Joshi Spotlight: JD’ Beauty Athlete (July 1996)

(July 1996)
* Hooray! More JD’ stuff! This one features AJW’s Mima Shimoda popping in to make a team with Chikako Shiratori (her partner in the upcoming Discover New Heroine veteran/rookie tournament), some focus on “the rookie we want to push” Yuki Lee, and a bunch of JD’s rookies making their debuts. And finally a “REAL DOG FIGHT” between Bison Kimura and Jaguar Yokota (under a mask).

* An interpromotional match of sorts, as AJW’s Shimoda arrives to team with Chikako in a prelude to their team in the tournament coming up in a month at the Budokan show. Their opponents are JD’s most credible star (Jaguar) and brand-new rookie Yuko Kosugi. Shimoda’s in black & yellow, Chikako’s in pink & white, Jaguar’s in purple & Kosugi’s in a white jobber two-piece.

Shimoda shows disrespect to both the rookie & veteran before Chikako comes in and works a neckbreaker-to-bridge-to-backslide sequence she & Jaguar ABSOLUTELY practiced beforehand, winning that exchange then beating up on Kosugi. Chikako remains fascinating in that she’s not good but she’s REALLY trying, even putting an extra “bounce” into every stop and knee on the rookie. They work in an LCO double-team and even a crab/clutch combo to be meanies, then Chikako knocks Jaguar around with dropkicks before getting caught in stretching. Jaguar then instructs Kosugi on how to do an Indian deathlock, but Chikako escapes and does her own to establish dominance. Kosugi earns the LCO Pose and Shimoda laughing off her stuff, and when she finally escapes, Jaguar eats the falling clotheslines. Chikako does leg stuff, but Jaguar puts the boots to her and does her own. Chikako throttles Kosugi, there’s a four-way sleeper chain, and Shimoda adds throttling too, but lets Jaguar in and gets beaten up.

Kosugi takes ANOTHER beating but her team scores double-monkey flips, a double suplex and then an assisted TOMBSTONE on Chikako for two. But Chikako immediately stomps the rookie again, hitting increasingly-loose offense for two-counts. Shimoda/Jaguar go next, with Jaguar FINALLY doing her “bridge-out into a rana” bit for two, then her flip-dodge into the Straightjacket German for two! Shimoda keeps resisting the Vertical-Drop Pedigree and reverses to a Tiger Suplex for two. Butterfly Superduperplex! Two! Chikako missile kicks Shimoda but scores a DDT for two, but Jaguar reverses on her and does a dive. Vertical-Drop Pedigree to Chikako- then Jag waits for Shimoda to get in position to break it up before covering, haha. Jaguar & Kosugi try a double-clothesline and Shimoda snags Jaguar from the apron, allowing Chikako to clumsily fight the rookie into her own sloppy Straightjacket German… for the three at (23:13). Jaguar hugs the dead rookie while Chikako gets a big win. Everyone hugs each other and gives congratulations at the end (even Shimoda!), all full of gratitude and what-not.

One of those dreaded “20+ minutes to give the rookie some experience & showcase JD’s stars” matches, but Shimoda is good enough at character stuff that she did okay. But then you hit the 15th minute of it and you’re “okay, I get it- Kosugi is easily-beaten and bullied by both but Jaguar can help her out”. Then there’s this hilarious bit where it’s 20 minutes and they’re like “okay good- now on to the ACTUAL sequence of the match” as Shimoda & Jaguar start killing it with all their good moves. Then Chikako still gets the final pin because she’s a JD’ star, but at least it’s against the rookie who had no chance. It’s funny watching Chikako throughout the match, as she’s doing well to start, adding an extra “pump” to every move… and then 18 minutes in she’s throwing out sloppy garbage, can’t grapple right and is very loose at everything.

Rating: * (like, the final 3-4 minutes was a ***-ish match, but 20 minutes of restholds, increasingly-loose offense and rookie “FIGHTING SPIRIT” and dropkicks… woof)

* It’s a rookie fight, with Kosugi’s actual debut posted after the tag match. Both have identical hairstyles, but Sachie’s waering makeup and a well-designed singlet in red & yellow, looking like less of a jobber.

