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Found 23 results

  1. Early JWP seems to be the biggest mystery of joshi along with LLPW. There's so little discussion about it, even though there is plenty interesting to it: it had future stars like Kandori, Ozaki and Kansai, and veterans such as Devil and Itsuki Yamazaki. Gran Hamada trained the girls, and they used a unique style while still bringing the workrate. I've aquired quite a bit of this old stuff recently, so I think it's time to settle this and discover things such as: - What are the good matches involving pre-interpromotional blowup Kandori, Kansai, Ozaki, etc. that is relevant to their GWE case? (Stuff that was not brought up in the GWE discussion) - How close were those workers in their early state to their later, more famous versions? - Who is the lost great worker among the lesser knowns? (SPOILER: It's motherfucking Harley Saito, god bless her) - Are there any hidden gems/all time great stuff that stands up to the best stuff AJW was putting out? (SPOILER: Yes there was) I'll be posting my reviews in this thread and use it to document my findings. Recommended Matches: (ongoing) Shinobu Kandori vs. Devil Masami (Original JWP, 7/14/88) --- 1988 MOTY Rumi Kazama vs. Plum Mariko (2/12/89) Shinobu Kandori vs. Miss A (7/13/89) Mayumi Ozaki vs. Cutie Suzuki (4/26/1989) --- 1989 MOTY Itsuki Yamazaki vs. Plum Mariko (JWP 5/25/90) Mayumi Ozaki vs. The Scorpion (JWP 6/14/90) Shinobu Kandori vs. Harley Saito (7/19/90) --- 1990 MOTY Rumi Kazama & Shinobu Kandori vs. Devil Masami & Itsuki Yamazaki (JWP 9/30/90) Miss A & Harley Saito vs. Shinobu Kandori & Rumi Kazama (JWP 10/10/90) Rumi Kazama vs. Mayumi Ozaki (12/24/90) Mayumi Ozaki & Rumi Kazama vs. Shinobu Kandori & Harley Saito (JWP 1/6/1991) Itsuki Yamazaki vs. Miss A (Dynamite Kansai) (JWP 1/6/91) (UWA Tournament First Round Match) Miss A (Dynamite Kansai) vs. Eagle Sawai (JWP 1/13/91) (UWA Tournament Semifinals) Miss A vs. Harley Saito (UWA Tournament finals) (2/1/91) Miss A & Harley Saito vs. Rumi Kazama & Mayumi Ozaki (JWP 4/23/1991) Devil Masami & Rumi Kazama vs. Miss A & Itsuki Yamazaki (JWP 4/26/1991) Devil Masami & Hikari Fukuoka vs. Itsuki Yamazaki & Cuty Suzuki (JWP 5/25/1991) Utako Hozumi vs. The Scorpion (6/30/91) The Scorpion vs Cutie Suzuki (JWP 08/30/91) Harley Saito vs. Eagle Sawai (7/14/91) Dynamite Kansai & The Scorpion vs. Shinobu Kandori & Harley Saito (8/4/1991) Dynamite Kansai & The Scorpion vs. Harley Saito & Itsuki Yamazaki (JWP 8/8/91) Cuty Suzuki vs. The Scorpion (8/11/91) The Scorpion vs Cutie Suzuki (JWP 10/10/91) (Mask vs. Hair) Harley Saito vs. Dynamite Kansai (JWP 11/2/1991) --- 1991 MOTY
  2. Another quality Kandori/Hotta tag from the depths of japanese YouTube. The pretty girls Handa and Inoue do a lot better in this match than you'd expect. Early on there's a weird long outside brawl which is largely missed by the cameras, but Inoue comes up bloody, which gives Kandori ample opportunity to kick and punch her in the bloody face while mugging and posing for Hotta. Hotta is a great hot tag as you'd expect as she just destroys Handa with brutal kicks. We also get some pretty great retaliation from Inoue on Honda, which was mostly her smashing Handas head into the ring apron and tables which was so much better than the usual move fest. Inoue also hit a pretty boss apron fist drop which was unexpected. The Inoue/Handa sections continue to be way better than you'd expect as they make some kneebars actually compelling. Things get a little over elaborate for this kind of match, but they get it back on track with some great Kandori/Hotta streetfighting exchanges. The bomb throwing finale was really well executed aswell with Handa catching Hotta in some nice rollups, Kandori helping her along before Hotta just destroys her with big darn moves. Could've used a little fat trimmed but on it's own this was pretty great, gritty pro wrestling.
  3. Much more compact, better version of the previously reviewed match. Kandori was so fun as a dominant force here, and you got the sense Ozaki & Kazama were pushing hard to contain her. The Kazama/Kandori interactions were foreshadowing the future Kandori/Hotta matches. Kazama is no Yumiko Hotta, Daisuke Ikeda, Koki Kitahara level ass stomper, but when it was time to be a woman she stepped up and kicked Kandori in the face. Kandori was using a half crab as a finisher at this point, which sounds lame but the way she cranks in that half crab you buy it forcing a tap. Ozaki looked good doing some slick wrestling and while Saito was subdued but she is more than solid in her „run in and kick the hell out of whoever is in the ring“ role. Some nifty spots and a funny finish. 
