Sunday, 16 September 2007

GAEA Yokohama Mega Ride - DVD Review

For me one of the highlights of The Wrestling Channel in it’s early days was the coverage of the Japanese all woman’s promotion GAEA. It was the first all woman’s promotion I’d ever seen, and the action blew me away. Why is why for this review we’re travelling back four years to take a look at GAEA’s Yokohama Mega Ride show, held in October 2002.

We begin our show with singles action, as Ran Yu Yu faces Carlos Amano. A tremendous match to open the show with, with both women pulling off some great moves with false finishes aplenty, which made the match even more exciting to watch, with Amano getting the victory, reversing a pin despite getting a vicious forearm to the face.

On to tag-team action, as the veteran Devil Masami and the punk Toshie Uematsu take on the Power Heads team of Dynamite Kansai and Toshiyo Yamada, who obviously drew inspiration from the Road Warriors with their spiked shoulder pads. The match starts before the obligatory streamers are cleared from the ring, and sees some of the women brawling in the ringside area. It soon settles down to a normal match, although the ref lost control a little as both teams brawled on the entrance ramp, and Masami used a cane against her opponents. The exchanges between Masami and Kansai were also a joy to watch, and after what seemed like an eternity of great action, Yamada pinned Uematsu after a reverse Gory special.

Back to singles action, as the always watchable Sakura Hirota took on Police in an inter-gender match. Before the bout began Sakura held the ring ropes open for her opponent, but let the middle rope spring up into a certain part of his body. Sakura once again proved to be the best at combining comedy and the ability to work the crowd with some great wrestling action, but despite this it wasn’t enough to get the win. After interference from his stable mates Ozaki and Kaoru, Police got the win after a lariat. Another entertaining contest. Three out of three so far!

Sticking with singles action, as the massive Aja Kong faces Sugar Sato, with both women bringing weapons along with them in the form of small litter bins and an empty oil drum. This one is little more than a brawl, as Kong dominates Sato with her superior power, and even takes the fight to ringside as she throws Sato over the guardrail and attacks her with tables and chairs. But no matter what Kong does to her, Sato never gives up, and it’s this never-say-die attitude that gets her the win, as she eventually pins King after a running body check to end an impressive encounter. Four out of four now. Could this run continue?

Then it’s a return to tag-team action as the legendary Crush Girls, Lioness Aska and Chigusa Nagayo, go up against the visiting All-Japan Women’s team of Mima Shimoda and Etsuko Mita. The visiting stars do a good job of controlling Aska and Chigusa for extended periods, showing that they could hang with the legendary team. Not only did this involve great wrestling, but tons of chair shots and brawling among the ringside fans, as one vicious in-ring weapons attack saw Aska busted open. But even after they took a battering, the Crush Girls still emerged victorious. After Mita accidentally clobbered her partner with a chair, Aska scored with her LSD finisher on Shimoda to end a great contest. Five out of five now guys! This bubble has got to burst sometime!

We stay with tag-team action, and the only all male match on the show, as Low-Ki and Steve Corino face future WWE stars Brian Kendrick, here billed as Leonardo Spankey, and Sylvester Terkay, here billed as the Predator, a gimmick that is a hell of a lot wilder than his current MMA-style role. After a few comedic moments involving Corino’s T-shirt, it was down to the action, with all four men putting in some great moves and exchanges, with Terkay getting the win for his team after his big knee drop on Corino. Terkay was far more impressive here than he has been in any of his WWE matches so far. Six out of six now.

Normal service is resumed, as the ever popular Meiko Satomura and Ayako Hamada challenge Mayumi Ozaki and Kaoru for the AAAW tag titles. As always the champs had their trusty friend Police at ringside for them. This one started off quickly, and kept the pace throughout, with tons of great action in the ring, brawls through the crowd, Sakura Hirota making an appearance, attacking Police as he tried to interfere, and Police eventually getting dragged away by security after his almost constant interference. Both teams put in great performances in a match packed with drama, and after a failed weapons attack, Meiko took out Kaoru with a high kick to get the title winning pin for her team. How many great matches is that in a row now? Seven I think.

Main event time, and match number eight sees Manami Toyota challenge Chikayo Nagashima for the AAAW title. Fought at a slower pace than the previous matches, this one featured some great mat wrestling from both women, and some good high spots from the small Chikayo. This was certainly a match worthy of it’s main event status, with Manami getting the win and the title following an ocean queen bomb.

In conclusion - what a great show. This is probably only the second show I’ve seen this year where I’ve enjoyed each and every match, and it was while watching this I could see just why GAEA was so popular on The Wrestling Channel. It’s a great shame that the company closed down last year. If you get the chance to see this show, or any other GAEA show for that matter, then grab that chance with both hands. You won’t be disappointed.