Event: PURE-J “Fight Together”
Date: July 12th, 2020
Location: Kame Dojo in Tokyo, Japan
Announced Attendance: 30
While some promotions are just slowly adding wrestling events to their schedule in this new pandemic world we live in, PURE-J is ramping them up as they have already had five events since the beginning of June. This is a very recent show of theirs and was distributed on their new streaming website. Not a big card as there are no title matches, but it does have three singles matches which I tend to prefer. Here is the full card:
All matches are shown in full, the wrestlers on the card have profiles on Joshi City and you can click on their names above to go straight to it.
Crea vs. Rydeen Hagane
I guess we are just going with “Crea” now for her name. Crea is still in her first year of wrestling so this isn’t a match she is winning, as she is against the veteran gatekeeper Rydeen Hagane. Rydeen has been around for awhile and gets some big matches now and then, but pretty clearly isn’t ever going to be pushed as the top wrestler in the promotion so this is her primary role. Which isn’t necessary a bad role, as she looks to show Crea a thing or two to help her career.
They trade waistlocks to start, Rydeen gets Crea to the mat and puts her in a stretch hold. Crea gets out of it and the two return to their feet, kick by Rydeen and she applies a wristlock. Crea reverses it but Rydeen reverses it back as they trade holds, Rydeen slams Crea’s head into the mat before stomping on her. Rydeen throws down Crea by the hair and kicks her into the corner, she goes for a slam but Crea reverses it into a cradle for two. Crea sits on Rydeen’s back before putting her loosely in a submission hold, Rydeen gets back up and hits a trio of hard shoulderblocks for two. Scoop slam by Rydeen and she hits a body press for another two count, she picks up Crea and throws her into the corner. Irish whip by Rydeen and she hits a body avalanche, she goes for a powerbomb but Crea gets out of it. She goes off the ropes but Rydeen catches her with a backbreaker, crab hold by Rydeen but Crea gets into the ropes for the break. Rydeen butt bombs Crea to the mat before rolling her over for a two count, she picks up Crea but Crea hits a series of elbows. Rydeen clubs her to the mat for her trouble, Crea fights back again but eats another club to the back. Irish whip by Rydeen but Crea hits a dropkick, she hits a second and a third but Rydeen stays on her feet. Elbows by Crea and she hits an armbreaker, she goes for a second but Rydeen blocks it and applies a sleeper. Crea quickly gets out of it and dropkicks Rydeen in the corner, jumping elbow by Crea and she finally dropkicks Rydeen off her feet for a two count cover.
Crea goes for the cross armbreaker, Rydeen blocks it so Crea applies a seated armbar instead. Rydeen muscles out of the hold but Crea kicks her in the arm, Crea gets on the second turnbuckle and she hits a missile dropkick. She goes up top and hits another missile dropkick, cover by Crea but it gets a two. Crea quickly applies a double armbar, she lets go after a moment and goes for the double wrist armsault but Rydeen blocks it. Crea goes off the ropes but Rydeen catches her with a powerslam for a two count. Rydeen picks up Crea but Crea elbows out of the uranage, she goes off the ropes but Rydeen spins her onto her shoulders and puts her in the Argentine Backbreaker. She tosses her off after a moment and hits a lariat, Samoan Drop by Rydeen and she positions Crea in front of the corner. Rydeen gets on the second turnbuckle and hits the Reverse Splash, but Crea barely kicks out. Rydeen goes all the way up but Crea avoids the Reverse Splash attempt, lariat by Rydeen but Crea schoolboys her into the ropes. Crea goes for another cradle, but this time she gets a two count. Crea picks up Rydeen and delivers the double wrist armsault, but Rydeen barely gets a shoulder up. Crea goes off the ropes but Rydeen pushes her off and hits a lariat, she picks up Crea but Crea quickly rolls her up for two. Crea goes off the ropes but Rydeen hits her with a hard lariat, she picks up Crea and drops her with the uranage for the three count! Rydeen Hagane is the winner.
This was clunky at times but in the end probably accomplished its goal which was to make Crea look somewhat credible before losing to the veteran. There is a reason that Rydeen never really elevated up the card – she is solid enough but not great, and struggles to elevate less experienced wrestlers. Her power moves look good but some of the transitions and sequences didn’t come off well and it was pretty disjointed. It probably went a tad longer than it needed to, at almost 12 minutes, as they didn’t have a ton of ideas. Crea did get her spots in and had some nearfalls, its too early in her career to know if she will be a quality wrestler down the road but she isn’t quite there yet. Not bad for an opener, but still a skippable match.
