LADIES LEGEND PRO WRESTLING:
(Oct. 30th 1992)
* The first year of LLPW continues via YouTube! My initial goal with these was to minimize the recaps a bit (I’m not even sure how many people read the move-by-move stuff) and make these shorter, but here I end up with a 2,200-word review of this random dumb show, lol. Editing is hard! I don’t know which moves to skip until the match is over!
This one again features the entire company split up into five different matches, giving us a rookie fight, a 1st-year vs. 2nd-year tag match, a veteran/1st-year match, a “second-tier” tag match and their two top stars in an actual real main event- Shinobu Kandori vs. Noriyo Tateno! Can the former Jumping Bomb Angel defeat the elite shooter of joshi?
MIDORI SAITO vs. RUMI YASUDA:
* Rookie fight! Yasuda (Yasha Kurenai) is in white & purple and has shoulder-length hair, while Saito has super long black hair and is in white & pink.
Very basic rookie match, though Saito can impressively land on her feet from a back body drop. Yasuda dominates to start with the usual snapmares and that “hold them against the ropes and toss them back” thing, then Saito stretches her out. Clipped to Yasuda smashing Saito’s leg into the ringpost and stomping on it. Very little crowd noise. Yasuda bridges out from a 2nd-rope dropkick and missile dropkick. Saito misses a flying crossbody and Yasuda does the rolling cradle of all things for two. Yasuda gets a snap chokeslam that was ABSOLUTELY three but the ref doesn’t count it, and it’s a Time Over at (6:16 of 10:00 shown).
This is every rookie match you’ve ever seen, but clipped and not QUITE as awkward. Saito appears to have the agile movements down already, and can sell the knee, acting like it’s a match-ending injury (not that she keeps selling it for more than a minute).
Rating: 1/2* (these are all pretty much like this- ya give it a pity point or two but there’s not really much to them)
MIKIKO FUTAGAMI & LEO KITAMURA vs. MICHIKO NAGASHIMA & MIZUKI ENDO:
* Oh man it’s jobber city- these four are on EVERY LLPW card in these low-ranked spots, but usually mixed in with bigger stars. Nagashima’s in white, Endo’s in blue/white, Gami’s in black/white & Leo’s in a black/pink/white “Official LLPW Design” uniform. Nagashima’s super-skinny and Endo’s pretty solidly built. Team 1 are actually 3rd-2nd-years, and Team 2 have a 2nd year and a 1st year, meaning this will be a bullying type of deal. Shockingly, most of these dorks had long careers- Endo is STILL wrestling, and Gami lasted until 2017!
Nagashima ends up taking a double-stump-puller into a swinging slam in a cool bit to start, then clipped to Endo eating a stunner and her opponents jump on her. Nagashima uses speed on Gami and holds a headscissors, Endo adding splashes, but Gami hits a nasty backdrop suplex on Nagashima, who bridges out. Leo beats on her and hits a full nelson slam of all things- Gami comes in with a pumphandle slam, then just launches her onto Endo on the floor. Then they hit the STEINER BULLDOG of all things… for two! Really? A 1st-year bridges out of THAT? Nagashima tries flash-pins and bridges out of a backdrop driver, but tries Manami-style dropkick spam and Gami shakes the ropes, allowing Leo to finish her off with a good Belly-To-Belly Superplex at (6:26 of 15:08 shown)!
Pretty standard “Mean Bully 2nd-Years Beat Up the Rookies” match, as this is a rare opportunity for jobbers to act like brutes and haul the kids around with power moves, all but saying “we want to show off all the moves we know, because veterans won’t let us!”. Even a Steiner Bulldog! They weren’t the prettiest moves, but everyone did okay without standing out. Nagashima has weak offense and does that “flaily rookie” thing but has solid “rookie fire” (she lasts until 1998)- Endo wasn’t shown too much and appeared to have bruised ribs at some point.
Rating: *1/2 (fine effort and the kids all seemed to want to stand out and show off)
HARLEY SAITO vs. YUKARI OSAWA:
* Harley, in her amazingly bad white/red/blue tights, is a secondary LLPW star, and Osawa is above the 2nd-years but not by much, so is probably in the “gets to look good against a veteran” role. Yukari’s in the purple & black again. Yukari always has this look like she’s uncomfortable to be there, haha.
