6/11/99 Tokyo Nippon Budokan, Sankan Heavykyu Senshukenjiai: Mitsuharu Misawa vs. Kenta Kobashi
6/4/99 Sapporo Nakajima Taiiku Center
Sayonara Sapporo Nakajima Taiiku Center Kinen Jiai: Mitsuharu Misawa & Akira Taue vs. Toshiaki Kawada & Kenta Kobashi
Asia Tag Senshukenjiai: Hayabusa & Jinsei Shinzaki vs. Takao Omori & Yoshihiro Takayama
6/9/99 Sendai Miyagi-ken Sports Center
Sekai Tag Senshukenjiai: Kenta Kobashi & Jun Akiyama vs. Johnny Ace & Bart Gunn. Ace & Gunn win titles.
Sekai Junior Heavykyu Senshukenjiai: Yoshinari Ogawa vs. Kentaro Shiga
6/11/99 Tokyo Nippon Budokan
Toshiaki Kawada & Akira Taue vs. Takao Omori & Yoshihiro Takayama
AJ Title: Manami Toyota vs. Toshiyo Yamada
Chikako Hasegawa (Shiratori) & Masami Watanabe (ASARI) vs. Rie Tamada & Sachiko Nakamura. *
Midget Puroresu: Tomezo Tsunokake vs. Mr. Buddhaman. DUD
Saemi Numata vs. Bat Yoshinaga. *
Suzuka Minami vs. Yumiko Hotta. Really strong work with strong execution and all their big spots. The storyline of Suzuka working over Hotta's bad knee was good, but they made the mistake of dropping it when they went to the near falls back and forth. ****
Debbie Malenko & Sakie Hasegawa vs. Terri Power & Kaoru Ito. ***1/2
Kyoko Inoue vs. Takako Inoue. The beginning had no purpose, but it turned into an excellent spot oriented match with heat when Takako took control and nearly beat Kyoko via count out. Both women worked really hard. ***1/2
Toshiyo Yamada & Manami Toyota vs. Aja Kong & Bull Nakano. Fast-paced, all action Toyota style match. ****
Akira Hokuto & Etsuko Mita & Mima Shimoda vs. Harley Saito & Eagle Sawai & Miki Handa (LLPW team). Great intensity and story. They really played up the interpromotional aspect, as they needed to because this was kicking off the AJW vs. LLPW feud. Hokuto was born to do this kind of match. Harley was really at the top of her game in 1993, and she was the second best here, trailing Hokuto, of course. The post match added heat to this rivalry and put heat on the upcoming Hokuto vs. Kandori match. ****1/4
I could write just about the same heading for this show as I did DREAMSLAM 1. Again, a must see show that's one of the three best shows ever!
Sakie Hasegawa vs. Hikari Fukuoka (JWP). ***1/2
Kaoru Ito & Tomoko Watanabe & Saemi Numata vs. Utako Hozumi & Leo Kitamura & Mikiko Futagami (LLPW team). **1/2
Terri Power & Bat Yoshinaga vs. Rumi Kazami & Miki Handa (LLPW team). **
Etsuko Mita & Mima Shimoda vs. Combat Toyoda & Megumi Kudo (FMW team). ****
Kyoko Inoue & Takako Inoue & Yumiko Hotta vs. Cuty Suzuki & Plum Mariko & Bolshoi Kid (JWP team). This is the classic match where Hotta punts The Damn Clown. ****1/4
Suzuka Minami vs. Harley Saito (LLPW). ****1/4
Memorial Superfight: Chigusa Nagayo vs. Bull Nakano. ***
Aja Kong & Akira Hokuto vs. Shinobu Kandori & Eagle Sawai (LLPW team). Read Review 20:43. ***3/4
2/3 Falls WWWA World Tag Championship: Toshiyo Yamada & Manami Toyota vs. Dynamite Kansai & Mayumi Ozaki. 1993 Observer Match of the Year. Read Review 0:12, 14:55, 16:04. *****
Buddhaman vs. Tsunokake. DUD
Handicap Match: Chikako Shiratori & Chaparrita ASARI vs. Tomoko Watanabe. Masami Watanabe is getting her first push, now renamed Chaparrita ASARI, which means cute little clam. Tomoko Watanabe dominated both opponents. Her work was pretty good, but the other two weren't very good and their offense was basic. *
Mima Shimoda & Numacchi vs. Suzuka Minami & Etsuko Mita. Mima & Suzuka were very good and worked really well together. "Numacchi in the middle" was funny. ***
Bull Nakano vs. Bat Yoshinaga. Surprisingly good. Bull sold for most of the first 11 ½ minutes, which gave Bat credibility. Bull did a vicious powerbomb where she drops Bat almost like a Tiger Driver '91. ***
Japan Grand Prix '93 Semifinal: Manami Toyota vs. Akira Hokuto. Great match, of course, with super work and great build. Heated and intense as hell. Hokuto carried the match, instilling her top notch drama and psychology. Hokuto was working with a blown out knee, so Toyota attacked it fiercely, and Hokuto sold the knee incredibly well. ****1/2
Japan Grand Prix'93 Semifinal: Yumiko Hotta vs. Harley Saito. Both women kicked the hell out of each other. Lots of mirror spots. Hotta didn't look good here. **3/4
Aja Kong & Infernal KAORU & Kaoru Ito vs. Toshiyo Yamada & Kyoko Inoue & Takako Inoue. Very good and exciting match. Nice work. Aja & Yamada were the best. ***3/4
Japan Grand Prix '93 Final: Akira Hokuto vs. Yumiko Hotta. Hokuto carried the one-dimensional Hotta to a dramatic and memorable final. Hotta began her all out attack on Hokuto's bad knee with powerful kicks before the bell even rang. Hokuto's selling was excellent, making the match seem "realistic." Very strong psychology, great storyline, and excellent build to a climactic finish. Hall of Fame performance by Hokuto. Hokuto wins Japan Grand Prix '93. ****1/4.
Etsuko Mita & Tomoko Watanabe & Numacchi vs. Carol Midori & Mizuki Endo & Mikiko Futagami (LLPW team). It went along at a good pace, and there were no real lulls in the action, but it got sloppy in some parts and there wasn't much to get excited about. Mita was the lone veteran in the match, so she basically dominated the LLPW women when she was in, making it clear that she could pin them any time she felt like it. **
Roller Coaster 4 x 4 Captain Fall Match: Mima Shimoda (captain) & Kaoru Ito & The Goddess Chikako Shiratori & Chaparrita ASARI vs. Cuty Suzuki (captain) & Plum Mariko & Hikari Fukuoka & Command Bolshoi (JWP team). This match ruled, and I was suitably stoked because now I have a match with The Goddess that I could send somebody and they would actually want to watch it. This was all action from start to finish with tons of double, triple, and quadruple teaming, including an attempted quadruple dropkick and the requisite consecutive plancha spot. It was fast-paced early with basic moves, building to the big spots later on. Everyone contributed to this match, but Ito was the most impressive of the bunch. ****1/4
Sakie Hasegawa & Takako Inoue vs. Shinobu Kandori & Kurenai Yasha (LLPW team). This had great heat, particularly when Kandori was in. The match was built around Kandori's submissions, particularly her choke sleeper. For ring work, the other three weren't on the same planet as Sakie. However, Takako was pretty effective here, getting big pops when she got stiff with Kandori and when she used her Destiny Hammer on Kandori for a near fall. ***
Yumiko Hotta & Suzuka Minami vs. Bull Nakano & Reggie Bennett in a match billed as "Star & Rising Sun 4 VIPS." This was a boring slow-paced match with Suzuka being the best worker, but no one looking particularly good or bad. The match picked up after the 9-minute mark with Bull & Suzuka in, and continued with Suzuka & Bennett exchanging signature spots. Bennett's work wasn't smooth and fluid, which hurt the closing minutes. A big near fall came when Bull hit her guillotine leg drop then Bennett splashed Suzuka. Bennett then put Suzuka in her Reggie rack (Argentine backbreaker/torture rack) for the win. ***
Star & Rising Sun 4 VIPS: Yumiko Hotta & Suzuka Minami vs. Bull Nakano & Reggie Bennett. Not technically bad, but slow paced and kind of boring. Suzuka was the best worker, but no one looked particularly good or bad. **
Kyoko Inoue vs. Devil Masami (JWP). This was both exactly what it had to be and everything you could ask for from a singles match between these two. The storyline and psychology were great, and the match built perfectly. They worked a slow-paced Devil style match with Devil controlling the match, but Kyoko making comebacks by countering Devil's moves. Kyoko's comebacks were short lived though, as Devil would quickly cut her off, usually by avoiding or countering one of Kyoko's moves. I usually hate flash pins, but based on the body of the match, it was the perfect finish. ****1/4
Rainbow Sensation: Manami Toyota vs. Mayumi Ozaki (JWP). This match had much more mat wrestling then you would expect, but both women were really effective in that aspect. Unfortunately, while the match was solid and the quality was strong, it never really kicked into high gear. There was a conscious effort in this match, and the next, to keep the main finishers strong, with the main psychology here being whether Ozaki could put Toyota away before Manami J.O.C. suplexed her for the win. It was an excellent match, but not as good as expected. ****1/4
Toshiyo Yamada vs. Dynamite Kansai (JWP). This was the best match on the show, and it was a great match. Yamada was at the peak of her excellence during this time period. As usual, she did whatever it took to have a great match, which in this case meant absorbing a tremendous beating, but also dishing one out. This was really stiff, like All Japan main event level of stiffness, and the execution was very crisp. The storyline of this match, to a much greater extent than the last match, was that it was a battle of the two main finishers, Yamada's reverse Gori special bomb and Kansai's splash mountain. As with the last match, they were trying to strengthen the finishers, and it became clear that the women who successfully executed her finisher first would be the winner. Grueling match. ****1/2
The Marinepiad Biggest: Aja Kong vs. Akira Hokuto. Hokuto had knee surgery two weeks earlier, and was still walking with crutches that day. She should have been recovering her meniscus and PCL, but being so banged up she had no business wrestling at all never made Hokuto turn down a big match. It understandably didn't approach the standard of excellence one would expect from these two, but it was a memorable match to the extent that Hokuto's performance was one of the gutsiest of all-time. Aja totally dominated Hokuto, predominantly kicking Hokuto's bad knee or working it over with submission holds. This match epitomizes Hokuto's legendary never say die attitude, but it wasn't that great of a match becase she just wasn't physically able to compete with Aja. **3/4
Tomoko Watanabe & Chikako Shiratori vs. Utako Hozumi & Leo Kitamura
Midget Puroresu: Little Frankie vs. Mr. Buddhaman
Zen Nihon Junior Senshukenjiai: Chaparrita ASARI vs. Candy Okutsu
Zen Nihon Tag Senshukenjiai: Sakie Hasegawa & Kaoru Ito vs. Miki Handa & Kurenai Yasha
Combat Toyoda vs. Suzuka Minami
Zenjo Izumu vs. Pure Heart Scramble Jungle: Bull Nakano & Etsuko Mita & Mima Shimoda vs. Cuty Suzuki & Plum Mariko & Hikari Fukuoka
WWWA Sekai Single Senshukenjiai: Aja Kong vs. Megumi Kudo
WWWA Sekai Tag Senshukenjiai: Dynamite Kansai & Mayumi Ozaki vs. Toshiyo Yamada & Manami Toyota. The underrated match of the trio sees them shift completely to the glamorous Toyota style. Read Review 25:33. *****
Dangerous Queen Tokyo Saiban (trial): Akira Hokuto vs. Shinobu Kandori. Read Review 21:15. ****1/2
Personal video of Yamada & Toyota in Saipan for a photo shoot and to make a rock video for "Power of the Dream." Highlight of the tape is Toyota moonsaulting into a pool.
