Welcome to a second edition of Dream Matches for this week! aka “I already reviewed these matches once so it’s just a cheat to re-use them”. This one features some fascinating stuff between “People who know how to wrestle” and “People who had two weeks of training and were just sent out there” as All Japan Women’s Pro Wrestling (AJW/Zenjo), one of the best workrate promotions in the world, somehow thought it would be a great idea to get the women from GLOW to visit Japan and wrestle their stars in the huge Retirement Show of Chigusa Nagayo!
Most GLOW girls were just wannabe actresses given a modicum of training and filmed doing simple stuff, but it became a pretty big fad for a year or two in the 1980s. Meanwhile, AJW’s wrestlers could do some state-of-the-art stuff, like the Jumping Bomb Angels, and were among the best wrestlers in the world (like Jaguar Yokota, who trained some of the AJW women seen this night).
I’ll also throw on a couple of other bouts here- didja know that Jamie Noble wrestled as a jobber in WCW? Well you will tonight, as he takes on HARDWORK Bobby Walker! And also another look at Terry Taylor’s forgotten 1992-93 WWF run as he takes on Mister Perfect on an early ’93 RAW!
AJW WRESTLEMARINEPIAD ’89 (The Day the Music Died, 06.05.1989)
KAORU MAEDA & MIKA TAKAHASHI (AJW) vs. TEXAS & TIFFANY (GLOW):
* Texas has the most “80s Southern Girl” hair ever, looking like a blonde poodle, and she’s wearing a yellow tassled outfit and twirling a lasso (clearly whacking it against the ground every time she swings it) with an exaggerated accent. Tiffany Mellon is another blonde with curly hair, and has some awful tiger print singlet thing on. She boasts about having a “black belt in shopping” (the production guys are obviously cracking up at this point) and evidently had only one take (“I’m six BLUHHHH, five-foot-six of CURVACIOUS power!”). I’ve never seen GLOW so I couldn’t tell you much about either, but Mellon apparently went into porn, then bounty hunting, then reality TV, and is now a conservative radio host- is it weird that I don’t find that career progression the least bit surprising? Kaoru Maeda, sometimes KAORU, still wrestles and has done pretty well for herself (mostly in tags). Meanwhile, Mika has no profile that I can find. The AJW girls in in neon, with Maeda wearing yellow with purple leggings and Takahashi wearing orange with green leggings. Sooooooooo ’80s. Both also have that “Well Dunn” thing with the different-colored thong on the outside of colored shorts.
As you might imagine, the AJW wrestlers are better in the ring. The GLOW girls at least know their role, scampering around the ring hitting hair-mares, knees to the back, awkward overhand shots, and headlocks. Then it descends into an awkward brawl and the GLOW girls start losing it, but an Assisted Legdrop from the AJW team looks okay. They all brawl outside the ring (Texas choking with a cable cord), but then Stereo Butterfly Suplexes, a Double Dropkick and a Double Backdrop Suplex put Tiffany down for the count (7:56).
Rating: 1/2* (pretty bad- just basic ’80s Moolah Offense from the GLOW girls, and things got awkward eventually)
LEILANI KAI, BEASTIE THE ROAD WARRIOR & BIG BAD MAMA vs. REIBUN AMADA, SUZUKA MINAMI & YUMIKO HOTTA:
* Oh Jesus. More GLOW girls, but mixed in with AJW’s… this is nuts. Leilani Kai is of course a name even in American women’s wrestling, having faced the babyface Women’s Champion at both WrestleMania I & X, losing to Wendi Richter & Alundra Blayze. Trained by Moolah in 1975, she was established even by this point, and was WWF Women’s Tag Champ along with Judy Martin in the Glamor Girls the year before this, used to job to the Jumping Bomb Angels (as the GGs were good enough to take that futuristic offense). She’d even won gold in AJW, beating Chigusa Nagayo for the All Pacific Title, and more, so she was absolutely known to the Japanese audience. She’s wearing a singlet with a gold top and black bottom, and has her hair dyed blonde and is acting like she’s gorgeous, and keeps blowing kisses with the timing of Michael Scott’s collar-tugs while doing his Rodney Dangerfield impression. Beastie & Big Bad Mama are GLOW girls- Mama is a big fat woman dressed up like Peg Bundy with pieces of fur on a black singlet- she actually says “YOU WILL DIE- HAAHAHAHAHAHAH!” (she was Matilda the Hun in GLOW, not Mama, who was a black woman- according to a comment on YouTube- unassailable credibility there- she was replacing Mama, who couldn’t make it, and I guess it was too much work to change the name). Beastie has no Australian accent, but is said to be from Sydney- she’s a burly type with blue facepaint and torn-up tights of aquamarine (the universal color of badass). And… a black thong over top of that. Lovely. She manages to rhyme “here and now” with “here and now” in her promo, then does a Hellwig Snort and screams for no reason. God these are amazing.
Minami is a lesser-known star, debuting a bit before the biggest stars of the 1990s and retiring much earlier. Winning some belts around 1991 or so, she was largely seen as an upper-midcarder- often challenging well, but never beating the top names after a point, and was typically the “lesser partner” in Main Event tag bouts. At this point, she’s SUPER-young, but four years into the business. Her tights are yellow and black. Hotta’s a future big name, winning AJW’s top title in the late ’90s, but was an upper-midcarder for much of the ’90s- she’s basically a baby here. She’s got a red & black bodysuit on. I can’t find much about their partner, Amada. Apparently she was the AJW Champion two months after this (their third-tier title), relinquishing it when she retired that October. She’s in a pink singlet.
