LCO (Akira Hokuto, Mima Shimoda, & Etsuko Mita) vs Eagle Sawai, Harley Saito, & Miki Handa: Hateration

January 24, 1993/Heisei 4

Current joshi wrestling across the board is great and one promotion is arguably the best Japanese promotion of the pandemic era in regardless of gender. Stardom’s change in house style was enough to finally impress enough Tokyo Sports writers that a women’s match was nominated for the publication’s Match of the Year award for the first time in its history, I’m not here to watch that. [Having the best wrestlers in the world competing in front of the best fans at the indy mecca of whichever Tokyo suburb] is cool and all but pro wrestling, especially joshi wrestling, is at its best when it’s about hate. “Who are we hating? Why do we hate them and for how long have we hated them?”

Prestige wrestling has its place, and this isn’t dragging the amazing work of those wrestlers, but when one oyster farm starts tumbling its oysters and everyone is fawning over the result, we end up with an industry of designer oysters with many similar growing techniques and various finishing methods. Tumbling oysters is a great innovation in the North American oyster farming industry, but wild gulf oysters with long, muddy, jagged shells just feel right sometimes. Too often fans, and wrestlers, get concerned about proving that wrestling is something more than what it is and desperately want to create prestige and analytics for something that at the end of the day needs to sell tickets. This isn’t theater, it’s not movies, it’s not ballet, pro wrestling is about me wanting to see my person defeat their opponent in whatever way the ruleset allows: we’ve brought cup size and craft beer level of ridiculous names into the world of oysters.

Shinobu Kandori and Rumi Kazama, sitting ringside unbothered

Las Cachorras Orientales vs LLPW is a simple match, over the course of 1993 Akira Hokuto and her team develop a nuclear hot feud against Shinobu Kandori and the still young LLPW. Shinobu and LLPW president, Rumi Kazama, are ringside for this match and remain unflinching when Mima Shimoda piledrives Miki Handa on the table and continue to show indifference to every other mess of action that happens in front of them. Handa slaps Shimoda across the face before ring announcements start and Shimoda tries to retaliate but Hokuto pulls her back by the collar of her jacket. LCO have the crowd firmly in their corner as they boo anything done by the LLPW outsiders and in return they’re delivered an amazing match with plenty of crowd plundering and pure hatred on display by all 6 women. Harley Saito is the hater MVP of the match, not giving a damn about Shimoda and wanting all the smoke from Hokuto because of her insults against LLPW. She has Shimoda in a single-leg Boston Crab and stares at Hokuto, goading her on until she finally gets in the ring and starts slapping her across the face. Eagle Sawai is the enforcer for team LLPW running the ropes and mowing down the smaller Etsuko and Shimoda while Handa is the instigator and does an excellent job of making her opponents go aggro. The sequence that best summarizes the emotion of the match is Hokuto rolling Sawai out of the ring with a tight grip on her hair as the other members of each team started throwing each other and chairs on the opposite side of Korakuen Hall.

The action after the match is the perfect bow on top of this gem of a match, after Handa gets pinned by Shimoda, Harley grabs the house mic to talk to Hokuto and air some frustration to Kandori and Kazama. Hokuto responds by calling Harley stupid and getting Kandori mad enough that she finally shows some emotion, she leaves the table and throws a shoe at Hokuto and talks shit back at the AJW star but even with a verbal slip up Hokuto calling Kandori stupid fires up the home crowd and makes the unwanted guests madder. This match sets up two matches on my top 15 joshi lists, both Hokuto vs Kandori matches, and a short match classic in Hokuto vs Kurenai from the 1993 Japan Grand Prix. This match is about each team’s hatred for their opponent and that motivation make the wrestlers slip up and make mistakes but hating is a long game and winning isn’t always pretty.


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