AKARI and Leon vs. KAZUKI and Momo Tani
This is a good combination of veterans and newer wrestlers. KAZUKI and Leon are 23 year and 20 year veterans, respectively, and even though they generally have hung around the upper midcard in their careers they are still very respected on the scene. Leon teams with AKARI, who has just started her second year in wrestling, while KAZUKI teams with the lesser known Momo Tani from Actwres girl’Z. A classic match structure in the Joshi world, hopefully they can create something fun with it.
Momo and AKARI start things off, they trade holds but ultimately reach a stalemate. Armdrag by Momo and she applies a reverse chinlock, but AKARI gets into the ropes for the break. Shoulderblocks by AKARI but Momo kicks out of the cover, and AKARI tags in Leon. Leon throws Momo into the corner and hits a dropkick, scoop slam by Leon and she hits a somersault senton for two. Leon picks up Momo but Momo reverses the slam attempt into a cradle, dropkick by Momo and she tags KAZUKI. Knees by KAZUKI in the corner as she knees Leon around the ring, AKARI comes in however and with Leon they dropkick KAZUKI off her feet. Running kneedrop by Leon and AKARI hits one as well, Leon tags AKARI and AKARI delivers a dropkick. Another dropkick by AKARI but KAZUKI quickly kicks out of the cover, she goes for a slam but KAZUKI blocks it and hits one of her own. KAZUKI tags Momo, Irish whip to the corner by Momo and she hits a jumping knee. AKARI blocks the slam attempt but KAZUKI comes in to help, they both go for a vertical suplex but AKARI blocks it.
Leon comes in but KAZUKI and Momo both hit Codebreakers on their respective opponents, running double knees by KAZUKI and Momo and they both drop knees onto one opponent’s back. Double Irish whip and both Momo and KAZUKI hit knees, Leon rolls out of the ring and Momo knees AKARI in the back of the head. Cover by Momo, but AKARI kicks out. Momo goes off the ropes but AKARI hits a drop toehold, she keeps Momo’s legs wrapped up in a submission but Momo makes it to the ropes. Northern Lights Suplex by AKARI, but it gets a two count. She tags Leon, shoulder tackle by Leon in the corner but Momo blocks the double underhook. Knees by Leon but Momo elbows her back, hard elbow by Leon and the two trade blows. Tilt-a-whirl backbreaker by Leon and she puts Momo in a crab hold but it gets broken up, Leon goes off the ropes but KAZUKI knees her from the apron. Backstabber by Momo to Leon and she puts her in a stretch hold, but AKARI breaks it up. Momo grabs Leon and hits a swinging neckbreaker, she goes to the second turnbuckle and hits a reverse double knee for two. She tags in KAZUKI but Leon knees her, KAZUKI knees her back but Leon tosses her into the corner.
Leon goes up top but KAZUKI avoids her dive, spear by Leon and she covers KAZUKI for two. Leon tags AKARI, AKARI goes up top and hits a missile dropkick for two. AKARI goes for the cross armbreaker but KAZUKI gets out of it, stomp by KAZUKI but AKARI elbows her in the corner. She goes for a suplex but KAZUKI blocks it, knees by KAZUKI but AKARI hits a pump kick. AKARI rolls KAZUKI to the mat and applies a kneelock, but Momo quickly breaks it up. KAZUKI gets AKARI onto her shoulders and hits a cutter, cover by KAZUKI but Leon breaks it up. KAZUKI drags AKARI to the corner and gets on the second turnbuckle, but AKARI avoids her double knee and cradles her for two. Leon spears KAZUKI, AKARI follows with a Tiger Feint Kick before cradling KAZUKI again for a two count. Momo distracts Leon and AKARI, giving KAZUKI time to recover and hit a Codebreaker on both of them. Double running knee strike by KAZUKI and Momo, and KAZUKI covers AKARI for two. KAZUKI goes off the ropes and drills AKARI with the K Sword, and she gets the three count! KAZUKI and Momo Tani are the winners!
