WARNING: STRONG VIOLENCE AHEAD
It’s spooky season once again. You know what that means. It’s time to dive into another 31 deadly, bloody, horrifying deathmatches as we go into the 3rd annual deathmatch calendar. As always, this will be a day-by-day calendar of gore as we break into some of the greatest, nastiest, and most infamous of deathmatches across the years culminating with my pick of the year so far at the number 31 spot. With the preamble out of the way, let’s see what is awaiting us in this year’s tour of wrestling terror. The final guest spot is upon us as Day 30 brings us James Truepenny’s choice of horror.
Kamikri Deathmatch, the ultimate feud ending spectacularly in Joshi has a long history but reached its definitive peak in the mid-eighties thanks to the very willing participants in violence Dump Matsumoto and Chigusa Nagayo. The leader of the rather on-the-nose Villainous Alliance, Matsumoto is by far the purest heel to ever wrestle. She hates everything and anyone who is in the least bit nice and good and will do anything, and I mean anything, to ensure victory and perhaps more importantly inflict damage along the way.
Meanwhile, you have Nagayo. Clint Eastwood in a red Speedo swimsuit. Joshi’s greatest ever babyface, with a pure never-ending fighting spirit. Who along with her Crush Gals partner Lioness Asuka embodied the AJW’s growth in the mid-eighties appealing to the teenage girls they attracted in droves. Short-haired and tomboyish, their aesthetic was achievable and relatable. Put these two combustible elements into a ring, pack an arena full of teenage girls and you will make money, create drama, and have TV ratings that will be the greatest ever portion of any market in wrestling history; 18%. Oh and the loser gets their head shaved.
So how do you kick this off? AJW relied on the Sumo principle of wrestling that has been a part of Puroresu since the beginning of the mainstream product. Factions, like the Sumo Dojos, create natural rivalries, which means you can rotate opponents with an overarching theme and the birth of the Villainous Alliance gave the Matusnaga Brothers plenty of characters to play with. The Crush Gals had really been feuding with Dump and Crane Yu, her partner, over the WWWA tag team titles for quite some time, but with Yu due for retirement, and Lioness Asuka lining up title matches with WWWA singles champ Jaguar Yokota this would be an interesting aside.
It started simply enough, The Crush Gals were performing on the AJW TV show as they did from time to time. Dump, jealous of their success, and as they did sell a ton of records, attacked Nagayo. Furious at the old enemies insolence, Nagayo demanded a Hair vs Hair match, and under the auspices of AJW that would mean a no disqualification, no count-out match.
It started with all the pageantry that AJW had to offer at the time. The Alliance came down in force behind Matsumoto who seemed a little shorter than normal… that was because Crane Yu had dressed up as her heavily made-up boss to try and get out of the match. The Hontai wrestlers screamed at the referee who told the Alliance that Dump didn’t show they would forfeit, so Dump stood behind Crane wearing a mask and admitted she was in fact Dump and the match could start. What proceeded was not a great wrestling match, however, when it comes to emotion it simply can not be beat.
Dump was all over Nagayo from the bell at one point even pulling out Chigsua’s signature Scorpion Deathlock, though a rather sloppy version, when Nagayo did get the upper hand it was through strikes that Dump couldn’t live up to and when Dump couldn’t control things she got desperate. Taking a pair of scissors from Bull Nakano she proceeded to slide and dice Nagayo, but Chigusa was too quick and disarmed her, then proceeded to treat her in kind. The ref however was having none of it and tried to confiscate the scissors. In the confusion Dump grabbed the scissors, sliced open Nagayo, and then attacked the referee for good measure, hey it is no DQ after all. Nagayo fired up and took over, placing Dump in Scorpion Deathlock which would produce one of the iconic images of Joshi. Nagayo fist above her head, blood running down her face turns Matsumoto as the young women in the crowd scream, and scream, and scream. They would not stop screaming for quite some time.
Dump survived and then built enough momentum with enough help from her friends, to finally batter Nagayo into a count-out loss. Tables, chairs, interference, it all came in the ring in a violent crescendo. However the match itself was really only the beginning, this meant a haircut even if it was an unjust one for Nagayo. Devil Masami and Lioness Asuka tried to stop them begging the referee to not let the Alliance shave Nagayo’s head, but Dump would not be denied and held in place by a chain literally strangling her, and then the referee holding her down, Dump took the clippers and shaved the God of Joshi, as thousands of teenagers in the audience had their dreams crushed before their very eyes. This is soul-destroying professional wrestling. But what does not kill you can only make you stronger and 11 months later they’d have another crack… however that is a redemption story for another day. Come back tomorrow for the final deathmatch delight.
Images courtesy of AJW, Video courtesy of Evito-X-Puro