In 2013, JWP had fallen onto hard times and was not the same promotion it was in the glory years of Joshi. In all of 2012, JWP only had an attendance higher than 1,000 once (and that was just barely), and generally they ran in buildings that held under 200 fans. Luckily for us, even though the promotion was much smaller in stature, they still had a fair number of talented wrestlers and were led by Arisa Nakajima. They also still knew how to drum up interest, as in 2013 they started to use one of the most reviled Joshi wrestlers at the time – Kana. Kana had a built-in rivalry with JWP and fit in perfectly as an outsider invading the promotion. This was Kana’s second match in the promotion, as she faced one of JWP’s best in Tsubasa Kuragaki. We also have the continuation of the JWP Tag League The Best, which was JWP’s annual tag tournament.
This is not a large event, and it may seem to be an odd one to pick out of a hat. My main interest was seeing Kana in a new environment, but I also like to sometimes watch the smaller shows as that is a better representation of what a promotion is all about. Almost all promotions can put on a good show once a year at their largest event, but watching wrestlers on the ‘off days’ shows what they are really made of. This event took place in their familiar Itabashi Green Hall, in front of 170 fans. Here is the full card:
- Leon and Risa Sera vs. Nana Kawasa and Raideen Hagane
- Kayoko Haruyama vs. Sareee
- Kana vs. Tsubasa Kuragaki
- JWP Tag League The Best – Block B: Manami Katsu and Rabbit Miu  vs. Sachie Abe and KAZUKI 
- JWP Tag League The Best – Block A: Arisa Nakajima and Command Bolshoi  vs. Hanako Nakamori and Morii 
This taping is not clipped, which is good since it wasn’t very long in the first place. Onto the fun.
Leon and Risa Sera vs. Nana Kawasa and Raideen Hagane
Three of these wrestlers are still active today, however many may not recognize the name Nana Kawasa. Kawasa debuted in 2011, but had pretty much disappeared from any of the major promotions by 2013. She still appears to be occasionally active, but only wrestling on much smaller events. Leon and Hagane still wrestle for JWP, however Sera came from Ice Ribbon, which is where she still wrestles today. Leon was the veteran of the group, with all the others being under 23 years old at the time of the match.
Hagane and Sera start the match, as the veteran Leon watches from the apron. Hagane is quite a bit bigger than Sera and uses her size to get an early advantage until she tags in Kawasa. Kawasa has Sera beat in the size department too (Sera isn’t micro sized but is a bit smaller than most) and works Sera over, Sera fights back after a moment and the two trade blows. Shoulderblocks by Kawasa but Sera blocks the suplex, Hagane comes in but so does Leon, and both Leon and Sera hit dropkicks on their opponents. Sera tags in Leon, dropkick by Leon to Kawasa but Kawasa back bodydrops her. Backbreaker by Leon and she starts on Kawasa’s back until Hagane lends a hand to turn the match into Kawasa’s favor. Back up they trade blows, powerslam by Kawasa and she gets a two count.
Kawasa gets on the second turnbuckle and hits a body press, but that gets two as well. Hagane is tagged in, she shoulderblocks Leon around and she hits a backdrop suplex for two. Hagane goes up top but Sera grabs her, Leon recovers and tosses Hagane to the mat. Springboard bulldog by Leon and she hits a spear in the corner, followed by a missile dropkick. Leon tags Sera, dropkicks by Sera but Hagane hits a pair of dropkicks on her own. Judo throw by Hagane and she hits two more before applying a side choke. Leon breaks that up, Hagane picks up Sera and she hits a backdrop suplex for a two count. Kawasa runs in and hits a second rope body press, Hagane goes up top but Sera avoids the dive. Sera tries to pick up Hagane by fails, shoulderblock by Hagane but she can’t keep Sera down for a three count. Leon runs in and spears Hagane, Sera picks up Hagane and hits the Ayers Rock for the three count! Leon and Sera win the match.
This was a bit sloppy to put it mildly. Part of that can be attributed to their ages/skill levels but I think another part was not a lot of effort was put into structuring a match that opened on a small show. There were just a lot of miscommunications throughout, some small but some bigger, that prevented the match from ever getting a flow. A few of the moves were hit well and it never was overly boring, it was just dull and uneventful.
