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: AJW Tag League THE BEST 1994 (Part Two)

AJW TAG LEAGUE THE BEST 1994:
(10.12.1994)
* And now the final VHS release of 1994 for Joshi, as we end the 1994 Tag League! It looks like tonight it’s a three-way “Playoff Final” for the top ranks, as Aja Kong & Reggie Bennett, Kyoko Inoue & Sakie Hasegawa and Manami Toyota & Takako Inoue all end up tied (aw man, poor LCO)! Tragically, we’ve missed Kumiko Maekawa vs. Yoko Takahashi in rookie mayhem, and some showing of their trip to Bali in mid-December. Last year’s show saw a legendary bout in which Manami Toyota & Akira Hokuto beat Kyoko Inoue & Toshiyo Yamada in a PAIR of ***** matches back-to-back (the only time in history this has been done), so this show has an awfully big pair of shoes to fill.

Tag League THE BEST 1994:
MARIKO YOSHIDA & CHAPARRITA ASARI vs. TOMOKO WATANABE & RIE TAMADA:
* Both teams are ranked at the bottom, making this a solid early match. Tomoko & Rie both look heartbroken for their low standing, while the other two are Deer-In-Headlights. Yoshida’s in that gloriously terrible blue/pink/yellow thing, ASARI’s in light blue & silver (hey, that’s a new one!), Tomoko’s in black & white, and Rie’s in white & orange.

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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: AJW TV (Oct. 31st 1994)

AJW TV (Oct. 31st):
* Another week of AJW TV hits us, and we have a bunch of matches, including a very big Manami Toyota vs. Takako Inoue All Pacific/IWA Title match, plus Kyoko Inoue vs. Reggie Bennett! This show features a huge amount of hype for Big Egg Wrestling Universe– the upcoming Tokyo Dome show. And more Japanese commercials! An English voiceover describes to pretty-boy actors in the film Night Head, while we also hear about the Japan Supercross ’94, a serious-looking movie called Stay Gold (the producer an Outsiders fan?) and TUNNELS having a concert tour. Oh boy- TUNNELS!

SUZUKA MINAMI & KAORU ITO vs. SAKIE HASEGAWA & MARIKO YOSHIDA:
* Wow, Sakie & Yoshida- old rivals- are now paired up against the low-tier team of Minami & Ito. Yoshida’s in her blue, pink & yellow “M Y” gear, Sakie’s in all the splatter-colors, Ito’s in green & yellow, and Minami’s in some odd, loose-fitting shiny lavender thing.

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Joshi Spotlight: Debbie Malenko

Debbie Malenko Sakie Hasewara | Tops, Women's wrestling, Women

Debbie Malenko with her regular partner, Sakie Hasegawa.

JOSHI SPOTLIGHT- DEBBIE MALENKO:
Real Name: Debbie Drake
Billed Height & Weight: 5’6″ 143 lbs.
Career: 1990-1993, Barely-Active since 2000-something

-So one of the few bad things during AJW’s rise in the early 1990s was the very short career of the promising Debbie Malenko, who was the sole foreigner on many AJW shows of the time period. She had formed a spunky undercard tag team with Sakie Hasegawa, and was utilizing some very unique stuff for the “GO GO GO!” joshi style (being more of an American-style technical wrestler with precision offense taught by Boris Malenko, who let her use his worked surname). Hitting big-time STFs and stuff as major offense was typically not done around this point, as AJW’s style was more “you sit on them for stretching to kill time between major periods and to take a rest”, save a few exceptions. Best of all was the duo dressing like the Steiner Brothers in distinctive multicolored amateur-wrestling singlets and even doing the “Rick Steiner barking run” and Debbie crawling under Sakie for the “Steiner Pose”. Great midcard tag stuff.

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Joshi Spotlight: AJW TV (Oct. 13th 1994)

AJW TV (Oct. 13th, 1994):
* So we’ve entered a strange bit of time in available Joshi matches, as we just started Tag League THE BEST 1994, but there’s two months before it ends and in the meantime there’s a dozen random JWP & LLPW bouts available, PLUS some shows I already reviewed fall here, such as the major Tokyo Dome show!

But for now, here’s another edition of the AJW TV show, with LCO fighting the monster squad of Aja Kong & Reggie Bennett, plus Double Inoue vs. Sakie Hasegawa & Toshiyo Yamada. This aired in October but was taped in August, as we seem to miss September ENTIRELY for AJW releases (I guess they made one commercial tape, with an interesting Manami/Sakie/Kyoko vs. Reggie/Aja/Ito match on it). But thankfully we’re back to Japanese commercials! Clipper, the chip-like snack with the kawaii mascot! A Japanese version of A Christmas Carol! And they announce Sakie Hasegawa’s new persona as the manga character brought to life- Blizzard Yuki! This would be them finally shooting their shot at making her a huge star.

