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-1hr 55min. Q=TV Master

taped 1/14 Tokyo Korakuen Hall

Akira Hokuto vs. Sakura Hirota. Hirota was dressed up as Bull Nakano. Most of the match consisted of Hokuto standing near the side of the ring while Hirota made a fool of herself in the center. Hokuto executed her moves well. Unfortunately, they were few and few between and that wasn't because she was putting Hirota over (not that anyone should) since she may not have sold a move all match. Of course, when someone is hitting you with stuffed nunchakas, it's not like you are going to play dead. Granted I don't like comedy matches to begin with, but the problem with this match is most of the comedy was just a solo performance that required the opponent to stand in wait. DUD

Meiko Satomura & Toshie Uematsu & Saika Takeuchi vs. Devil Masami & Dynamite Kansai & Toshiyo Yamada. This match started off strong with Yamada going at it with the younger wrestlers at a fever pace. Unfortunately, once Yamada tagged out she pretty much never reentered and her sluggish old partners slowed it down to a crawl. Dynasaur Kansai occassionally uprooted herself to plod around, displaying such arcane offense as the iron claw in addition to the kicks and lariats that have become virtually the only things she does prior to her splash mountain finisher. It's amazing how much worse she's become than Devil, and it's all because, as much as is possible, Devil knows how to get around the liabilities that age, health, and weight have caused while Kansai just stays in one spot. Satomura is the best of the wrestlers actually in GAEA, but she virtually only worked with Kansai, and was unable to get anything above mediocrity out of her. Uematsu did a credible job and Takeuchi is getting better with her kick, suplex, submission offense, but the focus was all on Satomura vs. Kansai since Meiko was pinning Dynasaur for the first time. **

AAAW Single Senshukenjiai: Aja Kong vs. Mayumi Ozaki. The editing just leaves us wondering. The match starts off with Aja throwing Ozaki over the top rope to the floor and then brutally pummelling her with objects for about three minutes. Suddenly, they cut to Ozaki on offense in the ring, but after an uraken she's unsuccessful in her wakigatame attempt and Aja comes back. Ozaki makes a brief comeback every now and then, but I don't recall her ever making it to 3 moves before Aja cut her off. Where we are out in the cold is that during this in ring portion, Aja is selling her arm like something really nasty happened to it. Either Ozaki did some nice damage that didn't make it to TV or Aja is really going overboard so she has something to do while Ozaki is down. Virtually all of Ozaki's offense that we see comes in the last three minutes of the match, and by that time she's not attacking the arm, she's using her finishers. There are a ton of urakens in this match, but even though Aja sells her arm after some of them, she's still hitting Ozaki full force so we don't get any sense that this mysterious arm damage that plays no part in the climax of the match was ever really important. Basically it's just a spot match. The moves are well executed, and Aja's are nasty, but it's sad how the environement has withered away two of the best wrestling minds. Still, the editing is mystifying because the previous matches were shown in their entirety even though they weren't good and actually would have seemed tighter and more focused with proper editing. 10:26 shown. Good

1/21 Osaka Umeda Stellar Hall: Sonoko Kato vs. Sakura Hirota. Before the match, Hirota kneeled with her back to Kato, posing with her fake sword in her mouth. Kato came up from behind and pulled the sword back at each end so it was putting pressure on the side of Hirota's mouth, but she didn't lock Hirota's body up so Hirota escaped quickly and easily. 1:38 shown

1/20 Act City Hamamatsu

Meiko Satomura & Sugar Sato vs. Dynamite Kansai & Toshiyo Yamada. Satomura worked hard, and Yamada was pretty good when she was in, but Kansai & Sato negated most of their efforts. Kansai vs. Sato was pitiful, but luckily the focus was on Satomura vs. Kansai even moreso than before so we didn't see too much of that. Of course, the match would have seemed much better if they edited most of what they did together out, but this also was shown in its entirety. Satomura seemed more credible due to the 1/14 pin over Kansai, and it was clear that the fans were aware that it had happened. It was not a good match, but Satomura made it decent, at least. **

Chigusa Nagoya & Sonoko Kato vs. Mayumi Ozaki & KAORU. This was just here so we could see KAORU pin Chigusa. 1:39 shown

1/21 Osaka Umeda Stellar Hall

Chigusa Nagoya & Sugar Sato vs. Akira Hokuto & KAORU. Due to the previous days result, Chigusa vs. KAORU was the focus. They worked well together and weren't no selling everything like they have been known to do in the past, so it was better than expected. KAORU vs. Sato still isn't any good in spite of all the times they've worked together, but then again who does Sato look good against these days? The big stick being introduced toward the end didn't help, especially since it was used poorly and broke like a twig. *3/4

Mayumi Ozaki & Dynamite Kansai vs. Lioness Asuka & Meiko Satomura. Having a third strong worker really made a difference because Kansai never had to work with someone near her "ability." Kansai slowed the pace down more than I would have liked, but otherwise I can't complain. There was a big pop when Satomura used her Death Valley bomb on Kansai since that was the move she beat her with. For the most part, Satomura was destroyed though. The match was dramatic, more due to the 1/14 result than anything else, but dramatic nonetheless. Ozaki vs. Lioness was really good, but we didn't see enough of it since the focus was on another Kansai vs. Satomura showdown. ***1/4

GAEA G-PANIC! #44 2/28/01
-1hr 55min. Q=TV Master

WILD TIMES 1/27/01 Aichi Nagoya Kokusaikaigijou

Mixed Gender Match: Sakura Hirota & Police vs. Toshie Uematsu & Saika Takeuchi

Sugar Sato & Chikayo Nagashima vs. Devil Masami & KAORU

Meiko Satomura vs. Dynamite Kansai

AAAW Tag Title Match: Akira Hokuto & Mayumi Ozaki vs. Chigusa Nagayo & Lioness Asuka 9:38. Everyone showed up and made contributions to this chairshot laden spot oriented sprint. Crush got off to a fast start with both doing suicidas, but Hokuto turned the tide breaking up Lioness' wakigatame by busting a chair over her head. They continued chairing Lioness until she was busted open. Hokuto bled from the mouth, but when Chigusa had her in trouble later after delivering her running three, Ozaki broke up the pin with a chair shot and took over. They continued hitting big spots until Hokuto pinned Lioness with her Northern Lights bomb. Chigusa attacked Hokuto with a chair after the match until they restrained her, but she got free and cold cocked Ozaki with a punch. Nothing extraordinary, but in GAEA all you can ask for is for everyone to put forth an effort and act like it matters. This match had a fair bit of urgency, and actually seemed like an important match for reasons beyond the title being on the line. ***

