Highlights of matches from 8/8/99-1/7/00 including Fukawa's big win over Yoshida, Aja vs. LCO feud, SKY HIGH OF ARSION and TWINSTAR OF ARSION leagues, REYNA DE REYNAS OF ARSION. The tape also has a fashion check from the ASC party where they give the awards from the year, bloopers, GAMI doing an add for her dream version of COMPLETE ARSION Vol. 5, and a little of Fukawa's infamous driving.
1/30 Tokyo Zepp Tokyo
THE FIRST STARDOM: Fabi Apache vs. Ai Fujita. 1:29 shown
THE SECOND STARDOM: Mariko Yoshida vs. Linda Starr. Yoshida did Starr's Lucha style match. She let Starr get most of the offense in, including some very near falls, but no one bought Starr having a chance. Starr tried some really cool flying moves, but even with Yoshida to take them, her execution was still shaky. 2:16 shown
THE THIRD STARDOM ARSION Relevos Increible: Yumi Fukawa & Mima Shimoda vs. Michiko Omukai & Etsuko Mita. Everyone was friendly and there was no brawling. The work was pretty good, but nowhere near the level they are capable of. 7:16 shown
THE FOURTH STARDOM TWINSTAR OF ARSION Title Match: Ayako Hamada & AKINO vs. Mikiko Futagami & Rie Tamada. Tamada was out of her league here. Her flying looks so unimpressive next to Ayako's, AKINO's, or just about anyone elses because while she can do the moves, she doesn't have the athleticism or skill to do them well. AKINO was really impressive though, doing all kinds of good moves with all of them being right on. The focus of the match was Futagami vs. Ayako though, as Ayako had upset Futagami recently and intended to do it again with her Hama-chan cutter. Gami is and was portrayed as the far superior wrestlers, but she was too cocky. Instead of trying to put Hamada away, she didn't go for pins except one time she pulled Ayako up. The finish was pretty much the same as Hamada & AKINO's previous defense against LCO, but they didn't really build the drama first. **1/2
THE FINAL STARDOM QUEEN OF ARSION Title Match: Aja Kong vs. Candy Okutsu. Match was all action, but lacked intensity. Candy's flying offense seemed rather ridiculous against Aja, especially with all the playing to the crowd in between moves. Aja would take some flying moves then lay Candy out with one stiff shot. Although Aja sold a lot of moves, the damage didn't seem to mount up and it never seemed like she had a chance of winning. The wrestling was certainly good, but it felt more like an exhibition than a title match. 8:06 shown. *** range
2/18/00 Tokyo Korakuen Hall
THE FIRST STARDOM Debut Trial Match: Mikiko Futagami vs. Rena Takase. This was the only match that looked somewhat like a shoot. 1:45 shown
THE SECOND STARDOM: Linda Starr & Ai Fujita vs. Mari Apache & Fabi Apache. Fujita wrestled more fluidly and seemed more confident in herself here. Spectacular Lucha style match with all athletic spots. Everyone looked good. 6:27 shown
THE THIRD STARDOM: GAMI & Rie Tamada vs. Candy Okutsu & Hiromi Yagi. Totally focused story match. Yagi had secretly joined GAMI's group, so she did everything she could to betray Candy without letting Candy know it. It was a short match, but that made sense because it was 2 plus the traitor Yagi against poor little Candy. Yagi finally let Candy know where her allegiance was on the spot where Candy was pinned then GAMI formally announced Yagi as the newest member of her unit. ***1/2
THE FOURTH STARDOM ARSION Relevos Increible II: Yumi Fukawa & Etsuko Mita vs. Michiko Omukai & Mima Shimoda. LCO pretty much went through the motions here. Although that's still enough to make their match better than most, it was hardly the excellent match it should have been. Fukawa was the best, but as usual she was given the least. Fukawa vs. Omukai was easily the best part of the match. VIP formed after the match. ***
