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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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!

Read more

Joshi Spotlight: AJW Super Hurricane ’94

AJW SUPER HURRICANE:
(09.04.1994)
* Here’s another named AJW show, hailing from the Sendai Miyagi-ken Sports Center! Tonight is actually more of a return to form after several All-AJW shows in a row, as we see LLPW’s wrestlers back into the mix, with three Interpromotional matches (including a rarity tag match), plus Manami/Kyoko vs. Bull/Sakie, as Sakie Hasegawa is put in a match with AJW Main Eventers yet again! Oh, they knew what they were doing. This arena looks CRAZY-empty, especially at the start of the set. As usual, this one is split up on an ancient YouTube set. You can find it all here: https://www.youtube.com/user/ringstarfield/search?query=SUPER%20HURRICANE%E3%80%80%E9%9D%92%E8%91%89%E5%9F%8E%E4%B8%8A%E9%99%B8

“TL;DR- Why Should I Care?”: Three “Dream Match” interpromotional bouts and some of AJW’s best wrestlers put their “Main Event Effort” into things. Mima Shimoda showcases her new drive, Kandori’s her arrogant best, and Bull Nakano takes on AJW’s fastest workers.

CHAPARRITA ASARI vs. RIE TAMADA:

Read more

Joshi Spotlight: Korakuen Holy War ’94

AJW KORAKUEN HOLY WAR ’94:
(03.03.1994)
* “Seisen” translates as “Crusade”, but the Ringstarfield guy who uploaded this called it “Holy War”, which is a million times cooler so I’m going with that. The early part of the year tends to be a tad light in AJW (their big events were kinda Spring/Winter-y), but this one has some interesting stuff, though the “Interpromotional” stuff has taken a dive in favor of feuds going on within AJW itself. The Aja/Sakie duo is definitely getting pushed ahead of the “Monster Squad” team of Aja & Bull (which seems to be mostly for special appearances). We also miss Numacchi’s retirement ceremony, as the goofy comedy character only lasts about eight months or so before she’s gone.

As usual with this guy’s clips, you have to find the whole match by searching his “Videos” for the show name.

“TL;DR- Why Should I Care?”: Actually a really awesome show, with two ****-ish matches in the final slots.

KUMIKO MAEKAWA vs. MIKI YOKOE:
* Even the narration on the YouTube video advertises this as a rarity, because Miki is “Soon Retired”. Though she wrestled a TON in 1993, it was generally untelevised “exhibition” stuff. Kumiko’s in blue, and Miki’s in this hideous green/blue Jobber Singlet, with what looks like big sneakers on.

Read more

Joshi Spotlight- AJW TV (Feb. 18- Toyota/Yamada vs. Kyoko/Hotta)

AJW TV (Feb. 18th 1994):
* Weirdly, I somehow nearly missed this one entirely. A random check of Grand Prix matches from the summer somehow showed U-Channel’s two February AJW shows uploaded. I mean, I normally work a bit ahead, and this BARELY made it on time. I normally search names in English & Japanese, so I shouldn’t have missed this quite so badly. But in any case, here’s a pair of TV shows with likely some fairly edited shows.

ETSUKO MITA, TOMOKO WATANABE & RIE TAMADA vs. SUZUKA MINAMI, CHIKAKO SHIRATORI & KUMIKO MAEKAWA:
* It’s a combination of Giant, Rookie & Bottom-Tier Wrestler, though Tomoko way outranks Chikako at this point, so Minami’s practically fighting by herself. Rie’s in white & red, Tomoko’s in green & blue, Mita’s in black, Minami’s in red & black, Chikako’s in blue & white and Kumiko’s in the jobberiest blue swimsuit ever.

Read more

Joshi Spotlight: AJW Champion Legend 1994

 

AJW OTA-WARD CHAMPION LEGEND 1994:
(01.24.1994)

* And now, with 1993 complete in my Joshi runthrough, here’s the first big event of 1994- the Ota-Ward (I assume that’s a region, since the arena’s called “Tokyo Ota-ku Taiikukan”) Champion Legend show, headlined by Aja Kong defending her WWWA World TItle against AJW’s toughest wrestler, Yumiko Hotta, in a super-disgusting fucking match that involves a BLOODY HAND. And also Manami Toyota & Toshiyo Yamada defend the World Tag Titles against LCO! Read on!!