WAR CRY 2/2/01 Tokyo Korakuen Hall

KAORU vs. Sugar Sato

Mayumi Ozaki & Devil Masami & KAORU vs. Chigusa Nagayo & Meiko Satomura & Chikayo Nagashima 14:20. Meandering main event that was wrestled like a 30 minute match even though it wasn't half that long. Chigusa vs. Devil was very uninspiring, but it got a little better when KAORU came in. She put quite a beating on Chigusa, busting her open with her table half, but there was tons of stalling anytime Chigusa was involved. The match was good when Ozaki was in with either Chikayo & Satomura, as they were actually moving and countering each other, but otherwise it was pretty dull. *3/4

WAR CRY 2/11/01 Tokyo ZEPP SENDAI: Chigusa Nagayo & Meiko Satomura & Toshie Uematsu vs. Mayumi Ozaki & Devil Masami & Toshiyo Yamada

GAEA G-PANIC! #45 3/18/01 taped 2/25/01 & 3/11/01
-1hr 55min. Q=TV Master

WAR CRY taped 2/25/01 Osaka Umeda Stella Hall

Akira Hokuto & Toshiyo Yamada vs. Meiko Satomura & Saika Takeuchi

Dynamite Kansai & KAORU vs. Lioness Asuka & Toshie Uematsu

Chigusa Nagayo & Chikayo Nagashima vs. Mayumi Ozaki & Sakura Hirota

EDGE OF THE HEART taped 3/11/01 Tokyo Korakuen Hall

Dynamite Kansai & KAORU vs. Devil Masami & Sakura Hirota

Chikayo Nagashima vs. Saika Takeuchi

Chigusa Nagayo & Meiko Satomura vs. Akira Hokuto & Mayumi Ozaki 13:23. The classic storyline of Chigusa overcoming the odds to defeat the brutal brawling heels. Hokuto snuck Ozaki a dog collar when Chigusa backed her into the ropes early on, so Ozaki could clobber Nagayo when she broke. It was a one-sided brawl for the majority of the match, with Hokuto & Ozaki even chaining the opposition together by putting the dog collar on each. The match was pretty much only brawling with Hokuto using her staff, and Police and Hirota getting a few shots in to stack the odds as far against Chigusa as possible. Satomura finally came back when Ozaki's running chain backfired and took Hokuto out and Chigusa tossed her a chair to use. Ozaki wound up bleeding heavily and Chigusa got her revenge for losing the tag title match on 1/27/01. **

Aja Kong & KAORU & Toshiyo Yamada vs. Lioness Asuka & Toshie Uematsu & Chikayo Nagashima 13:19. Frentic helter skelter action. Chikayo gave a major performance, just being all over the place and pulling some neat counters, and Uematsu was also being very into it. None of the veterans were that awesome, though Aja was the best of the bunch. They all did what was asked of them though, and it was all short bursts of action with quick tags and big spots back and forth. They brawled all over the arena early with KAORU and Yamada hanging Uematsu from the balcony, but in the ring it was pretty much a straight spot oriented match where the rode the active younger wrestlers. ***1/4

-1hr 55min. Q=TV Master

4/8/01 Nagoya Kokusai Kaigijo Event Hall

Mayumi Ozaki & Akira Hokuto vs. Chigusa Nagoya & Lioness Asuka. This was the match where Crush 2000 would have to break up if they lost. It was fast paced, but more of a chaotic violent out of control mess. All action, but to the point of overkill. The fans were into it, but everything blurred together and nothing stayed with you for more than a few seconds. They performed the moves fine, but gave me no reason to get into them. **

Dynamite Kansai & KAORU vs. Meiko Satomura & Toshie Uematsu. Kansai showed nothing as always. This time she dragged Satomura down to the point where she did nothing to distinguish herself. KAORU vs. Uematsu was good though, with Uematsu being the highlight of the match. There were some obvious screw ups, but these two did enough good moves to make it worthwhile. **1/4

4/14 Honkawagoe Pepe Hall

Aja Kong & Toshiyo Yamada vs. Chigusa Nagayo & Toshie Uematsu. Didn't appear to be anything special. Chigusa looked really lame trying to battle blows with Aja. 4:32 shown

Sakura Hirota vs. Lioness Asuka. More of an embarrassment than the usual intollerable Hirota match. She was supposed to be some kind of "sexy" police woman who uses the stinky face. The one spot that was kind of funny was when she gave a sliding dropkick to Lioness' table so of course it came down on top of her. Don't ask me why she was supposed to be dropkicking the table to begin with because I don't think there's any answer beyond to humiliate herself.

4/15/01 Tokyo Korakuen Hall

Chigusa Nagayo & Chikayo Nagashima vs. Mayumi Ozaki & Devil Masami. Chikayo was good considering she was working with Devil, who can't really bump for her. Chikayo made Devil look pretty good though, and Devil did try. Ozaki was good, but Chigusa wasn't impressive and the match was too short. 6:27 shown. Pretty good.