3-5 minutes of highlights from each match on AJW 1/4/94 Tokyo Korakuen Hall
The Goddess Chikako Shiratori vs. Rie Tamada
Kaoru Ito vs. Numacchi
AJ Title: Mima Shimoda vs. Tomoko Watanabe
Etsuko Mita vs. Suzuka Minami
Kyoko Inoue vs. Sakie Hasegawa
Manami Toyota vs. Bull Nakano
Toshiyo Yamada vs. Takako Inoue
Aja Kong vs. Yumiko Hotta
1/24/94 Tokyo Ota-ku Taiikukan
Captain Fall Survival War: Numacchi & The Goddess Shiratori & Miki Yokoe & Akiko Abe vs. Tomoko Watanabe & Rie Tamada & Kumiko Maekawa & Miho Ikari
Mr. Buddhaman vs. Tomezo Tsunokake
Suzuka Minami & Takako Inoue vs. Sakie Hasegawa & Kaoru Ito
Bull Nakano vs. Kyoko Inoue. The first 2/3 was very slow-paced with too many submission holds. Kyoko accidentally got her ankle caught in the ropes and was screaming in pain so they had to untie her. Althogh Kyoko was a little hobbled, the match really picked up from there, turning into an excellent match in the last third. The fans got really into this, particularly when Kyoko kicked out of and avoided Bull's guillotine leg drop finisher. This match would have been much better if it was 17 minutes instead of 27. Bull pretty much dictated the entire match. ***1/2
2/3 Falls WWWA World Tag Titles: Toshiyo Yamada & Manami Toyota vs. Etsuko Mita & Mima Shimoda. All action. Excellent work. All the big spots. Near perfect execution over a 35 minute match. Hot crowd that was really pulling for the upset. 3rd wall was particularly awesome. Yamada, who was still at the top of her game here, was the standout. Toyota was the 2nd best. The problem with this match is that the past was so fast that there wasn't much selling. Even after 30 minutes of big spots they didn't slow the pace or do anything to show that all these great moves were taking their toll. ****1/2
WWWA World Single Title: Aja Kong vs. Yumiko Hotta. This was just brutal. It was worked to look like a "real fight," as they were really intense and they stiffed each other back and forth. Another heated match. Hotta got a cut on her hand from one of the times she hit Aja in the head and it bled like crazy. Aja worked over the hand, which was cool because it's not something you see done often. At one point they wrapped it up in gauze, but it wasn't going to be much help so Hotta threw it off to show her toughness. Actually, Hotta did a great job of putting over the brutal beating Aja was dishing out without compromising her tough woman gimmick. The problem with this match is that it was rather onesided, which did kind of compromise Hotta's gimmick. ****1/2
Blizzard Yuki Debut Match: Blizzard Yuki vs. Mariko Yoshida 12:03. ***1/4
V*TOP WOMAN Nippon Senshuken (championship title) Tournament Round 1: Yumiko Hotta vs. Combat Toyoda (FMW) 16:55. ****3/4
V*TOP WOMAN Nippon Senshuken (championship title) Tournament Round 1: Akira Hokuto vs. Eagle Sawai (LLPW) 11:08. ***1/2
V*TOP WOMAN Nippon Senshuken Tournament Round 1: Manami Toyota vs. Aja Kong 17:19. ****3/4
V*TOP WOMAN Nippon Senshuken (championship title) Tournament Round 1: Kyoko Inoue vs. Dynamite Kansai (JWP) 17:39. ****1/2
Miss Wrestling Universe Tag Summit: Takako Inoue & Cuty Suzuki (JWP) vs. Megumi Kudo (FMW) & Hikari Fukuoka (JWP) 14:04. ***1/4
Yuka Shiina & Nobue Endo (Saya) vs. Yoshiko Tamura & Misae Watanabe (Genki). Bad and boring AJW rookies match with no one distinguishing themselves. 1/2*
Midget Puroresu (handicap match): Mister Buddhaman vs. Little Frankie & Tomezo Tsunokake. Good for an AJW midget match with some decent wrestling, mainly by Tsunokake, and different spots. *1/4
Zen Nihon Senshuken: Kaoru Ito vs. Tomoko Watanabe. Very good match with solid and polished work. Both women looked deserving of a bigger push. ***1/2
Handicap Junior Trial match: Reggie Bennett vs. Rie Tamada & Kumiko Maekawa & Chaparrita ASARI. Three separate squash matches with Bennett winning each in under 1:30. Really bad way to use the youngsters that you need to become the stars of the company a couple years down the line. DUD
Zenjo vs. Rideen Array: Lioness Asuka & Jaguar Yokota & Bison Kimura vs. Suzuka Minami & Etsuko Mita & Mima Shimoda. Very good and heated bout. There was bad blood between the teams, especially between Mita and her idol Bison, who went at it during the opening ceremonies and pre-match introductions. Very high workrate. Cachoras team did a lot of teaming, especially on Bison who they wanted to take out. Bison gets a cut on her head when Mita piledrove her on a chair and also got a nasty bruise on her shoulder later on. ****
4/2 Tokyo Dome Shinshutssha Pasen! (advance melee) Zenjo BEST 8 Dead Heat Rumble Survival Elimination Match: Aja Kong & Toshiyo Yamada & Kyoko Inoue & Mariko Yoshida vs. Yumiko Hotta & Manami Toyota & Takako Inoue & Sakie Hasegawa. When there was a pinfall the loser was eliminated, but the winner also left the match as they now earned their spot on the Dome show. Great workrate, exciting match, and very high stakes. Takako turned on Toyota, opting to help her regular partner Kyoko instead. Hotta was also a traitor to Manami. Best action may have been the final sequence where the two lowest ranked wrestlers, Sakie and Yoshida, were battling it out for the last spot. ****1/4
Yumi Fukawa vs. Yoshiko Tamura
Midget Death Match: Atsushi Obuddha (Buddhaman) vs. Tsunokake. Buddhaman dresses up like Onita, and I don't know what Tsunokake was supposed to be, but they make a mockery out of the style FMW death match. They have little explosions and everything.
AJ Junior Title: Chaparrita ASARI vs. Nobue Endo (Saya)
Takako Inoue & Tomoko Watanabe & Kumiko Maekawa vs. Mariko Yoshida & Kaoru Ito & Rie Tamada. Good match with Watanabe, who really carried things for her side, being the best of the 6.
Aja Kong & Reggie Bennett vs. Lioness Asuka & Bison Kimura. Aja is pretty awesome in this one. She disregards her former partner Bison because only Lioness is good enough for her. However, Bison keeps coming at Aja even though Aja is brutalizing her just about every time.
Minami Retirement Memorial: Suzuka Minami & Yumiko Hotta vs. Las Cachorras Orientales. Minami is as over as she ever was in her career on this night . Very good workrate match. After the match is over, Bull & her former Marine Wolves partner Hokuto come out and Minami gets incredibly emotional.
3 Minute Exhibition Match: Marine Wolves vs. Bull & Hotta. All action and heated. Minami worked over Bull's bad knees. This, of course, went to the time limit, but Minami didn't want to quit just yet, so her and Hokuto did a double Northern Lights bomb, the only time I've ever seen that, to Bull. Suzuka then covered Bull, and Bull didn't kick out, allowing Minami to go out with an unofficial win. Minami's retirement ceremony followed. This whole segment was one of the best and most emotional retirements in recent years for a women who wasn't a huge star.
WWWA World Singles Championship: Manami Toyota vs. Kyoko Inoue. As close as you can get to nonstop action in a 60:00 draw. Great spots and workrate. Awesome stamina. 1995 Wrestling Observer Newsletter Match of the Year. *****
Zen Nihon Junior Oza Ketteisen: Momoe Nakanishi vs. Nanae Takahashi. Momoe wins title.
Junior Tag War With C: Yoshiko Tamura & Tanny Mouse vs. Yuka Shiina & Emi Motokawa (IWA Japan)
Zen Nihon Tag Senshukenjiai: Chikayo Nagashima & Sugar Sato (GAEA team) vs. Misae Genki & Saya Endo
Zenjo vs GAEA Tag War: Rie Tamada & Yumi Fukawa vs. Chihiro Nakano & Makie Numao (GAEA team)
Yumiko Hotta & Toshiyo Yamada vs. Mima Shimoda & Etsuko Mita.
