To those uninitiated the much respected website Death Valley Driver Video Review is putting together a list of 1001 matches to see before you die called the DVDVR 1001. This is my project where I am reviewing every match in the DVDVR 1001, continuing with #12,
Talk about a match that has a raw savagery to it and you’re talking about this match. Two women, one arena, and their desire to beat the tar out of one another. Or in the case of Akira Hokuto to get most of the blood in your body beaten out of you. This is rough and tumble wrestling at its very best. Yet, despite all of that Hokuto versus Shinobu Kandori manages to tell a hoot of a story. That’s high quality professional wrestling right there ladies and gentlemen.
The festivities open with Hokuto blasting the shit out of Kandori with a Forearm to the face. She levels Kandori with a knockout blow less than ten seconds into the match. That’s the tenor these two ladies have decided to set for this match. There’s no glitz, glamor, or pageantry. In its stead there are two women hitting one another in the face as hard as they possibly can. From the very second that Hokuto hits that Forearm blow I knew that I was in for something special with this match.
The match takes a severe left turn when Kandori decides her only recourse is to tear Hokuto’s arm out of its socket. She does this by clawing at said arm, yanking on it, and locking it up in various holds where she wrenches on that arm with all her might. Kandori isn’t fishing for a submission you see, she is trying to hurt and end Hokuto right then and there. She’s damn close too, as Hokuto has to bail to the outside because of the pain.
That’s when the match kicks it up another gear, with the infamous Texas Piledriver spot. Both women are on a table at ringside, struggling to gain some type of control. It is Kandori who gets the upper hand first and she sends Hokuto crashing into the table with a Texas Piledriver. The table doesn’t break though, it stays in tact sans one very noticeable dent that now adorns the top of the table. Hokuto was slammed so hard into the table that her head left a baseball sized divot. To make matters worse for Hokuto she comes up from the ringside area bleeding buckets.
Thus begins the larger story of the match, that of Hokuto finally overcoming the odds and her injurious past to beat the tough destroyer in Kandori. The match never truly becomes Kandori’s match, it stays a back and forth affair. All the same, thanks to Hokuto’s past it feels as if she is one move away from losing, being injured again, or both. All of her comebacks are cut off in a vicious fashion by Kandori. Try as she might it doesn’t seem as if this will be the time when Hokuto manages to win the big one and belay her past.
But, this is pro wrestling don’t you know. The land where injuries can be avoided, the babyface can work from underneath to win the match, and even the toughest of foes can be knocked out cold. That’s exactly what happens as Hokuto does what she needs to do to stay alive and to keep her body intact. She’s managing to just barely do those two things. But she is doing them, and that leaves the audience with a glimmer of hope that Hokuto can overcome.
As the match reaches its apogee both women have exhausted themselves. They’ve tried to win with submissions, power moves, and their signature moves. None of those tactics have worked, and that’s why they turn to the most basic approach of all. They rear back, load up their fists, and hit one another with the best Punches they can possibly throw. In a true movie moment it is Hokuto who manages to crack Kandori with a stiff Punch and fall on top. She struggles into position, her once blonde hair now mostly red with her own blood. She reaches across, clearly expending every ounce of energy left in her small frame. As the referee taps the mat for the third time it is all too clear that neither women has an ounce of fight left in them and the crowd has just witnessed something very special.
I’m not sure if this is a perfect wrestling match, but it very well may be. Hard hitting, with gutsy performances, and a commitment to storytelling; this match is a beacon in the night when it comes to professional wrestling. Next time you’re stuck watching a match that makes you want to claw your eyes out, just remember that this match exists. There is a match where two women give every ounce of themselves in a glorious spectacle that demands to be seen. That’s because Hokuto and Kandori demand it; with their blood lost, their stiff strikes thrown, and their willingness to give all that they have to give. This is pro wrestling; Hokuto versus Kandori is what pro wrestling can be, should be, and far too often isn’t.