4?14: Meiko Satomura & Chikayo Nagashima vs. Akira Hokuto & Devil Masami. The old women couldn't keep up with the younger ones, so the younger ones had to simplify the match and slow it down for them. Not a very tight match, and Hokuto once again proved she has nothing left. *

Akira Hokuto & KAORU vs. Lioness Asuka & Meiko Satomura. Fast-paced match, but this one wasn't out of control so it was much more dramatic. It had some great spots like KAORU doing a moonsault off the bleachers, but also it's stupidity like Satomura Death Valley bombing KAORU onto Hokuto but Hokuto still recoving in time to get a piece of table and use it to break up the pin. Satomura didn't look that good in any of these matches, even having trouble setting up a move or two in each. Hokuto was at least passable here. **3/4

GAEA G-PANIC! #47 5/5/01 6th Anniversary OSAKA LIMIT BREAK taped 4/22/01 Osaka Namihaya Dome
-1hr 55min. Q=TV Master

AAAW Tag Senshukenjiai: Mayumi Ozaki & Akira Hokuto vs. Sugar Sato & Chikayo Nagashima. The match was mainly Hokuto vs. Sato. With that in mind, it was good. Hokuto was working over Sato's bad knee, and Sugar did a good job of selling it. Sato actually tried some different offense, but it was like she adopted Eagle's move set. I realize she's overweight, but body attacks and avalanches are not deadly from a 170 pounder. Even though the offense wasn't all that difficult or interesting, the execution wasn't close to perfect. There were good isolated sequences, especially involving Chikayo who was easily the highlight of the match, but it wasn't coming together as a whole. The Sugar knee storyline being reintroduced with a credible near submission was a plus, but certainly the mental aspects were not close to what they should be with Hokuto & Ozaki involved. **1/4

KAORU vs. Devil Masami. Total brawl. Devil was in Super Heel mode. The match was basically plodding, roaming, standing, and then yet another gimmick spot. Devil sold a lot is simply lying on your back is selling. KAORU did a number of Excalibur's and spots with her table halves. She couldn't do any good sequences with Devil because Devil is so slow that they look so obviously worked. After being dominated the whole match, Devil did a lariat and hit KAORU with a few objects for the win. Really lame. *

Sakura Hirota vs. Saika Takeuchi. Takeuchi is starting to use her athleticism well. She has enough of it that she could become quite good, especially since she can also kick. 2:07 shown

Toshiyo Yamada vs. Toshie Uematsu. Their past matches have been good, but this was really short and didn't appear to be anything special. 2;22 shown

Meiko Satomura vs. Dynamite Kansai. This was worked like a match that was going 5 minutes. Kansai used all her offense right away. Obviously she was still slow and unathletic, but she executed well and there was a sense of desperation brought on by her hitting Meiko with everything she had (sans Die Hard Kansai) right off the bat. Satomura was fiery and compelling to watch. Good execution and an exciting match, but very one dimensional because it was just throwing out one big spot after another from start to finish. **1/2

Chigusa Nagayo & Lioness Asuka vs. Aja Kong & Kyoko Inoue. Unfortunately, this wasn't much different from the regular GAEA match. The extra two minutes were mainly stalling. Aja was good. No one was bad, but none of the others were better than adequate. Most of the wrestlers on the card didn't seem to treat this as a big show. Either that or they have declined more than I realize. This even had a weak finish. **

GAEA G-PANIC! #48 5/11/01 6th Anniversary KAWASAKI LIMIT BREAK taped 4/29/01 Kanagawa Kawasaki Shi Taiikukan
-1hr 55min. Q=TV Master

Chigusa Nagayo vs. Miyuki Maeda 2:33 of 2:40. The only thing that keeps this total embarrassment from being the definition of worst match of the year is it was mercifully short. Then again, Miyuki made a little over 2 1/2 minutes seem like 20! She was so bad that she accomplished something I thought impossible, she made me feel sorry for the current form of Chigusa. I thought Chigusa would go out there and embarrass Miyuki with a quick no selling squash win, but Miyuki was the one that embarrassed Chigusa. She embarrassed Chigusa because Chigusa actually tried to sell for her a tad, but Miyuki was so pathetic it was impossible. She did the worst "kneel kick" I have ever seen. It wasn't just that one move, it was her innate ability to make virtually every move done in the match look awful. Chigusa had to very audibly call the finishing move in hopes that removing all doubt from Miyuki's mind as to what was coming might allow her to at least fall properly. Miyuki's performance is sure to be one of the worst of the decade. She wrestlers like she's never even been trained, which says worlds about her "ability" considering she was trained by Mariko Yoshida & Aja Kong. -**

HHH Tag Title Match: Akura Hirota & Police vs. Toshie Uematsu & Saika Takeuchi 2:33 of 10:37. The lame comedy was centered around Hirota & Police's teamwork or lack thereof. Hirota wound up pinning her own partner, in a "title" match no less.

Aja Kong & KAORU vs. Dynamite Kansai & Toshiyo Yamada 4:27 of 14:15. Kansai's suimengiri (spinning leg sweep) was a slow motion embarrassment, but mainly Aja vs. Kansai was good because they stood toe to toe and pounded each other. Kansai gave Aja a bunch of nasty kicks to the head when she was draped over the turnbuckle. KAORU wasn't involved much because she was taken out by her own partner! Aja got mad at her for coming in and repeatedly hitting Kansai with her table half, so she resolved the situation by using her uraken on KAORU. After the match, KAORU beat up the other three with her table half and left alone. Aja then shook hands with the opposition and raised their hands.

Lioness Asuka vs. Kyoko Inoue 11:20 of 12:12. Lioness vs. Kyoko may well have been the best joshi feud of the late 1990’s, their five singles meetings yielding two strong match of the year candidates on 4/26/98 & 5/6/98, a very good match on 8/2/98, a near MOTYC on 1/24/99, and an excellent 60 minute draw on 8/22/99. As we all know, the logical way to settle a program where they played even for 60 minutes in what was to have been the deciding match is to have a 12 minute sprint. This actually seemed more similar to a slow motion version of their other matches, as it wasn't as smoothly worked or accurately executed as in the past. It was basically a more contrived and less dramatic greatest hits; consider it the Lioness vs. Kyoko radio edit. They kept all the gimmick spots and added more, going from one big spot to another with no real build up or lead in. There was some attempt to differentiate and keep the match fresh. For instance, at one point Kyoko was going to back body drop Lioness to the floor, but Lioness spewed mist in her face. Lioness did a trick where she did a sliding kick to her table with each foot so it would fall into Kyoko. She did a brutal diving footstomp off the top through a table to the floor. This wasn’t a bad match by any means, in fact if it was quite good in the limited GAEA rush job sort of way. If it wasn’t Lioness vs. Chigusa it would at least have been more memorable than the usual meaningless GAEA spotfest, but it’s better to let things rest than revive them for what could only be a huge disappointment. ***

Chikayo Nagashima vs. Devil Masami 4:39 of 14:12. Devil injured her left leg and couldn't continue, so Chikayo got a free win. You couldn't tell much about the match quality from the clips other than it was certainly no better than good and Devil was in a whole lot of pain.

