Joshi Spotlight: Kaoru Ito

Kaoru Ito

I’ll be nice and not use the “Peter Pan” gear from 1993 as her image. Also I couldn’t find a good pic of it.

JOSHI SPOTLIGHT- KAORU ITO:

Real Name: Kaoru Ito (aka Black Blizzard, Makai Majo #1, ZAP-I)
Billed Height & Weight: 5’3″, 238 lbs. (was… MUCH lighter in her younger years)
Career: 1989-today (currently active)

-And now it’s time for a bio on Kaoru Ito, aka “The most terribly-dressed wrestler of all time” on any ’90s Joshi show you’ll watch, and the “wait, SHE became the top wrestler?” star of the same.

Read moreJoshi Spotlight: Kaoru Ito

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 moreJoshi Spotlight: AJW Legacy of Queens

AJW Grand Prix- Finals

Toyota vs. Hokuto- two of the best ever fight for 17 minutes!

AJW GRAND PRIX 1993 FINALS:
-And now, after four LONG shows and several months’ worth of random GP matches taking place on AJW’s events, we get the finals. And of course because I can’t find it on YouTube, I can only produce a couple of matches, lol. Stupid Ringstarfield! Four of the five shows and the FINALS he’s missed uploading?

“TL;DR- Why Should I Care?”: So even though I could only find two matches… they’re both at least ****.

Here’s how the event shook down:
Wrestler: Points: Wrestler: Points:
Akira Hokuto 6.0———-Yumiko Hotta 6.0
Harley Saito 5.0———-Manami Toyota 5.0
Toshiyo Yamada 4.5———Bat Yoshinaga 5.0
Suzuka Minami 3.0———Hikari Fukuoka 4.0
Sakie Hasegawa 3.0———Kyoko Inoue 3.5
Takako Inoue 3.0———-Mima Shimoda 2.5
Etsuko Mita 3.0———-Kaoru Ito 2.0
Tomoko Watanabe0.5——Saemi Numata 0.0

SEMI-FINALS: Akira Hokuto (vs) Manami Toyota; Harley Saito (vs) Yumiko Hotta

Read moreAJW Grand Prix- Finals

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

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 moreJoshi Spotlight: AJW Grand Prix 1993 (Part Four)

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 moreJoshi Spotlight: AJW Grand Prix 1993 (Part Three)

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.

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

Joshi Spotlight: Manami Toyota

💖 A R R U M 💀 NAITOJAPANCUPSZN! on Twitter: "Sometimes I google ...

JOSHI SPOTLIGHT- MANAMI TOYOTA:
Statistics:
Billed Height & Weight: 5’6″ 150 lbs.
Career: 1987-2017

-And now we come to another of the Great Pillars of Joshi: Manami Toyota!

It’s hard to describe Toyota’s abilities without using too many superlatives- she’s just so incredibly good at nearly every aspect of wrestling, and if you put a gun to my head, I’d probably consider her my favorite worker. Nearly every AJW show from 1991-1997 that I’ve seen has her in either the best or second-best match on the card, and she has more ***** matches than anyone I can think of. She’s the only wrestler I can think of who’s had ***** singles matches with five different people: Aja Kong, Akira Hokuto, Toshiyo Yamada, Kyoko Inoue & Mima Shimoda. Even Akira has probably only managed it against 2-3 opponents, and the latter three in Toyota’s list never hit that level with anyone else!

And I mean, how many workers have a match style named after them? The “Toyota Style Match” ended up being shorthand for AJW’s trademark “GO GO GO!” flashy, fast-paced style, full of epic moves and escalating finishers, dramatic near-falls, “how did THAT happen?” athletic moves, great selling, and frequent tag-outs in team matches.

Read moreJoshi Spotlight: Manami Toyota

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.

Read moreJoshi Spotlight: AJW Grand Prix 1993 (Part One)

Joshi Spotlight: Zenjo Is Dream- Last Night’s Explosion

The Main Event.

AJW ZENJO IS DREAM- LAST NIGHT’S EXPLOSION:
(20.03.1993, Korakuen Hall)
* It’s the second of two “Zenjo Is Dream”-titled shows (“Zenjo” = the nickname for All Japan Women’s Pro Wrestling), both with a similar purpose- helping to elevate the lower-card wrestlers. Tomoko, Ito, Takako, Bat & even Kyoko are fighting from underneath tonight, and a “good showing” against veterans is worth a lot in puro. This show is notably only about twelve days before Dream Slam 1, which means everyone is gearing up for a MAJOR offering.

“TL;DR- What’s The Big Deal?”: A very interesting card in terms of “Who’s getting pushed”, plus a lot of established people slowly putting over the up & comers- the baseline match is exceptionally good tonight.

Read moreJoshi Spotlight: Zenjo Is Dream- Last Night’s Explosion

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!

Read moreJoshi Spotlight: Debbie Malenko & Ozaki/Kansai

Joshi Spotlight: Zenjo is Dream- IGNITION!