WWWA Ranking Match: Manami Toyota vs. Kaoru Ito
WWWA Sekai Tag Senshukenjiai: Tomoko Watanabe & Kumiko Maekawa vs. Takako Inoue & Mariko Yoshida
Sankan Senshukenjiai: Kyoko Inoue vs. Aja Kong
Miho Wakizawa vs. Miyuki Fujii 9:03. Wakizawa is more advanced, but wrestled down to Fujii’s level for this rookie style match. Wakizawa couldn’t cleanly execute the better moves they allowed her due to footing issues. Otherwise, they basically traded rudimentary holds and it was the usual passable but uninspiring opening match stuff. *
Nanae Takahashi vs. Saya Endo 9:40. Wakizawa is better than Takahashi, but since Takahashi had a semi-established opponent she got to do a real match. Saya is adequate, certainly not good enough to raise Takahashi to the level of mediocrity, but in the end Takahashi did okay. They put a good deal of effort into the match, which at least wasn’t boring. Takahashi managed to injure her opponent as usual, waiting so long to fall off the ropes on her superplex she wound up simply dropping Saya, who landed hard on her knees and lower legs, putting a huge stretch on her Achilles’. Saya was momentarily hobbled, but managed to finish. As Saya was leaving as part of the mass exodus they had Takahashi score the big upset. *1/2
Chaparrita ASARI vs. Yuka Shiina 12:40. Dropkick war. The first half saw them haphazardly alternate quick standup sequences of athletic albeit overly choreographed action with slow uninspired matwork. Shiina doesn’t get the most out of her athleticism, as while she does several jumping moves she rarely expands beyond the most pedestrian. ASARI isn’t that much better as a worker, she simply has offense that makes you desire to see her matches. A decent but underwhelming match. **1/4
Toshiyo Yamada & KAORU vs. Kumiko Maekawa & Momoe Nakanishi 15:40. Yamada had left 3 months earlier, but wrestled as though she was glad to be back for a day. Yamada totally carried her team and was the best wrestler on the show thus far, which was pretty sad considering she’s the one that was put out to the GAEA pasture. Her kicks are far more accurate than Maekawa’s, but if you can forgive a few misses their kick exchanges were quite nice. Momoe was a bright spot as usual, stretched and tossed around early, but utilizing her athleticism for a counter. KAORU wrestled a far more solid match than in GAEA where she runs amok, as you pretty much have to be a main eventer to get away with doing superhero spotfu in the Matsunagas ring. KAORU was a pretty good sport, selling for Momoe in the latter stages without copping the usual veteran attitude. Losing to GAEA might not be what AJW needs, but their up and coming wrestlers looked promising and were competitive. ***1/4
Manami Toyota vs. Yumiko Hotta 30:00. The basic problem with the later Toyota vs. Hotta matches is Toyota is forced to conform to Hotta’s style, which is one she is capable but simply isn’t interested in doing. Toyota was smiling at Hotta when she had her in the figure 4, but did a better job of chaining her groundwork together than usual. They didn’t kill time in the most effective manner, but despite the slow start for a Toyota match it wasn’t obvious they were doing a draw. They did a good job of showing that Hotta was fighting to prevent the high spots. Even after the match picked up 10 minutes in, Hotta was blocking or countering Toyota’s more spectacular offense to maintain credibility, and bringing the match back to the mat to lengthen it as well as stay consistent with her “shooter” drive. As the biggest stars sticking with the company they tried to show they deserved the main event, and while it didn’t hold a candle to their great 9/3/95 JGP final, it was at least a worthy hard fought match. That said, despite the quality wrestling they seemed to lack the spark a match between stars of this caliber should contain, and perhaps the mediocre crowd reaction had something to do with the lack of intensity. Until the final minutes when they hit all their finishers, the fans basically only reacted when the wrestlers, largely Toyota, prodded them to. ***1/4
Kanaami (cage) Death Match VIOLENCE WAR: Mima Shimoda & Etsuko Mita vs. Kaoru Ito & Tomoko Watanabe. The best women’s match of 1997 and possibly the best cage match ever. The intense hateful tone was set right off the bat as Shimoda was hogging the spotlight - standing in the center of the ring while Ito was introduced - so Ito slapped her and they were in each others faces prepared to kill. Watanabe wore football shoulder pads to protect her injured left shoulder, which she did a great job of consistently selling, adding to the drama and psychology, which were plentiful as the moves were ordered properly, constantly building to the peaks of the final minutes. Though all four wrestled at once it was essentially Ito vs. Las Cachorras with Watanabe just being there to take abuse from someone while Ito tried to beat the other, both AJW faces seeming all the more heroic for their contributions. The match started violently with Shimoda & Mita using chairs and the cage to batter and bloody the opposition. Interestingly, when Ito came back after 4 plus minutes of this carnage by using LCO’s chair, she was immediately booed. While it never ceased being a brawl with LCO also using chains and even the guard rail due to Saya taking care of Maekawa long enough to smuggle it in, one of the many great aspects to this match is it developed into a wrestling match. They essentially got the blood, generic cage spots out of the way at the start, so actual wrestling could play an important role in the body of the match. Finally, they brought the cage back down the stretch when they were trying to escape, melding both the wrestling and brawling aspects through moves that were far more spectacular for being done off or with the assistance of the cage. One cool spot had Watanabe escape, but Mita pull Ito back as she was halfway over the top and piggyback drop her from the top rope back into the cage. Ito showed a lot more fire than usual and finally seemed like the star they devoted much of the year to trying to turn her into. Fighting 2-1, she used her diving footstomp on both, injuring Shimoda’s shoulder, but was still unable to escape and had to deal with Saya spraying a fire extinguisher in her eyes so Shimoda & Mita could make a break for opposite corners. Ito managed to stop Shimoda, arm barring her off the top, but Mita reentered to prevent Ito from escaping so Ito pulled her back in and rather than simply escape, delivered a deadly diving footstomp off the top of the cage. Read Review ****3/4
Opening act: Yuki Lee (JWP) & Sachie Nishibori (IWA Japan) vs. The Goddess Chikako Shiratori (JWP) & ZAP Isozaki
A typhoon: Momoe Nakanishi & Miyuki Fujii vs. Rie Tamada (ARSION) & Mika Akino (ARSION team)
Men & Women & Midget Dangerous Super Mixed Match: Yuki Ishikawa (Battlarts) & Gran Naniwa (Michinoku Pro) & Emi Motokawa (IWA Japan) & Tomezo Tsunokake vs. Alexander Otsuka (Battlarts) & Yone Genjin (Michinoku Pro) & Kanako Motoya (JWP) & Little Frankie
J typhoon: Nanae Takahashi & Tomoko Kuzumi (JWP) vs. Tomoko Miyaguchi & Rieko Amano (JWP team)
AJ Tag Titles: Yuko Kosugi & Sumie Sakai (Jd') vs. Miho Wakizawa & Kayo Noumi. MihoKayo take titles.
All Pacific Title: Kumiko Maekawa vs. Kurenai Yasha (LLPW). Yasha takes title.
L typhoon: Takako Inoue & Noriyo Tateno (LLPW) vs. Shinobu Kandori & Harley Saito (LLPW team)
It's Wrong! Super Heel Tag Match: ZAP I & ZAP T vs. Eagle Sawai (G-Max) & Shark Tsuchiya (Modukutai)
LEGEND OF WWWA Former Belt Holders 6 Woman Tag: Jaguar Yokota (Jd') & Devil Masami (JWP) & Lioness Asuka (Bukyogun) vs. Aja Kong (free) & Dynamite Kansai (JWP) & Yumiko Hotta. Kansai injured(:.
THE DREAM CAME TRUE AAAW Single Title: Chigusa Nagayo (GAEA) vs. Manami Toyota
Japan Grand Prix '01 Koshiki Leaguesen: Etsuko Mita vs. Miho Wakizawa. Mita tried to ground Wakizawa by working on her bad knee. Between Wakizawa's lack of sizes and damaging moves, it's hard to buy her against Mita. Wakizawa had one good series with her missile kicks, but then Mita got her with the blazing chop and that was it. Match was fine, but very short and not too competitive. *1/2
Kaoru Ito & Mika Nishio vs. Momoe Nakanishi & Kayo Noumi. They do more comedy on these small shows to save their body. Ito is so intense that she still works hard, but she kept laughing at Noumi, especially when Noumi expected her to sell such weak offense. There was a funny spot where Ito held Nishio to stop Momoe & Noumi's double dropkick then came in, so Momoe & Noumi both ran to their corner. Another interesting spot saw Nishio try to make it to her corner to tag, but Momoe just pushed her back into her team's corner almost like a sumo spot. Ito & Momoe got into it pretty well, but the other two were just good for a laugh. **1/2
Nanae Takahashi & Miyuki Fujii vs. Yumiko Hotta & Manami Toyota. You got the idea early on that Hotta could beat these two by herself. The first 10 minutes were so onesided that it seemed like a squash match even though the last 5+ were fairly competitive and good. Toyota was good, doing the moonsault and plancha even on the smallest of shows, but Hotta was in too much. **1/4
Japan Grand Prix '01 Koshikisen: Tomoko Watanabe vs. Kumiko Maekawa. Good spurts, but as a whole it was uneven. They didn't stick with anything and it felt pieced together. Should have been a little longer and better developed. **1/2
Japan Grand Prix '01 Koshiki Leaguesen: Kayo Noumi vs. Miyuki Fujii. All things considered they executed pretty well. Of course, what they executed pretty well was their usual weak and/or uninteresting offense. Fujii makes regular moves look pretty good. She kept it passable. *1/2
Japan Grand Prix '01 Koshiki Leaguesen: Kaoru Ito vs. Nanae Takahashi. Ito was in bad shape from her shoot with Erin. Her cheek and the area under her left eye were black and blue with a bandaid covering the worst part. Her eye was still swollen too. Takahashi was clutzy as usual, catching her foot in the ropes on a tope, but this was the most intense of the garage JGP matches. Ito did her good hard hitting match rather than easing up. **1/2
Japan Grand Prix '01 Koshiki Leaguesen: Manami Toyota vs. Miho Wakizawa. Considering Wacky and the garage this was actually an intense match. Unfortunately it was really short and they didn't cut out much of the dilly dallying and clowning. Wakizawa got a fluke victory. **1/4
Tomoko Watanabe & Momoe Nakanishi vs. Yumiko Hotta & Kumiko Maekawa. Hotta & Maekawa are a bad pairing because they have the same no selling gimmick. Watanabe got beat on for several minutes, including accidentally getting cut from a bootrake. She was good, but it's hard to be effective when Hotta won't even go down for her lariat. Momoe kept it interesting even though most of her moves were avoided. Execution was top notch. **1/2
Momo*latch Camera 1, II, & III. Momoe "filming" the various AJW wrestlers, particularly Kiss no Sekai, usually on the Zenjo tour bus.
This DVD features several match highlights from the final months of MihoKayo plus out of the ring footage like them posing in the pool, visiting Miho's apartment, bowling, playing tennis, and so on.
12/16/01 Kanagawa Kawasaki Shi Taiikukan Miho Wakizawa Intai Jiai Wacky Final Smile: Miho Wakizawa vs. Kayo Noumi. A good match for them. They kept it simple early on then Wakizawa started going to her "big" moves at 8:00. Wakizawa got the majority of the offense in since she was losing, which boded well since even an injured up Wakizawa has far better moves and execution than Noumi. Everything was well executed for Noumi. Well there was a lot of repetition since neither are capable of doing much, I'd certainly rather see more missile kicks, fisherman busters, and doublewrist armsaults and the usual goofiness. Actually, this was probably as serious as MihoKayo gets. Although it had surprisingly little atmosphere, especially for a retirement match, this is probably the best match they've had against one another. Noumi pinned Wakizawa with her own fishermanbuster. During Wakizawa's retirement ceremony, Rumi & Takako made it look like they were going to have Eagle beat Miho up. However, they "doublecrossed" Eagle with a double DDT and had Wakizawa pin her with a diving body press. **1/2
Michael Smith's comments: The match started out slowly being that they were using very basic moves. The first few minutes were very reminiscent of a "green" girls match from say '94 or '95. That and the strategy of using eardrum piercing screams to make each other deaf took away from this match a bit. There were however a lot of nice near falls (which unfortunately were hurt by the lack of heat) over the last few minutes including Kayo rolling through on a top rope hurancanrana for a two count and another two count off Kayo's rolling doublewrist armsaults. It's a good thing this was Miho retirement match in the sense that Kayo surviving 5 fisherman's busters killed Wakizawa's finisher dead. Noumi eventually got the win with a fisherman's buster of her own that came off more like a regular fisherman's suplex (minus the bridging pin attempt). They kept the goofiness down in this match which helped it be better than I had expected going in. As I said before, the lack of heat hurt them but overall I feel they still put out a **1/2 effort. Miho got alot of streamers before and after the match, which makes you wonder why the crowd couldn't support her during it. I think she could come back though and be successful if she recovers from her injuries and decides she wants to wrestle again. She never was or will be a great worker but she and Kayo both have a lot of charisma as a team and since standards aren't as high as they were in the mid-late '90s, she certainly has a solid place in today's era.
Kayo's 1st modelling DVD. This isn't the glamourpuss self promoting crap we are stuck with in the US. For most of the DVD, you can actually see Kayo's face rather than that of an amateur of disguise hiding behind gobs of gook. She doesn't spend the whole time trying to sell you on how sexy she is, which makes perfect sense because this isn't drop a coin in and hope like a peep show; with millions of models you wouldn't spend $30 on her if you didn't already like her. Kayo pretty much goes about her business, not being overly concerned by the camera's presence. She mainly does her normal routine like working out (which focuses on flexiblity necessary for actual women's wrestling rather than tightening her body so she can look more like a Barbie) and taking a shower, letting the production team do their job. On that end their are mixed results, especially the way the lone match highlights (her 5/11/03 upset over Shimoda) are shown with mostly tight shots of Kayo and just a little box in the corner for the regular distance footage that lets you observe the match rather than just Noumi, but putting the rest to classical music almost always helps.