AAAW Single Title Match: Mayumi Ozaki vs. Chigusa Nagayo 6:15. This was a weird match. The length was kept down because Chigusa had a bad shoulder that needed to be operated on (this was her last match before surgery). However, Chigusa's wrestling was more precise and exciting than when she's healthy. Ozaki was inciting Chigusa and the fans, lording the title belt over Nagayo before the match and offering her a pre-match handshake only to blitz her with a series of urakens. Ozaki tried to do a good story match with almost all of her offense - series of urakens and armbreakers - attacking the bad shoulder, but Chigusa would just stop selling after a while and make her comeback. Granted, Ozaki's urakens to the shoulder were kind of lame, but I expect better transitions than Chigusa simply Hulking up and blowing through some big moves. Chigusa’s superpowers finally wore off when her shoulder gave way after scooping Ozaki up for her running three, leading to a shoulder submission Ozaki wouldn't release, flipping the crowd off since she just beat their hero. If Chigusa was limited by the injury they should have had someone else make a fool of themselves trying to carry Maeda and done something more with this match, but aside from Chigusa’s ridiculous comebacks it was good while it lasted. **

Meiko Satomura vs. Akira Hokuto 21:30. You don’t need to be Antonio Alfonseca to count Akira Hokuto’s major post-AJW performances on one hand, in fact you could very comfortably be Mordecai Brown. Along with her 1/12/97 match against Infernal KAORU, Hokuto wrestled her best singles match since leaving AJW. She still had all the problems she always has, but they were minimized because she remembered how to use her head again and also because she mainly relied on wicked hard slaps. She’d pull Satomura toward her to increase the impact on her slaps, similar to Jake Roberts' short lariats, but eventually Satomura did this great counter where she stopped it with her bicycle kick. There were some interesting points such as Satomura mimicing Hokuto in trying to win with Hokuto’s power strangle, setting it up with her Death Valley bomb rather than the Northern Lights bomb, but overall the psychology was hardly Hokuto-esque and the match was instead far too steeped in Satomura’s shenanigans. Attempts at great matches in GAEA occur less often than Presidential elections, but lets not get carried away here. One sign of a mature wrestler is knowing the fans will realize you are trying to hit one out of the park. Kandori, Hotta, even Rumi Kazama could have memorable matches with Hokuto because they realized less can be more. Similarly, this match was at it's best when it was at it's simplest, largely made by the stiffness. Unfortunately, the believability was taken way down by doing too much too fast. Satomura expended tons of energy shaking, jerking, and waving her head, arms, and legs in a foolish attempt to emphasize the idea that they were doing a grand drama. The problem is the ridiculous overdramatization mostly just distracts from the quality of the wrestling, which otherwise was pretty high, rendering it a corny and phonier spectacle. They tried way too hard to make every move seem like the pivotal one, or perhaps were simply ineffective because it’s less movement rather than more that leads the audience to believe the finish in imminent. Hokuto’s usual dramatic falls and motionlessness that make the audience wonder if she’s still conscience were instead overwhelmed by fake and self-indulgent jittering. And in spite of their idea that every move could be the finisher, there wasn't a credible near finish until 12:30 and it wasn't as if there was one believable near fall after another from that point. The length was a plus because this match was also worked like it was going 5 minutes, but unlike the 4/22/01 Satomura vs. Kansai, it lasted over 20. But in the end, the fact that it was 20 minutes rather than the usual 10 was the main thing that separated it from the usual move killing GAEA sprint. It was fireworks from the get go with Hokuto following in Satomura’s hyper footsteps to the point it seemed as though both were injected with caffeine. Hokuto pulled out all the stops, giving Satomura her own Death Valley bomb early and even doing her old tope con hilo. There was one particularly dramatic moment where Satomura put Hokuto in her own strangle hold and Ozaki tried to come in to break it up, but KAORU & Police held her back. They certainly aspired to Hokuto's old level of drama, but weren't close to consistent in attaining it because Satomura came off so phony (the crowd still reacted to her though). The finish was lame with Hokuto failing to beat the 10 count after delivering her Northern Lights bomb finisher. I could have bought it more if Satomura had just done a series of killer moves to Hokuto, and Hokuto mustered up all her strength for the one move that would end it one way or the other, but it was nothing like that. It seemed to just sort of happen, but perhaps that’s because I’d been numbed by theoretical big moves and finishers they got little more out of than bodyslams and back body drops. Still, the heat was great after the 15 minute mark, and the fans reacted well to Satomura winning. From a technical perspective, the majority of the ability displayed here came from Satomura. However, Hokuto outperformed her because she has more understanding of staying within herself, structuring the match, getting the crowd to react, and so on. It was hardly her smartest match and she can't work like she used to, but it was by far her best effort in years, showing she has enough left to make that count for a lot on the rare occasion she feels up to it. Full Match Review ***1/2

GAEA G-PANIC! #49 6/16/01 JUNCTION taped 5/13/01 Tokyo Korakuen Hall
-1hr 55min. Q=Near Perfect 1st Gen

