Event: All-Japan Women’s Pro Wrestling Rising Generation Special in KAWASAKI
Date: December 12, 2004
Location: Kanagawa Kawasaki Shi Taiikukan in Kawasaki, Japan
Announced Attendance: Unknown (Sparse)
Let’s jump back to some AJW, but not to classic AJW but rather ‘towards the end of its life’ AJW. By 2004, AJW wasn’t doing well. The heyday of arenas full of tens of thousands of people was long gone, as AJW lost its regular TV slot in 2002 and had struggled to keep their head above water with the lost revenue. The promotion still had quality wrestlers for sure, but none that really captured the hearts of fans like The Crush Gals, Manami Toyota, Jaguar Yokota, and all the stars that at one time made AJW one of the most successful promotions in the world. I picked this show intentionally as it had a big title match plus three matches with young wrestlers versus veterans which tend to be pretty entertaining. Plus we have two Tag League the Best Tournament matches and baby Kana! Here is the full card:
- Rising Generation 1: Takako Inoue vs. Haruka Matsuo
- Tag League the Best First Round: Yumiko Hotta and Kana vs. Tomoko Watanabe and Emi Tojo
- Tag League the Best First Round: The Bloody and Fang Suzuki vs. Dump Matsumoto and Sasori
- Rising Generation 2: Momoe Nakanishi vs. Saki Maemura
- Rising Generation 3: Lioness Asuka vs. Hikaru
- Kumiko Maekawa vs. Amazing Kong
- WWWA World Championship: Ayako Hamada vs. Nanae Takahashi
I am sure some of this event will be clipped, but we’ll see which matches are as we get into it.
Takako Inoue vs. Haruka Matsuo
The first match of the night is the first in a series of “Rising Generation” matches, pitting young wrestlers against established veterans. Takako Inoue needs no introduction – at the time of this event she had 16 different title reigns, held the AJW Championship for over a year, and was part of one of the most accomplished tag teams in Joshi with Kyoko Inoue. At the time of this event she was a Freelancer, but still frequented her old stomping ground. Haruka debuted in June of 2001 in Jd’ but joined NEO in 2002, where she was affiliated with for the rest of her career until she retired in 2009. At the time of this match she had won one title in NEO, the Tag Team Championship, but besides that she was still looking to move up the card. Beating Takako would certainly help in her quest to get more respect on the Joshi scene.
They jockey to start, Haruka avoids Takako’s boot and she hits a springboard armdrag off the ropes. Stomps by Haruka and she applies a seated armbar, but Takako gets into the ropes. Dropkicks by Haruka but Takako shrugs them off and plants the youngster with a DDT. Double underhook suplex by Takako and she applies a leg submission, but Haruka makes it into the ropes. Haruka goes for a crossbody by Takako catches her on the first attempt and ducks the second one before leveling Haruka with a high kick. Avalanche chokeslam of sorts by Takako, but Haruka barely kicks out of the cover. Haruka avoids Takako’s dive off the top turnbuckle and hits a hurricanrana, dropkick by Haruka and she hits a missile dropkick. She hits another missile dropkick, cover by Haruka but it gets two as does the Northern Lights Suplex. High kick by Takako, she picks up Haruka and hits a snap backdrop suplex hold for a two count. Spinning backfist by Takako, but again Haruka gets a shoulder up. Haruka slaps Takako and applies a wing clutch hold for a two count, she goes up top and delivers a diving body press before hitting a German suplex hold for two. Takako’s Night Night by Takako, she goes up top and hits the Takako Panic for the three count! Your winner is Takako Inoue!
