Joshi Spotlight: JWP in China

JWP IN CHINA:
(May 1995)

* So now I finally hit more JWP matches in Rico Kasai’s YouTube channel, and these seven matches are all from a JWP tour of China in May 1995! I’m really curious what their effort-level will be. “Bret at a House Show”-tier since the crowd isn’t even aware of them? “We want to leave a good impression” tier? PPV-tier? Um, probably not that one.

The first match opens with a bit of sightseeing and clips of Chinese people doing things, while the second involves the gang at the Great Wall of China. The first show takes place in a very small auditorium with most of the crowd being Chinese military, and a “Pure Heart China” sign that looks like it was scribbled in felt-tip market the minute before showtime. There’s some announcer talking during EVERYTHING, which is weird and kinda distracting.

“TL;DR- What’s The Deal?”: Overall, this ends up being kind of an interesting look at how you make wrestling fun to an audience that’s unfamiliar with it… while also saving your bodies by not throwing too much effort into the actual moves. And also that Candy Okutsu is very spotty and botch-y at this point.

DAY ONE:

HIROMI SUGO & SUMIYO SAYAMA vs. REIKO AMANO & TOMOKO MIYAGUCHI:
* Rookie Mayhem between the bottom-tier JWP wrestlers. Sugo looks like Dynamite Kansaicito with her yellow & green-diamonds look. Soyama’s got that black/salmon thing, Miyaguchi’s in a red/black Jobber Swimsuit, and Amano’s in a black/blue & yellow Jobber Swimsuit. That only one side has real gear makes it pretty clear who’s gonna win, I think.

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Joshi Spotlight: JWP’s One-Count-Fall Gauntlet Tag Match

JWP (March 21st 1995):
* This show’s a crazy one. Ever seen a match set up so that you win on the count of ONE? Well watch a Gauntlet Match of that, ending in a Multi-Person match under the same rules. And it’s not the disaster you think it will be! JWP has the weirdest, most incredible shows sometimes.

1-COUNT PINFALL GAUNTLET/TAG TEAM MATCH:
DYNAMITE KANSAI, DEVIL MASAMI, HIKARI FUKUOKA & HIROMI YAGI vs. MAYUMI OZAKI, CUTIE SUZUKI, CANDY OKUTSU & SUMIO TOYAMA:
* Okay, so the rules here are completely insane- everyone is set up in a Team Gauntlet of five-minute solo matches, and you win the fall on a ONE-COUNT. Which… okay that’s how amateur wrestling works, but still- in puro especially, every move on Earth at least earns a two-count, so the cadence here will be super-interesting. It can create some flukes pretty easily, at least. Following that gauntlet is a standard 8-Woman Tag. Pretty one-sided teams here, as the two Aces mix with Hikari and a higher-end rookie Yagi against Ozaki & Cutie, plus Candy (a bit above Yagi, maybe?) and Toyama, who is easily bottom-tier in this crew. Kansai’s in yellow & green, Devil’s in black & purple, Hikari’s in black & white and Yagi’s in black & purple. Ozaki’s in red, Cutie’s in white, Candy’s in black & white and Toyama’s in black & orange. Kansai’s still sporting a band-aid on her forehead from Ozaki trying to eat her face only four days earlier.

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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: 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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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: JWP Stars on Tour (October)

JWP STARS ON TOUR:
(Oct. 30th, 1994)
* As we continue through the last part of 1994, here’s a set of JWP bouts from a VERY dark arena, with a bizarre set-up- it’s an elevated stage in an auditorium like how you watch lectures and live theater, so the fans can only see one side of the ring (you can only see this in the final bout). It has two AJW/JWP Junior League matches (where rookie wrestlers fight each other), and is capped off by an 8-woman tag from people who’ve already wrestled that day.

So it’s an interesting look at tiny rookies putting in 10-minute sprints (a welcome change from “20 minutes, but half is padding”), and leads to some very good matches, especially considering the last one is everyone’s second match of the evening! So come take a look at Joshi’s #2 (or #3 if you REALLY like Megumi Kudo’s FMW stuff) promotion when left mostly to its own devices!

AJW/JWP JUNIOR LEAGUE:
CANDY OKUTSU (JWP) vs. RIE TAMADA (AJW):
* An interpromotional rookie match, as the lower-card wrestlers get more shots against each other. Candy’s in black & white, and Rie’s in white & blue.

