TJPW Best Regards (30/11/19) Review

No, you’re crying. Credit TJPW

The build to January 4th is now well on its way in Tokyo Joshi as they begin to ramp things up ahead of their big show. We had a bunch of opponents facing off on this one as well as the next chapter in the Misao story, so I reckon we should get down to it.

Before the show, Marika Kobashi announced that she got into the college she wanted to and will be back in the Spring. Congrats to her. As usual, get your translations over on DDT English’s Twitter page.

Nodoka Tenma defeated Yuki Kamifuku and Haruna Neko

Mistakes were made. Credit: TJPW

Kamiyu spent the opening of the match trying to ingratiate herself to her opponents in the hopes of having a leisurely afternoon. Sadly for her, they weren’t buying a second of it and ended up teaming up to take her down. That plan failed, but she still managed to spend the match being incredibly condescending to her much smaller foes, including talking to them like she does her dogs.

It all set up a nice mix of comedy and action, with Neko and Tenma having a really fun exchange for the finishing stretch. They didn’t go particularly long, and the comedy meant it was light on action, but I still managed to have a lovely time.

Verdict: Two And A Half Stars

Shoko Nakajima defeated Mina Shirakawa

Mina looking slightly terrifying. Credit: TJPW

What a joyous wee match this was. Mina and Shoko worked a fast, hard-hitting style with a load of cool submission moves. From start to finish, it was damn good professional wrestling, with both women looking fantastic and everything seeming to come off perfectly.

It’s also one of those matches which are kind of hard to review. Beyond it being cracking, I don’t really know what to say. Sometimes two good wrestlers have a good match, and all you can do is sit back and appreciate them.

Verdict: Three And A Half Stars

Sakisama defeated Raku

Raku did struggle to impress from that position. Cerd

I love watching people get better at things. Whether it’s musicians, writers, actors, film-makers or, the relevant one here, wrestlers, witnessing people develop as they go through their career is a joy. I’ve only been a Tokyo Joshi fan for a few months, but I can already see Raku improving, and it’s awesome.

The Up Up Girl came flying out the blocks in this one, attacking Sakisama as she made her entrance. From there, she refused to take a seconds rest. Sakisama was arrogant and condescending, seemingly operating under the assumption that she’d eventually put this presumptuous pup away, but Raku kept coming forward.

Of course, she would eventually fall. Sakisama used Raku’s own arms to choke her out, but this sprinted past any other performance I’ve seen from her. In the last few weeks, she’s gone from someone I thought had a fun character to someone I now watch to watch wrestle. You love to see it.

Verdict: Three And A Half Stars

Yuki Aino defeated Miu Watanabe

Battling for control. Credit: TJPW

The day I stop being delighted by Miu Watanabe throwing people around the ring is the day I stop watching wrestling. My favourite wee hoss was once again brilliant as she’s out there squatting before hitting Powerslams and spinning Aino around with a ridiculous Giant Swing. I loved it.

Not that it was the Miu show, as Aino had a great showing too. She was placed as the underdog, battling back against that mighty offence to get the win. It was all done to set-up her (and her sister) challenging for the tag titles on January 4th, and in that sense, job done.

Verdict: Three And A Quarter Stars

Maki Itoh and Pom Harajuku defeated Hikari Noa and Mahiro Kiryu

Maki was not impressed. Credit: TJPW

We got a look at pissed off Itoh in this one, as Hikari dared to give her the finger. Suddenly, she went dead behind the eyes, stamping on Noa’s head and looking to dish out a beating. With those two already booked for a match on January 4th, this aggressive side to Maki was an interesting wrinkle to the story they’re telling.

Before that, this had been quite a light-hearted affair. Itoh using Pom’s ‘clubbing’ blows to the chest was particularly amusing, and it looked like we were set for some fun tag-team action. We still got that, but it just took on a more serious air, Itoh not tagging out for the second half of the match and eventually tapping Kiryu out for the win.

It all added up to a nice little tease for Noa vs Maki and a decent match to boot.

Verdict: Three And A Quarter Stars

Rika Tatsumi defeated Misao in a Falls Count Anywhere match

A prize that needs to be returned to its owner. Credit: TJPW

I’ve plugged this before, but if you’re interested in the Misao story that led us to this Falls Count Anywhere match check out DDT English’s Twitter thread on it. If you’re unaware of her past then it’s not so much suggested reading before this, but required.

Because this wasn’t a five-star in-ring masterpiece, it was a fun Fall Counts Anywhere match with a lot of walking and brawling. However, when you take that story and layer it over the top, it becomes so much more. It became the story of Hyper Misao, and Rika’s desperate attempts to bring her back. She dragged Misao’s past into the ring and laid it out in front of her, shoving it in her face and demanding she acknowledge it. When she flew off the top with that mask in hand, she was reaching out a hand to that old character, trying to remind her of who she was.

And in all of that, there is a bit of everything I love about wrestling. This daft, messed-up world legitimately changed Misao’s life and gave her hope. TJPW then took a slice of that and crafted into a story that is kind of beautiful. This was a friend helping a friend and after the bell when Misao, lying on her back, raised her hand for a fist-bump, well, fuck me, how can you not love this shit?

Verdict: Four And A Half Stars

We weren’t done yet. Post-match, Rika told Misao it was now up to her to make a decision, but before she could do that, Sakisama made her way out to try and force her tag partner’s hand. Thankfully, Rika was there with a supportive slap across the face (only in Japanese wrestling) which helped Misao to vow to walk her own path going forward before we got another fist bump to finish up. Fucking follow that.

Miyu Yamashita, Yuna Manase and Mirai Maiumi defeated Magical Sugar Rabbits (Yuka Sakazaki and Mizuki) and Suzume

Yuka was enjoying herself. Credit: TJPW

Thankfully, the people handed that task included Miyu Yamashita and Yuka Sakazaki, so they were probably up to it. Those two have been confirmed as the main event for January 4th (yay!), and this was the start of our build to that.

Is there any other walk of life where people get praised for taking a beating? Mizuki took a brilliant one in this match, being worked over by all three opponents. She’s got that instantly likeable babyface vibe, which makes it impossible not to root for her in those situations.

It also set the tone for what was an enjoyable main event. We were only given snippets of Yukazaki vs Yamashita, but they all (unsurprisingly) hinted towards greatness. What wasn’t hinted at was Miyu kicking poor Suzume’s head off. You can see that with your own eyes, although you might end up with a pity headache if you do.

Verdict: Three And A Half Stars

Overall Show

TJPW’s shows are becoming some of my favourites to watch. They fly by at a million miles an hour because they’re fun and exciting with a load of great wrestling sprinkled in there. Add something special like Misao vs Rika, and you’re onto a real winner.

Watch Tokyo Joshi Pro:

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