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So I'm still in lockdown here in the UK and I've been converting lots of joshi (and every once in a while, lucha and AJPW).  I figured I should start journaling my thoughts on AJW.  I think I have everything from El Jefe, Miguel Liger, and from Los Clasicos and La Hora Retro, plus some handhelds from 1990 and 1991.  Youtube playlist for 1990 Yearbook is below and in progress.

 

I know that AJW is definitely in a transition period with it being post-Crush Gals and not yet reaching the GOGOGO era.  The red belt has been vacant for over three months (holy crap) since Lioness Asuka retired.  Time to crown a new champion!

First show - Tokyo Korauken Hall (1990.01.04) mixture of La Hora Retro and AJW TV

Mima Shimoda (c) vs Kaoru Ito (AJW Junior Title Match)

Pretty nothing match, good thing it's short.  

Manami Toyota vs Suzuka Minami

This wasn't on the OG telecast.  I didn't expect to see Toyota Pearl Harboring Minami coming, she doesn't even let the introductions or streamer collection finish.  Starts off really fast, with a bunch of brawling and whips into the barricades.  Minami eventually gains control and works on Toyota's leg and Toyota was selling it until, you know, she has to go on offense.  Nothing but aerial moves, thankfully doesn't botch anything but she was real close once.  Minami has the power offense and gets a flying crossbody.  She gets a backslide pin reversed and then we go home.  Minami gets a flying elbow and misses another one and gets rolled up for the three.  Manami goes for a handshake and Minami is like nah bitch.  Weird roleplaying here and a crap finish.  OK TV match though, goes about 10 minutes.

Madusa & Noriyo Tateno & Kaoru Maeda vs. Aja Kong & Bison Kimura & Grizzly Iwamoto

Only have the OG version of this trios match.  We get a heel ref and Aja Kong beating the shit out of an announcer.  So much camera time on this announcer (and he leaves and comes back).  Grizzly gets away with everything.  Definitely more of a match to put over Jungle Jack than a good tag team match.

Yumiko Hotta & Akira Hokuto vs. Toshiyo Yamada & Etsuko Mita

This was on the 1990's yearbook, and I've seen it before, it was a really good tag team match when I watched it then.  Loved that the match starts with a botch.  Dream Orca is very over with the school girls.  Pretty fast match and really puts over the Yamada and Hotta rivalry.  Hotta really sells the hell out of that sleeper from Yamada!  Hokuto makes Mita look like a scrub! I never thought I'd say it, but I love all the sleeper holds in this match!  Pretty good home stretch with Mita getting payback after Hokuto embarrassing her, but Dream Orca fuck up a double team move.  Hotta and Hokuto take control and Hokuto hits a diving dropkick for the three.  Mita is bleeding and selling that match hard.  

Bull Nakano vs Mitsuko Nishiwaki (WWWA Title Match)

And here we go, start of a new era.  Love how grimy and 80's Nakano's theme sounds.  Nishiwaki tries to get an advantage right away with a clothesline and gets dumped out immediately afterwards.  Nishiwaki gets back with a bloody face...and then we get the introductions lol.  They were going for a speed vs size/strength thing here, but Nishiwaki just doesn't really have any that much to offer.  She eventually gets to work over Bull's arm though and Bull does her best to sell.  Cool transition from armbar to sharpshooter.  In the home stretch, both girls get German suplexes and power bombs, but Nakano's was way more brutal looking.  Pretty short title match, felt strange that a vacant title match wasn't hyper competitive, but I don't think you could really do that considering how much better Nakano is.  

 

Ugh, next event has Hotta vs Yamada in kickboxing rules match.  

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Next event: 1990.01.05 in Korauken Hall

Yumiko Hotta vs Toshiyo Yamada 

This match uses mostly kickboxing rules but they're also allowed to grapple.  I already AJW like to have this matches, but they usually had like Bat Yoshinaga or some person I don't care about doing them.  I have no idea why anyone would want to pay full price for this on VHS back in the day (it has one match on it!), hell, I didn't even like the idea of buying a DVD of this.  Even from the introduction of the event, you can tell these girls can't throw a punch, they shadowbox worse than Ronda Rousey.  The sleeper hold comes back here from the tag bout the previous day, but it doesn't look good with boxing gloves on.  Girls get super gassed play boxing, and it goes all 6x3 minute rounds to a decision.  Toshiyo gets the decision.  Ok, not watching this again, this didn't do it for me at all.

