PURE-J “JxA Dream Tag Tournament” on 7/14/17 Review

Event: PURE-J “JxA Dream Tag Tournament”
Date: July 14th, 2017
Location: Asakusa Hanayashik in Tokyo, Japan
Announced Attendance: Unknown

Occasionally I like to review an odd event that wasn’t televised, so today I decided to give PURE-J some love. PURE-J was born out of JWP when JWP shut down last spring, it has the same wrestlers and set-up, they just lost the rights to the name and the JWP titles. On this show, we have a six team tag tournament plus a special singles match featuring Yumiko Hotta! Here is the full card:

All the wrestlers on the show have profiles on Joshi City, you can click on their name above to go straight to it. Since I am watching this on DVD, all matches will be shown in full.

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KAZUKI and Rydeen Hagane vs. Yako Fujigasaki and Saori Anou

This match is part of the Dream Tag Tournament. KAZUKI and Rydeen have been teaming for a long time, tracing back to late 2013, and together are called WANTED ’14. KAZUKI is the veteran of the group as she debuted in 1997, while Rydeen has been wrestling since 2012. On the other side, this is the first time that Yako and Saori have ever teamed, Yako is a young PURE-J wrestler and Saori is affiliated with Actwres girl’Z. A lopsided opener but all four are fun wrestlers.

Rydeen and Saori start the match but Yako attacks Rydeen from behind, Rydeen stacks them both into the corner and hits a body avalanche before putting Saori in a backbreaker. Yako breaks it up but Rydeen hits a double backdrop suplex, Rydeen puts both of them in crab holds but lets go after a moment. Yako leaves the ring and Rydeen puts Saori into her own crab hold, but Saori gets into the ropes. Saori gets away from Rydeen but Rydeen drops her with a backbreaker, body press by Rydeen and she gets a two count. Rydeen picks up Saori but Saori reverses the backdrop suplex, kick by Saori but Rydeen judo tosses her to the mat and tags in KAZUKI. KAZUKI flings Saori down and goes for her arm, but Yako quickly breaks it up. KAZUKI throws both Yako and Saori in the corner and hits a running knee, another knee by KAZUKI and she stacks both Yako and Saori across the ropes in the corner before hitting a double kneedrop. Saori clubs on KAZUKI but KAZUKI knees her, sidewalk slam by Saori and she covers KAZUKI for two. KAZUKI knees Saori again and the two trade shots, backslide with a bridge by Saori but KAZUKI kicks out. Saori tags in Yako, hip attacks by Yako to KAZUKI and she gets KAZUKI on her shoulders, but Rydeen breaks it up.

purej7-14-1Yako kicks Rydeen out of the ring, she goes back to Yako and hits a wrist clutch suplex. Missile dropkick by Yako, and she covers KAZUKI for a two count. Saori comes in while Yako goes up top, she tries to help Yako hit a senton but KAZUKI rolls out of the way. KAZUKI tags Rydeen, lariat by Rydeen and she covers Yako for two. Saori runs in but Rydeen lariats both of them, Rydeen picks up Yako and drops her with a German suplex. Reverse Splash by Rydeen and she hits a second one, but Saori breaks up the cover. Lariat by Rydeen in the corner and she hits a second one, more lariats by Rydeen and she covers Yako, but Yako gets a shoulder up. Knees by Rydeen but Yako avoids the lariat and cradles Rydeen for a two count. Another roll-up by Yako but KAZUKI breaks it up, Yako picks up Rydeen and with Saori they hit a double backdrop suplex. Yako goes up top and hits a swivel body press, but the pin is broken up. Saori tries to help but hits Yako by accident, German suplex by Rydeen to Yako and she nails her with a lariat for the three count! KAZUKI and Rydeen Hagane win and continue in the tournament.

