JWP "Pure Plum 2015"
A Review by Kevin Wilson

Date: August 16th, 2015
Location: Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan
Announced Attendance: 1,203

As far as JWP goes, this is one of their biggest events of the year. JWP annually has a Plum Mariko Memorial event to memorialize Mariko, the first Japanese wrestler to pass away due to injuries suffered in a wrestling match. Here is the full card:

- Hanako Nakamori vs. Kana
- Konami vs. Yako Fujigasaki
- Aoi Kizuki and Miyako Matsumoto vs. Eri and KAZUKI
- Leon vs. Ray
- Arisa Nakajima and Tsukasa Fujimoto vs. Mio Shirai and Hanako Nakamori
- Dynamite Kansai, Kaori Yoneyama, and Tsubasa Kuragaki vs. Kayoko Haruyama, Rabbit Miyu, and Rydeen Hagane
- JWP Openweight Championship: Command Bolshoi vs. Mayumi Ozaki

Hanako Nakamori vs. Kana

This match only had a five minute time limit, so you know where it is going. In recent weeks, Kana and Nakamori had been teaming but it was Nakamori’s idea and she somewhat coerced Kana into being her teammate. Their last tag match two weeks prior at JWP Command Hurricane in Tokyo, they fought to a draw against Nakajima and Miu, which may have led to this exhibition-style match.  Nakamori is still wearing the face paint and they shake hands before the match starts, but Nakamori quickly goes for a kick that misses so the gloves are off.

They remain on their feet for the first minute of the match as they trade strikes until Kana floors Nakamori with a jumping back kick and delivers a sliding kick. Nakamori rebounds back with a Brainbuster and both wrestlers are hurt on the mat. They return to their feet and trade elbows and kicks, until Kana catches one of Nakamori’s kicks and hits a German suplex for two. Nakamori blocks Kana’s sliding kick and delivers a Shining Wizard, but Kana gets the cross armbreaker applied. Nakamori gets to the ropes and they trade elbows again, until Kana floors Nakamori with a high kick for a two count. Another kick by Kana gets another two, she waits for Nakamori to get up but Nakamori hits a scissors kick followed by a head kick for two. Nakamori picks up Kana and nails a Fisherman Buster, she picks Kana back up and they trade head kicks. Nakamori goes for a quick pin but Kana reverses it into a cross armbreaker as the time limit expires.

Nakamori survived Kana’s assault, and as they return to their feet they shake hands and Kana gives Nakamori a hug, so there appears to be no hard feelings. When a match is only five minutes long there isn’t a lot that can be done, and some of the moves were not hit very crisply. It was fine for an exhibition-style opener but probably would only be enjoyed by the most hardcore of Kana fans as she has been in many better matches so far in 2015.

Konami vs. Yako Fujigasaki

Three things you need to know about Konami – she is the first protégé of Kana, she is only 19, and she is already really good. She just debuted in February so she is still in the ‘learning’ phase of her career, but the potential definitely is there.  Fujigasaki debuted two years ago and is only 18 herself, but she recently had a REINA World Women’s Championship match against Kana. The winner of this match gets a shot at Kaho Kobayashi for the JWP Jr. and Princess of Puroresu Championship.

They trade elbows to kick things off until Konami hits a drop toehold and goes for Fujigasaki’s arm. As a Kana disciple she is required to use the cross armbreaker, in case you haven’t seen Konami wrestle. Fujigasaki blocks it and goes for her own armbreaker but Konami rolls out of it but Fujigasaki hits a trio of dropkicks for a two count cover. Fujigasaki gets on the second turnbuckle but Konami avoids the missile dropkick and applies the cross armbreaker. Fujigasaki is too close to the ropes and forces a break, kicks by Konami but Fujigasaki blocks the suplex. Short armbar by Konami, she kicks Fujigasaki in the chest but Fujigasaki kicks her back. They trade quick pin attempts, Konami goes for a punch but Fujigasaki blocks it and applies a backslide as they trade quick pins again. Fujigasaki goes up top and hits the missile dropkick this time, she gets on the second turnbuckle and hits a bodypress for two. Kick by Konami but Fujigasaki dropkicks her again, double wrist armsault by Fujigasaki and she gets the three count!

