TJPW Winter ~wonderful harmony~ (25/1/20) Review

Winners. Credit: TJPW

A trios tournament and Maki vs Yamashita made Tokyo Joshi’s latest trip to Osaka feel like a must-watch show. Throw in a couple more intriguing singles matches and, well, here we are, it’s review time!

My ‘the Up Up Girls are a hardcore band who haven’t figured it out yet’ theory continues to gain steam as they ended up wandering through the crowd getting in people’s faces during their song. I’m fully behind sending them out on tour with someone like Cancer Bats. Bats can teach them about gnarly Sabbath inspired riffs while the girls can help them work on their dancing. Plus, who doesn’t want to see Miu Swing someone in a pit?

The Up Up Girls (Miu Watanabe, Hikari Noa and Raku) defeated HighSPECs (Pom Harajuku, Mahiro Kiryu and Haruna Neko) in the first round of the 3-Woman Party Tournament

Nap time. Credit: TJPW

Not content with having performed a choreographed opening number, the Up Up Girls followed up bu heading straight back to the ring for a match, and the victory meant it wouldn’t be their only one of the night. I get tired watching wrestling, so I have to respect that.

In the ring, there were some awkward moments, but with a handful of inexperienced wrestlers, that isn’t surprising. It was Noa who stood out, as she had a strong performance in the final stretch against Pom, working nicely around a couple of errors and eventually getting the win.

Despite the occasional botch, this was a fun opener as the Up Up Girls continue to improve and are quietly becoming one of my favourite teams.

Verdict: Two And Three Quarter Stars

Magical Dragon Rabbits (Yuka Sakazaki, Mizuki and Rika Tatsumi) defeated The Rookies (Mirai Maiumi, Suzume and Sena Shiori) in the first round of the 3-Woman Party Tournament

She got a few moments of bliss. Credit: TJPW

Love is a beautiful thing. Or, at least, it’s a beautiful thing until it becomes creepy. Rika Tatsumi’s love for Mizuki might be at the point where it’s not so much creepy as terrifying.

It also caused the Magical Dragon Rabbits a few issues. Rika loves Mizuki so much that she wasn’t content with just being on her team, she wanted to be in constant contact with her, working together and leaving Yuka on the sidelines. That not only made Mizuki a bit uncomfortable but led to Rika dragging Yuka from the apron so that her love could only reach for her hand when looking for a tag. Then, when The Sugar Rabbits were going for double team moves, Tatsumi insisted on getting involved and you know what they say about too many wrestlers spoiling the soup. I’m pretty sure that’s how it goes.

It was a situation that gave the rookie more of a chance than they might have expected against such an illustrious team. They were able to take advantage of the chaos to nearly steal away with a victory or two, even if the constant bickering did leave them feeling like a slight afterthought. In the end, Mizuki was forced to take matters into her own hands, Dropkicking Rika out of the ring and leaving Yuka alone to pin Suzume with the Miracle Merry-Go-Round.

As anyone who has read my reviews of Tam and Arisa’s long feud/alliance will know, I adore this kind of thing, so I had a fantastic time with this match. The in-ring was nothing special, but the story was all the fun.

Verdict: Three And A Half Stars

La Jarochita defeated Akemi Daredasore

The plan unfurls. Credit: TJPW

Daredasore has taken to trying to bond with opponents pre-match and had what looked like friendship bracelets for her and Jarochita. She even had signs explaining it in both Spanish and Japanese, two languages that I don’t speak, so apologies if I’ve got the wrong end of the stick. Whichever end I’m grabbing, the outcome was the same, with Jarochita bowing in respect and receiving a kick to the gut.

That set-up a match heavy on the antics. When Daredasore’s first period of offence failed, she revealed a second gift, and when that didn’t work, it was a handful of chalk to the eyes. Sadly, none of her ploys proved effective, and the CMLL luchador would pick up the win with a Blizzard Suplex Hold.

Honestly, this was a bit of a nothing match, but I got enough of a kick out of Daredasore’s antics that I don’t care. As someone who only got into Tokyo Joshi recently, I have to keep reminding myself that this is Misao, as she not only acts differently but looks like an entirely different person too. It’s an incredible transformation, and I’m enjoying it a lot.

Verdict: Three And A Quarter Stars

Dalys la Caribena defeated Maki Itoh

Itoh time. Credit: TJPW

These CMLL luchadors have figured out a nice wee hustle for themselves, haven’t they? A trip to Japan to pop up in various promotions and beat people? That’s nae bad work if you can get it.

Dalys is bigger than Maki Itoh and a wee bit stronger too. She was able to shrug off a lot of her offence, popping up after the Cutest Punches and a Running Headbutt. Itoh was her usual defiant self, at one point headbutting Dalys knee in an attempt to turn the tide, but she couldn’t do the damage required to keep her down for long enough to get the win.

In the end, that forced her to take one risk too many, flying off the top only to crash and burn. That left her in the perfect position to be wrapped up in a La Magistral for the three. The highlight of this was that it almost works as a sequel to the Thunder Rosa match. Once again, Itoh came up against a foreign talent and was overpowered, so it will be interesting to see if this theme continues.

