JWP 5TH ANNIVERSARY THE RYOGOKU BIG PROJECT:
(Oct. 13th 1996, Sumo Hall)
* And now we’re back to more JWP! They’re fairly absent on YouTube for 1996 for some reason, but the promotion has some very strong rookies now, so can hopefully provide a bit more than the usual “12 minute match drawn out to 22”. And this is the 5th anniversary show, so it’s a big one with a huge JWP/AJW Interpromotional Dream Match in the main- Aja Kong & Dynamite Kansai vs. Kyoko Inoue & Devil Masami! And Aja/Devil NEVER happened during the initial Interpromotional Era so this is a real rarity!
This one features a pretty solid stretch of matches- Mayumi Ozaki’s OZ Academy vs. a trio of babyface JWP wrestlers, a wild 8-Person Tag between JWP wrestlers and Michinoko-Pro guys, a rookie match, and Manami Toyota of all people as a bullying elite heel crushing a rookie with no chance- future superstar Azumi Hyuga! This is the first of her “LOL nope- you suck, rookie!” bullying style, apparently, and against Tomoko Kuzumi, JWP’s hottest rookie, and an incredibly bizarre Mixed Tag Match as Michinoku Pro gets involved- Great Sasuke, Tiger Mask IV, Hikari Fukuoka & Hiromi Yagi vs. Super Delfin, Gran Naniwa, Candy Okutsu & The Bolshoi Kid!
Though really, you’re not gonna top Great Sasuke & Tiger Mask trading moves with Hikari Fukuoka and other joshi.
KANAKO MOTOYA (JWP) vs. YUMI FUKAWA (AJW):
* AJW’s newly pushed Fukawa takes on Motoya, who… I forget how hard she’s being pushed. Like I feel Yumi will win, but I haven’t seen JWP in a while. Motoya’s in a black & orange get-up, while Fukawa’s in a goofy white one with poofy green frill and is half a foot shorter.
Motoya attacks before the bell- Fukawa fires back, but gets caught in Kyoko Inoue’s “Rock the Cradle” submission. She eventually gets some 2nd-rope dropkicks and more rookie-fu stretching, but there’s some ugly bits of miscommunication- it says something that Fukawa’s huge slap to the mouth draws the best reaction of the match. Motoya does her goofy “head-swing & shove” move repeatedly for two, but Yumi catches her with a superplex for two. Hooking clotheslines get two, but Motoya uses dropkick spam for the same, then both use flash pins until Motoya gets Flair-Tossed off the top, but manages an electric chair drop. Missile kick & flying head smash (like E. Honda’s special move off the top)… “F*ck YOU!” bridge from Fukawa! That gets a big reaction, but Motoya does a somersault ass slam to the FACE, picking up the win at (8:15). Haha, that was clearly supposed to be a somersault senton but WOW. Fukawa gets another head-stun.
Super messy to start, to the point where I wondered if they were deliberately trying to go with a “they’re shooting!” thing, but it got pretty good in the end once they let the rookie-fu slide and started using effective stuff. Hell, they actually seemed like they were slumming it for a while at first, deliberately holding back their capabilities.
Rating: *1/2 (standard weak rookie stuff, but picked up a bit)
FUSAYO NOUCHI (JWP) vs. YUKO KOSUGI (JD’):
* An interesting rookie bout, as the increasingly-pushed Nouchi takes on JD’s hyped rookie Kosugi. Nouchi’s in red & white, and Kosugi’s in black.
Kosugi gets to show off a JB Angels armdrag in slow-motion to start, but Nouchi quickly uses basic stuff to control, just treating her like a total jobber. Kosugi appears lost, so Nouchi wisely just goes back on offense, hitting a crossbody, suplex & senton for two-counts. She follows with a running bulldog when Kosugi again doesn’t do much, but Kosugi gets her knees up on a flying splash. Kosugi hits dropkicks, boots and some weird armdrags, and they bugger a reversal of the Rookie Standing Backdrop so Nouchi just DDTs her. Missile Dropkick… earns a “F*ck YOU!” bridge! Kosugi catches her with an inside cradle for two, annoying Nouchi, who hits a backdrop suplex and that flying splash, pulls her up at “2”, and finishes with a Bridging German at (5:14).
