OZ Academy “The Wizard of OZ” on January 11, 2016 Review
Date: January 11th, 2016
Location: Greendome Sub-Event Area Hall, Maebashi, Gunma, Japan
Announced Attendance: 330
And now it is OZ Academy’s turn for their first review of the new year! OZ Academy had two shows on back to back days, and even though the other one had the title match it was this event that made air first (the show on January 10th will air next month). This isn’t as big of an event on paper but it does have some Legends battling as well as a handful of singles matches that should be fun to watch. Here is the full card:
- Manami Toyota vs. Mika Iida
- Koharu Hinata vs. Tsubasa Kuragaki
- Hamuko Hoshi and Kaori Yoneyama vs. Mayumi Ozaki and Yumi Ohka
- Hikaru Shida vs. Rina Yamashita
- Aja Kong, Dynamite Kansai, Hiroyo Matsumoto, and Tsukasa Fujimoto vs. AKINO, Kagetsu, Kaho Kobayashi, and Sonoko Kato
This event aired in full from one hard camera, let’s get to the matches.
Manami Toyota vs. Mika Iida
The legendary Toyota takes on Iida, with the great MIO as referee! What a fun way to open the show. Toyota needs no introduction while Iida is a wrestler from WAVE. Mio Shirai has started being a referee in the various promotions she used to wrestle in and now just goes by MIO.
Iida tries bouncing Toyota off the ropes, but Toyota blocks it and starts tossing Iida around the ring. Toyota applies a chinlock on the mat until Iida bites her hand, palm strike by Iida and she puts Toyota in a bodyscissors. Toyota bites her foot to get out of it and then bites her arm before bopping Iida in the head. Double underhook suplex by Toyota and she applies a crab hold, kicks to the leg by Toyota and she hits a leg drop. Bridging vertical suplex by Toyota, she goes up top and she hits a missile dropkick. Another missile dropkick by Toyota and she covers Iida for a two count. Toyota puts Iida in the ropes and she dropkicks Iida in the back for a two count. Iida snaps off a side Russian leg sweep and applies a kneelock, but Toyota gets to the ropes. Missile dropkick by Iida and she applies an ankle hold, but again Toyota gets the break. Missile dropkick by Iida but Toyota blocks the Fisherman Suplex, uppercuts by Iida and this time she hits the Fisherman Suplex Hold for a two count. Toyota gets Iida up but Iida slides down her back and rolls her up for two. Iida for for a bodyscissors roll-up but Toyota catches her and slams Iida to the mat. Scissors Kick by Toyota, she goes up top and she nails the moonsault, but Iida barely gets a shoulder up. Japanese Ocean Cyclone Suplex Hold by Toyota, and she gets the three count! Toyota wins the match.
This was a pretty basic opener but well worked, with each wrestler having a set strategy for winning the match. Iida going for Toyota’s leg was smart since Toyota had the strength advantage, but Toyota was just too much for her. I must admit I was a bit distracted by MIO just being naturally adorable during the match, not sure how long it will take me to get used to seeing her as a referee. Not a bad way to kick things off, always a pleasure to see Toyota. Mildly Recommended
Koharu Hinata vs. Tsubasa Kuragaki
Poor little Hinata. Hinata is a young Freelancer and weighs about 105 pounds. Kuragaki is also a Freelancer, she is a 20 year veteran and weighs about 175 pounds. So it is a big strong veteran wrestler against a little young wrestler, which means this is probably going to be painful for Hinata. Which is good! Little wrestlers getting squished is one of the best things in wrestling.
Kuragaki tosses Hinata around the ring to start, Hinata tries to dropkick Kuragaki but she can’t get her to the mat. Kuragaki hits a dropkick of her own and applies a half camel clutch, she works a side headlock before stretching Hinata with both feet. Kuragaki goes for a suplex but Hinata gets out of it and hits a quick hurricanrana. Spinning headscissors by Hinata and she dropkicks Kuragaki, but she can’t pick her up for the slam. Kuragaki catches Hinata when she goes for a crossbody and slams her to the mat, crab hold by Kuragaki and she hits a delayed bodyslam. Hinata hits a series of running footstomps, Hinata gets on the second turnbuckle and she hits a tornado DDT. Hinata goes up top and hits a diving crossbody, getting a two count cover. She goes for another slam with no luck, Kuragaki scoops her up and hits a military press slam. Lariats by Kuragaki in the corner and she hits a backdrop suplex for a two. Kuragaki goes for a suplex but Hinata reverses it into a small package, backslide by Hinata but that gets a two as well. Hinata charges Kuragaki but Kuragaki puts her in an Argentine Backbreaker until Hinata has to submit! Kuragaki wins!