Lioness Asuka vs. Sakura Hirota

Aja Kong & Toshiyo Yamada vs. Meiko Satomura & Toshie Uematsu

Chikayo Nagashima & Toshie Uematsu vs. Mayumi Ozaki & KAORU

Aja Kong & Dynamite Kansai vs. Meiko Satomura & Chikayo Nagashima

5/26/01 Osaka highlights

-1hr 55min. Q=TV Master

6/17 Tokyo Korakuen Hall: Mayumi Ozaki & KAORU vs. Lioness Asuka & Sakura Hirota 13:55. A great heel display led by Ozaki, who remembered how to lead everyone through a smart match again. A throwback to an era long ago when they actually told stories in matches, did things to get the heels over and make you care about the faces. This was the greatest Hirota match ever. All she had to do was get up, get murdered, and fall back down. KAORU handcuffed Lioness to the ringpost and they beat Hirota bloody. The ref did nothing to stop Hirota from being hit with objects or ganged up on by Ozaki, KAORU, and Police. They could have pinned her at any time, but it was more fun beating her to death while Lioness looked on helplessly. Finally they got bored and gave Takeuchi the key to let Lioness out. Unfortunately this meant Hirota eventually went on offense where she proceeded to miss KAORU with a pice of table right away. KAORU vs. Lioness was excellent, spectacular work, but soon KAORU handcuffed Lioness to the guard rail. Ozaki generously let Hirota get some near falls on her to add to the drama. KAORU put Hirota through a table with a diving senton to the floor then Ozaki followed with a diving footstomp. Although it made the match more dramatic, Hirota kickout out after ths and a spike powerbomb also made it less believable. ***1/2
MS: Pretty good match that was largely made by Ozaki's willingness to make Sakura look okay. The chipmunk got several good near falls on Oz, and was allowed to kick out of a few strong near falls from Oz and KAORU as well. This was important because she was dominated for almost all of the match due to Lioness being handcuffed to the ring post and then the railing. Sakura surviving a 3 on 1 (including Police) for as long as she did got her serious face heat and maybe some respect from the crowd. It was nice to see Sakura get over without using her comedy for once (though no one enjoys her doing it more than me). The crowd heat also added a lot of drama to the match, as is the case with a pretty high number of GAEA contests. ***1/4

5/16/96 Club Citta Kawasaki Hussle Cup Junior Star Tournament Final: Meiko Satomura vs. Sonoko Kato. They worked hard, but were still learning. Solid but unspectacular match. Pretty basic, but still interesting. The best spot was Satomura going from Kato's kamikaze into her udehishigigyakujujigatame. **1/4

6/3 Act City Hamamatsu: Aja Kong vs. Toshie Uematsu 13:38. Uematsu doesn't have the offense to compete with Aja. The problem is she wants to act like a tough girl. If she wanted to beat Aja with her quickness or athleticism I might buy it, but otherwise it's just laughable. There was never any doubt who was going to win, and Aja was regularly embarrassing Uematsu by doing things like pulling her up at 1. Uematsu worked Aja's arm over well and did a sweet counter turning Aja's brainbuster into a "pinning predicament." When Uematsu started doing some good counters she totally forgot the arm. Kind of sloppy with Uematsu quickly getting out of control. Finish was surprisingly lame. **
MS: Aja let Uematsu push her pretty well, but Toshie's offense isn't nearly good enough to make you think that Aja was in any danger of losing. However, it was nice to see Aja win with a flash pin on the roll-up as opposed to just cutting off Uematsu and dominating her over the last portion of the match before putting her away which is what usually happens in matches like these nowadays. **

6/3: Toshiyo Yamada vs. Saika Takeuchi 3:24 of 7:18.

6/17: Aja Kong & Dynamite Kansai & Toshiyo Yamada vs. Meiko Satomura & Chikayo Nagashima & Toshie Uematsu 20:06. Like the Thunder Queen Battle, this match started off as a series of singles matches and then turned into a tag match. The match took off once Chikayo got involved, which isn't surprising considering she's the best worker in the match. The sequences she can pull off even with an old slug like Kansai are pretty impressive. She's so much smoother and better at making the opposition look like a good wrestler than Satomura is. The focus is always on Satomura though, and this was no exception with Chikayo not even being utilized well. I mean, they paired her off with Yamada who doesn't want to do anything other than strike these days.The match was way too contrived when a bunch of women were in the ring at once, which occured too often, but it was very action packed with a lot of saves. ***
MS: A strong effort from all 6 women made this a really cool match. One of the best things about GAEA is how well most of the matches are built. The majority of their matches have a lot of exciting near falls because it seems like anyone has a chance of beating anyone else on any given night (I realize this is an old and usually lame cliche but it is worthy in this case). The finishers aren't put over as strongly as they are in most other groups, which can be good and bad. It's good in the sense that you never when and how a match is going to end, which makes them more dramatic and exciting. But it can be bad in the sense that the finishers aren't really finishers when it sometimes takes 4 or 5 of them in one match to win it for their employer. For the most part though the women in GAEA are able to walk this fine line and have fun matches as a result. Here was another example of this as Kong and Uematsu exchanged some strong near falls culminating with Toshie winning on a roll-up and getting revenge for their 6/13 match (the prior one on this show) in the process. ***1/2

GAEA G-PANIC! #51 8/11/01 STORM SIGNAL taped 7/15/01 Tokyo Korakuen Hall
-1hr 55min. Q=TV Master

Sakura Hirota vs. Kaori Nakayama 7:01

Mayumi Ozaki vs. Toshie Uematsu 15:22. It's a good thing when someone will fight Ozaki, except when they are an Uematsu type that can't do it credibly because her impact can't come close to matching her expressions. Not to mention she had lousy timing and caused the match to be too deliberate and kind of sloppy. Even Uematsu's best spot, a potentially breathtaking counter where she lands on her feet for Ozaki's armbreaker, wasn't close to what it could have been because she didn't land cleanly. Ozaki did some good counters to Uematsu's strikes, but generally it was much better when they were wrestling than the unfortunately more focused upon striking. Ozaki's new witchcraft finisher is a cradle side suplex bomb that starts from reverse DDT position. **

Aja Kong & Toshiyo Yamada vs. Chikayo Nagashima & Sakura Hirota 14:19. An excellent match when Nagashima was in. Her stuff was fast paced with one counter after another, some being pretty wild like turning a quebradora into an udehishigigyakujujigatame. Aja & Yamada looked impressive because they understand how to play to Nagashima's strengths, and were willing to do so. But then there's our friend Hirota, who once again destroyed the match because she's not capable of working this style or any other one that includes any semblance of quality wrestling. Hirota embarrassed herself as usual, this time not so much on purpose because the others were trying to have a serious match, with moves like her urakens that couldn't kill a fruit fly. As Hirota was the designed job girl, the match lost most of it's steam in the final minutes. **1/2