Pretty bad rookie match- Kosugi was hopeless and you could almost see Nouchi get frustrated with how incompetent Kosugi’s attempts at offense were the early going (where she’s stand up, take a kick, then do an awkward soft one right after). Kosugi’s own stuff was basic and weak, and those armdrags look like they could have wrenched a shoulder legit, but at least the more experienced one handily beat her.
Rating: 1/4* (just weak rookie stuff- Kosugi is really bad still)
AJW JUNIOR TITLE:
TOMOKO MIYAGUCHI (JWP) vs. EMI MOTOKAWA (IWA Japan):
* An interpromotional match for AJW’s Junior Title, as the rookie Miyaguchi faces Motokawa from weirdo company IWA Japan. Emi’s ridiculous orange skirt on a pink & black outfit is amazing- Miyaguchi’s in a shiny pink sporty two-piece. Emi attacks before the bell, knocking Miyaguchi to the floor and hitting a plancha.
Miyaguchi comes back quickly with a kneedrop & Liontamer, working the back but gets caught in a Poison Rana that has Emi spiking herself on the head first. Emi works the leg, gets reversed & chinlocked, then they get some botchy stuff (I think Miyaguchi was supposed to flip for a “judo flip”). Emi gets a JB Angels walk-up armdrag into a hold, then some good running elbowdrops for two. She gets some missile kicks and looks blown up, SERIOUSLY moving slowly, and lands on knees from a splash. Miyaguchi seems to try “enzuigiris” but is so loose and sloppy they all seem to miss (one off the second rope legit looks like she faceplants for nothing)- she at least sells shock and amusement when Emi grabs the rope to break the pin. Emi finally lands that flying splash and throws on an arm & leg hold, then a dramatic chinlock, but Miyaguchi gets the Owen-Enzuigiri and finishes with an Airplane Spin into a Bridging Samoan Drop for the pin (8:31).
Awful, awful match for much of it, with Emi being very slow and limited, with plenty of “wait, what WAS that?” botching, likely on her part (or Miyaguchi not knowing what that “grab the arm and flop back” move was supposed to be- I think a judo flip). Miyaguchi’s finish is pretty cool, though.
Rating: 1/2* (one of those “too long for what they’re capable of” matches. Slooppy and bad)
MAYUMI OZAKI, RIEKO AMANO & SUGAR SATO vs. CUTIE SUZUKI, PLUM MARIKO & YUKI MIYAZAKI:
(Oct. 10th 1996)
* And it’s the start of OZ Academy, as Ozaki has formed a brutal heel stable, now including Sugar Sato of GAEA Japan in some interpromotional tomfoolery! And OH MY GOD, it’s Plum Mariko back in action! I haven’t reviewed a match starring her in AGES- she kept getting hurt (a trend which would tragically continue). This is apparently her first match back in action. Ozaki, for the first time I have ever seen, is now in BLUE AND GREEN, covered in frilly bits. Sato’s in her white suit from GAEA & Amano’s in a Rookie Swimsuit in blue & white. Cutie’s in white, Plum’s in bright yellow frill with pink (looking like a giant cake) & Motoya’s in red.
