Wednesday, 14 March 2018
Shinobu Kandori v Yumiko Hotta (LLPW, 3/21/98)
This is about as close to a joshi Ikeda/Ishikawa as you'll get, with the added wrinkle of only being winnable via submission or knockout. It had Hotta playing crowbar Ikeda and Kandori playing tough as shoe leather Ishikawa; not quite pure sriker v pure grappler, but you knew what each woman's bread and butter was. They put across the uncooperative grittiness straight away with the rough scramble that lands them on the floor, then Hotta ratchets the violence all the way up by punting Kandori clean in the face. Many outrageous kicks to the face were thrown in this match and Hotta was responsible for basically every one of them. She also tried to break Kandori's guard by headbutting her a bunch of times and this led to her own forehead being split open. Kandori's selling was really tremendous at times, particularly when she was trying to beat the ten count after one of Hotta's kicks to the head or face or ear. She'd also yank Hotta into chokes and armbars, then reach that point where she got fed up being cracked in the face so she'd start throwing headbutts and palm thrusts in return. My favourite moment of the match might've been when she was repeatedly headbutting Hotta and her bleach blond hair wound up covered in Hotta's blood, which left her looking like Flair after he's had his face ground into a cage. Finish was pretty great as well. Hotta hits a mean high angle powerbomb, and maybe she's disoriented from the blood loss or whatever, but he tries to transition straight into a pin. Ref' tells her no, after a few seconds she comprehends, but Kandori snatches her and locks in a triangle for the stoppage. A supremely violent twelve minutes and a great find.