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Joshi Spotlight: AJW Tag League THE BEST 1994 (Part One)

The best match of the show, BY FAR- Las Cachorras Orientales vs. Manami/Takako.

TAG LEAGUE THE BEST (Part One):

(10.08.1994)
* And 3/4 through the year, we hit another Tag League THE BEST installment! This one features some established squads, plus weird random duos (Manami/Takako?). There’s also a “Junior League” of rookies between AJW & JWP, giving us Interpromotional Rookie Mayhem once more! At last! this one is highlighted by a TREMENDOUS LCO vs. Manami/Takako match, as well as showcases for Mariko Yoshida, Sakie Hasegawa, and the monster Aja Kong/Reggie Bennett team.

“TL;DR- Why Should I Care?”: LCO vs. Manami/Takako is another classic in a long line of great Toyota & LCO matches this year. The rest of the card is mainly about the rookies and some rising up the card for Sakie Hasegawa against an old standby “gatekeeper”, but the main is also very good.

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Joshi Spotlight: AJW Grand Prix 1994 (Part Two)

The Main Event- another Toyota/Yamada match in their never-ending series of ****+ masterpieces!

AJW GRAND PRIX 1994 (Part 2):
(28.08.1994)
* And it’s time for another edition of the yearly AJW Grand Prix. Since the first one isn’t on YouTube, I only have this second part here for review. We get a couple of matches from it, plus the return of MARIKO YOSHIDA, who has been out since just after *1992*’s Grand Prix, missing out on most of the Interpromotional Era due to a neck injury. The neat things about Grand Prix shows is that everyone has a huge fire lit under their ass to perform- like it’s as big as the “Arena Shows” or what-not, and they’re looking to show off and have the best match possible. The hard camera front row is pretty funny- two nerdy guys and a Skeevy Porn Dad, plus a bored-looking girl with dyed red hair.

This year’s edition worked slightly differently- it’s a ten-woman round robin tournament instead of featuring “blocks”. And a few big stars are out- Aja (the Champs are never in these, I think), Akira Hokuto (kinda maybe retired) & Kyoko Inoue. No interpromotional guests this time around, either.

“TL;DR- Why Should I Care?”: This is a remarkably epic show, with a FANTASTIC match between a returning Mariko Yoshida & KAORU, then another classic bout in the storied Toyota/Yamada rivalry. Plus a remarkable three midcard matches actually hit ***1/2, which is pretty rare for any show.

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Joshi Spotlight: AJW Summer TV & Dangerous Queen Forever

AJW TV (Aug. 1994):
* Here’s a couple of random matches I found from AJW in August! Plus a video all about Akira Hokuto’s career- match clips and interviews that would probably be awesome if you understood Japanese!

TL;DR Version: Hey, two ***+ matches in one TV show- not bad, right? AEW hasn’t spoiled us THAT much! And this is like *1994*!

YUMIKO HOTTA & TOMOKO WATANABE vs. SUZUKA MINAMI & MIMA SHIMODA:
* This was from Aug. 31st, and is pretty much a “random grab-bag of wrestlers” match (though Minami sometimes pairs up with LCO). Minami’s in a hideous red outfit with floral-print, a zipper, and a wide collar, while Shimoda’s in the usual red & black. Tomoko’s in the black with tassles, and Hotta’s in blue & yellow.

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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: AJW TV (June 10 1994)

AJW TV (June 10th, 1994):
* Today’s Spotlight takes a look at a big Summer 1994 TV show featuring the WWWA Tag Champs defending their gold, and the monster duo of Aja & Bull fighting midcard crazies LCO. Curiously, AJW seems to release only a single VHS tape each month of the summer of 1994, meaning that this thing is a LOT more sparse and it’s trickier to get a feel for the stories. The Budokan Retsuden is the next show in this series, for example, and is in AUGUST. Therefore, we don’t see any of the build for it- all the matches kinda seem out of nowhere.

And we’ve already reached time for a new Japan Grand Prix! This year’s tournament only takes place across two main tapes instead of four, though a few intermediate shows have JGP matches as well. This year? They reduce the number of wrestlers GREATLY, and drop having two blocks, nor are their any wrestlers from other promotions, as AJW runs it solo. So we have only ten women present, and only a couple of big stars are in this year- Hotta, Manami, Yamada… and that’s about it- it’s just LCO, Minami, Sakie & midcard jobbers after that. No Kyoko, even!

