Mayumi Ozaki vs. Bad Nurse Nakamura. Read Undercard Review. **
Sugar Sato vs. Dynamite Kansai. *3/4
Reiko Amano & Chikayo Nagashima vs. Toshie Uematsu & Sonoko Kato. Read Review. ****
Ozaki & Sato vs. Kyoko Inoue & Yoshiko Tamura. Read Review. ***1/2
Chikayo Nagashima vs. Kaori Nakayama (FMW). Ozaki lets Kaori into the OZ Academy after Kaori begs her to during the post match. *3/4
Sugar Sato vs. Devil Masami (JWP). **
Aja Kong and Carlos (Rieko) Amano vs. Toshiyo Yamada & Meiko Satomura. ***1/2
Mayumi Ozaki vs. Mima Shimoda. Really bloody brawl. The blood came too easy. However, their selling, which made the match really dramatic, especially toward the finish, justified the amount of blood. It was a spotfest in a sense because they were either beating each other down with weapons or doing big moves, but the way they worked the key spots into the match, and played off what had already been done, both the seeds they planted through the teases and counters as well as revenge spots, made the moves have meaning. ****1/4
Aja Kong vs. Chikayo Nagashima. Wrestling wise, Chikayo may have been the better of the two here because her work was really good and Aja didn't look good bumping for her a few times. An all action match with good work, but Chikayo never had a prayer. Aja sold for her some, including a diving footstomp to the floor, but the damage never accumulated and two moves and it was over. ***
Kaori Nakayama vs. Sakura Hirota. Hirota made fun of Nakayama's pathetic Milky gimmick a lot before the match, and they played off that in the early portion, but mainly it was rest holds and useless submissions for the first 11 minutes. After that Kaori did a bunch of high spots and Sakura tried to bump for her. If the match was about 1/3 as long, it would have been okay because some of the comedy was funny (Hirota selling a low blow doesn't fall into that category though) and Kaori has a few good spots. This just seemed to go on forever though. *
Mayumi Ozaki vs. Akira Hokuto. We've waited 6 years for the rematch, and apparently that was a few too long because both have been GAEAized, Hokuto is washed up, and Ozaki hurt her knee on the first spot of the match. Ozaki was hobbling around the rest of the match, but it took Hokuto 4 1/2 minutes to pick up on this and then, after working it over a few minutes, she totally left it because the match was so short that it was time to do a few spots and go home. It was embarrassing seeing these two have such a mindless match, and Ozaki was off because of her knee. *1/2
Mayumi Ozaki & Aja Kong & Sugar Sato vs. Lioness Asuka & Mima Shimoda & Etsuko Mita. Helter skelter match with heavy use of chairs and tables. Good moves, but these women should be above the ECW TV match level of lets do everything we know in 9 minutes because we don't want people to get bored and flip the channel. Ozaki's knee wasn't as much of a factor against her and she was in and out, so she looked better here. **1/2
Chikayo Nagashima vs. Aja Kong. Aja took some of Chikayo's regular moves, but there's a difference between that and actually putting her over. Chikayo fought smart, using her athleticism to gain brief advantages. She did better as the match went on, working over Aja's arm in hopes of an arm submission. Aja didn't come close to making me believe she could lose though. It was worked fine, but it came off flat because there was pretty much no possibility to suspend disbelief. **1/4
Kaori Nakayaa vs. Sakura Hirota
Free Weapon Match: Sugar Sato vs. KAORU. This is either the highlight or lowlight of the show depending on whether you think those TLC matches are great or a contrived piece of trash. KAORU did the best she could, using the props to do a bunch of athletic stunts. She did a moonsault press with half a table, a moonsault attack off the stage, a senton off the top of a ladder in the ring to put Sato through a table on the floor, and a moonsault off the top of the ladder that didn't wind up working right. Both bled. Sato was even more horrible than usual, plodding around and lamely swinging or throwing objects. She put a barrel over KAORU and touched it with a mallet a few times. Of course, the match had no believability and was the king of contrived anyway. Both bled. *1/4
Mayumi Ozaki & Carlos Amano vs. Chigusa Nagayo & Dynamite Kansai. Ozaki still gets the best out of Kansai even though that's hardly what it used to be. Kansaid tried harder here and gave one of her most impressive performances of the Dynasaur era. Carlos also worked well with Chigusa doing the more "realistic" stuff. This wasn't the most exciting match, but it was pretty well worked and build a good bit of drama. Ozaki & Carlos did a good job. ***
Mayumi Ozaki & Carlos Amano & Sugar Sato & Chikayo Nagashima & Kaori Nakayama vs. Chigusa Nagayo & Dynamite Kansai & Sakura Hirota & Aja Kong & KAORU. More of a fun match. Hirota wore something of a KAORU outfit. KAORU posed with her then playfully kicked her in the behind for making fun of her. Basically 12 minutes of somewhat lighthearted action. Match couldn't build any intensity because of Hirota. It succeeded in entertaining and didn't aspire to anything more. **
History of OZ Academy
OZ BEST SELECTION. Highlights of the best matches from the previous 4 shows.
