Event: JWP “Thunder Queen Ryogoku Wonderland”
Date: June 16th, 1995
Location: Tokyo Ryogoku Kokugikan (Sumo Hall) in Tokyo, Japan
Announced Attendance: 6,500
The last classic event that I reviewed, Jd’ Stir The Blood 1997, saw Lioness Asuka in the main event against Jaguar Yokota. While Asuka was tearing it up in Jd’, her old partner Chigusa Nagayo was still putting on high quality matches as well since returning from retirement in 1993. Here she invades JWP at their biggest event of the year at the famous Sumo Hall in Tokyo, Japan. Joshi was still booming in 1995, and even though AJW had the lion’s share of the market, JWP was still a well respected promotion that had many big stars including Dynamite Kansai, Devil Masami, Candy Okutsu, Cutie Suzuki, and many others. Interestingly there was only one title match on the show, however it is still an event with lots of potential. Here is the full card:
- Sonoko Kato, Chikayo Nagashima, and Maiko Narita vs. Tomoko Kuzumi, Tomomi Kobayashi, and Yuki Miyazaki
- Fusayo Nouchi and Kumiko Maekawa vs. Rie Tamada and Kanako Motoya
- Rookie of the Year Tournament Final: Rieko Amano vs. Tomoko Miyaguchi
- Bomber Hikari and Sumiya Toyama vs. Toshie Sato and Yasuko Kuragaki
- Bolshoi Kid vs. Cutie Suzuki
- JWP Jr. Championship Gauntlet Match: Candy Okutsu vs. Hiromi Yagi vs. Hiromi Sugo
- Devil Masami and Mayumi Ozaki vs. Hikari Fukuoka and KAORU
- Chigusa Nagayo vs. Dynamite Kansai
A long show, however for the release it was condensed to two hour so some matches will be clipped. But it still will take me forever to do this review as I have a lot of research to do, so I hope the 20 or so people that will read it will enjoy it. There are a handful of inter-promotional matches, which I’ll be sure to point out when they take place. Also this is the worst quality video-wise I have ever reviewed for the site, so apologies in advance.
Sonoko Kato, Chikayo Nagashima, and Maiko Narita vs. Kuzumi, Kobayashi, and Yuki Miyazaki
This opener had a handful of obscure young wrestlers that never had careers of note, but you may recognize some of these names. Sonoko Kato is currently one of the main wrestlers in Oz Academy but back in 1995 she was just a young wrestler in GAEA, as was current respected Freelancer Chikayo Nagashima. On the JWP team, Yuki Miyazaki still wrestles as well today, mostly in Pro Wrestling WAVE, and is best known from her run as Policewoman.
We join this one in progress, with Kuzumi dropkicking Narita and putting her in a crab hold. Narita is triple teamed until she gets away and tags in Kato, Kato goes after Kuzumi’s arm but Kuzumi’s teammates run in and break it up. Kato is isolated for several minutes as Kobayashi works her over with various submission holds until Narita comes in to assist. This gives Kato time to tag in Nagashima, Kuzumi is tagged in too and Nagashima hits front rolls into headbutts until Kuzumi sneaks in a backslide for two She tags Kobayashi back in, and Kobayashi hits a series of body blocks until Nagashima tags in Kato. A lot is happening but not a lot is happening, if that makes sense. Kato’s team runs in and everyone dropkicks Kobayashi in the corner, bulldog by Kato and she covers Kobayashi for two.
Kato goes up top and hits a diving body press, but that cover is broken up as well. Kobayashi hits a Butt Bomb and tags in Miyazaki, hip attacks by Miyazaki to Kato and she covers her for two. Narita blind tags in and hits a couple one legged monkey flips until Kuzumi comes in to help. Narita gets dropkicked by everyone then eats a triple big boot, but she gets away and drops Miyazaki with a running powerslam for a two count. Missile dropkick by Miyazaki and both teams trade missile dropkicks (well, Narita fell off when she went for hers, but what can ya do). More dropkicks! The time limit expires but they fight on! All six brawl in the ring, things settle back down with Kobayashi hitting body blocks on Nagashima. All three hit diving body presses on Nagashima, but the cover is broken up. Nagashima and Kobayashi stay in the ring while everyone else fights outside of it, Irish whip by Kobayashi but Nagashima quickly rolls her up and she gets the three count! Sonoko Kato, Chikayo Nagashima, and Maiko Narita win!
