Event: GAEA Japan “TOO HOT!“
Date: March 8th, 1996
Location: Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan
Announced Attendance: 2,200
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.
GAEA Japan returns to Korakuen Hall for the second straight show, and this one is a doozy. We get the continuation of the eternal Neo Energy Queen History ’95 Tournament, plus Fukuoka swings by for some tag team action. In the main event, Chigusa Nagayo faces off against Saki Hasegawa in a very special match, as Saki is on her retirement tour. Saki Hasegawa had a solid career in All Japan Women but due to various injuries announced her retirement at only 26 years old. Hasegawa is the first AJW wrestler to appear on GAEA Japan, so it was a pretty big deal for her to appear on the event and wrestle the GAEA Japan Ace in the main event. Here is the full card:
I am watching the commercial release of the event, so all matches will be shown in full. All wrestlers on the show have a profile on the website, you can click on their name above to go straight to it.
Chihiro Nakano vs. Toshie Sato
This match is part of the Neo Energy Queen History ’95 Tournament. Coming into the match, both wrestlers have one point in the tournament and are getting behind the leaders, so they can’t afford to lose. Both Chihiro and Toshie are less than a year into their careers, but these tournament matches are an easy way to get some experience while having a prize to fight for.
They charge each other to start, both go for dropkicks but they both miss. They trade elbow drop attempts until Toshie hits one, Irish whip by Toshie but Chihiro hits a back bodydrop followed by a kneedrop for two. Snapmares by Chihiro and she applies a side headlock, but Toshie gets out of it and applies a headscissors. They trade submissions until Chihiro locks in a crab hold, but Toshie gets to the ropes for the break. Chihiro applies a leg submission and then a headlock, but Toshie gets out of it and applies a front headlock. Bodyscissors by Toshie, she lets go after a moment and knocks down Chihiro with a shoulderblock. dropkicks by Toshie, and she covers Chihiro for two. Sleeper by Toshie but Chihiro slides out of it and applies a hammerlock, armdrag by Toshie and she goes for a cross armbreaker. Chihiro gets away and applies a stretch hold, they end up back on their feet and Toshie knocks over Chihiro with a couple weak shoulderblocks. Scoop slam by Toshie and she covers Chihiro for two.
Toshie applies a guillotine but Chihiro slams out of it and hits a series of elbow strikes. Dropkick by Chihiro and she hits a scoop slam, picking up a two count. Snapmares by Toshie and she applies a side headlock on the mat, she picks up Chihiro and hits another shoulderblock. Toshie elbows Chihiro and delivers a face crusher, cover by Toshie but it gets a two count. Chihiro throws Toshie into the corner and hits a knee, but Toshie avoids the next one and somewhat dropkicks her. Chihiro and Toshie trade cradles before Chihiro applies a kneelock, she lets go after a moment and hits a pair of jumping knees. Toshie avoids the next one and goes for a slam, but Chihiro reverses it into a cradle for two. Chihiro picks up Toshie and hits a scoop slam, she goes up top and delivers a diving kneedrop for a two count. Swinging neckbreaker by Toshie and she hits a second one, but Chihiro bridges out of the pin. Toshie goes up top but Chihiro grabs her from behind and slams her to the mat. Chihiro picks up Toshie but Toshie slides away and delivers an over-the-shoulder powerslam. Diving elbow drop by Toshie, and she picks up the three count! Toshie Sato is the winner!
For a rookie match, this was pretty fun. Chihiro and Toshie both show a lot of early talent, and while Toshie Sato went on to have a better known career (as Sugar Sato) at this stage they were pretty even. Nagayo trained her wrestlers to go for it regardless of their experiences so it wasn’t just dropkicks which we frequently see in rookie matches today, and it was a pretty exciting back and forth. You could tell they were rookies from watching this, but a good effort from both. Mildly Recommended
Makie Numao vs. Meiko Satomura
This match is part of the Neo Energy Queen History ’95 Tournament. Meiko Satomura comes into the match with 2.5 points while Makie Numao has zero, so needless to say she needs a win here if she ever wants to catch the top of the pack. Meiko is more experienced however and one of the brighter stars of the rookie class, so Makie has an uphill battle to pick up the win.
