I've got no beef with Thunder Queen. It's an hour long Joshi match so it's hardly going to be perfect (without putting an understatement on it), but I still enjoyed the twists and turns, and I thought Kansai and Kyoko put in tremendous performances. Aja was also strong in her role. The riffs I used to enjoy most (Ozaki and Takako) kind of paled in comparison to Kansai and Kyoko, but I'm on a Kansai binge watch and was thinking ahead to the August clash with Kong, and I keep on thinking Kyoko got hard done by on the GWE list. So a bit of a same place, different time feel to it 15 years on from when I first watched it. That's as good a proof as any that there's plenty going on in the match w/ all sorts of different subplots. I don't really care about its place in the pantheon of great matches anymore. It held up for me.
Posted 25 April 2016 - 05:01 AM
I think I tolerated the feeling out process in the Kong/Kansai 8/93 match more than I would have in the past. I can't say I enjoyed it, but I was able to step outside of that and see what they were aiming for. It helps that I was eating, drinking and listening to a Feelies album at the same time, and if I'm honest with myself my priorities at the time were probably eating, drinking, listening to the album and then watching the match, but the match was all right. Aja is never going to be a worker who appeals to me, but I like her in big match settings. This was their first singles match together and it showed with some moments of awkwardness, but it half delivered on what you'd want from Aja vs. Kansai and was pretty good for a first try.
Posted 26 April 2016 - 04:36 PM
Well, the Big Egg match pretty much sucked. Dome Show matches usually do, but this was Kansai and Kong going through their shit in the least imaginable way possible. It took forever tor them to start throwing bombs, and when they finally did, they threw too many. The only cool bits involved Aja's uraken and Kansai's kicks. They should have built a match around strikes and selling instead of trying to condense an entire 25 minute match into half that time. Kansai sold fairly well but in terms of the total package of putting a match together this was pretty much her at her worst, and Kong was overrated as usual.
Posted 27 April 2016 - 04:36 AM
Finally I watched the right Kansai vs. Kong match, and I'm not talking about their 1995 bout. The 5/94 match is the closest thing I've seen to a perfect Kong vs. Kansai bout thus far. Even I'm rolling my eyes as I type this like "sure, the match everybody forgets they had is their best, Daniel," but bear with me. The first 15 minutes sees Kong dominate Kansai and cut off every single comeback she makes. There's some typical Joshi resthold work, but Kong tries to keep it short and pick things up again. Kansai digs a little deeper and starts making her run, and the finishing stretch is full of shit I'd long forgotten about and got a legit reaction out of me. I love biting on near falls. Being the cynical jackass I am it doesn't happen that often, but man was I into this. The finishing stretch went back and forth the way all dramatic bouts should, and even though in the back of mind I knew who won this a combination of not remembering how it panned out and half thinking it was 1994 all over again and happening in real time had me hooked. Fun bout.
Posted 29 April 2016 - 05:14 PM
So it turns out that the 8/95 Aja/Kansai match is still their best. It trims most of the dead time and is built almost exclusively around strikes and selling, which is what you want from this pair. Aja puts in a tremendous performance and does a brilliant job of selling down the stretch as her title reign begins to wilt. More of a great Aja performance than a Kansai one, but a good bout for people looking to get into Joshi. A lot of the sequences are based on things they tried in their previous bouts but it's still accessible as a slugfest and the bomb throwing is kept to a minimum. It's too bad the Matsunagas didn't have a clue what they wanted to do with the big red belt after building to this high point.
Posted 30 April 2016 - 07:49 PM
There's a fun 5/94 handheld that pits Devil & Kansai against Okutsu & Fukuoka. I'm not usually a fan of the two strongest girls being on the same side but it works well here.
The 1997 Kansai vs. Candy match was mediocre. Both girls were ailing in '97, but Candy was also a girl who never really found her identity and comes across as a poor woman's Cuty Suzuki.
She's all right in tags, though, and the '97 Jaguar & Devil vs. Kansai & Okutsu tag remains a fun bout. It's a bit exhibition-y but in an entertaining way. Worth watching to see Kansai and Jaguar lock-up and Devil looked really sharp twenty years on from her debut.
Speaking of Devil, there's an early JWP Project where she celebrates her 15th anniversary with a match against Kansai. The interesting thing about it to me is that Devil was still working the style she used in the original JWP. It's clear to me now that she changed her style during the inter-promotional boom to keep up with the times. She was a lot more rough and tumble prior to upping her workrate game. There's also a huge contrast between young, healthy Dynamite Kansai and the ailing version from '97.