The younger but more experienced Fujigasaki will face off against Kobayashi for the JWP Jr. and Princess of Puroresu Championship. This wasn’t a big surprise but it was a shorter match than I was expecting, clocking in at under five minutes.  Konami has gone longer against better opponents so I am not sure why it had to be so quick as obviously that negatively impacted the match quality. But Konami still showed her quickness with her submissions and strikes, and Fujigasaki looked fine as well. Unfortunately not enough here to get excited about.

Aoi Kizuki and Miyako Matsumoto vs. Eri and KAZUKI

Aoi Kizuki comes into the match with the most prestige, as she holds the Union Pro Fly To Everywhere World Championship and ICExInfinity Championship (and proudly shows them off).  She does not usually tag with her partner Matsumoto so this is not a regular team, even though Matsumoto does frequently wrestle for Ice Ribbon which is where Kizuki is affiliated. Eri and KAZUKI wrestle primarily for JWP but are also not a regular tag team. So there are no bigger storylines here, just loosely an Ice Ribbon vs. JWP match.

Matsumoto and Eri start the match with Eri dominating, KAZUKI comes back in, but Kizuki stops caring about Matsumoto and they all pose around her. This match isn’t starting well for the Ice Ribbon team. KAZUKI and Matsumoto stay in the ring and KAZUKI hits Matsumoto with a couple knees, but Matsumoto fires back with a jumping double chop. Matsumoto forcefully tags in Kizuki, and Kizuki hits a pair of running sentons. Kizuki charges KAZUKI in the corner but KAZUKI avoids the crossbody and knees her in the back. Double knee reverse splash by KAZUKI and she tags in Eri, and Eri dropkicks Kizuki.  Bridging suplex by Eri, Matsumoto holds Eri but Kizuki hits Matsumoto by accident. Kizuki elbows Matsumoto and hits a crossbody in the corner, and she hits a diving senton for a two count. German suplex hold by Kizuki but KAZUKI breaks it up, Kizuki goes up top but Matsumoto tags herself in and poses. Kizuki dives off with a lariat but Eri spins to her corner and tags in KAZUKI. KAZUKI grabs Matsumoto but Kizuki helps Matsumoto hit a DDT. Shining Wizard by Matsumoto, Kizuki suplexes KAZUKI, Matsumoto goes up top and she hits a diving crossbody for two. Matsumoto puts KAZUKI in an Octopus Hold but it is broken up, KAZUKI gets Matsumoto on her shoulders and hits a cutter for a two count. Eri gets on KAZUKI’s shoulders and hits a senton, she goes up top but Matsumoto joins her and applies a stretch hold on the top turnbuckle. Eri breaks it up and DDTs Matsumoto, diving Kneedrop by KAZUKI but it gets a two count. Death by Roderick by KAZUKI, and she picks up the three count!

Kizuki stomps on Matsumoto after the match, in case you can’t tell they aren’t exactly friends. I am not a big fan of tag teams thrown together that not only aren’t regular teams but on top of that don’t seem to like each other at all. The best part about tag team matches is the teamwork. Also Matsumoto is goofy, intentionally, which breaks up the flow of the match. Kizuki and KAZUKI are two of my favorite midcard wrestlers so no knock on them, but this was a very skippable match with limited redeemable qualities.

Leon vs. Ray

This is a pretty special match, as usually Leon and Ray wrestle as a tag team, not against each other.  Their last singles match against each other was back in November, and before that they had not wrestled in a singles match since 2012. Some fans may know Ray better as Lin Byron, even though she rarely wrestles without the mask anymore. Leon is a veteran as well, having started her career in 2005. Both have long and storied careers, and even though neither became main event players they have held multiple tag titles together and are well respected veterans.