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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: AJW Super Hurricane ’94

AJW SUPER HURRICANE:
(09.04.1994)
* Here’s another named AJW show, hailing from the Sendai Miyagi-ken Sports Center! Tonight is actually more of a return to form after several All-AJW shows in a row, as we see LLPW’s wrestlers back into the mix, with three Interpromotional matches (including a rarity tag match), plus Manami/Kyoko vs. Bull/Sakie, as Sakie Hasegawa is put in a match with AJW Main Eventers yet again! Oh, they knew what they were doing. This arena looks CRAZY-empty, especially at the start of the set. As usual, this one is split up on an ancient YouTube set. You can find it all here: https://www.youtube.com/user/ringstarfield/search?query=SUPER%20HURRICANE%E3%80%80%E9%9D%92%E8%91%89%E5%9F%8E%E4%B8%8A%E9%99%B8

“TL;DR- Why Should I Care?”: Three “Dream Match” interpromotional bouts and some of AJW’s best wrestlers put their “Main Event Effort” into things. Mima Shimoda showcases her new drive, Kandori’s her arrogant best, and Bull Nakano takes on AJW’s fastest workers.

CHAPARRITA ASARI vs. RIE TAMADA:

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Joshi Spotlight: AJW Zenjo Mania Spring ’94

AJW ZENJO MANIA SPRING ’94:
(04.03.1994)
* More Joshi from early 1994! Now, from Korakuen Hall, we get another major AJW show that looks like it has a ton of matches on it. Curiously, they’ve kept the Interpromotional stuff off of this one, and filled the card with mostly singles matches, which is a rarity on AJW shows. Here, we see a Rookie Mayhem bout, Tomoko killing another rookie, Ito trying her best against an elder, a Spotfest Tag Match, a Hoss Match (Reggie vs. Bull!), and a brutal KO-style Main Event. So sneakily, this one is a bit of an “elevate the younger wrestlers” show, with mostly lesser stars going up against bigger ones. This is one of the older “Ringstarfield” uploads, so all the matches are piecemeal to fit under old YouTube requirements- just search “全女マニア 後楽園SPRING’94” in their channel to find the full show.

“TL;DR- Why Should I Care?”: A FANTASTIC six-woman tag match surrounded by other very good matches, including surprisingly-good performances by up & comers. Also, I think they must have released the AJW Theme Song CD around this time, because “Knockout” and “Jungle Emperor” make their debuts tonight (“God made the Devil… just for fun!  But when he wanted the real thing, he made Aja Kong!”).

KUMIKO MAEKAWA vs. RIE TAMADA:
* Another match featuring two of AJW’s lowest-ranked wrestlers, both in their “getting experience” phase. Kumiko of course became the Ace in the future, while Tamada was a “good hand” in various companies. Rie’s in white and pink, Kumiko’s in black & white. Surprisingly, neither are really in Jobber Swimsuits anymore.

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Joshi Spotlight: AJW TV (April 1994) & Wrestling Queendom Recap

AJW TV (April 13, 1994):
* And it’s time for another 1:20:00 AJW TV show (taped March 30th, only three days after Wrestling Queendom ’94), this one featuring two big tag matches! LCO, newly crowned JWP Tag Team Champions in a WAR with Cutie Suzuki & Mayumi Ozaki, take on the UWA Tag Champs, Yumiko Hotta & Takako Inoue! There’s some Okinawa Resort Convention highlights, as they visit the islands far to the south of Japan, home to the former Ryukyu Kingdom and the origins of karate. Our hosts are the usual AJW guys, plus Jaguar Yokota and Akira Hokuto in a Hawaiian shirt, looking much more like a human being instead of the mythical creature she turned to in 1993. It’s honestly weird seeing her just shoot the shit. She does commentary for this show.

Sweet! More ads! Problem Child with Macauley Culkin! Chips! Max Factor! Guys tapdancing for KDD! Some cartoon face I find immensely disturbing! And an ad for World Heroes 2 Jet, with Mudman performing in Swan Lake, lol. Some boy-band duo called “class” is releasing a new single called Holiday! Some smutty CD-Rom video game! Final Fantasy VI!

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Joshi Spotlight: Korakuen Holy War ’94

AJW KORAKUEN HOLY WAR ’94:
(03.03.1994)
* “Seisen” translates as “Crusade”, but the Ringstarfield guy who uploaded this called it “Holy War”, which is a million times cooler so I’m going with that. The early part of the year tends to be a tad light in AJW (their big events were kinda Spring/Winter-y), but this one has some interesting stuff, though the “Interpromotional” stuff has taken a dive in favor of feuds going on within AJW itself. The Aja/Sakie duo is definitely getting pushed ahead of the “Monster Squad” team of Aja & Bull (which seems to be mostly for special appearances). We also miss Numacchi’s retirement ceremony, as the goofy comedy character only lasts about eight months or so before she’s gone.