Yukari impresses to start by ducking a kick and throwing her own, then works a half-crab after throwing her body at Harley a few times. I sometimes like Yukari, but here she’s just blankly doing all this weardown stuff with no energy to it- Harley’s being pretty generous with her and isn’t getting much to work with. She finally comes back and throws a bunch of kicks and snap suplexes on the kid while Yukari finally shows some spirit by wailing and selling- THIS she can do. Yukari finally comes back with a crossface chickenwing, then knocks her down with front kicks for two but eats a wheel kick- she manages to catch a kick for a head & leg bridging suplex for two. Flying crossbody gets two, but Harley hits an enzuigiri, Bridging German, and then they really awkwardly stop a tombstone (Yukari clapped Harley’s head but ended up being dropped forwards and they rolled over). Backdrop suplex gets two, Yukari inside cradles for two- bridging double-arm suplex gets two, but she splashes onto knees and Harley hits a German into a Flying Headbutt (the camera angle switch and audience reaction makes it seem like it missed) for three at (10:21 of 13:56 shown).
This was kind of a frustrating one to watch, as Harley is REALLY GOOD but isn’t being given much to work with by someone who should be trying a little bit harder. Yukari has some decent moves and kicks but doesn’t have a lot of fire or charisma so is just kinda blankly doing stuff, and the audience ALWAYS recognizes stuff like that and starts sitting on their hands. Then there’s some breakdowns near the end and it turns into “do two moves in a row, then the other person does two moves in a row” until Harley just wins with some random thing.
Rating: ** (seems like it’s going fine and then sorta goes off the rails- Osawa has some moves but no fire and Harley wasn’t bothering to carry her, either)
RUMI KAZAMA & MIKI HANDA vs. EAGLE SAWAI & UTAKO HOZUMI:
* Interesting tag match! Rumi & Eagle are secondary stars, while Handa is a good third-tier “filler” wrestler in a few good matches, while they’re trying to make the idol-ish Utako into something, and this is a good way to lead to that. Rumi’s in hideous gear as always (some purple/yellow lava-lamp color scheme), Handa’s in black/gold, Eagle’s in black/white & Utako’s in a red & white armless bodysuit with a kind of flag-ish design on it. Kind of striking but still makes her look jobbery.
Eagle throws her weight around to start, but knows who the booker is because she sells Rumi’s kicks like dynamite while ignoring Handa’s attacks. Utako does very basic stuff, but gets a reaction from sweep-kicking Rumi, normally the striker. Handa interferes to stop her offense and the vets take over on Utako, showcasing her selling abilities. Utako comes back with a DDT on Rumi and they hit a spike tombstone on her. Handa gets in and beats on Utako with slams and flying stuff, and Rumi’s spinkick gets two. Utako comes back on Handa and Eagle hits a knee off the second rope for a good reaction, getting two. They work Handa’s leg, then Eagle helicopters her around by the hair and a big powerbomb gets two. Handa actually manages a Perfect Plex & Bridging German (twice!) to come back, then Rumi hits one of her own for two, as Eagle seems to be tiring out. Eagle dodges Rumi’s running roundhouse kick and wipes out everyone with lariats- Utako eats the kick, but catches another for a bridging trap suplex for two. Handa flies off the top and gets caught in a pretty wild bridging fallaway slam for two- fans could barely tell what happened. Eagle sets up a bridging backdrop for a close two, then Utako scores a missile kick while the others fight to the floor- this obviously sets up the end, as Utako does a bad La Majistral, and Handa reverses it for the three, holding her down at (14:01 of 15:29 shown).
This was very much “Showcase Utako: The Match” as she gets lots of offense against two veterans, then gets to sell a bunch, then gets another comeback, with Eagle barely being in the thing until halfway through. Then she does a long sequence with the others, nearly finishing Handa but gets caught in a series of big suplexes, almost to show off how she can still bump for a big girl. She gets wiped out and that leaves only Utako, who gets a few “hey, maybe” close calls before getting crushed, but even then it’s a reversal that has to pin her down- which is in and of itself a push, as she can’t simply be beaten down for the pin, as they have to trap her. The match seemed fairly anemic like the others until a few hot sequences with Eagle’s segment and then the end.