They shake hands to start, no bad blood here. They trade holds to start and then trade armdrags, with both returning to their feet. Leon gets Ray to the mat, and she hits a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Leon charges Ray but Ray moves out of the way and hits a Space Rolling Elbow. Ray bounces around before hitting a dropkick but Leon avoids the Tiger Feint Kick and drops Ray out of the ring. Leon goes to do a dive but Ray rolls back in the ring and hits a headscissors. Now it is Leon that falls out of the ring, Ray goes out to the apron and hits an Asai Moonsault.  Back in the ring Ray applies a Dragon Sleeper but Leon flips out of it and hits a backbreaker. Leon applies a backbreaker but Ray gets out of it, tilt-a-whirl slam by Leon but it gets two. Leon goes up top and nails a diving body press, but it gets a two as well. She goes up again but Ray kicks her off and hits a cartwheel kick off the top turnbuckle for a two count. Ray hits the Backlash, but Leon kicks out at two. Moonsault by Ray but Leon again kicks out, she goes for a corkscrew senton but Leon rolls out of the way. They trade elbows on the mat, chops by Ray but Leon hits a high kick. Spear by Leon, she picks up Ray but Ray avoids the Capture Buster. High kick by Leon, she goes off the ropes but Ray hits a spinning kick. Hurricanrana by Ray and they trade quick pin attempts, until Leon applies the Clutch de Gao for the three count!

Ray seems annoyed after the match but she will get over it. Interestingly enough, I found results for four singles match they have had, and Leon is 4-0 which may be why Ray wasn’t happy. Anyway I really enjoyed this match, I just wish it was a bit longer. They are both really smooth and have some special looking moves, if you haven’t seen them before you’re in for a treat. Needless to say they have good chemistry together and everything worked well. A fun match and worth a watch. Recommended

Arisa Nakajima and Tsukasa Fujimoto vs. Mio Shirai and Hanako Nakamori

This is a bit of a mismatch on paper. Nakajima and Fujimoto are a regular tag team, and they call themselves “Best Friends” (literally, that is the name of the team). On the other hand, Shirai and Nakamori have never teamed together that I am aware of and don’t have a lot of history. Mio was likely thrown in as she is retiring soon and they wanted to have her do something, but it is still a bit of a random match.

First two in the match are Nakajima and Shirai and they do some intro-level holds to start things slow. Nakajima superkicks Shirai before tagging in Fujimoto, and Fujimoto hits a dropkick. Shirai gets away and tags in Nakamori but Fujimoto dropkicks her and kicks Nakamori in the back before tagging in Nakajima. Nakamori knocks down Nakajima with a jumping lariat and tags Shirai, and Shirai rakes Nakajima’s face in the ropes. Shirai boots Nakajima in the back of the head and then tags in Nakamori. Nakamori kicks Nakajima in the back but Nakajima catches a kick and knees Nakamori against the ropes. Running kick by Nakajima and she hits a bridging suplex for a two count. Nakajima tags in Fujimoto and they fight off Shirai before double teaming Nakamori. Nakamori regains the advantage on Fujimoto and applies a submission hold, but Nakajima breaks it up. Kicks by Nakamori and she goes off the ropes, but Fujimoto hits a hurricanrana. Nakamori rolls through the rana however and hits a fisherman suplex hold for two. Nakamori tags in Shirai and Shirai knees Fujimoto in the corner. Shirai puts Fujimoto in the hanging necklock but Nakajima breaks it up, sending Shirai down to the mat. Fujimoto then gets on the top turnbuckle and dives out onto both Shirai and Nakamori with a diving body press, Nakajima goes to up top next and she does the same. Shirai and Fujimoto return to the ring and Shirai hits a falling powerslam for two. Cross-arm submission by Shirai but Nakamori breaks it up.

Fujimoto gets Shirai on her shoulders but Shirai slides off, enzuigiri by Fujimoto as Nakajima comes in the ring, but Shirai avoids their dropkicks. Shirai applies the hanging necklock to both Fujimoto and Nakajima, then she suplexes Fujimoto before booting her in the face for a two count. Fujimoto returns the favor with a kick of her own and she tags in Nakajima. Shirai and Nakajima trade elbows until Nakajima hits a release German suplex and kicks Shirai in the side of the head. Nakamori comes in and kicks Nakajima, but Fujimoto also comes in and they both hit roll-up/footstomp combinations. Nakajima goes up top but Shirai smacks her and delivers a superplex for two. Buzzsaw kick by Shirai but Nakajima rolls her up for a two count. Shirai tags in Nakamori, and Nakamori hits Nakajima with a trio of Shining Wizards. Kick combination by Nakamori and she hits a fisherman buster for two. Fujimoto runs into help as they double team Nakamori, Nakajima goes up top and hits a missile dropkick on Nakamori. Rolling Germans by Nakajima, but Shirai breaks up the last one. Shirai slams Fujimoto onto Nakajima, Nakamori kicks Nakajima in the head and she gets a two count. Fujimoto hits an enzuigiri on Shirai while Nakajima elbows Nakamori, trapped German by Nakajima but Shirai breaks it up. Nakajima drags up Nakamori and nails a dragon suplex hold, and she picks up the three count!

