Joshi Spotlight: AJW Invades the WWF AND WCW! In the Same Week!

Image result for survivor series alundra joshi

Lioness Asuka giant swings Chaparrita ASARI while Alundra Blayze, Kyoko Inoue & Sakie Hsegawa look on, alongside an old lady who was WAY into the entire show. WWF Survivor Series (1995).

Here’s a unique one, as I now hit the timeline where AJW runs a decently-big show at the same time as it features their wrestlers appearing on both WWF AND WCW programming! On PPV! In the same calendar week! Read on!

* Okay, so we’ve reached the weird era where AJW runs a half-assed Wrestlemarinepiad right the day before they send some girls to the WWF, where Aja Kong is set up as the new challenger to WWF Women’s Champion Alundra Blayze!

My full review:

The Results:
MARI MOGAMI d. KAYO NOUMI (6:56) with a goddamn headlock. 1/2*.
YOSHIKO TAMURA d. MISAE WATANABE (8:22) with the Rookie-Slaying Bodyslam. *3/4. What’s funny is this was early in my reviewing run of Joshi so I was at this point unfamiliar with the notion that rookies were so bad that bodyslams could readily destroy them.
MARIKO YOSHIDA & YUMI FUKAWA d. MINA TAMIYAMA & NOBUE ENDO (8:24) with a Flying Splash to Endo. **1/2. Yoshida was the only veteran in this match so that’s not a surprise. It was a fun thing seeing such an elite wrestler playing chess with some checkers-playing rookies.
TAKAKO INOUE & TOMOKO WATANABE d. TOSHIYO YAMADA & CHAPARRITA ASARI (15:03) with Tomoko’s Screwdriver on ASARI. ***. Yamada’s tumble down the card continues as she is teaming with a baby against Takako and rising star Tomoko, whose “She’s getting a big push next” thing is starting with the occasional win on big shows like this.
MIMA SHIMODA d. ETSUKO MITA (18:29) with the Death Lake Driver. ****1/2. A fucking awesome, bloody war as Las Cachorras Orientales EXPLODES and Mima’s push becomes solidified with a dramatic win over her former tag partner. The best part is when Akira Hokuto comes down after disrespecting Shimoda for their entire Tag Title run, carrying both Tag Titles down like she’s been doing lately… and lays one at her subordinate’s feet, as if to say “Senpai Noticed You”.
BULL NAKANO & LIONESS ASUKA d. AJA KONG & REGGIE BENNETT (14:29) after Aja Urakens Reggie by mistake. **3/4. Interesting result that kinda plays up the Aja/Asuka thing that’s been going on, and one more hurrah for Bull on a major stage. Largely a comedy bout for half of it, doing goofy things and egging the crowd on.
KYOKO INOUE d. YUMIKO HOTTA (15:46) with the Niagara Driver. ***1/2. Kyoko sets herself up as the “Next Challenger” through defeating Hotta, gatekeeping as always. Hotta repeatedly ignores lasting damage and pops up to do her own thing, and is rather plodding- this hurts the match.
REINA JUBUKI & BLIZZARD YUKI vs. MANAMI TOYOTA & BLACK BLIZZARD (17:03) with Yuki’s Rana to Black Blizzard. ***1/2. Jubuki is Akira Hokuto’s masked luchadore self, and she’s with Manami’s usual partner, while Kaoru Ito is now “Black Blizzard” and hates Yuki for some reason. A very bizarre match, with some clumsy lucha stuff wrestled at half-effort for a long period before they revved it up.

Overall, the show was SOLID, but just lacked something. The big stars were largely wanting to have “Just good enough” matches instead of going all-out with their best. Mita/Shimoda was a classic, though.

(Nov. 23rd 1995)

* One of the most fascinating throwaway matches in WWF history- this one features Alundra & Bertha, who were just ending their feud at the time, with the NEW heel of the division, Aja Kong, making her WWF debut. And the rest of the workers are all AJW pros- Kyoko Inoue was just then one of the WWWA Tag Champions, and one of the joshi I’d give the best shot at “making it” in the WWF without English. Sakie Hasegawa was an “Heir Apparent” rising star with a great look. ASARI was a JTTS, but hit some the flashiest moves in the business at the time.

