Event: PURE-J Pure Slam Vol. 8
Date: November 4th, 2019
Location: Osaka Yodogawa Kumin Center in Osaka, Japan
Announced Attendance: 129
Even though I am months behind in reviews, I had to jump ahead to take a look at this recent event from PURE-J. I am watching this event on NicoPro, a streaming service in Japan that streams wrestling events from a wide range of wrestling promotions (the show is no longer available on the service at the time of this review, since shows are only available for seven days). I have written a guide on how to sign up for NicoPro, highly recommended! Both the service and the guide. PURE-J Pure Slam Vol. 8 may not be the biggest show of the year for the promotion, but it does feature a championship match. Here is the full card:
As this aired on NicoPro, the matches are unclipped. It also has that annoying commentary box in the corner, which I will tolerate. All the wrestlers have a profile on Joshi City, you can click on their names above to go straight to it.
KAZUKI vs. Momo Tani
The show starts with a veteran vs. young wrestler match, as PURE-J’s KAZUKI faces off against Actwres girl’Z wrestler Momo Tani. Momo wrestles in PURE-J quite a bit so this isn’t a random one-off appearance, however even 1.5 years into her career she hasn’t made much progress up the card. She gets a chance here against KAZUKI, who has mostly had success in her career as a tag team wrestler but is a 22 year pro. The question here isn’t who is winning, but how good of a showing Momo can have before she gets defeated.
They circle each other to start before tying up, they trade wristlocks until KAZUKI cranks on a headlock. Momo Irish whips out of it but KAZUKI shoulderblocks her down, KAZUKI picks up Momo but Momo dropkicks her to the mat. More dropkicks by Momo and she goes for a sleeper hold, she gets it locked in but KAZUKI doesn’t seem too bothered and wiggles out of it. Front necklock by KAZUKI, she lets go after a moment and clubs Momo in the back. Scoop slam by KAZUKI and she hits a running double kneedrop for a two count cover. Crab hold by KAZUKI, she lets go after a moment and flings around Momo by her hair. Snapmare by KAZUKI and she applies a sleeper, she then puts Momo in a bodyscissors before slamming her head-first into the mat. KAZUKI goes for a double underhook but Momo blocks it, knee to the stomach by KAZUKI but Momo boots her from behind. More knees by KAZUKI but Momo hits a running double knee strike while KAZUKI is against the ropes. KAZUKI recovers and knees Momo again, but Momo schoolboys her from behind for two. Back up they trade elbows, Backstabber by Momo and she hits a running double knee to the back of KAZUKI’s head. Multiple double kneedrops by Momo to KAZUKI’s back follow and she puts KAZUKI in a stretch hold, she lets go after a moment and dropkicks KAZUKI in the side. More double kneedrops by Momo and she stretches KAZUKI again, she covers KAZUKI but it gets a two count.
Momo goes for a scoop slam but KAZUKI blocks it and hits one of her own, Momo throws KAZUKI into the corner but KAZUKI avoids her charge and knees her in the midsection. Another knee by KAZUKI, she puts Momo across the second rope in the corner and hits a double kneedrop to her midsection. Reverse double kneedrop by KAZUKI, but Momo kicks out of the cover. KAZUKI gets Momo on her shoulders but Momo slides off and hits a Codebreaker, but KAZUKI comes back with own of her own. KAZUKI picks up Momo but Momo slides away and hits the Somato for a two count. Momo goes off the ropes and hits another Somato, she gets on the second turnbuckle and hits a reverse double kneedrop for two. Momo picks up KAZUKI and knees her in the head, she goes off the ropes but KAZUKI gets her on her shoulders. Momo slides off and applies a sleeper hold, KAZUKI slams Momo back into the corner to get her off but Momo slides out to the apron and applies the sleeper over the top rope. Tessy gets her to break the hold, Momo gets back in the ring and cradles KAZUKI to the mat for two. Momo goes for another Somato but KAZUKI moves and knees Momo in the back of the head, double underhook facebuster onto her knee by KAZUKI but Momo barely kicks out of the cover. KAZUKI picks up Momo and delivers a Somato, but Momo again kicks out. KAZUKI positions Momo, she goes up to the top turnbuckle and nails a diving kneedrop for the three count! KAZUKI is the winner.
