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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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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Joshi Spotlight: Lioness Asuka & LCO vs. Manami, Ito & Nanae in the Rain

So here’s one recommended by Evito-X- a semi-famous “Trios Match in the Rain” featuring an outdoor rooftop show in a torrential downpour, giving us one of the better, more memorable “settings” for a wild brawl you’ll ever see. While wrestling in the rain is hardly ideal, this is exactly how things become legendary and remembered- every single camera becomes dotted with water and everyone has to try not to kill themselves while still selling the slipperiness of the mat and ramp, and it turns into great fun immediately, and one of AJW’s best matches. Nothing sells “chaos” like seeing people slide around every time they hit a move while ring girls desperately squeegee the ring.

SPECIAL SIX EXPLOSION:
LIONESS ASUKA & LAS CACHORRAS ORIENTALES (Mima Shimoda & Etsuko Mita) (Free Agents) vs. MANAMI TOYOTA, KAORU ITO & NANAE TAKAHASHI (AJW):
(07.11.1999)
* Welcome to a famous match in Joshi circles- the Fuji TV rooftop rainy-day match! As AJW at this point was often on the rooftop of the Fuji TV building on Odaiba Island in Tokyo (Yay! A place I’ve been!), they had to deal with inclement weather at times, and never more inclement than THIS- this becomes one of very few matches by a prominent company that features a massive downpour hitting the ring during a match. One featuring many of the top stars of the day, too- Lioness Asuka, huge star of the ’80s, teams up with top tag team freelancers (and current WWWA Tag Team Champions) LCO against AJW’s top two solo acts and rising star Nanae. Grumpy-ass Asuka carries a table to the ring with her, while LCO are in their best outlandish regalia. The freelancers are all in black & silver variants of their regular gear (Asuka’s shirt & pants, Shimoda’s two-piece tasseled bit, etc.). Nanae, who I’ve not really seen before, is a stocky girl in a white & purple thing with triangular fabric across the front. Manami’s in red (she’d dropped the “always in black” thing a ways back I think) & Ito’s in a black & blue MVP-style singlet.

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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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Joshi Spotlight: The Crush Gals vs. The Jumping Bomb Angels

THE CRUSH GALS vs. THE JUMPING BOMB ANGELS:
* Here’s a collection of three matches featuring the Crush Gals going up against the Jumping Bomb Angels, all uploaded by our very own Evito-X Puro! The first one happily keeps some commercials, but ’80s ones are less wild than the ’90s stuff.

These matches are fascinating because the JB Angels are of course memorable to WWF fans of the ’80s for throwing out the most innovative offense on Earth at the time, in Japan it was the Crush Gals who were more popular and successful, being full-bore teen idols with a fan movement that was a pure phenomenon.

A Refresher:
Chigusa Nagayo: The most wildly popular Joshi probably ever, with legions of teenybopper fans despite honestly coming off like a bully when she’s not fighting the Atrocious Alliance. REALLY good at selling. Plays Ricky Morton. Wears red.
Lioness Asuka: Better worker than Chigusa but only 80% as popular. Comes in to mop up. Wears blue.
Noriyo Tateno: Long hair and the thiccer of the two Angels. Was the bigger star.
Itsuki Yamazaki: Slender and extremely quick- inspired Manami Toyota big-time.

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Joshi Spotlight: Jaguar Yokota

Mother Joshi ○ Jaguar Yokota #WWMII | Wrestling Amino

Jaguar’s theme song is EPIC.

JOSHI SPOTLIGHT- JAGUAR YOKOTA:
Real Name: Rimi Yokota (aka Jaguar Y)
Billed Height & Weight: 5’3″ 128 lbs.
Career Length: 1977-1986, 1995-1998, 2004-today (rarely-wrestling freelancer)
Trainees: Manami Toyota, Aja Kong, Megumi Kudo, Etsuko Mita, Mima Shimoda, Kyoko Inoue, Toshiyo Yamada, Takako Inoue, Bison Kimura, Miori Kamiya, Combat Toyoda, Kaoru Maeda

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Joshi Spotlight: Dump Matsumoto

Image

Pic by our very own Bob Dahlstrom!

“Matsumoto actually pioneered the gimmick that the Road Warriors would later use to great fame in the United States, of being face-painted bikers with bizarre haircuts and monster heels who sold very little, if at all, for the smaller, under matched babyfaces. […] Matsumoto’s impact was so great that she often brought crowds literally to tears with her villainous tactics, and when she would merely walk down the street in any major city, people would scatter in fear”
-Dave Meltzer

Dump’s amazing theme song.

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Joshi Spotlight: The Jumping Bomb Angels

Image result for jumping bomb angels

“The Jumping Bomb Angels were very popular at the time, and my friend invited me to the show – and I went to the first show without any prior knowledge- and then I thought ‘oh, THIS is what I have to do’. That was about ninth grade.”
-Manami Toyota, via a translator, about why she became a wrestler, at the Chikara Joshimania show.

JOSHI SPOTLIGHT- THE JUMPING BOMB ANGELS:

NORIYO TATENO:
Billed Height & Weight: 5’5″ 165 lbs.
Career: 1981-2010

ITSUKI YAMAZAKI:
Billed Height & Weight: 5’5″ 137 lbs.
Career: 1981-1991

Among the only classic Joshi known to North American fans, the Jumping Bomb Angels are somewhat famous to workrate snobs for coming on WWF TV and blowing minds with offense that looked straight-up futuristic for the time, throwing out crazy double-teams and top-rope moves that NOBODY was doing at the time. Popular in Japan, neither became a true megastar, and they were always subordinate to the Crush Gals (who were over to the point of being a cultural phenomenon at the time), but I think they were definitely more noticed by people who wanted to see fast-paced action- hell, I think it’s fair to call the JB Angels among the most influential wrestlers of all time!