I enjoyed this more than I should have. This is just a dynamic that I have always enjoyed in wrestling, the spunky little underdog against the big veteran wrestler is almost always money. Hinata is pretty inexperienced but was led really well here by Kuragaki, and Kuragaki seemed to have fun throwing her around the ring. For a match early on in the card I think it did what it intended to do and I was entertained. Mildly Recommended
Hamuko Hoshi and Kaori Yoneyama vs. Mayumi Ozaki and Yumi Ohka
Ozaki~gun is the main heel faction in OZ Academy, with two ‘managers’ that interfere constantly. Hoshi is from Ice Ribbon, while Yoneyama officially represents JWP even though she freelances in other promotions a lot. This will be different from the last few matches since Ozuki~gun matches tend to be crazy brawls, but maybe MIO can restore some order.
The match immediately goes outside the ring as Police gets involved, they finally return with Ohka whipping Yoneyama around. MIO tries to get Ohka to calm down but it doesn’t really work, and Ohka tags in Ozaki. Yoneyama is hung over the top rope with a chain as the beatdown continues for several minutes until Yoneyama finally dropkicks both of them and tags in Hoshi. Hoshi shoulderblocks both of them and rubs her belly in Ohka’s face before hitting a running belly smash. Cutter by Hoshi to Ohka but Ohka gets the whip and hits Hoshi with it. Ohka chokes Hoshi with the whip over the top rope, she tags in Ozaki and Ozaki hits Hoshi with a chain. Ozaki goes for a powerbomb but Hoshi gets out of it and hits a Samoan Drop.
Ozaki avoids the body press but Hoshi hits the running belly bump for a two count. She tags Yoneyama and they double team Ozaki in the corner, Yoneyama goes up top but Police grabs her, allowing Ozaki to hit a suplex. Ohka and Ozaki takes turns hitting Yoneyama, Police runs in and lariats Yoneyama, cover by Ozaki but she gets two. Backdrop suplex by Ohka to Yoneyama but Yoneyama comes back with a running knee. Police hits Yoneyama with a chain, Hoshi comes in to help however and Yoneyama hits a senton on Ohka. Hoshi goes up top and hits a diving body press, then Yoneyama does and hits a diving senton. Yoneyama goes off the ropes but Ohka hits a chokebomb, they trade quick pin attempts but both gets twos. Ohka goes off the ropes, she hits a big boot on Yoneyama and she gets the three count! Ozaki~gun get the win.
This isn’t really my cup of tea, too much random interference and Hoshi isn’t one of my favorites, but I guess it accomplished it’s goal. Ozaki~gun has to win some matches as a faction, otherwise it doesn’t work, and beating two well-known outsiders is a good way to do it. MIO blended in the background a bit more for me in this one, and called it as down the middle as one can for an Ozaki~gun match. Not a bad match but nothing that needs to be sought out.
Hikaru Shida vs. Rina Yamashita
This is an interesting co-main event, as even though both do appear in OZ Academy neither are affiliated wrestlers. Shida is a Freelancer that wrestles the most in WAVE, but OZ Academy is her #2 home and she has held the OZ Academy Tag Team Championship in the past. Yamashita is affiliated with OSAKA Women’s Pro Wrestling but also wrestles primarily in WAVE. Nothing official on the line here, but the winner will likely put them in good standing with the promotion down the road.
They trade headlocks to kick off the match, shoulderblock by Yamashita but Shida hits a hip attack. Shida tries to knee Yamashita while she is on the mat but Yamashita moves, Irish whip by Yamashita on the floor but Shida throws her into the ring post. Shida sets up a chair and jumps off of it with a knee to Yamashita’s head. Back in the ring, backbreaker by Shida and she covers Yamashita for two. Shida goes for the hip attack but Yamashita blocks it and hits a series of lariats in the corner. Yamashita picks up Shida but Shida rolls her to the mat and applies a front guillotine. Shida picks up Yamashita and hits a quick hurricanrana followed by a hip attack. Shida knocks Yamashita to the apron and gets on the second turnbuckle, but Yamashita knocks her back into the ring. Yamashita lariats Shida to the apron but Shida returns to the ring and suplexes Yamashita back into the ring. Back up they trade elbows but Yamashita hits a big lariat and both wrestlers are out. Yamashita hits a backdrop suplex and applies a sleeper, but Shida rolls out of it. Shida rolls up Yamashita and hits the Three Count, but it only gets two. Shida gets Yamashita on her shoulders and hits the GTS, another Three Count by Shida and she gets the three count! Hikaru Shida wins the match.