Kayoko Haruyama vs. Sareee
To say there was an age gap here would be an understatement. This event actually took place on Sareee’s 17th birthday, it wasn’t acknowledged on the event but that is what wikipedia tells me anyway. Sareee hailed from Diana, which barely makes tape but she traveled to other promotions quite a bit for exposure (and probably more money). Haruyama on the other hand was a 15 year veteran at this time and had a dozen title reigns under her belt. So this was definitely a learning match for Sareee, let’s see how she does.
Sareee dropkicks Haruyama as soon as the bell rings and throws her down by her hair before stomping Haruyama in the corner. Haruyama has had enough and takes back over, chopping Sareee mercilessly in the corner. Sleeper by Haruyama but Sareee slips through it and hits mounted forearms. Dropkicks by Sareee, she is getting a lot more offense in this match then I expected. Another dropkick by Sareee but Haruyama slaps on a side headlock on the mat. Haruyama controls the next few minutes of the match until Sareee jumps up on the second turnbuckle and hits a dropkick. Dropkick to the knee by Sareee and she dropkicks Haruyama a few more times, she goes up top but Haruyama joins her. Sareee pushes her off and hits a missile dropkick, another missile dropkick by Sareee and she gets a two count. Haruyama finally catches a dropkick and hits a facebuster, she goes for a suplex but Sareee hits a bulldog. Kick to the head by Haruyama but Sareee sneaks in a cradle for two. Back up they trade blows, Haruyama hits a backdrop suplex and she hits a missile dropkick of her own. Sareee reverses the suplex attempt and sneaks in a few more pin attempts with no luck. Lariat by Haruyama, she goes up top and she nails a Diving Guillotine Drop for the three count! Haruyama is your winner.
I think in a bigger arena this would have been more of a hit, as Sareee played the part of underdog well and Haruyama was shockingly willing to bump around for her. This was basically a 50/50 match which was the last thing I was expecting, and aside from from a miscommunication at the end it was very smooth. Sareee was still new to wrestling at this point but had the basics down pat, and Haruyama led her well. I like when rookies show spunk against veterans so I liked the match, but with a more vocal crowd it would have made more of a lasting impression. Mildly Recommended
Kana vs. Tsubasa Kuragaki
As I mentioned briefly above, Kana first made her presence felt in JWP back in January of 2013, and was immediately cast as the villain as at the time there was some real-life heat on her due to an interview she had done years earlier which was not complimentary of the Joshi scene. Kuragaki was one of the top wrestlers of JWP so it made sense they would face off, but there was no real hostility shown between them aside from the lack of handshake to start things off.
This one starts slow, as they spent the early portion of the match feeling each other out on the mat. I thought this one would be a bit more heated but apparently Kana hadn’t gone heel at this point in the JWP storyline, it seems that comes a bit later. Kana briefly gets the cross armbreaker locked on but Kuragaki gets to the ropes, Kana starts working on Kuragaki’s arm but Kuragaki gets away and starts working a side headlock. Kuragaki hits a thrust kick but Kana fires back with a knee, dropkick by Kuragaki but Kana catches her arm as she charges in and applies a short armbar. Back up, Kuragaki goes for a suplex but Kana takes her back down with an armbar but Kuragaki gets to the ropes. Strikes by Kana in the corner and she hits a dropkick, but Kuragaki fires back with a lariat. Helicopter Toss by Kuragaki and she goes up top, Kana joins her but Kuragaki gets Kana on her shoulder. Kana slides off while still up top and applies a headlock, but Kuragaki gets out of it and slams Kana to the mat.
