AJW JAPAN GRAND PRIX '93 III Commercial Tape
All Japan Junior Title Decision Match: Saemi Numata vs. Masami Watanabe 10:19. Watanabe did better than in their 3/20/93 match, but I was hoping for something more competitive given they thought enough of her to give her a shot at the vacant title. Numata still totally dominated with extremely basic offense. She worked Watanabe's back with Boston crabs, but Watanabe finally got to the ropes before Numata can turn her over, and was allowed a few moments to shine before jobbing, landing a series of dropkicks and two of her original londard kangaroo kicks. Numata quickly cut her off though, and put her away with the second Russian leg sweep, having blown the first. *
Mr. Buddhaman vs. Tomezo Tsunokake 5:23. Takashi Matsunaga was the center of attention in this silly match where he did most of the actual damage. Matsunaga looked for every excuse to pop Buddhaman with a fan, which we soon find out contained some low level popper type of fireworks that only went off with a really solid hit, if even then. Tsunokake soon messes with Matsunaga, getting his own taste, but Matsunaga remained partial to him. The finish was pretty inexplicable, with Tsunokake collapsing after headbutting Buddhaman but Matsunaga awarding Tsunokake the victory because Buddhaman was slightly hunched against the ropes, or something. -*
Mima Shimoda vs. Chikako Hasegawa 6:21. Squash match. Hasegawa started with a dropkick and 3 high cross bodies, but was essentially done once Shimoda took over, managing only 2 flash pin attempts the rest of the match. Shimoda did her heel routine and worked Hasegawa's arm en route to the most standard of victories.
Suzuka Minami & Etsuko Mita vs. Kaoru Ito & Tomoko Watanabe 14:47. Active, action oriented match. Suzuka mainly sold, as she had a brace on her right knee that Ito & Watanabe attacked. Otherwise, it was mainly rope running and flying. Ito was the best and most motivated worker, looking worthy of the push she didn't get in the Japan Grand Prix where she finished a whopping 14th. Watanabe was much more effective here, giving a solid performance where she did a much better job of sticking to what she did well. She still did some athletic spots, including a moonsault attack, but wasn't using the boomerang moves she loses her balance on or mistimes. ***
5/19/93 JGP Digest - Akira Hokuto vs. Etsuko Mita and Mima Shimoda vs. Hikari Fukuoka
Japan Grand Prix '93 Red Zone League Match: Toshiyo Yamada vs. Sakie Hasegawa 15:54. Key match for Hasegawa, getting over a bad left knee and gushing nose to score the surprising upset. The first 10 minutes were slow with Yamada working Hasegawa's taped knee, but it quickly turned into a very dramatic match due to a good acting job where they made you feel the urgency and desperation while also putting over the toll of the match. Yamada was very solid and steady here. Hasegawa wasn't completely consistent, but her fire and willpower made her very easy to support, and you really felt like she had arrived, even if the flash pin finish is a bit sloppy. ***1/2
Japan Grand Prix '93 Blue Zone League Match: Kyoko Inoue vs. Hikari Fukuoka 30:00. Disappointing 30 minute draw that wasn't short on effort, but lacked direction and chemistry. Inoue didn't treat Fukuoka as an equal early on. The first 10 minutes were a bit rough as Kyoko tried to lead Fukuoka through the match, but their unfamiliarity with one another was apparent. They found a better rhythm when they began doing more highspots and Fukuoka started to compete, but the offense was ahead of the execution throughout. Fukuoka began to have a chance when she started picking on Kyoko's bad left shoulder. You still figured she'd lose though, so I suppose, in a way, Kyoko's early arrogance helped disguise the draw. They lacked the material for a match of that length though, and it seemed somewhat random and disorganized. They ultimately did a lot of nice moves, but you never felt like you were seeing something special, just a really long match that would have been better if they consolidated their efforts into something more structured and managable. Kyoko's wrestling was generally really good, but she had a long way to go in the leadership department. Fukuoka had a ton of desire, but that may not have been a good thing, as she was probably pressing and certainly never quite seemed comfortable. ***
Zenjo vs. LLPW: Akira Hokuto vs. Kurenai Yasha 2:19. LLPW hung Yasha out to dry here, allowing her to be humiliated in record time. Hokuto made fun of Kurenai's pre match squat, sitting as if ready for yoga. Yasha took exception and bashed Hokuto's bad knee with her staff. Yasha proceeded to throw all her offense at Hokuto, but Hokuto completely blew her off, getting her knees up for a diving body press then finishing her with the Northern Lights bomb.
Yumiko Hotta & Manami Toyota & Takako Inoue vs. Aja Kong & Bull Nakano & Bat Yoshinaga 25:29. Crisply executed high impact match that was by far the most cleanly performed and professional looking match on the show. Strong performances all around. Hotta was really comfortable slugging it out with the monsters, and Toyota is really on today, adding a different dimension. Aja & Bull both did a nice job of knowing when to go beyond being bruisers, so the match had more diversity than it might have. Bat wasn't exactly the ideal wrestler to do most of the selling for her team, but she faired pretty well during this period in tags, as her striking was accurate and effective and she never had any trouble coming off as a tough woman. Takako was the wrestler who didn't belong, but did fine in a minor role. Overall, a really nice if not particularly substantial main event. ***3/4