Meiko and Makie start by jockeying for position on the mat, kick to the chest by Makie and she kicks Meiko again. Scoop slam by Makie but Meiko fires back with elbows, scoop slam by Meiko and she covers Makie for two. Meiko works a headlock but Makie reverses it into a headscissors. Meiko gets the headlock re-applied and she picks up Makie, rolling her back to the mat with a front guillotine. Makie gets out of it and elbows Meiko in the chest, Irish whip by Meiko and she hits a forearm smash. Meiko picks up Makie, snapmare by Meiko and she applies a front facelock. Makie gets to the ropes for the break, Meiko picks her up but Makie cradles her for two. Meiko picks up Makie but Makie pushes her to the mat and applies a crab hold. Meiko gets to the ropes but Makie drags her to the middle of the ring and re-applies the hold. Meiko gets to the ropes again and this time forces the break, kicks by Makie to Meiko and she covers Meiko for two. Makie applies a bodyscissors but Meiko gets out of it and applies a kneelock, she goes for Makie’s arm but Makie gets to the ropes. Irish whip by Makie but Meiko ducks a kick and pushes Makie to the mat.
Scoop slam by Meiko, Irish whip by Meiko but Makie kicks her in the face. Knees by Makie and she kicks Meiko in the back, cover by Makie but it gets two. Makie picks up Meiko but Meiko elbows her and applies a sunset flip for two. Meiko goes off the ropes and hits a series of jumping shoulderblocks, elbow drop by Meiko and she covers Makie for two. Irish whip by Meiko to the corner and she hits a jumping elbow, she goes for another one but Makie avoids it and cradles Meiko. Meiko kicks Makie but Makie returns to her feet and kicks her back, Meiko goes for a Fujiwara Armbar but Makie quickly gets to the ropes. Meiko goes up top but Makie avoids her dive, Dragon Sleeper by Makie but Meiko gets a foot on the ropes. Kicks by Makie to the chest, she goes up top but Meiko elbows her before she can jump off. Makie hits a sunset flip anyway, but it only gets two. Makie goes up top again and hits a diving crossbody, but that gets a two count as well. She goes for the sleeper again but Meiko rolls through it and goes for Makie’s arm, but Makie is too close to the ropes. Irish whip by Meiko to the corner, Makie reverses it but Meiko snaps her arm over her shoulder. Cross armbreaker takedown by Meiko, and she keeps the hold applied for the submission victory! Meiko Satomura is the winner.
Not a bad match but a step down from the previous one. Makie Numao doesn’t have the skill of the other three wrestlers we have seen so far, and her action is a bit clunky at times. Meiko Satomura of course is full of fire as a teenager the same as she is today, which helped the match but it was still a bit disjointed and didn’t really flow. Its hard to get too mad at rookies as not every match is going to land, but a skippable match.
Bomber Hikari vs. Sonoko Kato
The name Bomber Hikari is probably not familiar to many modern fans, as she was a lower card wrestler before joining GAEA Japan in 1995 but retired suddenly in early 1997 due to injuries. She is against Sonoko Kato, who was a rookie in 1995 but is still active today in OZ Academy. Bomber Hikari may not have achieved massive success in her career but she was a respected veteran, and here she likely will be doing her best to make Kato look good before defeating her.
Bomber and Sonoko circle each other, Bomber pushes Sonoko into the ropes and gives her a hard elbow. Sonoko elbows her back, she goes for an Irish whip by Bomber blocks it and headbutts her. Bodyblock by Bomber, and she covers Sonoko for two. Bomber runs over Sonoko but Sonoko avoids the body press, stomps by Sonoko and she hits a dropkick. Bomber doesn’t budge of course, Sonoko tries again but it doesn’t work. Finally Sonoko knocks over Bomber but Bomber quickly returns to her feet and hits a scoop slam. Crab hold by Bomber which she keeps on for quite awhile, Sonoko almost gets to the ropes so Bomber lets go and stomps on her. Scoop slam by Bomber, and she covers Sonoko for two. Irish whip by Bomber and she hits a hard bodyblock, she hits a second one before applying a headscissors. Sonoko gets out of it and applies a submission, but Bomber quickly gets to the ropes. Irish whip by Sonoko and she hits a dropkick, another dropkick by Sonoko and she hits a third for a two count cover. Crab hold by Sonoko, she lets go after a moment and puts Bomber in a stretch hold. Sonoko releases the hold and hits a leg drop to Bomber’s back, snapmare by Sonoko and she covers Bomber for two. Sonoko throws down Bomber by the hair, she goes to do it again but Bomber blocks it. Hard shoulderblock by Bomber and she applies a bodyscissors, she lets go after a moment but Sonoko dropkicks her to the mat. Another dropkick by Sonoko and she hits a third, she then hits a fourth dropkick before covering Bomber for two.
