Event: OZ Academy “The Wizard of OZ 2016”
Date: January 10th, 2016
Location: Shinjuku FACE in Tokyo, Japan
Announced Attendance: 480
I am a bit later with this review then I wanted to be, Stardom was distracting me. This was a big show for Oz Academy though, and features the best that the promotion has to offer. We have Hikaru Shida, Mission K4, and a big title defense with Mio Shirai refereeing the match! Here is the full match listing:
Every match gets enough time to do something fun, so let’s see how it goes.
Hikaru Shida vs. Yumi Ohka
The show kicks off with a bang, as the beautiful and talented Shida takes on the seasoned vet and very evil Yumi Ohka. Ohka is fresh off a challenge for the Oz Academy Openweight Championship, and is looking to bounce back here with a win against one of the top Freelancers in Joshi. Shida with a win would vault herself up the pecking order in Oz Academy.
Both wrestlers have their respective weapons as the match begins, with Ohka and her whip winning the exchange. More whipping by Ohka and she boots Shida in the corner a few times before putting Shida in a crossface. Ohka drops knees on Shida and puts her in a sleeper but Shida fights back with hard elbows. Ohka rakes Shida’s eyes and drops her with a DDT for a two count. Shida snaps off a hurricanrana and hits a hip attack, she pulls Ohka’s head over the apron and from the floor hits a running knee lift. Shida returns to the ring and grabs Ohka from the corner, but Ohka knocks her back and hits a diving crossbody for two. Vertical suplex by Shida but Ohka returns the favor, dragon screw leg whip by Shida and she delivers a Fisherman Buster. Ohka gets her whip and hits Shida with it before choking her in the corner. Ohka goes up top but Shida kicks her down to the apron, she gets on the second turnbuckle and suplexes Ohka back into the ring for a two count.
Stretch Muffler by Shida but Ohka reverses it into a reverse armbar. Shida reverses it back but Ohka gets into the ropes, Shida charges Ohka but Ohka drops her into the ropes and hits a big boot. Backdrop suplex by Ohka and she nails Shida with a heel drop for a two count cover. Ohka gets her whip again and whips Shida with it, whip-assisted Back Stabber by Ohka and she chokes Shida until the referee gets her to stop. Ohka goes for a big boot but Shida ducks it and hits Ohka with her kendo stick. Three Count by Shida, but Ohka gets a shoulder up. Ohka blocks the Falcon Arrow but Shida knees Ohka in the back of the head and now is able to connect with the move for two. Shida gets the kendo stick again but Ohka boots it out of her hand. Chokebomb by Ohka, she kicks Shida but Shida delivers with a jumping knee. Three Count by Shida, but again Ohka kicks out. Shida gets Ohka on her shoulders and nails the Go To Sleep but Ohka throws the referee at Shida and whips her again. Running big boot by Ohka, and she holds down Shida for the three count! Yumi Ohka wins!
Most of the time, Ohka doesn’t impress me too much these days but I enjoyed this one. It was a well contested back and forth, both are comfortable with each other so everything felt smooth with all the reversals and transitions. Ohka had her whip but Shida brought in her kendo stick so it still felt like a fair exchange. My one issue is that Shida hit pretty much all her finishers (or versions of them) on Ohka with no luck, but went down pretty easy with just a big boot. The big boot is Ohka’s finisher but usually she sets it up better or hits it multiple times in a row, it just felt that it ended too quickly. Overall a solid match, it just needed a few more minutes at the end to make the ending not feel rushed. Mildly Recommended
Aja Kong, Dynamite Kansai, and Rina Yamashita vs. AKINO, Kagetsu, and Kaho Kobayashi
In Oz Academy there are two main factions, with the ‘face’ group being Mission K4. Three of the members of that faction are wrestling here, in the team of AKINO, Kagetsu, and Kobayashi (the fourth member is Kato, we will see her later). They are facing a team that isn’t a regular group but is fearsome nonetheless, with two of the top active Joshi legends plus Yamashita. No real backstory going in, just a mid-card six woman tag to get all the major Oz Academy wrestlers on the show.
