wrestling / Video Reviews

The Furious Flashbacks – AJW Dream Slam

April 29, 2009 | Posted by Arnold Furious
The 411 Rating
Community Grade
Your Grade
The Furious Flashbacks – AJW Dream Slam  

The Furious Flashbacks – AJW Dream Slam

Akira Hokuto bleeds for her art

I’ve come in for some criticism over the years for my stance on women’s wrestling. I basically don’t believe in good women’s wrestling. I think pretty much every women’s match shown on American wrestling shows to be average at best and often sadly lacking in major areas; emotion, psychology, entertainment values and athleticism. The one exception to this has been women’s wrestling from Japan (or joshi) where it’s taken significantly more seriously. I’ve only ever gotten around to reviewing one joshi show, which was also an AJW show, and I’m damned if I can remember what it was called and I can’t find it archived anywhere. During the 1990’s AJW, up until 1986 the sole joshi promotion in Japan, started to face fierce competition from other rival companies making the promotions strive harder and harder to outdo each other. Much like WCW pushed the WWF to improve during the 1990’s. Dream Slam is the reply to the increased pressure from rival organisations. The pressure was on AJW to stay on top.


14th December 1992.

We start with some interviews. Bull Nakano is most prominent amongst them, speaking first and having more to say. Her hair included she’s a full 12 inches taller than everyone else out there.

24th March 1993.

More interviews at a press conference to set up the event. Representatives of both AJW & rivals JWP are present. A theme of the event will be an epic collision between wrestlers from both companies. The mainstay and the upstart. Not only that but FMW, LLPW and EMLL are among those companies represented by wrestlers here. Although AJW is the host company and are the ones getting the publicity. Much like New Japan running the Super Juniors with wrestlers from all over. I know a lot of Japanese tapes start with pre-recorded interviews to hype the event but this tape TAKES THE PISS. It just goes on and on with more and more interviews. Each match gets interviews. Terri Power looks freakishly jacked in her interview. No wonder Vince hired her as a heel.

I end up skipping over some of the interviews and after I’ve skipped ahead the interviews are STILL going on at the ONE HOUR mark on the tape.

2nd April 1993. We’re in Yokohama, Japan.

Outside the various wrestlers are shown arriving. Cool venue by the way, the Yokohama Arena. The attendance for this show was 16,500 but the stadium looks way bigger than that. Funny shot of the entrance as it reads ALL JAPAN DR_AMSLAM. Someone’s taken the E. Next up is PRACTICE BUMPS! Geez, get an editor! Not even IWA-MS leave this much crap on their releases! More warming up follows and then shots of fans gathering outside. Then they’re pouring through the turnstiles and sooner or later something interesting might happen! We’re now 1 hour 15 minutes into the tape and FINALLY something happens! We have an announcer and everything. Then follows in ring introductions of EVERYONE. Nakano again gets the last word. Now we head backstage to interview the participants of the curtain jerker. Get on with it!

