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Yumi Ikeshita, Mami Kumano, and assorted Joshi

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Yumi Ikeshita vs. Mami Kumano, '79


Battle of the Black Pair with the general theme being that these girls were even nastier against each other. Kumano stood on Ikeshita's hair while putting her in a submission and Ikeshita choked her out, then they brawled all around ringside and used the house mic to maim each other. We've all seen better brawls, but this was still pretty cool.


Yumi Ikeshita vs. Rimi Yokota, late 1980


This was worked as more of a Jaguar style match than a Black Pair vs. Idol match, though Ikeshita did cheat in tandem with Devil Masami, which the older fans didn't like. Ikeshita could go, so there were some nice exchanges and one nearfall that I bit on, but Yokota was perhaps a little rough around the edges compared to her later work.


Yumi Ikeshita vs. Mami Kumano, 12/79


Short match that started off with a bit of workrate before Kumano started using a foreign object. Just when you thought it was Kumano who had been the nastiest of the Black Pair, Ikeshita took one of those chests that the TV crew use to carry their equipment and throttled Kumano and the ref with it. See, it's always the quiet ones.


Devil Masami vs. Yumi Ikeshita, 11/79


These two matched up well. The size difference meant they could really play up Masami's strength against Ikeshita's guile.

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Mimi Hagiwara vs Nancy Kumi, 3/83


Dullish match even with all the clipping. They tried to do an even, battle of respect type thing but it only got exciting as the clock expired.


Jaguar Yokota vs. Monster Ripper, 6/17/83


Jaguar tried her best, but Ripper wasn't very good working on top and was outclassed by the detail that Jaguar put into her selling. Jaguar, it should be said, wasn't the most amazingly charismatic wrestler, so she could hardly carry this from underneath either. Not really a match-up that clicked.


Devil Masami/Tarantula vs. The Dynamite Girls, 6/17/83


Devil and Tarantula were a fun team, so this was slightly better than other Dynamite Girls from this time, but I still dislike Omori and Hori more than any other girls on the roster. They did an angle here where an injury took Tarantula out of the match and then there was this big convoluted 2 on 1 finish which had a countout, a conference between the referees and the commissioner, and five more minutes added or some such bullshit.


Mimi Hagiwara vs. Itsuki Yamazaki, 11/83


Yamazaki was still really young here and didn't get much of a rub from Mimi. The match was built around Mimi's strikes, which looked really girly here.


Devil Masami vs. Monster Ripper, chain match, 11/83


They did some fun things with the chain, and Ripper's offence was a thousand times better than in the Yokota match, but either Leilani Kai is the all-time worst blader in the history of professional wrestling or these girls have the toughest, leatheriest foreheads around, because she bladed them over and over again and they wouldn't juice. It was hugely distracting as she'd do it right on camera, then laugh with Terri Shane about it, and you'd be looking for the blood and couldn't see any. Other than that, it wasn't as brutally violent as other chain matches, but I doubt it would have made TV if it had been.


Mimi Hagiwara vs. Chigusa Nagayo, 9/83


This was the best thing I watched from this batch of Joshi. Like Yamazaki, Chigusa was also young here, but she was already brimming with self-confidence and showed the type of attitude that would take her to the top. Watching her here it was evident what a special talent she was. This was the even, battle of respect deal that Mimi and Nancy were hoping to achieve, but well paced and ultimately successful. Really good early Chigusa match.


Lioness Asuka vs. Devil Masami, June/July '83


Nice competitive squash. Masami looked like the great worker we know here to be, and Asuka showed the same determination as Chigusa in her match against Mimi.

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Jaguar Yokota & Kanako Nagatomo vs. Chigusa Nagayo & Lioness Asuka, 11/83


Oddly structured in that Jaguar took care of the Crush Girls with relative easy while Nagatomo got her ass handed to her, yet Jaguar never tried to save Nagatomo. One of those school of hard knocks, tough love deals, I suppose.


