THE WOMAN Volume 4: Spring Samba on 4/7/06 Review

Event: THE WOMAN “Volume 4: Spring Samba”
Date: April 7th, 2006
Location: Shin-Kiba 1st Ring in Tokyo, Japan
Announced Attendance: Unknown

I think this is probably the most obscure Joshi promotion that existed that held more than five shows (eight, to be exact). There is not a lot of information on THE WOMAN, however it was at least partially funded by All Japan Pro Wrestling with GAMI as the Producer/Booker for the shows. It came to life shortly after AtoZ announced they were closing their doors and the promotion shared many wrestlers with M’s Style as both promotions used mostly Freelancers. But they did use a lot of quality Freelancers as most of the wrestlers on the card are still active today or just recently retired. The promotion never had any titles nor much of a purpose, however not long after THE WOMAN stopped running shows, GAMI founded Pro Wrestling WAVE so in a way THE WOMAN was her practice promotion. The event was shrunk down to a one hour show on SamuraiTV, here is the card:

  • Bullfighter Sora vs. Kyoko Kimura
  • Friday Battle Tag Tournament Round 1: AKINO and Ayumi Kurihara vs. Emi Sakura and Mai Ichii
  • Friday Battle Tag Tournament Round 1: Kaoru Ito and Ayako Sato vs. Manami Toyota and Natsuki*Taiyo
  • Friday Battle Tag Tournament Round 1: Michiko Omukai and Cherry vs. Aja Kong and Ayako Hamada

This will be a quick one but it still should be fun, lots of quality wrestlers here.

thewoman4.7-1
Bullfighter Sora vs. Kyoko Kimura

In case you have never seen Bullfighter Sora wrestle, oddly even though her name is ‘Bullfighter’ she actually dresses up as a bull. Not as someone that fights bulls. But it is a comedy gimmick, she also wrestled under the name Atsuko Emoto in IBUKI and NEO when she wanted to wrestle more seriously. Kimura during this time period was a Freelancer and wrestled in a bunch of different promotions doing comedy matches, hardcore matches, and everything between. Obviously this match would fall more in the ‘comedy’ category, as we are about to find out.

WOMAN4.7-1Sora charges Kyoko like a bull as the match starts (because why wouldn’t she) but Kyoko throws her down by the horns. Sleeper by Kyoko but Sora rams her back into the corner to get out of it and trips Kyoko before splitting her around the ring post. Sora gets a banana and peels it but Kyoko attacks her from behind, Irish whip by Kyoko but Sora hits a hard shoulderblock. More shoulderblocks by Sora and she hits a delayed vertical suplex, covering Kyoko for two. A small package gets the same result, Sora goes off the ropes but Kyoko boots her in the face. Kyoko charges Sora but she slips on the banana peel and Sora pins her for the three count! Bullfighter Sora wins!

I can’t say I am a big fan of matches being won via banana peel but when its a heavily clipped match involving a wrestler in a bull outfit, I can’t really complain either. Even for comedy lovers it was too clipped to get excited about as only a couple minutes were shown. Seems like a waste of Kyoko though.

thewoman4.7-2
AKINO and Ayumi Kurihara vs. Emi Sakura and Mai Ichii

This match is part of Round 1 of the Friday Battle Tag Tournament. As I mentioned above, THE WOMAN had no title matches so they ended to fill time with other things like tournaments. The tournament had eight teams, we will see six compete here (I have no idea when the fourth match in the first round took place, may have been the same night but wasn’t aired or took place in another promotion). Anyway, AKINO was one of the leading wrestlers of the promotion M’s Style while Kurihara was a rookie a the time with training first in AtoZ and then in M’s Style. Emi Sakura was a Freelancer at the time, this was soon before she started the promotion Ice Ribbon, and Mai Ichii was one of Sakura’s young trainees that never really made it in pro wrestling before switching to MMA in 2006.

Here is the thing with the tournament – I don’t understand the rules. The matches are clipped and each match was won in a different time with a different number of falls. Because the matches are clipped I can’t figure out when points are given as sometimes it isn’t shown. So I am just going to call the matches as they happen which is all I can do.