We start with AKINO and Yamashita going at it, with AKINO getting the early advantage, she tags in Kagetsu and Kagetsu dropkicks Yamashita in the face. Yamashita fires back with a shoulderblock and tags Kansai, and Kagetsu plays the face in peril while Kansai and Kong toss her around the ring. Kong puts Kagetsu in a camel clutch so Kansai can kick her in the chest, then Kansai puts Kagetsu in the camel clutch so that Kong can do the same. Kong tags Yamashita and Yamashita slams Kagetsu before hitting an elbow drop for two. Kansai returns but Kagetsu dropkicks her a few times and makes the hot tag to Kobayashi. Kobayashi dropkicks Kansai but can’t suplex her as Kansai reverses it into a suplex of her own. Kobayashi gets away from Kansai but her elbows have no impact but she
keeps hammering away, dropkick by Kobayashi but Kansai returns the blow and kicks Kobayashi in the back. Kansai tags in Yamashita, Yamashita shoulderblocks Kobayashi and hits a backdrop suplex for a two count.
Kagetsu runs in and they both dropkick Yamashita, Kobayashi then tags in Kagetsu and some comes into the ring with a swandive missile dropkick. Kagetsu and Yamashita trade elbows but Mission K4 come in to help, jumping knee by Kagetsu in the corner and she spears Yamashita for a two count. Kagetsu and Yamashita trade elbows again but Yamashita levels her with a lariat and tags Kong. Kong picks up Kagetsu and puts her in a sleeper but Kagetsu gets out of it and hits a cross armbreaker takedown, but Kong gets a foot on the ropes. Kagetsu jumps up to the top turnbuckle and hits a footstomp onto Kong’s arm, she picks up Kong but Kong kicks her back. Kagetsu calls into her corner and tags AKINO, kicks by AKINO to Kong and she covers her for two. AKINO picks up Kong, jawbreaker by AKINO as Kobayashi runs in but Kong suplexes both of them. Yamashita comes in and helps Kong hit a double backdrop suplex, and she tags in Kansai. Kansai kicks AKINO but AKINO slaps on an ankle hold, Kansai crawls to the ropes and she forces a break.
Kansai puts AKINO in a sleeper but it is broken up, she goes for a backdrop suplex but AKINO lands on her feet. Yamashita elbows AKINO as Kong comes in, but AKINO avoids their charge and hits a backdrop suplex on Kansai. Palm strike by Kansai on AKINO and she drops her with a backdrop suplex, covering her for two. Kansai picks up AKINO but AKINO slides away and Kobayashi dropkicks her. Assisted tornado DDT by Kobayashi to Kansai, and AKINO hits a buzzsaw kick for two. Yamashita dropkicks AKINO as the wrestlers take turns knocking each other out of the ring, Kansai and Kong both lariat AKINO, Kansai goes for Splash Mountain but AKINO reverses it with a hurricanrana for two. Kong runs in and hits AKINO with a paint can, she then gets on the top turnbuckle and hits an elbow drop. Kansai picks up AKINO and this time she nails the Splash Mountain for the three count! Kansai, Kong, and Yamashita are your winners.
A really fun match with everyone showing maximum effort to tie everything together. As you would expect, Mission K4 work together really well, a very fluid team that is always on the same page. Kong and Kansai had their working boots on, running around the ring like it was the 1980s, and they all did their part. A fast paced and well executed tag match that went far beyond my expectations, one of the better random mid-card six woman tags I have seen in awhile. Recommended
Aoi Kizuki vs. Mayumi Ozaki
Similar to the first match, the theme here is the young Freelancer trying to make a name for herself against a veteran Oz Academy wrestler (and founder, in this case). Kizuki started 2015 very strong, but she lost all of her titles in the second half and is looking to rebound as 2016 begins. Ozaki is a nearly 30 year veteran and has the JWP Openweight Championship, she also frequently has her Ozaki Army help her in matches which may happen here as well. An uphill battle for the younger Kizuki for sure as Ozaki rarely gets pinned in her own promotion.
Ozaki is accompanied to the ring by Police, Kizuki gets the early jump on Ozaki as she hits a dropkick followed by a pair of running sentons and a jumping swivel bodypress. The fun doesn’t last for long as Ozaki throws a chain at Kizuki and hits her with it repeatedly before hanging Kizuki over the top rope. Police continues the assault on the floor, they take her up into the balcony and hit her with more chairs before returning to ringside. They finally return to the ring (all three of them) and Kizuki is hit with a chair some more. Kizuki finally gets away from Ozaki and puts her in a STF, but it is broken up. Seated armbar by Ozaki but Kizuki wiggles to the ropes to force a break, Police comes in the ring but Kizuki avoids the chair shot and drops him with a jumping lariat. Kizuki slams Ozaki to the mat and then drop toeholds Police on top before hitting a running senton. Kizuki picks up Ozaki and hits a jumping lariat on her, suplex by Kizuki but Ozaki kicks out of the cover. Kizuki goes up top and nails the Swivel Body Press, but Police breaks up the cover. Police lariats Ozaki on accident, Kizuki rolls up Ozaki but the pin is again interrupted. Spinning double chop to the throat by Ozaki, she picks up Kizuki and hits another one but Kizuki kicks out of the cover. Ozaki-kick by Ozaki, and she gets the three count! Mayumi Ozaki wins the match.
