Joshi Spotlight: Crane Yu

SUSPICIOUS TUMBLR — Dump Matsumoto & Crane Yu with Shiro Abe (1985)

Crane is on the right, Dump Matsumoto on the left.

JOSHI SPOTLIGHT- CRANE YU:
Real Name: Yukari Honjo (aka Masked Yu, Dynamite Jack)
Billed Height & Weight: 5’8″ 220 lbs.
Career Length: 1980-1989

-So on the famous Atrocious Alliance bouts of the 1980s, you’ll see a pretty wild assortment of punk rock girl characters backing up the legendary Dump Matsumoto. Most notable of these is a baby Bull Nakano, but there’s also this HUGE, muscular woman with curly hair, and one that’s effectively a “Clone Buddy” of Dump (like how WWF would add Typhoon to Earthquake and Phineas to Henry Godwinn). That’d be Crane Yu, the former “Masked Yu”, who continues to befuddle Westerners as to the naming theme of the group, as according to our own Manjiimortal, they are named after CONSTRUCTION VEHICLES, not animals- Dump Truck, Bulldozer and Crane. So the “Crane” in her name isn’t the animal, nor is Bull’s “Bull”. That there is a Grizzly on the team confuses this further, though.

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Demolition vs. Andre the Giant & Giant Baba (and other Dream Matches!)

Welcome back to more Dream Matches! Today, it’s a kind of Giant-themed day by accident, as I went looking for Ron Reis’s stuff and found this bizarre Andre/Baba tag match as well! So come see a weird WWF/All Japan bout as Andre & Giant Baba take on Demolition! Also, come see ERIK WATTS make his “Dream Matches” debut wrestling a knock-off Kamala! Plus Ron Studd versus a jobber Chavo Guerrero Jr., then a couple years later as Ron becomes “Reese” of the Flock and takes on a washed-up ex-WWF guy in The Barbarian! And Earthquake in rare chocolate-brown gear against Rubbish Ronnie Garbage!

ANDRE THE GIANT & GIANT BABA vs. DEMOLITION (Ax & Smash):
(WWF/AJPW/NJPW Wrestling Summit April 13 1990)
* Good heavens! A wild interpromotional show, with an ungodly tired-looking Andre teaming up with the aged Baba in Japan against the Demos! Andre adored both guys in real life so he’ll probably be pretty generous to them, but, uh… neither guy on his side is in any position to be carrying a match. Andre’s in blue, with an obvious brace in his gear, while Baba’s in red and looks like he just got dug out of a mass grave. Looking at this card, I really gotta watch the whole thing.

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Joshi Spotlight: AJW Grand Prix 1994 (Part Two)

The Main Event- another Toyota/Yamada match in their never-ending series of ****+ masterpieces!

AJW GRAND PRIX 1994 (Part 2):
(28.08.1994)
* And it’s time for another edition of the yearly AJW Grand Prix. Since the first one isn’t on YouTube, I only have this second part here for review. We get a couple of matches from it, plus the return of MARIKO YOSHIDA, who has been out since just after *1992*’s Grand Prix, missing out on most of the Interpromotional Era due to a neck injury. The neat things about Grand Prix shows is that everyone has a huge fire lit under their ass to perform- like it’s as big as the “Arena Shows” or what-not, and they’re looking to show off and have the best match possible. The hard camera front row is pretty funny- two nerdy guys and a Skeevy Porn Dad, plus a bored-looking girl with dyed red hair.

This year’s edition worked slightly differently- it’s a ten-woman round robin tournament instead of featuring “blocks”. And a few big stars are out- Aja (the Champs are never in these, I think), Akira Hokuto (kinda maybe retired) & Kyoko Inoue. No interpromotional guests this time around, either.

“TL;DR- Why Should I Care?”: This is a remarkably epic show, with a FANTASTIC match between a returning Mariko Yoshida & KAORU, then another classic bout in the storied Toyota/Yamada rivalry. Plus a remarkable three midcard matches actually hit ***1/2, which is pretty rare for any show.

