Joshi Spotlight: Collision in Korea & Bridge of Dreams

Most North Koreans are relatively small, compact, and conservative in how they handle themselves. When it was time for the Japanese women to wrestle, they didn’t know how to react.

“These female wrestlers were just completely from another planet,” remembers CNN correspondent, Mike Chinoy.

“Bull Nakano had hair dyed blue, and it went straight up about six or eight inches. She was wearing a white sleeveless shirt over a leotard with half-calf boots. Manami Toyota sported a black leotard with partly opened arm coverings and looked like a dominatrix from some S&M movie. And these North Korean men were sitting there staring. Whether they had any idea what this was about is entirely beyond me.”

https://prowrestlingstories.com/pro-wrestling-stories/collision-in-korea/

COLLISION IN KOREA:
(April 28-29, 1995)
* So today I’ll be doing a double-whammy, as we’ve hit the point in my reviews were they stars of AJW and other Joshi promotions hit both the Tokyo Dome’s Bridge of Dreams show, and go to North Korea for the WCW/NJPW dual-show, Collision in Korea! This is AJW’s contribution to the Collision in Korea double-show, as they apparently stuck to themselves and quietly went out there and wrestled. Though I think this is how Kensuke Sasaki met Akira Hokuto, his future wife.

AKIRA HOKUTO vs. BULL NAKANO:
* So they’re teaming up the next night, but today they fight each other- AJW’s top two stars, even then. Bull’s in all-black, with her giant blue hair, and Akira’s in green & white.

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Joshi Spotlight: Wrestling Queendom 1995

AJW QUEENDOM ’95:
* For this Joshi Spotlight, we take a look at the three “Wrestling Queendom” shows in March 1995! However, I’ve done two of them before, so here’s the two matches available from the first one- thankfully, BOTH are ****+! Here we see the returning veterans of the Raijin Army take on LCO & Suzuka Minami, and then the Main Event is a spectacular 8-Woman Elimination Tag with some odd rules- all to see which AJW wrestlers get to head to the “Bridge of Dreams” show and showcase their promotion at the Tokyo Dome!

This review will feature those two big matches, then end with summations for the two Queendoms.

RAIJIN ARMY (BISON KIMURA, JAGUAR YOKOTA & LIONESS ASUKA) vs. SUZUKA MINAMI & LAS CACHORRAS ORIENTALES (Etsuko Mita & Mima Shimoda):
* And now it’s time for Jaguar’s “Returning Veteran Squad” to take on the reunited Minami/LCO team! The Raijin Army sort of forms as a whole at this point, with the wily vets throwing a spanner into the works of AJW- this bout probably being to properly reintroduce them as a unit. There’s some fun stuff here, as Jaguar trained both Mita & Shimoda, while Mita based a huge chunk of her current act (especially her Chops) off of Bison after she retired. Jaguar’s in pink, Bison’s in white tiger-stripes, Asuka’s in navy blue, Minami’s in orange & blue, and LCO’s in white & purple. This is Bison’s first real match back, so she gets a BIG reaction. Mita talks shit on the mic and Bison grabs at her right away.

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The Rockers vs. The Natural Disasters (and other Dream Matches!)

The Wrestling Insomniac: The Natural Disasters: Tag Team Champions?

Many more “Fat Guy Matches” await us today! Read on!

Welcome back to more Dream Matches! The main thing this time is a match I didn’t even realize had happened, as one team formed just as the other one was being split apart- the Natural Disasters against The Rockers!

And this time I have even more on those terrible indie-riffic tag guys, as the Land of Giants actually fight EACH OTHER (in Puerto Rico of all places), while the Puccio twins (“The Undertakers” on last week’s column) wrestle on a WWF House Show as “Double Trouble” against the Steiner Brothers! Then we see a random Saturday Night squash as Mike Enos takes on Mike Tolbert.

Also, a match that helps explains to the youngsters among you just WHY Dallas Page was one of the most hated wrestlers online in the late ’90s. This tends to shock newer fans and those who weren’t around back then, so take a look at a particularly notable match against Psychosis!

