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[1993-04-02-AJW-Dream Slam I] Akira Hokuto vs Shinobu Kandori

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Magnificent. This is a seriously incredible match, one of my favorites ever, and one that is brilliantly crafted. It is all about Hokuto's struggle to put her money where her mouth is when she has an opponent who is determined to destroy her. They play off of Hokuto's history of serious injuries big time, and while there is less action than your typical high end AJW match in 1993, the action that is there is very good and is way more meaningful than usual, and the selling and drama is so otherworldly that the match would have suffered with a faster pace. If anything, that the match is so basic is one of the most beautiful things about it. The drama is created through personality, history and selling.

 

Kandori tries to rip Hokuto's arm completely off of her body, drive her head through a table with a tombstone (which is MADE by the camera shot of the dented table), and take every single resource she has, and Hokuto has to find a way to come back with whatever she can muster.

 

Hokuto's face is so bloody that it looks like she's a masked wrestler at times. But her body language is so amazing and her selling is so demonstrative that the match still conveys the story really well. At times, this match feels more like a fight scene in a movie than a wrestling match because of all the great camera work and facial expressions.

 

I think this match stands fine on its own, but I could see someone going in cold and not quite getting it. I loved it without having seen anything else, but I was at least familiar with Hokuto's history of injuries and setbacks. Without that knowledge, this match would likely miss something, so I think earlier yearbooks will elevate this match even more. I find new things to appreciate about this every time I watch it though.

 

One of the greatest wrestling matches that ever happened.

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"Coming in cold" hasn't affected anyone I've shown the match to. I think this might have the best opening "hook" of any match, because they've all been into it as soon as Hokuto powders off the armbar. Also worth noting is, when watching it as part of a run of Zenjo at this time, rather than (even just Dream Slam) as a stand-alone, you really notice how atypical it is. But aside from that, is there much left to be said about this? Sure there's some sloppyness and the crowd brawlings a bit ... it's still uterrly fantastic.

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The first time I saw this match, I was watching a Joshi show for the first time in my life with no real background on the workers at all. Not a bad starting show, that. I distinctly remember being so impressed that I told my buddy (also a giant wrestling nerd, he's the one that introduced me to pretty much everything) that I thought it was one of the best matches I'd ever seen. I enjoyed the whole show a ton but this was pretty mind boggling to just have hit you out of the blue one Saturday afternoon.

 

The crowd brawling has too much hugging and walking about, really. But that's the only flaw I ever found in it.

 

One of my favourite finishes too. Even if it wouldn't work in most contexts. But it was perfect here.

 

If this wasn't one of the damnedest things I ever saw in wrestling I don't know what was.

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Very first time I saw this I wasn't overly impressed, watched it a few more times over the years and switched to agreeing with most on how great this is. Re-watched this today and it's def on a short list of candidates for greatest match ever.

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"Coming in cold" hasn't affected anyone I've shown the match to. I think this might have the best opening "hook" of any match, because they've all been into it as soon as Hokuto powders off the armbar. Also worth noting is, when watching it as part of a run of Zenjo at this time, rather than (even just Dream Slam) as a stand-alone, you really notice how atypical it is. But aside from that, is there much left to be said about this? Sure there's some sloppyness and the crowd brawlings a bit ... it's still uterrly fantastic.

I am new to the board or at least I should say I am a longtime lurker who just started posting. I have never really had any interest in trying joshi wrestling as my favorite is AJPW. I did however just check this match out on youtube and I was left stunned right from the opening. To say both of those girls put on a manly performance is an understatement. The hate,the blood,the tombstone on the table. LOVED IT. All of it. I really can't remember I saw a match as good as that one.

 

I have no idea where this match ranks alongside other womens' matches out there, but I am interested in hearing some recommendations of what to check out (youtube,daily motion etc, only).

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eh, just read through the yearbook threads, the "other worth watching" threads and somewhear in 1 of the forums is a joshi for newbs topic.

