Event: GAEA Japan “Wrestle of Dreams”
Date: June 18th, 1995
Location: Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan
Announced Attendance: 2,200
Air Dates: July 8th, 1995 and July 15th, 1995
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 extensively to write these reviews, its a great resource for learning more about GAEA Japan and wrestling in general.
I mentioned last week that GAEA Japan’s TV slot on GAORA was only one hour long, so some matches had to be excluded from the broadcast while others were clipped. For this event, it was a big enough show that they spread the event over two different TV broadcasts, giving them an extra hour. I’ll be reviewing both TV shows to give a complete picture of what aired from the event, instead of breaking it up into two really small reviews. Some matches were still excluded, but more was shown than usual. Anyway, this event is highlighted by a big main event match between Chigusa Nagayo and Devil Masami! Here are the matches that aired:
Brief profiles for all the wrestlers above have been added to the website, you can click on their names to go straight to it.
Maiko Narita and Yukari Ishikura vs. Toshie Sato and Kaori Nakayama
We start off the broadcast with a mini invasion from FMW! Yukari Ishikura and Kaori Nakayama both were young wrestlers from FMW, with both debuting in 1994. Maiko Narita and Toshie Sato debuted in April for GAEA Japan, so this match pits four rookies against each other, but with the promotions crossed to give the match a little extra interest.
We join this match in progress, as Maiko works over Kaori on the mat. Yukari comes in and they double team Kaori, Maiko goes for a dropkick but Kaori avoids it. Toshie runs in now as it is Maiko’s turn to get double teamed, but Maiko manages to tag in Yukari. Yukari elbows Kaori against the ropes but Kaori switches positions with her and returns the favor, kicks to the back by Kaori and she hits a scoop slam for a two count. Kaori picks up Yukari and hits a dropkick, she tags in Toshie and Toshie dropkicks Yukari in the chest. Another dropkick by Toshie but Yukari sneaks in an inside cradle. This gives her time to tag in Maiko, Maiko goes for Toshie’s arm but Toshie gets into the ropes. Maiko bites Toshie’s arm, she flings Toshie to the mat and puts her in a cross armbreaker, but Toshie rolls out of it and puts Maiko in a leg submission. Toshie picks up Maiko and tags in Kaori, Kaori throws down Maiko by the hair but she manages to tag in Yukari after landing. Kaori stretches Yukari’s arm but Yukari ducks a lariat attempt and rolls her up for two. Snapmare by Yukari and she tags in Maiko, and Maiko puts Kaori in a stretch hold. Toshie eventually breaks it up, Kaori kicks Maiko and hits the Space Rolling Elbow in the corner. She hits a second one, Toshie tries to hit a missile dropkick to help but she hits Kaori by accident. Yukari runs in and holds Kaori so that Maiko can hit a missile dropkick, but the cover gets two. Maiko tags in Yukari, Irish whip by Yukari but Kaori applies a sunset flip for two.
Kaori tags in Toshie, shoulderblocks by Toshie to Yukari and she goes up top, but Yukari slams her back into the ring. Yukari goes up top and hits a diving sunset flip, but Toshie barely kicks out. Yukari Irish whips Toshie and hits a dropkick, another dropkick by Yukari and she hits a third for a two count cover. Yukari tags in Maiko, Maiko hits a pair of single leg monkey flips but Toshie blocks it when she goes for another one and hits the face crusher. She tags Kaori, Kaori slams Maiko’s head into the mat twice before Toshie comes off the top with a missile dropkick. Yukari comes in to help and slams Toshie, while Maiko spins around Kaori and drops her onto her partner. Maiko tags in Yukari, diving crossbody by Yukari to Kaori but the cover is broken up. Double arm suplexes by Yukari to Kaori, but again Toshie breaks up the cover. Yukari goes for a diving crossbody but Kaori moves, Kaori tags in Toshie and Toshie hits Yukari with a neckbreaker. Yukari blocks the next attempted one and tags in Maiko, but Toshie quickly drops her with a swinging neckbreaker. Maiko drives Toshie into the corner and hits a running powerslam, but Kaori breaks up the pin. Maiko hits a running powerslam on her as well, she tags in Yukari as Yukari goes for a diving crossbody, but Toshie moves and she hits her partner by accident. Kaori and Toshie grab Yukari and hit a double vertical suplex, an assisted standing moonsault follows before Toshie comes off the top rope with a diving elbow drop. Cover by Toshie, and she gets the three count!
