Posted 20 September 2014 - 12:04 AM
So off the top of my head:
vs. Hokuto 4/2/93
vs. Kyoko 8/25/93
vs. Hokuto 12/6/93
with Hokuto vs. Bull/Aja 3/27/94
That's only four matches, but one of them is the greatest women's match of all time and the tag match is the best non-Toyota/Yamada vs. Kansai/Ozaki women's tag match of all time, and I think it's worse only than the Dream Rush tag. The second Hokuto match is considered a disappointment because of the first match, but it's still compelling.
I might put her at 100 on my list. It's hard for me not to include her with those four matches on her resume, especially those two.
Posted 20 September 2014 - 03:52 AM
You for sure need to check out the chain match vs. Bull from July 1994. Kandori is someone I want to seek out more of as more often than not, she really shines on her stuff that has made the yearbook.
Posted 20 September 2014 - 11:25 AM
I really think she's the unsung heroine of 90s joshi. To be honest, I enjoy more non-Hokuto Kanori matches than I do non-Kandori Hokuto matches.
Posted 20 September 2014 - 05:38 PM
Kandori is someone people ought to revisit. IIRC, it was actually Coey who was ahead of the curve calling for her reappraisal back in '02/'03. What she has more than any other woman is the Maeda-factor - she carried herself so fucking well. FLIK's seen more LLPW than me, I think, and there has to be at least a couple of hidden gems. I can't imagine her vs. Harley, given the right context/time/etc not being a hell of a match, and I can see Kandori vs. Eagle working rather well too. Going through Lorefice's tape-list there's a lot of Kandori matches in 92/3 (often tags) that look worth my time; I know I've seen the Kandori/Harley vs. Minami/Mita match on a terrible 6th-gen-plus VHS and really dug it. The Bull match is something I remember digging a tonne too (that and the Bull/Masami match are my #1/2 Bull matches to revisit for this). I'm looking at putting 15-or-so women on my list as a rough guess/guide, and Kandori's someone I have around the #10 spot of those going in.
Posted 20 September 2014 - 06:57 PM
There is also the Devil Masami match from the original JWP, which was one of the better Joshi matches of the 80s.
But I'm totally against cherry picking her best stuff to get her onto the list. If people are going to vote for her there should be a serious effort made to see whether her JWP and LLPW stuff holds up, and a proper appraisal of her as she got older, just like there is with so many other candidates.
Posted 21 September 2014 - 09:45 AM
I wasn't cherry picking so much as pointing out those four matches off the top of my head because they were still fresh and because I'm weighing performance in big matches heavily in the project. She was a part of some of the biggest joshi matches ever and more than held her own. Totally agree on seeing as much as possible, but considering just how many wrestlers are a part of this list and how many a lot of us are going to have to go through just to have enough to vote on, those are a good starting point as any.
Posted 13 October 2015 - 12:36 AM
I'll also add here that she had a singles match against Manami Toyota in 1998 that Childs loved, so ponder that one. I thought she was awesome in all of the matches she had with and against Megumi Kudo on Kudo's retirement tour in 1997. And I've liked the stuff I've seen from her when she was super young too. Kandori was pretty great. She had the sensibility more like a great men's wrestler than she did a great women's wrestler, and she might be the only one in the world of Joshi I'd say that about. That has nothing to do with the shoot-ish style she worked and more with her interpretation of psychology and build to big moments.
Posted 14 October 2015 - 11:26 PM
She'd probably be in my top 3 female workers. Am I probably crazy for this. I do not care
Posted 09 March 2016 - 02:17 AM
Posted 09 March 2016 - 09:29 AM
I was initially quite disappointed with her as she didn't live up to the more-shoot inspired vision of her I'd envisioned (though that may be simply due to watching the wrong stuff). Recently I watched a tag match where she started busting out all these awesome submissions, including a Fujiwara Armbar in which she used her own leg to hyperextend her opponent's arm which immediately became one of my favourite spots. Not making my list this time around but I look forward to revisiting her work later.
Posted 09 March 2016 - 09:46 AM
That Toyota match really is something.
Kandori is very interesting in how she applys her submission expert gimmick. She's closer to Memphis than shootstyle because of all the mugging and taunting she does. Her swagger is really outstanding and it really makes for compelling interpromotional showdowns. She gets so much fire and unusual grit out of otherwise bland opponents. She's like a female Tenryu with added flash submissions, weird as that comparison may seem.
I also really like how she isn't afraid to look vulnerable despite her status as a killer. She seems vulnerable to rollups and other wrestling moves and can get overwhelmed even by opponents much lower in the rank.
So in conclussion, going into her matches expecting killer matwork is the wrong approach. She has the great submissions, but these are generally an insta-kill. So her matches are about heat and character work and a little violence to top it off. But bah gawd she is a spark plug of a wrestler.
Admittedly I haven't been able to find any LLPW stuff online, but it'll absolutely be on my shopping list now (only 3 weeks till ballot time so the snail mail better hurry up...). Even without it she could crack my list.