Jaguar Yokota vs. Peggy Lee, 4/83


Peggy Lee jobbed. Hard.


Mimi Hagiwara vs. Princess Victoria, 4/83


Watching these Moolah girls do their heel schtick can be brutal at times, especially when there's dead silence. This girl at least got the crowd to start up a Mimi chant, but she did the most awful Native American war cry, and I really question whether this is the kind of stuff the crowd wanted to see at this point.


Devil Masami & Tarantula vs. Jumbo Hori & Yukari Omori, 4/83


This was better than the last time I saw these girls fight as it was a really niggly, bitchy brawl that got across that the two sides didn't like each other, but I still had trouble staying interested. Jumbo finally delivered a decent performance even if the match all sort of blurred together.

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Chigusa Nagayo & Lioness Asuka vs. Itsuki Yamazaki & Devil Masami, 8/8/83


A few years later this would have been a prime main event. As it was, it was a decent showcase for the impact the Crush Girls on the promotion as they were definitely the best thing AJW had going in 1983. I don't know how long Yamazaki belonged to Black Gundam, but it felt a bit arbitrary making her a heel. Worse than that, though, was how every match on the card had interference from Black Gundam and every match had the same spots outside the ring with the announcing table and the front row chairs. And they did this show after show, year after year. It's a miracle they didn't kill the territory.


Jaguar Yokota vs. Masked Yu, 8/8/83


Yokota creamed Yu when she was on offence. She was just a machine. It actually left me wondering if it's possible to be too good in wrestling. Yu's work on top varied in quality, but really she was the latest in a long line of Jaguar squashes.


Mimi Hagiwara vs. Judy Martin, 8/8/83


If this had been a bit tighter it would've been really good. It started off well with Martin kicking up a huge stink about Hagiwara being introduced first and using the commentator's microphone to choke her, but from there it all felt a bit off. Mimi had trouble executing her offence on the heavier Martin and the finish was one of the strangest I've seen. Mimi did a splash off the top rope, then lifted Martin's legs into a type of stepover hold and the ref counted three. Why Martin couldn't get a shoulder up is a mystery.


Chigusa Nagayo vs. Lioness Asuka, 1/4/83


You could already see in this juniors match what a force these two were going to be, and they were already putting forward new ideas about workrate and action that they would continue to develop over the next five or six years. And already they were neglecting to sell, but I think it's interesting to watch two young wrestlers actually being at the cutting edge of something instead of being green.


Tarantula & Devil Masami vs. Jaguar Yokota & Mimi Hagiwara, 1/4/83


This was a common match-up in '81 or '82, IIRC, which was clearly reprogrammed into Tarantula and Devil vs. the Dynamite Girls. Naturally, I think this match-up is much better. Devil just loved torturing Mimi and there was plenty of hatred (and screaming) here. If you don't like watching women wailing after they lose, don't watch this. Devil bladed, which is always a cool visual.


Chigusa Nagayo vs. Itsuki Yamazaki, 3/31/83


Very solid juniors match that even employed a bit of psychology with Yamazaki selling a rib injury. Yamazaki couldn't really work heel outside of token heel stuff, but you could clearly see she was a promising talent and Chigusa just seemed to be on a meteoric rise.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Mimi Hagiwara vs. Mami Kumano, 1981


This should have been the easiest match in the world to work as you had the Queen Bitch against the prettiest girl in the company yet somehow it was dull and uninspiring.


Mami Kumano vs. Tomi Aoyama, 1980


This was from somewhere famous for apples, maybe Nagano or Aomori. Kumano hit Aoyama over the head with an apple and later on there was a payback spot. Not quite on the level of your Tupelo concession stand brawl, but a bit of citrus violence. Aoyama was such a mini-Jackie. They were gearing up to have her replace Sato in the long term, but injuries ended her career. This was by the numbers, but there were some cool spots.


