Event: NEO “Summer Stampede 2006”
Date: July 17th, 2006
Location: Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan
Announced Attendance: 865
NEO Ladies was a Joshi promotion that had many re-starts but was running in some form from 1998 to 2010. Originally it was a break-off promotion from All Japan Women, and the name was supposed to be Nippon Women’s Wrestling but they had a trademark issue with New Japan Pro Wrestling. So they went with NEO Ladies instead as the promotion name. Kyoko Inoue was the Ace of the promotion, but over the years many wrestlers made their name in NEO including Natsuki Taiyo, Nanae Takahashi, Hiroyo Matsumoto, Ayako Hamada, and others.
This show was condensed down to one hour on Samurai TV, but luckily instead of showing all the matches heavily clipped, they opted to just show the three main matches. This was a big event for NEO, as it featured a defense of both of their major titles as well as the Retirement Match of Yuka Nakamura. Here are the matches we’ll be watching:
- NEO Tag Team Championship: Kyoko Inoue and Etsuko Mita vs. Amazing Kong and Kyoko Kimura
- NWA Women’s Pacific Championship and NEO Singles Championship: Yoshiko Tamura vs. Kayoko Haruyama
- Yuka Nakamura Retirement Match: Yuka Nakamura vs. Mima Shimoda
This wasn’t the match order on the show live, but was re-arranged on the broadcast so that the retirement match went last.
(c) Kyoko Inoue and Etsuko Mita vs. Amazing Kong and Kyoko Kimura
NEO Tag Team Championship
We jump right into the title matches, no filler on this broadcast. Coming into the match, the team of Inoue and Mita had held the titles since September 18th, 2005, and this was their 4th defense of the NEO Tag Team Championship. Amazing Kong and Kimura were a relatively new team but had worked together before, and were the clear heels going into the match as Kong was brutal in her offense and Kimura loved to use weapons whenever possible. This will definitely be a physical match, and it will be up to Inoue to do much of the heavy lifting if the champions are going to retain.
Kimura and Kong attack Mita and Inoue from behind before the match starts and both hit running strikes in the corner before pulling their opponents out of the ring. Kong and Kimura throw Mita and Inoue into the chairs at ringside, Kimura gets a chain and she chokes Inoue with it while Mita manages to fight back against Kong with chair shots. Kimura drags around Inoue with the chain before choking her with it from the apron, they finally get back into the ring as Kimura goes up top and hits a missile dropkick on Inoue. Kimura hits Inoue with the chain some more, Inoue finally fights back and goes for a powerbomb but Kimura gets out of it by repeatedly hitting her in the head with the chain. We jump ahead in the match to Mita and Kimura trading strikes, sunset flip by Kimura but it gets two. Kong comes in and kicks Mita, Inoue then comes in too and hits a German suplex onto Kimura while Mita applies a jackknife for a two count. Mita picks up Kimura and hits the Death Valley Bomb, but the cover only gets a two. Mita drags up Kimura, Kong comes in but she accidentally hits Kimura with a Uraken. Mita picks up Kimura but Kimura whips off a backdrop suplex, backfist by Kong and Kimura hits another backdrop suplex but Inoue breaks up the cover. Kimura goes up top, Kong picks up Mita but Mita gets away from her and joins Kimura. Avalanche Electric Chair by Mita, but Kong breaks up the cover by kicking the referee. Inoue runs in but she lariats Mita by accident, Big Boot by Kimura but Mita barely gets a shoulder up. Kimura goes off the ropes, Mita blocks the Big Boot and goes for a Death Valley Bomb, but Kong pushes them over. Kimura gets her chain and hits Mita in the face with it, Big Boot by Kimura and she gets the three count! Amazing Kong and Kyoko Kimura are your new champions!
This was way too clipped to get excited about as only about 6 minutes of 23 were shown, but I liked what I saw. I mean there would be no excuse to show anything that wasn’t entertaining when the match is condensed by that much, but it seems like they kept the entire beginning and end uncut so it didn’t just feel like a highlights collection. Kimura was one of the baddest wrestlers in Joshi for a decade, whether it was diving off of balconies or hitting people with chains, she didn’t mess around. Everyone played their role well and none came out of the match looking weak (although we didn’t see much from Kong). A fun condensed match but too clipped to recommend.