Even though it was just a reasonably short opener, I really liked this match. Rydeen has really developed into a beast, she was tossing around and lariating both Yako and Saori at will and I really enjoy power wrestling done well. Really she was the main force here, KAZUKI did a few things but she was mostly letting the younger wrestler do the work while she saved her energy for the rest of the tournament. Yako continues to improve, she looks a bit better each time I see her, and Saori is always a pleasure. A solid way to kick off the event.  Mildly Recommended

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Hanako Nakamori and Natsumi Maki vs. Hikari Shimizu and Syoko Sekiguchi

This match is part of the Dream Tag Tournament. New wrestlers! Not literally new but wrestlers I know very little about. Hikari Shimizu and Takako Sekiguchi both debuted in Actwres girl’Z in the spring of 2017, so it is my first time seeing them. In fact I am not sure if they have ever “made TV” at all. I don’t know their ages but both are fairly young and obviously inexperienced. The other team features one of the star players of PURE-J, as Hanako Nakamori was the JWP Openweight Champion when JWP shut down operations. Natsumi Maki is the biggest star of Actwres girl’Z, she is known by many fans for her work in Stardom last year. Another lopsided match but I’m looking forward to seeing Hikari and Syoko.

Hikari and Natsumi begin the match, they both go off the ropes and have a quick exchange but they end up on their feet again. Syoko runs in and with Hikari they dropkick Natsumi, but Hanako comes in and helps even things out. Natsumi tags in Hanako and they double team Hikari, Hanako snapmares Hikari and kicks her in the back. Hikari returns the favor, Hanako knees Hikari in the corner but Hikari dropkicks her and tags in Syoko. Hanako swats away Syoko’s dropkick and puts Syoko in a stretch hold, Syoko gets into the ropes but Hanako tosses her down with an armdrag out of the corner. Hanako stomps on Syoko and she covers the rookie for a two count. Syoko dropkicks Hanako, she picks her up but Hanako blocks the slam attempt and knees Syoko in the head. Another dropkick by Syoko and she hits a face crusher, she tags in Hikari and Hikari dropkicks Hanako. Irish whip by Hikari and she armdrags Hanako out of the corner, elbow by Hikari but Hanako elbows her back as they trade shots. Hanako kicks Hikari in the chest to send her to the mat, Hikari goes off the ropes and she delivers a bulldog. PK by Hikari, and she covers Hanako for a two count.

purej7-14-2Fisherman suplex by Hanako, she goes off the ropes but Syoko hits her from the apron. Syoko comes in but Hanako dropkicks both of them, she tags in Natsumi and Natsumi elbows Hikari against the ropes. Cartwheel armdrag by Natsumi and she dropkicks Hikari for a two count. Natsumi picks up Hikari and slams her in front of the corner, Natsumi gets on the second rope and hits a diving sunset flip for another two. Hikari kicks Natsumi in the chest and hits a leg sweep, cover by Hikari but Natsumi kicks out. Hikari tags in Syoko, dropkicks by Syoko and Hikari returns so they both can dropkick Natsumi. Syoko goes for a STO but Natsumi blocks it, Natsumi and Syoko trade elbows until Syoko delivers the STO for a two count. Syoko picks up Natsumi and elbows her into the corner, dropkick by Natsumi but Syoko hits another STO. Syoko gets on the second turnbuckle but Natsumi tosses her back to the mat, front flipping neckbreaker by Natsumi but Syoko kicks out. Missile dropkick by Hanako, Natsumi gets on the top turnbuckle and she hits a diving body press. Natsumi goes for the swinging neckbreaker but Syoko blocks it, cradle by Syoko but it gets a two count. Syoko goes off the ropes but Natsumi avoids her charge, Hanako boots Syoko and Natsumi nails the Neck Twist for the three count! Hanako Nakamori and Natsumi Maki win and continue in the tournament.

I’m not sure if I can say this match as ‘good’ but it was rather exciting. It was pretty simple in structure, which is expected with two rookies, but they kept the action moving so it never got dull. I’m not a big fan of Hanako and think she was a bit clunky in parts, but Natsumi looked great which helped make up for that. There was only one notable botch, which isn’t bad considering the experience levels, and most of it was pretty smooth. Who knows if Hikari and Syoko will stick around long term, but neither looked too out of place which is always a plus. Overall a bit lacking but it had some fun parts.