“TL;DR- Why Should I Care?”: This is an unsung candidate for “best short show ever”, as it’s three ****+ matches in a row- the shittiest match on this card is ****1/4. Aja/Hotta is also a must-see in terms of brutality, and this is LCO’s first TRULY awesome tag match in a long, legendary career full of them.

Read more

Joshi Spotlight: AJW TV (Jan. 16th 1994)

AJW TV (Jan. 1994):
* And welcome to AJW in 1994! After several months of working on 1993’s shows, it’s fun to see a whole new “era”, as all the major story-arcs have ended and the feuds run their course- Manami Toyota & Toshiyo Yamada have finally unseated JWP’s Ozaki & Kansai for the WWWA Tag Titles, and Akira Hokuto has given her win back to LLPW’s Shinobu Kandori. As a result, they’re gonna have to find all-new angles and feuds- 1994 has a handful less tapes available than 1993 did (especially if you count the Legendary Goddess ones), but builds to the biggest joshi show of all time by the end of the year- Big Egg Wrestling Universe.

This show is about an hour and a half, and covers the 1993 AJW Awards Party, as well as having four unique matches on it.

“TL;DR- Why Should I Care?”: It’s a pretty interesting show in terms of bouts you rarely see- a rare Aja solo bout to build her up for Hotta’s Title shot in a week, LCO against a thrown-together team, and the Tag Champs facing the future Double Inoue!

Read more

Joshi Spotlight: AJW St. Battle Day 1992

 

ST. BATTLE DAY:
(20.03.1992)
* This is actually a bit of a throwback (since I just finished going through all of 1993), as I initially couldn’t find the full show on YouTube. Maffew uploaded it as “Indie Uploader”, but he was banned for copywrite violations, but someone else was good enough to upload it when I bemoaned that fact. So here we are! Finally!

“TL;DR- Why Should I Care?”: One of the better tag matches of the year and a truly important title-change… and one of the worst AJW tag matches ever- a smorgasbord for Botchamania! Watch what happens when technical wrestlers try lucha!

Read more

Joshi Spotlight: Legendary Goddess VII-VIII (Bull Nakano & Toshiyo Yamada)

Image result for bull nakano

I’d share the link to the YoutTube, but it turns out that Bull wears clothing and decorates her room featuring photographs of nude women on them, so I actually can’t, lol. So here’s that rad Bull Nakano fanart again!

And now it’s two remaining Legendary Goddess VHS reviews before I’m finally done with all the Joshi I could find from 1993! A “Year In Review” article will be up this Friday.

LEGENDARY GODDESS VII- BULL NAKANO:
* We get our “LG” tape release for Bull Nakano at last! And immediately it’s bizarre, as a denim-clad Bull, with normal hair and no flashy facepaint, walks gingerly through a ratty old shipyard while 1980s-sounding screeching guitars play. Bizarrely, her dour expression and outfit make her look older here than she does today. And then she starts breathing heavily and just goes mental on a chain link fence while her jacket is now made of leather, and says fuck across the back- God I love joshi.

Then she goes walking down some of the grimy bar-filled streets in Japan (that actually reminds me more of the real Japan than the shiny yachts & harbors they normally go on in these), shows that her jacket has a photo that is DECIDEDLY not safe for work on it (a topless woman pantomiming fingerbanging herself- well now I can’t put the YouTube video in the review, then!), then puts on a Chicago Bulls jacket, and prepares for her first match. Tremendous.

Read more

Joshi Spotlight: Legendary Goddess IV-VI (Akira Hokuto, Kyoko & Aja Kong)

It’s time for another bunch of Legendary Goddess VHS reviews! Three at a time in this one, since it’s a lot of retread material, but DAMN some of it’s great footage.

