Welcome to another review of All Japan Women’s Pro-Wrestling Classics! AJW Classics is a television program that airs on SAMURAI TV in Japan. There are several different series within the AJW Classics name, I will be reviewing the series starting with the “Retro Hour” AJW Classics that first aired on August 7th, 2007. They are still airing to this day.
AJW Retro Hour Classics #6 features Crush Gals vs. Gokuaku Domei and our first trip to Mexico! We briefly go back to April to an important tag match that set the stage for the next several years in AJW before going to UWA for two title matches. Then we finish with a big match between Crush Gals vs. Gokuaku Domei as they bookend the airing. Here is the full listing:
- 4/2/85 – WWWA World Tag Team Championship: Dump Matsumoto and Crane Yu vs. Lioness Asuka and Chigusa Nagayo
- 5/12/85 – Lioness Asuka and Chigusa Nagayo vs. Lola Gonzales and Rosa Maria
- 5/12/85 – WWWA World Championship: Jaguar Yokota vs. Pantera Sureña
- 5/16/85 – WWWA World Tag Team Championship: Lioness Asuka and Chigusa Nagayo vs. Dump Matsumoto and Bull Nakano
It will be fun to see a different crowd that I am assuming will be rooting against the normally fan-favorite Japanese wrestlers.
(c) Gokuaku Domei (Dump Matsumoto and Crane Yu) vs. Crush Gals (Lioness Asuka and Chigusa Nagayo)
This match is for the WWWA World Tag Team Championship and is a Two out of Three Falls match. Back on Classics #4
, we saw Matsumoto and Yu win the titles from the Crush Gals in very controversial fashion, so the Crush Gals got an immediate re-match. But Abe is the referee again so I assume there will be more shenanigans.
They naturally brawl to start the match but order is restored pretty quickly with Yu and Nagayo in the ring, with the Crush Gals taking early control. This doesn’t last long as Matsumoto comes in the ring to help Yu, Yu picks up Asuka and slams her in front of the corner so that Matsumoto can jump off and land on her. Lariat by Matsumoto on Asuka and she covers her for the three count! Gokuaku Domei is up 1-0. Nagayo comes in and trades shots with Matsumoto, Asuka comes in and they knock Yu and Matsumoto out of the ring. Asuka then sails out of the ring onto both of her opponents, with Nagayo flying out with a plancha not long after her. They isolate Yu in the ring, superplex by Asuka and she covers Yu for the three count! We are now tied 1-1. Matsumoto comes in with her kendo stick and hits Asuka repeatedly with it, Nagayo comes in but she gets the stick as well. Nagayo gets the stick away from her and hits Matsumoto in the leg as the brawling continues, both sides’ posse come in the ring and at some point in this mayhem the match is called off. The eventual call made was due to all the issues both with the tag teams and with the referee Abe, the titles were held up with new champions crowned at a later date.
This was too clipped up (or really short) to get going as less than eight minutes was shown. This was more to set up the events later in the month, with first Yu getting kicked out of Gokuaku Domei and then Crane Yu being the referee when Gokuaku Domei and the Crush Gals fight for the title next month. Which I will be reviewing in about 30 minutes. Not a bad little brawl but in a vacuum nothing particularly special or memorable either even if it was important for the storyline.
Crush Gals (Lioness Asuka and Chigusa Nagayo) vs. Lola Gonzales and Rosa Maria
This is a Two out of Three Falls match. This match is just for fun, no titles on the line. Gonzales was a big deal in Mexico, she was already a multi-time UWA World Women’s Champion and the top female wrestler in UWA. I couldn’t find much information on Rosa Maria, so I assume she didn’t have a big role in the promotion. This was a lead-in for the bigger women’s match on the same card, which will be reviewed next.
Surprisingly the crowd is mostly in favor of Crush Gals (or just quiet), which I wasn’t expecting as in wrestling these days the home team is usually cheered regardless if they are heels or faces. The Luchadoras attack before the match starts, it should be noted there are two referees in the ring, I am assuming one is a tecnico and one a rudo. Nagayo is isolated first, seated senton by Gonzalez and Maria stomps on Nagayo. The double teaming continues until Nagayo flips both to the mat, heel kick to Gonzales and Asuka finally comes in to help. Nagayo and Gonzales trade chops, but kick by Nagayo and she tags Asuka. Maria runs in but Asuka puts her in the Giant Swing, diving crossbody by Nagayo to Gonzales and she covers her for the three count! Crush Gals are up 1-0.