This is not my style of match, although I was impressed with the beating that Kizuki took. Ozaki Army matches do a bit too much inference, I get that by default Ozaki matches are no-DQ but seeing three people vs. one an entire match gets old to me when it is a regular occurrence. Plus the main event is going to be like that so its even worse when you know multiple matches on the card will have that style. I adore Kizuki and she played a good underdog here, there was just too many outside interruptions for my tastes.
Hiroyo Matsumoto and Manami Toyota vs. Kaori Yoneyama and Tsubasa Kuragaki
This is what I’d generally call a ‘random veteran’s match’ as while Yoneyama and Kuragaki are a regular team, Matsumoto and Toyota are not. Yoneyama and Kuragaki actually hold the Oz Academy Tag Team Championship, which they just won less than a month prior against Kagetsu and Kobayashi. So they have a definite advantage here, as not only are they familar with each other but they are successful as well. Toyota is a regular in Oz Academy but tends to bounce around with no set storyline, while Matsumoto is a less frequent visitor to the promotion.
Matsumoto and Yoneyama kick things off but Toyota is tagged in after Matsumoto gives Yoneyama a hard shoulderblock. Kuragaki runs in as things quickly break down and Toyota is double teamed. Toyota regains the advantage on Yoneyama and tosses her by her hair before putting her in a submission hold. Toyota tags Matsumoto and she stomps on Yoneyama, Yoneyama fights back with chops but Matsumoto dropkicks her for a two count. Crab hold by Matsumoto but it is broken up, Matsumoto and Toyota stay in control as they double team Yoneyama. Yoneyama manages to dropkick both of them and crawls to her corner to tag in Kuragaki, jawbreaker by Kuragaki on Matsumoto but Kuragaki lariats both her and Toyota before hitting a double backdrop suplex. Kuragaki goes up top and hits a diving body press, but Matsumoto kicks out. Matsumoto gets away from Kuragaki and hits a shoulderblock, she tags Toyota and Toyota hits a missile dropkick. Big boot by Toyota, she puts Kuragaki in the ropes and dropkicks her in the back.
Toyota goes up top but Yoneyama grabs her, giving Kuragaki time to recover. Kuragaki throws Toyota to the mat and lariats Matsumoto, Kuragaki goes off the ropes and lariats Toyota for a two count. She tags Yoneyama, Yoneyama picks up Toyota but Toyota drills her with a big boot for a two count. Yoneyama dropkicks Toyota, Irish whip by Yoneyama but Toyota rolls her around the ring. Toyota goes up top and delivers a moonsault, but Kuragaki breaks up the pin. Matsumoto comes in and puts Yoneyama in a backbreaker into a gutbuster, she goes to the second turnbuckle and hits the reverse double knee splash but it only gets a two count. Knees by Matsumoto but Yoneyama hits a face buster, Toyota runs in and boots Yoneyama and they slam Yoneyama onto Kuragaki. Yoneyama sneaks in a few quick pins for a two count. Roaring back elbow by Matsumoto, she picks up Yoneyama but Kuragaki lariats her. More lariats by Kuragaki, Yoneyama covers Matsumoto but Toyota breaks it up. Yoneyama goes up top but Matsumoto avoids the diving senton, missile dropkick by Toyota and Matsumoto powerbombs Yoneyama into Kuragaki. Backdrop suplex by Matsumoto, but Kuragaki breaks up the pin. Matsumoto puts a powerbomb, but Yoneyama cuts it back and covers Matsumoto for the three count! Yoneyama and Kuragaki are the victors.
As far as random veteran tag team matches go, this one was pretty pedestrian. Nothing was bad, but there was little sense of urgency and there was little effort to do anything overly memorable. I don’t mean that to say they were just sleep walking through the match, but it was just very forgettable. The teamwork was fine and it never dragged, it just stayed pretty average. One of those skippable mid-card tag matches, even though its always a pleasure to see Toyota.