So many knees in this match. Lots of knees. If you like knees, this is the match for you! This may be the first I’ve seen of Momo and she seems fine, KAZUKI is probably not the easiest wrestler to work with as Momo can’t do the same things to her she may be able to do to the Actwres girl’Z wrestlers, but there weren’t any noticeable mistakes or miscommunications. For a knee-fest it was decent enough, not a lot of rhyme or reason to it but not a bad way to open up the event.
AKARI and Kurea vs. Makoto and Moeka Haruhi
Time for me to get my first look at the rookie Kurea. Makoto is the veteran of the bunch, she was the Ace of REINA before leaving the promotion to become a Freelancer. Technically, Moeka has been wrestling longer than Makoto but has far less matches and mostly just floats around smaller promotions out of the spotlight. AKARI and Kurea are both PURE-J rookie wrestlers, AKARI debuted in April and Kurea just had her wrestling debut in August. I have shockingly low expectations for this match considering the participants, but hopefully the rookies will show a little something to make it worth watching.
The rookies attack the veterans from behind before the match starts because of course they did, they isolate Makoto and both hit dropkicks. AKARI stays in with Makoto and applies an Argentine Backbreaker, but Moeka breaks it up. AKARI grabs Makoto and puts her in a stretch hold while tied up in the ropes, she lets go after a moment and covers her for two. Makoto fires back with a big boot and tags in Moeka, Moeka tosses AKARI down by the hair but AKARI knocks her to the mat with a shoulderblock. Armdrag by AKARI and she dropkicks Moeka near her corner before tagging in Kurea. Kurea applies a headscissors but Moeka gets out of it and applies a headlock, she brings Kurea to her corner and tags in Makoto. Makoto stands on Kurea’s midsection before bouncing her off the ropes, cover by Makoto but it gets a two count. Moeka is tagged back in and hits an ex handle to Kurea’s back, Moeka goes off the ropes and hits a footstomp for two. Moeka throws Kurea in the corner and tags in Makoto, Makoto throws Kurea into the corner and delivers a big boot. double kneedrops by Makoto and she covers Kurea for two. Makoto kicks at Kurea but Kurea comes back with a dropkick, she goes for a scoop slam and finally hits it for a two count. Kurea gets the hot tag to AKARI, dropkick by AKARI but Makoto boots her. AKARI gets on the second turnbuckle and applies an armbar, she lets go and hits a missile dropkick for a two count. Irish whip by Makoto but AKARI blocks it and rolls her to the mat with kneelock. Makoto wiggles to the ropes to get the break, AKARI goes off the ropes but Makoto catches her with a double underhook suplex.
Cartwheel double kneedrop by Makoto, she covers AKARI but AKARI barely kicks out. Makoto tags Moeka, running knee by Moeka in the corner and the two trade elbows. AKARI applies a short armbar, Moeka tries to roll out of it but AKARI applies La Magistral for a two count. Northern Lights Suplex by AKARI, but that gets a two count as well. AKARI tags Kurea, lariat by Kurea and she hits a shoulderblock on Moeka for two. Kurea goes for a cross armbreaker but Moeka blocks it and applies a single leg crab hold. AKARI eventually breaks it up, Makoto comes in too but the veterans both eat dropkicks. Kurea stomps on Moeka but Moeka knees her in the stomach, cross armbreaker takedown by Kurea but Makoto breaks it up. Kurea gets on the second turnbuckle and hits a missile dropkick, AKARI hits one as well and Kurea follows up with a final missile dropkick for a two count. Kurea goes off the ropes but Moeka drop toeholds her onto the second rope, she ties up Kurea and both she and Makoto kick her in the back. Running footstomp by Moeka, but Kurea kicks out of the cover. Moeka picks up Kurea but Kurea sneaks in a small package for two. Kurea tries a few more flash pins with no luck, wrist-clutch Northern Lights Suplex by Moeka but Kurea bridges out of the hold. Moeka gets on the second turnbuckle and delivers a diving footstomp, but AKARI breaks up the cover. Makoto runs in to spear AKARI, Moeka goes up to the top turnbuckle this time and hits the diving footstomp for the three count cover! Makoto and Moeka Haruhi are the winners.