THE ROCKERS (Shawn Michaels & Marty Jannetty) vs. THE NATURAL DISASTERS (Earthquake & Typhoon, w/ Jimmy Hart):
(WWF TV, Oct. 20th 1991)
* It is extremely weird to me that these two teams overlapped- I identify them both so strongly with two different eras- the “Hogan Era” and the post-Hogan doldrums- that this just feels “wrong”. But there was indeed about a four-month period where this could have happened- the Rockers were on their way to splitting, while the Disasters were a fresh heel team set up to fight the Legion of Doom. Ironically, the Rockers, in their bright blue tasseled gear, were a “modern”-looking duo, which is why in retrospect they’re now the most dated-looking guys of the era.

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Joshi Spotlight: Hikari Fukuoka

https://64.media.tumblr.com/5ce1b26edd76f82b8a052dab11c5490a/2ed9eba1953be85f-ab/s400x600/fe673f7fffd55748f691e03e59a5057608e13233.gifv

The Dreaded Rider Kick from SquaredCircle

Fukuoka’s Moonsault STOMP and her flipping Rider Kick.

JOSHI SPOTLIGHT- HIKARI FUKUOKA:
Billed Height & Weight: 5’3″ 143 lbs.
Career Length: 1989-1999

-And now we come to the career of the “Wait, who’s that girl copying all of Manami Toyota’s stuff?” star of JWP, Hikari Fukuoka! Hikari is often seen in some of the biggest Joshi events kicking around the midcard- sometimes taking on top stars and losing in a “good effort” match, and sometimes beating others on her tier. She’s effectively the “Sakie Hasegawa” of the early ’90s JWP Project promotion- aka “This is who’s going to be our biggest star in five years, but for now she’s just a Highly-Respected Up & Comer”. Only difference is Sakie retired young, while Hikari actually got her run with the JWP Title, holding it for almost two years. There’s also that weird thing where she often dressed in all black and lifted all of Toyota’s shit in a strange bit of idolization- you didn’t often see someone from one company entirely lift someone else in a rival company’s stuff in Japan.

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Jumbo Tsuruta & John Tenta vs. The Road Warriors (and other Dream Matches!)

Welcome back to more Dream Matches! This time, we’ve got something weird- apparently when John Tenta was just starting out in wrestling, he was in ALL JAPAN of all places, teaming up with the Ace and weighing only 300-ish lbs., and fighting the legendary Road Warriors!

Also I found more of that bizarre Land of Giants team, as they take on… The Undertakers? Yes- it’s a pair of obese twins with a name the WWF actually bought off of them. Then wen see a “Battle of the Kings” as King Mabel decides to take out Ken Shamrock shortly after his King of the Ring victory- a shockingly good attempt at putting a guy over from MABEL of all people! And then, in a fantastically-terrible bout, come see the legendary POWER UTI, villain of Mick Foley’s first book and national hero of Nigeria, take on the worst wrestler in AEW- Doc “Super Festus” Gallows! And then we cap things off with WCW’s Wrath & Mortis vs. The Faces of Fear in a shockingly-good Hoss Brawl!

JUMBO TSURUTA & JOHN TENTA vs. THE ROAD WARRIORS (Hawk & Animal, w/ Paul Ellering):
(All Japan, 1987.6.8)
* Haha, oh Jesus- look at this! Baby John Tenta, fresh out of sumo and having lost a LOT of weight, is in the early stage of his pro wrestling career in All Japan as the Ace’s tag team partner, and they’re going up against the early form of the Road Warriors, in full black spike-vests and ’80s facepaint! Tenta, in his navy-blue singlet with a Canadian flag on it, is almost unrecognizable, being barely 300 lbs. and scarcely larger than Jumbo- he’s all straight lines! Even at 24 he’s lost almost all the hair on top of his head, though.

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Joshi Spotlight: AJW TV (March 1995)- Toyota/Hotta vs. Double Inoue (WWWA Title Shot Match)

Puroguide: All Japan Women's Pro-Wrestling | Puro Guide

AJW TV (March 1995):
* This is an episode taped on Feb. 15th, but aired in early March. This one largely features a handful of “Filler” bouts, a very good Aja Kong/Etsuko Mita match, and most importantly- Kyoko & Takako Inoue vs. Manami Toyota & Yumiko Hotta- the person scoring the winning fall will challenge Aja Kong at Wrestling Queendom 1995! Watch as a fascinating little story of inter-team squabbling plays out!

And wouldn’t ya know- it’s apparently U-Channel that bit the big one and made all its videos private, which kills a lot of Joshi videos on YouTube. So these ones have all been deleted between my reviews and my posting, but at least I got ’em. Sorta! Take my word for the match ratings!

