Quebrada Pro Wrestling, Puroresu, & Mixed Martial Arts Reviews by Mike Lorefice

1/4/92 Tokyo Korakuen Hall

Miori Kamiya & Kaoru Ito & Mayumi Yamamoto vs. Tomoko Watanabe & Kazue Saito & Akemi Torisu 12:58. They ran six youngsters in and out, but they had to wrestle when they were in, which unfortunately presented many problems. They attempted to do a solid match by sticking to simpler offense, but they did everything quickly in an attempt to maintain a high pace. It's a formula that can work when you are careful to hold steady at the pace you can actually execute at. That was not at all the case, in fact most of these girls were all rushing so badly they weren't able to connect half the time. If they did one decent kick instead of three fast grazing kicks, the match might have been decent. But alas, it was a rather embarrassing collection of rapidfire grazing blows. Watanabe had a pretty good track record, but Yamamoto fell too soon on Watanabe's huracanrana finisher, nearly doing serious damage to her neck. *

Etsuko Mita & Mima Shimoda vs. Takako Inoue & Mariko Yoshida 13:40. Fairly entertaining, all action match. Shimoda can't punch or forearm to save her life, but otherwise it was pretty well done. Yoshida seemed the most advanced of the bunch. She was technically competent, and had the crispest execution, looking particularly at home attacking Shimoda's bad knee (for the second match in a row, an injured knee was signified by a knee pad of all things!). Mita was very obviously in developmental mode. She wisely utilized moves that benefited from her size, but she wasn't yet comfortable with them, so she was deliberate if not robotic. Shimoda was more in the Toyota mode, so limber her offense was a bit loose. Takako was pretty much on, and seemed to have more upward mobility at the moment than Mita or Shimoda. **1/4

Sakie Hasegawa & Debbie Malenko vs. Suzuka Minami & Yumiko Hotta 15:45. Hasegawa & Malenko certainly had the talent to move up the cards when used properly, but too often AJW tried to make them something they weren't, particularly by pushing them toward lucha style, which Malenko was downright inept at. This was one of their most successful matches of the period, a well booked match that gave the young team a chance to shine by pairing them with opponents that would keep them in their element. It was a bit odd that she didn't tag after getting manhandled early, especially given how heavily favored Minami & Hotta were, but the logic was to have Malenko worked most of the early portion because that contained the mat/submission work. When Hasegawa finally made the hot tag, the pace picked up dramatically as she began exchanging spots with Minami. Again, it was a bit odd that they'd then slow the match down dramatically when Malenko came back in, but her technical wrestling with Hotta was well done, and actually made the match more diverse and dynamic. Though everyone knew Minami & Hotta would win, they never condescended to Hasegawa & Malenko. On the contrary, they allowed them to be very competitive through heart, determination, and scrappiness, elevating the match to a level that allowed Hasegawa & Malenko to come off as if they were pushing toward being their peers. ***1/4

Bull Nakano & Bat Yoshinaga vs. Aja Kong & Bison Kimura 17:33. Designed to advance the Bull vs. Aja feud without actually giving anything away, the bout started with a big staredown then a couple minutes of fiery action before the pairings shifted to Bison vs. Bull and Aja vs. Bat. Although it really had little significance to the program it should have been working hard to advance, it was a solid match where the rivalry added an intensity and helped justify the stiffness of the brawl. Bat wasn't the right partner for Bull because she lacks the diversity, but this was a perfect match to suit her limited ability. She can't be on offense long because she has no variety, but she can blister you when she connects. She can't take a wide variety of offense because she's not a good bumper, but you can pound on her as much as you want. Jungle Jack certainly gave Bat a beatdown, with the actual wrestling segments coming from Bison vs. Bull. Bat whiffed a few times, but as a whole the match was very well executed. They didn't come close to going all out, but they certainly put more than a satisfactory hurting on one another. ***