Mami Kumano vs. Lucy Kayama, 1980


This was a real knock-down, drag-out fight. It looked to be from Okinawa and both girls worked hard in the heat with the sweat just pouring off them. It was a real stalemate, but they scrapped with everything they had. It was the same kind of brawling seen over and over in this era, but you had to admire the effort.


Sherri Martel vs. Devil Masami, 1983


This was fun just seeing Scary Sherri take on Devil Masami. Of course, they treated her like she was nothing, just a bit of roadkill for Masami, but it was cool seeing her bump and scrap.


Mimi Hagiwara vs. Devil Masami, 1983


Classic match-up with Masami working over Mimi's arm and brutalising her as usual. I've been thinking lately about whether I like Mimi's punches and I've decided I'm cool with them. I can kayfabe accept those punches, girl. Devil did her usual schtick, and it was amusing seeing Dump run around as her junior. People love to gossip about there being heat between those two. Devil was of course the better worker, but I think Dump did more with the whole never-ending Black Gundam concept. Match had a shitty countount finish. The Matsunagas may deserve to be in the WON HOF for promoting, but their booking was second rate and their television was just awful.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Devil Masami vs. Despina Mantagas, 7/84


Devil Masami vs. Tarzan Goto's woman. The Devil is not afraid to squash another wrestler's woman.


Devil Masami vs. Jaguar Yokota, '82


This should have been the marquee match-up of the era, but despite some cool shit it's disappointing seeing them go through the same routine as every other match.


Jumping Bomb Angels vs. Devil Masami/Lioness Asuka, 2/15/86


Devil Masami and Asuka were a pretty unfuckable-with team. The JBAs were coming into their own here as the No.2 idol team, but this wasn't given enough time to be as special as it could have been.


Devil Masami vs. Jackie Sato, 1980


Not as epic as you'd hope irregardless of the clipping, but a cool match-up nonetheless. Devil's mother was in the crowd and was a pretty good looking woman.


Judy Martin vs. Mimi Hagiwara, 1982


Rinse and repeat.


Devil Masami vs. Jackie Sato, 1981


Shorter version of their '80 match. Some good stuff, but the same stalemate as every other match from this era.

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Jaguar Yokota vs. Judy Martin, 1/82


I was starting to get into this as one of the better native vs. foreigner match-ups of the era when all of a sudden it ended. It's odd how many of these Moolah girls matches lack a traditional finishing stretch.


Judy Martin vs. Chigusa Nagayo, 10/82


Martin put up her All Pacific title here so Chigusa was as gung-ho as you'd imagine. That girl was bursting at the seams every chance she got to wrestle.


Mimi Hagiwara vs. Judy Martin, 1981


Similar to the Yokota match with the same abrupt finish. I always thought of Mimi as an excellent seller, but she was extremely inconsistent.


Mimi Hagiwara vs. Jaguar Yokota, Guam 1980


The neat thing about this was that it was worked almost entirely in the ring with none of the outside brawling spots that mar so many of these bouts. Jaguar was supposed to be a junior here and entered the ring with that costume ball mask they used to make her wear, but wrestled like a ten year veteran and just brutalised Mimi. Mimi to her credit put Yokota over big time. Mimi was really from the generation above Yokota and didn't need to job this hard, but she did.


Jaguar Yokota vs. Monster Ripper, 5/82


This was good stuff. Much better than their '83 bout. Monster looked more like the monster heel I remember from the Sato matches and was much better on top. The outside brawling spots didn't bother me with Ripper being in such good form and Yokota was solid in her role, though this time round I feel she lacks that spark in charisma that Chigusa and even Jackie had. She was a very serious wrestler and in amazing shape, but stoic like a Maeda or Misawa.

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Took a look at some 1980 stuff since Loss has been tackling that year lately.


Chino Sato vs. Devil Masami, Guam 1980


Typical Masami match from this period with plenty of cheating and heeling. Nothing outstanding as she hadn't reached that level yet where she was putting awesome details into her matches. Sato was a decent rag doll.


