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  1. It has been quite some time since I watched 1980's AJW. After getting a taste of a few of the classic matches of the 90's from a couple Best of the 1990's compilations, I was bit by the Joshi bug. I wanted to see what all of talk was about with Crush Gals. I have always been partial to wrestling from the 80's and I wondered some 14 years ago if it was as good as the stuff from the 90's.Well hells yeah it is! Just as wrestling changed for men's wrestling so did women's wrestling 90's. So as long as you know that then, you'll have a blast. Well, for as much as I loved it I got knocked out of its orbit. I was pretty much getting DVDs exclusively 6-7 years ago and didn't want to get burned with getting a defective DVD or 3 again. So anyhow, I have been meaning to watch some of the matches below for a long time and thank goodness people have posted them online. Perhaps its because AJW is defunct but there's a lot out there! (duh grandpa)... Anyways let's get started! Crush Gals vs. Devil Masami & Jaguar Yokota (09/04/84): A frenetic match with a frenetic camera. Maybe that's just how they shot TV AJW at the time. It was a little hard to follow but this was fun. I wonder if this is one of the classic matches of the 80's. I can't agree with that. They just did everything so fast and with little rhyme or reason and they never had any downtime to let anything have much meaning. Crush Gals vs. Devil Masami & Jaguar Yokota (09/26/84): Now this is more like it! Camera work is still not my favorite but its nowhere as crazy. That aside, this is a great match. I definitely think that the 2/3 falls format helps tremendously. They can go full speed ahead and it works. What's cool here is that each fall seems to be equal in length. Most times fall #2 is super quick and almost a formality. So this is a fireworks match that could just as easily taken place in 1994 or even 2004...they were so ahead of their time in terms of speed, athleticism and moves. I can still say they did rush through things a bit more than I would have liked. I would have liked some hot tags and those things. This was just a pedal to the metal fireworks extravaganza. Dump Matsumoto & Bull Nakano vs Crush Gals (Tag League The Best '85 Final 10/10/85): Great wrestling as theatre match. It's chaotic from the moment Dump and her crew make their entrance. Chigusa and Asuka are assaulted by all of the crew (who are all wearing masks and matching black outfits). Eventually they get things a little settled and Dump herself makes herself known and the match can start in earnest. 2/3 falls format makes this even better as each fall functions as a chapter in a larger story. Now this isn't a great "moves match" or even a great brawl but the hate and determination really is off the charts. A very very simple match but a great one. Crush Gals vs. Jumping Bomb Angels (09/14/1987): Wow! This was a classic fireworks extravaganza match. Bell to bell action that was perfectly executed. I'm not sure if there was a larger story or what but, the Angels really showed that they were on the Gals level here. There are little touches that you'd see in a slower fights like Asuka re-trying pins right after a kick-out. Unlike the Devil/Jaguar match (09/14), I felt they allowed moves time to sink in and allowed drama to build with their respective Ricky Mortons in danger (Tateno and Chigusa). The girls with pompoms chanting all match was electrifying as well. I'm sure this is one of the best pure work rate matches of 1987. Crush Gals vs. Jumping Bomb Angels (05/15/1988): Yeah there's a camera man that loves doing a super quick close up to where its fucking blurry and then immediately doing a fast zoom out that is fucking giving me a headache. It like a little kid with a camcorder. I bet he thinks he's avant garde but its annoying. People want to watch the match on TV not feel like they are in a carnival fun house. That's probably the producer/director telling them to do that. Once that scrap stops, I can actually pay attention to what's going on. And this is a good match. It's not as good as the above bout but it has its moments. I think they lose track of the legal participants towards the end and the one woman has one shoulder up facing the camera on the pinfall. I dislike that more than the legality stuff. So many refs don't even see the shoulders and start slapping the canvas because it is close enough. These are the same people who don't count even when someone's shoulders are down while locked in a hold!? Similarly, the person applying the hold also must keep their shoulders off the mat for a 3 count as well. I'm ranting...Joe Higuchi was one of the best at understanding the importance of these things. So this was kinda sloppy from the crew and not really the wrestlers. It was good and full of action but held back by these distractions. Liones Asuka & Chigusa Nagayo vs Bull Nakano & Delta Dawn (04/1989): Delta Dawn did not wrestle in the match. She basically just carried a giant boa constrictor around. That's ok because Bull wrestled both Gals along with an assortment of weapons and a crony referee. That referee actually got the shit kicked out of him by the Crush Gals and they eventually got disqualified. That didn't stop the mayhem. By the way the ref no sold head kicks and chair shots like Ultimate Warrior. This was all kinds of fun! Lioness Asuka & Chigusa Nagayo vs Akira Hokuto & Suzuka Minami (04/27/89): I rarely spoil a finish but I am going to. I'll say this was a pretty good match all in all.