AJW TAG TITLES #1 CONTENDERS MATCH:
TOMOKO WATANABE & KUMIKO MAEKAWA vs. MARIKO YOSHIDA & RIE TAMADA:
* A match to determine the top contenders for the lowest ranked Tag Belts in the company, as the future U*Tops duo take on Yoshida (who is still kind of hovering in the lower-midcard) & Tamada. Yoshida’s in her white gear, Rie’s in white w/ ’80s wallpaper accents, Tomoko’s in black w/ tassles, and Kumiko’s in a sports bra and shorts in 1980s wallpaper decor. Man, all rookies have to dress in these garish designs, I swear.

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Andre the Giant & Giant Baba vs. The Land of Giants (and other Dream Matches!)

Andre & Baba versus two 6’7″ guys so bad even Vince didn’t want them. I’m in love. So how bad do you have to be to have neither Vince nor Eric want you when you’re that big? Read on!

Time for more Dream Matches! This time, I’ve found one of those things that opens up the floodgates- wrestlers I’ve never heard of before who send me on a YouTube-fest that bring sup all sorts of weirdo matches! Come see two  6’7″+ guys even VINCE didn’t want as the “Land of Giants” take on Andre the Giant & Giant Baba in 1990!

Also, we have two bouts from the same episode of Prime Time Wrestling, as Jake Roberts takes on Typhoon and Paul Roma goes up against The Dragon! And then a match recommended to me a week ago- Dean Malenko vs. SURFER-era Sting from Nitro! And we’ll cap things off with the WCW Saturday Night debut of one Bill Goldberg, as the “Best of Roadblock” series continues! Can Bill defeat the 6’7″ guy who almost never wins? Who knows?!?

REAL WORLD TAG LEAGUE 1990:
ANDRE THE GIANT & GIANT BABA vs. THE LAND OF GIANTS (Butch Masters & Skywalker Nitron):
(All Japan, 25.11.1990)
* Oh my god you GUYS. This is Andre & Giant Baba in their retirement tour as crippled old men, and they’re taking on two gigantic dudes I’ve never heard of! I have to know everything about these guys now. Looks like they’re two never-was acts (Nitron sniffed WCW for a second as “Big Sky” and that’s all the Big Two has for them), both about 6’7″ or so but with physiques like the Young Bucks and knock-off Ultimate Warrior facepaint. Oh wait… Big Sky/Skywalker Nitron was Sabretooth in the first “X-Men” movie! It’s Tyler Mane! And he has a goddamn bleached RAT TAIL haircut! Butch has more fashion with a regular brown mullet. I love this match already.

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Joshi Spotlight: JWP Neo Street Fight (Kansai vs. Ozaki)

This damn match has 3-4 “Holy fuck, who agreed to THAT?” spots in it.

JWP HARD CORE GIG:

(Feb. 25th, 1995)
* Welcome to another set of JWP matches, this time from the first three months of 1995! This features a handful of throwaway bouts to start, but ends with the absolute best goddamn Street Fight I’ve ever seen save Triple-H/Foley. This match is INSANE, as diminutive Mayumi Ozaki pulls out some of the most Satanic evil shit in wrestling against the bigger, stronger Dynamite Kansai. It’s proof of how weirdly good JWP can be, where hordes of matches that “go way too long” or “Matches that would be ****+ but they wanted to give the rookies lots of match time” will suddenly be capped off with one of the best matches of the entire year.

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Joshi Spotlight: Bull Nakano vs. Akira Hokuto (WWWA Title- 1/4/1991)

Here’s another single-match-review Spotlight, as I finally work through some more of the great stuff Evito-X put up on YouTube! Check out his channel!

WWWA WORLD TITLE:
BULL NAKANO vs. AKIRA HOKUTO:
(1.4.1991)
* So well into the WWWA Title reign of Bull Nakano comes a challenge in the quickly-rising big star Akira Hokuto. Hokuto’s megawatt charisma and great matches have earned her a lot of attention, but even AJA KONG took a while to be seen as a “legit” contender, so I don’t know what tier Akira was on in early ’91. The schoolgirl fans are way into Akira’s corner in this one, as this is early enough in the ’90s that teen girls were still the core audience. I haven’t watched a lot of this era of Bull (I mostly went from the ’80s to her legend run post-1992) but she’s a real monster here- typically her matches seem to feature her just gobbling up her opponents alive as a respected Monster Heel.