Cutie (in a bob cut now) is about to start with Ozaki, but Plum begs for a chance, and we’re off! She charges in but gets beat up by the rookies- Amano demands respect but Plum wraps her up in her rolling leglock, so Ozaki comes in for a double-assisted powerbomb for two. Plum dodges a flying headbutt and Cutie missile kicks in, then Yuki comes in for some rookie violence because I think she views Amano as a traitor to JWP. Sato misses a flying thing and Yuki hits rolling sentons on her, and everyone starts scrapping, with Cutie forcing a tag and throwing a big jumping knee into Sato. She misses a flying stomp and gets bulldogged, then Ozaki leads a double Doomsday Device Bulldog. The others reverse another assisted powerbomb and Cutie gets two, however, and they run a series of Flying Stomps on Ozaki for two. A pair of Germans has her hurt, but her allies set up a powerbomb pin for two. Things break down again and Plum comes in- Oz powerbombs her out of a charge, hits a brutal running dropkick to the head, then urakens her (Plum flat-backing), but runs into a Stretch Plum for a while. Plum gets tired and releases, and Oz Germans Yuki out of a double-team, but Yuki shoves Sato off the top and hits a missile kick, but Sato no-sells and dragon screws her into a figure-four. Cutie misses a dive and hits only ring girls, so Plum has to break up the hold, but Sato hits a run-up flying back elbow for two.
Cutie hits a Flying Knee Smash to Sato’s head, letting Yuki (who recovers MIGHTY fast) hit a somersault guillotine double-legdrop for two- Oz saves, setting up Sato & Amano to do a dragon screw into a missile kick, and Oz/Cutie miss strikes until Oz hits the uraken and Ligerbomb- Plum saves. Cutie catches her with a super victory roll for two, but can’t capitalize and eats the Tequila Sunrise (tiger/dragon suplex) for two. Cutie catches Ozaki with a Superbomb for two, though! Flying Knee, but they dogpile to stop the pin! Things break down again, ending with Oz completely annihilating Plum with a near-vertical Superbomb. Amano gets tagged in for the first time in like twelve minutes, but Plum is immobile (uh, uncomfortably so) until catching her with a leghold. Plum reverses a whip and Amano leaps up top, leading to Plum going for a Super Frankensteiner until they slide off the top to the floor and Plum lands on her HEAD (JESUS CHRIST), immediately breaking the match as everyone checks on her and some wrestlers waste time. After a full minute, Plum & Amano are revived, Plum missing a flying thing but countering Amano into another rolling leglock, leading to a gigantic struggle while Oz is held back but Cutie- Amano FINALLY makes the ropes, and when Plum tries to finish, Ozaki urakens her, leading to Amano getting a rolling cross-armbreaker, and the ref CALLS IT at (15:22)! Amano beats Plum in her return match!
Man, this was the ugliest match I’ve ever seen, haha- NOBODY was hitting stuff flush, so instead it was just loose grabs, tosses, and all sorts of uncoordinated scrapping. It helps make it look more hateful and mean, but also kinda like nobody had any experience and were just scrambling around. Like, there was clearly a GAME PLAN here, as there were a lot of double-teams, but it was like everyone was just told to “do whatever”. and cram all their offense out there, leading to a very disjointed match in a lot of parts (compare that to AJW’s- or older JWP’s- usual intricate tag-teaming and you see an immediate difference). Amano was curiously absent from everything but the opening minutes, like they wanted to showcase Sato & Yuki tonight- even Plum only had a few bits here and there (possibly due to ring rust). A LOT of no-selling seemed apparent, which is silly in a trios match (you can tag out and recover!)- people take big moves and then hit their own five seconds later. And we’ve sadly hit the era where tiny, skinny Ozaki is throwing Urakens- a move done by AJA KONG. It looks totally inappropriate as a big killshot.
And then THAT BUMP. That repeated headshots literally ended Plum’s life makes a straight-down Superbomb and a head-first bump from the top to the floor even more horrifying than they already are. For whatever reason I always have to stop myself from writing “____ is DEAD!” from bumps with Plum in particular, but it’s always an extra level of awful when you know how she ended up- it’s a lot different with wrestlers who you know are alive today (Manami took her fair share of equivalent bumps but is still kicking).
Rating: *** (I dunno… some good parts, some GREAT parts, some huge bumps, but iffy selling and a completely disjointed mess of a match)
MANAMI TOYOTA (AJW) vs. TOMOKO KUZUMI (JWP):
* !!!!! Wow! The WWWA World Champion of AJW takes on JWP’s most elite rookie! This has to be one of those “impress the fans with her good showing until the inevitable happens” things. Manami’s in black & Kuzumi’s in blue.