Plum Mariko/Hikari Fukuoka v Sakie Hasegawa/Kaoru Ito

Hasagawa & Ito are the AJW ladies. Mariko & Fukuoka represent JWP, which would be AJW’s main rivals. Mariko is the most fascinating of the participants as she’d go on to a dubious honour; she was the first wrestler to ever die in a Japanese wrestling ring. Which should give you an idea of how hard hitting joshi can be. She also invented a move that Kawada used with great regularity; the stretch plum. Her partner, Fukuoka, up’s the hotty rating for this opener! The AJW pair are totally wrestling babyface and drawing off the “hometown” support. The energy is scary. It’s like watching 5 year old kids playing football. Everyone is chasing the ball around like mad and there’s no apparent tactics! It’s all a little sloppy but it’s so energised it’s easy to forgive the errors. Fukuoka shows most signs of promise by singling out Ito and destroying her legs. She’d end up as JWP’s ace in the later 90’s holding their main title for nearly 2 years straight. Ito would eventually become quite the star herself into the 00’s and even beat Manami Toyota. Here she’s just a plucky underdog. Hasegawa incidentally competed for the WWE in 1995’s Survivor Series. She was part of Alundra Blayze’s team. She’s very aggressive and pops off a great ROLLING BUTTERFLY SUPLEXES spot before having a great striking duel with Fukuoka, the latter wins to an enormous pop. Then they totally fuck up a headlock takeover/bulldog. I can’t tell which one they were going for because they fucked it up. Amazingly that just KILLS the crowd dead. Sometimes when you have momentum like that the crowd can forgive one botched spot but it killed the flow and we’re in trouble here. Mariko decides she needs to switch it up and tags in to German Hasegawa and then abuse her leg. Ito even gets HEAT for coming in and saving, which shows you how much the “outsiders” have gotten over on pure energy and hard work. Mariko gets in a moonsault for 2 and Ito had to save again. ROLLING CRADLE! Hasegawa is busted HARDWAY! I think she caught an elbow off the moonsault. Ito misses with a double stomp and this is getting exciting! DOUBLE STOMP OFF THE APRON! Ow! Fukuoka is hurt. Ito adds a DOUBLE STOMP OFF THE TOP…for 2! Those ribs must be fucked though. Mariko saves another piece of abuse in the corner and Fukuoka powerslams Ito off the top…for 2. Mariko in with a TABLETOP SUPLEX but they screw the pin up. Oops. Ito comes firing back with FIVE DOUBLE STOMPS and Mariko shows her nuts by BRIDGING OUT. Hasegawa kicks her in the face. EXPLOIDAAAAAA! Fukuoka dives in to save and this has gone BATSHIT! They run a miscue spot, where both partners fail to help and then Mariko gets a roll up…for 2. This is great! Up top and Fukuoka hits a SUPER RANA for the win. ***1/2. A few too many mistakes hurt what could have been an AMAZING opening match. Even with deductions for botched spots this was still tremendous. Like an RVD/Sabu tag match from ECW.

BACKSTAGE the losers walk to their locker room and Hasegawa’s eye is FUCKED UP! It’s swollen shut. That’d be that elbow off the moonsault. Nasty stuff. Big cut just off to the side of it where she was bleeding during the match but the eye itself is heavily bruised. Elsewhere Terri is asked if she can fight with an injured arm. She says they fight with a lot of heart and the FMW girls have no chance.

Saemi Numata/Terri Power v Shark Tsuchiya/Crusher Maedomari

Shark & Crusher represent FMW and they both suck something fierce. FMW had a shortage of good female workers. Terri has a bad arm so the FMW chicks go after it. Crowd doesn’t like them for it and there’s no disguising who’s working heel in this match. Terri looks huge compared the other girls so when she switches to a left arm lariat she’s just as tough. As soon as Numata gets in there the match just degenerates. She’s way too green and does stupid things like delaying on Irish whips and making everything look horribly fake. She looks dangerous…and not in a good way! She does manage to land on her face more than once for my amusement but this match just can’t hit the entertaining highs of the opener. The crowd cares significantly less. It doesn’t help that Terri is too injured to compete so Numata just takes a beating off the FMW “talent” for most of the match. Eventually they get bored and Crusher rugmunch bombs Numata into the sex pin for the win. Nothing gay about that! *1/2.

BACKSTAGE Numata cries about her loss. Awww.

Mima Shimoda/Tomoko Watanabe v KAORU/Ultima Tigirita

Tigirita is Spanish but her EMLL tag partner KAORU is Japanese. Her full name being Kaoru Maeda. Shimoda & Watanabe are AJW regulars. Shimoda has a geisha gimmick going on and she’s one of the more attractive wrestlers so far. This starts off in a lucha style, which means the crowd are just waiting for the dives. The producers try to stay long in order to capture all the high flying antics. Tigirita is fun to watch but real rough around the edges. Like she’s rushing from one spot to the next in case she forgets what it is. No real ring presence at all. Seeing as Tigirita is all over the place and Shimoda doesn’t seem interested it comes down to Watanabe’s judo skills versus KAORU’s skills that she’s picked up in Mexico. That’s the basis of the match. Surrounding that are Tigirita’s crazy spots and Shimoda’s increased reliance on cheating, which I don’t claim to understand. The lucha doesn’t feel like a good fit on the card. Perhaps because the one team are not good exponents of it and the team that do know lucha well aren’t a great lucha team. But then lucha bugs me because it requires so much co-operation from the opponent. If anyone comes out of this match looking better than they went in its KAORU. She anxious to show what she learned overseas and has a moveset that the AJW girls don’t fully understand, which is both a blessing a curse for this match. It gives the crowd a new star to cheer and yet the mesh between her and the other girls isn’t what it should be. The clash of styles is really apparent when Shimoda & Tigirita run a near falls and the ref can’t spot the pinfalls. Watanabe is constantly going back to her judo throws where ever she can. HEADSCISSOR CHAIN! The lucha girls break out the dives to pop the crowd and KAORU stays down holding her crotch. Oops! If it’s possible this degenerates EVEN MORE SO into a total mess. Watanabe, who’s looked totally unable to deal with lucha, eventually gets trapped in La Majistral by KAORU and the lucha girls take the slight upset win. **. Good in places but far too many spots didn’t click between the two styles.