The first starlet: Michiko Omukai & Yumi Fukawa vs. Reggie Bennett & Jessie Bennett. Read Undercard Review. **
The second starlet: Michiko Omukai & Fabi Apache vs. Aja Kong & Lady Metal. ***1/4
The third starlet: Mariko Yoshida vs. Rie Tamada. Yoshida's ARSION debut. ***
The fourth starlet, women's kickboxing: Aya Mitsui vs. KAORI
The final starlet: Candy Okutsu vs. Mikiko Futagami. Read Review. ****1/4
THE FIRST STARTIST: Mika Akino (0-5) vs. Yumi Fukawa (3-12-1). *
THE SECOND STARTIST: Lady Metal (ARSION Mexico 2-13) vs. Fabi Apache (ARSION Mexico 2-14). *1/4
THE THIRD STARTIST: Reggie Bennett (ARSION USA 15-1-2) vs. Mari Apache (ARSION Mexico 5-5-2). *1/2
THE FOURTH STARTIST: Rie Tamada (6-7-3) vs. Michiko Omukai (3-9). **1/4
THE FIFTH STARTIST: Ayako Hamada (debut) vs. Candy Okutsu (10-3-2). **1/4
THE FINAL ARSION: Mikiko Futagami (13-4-2) vs. Mariko Yoshida (15-1-2). ***
THE UNDERCARD TOURNAMENT: Lady Metal vs. Fabi Apache. 1/2*
THE UNDERCARD TOURNAMENT: Mika Akino vs. Aja Kong
HYPER VISUAL FIGHTING TOURNAMENT ZION '98 1st Round
Ayako Hamada vs. Mari Apache. *
Rie Tamada vs. Mikiko Futagami. ***
Michiko Omukai vs. Yumi Fukawa. ***1/2
Reggie Bennett vs. Mariko Yoshida. ***1/2
ZION '98 2nd Round
Ayako Hamada vs. Mikiko Futagami. *1/2
Michiko Omukai vs. Mariko Yoshida. ***1/4
'98 FINAL SUMMER FANTASY: Tiger Dream vs. Hiromi Yagi (Free). ***3/4
ZION '98 Final
Ayako Hamada vs. Mariko Yoshida. **
Retrospective of Fukawa's ARSION days.
1/12/99 Tokyo Korakuen Hall
Yuki Ishikawa & Alexander Otsuka vs. Daisuke Ikeda & Mohammad Yone. 6:11 shown
2/14 Across Fukuoka
Mohammad Yone & Katsumi Usuda vs. Tetsuhiro Kuroda & Yoshinori Sasaki. 3:53 shown
Yuki Ishikawa & Minoru Tanaka vs. Daisuke Ikeda & Alexander Otsuka. 4:20 shown
3/12/99 Tokyo FM Hall
TAG BATTLE '98 Yushoketteisen: Yuki Ishikawa & Carl Greco vs. Alexander Otsuka & Mohammad Yone. 4:54 shown
Yuki Ishikawa & Alexander Otsuka & Mohammad Yone vs. Mitsuhiro Matsunaga & Katsumi Usuda & Ryuji Yamakawa. 4:43 shown
3/21 Osaka Maisu (?) Arena Sub Arena
Dynamite Kansai & Mohammad Yone & Maya Hashimoto vs. Alexander Otsuka & Azumi Hyuga & Hikari Fukuoka. 4:11 shown
JJC Sodatsuleaguesen Yushoketteisn: Minoru Tanaka vs. Masaaki Mochizuki. 5:03 shown
4/26 Tokyo Korakuen Hall
NWA World Middleweight Title: The Great Sasuke vs. Minoru Tanaka. 5:04 shown
Alexander Otsuka vs. Daisuke Ikeda. 4:28 shown
5/14 Sapporo Nakajima Taiiku Center
Ryuji Hijikata vs. Yoshinori Sasaki. :50 shown
Carl Malenko vs. Mach Junji. 1:33
Tiger Mask & Ikuto Hidaka vs. Gran Naniwa & Masaaki Mochizuki. 4:50 shown
Masao Orihara & Takeshi Ono vs. Katsumi Usuda & Ryuji Yamakawa. 3:57 shown
Independent World World Junior Heavykyu Senshukenjiai: Naoki Sano vs. Minoru Tanaka. 4:56 shown
Alexander Otsuka & Mohammad Yone vs. Hayabusa & Tetsuhiro Kuroda. 5:16 shown
Daisuke Ikeda vs. Bob Backlund. 2:44 shown
Bed Of Nails Death Match: Yuki Ishikawa vs. Mitsuhiro Matsunaga
6/9 Tokyo Korakuen Hall
Independent World World Junior Heavykyu Senshukenjiai: Naoki Sano vs. Katsumi Usuda. 3:32 shown
Joe Malenko & Carl Malenko (Carl Greco) vs. Yuki Ishikawa & Daisuke Ikeda. 5:21 shown
Mayumi Ozaki & Devil Masami vs. Dynamite Kansai & Chigusa Nagayo. Started off fast-paced, but turned into a big bloody brawl. This wasn't sloppy, contrived, or chaotic like most brawls. Although it wasn't particularly structured, it was actually well worked. Ozaki looked particularly good, but Devil carried the match with her. Even though Devil was doing some Super Heel stuff, she actually accompanied it with good wrestling. There was a nice hot tag where Ozaki was choking Kansai with a chain and pulling toward the center, but Kansai choked herself more in order to get Chigusa back into the match. Considering the length of most GAEA main events, it's weird to think their first went almost 30 minutes. ****
Match list coming soon
Note: All matches are league matches
10/10/98 Osaka IMP Hall
Meiko Satomura vs. Toshie Uematsu. Spot match. Work was good, and some of the near falls were credible. 4:14 shown
Sonoko Kato vs. Chikayo Nagashima. Nice sequences and counters here. The level of difficulty was fairly high, which led to some spots not being done as well as they could have. That said, everything flowed together really well and nothing was blown. 6:06 shown
10/11/98 Kyoto KBS Hall
Sonoko Kato vs. Toshie Uematsu. Match was decent, but the finish wasn't much. 6:18 shown
Meiko Satomura vs. Sugar Sato. This was supposed to be a technical match, which meant that Satomura had to do most of the work and really drag Sugar along. The match was dull, and it went 10 minutes too long. Sato worked the arm and the knee during this match, but had no focus in doing so. Actually, at one point Satomura was putting over her knee pretty heavily so Sato goes on offense and goes right after the arm. What's frustrating is this was clearly the worst match so far, so they decide to finally show the whole thing. *1/2
11/12/98 Osaka Furitsu Taiikukaikan 2
Sonoko Kato vs. Sugar Sato. Kato did a much better job with Sugar than Satomura did, mainly because she let Sugar do her usual style match and stay within the little she can do. I don't blame Satomura for having ambition, but sometimes you have to chose the right opponent to be ambitious with. Sato was kind of sloppy here, but otherwise it was good and the fans were into it. Kato's performance blew away Sugar's, so of course that meant that Sugar won the match. 8:12 shown
Chikayo Nagashima vs. Toshie Uematsu. Uematsu was able to hang with Chikayo work wise, so it was a good match with some nice sequences. Again, some of the moves needed to be performed better. 7:53 shown
12/11/98 Osaka Furitsu Taiikukaikan 2
Meiko Satomura vs. Sonoko Kato. These two always work well together, and this was no exception. Lots of counters here. Not many submissions, but the few they did were worked in well. 6:09 shown
Sugar Sato vs. Chikayo Nagashima. Chikayo looked really good in points, but the opposition was holding her back. Chikayo was trying to work sequences, but Sugar didn't take the time to figure out what to do or how to keep them going so most of them didn't go very far. Sato was pretty methodical here, and, as always, content to do the same couple of things over and over. She seemed to be hurt by Chikayo's diving footstomp, which I'm sure didn't help things any. Chikayo did some arm work to set up the finish, but Sato never really put it over, so it didn't have near the effect it should have. 8:51 shown. **
1/8/99 Osaka Furitsu Taiikukaikan 2
Toshie Uematsu vs. Sugar Sato. The match didn't flow that well. Sato did a bunch of weak urakens. Uematsu didn't get much offense in, but was able to "shock" Sugar with a small package for the flash pin. 7:53 shown. *1/2
Chikayo Nagashima vs. Meiko Satomura. This started off slow, but kept getting a little better. They did a nice job of building the match around Satomura's Death Valley bomb. At one point they tried a cool spot where Chikayo turned the Death Valley bomb into a DDT, but it wasn't done perfectly. ***1/4
2/3/99 Osaka Furitsu Taiikukan 2
Premium League Yushokettiesen: Meiko Satomura vs. Toshie Uematsu. Traditional style maatch based around submissions. They showed a lot of intensity and worked their holds well. There were some highspots, of course, but for the most part they were incorporated in a fairly believable manner. Satomura did a good job of putting over the toll of the match. Long, hard fought match that could have gone either way. A real final. ***1/2
2/3/99 Osaka Furitsu Taiikukaikan 2
Toshiyo Yamada & Makie Numao vs. Lioness Asuka & Sugar Sato. 4:15 shown
2/11/99 Tokyo Korakuen Hall
Aja Kong & Chikayo Nagashima vs. Chigusa Nagayo & Toshie Uematsu. Complete 7 second match
2/28/99 Kanagawa Club Citta Kawasaki
3/20/99 Niigata Phase
Aja Kong & Chikayo Nagashima vs. Meiko Satomura & Sonoko Kato. 4:53 shown
3/22/99 Tokyo Korakuen Hall
Etsuko Mita & Chikayo Nagashima vs. KAORU & Makie Numao. 3:34 shown
Lioness Asuka & Aja Kong vs. Meiko Satomura & Sonoko Kato. 3:45 shown
Mayumi Ozaki & Mima Shimoda vs. Chigusa Nagayo & Toshiyo Yamada. 0:59 shown
4/4/99 Kanagawa Yokohama Bunka Taiikukan
GAEA vs. Oz Academy Survival Single Match 3x3: Toshie Uematsu & RIE & Sakura Hirota vs. Sugar Sato & Chikayo Nagashima & Kaori Nakayama. 18:40 shown
GAEA vs. Las Cachorras Tag Match : KAORU & Toshiyo Yamada vs. Mima Shimoda & Etsuko Mita. This was the typical GAEA spotfest, except it was bloody and 4 times as long. There was really no build, pacing, or structuring. However, they did ever move in their arsenal at least once, and there were some memorable spots like KAORU doing a moonsault off the lighting rig, plus seemingly a thousand near falls. Without telling a story of figuring out how to use the spots though, they lost their effect and it got monotonous. That said, considering GAEA, opposition, and 38 minutes, LCO deserve a lot of credit for having this good a match. 13:27 shown. ***3/4
GAEA vs. SSU Tag Match: Meiko Satomura & Sonoko Kato vs. Aja Kong & Mayumi Ozaki. This was very similar in story to the LCO vs. Hamada & AKINO match from 12/11/99. Satomura & Kato were very much overmatched against the veteran team, but they were going to fight until the end no matter how much punishment they had to absorb. One advantage this match had over the LCO vs. Hamada & AKINO match was that they did a consistently great job of playing up the rivalry. Aja & Ozaki dominated the match, but they did it in a way that you could tell they were taking exceptional pleasure in hurting Satomura & Kato. The first part of the match saw them take out Kato's bad knee, but when she finally tagged out the story shifted to Satomura trying to take Aja out with her Death Valley bomb. ****
Special Single Match: Chigusa Nagayo vs. Lioness Asuka. Much different than their 80's matches. It was still spot oriented, but the pace was much slower and many of the spots involved gimmicks. Lioness was pretty much the whole match, with Chigusa not really adding anything and basically just being along for the ride. I was surprised at how dominant Lioness was considering she was winning control of the company. I was disappointed at how little drama it had, all things considered. **1/2
4/25/99 Tokyo Korakuen Hall
Chigusa Nagayo vs. Kaori Nakayama. Complete 35 second match
KAORU & Meiko Satomura & Sonoko Kato vs. Lioness Asuka & Mayumi Ozaki & Mima Shimoda. 2:28 shown
5/16/99 Tokyo Korakuen Hall
AAAW Single Senshuken:Chigusa Nagayo vs. Aja Kong. Slow-paced match, but pretty high impact. Lots of heat and real good execution. The no selling portion was bizarre because a minute later they were both acting like they dead, and two minutes later it was over. There were some surprisingly nice spots and good near falls, but there just wasn't enough to the match to make it live up to the names involved. ***
5/23/99 Osaka IMP Hall
Meiko Satomura & Sonoko Kato & Sakura Hirota vs. Lioness Asuka & Chikayo. Lots of Satomura & Kato vs. Chikayo, so it was good. 5:38 shown
6/20/99 Tokyo Korakuen Hall
Chigusa Nagayo vs. Etsuko Mita. The complete 19 second marathon
7/18/99 Tokyo Korakuen Hall
AAAW Tag Senshuken: Aja Kong & Mayumi Ozaki vs. Sugar Sato & Chikayo Nagashima. Sato, and to a greater extent Nagashima, were first able to show resilience by withstanding a lot of punishment. They slowly gained momentum, setting up a section where both teams got near falls that looked like the finish, and finally scored the highly improbable upset. This match was similar to the Aja & Ozaki vs. Satomura & Kato match from 4/4/99, but it lacked the focused storyline and the intensity that Aja vs. Satomura had. Although there wasn't a more personalized story to the match, after being totally dominated early one, the basic underdog has a chance storyline slowly went into effect, and eventually the fans were reacting to and believing in Sato & Nagashima. Aside from a few blown spots, the main reason the match as a whole was not as good is that Sugar, although this was one of her better performances of the year, is not in the same stratosphere as Sonoko. That said, the match was fulfilling and is definitely one to check out if you like GAEA. Read Review. ***1/2
8/15/99 Tokyo Korakuen Hall
Lioness Asuka vs. Sonoko Kato. This match seemed much better now that we saw more of it. It wasn't so steeped in Lioness' favor as it seemed on TV. Kato at least had one good run whwere she got a few near falls, and Lioness "had to" spew mist in Kato's eyes to regain the advantage and take her out. Kato was "virtually unconscious" in the last few minutes, but she kept dragging herself up.