To be honest, this was far better than I was expecting. Sometimes having low expectations is the way to go. AKARI and Kurea both looked pretty smooth here considering their experience and they didn’t wrestle like rookies as they had a variety of moves at their disposal (especially AKARI) and had several near falls. Moeka can afford to be giving to rookies since no one takes her seriously anyway but I was surprised that Makoto was equally generous, it made for a far more even and competitive fight than I assumed it would be. Both teams worked together well and the match hummed along at a decent pace, they got enough time without it feeling like it went too long. For an undercard match with two rookies I was surprisingly entertained by this, AKARI and Kurea will stay under the radar as long as they are in PURE-J but both seem to have a pretty solid base knowledge of wrestling. All in all, pretty solid match. Mildly Recommended
Drake Morimatsu vs. Rydeen Hagane
A rare Drake Morimatsu appearance! I’m not sure if Drake stays active on really low level events that aren’t even talked about online, but for more mainstream promotions she appears pretty rarely as this is only her 4th match in one of the bigger Joshi promotions this year (and I am counting PURE-J so this is a pretty generous range I am giving). But she is 49 years old and has certainly earned the right to be selective. She invades PURE-J to take on Rydeen Hagane, I’m not sure why but they have a similar size and style so maybe PURE-J thought they’d be a good pairing. I’m not sure what to expect since I haven’t seen Drake in awhile but it should be interesting if nothing else.
Drake and Rydeen give a halfhearted handshake before the match before attempting to shoulderblock each other over with neither having any luck. Drake clubs Rydeen but Rydeen finally manages to shoulderblock her down, with Drake immediately rolling out of the ring. Rydeen goes out after her but Drake throws her into the chairs at ringside, she rolls Rydeen back in and hits her with a baseball bat. Irish whip by Drake and she hits Rydeen with the baseball bat again, the referee chastises her but doesn’t do anything besides that. Rydeen kicks the baseball bat away from her and the two trade elbows, Drake wins the battle and kicks Rydeen against the ropes. Hammerlock by Drake, she twists Rydeen’s arm in the top rope and yanks down on it. Drake stomps on Rydeen’s arm before hitting a legdrop on it, Drake applies a submission hold but Rydeen gets a foot on the ropes. Wristlock by Drake, she lets go after a moment and elbows Rydeen in the head. Irish whip by Drake but Rydeen reverses it and hits a hip toss. Running body press by Rydeen, but Drake kicks out of it. Stomps by Rydeen, she goes off the ropes but Drake catches her with a lariat. Cover by Drake, but it gets a two count.
Drake keeps on Rydeen’s arm but Rydeen eventually throws her into the corner and hits a lariat. Rydeen goes for a powerbomb but Drake back bodydrops out of it, Rydeen grabs Drake again but Drake elbows her off. Rydeen hits a lariat but Drake stays up, Drake tries too but gets the same result. They both go off the ropes and lariat each other to the mat, Drake is up first and she gets a chair, hitting Rydeen in the back with it. Rydeen tries to take it from her but Drake doesn’t let her as the chair slides away, lariat by Drake but Rydeen literally drops her with a sidewalk slam. Rydeen goes up to the second turnbuckle and hits a reverse splash, but Drake gets a hand on the ropes. Rydeen goes all the way up top this time but Drake recovers and hits her, tossing Rydeen back to the mat. Facebuster by Drake, she cradles Rydeen but Rydeen gets a shoulder up. Drake picks up Rydeen but Rydeen hits a lariat, backdrop suplex by Rydeen and she covers Drake for two. Rydeen positions Drake and goes up top, but Drake rolls out of the way of the moonsault attempt. Lariat by Drake, but Rydeen kicks out of the pin. Drake picks up Rydeen and delivers the Michinoku Driver, cover by Drake and she gets the three count! Drake Morimatsu wins!