BACKSTAGE the winners cut a bilingual promo where KAORU points out the names of some Mexican moves. “Plancha…quebrada”.

Suzuki Minami/Etsuko Mita v Rumi Kazama/Miki Handa

If you’re like me and somewhat limited in your joshi knowledge these names don’t mean much. Handa & Kazama are from LLPW. Mita & Minami are the local AJW representatives. The hotty quotient is high in this match with both Minami and Handa ranking highly. Kazama finds herself in trouble quickly and Mita piledrives her for 2. She seems out of her element and the AJW girls are a fine team making frequent tags. After help from Miki Handa she gets back into it and demonstrates some heavy kicking. Now it’s Minami in trouble and they run a heat spot on her where Kazama unloads with about a dozen kicks to the chest. Next up for heat is Handa. Hmm, running some bizarre heat rotation formula eh? It seems both teams are able to switch out of heat without a hot tag, which is odd. But it is the tags that are making the difference. Whichever team can keep the fresh woman in there is on top. Mita’s approach to taking over seems to be the old ‘double sledge’ to the chest and incessant screaming. Handa catches her in a loose looking kneebar but the selling from Mita is intense! I’m not really feeling this one, I gotta tell ya. Nothing wrong with the participants but they’re not drawing me in like the crazy girls in the opener. Kazama’s mistimed spinkicks sure aren’t much fun to watch either. Both teams get cheeky roll up’s but can’t get the pins. Handa finds herself on the wrong end of much of the abuse, which is for the best because she’s such a sympathetic character because of her tiny stature. She busts out a comeback German suplex for 2 and then both of the LLPW girls hit dives off the top to the floor. I personally think Kazama got a bit lost there. Handa starts busting out bridging suplexes like they’re going out of fashion so Minami drops Kazama on her head to teach her a lesson. Powerbomb gets 2 with Handa saving. Kazama then horribly blows a counter out of another powerbomb. Minami has to improvise and this match has really gone to hell. Both AJW girls go up top for tandem missile dropkicks on Handa. Kazama makes the save with more stiff kicks. She loves those kicks! Kazama then starts blowing EVERYTHING she tries, which is really disappointing. Falling over while attempting a move is generally considered to be a bad thing. When she’s sufficiently mentally ready to hit a German suplex without fucking it up she manages it and her team win. BOO! Lousy finish. **. Didn’t engage and made next to no sense.

Bat Yoshinaga v Susan Howard

This is a really, really terrible shoot match. Howard has been in a few fights in the US, most notably losing to Fredia Gibbs in 2001. It’s easy to see how she lost based on this performance. This isn’t under MMA rules as they’re wearing boxing gloves and most of the striking is limited to poor jabs and decent leg kicks. Second round sees Howard taking way too many shots especially to the legs. That stops her mobility and she’s left hoping for a big bomb but Bat seems to have a strong chin so she’s got no chance. Both fighters are pretty poor but Bat seems to have a better strategy. As the round progresses Bat lands repeated kicks to the hamstring and even lands a big backfist to keep Howard thinking. I don’t think there’s any hope of knockout because neither one of them hits hard enough. Howard is still trading punches come round 3 but she doesn’t even see those leg kicks coming even though that’s been Bat’s main focus. They try and fight inside and Bat lands another 7 unanswered kicks to the hamstring. Howard is so off balance that Bat catches her with a hook over the guard and Howard takes a standing 8 count after some time on the canvas. Bat has not looked in trouble at all. Howard meanwhile is always looking for high kicks and knockout punches, which has gotten her nowhere. Round 4 sees both fighters showing fatigue. They’re both still trying to connect with stuff but Howard’s mobility is suffering from those leg kicks. Bat just stands her ground and yet Howard still can’t seem to land a decent shot with Bat’s chin hanging out there. Her intention to get a spinning backfist into this match whenever possible is highly irritating. To mix it up for Round 5 Bat removes her judo top. Howard finally manages to land a decent leg kick. So the score on leg kicks is now Howard 1 Yoshinaga 78. Oop, 79. 80. They both look really tired now and nothing much of any interest is happening. Bat’s knock down must have her way ahead on points combined with landing more effective shots. Howard discovers that you can use your knees! She keeps trying for elaborate shots like spinning backfists and spinning kicks. None of which are doing anything and the fight is over. Bat wins on points. No surprises there.