Akira Hokuto & Aja Kong & Mayumi Ozaki vs. Chigusa Nagayo & Toshiyo Yamada & Meiko Satomura. Chigusa was trying to get something out of the spots today. This wasn't the best wrestling you'll ever see, but they did play up the rivalry well. They got into the spots around the 10 minute mark, with Ozaki, Yamada, & Satomura stepping up. Satomura vs. Aja was featured, and this was the best part of the match because they worked really well together and Satomura was even more fired up than usual. This booking was abysmal because on the last "big" show before the title match in Yokohama, the challenger that was sorely lacking credibility put the champion over convincingly. Satomura even stayed down almost "unconscious" for the whole time Aja was cutting a promo on her. She only got up to her knees when Aja pulled her by the hair then threw her down again like a piece of trash. ***1/2
Oz Academy 8/29/99 Osaka IMP Hall
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
The Plum tape has still pictures and clips from throughout her career, and highlights of the first Plum Memorial show. The tape closes with a sad scene of Ozaki visiting Plum's grave. It would be a lot better, I'm sure, if I could understand what everyone was saying.
11/23/95 Morioka Iwate-ken'ei Taiikukan: TAKA Michinoku vs. Tiger Mask. Excellent junior match. Exciting and stiff, with all the big spots, but also kicks and submissions like a U.W.F. match. TAKA was on top of his game here, and made the near falls really dramatic. ****1/4
12/11/95 Aichi Nagoya Shi Nakamura Sports Center: TAKA Michinoku vs. Tiger Mask. This match was not that similar to their 11/23 match. This match started with TAKA working Tiger's knee,. but later Tiger used that same strategy on TAKA. The finishing hold was goofy, but the match had excellent work and up to that point a focused storyline. It was pretty much what a junior match should be. They did a lot of nice moves, but that was hardly the match. ****1/4
12/14/95 Hakata Starlanes: Tiger Mask & Naohiro Hoshikawa vs. TAKA Michinoku & Shoichi Funaki. Hoshikawa probably gave his best performance up to that point in time, which really made the match because we knew TAKA vs. Tiger was going to be excellent, but the expected sizable dropoff when Hoshikawa tagged in wasn't there. Hoshikawa was doing all his moves really fast, and was a key to the macth being stiff. TAKA, of course, was the man though. The last 5 1/2 minutes were really what made the match. I've certainly seen better in Michinoku, but rarely in a regular four person tag match. ****
12/17/95 Osaka Takaishi Rinkai Sports Center
TAKA Michinoku vs. Tiger Mask. This wasn't that great of an effort, as the work and drama were way down. It was still a good match because they work that well together, it's just that it was disappointing coming after two matches that were so choice. ***1/4
Super Delfin & Gran Naniwa & Sakie Hasegawa vs. The Great Sasuke & Kendo & Mima Shimoda. These mixed matches don't do anything for me because I want to see serious wrestling between quality wrestlers, but instead I get a bunch of comedy between the genders. The Michinoku fans were as vocal as ever, so it worked for them. I wanted more big moves and less comedy and stalling though.
1/10/96 Hokkaido Sapporo Nakajima Taiiku Center
Sato & Terry Boy vs. Naohiro Hoshikawa & Masato Yakushiji. This match would be a lot better today than it was then because Hoshikawa & Yakushiji had no standing and were still developing. Some good wrestling, but there was no drama at all because it was a glorified squash. **
The Great Sasuke & Great Zebra vs. Mr. Pogo & Gran Naniwa. Pogo destroyed Sasuke like he did on Onita. The main exceptions were that Sasuke took a bump off the balcony (which hehe barely even sold) and Sasuke didn't make the big comeback at the end for the win or even get Pogo to take one bump for him. Zebra is terrible and mainly punched and kicked. Highlight is Pogo breaking up the pin on Sasuke's thunder fire powerbomb by blowing a giant fireball on Sasuke and his own partner Naniwa. Sasuke proved he could take a lot of punishment, but I'm not sure what else he gained from letting Pogo massacre him. *
This tape also has highlights of about 13 other matches interspersed.
7/21/96 Iwate Yahaba Machi Min Sogo Taiikukan
IWGP Junior Heavykyu Senshukenjiai: The Great Sasuke vs. Shiryu. ***
7/26/96 Aizu Wakamatsu
WWA Sekai Junior Light Heavykyu Senshukenjiai: Gran Hamada vs. MEN'S Teioh. ***3/4
WWA Sekai Middlekyu Senshukenjiai: Pilota Suidica vs. The Great Sasuke. 1/3 shown. Sasuke wins title
8/3/96 Koriyama Central Hall
Chubei (Central America) Middlekyu Senshukenjiai: Gran Naniwa vs. Shiryu. ***1/2
8/16/96 Mitsu Shi Min Taiikukan
Independent World Sekai Junior Heavykyu Senshukenjiai: TAKA Michinoku vs. Shiryu. ***1/2
8/18/96 Aomori-ken Min Taiikukan
WWA Super Welterkyu Senshukenjiai: Super Delfin vs. El Pantera. Delfin wins title. *
Gran Hamada & Jushin Thunder Liger & Gran Naniwa vs. Dick Togo & TAKA Michinoku & Shoichi Funaki. Full Match Review 13:23. ****1/4
8/25/96 New World Sendai
Tiger Mask vs. MEN'S Teioh. **
Dick Togo vs. Super Delfin. ***
CIMA vs. Ricky Marvin. Great athletic display highlighted by Marvin's swandive corkscrew plancha. Marvin also countered an irish whip with a handstand then jumped backwards onto CIMA's shoulders and spun into a Misteriorana. CIMA did a great job of setting Marvin up and going with his moves, leading to the best execution I've seen from Marvin in Japan. Spectacular one great spot after anothe match, but not even 6 minutes long. ***
Ricky Fuji vs. Sasuke The Great. Started off decently because they went to the spots, but quickly degenerated into worthlessness with spots centering around Great's valet leading to a lame DQ. 1/2*
Naoki Sano vs. SUWA. Sano would have been a good opponent for the spectacular Magnum TOKYO, but with neither guy having tremendous offense they didn't exactly play into each other's hands. Furthermore, Sano is a technical wrestler, while SUWA is a Lucha catcher and thrower. It turned out to be a solid match with both doing fine, but the match never really took off. **
MEN'S Teio vs. Katsumi Usuda. Technical match. I don't like the mix of traditional pro and wannabe shoot style much, but this wasn't a bad example of it. The problem was the match just kind of went along. They didn't make me believe in these submissions they were doing. The match had some creativity and Usuda's offense was very credible. It picked up considerably in the final 2 minutes with some good transitions and counters into finishers leading to one of the better finishes that for once didn't make the match seem to short. **1/2
Curry Man vs. Onryo. The work was very good and both men were impressive. Lots of nice spots, but so short. **1/2
Gran Hamada vs. Shinya Makabe. This match was not bad, but certainly out of place. On a New Japan undercard as a lead in to a few big junior matches it would be nice. That the matches are short could help Makabe, but his problem is not so much that he doesn't have any moves, but that he doesn't have any big ones (it's hard to get excited for a muscleladen ex-football player doing a spear much less a little guy). If you aren't going to build a match then I expect you to impress me with some offense, but Makabe does neither. I guess where I'm going with this is that Hamada did try to sell for him, it's just that Makabe did little that would make an impression. Hamada did nothing special either, making it puzzling why their match was one of the "longest" of the tournament. What they did was well done. **
The Great Sasuke vs. Kaz Hayashi. The first well laid out match of the night. I thought it would be a little smoother, but they surprised me with how much they struggled to avoid the big moves. The counters were impressive as well. Hayashi was the better of the two, although both were impressive. ***1/4
Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Tiger Mask. The best match of the tournament. A nice combination of strikes, submissions, high impact moves, and flying. Both guys were fired up and made it look like they were putting that little extra into everything they did because they didn't like each other. Tiger was somehow the most over performer in the tournament. He excited the fans right away with his aggression, including an plancha. They went nuts any time Tiger had even a remote chance of winning. Liger was punking Tiger, but he kept coming right at him, eventually decking him with a few kicks and his new punch. By the last few minutes, which had highly dramatic near finishes, the fans were on their feet if not jumping up and down. I thought the finish was really clever. Tiger used both hands to catch Liger's shotei, but before he could follow up Liger used his free hand to clock him with a shotei. ***3/4
Special 10 Man Tag Match: Tiger Mask & Minoru Tanaka & Masaaki Mochizuki & Shinya Makabe & Ricky Marvin vs. Kendo Kashin & El Samurai & SUWA & Chabinger & Super Boy. The whole was not tremendous do to indecision and guys being out of position, but a number of individual moments were at least close. These guys, among other things, lacked the familiarity to pull off an excellent 10 man. SUWA did a good job of taking the other wrestlers moves, but not as good as usual since he's not working withthe usual suspects. I don't think they ever found their rhythm or hit their stride. Samurai, Tanaka, & Tiger were the best. Of course, Marvin made a few mistakes, but pulled off a couple moves I've never seen elsewhere. **3/4
CIMA vs. Onryo. Onryo hid under the ring, emerging with a swandive missile kick to the back to interrupt CIMA's bell ringing performance. Following with a dive, the tone was set for a fast-paced exciting mach. On this they didn't disappoint, but again it was so damn short. The near falls, which started before the 3 minute mark, were actually dramatic though. You could tell this wasn't going to last long (it went all of 4:23), but in a sense you didn't care because they were putting everything they had into the match from start to finish. I can't give it a huge rating, but it was definitely one of the most enjoyable matches of the tournament. **3/4
Ricky Fuji vs. Gran Hamada. Adequate. Hamada wasn't going to let Fuji hold him down, but doing his thing for 7 1/2 minutes against a mediocre opponent doesn't make for more than a mediocre match. **
The Great Sasuke vs. Naoki Sano. This was one of those matches where Sasuke thinks he's a mat wrestler, so it was mainly technical wrestling. Sano worked on Sasuke's head with kicks and suplexes, highlighted by a wicked released German suplex off the top rope. The match was a little sloppy though and never really got going. **1/4
Jushin Thunder Liger vs. MEN'S Teio. Every one of Liger's matches was the most heated in the round. The Black Liger gimmick was successful in that regard because the reaction didn't lesson, it just switched to being for his opponent. Solid match with a few good near falls, but overall Liger didn't let Teio be particularly competitive. Everything they did was well done, but I was hoping for more than just a solid match. **3/4
WWWA Sekai Super Lightkyu Senshukenjiai: Chaparrita ASARI vs. Hiromi Yagi. They tried to win the crowd over in the first minute with their athletic spots before getting into the technical wrestling. The thing with Yagi is her matwork and submissions are as athletic as anything else she does offensively. This was the most diverse match of the night, and the transitions between the styles worked. While the heat was disappointing, the match was 5 minutes to short, and the finish came with neither seeming to be in bad shape, this was still easily the best match of the night. Fluid, graceful, and smooth match with great counters. Some perfect bumps, particularly by Yagi who made moves like ASARI's corbata look outstanding. With the exception of Liger, Yagi was the most impressive wrestler involved in the J Cup, followed by Tiger. ***1/2
Naoki Sano vs. CIMA. CIMA was clearly more comfortable doing Sano's style than SUWA was, but their chemistry wasn't great, resulting in only a marginally better match. The selling was good, but seemed overdone given that they'd done little particularly damaging offense. With this in mind, the execution was also a little disappointing. The fans got behind CIMA when it looked like he was on the verge of losing, aiding the drama of the final few minutes. **1/4
Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Gran Hamada. The first half largely consisted of Hamada working over Liger's preferred shotei arm. Liger came back with the shoteis and powerbombs anyway to start off a 2nd half that was mainly perfectly executed high impact moves. Once again it was a good solid match, but there was nothing really special about it because, while Liger sold for Hamada, he didn't put him over as being on his level. ***
Tournament Kesshosen: Jushin Thunder Liger vs. CIMA. CIMA was impressive doing his PuroLucha style with Marvin and Onryo, but very ordinary doing a more traditional junior styles with Sano & Liger. Liger wasted most of the first half. The idea was to establish CIMA as someone who, like Liger's previous opponents on this night, couldn't compete. However, this time it would be proven that CIMA could compete, which would bring the crowd to life. While this did work for the most part, the match was still incredibly disappointing. For a Liger match, it was lacking directiion, build, and selling. Not that it was a bad match or anything, but this tournament badly needed a climactic final and this match was not laid out to even have a chance of being one. My favorite spot was CIMA doing his double jumping knee in the corner then charging only to get creamed with a shotei. Unfortunately, CIMA barely sold this and started hitting Liger with uppers. **1/2
*Neo's debut show. Reviewed in Quebrada #38*
Triangle Match: Yuka Shiina vs. Saya Endo vs. Tanny Mouse.
