OZ Academy Puroresu King #172 2/1/08 THE WIZARD OF OZ 2008
Devil Masami vs. Ran Yu-Yu 11:35 of 13:42. Devil rekindled her Super Heel gimmick, but this was a compromised version in order to have an actual match with Ran, who was working hard. Devil still stalked around, but wasn't overtly no selling as much. It was more that she'd take but not get knocked off her feet and then fire back when she'd had enough. Ran was very active and aggressive, doing all the moving so Devil didn't have to. When Ran would spend too much time in close proximity, she'd find herself on the wrong end of a bomb or driver. Good start to the match, but then it just ended. Still, it was better than expected. **
AKINO vs. GAMI 5:00 of 14:31. GAMI wrestled seriously, but it was an odd match. They didn't really attempt to damage each other after a certain point. Instead, the entire finishing sequence consisted of them countering into pinning predicaments.
Manami Toyoda & Dynamite Kansai vs. Hiroyo Matsumoto & Misaki Ohata 15:48 of 17:37. Total squash. The IBUKI youngsters occasionally avoided something and got a flying move in, but basically were just there to allow Toyota to run through her moveset. The situation did improve somewhat as the match progressed, but there was never any sense of this being a competition, and why they showed so much of the match was beyond me. The work was fine, as Matsumoto & Ohata were competent takers, but there was no drama whatsoever, and it was just one of those matches where you got the idea really quickly. *1/2
Mayumi Ozaki & KAORU vs. Sonoko Kato & Chikayo Nagashima 21:10. D-FIX is the dark, mindless period of Mayumi Ozaki's career, but this reunion surprisingly produced a classic heel vs. face tag match. It wasn't original, but there would be a lot more good matches if they simply rehashed a logical and dramatic form and kept things under control. Ozaki & KAORU weren't so much in brawling mode as they were simply playing heel, with Police & Mika Nishio making it 4 against 2, and Nagashima & Kato getting brief opportunities to wrestle in between Ozakigun attacking Kato's knee both legally and illegally. They kept things under control, focusing on telling the simple story of Kato being trapped in the ring, bleeding heavily and having her knee debilitated until Nagashima finally made the hot tag. There were a few lame moments, particularly KAORU holding a broken table against Kato's head so Ozaki could repeatedly hit the table with her red staff, only to trip over the ref's back when backing out of the corner, but generally their offense and structuring was pretty effective. ***
~THE WIZARD OF OZ~ OZ Academy Openweight Title Match: Aja Kong vs. Carlos Amano 12:58 of 13:23. I had high hopes, but the match not only lacked the intensity and drama that should have provided the big match feel, it was simply contrived and totally unbelievable. Amano was getting submission lessons from Yoshiaki Fujiwara in preparation for the match. She was effective on the mat, countering into submissions, but lacked other offense that would actually damage Aja, particularly in standup. Amano overdid the whole concept of struggling for the move, to the point she just seemed to be gyrating incessantly. Story wise, they had Kansai handcuff Nishio and Police to the architecture before the match so they couldn't interfere, and Amano had Ozaki sit at ringside so she could witness her defeating Aja firsthand. However, wrestling wise they did nothing to make me believe Carlos could beat Aja, so in the end it was simply a result. If Amano at least won via submission, which was her strategy and the basis of the bout, it would have made some sense and at least been believable that she wasn't that convincing as a whole but found her moment. However, her Carlos goon (jumping headbutt) was a totally unbelievable way to conclude the contest. I'm glad Amano won, but not in a fashion where no one is going to take the result seriously and accept her as the champion. Instead of crafting a match that would help Amano succeed in that role, they instead did a stupid gimmick where Ozaki refused to acknowledge her as champion, ripping the contract up. Amano said Ozaki had gone to far in spoiling her moment of glory, but Ozaki grew increasingly infuriated with her speech and started slapping Amano around until Kansai restrained her. This set up a gauntlet match where Ozaki had to beat 3 wrestlers in a row on 2/10/08 in order to retain her role as principal player in OZ Academy, and, if not, whoever defeats her takes charge. *1/2