Just your typical fast paced rookie opener. No one got too much of a chance to shine but all looked solid, Narita had the only slip up of the match but they recovered well and kept on moving. Kato looked the best here so no surprise she ended up being so good down the road, but no one looked bad either. Not a bad way to start a show, giving young wrestlers a chance to wrestle at Sumo Hall is never a bad thing.
The next tag match wasn’t included on the release I have, so we will move right onto the Rookie of the Year Final.
Rieko Amano vs. Tomoko Miyaguchi
This is the Rookie of the Year Tournament Final. You may know who both of these wrestlers are, but their names were different back in 1995. Rieko Amano later changed her ring name to Carlos Amano and went on to win multiple titles from 2008 to 2012 in OZ Academy before retiring in 2014. Miyaguchi later changed her wrestling name to Ran Yu-Yu, she held ten different titles (including the JWP Tag Team Championship seven times) before retiring in 2012. But here both were still just learning how to wrestle, although both had already shown some promise which is why they were in the finals of the tournament.
We join this in one in progress as Amano has Miyaguchi in a leg hold, but Miyaguchi gets to the ropes. Jumping crossbody by Miyaguchi and she puts Amano in a stretch hold, they return to their feet and Miyaguchi hits a dropkick. Amano avoids the next dropkick and goes up top but Miyaguchi knocks her off the top to the floor. Miyaguchi goes out after her and slams Amano into the apron before they return to the ring, sunset flip by Amano but she gets a two count. They trade slaps, Amano mounts Miyaguchi and rains down elbows onto her chest. Diving crossbody by Amano, but it gets two. Amano goes up top but Miyaguchi flings her back to the mat. Miyaguchi goes for a running boot but Amano catches her leg and takes her down, Miyaguchi lands in the ropes however and gets her own leglock applied. Both wrestlers trade quick pin attempts, mounted slaps by Amano but Miyaguchi sneaks in a backslide. Miyaguchi goes to run off the ropes but Amano grabs her from behind and rolls her up for the three count! Amano wins the Tournament!
Clipped down but I liked what I saw. Amano in particular seemed really on point, the submissions were smooth and she showed a lot of fire with her strikes. Miyaguchi looked fine but was a bit upstaged in what they showed, but still was pretty crisp with her offense and neither looked out of place. Only a few minutes was missing, one of the better rookie vs. rookie matches I have seen in awhile and both would go on to have great careers. Mildly Recommended
Bomber Hikari and Sumiya Toyama vs. Toshie Sato and Yasuko Kuragaki
Next up is a mixed tag match, not mixed gender-wise, but promotion-wise. Bomber Hikari started in AJW before joining GAEA in 1995, she retired in 1997 so she had a pretty short career. Her partner I couldn’t find a lot of information on so I assume she didn’t have a long career either however she was affiliated with JWP. Yasuko Kuragaki is still actively wrestling for JWP and OZ Academy under the name of Tsubasa Kuragaki, while her partner, affiliated with GAEA, is better known as Sugar Sato and was a successful tag team wrestler before retiring in 2005.