As far as I can tell, this was the last match of Maiko Narita’s career, so I hope you enjoyed all three matches of it. Not everyone makes it as a wrestler, although she looked perfectly fine in this match so it wasn’t due to her struggling to catch on. This was some quality rookie action, as Toshie already has grown quite a bit since we first saw her two months ago. She looked shaky on the diving elbow drop but connected with it, as both she and Maiko were advancing past just doing “rookie” offense. Both FMW wrestlers looked solid with Kaori getting a bit more of a chance to shine, overall this is probably the best all-rookie match we’ve seen so far in GAEA. Mildly Recommended
Meiko Satomura vs. Toshie Uematsu
More rookies! As I discussed on earlier shows, over half of GAEA Japan’s roster is rookies, so they are going to dominate the cards while they hone their craft. Even though both debuted at the same time, Toshie is six years older so she has a bit of a size advantage. Still, Meiko has been a wrecking machine as she already has two wins in her young career that just started in April, so she can’t be counted out.
We join this one in progress also as Toshie is stretching Meiko on the mat, she picks her up but Meiko rebounds out of the corner and an elbow and covers Toshie for two. Meiko puts Toshie in a crab hold but Toshie eventually makes it to the ropes, dropkick by Meiko and she hits another one for a two count cover. Toshie gets back in control and hits a series of running elbows, more running elbows by Toshie into the corner and she hits a scoop slam for a two count. Toshie charges Meiko and dropkicks her, she dropkicks Meiko out of the ring and goes for a dive off the apron, but Meiko moves out of the way and Toshie splats to the floor. Meiko jumps off the apron with an elbow to Toshie, she rolls her back in and hits a couple hard elbows followed by a jumping shoulderblock for two. Elbows by Meiko in the corner but Toshie elbows her back, they both avoid each other’s charges until Toshie hits a back elbow. Meiko fires back but Toshie hits two side headlock takedowns, she goes for a scoop slam but Meiko lands on top of her. Jumping shoulderblocks by Meiko and she covers Toshie for two. Toshie kicks Meiko and delivers a sunset flip for two, dropkick by Toshie and she hits a back elbow. Jumping back elbow by Toshie, but Meiko bridges out of the pin. Scoop slam by Toshie, she goes up top but Meiko tosses her back to the mat. Stomps be Meiko and she throws down Toshie by the hair before ramming her head-first into the mat. Mounted punches by Meiko, and she gets a two count cover. Irish whip by Meiko but Toshie dropkicks her, another dropkick by Toshie but Meiko applies an inside cradle for two. Scoop slam by Meiko, she goes up top and hits a diving body press for a two count. Cross armbreaker by Meiko, but the bell rings as the time as expired.
We get an overtime period! Meiko charges Toshie as soon as the referee signals the period has behind, elbowing her hard to the mat. Stomps by Meiko and she goes again for the cross armbreaker, but Toshie quickly gets a foot on the ropes. Boot to the chest by Meiko and she applies the cross armbreaker again, but again Toshie is able to get into the ropes. Meiko picks up Toshie but Toshie blocks the Irish whip attempt and applies a Japanese Rolling Clutch for the three count! Toshie Uematsu is the winner.
I loved the overtime period, as it showed that Meiko had Toshie beaten but maybe got a bit too loose and Toshie was able to sneak in the win. Very well done. The bulk of the match was pretty basic, Meiko showed her usual fire but it didn’t have the variety that the opener had. Overall fun and reasonably crisp, but the last minute or so was the only part that really stood out.