Heartbeat The Rival Bout '92: Manami Toyota vs. Toshiyo Yamada 30:00 + 5:00 + 5:00. Korakuen Super Charge was one of the first AJW tapes I owned. The tremendous effort of Yamada & Toyota allowed me to not only endure the jumpy and virtually soundless smear, but fall in love with this 40 minute epic. I surely didn't truly comprehend how hard they were working to take their match to the next level, which would allow them to become legitimate main eventers, but I could see that the mix of fast, high intensity signature offense segments with slow, rather basic submission segments was giving them a great deal of mileage without putting them in the position of having to continually elevate the action, an all too common mistake that most certainly have led to errors induced by getting out of control and trying to wrestle too far above their head. Especially in a new viewer, it's often easy to confuse admiration with greatness. While these days I'm not quite as enamored with the actual match, which shows great progress but also exposes them tremendously by being 15 or 20 minutes over what they are really cut out to deliver, I have a greater affinity for its simplicity. I understand they are, for the most part, simply pacing themselves, but that's not at all a bad thing. In essence, the match is Yamada doing her kicks and suplexes and Toyota doing her flying and suplexes broken up by slow mat sequences that are well done but essentially just there so they can rest up for the next burst. I've criticized the matwork in Toyota's matches many times, but there was some genuine effort put into it tonight, with both succeeding in garnering sympathy for themselves. Yamada was, not surprisingly, better at selling the submissions as they were happening, but Toyota was not only screaming in pain, she even remembering to hobble around when she got off the mat to put Yamada's legwork over. By keeping these segments from feeling meaningless, the audience didn't get bored or frustrated with their constant returns to the mat, in fact the breaks from the action made them anticipate the exciting segments more. While far from a great story match, it certainly accomplishes its purpose of making the two teammates seem equal. After playing even for 30 minutes, Toyota demanded a 5 minute extension, eliciting spirited chants of “Zenjo” from the crowd. The overtimes, though quite exciting, accentuated their sketchy execution, and really extended them too far beyond the fatigue point to be successful. However, you want to root for people who just keep wrestling after the first overtime they demanded ends in case someone was thinking of trying to call a halt to it. ****1/4

IWA World Women's Title: Kyoko Inoue vs. Akira Hokuto 24:53. Overshadowed by all the talk about the great 1992 Toyota vs. Yamada series is the fact that the great 1992 Hokuto vs. Kyoko series showed that Kyoko had arrived as a super, main event caliber wrestler. Although Toyota vs. Yamada is better due to the subsequent two matches, the difference tonight could best be summed up by stating that Hokuto vs. Inoue was the match where they had the ability to fully realize their desires. Of course, Hokuto is far more experienced than Toyota & Yamada, who were getting their first push, but Inoue showed far more crispness, diversity, and charisma than either of her slightly more experienced counterparts. Kyoko was super over in this thrilling match that perhaps had the best start of any women's match in 1992. The only real problem with this match is the first couple minutes of lightning paced acrobatic action were so awesome it was very difficult for the rest of the match to not be a letdown. They came out hyper and energized, doing some of their best lucha and aerial manuevers and generally blowing away Toyota's dropkick heavy offense in the process until Kyoko hurt her knee either getting back body dropped to the floor or taking Hokuto's subsequent dive. This was supposed to ease them into the mat section, but the injury was sadly neglected in favor of generally random body work. The “injury” helped get Inoue over more, but the fans were already doing regular “Kyoko” chants before this occurred. They did a good job of putting over the toll of the match, but that slowed them down, which I'm not sure was a good thing. Spots, even if frivolous, such as Hokuto doing a forward flip to stop a whip into the corner are what made the match so exciting. Everything looked good at regular speed, but the greatness was definitely when they were doing it at exceptional speed, and that was mainly early. This is not to say the match wasn't good, even excellent throughout, but rather the opening was so off the charts that even the closing was never able to regain that level of brilliance. The closing was very important though, at least the result, as though Inoue was the champ, defeating arguably the #2 star in the company in a main event title match lent her a great deal of credibility. ****1/2

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