TJPW Desert Moon (16/9/19) Review

Our main event. Credit: TJPW

For Tokyo Joshi’s second day at the brilliantly named KFC Hall they had an International Princess Title defence on top. The first show provided a lot of entertainment without anything incredible happening in the ring, can this one go one better and deliver a great match?

Mirai Maiumi defeated Mahiro Kiryu

Lariats for days. Credit: TJPW

We kicked things off with an upset victory for Mirai as she went over Kiryu after a pair of big old Lariats. These two put on a solid opener that was a bit clunky at times, but an easy watch. It was interesting to see them presented as equals despite Maiumi having debuted after Kiryu and being underneath her in the system. Having done battle with the Ace the day before, it’s another sign that TJPW sees something in the rookie who doesn’t even have a Cagematch profile yet.

Verdict: Two And A Half Stars

Maki Ito defeated YUMI

Ito looking pleased with herself. Credit: TJPW

You don’t have to watch many Ito matches to figure out that her answer to most of life’s big questions is ‘have you tried screaming at it?’. It’s a tactic that seems to be doing her well.

This wasn’t a great wrestling match (although it wasn’t awful either), but it didn’t really matter. As someone still relatively new to Ito, it’s hard not to get swept up in her charisma. Whether she’s encouraging the fans to chant for YUMI while she was in a submission or disrespectfully kicking the rookie around the ring, she is a star. You can get away with a bit of clunky wrestling when you’ve got that.

Verdict: Two And A Half Stars

Mina Shirakawa and Yuki Kamifuku defeated Miyu Yamashita and Himawari Unagi

Unagi doing some top notch cheerleading. Credit: TJPW

Kamifuku comes out to ‘Old MacDonald’, and I can’t for the life of me figure out why. Is there an explanation for that one as it does not seem to fit her character?

Anyway, onto the match where I got for the first time exactly why Yamashita is the Ace of this company. She was brilliant here, wrestling like a total badass (witness the death stare she gave Kamifuku), but was also hilarious. There was a great moment where Unagi entered the ring to do a taunt/dance and insisted on Miyu joining in. The look of bafflement on her face as she tried to follow along with her enthusiastic partner while simultaneously stamping on Shirakawa was laugh out loud funny.

She wasn’t the only good thing about the match as everyone came together to put on what was, at its core, just an entertaining tag, and there is nowt wrong with that.

Verdict: Three And A Half Stars

Up Up Girls (Hikari Noa, Miu Watanabe and Raku) defeated Yuka Sakazaki, Yuki Aino and Pom Harajuku

Time for a nap. Credit: TJPW

One of the flags on the wall was missing, and judging by Sakazaki’s reaction, it was the one with her picture on it. She’s another wrestler who is brimming with charisma, by the way. Even the way she moves around the ring brings a smile to my face. Also, at one point, she was so desperate for a tag that she nearly fell over the top rope when leaning out for it, and that made me laugh.

Not to start sounding repetitive, but this was another enjoyable tag. Up Up Girls showed some nice chemistry, working over Pom before Raku helped Yukazaki drift off to sleep only to get Miu to wake her up with a Giant Swing. For someone who isn’t that big (although it’s all relative) Miu plays a good hoss and had some cool battles with Aino.

The finish saw Hikari left alone with Aino and they had a fun back and forth before she hit that big Uranage for the win. That’s another match that gets an easy thumbs up and provided all the joy.

Verdict: Three And A Half Stars

NEO-Biishikigun (Sakisama and Misao) defeated Rika Tatsumi and Suzume

Catch! Credit: TJPW

Having faced off with her idol the day before, Suzume got to go one better on this show and team up with her. That’s got to be an amazing feeling that young in your career. Not that NEO-Biishikigun had any intention of letting her enjoy it. They were more interested in bullying the rookie and cutting off a lot of her fun.

It was a move that made Sakisama and Misao incredibly hateable. Next to Suzume’s boundless enthusiasm, they looked like the perfect villains, dressed in black and happy to ruin her day. It was the perfect set-up for Rika’s hot tag as she came flying to the rescue.

Rika was fantastic in that role too, showing all kinds of heart as she demanded Saki kick her again and again before eventually grabbing her leg and sending her across the ring. It made it all the more devastating when it eventually went wrong, poor Suzume being booted into next week by Saki before getting tapped out. Still, the journey to get there was great.

Verdict: Three And Three Quarter Stars

Post-match Kamifuku came out to challenge for the Princess Tag Team Titles. Initially, she didn’t have a partner, but Shirakawa made it known she was up for the challenge. She turned out to be a doubly useful addition to the team as Sakisama’s desire to get her to stop rapping pushed her into accepting the challenge.

Shoko Nakajima and Mizuki defeated Dalys la Caribena and Nodoka Tenma

Tension is brewing. Credit: TJPW

Dalys la Caribena is a CMLL luchador who seemed like a random addition to the card, but Shoko announced pre-show that she’d be going over to Mexico for a short excursion, so there is some logic there. She was about a head taller than everyone else, and they all seemed delighted to see her.

She kicked things off with a solid performance too, having some nice interactions with Shoko and generally looking at home in a TJPW ring. Some of her movements were a bit over the top while she made quite a few silly noises, but those were small things, and she used her size well to stand out in the match.

In the other corner, Shoko and Mizuki were teaming up despite having faced off not that long ago but seemed to show no ill effects. In fact, they had nice chemistry, working and looking like a good team. Finally, Tenma is someone who seems to be a solid worker, using her power well until she was caught with a Shoko 619 followed by a Bridging Belly to Belly for the three as the good matches keep coming.

Verdict: Three And A Half Stars

Yuna Manase defeated Natsumi Maki to win the International Princess Title

A heartbreaking moment. Credit: TJPW

What a gutting match this was. Manase and Natsumi were building something that seemed to be heading towards greatness. You had the perfect story of Natsumi trying to overcome the more powerful wrestler who was able to throw her around the ring and dominate the action.

Then, Natsumi Maki got injured, and it was instantly obvious that she couldn’t go on. It seemed to be her ankle, and she tried valiantly to return to the ring and keep going, but it was too much, and Manase was reluctant to even hit her as the fans went silent. Eventually, Natsumi defiantly managed to climb to her feet allowing Manase to hit a Lariat for the three after which she held the cover for a long time, presumably sharing some words with her downed opponent.

That was a devastating way for someone to both win and lose a title, but I want to give all the credit to those involved. After the match, Manase carried Maki out of the ring to make sure she got help and when she tearfully went to follow without giving a post-match promo, the seconds at ringside stopped her and insisted she take her moment. It was a couple of lovely examples of genuine human decency in the middle of a nasty situation. They all deserve props for that.

Verdict: NA

Overall Show

That was a really shitty way to end a show that had been going brilliantly. From what I could see, it was no-one’s fault as Maki came down a bit wrong and got injured. It happens, but it left everyone emotional. Up until that it was a good show, and that shouldn’t be forgotten, but ultimately, the image of Natsumi Maki desperately climbing to her feet is what most people will remember about this.

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One thought on “TJPW Desert Moon (16/9/19) Review

Add yours

  1. Kamifuku used to have some cowgirl/farmer girl or somesuch gimmick, which is where Old Macdonald came from. When she dropped the country girl character TJPW for some reason never saw fit to change her entrance music to something more fitting.

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