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Joshi Spotlight- AJW Wrestling Queendom- VICTORY

Bull Nakano & Kyoko Inoue in the best match ever wrestled for the WWF Women’s Title.

AJW WRESTLING QUEENDOM- VICTORY (1995):
(26.03.1995)

-Four months after the biggest show in Joshi history, Big Egg Wrestling Universe, comes the next Wrestling Queendom event- Akira Hokuto was triumphant at Big Egg, but kind of went to Mexico for a while and kinda/maybe won’t come back. But that’s okay, because Manami Toyota, the flashiest worker in wrestling, is being elevated, and is now in our Main Event, taking on the Ace of AJW, Aja Kong! Bull Nakano is still WWF Women’s Champion, and is defending tonight. Plus we have a bunch of wrestlers who came out of retirement between 1993 and here, taking up spots on the card. And a few wrestlers are being elevated up the card, while others are sort of in interesting positions- Takako, Yamada, Bennett and others are floating around the upper-midcard, and who knows where they’ll land? So there’s a lot of drama and mystery about tonight’s big card.

“TL; DR- Why Should I Watch This?”: This show contains, I swear to God, FIVE matches at **** or higher, with one of the craziest MMA-style fights I’ve ever seen in a wrestling ring, the best WWF Women’s Title Match ever, and a Main Event that’s even better than THAT.

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Joshi Spotlight: AJW Wrestling Queendom- SUCCESS

The first part of the Main Event. Searching this is a bit of a pain- type in “Success” in this guy’s channel and you’ll find the matches, but all split up because it’s from ten years ago, before YouTube allowed longer videos.

AJW WRESTLING QUEENDOM- SUCCESS (1995):
* Four months after the biggest show in Joshi history, Big Egg Wrestling Universe, comes what is actually a PAIR of Wrestling Queendoms- SUCCESS and VICTORY. This show is a bit unusual in that it’s built entirely around a one-night tournament for the WWWA Tag Team Titles- the 99th champions, Double Inoue, willingly vacated the Titles, hoping to become the 100th champions as well! Which is kind of funny, but also TOTALLY BOSS, because they’re so confident that they can win that they’d do such a thing. This is an 8-Team Tournament, which is crazy considering how much damage it usually takes to finish off one of these wrestlers- tag bouts in Joshi are LONG. So we get this interesting thing, where most of tonight’s matches are 13-16 minutes long, but the losing team carries most of the offense so as to not look weak.

“TL; DR- Why Should I Care?”: It’s a really kickass tag tournament. And a good example of how to shake things up when the same bunch of people are fighting all night long. There’s a Super-Team, a Veteran/Rookie team, a Kicker Team, and the heelish delights known as LCO!

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Joshi Spotlight- AJW Wrestlemarinepiad ’95

Unfortunately, this one’s kind of all over the place on Hasegawayoshi’s channel. You practically have to search for them match-by-match. Here’s the main event!

WRESTLEMARINEPIAD ’95:
(18.11.1995)

-And now we reach the 1995 Wrestlemarinepiad! This one feels quite a bit bigger than the last one (which was mostly Rookie vs. Veteran, with a big tag match on top), but now that we’re out of the Interpromotional Era by a bit, it feels a bit “diminished” compared in importance. This was kind of a shame, and a harsh result of that era spoiling the fans with fantastic “Dream Matches” on every single show. And also, Wrestling Queendom was now the big yearly show instead.

TL; DR- Why Should I Watch This?: Actually, this is more of an “okay” show than a GREAT one, but it’s got one of the best brawls ever between LCO, some “WTF?” one-offs like Hokuto wrestling in a mask, and the Sakie Hasegawa “Blizzard Yuki” push, too.

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Joshi Spotlight: The Crush Gals

Image result for crush gals

“Japanese crowds are usually respectful and quiet.”
-Chris Jericho (paraphrasing)

JOSHI SPOTLIGHT- THE CRUSH GALS:
CHIGUSA NAGAYO:
Stats:
Billed Height & Weight: 5’5″ 192 lbs. (lighter in the ’80s)
Career Length: 1980-today (still active; retiring shortly)
Trained By: Unknown

LIONESS ASUKA:
Stats:
Real Name: Tomoko Kitamura
Billed Height & Weight: 5’7″ 172 lbs. (lighter in the ’80s)
Career Length: 1980-2005
Trained By: Unknown

“She’s [Chigusa] the single most popular and arguably the most historically important female wrestler who ever lived. To this day, in pro wrestling or MMA, not Hulk Hogan, Steve Austin, Kerry Von Erich, Dusty Rhodes, or Chuck Liddell could match the reaction I saw that woman receive live in her heyday.”- Dave Meltzer, who LOVED to point out how big the reactions the Crush Gals got compared to Hulk Hogan. If you write a Gals article, you have to mention them equaling Hogan in popularity. I think it’s a rule.

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What the World Was Watching: Survivor Series 1995

Howard Finkel announces Mr. Perfect, who is returning to the company after a year and a half hiatus.  Perfect comes to ringside to serve as a color commentator.

Vince McMahon, Mr. Perfect, and Jim Ross are doing commentary and they are live from Landover, Maryland.

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What the World Was Watching: WWF Superstars – October 7, 1995

Vince McMahon, Jerry Lawler, and Jim Ross are calling today’s action and they are still in Valparaiso, Indiana and on the campus of Valparaiso University.

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