I love Shida, which is well documented, but sometimes a missed move can really leave an impression and Shida was about as close to hitting me with that Go To Sleep as she was to hitting Yamashita. If I can look beyond that for a moment, this was a quality ten minute match. Yamashita is a bit limited but works well in matches like this that are shorter and more focused. I enjoyed it, the whiffed move was regrettable but otherwise it was pretty damn fun. Mildly Recommended
Aja Kong, Kansai, Hiroyo Matsumoto, and Tsukasa Fujimoto vs. AKINO, Kagetsu, Kobayashi, and Sonoko Kato
A big multi-wrestler main event for the anniversary show. AKINO and company are called MISSION K4, the good guy faction in OZ Academy. The other team is a combination of wrestlers from different promotions, but all are top notch and mean business.
This one starts slow, which isn’t surprising in an eight wrestler match with quite a few veterans in it. Matsumoto is targeted to start and attacked by all four of her opponents, dropkicks by Kobayashi but Matsumoto slams her and tags in Kong. Kong has no issue slamming the smaller Kobayashi around the ring, her teammates come in and Kobayashi is quadruple teamed in the corner. Kong continues chopping and clubbing Kobayashi until Kobayashi finally gets away and tags Kagetsu. Kicks by Kagetsu, Kobayashi comes back in and they dropkick Kong to the mat. Now it is Kong’s turn to get hit in the corner by all her opponents, but Kong fights out of it and suplexes Kato and AKINO before making the tag to Fujimoto. Fujimoto dropkicks Kagetsu and they trade elbows as well as dropkicks, Fujimoto rolls up Kagetsu but it gets a two count. Missile dropkick by Kagetsu and she tags AKINO, jawbreaker by AKINO and Fujimoto hits a step-over sunset flip for two. PK by Fujimoto but AKINO kicks her in the head. Matsumoto eventually runs in and suplexes AKINO from behind, and Fujimoto tags Kansai. Kicks by Kansai and she trades elbows with AKINO, suplex by AKINO and she covers Kansai for two.
Kansai goes up top but AKINO joins her, Matsumoto runs in but AKINO hurricanranas her back out of the ring. Double superplex on Kansai, hurricanrana by AKINO but Matsumoto breaks up the pin. Kong comes in as AKINO hits a high kick on Kansai, and both women are on the mat. Matsumoto and Kato are both tagged in, and Matsumoto drops her with a big gutbuster. Reverse Splash attempt by Matsumoto but Kato gets her feet up, Fujimoto runs in and catapults off two wrestlers to dropkick Kobayashi as she gets in the ring. Matsumoto then picks up Fujimoto and throws her out of the ring onto their opponents, but Matsumoto is double teamed in the ring. Diving legdrop by Kato to Matsumoto, but the pin is broken up. Enzuigiri by Fujimoto to Kato, and Kong drops her with a backdrop suplex. Backdrop suplex by Matsumoto to Kato, but the pin is broken up. Kato catches Matsumoto with a dragon suplex, other wrestlers run into the ring again but Kong cleans house. Matsumoto hits Kong by accident, high kicks by Kato and AKINO to Matsumoto and Kato nails the Dragon Valley, but the cover is broken up. Kagetsu comes in but kicks Kato by accident, Kong hits Kato with a paint can and Matsumoto nails the Liger Bomb on Kato for the three count! Kong, Kansai, Matsumoto, and Fujimoto win!
This one was also fun. That is the theme of this event, fun matches that don’t transcend that too much but are still enjoyable. It started slow and was pretty cliche the first ten minutes, but the last five minutes or so were really entertaining. Everyone was on the same page, and each wrestler concentrated on their strengths without doing too much. Kato is really under-rated, she is a high quality wrestler, and there were no weak links here although not all the wrestlers got much of a chance to get everything in. For a house show type event, a fitting main event as it was probably a blast live. Mildly Recommended
The best thing I can say about this event is that as a complete show, nothing was bad. It was an easy watch from start to finish, none of the matches were long and everything was at least above average. The issue is that nothing was great either, nothing on this card needs to be sought out or re-watched. The Shida/Yamashita match was the closest to reaching that level, it just wasn’t long enough to leave a lasting impression. Overall definitely a watchable event and worth seeing if you are an Oz Academy fan, but for casual viewers there are probably better things available.
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