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The Undertaker vs. The Goon (and other Dream Matches!)

Also a weirdo mishmash of Giant Kimala II & Headhunters vs. Johnny Ace, Johnny Smith and a Virtua Fighter character!

Welcome back to more Dream Matches! This time we start off with The Goon’s biggest challenge, as he faces the Undertaker during his feud with Vader! Also the time All Japan ran Johnny Ace/Johnny Smith/Wolf Hawkfield vs. a Kamala knockoff and the Headhunters! If you haven’t had enough Wrath from last week’s column, here he is in the “Post-Nash” part of his career, wrestling an Olympic bobsledder! Also a request from Maffew, as Mabel & Doink the Clown wrestle Bam Bam Bigelow & Jeff Jarrett on a Fancam house show!

As always, WWF stuff isn’t okay to post on the blog, but is readily available on YouTube.

THE UNDERTAKER vs. THE GOON:
(WWF, 1997)
* Yes, they really pit these two legends against each other on FREE TV. Can you believe that? I do find it hilarious how much like a 1990s hockey player Bill Irwin actually looked, what with that big hockey hair and his silhouette. I mean, props. Gorilla Monsoon on commentary suggests he needs to be “Ostracized from the World Wrestling Federation”. The canned heat here is ridiculous, keeping things at a long drone at the exact same volume- they’re not even trying.

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Joshi Spotlight: LLPW in 1994 (Bull Nakano vs. Kandori in a Chain Match)

Bull.jpg

Oh shit how can I NOT use this picture for this article. This is like a friggin’ Renaissance painting of action shots.

LLPW IN 1994:
* LLPW is the joshi league from this time period with the worst online presence, especially these days, so you won’t find much. But they ran a pretty wild card in July 1994 with a lot of Interpromotional matches, being one of the companies to boost sales by running those kinds of things, and one of the only ones to try and run the cards by themselves, against companies other than AJW (most such shows just feature “AJW vs. xxxx” matches, not mixing up the other companies).

So tonight, we’ll see Shinobu Kandori & Rumi Kazama vs. Eagle Sawai & Harley Saito, a rare LLPW/FMW match where Megumi Kudo takes on Yasha Kurenai, and a FANTASTIC Chain Match between Bull Nakano & Shinobu Kandori!

SHINOBU KANDORI & RUMI KAZAMA vs. EAGLE SAWAI & HARLEY SAITO:
(LLPW, June 30, 1994)
* It’s four of LLPW’s top stars in one tag match! Jesus, what’d they fill the REST of the card with? Kandori’s the unstoppable champ at this point, but Eagle always looks strong in matches. Rumi & Harley are nearly always doing the job in Interpromotional Shows, however. This looks like a fancam, so the quality is ass. Harley’s in a blue & green jumpsuit, Eagle’s in red & black, Rumi’s in a black & pink outfit with domino mask (and comes to the ring waving a whip or flail around- so yup, her thing is now that she’s an S&M domme), and Kandori’s in black with yellow stripes.

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Joshi Spotlight: AJW Summer TV & Dangerous Queen Forever

AJW TV (Aug. 1994):
* Here’s a couple of random matches I found from AJW in August! Plus a video all about Akira Hokuto’s career- match clips and interviews that would probably be awesome if you understood Japanese!

TL;DR Version: Hey, two ***+ matches in one TV show- not bad, right? AEW hasn’t spoiled us THAT much! And this is like *1994*!

YUMIKO HOTTA & TOMOKO WATANABE vs. SUZUKA MINAMI & MIMA SHIMODA:
* This was from Aug. 31st, and is pretty much a “random grab-bag of wrestlers” match (though Minami sometimes pairs up with LCO). Minami’s in a hideous red outfit with floral-print, a zipper, and a wide collar, while Shimoda’s in the usual red & black. Tomoko’s in the black with tassles, and Hotta’s in blue & yellow.

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Kevin Nash vs. Wrath (and other Dream Matches!)

