BISON AND SOUL:
* So this is some retrospective on Bison Kimura’s career, and boy it’d be well-timed because she retires in only a few months due to injury. First, we see her joining Dump Matsumoto’s Atrocious Alliance in its later days, using “evil heel eyeshadow” and teaming with a young Aja Kong. She joins Bull Nakano’s crew when Dump leaves, gaining a signature weapon with her tonfa rods. She & Aja form Jungle Jack and feud with Bull, becoming a legendary tag team and winning the WWWA Tag Belts, but Aja turns on her and slaughters her way to the World Title alone. Bison temporarily retires (probably forced out by AJW management) and later joins the new company Jd’ as its signature star.
She wins a variety of interpromotional matches in JD’s main events, but does a quick job to JWP’s Dynamite Kansai in 11 minutes via an armbar. She rallies back with a win over FMW’s Combat Toyoda via moonsault… and Combat gets the win back in home FMW territory, and Manami Toyota beats Bison, too. Then she fights Lioness Asuka- I thought I reviewed this one, but it’s an other bout they had and OH GOD THAT RUNTIME:
BISON KIMURA vs. LIONESS ASUKA:
* Asuka’s in black & white, while Bison’s in yellow & white.
They start slow, Asuka controlling with stretching while Bison puts her all into a test of strength, really working the facial expressions. Her submission defense prevents any of the holds from REALLY getting cinched in, too. We’re clipped to her bleeding from the mouth in a hold. She fights back a bit, but Bison Chops get stuffed with a Ligerbomb for two- Bison Chops Asuka off the top and hits a Moonsault for two. Chop Spam gets two but she flies off onto Asuka’s boot and a Rolling Kick sees a TREMENDOUS sell, teasing a KO, but Bison pops up from a powerbomb (landing on her ass) and hits a sleeper- Asuka struggles for three whole minutes (!!), stuck on her side with a wild look in her eyes, but finally makes it. Bison’s next thing is reversed to the armbar that Kansai finished her with, and she fights in that for 1:30, then Asuka hammers her and hits a neckscissors, won’t break in the ropes, then holds it on the floor and boots the arm a bunch. Bison’s tossed into chairs and chickenwinged in the ring as MAN they are milking this- Asuka’s actually switching arms to hammer both, too. Asuka releases holds to hit two piledrivers, but her next thing is reversed and now it’s Bison’s turn- her submissions are interesting because it’s clear she’s no specialist, so she’s just doing a “grab a limb and pull on it” stuff, locking up more limbs as she gets ideas- “flying by the seat of her pants” kinda stretching.
Bison tries a sharpshooter for a while, but Asuka brings her down with chops and kicks as they’re completely exhausted, and hits three weak backdrop suplexes, but Bison “Fuck YOU!” bridges out late in the game! She fires off three Bison Chops that are more “one-handed pushes” at this point, and Moonsault… misses! Backdrop superplex gets two for Asuka, and twin lariats cause a double-down. Weak punches almost result in a double-KO, but they flop into Bison’s chokeslam for two! Crowd actually popped a bit for that. Bison Chop off Bret’s Rope gets two, but she tries another and is caught in the Fujiwara armbar! She screams a bit and Asuka cranks on it, then roars back up after another minute, but then Asuka releases to try something else- Bison rolls her up, but Asuka hits a Ligerbomb for two. They miss strikes (Bison’s was almost sold as a hit but it was too clear she whiffed) and Bison backdrops out of another Ligerbomb for two. Perfect plex & folding powerbomb both get two, and both flop into Bison Chops & rolling kicks as the clock winds down, and finally they’re just trying flash-pins as they have no energy for anything else. And of course, as expected, Time Expires at (39:45 of 60:00 shown).
A very oddly-constructed match, with a Finisher Surge of sorts going on in the MIDDLE, and only then do they start with Bison getting her arm smashed up. Bison did a hell of a job all match long- her “Roaring Bison Comeback” thing often falls totally flat as she’s not very credible and her opponents don’t sell it as fearsome, but here she was snarling in simple lockups and resisting holds quite well. The counter-wrestling in the early going was actually kind of interesting, but after a point they were just lying in holds with Bison burying her face and not really thrashing around. There are two different kinds of selling for big submissions, and this veered into the “yup- this isn’t gonna win” thing because you sometimes have to act DESPERATE to really put those moves over. You can’t just sit in a Fujiwara for 2 minutes and have me buy that as the finisher later.
They both did kind of as good a job as could be expected for a match that’s a bit outside their level, as they just SAT in those holds. They earned their “dizzy, tired selling” by the end at least, flopping around and throwing weak stuff in attempts to put the other down. Then it’s the big armbar, which I thought they were using to run out the clock, but then they start fighting AGAIN and are throwing moves trying to pin the other! And then they’re flop-selling off of stuff again and putting over the desperation of getting that last big win. So you can probably toss out half the match but the end is good, as are other parts.