Scoop slam by Sonoko, she goes to the top turnbuckle but Bomber gets her knees up when Sonoko dives off. Bomber picks up Sonoko but Sonoko drives her back into the corner, elbows by Sonoko but Bomber delivers a powerslam. Irish whip by Bomber and she hits a hard bodyblock, she goes for another one but Sonoko avoids it and hits a bulldog. Cover by Sonoko, but it gets a two count. Sonoko picks up Bomber but Bomber blocks it when she goes for a bulldog out of the corner, Lou Thesz Press by Sonoko but Bomber kicks out of the cover. Sonoko throws Bomber into the corner but Bomber reverses it, Bomber slams Sonoko off the second turnbuckle but Sonoko gets a shoulder up on the pin attempt. Bomber drags Sonoko to her feet and slams her in front of the corner, Reverse Splash by Bomber but Sonoko gets a foot on the ropes. Irish whip by Bomber and she throws Sonoko to the mat before hitting mounted elbow strikes. Bomber picks up Sonoko and gives her the Airplane Spin, she grabs Sonoko and throws her over her head. Bomber does it a second time, cover by Bomber but Sonoko bridges out of the pin attempt. Bomber picks up Sonoko and slams her in the middle of the ring, she goes up top and hits a diving headbutt. She picks her up before the referee can count to three on the pin, she picks up Sonoko but Sonoko fights back with elbows. Bomber smacks her back and nails the Over The Top for the three count! Bomber Hikari is the winner.
At first it looked like Bomber was just going to squash Sonoko but in the end, the rookie got a fair amount of offense and survived some of Bomber’s bigger moves. Sonoko still never felt like she was going to win and didn’t really have any convincing nearfalls, but at least it wasn’t completely one-sided. A little too all-over-the-place to recommend as they didn’t seem to have much of a game plan going in, but there didn’t seem to be any miscommunications and Bomber gave Sonoko plenty before putting her down.
KAORU and Hikari Fukuoka vs. Toshie Uematsu and Chikayo Nagashima
Surprisingly, this is the only non-singles match of the evening. Hikari Fukuoka is visiting from JWP, which isn’t too unusual as she is a semi-regular in GAEA Japan since September 1995. She teams with KAORU, one of the top wrestlers in GAEA Japan, so the teams are a bit uneven. They are against two GAEA Japan rookies, who are both spunky but seriously over-matched. Still, GAEA Japan has been good about giving the rookies a chance to shine, so I am sure that Toshie and Chikayo will get to show off their skills.
Toshie and Chikayo attack their opponents from behind to start the match, they both hit headscissors before isolating KAORU. Double knee to KAORU and the rookies both dropkick her, double Irish whip to KAORU but KAORU hits a crossbody on both of them. KAORU elbows Chikayo and puts her in a facelock but Chikayo reverses it into a hammerlock. They trade holds but KAORU gets the advantage and tags Fukuoka, Fukuoka bounces Chikayo off the ropes and boots her. Dropkick by Fukuoka and she kicks Chikayo in the back, backdrop by Fukuoka and she applies a figure four leglock. Toshie breaks it up, Fukuoka throws Chikayo into the corner so that Toshie can tag in, Fukuoka kicks Toshie in the back before tagging in KAORU. Toshie gets KAORU to the mat and applies an ankle hold, but KAORU gets out of it. Toshie goes for dropkicks but KAORU doesn’t budge, she finally knocks KAORU off her feet but KAORU bridges out of the pin and delivers a dropkick of her own. KAORU stomps on Toshie’s leg and puts her in a Mexican Surfboard, but Chikayo breaks it up. KAORU smacks Chikayo before tagging Fukuoka, Toshie hits a crossbody on Fukuoka and tags Chikayo. Dropkick by Chikayo to Fukuoka and she hits another one, but Chikayo swats aside the next attempt and applies a submission hold.
