Event: PURE-J Fight Together!
Date: June 7th, 2020
Location: Kame Dome in Tokyo, Japan
Announced Attendance: 30
PURE-J isn’t a promotion I review very often, and there are a few reasons for this. One is, they normally don’t make tape a whole lot so they have less events available to review. They also aren’t very popular to Western fans, so no one reads the reviews. And finally, they are a very ‘basic’ promotion with no frills and limited talented wrestlers. While those are all good reasons, I am reviewing them today to try out their new streaming service on Filmuy. An expensive service, but a service nonetheless. One additional perk is this was actually filmed in front of a (small) audience, who I am sure will make little to no noise but its still nice to see them. Here is the full card:
As this aired on PURE-J’s new streaming service, all matches are shown in full. You can click on the wrestler’s name above to go straight to their profile on Joshi City.
AKARI vs. Mari Manji
We start the show with two of the less experienced wrestlers on the roster. That doesn’t mean they are young (for newer wrestlers), as AKARI is 26 years old while Mari is 29, so both were a little late getting into the wrestling game. Mari has an extra year of experience as she debuted back in 2018, however neither wrestler has won any titles in their respective careers and both generally stay in PURE-J most of the time instead of venturing out to other promotions. I haven’t seen a match with them in a bit, so let’s see how they have progressed.
Mari gets AKARI in a wristlock to start, AKARI reverses it but Mari switches it back. Headscissors by Mari but AKARI gets out of it, snapmare by Mari and she applies a bodyscissors. AKARI reverses the hold into a front necklock and applies a leg submission hold, but Mari gets to the ropes for the break. AKARI goes for a slam but Mari blocks it and hits one of her own, elbow drops to the back by Mari and she throws down AKARI by the head. She throws her down again, Irish whip by Mari and she hits a hard shoulderblock. Another shoulderblock by Mari and she hits a third, crab hold by Mari but AKARI gets to the ropes to force a break. Mari throws AKARI into the corner and elbows her in the chest, Irish whip by Mari and she hits a running elbow. AKARI returns the favor in the opposite corner, AKARI applies an armbar over the top rope but lets go after a moment and the two trade strikes in the middle of the ring. Chops by Mari and she Irish whips AKARI, but AKARI hits a front dropkick. AKARI hits two more dropkicks, cover by AKARI but it gets a two count. AKARI picks up Mari but Mari blocks the suplex attempt, waistlock by Mari but AKARI elbows out of it. Mari goes for another suplex but AKARI blocks it, Mari drives AKARI back into the corner and she chops her in the chest.
Mari puts AKARI on the top turnbuckle and joins her, she puts Mari in a reverse necklock before letting go and dropkicking AKARI when she falls down into the Tree of Woe. Mari gets AKARI back to the mat and hits a side Russian leg sweep, she hits a second one before putting AKARI in a submission hold. AKARI inches to the ropes but Mari puts her in a crucifix cover for two. Mari goes for a backdrop suplex but AKARI reverses it and applies an ankle hold. She lets go after a moment, AKARI picks up Mari and hits a Northern Lights Suplex for a two count. AKARI gets on the second turnbuckle and hits a front dropkick, she goes all the way up the next time and hits a missile dropkick for a two count. Armtrap crossface by AKARI but Mari manages to get a toe on the ropes for the break. AKARI picks up Mari but Mari blocks the suplex attempt and hits a vertical suplex of her own. They trade elbows as they slowly return to their feet, Irish whip by Mari but AKARI dropkicks her. Boot by AKARI and she cradles Mari for a two count cover. AKARI picks up Mari and hits a hard elbow, Tiger Feint Kick by AKARI and she puts Mari in La Magistral for two. AKARI goes off the ropes but Mari avoids her boot and delivers a backdrop suplex for two. Mari picks up AKARI hits hits a hard elbow, rolling cover by Mari and she picks up the three count! Mari Manji is the winner.
Mari and AKARI are both fundamentally sound, and this match showed that. There were some structure issues, like submission holds released for no reason to get to the next spot and an awkward moment or two, but when they got to the action it was solid. Their progression will be slow due to being in a lower level promotion but both can hold their own and aren’t the worst less experienced wrestlers I’ve seen this year. Nothing overly memorable but perfectly fine for an opener with newer wrestlers.
Kurea vs. Rydeen Hagane
Next up is a classic “established veteran vs. rookie” match. Rydeen is a seven year veteran but seems to have reached her ceiling as a gatekeeper, as even though she rarely loses she also hasn’t won a singles title since she was a Junior wrestler in 2016. She is against Kurea (or Crea, no idea the proper spelling these days), who debuted last August. Kurea doesn’t have any big wins yet and it doesn’t look good for her here, but she is experienced enough at this point that she should put up a fight.