This match is only slightly joined in progress, with Hikari in the ring with Kuragaki. Kuragaki tags in Sato but Sato has no luck with Hikari as she eats a headbutt. Sato tags Kuragaki and Kuragaki connects with a dropkick, Sato returns and they both dropkick Hikari to the mat. Kuragaki applies a single leg crab hold but Hikari gets out of it and tags in Toyama. Hard shoulderblock by Toyama and she hits a scoop slam, covering Kuragaki for a two count. Kuragaki fires back with an elbow and tags in Sato, dropkick by Sato and she covers Toyama for two. Shoulderblocks by Sato and she hits a neckbreaker, but Toyama kicks out of the cover. Kuragaki and Hikari end up in the ring too with Sato and Kuragaki maintaining control, Toyama hits a judo throw on Sato and she tags in Hikari. Sato tags in Kuragaki, Hikari powerslams Kuragaki and Toyama comes in so they can drop Kuragaki with a double military press. Kuragaki dropkicks Hikari three times, and she covers Hikari for two. Fireman’s carry slams by Kuragaki and Sato hits a missile dropkick. Hikari lands by her corner and tags in Toyama, and Toyama boots Kuragaki in the chest for two. Side Russian Leg Sweeps by Toyama and she tags Hikari back in, missile dropkick by Toyama and both Hikari and Toyama slam Kuragaki and Sato. Diving headbutt by Hikari, and she covers Sato for the three count! Hikari and Toyama are the winners.
While all four wrestlers looked good here, the match structure was all over the place. To say that the transitions were iffy would be a compliment, at any given moment the winning team could shift to the other team for really no reason. So there wasn’t much of a flow, the carnage was good but I prefer carnage that has a bit more of a purpose. Solid action but just a bit meandering.
Bolshoi Kid vs. Cutie Suzuki
Excited for another match that I know the participants. Bolshoi Kid is a well known wrestler still very active today, wrestling currently as Command Bolshoi for JWP. Back in 1995 she was a bit more comedic, going full clown costume instead of just the mask like she wears today. Her opponent Suzuki is known almost as much for her videos/photobooks as she is for her wrestling, however she was an accomplished wrestler with five JWP Tag Team Championship reigns (with three different partners). This match was during the height of her popularity, and it quickly became clear she was in no mood to wrestle a clown.
Suzuki is mad as hell at Bolshoi and I have no idea why, as she attacks her before the match starts and knocks her out of the ring. Suzuki dives out onto her with a jumping knee before sitting Bolshoi on the apron and pulling at her goofy hat. Back in the ring, Bolshoi finally gets away from Suzuki and she hits a quick hurricanrana for two. Bolshoi goes up top and hits a diving chop to the head, but Suzuki dropkicks Bolshoi out of the ring and hits a jumping knee from the apron down to the floor. Suzuki returns to the ring and waits for Bolshoi, German suplex hold by Suzuki but it gets two. Package German by Suzuki, but that gets a two count as well. Suzuki puts Bolshoi up top and hits an avalanche backdrop suplex, she goes up top again and hits a diving footstomp. Bolshoi hits a headscissors takedown and snaps off a quick suplex, she dropkicks Suzuki out of the ring and sails out after her with a plancha suicida. In the ring, Bolshoi hits a missile dropkick but Suzuki rolls out of the way of the moonsault. Avalanche Uranage by Bolshoi Kid, but Suzuki bridges out of the pin. German suplex hold by Bolshoi, but it gets two. Bolshoi goes up top but again she misses the moonsault, missile dropkick by Suzuki and she hits a second one before dropping Bolshoi with a dragon suplex hold for the three count! Cutie Suzuki is the winner.
I liked this match quite a bit. Really fast paced, hard hitting, high flying… about all you could ask for. Suzuki was more vicious here than I remember, although I haven’t seen a ton of her matches. So either this is normal for her and I didn’t know, or she just really hates clowns. It felt like it got the right amount of time and was a really good showcase for someone that they really wanted the crowd to take seriously as a wrestler even though she was an idol as well. Quality midcard match and worth a watch. Recommended
Candy Okutsu vs. Hiromi Yagi vs. Hiromi Sugo
This match is to crown the first winner of the JWP Jr. Championship. This is pretty exciting in a way, the JWP Jr. Championship is still defended to this day and here is where the championship was born. Candy Okutsu was the most accomplished going into the match, as she had held the AJW Jr. Championship for almost a year and a half before losing it a few months prior to this match. Yagi debuted in JWP in 1994 but had shown a lot of promise, while Sugo also debuted in 1994 (she wrestled only two years but is still a referee in JWP). This is a Gauntlet Match, not a triple threat, with the winner of the championship being the first wrestler to win two consecutive matches.
