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Found 15 results

  1. The first appearance of the HamAKINO pair. Also the first appearance of the impossibly perky Ai Fujita, another name that has fallen into obscurity. Candy is quickly starting to annoy me with her tendency to do every top rope move 3 times in a row. When this wasn't Candy hitting her 38th moonsault, it was quite good. The other 3 work this kind of quasi lucharesu style, and they kept it nice and interesting. All the flying, fancy submissions and rollups looked polished and served a purpose. Candy thankfully didn't do much making this match feel like a showcase for the 3 promising workers illustrating how far they've come. The finish further underlines this.
  2. We get to see Fukuoka praying before the match while dressed like a cowboy. Uhm... wasn't Fukuoka a former JWP champ at this point? I guess she got to showcase her spots a bit in this match, but other than that didn't seem much special. She bit Candy in the foot at one point. This was a weird match, it wasn't boring or terrible or anything, but there was not much engrossing about the action. There were also a few blown spots. There was some hard hitting early on, and the sections with Aja and Futagami were solid, but, uh... it started to feel like a move exhibition at some point. It was slow, and there were transitions so not a hyperactive type move exhibit. Aja for some reason did a lot of stooging and gets played like a fool a bunch of times... yeah that was interesting. Futagami does a cool tilt a whirl gutbuster thing... hey Cesaro should steal that. And she ended the match with a nice backfist/shotai combo. Candy and Fukuoka each did about 40 top rope moves. Yeah.
  3. We move straight to the finals. And also the first appearance of Hiromi Yagi! Apparently in ARSION she was mostly used in tags in 1998, which is a bit of shame because she was pure gold here. She was a feisty harpy cladded in leopard fur and did all these brilliant swank moves, including a chickenwing style suplex and chokehold that really need to be stolen. Watching this match, I was wondering if Arsion with it's reintroduction of lucha into the joshi style was merely a return to those early 80s Jaguar Yokota tags which are heavy on lucha. Because they do all this flying around and ranas and you have Hamada doing headbutts like her Papa, and between that they go into all these brilliant mat scrambles and takedowns and it's just a rush to watch. Of course being it's ARSION the swank lucha rollups lead into shootstyle submissions and legbars and what not. For all you psychology nerds Tamada and Yagi do some fierce isolation work on the plucky babyfaces here, leading to a series of dizzying double teams that actually lead to the finish. Didn't really matter to me because the wrestling on display here was fantastic, breath taking, inspiring, what have you. The first great ARSION tag I've watched so far.
  4. Ayako Hamada debuts. And Arsion would never be the same! AYAKO WAS 17 COUNT THEM 17 YEARS OLD HERE!!! As far as the match goes, structure-wise it was pretty much a chaotic mess, altough I can think of worse ways to debut. The point was to introduce Hamada as this new hot thing, and she really did make that point doing all those stupidly fast armdrags and intricate flips and her dad's signature spots including the fucking brilliant cannonball into rana which I love – it veered into dangerous territory at times and there were one or two somewhat blown spots, but it didn't matter. You are supposed to look at this match and wonder how in the world a 17 year old girl can do all that. I'm just glad she didn't get the generic dropkicks-and-rollups treatment. Those fast armdrags were awesome.
  5. A sprint. This had all the things a joshi hater can't stand. Random moves and transitions a plenty, fuck all rhyme or reason. I guess it's true that you need matches like this to go along with the mat clinics, but I felt like was watching a „Greatest Hits“ clip of their previous matches at times. The level of execution was pretty high (besides Tamada almost KOing Candy with a missile dropkick) and everyone here had unpredictable offense, plus you get to see Ohmukai kicking people in the face a bunch and Fukawa grabbing all these fancy armbars. And, the match only went about 12 minutes which I think is a lot better than having this type of bout go 20+. So, it was a solid watch overall.
