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[1993-04-18-JWP] Bull Nakano vs Devil Masami

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I like both Bull and Devil and appreciate what they were trying to do here, but it works better in theory than in practice. Really basic 70s/80s-style wrestling can be great, and they execute it well. This is a very good match. But it lacks the excitement and drama of some other Joshi of the year because it really feels behind the times. It's all about context. This would have looked better in a business downturn when the promotion was getting back to basics than in a time period when the new stuff being tried is getting over and working.

 

Technically, this may be the best women's match on the set, and this really is the blueprint on how to put together a great match. I just wished they'd mixed in a little of 1993, because it seems out of place.

 

I'm sure some will see this and have a drastically different opinion, which I can appreciate for sure. I don't want to insult this match. It's just not as exciting as I'd like 37 minutes of these two during this time to be.

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This would have looked better in a business downturn when the promotion was getting back to basics than in a time period when the new stuff being tried is getting over and working.

I disagree, the fact that it was a fading style is a bonus in it's favor. Not that this wouldn't be great in any time frame but taking place in one whear it's a bit more of a novelty doesn't hurt. They're among the last few hold outs from that 80's era and I always loved it when they or Chigusa once she came back or whoever would work against each other in singles (they worked tags diffrently most of the time) and still continue on in that style. Especially on into the late 90's and early 00's when very few of the newer generation were capable of working that style or even interested in doing so if they were.

 

I'd kinda be disapointed if the didn't work more old school actually, like I dunno, it'd be like watching Sabu vs Abdullah the Butcher and no one getting stabed or bleeding. You just kind of exspect it going in.

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My problem with the match is in 'how' they went long. I felt like the matwork and outside brawling were more filler than quality content, and the finish went overlong. That said, I think there's a much better case for this as a MOTYC than lots in today's puro landscape.

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This is really an interesting match, because it's hard to criticize something that well-worked with all these veteran touches that are so, so vacant in wrestling so, so much of the time, even among great workers. But at the same time, it's missing something I can't put my finger on. I'm really interested in reading more opinions on this because I'm conflicted. I would have raved about this on the 1996 yearbook, and here, it feels lacking. Hard to explain.

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I was pretty sceptical of this when I saw that it went almost 40 minutes, but I'm glad it was worked this way rather than quite as go-go-go. Actually dug it more than I expected to. I tend to agree with Ditch on it for the most part, but I liked how they - especially Devil - would add subtle little touches of selling to the matwork. Like Devil applying a half crab with one arm while she shakes off the effects of an earlier cross arm breaker on the other arm. The brawling on the floor was fine if for no reason other than the fact it led to some awesome Bull facials expressions. There's times where she walks around the ring with this great "Why am I subjecting myself to this shit? There must be office jobs at Nintendo." look on her face. Finish looked plenty nasty, although I thought it had overstayed its welcome by that point.

 

I touched on the fact I sometimes struggle with joshi when I'm watching it in isolation in the Aja/Inoue v Toyota/Hotta thread. I thought the 4/10 Toyota/Yamada v Kansai/Ozaki tag was great, but it was probably helped by the fact I had already been "eased into it" by watching all the other joshi on the set leading up to it. I don't think this is the best joshi match so far, but it's probably the easiest for me to watch in isolation.

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A superb legends battle that lived up to all my dream match expectations. I disagree about it being out of date because the Joshi you'd see on TV never used to be like this in the 70's and 80's. In many cases it was as quickly paced back then as in the 90's. OK the original JWP was more mat based than AJW but they didn't have a TV deal before 1990. It was stylistically more like a heavyweight match from that era, which in this setting is very unusual and refreshing.

 

There was certainly an atmosphere worthy of the occasion with the crowd supporting their former AJW star against the current one. At 37m it was a real epic with fine wrestling and filled with great touches of psychology. They really had the fans in the proverbial palms of their hands. There was a clash of the titans feel as they both absorbed so much punishment and neither could put the other away. Finally the somersault legdrop got it done. It certainly wasn't flawless and there were spells where the quality level dipped. With the length this was inevitable. But it always remained compelling viewing and told a great story. A low end classic.

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I think it's more because of a greater appreciation of the more deliberate matches in Joshi, specifically when one can be found that's well-worked. This, Hokuto/Yamada and Kong/Kudo are the matches I remember the most from '93, and they all have that in common.

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I've made no secret of my preference of that deliberate joshi pace and JWP in particular, and I still think the closing stretch here went too long. In fact, having forgotten about the "60m" graphic at the beginning, I thought they were SCREAMING time limit draw, and I confess that that took me out of the match completely. After about the 47th two-count, I thought "there's nothing more these two can do to each other" and was just counting the minutes until the bell rang. Kawada and Taue had just put on a clinic in how to work a time limit draw that had elements of suspense building to a surprise finish, and this wasn't it. In fact it was closer to that fucking interminable Toyota/Kong draw where the moves eventually lost all meaning.