THE FINAL STARDOM TWINSTAR OF ARSION Title Match: Ayako Hamada & AKINO vs. Aja Kong & Mariko Yoshida. AKINO has become one of the best all around women's wrestlers, so it was excellent when she was in with Yoshida, particularly toward the end. This match had a little of everything with Ayako's flying, Aja's power and stiffness, Yoshida's submissions, and AKINO doing a little of everything. The highlight was Ayako catapulting AKINO for a Frankensteiner off the top, but Aja swatting AKINO out of the air like she was a bug. The submissions weren't done in a shoot style way anymore, so it was more like watching better versions of Kashin. Hamada & AKINO weren't given a chance of winning outside of with a flash pin, although there recent title matches showed that they were capable of winning in that manner. Even with all the 2 1/2 counts on Aja, it never seemed like she was in danger. It was more like they weren't really hurting her, but she had no reason to be in any hurry to kick out. Part of the problem is that LCO, when they want to, do a much better job of giving their opponents comebacks. After the match Aja got CAZAI and all the non-aligned wrestlers in the ring and formed the ARSION Seikigun, which Ayako refused to join, leaving AKINO in the middle trying to be the peacemaker. Aside from this match and post match killing off Hamada & AKINO, it was a very good wrestling match. ***3/4
King & Queen Tournament Ikkaisen
Yuki Ishikawa & Candy Okutsu & Ai Fujita vs. Takeshi Ono & Etsuko Mita & KAW*KAW. Even with the men, Mita was still the tallest wrestler in the match. Mostly sex spots, as Ishikawa was even more perverted than usual. After bodyslamming Mita, he smelled the arm that was just in her crotch, so she slapped him, tied him in the corner, and drove her boot into his nuts. This was the worst match of the show because it focused on sex so much that they didn't even bother putting effort in when the men were wrestling the men and the women were wrestling the women.
Alexander Otsuka & Mariko Yoshida & Yumi Fukawa vs. Mohammad Yone & Mari Apache & Fabi Apache. This was the best match because the women were mainly serious and Yone just went along with whatever the others were doing. Yoshida was, of course, the best of the bunch. The only real downside was that Otsuka appeared to be afraid to hurt the women, so he did everything at less than 1/2 impact.
JJC 1st round and semifinal highlights
JJC Tournament Kesshosen: Katsumi Usuda vs. Ikuto Hidaka. Beginning was dull, but the second half was very good because Hidaka did all his nice moves. Usuda's offense is done properly, but one move doesn't really lead to the other. It's like if he's standing then he kicks and if he's on the mat then he does a submission. He was pretty stiff and Hidaka was pretty glamorous, but the comebacks were goofy, they didn't really sell, and the finish pretty much came out of nowhere. **1/4
King & Queen Tournament Kesshosen: Yuki Ishikawa & Candy Okutsu & Ai Fujita vs. Alexander Otsuka & Mariko Yoshida & Yumi Fukawa. Fujita gave Otsuka the infamous testicular claw. Ishikawa was the first wrestler eliminated, but there was still too much sex in the second half. He did come back when Candy had Fukawa spread and threatened to kiss Yumi, so she just submitted rather than giving him the pleasure. Prior to this, there was a triple team spot where two wrestlers would take Candy's arms out with udehishigigyakujujigatames and the other would sit on her face. However, when it came time for Otsuka to sit on Candy's face, she bit his ass. Later, Candy sold a low blow. At least her selling wasn't cartoonish like Otsuka. Hardly a great match, but definitely better than the Ishikawa teams 1st round match.