LEGENDARY GODDESS IV- AKIRA HOKUTO:
* This one starts with some hilariously overwrought footage of Hokuto stalking around a temple wearing her traditional Noh theater garb, complete with big sound effects, which would be so incredibly stupid on anyone without Hokuto’s credibility. So instead it’s awesome. Partway through, there’s this “normal person” interview of her laughing and smiling on while some silly symphony plays, and it’s so unsettling to see the Dangerous Queen as a human being. Like, her mystique actually makes this stuff come off as odd. Then she strolls around in denim shorts and a floral-print shirt in black & white.

Read more

Joshi Spotlight: Flying Dangerous vs. Aja/Sakie, & JWP on TV!

Hostess Roll Toyota runs wild!

Something a little different today, as I could only find one Tag League match from a particular show, but also found an episode of Champ Forum TV featuring JWP matches from 1993 as well! So it’s a double-whammy today!

“TL;DR: What’s the Big Deal?”: The three best wrestlers in AJW in one tag match, with the other one being a rookie phenom who can hold her own. Plus an interesting look at JWP in “normal people” interviews and that ***** Bull Nakano/Devil Masami match I’ve reviewed before!

Read more

Joshi Spotlight: LLPW Women’s Sparkling Fireworks

Thankfully, this uploader (Joshi Puro Oshi) puts all their stuff in a playlist.

LLPW WOMEN’S SPARKLING FIREWORKS (LLPW vs. AJW):
(11.09.1993)

* This show has popped up a couple of times during these Spotlights, as I recognized this extremely distinctive arena (looking like a high school gym with high bleachers on one side), but didn’t realize that these matches were all from the same show. This actually precedes the mega-show LLPW vs. AJW: Nagoya Super Storm by a couple of weeks, meaning this is much less of a big deal. But in that, you kind of get some freedom- silly matches, squashes, true rarities, etc. The Main Event is the cap-off to the Akira Hokuto/Rumi Kazama mini-feud that’s sprouted up over these shows during the summer months, while the Ace of LLPW is in a unique tag match right before the main, and AJW’s Ace is facing a jobber.

“TL;DR- Why Should I Care?”: So the interesting thing from a “wrestling nerd” perspective is all these stars you rarely find on these shows otherwise, plus things like utter squashes. LLPW is throwing mid-tier star up against top-tier AJW foes, but also dumping many of their lower-tier stars in one-sided contests against big names. Some of the matches are clipped, but not by much.

The crowd here is REALLY sparse at first, with empty chairs seen everywhere. And there’s four weirdos who spend all the matches sitting in the aisle while facing the crowd, then stand up to block the fans during entrances. Are these out-of-work train workers?

Read more

Joshi Spotlight: Tag League THE BEST- Part One

AJW TAG LEAGUE THE BEST 1993- PART ONE:
(10.10.1993):

And as we wind down the crazy-ass 1993 in Joshi, here comes the end-of-year Tag Tournament once again! Except this time… it’s totally random-ass. Like, NONE of these people are regular partners! Except for LCO, I guess. The top teams in AJW are Toyota/Yamada, Hotta/Takako & Bull/Aja, and now they’re all split up. But now we get the debut of a NEW Big Gaijin star in AJW (the incomparable Reggie Bennett), and a trio of tag matches so random they look like a WCW “Lethal Lottery”- except all the wrestlers are good so it should be rad.

“TL;DR- What’s The Big Deal?”: The best wrestlers in the company putting their “big show” efforts into their matches, producing some of AJW’s better stuff.

PS I love that their sashes all read “TAG LEAUGE”.

Read more

Joshi Spotlight: AJW Legacy of Queens

AJW LEGACY OF QUEENS:
(25.08.1993, Tokyo Nippon Budokan)
* So this is a positively AWESOME AJW show devoted to the interpromotional rivalries going on, effectively doing another Dream Slam-tier show full of mega-Dream Matches- it’s easily one of the biggest shows of the year, surpassed only by Dream Slam 1 & 2 and St. Battle Final (later in the year). Much like the Slams, this features “AJW wrestler vs. JWP/LLPW/FMW wrestler” in one-of-a-kind bouts that, if they’re not competitive, are at least unique. And this time, it’s not AJW’s tag titles on the line- both their #1 and #2 singles golds are up for grabs, as Akira Hokuto defends against an LLPW wrestler and Aja Kong defends the Red Belt against the Ace of JWP, Dynamite Kansai! And LLPW’s Ace, Kandori, is up against one of AJW’s biggest stars in Kyoko Inoue, plus we have a duo of multi-person match sprints.