One of the benefits of this series being young wrestlers but not rookies is that we get real match. Takako looked great here as she was on point with all her offense but still gave Haruka enough that both came out looking fine. Not a very long match and it might have been clipped a bit, but a fun way to kick off the show. Mildly Recommended
Yumiko Hotta and Kana vs. Tomoko Watanabe and Emi Tojo
This match is part of the first round in the Tag League The Best Tournament. The tournament in 2004 was single elimination and had eight teams, we will see another match in the tournament next. If you never knew that Kana wrestled in AJW, surprise! At the time Kana was affiliated with AtoZ, which is the promotion she started her career in. Hotta was also affiliated with AtoZ and was a long time veteran. The other team followed the same formula, with Watanabe being the seasoned veteran and Tojo was a young wrestler from Jd’. Tojo in 2005 left wrestling to become an AV Idol, but that is another story for another day.
Kana and Watanabe start the match as Kana quickly hits a trio of dropkicks, but Watanabe dropkicks her back and hits a scoop slam. Rebound elbow drop by Watanabe, Tojo runs in and hits a body press before Watanabe covers her for two. Watanabe works over Kana on the mat, and we clip ahead to Kana kicking Watanabe in the corner. That doesn’t last long as Watanabe fights back, Tojo comes in and Kana is double teamed in the corner. Watanabe suplexes Tojo onto Kana, Tojo stays in and applies a headlock to Kana but Kana fires off some elbows and hits a dropkick. The young pair jockey for position on the mat until Tojo hits a quick suplex. Tojo tags in Watanabe, sunset flip by Kana but Watanabe grabs the ropes. Hotta comes in and hits a heel kick on Watanabe, Watanabe hits a back bodydrop but Kana dropkicks Watanabe. Watanabe knocks them both back with a springboard double elbow but Hotta grabs her and hits a Tiger Driver for a two count. Hotta tags Kana by slapping her, missile dropkick by Kana but Watanabe kicks her in the chest. Dropkick by Kana but Watanabe fires back with a lariat for a two count. Watanabe tags Tojo, knees by Tojo in the corner and she hits a dropkick. Scoop slam by Tojo but Kana dropkicks her, back bodydrop by Tojo but Kana dropkicks her again and covers her for two. Tojo and Kana trade elbows, Kana goes off the ropes and she hits three hip attacks for a two count. Tojo and Kana trade slaps, roll-up by Kana but Watanabe comes in and Kana is double teamed. Tojo gets on the second turnbuckle and hits a missile dropkick, but Kana makes the tag to Hotta. Dropkicks by Tojo to Hotta but Hotta hits a double face crusher, Tojo blocks the Tiger Driver and Watanabe comes in to kick Hotta in the chest. Tojo goes for a sunset flip by Hotta sits on her chest to block it, Hotta picks up Tojo but Watanabe knocks her over. Shining Wizard by Tojo to Hotta, but it only gets a two count. Tojo goes off the ropes but Watanabe hits a palm thrust, Hotta knocks Watanabe to the mat and then hits a Tiger driver on Tojo for the three count! Hotta and Kana win the match and move on in the tournament.
Good, but not great. It was fun to see Kana in her first year, still a bit rough around the edges and not at all like what she is today, but with some glimpses of skill and fire like you want to see in wrestlers early in their career. The match was just a bit too random and had no flow whatsoever, most of it was just them taking turns hitting moves on each other without a sense that either team had a strategy. The clipping may be slightly to blame but the match was probably like that in full as well. The action was generally solid so no complaints there, it just lacked something special to make it a memorable match or to feel like an important tournament match.
The Bloody and Fang Suzuki vs. Dump Matsumoto and Sasori
This match is part of the first round in the Tag League The Best Tournament. It is also full of wackiness. Dump Matsumoto of course is a legendary wrestler from AJW’s most successful years, while Sasori was one of her lackeys that didn’t have much of a career outside of being associated with Dump. Bloody and Suzuki were Freelancers and had twice won the TWF Tag Team Championship together, so they were a fair match for Dump and her minion.