Second turnbuckle body press by Kuragaki, but it only gets two. Scorpion Deathlock by Kuragaki with a headlock, but Kana gets to the ropes. Back up they trade elbows, Kuragaki gets Kana on her back but Kana rolls off and applies an ankle hold. Kuragaki gets out of it but Kana goes back to the armbar, Kuragaki inches to the ropes and makes it to force the break. Kana grabs Kuragaki but Kuragaki whips off a backdrop suplex, release German by Kana but Kuragaki blocks her kick and hits a short range lariat. Kuragaki goes for a powerbomb but Kana slides away and hits a buzzsaw kick. Backdrop suplex by Kuragaki, Kana retorts with a high kick but Kuragaki plants her with a lariat. Kana slowly gets up first but Kuragaki hits another backdrop suplex, she goes up top and nails the moonsault, but Kana barely kicks out of the cover. She picks up Kana but the bell rings, as time expires. The match is a Draw.
This was a really solid match between the veterans and smartly worked. It started slow so I was a bit worried, but then they got into it with Kana focusing on the arm while Kuragaki was going for power moves to put Kana away. Kuragaki sold the arm just enough, it didn’t need excessive selling since Kana wasn’t able to focus on it for long before being cut off. There was no hatred here at all, just two well schooled wrestlers putting on a clinic, with it climaxing at just the right time. I’m not a big fan of draws outside of points-based tournaments, but I thought this match delivered and is on the high end of my ‘Recommended’ scale. Recommended
Manami Katsu and Rabbit Miu vs. Sachie Abe and KAZUKI
This match is part of the Tag League The Best Tournament. This was still early in the tournament and was both team’s second match. All four of these wrestlers were wrestling for their home promotion, with Abe and KAZUKI being the seniors of the pairing against the up-and-comers. Katsu and Miu were both under 20 years old for this match while Abe and KAZUKI were knocking on 40’s door. KAZUKI and Abe were former tag team champions in JWP so they were very familiar with each other, putting the young wrestlers even more at a disadvantage. But sometimes the young can out-maneuver the old, which will be their goal here to pick up their first points.
Miu and Abe kick things off, Miu is so itty bitty next to Abe (and still technically a child at this point), and the match starts slow as they all yell at each other. I don’t speak Japanese, maybe they are making fun of her for being old. We finally get started as both teams go for quick pins before Abe throws Miu down by her hair and stomps her in the corner. Katsu comes in to help but it backfires pretty quickly, KAZUKI comes in and they stack Miu and Katsu in the corner before KAZUKI hits a reverse double knee drop. Double underhook suplex by Abe to Miu, but it gets two. Quick pin attempt by Miu followed by dropkicks, Miu hits a vertical suplex and tags in Katsu. Hard shoulderblock by Katsu to Abe (Katsu is young but massive) and they trade elbows, Katsu gets the better of the exchange and hits a backbreaker near the corner. Katsu goes for a reverse splash but Abe rolls out of the way, Abe goes for a quick pin but Katsu reverses it. Sling Blade by Abe and she tags in KAZUKI, Katsu kicks KAZUKI and hits a bridging suplex for two. Miu goes up top but KAZUKI pushes Katsu into her.
Miu hits a missile dropkick anyway, reverse splash by Katsu but it gets two. Samoan Drop by Katsu and she tags in KAZUKI while Miu comes in also, footstomp by KAZUKI and she hits a double kneedrop for two. Miu gets out of the backbreaker and hits her own footstomps, she gets on the second turnbuckle but Abe grabs her. KAZUKI gets Miu up on her shoulders but Katsu comes in and helps Miu hit a DDT. Tornado DDT by Miu followed by missile dropkicks by both wrestlers, Katsu gets on the top turnbuckle and she hits a reverse splash. Diving body press but Miu, but Abe breaks up the cover. Codebreaker by KAZUKI and she suplexes Miu, getting a two count. Miu gets on KAZUKI’s shoulders but KAZUKI slams her to the mat, Miu avoids the diving kneedrop but KAZUKI plants her with a cutter for a two count. Katsu runs in and elbows KAZUKI, they trade roll-ups but neither gets the three count. Abe goes up top, KAZUKI puts Miu on her shoulders but Miu rolls through it. Abe trips KAZUKI by accident, she goes to help her but Miu pushes Abe onto KAZUKI and covers her for a three count! Katsu and Miu get two points in the tournament.
