*reviewed in Quebrada #38*
The 1st Memorial: Yumi Fukawa vs. Candy Okutsu. Really good match that was the best singles of Fukawa's career and on par with the best stuff Candy has done with her JWP peers. Exciting, flashy, and well executed submissions and high spots, but also focused attacks. Fukawa is like a new woman with a more mature look and an entirely different move set. Candy looked like her old self. ****
The 2nd Memorial: Mikiko Futagami vs. Jesse Bennett. Bennett's Japan debut. Futagami looked good in her new gimmick as the lethal technician, but Bennett is very limited in what she can do right now. *3/4
The 3rd Memorial: Aja Kong vs. Michiko Omukai. Very good match. Omukai plays the Kikuchi-esque role, just begging for Aja to punk her, and Aja does so with unbelievably stiff strikes. Even after Aja has put her out twice, Omukai is still looking for more. Omukai's facials in this match are incredible and she plays her role to perfection. Aja, who has a renewed vigor here, does a great job carrying her. ***3/4
The 4th Memorial: Rie Tamada vs. Reggie Bennett. Unlike in AJW, this was actually competitive with Tamada doing a few nice things. Not a bad match with Tamada running around and trying flying, and Bennett just letting her do so hoping to squash her with a power move. **1/2
The 5th Memorial: Aja Kong & Michiko Omukai & Yumi Fukawa vs. Mikiko Futagami & Rie Tamada & Candy Okutsu. Very good workrate style match with more spots than you can count. A bit sloppy, but definitely exciting. Totally different in style from the other 4 matches. ***1/2
THE FIRST STARLET: Candy Okutsu vs. Fabi Apache. Read Review of Undercard. 1/4*
THE SECOND STARLET: Yumi Fukawa vs. Michiko Omukai. Read Review. ****
THE THIRD STARLET: Candy Okutsu vs. Jessie Bennett. Read Review of Undercard. **
THE FOURTH STARLET: Rie Tamada vs. Reggie Bennett. Read Review. ***1/4
THE FINAL STARLET: Aja Kong vs. Mikiko Futagami. Read Review. ***1/2
The first starlet: Michiko Omukai & Yumi Fukawa vs. Reggie Bennett & Jessie Bennett. Read Undercard Review. **
The second starlet: Michiko Omukai & Fabi Apache vs. Aja Kong & Lady Metal. ***1/4
The third starlet: Mariko Yoshida vs. Rie Tamada. Yoshida's ARSION debut. ***
The fourth starlet, women's kickboxing: Aya Mitsui vs. KAORI
The final starlet: Candy Okutsu vs. Mikiko Futagami. Read Review. ****1/4
THE UNDERCARD TRIANGLE MATCH: Lady Metal vs. Fabi Apache vs. Jessie Bennett. This match sucked. It was all spots, most of which weren't well executed. 3/4*
ARS '98 Round 1
Candy Okutsu vs. Yumi Fukawa. The match got off to a good start, although the pacing was too slow and even for these two. Match got really good at 10:30, but it was ruined right in the middle of Yumi's big run when she landed on her head twice in a row while attempting moonsaults off the 2nd. These were really nasty landings, and she was lucky she wasn't the next Araya. The quality was up and down from here as Yumi was clearly hurting, but she was able to "get it back" from time to time. An unfortunate match because we've seen what these two are capable of, and this certainly wasn't it. **1/2
Michiko Omukai vs. Rie Tamada. Weird match. It had elements of something really good, but some weak looking spots and it didn't follow any kind of a pattern. Match was hurt by an overall lack of direction as well as Tamada switching her point of attack and overly relying on a slow, low impact, rolling elbow. The best analogy I can draw is to compare this to a video game match because they just did things back and forth when they could rather than chain the spots together in a logical order. Omukai's shoulder was all taped up and she was selling it often. Omukai has turned into one of the best sellers of all the women. **1/2
Mikiko Futagami vs. Mariko Yoshida. Solid highly technical match that, like pretty much all the matches on this show, came off flat because there was no crowd heat. Spot wrestling, only submission style. ***
Reggie Bennett vs. Aja Kong. Really short sprint. Aja once again let the other girls be stars by jobbing to Reggie, who she can lose to without giving anything away while the other girls are elevated to the point she can put them over. Reggie beating Aja really quickly makes her look really impressive, which Aja knew would at least partly rub of on the women who beat Reggie.
