Taya vs Ayako Hamada – AAA (4/21/2017)

JML: After coming off a so-so match at Rey De Reyes, this match between these two was much better. This was an old fashioned street fight that hid Taya’s faults in the ring and let her shine as a brawler and a character. Early on, she gets busted open and the visual of her blood mixed with her blonde hair was a throwback to something you would see in 80’s southern wrestling. Even the commentators remarked “Ric Flair” as her crimson mask replicated some of the Nature Boy’s iconic bloody photos from Apter mags past.

The match almost met the entire checklist of a great street fight.

  1. Both wrestlers actually wore street clothes to a street fight.
  2. There was blood.
  3. One of the competitors attacked the cut after the other wrestler is busted open.
  4. Both wrestlers wore white to accentuate the blood even more.
  5. They used weapons in meaningful ways.
  6. The brawling itself was good.

However, this match didn’t have the great heat that it needed for this to be a great street fight instead of a good match. Part of it was that this show was in Tijuana and it was a pro-Taya crowd (even though she came out to Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the U.S.A.” while wearing a Vancouver Canucks jersey). Taya was clearly supposed to be the heel in this but cheered towards the end of the match. Ayako Hamada was a madwoman here as she took some ridiculous bumps through ladders and tables but the most dangerous one was a missed moonsault to the concrete floor where it looked like she messed up her ankle.

The finish of the match was pretty good as it kept Hamada strong but put Taya back as the Queen of the division. Vampiro coming out afterwards putting the match over to the crowd as one of the best performances by the women in AAA was a little bit forced but if they want to present the luchadoras in better way in AAA instead of putting them in random trios matches, then it needed to be done. (***1/2)

Lio Rush vs. Corey Hollis – Division Pro (05/12/2017)

Trask: This was a strong opener for Division Pro’s debut show. It’s MMA-sports influenced as they have weight classes. This would be the first Lightweight match in promotion history. The two meshed for a well thought out, free-flowing opener. Hollis honed in on Rush’s leg, which would be a key story point in the match, with Rush hitting explosive moves, selling the leg better with each passing one. Near falls came in the form of a headbutt from Hollis (nearly lariated the ref due to it only being 2.9) and a Rush Hour. The AJ Styles mentions from commentary were even more noteworthy as the finish came about — Hollis locked in the calf crusher, only for Rush to grab the ropes. This led to desperation in the form of an eye rake and roll-up for the win for Hollis. The last few minutes were great. It built well into something I enjoyed a lot. (***1/4)

Dream Orca (Etsuko Mita & Toshiyo Yamada) vs Tokyo Sweehearts (Mima Shimoda & Manami Toyota) – AJW (05/06/1989)

JML: We fast forward to May 6, 1989, as this match is heralded as Toyota’s breakthrough performance. It took place on Chigusa Nagayo’s retirement show called WrestleMarinepiad at Yokohama Arena. Again, the irony here in this match is that both teams would not last long and they found success with each other partners (Mita & Shimoda being Las Cachorras Orientales while Toyota and Yamada being a great tag team in the early 90’s). This match was more technically sound than you would imagine with these four women as Shimoda and Toyota were working hammerlocks and armlocks on Yamada early on. Toyota was an almost different wrestler from December ’89 as she was very much grounded for most of the match until Dream Orca started to work on her. Towards the end of the match, Yamada and Toyota were spotlighted more with a surprise finish at the end. The match was solid as it can be with four wrestlers that were all under two years experience. (***)

YAMATO vs BxB Hulk vs Cyber Kong vs Naruki Doi vs Shingo Takagi – Dragon Gate (05/05/2017)

Parm: The visuals during everyone’s entrances are amazing. Dead or Alive Cage match is one of my favorite spectacles in wrestling. The camera work is great, the outside interference is hilarious, and the tension is built up throughout the match.

The match is slow to start, playing up that everyone wants to play smart. Cyber Kong couldn’t figure out how to climb the cage due to his shoes not being able to get a grip on the cage and it was sad. The teases to get the flag at the top of the cage gets progressively more intense. We get some dope big boy spots from Kong and Shingo.

The outside interface involves baseballs being thrown, cages being climbed, streamers being thrown and water being sprayed, and it is both an amazing visual and comedic.

BxB Hulk plays off the everyone for themselves mentality when he attacks Doi when he tried to get Hulk to help him attack Kong. Shingo looks like a beast when he’s dealing with so much interference.