Mayumi Ozaki and Hiromi Yagi vs. Sumio Toyoma and Bomber Hikari
After a bit of a break on the last show, JWP wrestlers are back again to lend a hand. Ozaki and Yagi are both JWP wrestlers, Yagi saw more success later in her career after she left JWP to join ARSION and Battlarts. Ozaki of course later reached near legendary status, and at this stage was already a multi-time JWP Tag Team Champion. The other team is a bit more unknown, as Bomber retired in 1997 due to injury issues and JWP wrestler Toyoma retired in 1996. Yagi is the least experienced as she debuted in January of 1994, however the rest are more seasoned vets.
Yagi and Toyoma start the match for their teams, Yagi gets the early advantage with a crossbody out of the corner before throwing down Toyoma by her ears. She tags in Ozaki, elbows by Ozaki and she applies a Camel Clutch. Yagi runs in to dropkick Toyoma a few times while she is in the hold, Irish whip by Ozaki and she hits a jumping neck drop for a two count. Ozaki works over Toyoma on the mat and then chops Toyoma in the ears before tagging Yagi back in. Double elbow to Toyoma’s ears (apparently that is her weak point), but she finally manages to make the tag to Bomber. Yagi stomps Bomber and hits a jumping crossbody, covering Bomber for two. Yagi charges Bomber but Bomber moves and squishes Yagi in the corner before hitting a body block. Another body block by Bomber and she puts Yagi in a crab hold while Toyoma comes in and stomps on Yagi’s head. Ozaki comes in and breaks up the hold, giving Yagi time to tag her into the match. Ozaki DDTs Bomber but Toyoma breaks up the cover, Ozaki chops her ears but this lets Bomber recover and she tags Toyoma in. Ozaki tags in Yagi, crossbody by Yagi and she hits a few snapmares on Toyoma before going back to her ears. Yagi and Ozaki both bite Toyoma in the ears, cover by Yagi but it gets two. Yagi punches Toyoma in the ear while trying to convince the referee that she is using an open palm, which somehow fools him, she tags in Ozaki and Ozaki hits a somersault kick off the top turnbuckle for a two count. Ozaki goes back up top but Toyoma avoids the somersault senton and puts Ozaki in a bodyscissors.
Now it is Toyoma that pulls on Ozaki’s ears while Bomber come sin and bites Ozaki in the nose. The referee finally gets her to stop, Ozaki gets in the mount position and chops on Toyoma’s ears. I don’t think I’ve ever seen an ear-based offense like this before. Toyoma manages to get a crab hold applied and tags in Bomber, double shoulderblock to Ozaki and Bomber hits a few shoulderblocks on her own for a two count. Ozaki tags in Yagi but Yagi eats a couple hard shoulderblocks as well, Bomber tags Toyoma and Toyoma kicks Yagi in the chest. Backdrop suplex by Toyoma, and she covers Yagi for two. Yagi gets away from Toyoma and puts her in a short armbar while biting her hand, Ozaki keeps cheating and finally the referee forces the break. Judo throw by Yagi to Toyoma, and she gets a two count cover. Ozaki comes in as the legal wrestler but Bomber comes in too, Toyoma elbows Bomber by accident but then Ozaki does the same to Yagi. Ozaki hits a jumping neck drop on Toyoma, but Bomber breaks up the pin. Ozaki tags in Yagi but Toyoma knees her and hits a Side Russian Leg Sweep. She picks up Yagi and tags Bomber, Bomber tries to sit on Yagi but Yagi moves out of the way and dropkicks Bomber in the butt. A couple more dropkicks by Yagi but Bomber reverses the last one, Yagi goes for a crucifix but Bomber blocks it by falling backwards. Toyoma comes in and they both throw Yagi into the air before hitting a double headbutt. They go for the alley-oop but Yagi rolls out of the way, Bomber picks up Yagi and hits a couple headbutts. Toyoma has recovered and they both headbutt Yagi, but then they start arguing which gives Yagi time to tag in Ozaki. Ozaki hits a double neck drop on both of them, scoop slam by Ozaki to Bomber but Toyoma grabs her when she goes up top.
