LADIES LEGEND PRO WRESTLING:
(Sept. 24th 1992)
* It’s time for more LLPW! Again with a truncated (I hope) review format.
RUMI YASUDA & MIZUKI ENDO vs. YUKARI OSAWA & MICHIKO NAGASHIMA:
* It’s more rookie mayhem! Endo’s in navy blue & white, Yasuda (the future Yasha Kurenai) is unrecognizable in mottled purple & white, Michiko’s in frilly white, and Yukari’s in pink & black. She’s the “elder” year, such as it is.
Basic “AJW-style Rookies” match with Endo taking a beating. Osawa looks good again, if generic. Yasuda leads the comeback with charges, then Endo does some. Osawa comes back on her and there’s stereo crabs from her team until everyone kinda runs around reversing stuff. Yasuda starts pulling hair in a variety of ways, informing her future heel character, and everyone kinda reverses stuff again as we’re clipped between all the transitions. The worst Hart Attack in history hits Yasuda (Michiko just does a fly-by shirt-grab), and Osawa wins with a turning cross-body into an inside-cradle Perfect Plex at (6:39 of 14:44 shown).
Just a deadful match when it wasn’t clipped, with three barely-trained rookies often missing their stuff (Endo frequently does stuff where you can’t even tell what it was SUPPOSED to be). Osawa appears fully trained but can’t do much here, and gets an easy win. I shudder to think what was in the half we MISSED.
Rating: 1/4* (this rookie stuff is pretty weak from any promotion, but Endo in particular is awful)
MIKI HANDA vs. EAGLE SAWAI:
* LLPW’s resident monster takes on Handa, the mid-tier star who can do a bunch but never really stands out. Probably another handy win for Eagle, but not an extended squash like last show’s. Handa’s in her black & gold, while Eagle’s in red & black.
Eagle steamrolls Handa easily to start, and they do some really weird stuff where it looks like they’re botching flash-pins & half-crabs because they keep rolling through all oddly. This continues with an awful back elbow to reverse Eagle’s powerslam attempt. Comedy bits in restholds lead to Handa’s comeback with running & jumping stuff- the biggest reaction is a dramatic backdrop suplex. Eagle keeps using a variety of backbreakers, but ends up cartoonishly yowling in leg stuff from Handa, who does a long figure-four and taunts her. Eagle tosses her into chairs to stall her, but hurts her own knee on another backbreaker and Handa does a flying elbow onto it. Eagle kicks her coming off the top, hurting the leg again, but kicks out of a Perfect Plex and just casually reverses a lariat to a Powerbomb for the three (10:55 of 18:53 shown).
Man, this was TERRIBLE. Handa is typically an “okay; harmless” wrestler who can be slotted into a tag match with great workers and hang, but they barely came off as trained here. Handa’s comebacks were terrible, like her & Eagle couldn’t agree on how each move was supposed to go, so Eagle was half landing on her every single time, either sandbagging her or just being bad. The leg-selling stuff was much better, though it brings to mind how an important aspect of a Monster Heel’s game is SELLING- not too much (Big Show) or too little (sooooooo many rookie big guys). People like Aja Kong, Andre or Brock Lesnar could do just enough to keep it exciting and put over their opponent. Here, Eagle’s doing a TECHNICALLY good job of putting over Handa’s offense, but her caterwauling is arguably over the top, making it comedic and “wait, is she actually a big wimp?” and actually making Handa’s offense seem weaker for it. And then the finish comes out of nowhere (with Handa ducking one counter, but eating a punch and just taking the move). So like, there seemed to be this “arrogant heel gets her just desserts” story but it was mostly just a cartoon display by Eagle.
Rating: *1/2 (weak counter-wrestling to start followed by tolerable whiny over-selling then a weak finish, I dunno)
HARLEY SAITO vs. LEO KITAMURA:
* Harley’s mostly established, and is taking on a rookie in Leo. Leo, in orange/black/white, charges Harley (in her white, red & blue circuitboard unitard) before the bell.
Harley VERY quickly one-ups her and throws about a billion right kicks at Leo K, taking about 3-4 minutes. Leo manages a half-crab, but Harley just kinda stonewalls another grappling move and comes back. Leo actually hits a Super Powerslam of all things for two and moonsaults Harley’s legs for the same. Harley gets a kick & DDT, but Leo reverses a turning cross-body for two- she climbs, but Harley gets the 1996 German Off the Middle Rope (in 1992!) for the three at (5:52 of 12:20 shown), crushing Leo’s heart. Pretty basic squash match with a couple of big hope spots for the rookie- Harley pretty well controlled everything.
