GAEA G-PANIC! TOUR:
(Nov. 18th 1997)
* The only GAEA stuff up from November 1997, but it’s a pretty big one, as the veteran squad of Yamada & KAORU take on Oz Academy, and *LCO* invades GAEA Japan to fight Chigusa Nagayo & her rookie partner Sakura Hirota! These matches all end up being great examples of what becomes known as the “GAEA Sprint”, as they cut down on visible match time and just fling all their stuff at each other non-stop.
KAORU & TOSHIYO YAMADA vs. OZ ACADEMY (Sugar Sato & Chikayo Nagashima, w/ Mayumi Ozaki):
* Another “Veterans vs. Rookies” match, as the feuding KAORU & Yamada are teamed up against Ozaki’s goons, with the boss in tow in her street clothes. KAORU’s in light blue, Yamada’s in white/black, Sugar’s in white & Chikayo’s in blue/yellow.
We’re JIP to KAORU hitting a Moonsault on Chikayo for two, but Chikayo gets a rana for the same. She keeps on her, knocking her to the floor and they hit a Rocket Launcher off the apron! Stereo missile kicks get two in the ring, and a flying stomp gets two for Chikayo. Another missile kick hits, but Sugar tries an uraken like a dope and takes a wicked Brainbuster and a Springboard Moonsau– no, Chikayo kicks the ropes and KAORU falls! Nice counter. Sugar roars in defiance and aims for her dragon screw, but KAORU, Super-Shooter, is all MMA’d up and rolls her over for a leghold. Yamada comes in and misses a kick, but smokes Chikayo trying to fly in from the top rope in a good bit, then Sugar eats a trio of monster backdrop drivers for two- Chikayo saves. She gets facecrushered out of The Finisher That Never Hits but wipes out Chikayo for it, but this lets Sugar get the dragon screw/leghold combo- KAORU interferes but Ozaki grabs both vets from the floor to stop their momentum.
Yamada avoids their Rocket Launcher but eats KAORU’s springboard dropkick, and KAORU stops a double-team and Yamada spikes Sugar with a backdrop suplex but gets missile kicked by Chikayo anyways. Oz abuses KAORU with a chair on the floor to leave Yamada alone, but she of course spinkicks Sugar with great timing coming off the ropes. Funny bit as Oz just launches the chair into her from across the ring to break up the pin. Yamada has a hilariously pissed off facial expression and keeps getting egged on by Ozaki before she can finish the kid, and in a great ending, Sugar comes to life and makes her pay with a dragon screw and instead of the leghold, just grabs it and holds Yamada down for the shocker pin at (6:15 of 18:58 shown). Yamada sells it perfectly and Sugar’s like “YAY! Untainted win!”. Oz and the gang celebrate this hard-fought victory, leading to KAORU’s furious promo and presumably, some type of challenge.
Very, very fast-paced battle, as Yamada is looking a lot like her old self, KAORU can spot-monkey, and the kids are good to play along, running around, reversing stuff, and more.
Rating: **1/2 (actually incredibly good given the time we have- barely a third of the match)
LAS CACHORRAS ORIENTALES (Mima Shimoda & Etsuko Mita, w/ Yuka Shiina) (AJW) vs. CHIGUSA NAGAYO & SAKURA HIROTA (GAEA):
* Oh shit- LCO INVADES GAEA! LCO become the ultimate free agents of the Post-AJW-Dominance Period, as their tag act is so good at drawing heat it provokes instant reactions everywhere, and now they’re up against Joshi’s biggest star ever. Sadly it’s still got her shitty subordinate Sakura, as they are trying to get her over at any cost (perhaps realizing the second rookie class was a bust and they need to act like Sakura is gonna be a big star some day). LCO is in their purple & white gear, while Chigusa’s in red & gold and Sakura’s in pink.