 

Other then that i'd say just go youtube more Hokuto or Kandori matches. That's the easiest way to get exposed to new wrestlers and is usually what I do when I discover someone I like for the 1st time

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Lawler would be proud of that start as Kokuto nails a punch and cuts a promo on the mic. The blood on Kokuto’s face looks like makeup out of a horror movie. It looks so thick. So great that the camera focused in on the dent on the table after the piledriver. These two were just beating the crap out of each other. I thought Kandori would rip off Hokuto’s arm at some point. Hokuto’s selling is amazing during this. Loved the finished of them throwing big punches until Kandori couldn’t kick out.

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Hmm, have I ever seen Kandori before? ::does Yearbook forum search:: No. But it's an interpromotional match and that means a fucking war. And I have enough of the background to pick up on the message put across in the early going when Kandori tries to take Hokuto's arm, as they seem to deliberately call back to Hokuto's broken leg. I'm glad I've watched the joshi that I have going in, because it makes this one stand out more--this is essentially a longer '90s version of Magnum vs. Tully, in the primal way both women try to murder the other and the way each one sells fatigue and blood loss. Kandori reversing the tombstone and hitting Hokuto with one on the table was insane, and the moment was enhanced by the shot of the hole in the table. We go from war to something resembling a wrestling match towards the end, with two back-to-back awesome near-falls when Hokuto hits the Northern Lights Bomb, only for Kandori to kick out and hit her with her own move in response, for another hot kickout. Eventually we go back to warring as Hokuto just punches Kandori's lights out, which works because the opening portion showed us that Akira was capable of putting her down with just punches.

 

I don't know if I loved this as much as the two big 1992 matches--the 2/3 falls tag and Liger-Samurai--but this is easily the 1993 MOTY to this point.

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Magnificent. This is a seriously incredible match, one of my favorites ever, and one that is brilliantly crafted. It is all about Hokuto's struggle to put her money where her mouth is when she has an opponent who is determined to destroy her. They play off of Hokuto's history of serious injuries big time, and while there is less action than your typical high end AJW match in 1993, the action that is there is very good and is way more meaningful than usual, and the selling and drama is so otherworldly that the match would have suffered with a faster pace.

 

This is absolutely the key here as not only did they put on an all timer, but everything had to time to breathe and sink in as opposed to rushing into the next spot. This is ridiculously stiff from the opening elbow KO by Hokuto, who follows it up talking trash. WAR. Kandori now wrenching Hokuto's wrist & shoulder, and she sells it outside. The stiffness continues with slaps, knees and forearms. Kandori is zeroed in on Hokuto's shoulder with submissions and looks like she will in fact rip it off of her body. Kandori breaks out some Tenryu foot scrapes. Now we get the tombstone that dents the table which is just crazy. Hokuto does her all-time blade job there, selling the tombstone as killer and coming up a mess. Kandori continues the attack with punches and kicks to the head, now keying in on the wound. Hokuto catches a kick and takes it back outside, bashing Kandori into into the seats and railing. Again, this is a classic blade job. We call it wrestling, but this is violence more analogous to Sullivan/Kanemura only with intensity and emotion rather than an over the top horror movie vibe. Kandor is bloodied as well. She fights back in the ring, dumps Hoktuo and hits a plancha, then returns to the arm and shoulder attack. Again, Hokuto's selling here is out of this world. Such great struggle working toward the ropes looking for a break. Hokuto's blonde hair and face are literally red now. You almost wonder if this was lacking a little heat at this stage due to shock at the violence. We then get a fitting and awesome finishing stretch that is taken to another level with Hokuto flooring Kandori with a spin kick, then somersault plancha and a dropkick to the floor that is just insanity. Big pop for the northern lights bomb, but Kandori counters with an armbar. Hokuto with a near fall countering into a high angle backdrop suplex. Northern lights bomb only gets 2 as crowd is with it finally into it. Kandori hits one of her own for near fall. Hokuto KO punch. Kandori KO punch. Both up and they hit double KO punches for the finish. Kandori up first while Hokuto is in tears and bleeding buckets, needing help just to get out of the ring. Absolute classic.