Bomber joins Ozaki and hits a powerslam back to the mat, but Ozaki bridges out of the pin. Bomber puts Ozaki on the second turnbuckle and Toyoma hits an avalanche chokeslam, cover by Toyoma but Yagi breaks it up. Scoop slam by Toyoma, she goes up top as does Bomber but Ozaki avoids both of their diving headbutts. Ozaki tags in Yagi who hits a missile dropkick on Toyoma, she goes back up top but Toyoma joins her. Yagi jumps over Toyoma and powerbombs her to the mat, she applies a heel hook but Toyoma gets into the ropes. She goes for it again but this time Bomber breaks it up, dropkicks to the leg by Yagi but Bomber hits her from the apron which gives Toyoma time to tag her in. Bomber picks up Yagi and delivers an alley-oop slam, she goes for a second one but Yagi reverses it into a cradle for two. Ozaki tries to help but Yagi hits her by accident, Over The Top by Bomber to Yagi but Ozaki barely breaks it up in time. Bomber gets on the second turnbuckle and hits a body press to Yagi, but again Ozaki breaks it up. Bomber goes off the ropes but Yagi catches her with a judo toss and tags in Ozaki, somersault cannonball by Ozaki but the cover gets two. Ozaki charges Bomber but Bomber slams her in front of the corner, she gets on the top turnbuckle but Ozaki avoids the Reverse Slash. Ozaki now goes up top but Bomber avoids the somersault senton, Toyoma comes in but Ozaki gets away from them and applies a bodyscissors roll-up for two. Release German by Ozaki to Bomber, then Yagi hits one as well. Another German by Ozaki and Yagi, Ozaki then hits a German suplex hold but Toyoma breaks it up. Toyoma is thrown out of the ring before Yagi dives out onto her, Ozaki goes back to Bomber and hits a powerbomb, but Bomber kicks out. Ozaki picks up Bomber and nails the Liger Bomb, and this time she gets the three count! The winners of the match are Mayumi Ozaki and Hiromi Yagi!
Well that was certainly something. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a long segment focusing on a wrestler’s ear, for no reason really since it had nothing to do with the last third of the match. It was an odd way to go as at times I wasn’t sure if they were doing comedy or not. When they weren’t doing that, the match was good but never felt like it had a story since no one team controlled the action for very long. Wrestlers were tagging in and out even if they were on the defense, and it never felt like anyone was in danger. The ending was solid, bit was just a long journey to get there. More unusual than necessarily good.
Chigusa Nagayo vs. Devil Masami
The reason that this event was spread out over two broadcasts was because this match had its own dedicated show, if that tells you how big of a match this was back in 1995. Masami and Nagayo met quite a few times in AJW, usually in tag team action but they also had a big title match in 1985 that went to a Double KO. Devil Masami’s retirement match in 1987 was against Nagayo, but her retirement from AJW didn’t last (nor did Nagayo’s obviously) and Masami later joined up with JWP. When Nagayo came out of retirement, Nagayo and Masami continued their feud in JWP, and also were on opposite teams on GAEA Japan’s debut event. Here though, the old rivals get the spotlight in the main event, their first singles match since March of 1994 in JWP.
