AJW ATHENA #38 10/6/01 ODAIBA W EXPLOSION 2001 SUPER LIVE 2 DAYS taped 9/15/01 & 9/16/01 Tokyo Odaiba Fuji TV Studio
2/3 Falls WWWA World Tag Title Match: Tomoko Watanabe & Nanae Takahashi vs. Miho Wakizawa & Kayo Noumi 15:15 & 15:52. A successful promotion is often one that simply understands how to promote the talent they have. Unfortunately, AJW has never figured out how to adjust to not having super talent, so they still try to push everyone who isn’t a monster in essentially the same way. They simply throw the young “stars” out there for lengthy periods of time even if they don’t execute well and have no truly good looking offense. Lioness Asuka & Chigusa Nagayo or Manami Toyota & Toshiyo Yamada had the talent to find their way through their lengthy spotlight matches, but trying this with wrestlers who obviously will never be top flight is putting them in a position to embarrass themselves. 10 or maybe 15 minutes of this with major help from Watanabe would have been more than adequate, but going past the 30-minute mark with Nanae & MihoKayo was deadly. MihoKayo were forced to expand the boundaries of tag team wrestling to include the double scream in the opponents ear which, while undoubtedly more damaging than Kurt Angle’s best ankle lock, doesn’t exactly make for scintillating television. Miho soon tried to top her early clowning, blowing on Watanabe to try to get her to release the top rope so Kayo could German suplex her. Watanabe is obviously the one high quality wrestler in the match, but she knew it was hopeless and decided not to take up a losing cause. There’s not much you can do when your opponent, Miho, throws their 15 best shots at you, and not one of them is good enough to warrant you releasing your scorpion. By pretty much stayed out of this match, Watanabe left the other three to fall flat on their face. This heatless match wasn't compelling to the silent crowd, who didn’t get into MihoKayo shaming the titles by being at their goofiest with the straps on the line. There was no direction, focus, drama, or intrigue, the match simply meandered along as an endless collection of remedial moves executed passable, at best, when they were finally able to set them up. MihoKayo were largely portrayed as what they are, a team that isn't serious and certainly isn't on the level, losing possibly the worst WWWA tag title match in history in straight falls. Black Joker attacked after the match, so in case the first 32 minutes of NanaMihoKayo weren’t enough...*1/2
BLACK JOKER IN W EXPLOSION 2001: Nanae Takahashi & Miho Wakizawa & Kayo Noumi vs. Rumi Kazama & Eagle Sawai & Takako Inoue 19:33. If you saw the pictures in a magazine, this would probably look like a good match. The first half was almost a facsimile of wrestling, really just setting up opportunities to posterize the opposition. The wrestling in the second half wasn't any good either, but at least there was a lot of fast paced semi legitimate action. Black Joker might not be much individually, but at least their teamwork is effective. Takako and Rumi carried the match, which had 15 times the heat of the previous tag title match. Even Eagle was better than any of the AJW women if you don't mind that she moves at 1/10th the speed she did a decade ago and was on offense just about the entire time she was in. The best spot was Takahashi giving Eagle a superplex then MihoKayo jumping from opposite corners with a diving headbutt and Takahashi doing her diving elbow drop. *3/4
All Pacific Title Match: Tomoko Watanabe vs. Kumiko Maekawa 11:44. Watanabe apparently saved it for the real title match. She didn’t hold anything back against Maekawa, delivering one of those hyper spotfests where the workrate is so high it’s ridiculous. The main difference in the pace of the match was that they took no time between moves to sell (rest). With all the brutal kicks Maekawa threw, it would have been nice if Watanabe took a minute to put one over, but they succeeded in delivering the exciting short match they embarked upon. Watanabe tried some knee work early to take some of the zip of Maekawa’s punts, but it was to no avail, with the bulk of the match being Maekawa's kicks vs. Watanabe's lariats. The final minutes were excellent, but the match was essentially a formless explosion. Maekawa captured the title. ***1/4
W EXPLOSION MOST IMPACT: Yumiko Hotta & Mima Shimoda vs. Manami Toyota & Takako Inoue 3:19 of 21:05.
W EXPLOSION ESPECIALLY: Yumiko Hotta & Manami Toyota vs. Etsuko Mita & Mima Shimoda 2:15 of 24:33. More good wrestling in 2 minutes than MihoKayo gave you in 50, and this was a garbage match!
WWWA World Single Title Match: Kaoru Ito vs. Momoe Nakanishi 24:27. An excellent match with both women wrestling on an extremely high level, but also one that seemed out of sequence. Momoe was extremely competitive in their last meeting, and has only increased her standing coming off winning the JGP. They should have done a match to get over Momoe’s skill by treating her as a legitimate threat to Ito, but instead they did a match designed to get over her heart where she simply withstood a sick amount of punishment. Unlike Watanabe vs. Maekawa, the match was very dynamic because they understood how to manipulate the pace. Ito played the role of the powerful beast early on, using her size and strength to methodically maul Momoe, who would sometimes pull a faster than a speeding bullet counter. However, since Momoe didn't get much offense in and was never able to compete, the match wasn't nearly as dramatic or exciting as it rightfully should have been. Ito went right after Momoe's knee, never giving Momoe a chance to get started to the point she almost completely neutralized the opposition for the first 17 minutes. Nakanishi might pull one sweet move, but when it looked like she was about to come back, Ito would have her offense scouted and find a way to retain control. Realizing that trying to string her holds together had failed, Momoe tried to get off before Ito and beat her with one move. While not the greatest strategy, it can work for her because her Momo*latch finisher is more a flash pin move than something that supposedly does damage. The match began to reverse with Ito working faster and more aggressively, but Momoe being the one who saw the flying move coming and found a way to avoid it. Momoe's selling was much better here than in their JGP match with the exception of her getting ridiculously hyper around the 22:00. They pretty much couldn't have executed their offense better and they saw the story they told through as well as one could hope. ****