AKINO and Ichii start the match, hard dropkick by AKINO and she covers Ichii, picking up a quick three count! AKINO and Kurihara are up 1-0. Ichii gets up and tries to dropkick AKINO over but AKINO keeps brushing them off, AKINO dropkicks Ichii hard again and picks up another three count! AKINO and Kurihara are up 2-0. AKINO picks up Ichii and they trade leg kicks, which AKINO obviously gets the better of. More kicks by AKINO, she goes up top and she hits a missile dropkick for another three count, they are now up 4-0 (I assumed they clipped one fall out, or they can’t count). Kurihara wants a chance and comes in and she dropkicks Ichii as well, but Ichii rolls her up in a quick schoolboy. Sakura tags herself in and dropkicks Kurihara before throwing her down by the hair. Drop toehold by Sakura into the ropes, Ichii runs in and jumps down on Kurihara’s back. Crossface by Sakura, but AKINO comes in and beaks it up.

WOMAN4.7-2Kurihara comes back with a springboard crossbody on Sakura and tags in AKINO, neckbreaker by Sakura but AKINO hits a triple jump crossbody for a two count. Backdrop suplex by AKINO, Sakura lands in her corner and tags in Ichii. Kurihara comes in too (we have missed lots of falls, for the record) and Kurihara hits a missile dropkick for two. Big boots by Ichii and she hits a kick out of the corner, cover by Ichii but Kurihara kicks out. AKINO comes in and kicks Ichii in the head, Kurihara tries two inside cradles but both get two. Sakura comes in and clears out the ring, dropping Kurihara with a double underhook facebuster before Ichii covers her for a two count. Sakura picks up Kurihara but Kurihara slides away this time, AKINO goes for a missile dropkick but Sakura swats her out of the way. Diving senton by Sakura, Ichii goes up top and hits a diving crossbody onto AKINO before kicking her out of the ring. Nyan Nyan Press by Sakura, Ichii goes up top and hits an assisted senton onto Kurihara for the three count! That is the final fall as they win 5-4, Sakura and Ichii move on in the tournament.

Its really hard to give a match an honest review when its clipped and the rules are not clear, I’d say it is the first team to five falls but the next two don’t end that way so I have no idea. Maybe someone will email me and tell me. Anyway, I enjoyed the action itself, AKINO was in top form being the grumpy veteran and the younger wrestlers showed a lot of fire. All our worked well together and even if you didn’t know any background they told the story so well that anyone could pick it up watching. Aside from the clipping and unknown rules, I liked the match, solid action all the way around.  Mildly Recommended

thewoman4.7-3
Kaoru Ito and Ayako Sato vs. Manami Toyota and Natsuki*Taiyo

This match is part of Round 1 of the Friday Battle Tag Tournament.  And no I still don’t know the rules of the tournament. All four of these wrestlers were Freelancers in 2006, with Toyota wrestling mostly in Oz Academy and JWP while Taiyo wrestled in various promotions including IBUKI. On the other side, the AJW veteran Ito wrestled a lot of IBUKI as did Sato. The Ito and Sato team is less random than Toyota/Taiyo, and the teams continue to have the veteran/young wrestler dynamic that we saw in the last match.

Sato and Natsuki start the match, but Natsuki quickly tags in Toyota as Toyota hits a missile dropkick on Sato. Cover by Toyota and she gets the three count! Toyota and Natsuki are up 1-0. Sato goes for a crossbody but Toyota catches her and flings her to the mat, Toyota dumps Sato out of the ring and Natsuki goes up to the top turnbuckle to dive out on both their opponents. Toyota then does the same, Sato is rolled back in the ring and Toyota hits a missile dropkick for another three count! They don’t even show the score as Toyota tags in Natsuki, but Sato avoids Natsuki’s charge and tags in Ito. Lariat by Ito to Natsuki, and she covers her for a three count. Ito and Sato get a point. Ito puts Natsuki in a crab hold, but Natsuki gets to the ropes to force a break. We clip ahead as Sato goes up top and hits a missile dropkick on Toyota, she goes up top again and hits a second one before delivering a third.

WOMAN4.7-3Sato goes up top a fourth time and hits another missile dropkick, but Toyota rolls to her feet and dropkicks Sato in the ropes. Spear by Natsuki to the back of Sato and she hits a diving headbutt for a two count. Ito and Natsuki both spear Ito before Toyota and Natsuki both hit dives out of the corner. Cover, but Ito breaks it up. Natsuki gets on the second turnbuckle before getting on Toyota’s shoulders, and Toyota spins Natsuki down onto Sato for another two count. Ito knocks Toyota and Natsuki out of the ring before hitting a baseball slide on both of them, Ito brings Natsuki back in the ring with her and hits a powerbomb, but Toyota breaks up the cover. Sato picks up Natsuki, Ito runs in but she lariats Sato by accident. Toyota goes for a missile dropkick but she hits Natsuki by accident, Sato covers Natsuki but it gets two. Fireman’s carry takeover into a cover by Sato, and she covers Natsuki for a three count! Ito and Sato are declared the winners by a score of 6-1.

