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    Saturday, May 30, 2020

    The Supercard (5/30/20): Changing the Game





    In the past decade, women's wrestling in the eye of most wrestling fans has shifted drastically. In 2010, the only women's matches a whole generation of fans was exposed to consisted of "cute" gimmick matches that never played into any bigger storylines.

    However, it is false to claim that prominent women’s wrestling, with actual storylines and hard-hitting action, only came into existence in the past five years. Before the bra and panties matches, women in the '80s were actually allowed to showcase athleticism and technique that was missing from the machismo-filled main events of the era. That’s just in the WWE. 

    Companies like TNA gave women a chance long before any social media support could convince them to do so. Women-centric promotions in Japan have been giving women the spotlight for decades creating interesting characters and producing high caliber in ring work. 

    This week on Supercard, I want to shed a spotlight on just a few women’s matches that I believe, beyond just being good matches, represent pivotal aspects of women’s wrestling history. 

    Undercard: Hikaru Shida vs. Athena (Shimmer 66)


    In the United States market, there exist independent promotions that focus solely on women talent giving opportunities to some to get match time that other companies denied them. One of these companies is Shimmer, which in my opinion has been producing top quality matches for years now.

    This match features two of the hottest free agents at the time and two prominent members of the current generation of woman stars with Athena (who you now know as Ember Moon) going on to become NXT Women’s Champion and Shida being the current AEW Women’s Champion. The match is a fun hidden gem and a good toss-up between two different styles. Shida’s hard strikes against Athena’s innovative athleticism is a exciting match to show anyone to explain how amazing women’s wrestling has become.

    Midcard: Gail Kim vs. Awesome Kong (TNA Final Resolution 2008)


    Before the #DivasRevolution gave “Divas” in WWE a chance for longer matches and actual storylines, TNA’s Knockout division was way ahead of the curve. Although the Knockouts‘ matches have gone up and down in terms of quality, Jesus Christ did they have an amazing start.

    Gail Kim and Awesome Kong’s historic nine month long fueled proved to the American market just how engaging a women’s feud could be if you give it enough time to grow. Evolving from being a David and Goliath story, the masterful storytelling between both competitors in these matches was a treat to watch. At the peak of this, this No-DQ match is *chef’s kiss* just plain awesome with amazing sequences and cringe-inducing spots. What a spectacular feud.

    Main Event: Aja Kong vs. Akira Hokuto (AJW Doumo Super Woman Great War ~ Big Egg Wrestling Universe)


    In Japan, All-Japan Women’s Pro Wrestling was a promotion that broke barriers in every sense of the phrase. Although having had to shut their doors in 2005, it’s legacy and impact on the Japanese wrestling scene and the worldwide wrestling community has to be something that’s praised.

    At the peak of their success was this event. Doumo Super Woman Great War ~ Big Egg Wrestling Universe. Held in the Tokyo Dome and housing 35,000 fans, the card featured an all-woman card which included a single-elimination tournament called the V*TOP Five Star Tournament. In the main event was the finals between Akira Hokuto and Aja Kong.

    What a match. 

    To those who haven’t been exposed to joshi (Japanese women’s wrestling), this match is a fantastic way to see what it’s all about. Aja Kong is probably one of the best women heels to ever lace up a pair of boots. Her use of psychology and ability to convey a sheer dominating presence in the ring is the perfect foil to Hokuto’s amazing selling and subsequent comebacks. To put it simply, the match is perfect and is a masterclass for anyone who wants to see wrestling at its very best.

    Plus, the way this whole tournament was shot looks like a freaking Rocky movie. Watch and believe.


    Photos courtesy of Shimmer, Impact Wrestling and All-Japan Women's Pro Wrestling

    *****

    Jacob Tambunting is a freshman at the Ateneo de Manila University currently studying BS Psychology. In his high school years, he authored plays for competitions, essays for projects, and fan fiction for fun.  He currently lives with his two parents, his two siblings, and his two dogs, and is probably writing something angsty on his 10-year-old laptop.
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    Item Reviewed: The Supercard (5/30/20): Changing the Game Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Jacob Tambunting
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