Quebrada Pro Wrestling, Puroresu, & Mixed Martial Arts Reviews by Mike Lorefice

AJW W.W.W.A. CHAMPIONS NIGHT in SAPPORO Commercial Tape
6/22/96 Hokkaido Sapporo Nakajima Taiiku Center

AJW 6/22/96All Pacific Crown Decision Tournament 1st Round: Kaoru Ito vs. Tomoko Watanabe 12:49. Probably the worst thing about Watanabe & Ito forming a team in 1997 is their matches against each other tended to be among their more impressive. This one, though shorter due to the tournament final being later in the night, was better than usual, as their matwork was purposeful then they threw all they had at each other. Ito worked Watanabe’s back early, setting up a hot comeback where Watanabe tried to get the crowd involved. The audience was initially reticent, but began to come around when Ito hit a tope but injured her knee when Watanabe avoided her diving footstomp to the floor. Watanabe attacked the knee with her Dragon screw to figure four, but Ito persevered, still relying on her footstomps despite the fact each one hurt her. They execute really well, delivering a very good crisply wrestled match. ***1/2

All Pacific Crown Decision Tournament 1st Round: Mariko Yoshida vs. Reggie Bennett 10:24. Essentially a glorified squash. Yoshida used her athleticism early with a nice climb-up knee, but Reggie quickly took control turning her monkey flip into a sidewalk slam. Yoshida had occasional success jumping at Bennett with dropkicks and flying moves, but was simply overwhelmed. Yoshida does take Bennett’s power moves better than most, but having such a one-sided match in a four wrestler title tournament seemed rather pointless given Bennett has been in the league for ages. **

WWWA World Super Lightweight Title Match: Chaparrita ASARI vs. Rie Tamada 12:09. Given their inexperience, the fact that the finish is very good is quite promising. The fans got into the final portion that contained all the hot moves, including ASARI doing a 450 splash to the floor. The middle is average though, and the beginning is weak, lacking point and direction. The execution could have been a little better, but at least when ASARI was a little off it was with something spectacular, moves no other woman was doing at all. Rie, on the other hand, didn’t even execute the pedestrian dropkicks and body attacks that are all she gets out of her quickness and athleticism to perfection. **1/4

All Pacific Crown Decision Match: Kaoru Ito vs. Reggie Bennett 9:56. Ito, who was the third best wrestler tonight behind Kyoko & Toyota, looked impressive dominating the match, but unfortunately was dispatched of rather quickly and unceremoniously. Bennett did sell more for Ito in the first few minutes than she did in the entire Yoshida match. And it was a good match, it’s just that it really needed to go another 3-5 minutes. Ito took it to Bennett aggressively, punishing Reggie’s right knee. Bennett did a good job of selling the knee injury, which aided the story that Ito was using the speed differential to get off before her oversized opponent. Ito was better in 1996 than from 1997 on when she was heavier, as she was large enough to take it to the big girls but small enough to pull off a huracanrana, and more importantly far more energetic. **3/4

2/3 Falls WWWA World Tag Title Match: Kyoko Inoue & Takako Inoue vs. Manami Toyota & Mima Shimoda 3:29, 10:47, 16:33. The rematch from WRESTLE MARINEPIAD 5/11/96 was entirely in Toyota’s workrate style. The previous match was slowly paced by mid ’90’s AJW standard, but this was a total sprint with a first fall that was faster than any GAEA Nitro sprint, except these women actually have stamina, for the most part maintaining the pace for the entire half hour. This time they never got any type of story going, just did countless spectacular spots. Beyond her usual bit of sloppiness Toyota was outstanding, and Kyoko may have been even more impressive given she hits all her spots and is able to combine power with the incredible speed and energy. Shimoda & Takako were out of their element though, forced to either rush or slow the pace down. The match kind of died when they did a segment together at the start of the third fall, but for the most part they had Shimoda & Takako opposing the other team’s star, with Toyota or Kyoko dictating and carrying them in the fast paced style. The first fall had a great surprise finish where Toyota did one of her springboard reverse counters to an attempted Inoue double team. Kyoko bailed out, but Takako tried to duck, which seemed a successful strategy until Toyota hooked a sunset flip as she was flying over Takako for the pin. After the crazy start, the second fall was more or less the normal beginning of their match with some weardown, but it didn’t take long to get and remain lightning paced. It wasn’t so much the pace itself, but the speed in which they were pulling the moves and counters off, whether it be Kyoko whipping her opponent over for a fisherman suplex that was a snap at heart or Toyota turning Kyoko’s Niagara driver into a sunset flip. Toyota took a great flip bumb on Kyoko’s lariat for the second fall. Toyota & Shimoda captured the titles, which Double Inoue had previously won from Shimoda with Hokuto on 1/22/96. ****


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