** spoiler alert** I think the structure of the third fall was a little bland as it featured dueling sleeper holds/chin locks. I think all 4 wrestlers applied the move as well as had it applied to them. It starts to pick back up like they are working towards a big finish especially when Lioness hits Hokuto in the face with a couple kicks then tags Chigusa back in and finishes it with a really crappy northern lariat. Joshi lariats are never really awesome as at very best they are like a good clothesline. Well this is not that good, it's anemic as if Chigusa was like I'm supposed to win, I wanna go home, this will do. I think a bulldog would have been cool instead. What was interesting is that this is close to Chigusa's compulsory retirement from AJW and she seems in a foul mood. The school girls are chanting like her & Asuka are baby faces but she's seems like she is not happy and is going to take it out on The Marine Wolves...especially in fall #2. This doesn't look like part of the story as like the third fall finish and maybe the whole sleeper hold stuff, she was just over it. Like "we're doing sleeper holds until I say we're not, got it?" Lioness spices it up with sick Dragon sleepers at least. Chigusa is like "we're going to get the school girls freaking out with the least amount of work...do some suplexes, and then I'll figure out a finish." I had high hopes for this as its something I wanted to see for probably more than 10 years now but it didn't live up to the hype. I can't end it like that though... Crush Gals vs Akira Hokuto & Devil Masami (GAEA 05/14/2000): Gaea 5th anniversary main event. Nostalgia? Yes, I'll take it. This was a great match even without it though. Devil & Akira are cheating heels, this is 2000's Joshi so from its pretty close to 80's Joshi...weapons are pretty much allowed in moderation As an ECW fan at heart, I can never say no to a couple chair shots thrown in for good measure. Crush Gals are bleeding but they won't go down without a fight. Tons of great moves, very chaotic in a good way... tons of charisma as well. I really liked this and am happy to end this on a more positive note. This started out as a 3-4 match quickie project but I kept finding stuff that looked interesting. That really says something about how great the Crush Gals were. They excelled in a variety of styles with a variety of opponents. And I only touched upon them as a tag team. They were fantastic singles wrestlers as well but that's for another post. Everything above is available online so if something strikes your fancy, do yourself a favor and check it out! This was a super fun project. Glad to revisit 80's AJW & I hope do it again soon. Thanks for reading!
  2. Firstly this is clipped. AJW Classics #55 gives us about 10 minutes of a 14 minute match and the cut is pretty blatant and comes right in the middle of the match interrupting the flow. But still I'll judge based on what we have. This is the least of their 3 matches in 1992 but it actually fits really well with them in terms of a longform narrative arch. Hokuto is still a straight babyface here. After this she goes to Mexico and comes back as Las Cachorras Orientales to challenge Bull again. Hokuto does an upside down Figure 4 + heelhook submission in this that I've never seen anywhere else. The finish is neat. Just a brutal counter to a basic move. ***1/2 (might have been better if in full)
  3. This bangs. Suzuka attacks Hokuto before she can get out of her big robes and wig only for Hokuto to counter a backbreaker into an armdrag over a pile of streamers. Hokuto takes her wig off, Suzuka jumps her and attempts the backbreaker again but Hokuto counters it into a splash this time, goes back into the corner to take off her robes and shouts something at Suzuka which got a lot of crowd laughs. Suzuka looks a bit embarrassed that she failed to jump Hokuto at the bell not once but twice. One of the wackiest opening 30 seconds ever. They then have a great violent match with nasty handwork and the big bombs you'd expect. ****1/4
  4. This is the best thing to ever happen in wrestling. We are in the heart of the interpromotional wars and Hokuto has beat Kandori, so here we are in the Grand Prix with Kandori's LLPW teammate Yasha Kurenai is out to prove something. We start with Kurenai walking up to Hokuto and spitting into her face with the hugest spit ever. Hokuto has 0 reaction. The crowd realizes what is about to happen and starts chanting for Hokuto. Kurenai then gets to the middle of the ring and does her pose, Hokuto just has a seat and stares at her. Kurenai then gets a kendo stick and starts attacking Hokuto's leg and then proceeds to do 3 lame choke slams, which Hokuto no sells with Kurenai getting angrier and angrier. Hokuto gets tossed a kendo stick which she immediately throws back, because she doesn't need that shit. A moment later Hokuto hits one of the most vicious Northern Lights Bomb ever for the win. She then yells a lot on the mic and this is the best. 9/10. Wrestling is amazing!