Hiromi Yagi and Hiromi Sugo are the first two in the match. Yagi quickly puts Sugo in a short armbar and stomps on her, jumping knee by Sugo in the corner but Yagi comes back with a rebound crossbody. Judo throws by Yagi and she goes for Sugo’s arm, but Sugo dropkicks her and hits a series of stomps. Sugo rams Yagi into the turnbuckles, Yagi goes for a quick roll-up but Sugo blocks it and holds down Yagi for the three count! Sugo wins the pairing and goes on to face Okutsu.
Sugo attacks Okutsu before their match starts but Okutsu kicks Sugo in the head and hits a missile dropkick. Okutsu runs up the corner and goes for another one, but Sugo swats her away. Sugo goes up top but Okutsu quickly joins her and hits a suplex to the mat for the three count! Okutsu wins the pairing and goes on to face Yagi.
Yagi quickly armdrags Okutsu as their match starts and applies a cross kneelock, but Okutsu gets a hand onto the ropes. Wing Clutch Hold by Okutsu, she picks up Yagi and she hits a backdrop suplex. Yagi blocks the next attempt and gets the kneelock re-applied, but again Okutsu gets to the ropes for a break. Missile dropkick by Okutsu and she hits a rebound crossbody out of the corner for two. Okutsu goes off the ropes but Yagi catches her arm with a short armbar, Okutsu inches to the ropes and gets a toe on the bottom one to get a break. Jumping elbow by Yagi but Okutsu hits a missile dropkick for a two count. Running kicks by Okutsu and she hits a snap German suplex, Irish whip by Okutsu but Yagi rolls her up for a two count. German suplex by Yagi, she goes up top but Okutsu gets her knees up on the diving body press. Irish whip by Okutsu, she springs out to the apron and goes up top but Yagi armdrags her off the top turnbuckle to the mat. Yagi goes up top but Okutsu quickly joins her and hits a big suplex to the mat, but Yagi bridges out of the pin. Okutsu goes for a suplex but Yagi slides away and hits a pair of suplexes. Okutsu grabs Yagi’s leg a however and applies a kneelock, and Yagi submits! Your winner and new champion is Candy Okutsu!
I love the speed and smoothness of the match, I just wish it lasted longer as the whole thing clocked in at well under ten minutes. Okutsu’s method of getting to the top turnbuckle was flawlessly done, perhaps overdone, but it is still a neat trick she does apparently on command. I also really liked Yagi’s throws and submissions, she looked polished for someone so inexperienced. The ending was sudden and didn’t make a ton of sense as Okutsu hadn’t done any work to the leg at all, but this was during the age where armbreakers/leglocks were getting more respect as instant finishers. Overall I liked it, it just deserved more time for such a big occasion on a massive card for JWP. Mildly Recommended
Devil Masami and Mayumi Ozaki vs. Hikari Fukuoka and KAORU
As the big co-main event, we get all the rest of the major players in JWP in a massive tag match. Masami is best known for her strong run in AJW but after joining JWP she held both the JWP Openweight and Tag Team Championship leading into this match. Ozaki debuted in Japan Women’s Pro Wrestling in 1986 but up to this point had only had tag team championship success in JWP, she mostly stayed a midcard/upper midcard threat for much of her JWP run. Fukuoka also started in JWP but like Ozaki primarily found tag team success, as did her partner KAORU.
Fukuoka and KAORU immediately hit stereo hurricanranas as the match starts, they go to double team Masami but she headbutts both of them. Ozaki comes in and powerbombs KAORU, then Masami slams Fukuoka on top of KAORU for extra measure. Masami and KAORU stay in, but they reach a stalemate and tag in their partners. Fukuoka suplexes Ozaki but Ozaki comes back with a jumping lariat, powerbomb by Ozaki and she covers Fukuoka for a two count. Headscissors by Fukuoka to Masami and she hits a hurricanrana for two, but Masami avoids the moonsault out of the corner and KAORU knocks her down with a missile dropkick. Moonsault by KAORU, Fukuoka goes up top but Ozaki hits her and Fukuoka suplexes Fukuoka to the mat for a two count. Masami tags in Ozaki, Fukuoka slides away from Ozaki and throws her to the mat before tagging in KAORU. KAORU flips out to the apron and hits a missile dropkick on Ozaki, but Ozaki bridges out of the pin. Spinning backbreaker by KAORU, but Masami breaks up the cover. Double diving attack to Ozaki, KAORU covers her but again it gets two. KAORU goes for a quebrada but Ozaki gets her knees up, she quickly tags in Fukuoka while Masami runs in and they hit suplexes on Masami and Ozaki. Masami and Ozaki roll out of the ring to re-group but Fukuoka and KAORU dive out of the ring onto them, KAORU and Ozaki return to the ring and KAORU hits a Northern Lights Suplex for two. Brainbuster by KAORU, but Masami breaks up the cover.