As usual with this guy’s clips, you have to find the whole match by searching his “Videos” for the show name.

“TL;DR- Why Should I Care?”: Actually a really awesome show, with two ****-ish matches in the final slots.

KUMIKO MAEKAWA vs. MIKI YOKOE:
* Even the narration on the YouTube video advertises this as a rarity, because Miki is “Soon Retired”. Though she wrestled a TON in 1993, it was generally untelevised “exhibition” stuff. Kumiko’s in blue, and Miki’s in this hideous green/blue Jobber Singlet, with what looks like big sneakers on.

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Joshi Spotlight: AJW TV (Feb. 27- Manami/Yamada vs. Aja/Sakie)

AJW TV (Feb. 27th, 1994):
* Here’s another AJW TV show, though I could only find two matches from it, making this a shorter review. One match missing off of what was taped is Bull Nakano beating Etsuko Mita- another thing is Numacchi’s retirement. So Saemi Numata had been jobbing throughout most of 1993 and engaging in some pretty horrible matches (and one miraculously “pretty good” match by Mayumi Ozaki), including jobbing big-time to both Akira Hokuto & Reggie Bennett, losing in 10 seconds and 3 minutes, respectively (in a promotion where it can take ten minutes to kill off a rookie). Her last bunch of bouts were in Oct. 1993, and one match in Jan. 1994, so I dunno what happened. Either injures or “you know what? There’s no future as a comedy jobber in AJW” and she was done. A few years later we’d get Tanny Mouse in a similar role.

Other, unaired matches: Chikako Shiratori & Kumiko Maekawa d. Rie Tamada & Tomoko Watanabe (that’s kind of a shocker- Tomoko way outranks everyone), and Suzuka Minami d. Mima Shimoda.

YUMIKO HOTTA & TAKAKO INOUE vs. KYOKO INOUE & KAORU ITO:

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Joshi Spotlight- AJW TV (Feb. 18- Toyota/Yamada vs. Kyoko/Hotta)

AJW TV (Feb. 18th 1994):
* Weirdly, I somehow nearly missed this one entirely. A random check of Grand Prix matches from the summer somehow showed U-Channel’s two February AJW shows uploaded. I mean, I normally work a bit ahead, and this BARELY made it on time. I normally search names in English & Japanese, so I shouldn’t have missed this quite so badly. But in any case, here’s a pair of TV shows with likely some fairly edited shows.

ETSUKO MITA, TOMOKO WATANABE & RIE TAMADA vs. SUZUKA MINAMI, CHIKAKO SHIRATORI & KUMIKO MAEKAWA:
* It’s a combination of Giant, Rookie & Bottom-Tier Wrestler, though Tomoko way outranks Chikako at this point, so Minami’s practically fighting by herself. Rie’s in white & red, Tomoko’s in green & blue, Mita’s in black, Minami’s in red & black, Chikako’s in blue & white and Kumiko’s in the jobberiest blue swimsuit ever.

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Joshi Spotlight: AJW TV (Jan. 16th 1994)

AJW TV (Jan. 1994):
* And welcome to AJW in 1994! After several months of working on 1993’s shows, it’s fun to see a whole new “era”, as all the major story-arcs have ended and the feuds run their course- Manami Toyota & Toshiyo Yamada have finally unseated JWP’s Ozaki & Kansai for the WWWA Tag Titles, and Akira Hokuto has given her win back to LLPW’s Shinobu Kandori. As a result, they’re gonna have to find all-new angles and feuds- 1994 has a handful less tapes available than 1993 did (especially if you count the Legendary Goddess ones), but builds to the biggest joshi show of all time by the end of the year- Big Egg Wrestling Universe.

This show is about an hour and a half, and covers the 1993 AJW Awards Party, as well as having four unique matches on it.

“TL;DR- Why Should I Care?”: It’s a pretty interesting show in terms of bouts you rarely see- a rare Aja solo bout to build her up for Hotta’s Title shot in a week, LCO against a thrown-together team, and the Tag Champs facing the future Double Inoue!

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Joshi Spotlight: AJW St. Battle Day 1992

 

ST. BATTLE DAY:
(20.03.1992)
* This is actually a bit of a throwback (since I just finished going through all of 1993), as I initially couldn’t find the full show on YouTube. Maffew uploaded it as “Indie Uploader”, but he was banned for copywrite violations, but someone else was good enough to upload it when I bemoaned that fact. So here we are! Finally!

“TL;DR- Why Should I Care?”: One of the better tag matches of the year and a truly important title-change… and one of the worst AJW tag matches ever- a smorgasbord for Botchamania! Watch what happens when technical wrestlers try lucha!

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