PPV REVIEW: WCW Halloween Havoc 1998 ~ Retro Pro Wrestling Reviews

When a five-minute match ends up still being talked about 20 years later.

Welcome back to more Dream Matches! This one features the famous Nitro bout between Main Eventer Kevin Nash and the rising star Wrath! And totally isn’t just an excuse for me to write a mini-column whining about that match and then put up random other weird shit I found to pad it out!

Also here: one of the Headhunters being the hardest working guy in a match involving four former major stars and then-current major lucha acts, plus did you know that Flash Funk and the GOON crossed paths? Well now you do!

KEVIN NASH vs. WRATH:

(WCW Nitro, Nov. 23 1998)
* So THIS turned out to be one of those things that always sticks to Kevin Nash, and is still talked about to this day. So Nash was heading towards his big Title match with Goldberg at Starrcade. Wrath, meanwhile, was getting bigger and bigger reactions for going from a midcarder to ANOTHER Goldberg-style squash artist, just wrecking guys on the undercard for months, to the point where he was getting great reactions. As he was a huge guy who could really move, and had good monster charisma, he was over and he had a lot of potential. Buuuuuuuuuuuut since Goldberg famously had an unbeaten streak, Nash was thought to need to “warm up” by fighting ANOTHER guy with a “streak” going. And so Wrath, in the middle of a hot streak, is booked against a main eventer who can’t afford to lose.

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Joshi Spotlight: JWP in 1994 (August)

AUGUST 5, 1994:
* And we’re back with more JWP focus, as Rico Kasai’s channel hits a VERY busy stretch in August 1994. One set of bouts is from is a VERY puny arena (Ibaraki-ken), with a big curtain on one side, and a lot of people fanning themselves. Another takes place during a “Body Heat” tournament. The matches here alternate between “acceptable filler”, “way-too-long and boring” and then some REALLY excellent stuff with some great spots- the Ozaki/Devil match in particular is a real banger and shows the hidden gems on this guy’s YouTube account.

CUTIE SUZUKI & CANDY OKUTSU vs. DEVIL MASAMI & MAYUMI OZAKI:
* Two of the top stars take on the idol and the rookie. Cutie’s in white, Candy’s in white & black, Ozaki’s in red and Devil’s in black.

The vets play “kill the rookie” for a while, working the arm over with basic stuff. Devil keeps throwing Candy into the corner JUST short of the tag, which is funny. After like four minutes of this, Ozaki whips her to the ropes and Candy does a friggin’ RUNNING NO-HANDS SPRINGBOARD CROSS-BODY, which is Toyota-territory for impossible jumps, and that’s just crazy. Cutie’s in with a TON of hair-pulling, pretty much doing the “House Show Special” at this point (send the fans home happy without killing yourselves with MOVEZ). Devil adds to this by just jumping Candy and whipping her around outside, including a MONSTER toss into the guardrail. Cutie gets the best of Ozaki out there, but Devil tortures Candy with a front piledriver, surfboard and Lion Tamer that even WCW Jericho would be like “the FUCK, lady?” at. And Oz makes it a double, cuz why not?

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Bryan Danielson vs. Reckless Youth (and other Dream Matches!)

Welcome to another column of Dream Matches! This one has some truly crazy “Wait, that was a thing?” cases, as the indie superstar of the 2000s meets the supposed indie superstar of the 1990s, in Bryan Danielson vs. Reckless Youth! Plus the two most bizarre “ECW guys looking out of place in WCW” cases, with the Sandman AND Mikey Whipwreck showing up, taking on Billy Kidman and a Villano, respectively! Watch on YouTube as Dusty Rhodes leads poor Scott Hudson through the most insane conversation in history to fill time. Oh, and remember that four weeks when you saw AAA luchadores on the main WWF TV shows? Well I do! And here’s the time they got sent out on RAW to die while they furthered other programs during their match!