Really awkward ending aside, this wasn’t a bad match but it wasn’t good either. Katsu and Miu were a bit rough around the edges, perfectly acceptable for their ages but noticeable nonetheless, with not everything coming off smoothly. Add in the time wasting in the beginning and the general lack of structure, and I had trouble getting into the match. I liked the young wrestlers getting over on the veterans and the strategies by both teams were sound, it was just missing something to put it all together. Not unwatchable and not boring, but not what I’d consider entertaining.
Arisa Nakajima and Command Bolshoi vs. Hanako Nakamori and Morii
This match is part of the Tag League The Best Tournament. Nakajima and Bolshoi were two of the biggest stars of JWP, and already had a victory in the tournament. Nakamori and Morii (also known as Maury) also had one win and are looking to go ahead in their Block. A fitting main event as both teams had the experience and the skill to pick up the victory.
No time for pleasantries as they brawl to start, with Nakamori and Morii gaining the first advantage. Bolshoi takes back over and tags in Nakajima, and Nakajima stands on Nakamori near the ropes. Nakamori hits a crossbody and tags in Morii, DDT by Nakajima and she kicks Morii in the head. Bolshoi is tagged in but Morii shoulderblocks her and they trade chops. Rolling suplexes by Bolshoi but Morii hits a suplex of her own for a two count. Irish whip by Morii but Bolshoi kicks her and hits a modified DDT for a two count. Bolshoi tags in Nakajima, elbow by Nakajima but Morii elbows her back and they trade strikes. Sliding kick by Nakajima which sends Morii to the floor, Nakajima gets on the top turnbuckle and dives out of the ring with a plancha. They battle around the ring, mostly off-camera, until Nakajima and Morii return to the ring. Missile dropkick by Nakajima and she hits a German suplex hold for two. Knees by Nakajima but Morii slams her to the mat for a two count.
Nakajima and Morii trade chops, Morii tags in Nakajima and she kicks Nakajima in the head. Nakamori goes up top and hits a diving knee while Morii slams Nakajima for a two count cover. Nakamori goes up top again but Nakajima moves and hits a bridging suplex for a two count. Rolling Germans by Nakajima but Morii breaks up the cover. Hard elbow by Nakajima and she tags in Bolshoi, dropkick by Bolshoi but Bolshoi is double teamed. Nakamori kicks Morii by accident and Bolshoi kicks Morii out of the ring. Tiger suplex hold by Bolshoi to Nakamori, she goes up top but Nakamori joins her, hitting an avalanche fisherman buster for two. Morii goes up top and hits a diving senton, Nakamori picks up Bolshoi and delivers a fisherman buster, but Nakajima breaks it up. Nakamori goes up top but Bolshoi joins her and hits an Avalanche Uranage. Now Nakajima and Morii go up top, Morii is pulled down and with Bolshoi they hit and double footstomp to both their opponents for two counts. Bolshoi hits a palm strike on Nakamori but Morii breaks up the pinfall. Backfist by Bolshoi but Morii hits her with a lariat.Requiem Driver by Nakamori to Bolshoi, but she barely gets a shoulder up. Back up, Bolshoi gets away but Nakajima elbows Bolshoi by accident and Nakamori applies La Magistral for the three count! Nakamori and Morii win two points!
This was a fun fast paced match, what it lacked in structure it made up for with non-stop action from bell to bell. The tag rules were pretty loose here as they didn’t waste time with limbs or beatdown segments, it had a nice chaotic feel of two teams just trying to see who could hit the biggest move last to win the match for their team. It probably isn’t for everyone as structure pretty much went out the window, but the “miscommunication” ending into a quick roll-up was a fitting ending for this style of match. It wouldn’t have been on any end of year ballots but still solid. Recommended
For a short five match event, I thought this one delivered on many levels. The Kana/Kuragaki match was grounded but just a really well done technical match, and the main event was that classic fast paced affair that I have come to love about Joshi. Add in the surprisingly good Sareee match and there was quite a bit here to enjoy. It only clocks in at a little over an hour of in-ring action, but at least nothing was clipped and nothing was actively bad. A solid small show by JWP.