review by Luke M.
This release starts with three matches too clipped to cover with any substance:
1. Kanbayashi Aki & Katou Sonoko (GAEA) vs Nagashima Chikayo & Nakano Chihiro (GAEA)
2. Sato Miwa vs Bomber Hikaru (GAEA)
3. Nakayama Kaori & Ishikura Yukari vs Sugou Hiromi & Motoya Kanako (JWP)
If what was shown were the best parts of those matches, however, perhaps its better they were kept truncated.
The full matches begin with...
4. Nagayo Chigusa vs Bad Nurse Nakamura
"Yamato Nadeshiko II" - Korakuen Hall, 12/22/95
Yes, the legend herself (representing GAEA Japan) is fighting in FMW. Those matches against Devil Masami were a long, long time ago. Pre-match, graciously subtitled interviews are shown; Nakamura tries to look menacing but doesn't say much, while Chigusa explains that she's not trying to help any of the FMW girls- she's just pissed at Shark Tsuchiya's group.
Before the bell rings, Nakamura rushes Nagayo, attacking with a bokken. She tosses that one aside and is handed another- this one wrapped in barbed wire. Nakamura takes a big overhead swing, but Nagayo executes a samurai style blade grab, her bare hands gripping the barbed wire. Holding tight, the women have a tug of war with the wooden sword, which Nagayo eventually wins. She hits a boot to the stomach, some elbow strikes, then finishes with a Splash Mountain for the win in just 52 seconds!
The match was under a minute. What more can be said? It proved that Chigusa is a badass, but then everyone knew that already. The girls in the crowd squealed for her as they always have and cheered when she won, apparently not caring that the match practically wasn't one. And there you have it. (*¾)
5. Combat Toyoda vs KAORU
"Yamato Nadeshiko II" - Korakuen Hall, 12/22/95
As Toyoda makes her way to the ring, KAORU hits a tope suicida followed by a whip into the Korakuen chairs. Toyoda, up quickly, hits a whip of her own. The two then exchange fierce chops before mutually re-entering the ring (or, entering, in Toyoda's case), where the chop exchange continues, Toyoda getting the better of it.
She sends KAORU into the ropes, who returns with a Thesz press (which may well have been a botched hurricanrana attempt, but its hard to say). She goes for a cover, but Toyoda kicks out at one.
They keep it on the ground, KAORU attaching a face lock followed by a leg scissor hold (which includes some odd looking grinding on KAORU's part). Back up, Toyoda hits an elbow and some ground work of her own- transitioning a camel clutch and hair pulling into a body scissors. Eventually, KAORU is able to accomplish a nifty reversal into a quasi-lucha style bow and arrow submission, eventually switching to a camel clutch. Not getting a submission, she releases, drops an elbow, and- up to her feet- hits some stomps and kicks.
Back on their feet, Toyoda gets a knucklelock, her strength too much for the lighter woman. She hits a couple of body attacks for a pompous near-fall, then locks a leg and back submission, followed by an inverted fireman's carry, leading to a very slow developing drop into the red corner. Firmly in control, Toyoda locks on a crab hold in the middle of the ring, followed by another back-oriented submission. Eventually, KAORU flips over into a cover, but only gets a one count.
KAORU goes after Toyoda's leg with a single prawn hold. After several seconds, Toyoda makes the ropes, but KAORU takes her time to let go. In the middle of the ring, she struggles mightily but eventually hits a bodyslam for a near-fall.
Off the ropes, Toyoda hits a lariat and two dropkicks for near-fall of her own. Whipped back into a corner, KAORU reverses a body attack into a cradle, but only for two. Back up, she hits a couple boots to the head followed by a German suplex hold- but again, only for a near-fall. She follows with a snap suplex for another two. Pulling Toyoda back up, she whips her into the corner, hits a weak running kick, then attempts another cover, but its obviously not enough.
KAORU stays on her opponent with a springboard double knee drop for another two, followed by a quebrada for yet another unsuccessful pin attempt. She hits the ropes but gets dropped with a powerslam, Toyoda unable to attempt a cover.
KAORU is up first, but Toyoda reverses a whip into a lariat, hits another in the corner, then drops the GAEA fighter on her head with a backdrop suplex- but only for two. Toyoda sets her up top and hits an avalanche-style German suplex, but KAORU rolls her shoulder at two and a half. Toyoda goes up top for a splash, but KAORU gets to her feet and tries to dropkick her out of the air (but it ends up looking more like a crude midair collision). Toyoda rolls out of the ring and KAORU hits her with a quebrada from the corner.