Oh my God, the American team comes out to Pat Benatar’s “Invincible”. Spectacular. Then it’s Beastie & Mama doing their ultra-basic “push people” stuff against some young girls who know good fundamentals, and it’s both awkward and kind of fascinating for that. I mean, Mama has NOTHING in the ring- she’s just tall (at least a head taller than many opponents), rotund and scary-looking, so Hotta & Amada have to run circles around her and bump like nuts to make her look credible. A total carry-job. A great bit sees the crowd slowly go “Oh, these are COMEDY wrestlers” and begin laughing at Mama’s horrendous “wrestling” as she stomps around the ring and growls- she runs like the nerdiest kid you ever met into an avalanche on all three AJW girls. But she misses the next and they have to TRIPLE-suplex her to get her over. Kai can run at the speed of a human being and actually work a match, so she’s in next, and hits a bridging Northern Lights-ish suplex. Mama in again for the world’s slowest airplane spin. Leilani does some other stuff, barks orders to Mama, and she hits two belly-first thumps and then the world’s worst splash on Amada for the pin (10:07).
Rating: 1/2* (Downright embarrassing at times, but fascinating watching people who can’t work AT ALL versus low-tier girls who can’t move them. Kai and the AJW girls looked okay, but still clumsy/nervous)
The GLOW women actually show up in the show-ending Battle Royal as well, Mama being used to eliminate rookie spitfire AJA KONG, essentially by “being fat” as an offensive move- she’s whipped into Aja and other girls dogpile them for the win.
HARDWORK WALKER vs. JAMIE HOWARD:
(WCW Saturday Night, Feb. 5th 2000)
* Jamie Howard is the future Jamie Noble, here a WCW jobber with four years in the business, just about to be packaged as “Jamie-San” of the Jung Dragons. Walker is, shockingly, still with WCW at this point, and this is around when he and a few other nobodies filed a lawsuit against the company for racial discrimination, saying they’d been forced to play racist caricatures. I mean, WCW had a lot of racist stuff so they probably had a point, but it’s telling that they all stank. Walker had ELEVEN YEARS in the business and still wrestled like an opening match guy. Jamie’s in green tights and looks like the most generic undersized indie guy ever. Either the fans are on an elevated platform or he’s even shorter than his billed 5’9″ height. Walker has now lost his first name and is HUGELY muscled and in red tights.
Hardwork powers Jamie around a bit, and hits a BIG lariat after Jamie does the “put the leg on their neck and flip backwards onto your feet” spot, then does an unassisted ropewalk across one side of the ring, hitting an axehandle. Wait- he DOESN’T suck now? He slugs away, working a bit heelish while also looking to the crowd for cheers, then weirdly tosses Jamie, but gets posted and Jamie flies off the top onto him. The crowd reacts to some of this, but the obviously piped-in “crowd noise” has been so steady it’s all white noise. Walker just easily makes a comeback with boots, barely selling the plancha- Jamie whips him to the buckles and hits a legdrop, but gets launched off and caught in a World’s Strongest Slam. Hardwork climbs backwards onto the top rope, walks to the middle of it, then flies off with a big lariat to win at (4:16).
Okay, so Walker is legitimately a great athlete here, hitting some impressive stuff- a pair of big ropewalking moves. However, the “meat and potatoes” of his style is weak, as it’s all slow punches and kicks, WWF-style, so he can’t thread his shit together in any kind of meaningful way. Though this is really more of a squash with a couple of shine sequences for Jamie, so it’s probably not a true showcase. Not that I think Walker ever got over **, but stranger things have happened. In any case, he retired in 2000, so he added decent stuff too late.
Rating: *3/4 (fine enough squash match- Jamie looked good and Walker has some good moves)
MISTER PERFECT vs. “TERRIFIC” TERRY TAYLOR:
(WWF RAW, Jan. 13 1993)
* Oh man, Taylor’s already in the ring when Perfect, in orange, gets his entrance. This is super-close to the Rumble (where Taylor also appeared) and the end of the Perfect/Flair feud. Macho Man’s on commentary, just coming back from chasing Repo Man around after his hat got stolen (he indicates the shot was in the “Top Ten”, but “I been hit a LOT harder than that!”).
Perfect teases Terry and outwrestles him, then charges in with a dropkick, as Terry bails repeatedly like a coward. Perfect dominates with arm stuff, but Taylor dumps him and smashes him into the guardrail- stomps, jawjacker & backbreaker get two as he lays in a casual beatdown. Both guys slug it out holding themselves by on the top rope like 1990 Andre, but Taylor suddenly hits an Austin-like spinebuster for two. He then hauls Perfect up for friggin’ Gutwrench Kneeling Powerbomb of all things, as I’m sure he’s watching Japan tapes now. That sucker only gets two, and Taylor pounds away, but Perfect gets the most slack-ass Hulk Up ever, just kinda wriggling around, but punches him a bunch- inverted atomic drop & necksnap, but Ric Flair comes out for the distraction, and beats the shit out of Perfect while Taylor distracts the ref. Perfect’s hauled into the ring, but Taylor goes for a vertical suplex like an idiot, Perfect hooks the leg, and we’re done at (8:01). Way to sell that beating, lol.
Wow, this is one of the worst Perfect performances I can recall seeing, just doing the most slack-ass pace, seemingly having trouble standing, and doing his comebacks like a zombie (not the Taker kind; the movie monster kind). Probably injuries and/or drugs, but who knows? Taylor was fine, but didn’t have much to work with- not that his JTTS role should have inspired a huge amount of work.
Rating: *1/2 (pretty disappointing given these two were both good workers and got eight minutes)