(c) Yoshiko Tamura vs. Kayoko Haruyama
NWA Women’s Pacific Championship and NEO Singles Championship
While it appears this is for two titles (and technically it is), the NWA Women’s Pacific Championship and NEO Championship were defended together for over a decade, so it is more similar to the Triple Crown in All Japan in that the belts were almost fused together. Haruyama won the right to challenge Tamura by winning the NEO Cup, which was NEO’s yearly round robin tournament. In 2006, the NEO Cup had ten wrestlers, as Haruyama defeated both Kyoko Inoue and Misae Genki in the Finals to win the crown. Tamura won the belts from Misae Genki on December 11th, 2005 and this was already her 7th defense as she was a very active champion. In 2006, Haruyama was a JWP wrestler and it would be a big coup for her promotion if she could defeat the ace of NEO to take their title back to JWP.
We join this match well in progress, with Haruyama dragging Tamura to her feet off the mat. Tamura elbows Haruyama and hits an Alabama Slam, cover by Tamura but it gets a two count. Tamura picks up Haruyama but Haruyama blocks a suplex and hits a trio of STOs. Haruyama picks up Tamura but Tamura hits a quick DDT, backdrop suplex by Tamura and she covers Haruyama for two. Tamura picks up Haruyama but Haruyama avoids her charge and clubs her repeatedly in the corner. Haruyama puts Tamura on the top turnbuckle before joining her, but Tamura elbows Haruyama off. Haruyama re-joins her but Tamura hits an avalanche side slam, Tamura quickly goes back up top and she hits a somersault senton for a two count. Tamura picks up Haruyama, elbows by Tamura but Haruyama ducks one and kicks Tamura in the head. Haruyama goes up top but Tamura elbows her before she can jump off and joins her. Knees by Haruyama while they are still up top and Haruyama jumps off with Orange☆Tomahawk. A diving leg drop follows, cover by Haruyama but it gets a two count. Haruyama goes up top once again but Tamura kicks her in the head and goes up as well, avalanche backdrop suplex by Tamura and she slowly covers Haruyama for two. The referee checks on Haruyama as she seems out of it but Tamura kicks him out of the way and hits a series of elbows. Cocky cover by Tamura, and Haruyama barely gets a shoulder up. Haruyama ducks Tamura’s high kick and hits the Keene Hammer, but Tamura kicks out. Haruyama drags Tamura to her feet and goes for another one, but Tamura gets out of it and rolls up Haruyama for a two count. Heel kicks by Tamura but Haruyama lariats her in the back of the head, she goes off the ropes but Tamura nails an elbow smash. Tamura picks up Haruyama and delivers a cobra clutch suplex, another cobra clutch suplex by Tamura and she hits a third, but Haruyama kicks out of the pin. Tamura picks up Haruyama and connects with elbows, she takes off her elbow pad and hits one final elbow smash, picking up the three count! Yoshiko Tamura is still the champion.
On one hand, I liked that they just cut the match in half and showed the last ten minutes in its entirety, as I hate it when clipped matches just do clip-clip-clip so its hard to get into a match. The downside is that we joined them after both were already hurt/exhausted but without seeing anything that made them hurt which took some of the fun out of it. Tamura is one of the better Joshi wrestlers from the 2000s that many fans don’t know much about, she was a great striker and had an aura to her that either a wrestler has or they don’t. They went to the top turnbuckle a bit more often than seemed necessary, it felt like every 30 seconds someone was going up top for some reason or another, but this was the main event of the show and the title match so you can understand both wrestlers going “all out” to pick up the win. I liked it as I enjoy the head-drop suplexes and snug elbows, but I do wish I could have seen the match in full instead of just the long home stretch. Mildly Recommended
Yuka Nakamura vs. Mima Shimoda
Yuka Nakamura Retirement Match
I must be honest, I don’t think I have ever seen Yuka Nakamura wrestle before so it feels odd to have her first match I watch be her retirement match. I’ll assume I am not the only one, so I’ll give a brief summary of her career. Nakamura debuted for NEO on August 16th, 1998 against Mima Shimoda. Nakamura won three tag titles in NEO by 2005 as she moved up the card, but suffered an injury in the fall of 2005 that caused her to miss six months. She returned on May 5th, 2006 but soon announced her retirement would take place on July 17th. For her retirement match, she wrestles her trainer and also her first ever opponent, putting a fitting bookend on her career.
