OZ Academy "The Wizard of Oz 2014"
A Review by Kevin Wilson
Date: January 12th, 2014
This will be my first Joshi review in a really long time, in terms of a full show anyway. I really have never gotten into the various Joshi promotions even though I have seen matches here and there that I like. But since I am trying to review all events from 2014, I imagine I better start learning about Joshi since there are a lot of Joshi promotions in Japan that run events. There are several familiar names on this event that I thought had retired. Here is the full card:
- Kagetsu and Sareee vs. Tsubasa Kuragaki and Hiroyo Matsumoto
There may be a bit of a learning curve as I get acquainted with some new promotions, so try not to hold that against me. On to the matches!
Kagetsu and Sareee vs. Tsubasa Kuragaki and Hiroyo Matsumoto
Matsumoto tags in Kuragaki, Kuragaki goes off the ropes and hits a springboard rebound dropkick. Backdrop suplex by Kuragaki, cover, but it gets a two count. Kuragaki goes up to the top turnbuckle but Sareee runs over and grabs her. Kuragaki pushes off Sareee, but Kagetsu joins Kuragaki onto the top turnbuckle. Kuragaki uses a front suplex to throw Kagetsu off the top turnbuckle and then hits a missile dropkick for a two count cover. Kuragaki picks up Kagetsu and goes for a backdrop suplex but Kagetsu elbows out of it. Lariat to the back by Kuragaki, she picks up Kagetsu and hits another lariat, but Kagetsu ducks the next one and applies the Fujiwara Armbar. Matsumoto manages to break it up, Kagetsu picks up Kuragaki but Matsumoto kicks her. Double Irish whip to Kagetsu and Sareee, but they hit stereo dropkicks onto Kuragaki and Matsumoto. Sareee goes up to the top turnbuckle and hits a missile dropkick onto Kuragaki, then Kagetsu goes up top and does the same. Sareee and Kagetsu both go back up top and hit stereo missile dropkicks, cover, but Kuragaki barely gets a shoulder up. Kagetsu picks up Kuragaki and puts her onto her shoulders, but Kuragaki wiggles off. Elbows by Kagetsu, she goes off the ropes but Matsumoto catches her with a splash. Kagetsu dropkicks Kuragaki anyway and puts Kuragaki on her shoulders, hitting the Death Valley Bomb. Cover, but it gets a two count. Kagetsu picks up Kuragaki, Sareee comes over to help and they go for a double suplex, but Kuragaki blocks it. Matsumoto then comes up from behind and hits a double backdrop suplex onto Sareee and Kagetsu. Matsumoto throws Sareee and Kagetsu into the corner, Kuragaki hits a double splash on both of them and then puts them both in the Argentine Backbreaker at the same time before throwing them to the mat. Matsumoto throws Sareee out of the ring, Kuragaki positions Kagetsu in front of the corner and goes up top. Moonsault by Kuragaki, cover, but Sareee breaks it up in time. Matsumoto throws Sareee into the corner while Kuragaki picks up Kagetsu, Kuragaki goes for the Metal Wing but Kagetsu lands on her feet. Roll-up by Kagetsu, but Matsumoto breaks it up. Kagetsu goes off the ropes but Kuragaki catches her with a hard lariat, cover, but it gets a two count. Kuragaki picks up Kagetsu and nails the Metal Wing, cover, and she picks up the three count. Your winners: Tsubasa Kuragaki and Hiroyo Matsumoto
Match Thoughts: Aside from a few miscues, this was a good match. I was impressed with Kuragaki's strength, I love the Joshi dynamic of big bulldozing powerhouse versus cute quick lightweight and Kuragaki has the ability to pull it off without being so big she can't do anything else. The main thing holding this match down was Kagetsu. She had multiple mistakes in this match... I don't know if she has issues with consistency or was sick/injured but her struggles popped up at various times in the match and hurt the flow which otherwise was very fast paced. Even with that I still enjoyed the match, it prevented the match from reaching the next level but it was still a fun match overall. Score: 6.5
Chikayo Nagashima vs. Yumi Ohka
Match Thoughts: I don't know who the other wrestler interfering in the match was, maybe after I watch more of the promotion I will get more familiar with the wrestlers. We saw less than half of this match, maybe we missed the half that was a more normal back and forth but what we saw was a bit chaotic. I don't really like tons of interference in a match but I am guessing that this was part of a bigger storyline which is fine when you're still on the lower part of the card. Gotta advance stories sometime. Since less than half was shown I won't rate it but what we did see wasn't special. Score: N/A
Manami Toyota and Carlos Amano vs. Mima Shimoda and Tomoka Nakagawa