Verdict: Three Stars

Cat’s PYE! (Yuna Manase, Mina Shirakawa and Yuki Kamifuku) defeated Up Up Girls (Hikari Noa, Miu Watanabe and Raku) in the semi-final of the 3-Woman Party Tournament

She went down fighting. Credit: TJPW

Early on, Manase cartwheeled into the action before dropping onto her back and allowing Kamiyu to smother Noa in her breasts. Only in wrestling, folks.

As has been the theme for these tournament matches, this was kept short and sweet. Manase would prove to be the difference-maker, facing off with Raku in a strong closing stretch which ended when she attempted to remove the other’s head with a Lariat. A Facebuster later, and Cat’s PYE! are in the final. Although, it does seem a bit unfair that they only had to wrestle one match to get there.

This was similar to the opener, but without the sloppiness, making it a much easier watch.

Verdict: Three Stars

TJPW Tokusatsu Club! (Shoko Nakajima, Nodoka Tenma and Yuki Aino) defeated Magical Dragon Rabbits (Yuka Sakazaki, Mizuki and Rika Tatsumi) in the semi-final of the 3-Woman Party Tournament

Shoko appears less enthusiastic than her partners. Credit: TJPW

There can’t be many trios in wrestling history with a combined height shorter than Shoko and the BAKURETSU sisters. It led to some fun triple team moves as they clambered onto each other’s shoulders in an attempt to create height.

Meanwhile, Mizuki’s problems with Rika continued as she had to dive out of the way of a flying hug early on. Poor Tatsumi was trying her best, angrily letting the ref know when Shoko had a hold of her love’s hair, but it all had a habit of backfiring on her.

In among all that loving nonsense, we also got a fantastic back and forth between Shoko and Yuka, as they picked up where they left off at Ultimate Party. Those two have brilliant chemistry as they feel like two evenly matched wrestlers pushing each other to see who can come out on top.

It wouldn’t be brilliant wrestling that decided this, but Rika’s infatuation. With Yuka and Mizuki perched on the top, she insisted on joining them before deciding Sakazaki’s presence wasn’t needed. That attack left Mizuki rather perturbed, and the bickering that broke out left their opponents a chance to capitalise. To make matters worse for poor Tatsumi, she’d end up connecting with a stray Hip Attack to Mizuki sending her into the roll-up that got the three.

Once again, this was brilliant fun, and the breakout of serious wrestling in the middle only added to my enjoyment. Can we find a way to keep Magical Dragon Rabbits together forever? I’d definitely be down for more of this.

Verdict: Three And Three Quarter Stars

Miyu Yamashita defeated Natsumi Maki

Dominant. Credit: TJPW

Natsumi Maki returned from injury in a courageous effort against her friend Sareee. After that, she went out of her way to ask for a match with Miyu Yamashita, claiming she wanted to continue to challenge herself in the ring. It was a statement that almost seemed to offend Yamashita, who perhaps felt that she would provide a much stiffer obstacle than Maki’s pal.

And, from the second the belt went, there was a real feeling that school was in session and the lessons were being delivered via Miyu’s boots. She was the dominant force in this match, at one point repeatedly kicking Natsumi back to the ground as she attempted to fire up. Every Yamashita strike was on-point, and the overriding message was that Maki isn’t on her level.

That’s not to say she didn’t have her moments, though. She showed fire in a stiff forearm exchange and had an Armbar locked on that saw Miyu scrambling to the ropes. However, if she had won this match, it would have been Miyu slipping on a banana skin rather than Maki outclassing her. Even when she was in control, you got the impression the tide could turn at any second, a fact perfectly summed up by the rage on Yamashita’s face as she was pulled to her feet by her hair.

In the end, it was almost simple, one beautifully brutal kick to the head followed by an Attitude Adjustment, and it was over. Maki tried, but she’s not ready for this and in her post-match comments Miyu made it clear that she was disappointed in her opponent’s performance. Natsumi, meanwhile, swore she could do more, and one suspects that she’s found a mountain that she is determined to conquer. Fuck, I love this shit.

Verdict: Four And A Half Stars

Cat’s PYE! (Yuna Manase, Mina Shirakawa and Yuki Kamifuku) defeated TJPW Tokusatsu Club! (Shoko Nakajima, Nodoka Tenma and Yuki Aino) to win the 3-Woman Party Tournament

A hard-fought battle. Credit: TJPW

Our tournament final was a fun match, but perhaps never anything more than that. While it had plenty of enjoyable moments, Tenma and Manase hossing it out was a personal highlight, they never quite added up in a way that elevated them. It was good, just not great.

In the end, Kamiyu would pull a new trick out of her bag, leaping from the second rope with a Fameasser. It would take enough out of her that she couldn’t follow-up immediately, but she connected with a second one to make sure of the result and earn her team 30,000 yen worth of vouchers to be spent on local delicacies.

Amusingly, Kamiyu also decided post-match that she wanted to challenge for the KO-D Six-Man Titles, claiming that because she and Iino are friends, she knows all his weaknesses. That’s a match I never knew I wanted until now.

Verdict: Three And A Quarter Stars

Overall Show

That was an easy watch. The tournament was good without ever moving past that as the matches were kept short not to overwork the wrestlers. I’ve no issues with that, and everyone involved delivered something entertaining. The real gem, though, was Maki vs Miyu, which I fucking loved. It was a stiff match pushed to the next level by a fantastic narrative. If you’re picking one thing on this show to checkout, make it that one.

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