OZ Academy Plum Hanasaku ~ OZ No Kuni Buntai Final
August 28, 2020
Yokohama Bunka Gymnasium
Introduction - Mayumi Ozaki made an intro from outside the venue saying how big of a deal this building is for Japanese wrestling and this show. She talked a bit out her match tonight. We then got an interview with Saori Anou about challenging for the title tonight. We then got another video talking about the history of OZ Academy in Buntai. A lot of Wizard of OZ shows taken place here.
Ok, finally into the show, all wrestlers are introduced into the ring. None of them are wearing their ring gear yet, but some of them already look ready to kick ass. There was the 10 bell salute for Plum Mariko, whose death anniversary was not long ago, she is one of those tragic stories of wrestling, as she (pretty much) died in the ring at 29. This is her annual tribute show.
Afterwards, Seiki-Gun stayed in the ring where Saori had some words for Ozaki, pretty much telling her she'll see her at the main event. Ozaki thanked the crowd for coming out tonight to their final Buntai show.
On a side note, I had totally forgotten that Mio Shirai was now a referee for OZ Academy, a heel referee for that matter, she's a member of Seiki-Gun.
Rina Shingaki, Syuri & Tsubasa Kuragaki vs. Mitsuhisa Sunabe & Seiki-gun (Maya Yukihi & Yumi Ohka) - 5.5/10
Ref Shirai being a heel, she distracted herself for the first minutes while Ozaki-Gun and Sunabe jumped Rina and worked her over with whips. This went on for way too long really, but eventually Rina dodged Yukihi and got the tag to Tsubasa for the hot tag. Tsubasa had a decent exchange with Sunabe, felt a bit stiff, but the match picked up once Syuri got in, who I guess is taking a break from the STARDOM tournament for this.
The last minutes of the match saw Rina and Yukihi go at it with Mio Shirai's refereeing coming into play as she would slow count Rina and fast count Tukihi, leading to a funny spot where they countered pins over and over. At the end, Yukihi got a stronger pin and Shirai counted the win. Ok match, good babyface and heel dynamic stuff, but I do think the heat section of the match lasted too long and it affected the fan's enjoyment. Looks like Shirai went to the Tirantes school of refereeing.
Yumi Ohka looks fantastic for 41 years old. She's drinking from the fountain of youth.
Post-match - Tsubasa and Rina went after Shirai.
ASUKA & Hiragi Kurumi vs. Itsuki Aoki & Rina Yamashita - 6.5/10
Most of the match was spent between Aoki and Kurumi, and here I was paying my ticket for ASUKA, who seriously keeps getting better the more I see her. Aoki isn't particularly that good, not sure if she gassed out, but towards the end, some of her spots looked sloppy. The last minutes between ASUKA and Yamashita were pretty good, this should had been a one-on-one between these two really. ASUKA won with a moonsault over Yamashita after a plancha by Kurumi.
Sakura Hirota vs. Yoshiko - Dud.
Hirota came out dressed as Yoshiko, using the same attire. Real Yoshiko flipped her off, hit a big lariat and took the win.
Post-match - Real Yoshiko was leaving to the back when Hirota took a mic and called her back for a rematch.
Sakura Hirota vs. Yoshiko - 6/10
Same start, but this time Hirota kicked out. Hirota stole some of Yoshiko's moves, they did some comedy with Yoshiko going all Rey Fenix on the ropes, pin reversals, hitting each other with kanchos, and what not. Yoshiko won with a diving Senton. Ok for a comedy match.
If you asked me a year ago, I held Yoshiko in the same level of disgust as I do today for the New Jacks and Joey Ryans of the world, but now that I've seen her do more comedy and I've seen her life outside wrestling in her cooking shows, I've started to warm up to her more and more.
Plasma Blast Deathmatch Video Package - It showed how things came to be and it explained how the rules of elimination will play out to decide the new champion. Pretty much it's elimination until the final two, so if a team eliminates the whole other team, they will technically continue until the final two.
