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[1997-01-12-JWP] Hiromi Yagi vs Tomoko Kuzumi

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Like Kudo, Yagi was going through a retirement tour of her own in 1997. She's not someone who has been featured all that much on yearbooks to this point, but it was a fairly important story in 1997 Joshi. Speaking of, Joshi is two for two at his point of the yearbook. Yagi is a great *wrestler* and has a game dance partner who works hard to get over her submissions. What I like is that while it's obvious that Yagi prefers to work on the mat, she's a pretty versatile wrestler, and her highspots and strikes look really good too. She outworks Kuzumi by a lot, but this match is also about her, so I'm comfortable with that. I don't think these two are evenly matched enough for this to really be a great match for two reasons:

 

(1) Yagi is so much better as a worker that I really had trouble buying Kuzumi's offense

(2) Yagi seems like a great offensive wrestler but not a particularly good seller. Kuzumi's win seemed like a complete and total fluke.

 

Still, this was very good with some really awesome moments, and I really enjoyed it overall. I'm looking forward to more Yagi matches in the future, hopefully opposite an opponent that's more aggressive.

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Yagi was going through a retirement tour of her own in 1997. She's not someone who has been featured all that much on yearbooks to this point, but it was a fairly important story in 1997 Joshi.

Not specifically Yagi but just JWP going down in general. 97, maybe a bit into 98 is really the last year for a long time that you could consider JWP relevant in terms of being a higher lvl company on the joshi pecking order.

 

Yagi & Candy retire only to pop back up in ARSION. A # of other youngers they had retire like Nouchi & Saburo in 97 too and Fukuoka retires in early 99 so a good portion of the crew they were building for the future is gone. Plus you've got Cutie Retiring in 98, Ozaki quiting, Kansai getting injured & never really being the same afterwards & of course Plum's passing away, among other things.

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What's your opinion on Kuzumi, FLIK? Is she not a remarkable worker, or is this just not a standout performance?

Yeah i'm huge on Kuzumi who is a young Azyumi Hyuga before the name change.

 

Haven't seen this match to comment but i'd chalk it up to bad night if you didn't like her here.

 

At this stage she's only 2+ years in, she'd been in some good matches and showed a lot of potential but wasn't thear yet.

 

98 is the break out year for her and she benefits a lot from JWP's roster thining out as she pretty much becomes the ace of the company from 99-2000 on and really blossoms into one of the best joshi wrestlers ever over time.

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I'm looking forward to more Yagi matches in the future, hopefully opposite an opponent that's more aggressive.

Her best match will be on the '99 set.

 

*

 

But 1997 is such a depressing year for Joshi on so many levels that you'll rarely find more than Rage in the Cage recommended... this yearbook bringing attention to a few overlooked matches is the best one can hope for.

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Kansai began having a collagen disorder around this time. Her decline was illness related and not due to any injury. She took time off for treatment after the 4/97 Fukuoka match. Yagi rose to prominence per se in 1996, though her push started in '95 from memory. Kuzumi became a much better worker later on, though not in a style that puts much stock in selling.

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Kansai began having a collagen disorder around this time. Her decline was illness related and not due to any injury. She took time off for treatment after the 4/97 Fukuoka match.

Slightly off on the timeline as she wrestled a few more months after the Fukuoka match before she took time off. When she came back from that she was still having occasional high end matches though. Her getting knocked out at the AJW 30th Anniversary show in 98 was when the bottom really fell out. She was gone a good 3-4 months from that and never really regained form.

 

Not that she hasn't had good to great matches since, just nothing like she did earlier on and at a lot less frequent basis.

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do you concur with MJH's assessment of this as a miserable year for joshi?

Depends on what perspective you want to look at it from.

 

In terms of in ring, 97's one of my favorite years actually.

 

In terms of business, AJW's money issues catch up to them leading to a mass exodus of talent, JWP starts to crumble due to the various issues listed above & even though they kind of feebly keep things going until early 98, FMW's women's division more or less dies with Kudo's retirement in April.

 

Only GAEA is significantly better off at the end of the year then they were at the start. JD & LLPW just sorta maintain status quo.

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I actually would like for MJH to clarify what he meant by the miserable comment? Did he just mean from IWC awareness, financial landscape of companies, or overall workrate of promotions?

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Kansai began having a collagen disorder around this time. Her decline was illness related and not due to any injury. She took time off for treatment after the 4/97 Fukuoka match.

