I had a bit of trouble trying to decide what to write about this issue, as I like to keep things current, and also spread it around the promotions as much as I can. Unfortunately, there hasn't been much since last month of note that's arrived in my mailbox. I was hoping for the Lioness Asuka invasion of Arsion, but it didn't arrive in time. So I decided on GAEA's 6th anniversary show, as it's historically their most important show of the year. This year it seemed downplayed a bit, but was still an enjoyable G-Panic. Without further ado…
Akira Hokuto & Mayumi Ozaki
Sugar Sato & Chikayo Nagashima
This was for the AAAW tag titles held by OZ and Hokuto. Sugar Sato had been out for 2 months with a knee injury, but managed to make a one night return for this match. Her knee was still a mess, but it was turned into the focal point of the match. It also meant she couldn't walk, which meant she couldn't blow spots and no sell, which is a big plus.
The match itself was really a slow build, especially for GAEA. Sugar was the focus, lying on the ground screaming in pain while the heels attacked the knee and Nagashima tried to fend them both off herself. There were a few nice sequences between Nagashima and Ozaki, as usual, but the first part of the match seemed really dry for some reason. There just wasn't much venom in the heels attacks, maybe because they were tired of working with the same people again, maybe because they were jobbing, who knows. Still, Sugar really put over the knee to the best of her ability, there just wasn't much reaction from the fans unfortunately.
Things picked up for the finishing sequence, as usual when you have Ozaki and Nagashima working a finish. They exchanged pin attempts but neither could score the fall, until Nagashima was isolated and Hokuto was left alone to torment Sugar. However, Sugar sloppily reversed a rollup by Hokuto, to get the miracle win and the titles in a looooong 19:01.
I don't know what to say here, if you've seen this kind of match once you've seen it a million times. Nothing was really BAD, but the lack of heat and lack of conviction by the heels made the first 15 mins or so seem really long. There's only so much you can do with a lame (literally) worker before things get repetitive. Pretty good match, but it lacked some things that cost it.
Next they showed a look back through history, from the 50's to the creation of GAEA in 1995. A lot of this stuff was awesome, and it the old footage was actually one of the highlights of the show. Lots of clips from the 80's golden era, it made me want to listen to my Crush Gals 7"s while I watched. Yes I am bragging J.
Okaaaaay then. Prior to watching this, I had seen photos of this match in Lady's Gong, and it looked really weird, Masami was laying bleeding with KAORU making a really wack face standing over her. So of course when I actually watch it, it's 10 times more insane than I was led to believe.
Devil was in full Super Heel mode here, which for those not in the know, was basically her rip off of the early 90's Undertaker, complete with lethargic stalking and selling nothing. Add in constant maniacal laughter, and you've got Super Heel, who stunk up JWP rings for years and years.
This started out with a weapons showdown, Devil with a sword and KAORU with her…er…precut piece of table. They followed this with some actual wrestling, before it spilled out to the ramp. In the melee Devil got busted open pretty badly, and it was creepy as hell as she stood there laughing and staggering amid the dead silent crowd. KAORU then started laughing maniacally as well, and hit a pretty sick Excalibur on the ramp.
The make their way back in, and take turns no selling everything, although Super Heel is woozy from the blood loss, which gives KAORU the chance to set up a table. SH recovers enough to clobber KAORU though, and then proceeds to break the table with headbutts, and pick up the wreckage to bludgeon KAORU with and get the pin in 14:39. KAORU pops up, and both laugh like every evil supervillain you've seen in any cartoon ever. Words can't really describe the lunacy on display here, and I think the silence of the stunned crowd added to the creepiness incarnate that was this 'match'. Out to lunch. Way out to lunch.
Akura Hirota is of course the heel persona of Sakura Hirota, who dyed her hair blond and became a pledge of the unwilling Akira Hokuto early in the year. Akira/Akura, get it. Yarharhar. Anyway, this was just another Hirota comedy match, like all the others. In with the comedy, however, Hirota actually did some wrestling, and it wasn't all bad. It was slow and kinda sloppy, but at least it EXISTED. Takeuchi for her part was really good, I'm really becoming a fan of hers. I'm really really bummed out about her apparent retirement, as she looked like she had a world of potential and was finally getting somewhat of a push, being teamed up with Satomura, Nagashima, and Uematsu. Takeuchi won with a rollup in 6:21, and this actually wasn't too bad at all from the 2 mins or so that was shown.
