Event: GAEA Japan “SPLASH J and RUNNING G II“
Date: January 14th, 1996
Location: Tokyo Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan
Announced Attendance: 2,300
Over the next eternity, I will be watching and reviewing all GAEA Japan events in order, starting with their debut show on April 15th, 1995. Visit the GAEA Japan Project page for a brief history of the promotion, the roster page, my favorite matches from the promotion, and the full list of all events reviewed. I will also be uploading my favorite match from each show so that everyone can enjoy it.
If you want to watch the GAEA Japan events I am reviewing, Mike Lorefice sells the complete seasons at a very reasonable price both via download and physical copy. Mike’s quebrada.net is one of the sites I’m using to write these reviews, its a great resource for learning more about GAEA Japan and wrestling in general.
Finally I have made it to 1996! Attendance is up a bit for this one, maybe fans were excited for a new year of Joshi to begin. This event had a one night tag tournament but we will only be seeing the finals, as the bulk of the one hour taping focuses on the big 12 woman Captain Falls Elimination Match. We still have no titles in GAEA Japan at this point, so gimmicks such as big elimination matches and promotional wars is how they are maintaining fan interest. Here is the full card:
- Original Captain Fall Match: Chigusa Nagayo, Dynamite Kansai, Bomber Hikaru, Bolshoi Kid, Saburo, and Hiromi Sugo vs. Devil Masami, Mayumi Ozaki, KAORU, Cuty Suzuki, Hikari Fukuoka, and Makie Numao
- Hiromi Yagi vs. Toshie Uematsu
- Fight To The Last Young Generation One Night Tag Tournament Final: Sonoko Kato and Yuki Miyazaki vs. Tomoko Kuzumi and Chikayo Nagashima
I had to make some more profiles but now everyone wrestling on the show has one, you can click on their names above to go straight to it. There will definitely be some clipping here, lets see how it goes.
Chigusa Nagayo, Dynamite Kansai, Bomber Hikaru, Bolshoi Kid, Saburo, and Hiromi Sugo vs. Devil Masami, Mayumi Ozaki, KAORU, Cuty Suzuki, Hikari Fukuoka, and Makie Numao
Original Captain Fall Match
This wasn’t the opener of course during the event, but it starts off the TV broadcast. This is not a traditional promotional battle as the teams are mixed between JWP and GAEA Japan. As we will find out later, I don’t know the rules of this match, and I don’t know who the captains are, although I assume Chigusa Nagayo is one of them. On paper, its an elimination tag match but I am expecting lots of chaos.
As soon as the bell rings all 12 wrestlers start brawling, Saburo catches Makie Numao with a chokeslam and she covers her for the three count! Makie Numao is eliminated. Poor rookie. The match resets while they roll Makie out of the ring, Saburo and Fukuoka stay in as the legal wrestlers and Saburo throws Fukuoka in he corner before tagging in Bolshoi. Bolshoi walks the ropes while holding Fukuoka’s wrist before hitting an armdrag, another armdrag by Bolshoi and she hits a dropkick. Fukuoka dropkicks her back and tags Suzuki, tombstone by Suzuki and she covers Bolshoi for two. Dragon Sleeper by Suzuki, she lets go as Ozaki comes in and Ozaki also puts Bolshoi in a sleeper. Nagayo eventually breaks it up, Ozaki tags in Kaoru and Kaoru hits a vertical suplex. Sleeper by Kaoru but she eventually lets go and tags Ozaki back in, Bolshoi hits a trio of crossbodies on Ozaki until Ozaki catches her and swings Bolshoi around by her neck. Irish whip by Ozaki and she hits a powerbomb, but Bolshoi kicks out of the cover. Tequila Sunrise by Ozaki, her team runs in to block the other team and Ozaki picks up the three count! Bolshoi Kid is eliminated.
