Mayumi Ozaki Produce 2/8/05 Going Up
Attempting to do something apart from her usual GAEA show under her own banner, Mayumi Ozaki reteamed with her old ally, former JWP president Masatoshi Yamamoto. This was supposed to be the first of many shows together, but it turned out to be the only one, as Yamamoto wound up debuting a new promotion that went nowhere, Exciting Box, less than two months later. Given OZ Academy has, for better and worse, become one of the mainstays of joshi puroresu and Exciting Box is one of the many promotions that was dead on arrival, Ozaki probably lucked out that Yamamoto bailed on her.
Manami Toyota & Mariko Yoshida vs. Dynamite Kansai & AKINO 18:32. The matchup had potential, but wound up being a bit too flat. They didn't seem to have a real good idea of how to fill the time. After the initial explosion, the first half was low level offense with AKINO, Yoshida, & Toyota making their case to be valedictorian of the Otani School of Annoyance. The second half had their better moves, but there was surprisingly little variation in the pace. Though the match meandered, Yoshida vs. AKINO was excellent at times. These two have always had great chemistry, and there's nothing like wrestlers that are not only highly skilled, but also really understand how to bring out the best in one another. The segment about 10 minutes in where they went through the phase 1 ARSION matwork was by far the highlight of the match. Toyota was Toyota, doing some nice moves but seeming to exist apart from the others. She wasn't selfish per se, and even got pinned, but sometimes you just get the idea she feels whoever she's in the ring with exists for the sole purpose of being her minion. Kansai's involvement was kept to a minimum, but aside from slipping on the landing of her diving footstomp, she did okay. **1/2
Aja Kong vs. GAMI 11:57. Does someone actually think people pay to see one wrestler run from the other? I suppose, in the right situation, for instance a wrestler Miho Watabe's size running from the monster Aja might have some legs, but GAMI is a longtime title contender and certainly needs to stand up for herself. Once they actually locked up they went at it consistently, but without any conviction. My main problem with GAMI as a comedy wrestler is she tends to half-ass her execution, feeling it doesn't matter since it's all shits and giggles anyway. There was one good comedy spot, the ropewalk, largely due to the puzzled and bemused look Aja delivered before yanking her tiptoeing opponent off. Some of the actual wrestling was good, but then again, 6 or 7 years ago this matchup was a potential joshi match of the year. *1/2
Carrying a concealed Weapon: Mayumi Ozaki & Takako Inoue vs. Dump Matsumoto & Shark Tsuchiya 12:20. Once you admit to carrying a weapon, doesn't that largely defeat the point of concealing it? Then again, once you book Shark, that definitely defeats the purpose of trying to have a wrestling match. Ozaki & Inoue took the cue, simply mailing it in. In her heyday, Dump was not a good wrestler, but could generate ridiculous amounts of heat. Today, Dump is just not a good wrestler. She really wasn't doing anything different than Shark, just the typical Pogoesque bloodletting. Actually, she's so immobile that Shark of all people has to do the bumping for the team. They had Sasori, Z-Father, & Police perpetually in the mix, but 7 people uncreatively wielding weapons is no better than 4! DUD
Jaguar Yokota & Devil Masami & Lioness Asuka vs. Megumi Yabushita & Sumie Sakai & Fang Suzuki 11:55. The real Jd' was alive and well for a dozen minutes in this fast paced match where Yokota & Asuka once again proved they could bring whoever was up to it along for the ride. Asuka was really on today, but Yokota was a bit slower and more deliberate than I'm used to. Yabushita & Sakai actually weren't particularly good, and their team was barely competitive, but it didn't much matter. **3/4
Mayumi Ozaki vs. AKINO 12:18. A statement match for AKINO, trying to prove she belongs in the featured match. There's no doubt she does for ring work, and in fact this was the best Ozaki has looked during this period, largely because AKINO executes so well – fast, crisp, controlled, precise - it not only took the pressure off Ozaki, but also made up for a lot of her shortcomings. AKINO quickly ripped Ozaki's bandage off and went to work on her cut forehead. Though Ozaki bled almost for the outset, this was an actual wrestling match even when a weapon was involved. It was an incredibly promising one at that, despite a lot of unnecessary interference. There's no doubt that they could have a really good match, but unfortunately this wasn't it. There was nothing particularly wrong with it, apart from it just ending out of nowhere. ***