Joshi Spotlight: JWP in April 1996

JWP IN APRIL 1996 (Part Two):
* I split these up because some matches are IMMENSELY long. This one features the retirement of Hiromi Sugo, Candy Okutsu vs. comedy wrestler Saburo, Mayumi Ozaki vs. Hiromi Yagi, and a rematch between Chigusa Nagayo, Meiko Satomura & Sonoko Kato of GAEA and Devil Masami, Tomoko Kuzumi & Tomoko Miyaguchi of JWP! So comes see what JWP was doing in early 1996 (the answer: Lots of excessively-drawn out matches with aimless stretching! But some are okay!).

(Thunder Queen Light up the Night, 07.04.1996)
* Here’s a match between two lower-level wrestlers, with Sugo calling it quits after only two years in the business, retiring to become a referee. Nouchi has really long hair here, while Sugo has the ugliest suit this side of Kaoru Ito- bright yellow with green designs… but with shorts for the legs.

Sugo jumps Nouchi before the bell, and both hit running attacks on each other- Nouchi’s flying cross-body gets two. But after that hot start, they settle into restholds- Nouchi’s chinlocks and Sugo’s crabs & chinlocks. Nouchi hits a pair of DDTs to reverse other stuff. Sugo picks her up and slams her down a few times, hitting two missile kicks. Weird sitout spinebusters (Nouchi lands on her ass on the first one) get two. Nouchi misses her own missile kick but a superplex gets two. Missile kick & German get two. Another try, but Sugo reverses to her own on a third, getting two. Another two as the clock ticks down, but Nouchi keeps kicking out, and it’s Time Over at (10:00). Sugo gets the ten-bell salute at the very end.

Yeah, very “Rookie”-ish, with half the match being sitting on each other’s butts. Nouchi’s stuff looks good, but Sugo still looked green as hell and moves stiffly, and you can sense Nouchi’s discomfort and “okay, gotta be careful here…”. Nouchi apparently beat Sugo all over the place in 1994, as I guess Sugo was the bottom of the pecking order back then. She is still working to this day as a referee, though!

Rating: * (the stuff at the end was actually pretty decent, but it was too long and clumsy to get there)

* Saburo is Sumiyo Toyama, who I barely remember at all. She was actually in some early 1992 JWP stuff as a filler jobber. The “Saburo” gimmick has a priest’s headband and an ornate black & white shirt over black pants. Candy’s now in an army-fatigue version of her gear.

Candy spikes Saburo with a German & hits the Kick of Fear immediately, but only gets one- she stretches the rookie, but Saburo lands some chest-slaps (sold comedically by Candy) to go on the lead. Saburo does crabs, then Candy does as the crowd is dead. Candy gets them into it by pointing to each side and doing “rookie face-stretching” at them, then when Saburo dumps her outside, the rookie tries a “dive” but just slides on the mat and then stops on the apron. Some guy just BELLY-LAUGHS at that like it’s the greatest thing he’s ever seen in his life, and Candy Germans her twice for two.

Saburo takes missile kicks and messes up a couple spots (landing on her head trying the “landing on your feet from a backdrop” spot) and uses Russian Legsweep Spam (oh, now I remember her) for two. Flying shove (really) gets two. She misses a flying headbutt to laughter, but manages a spinning powerslam for two. Some top-rope reversals lead to Saburo’s Super Chokeslam getting two- she misses another thing and eats an Arm-Trap German for two, then they fight up top for a while and come down with a Super Northern Lights Suplex, and Candy finishes with the Rolling Germans… screwing them up a bunch (unable to roll over for the second, then failing the bridge on the third) at (12:08).

OKAY, so JWP has its own Numacchi. For now- she retires shortly after this. This was your usual “Comedy Wrestler Match”- the elder dominates, then there’s stretching, then there’s some comedy spots and “Hey, they can actually wrestle” and then inevitably the veteran wins giving a “good showing” to the goof. These are probably fun for some Japanese fans but reviewers like me HATE them, lol. Never mind that they cocked up a lot of bits and made Saburo look sloppy and hard to wrestle properly.

Rating: 1/4* (some okay stuff from Candy but half of this was aimless stretching and the rest was poorly-wrestled)

* GAEA invades JWP!! This is revenge for a late 1995 match where Chigusa’s team won when Meiko slid over Kuzumi when she tried a flying sunset flip. That match was ***1/2, made fun with veterans in “House Show Mode” while the rookies gave the most effort humanly possible due to how important these early matches are to their lives. Chigusa & Devil are elite Aces, of course, and old foes from the ’80s. Meiko & Kato become big joshi stars, as does Kuzumi (Azumi Hyuga)- Miyaguchi is the future Ran Yu-Yu and was also pretty good, I guess. Chigusa’s in yellow, red & black, Meiko’s in red, Kato’s in blue, Devil’s in purple, Kuzumi’s in black & Miyaguchi’s in red & black.