Blast Queen Championship 8-Man Elimination Tag Team Super Plasma Blast Death Match
Aja Kong, Hiroyo Matsumoto (c), Kaori Yoneyama & Yuu vs. MISSION K4 (AKINO, Kaho Kobayashi, Kakeru Sekiguchi & Sonoko Kato) - 7/10
I'm so scared for Kaori Yoneyama in a blast plasma deathmatch, and I think she is too, she came out dressed in a fireman's uniform with a tiny fire extinguisher. Actually, she was the first eliminated after trying to stop everyone from using the barbwire bats, she would even turn off the bats for her team, so at the end MK4 just teamed up on her and eliminated her. Kong also fought against all of MK4, but she managed to eliminate Kobayashi with an Uraken.
Sekiguchi got close to eliminating Matsumoto after hitting her with the a blast, but Yuu saved her and eliminated Sekiguchi instead. Minutes later of going one-on-one, Yuu eliminated AKINO, only to get eliminated by Kato immediately. At this point, Aja knew that it was everyone for themselves, so she just turned on Matsumoto since she wanted to be the one to eliminate Kato. Aja took her time to use the blaster bat, so Matsumoto recovered, used it against them and retained the title.
I can't say that this was a bad match because it all looked good, but I experienced a bad combination of not fully understanding the rules, and not particularly liking that they didn't use the match to put over Yuu, Kobayashi, or Sekiguchi a bit more.
Post-match - Yoneyama cheered for Matsumoto. Yoneyama also challenged for the tag titles against Kato and AKINO.
OZ Academy Openweight Title Match
Mayumi Ozaki (c) w/Seiko-Gun vs. Saori Anou - 8/10
Saori doesn't really show a lot of emotion on her entrances or a lot of stuff she does, but once she took her cape off and revealed that she was wearing all white tonight, completely opposite from the usual black Seiki-Gun uniform, she looked like a superstar.
Story behind this match wast that Anou is the rookie of Seiko-Gun, Ozaki gave her a title match as part of her plots and Anou ended up taking it seriously, and thus Ozaki was out there trying to teach a lesson to the young Anou. The match was 80% beat down and 20% match, ALL of Seiko-Gun was out there with Ozaki and since the referee herself is part of Ozaki's team, they just all beat the shit out of Saori for a LONG time, who took chair shots, chain shots, and offense from everyone. Saori got busted open in the first minutes of the match as the beating continued, and here is where both my frustration and liking for the match came from. The beat downs were way too long and that god dammed Police got on my nerves, it got to points where I was like "for fucks sake, just let it go", and just about when I was starting to think this was going too long, then Anou would have a comeback, big or small, but a comeback and she would take out Seiki-Gun for a while and get some offense in, only to get cut off again by the stable and the beat down to continue, building towards an even bigger comeback. So it was a match built around Anou getting beat up yet not giving up no matter what, and Anou working from underneath and while I never thought it was close that she could win, she did give Ozaki a run for her money towards the end. Maybe part of me just got worked into wanting a Deux Ex Machina to remove Seiki-Gun from the arena and to let Saori Anou finally get a fair match, and that both frustrated me and made me cheer for Saori's comebacks.
Post-match - I didn't catch it all, but from what I gathered, Ozaki cut a promo about how Saori is only two years in on OZ Academy, she is far from being to the top and such. They said some passive aggressive things to each other and then embraced. Ozaki thanked the crowd and said her goodbyes to the building. When everyone left, Anou left on her own even after celebrating with the stable, so maybe we may get some separation from here on.
Ok show, I had high hopes for the main event, but while I didn't dislike it, it was more of an angle than a a full on match. I wanted a one-on-one match that could get violent, that could had 'SOME' interference, but it ended up being an interference with some match in there. The rest was good, just not something that you need to go out of your way to watch unless you're high on Joshi and want to explore more than STARDOM or TJPW.
My only dislike that I take home, and this is more of an issue of these type of promotions like OZ, is that we see a lot of great talented wrestlers like Yuu, or Kobayashi, or Anou, and they all feel like they're just putting over the old timers like Kong and Ozaki. It shouldn't take women like Matsumoto or Hikaru Shida to finally get some youth on top or prominent positions.
SHINE, SHIMMER, WSU, EVE, etc
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