Oz Academy The Wizard of Oz review (1.7.18)

Oz Academy The Wizard of Oz review (1.7.18)

Oz Academy The Wizard of Oz

 

January 7 2018

 

We’re in Tokyo, Japan at Shinjuku FACE. This aired about three weeks later on GAORA, hence the belated review. You may not be familiar with Oz Academy (neither am I, frankly) but there are plenty of recognisable names here; Aja Kong, Hiroyo Matsumoto (of Team Jungle), Meiko Satomura etc.

 

Mayumi Ozaki & Maya Yukihi vs. Aja Kong & Hiroyo Matsumoto

Ozaki has been around forever. She made her debut in 1990 and is pushing 50 years old. Yukihi is from Ice Ribbon. There aren’t enough talents around for promotions to strictly have a ‘roster’ and there’s a lot of sharing going on in joshi.

OZopener

Ozaki is the founder of Oz Academy and the promotion is heavily weighed to suit her style. This is scrappy and devoid of rules. Kong and Matsumoto play heels but initially but this leads to Ozaki breaking out the whips and chains.

OZOzaki

The dude who seconds Ozaki, wearing “Police” across his back, busts Aja open and lots of plunder shots occur. It’s not a good match and is constantly being interrupted by plunder or outside interference. It leads me to wonder how you get disqualified in this fucking promotion. The one positive is that Yukihi’s kicks look pretty good. That’s about all the positive to be had from a long, screwy match with a referee who supports Ozaki. At one point tripping Matsumoto and constantly using quick counts. It’s a very screwy set up.

So Aja destroys everyone! She is a force of nature. Kong decides to kill Ozaki with the chain and that constitutes a DQ. Shady refereeing, constant interference and a lack of internal logic killed this one for me. However Kong, when she gets into KILL MODE, is hugely entertaining.

Final Rating: **1/4

 

Kaho Kobayashi vs. Kakeru Sekuguchi

Kaho is someone I’m familiar with. Sekuguchi, I have no idea. The way Kaho treats her, I have to assume she’s relatively new to the business. It’s very one-sided and pretty clipped up. Kaho wins with a Fisherman suplex.The best thing about this match was discovering that Kaho’s entrance music is “Johnny Be Goode”.

Final Rating: NR

 

Tsubasa Kuragaki & Aoi Kizuki vs. Meiko Satomura & Mika Shirahime

Ozthree

Kizuki is fresh-faced but she’s actually 28. Shirahime has come over from Sendai Girls with Satomura. It’s a cross-promotional battle! The home team isolate Shirahime and throw her around. Which is all fine and dandy until Meiko gets a tag and ties Aoi into knots. You brought this one yourself! Shirahime shows good fire in a second spell in the ring, screaming and such. This inevitably ends in a second control spell for the home team. Once again broken up by Meiko. Aoi doesn’t cover herself in glory and one clothesline on Meiko is utterly shambolic. Kuragaki has spot of the match; a double Torture Rack. It’s a good job Shirahime is so lightweight. Meiko picks off Kizuki with the Death Valley Driver, continuing the theme of the match. That the home team only ever stood a chance when Shirahime was in there and Meiko would always crush them both.

Final Rating: ***

 

Yoshiko vs. Sakura Hirota

OzYoshiko

Yoshiko is a massive piece of shit. In 2015 she decided to shoot on Act Yasukawa, breaking her orbital bone, during a match in Stardom. Yasukawa missed six months of action and eventually retired. I’m shocked anyone would book Yoshiko after such a betrayal of confidence but here we are. Japan has always loved a maverick shooter. She basically works everywhere bar Stardom, seeing as it was Stardom where the ‘ghastly match’ took place. If I was Hirota I would be vary wary but then, Yoshiko can’t afford another blemish on her reputation. Or does she consider the shoot something that has made her famous? She’s a piece of shit, either way.

Worse still is Oz Academy position her as the babyface, up against the corrupt referee from earlier and an opponent who mocks her ape-like stature.

ozhirota

Hirota wrestles a comedy style, which is completely no sold and at one point her and the referee go to slo-mo. Yoshiko wins regardless. Forgive me if I can’t raise a chuckle or two for a woman who ended someone’s career on purpose.

Final Rating: DUD

 

Last Woman Standing Match

OZ Academy Openweight Championship #1 Contenders Match

Rina Yamashita vs. Sonoko Kato vs. Kaori Yoneyama vs. AKINO vs. Yumi Ohka vs. Alex Lee

Winner gets a shot at the Openweight champion, which is Yoshiko. The wrestlers are split in half with one side of the ring being represented by the dark side, and the other by the light. AKINO, Lee and Ohka on the dark side. Yamashita, Kato and Yonoyama on the light side. Two wrestlers start and the other wait for tags on the apron. The split allegiances turn it into a trios match, of sorts. First out, after 13 minutes, is Alex Lee, rolled up by Yoneyama. However Yoneyama spends too long celebrating and is wiped out by Ohka. 7 seconds between the two eliminations and we’re back to even sides. Ozaki’s stable is able to interfere at will, despite this not being the crooked referee. Oz Academy has some major issues when it comes to a lack of rules. If you have no rules, heels can’t be heels. Cheating is all about breaking the rules. Ohka uses a whip quite frequently and the referee chides her for it, disallowing a pin when the whip is being used to choke Kato. So there are a degree of rules, just about. Using a whip in a match is surely grounds for a DQ though. The match changes its makeup when AKINO gets sick of Ohka’s bullshit, while Yamashita and Kato are making saves for each other. While AKINO won’t support Ohka, she has the support from Alex Lee and Maya Yukihi on the floor. This doesn’t stop her being next eliminated, pinned by Yamashita. This leaves three wrestlers left and none of them hardcore heels, which creates a different dynamic for the second half of the match.

 

Kato vs. AKINO takes up the bulk of this with them duelling back and forth while Yamashita watches from the floor. AKINO dropkicks Kato in the face to get the pin and it’s AKINO vs. Yamashita for the title shot and it’s now a Last Woman Standing match with a ten count after each successful pinfall. I always hated the ‘pinfall then ten count’ variation on the Texas Deathmatch. Just have a ten count. For example AKINO flukes a roll up pin here and Yamashita is all “nooooo” then realises she can just stand up and be fine. Yamashita spends a while figuring out a tactic but opts for lots of sleepers going for pins constantly. Then AKINO can’t be bothered with kicking out anymore, knowing every pin gives her a ten second break to recover. This is a stupid stipulation. Both women get very tired, beating each other up and Yamashita’s advantage gets eroded by a series of head kicks. You’d think more submissions would come into play but that’s not the case. It’s strictly big pinfall spots followed by ten counts, which aren’t as dramatic as they’ve hoping for. Yamashita eventually gets so worn down that AKINO pins her and a very, very long ten count (it took about thirty seconds to administer) sees AKINO win. This was really long, and the tail end was a war of attrition on my consciousness rather than the two wrestlers well-being. Prior to that there was good stuff with the bad vs. good trios action and AKINO vs. Kato was solid.

Final Rating: ***1/2

 

Summary:

It was an ok show but the lack of rules and scrappy nature of some of the matches seem to suggest it’s a promotion not worth following long-term. There is talent in this roster but there is talent everywhere. Partial recommendation, but I probably won’t watch another Oz Academy show this year.

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