  5. Talk about it here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dv9hlW52Vtc
  6. So I'm still in lockdown here in the UK and I've been converting lots of joshi (and every once in a while, lucha and AJPW). I figured I should start journaling my thoughts on AJW. I think I have everything from El Jefe, Miguel Liger, and from Los Clasicos and La Hora Retro, plus some handhelds from 1990 and 1991. Youtube playlist for 1990 Yearbook is below and in progress. I know that AJW is definitely in a transition period with it being post-Crush Gals and not yet reaching the GOGOGO era. The red belt has been vacant for over three months (holy crap) since Lioness Asuka retired. Time to crown a new champion! First show - Tokyo Korauken Hall (1990.01.04) mixture of La Hora Retro and AJW TV Mima Shimoda (c) vs Kaoru Ito (AJW Junior Title Match) Pretty nothing match, good thing it's short. Manami Toyota vs Suzuka Minami This wasn't on the OG telecast. I didn't expect to see Toyota Pearl Harboring Minami coming, she doesn't even let the introductions or streamer collection finish. Starts off really fast, with a bunch of brawling and whips into the barricades. Minami eventually gains control and works on Toyota's leg and Toyota was selling it until, you know, she has to go on offense. Nothing but aerial moves, thankfully doesn't botch anything but she was real close once. Minami has the power offense and gets a flying crossbody. She gets a backslide pin reversed and then we go home. Minami gets a flying elbow and misses another one and gets rolled up for the three. Manami goes for a handshake and Minami is like nah bitch. Weird roleplaying here and a crap finish. OK TV match though, goes about 10 minutes. Madusa & Noriyo Tateno & Kaoru Maeda vs. Aja Kong & Bison Kimura & Grizzly Iwamoto Only have the OG version of this trios match. We get a heel ref and Aja Kong beating the shit out of an announcer. So much camera time on this announcer (and he leaves and comes back). Grizzly gets away with everything. Definitely more of a match to put over Jungle Jack than a good tag team match. Yumiko Hotta & Akira Hokuto vs. Toshiyo Yamada & Etsuko Mita This was on the 1990's yearbook, and I've seen it before, it was a really good tag team match when I watched it then. Loved that the match starts with a botch. Dream Orca is very over with the school girls. Pretty fast match and really puts over the Yamada and Hotta rivalry. Hotta really sells the hell out of that sleeper from Yamada! Hokuto makes Mita look like a scrub! I never thought I'd say it, but I love all the sleeper holds in this match! Pretty good home stretch with Mita getting payback after Hokuto embarrassing her, but Dream Orca fuck up a double team move. Hotta and Hokuto take control and Hokuto hits a diving dropkick for the three. Mita is bleeding and selling that match hard. Bull Nakano vs Mitsuko Nishiwaki (WWWA Title Match) And here we go, start of a new era. Love how grimy and 80's Nakano's theme sounds. Nishiwaki tries to get an advantage right away with a clothesline and gets dumped out immediately afterwards. Nishiwaki gets back with a bloody face...and then we get the introductions lol. They were going for a speed vs size/strength thing here, but Nishiwaki just doesn't really have any that much to offer. She eventually gets to work over Bull's arm though and Bull does her best to sell. Cool transition from armbar to sharpshooter. In the home stretch, both girls get German suplexes and power bombs, but Nakano's was way more brutal looking. Pretty short title match, felt strange that a vacant title match wasn't hyper competitive, but I don't think you could really do that considering how much better Nakano is. Ugh, next event has Hotta vs Yamada in kickboxing rules match.
  7. This is intense from the very beginning as Hokuto hits a big backbreaker, crushing her own knee and at the same time setting up the back work on Kazama. Lots of Hokuto kicking the shit out of Kazama's spine ensues, landing every basic move with some extra pissed offness until kickpadded Kazama comes back kicking her in the face and then gives back some by attempting to kick Hokuto's leg out of her leg. The result feels obvious but Kazama gets some fun offense and surprise nearfalls in on Hokuto. This felt like it could've been better, but Kazama looked good selling and kicking the hell out of Hokuto, and I guess keeping the hierarchies intact was more important for them.