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KAZUKI and Rydeen Hagane vs. Leon and Miyuki Takase

This match is part of the Dream Tag Tournament. I’m not sure why Leon and Miyuki got a bye, knowing Joshi promotions it was probably just a random draw. Miyuki is from Actwres girl’Z as well, she debuted for the promotion in January. Leon is a long-time JWP wrestler (now PURE-J wrestler), she debuted in 2000 and has over ten title reigns in her career. KAZUKI and Rydeen we saw in the opener, a quick turnaround for one of the top teams in PURE-J.

Leon and Miyuki attack KAZUKI and Rydeen before the match starts, they knock KAZUKI out of the ring before hitting a double dropkick onto Rydeen. Miyuki stays in as legal and hits a few dropkicks, Rydeen scoops her up but Miyuki slides around and applies a sleeper. Rydeen drives Miyuki into the corner to try to get her off, but Miyuki gets her to the mat and applies a headscissors. Miyuki drives Rydeen’s head into the mat until KAZUKI comes in and puts Miyuki in a headscissors also. Leon breaks that up, KAZUKI and Rydeen both judo toss their opponents to the mat before Rydeen starts flinging Miyuki around the ring. Rydeen scoops up Miyuki and puts her in a backbreaker, she puts Miyuki in the corner and hits a body avalanche. Lariat by Rydeen and she hits a vertical suplex, Miyuki goes off the ropes with attempted shoulderblocks but Rydeen doesn’t go down. Diving elbow smash by Miyuki, and she covers Rydeen for a two count. Miyuki tags in Leon, running shoulder tackle by Leon and she hits a bulldog off the ropes. Leon goes up top and hits a missile dropkick, cover by Leon but Rydeen kicks out. Leon goes off the ropes but Rydeen blocks the spear, she gets Rydeen up in a press slam before dropping Leon to the mat. Lariat by Rydeen and she hits a powerslam, but Leon gets a hand on the ropes.

purej7-14-3Rydeen tags in KAZUKI but Leon cradles her for a two, leg clutch backdrop suplex by KAZUKI, but that gets a two count as well. KAZUKI gets up on the turnbuckles but Miyuki grabs her from the apron, Leon joins KAZUKI and she hits a fisherman suplex down to the mat. Knees by KAZUKI and she hits a Codebreaker, she goes off the ropes but Leon delivers the spear for two. Leon tags Miyuki, Miyuki picks up KAZUKI but KAZUKI avoids her dropkick and hits a running knee. Rydeen comes in and lariats Miyuki in the corner, running knee by KAZUKI and Rydeen hits a backbreaker. Another running knee by KAZUKI, but Leon breaks up the cover. KAZUKI and Rydeen go to attack Miyuki but Leon pushes her out of the way and hits a spear on both of her opponents. Miyuki picks up KAZUKI and hits a rolling fireman’s carry slam, frog splash by Leon and Miyuki follows with a guillotine legdrop. Miyuki goes off the ropes but KAZUKI catches her with a cutter, Rydeen hits a reverse splash and KAZUKI follows with a reverse double kneedrop. Cover by KAZUKI, but Leon barely breaks it up. KAZUKI picks up Miyuki and goes off the ropes, but Leon knees KAZUKI before Miyuki rolls her up for two. Rydeen picks up Miyuki and hits a backdrop suplex, KAZUKI goes up top and nails a diving kneedrop for the three count! KAZUKI and Rydeen Hagane win and advance to the Finals.

Another fun match from WANTED ’14, they are a quality team. Leon is a very respected veteran for a reason, everything she did here was so crisp and she guided Miyuki to the point that she didn’t feel like a rookie at all. They also felt like a real team, constantly working together, which is impressive considering they don’t usually interact. Rydeen has really gotten over as a power house and got to show off a bit more here, although KAZUKI was far more involved as she took over the last half of the match. A really entertaining midcard tag match, this tournament has over-delivered so far.  Recommended

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Command Bolshoi and Tae Honma vs. Hanako Nakamori and Natsumi Maki

This match is part of the Dream Tag Tournament.  Command Bolshoi and Tae Honma got a bye as well, Bolshoi is the current leader of PURE-J and a long time wrestler of JWP before that, she was a member of JWP from 1993 until it closed in 2017. Tae Honma is an Actwres girl’Z wrestler, she debuted back in 2015 but rarely wrestles outside of her home promotion. This is Hanako and Natsumi’s second match of the night, and face a much tougher challenge here than they had two matches ago.

