My Favorite Joshi matches... yikes...
1. Kandori v. Hokuto from Dream Slam
Just the gutsiest performance from the gutsiest wrestler AJW ever produced in Akira Hokuto. Faking a dislocated shoulder in the beginning of a match and selling it for the entirety of the match while having to deal with an insane amount of blood loss that would make Dracula say "You know what? I'm good for now" is just nuts. That's not to diminish Kandori's part in this as a legit badass who just comes up short to Hokuto's sheer desire to keep going when stopping the match would've been sensible
2. JWP Openweight Title 12/9/2007 Azumi Hyuga v. Kaori Yoneyama
This was Kaori Yoneyama's coming out party. She'd been slowly building up her way up the JWP ladder for 6 years to get to this point. The fact that she wasn't supposed to be in this match originally just shows how much she put into the match to prove she was a worthy challenger and was to be taken seriously.
Azumi Hyuga, on the other hand, had been looking forward to facing Meiko Satomura but an unfortunate knee connecting with Satomura's orbital bone nixed that match (and kinda killed the JWP v. Sendai feud with it). Azumi finds herself giving Kaori this title match after Kaori pinned her in a tag match a few weeks before.
It was supposed to be Satomura. It's what Hyuga needed to cement her status as one of the joshi elite in her generation. Instead she gets Kaori Yoneyama and so her frustration has to be vented on the challenger.
There was no doubt Hyuga was winning this match but it doesn't stop Kaori Yoneyama from throwing everything she's got at the champ. It's the match that made me a Kaori Yoneyama fan. Not in a simple "Let's go Kaori!" kinda way but a legit believer that she might pull it off against the Ace of the company. Every nearfall she scores as the match builds to its end put me on the edge of my seat. It made me a believer! It, after kinda giving up on Joshi around 03, made me a beiever again! Kaori Yoneyama and Azumi Hyuga brought me back to the fold!
Finally, Azumi Hyuga had enough and avenged her pinfall loss. Kaori wasn't winning on her first challenge for that Openweight belt. Reality has to set in at some point and Azumi Hyuga reminds you why she was chosen to be JWP's Ace. Kaori Yoneyama has to be put down to prove it. Kaori Yoneyama wasn't supposed to be in this spot, not yet. Azumi Hyuga NEEDS to put Kaori Yoneyama in her place!
It comes to an end, Azumi Hyuga proves why she's the champ. Kaori Yoneyama however, has proven she is no longer just the plucky youngster she was coming into this match. No, Kaori Yoneyama is a credible threat who can make a jaded wrestling fan a believer once again!
Am I saying this is 5 Star classic?
No, but it is a match that reminded me why I love Joshi Puro and in turn I love this match with all my heart!
(My 3-5 picks will be another post)