Bull’s in her standard “rock band t-shirt over black leotard” look while Akira’s in her early ’90s white & blue karate fighter gear, Bull being a lot heavier that her WWF & WCW stuff (about 210 lbs), and Akira lacking her bleach-blonde crazy-makeup look, appearing more like a short-haired normal person. Bull’s goons, Tomoko Watanabe & Bat Yoshinaga, are at ringside.

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Sid vs. The Nightstalker (and other Dream Matches!)

Worst in the World: Sid Vicious vs The Nightstalker-Clash of the Champions XIII

Welcome back to another Dream Matches column! Here, we get one of the most famous bad matches in wrestling history, as WCW sends out terrible rookies Sid Vicious & Bryan Clark on a major national television show! Who can lead the match? NOBODY, as it turns out! And then they bring out a BIG AXE!!

Then we get the bizarre SmackDown! match where Triple-H has to take on Kai En Tai & the Brooklyn Brawler to earn a match against Chris Jericho on the next RAW- it’s semi-famous for the ending, which is kind of a one-time-only thing. Then “The Best of Roadblock” continues as he takes on Diamond Dallas Page in a throwaway match, and we visit PCO during his SECOND run in WCW as he fights Big Vito. And we finalize everything with the FIRST EVER match between the Undertaker and Kane!!! Except it’s in WCW with a green-ass rookie “Unabom” Glen Jacobs an an invading WWF purple-gloved Taker. But it still counts!

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Joshi Spotlight: AJW TV (Feb. 1995)

AJW TV (Feb. 4th, 1995):
* So here’s an AJW TV show from February, centering around a bunch of random stuff, like Aja & Manami facing off in a tag team match with unrelated partners, resulting in a high position on the card for young Kumiko Maekawa. Oh, and that JAGUAR YOKOTA is back- at nearly 40 years old, the trainer of Aja Kong, Megumi Kudo, Manami Toyota and a LEGION of some of the best workers of the ’90s is suddenly back wrestling after Big Egg Wrestling Universe showed she still had it, and she’s going to execute a rookie to prove it again.

Aaaaaaaaand all these videos are private now? I guess? That’s weird.

I had a video here, but it died.

Hey, look! Some random clip of the Class of ’89 (Sakie, Tomoko, Ito) showcasing the Rookie Class of 1995, which features… okay I know Nanae Takahashi became a thing. Kayo Noumi I think I’ve heard of. The others mostly washed out, according to the YouTube comments I translated via Google (someone quit and went to FMW). And then we get the REAL money- ROOKIE INTERVIEWS OF TODAY’S STARS! Baby Aja Kong with her hair in a big bun! Baby Manami! Baby LCO! Baby Yamada! This is amazing!

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The Road Warriors vs. The Natural Disasters in Japan (and other Dream Matches!)

1991.12.12 SWS&WWF L.O.D VS Natural disasters① - YouTube

The height difference here is nuts. Like, Fred Ottman must always fight dudes of equal height because I completely forget sometimes that he DWARFS even men as big as Hawk.

Welcome back to more Dream Matches! This time, I found an AMAZINGLY fun Hoss Match from Japan as the Natural Disasters go up against the Legion of Doom… with their “Iron Man” theme and incredible overness in Japan! That and Earthquake’s sumo credibility make for an incredibly fun bout.

And I found a great grab-bag of weird stuff for the column today: Did you know that when the Truth Commission split up, Bull Buchanan and the other guy were paired up for a couple of weeks as a team before being sent away and repackaged? Yup- come see “Armageddon” take on The Quebecers! Also my “Best of Roadblock” series continues as he’s set up against a pissed-off, lethal Giant! More of Jimmy Del Ray’s weird run as “Jimmy Graffiti” as he takes on Eddie Guerrero during Eddie’s early babyface push! And we cap off with Al Snow and a very young, green Kane as “Unabom” up against… Matt Hardy and Joey Abs? God SMW was weird.