Slightly off on the timeline as she wrestled a few more months after the Fukuoka match before she took time off. When she came back from that she was still having occasional high end matches though. Her getting knocked out at the AJW 30th Anniversary show in 98 was when the bottom really fell out. She was gone a good 3-4 months from that and never really regained form.

 

Not that she hasn't had good to great matches since, just nothing like she did earlier on and at a lot less frequent basis.

 

She took time off before and after the Fukuoka match. The whole point of the Fukuoka match was to get the belt off her because they weren't sure what was wrong with her exactly and there was a strong possibility that she would have to retire. Her illness affected her stamina badly as well as her body weight.

 

Soup, I'm fairly certain MJH is referring to AJW's bankruptcy, the exodus of workers, Plum's death, Candy and Yagi's retirements, JWP and the FMW women's division collapses, etc. It was an awful year for Joshi puroresu though the actual work was quite good.

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The discussion spun off in a more general direction, but this was a good little match. I especially liked the early matwork, which was a good bit more creative than the norm. Nothing profound overall but brisk and fun to watch.

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Sorry... but, yeah, what oj said. There's in ring highlights that have long been high on recommendations (LCO were always pimped hard and the cage match is one of the more famous matches of the entire decade) but a week-by-week news archive, particularly towards the summer, gets depressing rather quickly.

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Two people I were not familar with here. Very fun stuff. The progression from the matwork to dives and brawling to the finishing bombs flowed well for me. I don't think it was quite a great match but it didn't really aspire to be that. Just an all around very good 14 minute match.

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Man, I haven't watched a Yagi match in years. She really was a fab worker. No doubt you'll enjoy the Yoshida matches when you get to them.

 

This was a decent match. I suspect it would have meant more to me back in my Joshi days due to the rarity of a Yagi singles match. With JWP only having monthly TV and a commercial tape every now and again, there really weren't that many opportunities to see good Yagi matches. She got quite a few singles matches in '96 as she had that challenge against workers from other companies and that strong Ozaki singles match from TV, but the marriage retirement nipped that in the bud.

 

The selling was typical Joshi, selling the accumulated damage from all of the action rather than focusing on any particular move. I don't think Kuzumi had an off night, this was simply where she was at this stage of her development. She wasn't the most convincing champion granted, but I don't think the finish was meant to be a fluke as she was the title holder, I think it was just a poor choice for the finish, plus she did the "was it a three count?" selling which made it seem like an upset.

 

BTW, not to quibble or anything but it's "Hiromi" Yagi.

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This had a really fresh feel and was an exciting title match. I love to see two young wrestlers levelling up. A nice mixture of matwork and high flying. There wasn't a wasted moment and they went full out. Hyuga's inexperience could be seen at times. Yagi was super talented. She did a couple of mid-move adjustments here that took my breath away.

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I watched a few Yagi matches as part of my supplemental '96 stuff but while I thought they were fine, I found them so unremarkable that I didn't bother to even comment on them because I had nothing to say. But either they were off nights for her or for me, because she looks really good here. She's innovative but not in that RVD/Davey Richards way, she just has really cool and new ways to essentially take people down or roll them up. And she knows how to wrestle--I love when Kuzumi is struggling to break out of a leg or arm lock and Yagi uses her free leg to try to subdue her, forcing Kuzumi to go for the ropes instead of countering the hold. Kuzumi isn't as good but she does have a terrific dropkick--actually one of the best dropkicks in joshi from what I've seen--and matches Yagi in terms of highspots. Finish is a flash pin, but it's flashy (er...in the other sense of the word) and well-executed. This felt refreshingly like a flashback to the JWP of 1990-91.

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Well I guess every day really is a school day because I had no clue Yagi was due for retirement here. I don't think I've actually seen her in a singles match before, but I know about the Yoshida match a couple years later and I'm really looking forward to that. But I figured this was one of her earliest matches. Also had the impression it might've been one of Kuzumi's and I'd never have made the Azumi Hyuga connection if not for this thread. Basically I didn't know shit about shit. 

Either way this totally worked for me. It's not an ideal one to one comparison, but it felt a little like early ARSION so that probably helped. It usually takes me a little while to get back into the rhythm and transitions in joshi if I haven't watched any in a while. ARSION tends to be an exception and if nothing else Yagi bringing the funky grappling and throws gave it that sort of aesthetic. I think because I was blind to the background of both women and saw this as a sort of young lions bout I was biting on a bunch of those nearfalls and thought it could end at any moment. Yagi looked really good here and straight away I'd like to see more of that ARSION run now. Enjoyed this a bunch. 

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