Segunda Caida

Phil Schneider, Eric Ritz, Matt D and occasional guests write about pro wrestling. Follow us @segundacaida

Tuesday, October 09, 2018

2018 Ongoing MOTY List: AJA KONG!! vs. Shida

6. Aja Kong vs. Hikaru Shida Oz Academy 9/17

PAS: Aja challenges for the Oz Academy title and shows that when the lights are bright she is still an incredible performer. She is 48 years old and can still rip off a classic like this. The early sections of this match were a classic wrestling story of arm vs. leg. Aja brutalizes Shida's knee while Shida tries to tear up Kong's arm, each trying to weaken the others big strike. Aja knows how to fuck up a knee, she throws these thudding kicks to the patella, punches Shida in the kneecap, tricks her into a jumping knee first into Aja's garbage can, and even breaks an armbar by repeatedly head-butting the side of the knee. Shida responds with some good arm work, including a nasty Fujiwara and a couple of sick looking stomps to the bicep. We get a great finish run, with Aja nearly getting a countout win by brainbustering Shida on the ramp. Aja tries to land some of her big backfists, although she doesn't get the full force with her bad arm, Shida has this knee strike where she grabs both of her opponents arms and pulls them into her knee. She obliterates Aja with this move, including splitting open the side of her head and swelling up her cheek and eye, that is a cool thing about Joshi, it can be chugging along and all of a sudden turn into the most violent thing you have ever seen. Final moments are a blood soaked war. I checked this out on whim to see some 2018 Aja, was not expecting a stone cold classic.

ER: Remember when title matches turned into bloody grudge matches right before your eyes? This is a great Queen Kong performance, attacking Shida's leg and body but showing vulnerability by effectively selling her arm straight through to the finish. Oh, and by taking a zillion shoot knees straight to her face and head. That will make someone come off as vulnerable. Kong is a mostly immovable object, and on the floor starts smacking around Shida's knee, beating it with a chair, stomping on it, hitting it with a small square trash can, and just standing and stepping all over her leg. Shida is as aggressive as she can be, and we get a great moment of her rushing in for a flying knee only to have Kong swing and connect with that damn pointy trash can right into Shida's knee. I love it. Shida finally realizes she shouldn't be going toe to toe with Kong and starts ripping at her arm, and all the arm stuff was good, really helped along the whole time by Kong's convincing selling. Vulnerable monster is a cool visual, with Kong still dangerous but seeing her right arm giving her more and more trouble. Shida is about as mean to Kong's arm as Kong was to Shida's knee, and even when Kong gets a breather she's holding her arm more and more. The brainbuster on the ramp was a great spot, Kong really dumped her and made Shida's crawl up the ramp believable; a count out ending would have been a bummer, but it also would have been because a monster dropped someone on their head, so...

But Shida makes it in and we get this bonkers finishing stretch, with Kong trying to drop her with her dead arm backfists, and Kong is great at not hitting her usual face smashing backfist as hard, really looking like she was swinging a limp meat sack at Shida, punishing for sure, but not deadly; Shida goes at it with knee strikes, with her bad knee. And it turns out, in a battle of dead arm versus dead knee, that sharp patella wins. Shida grabs Kong by both arms and starts firing unprotected knees right into Kong's face. Kong gets busted open and I couldn't tell at first where the cut was...until I realized that there were several cuts, Kong's face absorbing all knees. Busted nose, cut brow, split side of her head, swollen cheekbone, bleeding mouth, the whole thing was one of the wildest spectacles I've seen in a wrestling ring. For much of the match I was thinking "How is Shida going to believably beat Kong?" And it turns out the way to do that is to just knee her in the face a lot. That's the equalizer. I did have a couple problems with this, mainly that Shida really abandoned that knee for much of the last 2/3 of the match, and it was such a focus  - and so well done - for a long stretch that it was glaring when she no longer acknowledged it. But, she's also a joshi babyface, so of course I should have expected her to be running around after limb work. Joshi babyfaces getting their limbs worked over just makes them scream and run more. I also found it kind of silly that late in the match Kong started attacking Shida's leg with a kendo stick. Earlier in the match she was beating on it with chairs and jumping on it with her full weight, that seems way more effective than hitting it with a stick. Don't get cute on me, Aja, just step on it like a beast. But those kind of things are outshone by one of the more unexpected bits of violence we've seen, and the whole thing felt like an epic prize fight.


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