Bertha had AJW training, but was never really “good”, while Aja Kong was fading a bit in AJW and was thus perfect as a new Monster Heel for the women’s division. Lioness Asuka was a Grumpy Veteran, returning from retirement after being one of the top stars of the 1980s in Japan. Tomoko was mere JTTS fodder, but was slowly building credibility as well. Alundra’s in her white gear, Kyoko’s in something even more colorful and tassley than usual, Hasegawa’s in some odd white singlet with polka-dotted leggings, and ASARI’s dressed in her Power Ranger gear. Bertha’s in a big pink frilly tutu outfit, Aja’s in her bad-ass red gear, Lioness is in all black, and Tomoko’s in a black & grey singlet.

Alundra’s team comes out underneath a neon “Alundra” sign with sparklers in “BLAYZE” which is so podunk on a major show like this that it’s hilarious. Asuka starts with ASARI and blasts her right in the face with a spin-kick- poor kid got stiffed left and right in her American tour. Alundra sets up ASARI debuting the mind-blowing Sky Twister Press (called as such by JR) on American TV, drawing a big reaction… but ASARI just tags out instead of covering, and Asuka’s fighting like normal again. Alundra gets the German Suplex to finish her at (1:21). Tomoko comes in, but she immediately (and BADLY) misses a Moonsault and takes some terrific Rolling Butterfly Suplexes from Sakie (god we missed out on her hitting it big). Haha, some old lady in the crowd actually jumps up and starts clapping for her! Tomoko comes back with some Thesz Presses to the face, but Aja comes in and promptly takes a Solebutt and two HUGE Uranages! Aja kicks her on the way off the top and hits a Dangerous Backdrop to eliminate her (3:35). Jesus, taking those monster bumps is odd for someone who’s supposed to be a Monster Heel, but Joshi traits die hard.

ASARI comes in and bounces off on a cross-body attempt (that poor old lady just holds her head!), then can’t get up from a 2nd-Rope Splash despite the lady’s urgings and takes the pin (4:03). Kyoko hits a pair of clotheslines, but Aja sits on her from a sunset flip and… gets the pin (4:42)! The body language of Kyoko suggests that was NOT the plan, as hilariously, a wrestler who’s been in at almost a dozen ***** Meltzer-rated matches in her lifetime has been flown from Japan just to job in less than forty seconds to a basic reversal. Alundra is thus completely alone against three heels, who all attack. Alundra singles Tomoko out and Piledrives her (6:09), after nearly dropping her with a Ganso Bomb. Bertha in for some leg kicks, but she and Aja run into each other, leading to the worst German Suplex in human history getting the pin on Bertha at (6:49). To be fair, Bertha was HUGE. Aja beats on Alundra, hitting a Superplex, but Alundra comes back with a Rana for two (“Shucks!” the old lady pumps her fist in disappointment). Standing Moonsault (!) for two, but she’s knocked off the top and Aja hits two Running Body Attacks and the Uraken for the win (9:40). That poor old lady (and Bret fighting like a heel in the main would disappoint her, too). Crowd’s a bit silent for the finish, given how they’ve no reason to assume that a spinning backfist is a top-tier move, as strikes aren’t typically devastating in American wrestling.

Suuuuuuuuuper disappointing given the talent level of those involved, with some great workers going down in mere seconds to an annotated “greatest hits” of each others’ best moves, but it was quick-paced until the end, when it got a bit plodding and basic. Aja simply demolishing Alundra for the win came off well, as she’d beaten all four of the opposing team, yet Alundra was 3-on-1, so she looked like she overcame a bit (especially since Bertha was squashed so quickly). But the thing with Kyoko (which still looked like an error to me), some clumsy moves from Alundra, and more, held it back.

Rating: *** (still not bad, given the time. Sakie in particular looked GREAT)

(WWE RAW, 27.11.1995)
* Ah, what the hell? This is an immediate follow-up to the Survivor Series, airing the night after I believe. Lawler immediately asks if Kyoko broke up the Beatles, while Vince doubts Aja’s Olympic elegibility, by virtue of “a few X Chromosomes or so…”. Just so we’re clear on the era.

