I don’t think my first Tokyo Joshi review was a disaster, so we’re back with number two! Some people were kind and pointed me in the direction of a beginner’s guide/passed on some information, so I want to say thanks to them. That’s much better than being shouted at for being an idiot. By the way, I enjoyed that first show so much that I’m now going to the January 4th Korakuen now, so that’s something.
Rika Tatsumi defeated Suzume
Rika is one of the reasons that Suzume became a wrestler making this a big moment for her. I love little snippets of information like that as it turns what was a pretty standard rookie vs veteran opener into something a little bit special.
Because Suzume is green, still moving around the ring like someone young to the business. It’s the way people wrestle when they are still thinking about everything they do. She was also a bit inconsistent in her selling of the leg (which Rika attacked all match), occasionally clutching it and hobbling around only to be fine seconds later.
However, that didn’t stop this being a nice little opener. They worked a fast pace, told the story of Rika working over that leg and from the opening bell to Tatsumi getting the win with a Dragon Sleeper I was never bored. In a match like this, that’s all I want.
Verdict: Two And A Half Stars
Yuki Aino and YUMI defeated Mahiro Kiryu and Raku
While Raku is green and not a particularly great wrestler at this point in her career (bear in mind she’s still only a year into it), she makes me smile. Her karate chops and the pin she does where she appears to have a nap are delightful, and that makes up for any clunky wrestling.
And there was quite a lot of clunky wrestling in this match. No-one involved has been wrestling for much over a year, and it showed. I wouldn’t call it bad, they certainly weren’t fucking up moves or in danger of hurting each other, but it lacked flow.
Kiryu vs Aino was the highlight as they had some nice interactions with Aino eventually getting the win with a Gutwrench Suplex. For a battle between rookies, this was fine, there’s just nothing here you need to go out of your way to see.
Verdict: Two And A Quarter Stars
Nodoka Tenma defeated Pom Harajuku and Himawari Unagi in a Three Way Match
Pom and Unagi opened up by trying to bribe Tenma into working with them. According to DDT English (always worth giving them a plug since I get all my translations from there), it started with offers of watermelons from Pom and then curry from Unagi before escalating from there. Nodoka seemed very tempted by it all, but was to leave feeling short-changed as Pom and Unagi ditched the negotiating and attacked her.
What followed was a nice mix of comedy and action with all three women looking decent. Pom and Unagi are another pair of rookies, but they’re ahead of everyone we’ve seen so far on this show while Nodoka played the veteran role well. She even spent some time working over Unagi’s arse, originally sticking her fingers up there while Unagi was smothering Pom with her breasts (what a weird sentence to write) before moving onto more conventional means. Well, as conventional as attacking someone’s arse can be.
Nodoka Tenma would get the win with a Pop-Up Samoan Drop on Pom (I love a pop-up move, even the worst of them look awesome) to put to an end the best match of the show so far.
Verdict: Two And Three Quarter Stars
Miyu Yamashita defeated Mirai Maiumi
Maiumi has only been wrestling for four months and has earned herself a match against the Ace which is generally a good sign.
After a few bouts with rookies who felt like rookies (which isn’t an insult, by the way, people who are great that early in their career are the exception, not the rule), Maiumi is someone who has clearly clicked with this shit quickly. Yamashita and she started the match on the ground, working the kind of grappling that feels like a fight as they battled between holds rather than dancing. It was when they stood up and started hitting each other that things came alive, though.
That was the moment where Mirai began to scare Yamashita, hitting a couple of thundering Lariats for two counts. She’s got a lot of power behind her, and it was only when Yamashita nearly removed her head with a kick that she stayed down. The result doesn’t change the fact this was an impressive performance from the rookie, and she didn’t look out of place in there with TJPW’s top star.
Verdict: Three And A Quarter Stars
Sakisama defeated Yuki Kamifuku
Am I correct in saying that Sakisama has multiple personalities? She certainly seems to have a lot of names, I’m just not sure if it makes a difference which one she’s billed as. Either way, Cagematch tells me these two have faced off before, so there is history to this match.
Whatever that history was, Kamifuku decided that it meant she had to get down to some scheming. Early on, she hid under the ring and when Sakisama went looking for her leapt out with all the streamers that were gathered there to attack her from behind. It was a well-worked plan, but it didn’t turn out to be particularly effective.