Toyota picks up Shimoda but she gets a hand on the top rope. Irish whip, reversed, and Toyota applies a submission hold while Nakagawa and Amano get in the ring but they accidentally roll into each other. Shimoda throws Toyota into the corner and both Nakagawa and Shimoda hit running strikes. Snap suplex by Shimoda and she hits a release German suplex. Jumping lariat by Shimoda and she tags in Nakagawa. Shimoda and Nakagawa pick up Toyota, Irish whip and they throw Toyota to the mat. Irish whip again and Nakagawa delivers a dropkick. Nakagawa picks up Toyota and goes for a suplex but Toyota blocks it. Nakagawa pulls back on Toyota's neck but Amano breaks it up. Shimoda kicks Amano out of the ring, Shimoda and Nakagawa pick up Toyota, Irish whip, but Amano comes off the top turnbuckle with a missile dropkick to both of her opponents. They fall out of the ring and Toyota as well as Amano go out after them. Toyota dives down onto both Shimoda and Nakagawa, and they slide Nakagawa back into the ring. Toyota picks up Nakagawa and goes up to the top turnbuckle, hitting a moonsault. Cover, but it only gets a two count. Toyota puts Nakagawa on her shoulders but Nakagawa gets out of it. Waistlock by Nakagawa and Shimoda kicks Toyota from the apron. Nakagawa rolls up Toyota but it only gets a two count. Nakagawa goes off the ropes but Toyota catches her with a big boot. Shimoda ties Nakagawa up in the ropes and hits a running dropkick. Toyota picks up Nakagawa and puts Nakagawa on his shoulders. Amano then goes up to the top turnbuckle but Nakagawa slides off and hits a German suplex to Toyota. Shimoda then suplexes Amano off the top turnbuckle to the mat. Toyota and Amano stomp on Nakagawa and Amano hits a tiger suplex hold for a two count. Shimoda comes into the ring and throws Nakagawa onto Amano so Nakagawa can hit a lariat. Cover, but again it gets two. Toyota holds Nakagawa for Amano but she moves. Toyota and Amano headbutt their opponents, and Nakagawa stays in the ring with Amano. Amano headbutts Nakagawa, cover, but it gets a two count. Nakagawa kicks Amano in the head but Amano gets the cross armbreaker applied. Shimoda comes in and breaks it up. Amano goes off the ropes but Shimoda cuts her off with an elbow. Nakagawa runs in and hits an enzigieri to Toyota, Amano gets another cross armbreaker applied but Nakagawa rolls out of it. Toyota runs in the ring to help Amano get the cross armbreaker applied, and Nakagawa has to submit. Your winners: Manami Toyota and Carlos Amano
Match Thoughts: This match is a bit hard to grasp. At times it felt like... they were going in slow motion and had no direction. There was no structure at all, the only recurring theme was Amano messing up which I figure was intentional since that is all they ever replayed. But that isn't enough to maintain a 19 minute match. The teams also were not on the same page in a few places. Just a bumbled jumbled mess. Score: 3.0
Dynamite Kansai and Aja Kong vs. Mayumi Ozaki and Mio Shirai
Shirai goes back up to the top turnbuckle and hits a missile dropkick, cover, but it gets a two count. Shirai goes off the ropes but Kong blocks the Shining Wizard. Kong then goes off the ropes but she is tripped, double Irish whip to Kong, Ozaki and Shirai go for a double vertical suplex but Kong reverses it. Kong tags in Kansai, and Kong lariats Shirai to the mat. Kansai kicks Shirai in the chest, she goes off the ropes but Shirai drop toeholds Kansai onto the second rope. Tiger Feint Kick by Shirai and she delivers a running kick to the face. Cover by Shirai but it gets two. Kong goes off the ropes but Kansai catches her with a hard slap and hits a backdrop suplex. Cover, but Ozaki breaks it up. Kansai picks up Shirai but Shirai gets the pole and hits Kansai in the head with it. It has no effect but Shirai applies a choke hold to Kansai. Ozaki holds back Kong but Kong picks her up and throw Shirai onto Ozaki to break up the hold. Shirai tags in Ozaki, and Ozaki kicks Kansai in the back. More kicks by Ozaki to the head, she picks up Kansai and goes for a suplex but Kansai pushes her off. Backdrop suplex by Kansai, cover, but Ozaki gets a shoulder up. Kansai picks up Ozaki but Ozaki hits an armdrag. Kong comes in the ring as does Shirai, but Kong slaps Shirai out of the ring. Kong picks up Ozaki and with Kansai they hit a double lariat. Backdrop suplex by Kansai to Ozaki, cover, but it is broken up. Kansai tags in Kong, and Kong plants Ozaki with a brainbuster. Cover, but Kong picks up Ozaki. Kong tags in Kansai back in, Kong picks up Ozaki and nails a perfect Splash Mountain. Cover, but the pin attempt is broken up again. Kansai tags in Kong, Kong positions Ozaki in front of the corner and goes up to the top turnbuckle, hitting the falling elbow drop. Cover, but again the pin is broken up. Kong has had enough, she gets a metal box and hits everyone moving with it before tagging Kansai back in. Kansai picks up Ozaki but Ozaki quickly rolls up Kansai for a two count. Kong comes in and hits her with the metal box, Kansai drops Ozaki with another Splash Mountain, but the cover is broken up. This starts a crazy brawl at ringside, while Ozaki lies in the ring in the fetal position. They end up fighting up into the stands, and after a moment Kansai gets back into the ring. Kansai picks up Ozaki and plants her with the Green Fall, cover, and she picks up the three count. Your winners: Dynamite Kansai and Aja Kong