Candy Okutsu vs. Rie Tamada. Regular pro style match. Good in points, but too sloppy and hurt by the goofy strikes that took too long and weren't stiff enough. **
Mariko Yoshida vs. Reggie Bennett. Surprisingly, this was the best match on the show. It had the most heat, but still not the amount it should have had. Reggie tried to match Yoshida on the ground, which made no sense. Yoshida was really good on the mat, which translated to making Reggie look better on the mat than she is. Goofy in points, but well worked and executed. ***1/4
Candy Okutsu vs. Reggie Bennett. Also a pro style match, but this time it was good. A few blown spots, but overall it was a good match that told a story. Reggie injured Candy's bad knee to make her ever more of an underdog. At one point Candy did a plancha, but Reggie rolled through and immediately locked a hiza jujigatame on. Match kind of fell apart toward the end. Just when it looked like Candy was done, she turned the Reggie rack into a sleeper for the MEGA UPSET WIN! This tournament took the lowest ranked native in the promotion, a women who we all thought was done due to a bad back, and made her a far bigger star than she was at any point in her 5 tenure with JWP. ***
THE FIRST STARLET: Rie Tamada vs. Jessie Bennett. *
THE SECOND STARLET: Lady Metal vs. Fabi Apache. -**
THE THIRD STARLET: Yumi Fukawa vs. Mariko Yoshida. **3/4
THE FINAL STARLET: Aja Kong & Mikiko Futagami vs. Candy Okutsu & Reggie Bennett. ***
Features on Yumi Fukawa, Michiko Omukai, & Candy Okutsu. Modeling, Omukai being taught the rolling savate by Sakie Hasegawa, training, etc.
THE FINAL STARLIGHT TamaFuka Graduation Road The Final: Rie Tamada & Yumi Fukawa vs. Candy Okutsu & Michiko Omukai. This was Tamada & Fukawa's last match together as a tag team. Exciting, really fast-paced, spot oriented match. Somewhat sloppy, and at times they weren't on the same page. Tamada was surprisingly the best of the four. ***1/4
ARSION women training at the Pancrase Yokohama dojo with Minoru Suzuki
THE THIRD STARLIGHT: Mikiko Futagami vs. Reggie Bennett. 2 ½ min of a 15:00 draw.
THE FOURTH STARLIGHT: Aja Kong vs. Mariko Yoshida. #1 vs. #2. Fighting producer (booker) vs. trainer. The most believable match that ARSION has produced so far. ***3/4.
Feature on Ayako Hamada in Mexico. Modeling, getting her picture taken with several Luchadores, etc.
Excellent tape that shows all the important events in ARSION up to 7/21/98. Highlights of several matches, as well as some special features and 4 matches from the 7/21/98 show.