Akira Hokuto & Carlos Amano vs. Lioness Asuka & Devil Masami. Never really came together. Looked contrived and was a bit sloppy. Devil was particularly bad, plodding around so slowly that the spots seemed like bad choreography. *
Kyoko Inoue vs. Sugar Sato. This was a pleasant surprise. It was well worked considering Sato, who wasn't excessively lame today, was involved. Neither do many moves, but it was structured so it wasn't boring or repetitive. Kyoko sold a lot for Sugar, who did one or two different things like the superplex. **1/4
Meiko Satomura & Sumie Sakai vs. Chikayo Nagashima & Carlos Amano. This will definitely wind up being on of the most exciting women's matches of the year. A total sprint, but the action was very diverse. Satomura & Amano were doing some great technical wrestling. One cool spot was Amano catching Satomura's roundhouse kick and immediately spinning into an ankle. Really nice sequences done at such a fast pace. The action was almost too hyper. The problem was they only had 12 minutes, so they crammed 20 minutes worth of action into that time frame. If they had been given another 5 minutes the match would certainly have been excellent because the spots could have meant more and it would have been less chaotic. ***3/4
Chigusa Nagayo & Aja Kong & The Bloody vs. Mayumi Ozaki & Dynamite Kansai & Chikayo Nagashima. Fast paced match. The pace led to Kansai looking bad sometimes because she's trying to work faster than she can at this point. Ozaki did a lot since it was her only match. She looked good, especially when she was in with Bloody. Kansai & Chigusa didn't help, but Chikayo put on a good show again and Aja and particularly Bloody also contributed. It's ridiculous that Hokuto's match was the longest, but still this was the clearly the best Oz show since #2. ***
Man & Woman Mixed Tag Match: Kaori Nakayama & Sakura Hirota vs. KAORU & Police
Chikayo Nagashima vs. Carlos Amano. Good match, but I was expecting more considering how good and underrated these two are right now. Like a current NEO match where they do a little of everything. They went between the styles better, but with the match being less than 14 minutes they didn't really get into any one style all that much. Good to see Chikayo doing something more diverse even is she's not as good at it. Finish was cool although I'm not sure it was pulled off exactly as they envisioned. ***
Mayumi Ozaki & Chigusa Nagayo vs. Lioness Asuka & Aja Kong. Chaotic out of control match with gimmicks, double teaming, outside interference being the norm. Fun action packed match that was typically short and blending, but seemed different since no one thought about following the rules. **1/2
Mayumi Ozaki & Chikayo Nagashima & Carlos Amano vs. Takako Inoue & Toshie Uematsu & The Bloody. Bloody was the star of the match, doing really good stuff with each opponent. Everyone else was good, except Takako who has lost her athleticism and has miss and miss execution. Mostly the work was really good, with Uematsu not playing a big role, but impressing when she came in and Ozaki, Chikayo, Amano, & Carlos being about as good as expected. Too many problems when Takako was involved though. ***
Mayumi Ozaki vs. Kaori Nakayama. They had this match because Nakayama is retiring.
Nakayama couldn't have competed with Oz to begin with, but the retiremennt
made this that much less competitive. The early portion saw Ozaki waste time
and the other OZ Academy members help Kaori out. The match got good in the
last few minutes, but they didn't develop it at all. They just went right
from meandering to the finishing sequence, so there was really no reason
to care, especially with the inherent lack of drama from the obvious result.