Rating: **3/4 (these are always so tough… going that long is just almost NEVER conducive to a great match, with tons of “lying about in holds” that ends up diminishing the submissions, and a “false finishing surge” halfway through and then they effectively start milking holds… but the ending surges always end up really good and put over the longevity and brutality of the match)
So Bison is yet another performer to get the endurance-testing 60-minute draw push, but then we see her promptly lose to Jaguar Yokota in her weird one-off masked identity in 13 minutes, then Jaguar gigs herself and bleeds on her fallen opponent. Bison apparently turns heel, using evil minions to beat up Asuka in another match.
BISON KIMURA & COOGA vs. LIONESS ASUKA & JAGUAR YOKOTA:
* A tag match with Bison & Cooga in white & blue vs. Lioness (black) & Jaguar (white w/ black spots). So an all-animal match. This is heavily joined in progress.
Bison kicks out of Asuka’s backdrop suplex and Bison Chops Jaguar to the floor, Cooga flying onto the faces. Tonfa rod off Bret’s Rope smashes Jaguar, but they try to double-team her with it and she grabs it, flips herself backwards over it, and rods both of them in a cool spot, and ranas Bison for two. Bison Chops away at the faces and Cooga cannonballs Jaguar for two, then clipped to a Powerbomb/Moonsault getting two for Bison on Asuka. Jaguar stops another and a backdrop superplex gets two- Cooga saves and Jaguar missile kicks Asuka by accident. Bison chokeslams Jaguar and Cooga adds a flying knee for two- Super Chokeslam gets two and Asuka saves. Clipped to Asuka hitting a Dangerous Queen Bomb on Cooga for two, then superplexing Jaguar onto her for the same! Jaguar hits a flying kneedrop and Asuka front superplexes her onto Cooga for the pin, flying off with a clothesline on Bison to stop the break-up at (5:15 of 24:33 shown). That was a heck of a final series, and the fans were screaming for a lot of the big moves, so they were buying potential finishes. Too little visible to rate, but the match was probably over ***.
We see a few minutes of a match against Cooga that appears hard-fought, with the two beating each other all over the small arena, Bison tossing her into the stands and throwing tons of Bison Chops. Moonsault only gets two, and she Moonsaults through a TABLE (Cooga dodging), and Cooga hits a Tiger Driver, flying knee & Leg-Trap Backdrop Suplex for the surprise pin at (20:40) of the match! Bison gets on the mic and cries, drawing lots of reactions from the fans and shakes Cooga’s hand at the end. Kind of a shocker- Bison was treated as the big attraction of JD’ and now she’s jobbing to someone who was on the bottom rung of AJW when she quit.
Then there’s a Megumi Kudo match. I reviewed the whole thing in a Bison bio:
MEGUMI KUDO (FMW) vs. BISON KIMURA (JD’):
(JD’, Jan. 16th 1997)
* Another interpromotional bout, this time with FMW superstar Megumi Kudo coming in for a Dream Match in JD’ territory! By which I mean some depressingly-tiny gym with sparse seating. Bison’s in neon yellow & black, Kudo’s in pink & black.
Bison betrays Kudo during the opening handshake, but Kudo blocks the Bison Chop with a great struggle before using the JB Angels armdrag to knock Bison to the apron, then an ass attack to knock her OFF it- she then does the mandatory “whip her through the crowd”, tosses her onto some chairs, then “shoves” a big plastic one into her face. Bison goes into the post then gets thrown around AGAIN, going into the gym’s wall and getting beaten up in the ring with restholds and an ass attack. Another ass shot misses, but she immediately pounces with a choke and bulldog for two. Bison roars herself alive for a comeback, and traps Kudo with a pair of Rock Bottoms before dumping her and paying back the outside stuff by whipping her into chairs herself! And oh my god- she actually takes out a fan with one, haha! I’ve never seen that before! The girl was too slow to get out of the way and Kudo clipped her back leg and she stumbled! And then, in defiance of this total “house show match” format, Bison PILEDRIVES HER on a table! Which only bends like a couple inches! There’s a hilarious bit as Bison prepares to whip Kudo into a table up against the ringpost, but both trip over the table lying on its side and have to both get up before completing the move.
Piledriver Spam in the ring gets two, and a turning splash off the top gets the same. Kudo backdrops out of another piledriver, so Bison switches to a tombstone, but Kudo knocks her off the top for her Tornado DDT… but Bison slams her down and tries for a pin- two! Kudo lands on her feet from a powerbomb, but gets Bison Chopped down before reversing one to a German for two. Northern Lights & Fisherman’s suplexes get two-counts as Kudo keeps reversing strikes, then Bison finally reverses a Thesz press with a falling powerbomb for two. Then hits THREE MORE powerbombs before laying out a chair and powerbombing Kudo on THAT. Man, they’re pretty slow and “baby”-style powerbombs but they’re still big flat-back bumps the crowd isn’t reacting AT ALL until the kickout on that last one. Bison tries her Moonsault but splatters on the same chair when Kudo moves (haha, she earned THAT one), and Kudo now acts like she’s 100% fine, hitting a DDT and then a DDT on a chair- Bison “Fuck YOU!” bridges out for another bit of applause. Tiger Driver is countered to a Bison Chop for a CLOSE near-fall, popping the crowd probably because of Kudo’s desperately flailing legs. Bison whips her to the ropes, but Kudo strikes her- Kudo Driver (vertebreaker) is reversed, but she comes off the other side and jumps on Bison’s back, stunning her enough- Kudo Driver (vertebreaker) finishes for real at (13:15).
