Back in the early 90s, FMW was the first predominantly male promotion in Japan to have a women’s division, as up to that point men and women were separated into different promotions. That is largely how it still is today with large promotion, however many indy promotions have men and women wrestling together (now they wrestle against each other, however in FMW the divisions were kept separate). FMW died back in 2001, but the latest version popped up this year and use many of the same wrestlers that old school FMW did.
Since it wouldn’t be a true FMW event without women wrestling on the card as well, two of the seven matches featured Joshi wrestlers. This included a “inter-promotional match” with FMW facing off against JWP. Here are the two Joshi matches I will be reviewing:
– Kayoko Haruyama and Tsubasa Kuragaki vs. Miss Mongol and Miss Koharu
– Ayako Hamada vs. Ray
This naturally won’t be a long review, but since women were an important part of FMW I did not want to neglect the event altogether. Let’s get right into it.
Kayoko Haruyama and Tsubasa Kuragaki vs. Miss Mongol and Miss Koharu
This was billed as a JWP vs. FMW match. Haruyama and Kuragaki are a regular tag team in JWP, they have won many titles together and are extremely accomplished. This match took place just five days before Haruyama retired, and would be the second to last time they ever teamed together. On the other side, Miss Mongol is a FMW mainstay that has wrestled in various smaller indies over the years. Miss Koharu is better known as Koharu Hinata, a Freelancer on small indy shows, and she has been teaming off and on with Miss Mongol since the fall. A mismatch of epic proportions, as six time tag champions square off against a new small indy tag team.
Team FMW attacks before the bell rings but it immediately backfires, as Haruyama isolates young Koharu for a beatdown. Kuragaki takes a turn as well but Koharu hits a headscissors on Kuragaki and tags in Miss Mongol. Haruyama comes in the ring too but Mongol lariats both of them while the crowd voices their approval. Haruyama and Mongol trade strikes but they crush the referee in the corner, Mongol goes for the Bronco Buster on Haruyama but Haruyama moves and the referee is hit instead. The referee is hit again as he has now taken the most damage in the match, but he recovers pretty quickly as the action continues. Koharu comes in and they hit a double vertical suplex on Haruyama, but Haruyama hulks back up as Kuragaki comes in the ring. Double shoulderblock to Koharu and they put her in a double backbreaker, Mongol runs in but Haruyama takes Koharu so Kuragaki can put Mongol in a backbreaker as well. Diving leg drop by Haruyama to Koharu, but Mongol breaks up the pin. Mongol gets the whip but hits Koharu by accident, double underhook facebuster by Haruyama to Koharu but Koharu barely gets a shoulder up. Koharu sneaks in a backslide for two, Mongol comes back in but Kuragaki suplexes her. Haruyama goes up top as does Kuragaki, moonsault by Kuragaki and Haruyama hits a diving guillotine legdrop for the three count! Team JWP win the match.
This one started really slow but it picked up and the last few minutes were solid. Koharu is this adorable little thing and she almost didn’t fit in with three power wrestlers, which meant of course she was the one taking damage most of the match. Some of the transitions and strike portions didn’t look great as they weren’t being snug, but for a midcard tag match there was nothing wrong with it. Haruyama and Kuragaki are still awesome, Haruyama will be missed when she retires.
Ayako Hamada vs. Ray
This match is the final match in Ray’s 7 Match Trial Series. Ray is having a Trial Series even though she is a 12 year veteran to prove herself in FMW, Hayabusa is shown watching the match as he evaluates Ray as her trial comes to a close. Hamada of course is one of the top wrestlers in Pro Wrestling WAVE and at the time of the match held the Regina di Wave Championship.
This match was pretty clipped, which is disappointing since I enjoy both wrestlers. After feeling each other out (they didn’t clip that part), Hamada kicks Ray hard in the face for the first big move of the match. Hamada quickly goes for the moonsault but Ray moves, now Ray goes up top but Hamada gets her feet on on the moonsault attempt. High backdrop suplex by Hamada but Ray gets out of the powerbomb and they trade kicks. Tiger feint kick by Ray and this time she hits the moonsault, but Hamada kicks out of the cover. Hamada roars back with a lariat, sit-down powerbomb by Hamada but the cover gets two. AP Cross by Hamada, and she gets the three count! Hamada wins the match.
I am not sure what was clipped as only half of the match was shown, but it may explain why we went from “feeling out” to “dropping bombs” with no middle portion. What we saw was fine, both are quality wrestlers and Ray still flies around very well. A good showing by both but I can’t recommend a match clipped in half.
Even two stars is probably generous considering the clipping, but generally speaking I did like what I saw. Hamada and Ray are both great and I would have loved to have gotten a chance to see the whole match. The tag was a bit clunky at times but Team JWP put in the effort to pull the match together and overall there was more good than bad. There is nothing here that needs to be sought out but not a bad experience.