MS: Oz did a nice job making Nakayama look decent, and the match was short enough not to expose Kaori much. Kaori had a couple of nice looking spots involving her using an Ace crusher, but she looked a little sloppy with almost everything else. Offensively Mayumi didn't do much, allowing Kaori to be in control most of the time, so the match wasn't as decent as it could've been otherwise. *1/4
Chigusa Nagayo & Fang Suzuki vs. Sakura Hirota & The Bloody. It's really
sickening to see Bloody be the #2 on a team with Suckura. Hirota wrestled
in a pink wig with a shirt that said fat?, prompting her to pick on Fang.
At one point she whipped Chigusa & Fang into the ropes by pinching their
rolls. By the time Bloody got involved the match was already ruined. Bloody
still did some nice stuff with Fang, but all the editors wanted to show was
Hirota's nonsense. Chigusa & Hirota reformed their team momentarily in
the midst of the match, but then Chigusa worked with Fang again. It's bad
enough that Hirota keeps finding ways to be that much dumber, but now Chigusa
is sporting pigtails and dancing around as if she's a schoolgirl. *
MS: This was a really cool match if you like Sakura's antics, but it probrably sucked if you don't. As far as actual wrestling goes, they didn't do much but there were some good spots and a pretty smart finish. What made the match worthwhile (since Bloody wasn't allowed to work here) was The Chubby One being her usual ingenious self. She can't wrestle much, and she doesn't really make an effort to, but she does take some solid bumps and is hysterical, so I always enjoy watching her work. And, of course, Chiggy getting jiggy is always chuckletime as well. (no rating because they didn't even bother to have an actual match)
Sugar Sato vs. Etsuko Mita. Mita is a true professional. Sugar is way too small
to be bowling her over with body attacks, but Mita went out of her way to
put over this kind of pathetic offense all match. Sugar's offense is so basic
at this point that it's hard for her to screw up much, but most of her moves
aren't interesting the first time much less the fourth. Mita ensured that
it was competent, simple, and always passable. She was too unselfish though.
Sato dominating the match resulted in low quality, and that didn't need to
happen considering Sato was also winning. This match was looking like one
of those matches where the star gets dominated then wins with 2 or 3 moves
when they finally go on offense, so it was shocking that Mita lost without
ever even getting going. *1/2
MS: While this was not even a decent match, Etsuko deserves a lot of credit for it not only being watchable but making Sugar look even halfway passable. Because at this point Sato runs like a car with Sugar in the gas tank. I was surprised that Sugar actually went over here, but again to her credit, Mita made the flash pin look good by not kicking out of it early but still vigorously trying to escape. She also didn't pop up immediately after the match ended which made Sugar look good as well, she just sat there with a shocked look on her face. Even though they only went 12 minutes, Sugar was totally blown up after the match to the point that a few minutes later she was huffing and puffing her way thru a post-match interview. *1/4
Carlos Amano vs. Aja Kong. Carlos made herself credible with takedowns into
submissions. Aja seemingly gave Carlos a brutal burial when she went on offense,
but surprisingly Carlos not only survived but took it to Aja. Her toughness
and spunk were impressive, but when she did lose it happened awfully quick.
MS: Both women looked good and the work was solid, but I felt the match was hurt by Amano not really pushing Aja at all. It basically came off like Aja told her "I'll do my stuff, you do yours, and then we'll go to the finish." As a result, there was no real excitement or anything interesting here because Amano wasn't never even remotely close to winning. ***
Chikayo Nagashima vs. Devil Masami. Chikayo is the perfect opponent for Devil
right now because she moves fast and takes the fight to Devil in a manner
that makes you forget Devil is hardly moving. To her credit, Devil took some
tough (for a woman of her size) bumps on Chikayo's various Frankensteiners.
Chikayo attacked Devil's left arm with flying and submission. Devil's offense
would begin by catching Chikayo in the air and throwing her. There was a
surprisingly great spot where Chikayo turned a running Ligerbomb into a huracanrana.