Tae and Natsumi start the match, Tae pushes Natsumi into the ropes and Bolshoi comes in to help, but it ultimately backfires. Tae trips Natsumi and puts her in a cross kneelock, but Hanako comes in and breaks it up. Tae tags in Bolshoi, Natsumi and Bolshoi trade strikes until Bolshoi rolls Natsumi to the mat and puts her in a kneelock. Hanako breaks it up again, she tags Natsumi to her corner so that she can tag in. Hanako kicks Bolshoi into the corner, Irish whip by Hanako but Bolshoi grabs her arm and applies an armbar over the ropes. Bolshoi twists Hanako’s arm in the top rope before tagging in Tae, dropkick to the arm by Tae but Hanako hits a fisherman suplex. Hanako puts Tae in a crab hold, but Tae crawls to the ropes and gets the break. Hanako tags in Natsumi and hits a series of dropkicks onto Tae, Tae trips Natsumi however and puts her in a kneelock. Natsumi gets into the ropes, Tae tags Bolshoi and Bolshoi hits a vertical suplex. Bolshoi picks up Natsumi and puts Natsumi in an ankle hold, Hanako comes in to help but Bolshoi puts her into an ankle hold also. Bolshoi wraps their legs together and with Tae they put both their opponents into crab holds. They leg go after a moment, uranage by Bolshoi to Natsumi and she covers her for two. Bolshoi goes off the ropes but Hanako hits her from the apron, cartwheel into a cradle by Natsumi but Bolshoi kicks out. Natsumi tags in Hanako, boots by Hanako and she goes up top, but Bolshoi runs over and hits a palm strike.

purej7-14-4Bolshoi tries to suplex Hanako back in the ring but Hanako blocks it and hits a leg drop, Hanako goes up top and delivers a missile dropkick for a two count. Hanako goes for a fisherman suplex but Bolshoi blocks it, palm strikes by Bolshoi but Hanako kicks her in the chest. Triangle choke by Bolshoi but Hanako gets a foot in the ropes for a break, Bolshoi tags in Tae and Tae goes for the cross armbreaker but Hanako blocks it. Tae picks up Hanako and goes for the short armbar, but Natsumi breaks it up. Natsumi dropkicks Tae, Bolshoi elbows Natsumi and hits a Tiger Feint Kick onto Hanako. Tae quickly covers Hanako, but it gets a two count. Tae picks up Hanako but Bolshoi lariats both Tae and Bolshoi, Neck Twist by Natsumi to Tae and Hanako boots Tae in the face for a two count. Hanako hits a legdrop off the second turnbuckle, Natsumi then hits a diving body press before Hanako ends the chain with a Shining Wizard. Cover, but Bolshoi breaks it up. Hanako picks up Tae but Tae blocks the fisherman buster, cross armbreaker takedown by Tae but Hanako gets a foot on the ropes. Tae picks up Hanako, palm strike by Bolshoi and Tae rolls up Hanako for a two count. Tae goes off the ropes but Hanako kicks her in the head, head kick by Hanako but Bolshoi breaks up the cover. Hanako picks up Tae and nails the fisherman buster, and she picks up the three count! Hanako Nakamori and Natsumi Maki win the match and go to the tournament Finals.

