Joshi Spotlight: GAEA Japan X-Mas Fighting (Kudo vs. Satomura!)

(Dec. 23rd 1995)
* It’s another GAEA show, this one with only two (clipped) matches shown from a GAEA vs. FMW show! Chigusa Nagayo takes on FMW’s legendary Combat Toyoda in a true Dream Match, while KAORU & Megumi Kudo pair off with their promotions’ rookies in a trios match. This gives us possibly our only instance of Kudo vs. Meiko Satomura, which is a DEFINITE Dream Match if it happens a few years later.

* Well damn. Kudo vs. Meiko is a Dream Match if it happens even a handful of years later, but we’ll have to do with Meiko’s rookie incarnation. Kudo’s now in a black halter top & short shorts combo with crimped hair, looking like she’s done a heel turn or something. Her partners are both rookies- Kaori’s in crimson & black and looks to have an idol look, and Yukari’s in blue & black. Kaori outlasted FMW by two years, but Yukari retired in 1996. KAORU’s in the usual white, Meiko’s in red & Toshie’s in green.

We’re JIP with Kudo torturing Toshie, getting on the kids to help out. She comes back in with a figure-four, Toshie shrieking, and then Meiko runs in and actually gets a big pop for consistently raining elbows down on an annoyed Kudo, fighting off Yukari as she does so. Then, in the greatest bit ever, a smirking Kudo just stalks to the corner and blasts Meiko to the ground with a revenge shot, lol. Toshie finally escapes Kaori after eating some mat slams so KAORU can come in and whup some rookies in return. The rookies dropkick her while she’s clutched (it doesn’t look exactly convincing) & KAORU surfboards Kaori, but Kudo just strolls in and tips them over. Meiko does some stuff but Kaori kinda messes up her timing before hitting a cartwheel ass-bump in the corner. Meiko does her windmill forearm in the other corner, but Kaori dodges KAORU’s Moonsault- KAORU lands on her feet but Kudo wipes her out from behind.

Backdrop driver sets up Kaori’s moonsault for two, and Kudo & KAORU scrap for a while, their teammates stopping most big moves (like a potential Doomsday Double Missile Kick & Tiger Driver ’91). Team GAEA hits a double missile kick on Kudo for two, then KAORU backdrop holds her for two. Springboard Moonsault- Kaori saves, but there’s a GREAT three-move series where Kudo goes into the corner and is followed by KAORU’s cartwheel back elbow, Meiko’s windmill forearm and then Toshie’s “run up the chest backflip & then elbow them” move. Kudo handily spinning sleepers Toshie and gets out, then her team does their own running series (dropkick, cartwheel ass-bump, ass bump)- Kudo missing her ass bump but just bouncing off with a facecrusher anyways. Team FMW continues the beating, Yukari flipping Kaori onto Toshie for two- Meiko saves. Kudo directs traffing and they fly off onto Toshie, but KAORU springboard missile kicks Kudo down so Toshie can do a shitty flash-pin on Yukari for three after dodging a shot (9:32 shown of 16:12). Team GAEA wins! You never know with these ones.

Okay, I’m digging Heel!Kudo, who manages to go from the most white-meat babyface in joshi to this Takako-esque bitch with ease. Her rookies were pretty bad, though- Kaori seems to have weird timing but is getting this big emphasis as a flippy kid and big spots here and there, but it’s not working yet.

Rating: **1/2 (some fun spots, but the FMW rookies were pretty poor)

* This is a pretty big one, as Combat was the #2 female star in FMW for YEARS. Oddly, I recall her being very bulky but she’s the same size as Chigusa here- much thinner than in 1993. Chigusa’s in some really garish gear- lime green with red & black, while Combat’s mostly in black & red with “CT” on the chest. Combat still has about six months left in her career at this point, and reps FMW in its feud against Chigusa now. It’s likely they’d have interacted as Chigusa’s first AJW run had died down, as Combat was in the Class of ’86.

We’re JIP with the girls rolling around in a figure-four, then Combat tries to defiantly weather a flurry of strikes, and her & Chigusa start falling back and struggling to stay on their feet from headbutting the bejeezus out of each other. Combat finally drops to her knees and Chigusa fights her into a bodyslam, looking hilariously pleased with herself for it. Chigusa dares Combat to try one, and so she finally DOES, selling the back like it was John Tenta and not a chick her own size. Chigusa eats a suplex & sharpshooter then bails, as we’re clearly going long. Chigusa gets an armbar & leg lariat, but tries another and gets backdrop suplexed- another and a missile dropkick (!) hits, so Chigusa bails again and… holy shit I was not thinking Combat was gonna do a plancha, but here we are. Chigusa manages to catch her with a backdrop suplex out there when she tries to get back in the ring, then hits her OWN plancha, but back in Combat avoids a powerbomb and hits a wicked lariat after Chigusa tries some head kicks (that the camera catches missing by a ways).

Chigusa ducks another kick and they do standing switches until the boss hits a German, then a leg lariat off the top for two, and a DDT off the 2nd for the same. Combat takes out Chigusa’s knees and hits the GAEA MDK Sleeper, but I guess Combat is too “FMW” for it to work, and so Chigusa handily gets out. But Combat follows her up with a Backdrop Superplex for two, and a pretty soft flying splash for the same. Combat tries her over-the-shoulder powerbomb off the TOP, also getting two, but most everyone acts like this is just some normal thing. Combat argues for “3” and now SHE’S in the MDK Sleeper. She manages to make the ropes, but is pretty beat up- she resists Chigusa’s Running Powerbomb and swats her down with a lariat, but gets caught climbing the top, and Chigusa hauls her into position from THERE, and hits the Running Powerbomb for the three (13:44 of 23:11). Chigusa wins! She gives major props to a crying Combat post-match, and the two shake hands and hug it out.

Kind of an oddly laid out match, as they’re “fighting to go long”, milking stuff like bodyslams & vertical suplexes like they’re a huge deal, then milking a count outside the ring. That’s *A* way to do it, but is pretty weird for 1995 joshi. Seems like a pretty decent, solid bout from the half we get, though- moves build properly, they’re all allowed to sink in instead of just being blitzed out in the “AJW Style”, and things built pretty solidly.

Rating: *** (not the most dynamic or exciting bout, but a good, solid reliable TV main event, I think)

Another pretty simple show for GAEA- throw in a handful of Dream Matches, only one of which has any major stakes, and call it a day. But it’s still more interesting on that front than a lot of AJW stuff at the time.