The match was a bit repetitive though because it was built around Chikayo
jumping at Devil from largely the same position. ***
MS: In contrast to the last match, Chikayo actually pushed Devil here and it wouldn't have shocked you if she had managed to win. Devil did as good a job as she can these days bumping for Chikayo, and she also let Chikayo have the majority of the offense in the match. And as a result, Devil pinning her came off as her being somewhat lucky to win as opposed to her just waiting to like Aja. While the work wasn't as good as the last match, the story they told was better and made for a more enjoyable match. ***1/4
Mayumi Ozaki & Mima Shimoda vs. KAORU & Takako Inoue. Awful garbage
match where everyone dumbed down to KAORU's level. A tables, a ladder, a
chain, and a chair, but absolute no reason for anyone to care. What was frustrating
was not even so much that the gimmicks were rolled out indiscriminately,
but that it was deliberate lifeless contrived low impact brawling. Everyone
but Takako bled. KAORU got to the top step of the ladder, but Ozaki pushed
it over so KAORU took a bump to the floor (well, she pretty much jumped and
tried to land on her feet). Ozaki gave KAORU a shining wizard with a chain,
but Takako made the save so KAORU proceeded to slip out of Ozaki's thunderfire
powerbomb. Shimoda caught her with a flying chair and Ozaki hit her uraken,
but Super KAORU still kicked out at 1! These kind of antics were the reason
the nearfalls weren't interesting. Later, Ozaki jumped off Takako's back
for a shining wizard. *
MS: Being that this was somewhat of a dream match for me, I was really jazzed about it going in. The chemistry D-FIX has is so strong that everything Oz and KAORU do together is at least good whether they are on the same or different teams. Unfortunately, the efforts of them and Shimoda (as Takako didn't try to do much here) were dogged by sloppiness and miscommunication from everyone. I would've liked to have seen more wrestling in the early going and overall less brawling (though I realize that's pretty much all KAORU does these days). Normally I enjoy seeing KAORU's brawling style but here, aside from a few nice moments, there was just way too much garbage and no build to the match whatsoever. Once everyone but Takako bladed (Shimoda big-time) they just went to totally brawling and they weren't able to rise above a sloppy looking ECW match. The ending sequence rescued the match somewhat as Oz did a few cool shining wizards, including the finish off Takako's back onto KAORU, but Shimoda looked as bad as I've ever seen her and as I mentioned before, Takako was largely useless here. However, I would like to see a rematch or more ideally D-FIX vs. Shimoda/Takako under different and better circumstances. *1/2
KAORU & Sakura Hirota vs. Aja Kong & Carlos Amano 12:23 of 13:57. Amano did some wrestling early, but with Hirota it quickly degenerated into clowning. KAORU didn't want to tag Hirota, so Hirota pulled a wallet out of her ass and tried to pay KAORU to let her come in. KAORU eventually accepted, hiding the money in her breasts. KAORU did little beyond her table spots. Police was ref, so he was doing the quick count/slow count routine. Eventually Hirota got pissed at KAORU for charging her for tags, so she saved Amano, prompting KAORU to attack her. Kong & Amano then double teamed KAORU, leading to Carlos pinning her. 1/2*
Free Weapon Match: Chikayo Nagashima vs. Sugar Sato 16:10 of 19:48. The weapons didn't add much, perhaps even detracted as the match was more corny than anything else. They tried to build to knocking each other off the stage, but that wound up making it more contrived because Sato was just standing there at the edge waiting while Nagashima tried to get anyone to care whether Sato took the plunge. Nagashima put Sato in a big mesh sack and tied her to the ropes then did some moves with Sato “trapped”. *1/4
Mayumi Ozaki & Manami Toyota vs. Toshiyo Yamada & Ran Yu-Yu 16:51 of 17:36 Not a major effort, but a good match with Ran logging a lot of ring time and very sharp against both Ozaki & Toyota. Ozaki was good, but Ran was clearly the best worker in the match. Ozaki & Toyota got into an argument when they collided charging at Ran. Ozaki then urakened her own partner, but Ran was in bad enough shape she was quickly able to finish her off on her own. ***
Mayumi Ozaki & Devil Masami & Dynamite Kansai & Carlos Amano & Ran Yu-Yu vs. Chigusa Nagayo & Meiko Satomura & Chikayo Nagashima & Sugar Sato & Toshie Uematsu 25:14 Energetic match. They kept everyone involved with quick tags and regular double teams. There were plenty of nice spots, but they didn't kill all the finishers like they usually do in GAEA, and Nagayo was well hidden. Nagashima was the best worker, particularly shining with Ozaki & Amano. ***1/4
One Night Summer Jumbo Tag Tournament 1st Round:
Mayumi Ozaki & KAORU vs. Takako Inoue & Michiko Omukai 18:00. This is exactly the sort of brawl Ozaki shouldn't be doing, the kind of all show and gimmick but no intensity or meaning nonsense that she worked against in her prime, but has succumbed to since teaming with KAORU. There needs to be some sense of genuine hatred or malice if you are going to go as far as to hang someone by a chain, but this was all posing to the point of being difficult to take seriously, much less care about. If you like matches that meander endlessly for the sole purpose of exhausting every weapon, this may be your thing, but I was having trouble keeping my eyes open. *1/4
Lioness Asuka & Aja Kong vs. Carlos Amano & Mima Shimoda 14:41. Started goofy with logic such as Amano & Shimoda deciding since they were hurting their head giving Aja single headbutts, the solution was a double headbutt! Luckily, they got more serious as the match progressed, and everyone wound up making a pretty fair showing. They are capable of a lot more, but in the end, it was good enough for a 1st round match. Kong seemed to take it more seriously than the others, giving her typical solid performance. Shimoda was the most active, but a bit more erratic than she usually is in tag. **1/2
Shinobu Kandori & Eagle Sawai vs. Devil Masami & Kyoko Inoue 6:40. More or less a singles match between Sawai & Inoue. They worked well together a decade ago, and this started out promising enough, but then just ended out of nowhere.