ECWA SUPER-EIGHT TOURNAMENT (2001, second round):

BRYAN DANIELSON vs. RECKLESS YOUTH:
* Oh my god, I just wanted to find Reckless Youth stuff to snark on mid-1990s PWI’s obsession with him, and I found Baby Bryan! So at the time Bryan was just some nobody on his way up- short-haired and clean-shaven like every other Indie Dweeb at the time, but he’s now up against the GOD of the Indie Dweebs. The ECWA Super-Eight was kind of like the ultimate trophy of the indie scene at the time, which at this point was made up of wannabes to WWF & WCW, and wrestled more or less like those companies’ styles- it was either guys who were gonna make the big leagues, or guys who were too small and/or shitty for them. But the focus on Cruiserweight wrestling in WCW, Shawn Michaels, and New Japan’s Juniors, the new generation being fans of that style, and the fact that bouncers and failed football players were suddenly finding careers other than wrestling, meant that there was this massive culture shift that sort of birthed Ring of Honor and the modern style.

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Joshi Spotlight: Akira Hokuto

Akira Hokuto | Akira, Royalty, Female wrestlers

“AJA. Bull- you listen carefully, too. I have two lives left. If anyone wants them, come forward now!”
-Hokuto dropping a challenge during her retirement tour.

JOSHI SPOTLIGHT- AKIRA HOKUTO:
Real Name: Hisako Uno
Billed Height & Weight: 5’6″ & 132 lbs.
Career: 1985-2002

-This is one I’ve been dreading and anticipating for ages now- how does one make sense out of the career of Akira friggin’ Hokuto? Pro wrestling’s living embodiment of “die for your art”.

Akira is one of the “Big Three” of Joshi, arguably the “Big Two” with Manami Toyota- someone whose respect is well-earned and nigh-universal. Anyone who knows anything about wrestling has a deep respect for her work, and even people who aren’t major joshi fans have either seen or heard of her legendary ***** match with Shinobu Kandori at Dream Slam 1, and consider her a top-tier talent. At one point, she has an even shot for being the greatest wrestler ON EARTH, regardless of gender- 1993 was quite possibly the best year any wrestler has ever had- at least six solo matches over ****, more than double that if you count tags, and more. Any female wrestler of the ’90s whose best match wasn’t against Toyota was against Hokuto instead. NOBODY was better at playing through an injury or carrying someone else than Hokuto- Rumi Kazama hit **** with her, and never came close with anyone else, and Akira hit ****1/2 or so against Aja Kong while on a broken leg.

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Macho Man & Mr. Perfect vs. Giant Gonzalez & Mr. Hughes (and other Dream Matches!)

Icons of Wrestling #16 – Giant Gonzalez | Ring the Damn Bell

What defines “Dream Match” better than “Jorge Gonzalez versus _____”?

Welcome to more Dream Matches! Including a rarity with Giant Gonzalez actually interacting with other “name” guys. Also more “short-lived gimmicks” as The Stalker (Barry Windham) has to try and oppose the might of THE GOON! A FAT MAN STAND-OFF between Mabel and Bam Bam Bigelow! Yokozuna in New Japan taking on Riki Choshu! And did you know that Sherri Martel did a run in 1981 AJW? Now you do- watch her face Devil Masami!

All of this can be readily found on YouTube.

“MACHO MAN” RANDY SAVAGE & MR. PERFECT vs. MR. HUGHES & THE GIANT GONZALEZ (w/ Harvey Wippleman):
(17.08.1993)
* Here’s a random taped “end of the card” bout, and an AMAZINGLY weird combination, as Macho Man & Mr. Perfect team up once more to take on Giant Gonzalez near the end of his run, and Mr. Hughes, who at this point was the new guy feuding with the Undertaker (was this the first “heel steals the urn” angle? This feels like the first). Hughes is DEFINITELY not as tall as I remember- he doesn’t look much taller than either opponent. Macho’s in his AMAZING super-patriot gear with red, white & blue, while Perfect’s in black & orange, and the heels are in their usual- airbrushed muscles (Gonzalez) and the sharp suit (Hughes).

