AJW TV (Feb. 4th, 1995):
* So here’s an AJW TV show from February, centering around a bunch of random stuff, like Aja & Manami facing off in a tag team match with unrelated partners, resulting in a high position on the card for young Kumiko Maekawa. Oh, and that JAGUAR YOKOTA is back- at nearly 40 years old, the trainer of Aja Kong, Megumi Kudo, Manami Toyota and a LEGION of some of the best workers of the ’90s is suddenly back wrestling after Big Egg Wrestling Universe showed she still had it, and she’s going to execute a rookie to prove it again.
Aaaaaaaaand all these videos are private now? I guess? That’s weird.
I had a video here, but it died.
Hey, look! Some random clip of the Class of ’89 (Sakie, Tomoko, Ito) showcasing the Rookie Class of 1995, which features… okay I know Nanae Takahashi became a thing. Kayo Noumi I think I’ve heard of. The others mostly washed out, according to the YouTube comments I translated via Google (someone quit and went to FMW). And then we get the REAL money- ROOKIE INTERVIEWS OF TODAY’S STARS! Baby Aja Kong with her hair in a big bun! Baby Manami! Baby LCO! Baby Yamada! This is amazing!
YUMIKO HOTTA & TOMOKO WATANABE vs. SUZUKA MINAMI & CHAPPARITA ASARI:
* Ohhhhhhh Jesus- they put Hotta across from ASARI again. Hotta apparently shattered ASARI’s jaw a little over a year ago, putting her out for months. I saw a clip of it; it’s grody as hell- ASARI bleeds into a bucket and is clearly messed up. And now Hotta & Tomoko the Rookie-Slayer is taking on ASARI with Minami on the tail end of her career. Minami’s in mostly purple/pink garish loose-fitting thing, ASARI’s in silver & gold, Hotta’s in black & gold and Tomoko’s in black with tassels.
Hotta & Tomoko trounce ASARI, as expected, Hotta laughing off her weak offense. ASARI finally flips out of a slingshot but Tomoko flips Minami around. Flying Thesz Press gets two. Minami rolls her up but a German gets two. Tomoko keeps reversing but Minami eventually gets one of her own for two. ASARI gets her Cartwheel Handspring Mule Kicks but Hotta dumps her off the top- Tomoko misses a moonsault but scores her Rana out of Minami’s Powerbomb for two. Her lariat’s reversed to that Powerbomb for two- Hotta saves. Minami misses her Flying Senton and Hotta blasts her with the Rolling Corner Kicks and goes for the Tiger Driver- she’s rolled up out of the first but hits a second try for two- ASARI saves. Minami powerbombs Tomoko out of another rana attempt and ASARI gets one of her own for two, but Tomoko scores a lariat to the bridge of the nose for a surprise three (7:06).
Rating: **1/4 (pretty basic match with everyone but Hotta trying hard, but it was short and probably super-clipped. It gets Tomoko a little more cred as someone who can hit strikes for the finish, though)
JAGUAR YOKOTA vs. RIE TAMADA:
* So one of AJW’s tiniest “try-hard” rookies is here for Jaguar Yokota’s big return to proper action. Actually good booking, though- someone with ZERO experience versus someone who wrestled most of the 1980s and probably trained Tamada herself. Jaguar looks serious as hell and gets a good reaction for her announcement. She’s in a black & mesh “80s AJW Swimsuit” with a ponytail, while Rie’s getting decent gear now, with a white/orange short-sleeved get-up.
Rie attacks at the bell, but Jaguar bites back- her “lurching” body posture is always interesting- makes her look a lot scarier than a tiny lil’ person like her should be. Rie uses speed, but Jaguar is just too good with the counters and solid, practical stuff, grabbing legs and headlocks. Rookie dropkicks get two for Rie, but Jaguar hits a bodypress out of the corner and stretches her out again. Rie gets a victory roll for two, but Jaguar flip-dodges on her and scores her own rollup. Vertical Drop Pedigree! But she gets cocky and only kneels on Rie, so the kid kicks out. Rie lands on her for two, but Jaguar does the ’80s slide-bridge out and they both go for pins. Rie hits a helicopter bodypress, bulldog & 2nd-rope dropkick for two, but Jaguar catches her with an ax kick, missile dropkick & weird Floatover Powerbomb out of the corner for three (6:52). That had like ZERO impact.
