Friday, May 14, 2021

Forever Forward Fridays

Cuty Suzuki/Devil Masami VS Dynamite Kansai/Hikari Fukuoka - JWP 5/14/1995

CJD: I have a real soft spot for performers in front of an audience that is out of their element and seeing how they react. These 4 ladies wrestled in different tag team combinations a ton in this time period and this basic format of a world class ass-kicker paired with a high energy powder keg was a recipe for success. Put them in front of a crowd of young men (soldiers?) in Beijing China where pro wrestling I have to imagine is a fairly foreign concept and let's see what we get! I'm not going to lie, I watched better Fukuoka matches I considered playing instead, but something about this performance felt like it especially deserved a watch. There are stretches that are a little dull where they get a lot out of a little, but in front of this crowd it makes perfect sense. There's also some absolutely wild holy shit moments where they feel the energy of the room perfectly and take them on some real peaks and valleys. I wish they didn't clip a few minutes out of the broadcast but we both know all too well how often that would happen on a Best Of, in this case Cuty Mania (vol 2!). But I was happy with what we got and would love to know more of the backstory of this tour. If anyone reading wants to fill us in please shoot us an email at! It's amazing to me as we dive deeper into this Friday joshi run how many of these shows are undocumented on Cagematch and such.

JJZ: Felt weird watching these women walking into a building with a portrait of Mao proudly hanging in the front. But that has nothing to do with the actual wrestling. This crowd was very excited and into this match. So with it being such a foreign crowd I think these ladies did a great job of focusing more on the entertainment side of wrestling. Really big expressions, simple psychology with a lot of drama in the moves. If I was trying to show women's wrestling to someone for the first time it would be a match like this. I was shocked they went into the crowd to be perfectly honest. I'd think that be a no no with all those soldiers. Real talk baby cakes, that ring was stiff as fuck! No give. At all. Really enjoyed this match. Loved all the ambiance surrounding it. Phil, you want to join us on another Forever Joshi Friday?

PB: Admittedly, I'm not much of an aficionado of the mid-90s wrestling scene in China. I couldn't tell you if a Joshi tour was at all commonplace or if this was a special occurrence. Regardless, the setting adds a considerable "charm factor" made all the more endearing by the fact that despite a relatively pedestrian start to the match, it's obvious that all four participants were not just going through the motions. Things really pick up by the half-way point (which also seems to be when someone finally knocks it off with that goddamn bell), and whether out of pure novelty or actual fandom, the crowd is engaged the entire time. The stature and charisma of Kansai appeared to make her the crowd favorite, but that could be said about most Kansai matches (at least in my opinion). Being out of their element, the crowd brawling was somewhat unexpected but that also brings home the point that they were not there to just "play the hits". All in all this was a welcome break in scenery for the era and genre. Very nice find, gentlemen.

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