Joshi Spotlight: GAEA Big Target
By Jabroniville on 17th October 2022
GAEA JAPAN- BIG TARGET:
(Nov. 16th 1996)
* It’s more GAEA Japan, as I go to a November show featuring two “Veteran vs. Rookie God” matches, as we get the first in the great Akira Hokuto/Meiko Satomura series, and Chigusa Nagayo taking on her student, Sonoko Kato! Plus it’s the battle of OZ Academy, as Mayumi Ozaki takes Sugar Sato against Reiko Amano & Chikayo Nagashima.
I dunno when this picture is dated to, but they definitely don’t look like that here.
MAYUMI OZAKI & SUGAR SATO vs. REIKO AMANO & CHIKAYO NAGASHIMA:
* It’s the battle of OZ Academy, as the Sugar/Chikayo team is split up so they can ally with their JWP stablemates; the boss working with Sugar. This is a very “joshi” kind of thing, with regular teammates put up against each other all the time in these competitive battles. Alas, all we get is this clipped version.
The rookie team stages a comeback against the boss & Sugar as we are joined in progress- they avoid Ozaki’s cannonball off the 2nd rope to the floor and Chikayo dives onto them, but Amano dives onto her by accident and Oz/Sugar pose on a chair to celebrate. Sugar dropkicks off the chair and facecrushers Chikayo onto it, but Chikayo uses a flying chair dropkick to come back. She uses stunners and Reiko adds snap suplexes, but gets kneed in the face and Ozaki’s cannonball gets two. Powerbomb gets two, but Chikayo uses three Germans (not really “rolling”) and a Rocket Launcher for two. Amano uses a chair to break up a pin, but lets it go like a dumbass and of COURSE Oz swings it at her- Sato gets a run-up flying elbow but Chikayo rolls Ozaki up out of a powerbomb. Ozaki stalls and they hit a double-powerbomb, but AGAIN Amano brings in that chair! Ozaki teaches her a lesson and finishes Chikayo with a straightjacket Ligerbomb for three at (6:59 of 15:41). Lorefice called the full version **** so it’s a shame we lose half of it.
Rating: *** (seemed like a very solid “rookies vs. rookie/vet” match, as they had little chance against Ozaki but kept up the double-teams)
MEGA SHOCK BATTLE- FIRST STAGE:
AKIRA HOKUTO vs. MEIKO SATOMURA:
* The first time these two ever meet- they’d have some crazy bangers later on as Meiko gets more and more experience, but for today let’s see the green-clad renewed Hokuto slaughter the baby.
Meiko attacks to start, actually amusing Hokuto, who mocks her height and starts the beating. Akira bites at her arms and toys with her, showing complete disrespect- Meiko uses speed to come back, but Akira just strangles her down and chokes her in a variety of horrible ways, taunting all the while. Meiko finally scores back with two windmill charges, but Hokuto hits the inverted brainbuster to end that. But Akira takes her sweet time climbing the ropes and takes the Super Cross-Armbreaker, having to make the ropes- she sells well, but manages a powerbomb out of a DVD attempt. Meiko recovers first and keeps up the pressure, diving off the apron and a flying shoulderblock gets two. Akira goads her into throwing more and more shots, luring her right into a deadly German right onto Meiko’s head- JESUS! Akira follows with a missile kick & her tope con hilo, then waits her out in the ring. She pounces with a superduperplex, Meiko getting a BIG reaction for bridging out at two. Akira’s like “yeah, I’m done with this” but BAM! Meiko Death Valley Drivers her for two! Her frustration at the kickout is epic, and Akira finally just boots her and hits a Fisherman’s Buster for the pin (11:57), her knee on the kid’s chest for emphasis.
Good “Vet vs. Kid” fight, as Akira takes her lightly the entire time in the way only she can, but keeps getting caught in these shockingly big moves. She treats many of them more as painful reversals than something that threatens to kill her off, though, and inevitably keeps making casual comebacks with simple shots until she wins. It’s a very unique kind of story, where Hokuto doesn’t even bother with the congratulations or “Wow, that really almost got me” that other veterans allow- it’s just a complete disregard for another person that infuriates Meiko and makes her a great babyface in this scenario. She has no chance, and Hokuto wants that known through the entire thing, but Meiko refuses to believe it’s so.