Amazing opening, as Toyota immediately merks her with a dropkick after the bell (Kuzumi has this great “OH SH*T!” body language when she turns around and sees it coming), but Manami gets too aggressive and takes the Mulkey Bump! Kuzumi hits a springboard plancha, but Toyota just beats the hell out of her and throws her about by the hair to draw boos from the JWP crowd. Crazy jock veteran Manami is amazing as she taunts & no-sells the kid and trucks her with a right hand. She is completely amused by Kuzumi’s momentum-halting bodyscissors, laughing it off, then they get into a HEADBUTT CONTEST and Manami hits her with a Kick of Fear. But then Kuzumi manages a flying crossbody & dropkick spam, actually preventing Manami from getting anything in, and rolling butterfly suplexes keep it up, along with a backbreaker & half-crab, then tying her in the ropes to dropkick the spine. Manami finally counters a resthold through sheer power, dropkicks KUZUMI in the spine, then does the JB Angels armdrag into restholds. Yet they’re awesome because Manami is so unbearably cruel in them (“GIVE UP! … no?” *smack her head*), leading to the crowd getting on her case.
Bridging Deathlock & missile kicks wear Kuzumi down, but she dodges the Moonsault, then reverses a whip into a springboard dropkick. Manami’s still nearly getting her after everything, but Kuzumi is countering the counters. A turning splash fails but a slingshot sunset flip gets two. Manami climbs, but eats a Head & Arm Superduperplex for two! Kuzumi finally makes a mistake and takes the Rolling Cradle for two- she persistently chases Manami up top again but this finally earns her a missile kick between the shoulderblades and a wicked Bridging German for two. Manami signals her finisher but Kuzumi reverses to the Japanese Leg Roll Clutch for two, but the crowd ain’t buying it. Kuzumi gets tossed to the corner, leaps up for a move, but Manami just ANNIHILATES her with a kick to the floor, stops to laugh at the annoyed crowd and flips them off, then flattens Kuzumi with a Running No-Hands Springboard Plancha. Then she just sits cross-legged in the ring for Kuzumi to stop being dead, sarcastically clapping along to the “KU-ZU-MI!” chant as the fans are finally into her, but a Moonsault… gets two! A Straightjacket German gets the same! Kuzumi’s slumped over dead, so an amused Manami easily picks her up for the Japanese Ocean Cyclone Suplex at (15:24), completing the massacre. Kuzumi had the standard “Kick out of 2-3 finisher-level moves” push, but had no chance at all.
Actually a lot of fun, with Toyota being so far above Kuzumi as to make this a foregone conclusion, leading to Arrogant Heelish God Toyota, which is not a character I’ve seen at all from her. Then Kuzumi gets a lucky shot in and stays on the back with a variety of stuff that seems designed to tie Manami up and prevent her trademark stuff. And it’s interesting how Manami sells- she usually gives up size or power to opponents, so as a veritable giant compared to Kuzumi, she lacks her standard fallback, so instead gets to be an annoyed heel about it, barely being deflected by strikes instead of backflipping off of them. So the match is effectively an extended squash but works for it, with Kuzumi playing a counter-game at points and keeping the veteran stunned by sticking & moving. It was fun, but since Kuzumi had literally no chance here (kids can beat vets with a lucky pin, but the CHAMP?) the fans were pretty quiet for her stuff, Toyota earning most of the reactions for her bullying.