The sequence with Shingo grabbing a flag is done well, with him overcoming a lot of interference.

Flamita jumps off the cage on to the other stables to prevent them from stopping Hulk grabbing a flag, another great visual. Unfortunately, the camera missed Flamita landing on the outside. Doi eventually gets a flag himself.

A ladder is brought out by El Lindaman to help Kong climb the cage. We get some tense buildup with YAMATO trying to stop Kong climbing, while also dealing with Lindaman’s interference. YAMATO eventually got help from his teammates, but it backfired with a pie being thrown in his face. Kong grabs the flag. This sequence is both hilarious and tense.

Now that everyone has a flag, Hulk, Doi & YAMATO team up on Shingo while Kong climbs down. Kong gets down eventually and starts seeking people, he eliminates Hulk and the match gets a tag feel, with YAMATO and Doi teaming up against the VerserK boys. This portion is very short, but done well with YAMATO pinning Shingo, and Shingo being in shock over how quick he was beaten.

The match gets a triple threat dynamic post match with all three men chopping each other. Kong and Doi square off against each other soon, Kong dodges outside interference involving streamers and it hits Doi in the eyes. Kong eliminates Doi. Kong has been built up well in this match.

Kong and YAMATO are the final two, and soon all of VerserK start breaking the rules. Kong attacks the ref, YAMATO and Kong both go down, VerserK comes in with weapons. and YAMATO is put through a table by Shingo. The interference is annoying in a big time title matches’ closing match-up. YAMATO then takes a chairshot to the head. The interference starts to become overkill, with all of VerserK attempting to destroy a prone YAMATO. When Kong decides to climb the ladder to try and take the title, YAMATO’s Tribe Vanguard stabl mates stop him. They do this while outside the cage because they still care for the rules, DAMN IT. Eventually, they get in the cage and Tribe Vanguard have an awesome stand off with VerserK, it’s chaotic in the best way. Someone from MaxiMuM removes the ladder that Kong needs to climb the cage, YAMATO gets back up and he and Kong become the only two left in the cage. YAMATO quickly takes Kong down, climbs the cage and grabs the title for the win

The DoA cage match is a spectacle, and this year is no different, telling the story of YAMATOth overcoming his challengers well, with the interference being great for the most part and all four challengers doing a great job, creating a damn good MOTYC. (****1/4)

Over Generation (CIMA & Dragon Kid) vs VerserK (El Lindaman & T-Hawk) – Dragon Gate (05/05/2017)

Parm: El Lindaman feels like a future star, hanging in ring with two DG veterans in Over Generation. Over Generation works a long heat on El Lindaman; it feels a bit too long. The VerserK comeback is done well. VerserK eventually start their own heat segment on Kid that is also a bit boring. We have some cool moves hit, though this match never really gets out of first gear, along with it being made unclear whether or not El Lindaman is supposed to be the face in this match, made this match disappointing. A positive I can state is that El Lindaman feels like a bigger deal then he did before this match. Over Generation retains in 21:36. (**3/4)

Jimmyz (Genki Horiguchi Ha.Gee.Mee!!, Jimmy K-ness J.K.S., Jimmy Susumu, & Ryo “Jimmy” Saito) vs MaxiMuM (Ben-K, Big R Shimizu, Kotoka, & Masato Yoshino) – Dragon Gate (05/05/2017)

Parm: Ben-K looked like a star. In other news, grass is green. The amount of people in this match meant something was happening at all times. I really enjoyed the Big R power spots. The Jimmyz played their roles as heels well, not outshining MaxiMuM, who looked great here, while also looking good themselves. This was a well put together match that never got boring. If you ever feel like watching a DG multi man match, this would be a good choice. Jimmyz win in 13:47. (***3/4)

Jimmy Kagetora vs Takehiro Yamamura – Dragon Gate (05/05/2017)

Parm: Right off the bat this feels like a big time singles match. The first half of this match felt a bit too slow for my liking, but once Yamamura hit a dive things picked up. Things eventually slow down again, and the moves used here just don’t feel like they leave an impact. The near falls are fairly well done, with leg work coming into play. Too many times the match just becomes a strike battle followed by some kicks. Ultimately, an okay title match missing something to make it truly memorable. Kagetora wins the match and retains his title in 13:42. (***)