STARLET 2000 3/15/00 Tokyo Korakuen Hall
THE FIRST STARLET Rena Takase Debutsen: Ai Fujita vs. Rena Takase. Fujita really isn't the wrestler to debut someone against because her looking good is so relient on her having quality opposition. Fujita's forearm punches or whatever they were looked awful. She didn't need to use most of her best moves because Takase couldn't give her much of a match. This didn't look like a rookie match, but it wasn't very good either. *
THE SECOND STARLET: AKINO vs. Bionic J. J was meaner and stiffer than she was as Jessie Bennett. The match seemed okay since, like seemingly everything else, AKINO can do the required big vs. small and power vs. speed sequences so well. 3:02 shown
THE THIRD STARLET CAZAI vs. ReDRAG Top Single: Candy Okutso vs. GAMI. These two always work well together, but Candy's work still was more impressive than I expected. The editing was really choppy, but it appeared to be at least ***. 5:07 shown
THE FOURTH STARLET: Etsuko Mita & Mima Shimoda & Yumi Fukawa vs. Ayako Hamada & Fabi Apache & Linda Starr. Kind of a weird matchup. It wound up being much more toward the style of Ayako's team. Ayako did most of the work for her team. She was a little sloppy, particularly when she was in with Fukawa. Fukawa was really good in points even though her submission style put her opponents out of their element. Fukawa experimented some, while LCO did the same old moves minus the brawling. Mita did her typical professional job, not doing anything spectacular but executing all her spots perfectly. Shimoda & Fabi weren't involved much in the portion that was shown. Linda is getting good. Match was pretty good to good. 9:34 shown
THE FIFTH STARLET SKY HIGH OF ARSION Title Match: Chaparrita ASARI vs. Mari Apache. The match was loaded with choice moves, but as you'd expect they didn't do anything to work them in or make them have any real meaning. The work and quality of the moves was high enough that it was a good match since they were able to hit their spots. 7:05 shown. ***
THE FINAL STARLET TWINSTAR OF ARSION Title Match: Aja Kong & Mariko Yoshida vs. Rie Tamada & Hiromi Yagi. One dimensional match. The workrate style doesn't make sense for Aja because her size is not an attribute in any way, it just leads to spots that aren't done as well as they usually are. As far as how people were put over went though, Aja was the only one the match was good for. Even though it was often 2 or 3 (GAMI) on one, Tamada & Yagi were never in danger of winning. The match was good, but it was so disappointing because of the style, the lack of competition, and Rie being the only one that performed at her typical level (this is her style, after all). **1/2
ARSION MILLENNIUM PREMIUM 4/7/00 Kanagawa Kawasaki Shi Taiikukan
THE FIRST PREMIUM: AKINO vs. Rena Takase. Nothing wrong with this match, but it wasn't particularly exciting. At least AKINO went backi to her submission roots to some extent here, which seems to be Takase's strongest style. She kept it basic since Takase is so inexperienced. *1/4
THE SECOND PREMIUM: Chaparrita ASARI & Ai Fujita vs. Candy Okutsu & Linda Starr. Exciting match. Starr is really starting to impress me. She lacks something when it comes to smoothness and fluidity, but her moves are pretty spectacular. Fujita isn't coming along nearly as quickly. She still looks stiff when she's doing anything that requires flexibility. She worked most of the match, which I won't say was a bad thing, but definitely wasn't a good thing since ASARI is better and more exciting to watch. Candy can't hang with the others spot wise, but she generally works and executes better. This match seemed to be on the same level as the tag title match on the previous show, which is both a good and bad thing. 5:40 shown
THE THIRD STARDOM VIP vs. ReDRAG 6 Woman Tag Wars: GAMI & Rie Tamada & Hiromi Yagi vs. Etsuko Mita & Yumi Fukawa & Bionic J. Everyone contributed to this match, but no one really stood out. J was much more competent than she was at any point during her first stay. She's finally using her size to her advantage. The thing that really scares me is ARSION matches are starting to look like GAEA matches only slower and minus the star power. Their main advantage at this point is that many of their wrestlers do Lucha really well, which is great but with the difference in the quality of wrestlers on the respective rosters they should still have virtually every advantage wrestling wise. Anyway, this was a good match but nothing was doing to make it stand out or above. ***
THE FOURTH PREMIUM Dream Mix II (Mixed Tag Match): Gran Hamada & Ayako Hamada vs. Apache & Fabi Apache. This was one of the best mixed matches I've seen. They didn't go in any disgraceful directions like having a father try to fondle the other guys daughter. Instead, everyone was treated equally and given the opportunity to show their stuff. Big time flying, especially from the girls. Apache has been really underrated for a long time, and it doesn't seem like age has caught up to him. Fabi is getting good, unless she already is like her sister Mari, so this is starting to look like one of the best families in wrestling. They are definitely above the Hamadas because of the Xochilt factor. The only negative was that it was short. ***1/4
