Sunday, April 06, 2003

Gaea Japan

I Watch women's pro-wrestling matches by Gaea Japan (a women's pro-wrestling association) at Yokohama Bunka Taiikukan. This is something impossible in London, watching women's pro-wrestling bouts. Click here to see the results and photos today.

The first bout is Nagashima Chikayo versus Carlos Amano. Both of them are great technicians. Their movements are speedy as well. So I expected a lot from this bout. But it seems to me that they know each other's wrestling patterns too much (both of them are the members of the Oz Academy). Both of them skillfully roll with the punch. The winner turns out to be Nagashima. This probably reflects the fact that Nagashima was once the champion of Gaea Japan while Amano has never been.

The second bout is a tag match: Sugar Sato and Ran You-You versus Hamada Ayako and Uematsu Toshie. In the end, this bout becomes a single match between Sugar and Ayako, and, again the winner is Ayako, who was once the champion of Arsion (another women's pro-wrestling association).

The third bout was supposed to be a tag match between Devil Masami and Lioness Aska versus Dynamite Kansai and Yamada Toshiyo. But Aska complained at this match-making (Kansai and Yamada are among weak wrestlers in Gaea Japan these days) and changed it into a triple tag match by bringing Shimoda Mima as their additional partner and demanding a new partner as well from Kansai and Yamada. In response, they invited Mita Estuko, who used to be Shimoda's long-lasting tag partner.

The final part of the bout becomes a single match between Devil and Kansai, who used to be good rivals in the mid-1990s. At that time, Kansai was the champion of JWP (yet another women's pro-wrestling association) while Devil was number two in JWP. It seems to me that Devil is not good at fighting with Kansai. She receives all the attacks from Kansai and takes the count.

The fourth bout is, mysteriously, men's wrestlers' tag match. Four non-Japanese guys called "Gaea Boyz" make their debut on this occasion. Uh, I don't have any comments on this match. Pro-wrestling is interesting to watch because viewers know the background stories of wrestlers (e.g. wrestler A and B hate each other) or because wrestlers are incredibly skillful. I don't know the background story about this Gaea Boyz. As they are beginners, their techniques are not amazing. Plus, they are guys, it's not fun to see them. :-) So I don't enjoy this match.

After a break, the fifth bout begins. This is a special 10-minute match of Aja Kong versus Hotta Yumiko. Why special? It's a long story.

The first thing you need to know is what happened to women's prowrestling in 1997. In that year, Zenjo, the oldest women's prowrestling association founded in 1968, went broke and many wrestlers left the ailing association. One of them was Aja while Hotta chose to stay. Aja then chose Gaea Japan as her battle field.

The second thing you need to know is the relationship between Zenjo and Gaea Japan. Since Gaea Japan was established in 1995, these two associations have never been in touch. Almost no wrestlers in Zenjo fight on the ring of Gaea Japan, and vice versa.

In July of 2002, Toyota Manami, who was the most popular wrestler in Zenjo, suddenly announced that she quit Zenjo, and she appeared on the ring of Gaea Japan on the following day. This was a very surprising incident in the world of women's prowrestling. Who invited Toyota to Gaea? Aja Kong.

This made Hotta, who had taken leadership in troubled Zenjo since 1997, angry enough to demand the bout with Aja. Given the bad relationship between Zenjo and Gaea, Hotta's demand seemed impossible to everyone. Still, Hotta interrupted into Gaea's match in August, which made Aja angry because Hotta's appearance destroyed the whole direction (you know, pro-wrestling has an aspect of drama) prepared by Gaea Japan.

After all, Hotta's demand didn't come true at that time. But she again intruded into Gaea Japan this year. And the both associaitons (Zenjo and Gaea Japan) finally allowed the two wrestlers to fight on the ring of Gaea Japan.

Given this background this bout is really serious. In the first half of the bout Aja takes advantage with her high-angle backdrop, making Hotta almost unconscious. But Hotta resuscitates in the second half and they hear the gong after 10 minutes of the thrilling bout.

The audience seems not satisfied that the match ended in a draw. The Gaea Japan management understand this and decide to give 5 minutes more to the two strong women. Neither Aja's backfist nor Hotta's shotei (hitting with the heel of the hand) knocks the other down.

In the end, the bout is stopped by the referee because Hotta's face starts swelling abnormally. Neither wins. The severity of the match leaves the audience silent.

The semifinal bout is a tag match: D-Fix ( Ozaki Mayumi and Kaoru) versus the Super Eccentrics ( Hirota Sakura and Nagayo Chigusa). This match is actually the most interesting one today for me. One reason is the rule of this match. The team that loses this bout must have their hair cut. You know, hair is said to be "the life of a woman." So this rule is the ultimate as a women's pro-wrestling match. This makes the audience feel excited. In particular, I like D-Fix. Ozaki and Kaoru are good-looking wrestlers. I cannot stand imagining they become bald. But, unlike the past "losers have to cut their hair" matches, this one is not totally coloured by such tension owing to the Super Eccentrics. Hirota, this one-and-only-type wrestler is more like a comedian than a wrestler. She's weak. She almost always loses her single match while she always makes viewers laugh during the match. Her partner Nagayo is a carithmatic wrestler in the world of women's pro-wrestling (she's well known even to those who don't watch women's pro-wrestling). But in this tag team Hirota is in a higher position than Nagayo. They fight as if they are not serious about the match. Still, the Super Eccentrics is surprisingly strong. They lost only once in the past.

The result is that Ozaki and Kaoru have their hair cut. Oh my god...

The final match is the championship match: Toyota Manami (the Champion) versus Satomura Meiko (the Challenger). As I wrote above, Toyota kind of invaded Gaea Japan last year. She defeated then-champion Nagashima Chikayo, formed a group called "Moto Zen", meaning ex-Zenjo, with Aja Kong, Lioness Aska, and Devil Masami, and has been overwhelming Gaea Japan wrestlers. Satomura was once the champion before she was defeated by Nagashima. She has been the most promising Gaea Japan wrestler for years. Now it's time for her to overcome Toyota.

At the middle of the match, Satomura severely damages Toyota's right arm with the Japanese Arm Bar. Toyota is totally unable to use her right arm. Still, she is just like a phoenix, knocking down Satomura with her finishing hold "Queen Bee Bomb."

That's it. I enjoy watching all those bouts. I love Japanese women's pro-wrestling.