 

Having already finished 1993, I've got no problems stating this was my Match of the Year. The Tag League finals and Dream Slam 2 tag were close, but they weren't this. To this point the only Kandori I've seen is what's been highlighted on the '93 yearbook and first quarter of '94. But based on that she seems like one of the more under-appreciated workers out there.

 

***** easy, and it rarely snows that much.

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On an equivalent from an emotional level as Magnum vs. Tully. I also think it hits the same tones as something like Dump vs. Chigusa with better action overall. Amazing story and hate along with the overcoming of odds story that Hokuto goes through during the entire match. I think Kandori seriously may have a claim of most underrated worker of the 90's and she was always kind of spoken in 2nd tier range from most of the joshi hardcores online in the mid-2000's. From what we have seen on these sets, she has been fantastic. This is a match I always like more and more each time I watch and then ponder if I think if it is the greatest match of all time. It is that damn good.

 

*****

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The storyline and build up are legendary. The start was breathtaking, as before you know it Hokuto had sucker punched her foe. Fast forward a minute and Akira herself is writhing in agony with an injured shoulder. She put over Kandori's submissions like death. It lasted over 30m whilst feeling like it could end at any time. It's incredible how they managed to maintain the intensity and the tension over such a long period.

 

Early on they arena brawled including the table piledriver leaving its mark. Hokuto did a monster blade job. A great visual with her blonde hair and it's always been a rarity in women's wrestling to see blood. After the early stages they mainly kept inside the squared circle. Kandori never looked quite as accomplished a pro wrestler as she did this night. Akira gave arguably the GOAT performance. Both survived so much punishment. This was war and neither fighter would succumb. Eventually all that they had left was wild haymakers. Both connected, and it was the Dangerous Queen who found the strength of will to crawl across the ring. A perfect ending to an absolute epic. Exhilarating viewing from start to finish. Forget about *****, this is 100/100. Whether it finishes the 90's as my overall #1 remains to be seen. It's certainly top of my all time list for Joshi.

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One thing that has always put this match over the top for me is the setup of the arm injury in the beginning. It was a genius decision that really enhanced the drama as Kandori was simply able to apply/grab an arm hold out of nowhere at various points in the match and the crowd completely bought a submission finish.

 

Anyways this is an obvious classic, one of the most universally praised matches ever. Maybe the ultimate battle of attrition in wrestling history. **** 5/8

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I find it difficult to talk about this match in artistic terms. Work or no work, I was concerned about the health and well-being of the participants, especially toward the end, which I guess is to the credit of these two incredible performers. This was a human demoltiton derby, plain and simple.

 

The posters above have spoken about what happened to Hokuto, but let's not forget that Kandori bled too, and absorbed enough of a beating that she had to be helped back to the locker room. In fact, Hokuto was executing her moves better at the end, which I can buy as being in shock and unable to feel the pain she was in or even to register much of the world around her.

 

I didn't actually see how Kandori originally injured Hokuto's shoulder, but I was impressed that she kept going back to it for the entire bout. Usually in AJW, limbwork only happens for the first ten minutes or so, then we get highspots until the finish.

 

I liked the one ring girl helping Hokuto by holding Kandori still so she (Hokuto) could hit a dropkick off the top. It was a subtle acknowledgment that Hokuto would need all the help she could get if she was to survive, let alone win.

 

Hokuto bleeding as badly as she did may have hurt Kandori's ability to win the match at times, especially when she applied the sleeper, which should have worked like a charm, as out of it as Hokuto was. But she couldn't really hook it in, and Hokuto got to the ropes. This was a great bit of storytelling, and I'm surprised that it hasn't been used more often.

 

I'm honestly not sure if I can stand a rematch between these two, but if it happens, the bar has been set impossibly high. This is without a doubt the best women's match I've seen, and may be in the top five most violent matches I've seen. Magnum-Tully at Starrcade '85 and a couple of WarGames matches are in the discussion, but given that this was a women's bout, it may be closer to number one than number five.