The setting is really awesome- like one of the early King of the Ring shows, with huge gated doors visible on the hard cam at the end of the aisle.

This show is MASSIVE and would prove a monster 2-parter to review, but thankfully I’ve reviewed three of the matches before on separate sets.

“TL;DR- Why Should I Care?”: This show is up there with some of the greatest, boasting FOUR MATCHES at **** and over, the legendary first Kong/Kansai match, a spectacular carry-job by Hokuto, and one of those unique situations where nearly every wrestler seems to be trying to show up every other wrestler.

Read more

Joshi Spotlight: AJW TV (Aug. 5th, 1993)

AJW TV SHOW (Aug. 5th, 1993):
* So in the midst of the never-ending AJW Grand Prix, here’s an August TV show I found! It was taped at the Kasumigaura Cultural Gymnasium in Kasumigaura, Ibaraki on August 5th, airing Aug. 13th, and features a Grand Prix match between Akira Hokuto & LLPW’s Harley Saito! There’s also a pair of Big Monster Veteran (vs) Up & Coming Undercard Wrestler matches.

So highlights here are a one-time-only bout (Hokuto/Saito I do not believe ever met in singles competition again), and the goddamn Dragon Ball Z theme song being used as an entrance theme. Plus the truest test yet for Bat Yoshinaga after a fairly impressive year for the up & comer.

Read more

Joshi Spotlight: AJW TV (July 1993)

AJW TV SHOW (July 1993):
* Oh good! I found another one of these! Always fun to check out their weekly TV show (with ads! One features an AMAZING trailer for a “tiny samurai” movie where he opposes a cat and a street-sweeper. I wanna see that movie).

“TL;DR- What’s The Big Deal?”: These shows are always fun, if only for the commercials and the rare matches. It’s very interesting to see the weekly TV of a promotion most would only recognize from their biggest shows only. Okay, that’s just a nice way of saying “it’s fine and nothing stands out as overly great”, but it shows a complete package of the promotion!

Read more

Joshi Spotlight: AJW Grand Prix 1993 (Part Four)

The best match of the show! As always, ya gotta search & paste in Ringstarfield’s YouTube channel to get all the matches in succession.

AJW GRAND PRIX 1993 (Part Four):
(04.07.1993)
* Part four away! Once more, the tournament includes JWP’s Hikari Fukuoka & LLPW’s Harley Saito on different sides, meaning there’s a lot of never-before-seen Dream Matches here.

“TL; DR- What’s The Big Deal?”- One of those nights when almost every single wrestler is gunning to steal the show, so there’s multiple great matches all evening. Also, a BAT YOSHINAGA match nearly gets four stars.

Read more

Joshi Spotlight: AJW Grand Prix 1993 (Part Three)

The Main Event 6-Woman Tag.

AJW GRAND PRIX 1993 (Part Three):
(11.06.1993)
* Part three of this series of shows! I actually reviewed Part Two a year ago, not realizing a more full set was around at the time: https://blogofdoom.com/index.php/2019/10/04/joshi-spotlight-grand-prix-93-semi-finals/. Once more, the tournament includes JWP’s Hikari Fukuoka & LLPW’s Harley Saito on different sides, meaning there’s a lot of never-before-seen Dream Matches here. Hikari/Kyoko, Sakie/Yamada and a big-time 6-person tag await! Oh, and a super-famous joshi match…

“TL; DR- What’s the Big Deal?”: This contains what is easily the most famous squash in Joshi history- a true unexpected gem. Also every match but the squashes is at least “very good”, there’s a few pairings you’ll literally never see again, and a kick-ass main event! Actually a hell of a show!

Read more