Chikayo Nagashima & Etsuko Mita vs. Chigusa Nagayo & Dynamite Kansai 7:54. It took Nagashima all of 1 minute to rise to the level of being the best wrestler of the day. If you aren't going to do stiffness and psychology, you better be able to move and control your body, and that, in addition to speed and quickness, is what Chikayo brings in spades. She single handedly made the match, alternating between bumping like crazy and doing nifty counters to the old girls power moves. Kansai & Nagayo stepped it up because Nagashima wasn't allowing them to get away with being lazy. Mita had limited involvement, but that wasn't really a bad thing. It was short, but what you want with Nagayo & Kansai is quality, if they can still provide any, and Nagashima greatly raised the level of the opposition en route to making it a fairly entertain little match. **1/2
Mayumi Ozaki & KAORU vs. Aja Kong & Lioness Asuka 15:20. Asuka is guilty of a lot of the bad brawling mentality I was complaining about earlier, but she is such a talented worker she makes it seem a skillful variation of the normal workrate match. KAORU was far more effective than in her first round match because she took on the role of the flyer amidst the brawlers rather than focusing on her table wielding. Not that I'm thrilled by KAORU the spotfu fighter, but unlike her brawling, her execution of aerial maneuvers have never been in question. Asuka always tends to work hard with KAORU because she knows KAORU is a very capable worker who wants to put on a good show, but KAORU tends to bring out the worst in Asuka, always getting her in top this mode. I thought Asuka was pretty effective here though, as although she was predictably spot happy, she was mixing the spots rather than exhausting the finishers or getting so crazy with the gimmicks both would be dead halfway through the match. The problems with this match had little to do with Asuka or KAORU, but rather that Ozaki was rather sloppy again, and Aja, while not doing anything wrong per se, also wasn't really adding anything to the match. **3/4
Chigusa Nagayo & Dynamite Kansai vs. Shinobu Kandori & Eagle Sawai 0:17. I can't say I'm heartbroken that they didn't go 15 minutes, but they might as well have given Kandori & Eagle a bye to the finals as had Kandori submit Kansai in the blink of an eye.
One Night Summer Jumbo Tag Tournament Final: Mayumi Ozaki & KAORU vs. Shinobu Kandori & Eagle Sawai 13:03. At this point I should mention that while I don't mind brawls, they do start to get rather tedious when Nagashima is the only one doing a straight match the entire night (unless you count the semifinal which was simply a submission). It's not the genre, but rather the style where you get blood in every match, but there's no real drama or anything to make you believe in what they are doing. I expect more from Ozaki than simply wielding a chain and getting outshined by KAORU, who was good. Ozaki was okay in this match, but she needs to be better in a tournament final. I hoped Kandori was saving it for the final considering she really didn't participate in the 1st two matches, but again she was just kind of there, carried by Eagle who was just adequate but deserves credit for at least working hard in the two actual matches. *3/4
Iron Woman Singles Tournament 1st Round:
Ayako Hamada vs. Chikayo Nagashima 5:39 of 14:59. A very entertaining match that was the highlight of the 1st round, and probably the second best match of the tournament. Extremely fast paced action with both women emptying their arsenal. A couple spots were slightly off, but the level of difficulty put everything else on the show to shame.