 

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Next event: 1990.02 (have no idea what the full date is, comes from Joshi Mix -  I am grateful for the Joshi Mix guy for archiving this stuff, but he adds in his wrestling photos in the ad-breaks, and they are creepy as hell, so fuck this guy at the same time.):

Kyoko Inoue & Kaoru Maeda vs Etsuko Mita & Mima Shimoda

I think this is the earliest pairing of LCO I have on tape, obviously they're not LCO yet, but this is kinda neat.  Kyoko Inoue doesn't have the face paint either.  Match starts off real fast, with Mita eating offense.  Mima Shimoda with some awful dropkicks.  I liked the part where Mita throws Maeda right at Inoue when Inoue is trying to help her teammate.  Shimoda and Maeda trade some near fall sunset lips.  Shimoda hits a badly executed sunset flip on Inoue for the 3.  Match didn't have a good flow until the ending stretch.  We get a few minutes out of 12:47.

Akira Hokuto vs Bison Kimura

Kimura slaps Hokuto during the introduction, and Hokuto slaps her back.  For some reason, Hokuto held out her hand as a sign of respect before the bell starts, Bison pulls a Ronda Rousey.  Man, Hokuto's half crab looks incredible for a while.  Bison gets a nice German with a bridge and starts rag dolling the shit out of Hokuto, followed by a tombstone.  Hokuto bridges out of everything and she is doing some good selling.  Every bridge looks like a complete struggle for her.  When it's time for Hokuto to comeback, she lands a huge slap to the face, dumps Bison out of the ring, and hits a great plancha.  Home stretch here, girls reverse a bunch of moves until Hokuto slips out of another backdrop and hits a tiger suplex for the win.  This was a pretty good TV match, definitely enjoyed it. We get about 10-11 minutes out of 16:57.

Manami Toyota & Toshiyo Yamada vs Fire Jets 2/3 Falls

I think this is earliest I have of Toyota and Yamada pairing also, so kinda neat show.  The Hotta/Yamada rivalry continues!  Toyota has two sections of selling in the first fall, first time she has her arm worked over, second time over her leg.  First exchange of Hotta and Yamada was so weak considering their rivalry, but eventually Hotta beating up Toyota throws her like a scrub into Yamada for the tag, and here we go, this is what I wanted, MORE FIRE.  Fire Jets quickly get the first fall after the tag.  Hotta and Yamada open up the second fall, Hotta with shit punches.  Yamada now the FIP for a while, taking a lot of offense.  Nishiwaki totally no-sells Toyota's interruption twice, which I thought was kinda funny.  Yamada eventually make a tag to Toyota, I think, Toyota never comes in.  Double missile dropkick to Hotta, and Yamada misses by a country mile.  Yamada still in this and gets a flash schoolboy pin after a reversal on Hotta for the second fall.  That felt really weak.  Yamada and Hotta open the third with a kicking contest.  Toyota with a hot tag in, hits a like 6 dropkicks on the Fire Jets.  Toyota tags out pretty soon after (!), Yamada gets a nice snap suplex on Nishiwaki.  Toyota comes back in, hits a bunch of moves on Nishiwaki and totally pulls a Sabu.  I should forward this to Maffew.  Small brawl on the outside.  Toyota gets controlled, Hotta throws her into Yamada to get the tag, Hotta throws Yamada into Nishiwaki.  This quickly goes to the ending stretch to the outside.  Hotta and Yamada kick each other outside, Yamada and Nishiwaki are brawling also, Nishiwaki barely beats Toyota into the ring to get the countout victory.  This wasn't bad, but I didn't think it was that good either.  Majority of the match is shown.

 

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