Matsumoto attacks Bloody before the match starts and the action immediately spills outside of the ring, with Matsumoto’s friends helping as well. Matsumoto and Bloody finally get in the ring with Matsumoto’s masked friend doing a bulk of the work, Suzuki comes in but Matsumoto quickly knocks her back out. Sasori comes in and trades elbows with Bloody, Matsumoto hits Bloody with kendo stick but Suzuki hits Sasori with a chair. Bloody tags Suzuki and Suzuki hits Sasori with a chair, but the masked friend returns and takes it from her. She then hits Suzuki with the chair as Suzuki is triple teamed in the corner. Sasori bites Bloody in the head and hits a hard elbow, cover by Sasori but it gets two. Matsumoto comes in and hits Bloody with the kendo stick, Bloody sneaks in a sunset flip but it only gets two. Sasori suplexes Bloody, the masked woman comes in and she hits a suplex to Suzuki. Matsumoto hits everyone with a paint can, including the referee (well especially the referee), but Suzuki comes in with a chair and hits Sasori in the head. Bloody gets Sasori in the corner and chokes her, snap backdrop suplex by Suzuki and Bloody hits a diving senton off the rope. Bloody is pulled outside the ring and attacked, at some point in all this the referee wakes and DQs Matsumoto and Sasori. Bloody and Suzuki move on in the tournament.
So this was an experience. I knew that it would be a brawl but it was one of those types where Matsumoto never even left the ring and just interfered whenever she felt like it. At least they did get DQed, unlike the old days, but it still wasn’t really a match in the traditional sense of the word. None of these four by 2004 were great wrestlers in the traditional sense of the word but the brawl just wasn’t heated enough to make up for it. Interesting perhaps, but still not something I could really recommended.
Momoe Nakanishi vs. Saki Maemura
This match is part of the Rising Generations series. Nakanishi was technically a Freelancer but had a long career in AJW that started back in 1996. Maemura debuted in 2001 in AJW, she actually won the AJW Championship earlier in the year (the AJW Championship was the second ranked title in the promotion, not the main title) but was still below Nakanishi due to the age difference and all the success Nakanishi had in her career. Still, a win here would cement Maemura as a force to be reckoned with the last few months of AJW’s existence.
Momoe and Saki get right into it with no wasted time, quick dropkick by Momoe and the pair trade elbows back and forth until Saki throws down Momoe by her hair. She does it again and hits a few snapmares before applying a sleeper, bodyscissors by Saki but Momoe gets out of it and delivers with a dropkick. Momoe goes up top and hits a missile dropkick but Saki hits a rebound crossbody out of the corner for two. Saki goes up top but Momoe hits her and joins her. Saki slides off and dropkicks Momoe, release German by Saki and she hits a missile dropkick. Saki dropkicks Momoe out of the ring, she then goes up top and hits a diving crossbody down to the floor. Saki slides Momoe back in but Momoe hits a dropkick, Saki falls out of the ring and Momoe goes for a moonsault, but Saki moves out of the way. Dropkick by Saki from the apron, she slides Momoe back in and hits a missile dropkick for a two count. Fisherman suplex by Saki, but Momoe gets a shoulder up again. Saki goes up top but Momoe gets her feet up on the diving body press attempt, quick roll-up by Saki gets a two. She tries another one with the same result, double underhook suplex by Momoe but it gets a two. Momoe goes up top and hits a missile dropkick but Saki comes back with a German suplex hold. German suplex hold by Momoe but Saki blocks the dragon suplex attempt and the two trade pick pins. Saki goes off the ropes but Momoe catches her with a Momo☆OK, a second Momo☆OK by Momoe and she picks up the three count! Momoe Nakanishi is the winner.