Amazing Kong vs. Carlos Amano 4:26 of 4:37. The first half was what you'd expect with big vs. small and power vs. speed spots then they went to the outside where Amano turned it into a brawl, leading to the slowest ring out in history. Amano avoided a diving body press off the middle rope to the floor, with Kong breaking the table she'd set Amano up on just before the count of 13. Amano followed with her Carlos goon off the apron and a kick in the 40 seconds it took the ref to make it to 20 and ring out Kong. Passable while it lasted. Kong gives a lot more convincingly than she takes, but she was making an effort.
Aja Kong vs. Yumi Oka 2:51 of 4:50. They may as well have given Kong a bye. I mean, Kong is twice Oka's age and weight, but she can still move as quickly when she wants to, and speed is the “strength” of Oka's game. Kong sold a couple of athletic spots to be nice, but basically one blow from Kong did more damage than 25 of Oka's would have, so Oka was finished after Kong hit her a couple times. Oka was more than competent in what aired.
Manami Toyota vs. Michiko Omukai 4:04 of 4:57. Initial promise didn't really pan out. Toyota had impressive offense early and did step it up for the big show, but unfortunately, Omukai wasn't really on and wasn't always reacting quickly or confidently enough to Toyota's openings. The first few minutes were Toyota's workrate style, but suddenly they switched to a couple of Akira Hokuto vs. Shinobu Kandori 4/2/93 style gu punch exchanges. This should have benefited Omukai since, at times, it seems striking is the only thing she can still do, but for whatever reason Toyota knocked her block off then won with her queen bee bomb.
Shark Tsuchiya vs. Chigusa Nagayo 9:21 of 11:52. Garbage brawl where they proceeded from one spot to another. It was a spectacle, but it lacked the drama of the Mr. Pogo vs. Atsushi Onita matches they were mimicing. Shark totally dominated, with Chigusa bleeding heavily. She wrapped Nagayo in barbed wire and did lariats until Chigusa came back ducking one and using her body as a battering ram to barb wire Shark (and herself). Shark actually sold a little, but once Chigusa tried to up the ante by using the barbed wire boards you knew Shark would immediately comeback since she never takes any legitimate damage with any of the gimmicks or weapons. Shark soon blew two fireballs on Chigusa for the pin. *
Mayumi Ozaki vs. Yumiko Hotta 3:07. Ozaki came out with a cigarette in her mouth, and well, that's about how seriously they took this one. It's hard to call this a match, and it's very annoying that they purported to present a main event when they were actually doing little more than giving Ozaki a free pass. Police was the ref, but Mima Shimoda was an active second for Hotta, so there was a ton of shenanigans but no substance. When Police's slow count didn't work, he simply attacked Hotta to break her pin attempt.
Takako Inoue vs. Lioness Asuka 3:50 of 4:52. Asuka was really good here, making it a worthwhile short match despite Police's heel ref shenanigans being the backbone of the typical shady OZ Academy victory. They teased the stun gun early with Police trying to hold Asuka, but Lioness attacked Police as soon as he slow counted her. Police was still down when Asuka was ready to try another pin attempt, and by the time he recovered, Ozaki launched a sneak attack on Lioness with a chair then Takako used the stun gun and uraken and Police did the super fast 3 count.
Sugar Sato vs. Dynamite Kansai 4:27 of 9:54. They made an effort to do a wrestling match, despite Sato bringing her drum into the ring. I expected very little, but actually both were on, seeming much looser and more confident than usual. Their match was not only more than acceptable, but probably one of the better first round matches.
Iron Woman Tag Tournament 1st Round:
Chikayo Nagashima & Amazing Kong vs. Michiko Omukai & Yumi Oka 3:53 of 5:56. Fast paced match with nice counters. The sequences were speedier and more complex, but Omukai was much better here, this time up to the task. Of course, it was Nagashima who was all over the place and single handedly making the match, which contained by far the best work since Nagashima's match against Hamada. Nagashima was really distinguishing herself tonight.
