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Charles (Loss)

[1993-07-31-JWP-Thunderqueen] Aja Kong & Sakie Hasegawa & Kyoko Inoue & Takako Inoue vs Hikari Fukuoka & Cutie Suzuki & Mayumi Ozaki & Dynamite Kansai (60-Minute Marathon Match)

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I don't think Toyota would have detracted anything, although as it is the teams were just perfectly fit. Just glad Yumiko Hotta wasn't around to fuck something up. Oh, that's right, she was on the undercard fucking up Plum Mariko's brain with a fucking near criminal kick on the blind side of Plum's head.

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Gotta say, I never got that bad of a vibe off the Plum/Hotta match.

To me that always seemed like one of those things people were looking back on in hindsight and projecting stuff that wasn't thear.

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This was an amazing match, and I don't want to take away from it, but I wanted to love it and it wasn't as great as it has been hyped to be, at least not to me. I was hoping the heat would sustain for the full hour, in the way it did during that elusive 12-woman tag floating around out there from the 80s in semi-complete form.

 

I had also heard the story before of how JWP is the hometown team and spend the last few minutes drastically trying to catch up on falls. But that's not the story here. So I think part of it is that the explanations I've read of this match were not quite accurate. They are down one fall in the last few minutes, not several. Ozaki does win with about five seconds remaining, but it doesn't really get a pop any bigger than the other falls throughout the match. I guess it's memorable since people remember it, but I didn't really get what made that pin so memorable, other than the timing of it (which was also done in February with Benoit/Scorpio).

 

Complaining out of the way, I thought Aja Kong looked the best I have ever seen her look in any setting. She didn't wrestle even, which she often does. This was a nice touch when you have a match full of people wrestling even with each other. They did a great job furthering anticipation for Kong/Kansai, both during the match and in the post-match.

 

I already knew Kyoko Inoue was awesome, but these yearbooks have been an eye opener for Takako as well. I know these sets are a snapshot, not a full career retrospective, but I want to know why Takako Inoue isn't praised as one of the best. Is she inconsistent? Was her run short? Was she just not the focus in booking? Or is it something else? Any way it goes, I'm curious.

 

Ozaki is the best performer in this match, and she also seems to be booked to be the star of it. This is really true for everyone in the match, but more so than anyone else, Ozaki feels like she's in a war or fight for survival instead of just a normal wrestling match.

 

In spite of my complaints, this is in the top handful of wrestling matches from the year and I loved it, so don't read too much into what I said. :)

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I've watched this match millions of times but it's been a few years since the last time I took a look. Will get back to it eventually when I get around to reviewing all the 93 joshi that's out thear. Anyways, it's funny, of all the great stuff in this match, one of the biggest lasting impressions for me was Cutie's performance, loved her role as weak link in this....also thought the way she took that drop toe hold was one of the funniest things ever ever ever.

 

They did a great job furthering anticipation for Kong/Kansai, both during the match and in the post-match.

One of my favorite feuds of all time. Kansai falling to the uraken straight away sets up a nice little story that plays out throuout all their matches over the next 2 years until finally paying off when Kansai takes the title off of her in 95.

 

but I want to know why Takako Inoue isn't praised as one of the best. Is she inconsistent? Was her run short? Was she just not the focus in booking? Or is it something else? Any way it goes, I'm curious.

Depends whear you look/who you ask. Almost any long time hardcore joshi fan would praise her endlessly as one of the best but she's in that next level down from the all time greats. Not someone like a Toyota or Aja or Chigusa or Kyoko or whoever that even casual followers would know and praise. She's an Arn Anderson not a Ric Flair :)

 

Never a full time main eventer on her own regularly (though she did eventually get the role of designated world title jobber) but almost never someone who got lost in the shuffle either. When you guys get around to it you'll see that as far back as 91 she was putting on really good matches, her matworker/submission master phase is freakin awesome and she'll be a highlight i'm sure on every other 90's set you do from then on. Even today 23+ years into her career she can still put on a decent match now & then.

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Takako just wasn't on the level of some of the other girls. She also suffers because unlike Shimoda, Takako's team with Kyoko emphasised her lesserness as a workrate machine, rather than emphasised her strengths.

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So did you love it or not? There seems to be a conflict between your opening and closing statements :)

 

I haven't watched this for years, but the story is pretty obvious isn't it? It's probably the greatest "sports story" ever told in a wrestling match. The finish gets a pop for the "lift", a louder pop for the beginning of the count and a standing ovation/chant after the fact.

 

Takako had a breakout year in '93, but it was all downhill for Joshi from this point on. She was a hard worker, but she lacked the tools that were necessary to be a top star. Unfortunately, you left off a lot of her best matches from this year.