THE FINAL PREMIUM TWINSTAR OF ARSION Title Match: Aja Kong & Mariko Yoshida vs. Mima Shimoda & Michiko Omukai. The style was the same as the previous tag title match, but Shimoda & Omukai had to get some offense in since they were going over. The match was marginally very good, but it seemed like the worst match these four could possibly do on a big show. The work was really good as you'd expect, but they didn't bother with anything else and they really aren't spectacular enough to be doing this (although it works for GAEA). Even though Aja's team lost, the finish made her look as powerful as anyone because Yoshida was basically defeated due to Aja's uraken backfiring. Maybe that's not totally fair, but the finish was really lame because there was the uraken, Yoshida still recovering enough to apply a submission, and then Shimoda pinning her in her Tiger suplex (which is one of her finishers, but not something she wins with often and not something you'd expect her to win with on the first move of a comeback). 10:59 shown. ***1/2
STARLET 2000 VIP PRODUCE 4/20/00 Tokyo Korakuen Hall
Apache & Linda Starr vs. Mari Apache & Fabi Apache. The problem with this match was the structuring. Apache started off and mainly dominated then Linda came in and was mainly dominated. This was really the only story they could tell without hurting Apache's credibility, but the thing is there was only one tag between him and Linda in the portion that aired. Otherwise, it was a really enjoyable match. Apache really put on a show, even getting the crowd into it by playing to them for style points. Linda was fine, but the match was way better when Apache was in. It was weird seeing Apache deck one of his daughters with his infamous big right hand. Good match. 4:48 shown
Mariko Yoshida & AKINO & Ayako Hamada vs. Michiko Omukai & Yumi Fukawa & Xochilt Hamada. Xochilt was introduced as the newest member of VIP. She didn't want to fight her sister Ayako though. Fast-paced Lucha style match with lots of flying. It was generally a fun match, but it had more than its share of miscues. Xochilt wasn't nearly as bad as usual. Of course, her opposition was worlds better. Xochilt & Ayako hugged after the match and Omukai & Fukawa attacked them, so that was the end of Xochilt in VIP. 9:30 shown
Lumberjack Death Match QUEEN OF ARSION Title Match: Aja Kong vs. Etsuko Mita. Aja allowed Mita to dominate her. At one point Aja tried Mita's Death Valley bomb, but Mita stopped it and used Aja's uraken. The silly thing was Aja then hit a week backhand and urakened Mita for the win. What a lame finish to an otherwise good high impact match. 6:42 shown
HYPER VISUAL FIGHTING TOURNAMENT ARS 2000 5/7/00 Tokyo Korakuen Hall
Tournament Ikkaisen (1st round)
Yumi Fukawa vs. Rie Tamada. I was surprised by how good this match was. Nice flow. Everything was so well done, and for the most part even made sense. Fukawa deserves tons of credit for getting Rie to not only leave her spot style, but for carrying Rie to a good match in the submission style which Tamada really is not good at. My only real complaint is at one point either Fukawa really injured her knee or her selling was awesome, but Rie didn't keep on it, instead using a few arm submissions when the opportunity arose. Perhaps the best match of the tournament. 4:20 shown
GAMI vs. Bionic J. They had no time so they just did power moves and heavy blows. The match had some potential, but it's hard for a 4 minute match to amount to anything.
Etsuko Mita vs. Xochilt Hamada. Mita roughed Xochilt up heel style when she was on offense, but worked Xochilt's Lucha style when she wasn't. Mita's work made it passable, but it was a dull match for ARSION. 4:03 shown
Mariko Yoshida vs. Mima Shimoda. All the matches were short, but this one really seemed rushed. Shimoda got some near finishes, but, with the exception of the deathlake drive, nothing you'd think she might actually beat Yoshida with. Everything they did looked really good except the couple of Shimoda moves that never do. Yoshida was definitely the better of the two. Probably the best match of the tournament, but with all the editing, who knows? 6:47 shown ***1/4 range
Tournament Nikaisen (2nd round)
Michiko Omukai vs. Yumi Fukawa. Fukawa is the only wrestler in ARSION that has stuck to the submission style. Omukai was rusty at it and Fukawa tried some moves she shouldn't have due to the huge size differential, so it wasn't as good as their past matches. Omukai was back to her old top notch ways of showing emotions. It was kind of annoying that Fukawa trapped her in a submission about a dozen times, only to have Omukai win with a Tiger suplex hold out of nowhere. It should be noted that Fukawa's near submissions get no reaction now because all the people that were pulling for her last year now know she'll never beat anyone of note. 6:53 shown. **1/2
Aja Kong vs. GAMI. Aja caught GAMI with a backfist right away, and she lied motionless for about a minute after kicking out immediately. I guess she kicked out "on instinct" and then played possum, but in any case it was a really goofy spot when you consider it turned out to take up 1/3 of the match. It was fairly brutal while it lasted, but GAMI should not be losing to one wrestling move plus a couple of hard fists to the head.