Another solid match, nothing on this event is blowing me away but its been very steady since the start. Bolshoi was all over the place here, in a good way, as she was always involving herself and doing her damnedest to get her team the win. You’d think it would be tempting for a vet to coast a bit on a small non-televised show, but she certainly wasn’t. The leg work on Natsumi was good, ultimately not important to the conclusion but both wrestlers kept at it and I thought Tae showed a lot here. Still not thrilled with Hanako but she didn’t do anything here to hurt the match, she isn’t the fastest or most crisp wrestler but Natsumi was generally the focus. A fun match, worth a casual watch.  Mildly Recommended

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Manami Katsu vs. Yumiko Hotta

This is a special singles match to give the tag teams a bit of a breather before the finals. Yumiko Hotta is affiliated with Actwres girl’Z, she is the trainer there and has been very active in the ring for the promotion even though she sometimes wrestles in other promotions as well. Manami Katsu is 22 years old and has been in JWP/PURE-J since 2011, she was being pushed as their top young talent but I haven’t really seen enough out of her to think that’s a great idea. Hopefully the grumpy veteran can get something special out of her.

purej7-14-5Manami attacks Hotta before the match starts with elbows in the corner, Hotta elbows her back and the two trade blows. Manami tries to shoulderblock Hotta with no luck, Hotta lariats Manami to the mat and finally gets to take her coat off. Single leg crab hold by Hotta but Manami quickly gets to the ropes. Hotta kicks Manami out of the ring, she goes out after her and tosses Manami around the floor. Hotta returns to the ring with Manami slowly following, kicks by Hotta and she throws Manami to the mat before putting her in a chinlock. Hotta bites Manami in the head but Manami hits a lariat in the corner, more lariats by Manami but Hotta blocks the bulldog. Hotta boots Manami in the head, but Manami recovers and the two trade elbows. Manami knees Hotta in the back to get her to the mat, crab hold by Manami but Hotta gets into the ropes for the break. Hotta goes for a sleeper but Manami quickly gets to the ropes, Hotta kicks Manami in the chest and covers her for two. Manami rolls Hotta to the mat and applies a kneelock, but Hotta is in the ropes already and easily gets the break. Back up, Katsu ducks a lariat and re-applies the rolling kneelock, but again Hotta gets to the ropes. Hotta rolls out of the ring but Manami goes out after her and throws a chair at her, Manami throws another chair at Hotta before taking her up into the crowd so she can ram Hotta’s head into the wall. Manami spits water at Hotta and brings her back into the ring, Samoan Drop by Manami and she boots Hotta while she is against the ropes. Another boot by Manami and she hits a third, lariat by Manami but Hotta doesn’t go down. Elbows by Hotta and she palm strikes Manami, Manami gets up and elbows Hotta but Hotta applies a sleeper. She lets Manami go and kicks her in the head, Hotta puts Manami in a rear naked choke and Manami quickly taps out! Yumiko Hotta is the winner.

I understand what they were trying to do here, but the results were a bit iffy. Try as she might, Manami just wasn’t able to elevated by Hotta, it just felt like a fly annoying a lion. It didn’t help that there were a few miscommunications and they even had to re-do a move, which is never ideal. But even though Manami got in offense it just felt like she was delaying the inevitable more than anything else. Not a bad match, just too predictable with nothing particularly memorable.

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Hanako Nakamori and Natsumi Maki vs. KAZUKI and Rydeen Hagane

This match is the Finals of the JxA Dream Tag Tournament. On one team we have the top wrestler in JWP and Actwres girl’Z, and they are against the only ‘real’ tag team in the tournament, which should make for an interesting dynamic. It is both team’s third match of the night since both of the teams that got a bye lost, so everything is even as they try to take home the tournament victory.