The heels attack to start, and Aja no-sells Kyoko’s Mongolian chops and flattens her repeatedly, but Tomoko misses her Slingshot Cross-Body and gets surfboarded. Aja kicks away at Kyoko, but we take a break and Kyoko starts clotheslining everybody. Kyoko impresses with her Run-Up Back Elbow, but only gets as far as Tomoko’s thigh. Tomoko finally hits her Cross-Body, but a Pop-Up Belly-To-Belly blasts her, wowing the crowd. Aja interferes, but takes a great Enzuigiri from Alundra. Dropkick Spam, but Aja Samoa Joe’s out of it (in 1995! And we were all shocked when Joe did it later!) and misses a splash. Kyoko ducks an Uraken, but takes a VICIOUS Backdrop Driver. Vince starts going on about safe sex and a Norwegian condom company (is this their attempt to be “with it” on current events?) as Aja slaps Kyoko awake and annihilates her with an Uraken (6:03), with Alundra being too slow to get into the ring. Short but good! Alundra was in it for maybe a minute.

Rating: **1/2 (too short to be much of anything, but all their moves looked good)

* Yes, really. Aja Kong made WWF Raw. This is from that strange time period when Alundra Blayze was getting ready to dump the WWF Women’s Title in the trash on WCW Nitro, but the WWF was bringing in a bunch of Joshi wrestlers to replace the fired Bull Nakano (who’d been arrested for cocaine possession). Aja Kong was meant to be the new “Monster Heel”, and this match and the prior night’s Survivor Series were her intended showcase. Chaparita Asari is an itty-bitty high-flier who invented the Sky Twister Press (a corkscrew senton off the top), and looks to be about half Aja’s body weight here. She’s dresses as a combination of Jushin Thunder Liger and Jason Lee Scott. Aja’s wearing an all-black Mabel-esque outfit with baggy pants and gold lines all over it, and is already playing to the crowd.

Vince & Lawler are already all over how freaky Aja Kong looks, and we see a flaw in WWF’s Joshi presentation already- the ref is MUCH taller than either girl, thus making it look weird. In Joshi, all the refs are dwarfish men or skinny girls in soccer uniforms, so nobody looks more imposing than the wrestlers. And Aja’s coming down to some calming, plunky “Japanese Music” theme rather than “Jungle Emperor”. Well, at least it’s not the Orient Express music, though I’d have LOL’d at that. Aja attacks right away, but Asari hits a pair of Cartwheel Handspring Mule Kicks that are quickly no-sold, but at least Vince & Lawler are impressed. Aja then viciously hairsnaps Asari around, then kicks the seated joshi so friggin’ hard that the poor girl scoots about two feet across the ring on her ass.

Aja keeps pulling Chaparita up at two just to continue the beating, hitting a Delayed Suplex and a VICIOUS Package Piledriver. Lawler says her “American Hero”, Fat Boy, just expired. Should I know who that is? I’m not down with the hip-hop. Vince actually makes mention of “a few potatoes being thrown around the ring” with this beating. Aja’s sarcastic-ass smirk and “Oh, so sorry” expressions are just fantastic, and should have made her a mega-heel with or without English speaking skills, but alas, it was not to be. Aja no-sells everything Asari does until she misses a 2nd-Rope Splash, and then Asari wows everyone by unleashing a Sky Twister Press on WWF TV in 1995, sadly missing. Holy Hell that’s a fast revolution- I don’t think any man could spin that quickly (that’s some “tiny female gymnast” stuff).

Aja picks her up, slaps her face around a bit for extra heelishness, and then spins around and Urakens her RIGHT IN THE FUCKING FACE and kills her at (4:00). Jesus Goddamn Christ that looked vicious. Now THAT’S a squash.

Rating: ** (just a nothing Jobber match, really, with Aja selling nothing except her own missed splash, then killing the kid with a Spinning Backfist. I’ve seen Barry Hardy look more competitive)

Pin on Pose - Pro Wrestling

Mayumi Ozaki, one of the best who ever did it, actually made two appearances in WCW!

(WCW Monday Nitro, Nov. 27th 1995)
* Okay, yeah, so THIS is weird. Not only did we get fucking Aja Kong on WWF TV in December, but a goddamn AJW vs. JWP match on NITRO!? This is only four days after all the AJW wrestlers were on Survivor Series, which means that AJW had wrestlers in both WWF & WCW at the same time, in back-to-back PPVs (one Nov. 19th, one Nov. 26th). Also weird is that this is one of those “WCW things” where they want to showcase the Joshi, but they only had the four wrestlers, so they just booked them on successive nights, as this is a rematch from the previous night’s PPV match (where Bull used Bull’s Poseidon on Cutie to win). Also I like how WCW I guess didn’t want Ito or whomever and so we have JWP girls playing the “Taka Michinoku” role to Bull/Akira’s “Great Sasuke” in getting the new stuff over. Bull’s in a blue one-piece, Akira’s in bright pink, Cutie’s in white and Ozaki’s in red & black.