The 10/95 WWWA title defence against Takako Inoue is a solid bout, perhaps better suited to a JGP style tournament than a world title bout, but a solid singles bout. Kansai did her best impersonation of a female Hashimoto and there was enough history between them to make the bout mean something. Takako was a good worker who had a fun rise through the All Japan ranks, but it was clear she was never going to be one of the main stars. She lacked the offence necessary to be a top star. Too much of her offence was based around counters and clever but nondescript strikes. I liked the stretch run here and there was some good selling from both women. I'm getting a bit sick of Splash Mountain, though.
Man I hate Kansai's industrial piping outfit. She looks like some kind of kindergarten space rocket project or a modern sculpture made from pipe cleaners. Her Sgt. Pepper's jacket was so much cooler. I also hate it when she dyes her hair. It looks so much better black with a slight crew cut.
Posted 02 May 2016 - 08:53 AM
I watched quite a neat Devil & Debbie Malenko vs. Kansai & Plum Mariko tag from 11/93. It was longish and had the same rhythm throughout, and there some gaffes that, to the layman, made it seem like Malenko wasn't familiar working with the JWP girls, or vice versa, but it was cool seeing Dynamite work someone outside the usual suspects.
Posted 03 May 2016 - 06:33 PM
Watched an Azumi Hyuga match from 1999 that was better than I thought it would be but fairly uninspiring. Kansai was heavier and slower than in her prime but did a pretty good job working a knee injury. Then, for some reason, she dropped the injury storyline and resumed being heavy and slow and unable to bump for an all-action, go-go type in Hyuga.
After that I watched a '91 tag between Kansai & Medusa vs. Rumi Kazama and Harley Saito which was pretty bad. Medusa and Kazama were fairly awful, but Kansai didn't bring much to the table and Saito did the most unnecessary bladejob I've seen in a long time. Just a pointless crimson mask.
Just to make it a trifecta of bleh, I watched the Toyota title change again. I was really harsh on it in the Yearbook thread but it's a match that just doesn't work. It's one of those matches where they do a bunch of stuff then take it to the bridge, and you're suppose to miraculously care about the finishing stretch even though you haven't been entertained by a single thing so far. I prefer matches that suck you in and keep getting better and better. I honestly liked the Takako title defence more.
Posted 04 May 2016 - 05:33 PM
The 4/95 Street fight from the first GAEA show is better than it had a right to be. It's a sprawling mess that I think you can only really appreciate if you're a Joshi fan, but they clearly wanted to make the first show special and had the battle scars to prove it. The collar and chain work may offend some. The blood may upset others. I cringed at some of the "with our powers combined" teamwork from Chigusa and Kansai, but by and large I thought it was a fine hodgepodge of Chigusa and Kansai's shoot stuff, Ozaki's street fight style, and a throwback to the days when Devil would terrorize girls with her kendo stick. Chigusa jobbed so often in her comeback years that she must have been working a gimmick about whether she fit in with the modern world any more. Ozaki is a legendary seller in my eyes, but her timing was off post-match. She tried to sell that she was out of it during the stretch run and fighting on instinct alone. That was fine, but when she recovered after the bout, she pretended to not know that she'd gotten the three count and jumped up and down like an ecstatic schoolgirl. Nice idea, but the execution was poor and the heat was really on Chigusa for losing in the main event of her first show. Ah well, can't nail 'em all Oz.
Posted 07 May 2016 - 06:05 PM
I never much cared for the Kansai vs. Ozaki street fights, but after watching the GAEA main event I thought I'd check them out again. The 3/95 one has some good moments, but it's incredibly violent and I wasn't cool with the horrific blade job Kansai did. I know there's no relation but all I could think about was how she got sick a few years later. Don't think I needed to see that shit. Haven't watched the second fight yet.
Posted 17 May 2016 - 04:15 PM
The second Kansai/Ozaki street fight is the less violent, less grotesque of the two. Crowd brawling is never gonna be my thing, and some of the transitions weren't the flashest, but there was a lot of cool shit in the bout like Kansai's chained fist shots and an awesome submission counter from Ozaki. The finish was fairly inventive even if Ozaki's offense wasn't that great and I liked a lot of the nearfalls despite an aversion to table spots. It's funny the things you tolerate. I didn't mind the chain, or Ozaki using the broken top rope to strangle Kansai, but other props just annoy me. I wonder what started the push toward street fights in '95. If it was something as simple as the success of Onita in FMW or a push away from the increasing over-exposed women's style. Whatever the case may be, they positioned Ozaki strongly as Queen of the Street Fights and could have done a lot more, a lot sooner with FMW and Kudo.
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