Toshie eventually breaks it up, Chikayo tries to fight back but Fukuoka elbows her hard in the chest for her trouble. KAORU is tagged in but Chikayo hits a hurricanrana and tags Toshie. Dropkick by Toshie to KAORU and she applies a crab hold, she switches it to a stretch hold but KAORU gets out of it. Snapmare by Toshie and she tags Chikayo, Chikayo kicks on KAORU’s leg and puts her in a kneelock. Toshie comes in too and puts a kneelock on KAORU’s other leg, they let go after a moment but KAORU sneaks in a pin attempt for two. Irish whip by KAORU and she hits Chikayo with a back elbow, Jackhammer by KAORU but Chikayo breaks up the cover. KAORU tags in Fukuoka, double wrist armsault by Fukuoka but again Toshie breaks it up. Fukuoka picks up Chikayo but Chikayo hits a crossbody, Irish whip by Chikayo and she delivers a front roll into a headbutt for two. Chikayo tries to throw down Fukuoka but the hair but Fukuoka blocks it and tosses Chikayo instead, dropkick by Fukuoka but Chikayo gets to the ropes when she goes for a cover. Backdrop suplex by Fukuoka, but Chikayo bridges out of the pin. She tags in KAORU but KAORU lets Toshie tag in, hard elbow by KAORU to Toshie and she hits a double underhook suplex. Bridging suplex by KAORU, but Chikayo breaks up the cover.
KAORU tags Fukuoka but Toshie runs up Fukuoka in the corner and delivers an elbow. Dropkick by Chikayo to Fukuoka but Fukuoka dropkicks both of them and tags KAORU. KAORU charges Toshie but Toshie sneaks in a sunset flip for two. She tags Chikayo, roll-up by Chikayo to KAORU but that gets two as well. KAORU goes for the Space Rolling Elbow but Chikayo avoids it and hits a monkey flip. Step-over sunset flip by Chikayo, but KAORU lands in the ropes. She goes for it again but KAORU throws her to the mat, Fukuoka comes in and she hits a Space Rolling Elbow on Chikayo in the corner. DDT by Fukuoka and KAORU hits a swandive footstomp for a two count. KAORU picks up Chikayo and tags Fukuoka, missile dropkick by Fukuoka but Chikayo lands near her corner and tags Toshie. Headscissors by Toshie and she goes for a pin, but Fukuoka pushes her off. Dropkick by Toshie, she goes up top and hits a diving crossbody. Chikayo goes up top next but KAORU comes in and kicks her down to the floor, suplex by Fukuoka to Toshie and she slams her near the corner. KAORU goes up top and nails a moonsault, Fukuoka follows with a moonsault of her own and she covers Toshie for two. Fukuoka picks up Toshie but Toshie sneaks in a backslide for two. KAORU comes back in the ring with a swandive missile dropkick to Toshie, Fukuoka plants her with a Tiger Driver and she picks up the three count! KAORU and Hikari Fukuoka are the winners.
KAORU and Fukuoka are both so good, KAORU in particular really looked great here. Chikayo and Toshie held her own but clearly were a step below. Which isn’t a knock on them of course, the teams were just lopsided by design. KAORU and Fukuoka did a good job of working with the rookies and gave them plenty of hope spots. I don’t think that Toshie was supposed to kick out after the moonsaults, but Chikayo was late breaking up the pin. A fast paced and entertaining match, but KAORU as she tends to do stole the show. Mildly Recommended
Chigusa Nagayo vs. Sakie Hasegawa
We end the show with a Chigusa Nagayo singles match, as she takes on the soon to be retiring Saki Hasegawa. Hasegawa debuted in All Japan Women in 1989, and while she was frequently overshadowed by the top tier of the promotion she was still seen as a bright young star and talented wrestler. Unfortunately, injuries caught up with her and she announced in 1995 she would be retiring in 1996. Chigusa Nagayo and Hasegawa didn’t have a lot of in-ring interaction in AJW but clearly knew each other well from their stint there, to the point where Nagayo invited Hasegawa to wrestle her in the main event of a GAEA Japan event. This was the first time AJW and GAEA Japan worked together, as promotions tend to be more flexible when it comes to a wrestler’s retirement tour. In the end, this is a pretty special singles match for GAEA Japan, and even though the winner is clear I am sure Nagayo will do her best to give Hasegawa a proper farewell.