Rating: **1/2 (approaching better and better matches as we go on, but nothing to get excited about)
SHINOBU KANDORI vs. NORIYO TATENO:
* A reliable main event, as it’s their two biggest and most credible stars- Kandori vs. Tateno! Tateno is a fun character at this point- a lazy, cheating heel type who fights smart, not hard- catching people with flash-pins and screwing up their momentum by bailing out of the ring. Kandori meanwhile has a lot of credibility as a judo-trained shooter, but in LLPW is a bit… diminished in aura, to avoid showing up everyone else. Kandori’s in an ugly purple/pink/black “LLPW Singlet” and Tateno’s in her purple leotard with the checkerboard sides.
Tateno shows greatness immediately by attacking before the bell and hitting a dive while still wearing her robe, then hitting a bridging butterfly suplex for two. She keeps Kandori off-balance with random strikes until Kandori slaps and knees the crap out of her- clipped to Tateno bailing then getting caught in a choke/cobra clutch- she comes back with ’80s offense, then fights her into a figure-four and surfboard and throws her into chairs outside, then waits her out and actually traps her in a painful leghold back in the ring. Kandori actually shows a lot of flexibility in threading it into a crab, then suplexes her to the floor in a good bump. But Tateno catches her up top and throws her off, then hits two flying kneedrops, a front piledriver and spends forever calling out for Kandori to get up, so she misses a flying move. Backdrop suplex & Tiger Driver get two, and Kandori keeps trying for the pin.
Tateno kinda just falls on Kandori from the 2nd rope after a whip, but eats a lariat, bailing so Kandori can slam her out there and they can both rest. Tateno actually gets a snap Fujiwara armbar (that’s usually Kandori’s thing) for a dramatic sell, then works an STF, then does her bridge-out of a Kandori powerslam and rolls to the ropes to avoid an armbar. Tateno makes the ropes off a cross-armbreaker and kicks out after a gutwrench Ligerbomb- on another she lands on Kandori and fires herself up… to slowly work in a hooking clothesline & flying headbutt for two. Bridging German & flying cross-body get twos, and she goes for another German and they both do go-behinds into a rollup from Tateno, and they re-roll each other several times until Kandori ends up reaching back and grabbing a Kurt Angle-style Anklelock With Bodyscissors, sold like a standard resthold from Tateno to a quiet crowd… except she can’t escape despite refusing to tap, until she finally gives up after thirty seconds at (16:24 of 17:41 shown).
Such a weird match- Tateno’s whole thing is that she fights smart and crafty-like, but it necessitates the usual “Kandori in LLPW” thing where she isn’t as deadly as she is in interpromotional matches, so instead Kandori looks kinda lumbering so she can sell all of Tateno’s stuff, as Tateno isn’t as fast or powerful as other top stars… just more clever. But you get weird things like her doing the “leap to the corner off a whip” move… but having no real plan and just falling on Kandori, and cardio-saving stuff like a few floor-dumps. Though you saw a bit of what they were going for with Tateno doing her own submissions, then using evasive tactics and the ring positioning to her advantage, and work some near-falls in the late game. But by this point they’ve gone a while and she’s clearly tired (neither has the gas tank of Kyoko or Manami) so she’s just blankly going from move to move, casually walking because she has no “go” left in her. The finish is actually pretty good, but Tateno’s anemic selling makes the final Anklelock come off as a weird war of attrition, as she isn’t desperate to escape it, doesn’t freak out in it… but just kinda falls down and that’s that. I showed this to another person and he said that it seems like they were expecting a big crowd reaction and just didn’t get it, which is why it looks so weird. Which means they probably should have built up that particular move better.
Rating: **1/2 (decent match and Tateno moves well, but is quite slow and Kandori has to slow down to match her)
Sooooooooo yet another LLPW show! Full of *-**1/2 matches, like “Hey we’re not as good as JWP, much less AJW, but… come see us! Some of the wrestlers might be good some day!”. Seriously though I don’t know why you’d watch this over AJW & JWP at the time, lol.