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I loved it. I saw flaws in it that stood out in a big way, but I still think the match was awesome. No conflict there.

 

I would have included more Takako matches for sure if they had been recommended. I recall you posting in the DVDVR thread that there were only five Joshi matches that even had to go on the yearbook.

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For Takako, I'd recommend 1/24 vs. Kyoko, vs. Harley (the rib injury), there's the w/Hotta vs. Kansai/Ozaki tags, the Dream Slam I tag, the 9/5 tag w/Hotta vs. Hokuto/Minami... I'm not sure there's anything else off the top of my head. The Dream Slam II 'clown-punt' trios is great fun.

 

It seems with every notable Joshi match on the yearbook we're talking about matches x, y and z that should've gone on though. At the end of the day, I don't think the exact goal is the have "The 100 Best Matches From 1993", otherwise we're talking about a very strong domination by the two AJs. But, Loss, if these matches have perked your interest, or anyone elses, the good news is there's plenty more, so it's probably a good thing. When's the last time people have been talking about even classic Joshi, anyway?

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Well, there are only half a dozen essential matches from any promotion in a given year. Obviously with a Yearbook format there's going to be times when you wish you'd seen more of wrestler x, y or z, but I wonder if theme based selections wouldn't be a better idea at times. If you take 1990, for example, is there a way to document just how much a push Angel Azteca received or Funaki's blazing push to the top? That sort of thing.

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For Takako, I'd recommend 1/24 vs. Kyoko, vs. Harley (the rib injury), there's the w/Hotta vs. Kansai/Ozaki tags, the Dream Slam I tag, the 9/5 tag w/Hotta vs. Hokuto/Minami... I'm not sure there's anything else off the top of my head. The Dream Slam II 'clown-punt' trios is great fun.

Zah, for 93 i'll add

8/25 vs Cutie

8/21 w Kyoko & Yamada vs Ito, Aja & KAORU

10/9 w Sakie vs Kandori & Yasha Kurenai

11/28 w Hotta vs Kandori & Miki Handa

12/6 w Kyoko & Hotta vs Eagle, Kazama & Harley

 

11/28 is the only MUST see but the other's are all still really good.

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AJW

 

I brought it up in the recomendation thread but it kind of got lost in the shuffle I guess. Wasn't something I was going to majorly pimp at that point though I def think it's one of the better matches of the year. Comes at the end of a really long super show, directly following a 40+ min match and a 30+ min match so they go in thear with tons of energy and have a really hate filled war to pick the crowd up. 11/28 show in general has become really under rated by now i'd say, some really good stuff on thear with Toyota/Yamada, AJW vs JWP 8 woman, Ito/Sakie vs Gami/Yasha, Kyoko vs Nabeno which I love as a vet vs young punk match, etc...

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I understand why people love this, but I've said it before -- this style really isn't for me. I mean, I was surprised by how much I dug the AJW Captain's Fall match from February that made the '96 set, but this went twice as long, and an hour of it was more than I could handle.

 

Don't get me wrong, I didn't think it was "bad" or anything. Kong was fucking MENACING and I really liked practically everything she did here. The back fist on Kansai right off the bat ruled. The way she'd just shut people down like a monster ruled. She'd come in from time to time and tee off on someone for no apparent reason and THAT ruled. If nothing else, this made me want to see the Kong/Kansai match much more than I did beforehand.

 

I liked Cutie Suzuki as the girl that was pretty clearly fighting an uphill battle (especially the times she wound up in there with Aja). She tries and tries and seems to really want to step up to the plate, but she is just so far out of her depth at points. Aja worked this as "dominant force." Cutie works as huge underdog. Nobody else's role seems as clear cut as that (although I guess Kansai is working as less dominant Aja Kong to her team).

 

I liked Ozaki less than Loss. I'm pretty apathetic towards her in general, and she never really did anything for me here, either. Most of what she does seems pretty scrappy, so I can get behind "Ozaki feels like she's in a war or fight for survival instead of just a normal wrestling match," but I never find myself caring all that much.

 

I have no clue where this'll end up if I get around to making a top whatever list of matches when I get through the whole set. The good was really good, but there's just so much stuff going on at other points with so many momentum shifts that it doesn't leave much of a lasting impression on me at the end. There's a bunch of WAR v New Japan matches that don't have NEARLY as much "stuff" and aren't nearly as ambitious, but the big moments in those matches stick with me. Choshu walking across the ring just so he can stomp Tenryu on his injured arm is a moment that felt bigger to me than any gigantic suplex or spot in this match, including Ozaki's pin with 5 seconds to go.

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Beforehand, that's why everyone is paired up the way they are.