Rapid-fire stuff to start, as they jockey for position and Candy hits rollups, but Rie controls with a chinlock and stretching. Candy comes back with her own, and the camera bounces around a lot, doing random close-ups. Candy tries Manami’s Running No-Hands Springboard move again, but overshoots her feet and falls- Rie covers for it and Candy soon hits a Run-Up Cross-Body out of the corner instead for two. Backslide gets two for Rie, but Candy slips AGAIN on a Run-Up, then tries again and Rie simply dodges. Rie hits two missile kicks for two, then two spinning cross-bodies for the same. Candy does her corner-dodge missile kick, and another big one gets two. Flying Splash… Rie “Fuck YOU!” bridges out! Candy tries and tries for a German, finally hitting it for two. She aims for another, but Rie rolls forward and wraps her up for the three (10:45).

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Joshi Spotlight: JWP Stars on Tour

JWP IN 1994 (Sept.-Dec.):
* 1994 is by far JWP’s best-represented year on YouTube, owing to Rico Kasai’s channel. 1995 and on are barely there at all, so this might be the last big update. We start off with a pair of interpromotional matches with GAEA Japan, as Chigusa Nagayo was on good terms with JWP, and a stop at an interesting-looking small arena that features one of Devil Masami’s first title defenses as JWP Openweight Champion, as she recently beat Dynamite Kansai (as reviewed here: https://blogofdoom.com/index.php/2019/12/11/joshi-spotlight-devil-masami/ -the YouTube clip has since been taken down, however) while in her “Super Heel Devil Masami” persona (wrestles like Taker, looks like Demolition Crush).

CHIGUSA NAGAYO & KAORU (GAEA Japan) vs. CUTIE SUZUKI & HIKARI FUKUOKA (JWP):
(Sept. 1994)
* And so Chigusa Nagayo, biggest star of ’80s Joshi, is returning to full-time, but is having disagreements with AJW management (who, to be fair, don’t need an extra person clogging up shows), and is so working for JWP as she prepares to start up GAEA in early 1995. Already my mind is blown because Chigusa is wearing black and GREEN. I have literally never in my life seen her wear anything that didn’t have red in it. She wore that in the goddamn WWF! KAORU’s in black, Cutie’s in white & gold, and Hikari’s in the Tarzan gear. The expressions in the staredown here are great, as KAORU has this “fuckin’ right us vets are gonna kill you kids” death glare, Chigusa’s very calm and serious (with a taped arm), and the idols are doing this big “I’m nervous and I respect you, but I’m trying really hard to look confident and defiant”.

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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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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 in 1993 (Part 2)

JWP in 1993:
* Happy New Year! Here’s the second half of my look at the JWP stuff from 1992-93 in Rico Kasi’s YouTube videos! Time to see what JWP was up to in the second half of ’93, when left to their own devices! This features a lot of matches between their top stars, plus a couple of Dream Matches of a sort when a pair of construction worker gimmicks show up from AJW for some matches. One of them features proof that Mayumi Ozaki may be the greatest carry artist of all time- going nineteen minutes with NUMACCHI.

CUTIE SUZUKI vs. HIKARI FUKUOKA:
* The Battle of the Idols! Hikari’s slowly moving up, but this is a rare opportunity to see Cutie in the role as “experienced elder”. Cutie’s in white with some black bits, while Hikari’s in her goofy pink cone-bra gear.

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Joshi Spotlight: JWP From 1992-93 (Part One)

JWP SHOWS (1992-1993):

-So a while back, I discovered a YouTube channel called “Rico Kasai”, which uploads exclusively JWP-produced matches. And finally, after a LOT of work (seriously, oh my god), I cross-referenced all his un-dated stuff so I can figure out an approximate order, lol. Pain in the ass, that was. It turns out a bunch of them were from 1992-93, so this allows me to complete the library a little more. This will be in two parts, with the second coming this Friday- it’s too much to post all at once.

First, a bunch of ultra-clipped matches showing only a minute or two of action. None really deserve ratings.

DEVIL MASAMI vs. MAYUMI OZAKI
(1991 sometime)
-Devil, in a black one-legged outfit, charges Ozaki (in green), but misses and gets missile kicked. She tries a Manami Roll but gets a HUGE Powerbomb, but just rolls Devil back for a rana-style pin for two, then Devil rolls her back for the same. Devil works her way into a surfboard, but Ozaki does a cool flip into a pin from up high. Clipped to Ozaki getting a German for two, but she fires too many running shots and gets caught in a backdrop-to-Powerbomb move at (2:08 of 14:39 shown).

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Joshi Spotlight: JWP Thunder Queen Battle II

 

Full Playlist here!