A very high speed match and a hell of a sprint, both hit a million dropkicks and were flying around everywhere. It still had some big moves, with a dive by Saki and a dropkick off the apron, but most of it was focused between the ropes. There wasn’t a lot in terms of things like long term selling as they were going too fast to worry about such things, but for a shorter match it worked fine. A good display by both and overall enjoyable. Mildly Recommended
Lioness Asuka vs. Hikaru
This match is part of the Rising Generations series. Probably the least fair pairing of the bunch although Hikaru is no slouch. Asuka is one of the top Joshi wrestlers in history, ranging from her success as part of the Crush Gals all the way up to her successes in GAEA. Due to a neck injury however, she announced in 2004 that she was retiring in 2005 so this would be one of her last televised matches. Hikaru had the most experience in this match series of the younger wrestlers as she debuted in 1999, plus she had already held three titles in the promotion. So it still fits the theme as Hikaru is definitely part of the rising generation, and she is sure to put up a fight here against her senior.
Asuka shows immediately that she has not mellowed with age, as she attacks Hikaru during the handshake and then sprays green mist in her face. Snapmares and kicks by Asuka, she gets her table and catapults it into Hikaru’s face. Asuka’s posse helps (as if she needed it) as Hikaru falls outside of the ring to be tended to by her corners. Asuka goes out to get her and rams her head into the table, Asuka charges Hikaru and lariats her against the table before rolling her back into the ring. Hikaru is then attacked with chairs as Hikaru is now bleeding, Blue Thunder Driver by Asuka but the referee won’t count it due to all the cheating. Asuka doesn’t care and starts choking Hikaru, knee drops by Asuka but Hikaru finally fights back with elbows. She bounces off the ropes but is tripped from ringside, Asuka grabs Hikaru and puts her in the Tree of Woe. Sliding dropkicks to Hikaru and Asuka puts her in a modified Camel Clutch. Hikaru manages to hit a big spear, knees by Asuka and she kicks Hikaru in the head. The table is propped up in the corner but Hikaru knocks Asuka back and hits a missile dropkick. Hikaru charges Asuka but Asuka moves so Hikaru runs into the table. Asuka puts the table onto Hikaru, she gets on the top turnbuckle and she hits a diving footstomp onto the table. Liger Bomb by Asuka, but Hikaru gets a shoulder up. Asuka gets Hikaru on her shoulders but she slides away and goes up top. Asuka joins her but Hikaru knocks her back down and and hits a missile dropkick for a two count. Asuka elbows Hikaru but Hikaru hits a spear, Hikaru picks up Asuka and she hits a Samoan Drop for a two count. Spinebuster by Hikaru, she picks up Asuka as Asuka’s friend comes in, but the friend hits Asuka with the chair by accident. Fisherman Driver by Hikaru, but Asuka gets a toe on the ropes. Hikaru goes to pick up Asuka but Asuka throws a fireball at her face, Hikaru rolls out of the ring and Asuka throws her into the stands. Asuka goes up to the top turnbuckle and hits a diving footstomp through the table (and obviously Hikaru), she slides Hikaru back in and she nails the Towerhacker Bomb, but Hikaru gets a shoulder up. Asuka goes for the LSD II, but Hikaru blocks it and rolls up Asuka for two. Heel kick by Asuka and she hits a second one, but Hikaru kicks out. Hikaru slaps Asuka but Asuka slaps her back and hits the LSD III for the three count! Lioness Asuka wins!
I love Asuka, here she was just a few months from retiring due neck injuries but she was holding nothing back to put on a good show. Diving footstomps through tables, fireballs, it was fun to watch. Asuka has a reputation as being a selfish worker, mostly deserved, but she wasn’t here as Hikaru kicked out of some of her bigger moves and had several close nearfalls against the Joshi legend. It was constant action with no wasted time, from the first misting to the final LSD something was always happening. A really solid match and to me just further cements Asuka’s place as one of the top Joshi wrestlers of all time. Recommended
Kumiko Maekawa vs. Amazing Kong
This match will find the new #1 Contender for the WWWA World Championship. Amazing Kong is the more well known of these two, as she is better known to American fans as Awesome Kong or Kharma. Kong debuted in late 2002 but was given a quick push in AJW as a monster Gaijin (and friend of Aja Kong of course). Maekawa debuted back in 1991 and had a long line of title success, including the Japanese Tag Team Championship, AJW Championship, WWWA Tag Team Championship, and All Pacific Championship. So going into the match, the veteran Maekawa looked like the favorite, but Kong was hard to pin and seemed ready to move up the card for good.
