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This looks amazing. Madusa vs. Aja Kong in a kickboxing match. Kawada vs. Cactus Jack. Sid vs. La Parka. There is too much wrestling, man. SST vs. Dr. Death & Road Warriors. WHAT IS THIS?!!!!

 

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3 hours ago, Jiji said:

This looks amazing. Madusa vs. Aja Kong in a kickboxing match. Kawada vs. Cactus Jack. Sid vs. La Parka. There is too much wrestling, man. SST vs. Dr. Death & Road Warriors. WHAT IS THIS?!!!!

These were not very good from what I recall.

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11 minutes ago, Jiji said:

I remember not really liking Kawada/Cactus when it happened. I just watched a bit of the kickboxing and it's hilarious. Madusa looks terrified. Aja does not.

I talked about that fight. Madusa carried Aja. I believe in storyline it was suppose to lead to Madusa vs. Aja on like the next major show. Poor Aja gets concussed a few times and Madusa has to slow down so she doesn't kill poor Aja so they can declare it a draw.

 

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Okay okay I wanna know whose bright idea it was for Mima Shimoda to be in Zenjo Brawl for All? Cause that's fucked up.

104145643_116399836544445_98921249776454

Quote

On August 19, 1990, Shimoda competed in a kickboxing match against Aja Kong. She lost several teeth during the match in defeat.

NO SHIT

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Shimoda was so money as a second. She looked like her life was on the line in those Hokuto matches, man. Mita looked more like a bored teenager in the back of a car on a long road trip. 

And you put poor Shimoda in there with Hotta, who kicks too hard in worked matches? That they used their shitty normal refs for this is also dumb as fuck. Mima is completely out on her feet, barely gets up, referee doesn't check or anything, just lets Hotta come in and finish her off. Mid 2000s Shibata and U-Style are about as close I want "real" wrestling to get. 

From that awesome IG account, Hojo looking so cute on the motorbike in Korakuen made me fear we were about to get a Mad Men mower in the office scene. 

better-mad-men-lawnmower.gif

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1 minute ago, Jiji said:

Shimoda was so money as a second. She looked like her life was on the line in those Hokuto matches, man. Mita looked more like a bored teenager in the back of a car on a long road trip.

Mita came through in the clutch in the Kandori rematch on some Simba after Mufasa died in the Lion King type shit. After the first match even, Mita being genuinely freaked out that Hokuto was now drenched in her own blood was hilarious. 

Shimoda was always the personality...the Road Dogg if you will to Mita's Bad Ass Billy Gunn. 

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18 minutes ago, Elsalvajeloco said:

Mita came through in the clutch in the Kandori rematch on some Simba after Mufasa died in the Lion King type shit. After the first match even, Mita being genuinely freaked out that Hokuto was now drenched in her own blood was hilarious. 

Shimoda was always the personality...the Road Dogg if you will to Mita's Bad Ass Billy Gunn. 

  I'm just about there in the '93 Hokuto set. I've been watching while doing cardio. It's not the best way to watch because it's obviously impossible to concentrate 100% on the match but it helps consume the goodness and make me not want to kill myself while doing that shit.

The Kazama hair match was such a great, short match that Hokuto's unparalleled ability to go from indominatable ass kicker to vulnerable all-world all-time seller is really highlighted there. She also made Rumi, who was perfectly fine but pretty physically limited compared to the top women of the time, look good and she got to progress from the first match. I believe she succumbed to the Dangerous Queen Bomb in the first match and here she gets to not only get her ass whipped on the outside with one (Hokuto was kind enough to deadlift Rumi up instead of spiking her on the floor) and then beat the count and kick out of another in the ring. Rumi was exceptional at playing the reluctant sacrificial lamb to set the stage for the Kandori rematch, during the entire build up, in the matches, and particularly when getting her head shaved.

There's so much talk of Hokuto's '93 run that I need to check out the '92 and little bit of '94 footage we have because there are gems there. The two matches she had with Kyoko in '92 were incredible from my memory and Lorefice puts them over huge, particularly the rematch when Hokuto evolved her look away from tomboy marine wolf to the Dangerous Queen.

Oh and to go back to the Liger/Sano discussion. I watched the third and fourth matches. #3 was probably the weakest and most "basic/regular" of the bunch. It was still very good, almost great. The '90 match that is the the one people love the most is definitely great but man, Sano's heat is way way way too fucking long. Liger gives us some beautiful comebacks with the blood pouring but if you shaved 5 off and put them in front of a better crowd, I could see it being as good if not better than the first one but as is I can't say that. I'd probably rank them 1, 2, 4, 3. One of the better series of matches you'll see imo. Shame Sano fell off like he did chasing that Bubble money.

Edited by Jiji
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40 minutes ago, Curt McGirt said:

Someone needs to remake those AJW shirts the seconds are wearing in the kickboxing match, those are fly. 