Hasegawa attacks Nagayo from behind before the match starts, Hasegawa goes for a Uranage but Nagayo elbows her off. Hasegawa throws Nagayo out of the ring, she goes for a tope con hilo but comes up a bit short. Nagayo taunts her as Hasegawa gets back in the ring, she tries again and this time successfully delivers the move. Hasegawa gets back in the ring and waits for Nagayo, Nagayo returns and the two lock knuckles. Kicks by Nagayo but Hasegawa kicks her back, knees by Hasegawa but Nagayo blocks the double underhook. Hasegawa goes for a Fujiwara Armbar but Nagayo quickly gets to the ropes, Nagayo takes Hasegawa to the mat and applies a facelock. Nagayo then switches to Hasegawa’s arm, but Hasegawa blocks her from locking in the armbreaker. Hasegawa gets Nagayo’s back and goes for an armbreaker of her own, she gets it locked in but Nagayo rolls out of it. Bodyscissors by Hasegawa and she applies a facelock, but Nagayo gets out of the hold. Hasegawa applies a seated armbar and snaps Nagayo’s arm over her shoulder, dropkick by Hasegawa but Nagayo returns to her feet and challenges her for more. Chops by Hasegawa and she dropkicks Nagayo again, missile dropkick by Hasegawa and she covers Nagayo for two.
They end up back on the mat as Hasegawa applies a STF, but Nagayo crawls to the ropes and forces the break. Hasegawa hits a leg drop on Nagayo’s arm before picking her up, but Nagayo sweeps her legs and applies a Scorpion Deathlock. Hasegawa gets to the ropes to force the break, Irish whip by Nagayo and she hits a heel kick. Irish whip again by Nagayo but Hasegawa ducks the heel kick and delivers a savate kick. High kick by Hasegawa and she hits another jumping savate kick followed by a third, another kick by Hasegawa and she covers Nagayo for two. Irish whip by Hasegawa and they both go for heel kicks, sending them both to the mat. Nagayo is up first but Hasegawa gets her back and applies a sleeper hold. Nagayo hits a backdrop suplex to try to get out of it but Hasegawa keeps the hold applied until Nagayo finally makes it to the ropes. Hasegawa picks up Nagayo but Nagayo blocks the powerbomb attempt, back bodydrop by Nagayo and she lariats Hasegawa into the corner. Nagayo drives Hasegawa’s head into the mat with her knee, cover by Nagayo but it gets a two count. Nagayo gets on the turnbuckles but Hasegawa kicks her from behind, sending Nagayo out of the ring. Hasegawa dives out onto Nagayo with a plancha suicida, she goes for a Uranage but Nagayo blocks it and delivers a kick.
Nagayo goes up top and dives out of the ring with a plancha suicida of her own. Nagayo slides Hasegawa back in, she goes for a powerbomb but Hasegawa gets out of it and hits a hurricanrana. Hasegawa picks up Nagayo and hits locomotive underhook suplexes, cover by Hasegawa but Nagayo kicks out. Hasegawa picks up Nagayo but Nagayo blocks the Irish whip and applies a sleeper. Hasegawa knees her way out of it but Nagayo re-applies it until Hasegawa gets to the ropes for the break. Nagayo picks up Hasegawa but Hasegawa wiggles out of the Running Three, Nagayo armdrags out of the Uranage attempt but Hasegawa ducks her heel kick. Suplex by Nagayo, but Hasegawa quickly returns to her feet and delivers the Uranage. She picks up Nagayo and hits a second followed by a third, cover by Hasegawa but Nagayo gets a shoulder up on the cover. She goes for another one but Nagayo elbows out of it, Nagayo gets Hasegawa up on her shoulders but Hasegawa sneaks in a roll-up for two. Hasegawa goes for a heel kick but Nagayo blocks it, she picks up Hasegawa and nails the Running Three for the three count! Chigusa Nagayo is the winner.
After the match, Nagayo picks up Hasegawa and lays her on top of her, motioning for the referee to count to three. He does so, giving Hasegawa a visual pin to end the show.
I don’t know for sure what Hasegawa’s condition was going in but for a 20 minute match there wasn’t a lot to it. They spent a lot of time on the mat trading holds that didn’t go anywhere, which isn’t too unusual in main event matches but it lasted far longer than you’d expect with no real conclusion. Nagayo was a bit playful to start but did get serious as the match went on, but it was basically 18 minutes of not a lot happening with just an occasional burst of offense from one or the other. I’m sure this meant something for Hasegawa as she winded down her career but it wasn’t a great match as it was just too slow and at times had clunky execution. Probably a match worth watching for a huge fan of either wrestler but a disappointing main event.
Of all events to get a commercial release from GAEA Japan, its disappointing that it was this one. There wasn’t a match that went beyond “solid” on the show, with the main event being a pretty disappointing match considering the participants and the circumstances. All and all a skippable show.