The action starts again as Nagayo is left alone in the ring, senton by Maria and Gonzales covers her for the three! The teams are now tied 1-1. Asuka comes in but is stretched by Gonzales and the action goes to ringside as the Crush Gals are attacked around the ring. Maria and Nagayo get back in the ring and Nagayo gets Maria in a Scorpion Deathlock, but it is quickly broken up. The go out to the floor again with this time Nagayo and Asuka on the offense, Nagayo comes back in and puts Gonzales in an Octopus Hold before rolling her up for two. We jump ahead to Gonzales and Asuka in the ring, Gonzales goes up top but Asuka avoids the somersault senton. Maria and Nagayo come back in too, Gonzales goes up top but when she dives off she hits Maria by accident. Spike Piledriver by the Crush Gals, Nagayo hits a heel kick on Maria and delivers the German suplex hold for the three count! The Crush Gals win the match.
This match was just too disjointed to get a grip on. Between the clipping and the non-existent tag rules, there was never really a semblance of structure whatsoever, it was just random offense with no transitions. It was interesting to see the Crush Gals in a different environment but it simply wasn’t an entertaining match the way it was presented. Even though the Crush Gals were still awesome of course at what they do.
Jaguar Yokota vs. Pantera Sureña
This match is for the WWWA World Championship and is a Two out of Three Falls match. The interesting thing here is that Sureña is La Galactica just unmasked, which I have no idea back in the mid-80s if the fans of UWA even knew about. But it is in essence just a continuing of the feud from Japan, just in a new country. Yokota is still sporting the short hair from the hair match she lost almost two years prior, and like the last match the crowd seems to be in favor of the AJW wrestler which does surprise me a bit.
They start with wristlock exchanges, they go off the ropes and Sureña catches Yokota with a double chop to the chest. Hurricanrana by Sureña and she picks up the three count! I am guessing things were clipped there, Sureña is up 1-0. Yokota hits a jumping elbow as the next fall begins but Sureña gets her to the mat and starts working over the leg. Back up, Yokota gets Sureña to the mat and puts her in the figure four, leading to Sureña submitting! The match is now tied 1-1. After a pause the match resumes, Yokota gets Sureña on her shoulders and hits a Samoan Drop for a two count. Irish whip by Sureña and she goes for a tilt-a-whirl, but Yokota lands on her feet. Yokota goes for a tombstone but Sureña reverses it into one of her own, cover by Sureña but Yokota bridges out of it. They both go for backdrop suplexes but they are reversed, package German suplex by Yokota but Sureña kicks out. Electric Chair Drop by Sureña, she goes up to the top turnbuckle and she hits a diving lariat. Double underhook piledriver by Yokota, and she gets the three count! Yokota retains the championship.
As is a theme on this television airing, this match was too clipped to get excited about. The last few minutes of the match were good and exciting, and were the only parts to really show off what Yokota can do, but the rest was just too rushed. I am assuming that in the full match the first two falls weren’t so uneventful, as Sureña as it was shown submitted after having no leg work done on her at all. There was a very brief glimpse of goodness here but as it was shown a skippable match.
Gokuaku Domei (Dump Matsumoto and Bull Nakano) vs. Crush Gals (Lioness Asuka and Chigusa Nagayo)
This match is for the vacant WWWA World Tag Team Championship and is a Two out of Three Falls match. This match has quite a backstory, most of the matches leading to this one I have reviewed in recent weeks but I’ll summarize it so you don’t have to read all the past events. On February 25th, Dump Matsumoto and Crane Yu beat the Crush Gals for the titles, with lots of help from their shady referee friend Shiro Abe. They had a rematch on April 2nd (first match reviewed, scroll up), but the match turned into pure chaos and AJW decided to vacate the titles. Later in April, Matsumoto and Yu faced off in a singles match as part of the Grand Prix
, and that helped lead to Yu leaving Gokuaku Domei. Yu then retired and became a referee. Since Abe is a known shady referee, AJW decided to have Yu referee this match, as since she was at the time not friends with Gokuaku Domei she would call it more straight, plus as a former wrestler she could stand up to Gokuaku Domei. Abe is still down there too, so basically we have a heel team and their heel referee vs. a face team and a neutral ref that doesn’t like Gokuaku Domei. So yes this match will probably be insanely chaotic at times.
