A girl group performing
ActWres Girl Z has used the initials "AgZ" in the past, and a lot of people still use that, but I will be using AWG instead because it's what the company is currently applying for itself.
The AWG dancing
The show kicks off with a girl group musical performance. I'm not sure who the group is, but the song is enjoyable. It's a pop-rock tune. The only words I can make out in English are "S.O.S." . That is followed by a dance routine by the actual wrestlers. AWG has a rep for being a very musical wrestling promotion, and with good reason. Both opening numbers are kept relatively short and don't overstay their welcome. They last maybe 3 minutes each.
The ring announcer
Next, the ring announcer runs down the card.
The masked Bonita
Nao is a cat girl. Sadly, she takes off the cat ears to wrestle. She's an AWG original and has been fighting for 3 and a half years. Her opponent is very clearly freelance veteran Cherry under a mask. She's wearing her normal Cherry gear, the mask doesn't really cover her face, and she acts like Cherry normally acts. I believe the announcer called her "Bonita", or possibly "Bunnyta" since the mask is rabbit-like.
The crowd was very into Nao, and Cherry did a decent enough job as a heel. Although the level of wrestling was very basic. To give an example of how basic, a high spot for Nao was dropping running knees twice back to back. Just run > Jump > land. Nothing fancy. This match felt like Cherry doing her best to carry someone who just passed their pro-test and barely succeeding.
Overall, the crowd liked it, so I can't get too mad at it, but there was just nothing to that match. Bonita/Cherry won with a victory roll.
A comedy skit
Next we get a skit with Miyuki Takase where she tightens the turnbuckles in a very comedic manner and then runs the ropes. The referee is there to act at the straight man. I've never been able to catch this ref's name, but she's works a bunch of promotions: Marvelous, Wave, etc. I'm sure people that watch Joshi have seen her somewhere. We are then joined by her tag partner later in the show, Miku Aono, who also runs the ropes. The crowds loves it. I though it was merely OK.
Hikari is wearing blue, white and orange. She has been wrestling for about a year at the time of this show. Rina is wearing orange. She's only been wrestling for about a month. Momo is wearing purple and has been wrestling for a couple of months. Hotta is a veteran that goes way way back, and she's wearing red and black. Hikari, Rina, and Momo are AWG originals.
This was another very basic match. It felt like the rookie match that it is. Although I think they worked a little harder than Nao and Cherry's match. I particular liked Hikari, who is the most experienced of the AWG women in this match, looked decent. She's still green, but she has good energy. I can see her doing well outside of AWG if she keeps improving. Hotta was very clearly keeping things simple in this match.
It hit me in this match that, at least in these first two matches, these AWG originals aren't working a usual Joshi in-ring style. It's more like a hybrid style between normal basic Joshi and mid-2000's WWE Divas stiles. You see a lot of dropkicks and forearms strikes like in Joshi, but the women also do a lot of hair pulling, hair snap mares, and low impact wrestling. Very Kelly Kelly like.
Rina misses a basic splash, Momo hits her with running knees for the pin.
Hotta cuts a post-match promo. I believe she was encouraging the women to do well. Hikari and Rina cried.
Kaho tagging Tae
Kaho is a freelancer who has been wrestling for over 5 years. She's wearing white and black. Tae is an AWG original who has been wrestling for 3 years. She's wearing green. Miku and Miyuki are both AWG originals who have been wrestling for 1 year, and both wear red.
The match started with a nice grappling exchange between Tae and Miyuki, and then Kaho and Miku. This feels more like a standard Joshi match than the previous two matches. Miyuki is a very emotive wrestler with solid fundamentals. Tae showed a very good ground game. Kaho is always a quality wrestler. Miku didn't stand out for me, but she wasn't out of place. She has good fundamentals as well.
Kaho picks up the pin with a Fisherman Suplex.
Overall, this was a good match. It's not anything special, but still this a perfectly enjoyable match. It wouldn't feel out of place in any other Joshi promotion.
Kakeru in blue and Himeka in silver
Arita is wearing silver and black and has been wrestling for about six months. Kakeru is wearing blue and has been wrestling for a little over a year. Kakeru splits her time between AWG, Oz Academy, and a few other places.
This was the very definition of average. Both wrestlers worked hard. I felt like Kakeru was leading the way. She's not a bad wrestler. She can put together a watchable match, which this was. But the offense by both wrestlers is very standard. Neither came across like a particularly special athlete. Overall, this was a fine match, but you'll see a match of equal or greater value on every single Joshi show from every major promotion.
Kakeru won with an STO.
After the match, we get a backstage interview with Kakeru. I don't know what she said, but I think she was proud of the victory. She cried a little bit. We then cut to Arita. I couldn't read her emotion. Very neutral.
Talking segment in the ring
Kaho, Tae, the ring announcer, and a woman I haven't seen previously are in the ring. They are later joined by Hikari. I'm not sure what the conversation was about. The tone seemed lighthearted.
Mari kicking Saori
Mari is wearing dark green and red and has been wrestling for a year and a half. She has a red mask and brings a long sword to the ring as a part of her entrance. She started her career in Reina. Saki is wearing dark gray and has been wrestling for 6 years. She has wrestled all over the Joshi scene. Natsumi is wearing white, Saori is wearing blue, both have been wrestling for 3 years, and both are AWG originals.
This was a very solid match. Maki is a great athlete. Mari is a very polished all around wrestler. Saki is a good ground and pound wrestler. Saori has a lot of poise and is solid all around. I do feel like the match was missing some creativity to put it over the top. You'd be hard pressed to remember any spot from this match after a week despite it being a good match.
Saori picked up the victory with a bridging German suplex.
After the match, the roster lead by Maki and Saori close out the show.
The show gets an additional 3 stars non-wrestling rating. While the promos were lost in translation, I felt like the show had a fun atmosphere and none of the segments overstayed their welcome. The characters are fun. The camera work was good. I do think that this show would be a turn off if you dislike Japanese idol culture.
The overall show gets an average match rating of 2, a total match rating of 10, and an overall show rating of 2.17. ActWres Girl Z is a unique and fun product, but lacks the match quality to really take the show above average.