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  1. I decided to take a little break from JWP. No way I was going to meet my self imposed deadline. Instead I thought I would switch stuff up and watch the best of Megumi Kudo. As an FMW and joshi fan, it's a bit crazy that I've only seen like 2 Kudo matches and some clips. I skipped the one's I've seen 04/02/93 AJW and 05/05/96 Combat Toyoda retirement match. Oh I have seen the first inter-promotional match with Toyoda vs Bull & Bonito in 1992. That's covered in my 1992 FMW post from a couple years ago. I watched her other most highly recommended stuff as well as some other matches that may have been overlooked. If you're unfamiliar with her, she's Jaguar Yokota trained and AJW dojo grad. She wrestled there for a couple years until they gave her the boot as they just didn't think she'd be popular or have anything for her. Along comes Onita and FMW a couple years later. Same for her friend Combat Toyoda. Kudo's style reminds me of a baby face Mayumi Ozaki. Her move set also seems influenced by Misawa but those things are observations on my part. Megumi Kudo vs Combat Toyoda - Street Fight (08/04/1990): 7 minutes of beating the crap outta each other followed by like 3 minutes of wrestling. I'm all for that! This is very good stuff. In contrast to what JWP was doing in 1990, this was pretty crazy shit. Megumi Kudo & Combat Toyoda vs. Manami Toyota & Toshiyo Yamada (05/05/93): Fierce fight in Kawasaki Stadium! The rematch from their 04/02/93 fight. All kinds of great action with Combat being spoiler since she's so much bigger than the AJW team. They did a great job containing Toyoda and beating the crap out of Kudo. If it was anyone else I'd be concerned but I knew she could withstand the pain until she could get Combat in there. Great match with a great final third for sure. The outdoor atmosphere was awesome too! Aja Kong vs Megumi Kudo (AJW 12/06/93): Great title fight! The opening mat wrestling was pretty awesome. After that Aja dominated Kudo until she finds an opening mercilessly attacks the champ's arm. It's a smart way for the smaller wrestler to get an advantage. Aja sells it all beautifully throughout. It's a slower paced match even towards the end as they are milking the drama of the FMW joshi not just surviving but defeating the baddass AJW WWWA champ. Again this was a great match and in my mind shows Kudo's skill as a singles wrestler beyond just death matches. I wish I knew why they showed Jaguar Yokota... Aja references her post match I assume... perhaps it is in reference to her training the both of them. Jaguar seems to get a little emotional. Later Kudo cries which I think is her thing like Onita. She seems pretty sincere here. Megumi Kudo & Aja Kong vs. Combat Toyoda & Bison Kimura (FMW 12/21/95): Great tag battle between class of 1986 AJW. This might be as good as the Toyota/Yamada match above as these teams are similar in size & styles and of course the familiarity and backstory are greater. The 05/05/93 match was probably a smoother fight but this felt grittier and more FMW. Bison was great and I've missed her..just blazing choppin' the fuck outta people. I would've like to have seen an Aja/Kudo tag run in either FMW or AJW. They are great together! Gladly could have gone a couple more minutes. I liked it a bunch. Megumi Kudo vs. Shark Tsuchiya (FMW 12/22/95 -First Ever Women's No Rope Barbed Wire Death Match): This was first No Rope Barb Wire joshi match but on 09/05/95 there's a handicap joshi tag match where they wrap wire around the ropes and boards on the floors. I could only find shaky zoomed in hand cam stuff otherwise I would have watched it. Kudo refers to Sapporo in her pre and post match interview (thankfully subtitled) so I was to find that out if you're interested. This match started out a little slow with Shark dominating Kudo but eventually things pick up when she makes her comeback They did a couple really great spots with the wire. Shark's seconds interfered during the match which annoyed me at first but once Kudome's friends helped her, it evened out. Excellent spot with the sickle, super dangerous. Of course it was best when Kudo was in control. Very good match. I'm guessing this was super gnarly at the time. It would have flipped my lid had I seen it back then -Cobra clutch with a barb wire kendo stick still is pretty awesome. Brutal finish too. Megumi Kudo vs. Shinobu Kandori (FMW 12/11/96) : About 15 minutes of all action...you know they could have gone longer. Kudo was the standout for sure. Kandori's performance was good and it got the job done. The story is about Kudo overcoming the badass that is Shinobu Kandori. She was indeed a badass who turned quite a few of Kudo's routine holds/moves into pretty intense submission holds. There were some really great moments too. I dunno, I thought this was a great match. Maybe I appreciate Kandori more after watching JWP 1990 stuff. Megumi Kudo vs Shinobu Kandori (Street Fight - LLPW 01/05/97): Almost missed this one but caught it thanks to BAHU's Megumi Kudo bio. This takes place in LLPW. A great match. Very much an FMW type match with good wrestling and spots with tables & chairs and even a chain. The finish was pretty awesome and involved that chain. My only gripe is that it was