Let's see if opening joshi matches are still underwhelming? Yep, they are. An awkward dance-y/stroke-y collar & elbow is at least followed by a tight wristlock. Miyagi impresses a bit with her pained facial expressions and AJW tribute-night rope attacks. But there are way too many your-turn/my-turn sequences. Dropkick swap! Forearm swap! Plus this match is more evidence that our era will be known as the era of following people when they hit the ropes and hitting them with moves unexpectedly. Appropriately enough, the match ends with a rasslin' basic, the crab, of which we will see lots more to come.
They're apparently (hilariously) muting the copyright-infringing entrance music, so you get these stretches of weird silence. Aiger has a Japanese-ghost gimmick (like Kwaidan, you know), so it would have been epic as hell if she alone entered to absolute silence. This is my first time seeing her and my hopes are sky high. KAORU looks to have had a rough wrestling life and is pretty grizzled here. Comedy shenanigans bid us welcome to this match, which quickly spills out into the crowd. Aiger and Hirota are keeping it wacky with their jocular antics, but there's a weird bout of KAORU/Lee straight wrestling amidst all of this. I'm pretty cool to the comedy here, but I did dig Hirota's waving to the crowd while she rope-walked. At one point, KAORU, who Hirota is wristlocking, applauds her for her balance achievements. RIP in peace, kayfabe. As a match, this felt like some weird lost GLOW tag that was ginned up at the last minute. Or maybe like the wrestling version of Tommy Wiseau's "The Neighbors"? This was strange and not enjoyable despite trying oh-so-hard to please, but it was still trainwreck interesting, I guess???
Michiko Miyagi & Ray vs. Sareee & Hikaru Shida
Michiko is picking up extra shifts at her wrestling job. I wanted so much for Sareee to have a Bollywood gimmick, but nooo. Her mother was apparently stabbed in the act of naming her child. The opening is hot as hell, as Miyagi tries to steal a quick pin and Sareee forearms her to death for it. Shida tags in and immediately reminds me of the LCO with her blatant enjoyment of dishing out punishment to opponents. She also reminds me of Rikishi because she uses a lot of butt moves to hurt people. And she uses a Boston crab, presumably as a callback to Miyagi's last match. There's a strange long period in which Miyagi's in the ring, but never dominated for any great length of time. Still, Ray comes in like a house of fire after the tag, as the tag gods demand. Sareee might be my fave lady in this match, especially when she goes dropkick crazy, including dropkicking an opponent who's prone on the mat. This was very good at times, but had some draggy spots and the aforementioned weird structural stuff.
Kyoko Kimura vs. Meiko Satomura
Lawl, what's the deal with the pot leaf over Kimura's boob? Isn't that like begging for prison in Japan? This announces its greatness right at the start, as we get intense matwork followed by Satomura's breathtakingly smooth head and arm work. Kyoko Kimura also came to impress, as she blocks a snap mare! This is a night of firsts. Kimura nails a foot stomp and follows up with a stomach claw. I am so pleased about this and I wish that wrestling would have more nerve holds and claws. The attack on Satomura's tummy continues for a good long while, until Meiko regains the momentum with a flurry that includes a swank springboard dropkick. This world is unjust in lots of ways, but Meiko Satomura being unknown to any wrestling fan is uniquely unjust. Sometimes match reviews talk about cool moves and this certainly had its memorable moments (armbreaker reversal into a sleeper is my pick), but I think the overall package came together really well. Some parts of the match might be considered boring and lots of it was a little too self-consciously epic, but I absolutely loved a lot of it and would love to see a rematch.
|Hooray for disembowlements!|
DASH Chisako & Sendai Sachiko vs. Kairi Hojo & Nanae Tanahashi
If you're not into Kairi Hojo, you can leave the blog. This reminded me of a lower-quality AJW tag main event. The bad girls are bad, the good girls are good, fast opening, then it slows down. Hojo might not be an all-time great technician, but she should have her own wing in the Wrestling Charisma Hall of Fame. Also, her Supergirl punch is better than Reigns and her elbows are far better than Punk. She's also good at selling and proves it by wobbling around like a drunken zombie.
This probably went a bit longer than necessary, but I guess that's what you expect from a main event. Hojo & Tanahashi were fun and Chisako & Sachiko were fine, although I would have liked a little more aggression and cheating and perhaps fewer fancy spots. The action proceeded at a frantic pace, but it was kind of hard to care by the later stages. I dunno, it was fine, just fine, but I wish it would have swapped places with the previous match. Because this wasn't on the same level as Kimura/Satomura.