Tournament Junkessho (semifinal)
Etsuko Mita vs. Michiko Omukai. Slow-paced, hard hitting match. Nothing wrong with this style, but it doesn't really work when the match is so short. They hit each other hard a few times, and Omukai won because she was able to perform her finisher first. 3:04 shown
Aja Kong vs. Mariko Yoshida. The first half of this match was excellent with a lot of movement and counters. The second half was boring though because there was no longer any real matwork. Instead, Aja just lay in Yoshida's submissions (granted a couple were chokes/sleepers), waving her arm so we knew she still had a pulse. Aja basically one this match with one move, as her others were in the first half. 7:40 shown. **1/2
CAZAI CONCLUSION: Ayako Hamada & Mari Apache & Linda Starr vs. Candy Okutsu & AKINO & Ai Fujita. Fast-paced, high flying Lucha match. Excellent moves, and they were hitting everything. The sequences have gotten so much better now that they've been working with each other in this style for a year. This match even got the best crowd reactions on the show. Tons of action, but most of the near falls were on moves no one would believe in, so it wasn't nearly as dramatic as it could have been. AKINO was all over the place. ***1/2
Tournament Yushoketteisen: Aja Kong vs. Michiko Omukai. Omukai too more of Aja's offense than the wrestlers Aja dropped earlier in the night, but she didn't come nearly as "close" to winning as Yoshida did. Aja got off to a fast start, and while Omukai made some comebacks, she never really got anything going. Some of the moves she did do took too long to set up because Aja is so big that even Omukai wants to pull her off the middle rope rather than lift her. The match was stiff and the moves were well executed, but it was very anticlimactic. Aja's matches in this tournament were nothing special not only because they were way too short. The main problem is that she's built herself up so much in ARSION that the only ways she can lose are by a fluke or after a huge amount of punishment. You don't get up for the former because it would be a lame waste, and the latter never happens because, while she takes a few big moves during the match, she never takes a bunch of good moves in a row. **
First round highlights
Tournament Nikaisen ARSION 6/7/00 Tokyo Korakuen Hall
Minoru Tanaka & Yumi Fukawa vs. Alexander Otsuka & Mariko Yoshida. Tanaka was really impressive. It was quite good when he was in with Otsuka, but Otsuka really hurt the match by going so easy on Fukawa that it was bad comedy. Yoshida and Tanaka worked together fine, but the match was definitely better when it was man vs. man and woman vs. woman. Good technical match, with quality mat wrestling from Tanaka, Yoshida, & Fukawa. Fukawa finally got that win over Yoshida, but another year of bad booking has forced everyone to give up on her, so it didn't even get a reaction. ***
Yuki Ishikawa & Aja Kong vs. Tsubo Genjin & Gami Metal. Tsubo did more posing than Hogan. Almost as soon as he finally locked up, Ishikawa made him submit. DUD
Gran Hamada & Ayako Hamada vs. Ikuto Hidaka & AKINO. The match was kind of slow and tame for the first five minutes, but once it picked up they did all the big moves. AKINO vs. Ayako was the best combination. Hidaka vs. Hamada wasn't as good as it sounds on paper. The last two statements are probably both due to the familiarity factor. **1/2
Tournament Nikaisen Michinoku Puroresu 6/24 Miyagi Naruko Cho Sports Center
Tiger Mask & Hiromi Yagi vs. The Great Sasuke & Chaparrita ASARI. Yagi was excellent, and mainly responsible for the high quality. ASARI was stagnant for years, but it's no coincidence that she started getting better at the point she began working with Yagi regularly. Their stuff was so good that Tiger vs. Sasuke almost seemed slow and boring. Sasuke & Yagi worked together better than any other man and women in this tournament did. I don't think they've even wrestled each other before, but you couldn't tell that by the way they worked with each other. Real good execution here. ***1/2
Battlarts 6/29 Tokyo Korakuen Hall
Tournament Junkessho: Gran Hamada & Ayako Hamada vs. Tiger Mask & Hiromi Yagi. Ayako was exposed here. She looks really good when she's doing a bunch of spots with someone she wrestles regularly, but out of that setting even Yagi couldn't make her look good. This match never really got going, and only Hamada & Tiger worked well together. A major disappointment. **
Tournament Kesshosen: Minoru Tanaka & Yumi Fukawa vs. Gran Hamada & Ayako Hamada. This was a bit sloppy, with Ayako screwing up in seconds the first time she worked with Tanaka. Tanaka was the best in the match. Gran is more effective at this age when he's only wrestling once per night and again this wasn't Ayako's style, so both Hamada's were disappointing. Ayako gave Tanaka a Hama-chan cutter, and a little later the Hamada's gave him a double Hama-chan cutter for the win. During the belt presentation, Xochilt Hamada's future husband Pentagon attacked Gran Hamada.