very much a tale of two matches. Kandori controlled one half and Kudo controlled the other. I think the Kandori half on a whole was not as exciting from an action standpoint. It made sense though so I can't fault it too much. I think this had potential to be a near classic and that's what I am commenting on. It was 20 minutes and maybe this would have been a classic if it were closer to 15? It was really chaotic and I think that helped keep my interest when things slowed down towards the end. Megumi Kudo vs. Bison Kimura (Jd' 01/16/97): Yup next day. No gimmicks just Bison vs Kudo. And this was a great match! I think what makes this a better match fundamentally than the street fight above is that it felt more natural. There's transitions from offense to defense. There are little windows where one might get an advantage that get closed as soon as they're opened. We get brawling on the floor, we get some chair and table stuff but more importantly, we get a match that has a good layout and pace. Awesome finish too. It's a simpler, shorter match and doesn't have the memorable spots like the street fight but is just as great. Megumi Kudo vs Shinobu Kandori (No rope Barbed Wire - FMW 03/14/97) : This was super exciting at the beginning with both wrestlers trying to avoid the wire. After Kudo went into it though it was dreadfully dull. This again was kind of like each person controlling 1 half of the match. Things did pick up when Kudo did a dive over the wire to the outside. This set up the list part of the match. This part was pretty good actually but that should be a given, right? It didn't help matters that the crowd was very quiet. I think Kandori's control section was about her trying to get heat by stomping, cutting Kudo but it didn't work really. It just didn't have a lot of energy, spots or anything to spice it up. I think Kandori felt the novelty of her being in a barb wire match would be enough? Don't get me wrong, Kandori gets the wire pretty good a few times and this is the way to end the feud but I thought this was the weakest of the three matches. This needed more wrestling in the middle. Folks doing the 1997 yearbook liked this more than me so, check it out nonetheless. Megumi Kudo & Bison Kimura vs. Lioness Asuka & Shark Tsuchiya (Bunkhouse Death Match - FMW 03/28/97) - This OK but Bison is chained up for a good portion and Lioness and Shark beat up Kudo. Kudo makes some comebacks and eh its not worth your time considering the line-up. Megumi Kudo vs Mayumi Ozaki (Double Hell Barbed Wire - FMW 04/18/97): Argh! If only there was a full version of this out there! Little clips don't matter too much but there's a big clip where suddenly Ozaki is not only in control but she's power bombing Kudo. Yet a few seconds earlier on the tape, Kudo is rolling Oz back in the ring after doing a diving splash onto the barb wire boards on the floor. Anyhow the 3/4ths of the match that's shown is awesome! They are just flying into the wire trying to dish out as much punishment as possible. And they are actually wrestling and bumping the whole time as well. Their styles are pretty similar where both are athletic, tough and not afraid to take bumps. It actually feels like competition. They are not going for drama as much as danger. Who knows what was actually omitted but some key transitions must be on the cutting room floor. What's shown is great though. This would probably be a classic if shown in full. That said, you should check it out! Megumi Kudo vs. Shark Tsuchiya (FMW 04/29/97): This was a very good and sometimes great exploding/electric barb wire death match. I think it was a fitting retirement match for Kudo. This features one of the best uses of the sickle by Shark who actually attempts to slash/stab Kudo while she's down on the mat. Shark is pretty limited in her offense but what she did got the job done as Kudo provided most of the good stuff but also took some nasty bumps. She's seriously tough. The finish is kinda cheesy as they did similar stuff during the Attitude Era, later WCW but, hey they didn't get blown up during their matches! It works here so I'm not complaining it's a nice end to this post and her active wrestling career. This was a pretty cool project. It's something that I didn't plan on. It just sort of came together on its own. I'm definitely a fan of hers now. I think if she were to have gone to JWP, she would have eventually had a good clutch of classic matches with Dynamite Kansai, Ozaki, as well as had those inter-promotional matches too. I just don't think the caliber of opponents in FMW was up to her standard other than Toyoda. All that said, in FMW she is the queen of the joshi and a star right up there with Onita and Hayabusa. So one cannot fault her one bit. I was going through an old post and I think there was a rumor that some women from AJW wanted to go to FMW back in the early 90's. I feel like they were appeased by the inter-promotional stuff throughout the early & mid 90's. Thankfully! For Kudo's & our sake we got a bunch of great memorable battles. I'm going to take a little break from Joshi in February and focus on watching FMW. This Megumi Kudo post acts as a segue into that. But I'm definitely not forgetting JWP 1991 or the couple other projects I have planned. Thanks for reading!