Chino Sato vs. Rimi Yokota, 1/4/80


They tried really hard to make this junior title match a big deal with Sato playing the heel and both women upping their intensity, but the bout went too long and Sato in particular started to run out of ideas. Still, you have to admire the effort on some level.


Devil Masami vs. Rimi Yokota, 1980


Black Gundam, or whatever they were called this week, spent most of the early portion of the match beating Yokota up, which worked okay in this context as she was a junior being piled on. Then there was a big skirmish on the outside as the good ring girls forcefully escorted Kumano & Co to the back, and from there it was the same Masami act as the Sato bout complete with the old lemon to the eyes trick. These bouts could really do with some wrestling.

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Jackie Sato vs. Mami Kumano, 1980


Same old match-up. Face in peril may be a tried and true match structure, but watching the same face in peril over and over again when they could just as easily be wrestling gets old pretty quickly. I zoned out so much during this that I started noticing how long limbed Sato was.


Chino Sato vs. Mimi Hagiwara, 1980


Mimi handled this really well, taking enough of the strike to remind folks she was the senior worker while still giving Sato the chance to shine.


Yumi Ikeshita vs. Lucy Kayama, 2/21/80


This was a bout for the vacant All Pacific title and shock horror it started off with mat wrestling. It was great to finally be able to see Ikeshita work some holds as she was such a terrific worker. Eventually, she started working Kayama over with a foreign object, but it wasn't too jarring in the context of the match. Both girls worked hard and there was less clipping than usual. They even did a couple of lucha dives to show they really meant business. Very good match in contrast to the usual brawls.

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Rimi Yokota vs. Yumi Ikeshita, 3/15/80


Clipped for TV but looked to be an in-ring focused bout worthy of both women's talents.


Jackie Sato vs. Nancy Kumi, 12/80


Clipped to the point of being non-rateable.


Jackie Sato vs. Tomi Aoyama, 1/4/80


Jackie vs. Jackie Jr. Worth watching if only to see the difference between Sato's more 70s style spidery matwork and the style of work that Jaguar and Chigusa were ushering in. The highspots were decidedly unspectacular, but it came across as an important contest and it's better to watch Sato wrestle than fuck around with heels.

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Chino Sato vs. Tomi Aoyama, Guam 9/80


This Sato girl had a good attitude and showed a lot of promise. It must have been a disappointment when she didn't amount to much. Here she got a big win over Tomi Aoyama, which surprised me somewhat. I wonder if the writing was on the wall for Aoyama at this point.


Black Pair vs. Queen Angels, 1980


Well, if you're going to do the brawling, cheating style, you might as well go the whole hog and that's what the Black Pair did here, forgoing the match for the sake of injuring Aoyama's already injured knee. I practically despise the commentary team for AJW, but they were good at feigning concern. The female reporter wouldn't shut up as the Black Pair took apart Tomi's leg/knee. Ring girls went flying and even commissioner Ueda took a few bumps to the outside. Earlier on, Kayama did her plancha off the top rope, which she couldn't execute properly to save her life. On this occasion, she hit Kumano in the face somehow and bust her nose open. All in all, this was a pretty wild and chaotic match and a better attempt at creating an out of control brawl than their usual efforts.


Black Pair vs. Nancy Kumi/Lucy Kayama, 2/5/80


It's pretty apparent by now that title matches bring out the best in early 80s AJW. What the girls lacked in pacing or execution, they made up for in intensity and this had a championship feel to it. The finish was nuts as Kayama again went for her plancha off the top turnbuckle, missed everyone and clipped the announcer's table on the wall down. That looked like it really, really hurt.

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Off topic but along the same lines, have you ever had any interest in the women's side of Lucha OJ?


I rarely have time like I used to but i've enjoyed a lot of what i've seen over the years & I always thought that'd be in interesting subject to see covered in depth since so few pay attention to it.

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Nancy Kumi vs. Devil Masami, 8/81


Masami went after Kumi's injured knee in a pretty boring match. You can keep your legwork psychology, thanks.