After a feeling out process and basic limb work, Shimoda boots Nakamura in the chest and puts her in a camel clutch. Shimoda gets Nakamura into the corner and chokes her with her boot, Shimoda throws Nakamura to the mat but Nakamura catches her with a jumping lariat. Shimoda returns the favor, she picks up Nakamura but Nakamura knocks her down with a jumping knee. Nakamura picks up Shimoda and throws her into the corner, jumping knee by Nakamura but Shimoda boots her in the chest. Shimoda gets on the second turnbuckle but Nakamura kicks her out of the ring, Nakamura goes up top and dives onto Shimoda with a diving crossbody to the floor. Face crusher by Nakamura and she puts Shimoda in a camel clutch with a bit of hair pulling, she lets go after a moment and stretches out Shimoda’s back. Stomps by Nakamura and she hits running boots to the head, cover by Nakamura but it gets a two count. Shimoda slaps Nakamura and they get into a slap battle, which Nakamura wins as she sends Shimoda crashing to the mat.
Nakamura picks up Shimoda but Shimoda elbows her off, Nakamura gets on the second turnbuckle and she delivers a Tornado DDT for a two count cover. Heel drop by Nakamura but Shimoda hits one of her own, another one by Nakamura and she hits a release German suplex. Seven more heel drops by Nakamura, she goes up top and she nails the diving footstomp for a two count cover. Nakamura goes up top but Shimoda joins her, Nakamura knocks Shimoda off but Shimoda avoids her dive and applies a folding backslide for two. Shimoda picks up Nakamura but Nakamura blocks the suplex attempt, Nakamura applies a couple flash pins but both get a two. Running knees by Nakamura, she covers Shimoda but Shimoda barely gets a shoulder up. Nakamura goes up top but Shimoda recovers and approaches the corner, Nakamura hits a modified Calf Branding and Shimoda falls out to the floor. Nakamura goes back to the top turnbuckle jumps out of the ring with a diving footstomp to the floor, she gets back in the ring and patiently waits for Shimoda to recover. She finally drags her back in, Nakamura goes to the top and hits another diving footstomp, but Shimoda kicks out of the cover. Nakamura picks up Shimoda but Shimoda whips out a backdrop suplex, they trade elbows until Nakamura crumples to the mat. Heel drop by Shimoda, and she covers Nakamura for two. Shimoda puts Nakamura on the top turnbuckle and joins her, but Nakamura elbows her off. Shimoda moves when Nakamura jumps off the top, but Nakamura delivers a running knee and applies the Romantic Clutch for the three count! Yuka Nakamura wins the match.
The post-match ceremony was condensed since they had to squeeze it onto a one hour show, but included wrestlers saying farewell to Nakamura, a bell salute, and of course lots of streamers. This was a unique retirement match as Nakamura not only won, but controlled the bulk of the action. Not that Shimoda needed the win but most of the time a retiring wrestler loses their last match. Nakamura hit all of her signature moves, including the always fun diving footstomp out to the floor, and held nothing back in her final wrestling match. An entertaining match and a fitting end to Nakamura’s career. Recommended
Wrestling shows that only have three matches, two of which are clipped at least in half, normally would be hard to give a recommendation to track down. But at least in this case all three of the matches were major matches, and any event with a Retirement Match is always going to get a bit of special consideration from me since Joshi promotions do Retirement Ceremonies so well. Also, all three of the matches were entertaining, at least what they showed us anyway. A shorter presentation than what we are used to, but entertaining matches and big time wrestlers makes this one hour show worth a watch.