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  1. I'm a bit unsure how to rate this as it's a strange stipulation and feels like two matches in one. 6 women start the match and it's elimination rules until we're down to 2, then it's a Texas Death Match where victory is by a pinfall and then your opponent being unable to get to their feet for a count of ten. The first 30 minutes is quite fun. We start with all 5 of her opponents all beating the hell out of Mayumi Ozaki as they know she's going to play some dirty tricks to win if they don't take her out quickly. Doesn't last though. Mayumi's stable constantly interfering gets annoying after a while and it's a relief when she's finally eliminated. But it's the final 20 minutes that are amazing. We're down to just Aja Kong and Kaho Kobayashi. I don't know much about Kaho but I'm going to seeking out more from her as from this performance she looks like one of the best sellers/bumpers in wrestling. Aja is so brutal with her, backdrop suplex after backdrop suplex with urakens, lariats and piledrivers that almost kill her, but Kaho just won't stay down for that 10 count so long as there's a bit of energy left in her. Both of them put in great performances here. This part of the match at least is certainly worth watching as a prelude to the great title match on the big 09/17/18 Oz Academy show. ****1/4
  2. GAEA youngster matches can have a weird pace where it's kinda like a heated BattlARTS tag where it randomly breaks into mat exchanges and stiff shots. Especially when you have Satomura in there who will mix up amateur style holds and kicks. I have no idea how the average fan will like this kind of stuff as there is always a ton of neat stuff but also structure and selling are somewhat wonky. Still this had an actual dynamic with Uematsu & Hirota working together to topple their higher ranked opponents and they were quiet vicious doing so. Whenever one caught Satomura or Kato in a half crab the other would run in to stomp on their had. Some neat spots and they didnt overstay their welcome.
  3. For some reason the GAEA girls are at their best when working "Pat O'Connor grappling with someone for 10 minutes in the studio" type matches. This was another one of those and a goody. They do really nice work building from a headlock to a bulldog and from an armlock to a tiger suplex etc. Nice to see Kato keeping it simple for once. Numao is one of the lesser featured GAEA youngsters but she handles herself quite well in this type of match. Some great spots and counters down the stretch. Full GAEA point
  4. Stiff match with plenty of neat moments. Unfortunately the structure was kind of a mess. Kato was wearing a bandage from her match against LCO and got bloodied again, but simply refused to be face in peril and no-sold through the attacks against her. Ozaki & Sato looked good when they got to work the cut and Satomura and Sato have really nice chemistry together. The nearfall section was good when it was Satomura and Kato trying their darndest to pin that witch Ozaki but I thought it went too long. Ozaki is hit or miss but she looked got kicking a bloody Kato in the face here and she threw a rotten backfist at one point. I'm all for experimentation in wrestling but this would've been really great with a traditional structure.
  5. JIP. This was a rockin' little match. I enjoyed the super simple build which was Kato's sleeper hold vs. Sato's dragon screw and Figure 4 leglock. I measure wrestlers by how good they are at selling a sleeper hold and Sato does a nice job here, visibly affected early and close to fading later. They engage in some high end bomb throwing action throwing violent high kicks and backfists and this is really good stuff and another entry to the quality year both these girls were having. NOTE: The G-Panic version shows about 11 minutes out of 17 while the comm. Tape version has only 8 min.
  6. GAEA runs a lot of sprints, but this was the kind of match that felt like a mix between NWA Studio grappling and BattlARTS with more high flying. Very unique match where both kept stubbornly going for specific moves. Both kept trying for a suplex, Uematsu for the Northern Lights, Kato for the Dragon Suplex, and they had some cool ways to work around these moves. In between that Kato had her kicks and Uematsu a nice shotai, and Kato kept trying to choke her out. You could tell they put thought into every move they tried. That kind of singular focus was really unique and it produced a compelling match. The weak point was the finish which I thought failed to pay off what they had been building up in the previous 10 minutes, but the work was cool and interesting which is what you want from your GAEA.
  7. Heavily BattlARTS inspired girl wrestling with plenty of brutal kicks, suplexes and flash submissions to entertain you. Yamada looked excellent and her exchanges with Satomura were probably some of the most violent of the year. Kato does not sell on the level of the other women and there were some weak moments, but nothing to detract from the bout in a major way. There was also some fun games around the young girls refusing to tag out which would or would not backfire on them. KAORU held up her end and the finishing run between Satomura & Kato was loaded with cool exciting counters.
  8. Really good tag action which was basically built around 2 dynamics. First, you had Satomura & Kato trying to chop down Yamada, who would cut them off with vicious kicks and suplexes. Yamada looked adorably like a middle aged mother in 1998, but still had some of the most brutal offense around. The sections with Kaoru were centered around her just getting smothered while Yamada would run in to save her by kicking people in the face like a BattlARTS tag. Some really cool spots built around a Sleeper Hold amongst other things. Match had focus and did not overstay it's welcome while delivering plenty of high end offense, which is what you want from joshi.