Rating: ** (fine enough basic match with simple psychology- Jaguar the veteran just picking her spots and casually taking Rie down, despite her flurries of offense)
AJA KONG & KAORU ITO vs. MANAMI TOYOTA & KUMIKO MAEKAWA:
* A weird “grab bag” tag match- the Ace teams with midcarder Ito against Main Event Manami… and Kumiko Maekawa? Who’s still just a bottom-tier rookie? I mean, ITO is a rookie-slaying monster, never mind the goddamn champ. Aja’s in orange & black, Ito in a weird neon rainbow bellyshirt singlet, Manami’s in black, and Kumiko’s in a floral print singlet with an orange back.
Ito dominates Kumiko to start, stomping on her back using the ropes to Manami’s chagrin, then Aja throws kicks, giving us Concerned Mom Manami on the outside. Aja’s just like “…” to Kumiko’s weak shots, but the rookie finally escapes Ito, and it’s ANGRY MOM MANAMI, dropkicking and armdragging Ito around the ring! She leads Kumiko in wrist-biting and a double-dropkick, cheating during a butterfly suplex attempt, and dropkicks in the corner. Aw, she’s learning how to fight mean! *sniff* it’s so beautiful when rookies learn the value of dishonesty. Ito finally trips up Kumiko, but Aja wants Manami! The “… wait” look on Manami’s face just sells the terror of that. Aja flattens her and hits a Dominator, but Manami “Fuck YOU!” bridges out of the pin! Double-whip leads to the Running No-Hands Springboard Cross-Body to both opponents and Dropkick Spam to Ito for two.
Kumiko does Rookie Offense to Ito, but meets the Ass Attack & corner senton for two, then Manami & Aja do one of their great reversal sequences (Aja missing a sit-out splat but catching a flying bodypress only to miss a splash but powerbombs Manami out of her Manami Roll). Aja gets two, then uses her oil can when Manami tries a rolling cradle on Ito. But then ITO eats the can by mistake and now the rolling cradle hits for two! Kumiko tries stuff and dodges a backsplash for a two-count but eats Stomp Spam from Ito. Ito’s Flying Stomp misses and Manami’s Teleporting Missile Kick brains her! Moonsault misses but Aja gets dropkicked off the top (has that corner-whip-to-seated-partner move EVER not resulted in that reversal?) and Manami hits the Running No-Hands Springboard Plancha to Aja & Ito! Moonsault hits Ito for two- Aja saves. Ito counters the Japanese Ocean Cyclone Suplex, but Aja’s Uraken misses and Manami gets a HUGE German on her for two. But she tags in Kumiko and that’s a bad idea this late- Aja ends up cross-bodying both women and hitting a splash off Bret’s Rope for two, and Ito adds a Flying Stomp- Manami struggles free from Aja and saves. So Aja fuckin’ URAKENS her to prevent a second save, and another Flying Stomp ends Kumiko at (16:01). Yeah, that’ll do it.
Very fun little “exhibition” match for the early part, giving us a taste of how awesome the Aja/Manami chemistry is, while most of the story is Kumiko getting elevated via murder-by-veteran. At least until Manami goes Full Show-Off by throwing her insane springboards into it more than once, and then they actually pull off a hell of a match by the end of it, full of tons of counters and Manami-Rescues until Ito finally singles out Kumiko enough to get the pin. Smart psychology by using the vet/rookie dynamic and “veteran save” moves.
