Joshi Spotlight: Sapporo Best*One (Manami vs. Aja- WWWA Title)

The Main Event. Great thumbnail.

AJW SAPPORO BEST*ONE:
(27.06.1995)

-Coming from Sapporo is this two-match tape featuring Las Cachorras Orientales reuniting- Akira Hokuto rejoins Mita & Shimoda to put the trio back together, and they’re out to murder a randomly thrown-together trio! And also, more importantly, the WWWA World Title is on the line once again, as Manami Toyota defends against the previous champion, Aja Kong- champ rematches seem like a rarity (Bull never got one, but she was stepping back). A now-retired Suzuka Minami joins the crew at the beginning of the TV show. And also we see clips of Kensuke Sasaki & Akira Hokuto announcing their engagement! Seeing Hokuto as a reserved bride-lady is really different. Sasaki cracks up EVERYONE at the press conference with whatever he said, too.

The Japanese commercials are back, though! There’s apparently a Japanese version of “Stand By Me”! They advertise a “Born To Be Wild” movie with a guy in a gorilla suit- never heard of that one.

The matches not shown:
Nobue Endo d. Yoko Takahashi (6:03): Rookie mayhem! I bet a bodyslam was the finish!
AJW Junior Title Tournament: Yoshiko Tamura d. Misae Watanabe (10:05): A new Top Rookie!

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Joshi Spotlight: AJW TV (March 1995)- Toyota/Hotta vs. Double Inoue (WWWA Title Shot Match)

Puroguide: All Japan Women's Pro-Wrestling | Puro Guide

AJW TV (March 1995):
* This is an episode taped on Feb. 15th, but aired in early March. This one largely features a handful of “Filler” bouts, a very good Aja Kong/Etsuko Mita match, and most importantly- Kyoko & Takako Inoue vs. Manami Toyota & Yumiko Hotta- the person scoring the winning fall will challenge Aja Kong at Wrestling Queendom 1995! Watch as a fascinating little story of inter-team squabbling plays out!

And wouldn’t ya know- it’s apparently U-Channel that bit the big one and made all its videos private, which kills a lot of Joshi videos on YouTube. So these ones have all been deleted between my reviews and my posting, but at least I got ’em. Sorta! Take my word for the match ratings!

AJW TAG TITLES #1 CONTENDERS MATCH:
TOMOKO WATANABE & KUMIKO MAEKAWA vs. MARIKO YOSHIDA & RIE TAMADA:
* A match to determine the top contenders for the lowest ranked Tag Belts in the company, as the future U*Tops duo take on Yoshida (who is still kind of hovering in the lower-midcard) & Tamada. Yoshida’s in her white gear, Rie’s in white w/ ’80s wallpaper accents, Tomoko’s in black w/ tassles, and Kumiko’s in a sports bra and shorts in 1980s wallpaper decor. Man, all rookies have to dress in these garish designs, I swear.

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Joshi Spotlight: The WWWA & JWP Tag Title Defenses

Double Inoue vs. Manami Toyota & Sakie Hasegawa.

AJW TV (Jan. 1995):
* And welcome to the beginning of 1995 in the Joshi Spotlight! So I found a handful of stuff from the early part of the year, but of primary importance here are the huge Title defenses of Double Inoue & LCO!! So this is a “two-match review”, as both major Joshi promotions defend their top gold in the early part of January 1995!

So first off, Double Inoue make a very big WWWA Tag Title defense as Manami Toyota comes back for her gold, but with Sakie Hasegawa as her new partner! And then we have Las Cachorras Orientales defending the JWP Tag Team Titles on JWP home turf against the odd pairing of evil Mayumi Ozaki & rising idol Hikari Fukuoka! Both matches are absolute bangers, so come take a look!

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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: AJW May Storm ’94

AJW ZENJO MANIA- MAY STORM ’94:
(02.05.1994)
* From Korakuen Hall is the next big AJW show, with a lot of really, REALLY long matches, possibly to fill time and “justify” the ticket prices, and also to put over the resiliency of the athletes, I think. This show seems to have a theme of “rookie showcasing”, as the opener is massively long and between two of their smallest young stars, and the next two feature Kumiko & Sakie, a rookie and up & comer respectively, being murdered by their elders. This Korakuen crowd is hot as FUCK and stays that way all night long, giving even the rookies a huge ovation for big moves. As usual, you have to track through one guy’s YouTube channel to find these multi-part matches.

“TL;DR: Why Should I Care?”: The show ends with two fantastic matches, and nearly every bout is a testament to either joshi’s insane cardio or their invincible spinal cords. Also, a crowd that’s into EVERYTHING. Also, proof joshi invents everything with wrestling’s first-ever One-Winged Angel. By accident, but it counts!

ZEN NIHON OZA KETTEI TOURNAMENT:
RIE TAMADA vs. CHAPARRITA ASARI:
* Tamada beat ASARI on the last show, so this is a rematch, and the finals to some kind of tournament. ASARI’s in the neon yellow with silver puffy bits, and Tamada’s in black & orange.

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Joshi Spotlight: Hiromi Yagi

Hiromi Yagi

JOSHI SPOTLIGHT- HIROMI YAGI:
Statistics:
Real Name: Hiromi Yaginuma (aka HYAGIE, Masked Angel Rosetta)
Billed Height & Weight: 5’0″, 117 lbs.
Career: 1994-2004

-One of my favorite things about doing these Spotlights is the occasional “found surprise”- much as I love looking up the best matches of the biggest stars that I knew about already, it’s great to discover someone I’ve never heard of who turns out to be a really good wrestler, too. On most of the big AJW shows around a certain point, you’ll see token “Rookie Matches” in the beginning- often way too long for their own good, they feature five-foot-tall rookies trading basic jobber offense until one wins with like… a body slam or something. They’re filler and meant to be a learning experience, and audiences are patient with them, but they’re generally pretty bad.

So imagine my surprise when the obscure throwaway shrimp Judo Flips someone right the fuck off the top rope and puts on an OUTSTANDING performance in what should have been a throwaway slot! One of those “okay, who is THAT and what’s their best stuff?” moments.

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