Candy Okutsu & Ai Fujita sing a song
Highlights of matches from 1/7/00-6/29/00 focusing on ReDRAGS and VIP, P*MIX title tournament, and trio league. Various lifestyle features including pool wars, Omukai & Fukawa's tour of Australia, the birthday party for Yoshida & Ayako & Fujita & Miyuki Maeda, photo shoots, etc.
Ayako vs. Sakai, Rosetta, AKINO, & Aja, Yoshida vs. ASARI
Full match list coming soon
Linx vs. Mari Apache
Michael Smith: What aired was very good with Linx looking especially impressive. Apache held her end of the match up as well and won it with some serious torque on a torture rack.
Mariko Yoshida vs. PIKO
MS: Yoshida carried this to a pretty decent match. It was totally straight aside from a spot where PIKO locked her feet on the ropes to prevent Mariko from taking her down. They had a couple of minor communication problems, but it wasn't enough to hurt what they did.
Michiko Omukai vs. Rie Tamada
MS: Both women were fired up, so this was better than Tamada usually looks. There was a cool spot where Omukai was peppering her with axe kicks that Tamada tried to shrug off. The fourth one finally dropped her, but Chama hit 3 more for good measure. The final sequence was awesome as they exchanged some serious near falls culminating with Rie getting the surprise pin on a dragon suplex. ***1/4
Mima Shimoda vs. Ayako Hamada
MS: They worked well together but the match had no real flow to it. Shimoda held back most of her main offense, while Ayako used most of hers. This also had a cool surprise finish as Hamada knocked out Mima after 10 or 12 stiff shotei's. Shimoda crumpled in the corner and the ref kept pulling Ayako off of her. She finally backed off and he reached an 8 count before Mima got up. She quickly fell again and Ayako was awarded the match. It was a nice and effective way to give her a new finisher without Shimoda looking bad since almost every shot was a pretty stiff one and she got to the point where she couldn't defend herself. ***
Aja Kong vs. Mari Apache
MS: They only went about 4 minutes, but at least it was pretty action packed. Aja gave Mari most of the offense before deciding to put her away.
Ayako Hamada vs. GAMI
MS: This was also too short to even call it a sprint. It was good while it lasted, but Ayako won with her cutter 4-1/4 minutes in. GAMI immediately popped up after the bell rang and went nuts attacking everyone, completely no-selling the finish.
AKINO & Ai Fujita vs. Faby Apache & Linda Starr
MS: What wasn't clipped was totally dominated by Ai and AKINO. And they were seriously impressive here. Especially Ai, who was not only doing her best Dominque Wilkins impersonation in being a human highlight reel, but doing it flawlessly.
Mariko Yoshida vs. Aja Kong
MS: It was great to see Aja tap to Mariko, but this wasn't one of their better matches together. The finish saved it for me though it wasn't really built to. Yoshida did re-apply her reverse head and arms scissors that eventually won it, but it had no drama because, although Aja nearly made the ropes when it was first put on, her submitting came out of nowhere since she wasn't really putting the move over. Leading up to the finish they both hit some solid strikes, but neither seemed to be overly exerting themselves to reach their normal level. Being that each of their prior matches to this were very short, there's no reason either should've been tired, but I'd be more willing to give Yoshida the benefit of the doubt since she still had the finals coming up.**3/4
Ayako Hamada vs. Rie Tamada
MS: Tamada tried, but she couldn't match her effort from the previous round. Ayako looked good for the most part, but there's only so much they could do in 7 minutes and they weren't able to really have any direction in the match because of the short time limit. Okay for what it was. **
Ayako Hamada vs. Mariko Yoshida
MS: Good match that fell short of being better because they both appeared to be losing energy as the match went on. They started with some exchanges on the mat, but kind of lost their focus after this. They had a nice sequence where they exchanged some stiff forearms trying to see who would capitulate, but then they went back and forth between submissions and spots without really putting over one or the other. Not a let-down, but not as great as it could've been otherwise. ***1/4
Twinstar Of ARSION League Finals 10/29/00
Rena Takase vs. Linda Starr
MS: What little aired was okay with both women looking good with most of what they did.