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http://placetobenation.com/countdown-top-500-matches-of-the-90s-50-1/2/

 

#5

 

Couple of things:

 

-I actually thought of Lawler too in the opening! I did not read the posts here before I watched, so yes I loved how his started.

-I too also thought of Magnum/Tully, which seems to be fairly common. Interestingly enough, I thought for this violence level that maybe this went a tad long? I say interestingly because someone said this seems like a longer version of Magnum/Tully, and I'm not sure I liked it being longer because...

-like garretta, I was seriously concerned for the performers, man was this violent

But hey, I'm not meaning any of that to take shots here. This is the best women's match I've ever seen. The storytelling is off the charts. The selling is perfect. I do think they took their time selling everything and that did let those moments sink in, so in that way ... in some ways... it's better that it was longer. It's hard to put down in words what I was thinking watching this. I don't think it's something I'd enjoy watching again (oddly enough because it's easily *****).

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One aspect of my own pro wrestling criticism that I've yet to discuss on this forum is my requirement of a "5-star moment" before granting a match said rating. It's a moment that takes the match from something great into something truly transcendent. It sends the match skyrocketing into that upper echelon of wrestling where it snows all those pretty snowflakes. Classic examples for me are Kobashi's martyrdom, HBK's last defiance to Taker, and Sasha Banks making a little girl cry. Basically, I'm a sucker for theatrics.

 

This match is one of the rare examples of a match transcending so very early in the match. One could argue it begins at Kandori's first arm bar. I personally think that it comes when Kandori piledrives Hokuto onto the table and we see that glorious blade job.

 

After that point, the match transcends into something else. Absolute WAR. Having done my little tour around 90s joshi, it's clear to see just why and how this match stands out as an all time classic. The brutality is unmatched, the selling is unmatched, and most of all the struggle. Just a violent, vicious need to come out on top that builds and builds.

 

This match is truly something else. One of those matches that only gets better with time, if you ask me.

 

*****

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A very great in all factors the crowd, the commentary, the intensity Akira Hokuto, and Shinobu Kandori. And it still holds up as awesome and one of the greatest matches of all time nearly twenty five years later. And that ending.

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25th Anniversary today!

 

The crown jewel of the interpromotional joshi era and the showcase for Akira Hokuto vs Shinobu Kandori. Its a joshi match for people who hate joshi.Just everything one could hope for in a wrestling match. Stiffness, mat wrestling, counters, blood, highspots and so on...all punctuated by a great finish. Akira Hokuto is excellent and Kandori is her perfect foil in this match.

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What a bloodbath! I second the poster who said this was joshi for people who don't like joshi. They don't make this a sprint and they  let them build up to the next moment and take the time to let the story unfold. Hokuto gets cut deep after taking a brutal piledriver on the table and she rocks the crimson mask better than Ric Flair and it makes for an absolutely disgusting visual. Kandori is an massive bully here and wants to rip Hokuto's arm off. Hokuto was excellent as the babyface fight from underneath. That springboard dive that she lands during the finishing stretch was something else, it reeked of desperation as Hokuto sends herself violently tumbling into Kandori. I thought the finish felt a bit flat, but this might be one of the best joshi matches of the 90's. 

★★★★½

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Why didn't Hokuto get the strap?  She has a ton of charisma, always was a good talker (I don't know what she's saying ever but she is top tier in joshi.  And I know it doesn't really matter in Japan), her matches were incredible, and she was over as hell.  

This match has always been and always will be amazing.  It was one of my first Zenjo matches and still love the hell out of it for all these years.  I've never understood the narrative that Kandori was carried here, she was working her ass off for this match.  An all-out war, up there with matches like Tully/TA for me.

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On 7/11/2020 at 8:33 PM, Alex said:

Why didn't Hokuto get the strap?  She has a ton of charisma, always was a good talker (I don't know what she's saying ever but she is top tier in joshi.  And I know it doesn't really matter in Japan), her matches were incredible, and she was over as hell. 

There was a recent interview with Fumi Saito where he said Akira Hokuto didn't want it as "it wouldn't make her any more special".

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