  2. Joshi January continues! This little post started out about Momoe Nakanishi and me reviewing a DVD I got 6 years ago. Anyway I was watched a couple matches and realized that the real hero was Kaoru Ito. Well shoot, I'm down with that. She's a great wrestler that unfortunately doesn't get the love because she was pushed at the tail end of AJW after many of the stars left. But Ito made the absolute best of it and had some fantastic battles. Here's just a sample from 2000 & 2001. Kaoru Ito vs. Manami Toyota (AJW 09/17/00): A great title fight for sure. There's plenty of crazy moves and action going on. Ito uses her double stomp quite a bit at the end but any criticism is unwarranted as its a strike move like a lariat or elbow. Toyota is an absolute punishment sponge and if you think it's going to take 1 or 2 stomps to win then, you're mistaken. So the folks complaining in the comments on the YouTube page... c'mon. What's a more fair criticism is that they did kind of stick to working around the one corner for the final part of the match. Kinda like if you get stuck in a corner playing a wrestling video game. That said they really made the very best of this almost like the final portion of a ladder match. But that's me just going after the haters. Personally I thought it was a great match. Ito's move set is comparable to Kyoko which meshes well with Toyota. What I like about Ito is that she isn't trying to out work or keep up with Toyota. She's probably Toyota's last great rival in AJW. Momoe Nakanishi & Nanae Takahashi & Kaoru Ito vs. Mima Shimoda & Etsuko Mita & Kumiko Maekawa (AJW 12/9/00 - Cage Match): An absolute war from beginning to end. Ito was an absolute beast in this match. And not in an unbelievable way either. LCO and Maekawa beat the snot out of in the late stages of the match but her powerful style along with her size advantage kept hope alive. I'm not a giant cage match fan but having to have everyone out of the cage to win is so much more exciting and dramatic than having only one member needing to escape. I'm not going to go into much more but this is exactly what I had hoped for and more. If you know a little bit of Ito's history then there's a moment that pushes this into the stratosphere. All time classic cage match. ----- Momoe Nakanishi & Nanae Takahashi & Kaoru Ito & Tomoko Watanabe vs. Manami Toyota & Mima Shimoda & Etsuko Mita & Kumiko Maekawa - (AJW 2/28/01 - Elimination Match): 30 minutes of mayhem! There was so much action going on that it was difficult to tell what was happening. This was especially true early on before any eliminations happened. But let's say this, being eliminated meant something different for Toyota's heel team. Or that's how they understood it This was a classic match but with an asterisk. The footnote is that recommendation or rating is based on the brutality, creativity and execution of the match. This was not as deep of a match story wise and I wouldn't say that they built the drama to the fullest potential with the eliminations. But this match lived up to my expectations in terms of the wrestling/fighting. ----- Yumiko Hotta & Manami Toyota & Mima Shimoda vs. Kaoru Ito & Tomoko Watanabe & Momoe Nakanishi (AJW 04/01/01): Similar full tilt madness like the above match but with Korakuen Hall as their playground. So we get some really creative spots as a result. What also was pretty great is the each teams' seconds got in the fighting. Maekawa was especially involved. I think I would have preferred her to Hotta as a participant but I think they are building Hotta vs Ito up down the road. Hotta just doesn't seem to have the stamina she used to. This was not an elimination match so everyone was working 27 minutes solid. So I can understand her not having as much juice by the final portion (...actually only Momoe seemed to have a lot gas left in the tank). So having her play role towards the end of the match didn't seem as impact ful as one of the main heels. But that's my only nitpick.In some ways the actual action was better than the elimination match above. I don't want to sound like a broken record but I thought this was another classic. It was not a retread of the elimination match and if you're into the brawling chaos then I think you need to