Remember: JD’ is pronounced “jay-DEE-star”!
JD’ BEAUTY ATHLETE- COMING TO TOKYO:
(April 14th 1996)
* Oh hey, look! The OTHER joshi splinter promotion of 1996 shows up in my Spotlights! Mostly because MoskowDiskow was like “Hey if you’re in 1996 you should have JD! There’s 4-5 videos on YouTube!” and I was like “huh? There is?” and he linked me one person’s poorly-labeled channel. I mean, typing in “JD” into a search engine ain’t gonna net you a lot, right? But here’s an April ’96 show!
So the deal with JD’ is that some company had a TV contract and were able to lure away Jaguar Yokota, wonder-trainer of AJW’s ’80s wrestlers and a big star in her own right, along with two forcibly-retired buddies in Bison Kimura (billed as a top star) and Lioness Asuka (a huge ’80s star). Like some Ted Turner dude was like “I wanna get into the wrasslin’ business! I remember Jaguar & Lioness- get ’em for my company!” because he was old and those were the stars he remembered. And they threw together a weirdo promotion of bizarre gimmicks, terrible rookies (Chikako Shiratori) and freelancers. And now I got all these damn people to look up because I have no idea who most of these people are, lol.
We start off with a highlight reel, mostly made up of big flying moves, plus a Bison Kimura/Manami Toyota match that headlines this show. Then the CGI opening, looking like a first generation PlayStation game to a hilariously nostalgic degree, leads to mini-bios of the wrestlers. For some reason there’s super-quiet commentary AND a voiceover, like they recorded both channels and played them over each other.
SACHIE ABE vs. AYA KOYAMA:
* Okay, so this is a green rookie match- Sachie lasts 18 years in the business, mostly as a tag wrestler (but was JD’s main babyface by 2001 when someone named Kosugi retired), and eventually landed in JWP after JD’ folded. Koyama wrestled for about five years (Moskow: “Koyama is some scrub that lingered around the indies like BJPW for awhile but never did anything”) and went to a disastrous MMA career, and battled cancer for a near solid decade, dying of it in 2018. Sachie, in yellow, has shoulder-length hair and Koyama, in black & white, has hers cut short.
Yup- it’s a joshi rookie match alright: Koyama throws a billion dropkicks, then Sachie does rollups and they “amateur wrestle” into pinning moves. Sachie works the leg a bunch (a deathlock bridge is kinda interesting but is held for 0.5 seconds), then settles for some wimpy stomps with no effort put in as this is clipped and their cardio is probably done. Sachie hits two standing backdrops (a rookie-killer), but can’t get the pin, and time runs out at (4:20 shown of 15:00) while they swipe at each other.
Rating: DUD (nothing rookie match- both were tired and hit the same old boring stuff AJW first-years do)
Better known as “The Bloody”, she becomes an innovative star in joshi until she gets injured out of the business, but here she’s just a rookie.
FLOR METALLICA & LADY CONNORS vs. THE BLOODY PHOENIX & NANA FUJIMURA:
* A wild tag team match, with occasional gaijin Metallica (from Mexico) bringing someone I’ve never heard of with her to fight JD’ original THE BLOODY (here just “The Bloody Phoenix”)- a slender masked wrestler who Moskow says was one of the most creative workers of her era, and insane- and Fujimura, whom I’ve also never heard of. Moskow guesses she was a JD’ rookie that never turned out (she has no Cagematch page, but there’s a card for sale on eBay so she was at least THAT important). Metallica’s in a black unitard with a flower design on it, Connors is in a neon pink swimsuit, Bloody’s in black & red with a mask, and Fujimura’s in a plain black & red singlet.
Metallica dominates Nana easily with arm stuff, but Bloody does better. Connors tosses Bloody around and crabs her, but Nana hits an armbar on Connors. Everything is kept SUPER simple, probably due to language barriers and inexperience from the JD’ pair. They do weird Mexican submission holds on Nana, including holding her upside-down in the splits, but Team JD’ hits double clotheslines & double-dropkicks on Connors. But the Luchadoras hit a double surfboard on Nana, only Connors missile kicks her partner by mistake. But they immediately ignore that and mess up a leapfrog spot (Connors falls WAY short and the commentator goes “chotto”). The kids do a bunch of bad dropkicks, but Bloody does a corkscrew crossbody onto Nana by mistake. However, Connors gets tossed into Metallica on the apron and rolled up by Bloody and that’s the win at (7:39 of 9:11 shown).