Ozaki stays in and powerbombs Sugo, a second powerbomb by Ozaki and she covers her for the three count! Hiromi Sugo is eliminated as we get rid of the lower ranked wrestlers. Saburo comes in but Ozaki DDTs her, she tags in Kaoru but Saburo hits a Side Russian Leg Sweep. Everyone takes turns headbutting Kaoru, Saburo goes up top but Masami grabs her from the apron and pulls her out of the ring. Kaoru goes off the ropes but Bomber hits her from the apron and then dives out of the ring onto Masami. The other wrestlers see this as a challenge as they all take turns doing dives out of the ring, moonsault by Kaoru out of the ring and Nagayo is the final one as she dives out with a crossbody onto Kaoru. Nagayo slides both Kaoru and Saburo back in the ring, swandive missile dropkick by Kaoru and she nails a tombstone piledriver. Swandive moonsault by Kaoru, and she covers Saburo for the three count! Saburo is eliminated. Things are not going well for Chigusa Nagayo’s team. The teams huddle before Masami and Nagayo come in, Masami boots Nagayo in her already injured shoulder before tagging in Kaoru. Kaoru focuses on the shoulder as well but Nagayo avoids her legdrop, kicks to the leg by Nagayo but Kaoru tags in Ozaki. Ozaki applies a seated armbar and then a Fujiwara Armbar, but it gets broken up. Suzuki is tagged in and she also applies an armbar, she tags Fukuoka and Fukuoka elbows Nagayo in the arm. Nagayo gets away and applies a sleeper, but Fukuoka gets a foot on the ropes for the break.
Nagayo tags in Kansai, headscissors by Fukuoka to Kansai and she tags in Ozaki. Kansai quickly drops Ozaki with a backdrop suplex, she pulls Ozaki off the turnbuckles but is overwhelmed by Ozaki’s teammates. Kansai is stomped by all five of them, German suplex by Ozaki but it gets a two count. Ozaki tags Masami but Kansai avoids her senton attempt, she tags in Nagayo and Bomber comes in too as they all stomp on Masami. Nagayo puts Masami in a sleeper but lets go after a moment and hits a German suplex hold for a two count. Nagayo goes for a powerbomb but it gets interrupted, Kansai puts Masami on the top turnbuckle but Masami recovers and goes for a legdrop. Kansai moves out of the way, she goes for Splash Mountain and nails it, getting the three count! Devi Masami is eliminated. Kansai and Fukuoka are the next wrestlers in, piledriver by Kansai but it gets broken up. Kansai tags in Bomber, Bombs Away by Bomber and she hits the Reverse Splash, but her pin is broken up. Bomber picks up Fukuoka but Fukuoka slides away and they trade elbows. Fukuoka knocks Bomber off her feet and covers her for two, Fukuoka charges Bomber but Bomber hits a powerslam. Bomber goes up top, Kansai and Nagayo both come in and hit lariats on Fukuoka. Diving headbutt by Bomber, but her cover is broken up. Hard elbow by Bomber, she picks up Fukuoka as Nagayo and Kansai come in, but they elbow their own partner by accident. Ozaki and Suzuki run in to take care of Kansai and Nagayo, Rider Kick by Fukuoka to Bomber and she covers her for the three count! Bomber Hikaru is eliminated.
We are now at 4 vs. 2, Nagayo squares off with Fukuoka and hits a leg sweep. Fukuoka moonsaults over Nagayo and hits a headscissors, Kaoru comes in and hits a front dropkick on Nagayo but Nagayo fires back with a lariat on her. Backdrop suplex by Nagayo on Fukuoka but Kaoru tags in, Nagayo goes for a suplex on her as well but Kaoru blocks it and lands on top of her. Kaoru goes for a swandive move but Nagayo moves, leg sweep by Nagayo and she hits a powerbomb. She goes for another powerbomb but Kaoru reverses it into a hurricanrana for two. Kaoru tags in Suzuki but Nagayo catches her with a heel kick and tags in Kansai. Kansai picks up Suzuki but Suzuki applies a dragon sleeper, she lets go of it after a moment and hits a release German. Ozaki and Fukuoka both hit release Germans as well, dragon suplex by Suzuki to Kansai but Nagayo breaks it up. Suzuki goes up top but Kaoru kicks her as she jumps off, Ozaki comes in and powerbombs Kansai before Fukuoka hits a moonsault. Double footstomp by Suzuki and Ozaki, then Fukuoka goes back up top and nails the moonsault footstomp, but Nagayo breaks up Suzuki’s cover. Suzuki and Ozaki both go up top of one corner while Kaoru and Fukuoka go to a different corner and all four hit diving headbutts, but once again Nagayo breaks up the pin attempt. Suzuki and Ozaki go back up top again and hit a double jumping knee to the back but the cover is interrupted. They go up top AGAIN but this time accidentally hit their own partners, Kansai goes for Splash Mountain on Suzuki but Suzuki reverses into a cradle and picks up the three count! Dynamite Kansai is eliminated! And… the bell rings and the match is over! But who won?