Next is a really, really long presentation ceremony for retired wrestlers. This includes lengthy backstage interviews with those involved. The whole process takes nearly 20 minutes.

Chigusa Nagayo v Devil Masami

Nagayo retired in 1989 because there used to be a ruling in AJW that the women were put out the pasture when they turned 26 (I know, that’s a little bizarre). But Nagayo disagreed with it in principle and formed GAEA. This is before that particular company was born and AJW brought her back to battle Devil Masami from JWP. This makes it a big deal because AJW is bringing back someone from retirement to battle an old rival. Like when WCW invaded the WWF the WWF bringing back Randy Savage or Hulk Hogan to battle the promotion. Or better still someone who retired without defecting. No good examples sadly.

Crowd is HOT for this as a result and Chigusa is totally feeling it. They start at pace and Nagayo pops off a belly to belly. Nagayo looks remarkably fresh for someone who’s been out for 4 years. This is the first match on the card where I’m watching women wrestle but the skillset is on a par with men’s wrestling. Nagayo is fast, smooth and technically gifted. Plus the crowd love her because she’s come back to defend her honour. Of course in puroresu it’s very rare for someone to come back after a long layoff and score a win right away. After all, it’s about realism. The crowd aren’t expecting Nagayo to win; but they’re rooting for her regardless and cheering everything she does. Nagayo gets the crowd going when she steps it up and runs a nice spot where she repeatedly high kicks Masami in the face/head. SHARPSHOOTER! Masami’s sell of that? WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH! Nagayo gives up on that and switches out to a perfect SURFBOARD. And she holds her there in it! Not content with that she tries to choke Masami out with a triangle hold but Masami rolls into the ropes and that’s the end of that. This match has had a much slower and methodical pace to it than the rest of the card and yet the heat on the bigger spots is much more intense. Masami has had enough of getting beaten up by a retiree though and pops off a German suplex. This leads to her dominating the now tired Nagayo. Crowd now becomes concerned because its Nagayo’s first time in trouble. Nagayo comes back with some trademark kicks so Masami takes it to the high rent district. PLANCHAAAAAAAA! POWERBOMB ON THE FLOOR! Chigusa is in big trouble now. However she catches Masami unaware and sunset flips back inside for 2. She follows up with a few German suplexes but her body is clearly hurting. She has marks on her legs especially. It doesn’t help that Masami isn’t pulling punches. She’s wailing on her. DEVILBOMB…gets 2. Another one!!! That gets 2. THIRD DEVILBOMB….FOR 2! Nagayo just won’t quit on this! NORTHERN LIGHTS SUPERPLEX!!! Oh that is SO awesome. Nagayo is out and Masami pins for the win. ***1/2. Took a while to get going but the finish was FANTASTIC. Tore the house down. Masami just destroyed the plucky Nagayo at the end and the crowd enjoyed it.

BACKSTAGE the old rivals bow to each other. There’s some serious respect between these two. I want to see a re-match right away!

Cuty Suzuki/Mayumi Ozaki v Double Inoue (Kyoko/Takako Inoue)