In better condition, KAORU sends her opponent back into the ring, where she drops her with a northern light bomb, but Toyoda kicks out at two! Her opponent still on her back, KAORU attempts another quebrada but Toyoda pulls her knees up. She looks to finish the match with a powerbomb but KAORU reverses with a hurricanrana for a close near-fall.
Back up, KAORU hits the ropes and attempts what appears to be another hurricanrana, but this time Toyoda drops her down with a Dynamic Bomb for two and a half. Toyoda hits a bodyslam, then nails a diving body press off the top, but KAORU is able to just barely bridge out. She does the same when Toyoda follows with a Tornado Bomb, but is helpless to a double-underhook Splash Mountain. Combat Toyoda wins it in 16 minutes, 38 seconds.
This was not a good match. The submission sequences went way too long and were used entirely for rest and padding, as neither woman sold any of the damage. There was no story here, the match progressing in clunky linear fashion from move to pin attempt to move to pin attempt. While the latter third of the match was somewhat fast paced, the work throughout was sloppy and there was absolutely no logic behind the change in momentum back and forth between the wrestlers. In another context, the finish would be credible. Here, however, it served simply to end the match as pointlessly as it began and progressed.
6. Kudou Megumi vs Shark Tsuchiya
No Rope, Barbed Wire Death Match
"Yamato Nadeshiko II" - Korakuen Hall, 12/22/95
Tsuchiya enters first, accompanied by Maedomari and Sato. Megumi is with the rookies and Toyoda.
At the bell, they circle, Shark showing her usual cocky attitude- to which Megumi spits in her face! They lock up collar-elbow. The stronger Shark surges forward towards the barbed wire, but Megumi throws her off inches from it.
Shark looks for a knucklelock but delivers a boot to the gut, beginning a nice sequence of tussling towards the wire: they both reverse each other's whip attempts, Shark locks a headlock, but Megumi slides to the mat before being rammed into the wire. Shark doesn't give up, though, trying hard to force Megumi in face first. Nothing doing, though, and Megumi eventually shoves her off and attempts a barbed wire rake of her own, but receives a choke from Sato at ringside. Shark attempts another check into the wire but Megumi blocks with her boot.
Finally, in something of a camel clutch position, Shark is able to scrape some wire across Megumi's forehead. As she's being pulled up, Megumi launches a counter attack with chops. Shark ducks a lariat and hits one of her own to the back of Megumi's head, sending her staggering towards the wire. Shark charges in for another lariat, but Megumi blocks and goes for a whip... but Shark reverses and sends Megumi at full running speed back first into the barbed wire! Shark shoves her into the lowest strand, where Sato rips into her with both barbed wire and teeth. By the time Shark pulls her back up, Megumi is bleeding, the crimson mask in its natal stages.
True to her name, Shark continues her assault, grinding Megumi's forehead into the top strand of wire. One of her cronies provides a barbed wire wrapped bokken, which Shark eagerly applies by way of striking, grinding, and choking. Megumi already looks like hell, while Shark doesn't have a mark on her.
Pulling her up by the hair, Shark holds her savaged opponent up so that Sato can get in a bokken strike, but Megumi ducks and Shark gets hit! Seeing an opening, Megumi darts forward, looking for a hurricanrana, but Shark ducks and gracelessly shoves the shoujo into the wire.
At ringside, Maedomari tosses a table into the ring; Shark proceeds to take more time than she should setting it up... then has to waste even more time as her powerbomb attempt causes Megumi's legs to kick the table over, suggesting Shark has massive depth perception issues. She hits a brutal looking powerbomb anyway, sets the table back up, and unleashes a second powerbomb- this one directly into the table, which doesn't break! It merely buckles in the middle, and falls over with Megumi on it. Shark goes for a lackadaisical cover (which includes, by the look of things, groping her opponent a bit), but of course Megumi kicks out at two.
Shark sets the table back up once more, and- with a sloppy assist from Sato- finally sends her opponent through the damnable thing. Sato tries to compensate with some stomps followed by a (this time) real cover from Shark for another two.
Being reinforced with steel girders, the table is not yet eliminated from the match. Shark sets it up yet again and throws Megumi spine first into it- a brutal maneuver that almost snaps her in half over the edge of the table. Shark sets it up AGAIN, but this time Megumi reverses and hits a powerslam, finally breaking it beyond use. Angrily, she rips a section of broken table off the girders and wildly swings at Shark.