 

Then Bull dropped the somersault legdrop and got the 3-count, but it was too little and too late to undo how I was feeling down the closing stretch. I don't want to shit on this, because the pacing was good, and the selling and moves were all well-done and they did a good job of transitioning from stiff matwork to weapons and brawling and back and forth again. But this definitely needed ten minutes shaved off of it to even come close to MOTY contention. It wasn't nearly as bad as that Toyota/Kong match which I absolutely hated, and it's almost an insult to even bring that up as a comparison. But at best it reminded me of the first Shawn vs. Angle match which got GOAT or Greatest WrestleMania Match of All-Time consideration from some people, and simply had too much of a good thing in terms of false finishes for me to see it that way.

 

It's too bad, because I could really have gotten behind a joshi match based on submission holds and rollups for credible near-falls. In some ways this is more of a match to be admired than loved.

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Bull's probably my favorite joshi star, and I like Devil quite a bit as well so I enjoyed this. But it was too much of a good thing. There's only so long I want to see Bull Nakano working holds on the mat, even if she's competent at it. Going this long I understand why they mixed things up so much, as you had the matwork, suplexes & slams, stomping fingers, brawling on the floor, the whole gamut. Devil bridges out of a moonsault and I won't tolerate that anymore from her than Toyota. I'm usually not as sensitive to long finishing runs that some folks find repetitive, but this one was too much. That being said, everything they did was solid and they had a goal of going this long and it was nice to see them so happy with what they accomplished afterwards. Not bad, just not what you wanted.

 

***1/2

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It is rare when I feel too dumb for a match but that happened here. I wasn't even bothered by the length. This felt like the top heel of the early 80's facing off against someone that was a generation below here in a battle of supremacy and respect. The opening matwork gave way to myriad of stuff that even included a weapon battle in the middle that felt out of place but almost like a test session. The match was multi-layered and long with an epic finishing stretch. I am really perplexed by a match like this because I loved multiple parts of it and yet see all the criticisms of it as valid. An interesting dilemma and a fun match to ponder on. ****1/4

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The first 15 minutes of this were excellent. I think joshi matwork is underrated, so I had no problem getting into what they were doing here. It was remarkable that despite the breakdown in the middle, Bull's selling kept me interested and they delivered a pretty great last 10 minutes or so that got me back into the match. I think having Devil be so dominant was a mistake. I get that you can't have Bull crushing someone for 35 minutes, and Devil isn't much smaller than Bull, but Devil controlling after the pretty perfect sequence on the outside was lame. Maybe because it was JWP they couldn't have Masami looking too weak. It felt like a waste of Bull to me. Regardless, that stretch run is fairly great. Everything felt like a struggle and there were a number of great spots. I also really liked how Devil got into position for the final move.

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This was another excellent joshi match. It felt like a real struggle between two badasses, and no opponent other than Aja has taken Bull to the limit in the Yearbooks the way Devil did here. The only complaint I have is that it dragged a bit and felt repetitive down the stretch, but how many moves can these two realistically do before they start repeating themselves? Besides, they were exhausted.

 

I've seen some of the criticisms above about this match not being worked more like a 90s-style match, and I thoroughly disagree. The go--go-go trap is what makes a lot of joshi matches feel the same no matter who's in the ring; as long as the moves are hit at a hundred miles an hour, no one cares what they are or how effective they are, including the wrestlers themselves. As I said above, this could have used about a five-minute trim, but otherwise it was an excellent showcase for both women. I loved how both of them sold their exhaustion after the match.

 

The prolonged breaks (one each by Bull and Devil) looked a bit weird at first, but when you consider that they were going thirty-seven minutes for one fall, they made sense, even to the point that neither one would come out after the other. It's like they each wanted the other as close to their best as possible at all times.

 

Devil looked like a bit of a fool actually tossing Bull her nunchuks after the referee had taken them away, and predictably, Bull wore her out with them. It's the one logic gap in an otherwise superbly booked match.

 

This was Bull's first JWP match which made the set. Does anyone know if this was a guest shot or if she jumped from AJW permanently? If she's in JWP to stay, I'd love to see a rematch between these two.

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I felt this was a great match that came together as the thing went on. It was an accumulation of good pacing and layout. It was refreshing to see them returning to the mat for submissions and, when that didn't work, picking the pace back up.

 

This was different from the AJW and even AJPW style where it just escalates and escalates until super killer moves are dropped. I was afraid that I was in for something like that...requiring a lot of mental/emotional commitment especially with the time of the video.

 

It was an organic 35 minutes. Intense and no nonsense. I'm a fan of Bull & Devil so, I really enjoyed this match. I'd call it a great one..maybe like ****-****1/4 ish stuff and a must see for fellow Devil, Bull, or old joshi fans.

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