AJW Throwback: AJW Classics Episode 16 Review

Defiant till the end.

All of the matches on episode 16 of AJW Classics come from the same show, the 7th of November 1986 event in Osaka. It’s a biggie too, as for the second time Dump and Chigusa go head to head with their hair on the line. This feud has defined the first batch of Classic episodes, producing countless incredible moments, so let’s get onto seeing what happened next.

The Red Typhoons (Yumi Ogura and Kazue Nagahori) defeated Mika Komatsu and Kanako Nagatomo to win the AJW Tag Titles

The Red Typhoons have lost the AJW Tag Titles since we last saw them, but don’t worry if you’re a fan, it’s time for them to get them back.

Despite AJW not having weight classes and everyone working a style that features a fair bit of flying, this felt like a junior team taking on a pair of heavyweights. Komatsu and Nagatomo were light on their feet, with Nagatomo having a fantastic hot tag where she came in and flew around the ring. In contrast, the meat of the match saw The Red Typhoons focus on submissions, grounding their opponents and shrugging off most of their strikes. There’s a moment where Ogura has Komatsu in a hold which Nagatomo tries to break with some stomps. Unfortunately for here, Ogura is having none of it, barely even glancing up at her opponent’s attempts.

Towards the end, things get chaotic, with everyone ending up on the floor before we get another one of those finishes that I love so much. Nagahori hits a suplex on Nagatomo which looks like it’s not going to be the end, but she forces her shoulders to the mat and keeps them there through sheer willpower. I’ve said it before, but the selling of pinfalls as an actual struggle is one of those little things that makes AJW at this time so brilliant. Great match.

Verdict: A Load Of Fun

Lioness Asuka, Devil Masami and Yukon Erica fought Yukari Omori and the Jumping Bomb Angels (Noriyo Tateno & Itsuki Yamazaki) to a double countout

Ahh, I thought the last show was the only Yukon Erica we were going to get! Yet, here she is, back in all her magnificent self and standing out as the least experienced head in one packed tag match. Still, the fans know what’s up as the second she and Omori get in together, there is a noticeable rise in the noise levels. Who doesn’t want to see that hoss fight?

It’s Omori’s interactions with someone else that steal the show, though, as she and Asuka look brilliant together. There is a fist-pump moment when Asuka is laying into Omori in the corner and she calmly smiles back at her, shrugging off the blows as if they’re nothing before stepping foward. It’s a moment of total badassery in a match filled with some fucking massive badasses.

Of course, every pairing here is great, and they do a good job of protecting Erika who, despite my love of her simple brutality, is easily the worst worker in that ring. Then again, you could replace her with 98% of wrestlers who have ever strapped on a pair of boots, and that would still be true, so it’s hardly an insult. In the end, that combined wrestling genius is too much for one match as they brawl to the floor and no-one makes it back before the count. This is one you’re going to want to watch, though.

Verdict: Lotta Talent In That Ring

Chigusa Nagayo defeated Dump Matsumoto in a Hair vs Hair match

If you had any doubts about where this match was going to go, the fact the ref is bleeding before the bell even rings should clear them up.

For Dump is on the warpath and my god is she determined that this time Chigusa is going to die. There is a moment in this match where she chokes her, with a sword! I mean, fair enough, it’s the less sharp side of it, but it’s still a fucking sword. Matsumoto has no interest in wrestling Nagayo. She is out there to stab and tear at her, leaving her face caked in blood as the fans scream in terror.

Fuck me, is she good at it too. What makes this feud, is that no-one has ever been as suited for a role as Dump and Chigusa are for theirs. Matsumoto is a snarling beast, dragging Chig through the crowd with a chain wrapped around her neck and lashing out at anyone who comes near her. Nagayo, meanwhile, is babyface fire personified. It doesn’t matter how much blood is leaking out of her head because she will not go down. She has lost this match before, and she will do everything in her power to make sure she doesn’t lose it again.

And she doesn’t, but it’s kind of hard to say she wins it. Chigusa survives this, bundling Dump up for the three and sneaking away with the victory. It’s a desperation move and one that, unsurprisingly, inspires fury in Dump and her cronies. After making their thoughts very clear to the ref, they start to head to the back until Chigusa grabs the mic and calls her back, shaming Dump into returning to the ring. Matsumoto takes her seat, though, crossing her arms defiantly with only the slightest twitch of her expression showing the emotions she feels as she allows them to cut her hair like the warrior she is.

Honestly, as a match, I put this one a few rungs below the first. However, the first is one of my favourite matches of all time, so that’s hardly a criticism. It’s still a wild, chaotic mess, that pays off with this incredible moment. Dump sat on the chair, her hair being cut is just as iconic as Chigusa doing so before her. It’s yet another defining moment in one of the greatest feuds of all time.

Verdict: Incredible

Overall Show

The first two matches on this episode are enjoyable wrestling, but the main event somewhat overshadows them. If it’s not clear, I fucking adore Chigusa vs Dump and would watch them murder each other all day, every day. This is one of the pinnacles of that feud, though, and if you haven’t seen it before, you should probably correct that now.

If you enjoyed this review, please consider contributing to my Ko-fi, even the smallest amount is appreciated.

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