JWP THUNDER QUEEN BATTLE II:
(20.11.1993)

* This is yet another big Joshi show; actually the third last really big one of the year- only Wrestlemarinepiad ’93 and St. Battle Final come later. This is a sequel of sorts to the first TQB from the Summer, which had the famous “Multi-Person Iron Man Match” that saw JWP pull out a last-minute victory against AJW. Here, we feature a ton more Dream Matches, with more focus placed on singles contests between people who haven’t fought before.

“TL;DR- Why Should I Care?”: Hokuto’s ridiculous run in 1993 continues with a match against Mayumi Ozaki, we get Manami Toyota versus her Non-Union JWP Equivalent in a match over ****, and one of the best tag performances you’re gonna see, courtesy of Devil Masami against old rival Chigusa Nagayo’s team. This show kicks some serious ass.

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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!

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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.

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JWP Thunder Queen Battle

JWP THUNDER QUEEN BATTLE:
(31.07.1993)
* And now we come to what is possibly JWP’s biggest show ever- the Thunder Queen Battle! I actually reviewed the Main Event early last year, as it’s one of the most famous bouts in Joshi history- an 8-Person Tag Team Iron Woman Match! It’s one of those things that’s just ***** or you’re wrong and that’s that- it’s that good. But hey! There’s OTHER matches on the card, too! Every match on here features JWP’s stars in a “home field advantage” show against AJW stars- still big business as this was a brand-new thing. Everything on here is a never-before-seen spectacle as a result, drawing a lot of attention.

Everyone comes out for the match announcements to start the show, mixing up business casual (Ito, Minami), “Fashionable Teenager” (Sakie), ’90s skateboarder (Hotta), “Peter Griffin” (Aja), or just “company t-shirt and shorts” (most JWP wrestlers). Whatever Ito says cracks up everybody, while Minami positively TOWERS over people in the most 1980s suit ever- a red business top with huge shoulder pads and stark-white pants. JWP’s rookies (Candy & Sumio) look positively terrified to be doing promos in front of a live crowd- their eyes are wide as dinner plates. Aja & Kansai get the biggest reactions- it’s weird to see Kansai kind of smiling and snarking given how serious she normally is.

“TL;DR- Why Should I Care?”: Pretty much every Joshi fan automatically gives the main event *****, and it’s the most unique, once-only match stipulation I’ve ever seen. And there’s another **** match in the middle! Otherwise, it’s good old-fashioned interpromotional mayhem, with a lot of one-time-only matches.

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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.

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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!

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Joshi Spotlight: AJW/JWP- Fierce Fighting in the North!

This guy here has a BEAUTIFUL series of DVD rips going up on his channel. I’m so used to Joshi vids flaring up the screen when the bright-ass costumes show up that stuff like this is is astonishing to see.

AJW/JWP- FIERCE FIGHTING IN THE NORTH!:

(03.06.1993)

* Time for another Joshi Spotlight, this one set between AJW Grand Prix episodes- we’ve reached the first two, and this show features a pair of Grand Prix matches, a Dream Tag Match, plus a mega Main Event featuring JWP defending AJW’s own WWWA Tag Titles against an AJW team!

“TL;DR- What’s the Big Deal?”: Only four matches, one of which is a true rarity in terms of match length for Joshi. Interesting interpromotional stuff and a good look at what people do when they’re not necessarily out to blow minds, but just put on a fun, solid show.

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Joshi Spotlight: AJW Grand Prix 1993 (Part One)

AJW GRAND PRIX 1993 (Part One):
(03.05.1993):
* So, um, yeah. Dream Slam 1 & 2 just happened the month before, and now we’re already into the Japan Grand Prix round robin. But things are different now, as the era of interpromotional matches results in LLPW’s Harley Saito & JWP’s Hikari Fukuoka joining the tournament! Bat Yoshinaga is clearly being elevated, while Terri Power is now gone from AJW (DS2 was her last match, apparently), and now almost every major show is topped by AJW fighting a rival company.

“TL;DR- What’s The Big Deal?”:  Two matches you’ll never seen anywhere else due to AJW vs. JWP and LLPW vs. AJW shenanigans, plus four of the top five stars in the company in a tag match.

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Joshi Spotlight: Debbie Malenko & Ozaki/Kansai

Warning: Actually features a gross leg injury.

JOSHI SPOTLIGHT- Kansai/Ozaki & Debbie Malenko’s Last AJW Match:
* Anyways, I had to get to this one at some point. But I didn’t see much other things surrounding it, so I grabbed assorted stuff from 1993 (and one thing I missed from ’92), thus getting a full Spotlight out of it.

“TL; DR- What’s The Deal?”: Welllllllll… ya know how I sing Debbie Malenko’s praises a bit on here? And then mention how you shouldn’t get used to her presence? Well this is why. Also there’s a good JWP match on here!

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