  4. Well you look at this matchup and you go „These are 4 ladies who are not afraid to hit hard and get hit hard in the ring.“ And you are correct. This had plenty of asskicking, but I would've liked them to fire it up a little more and bring that trademark intensity Kandori is famous for. Maybe it was cause they were working a title match so they wanted to keep things cool. Anyways this had enough good stuff to keep you entertained and they delivered another strong finish. They worked the match in such a way that you couldn't tell when and what the finish was gonna be and it paid off with that ending. Not as epic as it could have been, but then the baseline for JWP matches is fairly high and this would be a standout match on any other promotions card.
  5. Very good tag which was mostly built around the veteran team of Devil & Yamazaki rudo'ing it up and cutting off their younger opponents who were firing back with plenty of spunk. This was probably the best Devil has looked as she was quite the thrashing machine here throwing stiff headbutts and punches and dropping the girls with massive Gorilla slams and powerbombs. She did some cool „monster“ selling aswell and reminded me a bit of Andre. Yamazaki wasn't in the match much but she did work a few cool exchanges and she once again acting like an even girlier Takeshi Ono, running in to kick people in the head and stomp on their hands to break up submissions. Kazama was laying into folks with brutal kicks again and there were plenty of violent exchanges in the process. Kandori was probably the most subdued but it was established that she could end the match at any time so that resulted in a few neat moments. Really effective match with some strong double team work from Devil & Yamazaki and a clever finish.
  6. The first half or so of this was just amazing and easily the best JWP tag I've ever watched. They basically did away with all the cute stuff and just went for the kickpadded joshi version of a Choshu/WAR tag. The Kansai vs. Saito/Kandori interactions were just magic. Stiff blows, lack of cooperation, flash submissions, general frantic pace... this may be my favourite style of wrestling. Kandori had superstar written all over her here as she had amazing presence, disdainfuly kicking Scorpion in the face and standing toe to toe with Kansai. The second half drifted more into a different territory, whichwas still solid, but I was hoping for the sparks to fly a little more of that opening. It was basically a WAR tag that turned into an AJPW tag, and I like the WAR style better. Still, they pulled through with a good story as Saito and Kandori worked a good underdog+major badass team. Saito and Kansai kept brawling after the finish, keeping me excited for their further interactions throughout the year. Ah screw it, this is still the best JWP tag by a landslide so far.
  7. Two highly skilled judokas work a Battlarts match and it rules. I’m not usually a fan of 90s joshi pacing, but a five minute sprint is much more digestible than a half an hour one, especially when it serves as a showcase of legit techniques and not missile dropkicks and half nelson chickenwing suplexes. Kazunina makes me a fan by doing a beautiful O-goshi five seconds into a match, and not that I wouldn’t have liked this if this were just a million hip throws-but they really do a fantastic job of structuring things in such a way that always keeps you guessing by also utilizing hand techniques, sacrifice throws, Kosen/BJJ-like sweeps, creating neat grappling sequences around fighting for chokes and armbars by using legit counters as well as fluently entering into them from standing. Kandori hitting a Seoi Nage could be “just a thing that happened”, but after teasing it and having her be the one thrown a bunch in such a short time the contrast makes it a gigantic, momentum shifting turning point, even if the actuality of the match being a five minute sprint worked in the vein it was forces them to be exchanging maneuvers and not truly be one sided for a longer period of time, that it cons you into feeling like that regardless is a testament to the power of pro wrestling. ****1/4
  8. They follow a silly spectacle with a badass heavyweight war. Good one. These are the two biggest meanie asskickers JWP ever produced; can they deliver a goodie even in their baby form? Yes they can. Kandori was full on Kandori, completely different from the worker she was the year before, while Kansai was learning the ways of working stiff and exciting. This had a pretty great opening – as they go right at it with the fast submissions, slapping the taste out of eachother's mouth, throwing lariats, Kansai making a comeback by punching Kandori in the face repeatedly etc. The second half was a little more generic and more like a wrestling match, but still interesting enough with some very well timed spots and nearfalls. Whenever Kandori looks in a submission there's automatic drama, so that's really nice. Strong bout, proof these two could go from very early on.