They had some great looking shirts for the inter-promotional shows similar to those. Basically, they were offshoots of the shirt Bison is wearing below:

96140459_664795464067938_574572026910563

@Jiji

Re: Hokuto

Hokuto's 1993 was awesome because her selling was the backbone of all those matches. Moreover, it was so different than AJW's "do some work on the limb, do hard strikes or headdrop-y suplexes, forget all the shit that happened earlier in the match, and then BIG MOVE NEAR FALL NO SELL RINSE REPEAT" typical match type. IMO Some of that especially in 90-92 hasn't aged well. Doesn't help that because they were doing only five or six matches a card, some of those matches went on FOREVER.

Edited by Elsalvajeloco
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She's so convincing in her selling too. Like, I have no fucking clue where the line was between reality and her selling because she is committed to the cause. They showed her getting a shot in her knee after the Aja singles match in which she declines the title shot because of the injury. I think the shoulder in the first half was probably mostly work, while the knee injury was probably pretty much a shoot but she played it up so well too. I've been watching some '90 footage too and yeah, they go a fucking million miles an hour and it's a blast but definitely not as emotionally engaging. And that is what peak Hokuto was to the Nth degree: emotion. Like, some of the matches on the '93 set aren't the best technically or kind of end abruptly... some of the tag matches are too much Manami Toyota go-go-go bullshit, but she's just selling her ass off the entire year and being a bad ass in-between bouts of selling. And unlike Toyota, she doesn't drop the selling on offense most of the time, particularly later on in matches. I feel like Bull's selling was really fucking good for a big evil woman/Dump's successor too. There were some good sellers in that time but yeah, it is uneven. Takako's S&M smiling shit makes me feel funny. 

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14 minutes ago, Jiji said:

She's so convincing in her selling too. Like, I have no fucking clue where the line was between reality and her selling because she is committed to the cause.

When Eddie Kingston, who I hadn't seen before, debuted in AEW I tweeted that I hoped he hadn't actually injured his knee. Someone let me know not to worry, Eddie Kingston is just good at his job.

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Bull is one of those people you could tell was figuring out the mechanics on the job. I was watching her match w/ Yumi Ogura on the same show as Lioness vs. Devil and Dump vs. Chigusa from 1986. Now it was a bullshit double countout for a ten minute match, but it was all about selling.

Juxtapose that against her decision match vs. Mitsuko Nishiwaki for the red belt and then her first defense against basically jobber Manami Toyota. They were just extended squashes with moves with no rhyme or reason. Outside the blood in the former and the lariat/powerbomb murdering Manami I posted in the GIF thread awhile back in the latter, they SUCKED. Pretty looking moves with no cohesion at all. Bull Nakano can kill people, but she wasn't meant to be one of the Road Warriors. Her selling and knowing how to create drama are a couple of her best attributes, if not the outright best.

I offer the match below as an example of the best and worst of AJW along with what I'm talking about with Bull:

1. You get Yumiko Hotta fucking around with her wrist tape for like a whole minute so she can get that gig out. If you notice, she just randomly throws it out of the cage between the mesh. I dunno which is more dangerous: Placing the blade on the mat for Bull to probably accidentally step on with her bare feet essentially OR throwing it out on the floor for someone else to accidentally step on.

2. Hotta low kicking the shit out of a legit pre injured, visible limping Bull like she's Edson Barboza or Jose Aldo.

3. Double juice cause why not even if it's a house show

4. The obligatory person does the Jimmy Snuka top of the cage move for the finish, which was a staple of AJW cage matches.

5. Bull selling her legit messed up leg.

6. A pier six brawl as this was just after Aja and Bison lost the hair match.

7. Said brawl escalates into the crowd like it's fucking Puerto Rico.

8. Chain based spots which could go either way since it looks like the chains aren't wrapped tight enough to hold a person in place.

Edited by Elsalvajeloco
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I feel like the best of wrestling, particularly AJW and AJPW, is when it becomes a battle of wills and personality as demonstrated through facial reactions, body language, and selling. The aura or presence of a wrestler is my favourite thing about the art form. Hence why I will rate the Hokutos, Kawadas, and Hansens of the world over the Reys, Ospreays, and even wrestlers I do love like Lawler. Bull's excellent at it, Hokuto is the GOAT at it, Aja's selling is pretty hit and miss but she's great at the other parts, Toyota is terrible at everything that doesn't involve her running around hitting spots so she's not good at it, hence why I don't rate her all that highly most of the time, and the rest of the roster is mixed cases (I didn't want to call them bags, lol). Kandori/Hokuto I isn't a masterclass of moves or traditional wrestling. It's will vs. will laid out pretty much perfectly. Toyota was capable, the hair match with Yamada for instance, but was so insistent on her incredible pace that there was no time for meaning or selling. I think after I finish this set and get some of the more prominent Liger matches over with, I'll go to the DVDs I got off of Ginnetty years ago of '80s/early '90s AJW and see how the style changes throughout the years. I know Dean's been posting a shit tonne of early '80s Mimi and Co., but I don't want to jump in without some context. Hopefully the set can provide context even though it's a bit of a hodgepodge compared to Dan's normal yearly sets.