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Joshi Spotlight: AJW Budokan Retsuden MAX

AJW BUDOKAN RETSUDEN MAX:
(24.08.1994)
* And now we hit one of the biggest Joshi cards of the year, in one of the most legendary arenas in Japan, with the now-rare Interpromotional Matches taking up the entire card! They’ve really edged off on those in 1994 (they’re probably difficult to book, and I’d imagine most don’t want their top stars to lose to others), but we add one more Dream Match to Akira Hokuto’s generous supply, putting her up against Dynamite Kansai in an elimination tag match! We’ve also got FMW’s top women’s star, LCO vs. an LLPW team, Takako & Cutie forming an Interpromotional Idol Team against two other JWP wrestlers, an ultra-rare Chigusa Nagayo match against AJW wrestlers, and a Kyoko Inoue/Manami Toyota singles match! aka the pairing that first broke Dave Meltzer’s ***** scale! This is a MONSTER show, and a long review- let’s get to it!

We start with a full half-hour of “arriving at the arena and doing photo-shoots” stuff, really padding out a 5-hour (!!) tape. Everyone shows up, people shoot the shit, and at one point Manami & Takako switch outfits. Oddly both seem to fit, despite their different body types. Takako seems to be mimicking Minami by doing endless hair-flips and glamor-girl poses, which is pretty hilarious. Everyone does test-bumps and rope-jumps in the ring, too. Our Main Eventers are all pretty jovial, Hokuto cracking everyone up instead of setting off real-looking fights like usual. Oh man, the show’s announcer is wearing a LIME GREEN suit- that’s top-notch.

I should emphasize right away that this crowd is TOUGH to win over- they pop for comedy and real effort, but they will sit the fuck on their hands if you try stretching or other “match-filler”.

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Joshi Spotlight: JWP (May to July 1994)

JWP IN 1994 (May-July):
* So here’s a short collection of JWP bouts from that YouTube channel I found, mostly timed to spring 1994. August 1994 is VERY well-represented, and so will have its own review a couple weeks from now. Some of these I’m not EXACTLY sure on, as the tiny promotion often had the same people wrestle a lot. Tonight, there’s a handful of filler, and then a pair of VERY good tag matches, one of which features AJW’s Suzuka Minami teaming with Hikari Fukuoka against a demon team of Devil Masami & Mayumi Ozaki!

MAYUMI OZAKI vs. FUSAYO NOUCHI:
(May 1994)
* High-ranked Ozaki takes on the rookie Nouchi in a shorter match. Ozaki’s in red, and Nouchi’s in that white/red/cyan one. And it’s that cool arena with the big theatre stage and curtain on it!

Ozaki, a real pro, jumps Nouchi early and drags her up the steps to the stage (inching them both past an obstacle), and bodyslams her on it, then strikes a pose. She beats on Nouchi in the ring and does a submission that’s equal parts casual and fucking painful-looking, holding it for ages, even biting Nouchi’s hands and tauntingly holding her hands close to the ropes. They bite each other’s feet and Nouchi mounts a mini-comeback, with Ozaki selling the holds more with disgust than with pain, like this is some sort of nuisance to her. Ozaki SLAMS her into the mat for two, demanding the audience’s applause for it, then counters a tornado headlock takeover with a backdrop, but misses the Cannonball Senton- Nouchi gets a victory roll for two, but Ozaki stuffs her comeback and hits a backdrop suplex hold for three (9:16).

Rating: ** (Ozaki’s so great- a completely one-sided bout, but she makes both her stretching and Nouchi’s seem fun with good character bits)

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Christian Cage vs. Stevie Richards vs. Reckless Youth vs. Simon Diamond (and other Dream Matches!)

Well hell! This one just became a bit more timely! I had this set to post NEXT week, but when Christian was the disappointing “Big Reveal” at AEW Revolution, the serendipity of already having this review written struck me, and I moved it ahead! AND we get to see late ’90s Stevie Richards AND PWI’s favorite son, Reckless Youth- he’s set to be a breakout star ANY DAY NOW, don’t you see?