The Inoue’s are seriously over although they’re not related and actually debuted against each other in 1988. Cuty Suzuki is rocking a rather ostentatious gold outfit. Takako is desperate from the off to show she’s not intimidated by Ozaki. Although after a few exchanges it’s clear she’s nervous. Kyoko isn’t. Her first order of business is to give Cuty the GIANT SWING! Holy shit! How many rotations? About 40! Gonna vom! Kyoko clearly only did it for show because she isn’t interested in a pin. Ozaki-Takako again and this time Takako finds herself rapidly outclassed. Ozaki also cheats to establish her as the match’s chief bitch. Kyoko gets a tag though and she’s more than ready to go toe to toe and the best wrestling thus far erupts. Kyoko breaks out the Pendulum of Pain! I love this girl! Now Takako has nothing to fear and comes in to get her receipts. It’s probably a sight for sore eyes to see Ozaki scrambling over to her corner to tag Cuty in. Ozaki cheats again and this allows Takako to get isolated, which she escapes herself by armdragging Cuty off the top rope. Ozaki picks off Kyoko as well with her cheating by illegally involving herself in the match and knocking Kyoko off the top rope. Cuty sees an opening and double stomps Kyoko off the top. Then those bitches start taking it IN TURNS to double stomp Kyoko off the top! OWWW! Kyoko tries to springboard out of danger but Ozaki catches her and GERMAN SUPLEXES OFF THE MIDDLE ROPE…AND THEN ADDS A MOONSAULT…FOR 2. Ozaki charges in but gets planted with a POWERBOMB for 2. Takako gets the hot tag and goes after Ozaki trying to get her to tap to a kneebar. The pace on this thing has elevated in a hurry. Ozaki reverses and pops off a Tiger Suplex…for 2. She goes for the dragon but Takako counters out of it. Kyoko is recovered. DOUBLE SPRINGBOARD BACK ELBOW! She wants the finish but Cuty runs in to dropkick her. Takako gets rid of Cuty but when Kyoko goes for the finish again Ozaki counters out into a sunset flip. THEN AGAIN INTO AN ARMDRAG. THEN AGAIN INTO RANA FOR 2! Awesome stuff there. NIAGARA DRIVER!!! There’s the finish!!! CUTY SAVES! Takako is back in there and she CHOKESLAMS OZAKI OFF THE TOP! CUTY SAVES AGAIN! Cuty gets thrown outside and DOUBLE TEAM NIAGARA DRIVER!!!! Cuty tries to save again but Kyoko cuts her off and Takako gets the pin! Wow, what a run down the finish straight that was! ****1/2. Match escalated and just kept getting more and more exciting. The three counters out of the Niagara Driver in quick succession from Ozaki was just tremendous.

Bull Nakano/Aja Kong v Eagle Sawai/Harley Saito

Hmm, no prizes for picking the winners. Sawai & Saito represent LLPW. Nakano, one of wrestling’s most famous bad-asses, dropped down to 143lbs after retiring and now plays golf professionally. And despite her size during her wrestling career she’s only the third biggest lady in this one. Eagle starts out with Kong and tries to fuck her up to prove a point. Kong no sells everything. Nakano-Saito looks like a total mismatch until Saito starts landing the heavy kicks. One spin kick catches Nakano right in the throat. By comparison Kong is really dominant. For those thinking she has a connection to Amazing Kong, they used to team but it’s not the same person. There’s far more history with Kong and her partner in this match. She used to be in Nakano’s Prison Gate Party stable and then later feuded with Nakano, who shaved her head in 1991. Kong got a measure of revenge by taking Nakano’s WWWA title in 1992, which Nakano had held for 3 years. Nakano bails to get her nunchuks, which Saito steals and does a display with to rapturous applause. Nakano looks a little intimidated, which is great selling and puts over Saito huge. Kong levels the playing field, and everyone on it, with what appears to be a metal trashcan. Sawai tries to use one too but Kong just no sells it completely. Piledriver gets 2. Sawai gets smart to the head shots not working and switches to a Russian legsweep and a vicious Northern Lariat. Saito-Nakano again and they’ve made this into two singles matches, which is a little strange. Saito has had the better of Nakano too with her use of kicks. In a great spot Nakano holds the ropes so Kong can hit a tope! Saito somehow survives a Doomsday Device. And there’s that spinning heel kick again! At speed no less! TIGER SUPLEX…for 2. Saito has had a great day at the office here. Nakano has given her like 90% of the match. Saito-Kong runs into some issues with Kong deciding to sell everything Saito does too but she’s way too big to do that so it looks daft and there are timing issues. Kong suddenly has enough. URAKEN!! Saito looks to be knocked out. Nakano takes the opportunity to get revenge with the leg jam but Sawai rushes in to save. SOMERSAULT LEG JAM! You’d better believe that’s it. Nakano gets the pin. ***1/4. Nakano may have won the fall but Saito got so much joy out of her, its almost unbelievable. Perhaps Nakano’s poor showing but resultant win was designed by the organisers to not outshine the show’s main events. Especially with Nakano featuring so heavily in the marketing of the event.