I personally don’t think that Nakamori is on the level of the other three here but there were enough tags and teamwork that no one wrestler was asked to do too much.  The only thing really lacking from this match was simply the feeling that it was leading to something. There wasn’t any focusing on one teammate, there were no control segments, it was mostly just the better and more cohesive tag team beating the thrown together team. Which is a fine storyline, it just isn’t overly compelling.  But the action was solid, moves were hit well and its always a pleasure to see Shirai, just don’t go in expecting a classic. Mildly Recommended

Dynamite Kansai, Kaori Yoneyama, and Tsubasa Kuragaki vs. Kayoko Haruyama, Rabbit Miyu, and Rydeen Hagane

There isn’t a lot of explanation needed for this one,  it is just two teams that wrestle primarily in JWP wrestling each other to fill some space before the main event. I am not expecting a whole lot from it as it is just a random six man tag, but at least they are veterans so the action should be solid.

Yoneyama and Miyu begin the match, Yoneyama tosses Miyu around and tags in Kansai. Miyu wasted no time being the whipping boy (or girl in this case) as she is triple teamed in the corner. Haruyama and Hagane finally run in to help and now it is Kansai triple teamed, waistlock by Miyu to Kansai but she can’t get Kansai over. Haruyama lariats Kansai to help and Miyu manages to hit the German suplex, but Kansai quickly regains control as she puts Hagane and Miyu both in the Iron Claw. Kansai lariats both of them, Haruyama comes in but Kansai suplexes her. Yoneyama is tagged in, Hagane elbows her back and she rolls up Yoneyama for a two count. Elbows by Miyu and she hits a running elbow to Yoneyama, German suplex by Miyu and she gets a two count. Miyu tags in Haruyama and Haruyama hits a double arm facebuster. Yoneyama and Haruyama trade elbows and then kicks until Haruyama hits a lariat.  Running knee by Yoneyama and she hits a German suplex hold for a two count. Yoneyama tags in Kuragaki but Haruyama catches her with a stunner. Jawbreaker by Kuragaki and they trade kicks and lariats.  Kuragaki goes off the ropes but Haruyama lariats her before kicking Kuragaki in the head. Hagane is tagged in, Hagane kicks Kuragaki and applies a backbreaker, lariat by Hagane and she gets a two count. Hagane goes up to the top turnbuckle but Yoneyama hits her and suplexes Hagane off the top turnbuckle. Kansai and Kuragaki accidentally lariat each other, Miyu comes in and hits a senton onto Kuragaki.  Haruyama goes up top and hits a guillotine legdrop on Kuragaki, Hagane then hits a diving bodypress but Yoneyama breaks it up. Hagane goes for the Rainmaker, Kuragaki ducks it but she hits the lariat anyway for two. Hagane goes up top but Kansai grabs her and kicks her, allowing Kuragaki to slam Hagane to the mat. Kuragaki goes up top and she nails the Moonsault, pinning Hagane for the three count!

As I suspected, not much to this one. They basically just took turns with pairings, although the teamwork was present throughout so it did not feel like three individual matches.  A bit chaotic but it helped the time go by, even if it meant there was little structure to speak of. A perfectly average match, certainly nothing offensive but not special and equally not memorable.

(c) Command Bolshoi vs. Mayumi Ozaki

This match is for the JWP Openweight Championship.  For a little bit of background, Ozaki was the wrestler that performed the wrestling move that ultimately led to the death of Plum Mariko. No one blamed Ozaki, the move was executed correctly by all reports, but needless to say Ozaki felt guilt over what happened. That wasn’t directly addressed in the lead-up I read for the show, but is still worth noting as I doubt it is a coincidence that here she is challenging for Bolshoi’s championship on Mariko’s Memorial Show. Bolshoi won the JWP Openweight Championship on July 11th against Kayoko Haruyama, and this is her first defense of the title. Ozaki has Police and Yumi Ohka with her as she always does, so expect shenanigans. Bolshoi however has Great Kabuki down with her, and even though he isn't as mobile as Ozaki's helpers it never hurts to have a legend in your corner.