A) Shiina vs. Saya. Very bland match between women who weren't over. Very slow paced, short, and had little build. Saya's heel tactics didn't get heat. *
B) Shiina vs. Tanny. Even worse than the part because Tanny is bad as they come. Shiina is too old to be having these kind of turds back to back, especially when Tanny actually didn't ruin the match by using nothing but Tanny butts. 3/4*
Chaparrita ASARI vs. Yoshiko Tamura. Tamura's ring work is better and she's added some nice new spots. ASARI's has a new look, but her ring work remains stagnant. The new holds by Tamura were nice and made for a good match, but ASARI didn't put them over enough and they weren't the finish, so they were relegated pedestrian way too soon. Good work, but the match lacked direction or focus. **1/2
Kyoko Inoue vs. Misae Genki. Surprisingly good match, that turned out to be the best on the first two Neo shows. Genki got a lot better. Her offense isn't even arcane anymore. Mainly Genki pushing Kyoko to get credibility. Traditional style bout with Kyoko making sure they both worked to get their holds off. Instead of doing transitions thought countering a spot, Kyoko often brought it to a stalemate and then whoever got the hold off took the advantage. Smart match because it increased Genki's credibility without being tolling on Kyoko, who still had two more matches to work. Genki pushed Kyoko enough that you would want to see a rematch, and there is still plenty of room for her to gain with a loss. ***1/4
Mima Shimoda & Etsuko Mita vs. Kyoko Inoue & Tanny Mouse.. Basically ruined by Tanny's bad work, bad selling, stupid antics, and non-existent move set. Kyoko also didn't work as well with Cachorras as she used to. **1/4
Mima Shimoda & Etsuko Mita & Saya Endo vs. Kyoko & ASARI & Tamura. AJW style ring work match. ***
Perfect 1 9/21/93 Tokyo Bay NK Hall
History of Masakatsu Funaki & Minoru Suzuki
U.W.F. 4/15/90 Hakata Starlanes: Masakatsu Funaki vs. Minoru Suzuki
Minoru Suzuki vs. Katsuomi Inagaki. Inagaki's debut
Bas Rutten vs. Ryushi Yanagisawa
Yusuke Fuke vs. Vernon "Tiger" White
Yoshiki Takahashi vs. George Weingroff
Masakatsu Funaki vs. Wayne Shamrock
Perfect 2 10/14/93 Tsuyuhashi Sports Center
Katsuomi Inagaki vs. Joop Van Dam. Exciting striking oriented match.
Bas Rutten vs. Yusuke Fuke
Masakatsu Funaki vs. Ryushi Yanagisawa
Minoru Suzuki vs. Vernon "Tiger" White
U.W.F. 11/29/89 Tokyo Dome: Minoru Suzuki vs. Maurice Smith
Wayne Shamrock vs. Yoshiki Takahashi. Takahashi took a lot of punishment, but he really put up a good fight here even bloodying Shamrock's nose.
Perfect 3 11/8/93 Kobe World Kinen Hall
Katsuomi Inagaki vs. Vernon "Tiger" White. The good thing about shoots is two guys that are mediocre can still have an excellent match. This was not great technically, but both men were willing to do whatever it took to win. White rearranged Inagaki's face, and Inagaki was blown up and looked like he was going to keel over, but then he'd find it in him to regain control.
Ryushi Yanagisawa vs. Andre Van Den Oetelaar
Yoshiki Takahashi vs. James Mathews
Wayne Shamrock vs. Yusuke Fuke
Kick Rule: Maurice Smith vs. Minoru Suzuki
Masakatsu Funaki vs. Kees Besems
KARATE JAPAN OPEN '93 Tournament 1/31/93 Tokyo Budokan
2nd Round: Ryushi Yanagisawa vs.? Ishikawa
3rd Round: Ryushi Yanagisawa vs.? Ishihara
4th Round: Ryushi Yanagisawa vs.? Hiraoka
3rd Round: Katsuomi Inagaki vs.? Kane
Semifinal: Ryushi Yanagisawa vs. Ryuji Murakami
ALL JAPAN KICK BOXING SPECIAL BOUT EVOLUTION 11/27/93 Tokyo Bay NK Hall
WKO Tokubetsu Rule 2 minute 5 round: Ryushi Yanagisawa vs. Vitali Klichko
2 minute 10 round: Masakatsu Funaki vs. Maurice Smith. Awesome heat.
12/8/93 Hakata Starlanes
Yusuke Fuke vs. Katsuomi Inagaki
Ryushi Yanagisawa vs. Vernon "Tiger" White
Minoru Suzuki vs. James Mathews
Wayne Shamrock vs. Andre Van Den Oetelaar
Masakatsu Funaki vs. Yoshiki Takahashi
Yoshiki Takahashi vs. Katsuomi Inagaki. Pretty good match
Vernon "Tiger" White vs. Andre Van Den Oetelaar. Despite catching Andre low with a spinning savate and gouging him in the eye with a shotei, White wasn't even able to accident his way to victory. He really does suck.
James Mathews vs. Ryushi Yanagisawa. Total Yanagisawa domination. He would have beat Mathews in 10 seconds if not for the rope escapes.
Yusuke Fuke vs. Scott Bessac
Masakatsu Funaki vs. Bas Rutten. Funaki took Bas down so his strikes weren't an issue. About all Bas was able to do was punch Funaki in the face before Funaki put him in the ankle hold. Bas improved so much since these days that it's like, aside from his kicking, he's not even the same fighter.
(Ken) Wayne Shamrock vs. Minoru Suzuki. These two were very cautious. An interesting finish because it took about 7 seconds from the time the finisher was applied for Shamrock to get the rope escape, and by that time he was too hurt to continue.
Katsuomi Inagaki vs. Manabu Yamada
Matt Hume vs. Scott Bessac. Hume was very active. He was pretty much the only guy in Pancrase up to this point in time that used strikes on the mat to open up his submissions.
Bas Rutten vs. Yoshiki Takahashi. Takahashi's knee just gave out on him and he was unable to continue.
Yusuke Fuke vs. Toon Stelling. As Fuke was getting up, Toon punted him in the nose. Vicious, but also illegal and worthy of the DQ.
Kick Rule 3 min 5R: Frank "Animal" Lobman vs. (Ken) Wayne Shamrock. Shamrock just didn't have the training in this style. He was fair defensively, but Lobman was able to block or avoid what little Shamrock threw.
Tokubetsu Rule 3 min 5R: Maurice Smith vs. Minoru Suzuki. The first and third rounds were kick rules, except Suzuki could go for takedowns and submissions. The 2nd and 4th were Pancrase rules except there were unlimited rope escapes and knockdowns. The 5th round was "mix rule." This was back in the day when Mo was "just a kickboxer." It was interesting, but since there was no limit on the rope escapes, Smith did the smart thing and just dove for the ropes the second Suzuki got a hold of him.
Masakatsu Funaki vs. Gregory Smit
Vernon "Tiger" White vs. Remco Pardoel
Manabu Yamada vs. Andre Van Den Oetelaar. Yamada was a bit quick for Oetelaar. He got good strikes in, causing Andre to bleed heavily.
(Ken) Wayne Shamrock vs. Matt Hume. Hume claims this match was a work. Shamrock didn't appear to be working, but it looked like Hume may have been throwing the match. Cool finish where Shamrock does an overhead belly to belly then went into a chickenwing armlock for the win. The thing that doesn't make sense is that Shamrock would beat Hume in a shoot so why risk the integrity of the company to get the same result?
Yusuke Fuke vs. Gregory Smit
Minoru Suzuki vs. Bas Rutten. Bas' strikes were lethal.
Masakatsu Funaki vs. Jason Delucia
Katsuomi Inagaki vs. Vernon "Tiger" White. Nowhere near the goodness of their last fight, particularly because there was hardly any standup. White seemed to get better all of a sudden, at least to the point of passing Inagaki by.
Gregory Smit vs. Robert Bjornethun. Smit bled heavily from the nose.
Manabu Yamada vs. Matt Hume
Minoru Suzuki vs. Remco Pardoel. Pardoel had a big size advantage. Suzuki was much better in standup because he's so quick. Pardoel just kept going for the same takedown, but Suzuki had it scouted and it's hard to fool someone when you aren't trying many different things.
Masakatsu Funaki vs. Scott "Bam Bam" Sullivan
Yusuke Fuke vs. Jason Delucia
(Ken) Wayne Shamrock vs. Bas Rutten. Rutten was really good by this time. Shamrock controlled positioning, but Rutten wouldn't give him openings. When Bas did get caught, he somehow just refused to submit and was able to get out one way or another. The downside of this match was Shamrock was in riding mode too much.
Gregory Smit vs. Katsuomi Inagaki
Vernon "Tiger" White vs. Richard Saar. This was good because White got some nice shots in.