Rating: *** (an great example of the type, with Hokuto never letting up on her disrespect- it had a good flow and Meiko was acting for ten, as always)
MEGA SHOCK BATTLE- SECOND STAGE:
CHIGUSA NAGAYO vs. SONOKO KATO:
* Kato gets another showcase against a top star- this time the boss.
Kato dives in with kicks, but earns some of her own in return- Kato keeps trying to throw Chigusa off-balance but keeps getting hauled down by the bigger, more experienced star. Chigusa keeps working holds while Kato tries to squirm away, feeling much more “legit” than the usual stuff. It’s funny how adept she is at this style, too, considering she doesn’t use it much. Kato keeps making the ropes, but Chigusa is relentless, just trying different stuff each time. Clipped to Kato finally nailing a comeback, bringing Chigusa down with strikes but getting too aggressive and eating a backdrop driver onto her head. She “F*ck YOU!” bridges after another one and eats a great wheel kick to the face, but counters another do a weak Muta Lock. Bulldog spam & two legdrops off Bret’s rope keep it up- Rolling Fireman’s! But it only gets one, and Chigusa counters the next and does one herself. Chigusa counters a sleeper, Kato counters a powerbomb, and Chigusa no-sells a missile kick but charges into that sleeper, Kato hanging on until she gets frustrated and charges right into a head-kick. Chigusa splatters her with a few more and Kato barely makes it up at “9” (floundering around at first), and even bridges out after a powerbomb! A full jackknife pin powerbomb gets… two, as Kato rolls over for two! Chigusa just grabs her and hits a torture rack of all things, Kato finally tapping out at (10:31 of 15:25 shown).
This was a great little “Trainer/Trainee” story, with Chigusa just being way too much for Kato, who still had to try. She could only get comebacks using her speed, and every time she got too aggressive or did the same move too many times, Chigusa was there with a counter. A “you’re not good enough yet, padawan” thing ran through the whole match. It lacks drama (the crowd didn’t remotely buy the sleeper attempt- just not manic enough from either), but sometimes a good old-fashioned story like that works. Still funny to do the whole “Kato is unconquerable and keeps fighting” thing and end with the tap-out but puro can be like that sometimes.
Rating: *** (very good mentor/student bout with a lot of character and precision)
Overall, it’s another sign of GAEA going well- Ozaki’s heel stable has a good match against each other, and Meiko & Kato take on two of the gods of joshi puro and have *** matches, despite both being foregone conclusions. I mean, a “Show full of ***-ish matches” is kind of the GAEA trait at this point… but it’s better that what the others got- arguable better wrestlers and they’re not making that anymore.
YUMIKO HOTTA (AJW) vs. BOMBER HIKARU (GAEA Japan):
(June 31st 1996)
* I found a random bout between AJW’s Hotta & Bomber from the middle of 1996, so I’ll throw it in here. Hotta’s in her black unitard while Bomber’s in a very LLPW-esque set of tights with lots of blues in complex designs.
Hotta just shakes her head menacingly at Bomber’s thigh kicks, and drops her with one of her own. Hotta consistently defies selling, so Bomber tries a variety of stuff like a backdrop-to-powerbomb, kicks and stretching. Hotta kicks her out of a leglock so bad Bomber nearly gets counted down, and Hotta still easily handles her. Bomber celebrates after FINALLY knocking her down, but Hotta keeps ignoring her stretching and methodically kicks and headbutts her. Bomber does a million slaps, but Hotta stuns her with one and reverses a whip with the rolling kick for two. Bomber actually avoids the Tiger Driver and snatches Hotta on a kick, but buggers the attempted reversal and has to get a powerslam reversal for two. Running lariats and a flying headbutt hit, but Hotta kicks her out of the next attempt, only to get Tiger Suplexed for two. Hotta kicks her out of another, but they screw up a Tiger Driver (Bomber sandbags her HARD and Hotta piledrives her) before hitting a proper one for two. Hotta finally reverses out of another Tiger Suplex and does an arm submission thing for the quick “give up!” at (11:18).
About as good as 11 minutes of someone completely ignoring another’s offense and not even giving her begrudging respect was gonna be. You don’t put Hotta against a lower-card speedbump without knowing what you’re gonna get. It was so long it ended up pretty heatless, though, even for Bomber’s comebacks, which lacked urgency or good timing. Hotta practically sleepwalking through it didn’t help.
Rating: * (sooooo little efforttttttttt…)