Hanako and Natsumi attack before the match starts, Hanako and Natsumi both go for armdrags out of the corner but Rydeen and KAZUKI knock them both out of the ring instead. Rydeen and KAZUKI brawl around the floor before sliding Natsumi back in, double Irish whip by Rydeen and KAZUKI and they hit a double shoulderblock. Rydeen and KAZUKI stretch Natsumi until Hanako breaks it up, KAZUKI tosses Natsumi down by the hair and hits a kneedrop, cross leglock by KAZUKI, but Natsumi wiggles to the ropes to force the break. Scoop slam by KAZUKI and she hits a kneedrop, cover by KAZUKI but Natsumi kicks out. KAZUKI tags Rydeen, Rydeen puts Natsumi in a crab hold but Hanako breaks it up. Natsumi gets back up and trades elbows with Rydeen, hard shoulderblock by Rydeen and she covers Natsumi for two. Rydeen tags in KAZUKI, knees by KAZUKI and she taunts Hanako on the apron. KAZUKI applies a sleeper but Natsumi gets a toe on the ropes, Irish whip by KAZUKI but Natsumi hits a jumping crossbody and makes the hot tag to Hanako. Kicks by Hanako to KAZUKI but KAZUKI knees her in the back, knees to the stomach by KAZUKI and she covers Hanako for two. Hanako kicks KAZUKI in the head to regain the advantage, she goes up top and hits a combination armdrag/headscissors on both opponents. Hanako tags in Natsumi, dropkicks by Natsumi to KAZUKI and she applies a hanging armbar. Schoolboy by Natsumi, but KAZUKI kicks out. Natsumi goes up top but Rydeen grabs her from the apron, KAZUKI puts Natsumi on her shoulders but Natsumi wiggles away. Footstomp by KAZUKI and she hits a double underhook gutbuster, cover by KAZUKI but Natsumi barely gets a shoulder up. KAZUKI tags in Rydeen, Rydeen lariats Natsumi in the corner before she hits a second one. More lariats by Rydeen but Natsumi rolls over her shoulders and covers her for two.

purej7-14-6Rydeen scoops up Natsumi and applies a backbreaker, but Hanako breaks it up. Rydeen hits a backdrop suplex on both Natsumi and Hanako, double lariat by Rydeen and she goes back to concentrating on Natsumi. Rydeen picks up Natsumi and press slams her onto Hanako, backdrop suplex by Rydeen to Natsumi and she hits a pair of reverse splashes for a two count. Rydeen goes up top but Natsumi avoids the body press, Hanako kicks Rydeen and Natsumi covers her for two. Natsumi tags Hanako, Hanako picks up Rydeen but Rydeen hits a powerslam. Rydeen goes up top but Hanako recovers and kicks her before she can jump off, Hanako joins Rydeen and hits a fisherman suplex down to the mat. Diving body press by Natsumi and Hanako delivers the Shining Wizard, but Rydeen barely kicks out. Hanako goes up top but Rydeen avoids the diving legdrop, Codebreaker by KAZUKI to Hanako and Rydeen hits a sliding lariat. KAZUKI goes up top and nails the diving double kneedrop, Rydeen then goes up top and hits the diving body press, but Natsumi breaks up the cover. Headbutt by Hanako to Rydeen but KAZUKI knees her, Natsumi dropkicks KAZUKI but Rydeen lariats Natsumi. Lariat by Rydeen to Natsumi, she picks up Hanako and hits a fireman’s carry slam for a two count. Rydeen goes off the ropes but Hanako kicks her in the head, another head kick by Hanako but Rydeen fires back with a lariat. Natsumi kicks Rydeen in the stomach, fisherman buster by Natsumi but KAZUKI breaks up her cover. Running kick to the head by Hanako and she delivers a Buzzsaw Kick to Rydeen, but Rydeen gets a shoulder up on the pin. Hanako goes up to the top turnbuckle and nails a diving guillotine leg drop, and she picks up the three count! The winners of the match and the tournament are Hanako Nakamori and Natsumi Maki!

Since I have been less enthused with Hanako so far in this tournament, I have to say that she did step up here and looked pretty good in the Final. I really enjoyed this, considering it was their third match of the night they didn’t slow down at all or show any signs of wear. Even though Hanako and Natsumi aren’t a regular team, they still wrestled like one, and they all worked together really well. It was chaotic, and there wasn’t a lot of structure to it, but it was certainly exciting to watch. Normally I do like a bit more ‘meaning’ behind things but a thrown together tournament tends to be a bit more laid back, they were just trying to put on a fun show and I think they accomplished that. No obvious flaws, a fun match and a fitting end to the tournament.  Recommended