1. Cherry & Sawako Shimono vs. Toshie Uematsu & Gami
Gami wrestled a very nice heel style. Shimono and Cherry worked very well as a tag team and engaging the crowd. I really liked Uematsu’s in-ring style. She is a pretty nasty heel. You can get quite a big reaction by doing the little things. Cherry is such a great athlete and is such a likable face. She did the face in peril very well. This was such a good match that went on for a long time. The heels won.
2. Ophidian vs. Gregory Iron
This is going to be fun for me. I had the chance to see Ophidian live once. He was so great with the crowd. And I like that they’re giving him a nice heel push. And who better as a heel to put him against than Gregory Iron? Ophidian has such a fluidity and lives his gimmick. Ophidian was so brutal (in a good way). He put Iron in a submission and the referee called the match. Good match.
3. Hanako Nakamori vs. Kaori Yoneyama
You had great babyface Japanese wrestlers going at it. It was a lot shorter than the usual Chikara matches I’m used to seeing. It was just a really good match by two great women workers.
4. Mayumi Ozaki vs. Mio Shirai
This was one of the major ones. The two most evil women in wrestling (with respect to Jessicka Havoc) going one on one. This match is worth the $15 by itself. Ozaki looked like she was going to devour you with every move she made. Whoever said Ric Flair was the dirtiest player in the game never saw Mayumi Ozaki. Mio is absolutely gorgeous. It is funny how much character development Ozaki has just in her in-ring style. She never has to say a word and is the most hated female wrestler.
5. Tsubasa Kuragaki vs. Sara Del Rey
Another thing Chikara does really well is short promos. I think it’s interesting Del Rey is comfortable appearing in her glasses, hair pulled back and being “herself.” This had some really nice drama behind it. The thing about Del Rey is that every move she does makes it look like she just killed you. And the thing about Kuragaki is that every move she did made it look like the last. The match got a “This is awesome” chant and deservedly so.
6. Team F.I.S.T. (Icarus, Chuck Taylor & Johnny Gargano) & Portia Perez vs. Manami Toyota, Mike Quackenbush, Fire Ant & Green Ant
How do you have a better 8-person than this? One of Chikara’s top heels in Icarus, the top heel tag team in Gargano-Taylor, one of the top female wrestlers in Perez against the very over The Colony, the face of the company Mike Quackenbush & Japanese legend Toyota. It’s impossible to do justice to this match as there were so many levels. Gargano/Taylor-The Colony have such a great chemistry. This was just such a great match. Toyota pinned Perez. The 8 were greeted with a very well-deserved standing ovation. Had I been there live, I would have stood as well.
7. Aja Kong vs. Ayako Hamada
What do you say here? Two of the greatest Japanese wrestlers of all time going one on one. Two great women doing their thing. One thing I have to say is that Gavin Loudspeaker and Chikara do a great job of making a main event feel special. As much as I loathe some of the stuff they do, Impact does a nice job at this as well. This match had a “big match” feel to it.
All in all… This was such a good DVD of wrestling. Del Rey-Kuragaki, Shirai-Ozaki, the 8-person were all very good matches. One of the best things about the Joshimania series is that this introduced a lot of wrestling fans to wrestlers we had probably never heard of. I got to be introduced to Ozaki, Shirai and a few others. So the best thing this did was bring about awareness for a niche of wrestling that needs all the attention they can get. Very much worth the night.