Shark's cronies supply her with the infamous kusarigama, which she immediately and savagely attacks the already bloodied Megumi by sawing the blade across her forehead, making sure the crimson mask thickens. As Shark taunts the fans by holding the weapon aloft, Megumi struggles to her feet. Shark takes an overhand swing but Megumi blocks by catching her wrist. They struggle as though in a knucklelock, Megumi trying to avoid the blade and Shark trying to force it home as well as force Megumi into the barbed wire. At last, Megumi hits a boot and and axe kick. Both fighters drop to the mat!
They rise to their feet simultaneously. Shark takes a savage swing with the kama, but Megumi gets a section of broken table up just in time, and the blade penetrates the wood instead of her face! They struggle, but Megumi gets in a boot, forcing Shark to drop the weapon. The bloodied girl follows with two big swings of the table fragment, the momentum finally shifting her way! (Shark sells these shots by sticking both arms up and shying away from the blow, making them look almost irrelevant.) Megumi continues her assault with a whip into the wire followed by a hip attack! She then lays in with swings from the barbed wire bokken, finally holding the heel so one of her students can get some shots in as well!
Back to one on one, Megumi relentlessly goes after Shark with sharp kicks to the face, then makes a big swing with the bokken. Shark dodges and looks for a rear waist lock, but Megumi elbows out of it and reverses into a choke with the barbed wire bokken! She pulls Shark down into essentially a rear naked choke with the sword as the crowd loudly chants "Korose!" ("kill her!"- how sweet.)
Releasing the hold, Megumi hits a fisherman suplex for a near-fall, then makes a big mistake by attempting a hip attack- Shark dodges and Megumi hits the barbed wire hard! Shark follows with a high angle backdrop suplex, but Megumi kicks out at two! Unrelenting, Shark pulls her opponent back up and drops her with a savage powerbomb, but Megumi won't go down to that, either!
With help from Maedomari and Sato, Shark cuts some of the barbed wire free and wraps it around her right arm. Megumi tries struggling to her feet, but each time gets dropped with an augmented lariat. Shark attempts a powerbomb on to the barbed wire bokken, but Megumi flips through and hits a DDT! (which was supposed to be on the sword, but it was accidentally kicked away during Megumi's reversal.) Megumi goes for the cover but its only a two. She hits a German suplex hold but Maedomari breaks it up and attempts a nodawa otoshi! Having none of that, Kudou reverses with an armdrag, then whips the interloper into the barbed wire!
Shark attacks with the sword, but Megumi hits a dropkick and a Tiger Driver '91... but Shark kicks out! Toyoda tosses a chair into the ring, which Megumi then hits a powerbomb upon... but only for a near-fall.
Shark attempts a counterattack in the form of a backdrop suplex, but Megumi flips out of it and shoves her into the barbed wire, then finally hits the Kudou-me Valentine! Shark goes down head first, Megumi covers and gets a one, two.... and three! Bloodied but unbowed, Kudou Megumi is victorious at 16 minutes, 24 seconds.
Though it wasn't billed as such, this was a three way dance with the table being the third competitor. Hell, DDT made a ladder a champion, why not a table? Seriously though, this was decent as far as low-fi death matches are concerned, the only real black mark being the stupid sequence with the aforementioned table.
This was worked in standard Kudou Megumi "cute girl gets sliced to ribbons but wins" format. Which is fine, but would have been more successful had Shark Tsuchiya bled or sold something or was talented in any way, which she most certainly is not. I understand that Shark's role is to be the brutal, uncute monster that terrorizes the completely opposite Megumi, but at the same time its still a death match, and I must seriously call into question a death match wrestler that refuses to bleed.
That aside, however, the pacing was good and the only blown spots involved props. The sequence with Megumi blocking the kusarigama strike with the table fragment was beautiful, however (though not beautiful enough to compensate for the table fiasco). Most importantly though, this was an actual match, as opposed to most modern death matches, which are all blood and props without any work whatsoever.
The finish was pure joshi style, with a barrage of head dropping. I feel that only Kobashi Kenta has made kicking out of a Tiger Driver '91 credible. Shark Tsuchiya absolutely NOT. Even though it isn't Megumi's finisher, and the Valentine was more brutal looking, it is still a move that shouldn't be used in that context. Shark kicking out of it doesn't prove she's a monster, it proves (further) that she's annoying as a worker.