Because as the action went on, it became clear why Kamifuku was turning to nefarious means. Saki dominated most of the action, kicking her across the ring and looking good for it. It was left to Yuki to fight from underneath, using small openings to try and get back into thing. The fans were behind her attempts to do so, but they were to be in vain as a Gogoplata forced the submission.
This was decent without being blow away. They’re both very tall, slim people with long arms and legs which left some of the action feeling like it was lacking heft. Laying into their moves a bit more would have made all the difference.
Verdict: Three Stars
Afterwards, Kamifuku grabbed the mic and asked Sakisama how she did, saying that she wants to be ‘strong, fun and beautiful’ like her. Saki responded by stating that she’d keep her eyes on her.
Hikari Noa defeated Miu Watanabe
Miu and Noa gave us an old classic as this match became a battle of power vs technique. Noa was able to control most of the action, tying Miu up in knots and going for flash pins. However, when Miu did get her hands on her, the damage was a lot higher. She wasn’t chipping away at Hikari but smashing lumps out of her with Back Breakers and Giant Swings.
It’s a styles clash that I love, as it always leads to nicely paced matches with the technical wrestler trying to stay out of the hands of the powerhouse. In this one, Noa was successful, taking some damage, but wearing Watanabe down until she was able to strike, hitting a Uranage for the three.
That was a really entertaining match with a simple story that was well-executed. It had a couple of clunky moments, Hikari leaping into position for the Giant Swing looked a bit silly, yet it was never bad enough to take me out of the action, thumbs up.
Verdict: Three And A Half Stars
Natsumi Maki and Magical Sugar Rabbits (Mizuki and Yuka Sakazaki) defeated Yuna Manase, Maki Ito and Mina Shirakawa
You know what, I’m not going to overcomplicate this review because this match was a shitload of fun. For the time they were out there, they had a fast-paced and entertaining tag that didn’t need anything more. Whether it was Ito’s antics with the Magical Sugar Rabbits (that included a lot of screaming) or the brief glimpses we got of Manase vs Maki ahead of their title match the next day, everything just worked, and it made for a really easy watch.
It’s easy to overthink wrestling, Christ I do it all the time. However, when you get right down to it, all you need is for it to entertain you, and that’s exactly what this match did. Does anything more need to be said?
Yes actually, one thing does, it looked like Natsumi injured her back in the final seconds of the match when she didn’t come off the top rope right for a Crossbody. From what I’ve seen on Twitter, she should be okay, but she was helped into the ring to celebrate by her partners before they carried her to the back. It helps to have friends, eh? (Note: I wrote this before seeing the next day’s show, I’ll have a review of that up at some point in the next few days.)
Verdict: Three And Three Quarter Stars
Shoko Nakajima defeated Misao to retain the Princess of Princesses Title
The opening of this match was dominated by Misao as she targeted Shoko’s arm and seemed to take glee in ripping away at it. Then, when it didn’t seem like that was working, she took the fight to the outside, using a chair (alongside other nefarious tactics) to inflict damage. It was a solid start to the action if a bit slow at times.
Slow can be okay, though, when it’s building to something exciting, and in this case that was Nakajima’s comeback which took off and brought the match with it. While I’m going off a very small sample size, she seems to be a fantastic underdog, getting the fans on her side and then exploding into the action.
Although, I’m not sure it was quite enough to elevate this from a good match to a great one. The slow start was just a bit too long and the exciting comeback a bit too short. It was still fun and had some nice wrestling, but it needed that little more to hit the next level.
Verdict: Three And Three Quarter Stars
After the match, Nakajima noted that her next defence will be at Ultimate Party and declared she wanted to face Yuka Sakazaki. At first, Sakazaki seemed a bit confused and even suggested she didn’t want the match. Thankfully, she did eventually agree (it would have been a bit silly not to), so that’s set!
While Temple of the Sun didn’t hit any great heights from a star rating point of view, it was a very easy watch with a lot of fun action. You won’t come out of it with a new match of the year contender, but I can’t imagine not enjoying yourself.
Watch Tokyo Joshi Pro: https://www.ddtpro.com/universe/videos?teamId=tjpw
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