Devil sets up a splash for Miyaguchi when the JWP team attacks early, then hilarious backs Kato & Meiko into the corner through sheer force of intimidation. GAEA comes roaring back and this is awesome already, Chigusa decapitating Devil with kicks on the floor. Devil whips her into the gates with such force they disintegrate like video game scenery and they duel with chairs like crazy people until nearly getting counted out. Miyaguchi gets killed by Chigusa, then the rookies all pair off, then Devil comes in and Kato just bounces off of her repeatedly. Big powerbomb kills the kid & GAEA runs in to defend- Kato escapes beats from Miyaguchi & Chigusa kicks JWP’s rookie to death. Miyaguchi gets a comeback cut off, but hilariously grabs the GAEA MDK SLEEPER and won’t let go, actually bringing Chigusa down. She finally makes the ropes, then she & Devil reverse off on each other a while until the crowd ROARS for Devil’s surfboard. Chigusa easily escapes Kuzumi, though, and Meiko hits her hilarious arm-whirl avalanche. The Tomokos take beatings until Miyaguchi rips into Kato’s taped shoulder.

Devil comes in with an overthrow powerbomb, and I guess Meiko counts that as a tag because she’s in, eating the same move but dodging a cannonball senton and hitting a cross-armbreaker. Devil awesomely powers out of it and charges… but Meiko snags her again! Devil makes the ropes and everyone tags- Chigusa throttles the Tomokos and they bugger the timing on her kicking Kuzumi out of her springboard jump. Harder than it looks, folks. Chigusa pastes her with a kick, executing her on the spot, but throws her to Devil- she beats up the vet, but Kuzumi then springboard dropkicks her in the back of the head! Devil murders the GAEA babies in turn but eats her teammate’s missile kick by mistake and Kato hits her bulldogs on Miyaguchi for two. Meiko also adds beats, but Devil interferes with an Assisted Powerbomb and GAEA barely saves. Chigusa accidentally kills Kato, but gets tangled fighting three people and Kuzumi hits a shitty springboard plancha to all three GAEA girls. They don’t bother to sell it, but it leaves Meiko/Kuzumi in the ring alone. They fight up top until Meiko brings them down with a cross-armbreaker… but DEVIL flies onto her with a Guillotine Legdrop! Kato barely saves. Meiko legrolls Kuzumi like last match… but now Devil saves her! And Kuzumi does the same move, scoring the pin for her team (22:35)- she gets revenge for December’s loss!

I didn’t enjoy this one quite as much as their last one, as it was just TOO long and the rookies didn’t have the offense to fill various spots, so it ended up kind of sloppy and flaily in parts, with less story. It was fun seeing Devil constantly interfere for her side, though.

Rating: **3/4 (very good in parts, but INSANELY long and some sloppy, weak stuff in various bits)

(March 1996)

* From March 1996- Ozaki’s in red & black, and Yagi’s in her usual black top & shorts. Their tiers are still far apart at this point, but Yagi’s rising in credibility and Ozaki may be the most generous wrestler around.

Yagi dominates to start, trying some sneaky stuff like finger-twisting and punching in holds, but Ozaki hits a DDT & tosses her around outside the ring, then hits a clothesline & vicious snapping powerbomb inside before ripping into her arm for a couple minutes. That’s sold pretty well by Yagi, and Oz makes sure to move around and keep it unique, hitting a kneeling powerbomb for two. She hits a cannonball, but Yagi immediately threads it into a submission of her own- dropkick, backdrop & flying splash keep up the punishment at a methodical pace. Corner cross-body misses and Oz stuffs the judo flip, but Yagi fights her into it and then hits a plancha to the floor.

Another brawl outside leads to Ozaki being shoved into the wooden bleachers and smoked with a chair. A rollup in the ring gets two and she does the JB Angels armdrag into a submission, but climbs up and Ozaki backdrops her off the top for two. Ligerbomb gets two as we’ve finally hit the “top moves” section of the match- Ozaki’s holding her taped side like crazy and can’t follow up, so Yagi hits a Bridging German for two. Oz fights off another, but goes up and takes the Super Judo Flip for two! Flying stomp to the taped ribs! Oz writhes in agony with her ass in the air, so Yagi footstomps the back! Yagi’s frustration at the kickout is palpable, and she’s out of s--- and she knows it. She settles for running kicks, but Ozaki fights herself alive and hits a sleeper to slower her- spinning versions of the Dragon Sleeper & regular sleeper finish the job, and Yagi is done at (20:40).

Another “Long JWP-Style Match”, full of stretching that doesn’t lead to anything and a pretty anemic pace to conserve energy. I mean, Yagi spent most of the match working the arm, but then Oz hits a Ligerbomb and it’s her TAPED RIBS that hurt, and now that’s Yagi’s focus? Both sold very well at least, with Oz in particular great at that “writhing agony” kind of selling. Yagi was doing quite good at the character stuff, too- growling when selling, desperately putting on pressure, and being frustrated at the right times. Much better than most with her experience.

Rating: **3/4 (Started Slow & Dull, Then Got Kinda Good: The JWP Story)