Chigusa Nagayo & Yumiko Hotta vs. Lioness Asuka & Dynamite Kansai 4:27 of 10:29. Better than expected, largely due to a good performance by an energetic Chigusa Nagayo, who was warmed up now and wrestling surprisingly well. They used the pace, a considerable amount of double teams, near falls and saves to develop a sense of urgency. The downside was Hotta, who was sucking pretty badly, particularly when using, or should I say, barely connecting with the chain.
Iron Woman Singles Tournament 2nd Round 2 digest
Iron Woman Tag Tournament Semifinal: Chikayo Nagashima & Amazing Kong vs. Chigusa Nagayo & Yumiko Hotta 5:08 of 7:06. Typical Chigusa sprint. Hotta isn't at home in this sort of match, but Nagashima made it worthwhile. Nagayo did a good job and actually let Nagashima pin her without it coming off flukey.
Iron Woman Tag Tournament Semifinal: Aja Kong & Ayako Hamada vs. Shark Tsuchiya & Takako Inoue 6:12 of 7:12. Match started out all over the place with Hamada doing her flying moves in between Shark choking her with a barbed wire rod. In the end, Hamada's style won out, and it was an enjoyable sprint where Tsuchiya's involvement was kept to a minimum. Takako was actually running from corner to corner to do her Takako panic.
Iron Woman Singles Tournament Semifinal: Carlos Amano vs. Manami Toyota 0:53. I don't mind a quick pin if it's earned through some good offense or even a nifty counter, but Amano just tried a couple basic pins and that was the match.
Iron Woman Singles Tournament Semifinal: Mayumi Ozaki vs. Sugar Sato 4:48 of 7:19. Sato was on offense until the final two moves, pushing Ozaki to some extent. She was using her drum to chokeslam Ozaki onto, but the first one didn't go as planned, with Ozaki banging her elbow because Sato put her down sideways. Ozaki eventually used the drum to her advantage, Oz kicking Sato off the drum for the win.
Iron Woman Tag Tournament Final: Chikayo Nagashima & Amazing Kong vs. Aja Kong & Ayako Hamada 8:02 of 8:58. They worked a dissension angle between Amazing & Nagashima beginning with Amazing pushing Nagashima off the apron because she didn't get her a chair. Nagashima finally cooperated, but Aja saw Nagashima trying to break her pinfall with a chair shot and rolled out of the way. Amazing started to slap Nagashima around, but Hamada snuck up from behind with a pin attempt. Amazing soon became so frustrated she decided to tank the match, following Aja's backdrop to Nagashima with a diving body press, but Nagashima avoided her partner's attack as well as the Kong's subsequent attempt to sandwich her. Amazing had the better position than Aja to save Hamada when Nagashima turned her AP cross into a pin attempt, but she remembered she got more money if they won so she allowed her partner to score the pinfall. **
Iron Woman Tag Tournament Final 4 Way Match: Manami Toyota vs. Sugar Sato vs. Amazing Kong vs. Chikayo Nagashima 9:02. Something different, and the wrestling was consistently pretty good. As expected, Nagashima pretty much wrestled circles around everyone. Sato also had a good night though, fairing well in all of her matches, and Toyota provided some hot offense. The main drawback is they always had all four in the ring, so half the time one or two of them were just laying around, which didn't exactly add to the credibility.
Iron Woman Tournament Final: Mayumi Ozaki vs. Carlos Amano 14:53 of 16:53. After all these hours, we finally got two wrestlers going all out to deliver a memorable match. That's perhaps not the knock on the performers it sounds like, as the format sets them up for a handful of short matches rather than one potentially substantial one. In any case, to an extent they wrestled as if it were going to be another brief excursion, keeping the pace high and more or less doing big moves from start to finish. However, there were quite a few important differences from the typical OZ Academy match, most importantly they took the time to act and sell to give the contest some substance and aura. There was good intensity from the get go. The story was Amano was really pushing Ozaki, particularly abusing her arm to setup the cross armbar. Police stayed out of it during the first half, but then interjected himself when Ozaki was in danger of being forced to submit. Though he was an important part of the match, rather than being the typical mind numbing handicap match, Police was largely relegated to making saves as a tag partner would. Ozaki was in top form here, going all out to not only have an excellent match, but also to make her understudy a star. It was the sort of match where Amano was pushing so hard you figured she'd ultimately lose by getting screwed over by the law, but Ozaki made the wise decision, giving Amano the opportunity to become a star by putting her over on the biggest show in the history of the company. ***3/4
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