This was a step up from the last match. Momo wrestling like a mini-KAZUKI is interesting, they have teamed before so clearly she has rubbed off on her as they hit similar moves. KAZUKI throws a lot of knees but not all of them well, for a move to spam honestly the knee to the midsection isn’t the most interesting so I wish there was a bit more variety in her offense. Leon looked great as she tends to, the match just kinda lacked a story or flow to it. For a midcard tag it was perfectly fine but probably forgettable at the end of the day.
Hanako Nakamori vs. HIRO’e
As HIRO’e continues her retirement road, she faces the Ace of PURE-J. No tears were shed over HIRO’e’s announcement she would be retiring in 2020, as while she had a five year career she never really reached that next level in popularity or in-ring skill. But at least she is going out on her own terms, which is always the ideal way to end a career. She is against the PURE-J Openweight Champion (title not on the line) in Hanako Nakamori, who has taken over as leader of the promotion after Arisa Nakajima left and Command Bolshoi retired. There isn’t any way that Hanako is losing to the young WAVE wrestler, but I’m sure it’ll be a pretty even match to give HIRO’e a chance to shine.
HIRO’e gets a jump on Hanako but Hanako kicks her in the corner and throws HIRO’e down by the hair. HIRO’e returns the favor, they trade kicks and shoulderblocks until HIRO’e shoulderblocks Hanako to the mat. HIRO’e picks up Hanako and hits a vertical suplex, cover by HIRO’e but it barely gets two. Back up, kick by Hanako and she snapmares HIRO’e before kicking her in the back. Kick to the chest and leg drop by Hanako, she picks up HIRO’e and kicks her in the corner. Hanako charges HIRO’e but HIRO’e moves, elbow by HIRO’e but Hanako avoids her shoulder tackle attempt. HIRO’e rebounds out of the corner with a crossbody for two, she picks up Hanako but Hanako kicks her in the leg. HIRO’e elbows her back as they trade strikes, Codebreaker by HIRO’e and she dropkicks Hanako while she is against the ropes. HIRO’e picks up Hanako but Hanako blocks the Northern Lights Suplex, HIRO’e goes off the ropes but Hanako drops her onto the second rope and boots her from the apron. Hanako goes up top and hits a missile dropkick, cover by Hanako but it gets two. Hanako applies an armbar but HIRO’e gets to the ropes, running boot by Hanako and she goes to the top turnbuckle, but HIRO’e elbows her before she can jump off.
They trade elbows while Hanako is still sitting on the top turnbuckle, headbutt by Hanako and she goes for a powerbomb out of the corner, but HIRO’e blocks it and hits a Codebreaker. HIRO’e goes up top and delivers a missile dropkick, Northern Lights Suplex by HIRO’e but Hanako kicks out. HIRO’e picks up Hanako, Hanako blocks the suplex at first but HIRO’e eventually hits the German suplex. Hanako immediately gets up and hits a German suplex of her own, but HIRO’e returns with a backdrop suplex followed by a German suplex for a two count cover. Elbows by HIRO’e and hits the spear, but Hanako gets a shoulder up. Sunset flip by HIRO’e, but that gets a two count as well. Kasadora by HIRO’e, but again Hanako kicks out. Boot by Hanako and she kicks HIRO’e in the head again, but HIRO’e reverses her cover attempt into one of her own for two. After a failed cradle, HIRO’e charges Hanako but Hanako kicks her in the head. Another head kick by Hanako, but her cover only gets two. Hanako picks up HIRO’e and drops her with the Requiem Driver, and she picks up the three count! Hanako Nakamori wins!
I am not sure the nice way to say this, nor am I sure if I should even bother try to say it nicely, but there is a reason HIRO’e stayed in the WAVE midcard for her entire 5+ year career. She is spectacularly average, bringing little to the table. That’s not to say she is bad, as her fundamentals are solid and unlike in the last two matches there weren’t any miscommunications or times where a wrestler looked out of place. But she doesn’t leave a strong impression. They tried to tell a bit of a story, with the underdog HIRO’e trying to sneak in a win against the highly ranked Hanako, but Hanako wasn’t really bothering with any sort of long term selling so most of her hope spots were quickly dashed when Hanako easily took back over control. She was “trying” to make HIRO’e look good but in the end she didn’t really, since none of HIRO’e’s offense had any impact beyond the moment. The ending came out of nowhere, as HIRO’e had been in pretty good shape, which just hammers in my previous point. Overall it wasn’t bad, but in the end neither one came out looking any better than they came in and if this was anyone’s first exposure to Hanako they wouldn’t be too impressed.