Rating: **3/4 (pretty amazing for what is effectively a squash, and Manami’s mannerisms carried the match, just picking apart this dumb kid once she finally stuffs the counters)
MIXED 8-PERSON TAG MATCH- LUCHA TAG RULES:
THE GREAT SASUKE, TIGER MASK IV, HIKARI FUKUOKA & HIROMI YAGI vs. SUPER DELFIN, GRAN NANIWA, CANDY OKUTSU & BOLSHOI KID:
* Wait, WHAT?? I quickly glossed this one over making my master list from Rico Kasai’s channel, just calling it a “mixed tag w/ Tiger Mask”, but the full roster makes this one seem crazy. It’s effectively the top babyface of Michinoku Pro, the fourth Tiger Mask, plus JWP’s rising stars in a mixed tag against two M-Pro comedy guys, Candy Okutsu (who will one day become the masked “Tiger Dream”- a female spinoff of Tiger Mask) and JWP’s comedy wrestler. I have a feeling this will have a lot of comedy mixed with some legitimately great high-flying. Naniwa, in blue, is wearing a horrifying Japanese clown mask to match Bolshoi. Candy’s in a frilly black outfit and wearing a mask, while Delfin (in orange/blue) has “JWP” written on his. Yagi’s in a WHITE tiger mask to go with TM’s (and cool black/white gear), but Hikari’s gotta be the boring one and is plain-faced in her jaguar-print gear, with Sasuke in his black regular stuff. Alas, everyone goes to regular gear by the time the bell rings- Delfin tries to mack on Hikari in the pre-match handshakes, too.
Naniwa/Tiger Mask start, with TM throwing kicks and “Tiger Masking” out of a wristlock, then Yagi judo flips Candy and bridges out after a DDT to choke her. Hikari adds a Northern Lights suplex & big boot for two, but takes the corner-dodge missile kick & sunset flip for the same. They slug it out into Hikari’s POPEYE PUNCH~~ and the crowd shames Delfin into coming in against Sasuke (he tries to get Bolshoi to do it). They start simple and move into a “pause for applause” flip sequence. Bolshoi does a Tiger Feint on Yagi but gets judo’d about- Candy pulls her jester cap into the ropes and suggests that counts as a rope break, haha… and THE REF OKAYS IT! Yagi shoves him down for that and the girls double-team Bolshoi viciously- the clown eats a cartwheel back elbow but manages a ropewalk into a BACKWARDS ropewalk into an armdrag. Tiger Mask spinkicks & backflip kicks Naniwa and Delfin nails Sasuke with a spinning backbreaker. Tiger Mask’s continued refusal to play along with any comedy is pretty funny.
Candy hits a run-up move & another corner-dodge kick on Yagi, but takes her Super Judo Flip, and when Naniwa jumps up there, HE gets one, too! Sasuke boots him and sets up Hikari’s Moonsault Stomp! She just BOUNCES off of him, too- that was a good one. Naniwa bails for a minute and DELFIN takes over, but Hikari pops the crowd by headscissoring him and dropkicking him to the floor! Then Sasuke tries with BOLSHOI, but she cross-bodies him and then hits a rana! Sasuke then cowers from her & Candy’s furious assault. Naniwa does his crab-walk in the ropes vs. Tiger Mask, who no-sells him by standing up, only to get dragged down, but he gets his foot up. Sasuke gets his arm worked and then Tiger Mask has three people stand on his junk in the tree of woe, and Naniwa sentons Sasuke for two, then Delfin hits a REALLY long delayed brainbuster for the same- people break up all the pins. Then we get the “Delfin snaps the arm over his shoulder from the apron” spot, doing so to everyone on the other side… and naturally gets tricked into doing it to Candy, who slaps him in return. This provokes Candy & Bolshoi to join the other team, but they turn on the boys and get run into each other.
Everyone does holds while Hikari ranas Naniwa in a submission pile for two, leading to the final stretch- Sasuke hits his handspring elbow to Delfin, then a Quebrada, but Bolshoi does the same to him, Yagi planchas her, Candy run-up planchas Yagi, and Hikari moonsaults Candy to the floor, but Naniwa is stopped by Tiger Mask, who hits a heatless cross-body for two. Tombstone & flying headbutt get two. Naniwa hits a clothesline and Super Rana for two-counts, and the women run in to break it up- this leaves only the girls, and Hikari dropkicks Bolshoi out of another Tiger Feint, but Delfin FLATTENS her and hits a Delfin Clutch (ties up all the limbs) for two- Sasuke breaks it up, then hits a HUGE Tope Con Hilo to thump him good- Naniwa dives out, then Tiger Mask does as Candy’s missile kick sets up Bolshoi’s Flying Rana for two on Hikari. Hikari powerbombs her out of a running rana, leapfrogs Yagi into a stomp, and Yagi’s German sets up the Ryder Kick (which looks like a somersault ass slam to the neck here) and Hikari finishes with the Tiger Driver (22:24).