Dynamite Kansai v Yumiko Hotta

This is a JWP v AJW bout with Hotta the “hometown” star. Kansai used to compete for AJW under the name Miss A but quit to compete in WCW and then JWP. Both girls have really short hair, which makes them look quite masculine. Not exactly the most attractive ladies competing this evening. Kansai starts out with some heavy kicks. Hotta returns the favour and the striking in the early going sets this apart from the other matches on the card, shootfight aside. Hotta in particular lands a nasty high kick to the face after landing a kick to the knee. With Kansai down Hotta picks her shots and actually lands another kick to the face while Kansai is down! Oh, no love lost here! Kansai looks groggy at first then after bailing to compose herself…PISSED OFF! Hotta makes a bad mistake of looking for something off the ropes and Kansai punts her in the back. With Hotta down Kansai starts KICKING HER HEAD INTO THE RAIL. Hotta takes a kick square in the face coming back in and the ref considers stopping this going as far as to count her out. But she gets back up at 8 to break the count. Hotta is in bad shape and gets kicked some more into a Tombstone…for 2. Kansai tries to get the tap with a Sharpshooter but Hotta survives and GETS FIRED UP! Kansai piledrives her again…for 2. Hotta comes back with a backdrop driver and Kansai lands on her neck. Hotta aims some more kicks in there and now Kansai is in trouble again! The kicking in this match has been nothing short of ferocious. I’m surprised one of them hasn’t knocked the other out accidentally. Kansai gets tied up in the ropes and Hotta LAYS IN MORE KICKS! She was unprotected there. Kansai eats a Tiger Driver back inside and her head bounces off the canvas. That gets 2! Kansai has taken one too many head shots and stays down to take a count off the referee. She doesn’t seem to know what’s going on. Surely this is Hotta’s opening? She goes for the decidedly savage STRAIGHTJACKET SUPERPLEX…for 2! Who kicks out of that? Kansai gets fired up! SPLASH MOUNTAIN…FOR 2, NO THREE! It looked like she kicked out but the ref calls for the bell. Oops. ***1/2. Brutal match. Kansai drops as soon as it’s over and has treatment on her neck. More a struggle than collaboration. I quite enjoyed it!

Akira Hokuto v Shinobu Kandori

Kandori is from LLPW. Hokuto used to be head of the Bull Nakano fanclub! She’s still all young and pissed off here, it being prior to her marriage to Kensuke Sasaki in 1995. She cuts a promo on Kandori before we get going, Kandori’s response to attempt to remove her arm. Hokuto has to bail for treatment! Way to sell that armbar! Although Hokuto is one of the ultimate tough wrestlers. Once finishing a match with a broken neck having to hold her head in place during the finale. So I’m sure a dislocated shoulder is no biggy for her. Kandori naturally has a target now though and goes after the arm whenever she can. Hokuto is tenacious in her defence, desperate to not let the arm get exposed again after her early slip up. Outside to the announce table where Hokuto goes after a Tombstone but KANDORI REVERSES IT! Remember Hokuto has that bad neck from years before and the dent in the table sells the impact to the crowd who are stunned and upset. Worse still for Hokuto she takes a shot to the head right afterwards and is BUSTED WIDE OPEN. Kandori sees this as a fresh opening and pummels the cut. BUT HOKUTO IS PISSED OFF!!! So would you if you were sporting the Crimson Mask! Holy shit, that is a GUSHER. Kandori gets introduced to some ringside seating and SHE’S BUSTED OPEN TOO! Hokuto kicking her in the face a few times, after getting a good run up, shows exactly how annoyed she is at getting so badly cut. I’m surprised she can see anything because her entire face is just covered in blood. Kandori takes advantage and just throws her out of the ring. Hokuto’s blonde hair is well on the way to being turned completely red. Kandori’s minor head wound by comparison seems like nothing. Kandori remembers the arm and goes after it. The crowd goes nuts sensing that Hokuto has lost a load of blood and is in trouble. She ends up having to use the ropes to get away. Kandori is covered in blood. But it’s not hers! Hokuto buys herself some time with a piledriver. SPIN KICK TO THE HEAD! I think she actually targeted the head wound with that. Hokuto misses with another and Kandori aims to take out the leg to stop that offence. Hokuto manages a superb counter but Kandori counters back and the mat wrestling is great considering how badly cut Hokuto is.