  8. A buddy of mine who's sorta-kinda into wrestling still texted me and asked if I'd ever heard if Ring of Honor. Uh...yeah, I have. Then he told me he was watching the women's wrestling and commented on how good it was. I then remembered enjoying the heck out of their tournament to crown the first WOH Champion. Read more here: But, it got me thinking that I haven't watched any women's wrestling since. I've got a back log of DVDs that I really ought to watch considering I've already paid for them AND probably shouldn't spend more time match surfing on the 'tube. I know I totally missed out on a clever surfing pun there but, damn it all! I want to make a post about AJW Joshi and not talk about getting tubular!! There was a time where I watched Joshi equal to or perhaps more than men's wrestling. And good reason! Somewhere along the line it kinda lost me. Or I think that I burnt myself out on it. Anyhow, I want to share one of my favorite AJW shows by presenting the original full 3 disc review of 09/02/95. General formatting is lifted from Quebrada.net where I purchased it. He's got everything if you're interested in getting into the best women's wrestling ever plus pretty thorough reviews too! Anyhow... AJW DESTINY Commercial Tape (09/02/95): There's a long convention, meet & greet segment at the start that I watched when I first got the tape. It's interesting to see the lady's personality's come out in the interviews. I really remember Hokuto, Toyota, Bull & Kyoko. Zenjo Up To Type II: Misae Watanabe & Naomi Kato vs. Yoshika Tamura & Yuka Shiina: Have never heard of any of these girls. Typical dropkick & scoop slam fare I assume...I skipped it. Midget Puroresu Gabyo (thumbtack) Match: Tiger Jeetmezucito vs. Buddha Nakamaki Hiroshi: It was pretty funny but soon dragged on. I think Bas Rutten & some other white guy (some fighter presumably) played a part of it out in the stands. Didn't see them the next match or in the later ones...so I guess they were compensated & aren't generally interested in Joshi. Vacant AJ Tag Titles: Chaparita ASARI & Kumiko Maekawa vs. Rie Tamada & Yumi Fukawa: This was actually pretty good stuff here as they've been wrestling one another for the better part of the year. Both teams were very good on execution. Of course there were slip ups and whatnot but this was a pretty fun undercard tag match. Little Chaparita bites off too much sometimes but, hits a wicked Cancun Tornado...first time I've seen that done other than on video games. ***1/2 Toshiyo Yamada & Takako Inoue & Tomoko Watanabe vs. Blizzard YUKI & Mariko Yoshida & Kaoru Ito: Holy shit this was a hot 6-woman tag! Each woman was performing her best but, I'll go on record to say I'm the biggest Takako detractor. *Note: Spoiler plus my Takako Inoue Rant begins here.* She does not know a damn thing about psychology or appearing to care about the match. Why she's in wrestling I have no clue! In the middle of the match, before the fantastic sequences, saves, nearfalls etc. she took Blizzard YUKI (S. Hasegawa w/ a mask) and chokeslams her off the apron! No rhyme or reason- of course with 1/3rd of the match to go Yuki can't really sell it or the match sorta dissolves. So Takako puts a mid-carder in the position where she has to no-sell the chokeslam off the apron, as big a fucking move as I can think of! I mean it wasn't executed with the force or vigor of Taue's but, there was no lead-in, no tease, no drama, just 'I got her on the apron & I'm going to slam her to the floor.' It boggles the mind! I mean she used almost every big move she has...It's a fucking 6-man match if anything you, who is not doing the pinning, should NOT use your big moves except the one everyone always kicks out of like the tombstone or regular "chokeslam" to build tension. She's the biggest downside of the match and every-match I've ever seen her in. Thank the stars that Yamada was on Watanabe's team because she really helped hold it together since Watanabe's offense is nothing too credible. I'm going on about the negatives because this was very, very close to being a ****1/2 match...maybe ****1/4+ to be conservative but, Takako just doesn't know what the hell she's doing...she reminds me of the one girl from "The Beautiful People" stable in TNA...she skips around the ring & keeps her hands close to her body...just poor body language (doesn't commit/want to get hurt) & no concept of psychology. She did one of her big moves & followed up with a stomp to the head! Not a pin attempt, not a hold (god forbid!), or a tag out to double team. She didn't really kill this match, it's the fucking proof I needed for my claim that she sunk the 8/30 Tag Match...she is a fucking match anchor! I don't care how alabaster her skin is, how nice her cheekbones & cute little nose are...Gimme acne'd Ito stompin' skulls anyday.