Match Thoughts: I didn’t know that Kansai and Kong were even still wrestling, which shows how much I have been following Joshi lately. There was way too much going on for them to have any real structure, I really don’t mind some interference but this barely resembled a 2 vs. 2 match as 30 seconds didn’t pass without someone not involved in the match getting in the ring. The ‘loose’ interference rules in OZ Academy are too loose. Kansai and Kong still hit hard but have lost a step, and Kong has reached the “I don’t feel like getting out on the apron when not the legal person” stage of her career, which I think she got from Abby. Even with more backstory I don’t think I would have enjoyed this match, it was just too much of a cluster and it was hard to get into for me. Score: 3.5
(c) AKINO vs. Sonoko Kato
Kato gets out to the apron to recover from the kick and rolls out to the floor. She gets checked out by the doctor but AKINO gets tired of waiting and pulls on Kato’s injured arm before returning to the ring. I think they are saying that AKINO put the shoulder back in the socket. Kato gets back in the ring but AKINO kicks her in the leg and in the back. Kato catches a kick and slaps AKINO, but AKINO gets an ankle lock applied. Kato kicks off AKINO but AKINO delivers a kick to the head. Cover, but it gets a two count. AKINO picks up Kato but Kato fights her off. AKINO goes for a lariat but Kato catches it and applies a Dragon Sleeper. Dragon suplex hold by Kato, but AKINO gets a shoulder up. Kato goes up to the top turnbuckle but AKINO recovers and joins her up top. Superplex by AKINO and she hits a backdrop suplex. AKINO charges Kato but Kato puts AKINO on her shoulders, but AKINO hits a DDT. La Magistral by AKINO, but it gets a two count. Kick to the head by AKINO, another cover, but again it gets two. AKINO picks up Kato, she goes off the ropes but Kato ducks the kick attempt and kicks AKINO in the head. Kowloon’s Gate by Kato, cover, but AKINO barely gets a shoulder up. Kato goes for a second one but AKINO wiggles out of it, kick by Kato and she hits a rolling kick. Side kick by Kato, she picks up AKINO and goes for the move again, but AKINO rolls her up for a two count. Kato kicks AKINO in the head, she goes off the ropes but AKINO nails a roundhouse kick. Frankensteiner attempt by AKINO but Kato rolls through it for a two count. Kato goes off the ropes but AKINO does as well and hits the Frankensteiner for the three count! Your winner and still champion: AKINO
Match Thoughts: A generally entertaining match but the stretch run seemed a bit off. Kato continuing to go for the same move over and over is generally a failed strategy, and after the move failed once I didn’t have a lot of confidence that it would work the second time. Lots and lots of kicks to the heads here that in the long run didn’t really impact the finish, although some of the shots were quite snug. There was no wackiness which some of the other matches on this card had, which is good, and both wrestlers showed a lot of intensity. Definitely a ‘some good, some bad’ match but overall it was a perfectly acceptable title match, I just wish Kato had some other ‘death move’ to go for at the end so she didn’t have to keep going for the same one that already hadn’t worked. Score: 6.0
Best Match: Kagetsu and Sareee vs. Tsubasa Kuragaki and Hiroyo Matsumoto. Even though it was very slightly clipped I just thought it was more entertaining than the main event. Kuragaki played her part very well and they kept the pace going. Nothing that will set the world on fire but really solid from start to finish.
MVP: AKINO. I mean I had to pick one. Unlike her opponent, at least AKINO kept her big move in her pocket until the end of the match, and then won the match once she hit it. I wasn't blown away by the match but AKINO as the champion acted like one and was crisp from start to finish.
Overall: The big issue here is with only five matches, at least one of them really needs to deliver, but none of them did. The opening and the main event were both very solid but the ones between it were not. Plus it generally is not a good sign when the best match is the clipped opener. Not a totally worthless show since there were a couple good matches, but overall quite missable.