Five Greatest Women’s Hardcore Matches

Combat Toyoda vs Megumi Kudo FMW 7th Anniversary Show, 5-5-1996 No Rope Electrified Barbed Wire Death Match

After ten years Combat Toyoda decided to call it a day at the biggest show she could, the FMW 7th Anniversary at Kawasaki Baseball Stadium. Her best friend was there to see her off into the sunset, Megumi Kudo would wrestle her in a No Rope Electrified Barbed Wire Death Match. Making them the first two women to enter that setting. With Atsushi Onita, the man who had plucked them from obscurity and early retirement looking on, they turned in a blinder. Not just the best hardcore women’s match ever, the best match of the FMW Onita era, and it redefined what was possible in the deathmatch environment laying the foundations of what would come with Hayabusa. Having literally been sitting at ringside for the previous six anniversary shows and learned first hand and close up what to do with the wire, they knew they could be something special. Better mat wrestlers and brawlers than most of the men in the company they adapted to their more limited environment. Brutal, but unmissable. 

Chigusa Nagayo vs Dump Matsumoto AJW House Show 11-07-1986 Kamikiri Hair vs Hair Death Match

The brawl that started it all. The classical high bar of hardcore was put into a rarefied atmosphere by two masters of crowd control. Nagayo is the most over female wrestler that has ever lived, Matsumoto wrestling’s greatest heel. The referee is bleeding five minutes into this match. Nagayo had come up short and took a short back and sides for her trouble in their first deathmatch the year before and despite brutal weapons assisted assault she makes the comeback and keeps her locks. Dump was incredulous but took her head-shaving in good humour vowing revenge and for the next four years, they made oodles of cash doing so. While it doesn’t have the technical grace nor the fireworks of Kudo vs Combat, it has emotion. The Crush Gals fans must have been deafening inside that building as they cheered on Nagayo. Nagayo had the girl next door charm that made the women in the audience think that they could be in there with her. Dump looked and acted like she wanted to kill her, she brought along a dead chicken to the press conference to press her point home. Just brilliant.  

Gail Kim vs Taryn Tyrell TNA Slammiversary XI 2 – 06 -2013 Last Knockout Standing

“I have a reputation for wanting to try some crazy things.”, once said Gail Kim of this very match. Luckily Taryn Tyrell, a part-time stunt woman, was not particularly backwards in going forwards on the crazy between them they came up with this classic of the genre. A Slammiversary that saw the zenith of the Aces & Eights Storyline finally bore the audience into oblivion and faced with a Sting vs Bully Ray main event, they were given the semi-final slot and in nine minutes stole the show. Outstanding work, with some death-defying spots that was as good as it got for women of the time. By far the best TNA match of the year the Knockouts division has lived in its shadow ever since and has only recently got back into that kind of thrilling storytelling. 

Megumi Kudo vs Shark Tsuchiya 29-04-1997 FMW 8th Anniversary Show Electrified No Rope Barbed Wire Death Match

As Combat retired so eventually would Kudo. The hottest angle in wrestling, literally Tsuchiya set fire to Kudo’s hair with a fireball at Korukean Hall, set up the match and while it may not have been quite as great as its predecessor it held the distinction of being the biggest drawing card ever for a mixed-gender company in FMW, it was only overtaken by Ronda Rousey, Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch at Wrestlemania this year. With repair work going on at Kawasaki Baseball Stadium, FMW decamped to Yokohama Arena and drew 14000 for a brutal deathmatch that left Kudo in tears and exhausted but in retirement, she had vanquished The Shark.  

Bull Nakano & Kyoko Inoue vs Aja Kong & Bison Kimura 11-1-1991 Hair vs Hair Kamikiri Death Match

On a card that had Akira Hokuto vs Manami Toyota in a Pacific title match no less, arguably the two best wrestlers that ever lived, this went on last. With good reason. Aja Kong had left the tutelage of Bull Nakano and Gokumon-To to form Jungle Jack with Bison Kimura. Nakano was not best pleased with her former protege. The result was a breathtaking feud to which this match was the blow-off. Nakano was so dominant in this period she once took Kendo stick shots from Aja and Bison swinging as hard as they could for three minutes till they couldn’t lift their arms anymore, Bull stood there and smiled. This is not for the faint of heart. This goes beyond wrestling performance, with a heated match and a heated finale as Bison and Aja fall to Gokumon-To. Aja stoically takes what’s coming to her, Bison screams the building down as her signature waist-length locks are shaved from her head. You know that look Aja had on her face during the AEW debut at Double or Nothing? That nonchalant grace that only a true monster heel can bring? A look that says no matter what you do I’ve done and said it all? That look was forged in this match. Aja Kong owns pro wrestling because she is pro wrestling, standing tall and in living colour because of nights like this.

Featured Image courtesy of http://fmwwrestling.us/

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