Maekawa and Kong lock knuckles, chops by Kong and she lariats Maekawa to the mat. Maekawa gets back up and puts Kong in a seated armbar, but Kong gets a foot onto the ropes to break the hold. Kicks by Maekawa but she lets up Kong while smiling, Kong avoids the next kick however and she tosses Maekawa out of the ring. She goes out after her but Maekawa rolls in real quick, Maekawa kicks Kong as she gets on the apron and exits the ring to throw Kong into the guard rail. Maekawa battles Kong around the ring but Kong regains the advantage and throws Maekawa into the railing. Vertical suplex by Kong on the floor and she goes for a powerbomb, but Maekawa slides away and drop toeholds Kong onto some chairs. Maekawa slides Kong back in and hits a heel drop in the corner, Calf Branding by Maekawa and she covers Kong for two.
Kong fires back with a lariat and hits a double underhook facebuster, she gets on the second turnbuckle and hits a diving bodypress for a two count. Kong goes for a powerbomb but Maekawa gets out of it and hits a leg sweep. She goes off the ropes but Kong hits a lariat, Maekawa kips up however and delivers a heel kick for two. Kong finally hits the powerbomb, but the cover only gets a two count. Heel Drop by Maekawa, but Kong barely kicks out. Maekawa picks up Kong but she blocks the next Heel Drop attempt, quick roll-up by Maekawa but Kong kicks out. Kong returns the favor with her own roll-up for two, she picks up Maekawa but Maekawa blocks the spinning backfist. Kong finally hits one but Maekawa comes back with a high kick as they trade strikes back and forth. Back kick by Maekawa and she hits a rolling heel kick, she goes for a boot in the corner but Kong avoids it and applies a backslide for two. Sit-down Powerbomb by Kong, she picks up Maekawa and clubs her in the face. Kong goes up to the second turnbuckle and hits a diving legdrop, she gets on the second turnbuckle again but Maekawa avoids the diving bodypress. Kicks to the head by Maekawa but Kong sneaks in an inside cradle for two. Heel Drop by Maekawa, but Kong kicks out of the pin. Another Heel Drop by Maekawa, and this time she gets the three count! Maekawa is the winner.
Definitely an interesting match. It was odd seeing the monster Kong being the one going for sneaky pins while Maekawa was content in kicking the hell out of her. I love Maekawa’s Heel Drops, she gets so much elevation on her kick, I’ve never seen anything like it. Only issue it that she was so dominating that I never really brought into Kong winning as even though she hit her powerbomb you knew it would take more than that. Lots of hard strikes and solid action, it just had too much meandering brawling and not enough emotion.
(c) Ayako Hamada vs. Nanae Takahashi
This match is for the WWWA World Championship. Hamada began her career in ARSION, where she was one of their biggest young stars, but left the promotion in 2001 and became a Freelancer. On May 11th, 2003 she defeated Momoe Nakanishi for the title, and had successfully defended it leading up to this match against Nanae Takahashi. Takahashi debuted in AJW in 1996 and while she had held the WWWA Tag Team Championship five times and the AJW Championship once, she had never held the top belt in AJW. Hamada and Takahashi had won (and already lost) the tag titles together earlier in the year, however now all bets were off as Takahashi looked to finally win the WWWA World Championship.