WWF TAG TEAM TITLES:
THE LEGION OF DOOM (Hawk & Animal) vs. THE NATURAL DISASTERS (Earthquake & Typhoon, w/ Jimmy Hart):
(SWS/WWF in Japan, 12/12/1991)
* Okay, this is a fantastic one I saw split up in two on YouTube. The Road Warriors are of course famous in Japan and here come out to their old-school theme, “Iron Man”, and HOLY SHIT is that a massive game-changer to their act. Even with the cartoon WWF red & black spikes it’s a totally different effect, as awesome as their WWF music was- this was BORN to be a wrestling theme. Earthquake is of course known and respected in Japan as a former sumo (undefeated but quit over injuries and cultural rules and such)- he’s billed “Earthquake” John Tenta here. Right away I’m astounded as the two teams square up and even Typhoon is MUCH larger than either man. Like, Hawk & Animal ain’t small but Ottman has a couple inches on either one. This is in two parts on YouTube.

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Joshi Spotlight: The WWWA & JWP Tag Title Defenses

Double Inoue vs. Manami Toyota & Sakie Hasegawa.

AJW TV (Jan. 1995):
* And welcome to the beginning of 1995 in the Joshi Spotlight! So I found a handful of stuff from the early part of the year, but of primary importance here are the huge Title defenses of Double Inoue & LCO!! So this is a “two-match review”, as both major Joshi promotions defend their top gold in the early part of January 1995!

So first off, Double Inoue make a very big WWWA Tag Title defense as Manami Toyota comes back for her gold, but with Sakie Hasegawa as her new partner! And then we have Las Cachorras Orientales defending the JWP Tag Team Titles on JWP home turf against the odd pairing of evil Mayumi Ozaki & rising idol Hikari Fukuoka! Both matches are absolute bangers, so come take a look!

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Shawn Michaels vs. Kamala (and more Dream Matches!)

Remembering Kamala: 16 Greatest Matches

Welcome back to another Dream Matches column! This week we have another “Wait, that happened?” bout from the mid’90s, as Shawn Michaels in the midst of his IC Title (and Diesel’s early run as a denim-clad bodyguard) push takes on Kamala! Next, it’s from that forgotten era of the Quebecers in the WWF as Pierre is used as a jobber for the intense loner rookie Edge! Then it’s the battle of WCW’s “Rick Fuller Division” with the actual Rick Fuller taking on mighty Roadblock! I mean, SOMEONE has to lose! And we end with a WCW Lucha spotfest, as Juventud Guerrera & the deceptively-stocky Silver King take on Kaz Hayashi & Blitzkrieg!

As always, these are taken from YouTube, so you can watch them regardless of whether or not you have the Network.

WWF INTERCONTINENTAL TITLE:
SHAWN MICHAELS (w/ Diesel) vs. KAMALA:
(WWF RAW, June 28th 1993)
* This one was mentioned by fellow poster Moskow, and you just GOTTA review a trainwreck-looking match like this! Shawn is all in black and has his bodyguard Diesel, but Big Sexy is in all denim, looking like the most 1990s guy ever. One version online is SUPER-clipped, so watch the “two parts” version.

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Joshi Spotlight: Mariko Yoshida

Mariko Yoshida

This is, bar none, the greatest gear in wrestling history. She looks like a goddamn SUPER-VILLAIN.

JOSHI SPOTLIGHT- MARIKO YOSHIDA:
Real Name: Mariko Morita
Billed Height & Weight: 5’4″ 139 lbs. (varies in body type considerably; translation: gets swole)
Career Length: 1988-2017

-One of the unsung heroes of Joshi would be Mariko Yoshida, probably most notable to Western fans for having almost the exact same name as Wolverine’s lady-love for about a decade, one Mariko Yashida. This is most likely a coincidence, though Yoshida’s real family name is apparently Morita. Her biggest contribution to Western wrestling might be the creation of the Air Raid Crash, an over-the-shoulder move where she drapes the opponent across her back, cradles a leg and their neck, and drops down in an Inverted DDT hold. It was swiped by Mike Modest, appearing prominently in Beyond the Mat (Jim Cornette marks out upon seeing it). This devastating-looking move is STILL a big maneuver, and is currently used by AEW’s Britt Baker, among others.

Yoshida was surprisingly one of the most interesting workers in 1992 AJW (with only four years in the biz at that point), using Lucha Libre-influenced stuff to great success- her sunset flips, quick runs up to the top rope, and more led to a very good “come from behind” rookie style that made flukes seem like a constant threat. Hilariously, she uses a friggin’ Super DDT as a mere “prelude to the big stuff” move, as it had zero credibility as a finisher. – Rookie Yoshida in 1992 was one of AJW’s top eight best wrestlers easily (possibly behind only Bull, Aja, Akira, Yamada, Manami & Kyoko). Her future seemed bright, before a horrible neck injury put her out for nearly two years.