7/21/98 Tokyo Korakuen Hall
THE FIRST STARLIGHT: Mika Akino (debut) vs. Mariko Yoshida (11-1-1). Yoshida did a fantastic job of carrying the debuting Akino to a good, highly technical match. Akino looked really good because she was never put in position to make a mistake. Akino wasn't all that competitive, but she hung in there on the mat long enough and showed some spunk before, of course, losing. Yoshida looked great going from hold to hold on the mat. Strength of the match was the counters. **1/2
THE THIRD STARLIGHT: Aja Kong & Mary Apache vs. Candy Okutsu & Reggie Bennett. Match was good when Aja was in with Candy. Mary did some flying, but wasn't impressive as she really needed to be lead along and her execution wasn't all that good. **
THE FOURTH STARLIGHT: Mikiko Futagami (12-4-1) vs. Michiko Omukai (3-8) 14:19. Stiff, intense, Yoshida style match. It was better when they were striking than when they were doing submissions, but it was always interesting. Gami had a strong performance. Omukai's selling is a lot better than Gami's, but here she finally got to dominate offensively, and Gami sold as well as Omukai had been. The basis of the match was the lower ranked Omukai was pushing Futagami for all she was worth. It showed that Omukai has been working with Sakie. Gami has been the best overall performer in the promotion so far and this was no exception. However, Omukai's offense was what was going to make or break this match, and in this case it made it as she was totally on. ***1/2
THE FINAL STARLIGHT: Yumi Fukawa (0-11-1) vs. Rie Tamada (6-6-2). Basically AJW spot wrestling except with more submissions. Match didn't have much direction or focus. It was fast-paced and exciting, but somewhat lacking in flow. Fukawa's selling was quite good, but the pace was too fast to put much over. TamaFuka stood with their backs to each other after the match to symbolize they had gone their separate ways. ***
THE FIRST STARTIST: Mika Akino (0-5) vs. Yumi Fukawa (3-12-1). *
THE SECOND STARTIST: Lady Metal (ARSION Mexico 2-13) vs. Fabi Apache (ARSION Mexico 2-14). *1/4
THE THIRD STARTIST: Reggie Bennett (ARSION USA 15-1-2) vs. Mari Apache (ARSION Mexico 5-5-2). *1/2
THE FOURTH STARTIST: Rie Tamada (6-7-3) vs. Michiko Omukai (3-9). **1/4
THE FIFTH STARTIST: Ayako Hamada (debut) vs. Candy Okutsu (10-3-2). **1/4
THE FINAL ARSION: Mikiko Futagami (13-4-2) vs. Mariko Yoshida (15-1-2). ***
THE UNDERCARD TOURNAMENT: Lady Metal vs. Fabi Apache. 1/2*
THE UNDERCARD TOURNAMENT: Mika Akino vs. Aja Kong
HYPER VISUAL FIGHTING TOURNAMENT ZION '98 1st Round
Ayako Hamada vs. Mari Apache. *
Rie Tamada vs. Mikiko Futagami. ***
Michiko Omukai vs. Yumi Fukawa. ***1/2
Reggie Bennett vs. Mariko Yoshida. ***1/2
ZION '98 2nd Round
Ayako Hamada vs. Mikiko Futagami. *1/2
Michiko Omukai vs. Mariko Yoshida. ***1/4
'98 FINAL SUMMER FANTASY: Tiger Dream vs. Hiromi Yagi (Free). ***3/4
ZION '98 Final
Ayako Hamada vs. Mariko Yoshida. **
Highlights of every league match
12/7/98 Tokyo Korakuen Hall THE FINAL TWINSTAR TWINSTAR OF ARSION TITLE: Rie Tamada & Hiromi Yagi vs. Tiger Dream & Ayako Hamada. ***3/4
THE FIRST ARSION: Mari Apache & Fabi Apache & Mika Akino vs. Lady Metal & Esther Moreno & Jessie Bennett. Highlights.
THE SECOND ARSION Women's Brazilian Jui Jitsu: Aikyo Sato vs. SAYA
THE THIRD ARSION World Free Fighting: Mikiko Futagami vs. Chi Unjyu (sp). Shoot match.
THE FOURTH ARSION Women's Kickboxing: Aya Mitsui vs. Natsumi Nakazawa. Two of the three greats from Fudokan Gym, who along with WKA & UKF World Champion Naoki Kumagai combined for a 54-7-3 career record. The match lives up to it's billing, turning out to be the best kickboxing match I've seen on a joshi puroresu show.
THE FIFTH ARSION TWINSTAR OF ARSION Title Match: Rie Tamada & Hiromi Yagi vs. Michiku Omukai & Yumi Fukawa. Great action. ****
THE SIXTH ARSION World Free Fighting: Reggie Bennett vs. Rojina Elina. Shoot match.
THE SEVENTH ARSION ARSION War Dream: Aja Kong vs. Ayako Hamada. ***1/2
THE FINAL ARSION Shodai QUEEN OF ARSION Title: Mariko Yoshida vs. Candy Okutsu. ****1/4
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