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1 hour ago, Death From Above said:

When Eddie Kingston, who I hadn't seen before, debuted in AEW I tweeted that I hoped he hadn't actually injured his knee. Someone let me know not to worry, Eddie Kingston is just good at his job.

Yes he is.  I love me some Eddie Kingston. 

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33 minutes ago, Jiji said:

I feel like the best of wrestling, particularly AJW and AJPW, is when it becomes a battle of wills and personality as demonstrated through facial reactions, body language, and selling. The aura or presence of a wrestler is my favourite thing about the art form. Hence why I will rate the Hokutos, Kawadas, and Hansens of the world over the Reys, Ospreays, and even wrestlers I do love like Lawler. 

Question: (nice list, by the way) Do you not think that Lawler is as excellent at all that stuff you mentioned? I do. I see the comparison to the others, but is Lawler more of an emotional attachment for you than an analytical one? I look at factors like facials, body language, selling, and even moves and spots to be in service to telling a story and psychology, which are my big factors for digging a rassler, along with gimmick and aura (and blowing the deadly mist and good promos and entrance music and...)

- giddy as a schoolgurl,

RAF

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19 minutes ago, thee Reverend Axl Future said:

Question: (nice list, by the way) Do you not think that Lawler is as excellent at all that stuff you mentioned? I do. I see the comparison to the others, but is Lawler more of an emotional attachment for you than an analytical one? I look at factors like facials, body language, selling, and even moves and spots to be in service to telling a story and psychology, which are my big factors for digging a rassler, along with gimmick and aura (and blowing the deadly mist and good promos and entrance music and...)

- giddy as a schoolgurl,

RAF

Lawler is one of my favourites but I usually am laughing at his shtick with the chain and all the other goofy cartoony stuff he does. One of the all-time promos, great presence, but his latter day act was really simple. Now if we go back to his work with Bock and Funk, then yes, I'd say he's up there. He had excellent babyface fire even though he's one of the best, if not the best, chickenshit heels. But my bias is definitely towards the physically demanding/dangerous Japanese style that pushes people to their limits and brings out great resolve. Guys like Jerry and Bockwinkel are masters of their craft but that is not my preference. Both top 10 but I have never been drawn to tears or felt emotionally drained after a Lawler or Bockwinkel match, though the Bock's match with Hennig comes close. Compare that to Bret who was way more believable than Lawler, less cartoony, and though suffers if you include promos, his matches drew me in both as a kid and as an adult. That 1-2-3 Kid match from a random Raw, the Mania matches with Owen and Austin. Lots to pick from. I think my top ten looks something like this right now:

1) Hansen, 2) Hokuto, 3) Kawada (those three could change depending on the day of the week), 4) Bret , 5) Tenryu, 6) Jumbo , 7) Lawler, 8 ) Omega (I know I know, but he's been in the best tag match and several of the best singles matches I've seen, and the feud with Okada was my peak fandom in wrestling. I have never and will likely never be an emotional wreck like I was watching the Omega/Okada matches), 9) Bockwinkel, 10) Bryan

Negro Casas, I'd probably need to see more of his '90s stuff to really rate him properly. There's a lot of lucha I should watch more of one year, but I do have issues with the style that take me out of it often. Casas generally avoids that stuff though. Funk is another fringe guy that floats up and out of the top 10 for me. He's weird because he can be SO believable with his hate and passion and then be so goofy with his selling and mannerisms... often in the same match! Like the goofiness is endearing but at the same time it can detract too. Liger is probably one of the more emotionally engaging flyers, so he'd be in the top 15 too. I somehow forgot Flair but he could displace either Bryan or Bock easily. Eddie too of course. Man this is hard. I don't think I would even want to have a top 10 list cemented forever and ever.

Edited by Jiji
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5 hours ago, Elsalvajeloco said:

Okay okay I wanna know whose bright idea it was for Mima Shimoda to be in Zenjo Brawl for All? Cause that's fucked up.

What exactly was the idea behind these fights in AJW? They always felt highly off and weird when I was catching a decent amount of 90-92 AJW a few years ago.

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4 minutes ago, Eivion said:

What exactly was the idea behind these fights in AJW? They always felt highly off and weird when I was catching a decent amount of 90-92 AJW a few years ago.