Look, I don’t know what is going on. Once the bell rings, the referee raises Chigusa Nagayo’s hand as her team looks really happy, even though her partner just got pinned and she was the only one left on her team. My only theory, and its just a theory, is that there was a time limit and that at the end of the time if one team wasn’t completely eliminated, it defaulted to if the captain was eliminated, and if Devil Masami was the captain then that would mean her team lost (assuming Nagayo was also a captain). But I have no idea if that is true, they didn’t flash up a winner/match time after the match like they always do so I can’t say for sure, and I can’t understand Japanese to know if the commentators explained it.
Anyway. This was a really fun match, non-explainable ending aside. There were a few slower periods but generally the action was fast paced, especially at the end. They were just throwing bombs at each other, I’m not sure how Kansai survived everything being done to her. Obviously some of the wrestlers were focused on more than others, but that was generally based on rank and emphasizing the wrestlers that the fans came to see. The dive sequence was memorable and they kept the eliminations coming at a decent pace so it never felt like it was dragging. While I wish I had more details on the ending, still a really entertaining match with all the high flying chaos I was hoping for. Recommended
Hiromi Yagi vs. Toshie Uematsu
We slow the action down a bit as we get a JWP vs. GAEA Japan match. Hiromi Yagi debuted for JWP in 1993, she is known for her submission and judo skills and was a respected young wrestler in the promotion. Toshie Uematsu debuted in 1995 when GAEA Japan launched so she still hadn’t hit one year yet as a wrestler, giving her an uphill battle against a more skilled and experienced technician.
Toshie dropkicks Hiromi from behind, she kicks off of her in the corner and hits an elbow. Another running elbow by Toshie but Hiromi applies a cradle and elbows Toshie in the head. Snapmares by Hiromi and she applies a headlock, Hiromi gets Toshie’s back and applies a bodyscissors. Hiromi switches it into a seated armbar and applies a cross armbreaker, but Toshie wiggles to the ropes before she can fully lock it in to get the break. Irish whip by Hiromi and she hits an armdrag, but Toshie switches positions with her and hits a snapmare before applying an armbar. Cross armbreaker by Toshie but Hiromi immediately rolls out of it, front necklock by Toshie but Hiromi slams out of it and covers Toshie for two. Irish whip by Hiromi but Toshie avoids her charge and rolls her up for two. Irish whip by Toshie and she hits a back elbow, another back elbow by Toshie and she covers Hiromi for two. Toshie applies a stretch submission before putting Hiromi in an Indian Deathlock, she goes back to a stretch hold but Hiromi gets out of it and hits a German suplex.
Hiromi picks up Toshie, Toshie throws Hiromi into the corner but Hiromi avoids her charge and applies a kneelock. Toshie gets in the ropes for the break, Irish whip by Hiromi but Toshie reverses it, she goes for a Leg Roll Clutch but Hiromi blocks it. Knee to the midsection by Hiromi but Toshie cradles her for a two count. Side headlock takedown by Toshie and she hits a dropkick, another dropkick by Toshie and she hits a scoop slam. Toshie goes up top and hits a missile dropkick, she quickly goes up top again but Hiromi catches her with a Fujiwara Armbar when she jump off. Armdrag by Hiromi but Toshie rolls her up for two, Hiromi quickly gets Toshie to the mat and applies a kneelock. Back up, Toshie gets another quick roll-up but it gets two. Judo toss by Hiromi, she picks up Toshie and drops her on her head with a backdrop suplex. Hiromi goes up top and delivers a missile dropkick, she goes up again but Toshie recovers and dropkicks her before she can jump off. Toshie joins Hiromi but Hiromi slides down her back and hits a sunset flip powerbomb for the three count! Hiromi Yagi wins!