The bleeding has become the focus for this match. Hokuto tries to come off the top but Kandori gets knees up and hits a powerbomb…for 2. Hokuto gets her countering together and switches into a Dragon Suplex for 2. Both girls are selling the fatigue from this match and their blood loss. Hokuto tries to go up top again but gets caught in a CHOKE! This makes perfect sense because of Hokuto’s head injury. After all she must be lightheaded before the choke is even applied. The ropes save her again. I can’t believe how much blood Kandori has on her and most of it belongs to Hokuto. She goes for another powerbomb but Hokuto counters into a rana and tries to get a kneebar. She seems in very bad shape now from both the head and shoulder. She can still snap off a tasty powerbomb with Kandori taking it beautifully. That gets 2. Kandori bails and Hokuto dives onto her off the top! Kandori is held in place by one of the young girls in Hokuto’s corner and Hokuto hits a MISSILE DROPKICK TO THE FLOOR! I’m surprised she can see to hit these moves, there’s that much blood around her eyes. Hokuto calls for the DQ bomb but Kandori counters into the ARMBAR! The ropes save again! Crowd are totally buying into that arm hold every time it’s applied. Kandori goes back after it again and Hokuto has to battle to survive, Kandori counters back into a powerbomb for 2. Both girls look really tired now. Hokuto’s hair is now entirely red to boot. Hokuto counters standing into the CRADLE BACKDROP DRIVER…for 2. NORTHERN LIGHTS BOMB…FOR 2!!! Kandori with the miracle last gasp kickout. Kandori is back up for her own NORTHERN LIGHTS BOMB…FOR 2! Hokuto is still gushing blood. They turn and punch each other, Kandori stays down and Hokuto throws an arm over the top to win. ****3/4. I just can’t go the full score like Meltzer did. There’s something very deflating about the ending but the match was epic. And Hokuto did indeed bleed for her art. Another career defining performance from her.

WWWA tag titles – Manami Toyota/Toshiyo Yamada (c) v Megumi Kudo/Combat Toyota

The challengers represent FMW where Kudo is the ace. Meanwhile Manami Toyota is just the greatest women’s wrestler, ever. She has selected some quite hideous ring attire this evening though sporting a blue singlet with crazy pink feathers all over the top of it. She goes nuts in the early going and slaps the shit out of Combat. Incidentally Manami just recently feuded with Yamada, which is why Yamada has short hair as she was beaten by Manami in a hair vs hair match. Manami-Kudo and that is pretty hot stuff. Manami forcing her crotch onto Kudo’s face in particular. Yamada wants in and she messes around less by kicking Kudo in the face and suplexing her on her neck. Kind of funny seeing Kudo dumped on her neck when she’s made a career of doing the same to everyone else. Oh, interesting note for everyone; the Kudo Driver, borrowed in the USA by Shane Helms as the Vertebreaker and Homicide as the Cop Killer, actually has a name I wasn’t aware of. It’s called the Kudome Valentine. With her pink & white outfit she’s also out-sexying everyone else on the show. Then to add injury to insult she surfboards Manami before switching to the Mexican Stretch. Then comes another insult where she stretches Manami in what appears to be a forced 69. SEX POSITION RECEIPT! They spill outside where Kudo attempts wrestling in the crowd, you can tell she’s from FMW, and even gets a sunset flip. Yamada tries to act all tough by standing on the announce table staring at Combat BUT KUDO PUSHES HER OFF! Haha, I love this girl. Manami attempts to man-handle Combat, which is possibly ill-conceived as even when it works it doesn’t look too good. There has been a distinct lack of co-operation throughout this match so far, which doesn’t bode too well for the remainder. Which is a shit, frankly, as it’s the main event. I’d have much preferred to see Manami & Kudo in singles. But you can’t get what you want all the time or life would get boring. Although this match is continuing to struggle to escape the shadow of Akira Hokuto’s performance in the last match.