****1/4 End of Disc 1 UWA World Women's Tag Titles: Etsuko Mita & Mima Shimoda vs. Jaguar Yokota & Lioness Asuka: This is a dream match to me & it did not disappoint. Everyone was doing what it takes to have a great match- quick movement, on point execution, intensity, saves, double teams, near falls, etc. It was really fantastic & evident that they were only biting off as much as they could chew to preserve the quality of the match. Jaguar redeemed herself here (from a past match) and was excellent especially with her facial expressions, as were the LCO. Lioness & Mita provided the base for the 2 flashier fighters to work off of. It was a really great balance. This is just how tag team fans like myself like it. ****1/2 THE DESTINY STRONGEST: Yumiko Hotta vs. Reggie Bennett: A very, very good match between Hotta & Bennett. Once again, they worked within their limitations and accentuate their strengths. Both women were quite stiff with one another and the spots were simple but effective. Both are very good opponents for one another and really showed their strongest-ness ...I think that's what they were getting at all along. ****+ THE DESTINY BEASTY: Aja Kong vs. Bison Kimura: Just an old-school, knock-down, drag out fight. I never thought Bison was going to win. She really should have hit Aja with some more weapons and had a couple more credible moves. The Blazing Chop is nice but, in 1995 it's not that good of a finisher. Still, it was a very good, bloody fight. **** End of Disc 2 THE DESTINY MEGA-POWER: Kyoko Inoue vs. Bull Nakano: Kyoko is a bit all over the place with her psychology but Bull compensated by destroying her. It wasn't as awesome as their 3/26/95 classic but still was very good. The audience really sucked though, which hurt the aura...so maybe it would be better with the sound off. I didn't care for the finish but, it made sense... So there you go. ****1/4 possibly THE DESTINY CLIMAX: Manami Toyota vs. Akira Hokuto: I watched this first. The reason I skipped ahead to this match was because I was disappointed so much with the Queen's Holy Night main event. I wanted to see if this really was as good as advertised. And it was. It was not the Toyota style of run around and do 5 moves in the time you should be doing 3. It was Hokuto's style of hard hits, insane dives, and head drops. In the end, it was more like a deathmatch than anything else. Just brutal throughout. Both women were injured & was difficult to watch at times. *(There is a spoiler at the end so skipthe rest of the paragraph now)* I could give this ****3/4 but when I look at Jumbo/Tenryu 6/5/89 & this, I realized this match is not only comparable in psychology but an advancement of that style. The match was more about maiming you opponent more than pinning them. Toyota practically had to kill Hokuto to beat her & Hokuto practically killed herself in order to destroy Toyota. ***** Overall this was a great wrestling show. I would have liked the Destiny matches to be a little more than they were but it's better that they didn't upstage the main event & that the main event delivered which couldn't be said for Queen's Holy Night or Wrestling Queendom Victory (2 other notable 1995 AJW super shows). In those two the other top matches upstaged the lackluster finals. If you think that you wanna see this stuff, I highly recommend that you do! With women's wrestling gaining popularity due to the talent in WWE, ROH, Japan, the Indies, etc., you really should check out the masters. In 2018, no one really discusses this anymore but, give it a shot and know your history! And if you already know then, maybe go back and revisit it. I've been pretty engrossed with 2010's stuff that I think I'm due for a trip back in time myself
  9. This was #245 on our friend shodate's list of the Top 250 90s matches. Good thing because otherwise I probably would've never watched this. This was fantastic and instantly became one of my favourite joshi matches of the year. Lots of cool uncooperative exchanges throughout, and the match told a good story. You had Hokuto being two classes above both opponents (and making that very clear), Uematsu refusing to back down and wrestling a class above hers, and Kaoru and Ichiki trying everything to gain the advantage and topple their opponents. There were some basic spots such as biting, stomping eye rake or hair pulling toss which felt really violent here. There was also plenty of awesome receipt spots, especially whenever Hokuto felt disrespected, she would step up and show who's boss usually by booting someone in the face. There was also plenty of head droppin death moves and crushing diving attacks. Despite that the match didn't feel like overkill and ended at just the perfect spot. Little weak transitions here maybe, but yeah all things considered I enjoyed the hell out of this.
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