Lioness Asuka vs. KAORU 27:29. Lioness pull her bit where she walks to the opponent's corner before the match with her arm up to intimidate them, so KAORU hit her with a rod once she turned her back. Lioness was then somehow "tied up" in the streamers, so KAORU got an early moonsault in. After that it quickly degenerated into a terrible brawl that went on forever with no selling at all. Lioness did many of the out of the ring spots she's done in her ****+ matches with Jaguar & Kyoko, but this match just meandered along pointlessly without them giving us any reason to care. It was surprisingly sloppy for these two, but not to the point it couldn't have been a good match if there was any rhyme or reason to what they were doing. Instead, they just brawled around the building and destroyed the credibility of their moves. Take the sequence where Lioness basically no sold KAORU breaking two table halves in a row over her head then made a one spot comeback and both sold. Lioness then withstood 3 table halves and 3 Excaliburs, made another one spot comeback, and both sold. Don't let my mentioning that both sold fool you, this was one of the single most ridiculous sequences I've ever seen in Japan. To make things "more fun" KAORU kicked out Lioness' Ligerbomb off a table on the middle rope at 1, so Lioness then kicked out of KAORU's Excalibur at 1. At this point I thought the egos of these two might burst through the Korakuen walls. At 27 1/2 minutes, this was one of the longest matches in company history. Unfortunately, it was also one of the worst and probably the most ridiculous. They tried to make it dramatic, but their idea of drama was length, blood, and mist. Selling is required for drama, otherwise it's just cartoon nonsense. DUD
MS: This was a pretty solid brawl that could've been better with more wrestling and a shorter time limit. There were some holes in the match (the hanging over the balcony spot that took forever to set-up and Lioness just allowed it to happen to her despite hardly being worn down at that point, KAORU's weak looking strikes, and the fact that both women allowed themselves to be dragged around the building without putting up a fight). But overall they did a pretty good job of making it interesting for 27 minutes. My problem is mainly with the finish though. KAORU hit a very average looking uppercut that may not have even connected fully and Lioness sold it like she was dead. I thought that had they done the double knockout finish on the earlier sequence where they teased it following a couple of Excalibur and table shots by KAORU and some kicks to the head by Lioness it would've worked much better. The way it went though you expected both of them to get up when they didn't. Lioness had a reason not to get up because she took a real beating in this match, but although she got in some good shots on KAORU it wasn't so much damage that KAORU shouldn't have been able to beat a 10 count. Although this was basically just a brawl with no real sequences of sustained wrestling, I was happy that they could make it work without playing death wish with themselves like several "hardcore" American wrestlers. There were a ton of table shots, but none of them were so stiff that they may cave in each others skulls and there weren't too many chair shots either. A lot of repetition of moves hurt the match a bit as well, but that goes back to what I was saying about the lack of wrestling in favor of tables and mist. But it held up on my second viewing of it and like after the first time I saw it I felt they put out a very decent match. **1/4

GAEA G-PANIC! #52 9/8/01 taped 8/19/01 & 9/2/01 Tokyo Korakuen Hall
-1hr 55min. Q=TV Master

SURPRISE ATTACK taped 8/19/01

GAORA Cup Tournament 1st Round: Mayumi Ozaki vs. Meiko Satomura. An excellent display of equality. They answered each other's tactics. For instance Ozaki powerbombed Satomura into the turnbuckle, so Satomura threw Ozaki into the turnbuckle from fireman's carry position. They have very different styles, but this match brought out more similarities than I ever imagined. It didn't seem like the same old thing. It was contrived in points, but the idea behind what they were doing was good. They didn't hold anything back offensively, but I expected better exection from these two. The finish was sloppy, and the selling throughout wasn't impressive. ***1/4

GAORA Cup Tournament 1st Round: Aja Kong vs. KAORU. Hyper spotfest brawl. No structure or selling at all. Police kept interfering to make things more "equal" leading to a crappy screw job finish. **

GAORA Cup Tournament Final: Mayumi Ozaki vs. Chikayo Nagashima. What a stupid way to show a tournament. We get two complete 1st round matches then clips of everything up to the final, which is chopped to less than half. This seemed like a good fast-paced match, but the editing destroyed it so who knows? 6:17 shown

NEW ENERGY # taped 9/2/01

HHH Nikan Oza Ketteisen: Kaori Nakayama vs. Sakura Hirota. Hirota did Sabu minus all the athleticism. Nakayama broke one of the plastic title belts by suplexing Hirota onto it. She won by hitting Hirota with the other plastic title belt. Just awful. 1/4*

AAAW Single Oza Jiki Chosensha Kettie Tournament Junkessho: KAORU vs. Aja Kong. This didn't have much more wrestling than a Shadow WX match, but it wasn't a death match so instead of barbed wire and light bulbs you got a ladder avalanche. Not that I want Aja doing getting powerbombed through florescent bulb boards, but is there a stupider gimmick spot than trying to tell us your opponent is getting hurt when you charge full speed into a metal object? Aja battered KAORU with her cans from the get go leading to early juice. This was the typical KAORU goofiness with the final stamp of suckiness put on when KAORU pinned Aja following an uppercut to the air. *

AAAW Single Oza Jiki Chosensha Kettie Tournament Junkessho: Meiko Satomura vs. Toshie Uematsu. Typical Uematsu where the big and bad tough girl act doesn't translate into spots that back it up. The annoying thing is if you can get past Uematsu's pitiful knee lifts and ridiculous looking punches they actually did a pretty good technical match. If they stuck to that aspect then did the high spots they do well, there's no doubt it would have been good. Ozaki interrupted in the middle of the match telling them something along the lines of them needing to brawl to beat her for the title. They made it look like they were going to switch to that style, but instead did some poor man's RVD move where Uematsu threw the chair and Satomura kicked it in Ozaki's direction. **