Posted 18 March 2016 - 02:08 AM
In principle I agree with the argument that OJ that Kandori should be held to the same standards of others. She should be explored in detail, to see what she was like before her peak and after her peak. We should look at the gaps in time between her most well known feuds and angles and see how consistent it is, if there are any hidden gems, or conversely if she is lacking as a week-to-week performer. This is the ideal approach and one that I would advocate for normally. But I didn't have the time or access to do that this go around and what my eyes tell me is that Shinobu Kandori is as good a big match performer as I've seen. And for that reason she has to make my list.
Now before I get into more particulars I will say this. I watched every bit of Kandori I could find. This included some tag matches that I don't think get talked about all that much, a Jackie Sato shootstylish match that was kind of insane and awesome, and some random clip jobs of other matches I couldn't find in full. What is notable to me is that Kandori looked just as dynamic and unique in all of these settings as she did in the more high profile and well known matches. Her aura and presence were not diminished in any way when she was in the ring with talents that were below the level of all time great status or Joshi legends. She had "it" all the time, and was able to inject a sense of authenticity and real excitement into every bout I saw and that matters a lot to me, especially when the base of footage isn't as expansive as I would ideally like.
I do agree with Jetlag's argument that she's not really a true shootstyle worker. That said I've seen tags where she showed flashes of brilliance in that regard, and watching her throw hands at Sato's head convinced me she could have done female FUTEN spots with the best of them had that been an available path. Instead she come across to me like a serious business version of Regal, capable on the mat, sound submission game, snug strikes, but driven as much by purpose, vibe and intensity as she is by any particularly in ring style or mechanical brilliance (though I do think she typically is on the upper end of the good execution scale when it comes to Joshi).
It seems odd to call her a brawler, but I think at heart that's sort of what she was. That flare for the dramatic, ability to trade big shots, slugfest sensibility is evident in so many of her matches. People will immediately point to the first Hokuto match here - which is still one of my favorite singles matches of all time - but the Masami match from 1988 is absolute war too and has a lot of the same elements. In fact, I watched those matches back to back, and I think it's worth noting that while the story telling of Hokuto/Kandori is often couched in terms that play off Hokuto's past, the closing stretch of the match is shockingly similar to the Kandori/Masami match. I don't believe that was an accident, but I do think it's brilliant.
I think you can point to a lot of particular things that Kandori does well. Good offense. Excellent selling, especially long term within the context of the match. Great timing on highspots. Better pacing of matches than virtually any Joshi performer in history. Ability to work various speeds.
But where she has all that what really stands out with Kandori are the matches and how they look in context with what the the her opponents did with others. She has great matches over at least a 10 year period from 88-98 (I like the Sato match which I think is from 87, but not sure I'd call it great). This run includes the best Devil Masami match I've ever seen which would likely be my number one or two Joshi match from the 80s, an all time great feud and rivalry with Akira Hokuto that produced the best singles match in Joshi history as well as a second legit great match, two of maybe five Megumi Kudo matches I would feel comfortable calling great one of which may have been Kudo's best match, the best singles match of Kyoko Inoue's career and I actually like Inoue a good bit, maybe the best Manami Toyota singles match I've ever seen and certainly the best one I've seen after 1996 by a wide margin, the all time great tag match Tim noted above, and the great Nakano chain match which is probably a top five Nakano singles match to my eyes (though I'm lower on Nakano than many).
Simply put I would put Kandori's best ten matches against the best ten matches of any Joshi worker ever. And she did it against a variety of opponents over the course of a decade. Yes I wish I had an idea of whether or not she could carry a talent less opponent. Yes I wish I could fill in the gaps. But the reality is if I were to leave Kandori off my list I'd have to wash my hands of Joshi wholesale. She's simply too good in what is available to dismiss her on grounds of absence.
Posted 18 March 2016 - 06:12 AM
Wonderful post, made me seek out the Masami vs. Kandori match for tonight which has me all sorts of pumped up.
Posted 18 March 2016 - 06:40 AM
There are some more Kandori matches from the yearbooks I'll go back and re-watch now, and I feel like I should check out that Toyota match from '98 as well.
Posted 18 March 2016 - 07:24 AM
I did watch the Kyoko match from 8/25/93 around a week or so ago and found it impressive too. That show overall was really great with that and the Kong vs. Kansai match.
Posted 18 March 2016 - 07:59 AM
Great to see these posts from Dylan and I hope it inspires posters that hadn't considered giving the joshi girls a look. The prospect of Hokuto not making the overall 100 one of the reasons I decided to make a list.
There's a story behind the Sato match but I'm sketchy on the details. Pretty sure Kandori was asked ton shoot on her.
The pace and the presence are the two things that immediately leap off the screen with Kandori. She small buts feels like the biggest wrestler in the ring. She's a slugger that will grind you down, bring you into her world where you play by her rules. Time permitting, I look forward to refreshing myself with her work.
Posted 18 March 2016 - 09:39 AM
I'm also intrigued to watch that Masami match. Are you going to do a big Masami post, Dylan? Curious if she's a lock for you.
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