Kosugi does jobber-fu with dropkicks to start, but gets caught in restholds and Sachie’s athleticism (Thesz presses and running), then finishes her with the Bodyslam of Death at (1:51 of 10:23 shown).

* More rookies! Yanu’s a plain-looking one with super-short hair and a black outfit, while Koyama’s got lighter hair, makeup, and a pink/orange/yellow singlet.

Yanu shows off her dizzying array of headlock takeovers (probably the one thing she could do really well), but gets caught in a lot of standing back-bodydrops. They both try that move repeatedly, Koyama finally getting one and grinding a pin out on Yanu at (2:33 of 17:06 shown). SEVENTEEN MINUTES! The fans certainly look like they’ve just watched seventeen minutes of back body drops.

* Okay WTF? ALDA Moreno? “Neftaly” sounds like some kind of coffee brand. Looks like everyone here are established luchadoras, though. Neftaly’s a bigger girl in dark gear, Blanca’s in white with some designs on it, Esther’s in balck & Alda’s in black & green. Alda looks a lot smaller than the others.

We’re joined in progress to Alda doing super-cool stuff, made easier because it’s people who’ve wrestled her a lot- a flippy armdrag, tope suicida & backflip double-armdrag all impress, then it’s stereo ranas & a quebrada. Blanca dives onto a pile, then ESTHER does a Quebrada as this is just a highlight reel, clipping constantly. Things slow down with Blanca/Neftaly in charge- Blanca hits a German on Esther, but gets a frankensteiner off the top- Neftaly breaks it up. Everyone kinda runs into each other as things get disjointed, then Esther hits three moonsaults on Blanca while Alda only gets one then lands on her feet on a third but Neftaly stomps everyone anyways. Alda gets a rana as Esther takes Neftaly to prevent more pin-breaks, but Alda eats a Northern Lights suplex for two. She manages a rana (spinning around on Blanca’s shoulders), but climbs and gets caught with a running one-armed powerbomb for the three at (5:31 of 18:33 shown). So the heels win, which at least makes things unpredictable.

Rating: ** (too hard to showcase considering it’s literally just a collection of the cool stuff for 2 minutes, then settles into the back minutes of the match)

* Miori Kamiya’s new masked character takes on the masked rookie. Cooga’s in blue & Phoenix is in red.

We’re JIP to Cooga beating on Phoenix in the arena hallway and the stands, leading to a Northern Lights suplex & Tornado DDT in the ring for two-counts. Cooga sets up a Bloody comeback & dive, but gets the Mandatory 1996 German off The Second Rope, then eats a dive and a tombstone on the floor. Flying Knee to the Head looks to finish… but Bloody “F*ck YOU!” bridges out! Cooga looks annoyed, and hits a spinning back-elbow (possibly supposed to be an Uraken) and a Backdrop Suplex Hold for three at (3:02 of 18:01 shown). EIGHTEEN MINUTES! Considering the entire match shown was just Cooga beating the hell out of her, I’m not sure what the rest looked like. Good ending surge, and Cooga’s stuff looked dead-on perfect considering she’d gone 18:00 by that point.

Cult of Bull Nakano on Twitter: "...and Chikako Shiratori and Yuki Lee. #JDStar" / Twitter

JD’ tried REALLY HARD in these early shows to make Chikako & Yuki into “the hot prospects to watch”… which kinda shows how bad the talent pool was by 1996.

* Asuka, kind of freelancing or something by this point, takes on the hot prospect rookie of JD’. Asuka’s in some pretty sharp gear this time around- all black with white stripes on the chest. Yuki’s in mostly red.