They try to make amends by giving it a focus and several piledrivers on Manami reveal the approach of the challengers. Manami’s attempted comebacks involve her charging at Combat as fast as possible and bouncing off. Perhaps didn’t think that one through, eh? The champs team up for a double inverted DDT. That seems to be the only way to get over on Combat, who seems thoroughly uncooperative otherwise. Especially not jumping on suplexes, which means Yamada has to haul her over hardway. Manami-Kudo remains a highlight and Manami misses on the ropes, flying through them and is followed by Kudo hitting a suicide dive. The girls let the others dive and that includes Combat. Yikes! Manami finishes with an Asai moonsault, which is well executed. Moonsault misses inside though. Combat tags in and nearly decapitates Manami with a clothesline, that she does a SSP sell on. Yeah, SSP sell on a clothesline in 1993! Manami Toyota was somewhat ahead of the curve on that one. Manami takes a horrible looking double team powerbomb. Horrible in the sense that it could have ended her career. Kudo misses a splash though and Yamada gets a hot tag. Unfortunately she then misses completely with a flying kick. By so much that Kudo can’t even consider selling it. The champs both pop off German suplexes and Manami even has a decent bridge on Combat! Moonsault on Kudo! Yamada miscues off the top though and nearly knocks Manami’s head off. Kudo takes advantage with a Northern Lights…for 2. The pace has noticeably picked up. Combat goes up top but Manami isn’t having any of that shit and dropkicks her off. Kudo miscues now and gets picked off for a sickening double back superplex. Kudo lands on her face and is lucky she rotated over. OCEAN CYCLONE on Kudo!! That’s enough for the win and Manami Toyota picks up the pin. ***1/4. Horribly disjointed and messy for the first half but picked up a lot in the end stretch. Combat was particularly useless but Manami v Kudo was great stuff at times.

UPDATE – Comments on comments.

Great review Arnold, are you planning on doing Dreamslam II? Its even better than this event.

Posted By: Bolabear (Guest) on April 29, 2009 at 09:02 AM

I’d love to but my current financial situation doesn’t allow for purchases of the wrestling variety. Maybe when I get more free time and, more importantly money, I’ll be all over that. I do love these gals.

Awesome to see another one of your reviews. Any chance of your reviews at your old website being archived somewhere? I miss them.

Posted By: Guest#6105 (Guest) on April 29, 2009 at 09:27 AM

Working on it. I did set up an archive recently but discovered that all my re-formatting on the early articles hadn’t been saved. Eep. So they were kinda hard on the eyes. Work is in progress on a possible all new archive but don’t go holding your breath.

Personally, I’ve always preferred the Double Inoues vs. Suzuki/Ozaki match to the Hokuto/Kandori match. There’s something about women bleeding that just makes me uncomfortable. But the tag match is just nonstop action.

Posted By: Chief Runs With Beer (Guest) on April 29, 2009 at 11:20 AM

I can see that. I just had to award extra points to Hokuto for her work. Wrestling and star ratings all come down to personal preference anyway but I did love both matches almost equally.

I’m guessing the gentleman that reviewed this show hasn’t seen much Zenjo. Or has and doesn’t quite understand it. Or has a star-rating comprehension problem. Or, given the website the review is posted on, has an alcoholism problem. The sad part is we may never know the real truth.

Posted By: Lucius (Guest) on April 29, 2009 at 12:47 PM

Seems about 1 in 3 people that read my articles have a problem with my snowflakes but seems every other reviewer gets the same amount of stick so I won’t take it personally. True, I’ve not seen much Zenjo at all. Apologies but I tried to watch a range of wrestling over the years. There isn’t always time to catch everything I’d like. Oh, and I do have an alcoholism problem.

Your scale stops at ****3/4, right?

Posted By: DCN (Guest) on April 29, 2009 at 02:07 PM

Heh, almost. I find it hard to rate anything at ***** when I think about my favoured ***** matches. It’s hard for anything to compare to my favourites. That match was extremely close to getting the full monty. I can understand how people do enjoy an ending like that and it was a great story but I just felt like there was an opportunity for a slightly different finish. I don’t like the idea of a double knock out.

That shoot fight is the reason “fights like a girl” is used as an insult. Just horrifically bad.

Posted By: CM Putnam (Guest) on April 29, 2009 at 10:18 PM

Totally. It was just “wow”. They didn’t seem to get fighting. Also I was aware Meltzer threw out 2 ***** matches here but I didn’t know it was the only time. Wrestlemania X? Or did he not go full snowflakes on both ***** matches on that show? I looked it up, he didn’t rate Bret-Owen at *****, which I don’t agree with.

The 411: Great show by anyone’s standards but as far as women’s wrestling goes this is one of the better overall shows I’ve seen. Most of the big names are in action here; Toyota, Kudo, Hokuto, Nakano. Just a pity there wasn’t a big showdown between any two of those. Hokuto did her best to steal the show by losing about a quarter of her blood against Kandori in what was easily a MOTYC. The Double Inoue tag match was fantastic too. Thumbs way up for this show.
411 Elite Award
Final Score:  8.5   [ Very Good ]  legend

article topics

Arnold Furious

Comments are closed.