Jason Delucia vs. Matt Hume. Even match. Both men had their moments. I thought Delucia could have been more aggressive, but even without being such, he seemed to tire after 10 minutes. Hume got a bloody nose.
Minoru Suzuki vs. Robert Bjornethun
Yusuke Fuke vs. Manabu Yamada. Highly competitive match. Both men kept going for submissions, and came close to winning on several occassions.
(Ken) Wayne Shamrock vs. Masakatsu Funaki
Scott "Bam Bam" Sullivan vs. Matt Hume
Vernon "Tiger" White vs. Robert Bjornethun
Manabu Yamada vs. Alex Cook
Jason Delucia vs. Bas Rutten
Yusuke Fuke vs. (Ken) Wayne Shamrock
Minoru Suzuki vs. Masakatsu Funaki. These two burst out of the gate. Very fast action with constant movement. The fans were really into it. Too bad it didn't last longer.
12/16/94 King Of Pancrase Tournament 1st Round
Minoru Suzuki vs. Matt Hume. Good match. Both men were in control some of the time, trying submissions. Hume gave Suzuki a lot more trouble than I expected.
Jason Delucia vs. Thomas Puckett
Christopher Deweaver vs. Manabu Yamada
Bas Rutten vs. Frank Jaurez (Shamrock). Frank was better than I expected. He was often in control. Bas got some nice strikes in, but Frank was able to negate much of his striking ability by taking him down, where Frank was the better of the two.
Wayne Shamrock vs. Alex Cook
Maurice Smith vs. Yusuke Fuke
Vernon White vs. Leon Dijk
Masakatsu Funaki vs. Robert Bjornethun
Jason Delucia vs. Minoru Suzuki
Frank Jaurez vs. Manabu Yamada. Typical Frank match where they are constantly working on the mat. The advantage changed several times.
Maurice Smith vs. Wayne Shamrock
Vernon White vs. Masakatsu Funaki
Katsuomi Inagaki vs. Gregory Smit
Scott Bessac vs. Larry Papadopoulos. This is the only time I've ever seen someone in the guard get a KO from a punch to the stomach. Unreal.
King Of Pancrase Tournament Semifinals
Minoru Suzuki vs. Manabu Yamada. Really good technical match. They were always working.
Masakatsu Funaki vs. (Ken) Wayne Shamrock. Shamrock was just running through everyone in this tournament.
Tournament Final: (Ken) Wayne Shamrock vs. Manabu Yamada. Shamrock was always in control. Yamada's defense was good, but he had no chance for offense.
Vernon "Tiger" White vs. Takafumi Ito. White is so good that he was being schooled by a rookie.
Scott Bessac vs. Osami Shibuya. Bessac dominated.
Katsuomi Inagaki vs. Alex Cook. The problem with leg submissions is that your legs are also there for the taking.
Yusuke Fuke vs. Larry Papadopoulos. Fuke gave Papadopoulos a killer knee to the balls, which really had Papadopoulos groaning. Fuke was better in standup, but this was not one of his better showings because the fight was mainly contested on the mat where Papadopoulos was better.
Manabu Yamada vs. Jason Delucia. Yamada was cut on the cheek from an open hand that mainly missed. A bit later, he got a nasty cut to the right of his eye that resulted in a doctor stop.
Minoru Suzuki vs. Gregory Smit. Suzuki had way too much trouble with Smit. He blew a few good chances to win. Smit was cut on a shotei.
Masakatsu Funaki vs. Frank Shamrock. Far from the classic you'd expect, but it was competitive. Funaki made too many mistakes. A young Frank was unable to capitilize though, while the more experience Funaki stayed calm and confident.
KING OF PANCRASE Title Match: Wayne Shamrock vs. Bas Rutten. Bas was too succeptible to takedowns, and Shamrock definitely had the advantage on the mat.
Katsuomi Inagaki vs. Osami Shibuya. Even fight, but neither guy was able to do much.
Takafumi Ito vs. John Renfroe
Frank Shamrock vs. Allan Goes. Best Pancrase match up until Bas vs. Funaki 9/7/96. All kinds of fast action, takedowns, and reversals. Tempers were flaring. At one point, Goes had Frank in the hadakajime, but Frank was able to make it to the ropes for the escape. Goes continued to choke Frank out though, refusing to break, so he was given a yellow card.
Yusuke Fuke vs. Gregory Smit. Fuke tried a dropkick.
Masakatsu Funaki vs. Alex Cook. Funaki controlled the match, but overall it wasn't one of his superior performances. Cook got a bloody nose.
Rankingsen: Manabu Yamada (#4) vs. Jason Delucia
Bas Rutten (#1) vs. Maurice Smith. Bas could have struck with Mo. It probably would have made for a great match, but there was no point since Mo was so inexperienced on the mat.
KING OF PANCRASE Title Match: (Ken) Wayne Shamrock vs. Minoru Suzuki. They had Shamrock drop the title because they were afraid of their champion losing to Royce Gracie at the upcoming UFC. Short match. They did a good job of acting like it was real. In particular, Shamrock had good facials. Neither guy really made contact during standup then it went to the mat where Suzuki quickly caught Shamrock in a submission.
Takafumi Ito vs. Scott Bessac
Gregory Smit vs. Osami Shibuya
Vernon "Tiger" White vs. Larry Papadopoulos
Jason Delucia vs. John Renfroe
Rankingsen: Bas Rutten (#1) vs. Yusuke Fuke (#5). Bas was getting way better on the ground. All his opponents are forced to take it to the mat because none of them can match him in standup, but by this point they don't necessarily have the advantage once they get it to ground.
Minoru Suzuki (#3) vs. Frank Shamrock. Considering Suzuki was getting a title shot next month and Frank wasn't respected like the other guys that are near his calibre, this was not the time to put him in with Frank.
Manabu Yamada (#4) vs. Masakatsu Funaki (#2). Yamada was one of the better fighters in the early days since he was more experienced. That said, I didn't expect him to be the better fighter of the two on this day.
Takafumi Ito vs. Osami Shibuya
Manabu Yamada (#4) vs. Vernon "Tiger" White. Lots of near submissions here, particularly trading leg locks.
Katsuomi Inagaki vs. Toon Stelling. Stelling gets a yellow card for not breaking a submission quick enough then as soon as the ref turns his back to tell the judges to make the deduction, Stelling decides to start fighting again.
Masakatsu Funaki (#2) vs. Gregory Smit. Smit's nose bleeds like crazy.
Bas Rutten (#1) vs. Jason Delucia
Rankingsen: Yusuke Fuke (#5) vs. Frank Shamrock
Minoru Suzuki vs. Larry Papadopoulos
Katsuomi Inagaki vs. Larry Papadopoulus. Inagaki busted Papadopoulus's nose open with a good shotei.
Yoshiki Takahashi vs. Osami Shibuya. Takahashi returned after being out injured since the 5/31/94 match against Bas. He wasn't that sharp, but he still controlled the fight.
Yusuke Fuke vs. Todd Medina. Even match, but not that exciting.
Takafumi Ito vs. Frank Shamrock (#5). Ito did better than expected. Exciting match, although it died out toward the end.
Kick Rule: Maurice Smith vs. Manabu Yamada
Masakatsu Funaki vs. Guy Mezger. Funaki caught Mezger in submissions, the coolest of which was a nice roll into a hizajujigatame, but Guy was pretty resiliant.
KING OF PANCRASE Title Match: Minoru Suzuki vs. Bas Rutten (#1). Suzuki was able to take Bas down and was in control forever, but he couldn't finish the job and wound up getting caught in a submission.
Osami Shibuya vs. Harout Tenzian
Vernon "Tiger" White vs. Katsuomi Inagaki. All on the ground. Pretty even, but also pretty dull.
Ryushi Yanagisawa vs. Guy Mezger. Guy controlled positioning the whole fight. He didn't do any damage, but Yanagisawa didn't have a shred of offense. The judges calling this a draw was a sham.
Yoshiki Takahashi vs. Scott Bessac. Bessac got off to a fairly good start, but Takahashi KO'd him with two shotei's.
Minoru Suzuki vs. Todd Medina. Suzuki got off to a quick start in standup, but Medina was mainly concerned with getting a takedown. Unfortunately for Medina, he was also no match for Suzuki once it got to the mat.
Rankingsen: Yusuke Fuke vs. Jason Delucia. Good for a one-sided match because Delucia was working hard to get the submission. Delucia didn't look that great because he failed to capitilize on his chances to submit Fuke, but he did domiante the match.
Rankingsen: Masakatsu Funaki (#2) vs. Frank Shamrock (#4). The winner of this match would get a title shot. Very good, highly technical match. All on the mat, but constant action. Funaki controlled positioning, but Frank was going for submissions from the bottom. They were both active, of course, and kept trying for the win, but their reactions were so quick that they couldn't really catch their opponent. Funaki did catch Frank in an ankle hold. Even though Frank got to the rope quickly, just those few seconds of Funaki twisting it nastily did a lot of damage. Frank was definitely behind on points, but Funaki was unable to escape his ankle hold, so it didn't matter in the end.
Bas Rutten vs. Maurice Smith. This time we saw a little kickboxing from these two, and it was clear that even Smith couldn't kickbox with Bas.