That was the longest ten minutes of my life. Its confusing to me that PURE-J would have Drake Morimatsu come in, a relic from the past but still a bit of a name for hardcore fans, and just have her pretty easily beat one of their better veteran hands. Its one thing if she beat a rookie, that’s part of the process, but Rydeen is no rookie. And it wasn’t a good match anyway, with Drake wasting a chunk of the match doing arm work that meant nothing, some awkward parts, and little in the way of drama. I’m not sure why this existed but it didn’t need to, no one needs to watch this unless they are just really curious to see Drake Morimatsu wrestle in 2019.
Leon and Miyuki Takase vs. Manami Katsu and Mari Manji
For the semi-main event, we get a fun collection of PURE-J wrestlers (and Miyuki Takase). Miyuki is a very busy wrestler from Actwres girl’Z as she wrestles not just there but somewhat regularly in SEAdLINNNG and WAVE as well. She has been wrestling for less than three years but already has a tag title reign under her belt in SEAdLINNNG, she actually goes for the main Actwres girl’Z title just two days after this show (Spoiler: she won). She teams with Leon, who has been in JWP/PURE-J for almost 15 years now but primarily had success as a team team wrestler during that run. They are up against Manami Katsu, one of the bright young stars of the promotion, and the young Mari who is in her second year. A good group of wrestlers, if they get the time this should be good.
The opening handshake doesn’t go well as Manami and Mari immediately go on the attack, they double team their opponents in the corner and both hit body avalanches. Miyuki is isolated but Leon returns and she helps Miyuki take back control. Miyuki and Leon chop Mari repeatedly in the chest before Miyuki dropkicks Mari in the back, legdrop by Miyuki and she tags in Leon. Snapmare by Leon and she puts Mari in a stretch hold, she lets go after a moment and dropkicks Mari into the corner. Mari recovers and the two trade chops, Irish whip by Leon but Mari sneaks in a schoolboy for two. This gives Mari time to tag in Manami, Manami drives Leon into the mat and puts her in the Mexican Surfboard, she lets go and elbow drops Leon in the back before covering her for two. Snapmare by Manami and she puts Leon in a bodyscissors, she rolls Leon around the ring while she is in the hold before stopping the roll for a two count pin attempt. Manami goes for a backdrop suplex but Leon kicks off the ropes and hits a bulldog, giving her time to tag in Miyuki. Miyuki dropkicks Manami in the corner but Manami fires back with a lariat, big boot by Manami but Miyuki blocks the Bulldog and dropkicks her in the back. Sling Blade by Miyuki, Leon comes in and they both hit running strikes in the corner, double vertical suplex to Manami and Miyuki covers her for two.
Manami gets up and the two trade elbows, they reach as stalemate until Manami hits a Stunner followed by a Bulldog. superkick by Manami and she covers Miyuki for two. Manami tags Mari, shoulderblocks by Mari to Miyuki and she covers her for a two count. Mari goes off the ropes but Miyuki catches her with a powerslam, she rolls to her corner and tags Leon. Leon hits a running shoulder tackle in the corner, Mari pushes her away but Leon delivers the tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Crab hold by Leon but Manami breaks it up, Leon picks up Mari and hits the butterfly suplex for two. Manami kicks Leon from the apron, Mari hits a side Russian leg sweep on Leon and puts her in a submission hold. Mari picks up Leon but Leon blocks the backdrop suplex, elbows by Mari and she knocks down Leon with a back elbow. Mari tags Manami, facebuster by Manami to Leon and she hits a double underhook facebuster. Manami then hits a slingshot double underhook suplex, she gets on the second turnbuckle but Leon avoids the Reverse Splash attempt. Mari comes in and they hit the Magic Killer, lariat by Manami to Leon but her cover only gets two. Manami goes up top and hits a diving elbow drop, but Miyuki breaks up the cover.