Interesting lucha/comedy-style match, with that cadence of “people pair off and do a segment, then tag out and another two take over” vs. heat segments and the like. Usually mixing up the flashy cool stuff with a comedy routine, revenge spots and the like- gives everyone something, I guess. So it leads to stuff that looks weird in puro, like Sasuke being in the ring for maybe two minutes and taking basic moves and then suddenly being near-defeat from a single thing. Oddly, the crowd just DIED when Tiger Mask stopped the “flying onto each other” thing- just stone-facedly hitting generic junior offense after all that was NOT what anyone wanted to see, I guess. Especially as it led to basic back & forth standard stuff. But then they segued again to “everyone hitting stuff” and we ended with the traditional joshi hot finish, albeit mostly Hikari totally dominating Bolshoi and showing her who’s boss, hitting move after move in her usual finish.
Rating: *** (pretty okay and mostly funny- stop & start comedy into a few hot runs by the end)
AJA KONG (AJW) & DYNAMITE KANSAI (JWP) vs. DEVIL MASAMI (JWP) & KYOKO INOUE (AJW):
* !!!!! Okay, I had no idea THIS one existed! It’s a long video, too! It’s got a lot of star-power in it, with the dethroned Ace (Aja) teaming with JWP’s current Ace against a co-Ace/legend in Devil Masami, who’s backed by Future Ace Kyoko. They’re in JWP territory, too. Everyone here is completely awesome so I’m hoping they’re not just doing a “House Show match”. Devil & Aja in particular NEVER happens during the Interpromotional Era so I hope that’s awesome. Aja’s in a cool red & black outfit, Kansai’s in yellow & blue, Devil’s in black, and Kyoko’s in an AMAZING pink/purple/white vertically striped onesie.
The JWP wrestlers start, and the crowd actually does the “Kyo-ko!” chant for DEVIL, haha. But Kansai rips her head off with a lariat, causing Kyoko to lariat HER, then Aja lariats Kyoko. Devil tries her own on Aja but just bounces off and Kansai levels her again while Aja flips off the JWP crowd. Devil gets worked over, but Kyoko surfboards Kansai and they trade strikes until Kyoko runs into a boot. Aja works Kyoko over with the usual methodical smashing, and works the leg- the monsters acting really mean about it and drawing boos alongside Kyoko’s “Oh no I must overcome this!” moan-filled selling, but she manages the Slingshot Backsplash & bullrush lariat. We finally get Devil/Aja, and Devil spends an entire goddamn minute trying to put AJA in a surfboard, of course slipping out when she’s barely off the mat, then laughs it off and just hits a legdrop. Aja brings her down with a chop & lariat & Kansai adds a piledriver & sleeper as the pace is still quite slow. Devil manages a Samoan drop to escape but Kansai sweep-kicks Kyoko into the splits and just lies on her, which has to hurt. STF sets up a side slam & Aja’s piledriver, but Kyoko backdrops out and takes a Bubba Bomb and Aja gets that piledriver. Devil breaks up the pin so Aja levels her with the oil can, but Kyoko manages an armdrag using the legs in a spin off Aja’s shoulders.
