Dangerous Queen Tokyo Saiban: Akira Hokuto vs. Shinobu Kandori
The aura, feeling, and newness they created on 4/2/93 just wasn’t going to be matched. We’d seen most of what they could do, would do, and we’d seen them beat each other literally, if in Hokuto’s case not figuratively. We’d seen a lot of interpromotional matches now, and we’d seen Aja Kong and others get in the mix with Kandori. This match just couldn’t be that special, as a good deal of the 4/2 match’s greatness was derived from the freshness of the match and the interpromotional concept itself. It was a great match on any show on any day to be certain, but one can’t deny that being in the right place at the right time, and doing the right match for it was such a huge key to the success of the first match. That match was like a dream come true. What more could you possibly want than the most anticipated match on the first full interpromotional show to be something not only amazing, but different from any women’s match you’d seen? Words can’t even describe what an accomplishment that is.
Maybe one needs to take a step back to understand just how good a follow up this match was? I know I never appreciated it as much in 10 years as I do today, looking at it in the context of the series apart from what else was going on at the time. There are times when we get spoiled because the product is so amazing, like in 1993 when you expected more than one excellent match per women’s show. Perhaps it takes a time like now, when one is practically ready to promise a crazy action in exchange for an excellent match, to fully appreciate what we had.
Creating the feeling that the winner would be the one that wasn’t leaving on a stretcher was one of the accomplishments of this match. It had that kind of toughness, nastiness, and malevolence. The match wasn’t about winning in the traditional sense, it was about ego, about showing you were the toughest by being the one still on your feet. It was the kind of match where they stood there and dared their opponent to give them their best shot, because their opponent would look bad for not being able to lay them out with it.
Talk about starting where you left off, the opening contained a redo of the 4/2/93 finish. Hokuto ran at Kandori before the bell. They each ducked the others hook, each ate it, and then they did the double punch. This time they knocked each other back a ways, and Hokuto’s mouth was busted open (blood capsule?).
Kandori was quite the punk in this match. The main difference in their offense was Kandori would be in control longer because at times she wouldn’t try to injure Hokuto. Instead of big risk/reward stuff, when Hokuto was down Kandori would often give her more nudging blows to the face. They weren’t designed to hurt her all that much, it was just Kandori toying with Hokuto, irritating her, showing her she was boss and Hokuto couldn’t do anything about it.
Focus wasn’t going to be an issue here. The idea was not to exploit any one area, not to find a way to beat your opponent. Such intelligent things would be frowned upon in this type of macho match. It was quite simple, you just beat the living shit out of your opponent until their body crumples. Thus, they varied the attacks. Kandori gained the first advantage with a series of body blows then a kick to the gut. Hokuto soon came back with her own body blows. That’s how they did it, the person receiving showed they could take it and then showed they could dish it out, the very same thing, just as well.
For an ego match, the selling was remarkably good. This was not in the vein of those Choshu and Sasaki matches where one guy runs the ropes and delivers a wicked lariat only to have the other guy stand there like a wall, then run and deliver his own only to get the same result. They weren’t selling for a minute at a time, and they made some quick comebacks that bothered me, but their body language was right and their timing was good. There was even a spot after Hokuto gave Kandori her northern lights bomb on the floor where the ref was tapping her cheek to see if she was still conscious and could continue. Kandori was just able to blink her eyes in the beginning to keep him from stopping it.
Moves wise, it was more of a pro wrestling match. Not nearly as pro wrestling as the 4/11/93 Aja Kong & Hokuto vs. Kandori & Eagle Sawai tag, but contained more action and fake moves than the 4/2/93 match. They did do a good job of incorporating most of the fake moves, and once again limited the success of the flying through attempts that never got off the ground. One of the biggest spots was when Kandori stopped Hokuto on the top and nearly knocked her out by suplexing her off like a released Tigerdriver. Hokuto’s smarts were displayed here, as she was supposed to clap on the top for crowd support until Kandori arrived, but Kandori was late so Hokuto slipped so it wouldn’t be obvious she was just waiting for her opponent.
Major heat stemmed from a later spot where Kandori hit Hokuto until she fell off the top then used the hizajujigatame. Two months before, Hokuto’s best chance at capturing the red belt had been thwarted by her knee injury. Hokuto was able to stand this time, but her knee was far from 100%, and Kandori was the type that wouldn’t be above, in fact might enjoy, further injuring it.
The key attacks were spread out. You were so into the match, which wasn’t foreshadowing anything, you almost forgot what the obvious points were. Then Kandori rolled through a diving body attack and tried to injure the good arm, but Hokuto was too close to the ropes.
Mima Shimoda & Etsuko Mita made the finish more than the wrestlers themselves. Hokuto and Kandori took right and left hook combinations from each other, and were to the point they were so wobbled they could hardly stay on their feet. Shimoda’s face was all red from her emotion, she’d been crying and covering her mouth, while Mita kept screaming. In the midst of this, Kandori missed an uppercut she was supposed to nearly knock Hokuto out with then redid it but they switched back to LCO so I’m not sure if she did any better the second try. Kandori stood over Hokuto begging her to get up. When she did, Hokuto was knocked back down with an uppercut that was definitely big. Kandori grabbed Hokuto’s by the bad leg and pulled her into the center, but she wasn’t going to beat Hokuto because of a preexisting injury. She also wasn’t going to give Hokuto the (Gracie) out that she didn’t submit, the ref just called the match (obviously a mistake on his part). Instead of doing a knee submission, she just leaned over Hokuto for the easy pin. Shimoda finally escaped to ringside. To watch her, you might think she’d been tied up and forced to watch her best friend tortured or something. Her emotion lent the match more credibility than any of the shoot submissions.
Hokuto & Kandori failed to top their previous match, but that was expected. Hokuto did give one of her best performances, and Kandori did have the second best singles match of her career. Almost every brutally stiff woman’s match involves a huge women. It’s special matches like the Hokuto vs. Kandori or Yamada vs. Hotta that show size is no match for heart, willpower, and a bit of insanity. 21:15. ****1/2