This is my conjecture, but I think maybe it was trying to hone in and capitalize on the growing attention for worked shoot/shoot style matches. They never really had a giant roster at any point (you can argue it was a tad bigger in the last boom period) so they are only so many multi-person tag matches you can run and permutations of matches in general. Hell, I remember on one card in 92, Kyoko had an All Pacific title match AND was challenging Toyota/Yamada for the WWWA tag titles tagging with Aja IIRC*. So they probably wanted to change it up. Oh and the "look our fucking wrestlers are tough and bad ass, folks." The huge problem with that as Madusa vs. Aja shows that the person who is suppose to or you think will win doesn't always win. Imagine if Aja was in there with a real pro kickboxer like Lucia Rijker instead of Madusa, who knows just enough to handle herself should a situation like that ever arise. Aja would have out for months recovering from that spectacular ass whooping.

*Speaking of Aja, Kyoko was replacing Bison because Jungle Jack won a #1 contenders match. However, in a single GP tournament match before their WWWA tag team title match, Aja injured Bison (surprise, surprise) which led to Bison's first retirement. She also knocked out some teeth. 

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There's too much to reply to, so let me throw it all out there:

* Sano's post-New Japan, shoot style stuff is better than the Liger feud.

* Hokuto didn't need to work an injury as she'd so many severe ones that she used them as part of her matches.

* The most charismatic worker in AJW was Kyoko Inoue. Hands down, no contest. Overall, it was probably Ozaki. 

* That said, charisma is a weird thing. Western fans have always gravitated towards archetypes that they can relate to such as Hokuto, Kawada, or grumpy Jumbo. How often have you seen folks struggle to comprehend how Misawa or Maeda can be charismatic to a Japanese audience?

* Shimoda might have been expressive, but she couldn't work and needed to be carried by Mita. Of all the girls who got pushed on their looks in the 90s, Shimoda was the worst in-ring. 

* Manami Toyota is more Joshi than Akira Hokuto. That's why more Joshi pro-wrestlers have emulated Toyota than Hokuto. Every Japanese girl who ever entered the All Japan dojo wanted to be like Toyota. So when people say she had no character, or charisma, or she was only interested in moving from one spot to the next, I kind of think they're having a hard time balancing their personal tastes against the reality of Joshi pro-wrestling. 

Edited by ohtani's jacket
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1 hour ago, ohtani's jacket said:

Sano's post-New Japan, shoot style stuff is better than the Liger feud.

What should I be watching? Are you saying strictly his work in those matches are better or the matches are better? I'm skeptical if you're suggesting the latter. 

1 hour ago, ohtani's jacket said:

* That said, charisma is a weird thing. Western fans have always gravitated towards archetypes that they can relate to such as Hokuto, Kawada, or grumpy Jumbo. How often have you seen folks struggle to comprehend how Misawa or Maeda can be charismatic to a Japanese audience?

I agree to an extent that an internalizing society like Japan would connect with more reserved, subtle charismatic wrestlers and that the standard Japanese wrestler often gets mistaken for having no charisma because they don't gesticulate to the crowd and shout a bunch. Misawa's cold blooded, straight line, winner's mentality is something I could never associate with. Akira Maeda is a sociopath but usually fun to watch. Tenryu is more the understated yet super charismatic guy who could say so much with one of those unimpressed looks after somebody comes at him. Kyoko Inoue always gave me cornball vibes. I don't know if I agree with your assessment. Japanese crowds showed adoration for both groups so I don't think this is as much one over the other but there is room for both. 

1 hour ago, ohtani's jacket said:

* Manami Toyota is more Joshi than Akira Hokuto. That's why more Joshi pro-wrestlers have emulated Toyota than Hokuto. Every Japanese girl who ever entered the All Japan dojo wanted to be like Toyota. So when people say she had no character, or charisma, or she was only interested in moving from one spot to the next, I kind of think they're having a hard time balancing their personal tastes against the reality of Joshi pro-wrestling. 

I would agree for the most part and yet I think it is very unfortunate for the style that it is the case. However, modern Joshi does have better pacing and more selling than the era we were talking about even if the workers generally aren't as good as those of that golden age. And every once in a while you get super sellers like Hojo. Meiko is so adored around these parts because she is so great at telling a story with her face and pacing things out. But yeah, I always preferred watching Kairi matches to Io matches because one was way more like Hokuto while the other more like Toyota. 

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12 hours ago, Jiji said:

I'll go to the DVDs I got off of Ginnetty years ago of '80s/early '90s AJW and see how the style changes throughout the years.

Tell me more about this. I might have to convince you to make me copies of these DVDs 🤣 I want a best of AJW in the 80s/90s comp or a Bull Nakano comp SO BAD.

I realize we all have the internet... but those DVDs I mentioned a few days ago? The twenty disc best of All Japan in the 90s, best of 93/94/95 sets... somehow, someway, I got a duplicate order in the mail. Just throwing it out there.

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