ZENJO IS DREAM- IGNITION!:
(28.02.1993, Korakuen Hall)

* Gotta love those Japanese titles. This is one of two “Zenjo is Dream” shows taking place on the way to April’s Dream Slam dual-show. “Zenjo” is short for All Japan Women’s Japanese name (“ZEN Nihon JOshi Puroresu”)- it’s common to shorten it that way in Japanese, but doing so in English is too weird, because I’d have to keep explaining it every time I used it. Everyone comes out before the event starts, getting the “all in the ring at once” introduction, and the announcer goes over the Dream Slam card again- the crowd reacts well to the Toyota/Yamada vs. Combat/Kudo Main Event announcement, but the biggest reaction by far goes to the announcement of Chigusa Nagayo coming out of retirement against Devil Masami.

“TL;DR- What’s The Big Deal?”: I bet you think WWF’s Tori could never have a really good singles match, right? Seriously, watch this and be amazed. Oh also the Main Event completely kicks ass.

Read moreJoshi Spotlight: Zenjo is Dream- IGNITION!

Joshi Spotlight: AJW TV & AJW/JWP Rival Match

AJW TV (Jan. 26th, 1993):
(Taped 04.01.1992)
* Yay, I found another AJW TV show! This show features the up & coming junior team of Sakie Hasegawa & Debbie Malenko up against established veterans and title-holders in Manami Toyota & Akira Hokuto! We start off with some year-end awards show, with the injured Mariko Yoshida tearfully accepting some trophy, plus Yumiko Hotta, Akira Hokuto, and more. Bull Nakano’s gold & black sparkly tux and headband is the mega-showstealer, here. Though Aja Kong’s “Peter Griffin” shirt & tie look is a close one. Manami’s inability to go through any interview without corpsing continues to be hilarious.

“TL;DR- What’s Good Here?”: A very solid TV show with some rare matches! Also, I add a ridiculously-good tag match between JWP & AJW blood-rivals!

Read moreJoshi Spotlight: AJW TV & AJW/JWP Rival Match

Bridge of Dreams- Tokyo Dome All-Promotion Supershow (Part 1)

WEEKLY PRO WRESTLING “BRIDGE OF DREAMS” (02.05.1995):
* This is a semi-legendary, monstrous 6-hour pro wrestling event at the Tokyo Dome, made weird because of all sorts of vague Japanese political shenanigans that I only barely understand. So “Weekly Pro Wrestling” was a wrestling magazine with a lot of name value in Japanese wrestling, and they put on a massive Interpromotional Show at the Tokyo Dome on the same night as WrestleMania XI. The idea was to put on a match from every big promotion in Japan for a true “Supercard”. Wikipedia says that Dave Meltzer says that it was supposed to have 8 promotions, but 13 ended up applying. Notably absent is Genichiru Tenryu’s WAR promotion, as they had an event the same day at Korakuen Hall, which was reviewed by another mag called “Weekly Gong”.

The show was a big thing among tape traders because only two versions were ever made available- one was a fancam pointed at the arena’s big screen, and the other was a very low-grade recording (the All Japan match has no audio for most of it). It turns out that New Japan, who I guess had the rights to distribute the tape, was like “HELL NO!” for reasons that, if true, are absolutely hilarious. Read on!

“TL;DR- What’s the Deal?”: 4-5 all-time classic matches, the women showing up nearly everybody, worked shoots, bloodbaths, spotfests, comedy- something for everybody.

Read moreBridge of Dreams- Tokyo Dome All-Promotion Supershow (Part 1)

Joshi Spotlight: AJW/LLPW Outbreak of the Storm

The main event- LCO vs. LLPW’s #2-4 stars!

AJW vs. LLPW- ARASHI NO KAISEN! (The Outbreak of the Storm):

(24.01.1993, Korakuen Hall)

* And we’re back with the first big Interpromotional show of 1993- another “Rivals” show with an AJW card but an LLPW/AJW match in the Main Event! In this, it reflects the AJW/JWP “I Know You” show from December 1992 in that it’s mostly AJW at work, but with a main that’s all-new and would thus have a lot of drama attached to it. During the announcements of the wrestlers (who enter the ring and take their bows), they announce parts of the Dream Slam card! Debbie & Sakie are set up to take on the JWP team of Plum Mariko & Hikari Fukuoka, as all are around the same level… but Debbie would be swapped out for Kaoru Ito, for reasons we’ll soon see. Double Inoue (vs) Ozaki/Cutie only draws the same applause as that bout does, but the crowd is REALLY impressed to hear Dynamite Kansai (vs) Yumiko Hotta getting announced!

“TL;DR: Why Should I Care?”: The final two matches are really incredible Dream Matches, featuring 4 of AJW’s 7 best in a classic tag war, and then a 6-Woman tag that gets ugly in the best possible way.

