling pretty handily with crab-holds and a methodical beating. I’m curious why they’re including all the weardown holds. KAORU FINALLY gets some offense 4:20 in, hitting basics but still selling the back. Surfboard and some boots work Candy’s back, but she comes off with the Run-Up Cross-Body, only for KAORU to roll through for two. Candy chases her up the ropes and gets tossed off, but dodges a Flying Headbutt, throwing some kicks for two. KAORU catches her and does running kicks, too, but misses a moonsault- she lands on her feet, but Candy launches her with a German with great timing. KAORU reverses another, but Candy rolls forward for two.

KAORU armdrags Candy off the top, and La Majistral gets two- side suplex & fallaway slam hold get twos, but her next thing is reversed to a German hold for two, then Candy’s Rolling Germans get two. Candy hits a missile kick & cross-body for more top-rope near-falls, but KAORU dodges a run-up move and boots her down, then climbs… and gets caught with a Northern Lights SUPERDUPERPLEX… and bridges out! Candy, exhausted, just tosses KAORU and hits a Run-Up Plancha to the floor, but when she tries to follow up in the ring, KAORU dropkicks her coming off the top! And now KAORU just wrecks her shit- Springboard plancha to the floor, springboard dropkick in the ring, Brainbuster and Springboard Moonsault finishes at (13:05 of 23:09). Good Christ, I should hop so.

Weird match in the early going, with tons of backwork, then they use running kicks as most of their offense- an acceptable “story” of one-upmanship I guess, but odd. Probably a way to kill time for such a long-ass match, because they geared up for a bunch of near-falls in the end. I actually don’t see Joshi do the “2-3 big offensive moves in a row to try and get the pin” that often- usually there’s reversals between them or something and more of a “SEE-SAW matchup, back and forth!” to it. What’s interesting, too, is that KAORU treated Candy like she was an equal, not a plucky rookie doing well. Aside from the complete destruction of hitting four unanswered moves in a row at the end, watching this in a vacuum you’d think the two were on the same tier.

Rating: ***1/4 (actually turned into a heck of a thing, with fatigue being sold well, plenty of cool moves, and good reversals. Kind of felt like a “1990s WCW” match in a lot of ways with the match flow)

* It’s Legend & Babies on each team, as Chigusa brings the red (Meiko) & blue (Kato) rookies to take on her old rival Devil in their billionth match since GAEA started (or fourth, I dunno- math is hard!), with some JWP babies in tow (I think Kuzumi’s in black & Miyaguchi’s in red/black).

Great bit right away as Devil scares the absolute shit out of Kato just by walking into the ring, so momma Chigusa has to come in and save her. Three minutes of rookie-fu set up a great bit where Devil comes in and poor Meiko can barely even do chip-damage with any of her stuff, so Devil just swats her away and bodies her with every shot while grinning madly. I love her missing a clothesline and hitting the corner, only to no-sell it and shove the kid. But then she overdoes a clothesline and Meiko CATCHES HER WITH A CROSS-ARMBREAKER, sold as this huge deal, haha. But Devil just Undertakers up, pulls Meiko up by the hair, and slams her down… brilliantly still going “owww…” with her arm. Sells JUST ENOUGH to let the kid look like she has potential. Meiko hauls her down a second time, and Devil just kinda squeezes out, boot on Meiko’s head, like making the ropes is too much humiliation, haha. Miyaguchi then calls out Chigusa, actually landing a Samoan drop amidst a bunch of no-sold stuff, and has to haul her down to stop the flurry. The Tomokos go again, tearing at Kato’s arm, and we finally get Devil/Chigusa, but it’s just a grapple into Devil’s surfboard.

Chigusa strangles both Tomokos at once and sets up her girls flying off on Miyaguchi. Devil kills Meiko while she’s in a hold, so Chigusa wipes out Miyaguchi and now Kuzumi’s in. The GAEA kids show good fire on her, but Devil annihilates Kato with an overthrow powerbomb, then a regular one to Chigusa. Kuzumi actually hits Chigusa with a springboard missile kick (a clumsy one, but still), but she slips on another, right into Chigusa’s kick (obviously the planned spot, minus the slip- so it still works in the story). Chigusa head-kicks Kuzumi to death, then calls out Devil- she screws up a powerbomb- a second try is reversed to a sleeper. Kato saves Chigusa, the vets do their “double lariat” spot, and then the ROOKIES dropkick Devil down. Chigusa has the kids tee off on Miyaguchi, but Devil stops Kato’s Tornado Bulldog, so Miyaguchi does the Airplane Spin Samoan Drop- Meiko saves. Kuzumi flying splash gets two- “Fuck YOU!” bridge from Meiko for a big pop! Meiko ducks under a double-clothesline but Devil runs over BOTH rookies, and then she & Kuzumi hit a crazy Powerbomb/Springboard Lariat Doomsday Device! Devil overthrow powerbombs Kuzumi onto Meiko, and Chigusa has to save. Everyone scraps and Chigusa takes out all three JWP girls, but Kuzumi flies off with a springboard sunset flip on Meiko- that gets broken up, and Meiko just slides her over for a flash-pin (18:39)- Meiko wins it!

Actually kind of a fun match- like the rookies were in “Try your HARDEST!” mode while the vets were doing a house show match, and it was oddly kinda fitting that way- like they see this all the time, but for the rookies every match is still special and huge, especially against such competition. I really liked the kids having a frenetic go of it, but the vets being able to interject whenever, creating a totally different match. The only thing I didn’t like was the ending- you do all that awesome stuff with a Doomsday Device Powerbomb and that’s NOT the pin, then you just scrap for a minute before a flash-pin reversal ends it? Kind of lackluster. Most everyone looked good, though Kuzumi has the worst springboards I’ve ever seen, frequently taking two tries to get up there, slipping off once, and nearly doing so another time. A real Botchamania special from her.

Rating: ***1/2 (I liked it a lot more than I thought I would)

The GAEA Special: Weird rarities and ***+ matches from odd combinations of stars. You’d still hardly think this promotion would be on top of the joshi world in a couple of years, but there you go.

The next month will have a handful of shows like this, too- GAEAism’s YouTube channel tends to release bits and pieces, giving us a handful of two-match shows.