They get right into it trading holds, wristlock by Kurea buy Rydeen rolls out of it and snapmares Kurea. Kurea applies a quick crucifix pin which Rydeen kicks out of, Rydeen grabs Kurea and tosses her down by the hair. Irish whip by Rydeen and she hits a hard shoulderblock before putting Kurea in a Camel Clutch, she lets go after a moment and elbows Kurea in the chest. Kurea returns fire but Rydeen knocks her back to the mat, Kurea gets to her feet but is knocked down again. Irish whip by Rydeen and she hits a dropkick, cover by Kurea but it gets a two count. Scoop slam by Rydeen and she hits a running body press for two. Rydeen picks up Kurea, Irish whip to the corner and she hits a body avalanche. She tries to Irish whip Kurea again but Kurea reverses it and hits an elbow, dropkicks by Kurea but Rydeen doesn’t go down. Hard shoulderblock by Rydeen but Kurea gets away from her and dropkicks Rydeen in the knee. Kurea dropkicks Rydeen while she is sitting on the mat, Irish whip by Kurea but Rydeen catches her with a backbreaker. Rydeen gets Kurea on her shoulders and puts her hanging in the corner, body avalanche by Rydeen and she hits a lariat. Crab hold by Rydeen, Kurea crawls to the ropes but Rydeen eventually lets go and picks her up.
Elbows by Kurea but Rydeen hits her to the mat, Kurea returns and elbows Rydeen repeatedly in the chest but she is knocked down again. More elbows by Kurea while Rydeen absorbs the blows, she goes off the ropes but Rydeen catches her with a powerslam for two. Rydeen picks up Kurea but Kurea avoids the Rainmaker and kicks Rydeen in the arm, she does it a second time before twisting her arm in the top rope. Kurea takes down Rydeen and slaps on the cross armbreaker, Rydeen wiggles around Kurea ends up with a reverse armbreaker instead. Rydeen gets a foot on the ropes to force the break, Kurea goes up top and nails a missile dropkick, cover by Kurea but it gets two. Fujiwara Armbar by Kurea but Rydeen gets to the ropes for the break, Kurea picks up Rydeen but Rydeen blocks the double wrist armsault. Kurea elbows Rydeen’s arm and applies an armbar, but Rydeen muscles her up onto her shoulders with an Argentine Backbreaker. She tosses her off after a moment and hits a lariat against the ropes, Reverse Splash by Rydeen but Kurea barely kicks out. Kurea sneaks in a schoolboy for two, she goes for another flash pin but it gets two as well. Kurea applies an armtrap crossface but Rydeen is too close to the ropes, Kurea goes off the ropes but Rydeen drops her with a hard lariat. Rydeen goes for a sliding lariat but Kurea ducks, Kurea charges Rydeen but Rydeen catches her with a backdrop suplex for two. Rydeen picks up Kurea and gets her on her shoulders, sit-down powerbomb by Rydeen and she picks up the three count! Rydeen Hagane is the winner!
At first I was concerned as the match started really slow and plodding, looking like the type of match a wrestler may have in their debut. But about halfway through they kicked it up a notch, Kurea started fighting back with a plan and the rest of the way was pretty good. The arm work by Kurea was well done and was a realistic way for her to win, not trying to out-power Rydeen but taking a limb instead. Rydeen always looks competent with her power moves, she isn’t a high end wrestler but she can get by. If the whole match was at the tempo of the second half I could give the match a solid recommendation, but even as it is I was pleasantly surprised by the end result. Mildly Recommended
Hanako Nakamori and KAZUKI vs. Leon and Manami Katsu
Four of the promotion’s top veterans collide as we reach the match event. These are the top four wrestlers in the promotion with a mountain of experience between them and a multitude of title reigns. Manami Katsu is the least experienced of the bunch at nine years, at one point she seemed like an Ace Candidate for PURE-J but Hanako has convincingly taken that from her as she has held the PURE-J Championship for well over a year. Either team could win this one, and I’m interested to see the amount of effort they put into it as it could be really solid.
Manami and KAZUKI insist on starting the match, they lock up and Manami pushes KAZUKI into the ropes before giving a somewhat clean break. Side headlock by Manami but KAZUKI Irish whips out of it, they both try to knock each other over until KAZUKI succeeds. KAZUKI throws Manami into the corner, Irish whip but Manami prevents her charge. They tag out, Hanako and Leon circle each other and trade holds until they reach a stalemate. Back on their feet they trade strikes, Hanako goes off the ropes but Manami kicks her from the apron and gets in the ring. Hanako is double teamed in the corner, double boot by Leon and Manami and they put Hanako in the ropes so they can chop her from the apron. Scoop slam by Leon and she covers Hanako for two. Leon picks up Hanako and applies a sleeper, Hanako gets back to her feet but Leon tags in Manami. Scoop slam by Manami and she puts Hanako in a crab hold, she lets go after a moment and applies a Camel Clutch. She picks up Hanako and hits a double underhook into a backbreaker, Leon is tagged back in and she stomps Hanako around the ring. Leon throws Hanako into the corner and hits a running back elbow, Manami returns but KAZUKI comes in too and hits a double Codebreaker on both of them.
