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[2000-01-04-AJW] Kumiko Maekawa vs Miho Wakizawa

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These were the two lesser ladies in the tag match yesterday so I didn’t have real high hopes for a singles encounter. Miho really takes the fight to Kumiko in the onset. She tries to attack the leg which isn’t a bad strategy at all considering how reliant Kumiko is on her kicks. Kumiko goes along with this but eventually gets pissed off and takes over. Miho shows resilience and really attacks the leg in good fashion. Kumiko is good at targeting the leg of Miho too proving she has more in her arsenal besides the kick. I am glad to see the palpable hate being conveyed better in the singles match between these two than the tag the night before. If this performance would have been in the tag, that would have been a great match. Kumiko starts throwing in her kicks more in the end sequence but they are connecting with more impact and Miho does good countering some of the attempts into believable false finishes given the damage that has been done. Miho’s cradle nearfalls get some real close counts. The first glancing kick is when Kumiko gets ambitious on a spinning kick. Miho dumps her down and gets another nearfall. She has worked a great strategy but can’t put her away. Kumiko is still able to unload a flurry of kicks with varying degrees of execution and wins the match. Lackluster finish but this exceeded my expectations based on their performance in the 1/3/00 tag. ***

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We've made a commitment to watch all title matches, and with that comes this one. This didn't do much of anything for me. I guess it was fine on paper, but it also felt like two wrestlers doing Joshi instead of a Joshi match. I appreciated Miho's attempt at leg work and the subsequent same from Maekawa. They even tried to vary the pacing, so it's not like this was a case of overshooting. But their greenness just really shines through in a way that takes this down for me. I'll begrudgingly give them credit for bringing the crowd into this down the stretch through solid work, but something never clicked at all and it had nothing to do with what they were doing in the match. Maybe it was that this felt a little practiced? Hard to explain.

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I thought this was a pretty good match. Wakizawa utilized a smart strategy of going after Maekawa's legs to prevent her kicks. I think Wakazawa is the more impressive of the two. Maekawa whiffs it on a few of the kicks in the ending stretch, but they manage to get the crowd into it. Some very nicely worked nearfalls in this one.

 

***

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As I was watching this, I kept thinking "are these trainees?" Looks like I was at least close to the mark -- this was a bit sloppy and nothing really clicked. It feels like if you could jump forward a year or so you'd have something here, but at this point it was an entirely forgettable match.

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I appreciated the attempt for structure early but the lack of coherent selling throughout by Maekawa hurt. All the leg work just felt like time killing to get to the stretch run. Two young wrestlers overdoing it.

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I admire their dedication to making absolutely everything look as painful as is possible. What these ladies lacked in slickness they more than made up for in effort. Was very entertained by the whole affair, irrespective of its flaws. ***1/4

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This actually surpassed my expectations and was fun. I think this is because I didn't expect so much leg-work from these two, especially Miho.Maekawa's single leg crab on her was pretty intense and I liked the head-kicks toward the end.

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I enjoyed this but it definitely had it's flaws. I think Miho has this really good, fiery babyface charisma but man, Maekawa really made this difficult to get through. Her inconsistent selling of the leg was pretty annoying, especially when the finishing stretch involved her using the bad leg to kick Miho into defeat. There wasn't a progression, as much as she was able to fire back at full strength because it was coming to the end of the match. Still, definitely a decent little match and I hope to see where Miho goes from here.

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I admire their dedication to making absolutely everything look as painful as is possible. What these ladies lacked in slickness they more than made up for in effort. Was very entertained by the whole affair, irrespective of its flaws. ***1/4

I don't do star ratings but otherwise this is an accurate summary of my views on this one

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We've made a commitment to watch all title matches, and with that comes this one. This didn't do much of anything for me. I guess it was fine on paper, but it also felt like two wrestlers doing Joshi instead of a Joshi match. I appreciated Miho's attempt at leg work and the subsequent same from Maekawa. They even tried to vary the pacing, so it's not like this was a case of overshooting. But their greenness just really shines through in a way that takes this down for me. I'll begrudgingly give them credit for bringing the crowd into this down the stretch through solid work, but something never clicked at all and it had nothing to do with what they were doing in the match. Maybe it was that this felt a little practiced? Hard to explain.

what title and who was champ? Maekawa I presume??

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I really didn't enjoy this match at all. Maekawa's selling was shoddy and inconsistent and her facial expressions get on my nerves. Sometimes she just has this blank face when it feels like she should be showing something on her face, whether it be pain, frustration, annoyance, or something, anything. I hated a lot of the yelling and shrieking from both of them, especially Wakizawa. Hopefully she will (speaking as if I watched this in real time) learn that selling is more than just making a lot of noise to get over your pain, because I don't think that's all that realistic, especially if you are going to be on that leg that apparently is in so much pain the only relief you can find is yelling until you have no voice. It was also sloppy and neglected the long sequences of legwork that should have gone somewhere.

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This had no right being so good but Miho had just won the Tag League with Toyota and had some momentum coming into the bout. She produced an uncharacteristic performance -- head down and focused on her strategy. And it was a pretty solid strategy as well. Her game plan was to take out Maekawa's leg, keep her grounded and avoid those kicks of hers. She didn't have much of a plan beyond that point but so long as she had Maekawa on the mat she was out of danger. The match became a battle of wills which is what any good singles match should be. Miho was dogged in a way that I didn't think she was capable of being and Maekawa also showed plenty of steel. The finishing stretch was great. Back and forth each with opportunities to win. It was great theater and great sport. I surprised by how much I liked this mainly because Miho comes across as such a clown and Maekawa can be annoying at times as can most wannabe shooters. But the chemistry here was pretty special and the singular focus on the leg deviated from the company norm. A pleasant surprise this late in the year's viewing. 

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