They start on the mat but neither gets a clear advantage and they return to their feet. Ozaki gets Bolshoi in a submission but Bolshoi quickly gets out of it and goes for Ozaki’s leg. Bolshoi goes for a suplex but Ozaki blocks it with an elbow, Ozaki knocks Bolshoi into the corner and hits her with a chain. She hits Bolshoi with the chain again but Bolshoi blocks it the next time she tries and applies an armbar over the top rope. Bolshoi goes up top but Ozaki hits her and hits a superplex. Ozaki goes up but this time Bolshoi joins her, Police runs in with a chair however and hits Bolshoi with it. Thinks are about to get screwy. They take Bolshoi outside the ring and slam her into chairs and the ring post. A pile of chairs is put into the ring as Ozaki brings Bolshoi back in, and Ozaki hits Bolshoi with a chair as does Police. Things get back to normal-ish as Ozaki powerbombs Bolshoi onto the pile of chairs, Ozaki picks up Bolshoi but Bolshoi slides away. Police runs in but Bolshoi moves when he charges in and smacks him so hard his sun glasses go flying. Bolshoi drops Ozaki with a Samoan Driver but the cover only gets two. Ozaki and Bolshoi jockey for position back on their feet, knees by Bolshoi but Ohka comes in the ring and hits Bolshoi with a whip. Sit-down powerbomb by Ozaki, but Bolshoi kicks out at two.

Ozaki goes up top and hits a senton, but Bolshoi kicks out of the cover again. Ozaki goes for a backfist but Bolshoi catches her arm and applies a short armbar. Bolshoi picks up Ozaki and she hits the tiger suplex hold, but Ozaki gets a shoulder up. Tiger Feint Kick by Bolshoi and she hits a Shotei for a two count. Bolshoi goes off the ropes but Ozaki hits a spinning back chop. Bolshoi comes back with a Shotei and both wrestlers are hurt on the mat. As they get back up they continue trading blows, Shining Wizard by Ozaki but Bolshoi kicks out of the cover. Ozaki picks up Bolshoi but Bolshoi slides way and hits a release German.  Police runs in and lariats her, Bolshoi finally gets some help from ringside, Bolshoi then hits a Piko Knee Smash but Ohka breaks up the cover. Dragon sleeper by Bolshoi but Police breaks it up. Police goes for Bolshoi’s mask but Nakajima and Miu run in to stop him. Police lariats both of them but Bolshoi slaps him and drops him into the ropes. Great Kabuki spits mist into Police's face, then Bolshoi slaps Police before kicking him low. Piko Knee Smash by Bolshoi to Ozaki and she hits another one for a two count. Bolshoi goes off the ropes and hits a hurricanrana, but Ozaki rolls through it and she picks up the three count!  Mayumi Ozaki is your new champion!

Unfortunately this was a Ozaki match and not a Bolshoi match. Obviously these matches are No DQ but I really hate title matches that just turn into scrums with the heel (and friends) constantly cheating. It tells a decent story, the underdog Bolshoi trying to overcome the odds, I get that. I just don’t find it terribly entertaining. And the ending was underwhelming; for a title match on a big show, a hurricanrana cutback isn’t the most interesting way to have a title change hands. I love Bolshoi but I thought this was a disappointing way to end the event, even though the match was certainly action-packed.

Final Thoughts:

This show was going along at a decent pace until the main event, which I thought was watchable and full of action but not as good as I was hoping. It was a typical Ozaki match, I just don’t particularly enjoy Ozaki matches, even though I loved seeing Great Kabuki down there.  On the plus side, there weren’t any unwatchable matches on the card. A few of the tag matches weren’t great but they still at least hovered around the average line for the most part, even if they weren’t all compelling. It did not quite meet my expectations for a big event, but the Leon vs. Ray matched helped save it a bit and overall it was a decent effort.

Grade: C-

event reviewed on 8/31/15