  9. This is an amazing match; not just by far the best JWP match I've seen probably ever, but in the top 5-10 of the finest women's single matches I can remember. What made this outstanding was that what they did was stylistically state of the art, mixing 80s NJPW-like shootstyle/wrestling hybrid with something resembling a classic title match, and emotionally captivating: right from the get go there is a ton of disdain, uncooperativeness, and another fantastic underdog performance from Harley. So this is like a joshi version of Fujinami/Maeda, without the blood and more outright hatred. Kandori is naturally really good at grabbing flash submissions and they use their holds really well, while Harley was bringing the violence with her kicks – there are a few moments where she is contorting her body to get out of Kandori's holds and then proceeds to kick Kandori in the face and ear repeatedly. It was awe inspiring. Kandori gives her back some raining angry shots down on her smaller opponent too, and with some of the uncooperative moves, stiff shots and flash subs here I was thinking I was watching some sort of Tenryu/Hashimoto/Fujiwara showdown. Another cool thing is how they interweave their shootstyle stuff with more traditional wrestling, they were working shoot kicks and flash armbars one minute, and then neck bridges and small packages. The rollups make really good nearfalls because JWP was booking a lot of rollup finishes, and thanks to that they can build to big section of 2,99999s for the ending run that doesn't have that big move spam. Some incredibly well timed spots, and there is one false finish that is executed in a way I can't recall seeing in many other wrestling matches, which sets up another angry Kandori comeback to the keep the crowd behind Harley. I mean, watching what they did here felt like the stuff that is missing from so many wrestling matches, they had the folks at Korakuen hall flipping out for a small package or fall-on-top counter. Really great match that delivered beyond expectations, considering this is Kandori years before coming into Superstardom and Saito who was almost completely under the radar (RIP, you magnificient gem). Mindblowing that you can still find shit as good as this in 2017 that has apparently never been talked about.
  10. The original JWP is painfully underexplored. This is probably it's most prolific match, and it's more interesting than a great match. You may theorize that this is Kandori, the dangerous shooter putting the pro wrestler under fire and setting the blueprints for Kandori/Hokuto... which is a good formula, but in reality it was Devil dragging a green Kandori by the nose through a long match. Kandori looks good on the mat, and not very good doing anything else. Devil is as mean as you can want a hardened veteran to be carrying this and brings the goods, downing Kandori with a huge punch, almost ripping her in half with a surfboard, dishing out clubbing blows to make up for Kandori's weak kicks and so on. The biggest problem with the match is that it's needlessly long, as the iconic moment - where they both start bleeding all over the ring - only comes about 30 minutes into the match, and before that, there's a lot of meandering. It felt a bit like Devil redoing the Chigusa match against a far lesser Chigusa with nice submissions. The actual bloodbath was kind of underwhelming too, honestly. There's always charm to watching a rookie and a veteran going along for a lengthy match and this had enough good moments and nearfalls to keep you satisfied, but I gotta say this wasn't as good as I've seen it hyped up. Also, I'll never understand what was up with that restart/overtime they did.
  11. I'm starting to wonder how these two workers ever got a dubious rep. I've myself dismissed Hotta during the GWE discussion but I will say she is pretty good when not compared to the Top 100 workers ever. Both workers stuck to their strengths here so naturally it was good. It was a slow paced bout, but in my opinion the good kind of slow pace for this type of simple, brutally violent battle.They were wise enough not to go outside the ring or do extended holds. Instead, Kandori brings the flash submissions and takedowns which are over, while Hotta brings the face shattering stiff kicks. I think Hotta was way lower on the totem pole here than Kandori, so she makes up for it by absolutely abusing her with painful kicks. Goodness gracious what a beating. At one point, she did the spot where she ties Kandori into a tree of woe so she can soccer kick her more easily. Kandori tries to climb out of the position and Kandori gets onto the ropes to kick her in the eye again. Kandori tried a lot of different stuff and Hotta came across as a fighter with a very limited, but extremely devastating arsenal. Kandori eventually responds by ripping a bandage off of Hotta's face and repeatedly taped fist punching and toe kicking her in the bloody eye and this match is ON. They do a ton of bomb throwing for the finish like they always do in these japanese girl wrestling matches, but these two have pretty brutal bombs and there were enough interesting touches to keep me interested. Altough there were definitely a few moves that felt forced in. But nevermind that you will want to watch this for the WAR like brutality.
  12. Kandori's entire persona is that of someone in a huge hurry who's stuck in a line at Subway behind a person taking 5 minutes to decide what type of cheese they want--just a perpetual grump. It makes for a great contrast with the eternally bubbly Kyoko. This is a marvelously well-built match, with Inoue really working outside of her comfort zone. There are some fantastic reversals and counters, like a more intense version of the Kawada/Taue CC match. After a few heart-rendering near-falls, we got a finish that I actually really liked, and was built to just as well as the rest of the match. Some of the most dramatic rope escapes you'll ever see, which sets up the winning submission pretty spectacularly. Kandori may have been involved in the two best joshi singles matches of the year.
  13. Basically a tale of two matches. When Yamada and Kandori are in the ring, it's gold--tremendous heat, and the action lives up to one's expectations of these two badasses going at it. The partners add very little other than making saves and taking up space, and things die off when they're legal. It's more like a singles match with two assist characters than a straight tag. Yamada throws kicks and Kandori twists her limbs in various directions, before Shinobu catches Yamada coming off the top in a Fujiwara armbar for a tapout. Somehow in the middle of a 10-hour show this match still felt rushed, but the action was good while it lasted and has you wanting to see these two women go at it again.
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