AKINO & Ai Fujita vs. Linx & PIKO
MS: Not a lot was shown, but this was still a fun match to watch. Ai started out going 100 miles an hour and again looking excellent in everything she did. Linx and PIKO did some good comedy that didn't detract from things and AKINO was great as usual. Linx had to unmask as a result of being pinned and even though the crowd gave a strong "Candy, Candy" chant she kept a towel over her head the entire time.
Mari & Fabi Apache vs. Bionic J/Etsuko Mita
MS: The Apaches looked strong and totally dominated what made the tape. Mita wasn't involved at all except taking a dive on the floor and catching a Michinoku Driver #2 to keep her out of the ring while Jessie was getting pinned off a flying headbutt.
Chaparrita ASARI/Mariko Yoshida vs. GAMI/Rie Tamada
MS: This was segmented as well, and done enough that it was hard to get a true feel for it even though more aired then the previous 3 matches combined. They appeared to do a good job, but who knows if it held up over 19 minutes? ASARI did hit a solid skytwister press on Rie's knees and nicely segwayed it into a leglock for the win.
Mima Shimoda/Michiko Omukai vs. Ayako & Xochilt Hamada
MS: For some reason Xochilt was allowed to get the pin on Omukai. That aside, this was fairly good since she didn't drag things down at all. Ayako was a little too shotei happy here, but Chama and Mima mostly carried the match and sold very well for them. It just seemed to go on though, there wasn't really any build or story going on here. **3/4
Retrospective of Fukawa's ARSION days.
A more complete version of the video (the same sections have more footage with some of the matches now being complete or fairly close) plus 4 bonus sections. This version doesn't have the Complete ARSION feel because you actually get to see a good amount of wrestling, but there's still a lot of outside the ring footage.
2/18/98 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. ****
12/7/98 vs. Michiko Omukai. Omukai had Fukawa all but finished, but Fukawa turned Omukai's rolling savate into a hizajujigatame for the win. Not complete.
9/9/98 vs. Mariko Yoshida. Submission oriented Yoshida style match. It doesn't flow as well as it could have, but it's interesting to see them chain the holds together. Not complete
2/18/99 vs. Rie Tamada. Yumi tried to work on a broken foot. Tamada focused her entire attack on the foot, which was good, except Yumi after 3 minutes Yumi legitimately couldn't even stand so the ref had to stop the match. *1/4
5/4/99 vs. Mariko Yoshida. Really beautiful match. Both women were on top of their game displaying smooth, clean technique and doing great counters. Fukawa just keeps improving, the difference between this match and their match from 5/8/98 is incredible. There Fukawa didn't know how to counter, here Fukawa had an answer for everything and it wasn't like she just watched what say Gami did against Yoshida and copied her. This booking of this show wasn't good because it didn't tell any stories, this was the only match that they really made you care who won. Fukawa was made credible and the fans got into her because she was trying so hard and doing so well. There were a couple spots where she had Yoshida beat, and this is what the fans wanted to see. Instead, they got a lot of upsets that just happened without anything being done to make you want to see them. Even though Fukawa lost in the first round, they gave her kanto sho (courageous fighter award) because her performance was so impressive. Normally I'd have a really hard time giving an 11 ½ minute match such a high rating, but I can't say enough about how good this match was. ****
6/30/99 vs. Aja Kong. Aja emphasized the size difference without doing it in a way that helped Fukawa. Fukawa was hardly allowed to get any offense in. All her offense was submissions, but she wasn't able to use her speed or quickness to get them on and Aja showed no disadvantage on the mat as she was able to use several submissions. The match was dull because it was basically a squash, and Aja did dated matwork in a dated way that negated most of the good Fukawa can do on the mat. Too much talent involved to be bad, but hardly the match they could have had. **