Amazingly, LCO just treat Sakura with complete contempt by shoving her out of the way and dealing entirely with Chigusa, who gets double-teamed to death and double-Garvin Stomped. Chigusa has this great “oh god what the fu–” reaction as they hit the Bitch Pose on her, then drag her to another side of the ring for ANOTHER one. Mita uses a pink chair on her but Sakura runs in and grabs it, then USES THE ASS against Mita, only for her to get tossed the chair again and swat the third ass attack in mid-air. LCO dumps Team GAEA and begins their assault in the stands, but instead Chigusa immediately reverses on Shimoda with a chair and throws a whole damn guardrail at her like a huge hero! Meanwhile Mita piledrives Sakura right through a table (in a funny bit you can see someone in the audience flag her distracted friend to look at it before it happens), and Shimoda soon overtakes Chigusa and drags her all across Korakuen while the fans treat her like a queen. She revels in the applause and a “Shi-mo-da!” chant but that lets Chigusa just bust her in the head from behind with someone’s backpack, haha.
Chigusa now copies the reveling in applause while Mita takes her time beating on a bleeding Sakura during all that to avoid stealing the spotlight, and then LCO takes control- the Assisted Tope Con Hilo/Dive hits them both and they celebrate, but that lets Chigusa haul them off the top. Mita gets held for Sakura’s Flying Ass to the Face, but Shimoda chairshots her to stop the pin. Sakura dodges twin chairs and ducks so Chigusa can wipe LCO out with clotheslines, and Chigusa hits her OWN dive while Sakura planchas Mita, and now team GAEA celebrates. Chigusa sets up another Assisted Ass, but that’s a huge mistake- Shimoda stops it and Mita catches Sakura up there with the Avalanche Electric Chair Drop for two. Shimoda does her traditional kick to the referee for daring to count so close to three, haha, then hits a missile kick and pulls Sakura up at two, so Chigusa just cheats and beats up LCO with a roundhouse, backdrop and clothesline, grinning like this is the most fun she’s ever had in her life. Shimoda eats the Razor’s Edge, but Mita breaks the count and aims for the DVD, Chigusa diving off but right into Shimoda’s Tiger Suplex and it’s the Electric Chair/Splash combo for two! Mita slams Sakura on Chigusa and they drop the guardrail on the pair with their assistant goon helping, but the ref draws a pop for refusing to count!
LCO sense the end, but Chigusa reverses Shimoda into the GAEA MDK Sleeper, and we see Mita dramatically being held down by various GAEA students! Payback for their own cheating! Sakura brings in a table and Chigusa powerbombs Shimoda onto it (a classic “I AM THE TABLE!” moment sees her bounce painfully and just slide off it as it falls over). Shimoda, floundering, is able to avoid the Assisted Ass, with Chigusa taking it this time, and Mita hits a Blazing Chop on Sakura. Chigusa kicks her down from a DVD and Sakura nearly scores the pin with a rollup, and Shimoda accidentally chairs Mita in the face! SAKURA WITH THE CHAIR! Akira Hokuto tosses it to her and she goes apeshit with it, nailing Shimoda, Mita, then CHIGUSA, repeatedly nailing her partner while trying to brain Shimoda! The crowd marks out over this while you can see Hokuto laughing on the floor while admonishing her. Finally she misses a chair and flings it into the corner, and Mita immediately kills her with the Death Valley Driver, threading it into a pin (haven’t seen that version in a while) at (11:28) while Shimoda holds Chigusa back. LCO wins!
This was GREAT. Sakura sucks but can eat LCO offense like anyone can, and Chigusa understood her role perfectly as the Team Mom and asskicker, and seemed to be absolutely loving it having such rough heels to oppose, as she mimicked their cheering and reveled in the fans’ applause and her own comebacks. To the point of grinning ear to ear when she’s kicking both their asses at once and hitting all these great moves on willing opponents. This was more about the fun than a lot of drama and extreme stuff, and the selling was often “sell until it’s your turn and go flying”, especially with Shimoda eating Chigusa’s finisher and then 10 seconds later she’s hitting a tiger suplex and flying splash, tearing around the ring.
Rating: ***1/2 (just plain a fun as hell tag team match with great comedic spots without being “a comedy match”, though the no-selling is setting a bad precedent)