Fukuoka picks up Ozaki but KAORU hits her with a moonsault by accident, Masami then goes up top and hit a diving leg drop onto KAORU. Masami picks up Fukuoka but hits a sit-down powerbomb, getting a two count cover. She quickly hits three more powerbombs on Fukuoka, but the pin attempt is broken up. KAORU comes in and drags Masami but Fukuoka elbows KAORU by accident. Masami goes for another powerbomb but KAORU knocks her over before she can hit the move, Fukuoka slams Masami and KAORU hits a moonsault. Fukuoka then goes up top too and nails the moonsault footstomp, but Ozaki breaks up the cover. Fukuoka goes up top again and is fed Masami but Masami suplexes her to the mat. Masami tags Ozaki, somersault senton by Ozaki to Fukuoka but KAORU breaks up the pin. Running boots by Ozaki and she hits a stunner. Elbow by Ozaki and she drops Fukuoka with a sit-down powerbomb, she goes up top but KAORU grabs her from the apron. Fukuoka joins her but Ozaki slams her down to the mat for a two count cover. Masami is in the ring but KAORU hits a hurricanrana on her, Ozaki knocks KAORU out of the ring and then sails out onto her with a springboard somersault senton. Masami then picks up Fukuoka and tosses her out of the ring onto KAORU, Ozaki rolls Fukuoka back into the ring and hits the Tequila Sunrise for a two count. Tiger suplex hold by Ozaki, but KAORU breaks it up. Masami takes care of KAORU, she picks up Fukuoka and Ozaki hits her with an assisted lariat, but again the cover is broken up. Masami throws KAORU out of the ring again, she sits on the top turnbuckle and Ozaki stands on her shoulders. Diving footstomp by Ozaki and Masami following with a diving legdrop, Tequila Sunrise by Ozaki on Fukuoka and she gets the three count! Ozaki and Masami are the winners.
Another really solid match, JWP is going all out to deliver on their big Sumo Hall show. What this match lacked in time (it went about 13 minutes) it made up for by being constant motion. Masami looked great with her power moves, she hits a mean powerbomb, and the rest were all on point with their aerial assaults. They hit all their big moves much to the crowd’s delight and certainly nothing was held back, just an exciting and hard hitting match from bell to bell. A really fun match. Recommended
Chigusa Nagayo vs. Dynamite Kansai
It is main event time! I will go ahead and give the backstory even though its a pretty common one for Joshi at the time. Kansai was one of the top dogs in JWP in 1995, as she was a former JWP Openweight Champion, current JWP Tag Team Champion, and overall an ass-kicking badass that was one of the most respected wrestlers in Joshi as she had gone toe to toe with the biggest wrestlers. Nagayo was the ace of GAEA, which was founded in 1995 but none other than Nagayo herself. GAEA had just had their first event on April 15th so they were a brand new promotion, but since Nagayo was one of the most popular wrestlers in Joshi history, the promotion got a fair amount of press. By being in the main event of one of JWP’s biggest shows of the year, it gave both Nagayo and her new promotion even more attention, and she got the chance to take out one of JWP’s top wrestlers as an added bonus.