AAAW Single Oza Jiki Chosensha Kettie Tournament Kesshosen: Meiko Satomura vs. KAORU. After not brawling in the last match, Satomura brought a baseball bat to combat KAORU's table. Police was the heel ref doing the annoying super fast and slow count bit to help his buddy KAORU. Do people really want to sit through a whole tournament only to have this nonsense mar the final? I guess the WWF's popularity is my answer to that. Anyway, in between the shenanigans there were some nice counters and slick transitions. The match had no psychology or flow though. The most annoying point didn't even involve Police it was how at the 10 minute mark they suddenly both "ran out of energy." KAORU ruined this entire tournament. I never liked her, but at least she used to stick to what she was good at for the most part. As a brawler she is terrible and just takes her opponent even if it's someone as good as Ozaki, Aja, or Satomura down to or below mediocrity.*1/4

Angle where Chigusa returns

GAEA G-PANIC! #53 10/19/01 NEW ENERGY #
-1hr 55min. Q=TV Master

taped 9/2/01 Tokyo Korkuen Hall

HS 600 Tournament 1st & semifinal highlights

HS 600 Tournament Kesshosen: Meiko Satomura vs. Dynamite Kansai. Satomura did a good job keeping this short sprint interesting. Not a bad match, but lame for a tournament final. *3/4

AAAW Single Oza Jiki Chosensha Ketteisen: Meiko Satomura vs. KAORU. Hyper action. KAORU is the better pure worker of the two, but Satomura doesn't know how to lead her to anything, so it just becomes a big mess. Granted an occassionally brilliant big mess. KAORU turned Satomura's Death Valley bomb into a reverse DDT once and a huracanrana another time. Satomura is now abusing her overhead kick even more than her DVB. That move is a great surprise out of nowhere, but it's ridiculous to keep turning your back to your opponent so you can try a low percentage kick. I don't need to see KAORU hit 5 Excaliburs in one match either. Even though there were some choice counters, they were just killing their big moves off because the selling was non existant. *3/4

9/24 Tokyo Korakuen Hall

Aja Kong vs. KAORU. Police tried to interfere right away, but Kansai laid him out. Once again when they actually wrestled it was good, but luckily since Police was out they mostly did that this time. KAORU was using her athleticism to land on her feet for a few moves and also did a nice moonsault to the floor. She worked Aja's knee over with some wrestling moves as well as Aja's can. For whatever reason KAORU was dominating this match. One uraken and KAORU was about dead though. In a hideously timed spot, Police then hopped in so Aja couldn't pin KAORU. Aja put the piece of table she was going to block Police's spew with up too early, so Police, not knowing what to do, simply spewed into the table that was right in front of him. Aja gave KAORU another uraken and that was it. It was a good match up until this finish that was terrible in every aspect. **14

Mayumi Ozaki & Chigusa Nagayo vs. Chikayo Nagashima & Toshie Uematsu. Well executed one-sided match. Chigusa totally dominated in her return to the ring. I understand that they wanted Chigusa to look impressive in her return with her rougher nastier style, but it's too bad the best worked match on the show was a glorified squash. **

Dynamite Kansai & Toshiyo Yamada vs. Meiko Satomura & Carlos Amano. Fairly solid start with strikes and submissions. Turned into an exciting sprint. Satomura & Amano did a good job and worked well together. At one point Amano had Yamada in an armbar at the same time Satomura had Yamada in a knebar. **1/2

8/18/96 Tokyo Korakuen Hall: Mayumi Ozaki & Sugar Sato & Chikayo Nagashima & Reiko Amano vs. Chigusa Nagayo & Sonoko Kato & Toshie Uematsu & Sakura Hirota. 7:12 shown

9/30 Osaka Umeda Stellar Hall

Aja Kong vs. Sakura Hirota. Straight match. Hirota did the lamest spear and hip attacks. Aja seems to be in weird moods lately. She totally dominates KAORU then KAORU totally dominates her but she beats her with two moves. Here Hirota was put over as much as Aja could without pointlessly destroying her own gimmick. Aja did everything well, but Hirota screwed up here and there of course. Nonetheless, even though it wasn't any good, Aja got as much out of Hirota as anyone could possibly have asked. *1/4

KAORU vs. Sakura Hirota. Hirota did a KAORU imitation. This was actually kind of funny until they started wrestling, then it was incredibly stupid. DUD

KAORU & Chigusa Nagayo vs. Dynamite Kansai & Toshiyo Yamada. Aja & Ozaki were involved regularly. KAORU was pretty much the whole match taking bumps for her team and doing a good job of it. She made Kansai look pretty good, resulting in an adequate short match. Kansai used Lioness' LSD II. *3/4

-1hr 55min. Q=Near Perfect

OZ Academy 10/20/00 Tokyo: Lioness Asuka & Aja Kong vs. Chigusa Nagayo & Mayumi Ozaki

10/21/00 Tokyo Korakuen Hall

Mayumi Ozaki & KAORU vs. Kaori Nakayama & Sakura Hirota 10:24

Chigusa Nagayo & Dynamite Kansai & Toshiyo Yamada vs. Meiko Satomura & Chikayo Nagashima & Toshie Uematsu 12:52

10/28/00 Nagoya Kokusai Kaigijo Event Hall: Chigusa Nagayo & Carlos Amano vs. Toshiyo Yamada & Chikayo Nagashima 11:12

10/21/00: Toshiyo Yamada vs. Sakura Hirota 8:28

11/16/96:Akira Hokuto vs. Meiko Satomura

Aja Kong vs. KAORU 10:26

10/28/00 AAAW Single Title Match: Mayumi Ozaki vs. Aja Kong 13:12

GAEA G-PANIC! #55 12/14/01
-1hr 55min. Q=TV Master

11/10 Tokyo Korakuen Hall: Akira Hokuto & Chikayo Nagashima vs. Aja Kong & Meiko Satomura. Focused on Hokuto vs. Satomura with Hokuto using the hard slaps again. Ridiculous finish where Chikayo, not even the legal wrestler, runs in and gets canned by Aja then pinned after Satomura's Death Valley bomb. 3:33 shown

11/10: Mayumi Ozaki & KAORU vs. Chigusa Nagayo & Toshie Uematsu. Uematsu is now a brawler with a butch cut. She made Ozaki bleed, but was still the job girl. 3:25 shown

