Episode 12 of AJW Classics is another one where every match comes from the same show. It’s still 1986, but we’re now on the 5th of April and back in Tokyo. More importantly, though, Chigusa has a sword.
Yumi Ogura and Bull Nakano fought to a double countout
I’ve spent a lot of time talking about how much of a badass Bull Nakano is, and there are many good reasons for that, chief of which is that she’s fucking Bull Nakano. However, this match belonged to Yumi Ogura, as she went out there and fucking smashed it.
Because the advantage of having someone like Bull is that the mere act of surviving being in the ring with her makes a wrestler look incredible. Nakano was messing with Ogura before she could even get through the ropes, stepping up with those nun-chucks and forcing her to drop off the apron. She looked all set for a fun afternoon of tormenting the smaller wrestler.
However, Ogura is incredible here. Yes, Bull tries to bully her, but she was having none of it, and the second Nakano turned her back, she climbed to the top rope and leapt off with a kick. Yumi steps up to the badass, giving her everything she’s got and refusing to be beaten down. While Bull unleashes all kind of nastiness, beating her with nunchucks and throwing her around, Ogura would not stop coming forward.
And Bull never manages to put her away. They end up fighting on the outside, scrambling to beat the count, but at the same time trying to stop the other from making it back. Unfortunately, they do too good a job, both women being counted out as this goes to a draw. It’s Ogura who comes out feeling like the victor, though, as she faced down Nakano and lived to tell the tale. That’s the kind of performance that makes a star.
Verdict: Take The Bull By The Horns
Chigusa Nagayo defeated Dump Matsumoto to win the All Pacific Title
Chigusa had a fucking sword and, honestly, the moment where she stands on the apron, drawing it and facing down Matsumoto in her samurai garb is all I need to slap the classic label on this one.
Of course, it’s Dump and Chigusa, so we know how it’s going to go. Matsumoto drags Chig down to her level, pulling her into a wild brawl that wanders around the ring and involves everyone at ringside. There is a moment where Bull pops up with a fucking barrel because why the fuck not?
And I love it. I love it for the same reasons I love all of these matches. They’re unhinged, bodies scattering as Dump leaves a trail of destruction, waving those scissors around as you can’t help worrying she’s going to get stabby again. Crush Gal mania was nowhere near being over, and the fans seems to live every moment of Chigusa’s battle. It might be thirty-four years later, but it’s impossible not tp be caught up in, screaming along with them as they yell themselves hoarse in support of their hero.
Their hero only goes and wins too. It takes a titanic effort, but Chigusa gets Dump over for a Backdrop Driver, holding her in the bridge, but with her own shoulders on the mat too. At the last second, instinct kicks in, Chigusa thrusting up her shoulder and getting a measure of revenge for that brutal haircut. The fans explode, and while this didn’t quite reach the emotional heights of that hair match, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have a wee fist pump too.
Verdict: Chigusa Had A Sword
Lioness Asuka and Devil Masami fought to a time-limit draw, so Devil Masami retained the WWWA Title
Recent months have seen me return time after time to the idea of ‘epic’ matches. With Stardom making a move to seemingly alter their main event style to something closer to New Japan’s, they have, at least in my opinion, ruined a few main events as it becomes clear it’s not necessarily something their wrestlers excel at. As I have said in nearly all those reviews, that bombastic, big match style is very hard to pull off, but if you want to know how to do it, this is probably one you should watch.
For if you didn’t know, Lioness Asuka and Devil Masami are a bit good, and they were going the distance. Not that you’d know it from the opening seconds, Asuka instantly getting Devil in a Big Swing, twirling around again and again in a way that only she can.
It kicks off a war, two evenly matched wrestlers throwing everything they can at each other, to the extent that at one point they’re counted out. Asuka kicks Devil from the top rope to the floor before leaping after her, ditching caution in an attempt to go big. There was no chance in hell they’d accept that as their ending, though. After a quick chat the match continues, the two exchanging vicious slaps as the bell rings once more.
The final act is a masterpiece, simple moments like an Asuka rope break worked for everything it has, her fingers reaching out and grazing the rope, trying desperately to curl around it. There is a Piledriver from Masami that looks genuinely lethal, Asuka being dropped square on the top of her head. Even that doesn’t separate them. There is two-count after two-count, but neither woman is willing to stay down and the clock turns out to be the only thing capable of stopping them.
Everything about this match felt huge as it earned every over the top moment it reached for. Now, don’t get me wrong, not everyone can be Devil Masami and Lioness Asuka, and as brilliant as they are, I wouldn’t want that. In the same mould, however, not every main event can turn the dial up to eleven. Seeing it done well should serve only to reinforce that.
Three very different matches, but all of them delivered and gave me plenty to ramble about. This AJW shit was a bit good, wasn’t it?