Manami picks up Leon but Miyuki runs in and dropkicks her, shoulder tackle by Leon to Manami and Miyuki delivers a missile dropkick. Leon hits a missile dropkick of her own, cover by Leon but Manami kicks out. Leon goes for the Capture Buster but Manami blocks it and hits a Stunner, Mari comes in but Leon hits a spear on both of them. Miyuki comes back and hits slams Manami in front of the corner before Leon delivers a Frog Splash, but Mari breaks up the pin. Leon picks up Manami, she goes off the ropes but Manami avoids her spear and hits a superkick. Uppercut by Manami, Leon goes off the ropes but Manami fists her in the face and tags Mari. Miyuki is also tagged in, elbow by Mari and she covers Miyuki for two. Mari throws Miyuki into the corner but Miyuki rebounds out of it with a missile dropkick, lariat by Miyuki and she hits a diving forearm off the second turnbuckle. Miyuki picks up Mari but Mari slides way, superkick by Manami to Miyuki but Leon kicks Mari. Backdrop suplex by Mari to Miyuki, she picks her up but Miyuki cradles her for two. Manami boots Miyuki to help, Mari cradles Miyuki but that gets a two as well. Mari goes off the ropes but Leon hits her with a shoulder tackle, lariat by Miyuki but the cover is broken up. Miyuki picks up Mari and hits a vertical suplex, but Mari gets her foot on the ropes when she goes for the pin. Miyuki positions Mari and goes to the second turnbuckle, hitting a diving legdrop for the three count! Leon and Miyuki Takase win the match.
A fun fast-paced match, with all the wrestlers doing their part. It was the good type of that Joshi tag team chaos, with wrestlers running in at will and the referee not really doing anything to discourage it, making the match pretty much non-stop action. This type of match rarely makes any ‘year end’ lists but are great for the midcard as they keep the viewers captivated. Miyuki looked great as she always does but no one felt like they were lagging behind, and Leon did a solid job of keeping everything together. There really was nothing wrong with it that I can think of, obviously the structure was all over the place and there really wasn’t a “story” (isolating the weakest wrestler, etc.), but still an enjoyable match to just sit back and watch. Recommended
(c) Hanako Nakamori vs. Rina Yamashita
PURE-J Openweight Championship
Time for the main event. Hanako Nakamori has been the undisputed ace of JWP/PURE-J since Arisa Nakajima left the promotion in late 2016. Since that time she has held the top title in the promotion for over 700 days, with her current run beginning on April 21st of this year. She is a pretty active champion as this is her fourth defense of the title, her last successful defense came on September 29th against Hiroyo Matsumoto. Rina Yamashita became a Freelancer at the start of the year when she left Pro Wrestling WAVE, where she had a fair amount of success. She is not a regular in PURE-J as this is only her eighth match in the promotion since May, with her only singles win of note coming against Rydeen Hagane. Still, Rina has held titles in SEAdLINNNG, OZ Academy, and WAVE in recent years and just based off her resume she is a qualified challenger for the belt. This is Hanako’s third straight defense against a Freelance wrestler as she fights to keep the title within PURE-J, with their hard hitting styles I expect this match to deliver.