9/7/96 Tokyo Bay NK Hall, King of Pancrase Title Match: Masakatsu Funaki vs. Bas Rutten
12/16/96 Tokyo Nippon Budokan, King of Pancrase Tournament Final: Masakatsu Funaki vs. Jason Delucia
2/22/97 Tokyo Bay NK Hall: Masakatsu Funaki vs. Semmy Schilt
4/27/97 Tokyo Bay NK Hall, King of Pancrase Title Match: Masakatsu Funaki vs. Yuki Kondo
9/6/97 Tokyo Bay NK Hall: Masakatsu Funaki vs. Guy Mezger
12/20/97 Yokohama Bunka Taiikukakan: Masakatsu Funaki vs. Yuki Kondo
7/26/98 Aomori Kenei Taiikukan: Masakatsu Funaki vs. Osami Shibuya
10/26/98 Tokyo Korakuen Hall: Masakatsu Funaki vs. Kiuma Kunioku
12/19/98 Tokyo Bay NK Hall: Masakatsu Funaki vs. John Renken
9/18/99 Tokyo Bay NK Hall: Masakatsu Funaki vs. Tony Petarra
11/27/93 Tokyo Bay NK Hall: Masakatsu Funaki vs. Maurice Smith
Match list coming soon
10 Minute Exhibition Match: Nobuhiko Takada vs. Shigeo Miyato 10:00. Sending the two flashiest fighters in the league out for an exhibition match was a somewhat interesting strategy to kick off a new promotion based on credibility. I suppose the logic is you have to take things down slowly, so going with the guys who were most similar to what the fans were used to would ease them in to the hardcore technical wrestling. Their match more believable than most of Takada's, with Miyato doing a good job making Takada look like a real force. Takada never looked big in New Japan, but he completely dwarfed Shigeo to the point you felt they should be calling his opponent Miyatocito. The match didn’t need to be particularly competitive since it was scheduled to continue for the full 10 minutes regardless of the number of finishes. Takada stopped Miyato’s Achilles’ tendon hold with one of his own just after the 6 minute mark and also tapped him with a cross armbar at 7 ½, but the contest was generally more of a squash than even a 2-0 sweep would suggest, too one-sided to have any real drama with the multiple falls largely just contributing to the feeling of irrelevance. Everything they did was well done though. **1/4
Yoji Anjo vs. Tatsuo Nakano 24:25. I didn’t care for this match too much the first time I saw it, but I guess I just didn’t have the patience for it at the time, as it now seems like one for the purists. It’s not a great bout for those who mainly care about the moves or kicks, but certainly really good technically, and definitely an exceptionally well crafted and laid out contest. Anjo always had A+ stamina, and seemed to enjoy doing long matches. This was one of most logical and best built he ever did, really putting a lot of thought into how they’d transition. The early portion was spent getting over the difficulty of attaining a position, leading to a pop when Nakano nearly countered Anjo’s reverse waistlock into a wakigatame. Anjo did seem to slip up using a jackknife hold then releasing when he realized the ref wasn’t going to count, but this spot did show the difference between the sort of wrestling they had been doing, and what they would be doing from now on. Anjo worked for an armbar, but Nakano eventually knocked him off with a kick, so Anjo stood over Nakano and began punting his shoulder. Anjo began incorporating his kicks now that he had a target, regularly but unsuccessfully trying to find an opening for the armbar. Anjo couldn’t get leverage for a wakigatame, so he tried a belly to belly suplex, only to have Nakano come to life with a headbutt and buckle him with body blows that left him prone for a snap suplex. They not only worked up to their heavy strikes and suplexes, but were careful to use them when the opposition was suitably tired and prone. The matwork wasn’t as believable as the better UWF-I & RINGS bouts we got after the style had evolved, and I could have lived without the ode to fakery represented by the dropkick, but all in all this was everything you could have asked for and then some. ****
Akira Maeda vs. Kazuo Yamazaki 24:56. An important match for U.W.F. because Yamazaki didn’t have enough heavyweight singles credibility to beat Maeda, but given two junior heavyweights were his only real opposition, Maeda had to make the audience believe they were a lot closer to his standing than their singles resumes would have suggested. It obviously helped that Yamazaki & Takada were among the most talented workers of their era, but the match worked so well because they approached it intelligently. They couldn’t just say, this junior heavyweight is as tough as a man who had been more or less on the level with Antonio Inoki, Tatsumi Fujinami, & Choshu for the last 5 years, but they were able to work the match in a fashion that subtly established Yamazaki as Maeda’s peer. Sure, Maeda had the size, but Yamazaki was far quicker and more evasive. He was a dangerous opponent because he could pull a multitude of quick counters into potentially finishing manuevers. Yamazaki, whose kicks had as much snap and zip on them on this night as they ever did, had an early high kick knockdown to establish a potential standup advantage. Maeda was often in control when things finally settled in on the ground, but again Yamazaki drew first blood with a ½ crab that was the first near submission. The match back and forth, but rather than just trading as was too often Maeda’s tendency, they found exciting and surprising ways to exchange the lead. You never knew when one of them was almost beat or they’d fire right back with an attack that was at least the equal of its predescessor. For instance, Yamazaki thrilled the crowd with his best middle kick only to get flattened with a high kick return. Maeda followed up with a chickenwing crossface, but just as Yamazaki looked out of it, he escaped with an ankle lock and reapplied the preestablished ½ crab, putting all his might into stretching the leg, with grimaces akin to that of someone trying to pass a kidney stone. Part of the psychology was that Yamazaki was using Maeda’s shaky knees as an equalizer, so he found more ways to incorporate the ½ crab than anyone else had bothered to imagine. Since Yamazaki was a big underdog, he not only got away with that, he garnered increasing fan support as the legitimacy of his challenge grew. When that still didn’t work, Yamazaki threw all his kicks, going for the big KO after four straight knockdowns. However, Maeda practically took Yamazaki’s had off with Neale kick, and submitted him with a rear naked choke variation. The finish wasn’t the most believable, but they went as far with Yamazaki almost knocking Maeda out as they could. It was basically a war of attrition with Yamazaki getting a bloodly lip. Maeda really went out of his way to put Yamazaki over, allowing him to develop his counter holds as well as slug it out with him. The matwork was really impressive for it’s time, and obviously the standup was no slouch. ****
Yoji Anjo vs. Tatsuo Nakano. Striking was good, but there was too much lying around on the mat. The match was decent, but would have been much better if it was shorter and they worked and put over the submissions.
Kazuo Yamazaki vs. Shigeo Miyato. Yamazaki gave Miyato more offense than he needed to, but then put him away with a couple of moves. I guess it wasn't so bad since submissions just need to be locked on properly in a position where the guy can't reach the ropes, but nonetheless it would have been a better match if Yamazaki had more offense at the end. It was a good match with nice transitions and counters though.
Akira Maeda vs. Norman Smiley. Maeda looked fine, but it was just a squash.
Nobuhiko Takada vs. Bob Backlund. Incredible atmosphere. The fans were so loud whenever a finisher was done. As you'd expect, it wasn't very realistic looking. It was more like submission oriented pro wrestling, but it was good stuff nonetheless. The submission part was not exceptional, but the powerful kicks and nice suplexes somewhat made up for that. Tough match. Backlund got a bloody nose, and Takada got a bruise around his eye. Very good.
Shigeo Miyato vs. Mark Roshew (sp?). Mark seemed pretty colorless, but wasn't bad at all wrestling wise, and Miyato worked well with him. Mark didn't seem to have much of anything in standup, which is Miyato's strength, but his groundwork was fine so that's what they mostly did. They made some pretty good moves on the mat. You could tell this was going to be a draw, especially since it took 18 minutes for the first lost point, but it was still entertaining. They could have made it more exciting, but it was solid throughout. Pretty good match.
Minoru Suzuki vs. Yoji Anjo. Hard fought match where both men looked good. It was mat oriented early on, but it turned out to have more striking and be more exciting than I expected. Suzuki was the better of the two, even at this early stage of his career, but Anjo held his own. Suzuki brought a lot of intensity. The lost points were handled well, so you couldn't tell if it was going to be a draw or there was going to be enough time for someone to pull out a late win. Very good match.
Kazuo Yamazaki vs. Tatsuo Nakano. Match was good technically, but no one gave Nakano a chance of winning and they didn't try to do anything to give Nakano credibility.
Kiyoshi Tamura Debutsen: Akira Maeda vs. Kiyoshi Tamura. Maeda was vicious, particularly throwing some brutal knees. Tamura was just destroyed.
Nobuhiko Takada vs. Yoshiaki Fujiwara. Fujiwara was more motivated than I can ever remember him being. He worked some nice counters with Takada, and sold his left knee, which Takada was kicking out, well. Takada threw some nasty kicks, but some of his kicks that were supposed to hit either missed completely or just grazed Fujiwara. The thing I didn't like was that they seemed to go away from the body, which was strong because of the focus on Fujiwara's knee, and get explosive with the strikes all at once and too soon. It did calm down even though they were still striking, but the focus was lost as it got all K-1ish so the effect of the finish wasn't as strong as it could have been. Fujiwara's strikes were not that stiff, but Fujiwara did take big punishment so it kind of evened out in a sense. Very good match.
Yoji Anjoh vs Dick Vrij
Kazuo Yamazaki vs Tatsuo Nakano
Akira Maeda vs Masakatsu Funaki
Nobuhiko Takada vs Minoru Suzuki
Yoshiaki Fujiwara vs Fred Hamaker
Yoji Anjo vs. Masakatsu Funaki
Akira Maeda vs. Minoru Suzuki
Nobuhiko Takada vs. Tatsuo Nakano
Yoshiaki Fujiwara vs. Johnny Barrett
Kazuo Yamazaki vs. Shigeo Miyato
Tatsuo Nakano vs. Mark Rossy
Yoji Anjo vs. Minoru Suzuki
Yoshiaki Fujiwara vs. Shigeo Miyato
Kazuo Yamazaki vs. Masakatsu Funaki
Nobuhiko Takada vs. Akira Maeda
Standing Bout: Bouy Chowaikun vs. Tony Kokepan
Kazushi Sakuraba vs. Steve Nelson. **1/4
2nd Junior League Match: Tommy Cairo vs. Greg Bobchuck. *1/2
2nd Junior League Match: Jean Lydick vs. Yoshihiro Takayama. Takayama was far from great, but his work was credible and he didn't screw anything up. They mainly fought on their feet, which is the only thing Takayama can sometimes do well, and they did a lot of near finishes that got good heat. Lydick was typically good here. **3/4
2nd Junior League Match: Tom Burton vs. Hiromitsu Kanehara. **
Masahito Kakihara vs. Bad News Allen. Kakihara's offense looked great, but Bad News offense was exactly what his name states. **
Yuko Miyato vs. Dennis Koslowski. *1/2
Yoji Anjo vs. Naoki Sano. ***
Nobuhiko Takada & Kiyoshi Tamura vs. Gary Albright & Dan Severn. The top working natives did their best to carry the incredibly inferior gaijins. Albright was carryable at this time. He did a very good job of playing monster, which added to the heat. Severn was useless as usual, but Takada and Tamura were good enough to make Severn's stuff passable. Since Severn wasn't the focus of the match, his ineptitude didn't hurt too much. This wasn't a great match, but it really served it's purpose, which was to build to a Takada vs. Gary singles match. ***1/2
Kazuo Yamazaki vs. Super Vader. This match accomplished it's goal at the expense of the match quality. It was a great match while it lasted, and would have been a great match if they went the 15 or so minutes you'd normally see a UWF-I main event go, but this match was pretty short to get Vader over more. Still, when all was said and done, you really felt like you saw something. I attribute that to the psychology and story being so great, and secondarily to the incredible aura. Yamazaki may never have been this over in his life, the whole building was just going nuts for him in hope that he could beat the monster. Even when Yamazaki resorted to underhanded tactics, the fans had no problem with it, in fact the roof would have come off the building from the applause if he had won with a cheap tactic, because they realized he "had to" do it because the opposition was so incredibly strong. ***3/4
Kazushi Sakuraba vs. Bad News Allen. *
Dainikai Junior Leaguesen: Jean Lydick vs. Tom Burton. *1/2
Hiromitsu Kanehara vs. Greg Bobchuck. **1/4
Yoshihiro Takayama vs. Tommy Cairo. 1 minute 25 seconds long.
Masahito Kakihara vs. Tatsuo Nakano. *1/2
Yuko Miyato & Naoki Sano vs. Kazuo Yamazaki & Mark Silver. **1/2
Yoji Anjo vs. Billy Scott. ***1/4
Kiyoshi Tamura vs. Dennis Koslowski. **1/4
Gary Albright & Dan Severn vs. Salman Hashimikov & Vladmir Berkovich. Really smartly laid out to get over the dislike between the two teams and set up future business. ***
Pro-Wrestling Heavykyu Senshukenjiai: Nobuhiko Takada vs. Super Vader. This was their first ever meeting that drew the sellout 46,168 record for this building (since broken by Muta vs. Onita). This was a real first class production with Thesz giving a speech about wanting to unify the titles so there would be a true world champion (Vader's WCW Heavyweight Title wasn't on the line, but the idea was the winner was still the undisputed champion), and Hodge & Robinson being introduced to show how important the match was. The match had the aura a title match should have and Vader worked really hard to give a top notch peformance. It was an excellent match, but not on the level of their first rematch because Takada wasn't as good here and they did a shorter, less spot intensive, match. ****
Standing Bout (3 minutes 5 rounds): Bouy Chowaiken vs. Chris Mack
Tom Burton vs. Kenichi Yamamoto
Kazushi Sakuraba vs. Yuko Miyato
Hiromitsu Kanehara vs. Yoji Anjo
Billy Scott vs. Tatsuo Nakano
Yoshihiro Takayama vs. Naoki Sano
Kiyoshi Tamura vs. Dan Severn
Masahito Kakihara vs. Kazuo Yamazaki
Pro Wrestling Sedai Heavykyu Senshuken Jiki Chosen Ketteisen: Nobuhiko Takada vs. Gary Albright
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