2/3 Falls WWWA Sekai Tag Senshuken Jiai:
The most widely known match of the Toshiyo Yamada & Manami Toyota vs. Dynamite Kansai & Mayumi Ozaki trilogy firmly engraved AJW’s All Star Dreamslam 2 among the greatest shows ever. It’s the kind of match everyone can get into, which is probably the biggest reason it beat out the superior 4/2/93 Akira Hokuto vs. Shinobu Kandori match (finished 3rd) to become the first women’s match to win the Wrestling Observer Newsletter match of the year even though AJW Dreamslam 1 easily won best major wrestling card. Incredibly spectacular wrestling with a ton of excitement and riveting drama.
Their 11/26/92 match was the starting point, but what would come after it was also a key. Ozaki was zoned in on Toyota before the match, as Toyota had handed her a crushing defeat to end the first classic. She gave Toyota a look of disdain and superiority that showed she still believed – and was out to prove – she was the better of the two. With Ozaki, you don’t necessarily get an immediate payoff; she has faith that people can remember things for more than 30 seconds without hammy reminders.
The first fall, all 12 seconds of it, was about something totally different. It told the fans don’t sit silent until it gets deep, putting them on notice that finishers were going to be upheld, at least sometimes, and even an interpromotional match could end at any moment. This was important because they’d just seen two amazing shows where everyone was trying to, and in many cases at least coming very close to succeeding at, having the best match of their life. In order to do that, some concessions had to be made, for instance extra near falls, but you can’t constantly concede or it becomes a KAORU match where all credibility and meaning is out the window as they burn through one should be meaningful move after another.
Fall one was over as soon as it began with Kansai pinning Yamada in her splash mountain. To say this fall was a definite gamble would certainly be an understatement. In the end, what’s important though is the whole, and two amazing falls quickly wiped out anyone’s qualms with the first fall.
Yamada milked this loss for all it was worth, showing it was a KO blow rather than a lucky move. Again JWP was up 1-0 and had made a big statement for their performers and promotion, but at the same time this had the potential to be a statement about the direction of women’s wrestling in general.
Surprisingly, the AJW team was the 1st one booed. Yamada intervened after Kansai avoided Toyota’s moonsault, slamming Kansai so Toyota didn’t have to waste time climbing the ropes before delivering it. Again, Ozaki was right in, jumping on Toyota’s back to break the count and draw the boos.
The second fall was the best. Yamada was out to prove the size difference between her and Kansai was meaningless. Her kicks were supremely nasty. I mean, 7 minutes into the match I was looking for signs of bruising and swelling. After matching Kansai’s strikes, Yamada started doing flying ones that Kansai isn’t capable of doing, showing the advantage of her body type.
Yamada was simply outstanding. What an awesome mix of stiffness and athleticism she had in her prime, and stiff athleticism. The best wrestler of the four during this 1992-93 period was Yamada. Great energy, intensity, and diversity. If her body would only have held up I wonder what kind of champion she would have been, what kind of matches she could have had with Aja Kong. But that’s the disadvantage of her body type, especially when trying to have brutal matches in an insane promotion that basically doesn’t have off days much less an off season.
Yamada’s ability to fly set the stage for Toyota to make a much bigger impression here. Toyota wore a blue outfit with feathery decolletage and wrists, which was never seen again because a feather or two would come unglued every time she left her feet. That was quite often, as Toyota was flying all over the place. The big bone for AJW came in the second fall. After a double thunderfire powerbomb Toyota pinned Kansai in her Japanese ocean cyclone suplex hold at 14:55. This was significant because the ice had been broken; a #2 had now pinned a #1. Check out the look of distress on Ozaki’s face as the defeated Kansai crawls to their corner.
The toll of the match didn’t build enough on Kansai, or anyone for that matter. First Yamada then Toyota kept knocking her down with a flying move as soon as she’d get up. Ozaki ran in and knocked Toyota off the top then took care of her on the floor, but next thing you know Kansai is whipping Yamada into the guard rail and superplexing Toyota.
Some spots and aspects of this match were the same as the previous one. Some were developed further. My favorite sequence came after Kansai & Ozaki’s double diving headbutt. Ozaki got on top again and Kansai whipped Toyota at her, but Toyota dropkicked Ozaki to the floor, ducked Kansai’s lariat, and did her more spectacular quebrada where she starts inside the ring, clearing the top rope on the way up. Yamada resurfaced right before the dive, coming out of nowhere to take Kansai out with a kick. The match looked to turn here with Yamada and Toyota now getting the chance to double team, but Kansai forearmed Yamada off the top and stopped a series of German suplex reversals by low kicking Toyota.
Overall, the match went in reverse. It was more the typical AJW style title match, with its greatness stemming from superb wrestlers giving a peak effort in an ever higher stakes match. Yes, it was more spectacular with more big moments, not only more big moves but tide turns from the 3rd or 4th person in the ring that looked like they’d lead to the finish. The problem is they didn’t have a unified idea on how they were going to go about achieving the greatness. Yamada vs. Kansai generated amazing intensity with their kicks, but then one of them would tag and the match would lose something because Toyota or Ozaki would have to immediately change the style.
The more spectacular the match got, the harder it got for Kansai & Ozaki to add small bits or set things up. One of the spots I enjoyed most was Kansai’s answer to Yamada resisting her sasorigatame. Kansai had her most of the way over, so she stepped on Yamada’s head to create her own halfway point then completed the application of the submission by stepping off and finishing the turn.
Ozaki kept trying to do submissions, which worked so well in the first match, but this time the others weren’t helping her out. They stayed on the apron, and went back to high spots at first chance. Ozaki’s main role wound up being that of the feisty underdog, generally getting beaten on but regularly seizing small openings to get a move in.
This match was carried by AJW because it was mainly work, and Kansai & Ozaki didn’t try to top Yamada & Toyota in that area. The tide turns were set up and timed perfectly, but I’m not sure who to attribute that to, as everyone needs to be in the right place to pull it off. There were very few flaws in application, it’s just that what they did was not as clever as their previous match, or really that clever at all.
If there’s one aspect about the comparative quality there shouldn’t be any argument over, it’s the superiority of this finish. Kansai was stomping Yamada on the floor, but saw Ozaki was in trouble, so she ran in and took both out with a lariat before Toyota could deliver her Japanese ocean suplex. Ozaki was knocked right into their corner, so Kansai tagged and started drilling Toyota until Yamada recovered. Kansai’s ducked Yamada’s lariat in the corner and kept running, taking Toyota out with a lariat then turning around and knocking Yamada to the floor with one. Ozaki did an elevated neckbreaker drop then Kansai scooped Toyota up again, this time in splash mountain position, so Ozaki could do another diving neckbreaker drop for the win at 16:04. Kansai & Ozaki became the 97th holders of the WWWA tag belts, but significantly the first wrestlers to capture them for a rival Japanese promotion. The image of Ozaki crawling on her knees with her arms out then falling into Kansai with a big hug is just classic. And so is the match. *****