  9. Violent 5 minute eruption. If it weren't for one or two moments of no selling from Kato, this would've been really great. Lots of violent bombs are dropped, stiff lariats, kicks and knees to the face, but what was most important was that Kato was basically a pesky little fly to Chigusa and does working hard to evade her and topple her. The Sleeper Hold is put over, and Kato looks great because she doesn't just get squished immerdiately. After the match Chigusa beats Kato further and bloodies Satomura's mouth (CURSE PASSED!!!), berating them both.
  10. Man, it's pretty cool to go back and watch GAEA and check out all these rookies having excellent long matches. This went off to a flaming hot start with a slap at the bell and both of them looking like they wanted to kick the shit out of eachother. They end up going to the mat and really punishing eachother with holds. You could be peeved about this seemingly lacking direction, as Nagashima wanted to target Kato's bandaged shoulder but Kato would cut her off quickly anytime she tried so Nagashima ends up trying different approaches, but this ended up paying dividends when Nagashima finally locks in an armbar in the 2nd half and Kato selling her arm going limp. Some fantastic slick reversals by Nagashima into her rollups (which made for great nearfalls), another great nearfall for a sleeper hold, intense battle near the end with both of them slapping the shit out of eachother... yeah this was tightly worked, intelligent pro wrestling that really drew me in and made the most out of a few basic spots while still keeping a high pace. Great stuff, what the fuck happened to pro wrestling that these girls with no experience are outworking everyone today?
  11. With this and their MUGA appearance from the year before, these two are on a hot streak of cool 10 minute bouts. This was less hold intensive and more like BattlARTS match as they go for the hellish kicks and breakneck moves. I really hope these two had an excellent 20 minute match at some point which had the matwork of the MUGA match and the brutality of this match edited together. Actually this match was suffering a little from them cramming a lot into a short time while not doing the interpunctuation. Eventually though Kato's kicking Meiko really hard in the gut led to some strong selling from Meiko to atleast give the impression of the match having a red thread. One thing about the GAEA younglings crew that doesn't get brought up much is how inventive these girls were especially Meiko, and you can see it in this match from her, hitting her opponent from all kinds of unusual positions. Liked this match as the girls have the brutal offense and fundamentals down, but in terms of selling or structure was still lacking.
  12. Sekigun (Alex Lee, Mayumi Ozaki & Yumi Ohka) vs. MK4 (AKINO & Sonoko Kato) & Rina Yamashita This was highly enjoyable, and easily one of my favorite OZ matches of the year so far. It's Ozaki's homecoming in Saitama and the match had an energetic vibe. Yamashita was on fire; I dug her lariat exchange with POLICE. Ohka looked really great, knocking everyone down with her deadly boots. Everyone had their moment and delivered a great main event! ****
  13. More MUGA joshi. This was more MUGAish than the other Meiko-in-MUGA match, as they focused even more on holds and working them. Almost every move lead to another hold, and holds would lead different variations. Really well done stuff as these two knew how to add variation. I really liked Kato's side headlock into a rope walking bulldog, and she was rocking all the Cobra Twist variations too. Meiko did a nice job zoning in on both the arm and leg, and the finish had some pretty nasty headdropping moves before a desperation submission. Nice stuff and it's always cool to see the GAEA girls show what they are capable of in a clean singles match.
  14. This is a two out of three falls trios match that's designed to set up the OZ title match between Hiroyo and Kagetsu at the Korakuen show next month. I thought everyone in this match looked really good, even Katsu who has been a big disappointment since returning about a year ago. They kept the flow of the match going throughout more than likely because they didn't do the mandatory crowd brawling that happens in OZ Academy. Like the tag title match in January, this is another showcase of what OZ Academy should be. ****
  15. Fun match. These girls all have good offense while at the same time too broken down to do anything to workrate-y so there was no no-selling or annoying prideful screeching. I always pop for Kuragaki's Norton-ish power spots and her moonsault into outstretched legs looked savage. AKINO vs. Syuri section was pretty good and I like Akino's mix of kicks and cradles. Akino still can do some slick spots. Dug the bit where Kato and Akino took turns kicking Kuragaki in her face to cut the big woman down. Some sloppiness keeps it down.
  16. This is booked like your standard OZ Academy match, which has a lot of brawling and interference. Still, these are two get the most out of this all things considered. In fact, Kato is really underrated as her matches usually have good selling and pacing. Mio Shirai works as a heel ref as she isn't clearly bias towards the heels throughout the match. Even though the overbooking weights the match down it's still an effective main event title match. ***1/2
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