They shake hands but Hamada grabs Takahashi and hits a quick powerbomb. Superkick by Hamada and a heel kick, and she delivers the AP Cross for a two count. Back up Hamada hits another heel kick, but Takahashi ducks the next one and hits a backdrop suplex. Another backdrop suplex by Takahashi and she hits a lariat before delivering a Nana☆Racka for two. Dropkick by Takahashi but Hamada returns fire. Hamada and Takahashi trade elbows as they return to their feet, Hamada charges Takahashi but Takahashi dumps her out of the ring. Plancha suicida by Takahashi, she rolls Hamada back in the ring but Hamada avoids the reverse splash. Hamada goes for a moonsault but Takahashi gets her feet up and hits a release German suplex. Takahashi goes up top but Hamada smacks her and joins her, hitting an Avalanche Frankensteiner down to the floor. Both wrestlers are hurt but Hamada is up first and slides Takahashi back in the ring, missile dropkick by Hamada and she hits a sit-down powerbomb for two. Takahashi rolls out of the ring, still in a good amount of pain, but Hamada goes out after her and hits her with a set of chairs. Vertical suplex by Hamada and she climbs up onto the stage, and she hits a moonsault down onto Takahashi. They battle up onto the balcony, Hamada tries to throw her off but Takahashi blocks it and slides her over the edge.
Hamada hangs for a moment before falling down to the floor, Takahashi then climbs to the other side of the railing and jumps down onto Hamada. So far this match is just a series of big spots but I love it. Takahashi tosses Hamada around the ring before they get up on the apron, Hamada gets a chair but tosses it at Takahashi and pretends like Takahashi hit her. The referee fusses at her, giving Hamada time to roll the ring, she then dropkicks Takahashi off the apron and goes for a moonsault, but Takahashi side steps it and puts Hamada on the apron. Takahashi then grabs Hamada and hits a vertical suplex off the apron down to the floor, she puts her back in the ring and hits a backdrop suplex for two. Big lariat by Takahashi, footstomp by Takahashi and she hits a Nana☆Racka for two. Hamada goes for a kick but Takahashi catches it and suplexes her to the mat. Lariat by Takahashi but Hamada sneaks in an inside cradle for a two count. Another lariat by Takahashi but Hamada springs back up just to eat another one. La Magistral by Hamada, but Takahashi gets a shoulder up. Enzuigiri by Hamada but Takahashi slides away from the powerbomb attempt. Dropkick by Hamada, she picks up Takahashi and hits the Pyramid Driver for a two count. AP Cross by Hamada, but Takahashi barely gets a shoulder up. Hamada kicks Takahashi in the head and she puts Takahashi in a backslide for two. Running slap by Hamada and she hits two heel kicks, AP Cross by Hamada but Takahashi kicks out. Lariat by Takahashi and she hits a Nana☆Racka, but it only gets a one. Takahashi charges Hamada but Hamada catches her and hits a AP Cross Diamond for two. Takahashi comes back with a jumping knee, Takahashi goes up top but Hamada joins her, she goes for a cutter but Takahashi blocks it and slides off. Hamada kicks Takahashi back but Takahashi punches her back and gets her in the Muscle Buster position. Nana Racka II by Takahashi, and she picks up the three count! Takahashi is the new champion!
Well that was one hell of a spotfest, just twenty minutes of them doing big moves until finally someone did a move strong enough to keep the other down. Which in a way is the problem with a match like this, the Nana Racka II is a great move but after everything that had been done it seemed almost anti-climatic. But they did two very similar bumps to the Kobashi/Akiyama match, which I doubt was a coincidence as that was the ‘big match’ of the year that had happened six months prior. It was certainly exciting as they kept ramping up the violence and there was never a dull moment, definitely worth tracking down for the “oh shit” moments if nothing else, and Hamada was on another level back in 2004. Recommended
Even though some modern promotions have issues having even five matches on a two hour broadcast without lots of clipping, All Japan Women did a much better job as they cut down the time between matches so none of the matches themselves felt heavily clipped. None of the seven matches were bad, although the Dump brawl can be skipped without much second thought. All of the Rising Generation matches were solid, with Lioness Asuka being the highlight, and the main event was an upper level crazy heavyweight spotfest with lots of reasons to assume that neither were walking the next day (although they probably were since wrestlers aren't human). Overall a great show by AJW towards the end of the promotion's run.