Kana in All Japan Pro Wrestling

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Spending the bulk of her career as a Freelancer allowed Kana to wrestle in over a dozen promotions across Japan and the United States. One of her stops early in her career was in All Japan Pro Wrestling, where she had a total of four matches:

  • August 7th, 2005 –  American Angel and Mika Nishio vs. Kana and Mima Shimoda
  • January 7th, 2008 – Ariya and Shinigami vs. Kana and Shineway (was not taped)
  • February 15th, 2008 – Apple Miyuki, Kikutaro, and Nobutaka Araya vs. Joe Doering, Kana, and Kaz Hayashi
  • July 7th, 2008 – Apple Miyuki, Kaz Hayashi, and Yuki Ishikawa vs. Kana, Nobutaka Araya, and Ryuji Hijikata

Of the four events that Kana wrestled on, three were recorded and televised. Since it is unusual for a female wrestler to have multiple matches in one of the classic ‘big two’ Japanese promotions, I thought it would be fun to see how the matches went for Kana. Just as a warning, the last two matches have quite a bit of what I call “Perv Comedy” so if such things offend you, this may not be the best review for you to read as GIFs are included.

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American Angel and Mika Nishio vs. Kana and Mima Shimoda

This match took place on August 7th, 2005 in All Japan Summer Festival.  It took place right in the middle of the card as a special attraction, a rare All Japan match that featured all Joshi wrestlers. The most interesting thing here is the appearance of American Angel, better known as Sara Del Rey, a current trainer in NXT. Nishio still appears in OZ Academy but hasn’t wrestled in a long time, and Shimoda is a legendary wrestler from back in the AJW days.

Kana dropkicks Angel as the bell rings and goes for a crossbody, but she falls short. Hard elbow by Angel and she slams Kana before making the tag to Nishio. Nishio boots Kana repeatedly and hits a double underhook suplex, Angel goes up top and she hits an ax handle. Angel elbows Kana hard and throws her down by her hair, Nishio comes back in and she boots Kana in the chest. Kana dropkicks Nishio away and tags in Shimoda, lariat by Shimoda and she pulls on Nishio’s hair. Nishio dropkicks Shimoda and goes up top, hitting a missile dropkick for a two count. German suplex hold by Nishio and she tags in Angel, lariat by Angel to Shimoda and she puts her onto the top turnbuckle. Guillotine into a suplex by Angel but Shimoda hits a back bodydrop, Kana comes in but Angel lariats both of them.

kana1Powerbomb by Angel to Shimoda, but Kana breaks it up. DDT by Shimoda and she tags in Kana, Kana hits a series of hip attacks on Angel before covering her for two. Kana goes for a sunset flip but Angel sits on her, lariat by Angel and she applies a bodyscissors. Hip attack out of the corner by Kana but Angel tags Nishio, missile dropkick by Nishio and she covers Kana for two. Kana comes back with a hip attack on Nishio but Nishio boots her in the head. Nishio goes up top but Shimoda knocks her off, Kana goes for a diving bodypress but Nishio gets her feet up. Angel comes in to help clear out the ring, Nishio picks up Kana but Kana rolls her up for two. Kana jumps up in the corner and goes for a sunset flip, but Nishio rolls through it and dropkicks her. Release German by Nishio, Angel goes up top and she delivers a moonsault. Nishio picks up Kana, German suplex hold by Nishio but Shimoda breaks it up. Big kick by Nishio, she picks up Kana and she nails a Tiger Suplex Hold for a three count! Angel and Nishio win the match.

This is the only “real” match of Kana’s in All Japan that was televised, so we have to enjoy it as much as we can. Some parts of this were fun, I liked the sections with Del Rey and young Kana is fun Kana but there were definitely a few miscommunications and shady transitions.  An interesting pairing and a unique environment, but as a match it was just average with a few cool parts.

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Apple Miyuki, Kikutaro, and Nobutaka Araya vs. Joe Doering, Kana, and Kaz Hayashi

This match took place on February 15th, 2008 in All Japan “Playboy Channel Night.” Yes you read that title correctly, that was the name of the show. So there were models around the ring and in the ring throughout the show, a very sexy affair. Most of the event was a one night U-30 Tag Team Tournament, but this match was sandwiched in the middle. Anytime Kikutaro and Kana are on opposite sites of the ring it means one thing – there is going to be some pervy comedy going down. All in good fun, and we’ve established that Kana does willingly employ her sexuality in matches, but this match may rub people the wrong way. No pun intended.