Overall, this wasn't the world's best death match, but Megumi plays the role of cute underdog quite well, even in the face of an opponent that refuses to work with her.
7. Kudou Megumi & Nakayama Kaori vs Shark Tsuchiya & Miss Mongol
"Disturbance" - Korakuen Hall, 9/24/96
Miss Mongol is Kanbayashi Aki with face paint and a heel attitude. When introduced, Shark Tsuchiya is received
with disinterested silence from the crowd. She isn't even booed.
Mongol and Kaori begin, trading high speed attacks into the corners. Mongol quickly gets the advantage and takes the match to the ground with a body scissors. Eventually, Kaori breaks free and and attacks with random offense. Shark tags in and haughtily stomps her to the mat.
Kaori tries to fight back but Shark is too strong and wouldn't sell anyway. Mongol & Shark seek to isolate and dismantle Megumi's alleged successor, utilizing quick tags and cutting off the ring. Shark taunts Megumi by throwing Kaori towards the red corner, then pulling her back when Megumi reaches for a tag.
Finally, after much punishment, Kaori out of nowhere cartwheels out of a whip and hits a forearm smash to Shark, knocking her down! She quickly rolls to her corner and tags in Megumi!
Megumi hits some ineffective shoulder tackles, then attempts a head scissors. Shark decides to fall backwards, though, so the move ends up being an odd looking plancha. The faces continue with a double team, but Shark eventually no-sells her way to a fumbling lariat, breaking Megumi's offensive momentum.
Kaori tags in and goes at Mongol, hitting a bulldog and a slow developing plancha suicida. Meanwhile, Megumi and Shark brawl in the crowd. In the ring, Mongol hits a reverse Samoan drop for a near-fall, followed shortly by a diving guillotine drop and a diving body press, neither of which can put Kaori away.
Following an unsuccessful victory roll, Kaori tags out. Megumi hits two big hip attacks off the ropes followed by a strike off the top. She looks for the Kudou-me Valentine on Mongol but Shark breaks it up with a backdrop suplex attempt. Megumi flips out of it but gets plowed over by Mongol, then takes more sloppy lariats from Shark, concluded with a big backdrop suplex... but she kicks out at two!
Megumi counters a second backdrop but the third is successful for another near-fall. Shark attempts a powerbomb but Megumi drops her backwards to counter, then unfortunately gets hit by a flying Kaori as Shark dodges the top rope plancha. Shark once more goes for the powerbomb but Megumi reverses it into a DDT and tags in Kaori, who quickly gets a couple near-fall cradles on Shark.
Shark hits a boot followed by a big overhead suplex, sending Kaori flipping over to her stomach. Mongol blocks and Shark goes for the win, but its only a two count. Mongol tags in but gets lariated by her own partner as Kaori dodges. She goes up top but Mongol pulls her down to the mat.
Kaori reverses a whip and hits a German suplex hold, but Shark attacks the referee to break up the count. Megumi and Kaori hit a double team brainbuster, followed by a standing moonsault from Kaori (assisted by Megumi). The veteran blocks Shark as her student hits a bodyslam and a moonsault press for the win at 13 minutes, 57 seconds.
This match was supposed to put Kaori over as Megumi's successor, and maybe do the same with Kanbayashi as Tsuchiya's. Instead, the match just felt completely inert and uninteresting. At best, this would be a mediocre lower card match on a good Zenjo show.
As always, Shark was sloppy. So sloppy- even with something as simple as a lariat- that I wonder if she had any formal wrestling training at all! Meanwhile, Megumi stood on the apron most of the time, giving the very green Kaori the show when she wasn't at all ready for it. In other words, the only halfway quality performer practically sat the match out.
In the end, though, this was more dull than awful, but it wasn't good, either.
Near as I can tell, both the vhs and dvd versions of this release are out of print. But since there's only one match vaguely worth seeing, that probably isn't a huge loss to the world of pro-wrestling. The commentary is in English and not good, being an odd and seemingly random mix of kayfabe and over-selling what's being shown, at times during the same match.
The bottom line is that in the world of women's wrestling, FMW should not be on the top of your list to track down. Stick with early to mid 90s All Japan Women's Pro-Wrestling. You'll be glad you did.
Luke can be reached at email@example.com if you'd like to give any feedback about the review
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