Rating: * (Very weak match- the rookies had little beyond dropkicks and none of those were above waist-high, and the luchadoras had to keep this very simple for their opponents, then job to a pretty weak thing)
Unsurprisingly, a buncha people wanted Chikako Shiratori to be a big star. It didn’t take.
CHIKAKO SHIRATORI & XOCHITL HAMADA vs. COOGA & ESTHER MORENO:
* Oh hell, now THIS needs some talking points. So Chikako was a slender, pretty idol in AJW, but sucked and never got any good, and I guess saw greener pastures in JD’ where there wasn’t already Takako taking up the “Idol” role and being a way better wrestler. Xochitl is the elder sister of Ayako Hamada- another half-Mexican daughter of Gran Hamada’s and the ex-wife of Silver King of all people. Cooga is Miori Kamiya- the weakest of the “Class of ’86” AJW stars that includes Aja Kong & Megumi Kudo- she retired around the end of 1992 as she was jobbing to up & comers and wasn’t that great, but flies back onto the scene for JD’ as a filler wrestler! And then there’s Esther Moreno again, who’s on AJW shows around this time- a fairly good luchadora. Moreno’s in black, Cooga’s in blue (with a cool mask!), Chikako’s in black & pink “idol gear” (ie. ruffled bits & bare skin peeking out) and Xochitl’s in black (and very solid-looking).
After a quick start we see Chikako getting her ass kicked, showing effort in selling as she gets worked over. They actually hit a SPIKE TOMBSTONE as part of the weardown portion- they don’t even go for a pin! oh, joshi. Chikako’s missile-kicked over to Xochitl, who works a faster sequence with Moreno, ending with Moreno doing flips on a criss-cross and a tope con hilo. Xochitl comes back with armdrags & a tope suicida, then Chikako tosses Moreno around and hits a flaily pair of DDTs. Moreno gets missile kicked over to Cooga, who eats an armdrag but gets a rana and beats up Xochitl with chairs outside the ring. Moreno throws dropkicks but misses a moonsault, but Chikako tries to heel it up (like a bad, heatless version of LCO) by pulling hair & biting Moreno. Esther gets a bridging butterfly suplex and lariat for two-counts, but Chikako comes back with falling clotheslines for two.
Everyone kinda tags off and does stuff, Chikako missing her clothesline on Cooga, but Cooga misses a flying thing and eats a backdrop hold- Moreno saves. Chikako hits the falling clothesline on both opponents and stereo Germans get two. Their opponents try the same, reversed to German attempts, but those are reversed to front roll-ups for two. Floatover superplex gets two for Moreno on Xochitl, then she hits a Lionsault press (sorta) for two- Cooga eats a kneeling powerbomb from Xochitl for two, reverses another, then takes a slingshot elbow. Chikako hits a missile kick but gets German’d off the second rope for two- Xochitl saves. Moreno hits both women with a Quebada to the floor, and Cooga launches a Hokuto-style tope con hilo off the top! Finally, Moreno Moonsaults Chikako, setting up Cooga’s leg-trap Backdrop Hold for the three (16:14 of 20:28 shown). Cooga gets on the mic and talks sh*t afterwards, leading to Chikako freaking out and attacking her, but Cooga smashes her with chairs and leaves her kneeling over, angry.
A very long match (feeling like a 25-minute one) without much “story” as much as four people just doin’ stuff to each other. Kinda awkward, with a lot of “grab them and throw them down” stuff because of communication issues. This one felt like Chikako was working hard to try and justify/earn her push in JD’- putting in a lot of effort, but still being kinda clueless and clumsy because she’s still not very good. Like, she still sucks, but she sucks honestly. She’s just kinda awkward and doesn’t move right, plus she has no natural instincts- it’s not through lack of trying. I can appreciate that. She does stuff like watch Moreno flatten her partner with a huge dive and barely even react, because it’s not instinctive for her to “perform”- she just stands there and watches it happen, then silently pulls Xochitl back to their corner. Xochitl & Moreno were obviously there to match each other’s style and speed. Cooga, meanwhile, seems there to serve as a “base” for Chikako to look good against- her experience & selling carrying.
Rating: **1/4 (solidly wrestled but way too long and with no story beyond “just doin’ stuff”)
Jaguar, the big centerpiece of JD’, actually gets REALLY ripped around this time.