see this just as much as the others. Oddly enough this wasn't on my Momoe DVD but is online. Momoe Nakanishi vs Kaoru Ito (AJW 07/08/01): Absolutely fantastic match and finish. I think what made this something special is that they stuck to selling the same story the whole match. There wasn't any time where Momoe powered up, blew off all of punishment and did 3-5 explosive moves. In fact, Ito beat her from pillar to post. Momoe was lucky to get one bit of offense in. And not in the way that Ito just hogged the match. No Momoe would get countered, blocked or overpowered. In a really subtle way, she often couldn't get to where she needed to be in time because of her severely weakened/damaged state. This was exceptionally well paced and thought out. A classic match in my book. ----- This was an absolute joy to watch and feel a little dumb sitting on these for so long. I made the time and am glad I did. Now you might be a little skeptical of my high ratings and I don't blame you. I could be wrong but this looks to be one of the last if not the last great programs for AJW (I think Momoe vs Maekawa folds into this and sets the stage for later Ito vs Momoe and the last couple Ito vs Toyota in 2002). I may think better of these matches as I'm partial to latter day ECW & FMW and some folks don't care for the style. But if you've got similar tastes then you should absolutely check these out. I think most are available online if DVDs aren't your thing Awesome stuff!
  3. I've got a few New Years Resolutions and watching more Joshi is one of them. It's been a while so doing a spotlight on one of my faves Mariko Yoshida seems like a great way to get back into this style. As always, I'm cherry picking but here I'm omitting her stuff from 98-99 Arsion on purpose. I think I should do a separate post on that. Enjoy! Kyoko Inoue/Takako Inoue/Mariko Yoshida vs. Cynthia Moreno/Etsuko Mita/Mima Shimoda (AJW - 08/15/92) Great 6 woman tag match! Intensely fought from start to finish. Everyone was doing something at any point of the match. It get like each team truly wanted to score the victory. This is probably a better example of Shimoda and Mita performance than Yoshida but it is a really exciting start to this post. Kyoko Inoue vs. Mariko Yoshida (AJW 08/30/92) - This was an OK match. If you really like 10 minutes of half crabs, this is your match! Seriously, it was getting close to a SKIP but I fast forwarded to shorten the time killing half crabbing after watching 7-8 minutes. And the last 5 minutes are super exciting. Those final minutes totally save this but 5 minutes in a 15 minute match can't diminish the first 10 minutes of boredom...and I like "work a hold" wrestling. That is not Kyoko's strong suit. Mariko Yoshida vs. Manami Toyota (AJW 08/30/92) - Same night as above, not a typo. Lord reegrus! That was an awesome match! A classic and a great example of the high level that Yoshida was working at early on. Excellent work on offense and consistent selling of her arm pain. That and she very nearly matched Toyota's athleticism. She was less reckless with her body (good or bad). Yoshida was much better on the mat though and the holds were much more interesting and engaging than what Kyoko did. Toyota's work here was also pretty strong. Here in August 1992 these two were peers in my view. Yoshida very definitely is in the same class as Toyota, Inoue, Yamada, etc. at this time. I really strongly feel if injury did not sideline her, she would have moved her way up with them. What is bothersome is that she was kept down in the bookings after her return. I understand the company & the show must go on but it seems like AJW thought she would just get injured again. Perhaps that's true but also why she changed her style. Yumiko Hotta vs. Mariko Yoshida (AJW October 9, 1994) - A very good, almost great match. I would say most of that quality comes from Yoshida's gutsy performance. She utilized her aerial skills but her submission skills and toughness are what kept her in the fight with the brutal Yumiko Hotta. She did not back down and in fact opted to use strikes of her own against the hard hitting Hotta. Of course Yoshida got a bloody mouth for her trouble. Yumiko Hotta & Kaoru Ito vs Manami Toyota & Mariko Yoshida (AJW 