Rating: *1/2 (Harley’s offense is the best of the show, as always, but it was mostly a squash)
RUMI KAZAMA vs. UTAKO HOZUMI:
* Oh, interesting- LLPW’s two “Pretty Girl/Photobook” wrestlers- the young one and the trashy one- against each other. Rumi’s in purple & black, and Utako’s in red & black.
They do a solid wrestling bit before Utako goes nuts with slaps, Rumi crushing her with a bigger pair. Utako controls her with chokeholds until Rumi does her “MMA” to come back and a Perfect Plex (how many people use that move?) gets two. Utako dodges a flying move and hits a missile kick, but lands on knees off another flying move- she still manages an arm-trap DDT variant for two and throws a ton of strikes to hold Rumi at bay, working holds until Rumi hits a back kick reversal, then NUKES Utako with a huge spinkick for two. Utako actually shoves her to the floor and planchas out, beats her up in the stands, then ducks so Rumi kicks the post! Back in, a leg-trap backdrop hold gets two, and Utako reverses a comeback into a Northern Lights suplex for two! Utako gets a bridging vertical suplex but starts to run out of stuff, allowing Rumi to catch her with a Straightjacket German. That finally gives Rumi her opening, and so she just hits a ton of different kicks to flatten Utako for the pin at (9:57 of 10:36 shown)- one of those might have potatoed her leaving the ending looking unchoreographed- kinda helps the “effect” as they’re not sold pro-wrestling style.
Okay, this was a MUCH better performance by both wrestlers this time around- Rumi sold a ton and carried Utako, generously giving her scads of offense, and the kid was good to go all the way. She lacked some killer instinct and such, but was quite precise and way better than most rookies. I mean, she had to run like 8 minutes of this 10 minute bout, bouncing Rumi everywhere and not repeating herself! Rumi practically used the “Randy Savage” template and stole a quick one, though her “throws a bunch of kicks” finisher kind of lacks drama. But compare this to Eagle/Handa (which I think has more combined experience) and it’s night and day.
Rating: **1/2 (a very solid Rookie/Veteran match, actually controlled by the rookie, who had counters for everything and a lot of good, precise movements)
SHINOBU KANDORI & MIDORI SAITO vs. NORIYO TATENO & MIKIKO FUTAGAMI:
* Our main event is a random combination of the Ace with a rookie, paired off against the former Jumping Bomb Angel and a rookie. Kandori’s in purple/black, Saito’s in white, Tateno’s in black/purple/white, Gami’s in black/white tiger stripe.
Gami charges Kandori before the bell, but quickly gets beaten up. Tateno/Kandori gets a good reaction before they even touch, and Tateno uses evasion to take advantage of the Ace, catching her coming back into the ring (work SMARTER, not HARDER), but Kandori quickly wipes out Gami again. Her armbars don’t have the oomph as in Interpromotional stuff but there’s a fun bit where she just whips Gami off the ropes and stands there and tanks her return run, going right to a sleeper. Midori does a Manami Roll on Tateno at about half Toyota’s pace (not bad), and Kandori adds a cross-body of all things- Tateno grabs sleepers, but Kandori turns a test of strength into her Tiger Driver- Gami saves, then actually controls for a bit with an abdominal stretch. The rookies fight, then Tateno hits a bridging butterfly suplex on Midori… that she just drops- was Kandori supposed to break that up and Gami legit screwed up her break-in? Gami actually holds Kandori back so Tateno can hit an STF on Midori in a pretty great psychological bit, and the kid lasts long enough for Kandori to finally break free. Kandori powerslams Tateno for two, but on the break-up by Gami, just slaps on a cross-armbreaker for the near-instant submission at (8:33 of 10:38 shown). However, Tateno seems to argue against having given up, looking super-offended but in kind of a “rude, offended high school girl” kind of way. They apparently restart the match, which we don’t see.
Pretty solid Rookies/Veterans match, with the kids being out of their depth by trying and the vets crushing them. Tateno had some nice bits but wasn’t in too much. I did like her deking out Kandori using the ring to her advantage but they didn’t get up to much and the match was short (since, like, we got half of it).
Rating: **1/4 (perfectly fine but short)
So another show of LLPW hitting under *** consistently, but it’s better than the debut since nobody went 30 minutes and Utako Hozumi actually showed a lot of potential. Not that she’d ever reach it, but still.