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[1991-01-05-AJW] Kyoko Inoue vs Mika Takahashi

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- (Vacant AJW Title) Kyoko Inoue vs Mika Takahashi

The 1st 1/2 is filled with a lot of time killing unfocused mat work mixed in with a few big moves which doesn't do the best job of building momentum. The later stages are really good though, with time ticking down and them busting out high spot after high spot to try and win. Takahashi was especially impressive during this part as she has a lot of athletic stuff she can do. Funny moment near the end when she does a huge double underhook suplex off the top and doesn't imediatly follow up so the ref starts freaking out, like "hurry, cover her you fool, this is your chance, there's not much time left". No winner declared in the end so the belt remains vacant. Given their experience level it was interesting watching them try and fill 30 mins which is more time then all but a handfull of matches got that year. Despite a # of obvious flaws it was mostly a real good match overall. One i'll probably give a re-watch too soon as I think I might enjoy the first part of the match a little more with a 2nd viewing.

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This was a match Dave saw live on a tour of Japan and gave ****1/2. I think this may have aired on TV, but since the handheld was available, I wanted to capture that version to see if we could see what he saw. Also, AJW tends to edit things on TV sometimes, so I didn't want to take any chances. I actually thought the matwork in the first half was the best part of this. After that, it felt like they were doing too much and the match felt overworked. They obviously went too long, which Kyoko probably wasn't ready for, but I still thought this was an interesting glimpse at what she could do with this much time at this point. Not really a bad match, but not really good either. Lots of big plusses and big negatives combined to make a really long "just there" match. It reminds me in some ways of Kawada/Kobashi from 1990.

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Not much I'd say differently on this one this time around. I do think this is definitely AJW's version of the Kawada/Kobashi match from the year before, with the difference being that Takahashi wasn't really a new star like Kyoko was. But in terms of how the match is worked and being a mixture of good ideas, overreach and all-over-the-place structure, it's a good comparison.

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Kyoko was as quick a study as they had in that era, perhaps the quickest - people often forget that she was a classmate of Takako and Yoshida rather than Toyota, Yamada and LCO. You see her in the undercard matches in 1990 already with more offence, and hitting it much cleaner, than the others around her, and it's a shame in some ways we don't have anything from her rookie year that I can recall seeing. You only need watch the '91 JGP, where she wins the thing and Takako and Yoshida have a fun, but sloppy and green as hell match on the undercard for I think the AJW Title to see how far ahead of them she was. Teaming with Bull no doubt helped there, but that she was put in that position as early as the double hair match says enough in itself.

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This was a match Dave saw live on a tour of Japan and gave ****1/2.

Not Dave. It was a group of gaijin WON readers who were in Japan on a trip who sent that to Dave. Might even been the infamous Lano Tour.

 

John

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Not that it matters a ton but I wish Dave did a better job distinguishing which matches he is actually rating and what is a reader's ranking.

 

This is some ways was fun to see and they had some neat ideas but they went way too long and just had to repeat a lot and use their pace and stamina to carry them through. I wouldn't really call this a good match but it was interesting to watch early Kyoko. Build to the time limit draw was actually very well done.

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Very good closing stretch and they were able to at least hold my attention the whole way through. The final near-fall right at the bell was well-timed too, which you don't always see. Too long for its own good, as Kawada-Kobashi was some months earlier, but an interesting look at a mid-card joshi match for the era.

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Inoue spends much of the match going after Takahashi’s back. Where in the previous Joshi match on set they did some wasteful submissioin/mat work, it’s much better in this match as Inoue kept attacking Takahashi’s back. Takahashi barely looked like she would make the 20 count into ring at one point and seemed like she could barely walk. A gripe I would have is that she did that neck bridge kick out of a pinfall that would just put more strain on her own back. She also started working her own submissions that she shouldn’t have been able to with the way her back was for most of the match. Good match that kept me involved but I found myself enjoying the first half it more with Inoue in control.

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I liked this more on a second watch especially the first 20 minutes. I wish they could have created a cohesive finish around that time as the last 10 minutes meandered and felt rehashed but for two relatively young women going out there to fill 30 minutes, they did an admirable job here.

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This is the first Joshi match I have seen, and if it is indicative of the style I am looking forward to the rest! Really enjoyed the early mat work, and I thought for a while it would be a 20 minute squash. As others have said, it felt slightly overlong, but still an enjoyable contest.

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This was a match of two halves: Kyoko destroying Mita's back in the first half, and Mita paying most of it back exacrly in the second half, with many of the same submission holds. No, this didn't make a ton of sense from an injury-selling standpoint, but I think they were focusing on the payback aspect more than worrying about selling earlier damage. Eventually, of course, both women have to forget about doing damage and start trying to win, and Mita's cradle suplex at the very last second is a much more effective last-second near fall than Scott Steiner's was on Flair.

 

Come to think of it, Mita sold plenty while Kyoko was outside; usually in these matches, the combatants go right after each other on the floor, but Mita couldn't because of her injured back. I liked how neither woman could move well at all after the match, and that Kyoko needed to psych herself up on the mic just to get off the apron. There will definitely be more matches ahead for these two, and I hope we get to see them.

 

I didn't read the comments beforehand, so I had no idea that this was for the AJW title. It's interesting that the promoters would allow a match for a vacant title to go to a draw without some way of determining a winner. Were they waiting to award the title at some sort of big event? Also, even though the promotion is called AJW, I'm getting the impression that the AJW title takes a distinct second place to the WWWA title, both in singles and in the tag ranks. Is this correct?

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There will definitely be more matches ahead for these two, and I hope we get to see them.

Takahashi retired in October 91 and they never had any more televised singles bouts. There's plenty more Kyoko to come on the Yearbooks.

 

I didn't read the comments beforehand, so I had no idea that this was for the AJW title. It's interesting that the promoters would allow a match for a vacant title to go to a draw without some way of determining a winner. Were they waiting to award the title at some sort of big event? Also, even though the promotion is called AJW, I'm getting the impression that the AJW title takes a distinct second place to the WWWA title, both in singles and in the tag ranks. Is this correct?

Kyoko was the reigning AJW Champion at the time. The AJW title was actually a 3rd tier title, which admittedly doesn't make much sense. The WWWA title was the world title and the All Pacific title was the secondary belt. There was also the IWA Women's title which was another second tier title, slightly below the All Pacific. And the AJW Junior title which was 4th tier.

 

It's simpler in the tag ranks where there's the WWWA Tag Titles followed by the AJW Tag Titles. Other belts may show up from time to time in case that wasn't enough for you.

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This felt really long. This also felt like a match that falls into what people describe as the typical joshi style, with lots of energy and action, but too much stuff going on and he women not letting things breathe. That's how this felt to me. The handheld made it even more difficult to get through. Not a fan of this one.

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Inoue''s a complete monster, and doesn't take it easy on the much smaller Takahashi, as she folds her up like a pretzel with nasty holds. Takahashi's first comeback attempt is barrage of strikes which doesn't get her far, as she's thrown right back into a Inoue submission. Once you start to figure out this is going to the time limit, you can tell that a lot of the holds were there to eat up time, but this is still a fine match regardless with an intense last few minutes as Takahashi tries to claw at a victory before the time runs up.

★★★½

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Takahashi was very flexible!  The fact that I made it through this match means it had some compelling content, but I'm not sure it's a match that I would be excited to watch again.  The announcements toward the end of the time limit, even though I didn't understand them, created some excitement in the closing minute or so.  

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