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Phil Schneider

[2018-09-17-Oz Academy] Aja Kong vs Hikaru Shida

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Aja challenges for the Oz Academy title and shows that when the lights are bright she is still an incredible performer. She is 48 years old and can still rip off a classic like this. The early sections of this match were a classic wrestling story of arm vs. leg. Aja brutalizes Shida's knee while Shida tries to tear up Kong's arm, each trying to weaken the others big strike. Aja knows how to fuck up a knee, she throws these thudding kicks to the patella, punches Shida in the kneecap, tricks her into a jumping knee first into Aja's garbage can, and even breaks an armbar by repeatedly head-butting the side of the knee. Shida responds with some good arm work, including a nasty Fujiwara and a couple of sick looking stomps to the bicep. We get a great finish run, with Aja nearly getting a countout win by brainbustering Shida on the ramp. Aja tries to land some of her big backfists, although she doesn't get the full force with her bad arm, Shida has this knee strike where she grabs both of her opponents arms and pulls them into her knee. She obliterates Aja with this move, including splitting open the side of her head and swelling up her cheek and eye, that is a cool thing about Joshi, it can be chugging along and all of a sudden turn into the most violent thing you have ever seen. Final moments are a blood soaked war. I checked this out on whim to see some 2018 Aja, was not expecting a stone cold classic.

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OZ Academy Openweight Championship: Hikaru Shida (c) vs. Aja Kong

What a war this match was, these two beat the hell out of each other. The limbwork between them was brutal and they did a splendid job of selling the damage of it. The visual of Aja brandishing the shinai as blood pours from her head was amazing. Great defense for Shida, this rivalry always delivers.

****3/4

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The only thing I don't like about Hikaru Shida is her awful theme which gives me a headache every time. But yeah, she is pretty great. Not one of the most notable Joshi wrestlers but one of my favourites and she was awesome here. Aja Kong putting in an awesome performance here and the dominant bully. Doing some brutal damage to Shida's legs, using her weight by standing on it to inflict pain and limit movement. It was great to see Kong looking so great, even if it was less focused on her nasty strikes. Shida was incredible, I though. Really sold the leg very well. I think there was a only a few instances where I thought she could've sold the leg better but there was never a time where she no sold it completely. She did an awesome job making her comebacks and making Kong look like a beast. She pulled this match in for me. Great facial expressions of pain as well. An excellent bout. Seen other say it went a bit long but I never had that thought. ****1/4

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I finally sat down and watched this, and I agree that it was pretty fantastic. Dueling limbwork is one of my favorite things in wrestling, especially when it comes into play in unorthodox ways. Aja escaping a cross armbreaker by headbutting Shida's injured leg could very well be the best spot of 2018. They do start to move away from it toward the end, but they never abandon it completely. I really want to see Aja in next year's Mae Young Classic. She looks pretty much the same as she did two decades ago, she can clearly still go in the ring, and I'm sure she'd get over huge with the Full Sail audience.

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This was fantastic. I think the limbwork makes sense throughout. Aja is going for Shida's knee to take away her knee strikes, and Shida retaliates by going after the arm. They only go away from this because Aja is getting her arm worked over on the outside and counters it into a brutal brainbuster on the ramp. She did that more because that's the only counter she had available. At this point, Shida's knocked silly from the blow to the head, so it makes sense for Aja to focus on that now, so she follows up with another brainbuster and a suplex to the back of the head as Shida's looking barely conscious. Aja then makes her mistake of the match as she goes for an elbow drop from the top rope right onto Shida's face! But Shida rolls out of the way just in time, and on recovering throws a knee strike at Aja's head. This is the first time she's been able to utilise her knees once Aja started gunning for it, as Aja had switched to focusing on her head for a while so her knee had some time to recover. And this flows into the finishing stretch.

****1/2

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