They cautiously shake hands before the match starts but the pleasantries don’t last long as Nagayo kicks Kansai to the mat. Head kick by Nagayo and she goes for a powerbomb, but Kansai slides away and kicks Nagayo’s leg out from under her. Mounted elbows by Kansai and she kicks Nagayo in the head but Nagayo whips off a belly to belly suplex. They lock knuckles as they get to their feet, Kansai goes for Nagayo’s arm and applies an armbreaker, but Nagayo gets a foot on the ropes for the break. Kicks by Kansai, which Nagayo tries with little luck to block, Nagayo finally manages to catch one and she applies a leglock. Kansai reaches the ropes, Nagayo goes for a heel kick but Kansai catches it. Hard kick to the ribs/lower back area by Nagayo, which sends Nagayo crumbling to the mat in pain. Kansai takes full advantage and she continues kicking Nagayo in the lower back, but Nagayo fires back with a high kick, more kicks by Nagayo to the head and she waits for Kansai to get back up. Nagayo gets Kansai to the mat and applies a sleeper but Kansai gets out of it and hits mounted elbows. Nagayo recovers and gets the sleeper re-applied, kick to the head by Nagayo and she drills Kansai with another one. Kansai comes back with a backdrop suplex and she hits a jumping knee, high angle backdrop suplex by Kansai and she covers Nagayo for two.
Kansai goes up top but Nagayo kicks her in the head, sending Kansai out to the floor. Nagayo goes outside as well but Kansai nails her with a lariat. Kick to the head by Nagayo, Nagayo gets in the ring as Kansai gets on the apron and both wrestlers lariat each other. Nagayo applies an armbar but Kansai gets to the ropes, Nagayo applies a sleeper before planting Kansai with a piledriver. Nagayo comes up top but Kansai kicks her from behind, Kansai joins her and goes for Splash Mountain but Nagayo blocks it. Nagayo dives off the top and drives Kansai’s face into the mat, elbow drop by Nagayo and she covers Kansai for two. Nagayo goes up top again but again Kansai kicks her, she goes for Splash Mountain again but Nagayo blocks it and knees Kansai back down to the mat. Nagayo picks up Kansai but Kansai gets out of the Running Three attempt, Kansai goes for Splash Mountain but Nagayo wiggles away. Kansai kicks her in the head for her trouble, she goes for a powerbomb but Nagayo blocks it and hits a high kick. Kansai sweeps out Nagayo’s legs, she picks up Nagayo and she delivers a backdrop suplex for a two count. Nagayo fires back with her own backdrop suplex, she picks up Kansai and she nails the Running Three, but Kansai kicks out of the cover. Kansai gets a second wind and elbows Nagayo repeatedly in the corner, Kansai picks up Nagayo and she delivers the Splash Mountain, but Nagayo gets a shoulder up. Head kick by Kansai, she drags Nagayo to her feet and hits another Splash Mountain for the three count! Dynamite Kansai is the winner!
Well this was certainly a hell of a match, doubt either one were feeling 100% in the morning. Lots and lots of hard strikes, so if hard kicks are your thing then this match is for you. It wasn’t perfect but it was what it needed to be, this is both wrestler’s styles so they were going to put on the best version of their style that they could. Kansai working on the lower back/ribs area of Nagayo was logical since that is the area that Splash Mountain hits, and Nagayo’s kicks to the head were on point. My main squabble would be basically Kansai’s ‘fighting spirit’ spot leading directly to the end after Nagayo hit her big signature move, but since it is the main event of JWP’s biggest event of the year with their hometown star, those types of things are a bit more forgivable. It didn’t reach that ‘epic’ level but it was incredibly stiff and full of action, a perfect way to cap off the show. A solid “four star” match for sure. Highly Recommended
From top to bottom a really entertaining show. I wish that it was shown in full (they showed just the finish of the missed tag match at the end of the tape), but the clipping wasn’t nearly as bad as I was expecting and all the matches got enough of a showing to give their wrestlers a chance to shine. The Jr. Heavyweight match was too short but great while it lasted, and last tag match was non-stop fun. The main event was strike heavy and had some questionable selling, but it was one of those Warrior vs. Warrior matches and both really laid it in to make the match as special as they could. A really solid offering by JWP, I hope to watch more of them from this time period but I doubt anything they did from 1995 will top this show.