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Joshi Spotlight: Joshi in 1994

From Nikki Bella to Chyna, these are the Top Women in Wrestling – Page 24 – Herald Weekly

Akira Hokuto retired this year! Until she didn’t!

JOSHI IN 1994:

And now we’ve reached the end of what I can find for Joshi in 1994, so here’s my summation for the year! And it was a big one, with the future looking bright! Until it wasn’t! Read on!

Joshi had its biggest year ever in 1993, thanks to the massive Dream Slam, Thunder Queen Battle, and more, all culminating in St. Battle Final by the end of the year- 1994 had a lot to live up to, but went from strength to strength as they cap things off with the biggest joshi card in history at the Tokyo Dome- Big Egg Wrestling Universe is, to this day, the largest gate for any women’s pro wrestling event. Though they didn’t come close to filling the Dome and that’s hard to call a major success, it’s definitely made an impact. During most of the year, Akira Hokuto proclaims the “Dangerous Queen Final Countdown” as she prepares to leave AJW and move to Mexico, so she has all kinds of amazing Dream Matches in cards until Summer… and then she’s just back in AJW and that’s that for a while.

The year starts with a brutal, bloody Aja/Hotta match that sees Aja tear Hotta’s hand apart and dominate her. Kyoko beats Yamada for the All Pacific Title and that’s mostly it for Yamada’s push. The Tag Champs reign supreme for ages until October, and Manami Toyota’s push builds and builds throughout the year. She & Hokuto are the obvious work-horses of the year, putting out crazy batting-averages for great stuff. The year gets off to a great start with March’s Wrestling Queendom ’94, having a ridiculous string of awesome matches (Kansai/Sakie- ****1/4, Manami/Plum Mariko- ****1/2, LCO vs. Ozaki/Cutie- ****3/4, Aja/Bull vs. Kandori/Hokuto- *****), capping off the amazing Hokuto/Kandori feud with a story of them gaining respect for each other in a tag match against the former and current Aces of AJW- Kandori helps Hokuto pin Aja Kong to win the match, then slaps her hand out of respect and marches off leading her LLPW ring girls to the back. Just an amazing moment capping off a huge card.

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Dwayne Johnson’s TV Debut, Tugboat vs. Roadblock (and other Dream Matches)

Just a picture of Flex Kavana, anyone knows does he still wrestles, I remember seeing him USWA back in 90s. : SquaredCircle

Welcome back to more Dream Matches! Now, if you’re anything like me, every once in a while you wake up and go “I really want to watch a dozen Roadblock matches”, but I wasn’t sure about doing a “Best of Roadblock” column or just spreading the joy throughout multiple columns. But watching him fight Tugboat in 1991 just needs some focus on its own, you know?

Also, this week we’ll see the TV debut of some tall guy named Dwayne Johnson as “Flex Kavana”, as he teams up with Brian Christopher against Jerry Lawler & Bill Dundee in the Memphis territory, while Dwayne prepares for his WWF callup in one of the few old territories left. Also, it’s a Berzerker frenzy, as John Nord squashes both Shawn Michaels and Jim Powers in different decades! Who knows if either of those pretty boys will recover their careers?

Also, come watch Blitzkrieg fight Super Calo! With NO BOTCHING! Swear to God! Except once. Where Blitzkrieg nearly dies. But other than that it was clean!

USWA TAG TEAM TITLES:
FLEX KAVANA & “TOO SEXY” BRIAN CHRISTOPHER vs. “THE KING” JERRY LAWLER & BILL DUNDEE:
(USWA, mid-1996)
* So yes, this is the first EVER televised match for one Dwayne Johnson, as he appears in his USWA incarnation, with barely any training under his belt (he graduated college only the year before), as “Flex Kavana” (a nickname 411/Inside Pulse’s Eric S would always use to make fun of him). And he’s teaming with “Too Sexy” against the old men of the territory, Jerry & Bill, at a combined age of 970, with Bill in yellow tights and Jerry in his blue one-strap. Flex is in black trunks, Brian in white tiger-striped tights. Flex, with the same heelish tint in his voice that the Rock would later use, declares his team “Naughty by nature and violent by design”. There’s barely anyone at all in this embarrassingly-tiny red TV studio as the USWA promotion dies and dies. Lawler is actually a heel at this point.