hahahaha, Bull takes her robe off and you can see a guy in the crowd mouth “WOAH”. Someone likes them thicc! Ozaki & Cutie are snubbed in the pre-match handshakes, so just dive in with lariats on Hokuto, but Bull hauls out Cutie and Akira hits the hangman’s choke on Ozaki. Heenan goes all-in putting over the insane pace of Joshi and how you can’t call their moves “Because they INVENT ’em- these people train constantly. This is not their job- wrestling is their LIFE!”. I love how he keeps insisting Bull & Akira are beautiful when Bischoff goes on about how scary they are- assisted flying hair slam gets two as Heenan says Bull is “rather attractive, in kind of an Oriental way!”. Akira tosses Ozaki to Cutie, who comes in with a Dragon Suplex of all things for two! This was pretty shocking for women’s wrestling in the US, mind you. But Akira catches her with a cross-body and just hits a fallaway slam, setting up the Guillotine Legdrop… which misses! Big pop for that!

Cutie I think tries a victory roll but they just end up rolling to the corner, where Team JWP runs in place on Bull’s stomach and hits a DOUBLE Flying Stomp from the top for two! They try a double-suplex, but Bull does her reversal suplex on both and Akira hits a flying splash to both- Akira buggers the Dangerous Queen Bomb but saves it by deadlifting Ozaki into a regular powerbomb- Cutie saves. Ozaki ducks under her roundhouse kick and hits a Hurricanrana for two. Ozaki clobbers Cutie by mistake and Akira hits a great Northern Lights suplex for two, then Bull comes in for a powerbomb- Cutie gets out of it but tries a sunset flip like a doofus and gets squashed- Ozaki saves. Bull heads up, but gets knocked to the floor- Akira pushes the JWP girls over as well, then hits her Tope Con Hilo… but only hits Bull! This FUCKS UP Bull’s knee legit and she’s done. She manages a weak double-lariat on the girls to come back and limps off and collapses on the apron, so Akira flies in with a double missile kick and absolutely DESTROYS Cutie with the Northern Lights Bomb onto her head, hitting the “knee on the chest” pin at (5:24).

Amazing match for the time given, as they just ran through a ton of their cool stuff (with Ozaki barely showing 1/20th of her moveset!) and had all the crowd-pleasing spots like Dragon & Northern Lights Suplexes, the Guillotine Legdrop, and a huge Tope Con Hilo off the top, ending in one of wrestling’s most lethal finishers. A breakneck pace and a bunch of cool moves makes even a short match seem good.

Rating: **3/4 (pretty amazing for a match under six minutes)

(WWF Superstars, 05.12.1995)
* Here’s one I barely knew existed. Shortly after Survivor Series, Alundra was put against her old Wrestlemarinepiad opponent, Lioness Asuka. She comes out with SEVERE “Jobbing Face” on, which indicates to me that she knew her time in the WWF was numbered by this point. Asuka, tall and slender, is billed at *220 lbs.*, which is absurd even for the WWF- she barely looks larger than the 145-lb. Alundra! She also has her face painted like she has Nightwing’s mask on, which is funny.

No commentary, which is weird. They trade spin-kicks to start, then Asuka controls with slow heeling stuff while growling. Asuka takes an oddly huge bump out of being tossed off the “punches in the corner” spot, but Alundra misses a dive to the outside, and Asuka hits her loose Sharpshooter, but just releases it when Alundra won’t give up. The crowd is just DEAD for this, and Asuka appears to have had her bell legit rung by that bump, because she keeps bailing, even tripping as she does so, drawing laughs from the crowd. She backdrops Alundra out of a Piledriver attempt, but gets headscissored off the top turnbuckle, dropkicked from the second rope, and then they fight over a German before Alundra hits a REALLY poor one, with a weak bridge, for the pin (7:37). Not a great performance, though Alundra’s stuff looked smooth and good- there was just no heat for this non-established wrestler, and her stuff didn’t look elite enough to justify any sort of reaction- some big suplexes or huge kicks would have done wonders.

Rating: ** (okay enough; acceptable filler match)