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Jetlag

Member Since 15 May 2013
Offline Last Active Today, 02:10 AM
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Topics I've Started

Shinobu Kandori vs. Harley Saito (JWP 7/19)

16 October 2017 - 12:21 AM

This is an amazing match; not just by far the best JWP match I've seen probably ever, but in the top 5-10 of the finest women's single matches I can remember. What made this outstanding was that what they did was stylistically state of the art, mixing 80s NJPW-like shootstyle/wrestling hybrid with something resembling a classic title match, and emotionally captivating: right from the get go there is a ton of disdain, uncooperativeness, and another fantastic underdog performance from Harley.

 

So this is like a joshi version of Fujinami/Maeda, without the blood and more outright hatred. Kandori is naturally really good at grabbing flash submissions and they use their holds really well, while Harley was bringing the violence with her kicks – there are a few moments where she is contorting her body to get out of Kandori's holds and then proceeds to kick Kandori in the face and ear repeatedly. It was awe inspiring. Kandori gives her back some raining angry shots down on her smaller opponent too, and with some of the uncooperative moves, stiff shots and flash subs here I was thinking I was watching some sort of Tenryu/Hashimoto/Fujiwara showdown.

 

Another cool thing is how they interweave their shootstyle stuff with more traditional wrestling, they were working shoot kicks and flash armbars one minute, and then neck bridges and small packages. The rollups make really good nearfalls because JWP was booking a lot of rollup finishes, and thanks to that they can build to big section of 2,99999s for the ending run that doesn't have that big move spam. Some incredibly well timed spots, and there is one false finish that is executed in a way I can't recall seeing in many other wrestling matches, which sets up another angry Kandori comeback to the keep the crowd behind Harley. I mean, watching what they did here felt like the stuff that is missing from so many wrestling matches, they had the folks at Korakuen hall flipping out for a small package or fall-on-top counter.

 

Really great match that delivered beyond expectations, considering this is Kandori years before coming into Superstardom and Saito who was almost completely under the radar (RIP, you magnificient gem). Mindblowing that you can still find shit as good as this in 2017 that has apparently never been talked about.


Harley Saito vs. Miss A (Dynamite Kansai) (JWP UWA Title Tournament Final, 2/1)

12 October 2017 - 04:13 PM

This is the finals of the UWA title tournament. In a way this feels like an early Misawa/Kawada match, two young workers having a somewhat basic match upgraded to epic format, while adding their own touches. This is different from the get go, as they start slow on the mat and really work to establish their roles. I don't know whether to call this a match that is extremely unlike joshi, or extremely JWP. There certainly is something really cool about the style they are working, as they mix bridge spots and sunset flips with the brutally stiff shots Kansai is known for (and Harley steps up to her level). The pace was almost like a niggly european bout, as they would stick to wrestling, but occasionally there would be an explosion. Kansai starts the fun, but whiffs on a dropkick and Saito pounces on her with a series of kicks and knees in the corner that would've done Kawada proud. Of course this does not end well for little Harley and soon after Kansai is cracking her with kicks and chairshots. This sets up the rest of the match for Harley refusing to quit despite being in a grueling battle. I could see some people not being overly in love with the generic title match layout for this match (there's even rollup exchanges at one point), but I thought Harley was a phenomenal underdog here and the style they used was awesome. Great match, Harley really should've been a bigger star.


Eagle Sawai vs. Miss A (Dynamite Kansai) (JWP 1/13)

11 October 2017 - 03:55 AM

Hahaha, I just noticed Kansai comes out to Conga. „My themesong is goofy latin pop, now watch me brutalize girls with my unpulled kicks.“ This was shockingly good for a Sawai match – it starts fun with Kansai taking one of the hardest guardrail bumps I've ever seen (scaring the audience in that section good) before Sawai works a fun control segment, using chokes and a spinning body scissor. They get into stiff slapfights and trading headbutts on the ground and this is pretty cool big girl wrestling. Kansai takes over with her badass kick to the throat and then methodically works over Sawai's back with headbutts and brutal kicks to set up her Scorpion Deathlock. However Sawai makes another comeback, this time bloodying Kansai by ramming her head into the steel ringsteps. Kansai is selling big and making desperate comebacks now and Eagle continues to work the cut with punches. Sawai impresses me by selling a good deal herself, acknowledging the work on her back from earlier. They do these spots where one girl goes for a suplex and other twists in mid-air to crush her with her weight, which look double cool because these two are chunky. I felt the match was building to a bigger crescendo than we got, but then again this was only the semi final. Still, quite good match for what it was, and I could see this being considered a classic if it happened in a US fed.


Early JWP (Pre-Split/Interpromotional Era)

09 October 2017 - 03:49 PM

Early JWP seems to be the biggest mystery of joshi along with LLPW. There's so little discussion about it, even though there is plenty interesting to it: it had future stars like Kandori, Ozaki and Kansai, and veterans such as Devil and Itsuki Yamazaki. Gran Hamada trained the girls, and they used a unique style while still bringing the workrate.

 

I've aquired quite a bit of this old stuff recently, so I think it's time to settle this and discover things such as:

 

- What are the good matches involving pre-interpromotional blowup Kandori, Kansai, Ozaki, etc. that is relevant to their GWE case? (Stuff that was not brought up in the GWE discussion)

- How close were those workers in their early state to their later, more famous versions?

- Who is the lost great worker among the lesser knowns? (SPOILER: It's motherfucking Harley Saito, god bless her)

- Are there any hidden gems/all time great stuff that stands up to the best stuff AJW was putting out? (SPOILER: Yes there was)

 

I'll be posting my reviews in this thread and use it to document my findings.

 

Recommended Matches: (ongoing)

 

Shinobu Kandori vs. Devil Masami (Original JWP, 7/14/88) --- 1988 MOTY

 

Mayumi Ozaki vs. The Scorpion (JWP 6/14/90)

Shinobu Kandori vs. Harley Saito (7/19/90) --- 1990 MOTY

 

Itsuki Yamazaki vs. Miss A (Dynamite Kansai) (JWP 1/6/91) (UWA Tournament First Round Match)

Miss A (Dynamite Kansai) vs. Eagle Sawai (JWP 1/13/91) (UWA Tournament Semifinals) --- 1991 MOTY


Itsuki Yamazaki vs. Miss A (Dynamite Kansai) (JWP 1/6)

08 October 2017 - 04:32 PM

I'm not sure why the name change from Miss A to Dynamite Kansai. She looks and wrestles the exact same.

 

This was a first round match in a tournament for the UWA International title(?) and a better match than a lot of tournament finals I've seen. Why have I never heard anyone talk about how awesome Itsuki Yamazaki was in JWP? It's far more interesting than anything I've seen her do in AJW. Right at the go Kansai whacks Yamazaki with a big lariat, but in the following tussle on the outside Yamazaki catches her leg and rams it into the steel post. Yamazaki proceeds to work over Kansai's leg and use this advantage to stay in control. When Kansai comes back, she immediately reestablishes how dangerous she is by crushing the veteran with ultra stiff blows. I thought Kansai's selling was good enough, as she made it clear the leg was bothering her and there were times where she couldn't follow through due to the damage done, on the other hand Yamazaki was super focussed and always aiming for the weak spot to get out of her situation. Yamazaki would add these cool maestra-like touches, such as locking in an octopus hold from her back, or elevating herself extra high when reversing a figure 4 (something I've never seen before). Yamazaki had excellent game, but in the end fell to a crushing shot from Kansai when she thought she had her in the bag. Really good skill vs. Pure brutality match.