Also, come see Baby Chris Jericho wrestle Old Man Jimmy Del Ray in WCW of all places, as Jimmy had a short run as a Cruiserweight Jobber with some good moves! Also, come see Early ’90s Preppie Marcus Bagwell face the big tub o’ guts from the UK- Loch Ness!

ECWA HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE:
FOUR-WAY (two men in the ring to start; another in 4:00, the last in 9:00), NO DQs OR COUNT-OUTS:
CHRISTIAN CAGE vs. STEVIE RICHARDS vs. RECKLESS YOUTH vs. “SUPERSTAR” LANCE DIAMOND:
(ECWA, Nov. 11 1998)
* !!!! Holy cow, what a find. Christian Cage shortly after he was hired for his life-changing role (who’d have guessed that “silent fake brother of Edge who swiftly becomes a low-tier nobody” would have ended up giving him such longevity?) while still an Indie darling getting hyped in the pages of PWI (I remember when he was their Indie Wrestler of the Month!). (Edit: He was apparently actually working both companies for a bit, and was the ECWA Champion AND WWF Light Heavyweight Champion!) Stevie Richards is between his ECW & WWF runs, after he was dumped from WCW and was I think injured, farting around the indies until he could get another gig (this would be one of the indies he farted around in, I guess). He’s in one of his distinctive super-belly shirts, coming down to “Louie Louie”.

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Joshi Spotlight: AJW TV (June 10 1994)

AJW TV (June 10th, 1994):
* Today’s Spotlight takes a look at a big Summer 1994 TV show featuring the WWWA Tag Champs defending their gold, and the monster duo of Aja & Bull fighting midcard crazies LCO. Curiously, AJW seems to release only a single VHS tape each month of the summer of 1994, meaning that this thing is a LOT more sparse and it’s trickier to get a feel for the stories. The Budokan Retsuden is the next show in this series, for example, and is in AUGUST. Therefore, we don’t see any of the build for it- all the matches kinda seem out of nowhere.

And we’ve already reached time for a new Japan Grand Prix! This year’s tournament only takes place across two main tapes instead of four, though a few intermediate shows have JGP matches as well. This year? They reduce the number of wrestlers GREATLY, and drop having two blocks, nor are their any wrestlers from other promotions, as AJW runs it solo. So we have only ten women present, and only a couple of big stars are in this year- Hotta, Manami, Yamada… and that’s about it- it’s just LCO, Minami, Sakie & midcard jobbers after that. No Kyoko, even!

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Joshi Spotlight: Manami Toyota & Toshiyo Yamada vs. Megumi Kudo & Combat Toyoda (Rematch in FMW!)

This video’s weird- runs the full match, then cycles back to mid-way, then does entrances again.

MEGUMI KUDO & COMBAT TOYODA (FMW) vs. MANAMI TOYOTA & TOSHIYO YAMADA (AJW):
(FMW, 05.05.1993)
* So I had NO IDEA this match existed- a rematch from the Main Event of Dream Slam I, but on FMW turf! This is a stadium show and is non-title- given that it’s a rematch, I strongly suspect it’s to give FMW a win back as “payment” for jobbing out on the big interpromotional show, but you never know. That sucky FMW announcer is back (“To-yo-DAAAAEEEEEE!”). General consensus among most is that this is superior to the Dream Slam one (which I rated ****3/4). Yamada’s in blue, Manami’s in black (aw, no Giant Swan outfit like the first one), Combat’s in black & red, and Kudo’s in white & pink.

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Victor Zangiev (aka The Real-Life Zangief!) in UWF-I (and other Dream Matches)

Victor Zangiev | BWWE Wiki | Fandom

Welcome to another Dream Matches column! Kind of! I mean, didn’t you ever want to know how Zangief would do in a REAL pro wrestling ring?