11/18 Act City Hamamatsu: Meiko Satomura & Carlos Amano vs. Aja Kong & Toshie Uematsu. 1:45 shown

11/11 Osaka Umeda Stellar Hall: Chigusa Nagayo vs. Sakura Hirota

11/10: Mayumi Ozaki & KAORU vs. Chigusa Nagayo & Sakura Hirota. Hirota wasn't as embarrassed as usual (probably well edited), and actually pinned Ozaki with an uraken. 3:43 shown

12/9 Niigata Phase: Mayumi Ozaki vs. Chigusa Nagayo. Chigusa bled. 4:00 shown

11/10: Dynamite Kansai vs. Toshiyo Yamada. 3:19 shown

11/18: Chigusa Nagayo & Toshiyo Yamada vs. Mayumi Ozaki & KAORU. 3:21 shown

4/4/99 Kanagawa Yokohama Bunka Taiikukan: KAORU & Toshiyo Yamada vs. Mima Shimoda & Etsuko Mita. This might be the best match on the show, but why does the 2 1/2 year old playback match get more than twice as much time as any of the current stuff? 9:53 shown

11/10: Chigusa Nagayo vs. Chikayo Nagashima. 4:22 shown

11/10: Aja Kong & Toshiyo Yamada vs. Meiko Satomura & Dynamite Kansai. Satomura pins Aja in her Death Valley bomb to set up their title match. 3:41 shown

12/9: Meiko Satomura & Chikayo Nagashima vs. Aja Kong & Dynamite Kansai. 3:12 shown

GAEA G-PANIC! #56 1/1/02 DEEP ENDLESS taped 12/15/01 Kanagawa Kawasaki Shi Taiikukan & 12/24/01 Tokyo Korakuen Hall
-2hr 55min. Q=TV Master. 2 DVDs

Etsuko Mita & Mima Shimoda vs. Mayumi Ozaki & KAORU. Bizarre brawl with a money ball hanging over the center of the ring that was pretty much an annoying distraction from there being good action. Chaotic bloody match with chains, ladders, & Police. 9:52 shown

Crush Jr. Debutsen: Aya Sakurai vs. Chikayo Nagashima. Sakurai looks something like a taller version of Sumie Sakai. The big difference is Sakai was never mechanical. The Crush Jr. label is going to put an awful lot of pressure on Sakurai considering she has no special charisma or offense. Chikako did a good job of carrying her, but Sakurai had a hard time with smoothness and fluidity. It was better when Chikayo kept it on the mat, as Sakurai seems more at home there. The fans were into it since Chigusa was at ringside cheering her protege on. Adequate match with decent drama. *1/2

Akira Hokuto vs. Miho Wakizawa. Wrestling seemed fine, but Wakizawa was as uncompetitive as you'd expect. 2:02 shown

Toshie Uematsu vs. Carlos Amano. Looked good until the lame finish. 1:12 shown

Man and Woman Mixed Tag Match: Kaori Nakayama & Ebessan vs. Sakura Hirota & Tigers Mask. 1:45 shown

Chigusa Nagayo & Toshiyo Yamada vs. Dynamite Kansai & Kyoko Inoue. Even though she has been downplaying herself somewhat, it's still hard to believe they'd digest Chigusa's match from one of the three biggest shows of the year. 2:32 shown

AAAW Single Senshukenjiai: Aja Kong vs. Meiko Satomura. Grueling match. About as fast paced as a long Aja singles match could be at this point. Aside from Aja grossly overselling right before the finish, the selling was aceptable considering the pace they were keeping up, which obviously slowed as they'd taken too many moves. What I liked about the match is it didn't look like their others. They did a lot of different moves, even though I could live without another person doing the spear (Aja) and a Muto shining wizard ripoff (Satomura). Lots of big moves to or on the floor. Satomura did an elbow off the top to the floor and a Death Valley bomb on the floor, while Aja backdropped Satomura on the floor and piledrove her through a table. Satomura stopped Aja's uraken with her overhead kick, while Aja turned Satomura's new shining kakato otoshi into a Death Valley bomb. Satomura's kicks had the look of hitting, but not hitting in the right spot. This was partly because Satomura's kakato otoshi's pale in comparison to Maekawa's since she kicks you in the area around the neck rather than on top of your head. In her third challenge against Aja, Satomura finally won the title. Very good to excellent match. 16:15 shown.
Michael Smith: I really liked this match a lot. Being that I hadn't seen Satomura in two years I was suprised by how stiff (though erratic at certain points) her strikes have become. Despite my previous rippings of Aja and her booking in ARSION, I have always given her credit for being great when she wants to be and she showed here she still can be. There were some negatves about this match though. The fact that about half the match was cut really hurt it's chances at being a MOTY candidate. It appeared to be, but who knows considering they seemed to only show the last half of it. The back-and-forth near falls were very good to great, but I feel that there were too many urakens from Aja and too many Death Valley bombs from Satomura. It could be debated that this didn't hurt the match in the sense both had beaten the other with their finisher's before and the fact that they did a very good job of putting over the toll of the match but it showed a lack of imagination on both their parts by not trying other things as well. It could also be said that it showed how desperate they were and how much respect that they had for each other by going to their big moves so quickly and often, but despite the fact that neither finisher was tarnished imo. It just became overkill to the point that with 3 or 4 minutes left in the match you knew that neither finisher would end it. It was nice that the crowd was hot for some of the near falls and hotter for the finish, but it was a shame that they couldn't be consistently into the entire match. All in all none of these things detracted from the match too much and I certainly recommend it to anyone doubting how good the current joshi scene can be. **** range

taped 12/24

Chigusa Nagayo & Aja Kong vs. Etsuko Mita & Mima Shimoda. Aja pinned Mita with her own Death Valley bomb. 5:09 shown

Chikayo Nagashima & Carlos Amano vs. Meiko Satomura & Toshiyo Yamada. Amano was impressive as always, but mainly what we saw were excellent Chikayo vs. Satomura sequences. There was an interesting one where Satomura blocked Chikayo's fisherman buster and tried her Death Valley bomb, but Chikayo turned it into a manjigatame. 5:30 shown