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: 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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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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Joshi Spotlight- Rumi Kazama

Akira Hokuto (AJW) vs Rumi Kazama (LLPW) - YouTube

Rumi Kazama! Google carefully.

JOSHI SPOTLIGHT- RUMI KAZAMA:
Billed Height & Weight: 5’0″ 136 lbs.
Career: 1986-2003

-Rumi Kazama is one of those “hey, who is that again?” wrestlers, rarely appearing on big shows and typically lacking a lot of extraordinary showings or a huge push in most of the Interpromotional stuff I’ve seen in the mid-1990s. She’s probably most recognizable for her weird ’80s-style gear, like leopard-print shoulder pads and chest-piece on a bright purple jacket, an all-tiger-print set of tights, and a purple leopard-print set with black epaulettes. Not to mention her hilarious “Soccer Mom Hair”, sporting this GIANT teased mullet on a few ’90s shows I’ve seen.

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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!

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Joshi Spotlight: AJW Wrestling Queendom- HIGHEST WARS

Another of those annoying ones- this channel has it all, but split up into multiple portions under 10 minutes. Look up “Highest Wars” to find the matches.

WRESTLING QUEENDOM 1996- HIGHEST WARS:
(31.03.1996)

-Joshi had changed tremendously in 1995- the Interpromotional Wars have largely subsided, leaving the companies mostly on their own (with cards looking somewhat… diminished, as a result). Manami Toyota won, then lost, then won the WWWA Title again! She currently stands as the promotion’s top star, but career-long rival Kyoko Inoue has risen up just behind her, and challenges her tonight- it’s their first match in years. Takako Inoue & Mima Shimoda are getting upper-midcard pushes, too, and everyone’s kind of… jostling for place, in this new era, now that Aja Kong has been unseated and they can’t just sit there in stasis while feuding with JWP or whomever. Unfortunately, business as a whole is down owing to multiple factors- the Japanese economy is faltering, the wrestling boom has faded a bit, and the aforementioned card-diminishment. However, tickets were apparently much better for this Queendom than ’95’s, probably owing to the strong Kyoko push and some interpromotional stuff tonight.

“TL; DR- Why Should I Watch This?”: Well, the last match is one of those bouts where you put two of the best workers on Earth and let them go crazy for 20+ minutes.

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Joshi Spotlight- St. Battle Final (Part Two)

AJW ST. BATTLE FINAL
(09.12.1993):

Part One

And we’re back! The previous part had six matches on it, while this one, of equal length, only features four. But HOLY CRAP are they incredible.

TL;DR- Why Should I Watch This?: Because it’s got an even shot at being the greatest wrestling show of all time. Six matches break **** for me, and I’m pickier than any of the other Joshi fans on here, I think. It also culminates the stories of the 1992-93 stretch of Interpromotional Matches, especially the Hokuto/Kandori feud and the AJW/JWP Tag feud!

I actually split this with the final three matches being along, because HOLY SHIT this is probably the best ending to a card any show has ever had.

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Joshi Spotlight- The ’90s Promotions

Image result for jwp joshi

JWP had its own video game! Check out terrifying Command Bolshoi!

With AJW’s history out of the way, I can fill in the blanks with some stuff about their rivals of the 1990s! The most important two to any of AJW’s storylines were JWP and LLPW, though you saw some FMW crossover. The late ’90s brought out GAEA Japan as a chief competitor, and more came from that. For the most part, JWP was “AJW Lite”, while LLPW had a different, more mat-based “feel”. FMW had a much smaller division made up of a handful of wrestlers, usually acting in a single women’s match on a card full of men. Joshi avoided “Wacky Japanese Splinter Promotion Madness” for the most part until disillusionment over AJW management would shatter the industry after 1995, with every former AJW Main Eventer you can think of (Chigusa, Aja, Kyoko, Jaguar, even Mayumi) forming their own company (with beer! And HOOKERS!). This splintering led to a huge reduction in the once-huge Joshi fandom, and they went from filling arenas with 15,000+ fans routinely, to getting 1,000+ if they’re lucky.

I stuck with the ’90s stuff because otherwise this would be MUCH too long, and because I know jack squat about Joshi in the 2000s, so the whole article would be a mess of guesswork and possibly-false conclusions. And I don’t think Scott could take the humiliation of a poorly-researched article about women’s wrestling appearing on his blog.

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