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  1. Are you like me and remember important dates in wrestling? Its almost like they are holidays or birthdays for friends past. You're not necessarily celebrating anything but, when the day comes, it feels a little special. Its like the numbers in that particular combination mean something to you and a few others. For everyone else, its just a Thursday. That brings me to today, May 7th or as I have it burned into my brain 05/07. Twenty five years ago AJW's Manami Toyota and Kyoko Inoue had an hour long draw that earned 5 stars from Dr. Dave Meltzer. Ironically, it was probably one of first disappointing big Joshi match I had seen. It was one of the few lauded classics that didn't live up to the praise. As I've watched more AJW since then, I think '95 in general is when AJW started to begin its decline. Don't be mistaken, there are some really great matches and shows in '95. I think the Toyota-Inoue hyper style was becoming the main event norm and 1995 was the break out year. This May match then, the August 08/30 Double Inoue vs Toyota/Sakie 2 out of 3 falls 5 star match are the two major "classic bouts" that both earned big praise and are minor disappointments. I really do digress...05/07 still sticks with me because, while not a 5 star all time classic, it really is a wrestling tour de force. Both women wanted to show that they were not only the best women wrestlers but, the best wrestlers period. I really would recommend watching this if you're into current Joshi or US women's wrestling. Here's my review of the match and whole show. Yumi Fukawa vs. Yoshiko Tamura -Pretty basic beginner style match. Fukawa (I think) won with 2 consecutive body slams. Tamura was better in execution but Fukawa did a headscissors takedown from one of Tamura's scoop slams and it was pretty cool. Midget Death Match: Atsushi Obuddha (Buddhaman) vs. Tsunokake. -Even without knowing more than 5 Japanese words, this was damn funny. It really goes to show the universality of physical comedy and parody. AJ Junior Title: Chaparita ASARI vs. Nobue Endo (Saya) -An advanced beginners match was marked with ASARI rolling out a couple crazy spin/flip moves for the win. Takako Inoue & Tomoko Watanabe & Kumiko Maekawa vs. Mariko Yoshida & Kaoru Ito & Rie Tamada. A bit rocky in the beginning but the pace was great throughout and it was quite exciting. Could've been better executed at times though. The proper beginning of the show with Takako/Mariko as the focus. ***3/4 Aja Kong & Reggie Bennett vs. Lioness Asuka & Bison Kimura. - It was a very neat match but nothing spectacular other than Aja brutalizing Bison. Bison's quite a fox in this one too despite getting a bloody nose from the spinning back fist... ***1/2 Minami Retirement Memorial: Suzuka Minami & Yumiko Hotta vs. Las Cachorras Orientales. A great AJW style tag match with Minami being in the majority of the match. Hotta was minor in her role...I'm not sure this was because it was Suzuka's retirement match or what. Still it was very exciting and I really wasn't sure who was going to win. Really emotional too which is nice to see. LCO were pretty good here in their berserk heel mode giving Suzuka a tough retirement match. ****1/4 3 Minute Exhibition Match: Marine Wolves vs. Bull & Hotta. For a 3 minute match, this was awesome and actually resembled a match and gave an opportunity for the Marine Wolves to shine one last time. WWWA World Singles Championship: Manami Toyota vs. Kyoko Inoue. This is a gruelling sixty minutes of Joshi action. It was a bit unwise to let two sprinters run the long race since they got injured relatively early. Still if you had to pick two wrestlers from AJW to go 60 minutes it would be these two. They're so full of energy that just when you thought they crapped out they would have a burst of action. The real complaint here is that the quality of the execution suffered as the match progressed. Still it's to be expected and really was quite excusable . Still you can't give something this flawed 5 stars by using the match as an out. Still probably one of the best 60min. draw I've ever seen ****+ Thanks for reading! The 2nd day of the wXw 16 Carat show has been watched and the notes just need to be typed up. Hoping for tomorrow...in the meantime watch some Women's wrestling! Take care!
  2. I love Bison here, cutting off Toyota and not allowing her to run through her usual opening bullshit. She also hit a cool dropkick to the knee while Toyota was in the tree of woe and then gave her a good stretching, really bending the leg while applying the STF, and also doing a cool amateur style leg stretch and carny choke hold. Really nice struggle over a Tapatia there too. Toyotas selling was obviously non existant and the match soon turned into her typical mindless affair, but I somehow liked how her blowing spots allowed Kimura to regain control at times. There really is a world difference between Bison and Toyota here, Bison stumbling around, looking disoriented etc. while nothing affects Toyota at all. There was one really good bit where they starting throwing high kicks with Kimura missing and getting caught in the ropes like Yamazaki, but other than that this was your standard Toyota match, with you rooting for Kimura. She gets to survive some way bigger moves than you expect too so I guess JD' got their moneys worth on this match.