Rating: ***1/2 (here’s how awesome Manami & Aja are- Ito’s only “pretty good” and Kumiko is jobber central and they pull off THIS)
MARIKO YOSHIDA & DOUBLE INOUE (Kyoko & Takako Inoue) vs. TOSHIYO YAMADA & LAS CACHORRAS ORIENTALES (Etsuko Mita & Mima Shimoda):
* A wild “grab bag” of wrestlers for a trios match, I dunno- should be great given how the worst person here is like… Shimoda, maybe. This also pits LCO against Double Inoue, which seems like a good future match against the Tag Champs. Also Mita & Yamada were once a team (Dream Orca!). Kyoko’s in yellow & pink, Takako’s in the white & green-ruffled thing, Yoshida’s in white, Yamada’s in some white & lime singlet, and LCO’s in great purple & white gear.
Kyoko’s dodging makes Mita boot both of her partners right away, then she lures all three into Yoshida’s flying bodypress. Her team bootscrapes Mita, Takako adding a middle finger, so Mita & Yamada do the Bitch Pose with Yamada adding the finger. Then Shimoda gets one. Then both women add their boots to it. Kyoko sells this as devastating, and LCOrca work her over. Kyoko finally Slingshot Backsplashes LCO & escapes, and Takako manages her Aurora Special (shoulder-mounted backdrop suplex) on Shimda right away for two. “Knees to the face” Tombstone gets two. Mita launches Yoshida around, but she cartwheel dodges on Yamada and smokes her for two. Takako chomps Yamada’s hand, but Yoshida eats a face kick and Shimoda adds her falling clotheslines for two. LCO does piledrivers, but Yoshida escapes and Kyoko hits her corner DDT and they all stretch Mita out until TAKAKO gets bit. Well you earned that one, lady. Yoshida & Yamada go, reversing on each other- Yamada hits an enzuigiri, but misses another and takes the Run-Up Bodypress for two. Kyoko walks right into Enzuigiri Spam and a backdrop driver for two, however.
Big schmozz sees YAMADA hit a plancha onto all three women, and LCO adds their Assisted Plancha/Dive! Then it’s the Electric Chair/Splash to Kyoko, and Yamada adds a Flying Headbutt to the mix! Kyoko escapes the Finisher That Never Hits but eats the spinkick. Shimoda does her clotheslines again, but when she climbs for the second, Kyoko runs up and belly-to-bellies her off for two. Takako’s backdrop is reversed to a Tiger Suplex, reversed by charging into the corner, and her super armdrag is reversed to a missile kick when everyone gets involved. Tiger Suplex reversed to a Backdrop Hold for two, but the Flying Knee misses and NOW the Tiger Suplex hits, with Takako’s partners saving. Mita’s DVD is reversed and she eats a TRIPLE dropkick, but when Kyoko goes for her Run-Up Flying Back Elbow, Mita charges up and hits a Super Electric Chair Drop! Mita goes for the DVD by Takako flies off with her knee to the ass. Everyone hits the ring, but Shimoda & Yamada are dumped and take Yoshida’s Run-Up Plancha, leaving Mita to take Kyoko’s Lariat… for two! Niagara Driver reversed to a Northern Lights Suplex for two! DVD reversed to a German for two, and Kyoko FINALLY hits that Niagara Driver for three (17:41).
Very slow-paced match for the first half, kept deliberate and with plenty of stretching, but the beginning had fun character stuff. And then the second half of the match ramped up the speed like they were gunning for the main event, with Yoshida doing her flashy stuff and Kyoko whipping out all her big moves and counters to show off, then doing those “2.9” kickouts she’s getting known for. I feel like the ending MIGHT have been better with ending it the second Mita was left alone in the ring instead of reversing 2-3 more moves, but they do like their Beamspam in this promotion.
Rating: ***1/2 (I was gearing towards “Maybe ***” and then they went nuts with big moves near the end and had your standard Non-Main Event Effort TV match)
Next time on the Joshi Spotlight- the most insane Joshi Street Fight you’ll ever see! More proof that Ozaki is the best!