Young Doering and Araya kick things off as the match starts relatively normally with shoulderblocks and such, with Doering controlling the action. Araya tags Kikutaro while Hayashi is also tagged in, with Kikutaro hitting a quick armdrag. Spinning headscissors by Hayashi, he kicks Kikutaro out of the ring and does a fake dive before tagging in Kana. Miyuki comes in too and they trade dropkicks until Kana hits a few hip attacks. Miyuki tags Kikutaro, Kikutaro tries to feel up Kana but the referee pushes him away. Kikutaro throws down Kana by her hair, Kana goes for a scoop slam but Kikutaro traps her hand between his legs. Scoop slam by Kikutaro, they lock knuckles and Kikutaro hugs her down to the mat until everyone kicks him to get Kikutaro off of her. He then does the same to Miyuki with everyone breaking it up again, and Kikutaro tags Araya. Kana slaps Araya hard in the face, so Miyuki comes in to help Kikutaro. Miyuki holds Kana’s legs open while Kikutaro gets one of the cameras to give us uh better view of Kana. Araya comes  in again but Kana slaps him again, busting his nose in the process.

kana2Kana is attacked in the corner (with Araya continuing to have no success), Miyuki puts Kana in a headscissors so they start a headscissors chain. Kikutaro puts himself in a headscissors with Kana, then Doering puts a crab hold on him which flips over the entire row. All six wrestlers run into each other, Miyuki goes up top and she hits a diving crossbody on Hayashi for a two count. Hayashi punches Miyuki to the mat and hits a scoop slam, Miyuki sneaks in a dropkick and makes the tag to Araya. Doering is also tagged in, spinebuster by Doering and he covers Araya for two. Kana runs in and hits Kikutaro with hip attacks, cover by Kana but it gets two. Kikutaro avoids the next hip attack but Kana throws him off when he goes for a bulldog. Tornado DDT by Kana and she hits a reverse DDT for two. Doering comes in but he lariats Kana by accident, Kikutaro hits Doering and lowers his pants as he approaches Kana, but Kana kicks him low. Superkick by Hayashi to Kikutaro, and Doering follows with a lariat. Kana slaps Araya again, powerbomb by Doering to Araya, and Kana hits a German suplex hold on Kikutaro for the three count! Doering, Kana, and Hayashi are your winners.

This type of match is certainly not for everyone. Everything was pretty normal except when the pairing was Kikutaro and Kana, then all bets were off. The other side story was Araya never having any luck against Kana at all, being knocked back every time he tried to hit her. The Kikutaro stuff may go too far for some but its a pretty normal interaction for them, only difference here is that usually it happens on small indies and not in All Japan Pro Wrestling. But it did make me laugh, which may not say much about me but what can ya do. And by the end of course Kana got the better of Kikutaro and the pin which is usually what happens. The oddest thing about this match is it kept alternating between being a normal match and a Kikutaro comedy match,  however it was still quite watchable and possibly amusing, depending on your taste.

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Apple Miyuki, Kaz Hayashi, and Yuki Ishikawa vs. Kana, Nobutaka Araya, and Ryuji Hijikata

This match took place on July 7th, 2008 in All Japan “Pro Wrestling Love in Tanabata.” This is a bit more unusual than the last match, as at least that event had a more playful theme. This was a normal show, but had this match randomly in the midcard, with multiple non-affiliated wrestlers. Here, Ishikawa will take the roll of creep from Kikutaro, with Hayashi surprisingly behaving himself.

kana3Hijikata and Ishikawa are the first two in, they roll around on the mat and trade slaps and headbutts before turning to their feet. Hijikata tags in Kana, Ishikawa gets on the mat and grabs Kana’s leg but Kana applies a kneelock. Ishikawa reverses it as Hayashi and Miyuki come in and apply leg locks to Kana, spreading her legs open, which allows Ishikawa to have a seat and enjoy the view. Ahhh. Miyuki stays in as legal and dropkicks Kana but Kana comes back with hip attacks, Ishikawa comes in to protect Miyuki but Kana slaps him. Kana slams Miyuki and tags Araya, now it is Miyuki that gets her legs spread but she slaps Araya before he can enjoy it too much. Hijikata tags in, Miyuki slaps him in the chest but Hijikata throws her in the corner so she can tag in Hayashi.

Hayashi and Hijikata trade elbows and then kicks to the head, Hayashi tags Miyuki but Hijikata slaps her. Kick low by Miyuki and Hijikata tags Kana, hip attack by Kana to Miyuki in the corner but she kicks back Araya. They do this a few more times, Ishikawa comes in and sneaks up on Kana but Kana sees him coming. Kana and Miyuki trade elbows, enzuigiri by Miyuki and she tags in Ishikawa. Ishikawa picks up Kana but puts her down nicely, Kana goes for a slam but Ishikawa traps her hand between his legs. Stomps by Kana but Ishikawa applies a kneelock, Kana puts Ishikawa in a triangle choke but he enjoys the position and won’t let Kana release the hold until the referee gets him off. Ishikawa picks up Kana for a powerbomb but Kana reverses it into a hurricanrana (with an assist from Ishikawa) and gets a three count! Kana and team win the match! After the match, Ishikawa won’t let Kana up as he likes Kana sitting on him until again everyone forces Ishikawa off of her.

So I assume that Ishikawa saw the last match and wanted to up the creep factor, which he did a good job at. The forced face sitting at the end was a really nice touch and I appreciate them thinking outside the box to give someone that has watched wrestling for 25 years something a bit different. Kana humor dominated the match (again, Araya wasn’t able to hit the Joshi wrestler so it followed the same themes as the last match) but there was some more traditional action when the other pairings were in the ring. This one will lead to more head shaking than anything else but some of the exchanges were quite good if you don’t mind some awkward Ishikawa.