Okay, so let’s get this out of the way- YES, probably, Victor here is the basis for Zangief from Street Fighter II. He is a hairy-chested, mustached Russian named “Zangiev”, often wearing red, with legitimate wrestling skill, and he trained and wrestled with New Japan in 1989 for a tour or so- this makes the timing match up pretty well for SFII, which came out a short time later in Japan. He even wrestled for WCW in their weird “Pat O’Connor International Tag Team Tournament” in 1990. That was it for four years, until he randomly did a tour for UWF-I. The short version of that promotion is that they were the biggest deal in the world for a hot minute- being a Fake Shootfighting promotion that pretended to be real, making grandstand challenges at all the “fake” wrestlers… at least until a combination of killing all their Ace’s challengers and the revelation that they were fake as hell (hard to pretend your stuff is real when UFC becomes a thing and people realize you can’t just “make the ropes” out of a fully-applied cross-armbreaker) completely destroyed them and the promotion folded right after they were huge.

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WWF SummerSlam Showdown1992 (Dream Matches Galore!)

WWF SUMMERSLAM SHOWDOWN 1992:
* Yet another prelude to a SummerSlam, this time the Wembley Stadium show with Savage/Warrior & Bret/Bulldog as the featured matches! And tonight we get some truly wild dream matches, including the epic Ultimate Warrior/Macho Man vs. The Nasty Boys match! Plus Ric Flair fights Tito Santana, Tatanka vs. Kato, and the Bushwhackers for some reason getting a WWF Tag Title shot against Money Inc.!

RIC FLAIR (w/ Mr. Perfect) vs. “EL MATADOR” TITO SANTANA:
* So the whole deal with Flair is that he’s not wrestling at SS, but he’s got Savage & Warrior both convinced that Mr. Perfect was hired to be in the other’s corner. This gave the main event some extra “oomph”, as fans weren’t sure if there was gonna be a heel turn or not- would one guy let his desire for the gold let him turn to the dark side? Matador here was BEYOND being de-pushed, now given a gimmick to add some more life to his career.

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Joshi Spotlight: AJW May Storm ’94

AJW ZENJO MANIA- MAY STORM ’94:
(02.05.1994)
* From Korakuen Hall is the next big AJW show, with a lot of really, REALLY long matches, possibly to fill time and “justify” the ticket prices, and also to put over the resiliency of the athletes, I think. This show seems to have a theme of “rookie showcasing”, as the opener is massively long and between two of their smallest young stars, and the next two feature Kumiko & Sakie, a rookie and up & comer respectively, being murdered by their elders. This Korakuen crowd is hot as FUCK and stays that way all night long, giving even the rookies a huge ovation for big moves. As usual, you have to track through one guy’s YouTube channel to find these multi-part matches.

“TL;DR: Why Should I Care?”: The show ends with two fantastic matches, and nearly every bout is a testament to either joshi’s insane cardio or their invincible spinal cords. Also, a crowd that’s into EVERYTHING. Also, proof joshi invents everything with wrestling’s first-ever One-Winged Angel. By accident, but it counts!

ZEN NIHON OZA KETTEI TOURNAMENT:
RIE TAMADA vs. CHAPARRITA ASARI:
* Tamada beat ASARI on the last show, so this is a rematch, and the finals to some kind of tournament. ASARI’s in the neon yellow with silver puffy bits, and Tamada’s in black & orange.

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Joshi Spotlight: Jumbo Hori

Every 1970s Joshi’s theme song sounds like it’s from ’70s anime. It’s tremendous.

JOSHI SPOTLIGHT- JUMBO HORI:
Real Name: Ayumi Hori
Billed Height & Weight: 5’11” & 176 lbs.
Career: 1978-1985, 2006-2017 (a few matches per year)

-Here’s a bio I’m largely doing just for the sake of curiosity- looking up random 1980s AJW matches and names and found this interesting name, humorously called “Jumbo” because she’s of the stupendous height of 5’11”. I mean, it sounds funny, though that IS tall for a woman- 5’8″ is so tall that two women of that height were called “The Twin Towers” in 1993, much less someone three inches taller. “Jumbo” is actually a very common name for AJW- it was tossed on their first World Champion, and has been used on a few other women as well. Looks like Hori was the last of them.

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