JAGUAR YOKOTA vs. LIONESS ASUKA:
* Lioness seems like she SHOULD be the biggest star of JD’, but just kinda wasn’t at first, but her & Jaguar had most of its best matches. I actually reviewed this WAY back in the day for my Crush Gals column, but I rewatched it just in case, and edited some stuff in.
Despite this being ten years since their legendary *****-ish bout, both women still wrestle “1980s Style” very well, trading and fighting for holds at high speeds… then much slower ones. Asuka controls with methodical stuff, but both are very steady, not overcommitting. There are several instances of submission holds lasting for almost exactly one minute- a Jaguar Octopus Stretch, a leglock around Asuka’s neck after a tombstone, and an Asuka Sleeper. There’s so much of this (including a long but of Asuka working the leg) the match ends up a bit of a bore, unfortunately, as no story develops and it’s way too slow going- though Jaguar does the slickest bridge out of a pinfall I’ve ever seen, sliding up and out like a cartoon character, only to eat the giant swing.
Asuka hits a Sit-Out Powerbomb, but Jaguar hits a crucifix for two and ranas out of a second powerbomb for two until ending up in a long sleeperhold, the ref constantly checking, making it look “legit” and not like garbage filler. Jaguar does her cool Straightjacket Suplex reversal for two, and then drills her with a f*cking TIGER DRIVER ’91… for two. But Piledrivers Are Weak in Joshi, so Asuka just comes back with a Backdrop Superplex- she heads up for another move, and then Jaguar pops up with this amazing roll-up off the top (spin-jumping up and throwing Asuka off with her legs into a pinning combination) and gets the pin (20:03).
Started out great, but wow, they went WAY too long without anything developing- their Finisher Series was just a tiny handful of moves spaced apart by a mile so they could lie in exactly-one-minute submission holds. Possibly owing to the match time and wear & tear, or it just being a smaller show- it’s been pointed out they haven’t wrestled in long matches for ages. Their stuff was all well-applied, but it was this quiet little catch-wrestling exhibition with nary a justifiable finisher, ending in a roll-up, albeit a good one.
Rating: *** (what was there was good, but few crimes are as bad as “going too long” in my view, and it wasn’t interesting enough to justify 20 minutes, but some of the moves looked great!)
Bison, wearing this exact gear, wrestles in tonight’s main event!
MANAMI TOYOTA vs. BISON KIMURA:
* The main event is a bit of a dream return match, as Manami & Bison were on opposite sides of some huge tag wars in 1991-92, Toyota & Yamada defeating Jungle Jack (Aja Kong & Bison) to win the WWWA Tag Titles. However, now Manami is the WWWA World Champion and a far bigger star than Bison, who is nonetheless set up to be JD’s top athlete. As Manami is the visitor, I imagine AJW allowed this with the standard “she wins after a hard-fought match”, ideally keeping Bison strong. So expect Bison to dominate until Manami goes all “Manami” and strikes out with furious offense. Manami’s in black & gold, Bison’s in neon yellow.
Bison attacks before the bell, using the pre-match flowers as a melee weapon, then launches Manami into the folding chairs and windmills her around the ring by the hair. Manami does the JB Angels armdrag, but keeps getting her ass kicked until she fights dirty herself, slamming Bison on the concrete, hanging her in the corner and dropkicking her in the spine. She tosses Bison around by the hair for payback, but Bison whips her into the corner and throws a ton of chops, then pays back the corner move by dropkicking Manami in the tree of woe. Bison stretches Manami out with an STF, slingshot hold, half-crab (really testing Manami’s bendiness) and surfboard, then moves on to more stuff like choking and a kneecrusher-to-STF. This is fine, but it’s obviously just match-filler until, yep, Manami fires back with Dropkick Spam, then settles back in for her own stretching. They do a high-kick fest almost as soon as the 10-minute announcement comes up, then do ANOTHER hold, but Manami hits the Rolling Cradle for two, misses a moonsault, and takes a Northern Lights suplex for two.