Chigusa Nagayo vs. Devil Masami, 2/81


This may have been Chigusa's television debut. If not then close to it. This was much more interesting than the Kumi match despite basically being the same thing. Devil added a lot more detail to her work and did a good job stretching Chigusa out.


Mimi Hagiwara vs. Lucy Kayama, 2/81


These two matched up really well, and although they were both loose workers this had a nice flow through to a 30 minute draw.


Jackie Sato vs. Mami Kumano, 2/81


Mami had a fancy new hairdo that made her barely recognisable, but this was the same old match-up between these two. One of my least favourite to be honest.

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Haven't seen much of it outside of the luchadoras who worked in Japan. It was banned in Mexico City until the mid-80s, and despite a huge rise in the number of women's matches that took place after the ban was lifted it wasn't that prominent on television.


yeah, 80's - 90's stuff is rare but not too hard to find in the youtube age. A lot of it that i've come across does focus on the ladies who've toured Japan though, the Moreno's, Pantera Sarena (La Galactica unmasked), Martha Villalobos (she was actually good when she was young), Diabolica, etc...


Have you not kept up with modern lucha though? I ask since there's been a big upswing in the amount of women's stuff that airs since the early - mid 2000's and it's pretty much a weekly fixture now. I'll go through short phases of being really into it, girls like Marcella, Amapola, Princess Sugey, Sarah Stock, the Apaches, Ludark, Sexy Lady, the Moreno's...still, Goya Kong, etc.... are usually pretty good. CMLL especially will bring in joshi stars on a semi regular basis too & Mima Shimoda works near full time there for the past few years....

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Tomoko Kitamura vs. Mami Kumano, 1981


These rudo matches work a lot better when it's a veteran heel against a young rookie. This was a decent match for that particular genre. I went through a real anti-Asuka stage for a while, but I've got to say she hasn't done much to annoy me of late.


Rimi Yokota vs. Mami Kumano, 1981


This wasn't half as enjoyable and didn't work half as well as the Asuka squash for the simple reason that Yokota should have been above the rookie treatment as this point, especially considering she gets the big win here.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Making my way through the Ginnety set in order, up through vol 3 so i'm still in 1979 era.


Random observations


- Fan base is surprisingly diverse at this time. The 2 big groups usually associated with joshi are screamin school girls (the big audiance of the 80's era) and older, middle aged men (especially now) but back then they were getting both large amounts of men & women and from all age groups from little kids to the elderly. Kinda refreshing.


- Best workers in the fed to me are the Black Pair, Lucy Kayama & Tomi Aoyama. Followed by Monster Ripper & Mimi a lvl below. Maybe I haven't seen the right matches yet but Jackie Sato isn't really standing out most of the time even though she's the ace. Devil & Jaguar are around but neither has come into their own yet. Moolah's troop of girls aren't adding much and usually just do a weaker version of the act the Black Pair & Ripper do...


I only watch modern lucha matches I think will appeal to me since I'm not a big fan of the product.



I'd say go out of your way to track down the Marcella vs Amapola singles feud. I know they've had a billion matches & i've personally seen about 9 of them. With only a few exceptions they're all usually good to great

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I've seen too little to give a proper judgement but I thought Sato looked great in the Jaguar Yokota matches. She wrestled with a viciousness which I wasn't expecting.


Nancy Kumi vs Yumi Ikeshita (AJW 11/80)


This is the best match I've seen from the pre-Jaguar Being Great era. It's also one of my favourites. I like everything from the fuzzy lighting and the big windows in the background to Ikeshita's random boxing gimmick and jester tights. Still looks cool as fuck. This is a title tournament match and a time limit draw and is wrestled like both. A good thing because it gives the wrestlers an opportunity to show their skills which AJW booking didn't always allow. Both do a great job of presenting themselves as complete equals throughout. There's some nice matwork before Ikeshita targets Kumi's throat. Is that a corkscrew in Ikeshita's hand? It makes me laugh how the heels put so much effort into hiding a weapon one minute before openly abusing their opponent the next. The inevitable outside brawling is well built to and purposeful for once. Kumi brings Yumi back into the ring from the apron using a butterfly suplex which is a cool spot I don't think I've seen before. Towards the end both girls realise they're at a stalemate and resort to desperate dives from the top. They crash and burn. Both do an excellent job of selling fatigue down the stretch and every move feels like an heroic effort.