This was clipped to about 2-3 minutes as well, and was the second match from a feud in late 2000 on the show. It looked to be very good from what was shown, as both Uematsu and Yamada are workers to look out for in the rest of 2001. Uematsu has really come into her own lately and has been tremendous, as well as finally achieving a level of charisma that was always lacking in her. Yamada looks like she's feeling a lot healthier these days, and as a result has been a lot more active in her matches, as well as showing a spark of caring about her work again. Yamada even went over Ozaki in a non-title match not long after this, and she looked VERY good in that.
In what was shown here, Uematsu looked quick and crisp as ever, with nice submissions and Yamada was stiff with her shots as usual, but also was far far more animated than her usual robotic self. Uematsu took the duke in 6:39 with a weird crucifix type move, so the right person went over to boot. Looked nice.
Hmm…this feud has gone on way too long for my tastes, as Satomura has already proved her superiority and been elevated by Kansai a few months back. This particular match was all sprint, and the general point was that Satomura was way beyond Kansai's level now, and instead of squeaking out a victory over the crafty, larger veteran as in the past, this was more Meiko dominating the match and dictating the pace at her whim, while the slower, aging Kansai struggled to keep up.
Satomura always seems to bring out the best in Kansai, which is still a very limited worker, but their matches have all been pretty good, where Kansai against others is usually a lot more suspect. Satomura takes it with a Death Valley Bomb in just under 10 minutes.
I was kind of disappointed to see these two against each other AGAIN, but the match served it's purpose nicely, With Satomura going against Hokuto a week later, they put her with her last enemy, and had her win rather convincingly. The two's roles were reversed nicely from Satomura's last match with Kansai, and having seen the previous match really added to the enjoyment of this one. Nothing earth shattering or anything, but it was pretty enjoyable.
And now, the main event. All the big name veterans are in this, as you probably know, SUPERMANIACS are Aja Kong and Kyoko Inoue, and of course CRUSH2K is Lioness Asuka and Chigusa Nagayo. Prior to the match they showed a video history of the Crush Gals, and also Kyoko's entrance to GAEA to be Aja Kong's new partner. Crush came out to a big entrance with an elevator and their usual tornado of money.
I was somewhat concerned for this match's quality, as both Chigusa and Kyoko can be a dicey proposition at times, but this was unfounded, as the match was all in all pretty good. The main focus of the match was Chigusa and Aja being the leaders of their respective teams, as well as the two aces. Kyoko got beat up a bit before returning to fire off some lariats and power moves, and Lioness was her usual rock solid self, even though she wasn't a focus here.
For her part, Aja was as good as she has been all year, really laying in her kicks and all her stuff was done really well, and she also did a good job setting the pace and looking like a force while at the same time making her opponents look awesome, which has always been her strongest asset, but had been somewhat lacking this year. Chigusa was the real surprise, as she was all full of energy and attitude, and was moving better than she has in a long long time. Her usually sketchy execution wasn't a problem, and she sold like gold for her opponents. The match layout was simple, with each team taking turns beating on the "weak" partner, until the "weak" partners are the two left in the ring at the end, the same as thousands and thousands of other tag matches throughout time. Lioness pins Kyoko with an LSDII in 11 minutes.
This was better than expected, but still nothing particularly good or bad, although the crowd was into it of course, which is what REALLY matters I suppose. I think the match actually could have become something a lot better given more time, as there was a distinct feeling of build that was cut short by the finish, but I'm not going to complain since it exceeded my expectations as it is, however.
This anniversary show was on a much smaller scale than the ones previous, and the matches were also not nearly as good. However, all around, this, along with the first June show, are probably the two funnest GAEA shows of 2001. Every match here had at least SOMETHING positive going for it, even if nothing was really above average. Every match was interesting in it's own way, which is a big problem GAEA has, as a lot of their shows tend to blur and become interchangeable. Everything on this show, from the KAORU/Devil trip to outer space to the main event was a fun watch, which is really what it's all about. Adieu.