They brawl before the bell rings, which is to be expected, as Gokuaku Domei gets the early advantage as they double team Nagayo. Asuka runs in but Nakano kicks them both in the legs while Yu tries to keep Abe from getting involved. Asuka and Nagayo come back and knock both their opponents out of the ring, tope suicida by Asuka to Nakano and she quickly rolls her in the ring. Japanese Leg Roll Clutch by Nagayo to Nakano, and she gets the quick three count! Crush Gals are up 1-0. Yu and Abe continue to argue as Nagayo and Nakano stay in as legal, Nakano gets her nun-chucks and show off a bit but Nagayo gets a chair and hits Nakano with it. Leg lariat by Nagayo and she tags Asuka, who hits a diving lariat. Backdrop suplex by Asuka, but Matsumoto breaks up the pin and drags Asuka out of the ring. Yu tries to calm things down but gets thrown into the stands for her trouble, Asuka and Matsumoto return to the ring and Matsumoto promptly throws Yu to the mat. Yu manages to get Matsumoto on the apron, Asuka wrestles with Nakano while Abe and Matsumoto distract Nagayo. Matsumoto chokes Asuka with a kendo stick, Yu tries to stop Matsumoto from choking Nagayo too and finally Matsumoto throws the kendo stick out of the ring.
Matsumoto holds Nagayo so that Nakano can hit a diving leg drop, Nakano jumps off the top turnbuckle with a pail shot and Matsumoto covers Nagayo for the three count! The teams are tied 1-1. Asuka argues with Yu for not maintaining control better before tending to Nagayo, but Matsumoto brings a chain into the ring as well as a metal pipe. While she ties up and beats on Nagayo, Abe is taken care of by some friends of the Crush Gals but he returns and holds down Yu in the corner. Nagayo meanwhile is being attacked by various Gokuaku Domei members until she is freed, she returns to the ring with Nakano but Matsumoto hits Yu with a kendo stick as she goes to make a count. Asuka comes in and dropkicks Nakano, she puts her in a Scorpion Deathlock but Matsumoto breaks it up. Nagayo runs in and puts Matsumoto in a Scorpion Deathlock but Yu is pulled out of the ring. Abe breaks up the submission holds, then Matsumoto takes Yu out of the ring. In the ring, missile dropkick by Nagayo to Nakano and then Asuka hits one also. Yu gets back to ringside while Asuka puts Nakano in a Giant Swing. Cover by Asuka, Yu from ringside gets one arm into the ring while Matsumoto hangs onto her and she counts the three count! The Crush Gals are your new champions!
The final pin is one of my favorite referee three counts in my 25 years of watching wrestling. The match was utter chaos, not only did you have two referees and four legal wrestlers, but there was lots of outside interference and weapons and just general carnage. Which worked within the story of the match, I’d have cried if they had worked a traditional tag match. I am sure it was clipped but enough was shown that it didn’t feel shortened, and the crowd was on fire. Great atmosphere and a really entertaining brawl, a fitting way to end this part of the ongoing Gokuaku Domei vs. Crush Gals feud. Highly Recommended
This was really just a one match airing, but at least it was a hell of a match. The opener was necessary to set up the main event, but was more storyline-driven than anything else. Both the matches in Mexico were pretty heavily clipped, and what they did show for the most part wasn’t great. I did love the closing match however, just so many storylines leading to a great heated brawl that was everything it was trying to be. It made it better watching the matches in order so the story made sense, but even as a standalone brawl it was entertaining. Plus it is always fun to see a young Bull Nakano. Come for the main event, but unless you just want to see the other matches for historical reasons you can safely skip them.