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[1996-08-18-GAEA-Endless Summer] Mayumi Ozaki & Reiko Amano & Sugar Sato & Chikayo Nagashima vs Chigusa Nagayo & Sonoko Kato & Toshie Uematsu & Sakura Hirota

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Okay, if there's one GAEA match that should have made the Yearbook, I'd say this is it. Not only because it fucking ruled, but because all 8 women get lots of time to show what they do on offense, what they do when selling, and to a somewhat lesser extent get their personalities over. This was a relentless war--not as epic in scope as the legendary Dream Rush tag but the intensity of the match really is not that far off. Nagayo also is SOO channelling Tenryu here--a stoic, grumpy, almost contemptuous veteran leader who turns the tide every time she's in, just laying in some awesome kicks on people and suplexing the shit out of them as well. But there's also an overarching story of Oz Academy being a just plain better and more cohesive team than the babyfaces. Poor Hirota is making her TV debut here and Oz Academy just brutalize her, working over with double-teams, triple-teams, quadruple-teams, and some Kaientai-like abuse for the fun of it. The best moments for the babyfaces involve Nagayo kicking ass and Uematsu doing some fantastic high-flying--she's not Rey Jr. or Sasuke in terms of agility, but she's fantastic at using high-flying as a strategic weapon rather than doing crazy shit just to show off. The big babyface highlight appropriately involves those two: Nagayo and Uematsu do the old Quebecer assisted-flip-senton finisher, but with Uematsu standing on Nagayo's shoulders and Nagayo walking her over to the center of the ring to the opponent. Ozaki herself is spectacular--she may guzzle her opponents a little *too* much here, but she's Grumpy Jumbo with the grumpiness ramped up about 150%, and it's a treat to watch. Nagayo vs. Oz instantly seems like a major money match.

 

I don't know if this quite a serious contender as a top-15/20 MOTY--the big negative is a VERY weak and sudden finish, when this match could have easily gone another 10 minutes. But it's definitely the GAEA MOTY for the first 8 months.

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The rivalry between Chigusa and Ozaki was hot. Both have such strong personalities in different forms. Here they were leading their students into battle. The action was relentless throughout as you'd expect in an 8 man. I got thinking how this would've been a mess with just the 6 kids out there. Add in a veteran to each side and there's a huge difference. They provide the structure and the layout, keeping everything under control. Hirota was just starting out so got her ass kicked. Aside from an abrupt finish this was good stuff.

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