  3. Dropping some old school Joshi Puroresu recommendations, son. Git with it, boy! (cringe) Sorry...got caught up there for a sec. Here's another set from the graveyard... On to the wrestling! Mima Shimoda/Manami Toyota vs Double Inoue (05/11/96 AJW): Man, the team of Shimoda and Toyota is really a great one. I believe they were a team in the late 80s as well.Tokyo Sweethearts. That sounds right. It's certainly a better name than Double Inoue. The double Inoue team is a gimmick in the sense that Takako is really a good stomper-stretcher-slapper type wrestler and Kyoko is a superball fancy holds and running around workrate type of gal. Together, I suppose, they are a super team. I don't really think so but, eh they have the title belts so that's what we're led to believe. Toyota-Shimoda is a super team in my view. They don't have a gimmick as they are both all around fast paced athletic wrestlers. Takako just isn't so, that comes into play at times during this match- sometimes in a positive manner and other times in a negative one. Overall, she does well as does Kyoko. The match is a longer one at nearly an hour but, with 4 ladies giving it there all it, the time is well spent. What is most impressive is that there seems to be different acts or stages that the match progresses to. These are not in the traditional order as 'injuries,' heel moves, dives etc. seem to come into play at odd times. This helps keep the match interesting. There is an overkill stretch run at the end, and don't get me wrong I love a little bit of overkill but, it didn't hit the perfect note. Doing a match this long really wears on the wrestlers and execution and the *umph* we want as a viewer aren't quite there. Nonetheless, I recommend this match to any Joshi fan since it doesn't get a ton of praise. It is praiseworthy for sure and really quite a very good match - just a little long when you're depending on Takako. Mima Shimoda/ Manami Toyota vs Double Inoue (06/22/96) - This is the rematch and is much more to my liking. It's a 2 out of 3 falls match and has a better pace to the action because of it. I can't say it has the interesting niches like the 5-11-96 match had though. So in that regard, I would put them about neck and neck. I liked this one better in the long run probably because it is not as long and I could see myself re-watching it. It also helped that I firmly dislike Double Inoue as a tag team. I'm not sure if this is the intended roles they are supposed to play but, man, I wanted Shimoda to destroy that smirk of Takako's face. She is really good at making herself hated. Kyoko isn't as offensive but, after seeing the lion share of her great matches, she is a totally wanting to 'get her offense in' type of gal. She was much better in the earlier part of her career if I remember correctly. I will have to re-vist the matches from '91-'94 that I have of hers...hmmm. So, this is a recommended match for fans of Toyota and Mima Shimoda. They make a great team and I liked seeing them kick Takako in the head and stuff. Manami Toyota vs. Kyoko Inoue (WWWA Title 12/08/96) After the 4/11/93 tag match this was the second Joshi match I ever saw & it blew me away. Well, I probably shouldn't have watched it now, after seeing so many great matches. I will say Kyoko & Toyota still come up with the most complex & innovative spots but here, there wasn't much else to get me excited. It was like they were following the recipe for big single match psychology. You could predict what was going to happen next. I've been watching too much Joshi though. I just finished watching the entire 09/02/95 show so maybe I'm unfair because I haven't gone the appropriate amount of time without Joshi. As it stands, it's ****1/4 but, after some time off from wrestling, & some time on a different style, I might be more generous. Re-Watch: Yeah I was just overloaded on this style & watched it too late at night. This time I watched it with my Dad who usually cuts to the chase on a match and indicated that they just started trading finishers back and forth at the end. He's totally right and along with a ho-hum start, it held this bout back from being a downright classic. However, it was a very good ending though and every big spot was especially brutal. It's certainly a great match but, maybe not a classic. Still probably my favorite match of theirs though... OK now to an editorial remark: One of the main purposes or drives for this blog is stir up interest in wrestlers, feuds, promotions, and styles that may have gotten lost/forgotten in the WWE/NJPW whirlwind of the last 3-4 years. There is a ton of talk on these companies contemporary product but, something I've noticed in the match discussion archive here on the PWO forums is, people really don't go back and re-watch & discuss anything anymore. So, things get watched, a review is popped out & up ASAP, then people move on. I suppose that's the low attention span stuff people talk about. Shoot, I'm guilty of it! It takes me forever to finish a long term DVD project (fuck I shouldn't have brought that up to myself...30 disc AJ Classics set...2 discs in...). However, it bums me a little that people who post regularly in the NEW stuff never seem to go back and comment on anyone elses remarks, let along go back into the classic 90's yearbook (or earlier) to leave a thought or review. So to that second concern, I get the impression that they haven't seen this (old) stuff out of disinterest OR a sense of being overwhelmed. I sincerely hope that it's that they feel overwhelmed and don't know where to start (and may not want to ask). Hopefully, this post & others of mine give them (you?) a jumping off point or at least a little diversion between events. I try to mix up the current & old wrestling to provide a chronologically consistent set of recommendations. If you see a classic match from 1979 and a classic match from 2018, that shit is equal to me. That 'rating' is irrespective of workrate, flips, kickouts and all that jazz. It is just fantastic professional wrestling for one reason or another. AND if folks aren't going back because they are disinterested then, I hope I can offer a bit of insight to puroresu history and maybe create that curiosity...you really are missing out folks Just wanted to say that tonight. Thanks for reading!
  4. 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