This was a good match, but oddly structured which happens with younger wrestlers sometimes. It was basically just a random mesh of flash pins and submission holds, without a lot of transitions or method to get from one to another. The submissions never felt particularly deadly and didn’t play into the finish at all, even if it is clear from this match that Hiromi Yagi is a skilled submission machine. The backdrop suplex was very head drop-y so I am glad that Toshie was ok, not sure if they went to the end quicker because of it. Perfectly fine for a casual watch, nothing wrong with the action itself, it just didn’t have a clear direction so it was hard to get invested.
Sonoko Kato and Yuki Miyazaki and Tomoko Kuzumi and Chikayo Nagashima
Fight To The Last Young Generation One Night Tag Tournament Final
Unfortunately we did not get to see the matches that led to this final, which were:
- Semi Final: Sonoko Kato and Yuki Miyazaki defeated Toshie Sato and Kanako Motoya
- Semi Final: Chikayo Nagashima and Tomoko Kuzumi defeated Chiharu Nakano and Reiko Amano
Which set up this match to end the event. All four of these wrestlers are basically rookies, with the JWP wrestlers being slightly more experienced as Miyazaki debuted in January 1995 and Kuzumi (better known today as Azumi Hyuga) debuted in December of 1994. The teams are mixed between promotions but that won’t matter here as they all are feisty and want to win the tournament. Not a lot of time is left on this broadcast so I assume this match will be very clipped.
We join this match in progress, with Sonoko being double teamed. Yuki comes in to help as Sonoko gets Tomoko up in an airplane spin, Chikayo cradles Sonoko from behind however and picks up a two count. Chikayo stomps on Sonoko and hits a cutter, scoop slam by Chikayo and she covers Sonoko for two. Irish whip by Chikayo but Sonoko reverses it and hits a bulldog. Tomoko runs in and dropkicks Sonoko, Chikayo tags Tomoko but Sonoko hits a hard elbow. Tomoko flips herself out to the apron and hits a swandive dropkick, cover by Tomoko but it gets two. Sonoko escapes Tomoko and hits a bulldog, giving her time to tag in Yuki. Hip attacks by Yuki to Tomoko, she picks her up but after a collision the advantage is regained by Tomoko. Swandive dropkick by Tomoko and she stomps at Yuki, Yuki goes for a leg clutch but Tomoko blocks it and tags Chikayo. Stunner by Chikayo and she hits a cutter for a two count. Chikayo picks up Yuki but Yuki hits a sunset flip for two. She tags in Sonoko but Chikayo catches Sonoko with the Corbata for two. Chikayo goes off the ropes but Sonoko pushes her off and hits four leg drops for a two count. Sonoko picks up Chikayo and hits a running bulldog, Acid Drop by Sonoko but Chikayo barely gets a shoulder up. Yuki goes up top and hits a missile dropkick on Chikayo, Sonoko then delivers a diving Lou Thesz Press but Tomoko breaks up the cover. Sonoko gets Chikayo on her shoulders but she wiggles off and rolls up Sonoko for the three count! Tomoko Kuzumi and Chikayo Nagashima win the match and the tournament.
This was too clipped to get a great feel of, only 5 of 17 minutes was shown, but what we did see was fine. Very fast paced, lots going on, no real downtime as these younger wrestlers haven’t really started working on “pacing” yet so its constant action. The fact three of these four are still active today is pretty cool (and rare), and its fun to see them back when they were still learning. Tomoko looked great as she always does but there were no real weak links here, everyone did their part well and it was the type of match you couldn’t look away or you’d miss something. I liked what I saw, just wish that I could have seen more.
This was a really solid TV broadcast. My main complaint is simply one due to language barrier and lack of information online as I can’t confirm what happened at the end of the elimination tag match. But the match was still crazy fun and since that match was 50% of the broadcast it got all the time it needed. I do wish we saw more of the tournament finals but that is the natural downside of events being condensed to one hour. An entertaining showing by GAEA Japan, no real downside to this airing and worth the watch, a good start to 1996.