Ignoring the whole “not knowing the rules” issue, this match was a step down from the last one. The teams had intentional miscues but also I think unintentional ones as the four didn’t seem too familar with each other, leading to little issues here and there. The clipping hurt the general flow of the match so it was hard to get invested, and much of it just felt a bit lackluster. A generally unexciting match, even though individually all four are minimally solid wrestlers.

thewoman4.7-4
Michiko Omukai and Cherry vs. Aja Kong and Ayako Hamada

This match is part of Round 1 of the Friday Battle Tag Tournament. The action picks up a bit here, as Kong and Hamada were two of the top Joshi Freelancers back in 2006 with multiple title wins between them, and Omukai was a respected veteran from the ARSION days. Cherry was still very early in her career, this was before she was wrestling full time in DDT, and was the clear weak link on these two teams. She’d have to really step up to get on the same level as Kong and Hamada and help her team reach the next round in the tournament.

Hamada and Kong both attack as the bell rings, Kong stays in the ring with Cherry and Cherry goes for a couple quick pins with no luck. Kong chops Cherry in the corner and hits a scoop slam, she puts her in a facelock while Hamada runs in and dropkicks her in the head. Another slam by Kong and she hits an elbow drop, she tags in Hamada and Hamada dropkicks Cherry to the mat. Another dropkick by Hamada and she puts Cherry in a leg submission, she then spins her over and puts Cherry in an elevated crab hold until she gets to the ropes. Headbutts by Hamada and she slams Cherry in front of the corner, Hamada goes for a moonsault but Cherry rolls out of the way and tags in Omukai. Hamada stomps Omukai and gets a steel chair, she hits Omukai with it but Hamada takes the chair and hits her back. They take turns hitting each other with the chair, Hamada sits Omukai down in it and she dropkicks Omukai into the corner. Kong is tagged in, Omukai kicks Kong in the head before Cherry runs in and they double team Kong. Kong doesn’t put up with that for long as she lariats both of them, backdrop suplex to Omukai and Kong covers her for two. Kong slams Omukai near the corner and gets on the second turnbuckle, but Omukai recovers and knocks Kong over the top rope to the floor. Omukai goes out after her while Cherry gets on the top turnbuckle, she tries to jump down on her opponents but she lands on Omukai instead.

WOMAN4.7-4Kong hits Cherry with a chair and nails a brainbuster on the entrance ramp, back in the ring Kong puts Omukai in the Tree of Woe and Hamada dropkicks a chair in her head. Hamada hits Omukai with the chair again, moonsault by Hamada but the referee won’t count due to all the chair shots. Powerbomb by Hamada, the referee counts this time but it only gets a two count. Hamada tags in Kong, scoop slam by Kong and she gets on the second turnbuckle, but Omukai suplexes her from behind. Heel Drop by Omukai and she covers Kong, but Hamada throws a chair at her to break it up. Kong hits Omukai with the chair, she gets on the top turnbuckle and hits a diving elbow drop but Cherry breaks up the cover. Hamada runs in but she kicks Kong by accident, dropkicks by Cherry to Kong and she hits a missile dropkick, but Kong picks her in the head. Kong slaps Cherry but the referee calls for the bell for reasons I do not know and won’t pretend to. But the match keeps going as Kong lariats Cherry, Kong tags in Hamada and trades elbows with Cherry. High kick by Hamada, she goes up top and she nails the moonsault for a two count cover. Hamada goes up top again and hits a missile dropkick, she goes up a third time and she hits another missile dropkick, but Cherry bridges out of the pin. Hamada goes for a powerbomb but Cherry reverses it into a hurricanrana. Cherry tags in Omukai, Kong runs in but Omukai swats her away and decimates Hamada with a Shining Wizard. Cover by Omukai, and she gets the three count! They win the match!

Action-wise this may have been the best match on the card, although I enjoyed the dynamic a bit more in the first tournament match. The main issue with the match is simply that Cherry was a step or two below everyone else in the match in terms of wrestling ability, I’d rather have had Omukai in the match more as she was still pretty great in 2007. Kong and Hamada did the bulk of the work and their offense looked crisp as always, the occasional clip in action just made it a bit hard to follow. A solid match with some quality stretches but nothing to get too excited about as it was presented. Mildly Recommended