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[1993-04-11-AJW-Dream Slam II] Aja Kong & Akira Hokuto vs Shinobu Kandori & Eagle Sawai

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Definitely up for seeing more of Hokuto vs. Kandori, but the Kandori/Aja dynamic gets a lot of play here as well. Lots of spots of Kandori trying to take Aja down and bouncing off of her like a Nerf ball, lots of intensity when Hokuto's in the ring. Great closing stretch of bombs being unleashed on everybody, even if Sawaii is just along for the ride. Lots of mirror spots from the Dreamslam 1 match as well, climaxing with Hokuto stealing Kandori's Fujiwara armbar the same way Kandori stole Hokuto's finisher the week before. But Kandori counters it and then goes back to Hokuto's arm, bending out of place again while Sawaii holds Aja at bay on the floor. The referee steps in and this time the match is stopped. Hmm...ideal booking would seem to have this match first to set up Dreamslam 1 later, where Hokuto weathers the arm work and comes back for a dramatic victory. Seems kind of backwards, but this does nicely set up at least a theoretical Kandori vs. Aja Kong match, as evidenced by the post-match confrontation, and that's something I can definitely get behind.

I would love to know the politics of all these interpromotional matches, with regard to who could job to whom and in what capacity and who got to get "paid back" for who put whom over, not to mention who booked what. It all sounds so complicated that I can scarcely believe these shows ever got put together. The other striking thing is how decisively AJW put over the other, smaller promotions here. Was this a case of AJW struggling and needing the other promotions' support, or AJW somewhat generously figuring that stronger rival promotions would be better for joshi as a whole?

Without going through every match, Dreamslam II may be the most significant women's card ever and certainly the highest-drawing at least to that point, but there's no way I could rank it ahead of Dream Rush as far as highest-quality cards ever go, and I'm pretty sure I wouldn't put it ahead of 6/5/89 or possibly the 4/18/91 Budokan show either. Dream Rush beat this as far as in-ring action and despite the presence of four different promotions coming together, still felt like it had greater historical impact with Bull passing the torch to Aja. That said, DSII is a hell of a show with some pretty great wrestling and booking, and I can't see anything else touching this for Best Major Card when I get to the '93 year-end awards.

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this does nicely set up at least a theoretical Kandori vs. Aja Kong match

In terms of singles it stayed a theoretical idea unfortunately.

I would love to know the politics of all these interpromotional matches, with regard to who could job to whom and in what capacity and who got to get "paid back" for who put whom over, not to mention who booked what. It all sounds so complicated that I can scarcely believe these shows ever got put together. The other striking thing is how decisively AJW put over the other, smaller promotions here. Was this a case of AJW struggling and needing the other promotions' support, or AJW somewhat generously figuring that stronger rival promotions would be better for joshi as a whole?



Over the year and a half there were many interpromotional shows. After the Tokyo Dome show it just became appearances from a few outside wrestlers rather than whole events. Ultimately AJW had the most booking power and that could be seen in the long run. They didn't necessarily need outside help at the time but rightly saw it as an opportunity to help business. Before 1992 relations with the original JWP were non-existent. When they split into 2 new companies in JWP and LLPW that helped things along too.


Without going through every match, Dreamslam II may be the most significant women's card ever and certainly the highest-drawing at least to that point, but there's no way I could rank it ahead of Dream Rush as far as highest-quality cards ever go, and I'm pretty sure I wouldn't put it ahead of 6/5/89 or possibly the 4/18/91 Budokan show either. Dream Rush beat this as far as in-ring action and despite the presence of four different promotions coming together, still felt like it had greater historical impact with Bull passing the torch to Aja. That said, DSII is a hell of a show with some pretty great wrestling and booking, and I can't see anything else touching this for Best Major Card when I get to the '93 year-end awards.



It's Dreamslam I that was the bigger card and the most talked about show. It was in Yokohama drawing 16,500. Dreamslam II was in Osaka and drew 6,500.

 

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Not only did you have the Hokuto vs Kandori redux, Kandori vs Kong was an electrifying confrontation as well. It's a shame the singles never took place. Eagle is someone I'd rate higher than most Joshi fans. She held up her end superbly in the #4 role. Had she not performed at her peak it would've been a letdown when Shinobu wasn't in the ring. The former Judoist was on the receiving end early doors. SK's submissions skills gave her a wealth of counter-attacking avenues, and she was deadly when she gets the opponent on the deck. Hokuto had her head wound reopened, yet that was superficial compared to her shoulder being destroyed. The ref had to step in to save Akira from serious injury as she'd never save herself. Really good quality throughout, as strong as could realistically be hoped for as Eagle wasn't near the level of the other three. The issue was far from settled as Aja was furious afterwards. She gave her partner a run for her money in the 'awesome promo in a language I don't understand' competition.

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Yeah, absolutely fantastic. I loved this. Felt like a great follow up to Hokuto-Kandori and really helps set up a rematch down the line which I will watch soon enough. I loved the inclusion of Aja as she is just not having any of Kandori's shit in this match. Aja-Kandori were great, tense, and incredibly stiff, but surprise surprise, the highlight was still Hokuto-Kandori. They're exchanges leading into the finish absolutely made this match the heated hate filled affair that it was. Really great stuff here.

 

****3/4

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