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Charles (Loss)

[1999-01-17-ARSION-1st Anniversary Stardom] Mariko Yoshida vs Mika Akino

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So the ARSION style is more reminiscent of BattlARTS than it is a shoot-style fed because there are still plenty of pro-style elements mixed in. In fact, it’s probably even more pro-style than BattlARTS, but there remains a heavy mat focus and it’s awesome to watch these two rip it up. Especially Mariko Yoshida, who did a total reinvention around this time as a more grounded worker. She does some amazing things in this match - I wish I knew the names of the holds so I could do them justice in describing this match. Akino is more of an aerial wrestler and keeps trying to take the fight vertical, but can’t keep it that way very long. At times, this felt like more of an exhibition for Yoshida than a competitive match, especially when she covered Akino so casually for the pin at the end, but this was still an excellent match that did a great job of getting over a very different approach for the time.

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This definitely started to feel more and more pro style as it went on. Opening mat stuff was very good and Yoshida was busting out some cool submissions throughout the match. Pro style offense started making its way into the match fairly gradually which was cool, for a while feeling like a regular pro style match with a heavy emphasis on submissions. By the end of the match it felt stylistically totally pro style, thanks in part to still very much having that go-go-go nonstop Joshi pace with quick transitions and essentially zero downtime. Which made the match feel longer than it was because there was just so much stuff, but which isn't necessarily a criticism here. I really liked the part toward the end where Akino gets some big forearm shots in leading to a nearfall. Ending kinda comes out of nowhere. I liked this match a lot and it had a unique feel but the pace made it feel kind of monotone, just move after move with no real structure and minimal selling. I probably just need to get used to watching Joshi again. Still a very good match.

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If I remember correctly, Akino was a rookie here, having only wrestled a hand full of matches. You really wouldn’t know that from watching this, with Yoshida doing a masterful job guiding Akino through the hybrid shoot style mixed with a few pro style high spots. One of the more enjoyable Joshi matches I have watched recently and I’m looking forward to more Arison as the year continues.

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Man, it is appropriate that Yoshida had a spider web on her tights and that is her moniker as she twisted Akino up here in the early going that I was just in awe. It was a clinic and spectacular to watch. Akino mixed in more of the pro aspects with dives and other high impact moves and I thought Yoshida gave her enough offense before taking it home. I could watch this all day long. (****)

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Akino was a rookie here. She was 25 however, which is a decade older than your average Joshi starter. Having her challenge for the promotions top title was a surprising move. Yoshida provided entertainment by tying her challenger up in knots. She was excellent at guiding opponents at this new style. A decent match, but ultimately Akino wasn't ready to play the role that she'd been given.

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#400

 

This holds up well. As others have mentioned, it's a hybrid style not unlike a sped up version of BattlARTS, but it's still a Joshi match at heart and has the same frenetic pace as your typical women's match. Yoshida is wonderful in this match. The transformation she made in ARSION was remarkable really. Naoki Sano did something similar when he became a shoot style worker but in many ways Yoshida is more spectacular. In the case of BattlARTS, I've often complained that the hybrid style distracted from the shoot style elements but here Yoshida was almost the perfect blend of shoot style, Joshi and lucha and since I like those three styles I thought it was pretty to watch. Akino went all out and left it all out there. She made a couple of mistakes but it was a heck of an effort on her part and a sprint that was no doubt a blur for a young worker like her. I'm glad I didn't sour on this.

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And here is AKINO in her first appearance on the set. Feels a little weird to watch this tiny young girl pop up in a title match less than a year after her debut, , but I ain't complaining! Pretty boss match for what it is. You can totally see the pet project thing with Akino. She wasn't a mat genius or anything, but she gets to survive Yoshida for a while and gets to impress with all these swank. Yoshida pretty much takes her apart twisting from one outlandish submission into another, while Akino goes for rope climbing spots and dives that a rookie really shouldn't be doing. A little robotic from Akino at times she couldn't hit everything cleanly, but her selling was solid enough and Yoshida is stellar just doing all this nifty stuff for 15 minutes. Y'know, I think if there's one thing missing from current junior weight wrestling it's this kind of SWANK. Yes yes I know they do all kinds of crazy spots and dives and 2.99999999999 counts and whatnot, but I can't name a single wrestler active in 2017 as swanky as Yoshida. Maybe Virus or Solar or some other luchador, but nobody elsewhere. I mean look at all these preposterous, twisty leg hooking holds! That fucking wristclutch throw she did just out of nowhere! People talk about DG being spectacular, but fuck that. A basic sweep from Yoshida is spectacular.

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This is a revelation--it's sort of a showcase for Yoshida, but man, what a showcase it is. All kinds of holds shown off--some that were old like the cross armbreaker, some that I recognized but were making their Yearbook debuts that I can remember like the calf slicer, and some that were brand-new to me. She's immediately like Kandori in that I want to see her match up against every possible joshi worker just because she stands out so much in the style. Consider my mind blown that Akino was a raw rookie here--okay, yeah, she did look raw, but she didn't look *that* inexperienced, and her dropkicks were spectacular. Ultimately she goes down rather meekly to the Air Raid Crash, to the point where I don't know if I can put this on a MOTY list, but it's continuing an excellent January.

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