7/25/99 Rie Tamada & Yumi Fukawa vs. Etsuko Mita & Mima Shimoda. The match itself was good, but it was done all wrong. It made no sense to introduce LCO in this manner. I mean, Yumi was the only one that even showed that there was some semblance of a rivalry. It's pretty simple, if anyone is going to think it's a big deal that some evil force has invaded the league, everyone has to fight hard and play their roles right. You can't be nice or indifferent, it has to look and feel like something special. Otherwise, what's the point? A lot of the problem was the match was too long. It needed to be heated right off the bat, but since they were going over 21 minutes, they didn't do that much in the first 10. The pace was kind of lethargic and the action was rathe dull. Some things they did were good like Mita acting arrogant and making fun of Yumi's diminutive size. It was good that LCO didn't adopt to ARSION style because why should they start doing things the ARSION way, wrestling like all these women they are in opposition with? They still had to adjust to Yumi's submission style, of course. It became a good match because three of the four have too much talent for it not to be, but anyone with half a brain should have been able to see that doing it in this manner would kill off LCO's potential as a draw in ARSION. It didn't help TamaFuka either because no one gave them a chance to win. They would get a move in more often as the match went on, but in the end Fukawa only had a few near finishes that you might be able to call credible. I hate the blade, but if there was ever a time for it, this was it. They needed to get LCO over, and they needed to show TamaFuka wouldn't give up even though they were really overmatched. Once again, they failed to give the fans a reason to care. 16:18 shown. **1/2
9/26/99 vs. Mariko Yoshida. One of the last matches that was at least close to Yoshida style. Very technical with great movement on the mat. Not as dynamic or exciting as their 5/4/99 match, but it was amazing how much better Fukawa did, mainly her counters, than when they fought on 5/8/98. Fukawa was on Yoshida's level both in portrayal and reality, which propelled her to the period where she was the most consistently good and entertaining wrestler in ARSION until she suffered another concussion and was forced to retire. ***3/4
5/7/00 vs. Rie Tamada. I was surprised by how good this match was. Nice flow. Everything was so well done, and for the most part even made sense. Fukawa deserves tons of credit for getting Rie to not only leave her spot style, but for carrying Rie to a good match in the submission style which Tamada really is not good at. My only real complaint is at one point either Fukawa really injured her knee or her selling was awesome, but Rie didn't keep on it, instead using a few arm submissions when the opportunity arose. Perhaps the best match of the tournament. 3:21 shown
5/7/00 vs. Michiko Omukai. Fukawa is the only wrestler in ARSION that has stuck to the submission style. Omukai was rusty at it and Fukawa tried some moves she shouldn't have due to the huge size differential, so it wasn't as good as their past matches. Omukai was back to her old top notch ways of showing emotions. It was kind of annoying that Fukawa trapped her in a submission about a dozen times, only to have Omukai win with a Tiger suplex hold out of nowhere. It should be noted that Fukawa's near submissions get no reaction now because all the people that were pulling for her last year now know she'll never beat anyone of note. 4:00 shown.
7/16/00 Michiko Omukai & Yumi Fukawa & Bionic J vs. GAMI & Rie Tamada & Red Lynx. This is the match where Fukawa suffers the final injury, but I'm not sure if it's shown. 4:32 shown
YUMI'S FIGHT in the ARSION - digest of her 250 ARSION matches
BEST BOUT COUNT DOWN - 3-4 minutes of each of her "10 best bouts"
YUMI'S BEST TECHNIQUES - clips of her performing her favorite moves
YUMI'S ROOM - Last Image Video
Aja vs. Ayako, GAMI & Tamada vs. LCO, AKINO vs. ASARI, Ayako vs. Azumi, etc.
Goes from TOURNAMENT SKY II to ARSION X'mas 2000. Clips includes HYPER VISUAL FIGHTING CARNIVAL ARSION THE QUEENS, Aja vs.Shimoda QOA match, Takase's birthday, Aja & Ayako in Mexico, Ayako getting martial arts training, Candy's final matches, ASC Christmas Party, Ayako vs. Xochilt Hair vs. Hair match, and Ayako & AKINO & Ai in Hawaii.
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