Was a decent show overall with the appearances of rookie Dump Matsomuto and Lioness Asuska. Lioness was actually quite attractive with long hair. Slight tangent, I honestly think Dump could have been a great babyface worker in an alternative universe. I remember seeing her against one of the larger American women, selling like Steamboat.

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  • 3 months later...

Looks like the guy uploading this stuff had his account taken down.


Loss mentioned being interested in stuff from '89, so I thought I'd have a poke around.


Grizzly Iwamoto & Bison Kimura vs. Manami Toyota & Toshiyo Yamada, AJW TV 8/89


This was pretty good for a match featuring young workers. Of course, they worked at a thousand miles an hour and never slowed things down, but that was the style and not really a fault of the workers. Grizzly and Bison more or less worked like Bull and Condor from a few years prior, while it wouldn't surprise me if the company were hoping Toyota and Yamada would blossom into the next Crush Girls. Some nice double teaming from the heels and some high end moves from the faces were the highlights of this.

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Manami Toyota/Toshiyo Yamada vs. Akira Hokuto/Etsuko Mita, 10/8/89


Another "before they were stars" match. It must have been from a commercial tape since there was no commentary and the camera angles weren't television set-ups. Man, were the schoolgirls loud. They were really into Hokuto & Mita and shrieked whenever there was a nearfall. The match was non-stop spots, and we can safely say that Manami Toyota was Manami Toyota in 1989. The highlight for me was the bump she took off the top rope to the floor followed by a pretty nasty catch she took against the guard rail. Of course, Manami being Manami she was no selling it in no time whatsoever. Yamada has looked good in these tags. She's noticeably less stiffer than her 90s work, but she honestly looks like the heir apparent to Chigusa at this point. It's amazing the young talent AJW had at this point. One of the better future generations you'll see in any promotion.

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Manami Toyota/Toshiyo Yamada vs. Madusa Miceli/Mitsuko Nishiwaki (10/8/89)


Not the most memorable or dramatic TLTB Final, but AJW was going through a real transition phase in late '89 with the retirements of both Crush Girls. Why they chose to push Nishiwaki so hard is something that's probably worth researching/considering when it comes time for an '89 Yearbook, as she also won the 1989 JGP (defeating Madusa in the process.) She wasn't a bad worker, but it's not as though she was a stand out. Madusa wasn't as bad as I thought she might be and actually had a fairly decent stand up exchange with Yamada, whose kicks were again a little soft. The rest was your usual FIP stuff where they don't make an effort to go the whole hog with FIP.


Bull Nakano vs. Yumi Ogura/Noriyo Tateno vs. Itsuki Yamazaki (5/6/89)


Two matches going on at the same time in two different rings. This sounded like a bad idea on paper and was even worse in practice. The director tried his best and there were a couple of neat cuts between matches, but mostly it was a mess. Most Joshi matches in this era (or in general really) open with the action spilling to the outside and one of the wrestlers struggling to make the count while the other poses in the ring. You can imagine how bad that looks on a wide angle shot with the action taking place outside both rings. Bull/Ogura had a lot more action, so the director tended to stay on them a lot. Often when they cut to the JBA, they were laying around in holds, and the two matches just didn't seem to gel in a way that made it easy to cut between them. At one point, the JBA even seemed to look at Bull and Ogura and figured they ought to do something more interesting. There was also some bullshit with the ref in the Bull/Ogura match that wasn't worked very well, and the whole thing seemed like a failed experiment to me.

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