Read moreJoshi Spotlight: AJW/LLPW Outbreak of the Storm

Joshi Spotlight: Manami Toyota Fights Twenty People

MANAMI TOYOTA FIGHTS 20 PEOPLE (30 Match Gauntlet):
(Christmas Day, 1995)

-So Manjiimortal shared this with the Joshi Boyz one day, and despite it being a bit out of the timeline, I figured I’d review it now since it’s kind of a funny anomaly.

So Manami Toyota is the newly-crowned WWWA World Champion of All Japan Women’s Pro Wrestling, having defeated Dynamite Kansai to win her second title. And then they do this random thing where she has to wrestle a thirty-minute bout, but against TWENTY PEOPLE! AJW’s Jobbers and Main Eventers alike come out, and will alternate 1-minute matches against the Champion- if someone is pinned, they are immediately replaced. Since there’s 30 bouts and 20 wrestlers, some will get a second shot!

Read moreJoshi Spotlight: Manami Toyota Fights Twenty People

Joshi Spotlight: Toshiyo Yamada

Toshiyo Yamada

JOSHI SPOTLIGHT- TOSHIYO YAMADA:
Stats:
Billed Height & Weight: 5’6″, 154 lbs.
Career Length: 1987-2004
Trained By: Jaguar Yokota

-Toshiyo Yamada is one of those weird wrestlers who’s usually the least-memorable part of some of the best matches of all time.

Yamada has an absolutely stacked list of ***** matches, yet all of them seem to have the peculiar caveat that they involve Manami Toyota, either as a partner or an opponent. I dunno what it is, but Toyota’s presence brings this incredible thing out of Yamada, who is never a hindrance in any of these matches, and never looks like she’s being carried. She’s a very stable, centered wrestler, which lets Manami fly around like a maniac and the match never feels like a “Spotfest” or anything. It’s peculiar because while both are obviously great, of the two, only Toyota has ***** matches with other top-tier opponents- Yamada’s ceiling felt much lower for whatever reason.

Read moreJoshi Spotlight: Toshiyo Yamada

Joshi Spotlight: AJW Tag League THE BEST ’92 (Part 2)

AJW Tag League THE BEST ’92- Part Two:
(02.11.1992)
* Taped about two weeks after Part One, Part Two of Tag League THE BEST involves an interesting batch of midcard bouts with obvious winners (if I hadn’t looked at the match time for one, anyways), LCO’s subordinates in a pair of them, and one hell of a Main Event on paper- Aja/Kyoko vs. Akira/Bull! This is the last “Tag League” show I can find from ’92. This takes place at Hakata Starlanes, which is a REALLY bright, very small set for something like this, giving it a whole different “look” than other AJW shows. I mean, it’s a damn gymnasium. This is like watching joshi cards after 1997, complete with a crowd that’s 90% male.

“TL;DR- Why Should I Care?”: Another night of fun wrestling matches- not as flashy or showy as a Grand Prix card tends to be, but with some fun midcard singles matches (actually a rarity in joshi) and two very good matches to end the show!

Read moreJoshi Spotlight: AJW Tag League THE BEST ’92 (Part 2)

Joshi Spotlight: AJW Tag League THE BEST ’92 (Part 1)

AJW TAG LEAGUE THE BEST ’92- PART ONE:
(17.10.1992)
* Yes, it’s really called “Tag League The Best”. This is pretty much the tag team equivalent of the “Grand Prix”, with multiple teams operating in a round-robin tournament that gets released over three VHS tapes. The shows operate very much like the Grand Prixs as well, with a few random bouts, one or two big fights, and then some tournament matches. In this tourney, the tag champions (Manami Toyota & Toshiyo Yamada) are naturally expected to do well, but their challengers include top-tier squads like Aja Kong & Kyoko Inoue, plus Yumiko Hotta & Suzuka Minami. Also, Frontier Martial-Arts Wrestling (FMW) throws in its own candidates, as a team of their lower-tier stars has entered! The Interpromotional Era debuting with FMW is always very odd to me. Up & comer Mariko Yoshida has been injured, leaving a big gap in the midcard- now who’s gonna leap up and fill that slot?

NOTE: YouTube is apparently missing Part Three, so I only have two parts to post. Looks like the YouTube set is missing the WWWA World Midget Title Match between Little Frankie vs. Tomezo Tsunokake. I can only assume Frankie defeats his foe, like in 900 other matches.

“TL;DR- Why Should I Care?”: Ever wanted to see a bad, uncoordinated brawl get the Rock/Hogan reaction? Look no further. Also some interesting combinations of wrestlers having some good matches.

Read moreJoshi Spotlight: AJW Tag League THE BEST ’92 (Part 1)

Joshi Spotlight: The Interpromotional Era Begins!

JOSHI SPOTLIGHT- AJW TV (Sept. 21, 1992)

-Hailing from the Morioka-shi Ice Arena, it’s another episode of the AJW TV show! And also, the first-ever Interpromotional Match, which exists online only in clipped form, I guess! So read on if you want to see how the most legendary era in Joshi began!

Read moreJoshi Spotlight: The Interpromotional Era Begins!