Manami tries the Manami Roll but gets powerbombed for two, and Bison does a chokeslam/uranage thing, then another for two. Manami tries to reverse a powerbomb but Bison stumbles forward, accidentally completing the powerbomb (Manami is slender, but deceptively-heavy- strong hips and legs make her like 160 lbs. and bottom-heavy), which Manami ignores and charges into a Bison Chop for two. Manami reverses another to a straightjacket German for two, then hits a missile kick and a bigger one to the floor, trying to get a reaction out of the fans. Bison weakly gets out of a Japanese Ocean Cyclone Suplex attempt, hits a weak Chop, but stumbles into a Japanese Ocean (double-hammerlock) Suplex for two. Proper Japanese O.C. Suplex… for two! Even BISON can now kick out of that! Manami moonsaults again… but hits knees, and Bison hits a Samoan drop off the second rope, then hits her OWN Moonsault for two! She climbs up, Manami tries the JOCS from there, but Bison slips behind her, gets kicked in the gut, and Manami ends it with her new finisher, the Japanese Ocean Bomb (tiger driver w/ reverse grip) at (17:43).
MEH. Perfectly okay match, but sooooooooo clearly in the “let’s f*ck around in holds for 10 minutes of this 17-minute match to kill time” mold. The holds were perfectly fine, but it’s that typical half-hearted AJW style where they just slap on holds and hang on for a minute at a time rather than wrestle into them. And they sooooooo transparently didn’t give a sh*t about anything but the opening and closing minutes, either. This was made worse by the fact that the application was sloppy in the final stretch, as Bison in particular was kinda ambling about, and both couldn’t get on the same page. Manami’s one-time killer finisher has been devalued enough that it gets kicked out of every show now, but at least Bison threw some good stuff out in the end before being vanquished. I am NOT digging the Japanese Ocean Bomb, sadly- it’s too complicated a lift, and the opponent is held forward too much, so Manami nearly always stumbles or fails to lift them all the way (here she actually set Bison back down before doing it again). Some people take it well, and a high-angle Tiger Driver looks VICIOUS, but it’s hard to hit right.
Rating: ***1/4 (they’re good enough they can half-*ss it to above ***, but when they barely put in effort and they’re sloppy during the HOT portion, you have issues)
They now show highlights of an 8-woman “Trans-World Wrestling Federation” World Title in Mexico- this would be JD’s “World” belt.
BISON KIMURA vs. XOCHITL HAMADA: Bison hits backdrop suplexes, but eats dropkicks. She dodges the flying headbutt and hits another backdrop and an STF for the win (14:17).
LA DIABOLICA vs. ESTHER MORENO: Esther flies around, but the heel ref won’t count. She misses a move and Diabolica hits a helicopter slam for two, but Esther catches her up top with a bridging German for three (13:06).
CHIKAKO SHIRATORI vs. PRINCESA BLANCA: “White Princess” gets her hair pulled a lot, but dodges a god-awful turning splash, only for Chikako to hit an inside cradle for the pin (15:06). Jesus, 15 minutes of Chikako?
BAMBY vs. LOLA GONZALEZ: I think I’ve seen Lola before? Bamby is probably Selina “Bambi” Majors, an indie women’s wrestler who never went anywhere. After some really ugly takedowns & submissions, Lola finishes her with a surfboard (12:50).
BISON KIMURA vs. ESTHER MORENO: Bison throws running kicks, but Esther hits Thesz Press Spam and a German for two. Esther hits a Quebrada & Lionsault press for two, and hits a missile kick, but Bison electric chair drops her and that’s enough for a flying splash despite a huge delay. Esther hits a moonsault for two, but Bison lands a Bison Chop into a kneeling powerbomb to finish at (16:41).
CHIKAKO SHIRATORI vs. LOLA GONZALEZ: Chikako does some bad submissions, but gets dumped, and Lola easily beats her with a giant swing into a senton at (9:10).
BISON KIMURA vs. LOLA GONZALEZ: Lola keeps wrapping Bison up in assorted moves. Bison can barely get anything started, even getting powerbombed, and Lola hits a flying senton into a surfboard, and actually wins the TWF Title at (12:35)! Seems odd as it’s the JD’ title, but they WERE in Mexico and probably didn’t wanna telegraph it. Lola would hold it for 306 days before losing to Lioness Asuka in late 1996.
We also see clips of the JD’ wrestlers sightseeing, plus a Yuki Lee/Jaguar Yokota vs. Tania/Lady Star match that goes on for forever (2/3 falls, ending in double Germans for the JD’ stars).
Overall, this was kind of a rough show- mostly rookies doing weak stuff and LOTS of padding, ending in some ***-ish matches. Very much like JWP’s shows, but those usually had a better main event. The crowd was noticeably dead (with the “Random screaming” style of reactions common, and almost no big responses at all).