Very “House Show”-y match for the most part, as even after these monster bumps and pinballing off of stuff, Kudo just has this “Meh, this isn’t great” look on her face and is pulling at her gear or brushing her hair out of the way, and they’re both kinda going through the motions. There’s just a distinctive lack of intensity, stiffness and urgency in a house show bout that’s very noticeable when you go from one the other, you know? And the crowds by this point seem trained not to pop for anything until the “final series” activates, as they don’t care about table piledrivers or powerbomb spam until they start using the chair. Too bad, as I was hoping Bison/Kudo would be Kudo attempting to carry her through a great match or something.
Rating: **1/2 (another disappointment- some solid stuff but a noticeable lack of desperation or stiff offense)
Asuka has by this point formed an evil interpromotional trio with Eagle Sawai (LLPW) and Shark Tsuchiya (FMW), who beat up Bison and a subordinate, Yuki Lee, who gets crushed with a trio of powerbombs.
TRANS-WORLD FEDERATION TITLE:
LIONESS ASUKA vs. BISON KIMURA:
(April 20th 1997)
* Asuka’s in black & Bison’s in white, gold & black, and now they’re fighting for JD’s top belt.
Slow start, but Asuka throws a GREAT death-glare when Bison defiantly slaps her after taking some kicks. Asuka returns the favor, but when her goons get involved, she calls them off- after some chain-wrestling, she controls with kicks and we’re clipped to slow backword, Lioness taking her time. Bison looks messed up but takes a kick and springs to life with a flurry of Bison Chops, but we’re clipped to her leaping onto an outstretched boot (man she relies on that spot a lot). Asuka tosses her into chairs, piledrives her on a table, and counters a Flying Chop comeback by kicking the arm and fights her into a cross-armbreaker that’s sold as finishing. Bison makes the ropes and barely scores a Chop, selling the arm like it’s limp and throws a bunch of desperate ones for two. Perfect plex & Moonsault get two.
Super chokeslam gets two and Bison gets frustrated, piledrives Asuka on a flattened table, and we’re clipped to her Moonsaulting herself through it! And a furious Asuka bolts out of the ring with this fantastic “Oh you wanna use a fuckin’ TABLE, do you?” and hurls one into the ring, puts it on her, and FLYING STOMPS onto it. Like, just skips off the top and drives right onto her. That looked great and almost casual. Another one gets two and Bison is fading, but a backdrop superplex gets two. Torture Rack into a Ligerbomb (her finisher) is a sure dust-off… but Bison kicks out! Lioness is annoyed but insistent, just going “one more!” and a neat running version (leaning against the ropes for more momentum) gets the three at (13:37 of 32:34 shown). God I love the “kick out of the sure finisher, but the next move ends it” finishes.
Asuka’s become an interesting wrestler to watch here, as her “Dominant Main Eventer” style has developed into this confident, competent mat worker who can make the early portions of a match (which I usually barely bother to recap) kinda interesting as the other person has to chess-match their way out of her fairly tight technical stuff. Then she has the strength to make her kicks and slams work as the match builds up to a higher tier. As a match, it was a pretty solid (if clipped) “fighting from beneath” story, as Asuka can confidently control, but she’s rather slow and prone to eating comeback flurries. Bison is quite good at those, as her Chop is easily-spammed and since it used to be a finisher it has more credibility than basic punches & kicks. Bison’s finisher flurries are still weak, but since she’s losing that ain’t no thing- she instead looks great for all these kickouts, even as Lioness just confidently smashes her down again. Her body language getting the table was awesome- just furious and vengeful as she was now looking to CRUSH her opponent, and sure enough there were no comebacks once she did that- the flying stomps were great, as she didn’t do the “full tuck” like Kaoru Ito does- just hopped off and went straight down onto the table.
Though I’ll admit the final time gave me pause… they cut out TWENTY MINUTES of this? What did the REST look like? Because the edited version ends up a great match (though the obvious clips cut out more than just “filler”), but holy cow that’s a long one.
Rating: ***1/2 (very fun match with good comebacks and a dominant heel wrestler just being way too much for her adversary)
We end things with a furious undercarder throwing shots at an annoyed-looking Asuka (who won’t sell it) before she’s tossed out of the ring, and Bison is helped up by various JD’ wrestlers. So the big thing focusing on her ends up with her 0 for 3 against Lioness Asuka, lol. We end with some triumphant music and her & Jaguar doing interviews. So the tape proves that Bison was putting out some pretty good singles content during her last year in the business. As my singular Joshi Spotlight on her shows, I have mixed feelings on her capabilities, but it seems a good worker could thread her stuff into a great match.
Joshi Spotlight Master List:https://www.echoesofthemultiverse.com/viewtopic.php?t=2086