 

Sakie vs Fukuoka = young future aces

Kyoko vs Ozaki = energetic enforcers on their teams

Takako vs Cuty = bitchy idols

Aja vs Kansai = monster aces

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Incredible match!!

 

Unfortunately I can occasionally suffer from a short attention span and tend to get distracted during really long matches, if I'm not completely gripped by a long match I find myself on my phone checking my Twitter etc whilst keeping one eye on the match but this had me enthralled from start to finish and I don't think I've ever said this about an hour long match before but I could have watched it for longer, I was kinda hoping it would finish 2-2 and go to sudden death I was enjoying it that much!!

 

Aja Kong is a fucking beast!!

 

Takako Inoue is amazing at being a bitch, Kyoko Inoue looked great and tough as fuck after she was cut, same for Ozaki with that golf ball on her eye and Cutie played a great underdog. Sakie and Hikari didn't do a lot for me, didn't do anything wrong but didn't really excite me either.

 

Definately left me excited to see Kong/Kansai!

 

Who's the guy in the blue suit???

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I was totally confused at the beginning as I thought this was like those old Survivor Series matches where someone gets pinned in less than two minutes as they have to rush through match. Seemed like it was a quick singles portion before everyone else got up on apron and match continued. Damn, did this match go long. Wasn't prepared for that. At times I'm close to checking out with the multiple piledrivers and submission holds that don't go anywhere. Second half of the match got me back in though and was pretty entertaining. I do love big tag matches and match had Ozaki who is probably my favorite for Joshi. Thought strong performances from her, Kansai, Kyoko and Aja.

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Sort of closer to Kevin and Loss here. And I too was majorly confused at the start and had to Google around to figure out what the fuck was happening. Having Hasegawa eat a fall two minutes in and continue to wrestle didn't help matters. So I was thrown off at the start. There was great stuff all around here, and some cool stories being told like Kansai getting knocked out by the Uraken immediately upon entering, and Aja being a lurking force throughout who wrestles as a near-invincible brick wall--truly she has usurped Bull's old role in every way. And the pinfall on Cutie was a fucking brilliant sequence that needs to be stolen and reused over and over. Still, I was drifting in and out at around the 35-minute mark as there was a long stretch between falls at that point, but they pulled me back in toward the end as Kansai kicks the shit out of people, survives another Uraken, and Ozaki whips out a pin with 5 seconds left to go in the time limit. I'm afraid that ending came off to me as a bit arbitrary rather than the climax of a slow build of a wrestler being worn down into defeat, which the best AJ matches pull off brilliantly.

 

I really liked this too, and in retrospect the opening 5-minute matches were a pretty brilliant idea to showcase what each girl could do with 100% attention focused on her. Just wish I'd known about it before the match started, which isn't anyone's fault. I poke holes into this because I just don't see it as anything other than a top 10-15 MOTY. High praise indeed, but I just watched Hansen/Kobashi and I didn't think this was as good.

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I really hated this match when I watched it today. It's incredibly boring for the first 45 minutes, and the crowd response is not there either. I didn't like the Hasegawa-Fukuoka matwork at the beginning at all, and it set the tone for the rest of this, which was pretty anti-climatic. This is probably the biggest disappointment upon rewatch so far.

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The Thunder Queen Battle featured a unique format, which to the best of my knowledge has never been exactly repeated since. JWP did have a 6 woman, 45m version in 2002. It's not like there was the slightest chance of ever matching the original, so why even try?

 

All 8 participants delivered excellent performances. The quality of the wrestling over such a distance was so impressive. Countless different moves and sequences with four opponents they'd have shared minimal ring time with at best. Kong was particularly dominant early on with the shock early pin over Kansai. They did a good job of building up their WWWA title bout the following month. As the match progressed Oz and Kyoko took over the workrate. They paid the heaviest physical tolls for their efforts as Ozaki's eye was swollen shut and Kyoko's facepaint was replaced by blood. As people have pointed out the two sides were so well matched, so that any result seemed possible.

 

The layout was superbly planned out with the number of falls being just right. They needed to have 1/2 falls in the singles to make the idea worthwhile. I dug the way that move effectiveness was reduced over time. Aja's second urakan was far less damaging than her first. Everyone was so energetic at the start, but around the 45m mark there was a great sweep of everybody hurting. The crowd was fantastic. The longer it went the more they got behind the home team. Aja and Takako brought some heelishness to help this along. Plus the JWP team had a camaraderie that their rivals didn't possess.

 

The incredible ending was the thing that solidified this as an all time classic. It looked for all the world like a draw before Oz hits her finisher and grabs the win at a legit 59:55. Perfectly booked. Combine that with the superb action and the multi-layered story and you have the greatest match in the history of JWP.

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