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Joshi Spotlight: AJW Tag League THE BEST 1994 (Part Two)

AJW TAG LEAGUE THE BEST 1994:
(10.12.1994)
* And now the final VHS release of 1994 for Joshi, as we end the 1994 Tag League! It looks like tonight it’s a three-way “Playoff Final” for the top ranks, as Aja Kong & Reggie Bennett, Kyoko Inoue & Sakie Hasegawa and Manami Toyota & Takako Inoue all end up tied (aw man, poor LCO)! Tragically, we’ve missed Kumiko Maekawa vs. Yoko Takahashi in rookie mayhem, and some showing of their trip to Bali in mid-December. Last year’s show saw a legendary bout in which Manami Toyota & Akira Hokuto beat Kyoko Inoue & Toshiyo Yamada in a PAIR of ***** matches back-to-back (the only time in history this has been done), so this show has an awfully big pair of shoes to fill.

Tag League THE BEST 1994:
MARIKO YOSHIDA & CHAPARRITA ASARI vs. TOMOKO WATANABE & RIE TAMADA:
* Both teams are ranked at the bottom, making this a solid early match. Tomoko & Rie both look heartbroken for their low standing, while the other two are Deer-In-Headlights. Yoshida’s in that gloriously terrible blue/pink/yellow thing, ASARI’s in light blue & silver (hey, that’s a new one!), Tomoko’s in black & white, and Rie’s in white & orange.

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Brian Lee vs. Wrath (and other Dream Matches!)

Welcome back to more of wrestling’s most unexpected Dream Matches! This week: it’s 1992 SMW, as Brian Lee the would-be Southern babyface star takes on a green-ass Adam Bomb/Wrath/Brian Clarke in his “Nightstalker” identity! And remember Blitzkrieg in WCW? The skinny white guy who copied all the cool shit he saw from puro/lucha tapes (wait… does that make him the most influential wrestler in history?)? Well here he is against Psychosis! And last week I showed you PCO as “X” in NWA TNA, as he won an X Division Battle Royal in a big debut- here’s his follow-up match against Chris Sabin! And finally, we end things with a sequel to that RINGS match from two weeks ago- this is one of the most beloved “Shoot Style” matches of all time, as Volk Han takes on Kiyoshi Tamura! Puro mat-wrestling fans LOVE this one!

BRIAN LEE vs. THE NIGHTSTALKER:
(Smoky Mountain Wrestling, 1992 sometime?)
* Yes, it’s the ultimate Dream Match of CHAINZ vs. WRATH, bitches! This is from way, WAY early in the careers of both men, with Lee having 4 years to Brian Clarke’s 2. The Nightstalker was infamously bad at this point, to the extent that he looks like THAT and Vince McMahon still waited four years to bring him in. Dude was at least 6’4″ legit and incredibly jacked here, wearing black trunks and gloves. Lee looks pretty hilarious- he has big “Southern wrestler” vibe with the GIGANTIC mullet (even ’92 Crush would be embarrassed), plain black trunks, and bleach-blond hair. He has long, skinny arms & legs with a jobbery physique, so with his huge height he just looks like someone made a jobber version of one of those “growing dinosaurs” that gets bigger in water.

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Joshi Spotlight: Wrestlemarinepiad ’94 EX

The Main Event- Aja vs. Hotta for the WWWA World Title.

AJW WRESTLEMARINEPIAD ’94 EX:
(12/4/94)
* Here’s an odd little show near the end of the year- a mere TWO WEEKS after Big Egg Wrestling Universe in the Tokyo Dome, we get a reasonably-big show that features a WWWA World Title defense, “new act” Blizzard Yuki against a Main Eventer, and more. Though… only the top three matches are particularly big- everything else looks like “card filler”. Thankfully I found the card on Ringstarfield’s channel, and… oh thank god, we have FULL VIDEOS of each match! Like, not all cut up into separate parts! These videos are only NINE years old, meaning that YouTube then allowed people to upload things over 10 minutes long, so we get 26-30 minute videos in some instances. That makes watching this a whole lot more pleasant.

“TL;DR- Why Should I Care?”: Well, two weeks after the biggest show in AJW’s history, they’re back AGAIN pitting superstars against each other. Most are beat to hell and shooting more for *** than ****, but check out Manami being a crazy person in another extremely long eye-opening match to put over a big new act.

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