06/18/97) - A very good tag match. It was rough around the edges but it was acceptable since it was so brutal at times. Double foot stomps to the spine & Toyota trying to stomp Hotta's head like a giant grape are two memorable instances. Yoshida & Toyota brought the more interesting offensive maneuvers where Hotta and Ito's attacks were of the cringe inducing variety. They were just so stiff. Toyota had a taped cut that got reopened but I'd think she had some far worse internal damage. I'm not aware of a story they were trying to tell here but it was really enjoyable and the Toyota & Yoshida team was most interesting. Lioness Asuka vs Mariko Yoshida (Arsion 07/03/01) - This was a great fight that meshed grappling, brawling and big moves into one. I honestly would have liked to see more matwork early on but what was done was good. I got the point across that Asuka hadn't lost her wrestling skills with age or in her brawling/hardcore style change. They put the hurting on each other in this one. Hard fought and at 14 minutes+ and it could have gone on a few more and I'd have been quite happy. Our Hero Lioness = Bad Ass Check out Asuka's arm on the right ----- Manami Toyota vs Mariko Yoshida (Arsion 11/25/01) - This is a match that they could have done in AJW years earlier had the split not happened. In a way it wasn't too dissimilar than their match in 1992 at least in terms of parity. Sure Mariko was the submission queen at this point but Toyota wrestled this no different than she normally does. Maybe that's what hold this back from being great. She never really truly sells the damage that Mariko should be inflicting on her. Toyota wanted to get her shit in whereas Yoshida wanted to create some tension. Toyota just popping up afterwards doesn't totally ruin anything as she had been doing that for at least 6 years at this point. It would have helped make this a great big time match rather than just a very good one. I think this was a excellent way to get back into Joshi. It's been quite a long while since I've watched anything. That surprises me since I preferred it to men's wrestling for years but frankly there were some let downs in 1996 AJW that kinda soured me on it. I definitely will be watching more stuff prior to then- Late 80's-94 . I know I am missing out on some really good stuff especially JWP. I think I want to revisit Mariko Yoshida 98-99 also. It's been quite a long time.. I do have some 2000's stuff in mind to watch too so, it should be fun! Everything here is online and easy to watch except the Lioness fight. I have that on a DVD compilation. I highly recommend the 6 woman tag (its in the full 08/15/92 show), the Toyota fight from '92, the 1994 tag and the Lioness fight if you can find it. Those are all absolutely worth your time. Thanks for reading and happy 2023!
  4. 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.
  5. This was the 6th of 8 matches at AJW's final Wrestling Queendom. Right off, Ito hits a German suplex and we get table spots from both women. None of this matters though, these spots and all the submission holds get no sold until Ito smashes Toyota's leg in the railing. This is the first part of the match that feels like they're actually going anywhere with a story and any kind of selling. Toyota's boot even gets taped out on the floor by her team after a bunch of big moves. But Jesus Christ, I wish Ito knew another leg submission besides a single leg crab, Toyota has to sit in like 10 of these in this match. And so many footstomps! Toyota definitely has some Sabu moments in this match as well, like almost completely missing that first table spot and crotching herself setting up a diving missile dropkick and Ito has to wait around to eat it. Ito missing the diving footstomp to the floor sets up the finish with a ton of big moves. Since this was a 30 minute time limit, the match is being teased as time limit draw, but Ito wins with a screwdriver-like move at ~29:30. I thought this match was mediocre. Ito was on offense a lot, and her offense, is...not good. So many half-crabs, so many stomps, it just made the majority of the match feel like filler.
  6. 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!
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