Masami quickly gets the advantage in the match and headbutts Nagayo a couple times, Masami goes for the powerbomb but Nagayo back bodydrops out of it. Masami lariats her to the mat and goes up top, Nagayo tries to joins her but Masami headbutts her back down. Masami goes for a senton but Nagayo rolls out of the way, both wrestlers get up and Masami lariats Nagayo into the corner. Enzuigiri by Nagayo and now she goes for the powerbomb, but Masami back bodydrops out of it as well. Nagayo applies the sleeper, she lets go of the hold and throws Masami into the ropes before hitting a lariat to the back of the head. Masami goes out to the apron but Nagayo hits a high kick, sending Masami down to the floor. Nagayo gets on the apron and hits a diving crossbody onto Masami, she picks her up and throws Masami into the guard rail, but Masami fires back with a bodyblock and both wrestlers are hurt. Nagayo throws Masami into another railing and high kicks her over the rail onto a table at ringside. Nagayo gets on the table and hits another kick, she knees Masami and both of them fall off the table. Nagayo returns to the ring with Masami slowly following, Nagayo goes for a kick as Masami gets on the apron, but Masami blocks it and kicks her back. Masami goes up top but Nagayo joins her, Nagayo goes for another kick but Masami catches it and hits a leg drop onto Nagayo’s leg for a two count cover. Masami picks up Nagayo and nails a powerbomb, cover by Masami but Nagayo gets a shoulder up. Masami charges Nagayo but Nagayo leg sweeps her, she goes for a kick but Masami blocks it again and kicks Nagayo in her injured leg. Masami goes for a diving leg drop onto Nagayo’s leg but Nagayo mostly rolls out of the way, Nagayo is up first and she puts Masami into the sleeper.
Masami manages to get a hand in the ropes to force the break, Masami slowly gets up but Nagayo promptly delivers a high kick to her head and the referee starts a count on Masami. Masami makes it up but eats another high kick to the head, knee drop by Nagayo and the referee begins another count. Nagayo grabs Masami as she gets to her feet and goes for a powerbomb, Masami slides away but Nagayo kicks her in the head again. Nagayo goes for another kick but Masami catches it this time and she puts Nagayo in the sleeper hold. Masami picks up Nagayo but Nagayo reverses the powerbomb attempt by landing on Masami, she goes off the ropes but Masami kicks her and this time hits the sit-down powerbomb. Cover by Masami, but Nagayo reverses the cover into her own pin attempt for two. Nagayo picks up Masami and hits the Running Three, cover by Nagayo but Masami barely gets a shoulder up. Nagayo is up first but Masami ducks her lariat attempt, Masami goes for a kick but Nagayo ducks it and her leg gets caught in the ropes. High kick by Nagayo while Masami is still in the ropes, the referee starts the ten count but Masami barely makes it up in time. Nagayo puts Masami on the top turnbuckle, Masami pushes her off once but Nagayo kicks her three times to knock her loopy. Nagayo gets Masami up and delivers the Running Three, cover by Nagayo and she gets the three count! Chigusa Nagayo is your winner.
Even with the full hour broadcast, this match was clipped, as according to the official match time about ten minutes as missing. The match felt very old school but it wasn’t as exciting and heated as I was hoping for. I am all for KO spots and I think they should be used more in wrestling, but they went several minutes with long referee counts and submissions which seemed to take the crowd out of it a little bit since it slowed things down so much. Another issue is that how it was presented, Nagayo was pretty much always in control and I never got the sense that Masami could win. That being said, it told a solid story, with Nagayo continuing to kick Masami in the head until she was groggy enough to succumb to the Running Three. Masami’s leg work was fine, ultimately it didn’t stop Nagayo but it was a sound strategy that just didn’t work out. Hard to really recommend a match so clipped but it was a smart match between two legends in the business so you can’t go too wrong. Mildly Recommended
Even though this event was spread out over two shows, it still failed to deliver a really high end match that I was hoping for. The main event being so heavily clipped was disappointing, there may have been a good reason they clipped it but a match of that status I’d always prefer to see in full. The tag match before it wasn’t bad but was bizarre at times, and really the opener rookie match may have been the most entertaining thing on the show as it had constant action. A very watchable show, but GAEA Japan still is trying to find its groove, which is taking time due to their small roster size, large number of rookies in the promotion, and short TV time slot.