Hanako and Rina start the match respectfully, no one is getting jumped in this one as they go into a knuckle-lock. Hard shoulderblock by Rina, she charges Hanako again but Hanako holds down the rope and Rina lands on the apron. Rina snaps Hanako’s neck on the top rope but Hanako dropkicks her in the back, sending Rina out of the ring. Hanako goes out after her and tosses Rina around ringside, she goes for a kick but Rina ducks and Hanako kicks the ring post. Lariat by Rina while Hanako is against the apron, she slides her back in and tosses Hanako down by the hair. Hanako doesn’t like that and snapmares Rina before kicking her in the back, Rina gets to her feet and elbows Hanako, she voluntarily sits down and lets Hanako kick her in the back in return. They go back and forth in such a manner until Hanako wins the duel, she picks up Rina but Rina scoop slams her. Rina puts Hanako in the ropes and knees her in the back, Rina elbows Hanako in the corner but Hanako avoids her charge and hits a heel kick. Big boot by Hanako but Rina fires back with a lariat, another lariat by Rina and she covers Hanako for two. Rina picks up Hanako but Hanako kicks her and tosses Rina into the ropes, Hanako goes to the apron and kicks Rina in the head, she gets up on the top turnbuckle and delivers a missile dropkick for a two count. Hanako twists Rina into a submission but Rina gets into the ropes, Hanako picks up Rina but Rina hits a vertical suplex.
Hanako goes off the ropes and kicks Rina in the chest, she goes up to the top turnbuckle but Rina recovers and joins her. Hanako sends back to the mat with a chokeslam, she waits for Rina to get up and delivers a Shining Wizard for a two count. Hanako goes up top again and nails the Destiny Hammer, but again Rina kicks out of the cover. Hanako ascends the turnbuckle again but this time Rina rolls out of the way as she goes for a diving legdrop, they both are slow to recover and trade elbows when they return to their feet. High kick by Hanako and she hits a second one, she covers Rina but it gets a two count. Rina quickly gets Hanako’s back and applies a sleeper hold, but Hanako wiggles to the ropes and gets there to force a break. Rina kicks Hanako and hits a lariat, she goes off the ropes and hits a sliding lariat for a two count cover. Rina picks up Hanako but Hanako pushes her away, enzuigiri by Rina but Hanako fires back with one of her own. Release German by Rina, she picks up Hanako but Hanako hits a fisherman buster. Both are slow to get to their knees as they trade elbows, Hanako ducks a Rainmaker attempt but Rina still levels her with a lariat for two. Rina picks up Hanako and goes for Splash Mountain, but Hanako slides away. Hanako applies a short armbar but Rina rolls out of it, Hanako kicks Rina in the head but Rina knocks her down with a lariat. Jumping kick by Hanako, she picks up Rina and kicks her in the head. Buzzsaw Kick by Hanako, but Rina kicks out of the cover. Hanako picks up Rina and nails the Requiem Driver, and she picks up the three count! Hanako Nakamori wins and retains the championship!
As expected, this was an entertaining and hard hitting match. If you’ve seen any matches from these two, you know what to expect – lots of hard strikes with an occasional suplex or power move mixed in for good measure. They didn’t waste time with pointless submissions or limb work that would go nowhere, it was just two wrestlers throwing everything at each other for 20 minutes. There were some selling issues late, as there tends to be with this match style, and some of the transitions of control were suspect (or didn’t exist at all), but the time passed quickly and it felt like it ended about when it should have which this event has been good for. I also liked that Rina never hit the Splash Mountain, that’s her killer move and teasing it without landing it was the right way to go. A great main event for a smaller PURE-J show. Recommended
I didn’t go into the show with high hopes as short non-Korakuen Hall events from smaller promotions tend to be pretty average, but overall this wasn’t a bad offering from PURE-J. Only one match was rough to watch (Drake/Rydeen) but everything else ranged from watchable to very good. The final two matches in particular were well done, with the tag a fun fast paced match and the main event delivering on just about every level. While its hard to compare an event like this to a big Stardom or Ice Ribbon show, for a casual watch its perfectly fine and a recommended introduction into the promotion if you are not yet familiar with PURE-J.