Yuki tries rookie-fu, and Asuka isn’t even gonna bother- she timbers her over with a kick combo, beats on her when she tries simple stuff, and throws on casual submissions. Suplex, sleeper, knee strikes and elbows keep Yuki down, and a sleeper and some kicks tell the story of her fighting no matter the odds, Asuka just casually doing stuff. She carries Yuki around, dumps her into a sharpshooter, then finishes with the Giant Swing at (5:59). Asuka then talks smack and we get an EXTRA match- Asuka again kicks her ass, throwing out backdrop suplexes & spinning heel kicks. A big spinkick puts Yuki down for the “KO” spot, getting up and eight to put her over, but Asuka just kicks the hell out of her again. This happens repeatedly, but Yuki gets a hideous dragon screw to reverse one in a hope spot- a long ankle lock has Asuka angry and struggling. Yuki fights her into a couple of powerslams for a one-count, then gets powerbombed, but bridges out! Asuka just does it again for the three (5:32).

Well they had to do a “spirited rookie” match- Asuka put the work in, but mostly just acted annoyed that the kid was trying to hang. It had a good story with Asuka’s clear contempt and desire to throw more shots to kill the kid, but Yuki’s just not that good yet- none of her stuff hits well and she’s not good at selling.

Rating: *1/2 (about as good as a rookie being murdered for 11 minutes straight was gonna be- Yuki’s not any good and Asuka was rightly only barely trying, but the story was there)

BISON KIMURA vs. LI FUA (Jaguar Yokota):
* “Operation: Get Bison Kimura Over” sees her take on a masked Jaguar as “Li Fua”, looking like something out of WMAC Masters. Bison’s in leopart print, but oh sh*t we’re off!

Li Fua sweeps the leg while Bison is doing her pre-match taunt, then beats on her as the streamers rain down! An Irish whip hilariously has Bison drag all the streamers off the mat, and Li Fua uses her own tonfa rod as a weapon. An annoyed Bison uses the tonfa to come back, but uh-oh- this chick’s from the “Dump Matsumoto” school and starts stabbing her with a metal spike. So Bison has a gory bladejob while Li Fua throws ninja-kicks and throat-thrusts to avoid looking like Jaguar. Li Fua repeatedly hides the weapon, then uses it again, finally just chucking the ref away and openly grinding the spike into Bison’s forehead. A good bit happens as Bison’s on the floor but starts whipping chairs from that position to come back, and they scrap out there like maniacs, using chairs as ranged weapons.

Li Fua eats a piledriver on an invincible Japanese table and gets choked with the tonfa, but stabs Bison’s arm, which is sold big. This lets Li Fua come back, and she hits a jumping knee & backdrop suplex for two. Bison stops her kicks with an STF. They scrap a bit more, Bison hitting choking and Bison Chops, then a powerbomb. Li Fua reverses a chokeslam to an armdrag but gets powerbombed again when she climbs to the top. Bison doesn’t follow up and gets tossed outside again, Li Fua hitting a moonsault off a stage, hitting a front straightjacket piledriver in the ring for two. A palm thrust is reversed to two chokeslams, but Bison misses the Moonsault and eats a forward-flipping missile kick and jumping knee, and another knee… gets the three at (13:30)! Li Fua wins! She leans over a defeated Bison, gouging her own foreheard to pour some blood on her opponent as a kind of “vicious monster” thing, then stalks off darkly.

Okay, so the deal here is pretty clearly “Get Bison over as a badass babyface fighting back from cheaty stabbing” and it did at least get the crowd into it bit… but it’s pretty much JUST a match about stabbing and violence, and Bison ain’t exactly Chigusa, who would carry the day with ultra-sympathetic selling. Bison really just roars in pain and does big screaming comebacks a bunch, like she didn’t quite have all the pieces or the timing together. They got back in the ring for the last few minutes, but just kinda hit the usual Bison stuff, though Jaguar at least did a good job hiding her offense until she started aiming for front piledrivers a bunch (and even then modified them a bit).

Rating: **1/4 (okay enough, but just stabbiness at first in my least favorite kind of match, then some basic everyday “back and forth” with semi-big moves)

So it’s another odd JD’ Beauty Athlete card- an excruciatingly long tag team match with rookies, quick clips of a good lucha match, the end of a solid “Veteran vs. Rookie” bout, Lioness Asuka murdering a weaksauce rookie for ten minutes, then a “Chigusa Lite” match with a scary “new” heel showing dominance. Nothing in this promotion is particularly outstanding so far, though they at least have a few good workers.