This gives Hanako a chance to tag her in, KAZUKI knees Manami against the ropes before hitting a running knee on Leon. Leon and Manami get the upper hand and hits a double shoulderblock, kneedrop by Leon to KAZUKI and Manami hits one as well. KAZUKI is thrown into the corner but she knees both of her opponents, KAZUKI clubs on Leon and gets her on her shoulders, but Leon blocks the cutter attempt and hits a double footstomp. She tags in Manami who hits a running footstomp as well, Manami goes off the ropes and boots KAZUKI in the side of the head. She tries to do it again but KAZUKI catches her foot, knees by KAZUKI and she tags Hanako. Hanako boots Manami repeatedly in the face, she goes to the top turnbuckle and delivers a missile dropkick. She goes up top again and hits a second one, cover by Hanako but it gets a two count. Fisherman Buster by Hanako and she hits a Shining Wizard, but Manami gets a foot on the ropes to break up the cover. Hanako goes up top but Manami ducks her dive, Leon runs in and kicks Hanako to the mat. Manami and Leon both put one opponent in a submission hold, they let go after a moment and Manami boots Hanako repeatedly in the head. Manami hits a Samoan Drop in front of the corner, Reverse Splash by Manami and she covers Hanako for two. German suplex hold by Manami, but KAZUKI breaks it up. Leon charges Hanako in the corner and hits a series of shoulder tackles, double underhook by Leon but Hanako spins out of it. Elbows by Leon, she goes off the ropes and elbows Hanako hard in the chest.
Hanako gets back up and kicks Leon, the two trade strikes until Leon gets Hanako to the mat and kicks her in the back. Head kick by Leon and she puts Hanako in the Texas Cloverleaf, but KAZUKI quickly breaks it up. Leon picks up Hanako, knees by Hanako and they trade elbows. Manami and KAZUKI tag themselves in when their teammates fall into their corner, face crusher by Manami but KAZUKI back bodydrops out of the double underhook. Manami returns the favor but KAZUKI hits another back bodydrop as well, hard elbow by Manami but KAZUKI returns fire with knees to the midsection. An elbow by Manami sends KAZUKI to the mat, she picks up KAZUKI but KAZUKI blocks the German suplex. Hanako kicks Manami in the head and KAZUKI follows with a Code Breaker, running knee by KAZUKI and she covers Manami for two. KAZUKI goes up top but Manami uppercuts her and climbs the turnbuckle as well, Hanako grabs Manami from behind however and pulls her back into the ring. Diving Double Kneedrop by KAZUKI, but Leon breaks up the cover. Knees by KAZUKI but Manami catches her with a backfist, lariat by Manami and she covers KAZUKI for two. Manami goes up top and nails the diving elbow drop, but Hanako breaks up the cover. Knee by Hanako to Manami but Leon spears her, KAZUKI trades flash pins with Manami but neither can get the three count. Sliding lariat by Manami, she picks up KAZUKI and hits an uppercut. Lariat by Manami, and she covers KAZUKI for the three count! Leon and Manami Katsu are the winners.
One interesting thing is a match like this normally may have had a long ‘outside the ring’ brawling period, but since they are staying in the ring due to having the crowd there, they were almost forced to be more focused for almost 20 minutes. Aside from being unable to do dives (which isn’t really PURE-J’s style anyway) they weren’t holding back any and the pace stayed pretty high from bell to bell. There was lots of teamwork, as would be expected, and since they are all on about the same level there wasn’t a long control segment which led to more consistent action. Really solid match between four wrestlers that know what they are doing, it never really rose to the level of must-see action (probably not helped by the single cam setup) but a fitting main event for a small show. Recommended
For a small three match show, this one was pretty good. PURE-J is what it is – no nonsense and somewhat basic, but fundamentally sound with consistent performances. You won’t get any MOTYCs here but you’ll get a solid card from top to bottom with a very low chance of a true clunker. The main event was an entertaining all-veteran affair, and both of the other two matches were about as good as one could hope for. I’m not sure if the PURE-J streaming service is worth $10 a month, especially with all the options out there, but its an easy watch that may not excite but won’t disappoint.