(c) Sonoko Kato vs. Arisa Nakajima
This match is for the Oz Academy Openweight Championship. Prior to this match taking place, Nakajima shocked everyone by joining the Ozaki Army, the lead heel stable in Oz Academy. To make it even harder for Kato, Ozaki picked Mio Shirai to referee the match, as Shirai is also still friendly with the Ozaki Army. So in essence it is Ozaki Army + Fujimoto (Nakajima’s tag team partner) + Mio against Kato and the rest of Mission K4 whom will also be at ringside. This will not probably not be much of a straight one on one match-up, but at least you know that in advance anytime you are going into an Ozaki Army match.
They start in a surprisingly normal fashion, jockeying for position on the mat. They get into an elbow exchange, kicks by Kato but she is pulled out of the ring by Police and the chaos begins. Kato is attacked by chairs before Nakajima dives off the apron with a missile dropkick. Kato is beaten around the ring by various people with various weapons, Nakajima and Kato return after a moment but so does Police as they continue to to attack Kato. Ohka comes in too as does Ozaki to strike Kato in the corner, Nakajima picks up Kato but Kato hits a jawbreaker. German suplex hold by Kato, but it gets a two count. Kato kicks Nakajima in the corner and hits a cannonball, Kato goes up top but Police grabs her. Nakajima goes up too but Kato pushes her off. Diving cannonball by Kato, but the cover only gets two. Knees by Kato but Nakajima knees her back and hits a release German. Ohka comes in to help but Mission K4 has finally had enough as Kagetsu comes in to dropkick Nakajima. Kato threatens Mio but Nakajima grabs Kato from behind and hits a German suplex. Nakajima applies a stretch muffler but Kato gets to the ropes, Nakajima goes up top and she hits a missile dropkick for two.
Nakajima goes for a suplex, Kato blocks it but Nakajima hits Kato with a chair. Police and Ohka come in the ring as well as Ozaki, Nakajima dropkicks the chair into Kato and covers her for two. Nakajima elbows Kato, Police and Ozaki both hit Kato before Nakajima hits a package German, but AKINO breaks it up. Nakajima goes for the dragon suplex but Kato blocks it, and Kagetsu hits a swandive dropkick on Nakajima. Kobayashi then hits her with a fisherman suplex, Kato goes up top and delivers the diving guillotine leg drop but Police breaks up the cover. Kato picks up Nakajima and hits a release dragon, but Nakajima returns the favor and both wrestlers are down. Elbows by Nakajima but Kato delivers a heel kick, Police runs in but he hits Nakajima on accident. Kagetsu dropkicks Police, Kato picks up Nakajima and nails the Kowloon’s Gate, but Fujimoto breaks up the pin. Ohka returns but she whips Nakajima on accident, another Kowloon’s Gate by Kato but Mio counts really slow and Nakajima kicks out. Nakajima headbutts Kato and hits a German suplex hold, fast count by Mio but Kato kicks out in time. AKINO comes in and kicks Nakajima, Ozaki tries to spit red mist at AKINO but she misses and hits Nakajima instead. Dragon Valley by Kato, Mio counts slow but Nakajima never kicks out and she is forced to count to three! Sonoko Kato retains the championship.
The main factor helping this match is that Nakajima and Kato are both great wrestlers so when they were doing normal wrestling things it was really snug and well executed. Also, unlike the last Ozaki Army match on this card, Kato had her friends down at ringside which helped her quite a bit. I still prefer big title matches not turn into big eight people craziness with an evil referee on top of that, as it is virtually impossible to get into a grove with constant interruptions. Also the last few minutes were a bit too slap-sticky with each Ozaki member coming in and missing Kato in almost comedic fashion. I’ve love to see Nakajima and Kato do a straight match as they are both upper level wrestlers, as it was there is still more good than bad here but too much Ozaki Army for me. Mildly Recommended
This was a big event for Oz Academy and they packed a lot into a two hour show. Oz Academy will never be my personal favorite promotion because Ozaki Army reminds me too much of the nWo and The Authority (but without the long promos) which I am pretty much over as a wrestling fan. But Mission K4 were great here, both in the undercard match and in the main event, which helped the show a lot. The opener was solid also, so it was a pretty complete card which is always a plus. A lot of good wrestling here if you can see beyond the Ozaki Army invading in two of the five matches.