  6. Reggie has taken out the two biggest names in the tournament, can Candy overcome her? Talk about really smart booking. This was a match of two halves. They start out with an awesome Vader/Sting-like exchange where Candy charges full speed at Reggie and ends up getting clocked with a bear paw like right hand and then do more cool big vs. Small matwork in the vein of the previous Bennett vs. Yoshida match, with Bennett looking pretty good. Then there are some weird blown/poorly executed spots and Candy just goes on offense... Bennett had been super dominant throughout the match, which she was good at and I dug it, but Candy just strings a bunch of moves together... I didn't really buy it. Nor did I buy the finish, which came at just 9 minutes just when I thought the match was getting good again. I appreciate that they are not going for bloated epics all the time, but this was kind of underwhelming for a final, especially compared to the previous Bennett/Yoshida match.
  7. This starts out great with Candy recklessly flying right into a Tamada dropkick. Then a weird thing happens when Okutsu tries a japanese leg roll pin and seems to dislocate Tamada's shoulder and she has to take a break. If that was intentional I'll have to give them points for creativity because I've never seen a simple rollup used in such a way. Tamada comes back and they take it to the mat and Okutsu is immediately going after her shoulder and Tamada fights back by going for the leg and this match is getting really really good now. They move back to standing and really smash into eachother, Tamada has a really great elbow smash and an awesome roaring elbow where she spins around really fast while keeping her elbow perfectly straight like a spinning top, while Candy just smashes her in the face with that forearm. Then Tamada starts busting out these missile dropkicks where she hits Candy right in the face. I guess it gets pretty joshi, where they forget the legwork and throw out a ton of moves, but it's hard to hate it when they do all these super neat standing exchanges, like Candy blocking a Dragon Suplex and eating an axe kick to the back of the head for it etc. I think joshi standing exchanges can be underrated and this was a good example of match with great ones. Match also ended just right. Another really good bout.
  8. Double shot of Candy! They start this out with a typical joshi sprint section. The first move was a move that ended a previous match – but not a „death move“, so I am giving them big clever points. After that they settled down and had a more regular matwork-centered match. It was some great bantamweight style matwork with Fukawa constantly looking for the armbar. Too bad we have no 1998 IWRG to compare the matwork. Okutsu has these really amazing rope climbing spots. The match kept building nicely and the selling was spot-on, and then... Fukawa almost cripples herself by falling on her head TWICE trying an Asai Moonsault. Dear god that looked bad. They did a good job getting the match back on trail after that, and in a way it added drama to the finishing run, with Fukawa selling her neck and Okutsu suplexing her a bunch, but I felt that they ran out of ideas. I liked that it was mostly Fukawa submissions and roll ups vs. Candy's bombs. Good match despite all. Also, for continuety: Their first match ended in a draw, while this one goes just over the time limit. Watching stuff in context really adds to the enjoyment sometimes.
  9. They end the debut show with a chaotic fast tag team match where everyone runs in and hits their stuff. Kind of pointless main event as the previous matches had done a good enough job to establish everyone, but I guess they had to work around having such a tiny roster to work with. Everyone has had matches before that evening so the execution wasn't at 100% anymore. Fukawa almost fell on her head doing an asai moonsault and then hit another reckless one inside the ring like a lunatic. Aja had solid interactions with everyone and I always get a kick out of watching Futagami work, but this wasn't much.
  10. The Weekly Pro Wrestling Tokyo Dome show was the biggest wrestling event of 1995, the most historic, and the Observer readers' choice for Card of the Year. So I figure it should be looked at. I didn't want to watch the whole card but enough matches look interesting and/or have a rep that I'm going to come close... The opening ceremony is pretty comical, with the cheesy glittering curtain and electric organ music. This is a 64,000-seat domed arena and it comes off like a local TV quiz show or Rotary Club banquet. Reviewing this matches may prove a little difficult, since by necessity they're sort of "out of context" and presented for outsiders rather than playing into ongoing storylines. So I hope I have something to offer besides "the usual fall-out-of-bed good match." But that's what this is. Good action showcasing all eight ladies with a neat finish. Kansai stood out as the match's best worker, as you'd expect, and Oz was disappointingly absent, or at least didn't really stand out. No one else did, though they all worked hard.
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