Aja flattens both Kyoko & Devil and Aja hits the Flying Back Elbow on Kyoko for two. Kyoko shoves her off a follow-up and hits a missile kick & lariat (on the second try), but Kansai shoves her to the floor when she tries the Run-Up Flying Elbow. And then AJA DIVES, nailing both opponents! After the sell-job, Kyoko manages to charge up and toss Aja off the top for two- they try a double-suplex, but Aja suplexes THEM, but Devil counts the Brainbuster (a new finisher for Aja) into an ax kick & lariat for two. She tries again but runs into a powerslam, but avoids the 2nd-rope splash only to get backdropped for two. Kansai cheats with a lariat, but ducks Devil’s and she runs STRAIGHT into Aja’s lethal Uraken, taking an absolute “video game character who just got shot in the brain” sell off of it- Kyoko obviously has to save. 2nd rope splash and Kyoko keeps interfering, and Kansai’s Splash Mountain fails and Kyoko helps Devil & they use an assisted powerbomb for two. Devil now sets up Kyoko’s corner DDT with a lariat, but Kansai kicks out then kicks her spine from another Backsplash. Kyoko reverses a Backdrop Driver and lands the Run-Up Flying Back Elbow for two, but Kansai reverses the follow-up and lands that Driver, then the monsters just CRUSH her with Flying Stomps! Devil saves, and she thankfully avoids a STEREO version and Germans Kansai, but gets caught in a sleeper. That spot turns into a sleeper-chain with all four getting involved (this late in the match?).
Kansai clocks Kyoko with an elbow and climbs (!), Kyoko grabbing her but taking the Mandatory 1996 German off the Ropes from Aja for two. Aja tries the Super Mountain Bomb but Kyoko sunset flips her with Devil’s help, getting two- tiring of Devil, the monsters hit Stereo Brainbusters, Kyoko drawing the first big reaction of the match on the last-second kickout. Great bit as Kansai boots Devil to take her out and signals Splash Mountain (sit-out razor’s edge)… for TWO, because Devil spins around at 2.9 to kick her while Aja was counting along! Hah! Aja dumps her and tries a dive, but eats crap on it and so Kansai tries Super Splash Mountain (her Super MDK), but Devil sets up Kyoko to Super DDT her- for two! But when Kyoko signals the Niagara Driver, Aja does the standard “lariat the person when they have the other bent over” spot, but Kyoko lifts Kansai in the way so SHE takes it, then hits a Ligerbomb- two! Falling Powerbomb/Guillotine Legdrop- two! Devil lies on Aja so she can’t break it up, and Kyoko finishes with a Ligerbomb at (23:37) as they FINALLY keep her down, pinning JWP’s Ace on their own show.
Very, very slow-paced match throughout, which I kinda wasn’t expecting- they all did the “slow, deliberate” approach to the build, with nothing looking finisher-y even 12 minutes in and then there’s that Uraken. The BUMP from that- Devil I swear to God used the WCW/nWo Revenge sell, crumpling vertically. That set off the “real match” as suddenly the big offense is uncorked- still slow and deliberate, but with a lot of lariats running to and fro. Unfortunately, I think that slow pace and cardio-saving worked to the detriment of the match and the fans, as they were only periodically shouting and not going ga-ga for it. I mean, Kyoko is one of the best at drawing Sympathy Heat with her desperation stuff, but here she only got one or two big kickout moments. I wonder if the bumps the wrestlers have been taking over the years have just caught up to many of them, as they’re older, slower and more beaten-down by that style. That said, the “False Finishes” portion ended up being very solid (nobody bit on the Super DDT that took forever to set up, but then Kansai got hit with move after move and that was closer). Also… kinda funny that JWP ran an Anniversary Show and the big result is AJW’s Heir Apparent beating their Ace.
Rating: ***3/4 (like, it’s VERY GOOD, but just very slow throughout, and we didn’t even get the really great typical sequences most of them can get with each other- not much Devil/Aja, either!)
Overall, as a huge 5th Anniversary Show, it feels… quite sub-par. A bunch of bad rookie matches, a mess of a trios match, a comedy 8-person match, Toyota squashing a rookie with potential, and then a tag match that was very good, yet felt very sub-par compared to the wars of 1993-95. It all feels like such an ill portend for the “Joshi” genre.