Manami Katsu vs. Mari Manji
For the main event, the relatively inexperienced Mari Manji takes on Manami Katsu. At one point, it looked like Manami Katsu was potential Ace material of JWP/PURE-J but it hasn’t happened yet, as even though she is the ideal age (25) and has the experience (nine years) she hasn’t won a title since 2014. Which is a little mind-boggling when you consider she is in one of the lowest ranking Joshi promotions but she can’t even get a tag title reign. So it doesn’t look good for her as Hanako Nakamori controls the promotion. She is against Mari Manji, who is just entering her third year of wrestling and has yet to have any title success, although she has shown potential. I’m not sure what to expect out of this, but hopefully they bring it.
They circle before tying up, Mari gets Manami into the ropes but she gives a clean break. Manami grabs her and the two take turns with elbows, Mari throws Manami into the corner and delivers a running back elbow. Manami fires back with a lariat and a running boot, rolling cradle by Manami and she holds down Mari for a two count cover. Mari is pretty dizzy after being rolling around for so long as Manami stomps on her, she picks up Mari and they try to shoulderblock each other over. Mari eventually grabs Manami and goes for a backdrop suplex, but Manami lands on top of her. Mari goes off the ropes and finally shoulderblocks Manami over, she picks up Manami but Manami reverses the backdrop suplex attempt into a bulldog. Double underhook by Manami but Mari gets out of it and the two trade strikes. Manami charges Mari but Mari chops her to the mat, she picks up Manami and puts her on the top turnbuckle before joining her, applying a modified dragon sleeper. She lets go after a moment and brings Manami back to the ring with a backdrop suplex, cover by Mari but it gets two. She puts Manami in an armbar but Manami gets to the ropes for the break, Mari picks up Manami and hits a side Russian leg sweep. Another leg sweep by Mari and a third, she puts Manami in a submission hold but again Manami gets to the ropes.
Mari picks up Manami but Manami pushes her off and hits a Stunner, boot by Manami and she hits a lariat. Running boot by Manami while Mari is against the ropes but Mari avoids the next one, Mari charges Manami and delivers a running elbow. Boot by Mari and she hits another one, followed by a dropkick. Mari picks up Manami but Manami snaps off a Samoan Drop, lariat by Manami and she covers Mari for two. Manami puts Mari in front of the corner and hits a Reverse Splash, cover by Manami but it gets a two count. Manami grabs Mari but Mari gets away and hits a vertical suplex, she rolls over Manami but Manami covers her for two. Jawbreaker by Mari and she rolls over Manami again, this time holding her down for a two count. Mari picks up Manami and hits a back bodydrop, she goes to the second turnbuckle and delivers a diving senton for two. Mari picks up Manami and levels her with a back elbow, but Manami kicks out of the cover. Mari goes off the ropes but Manami catches her with a lariat, sliding lariat by Manami but Mari reverses the cover into one of her own for two. Manami kicks Mari in the head, she picks her up and hits a German suplex for a two count. Back up, uppercut by Manami and she nails the Orange☆Blossom for the three count! Manami Katsu is the winner.
This was the best match on the card, which may be a low bar but it was a fitting main event for a small dojo-style show. Its interesting that they are having Mari basically go 50/50 with Manami. Mari is actually older than Manami and has a slight size advantage, which may play into their thinking, or they think long term she has more potential as a title challenger. She’s pretty good in the ring, PURE-J doesn’t really do high workrate matches so she fits in well in the promotion that focuses on the basics. A good enough match, nothing that will blow you away but it flowed well and ended before it felt too stretched out. Mildly Recommended
Dojo shows really should be watched with different expectations from what you’d see on GAORA or Samurai TV. The match time is a lot less and the wrestlers, while they are trying, aren’t generally looking to put on ***** classics. The pace is slower but the action is still watchable (for the most part). PURE-J doesn’t really have any high end wrestlers anymore but they do have a lot of wrestlers that know the fundamentals, with a sold core of veterans. All they need is that hot rookie to elevate the promotion in the eyes of fans, but even if that never happens they still put on watchable shows top to bottom. This event I’d only recommend for the more hardcore PURE-J fan, which is true for most dojo shows, but its a pretty breezy way to spend 45 minutes watching wrestling.