TJPW ~ HEART & BODY ~ (21/3/20) Review

A final snarl. Credit: TJPW

I haven’t stopped feeling weird about Japanese companies going back to hosting live wrestling shows, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy having the Up Up Girls kick off a show. Tokyo Joshi was back in front of fans and, to celebrate, were giving us the next chapter in the feud of the year. Misgivings or not, it’s hard not to enjoy that.

Rika Tatsumi defeated Sena Shiori

New look. Credit: TJPW

Rika gave a debut to her new gear which was the talk of Twitter even before this show was available. She’s also brilliant in these kinds of matches, letting Sena shine and heeling it up just enough to make the crowd know that it’s okay for them to cheer the rookie. Those little moments of arrogance make all the difference, even if she’s smiling while doing it.

And Sena had a good showing here. She’d repeatedly frustrate Rika’s attempts to hit the Elbow Drop and was stubbornly hanging in, at one point forcing Tatsumi to make the crawl to the ropes. I think I’ve made this point before, but for someone who made their debut less than three months ago, she’s remarkably assured. There hasn’t been a single moment where I feel like she’s looked out of place.

Of course, in the end, she lost, Rika christening her new outfit with a win. It was all a nice way to kick off the show, nothing remarkable, but solid, enjoyable wrestling.

Verdict: Easy Watching

Cat’s Pye (Yuna Manase, Mina Shirakawa and Yuki Kamifuku) defeated Pom Harajuku, Mahiro Kiryu and Haruna Neko

Teamwork! Credit: TJPW

My affection for Pom has grown substantially after watching some snippets of the streamed signing session Tokyo Joshi did. It made it very clear that we share a common affliction, aka the inability to sit still. Watching her fidget around, annoying everyone next to her, was very relatable and I now feel Pom and I are kindred spirits.

She also had a good performance in the ring. In fact, it was a solid day for most of her team as despite suffering defeat, I was impressed by her and Mahiro in particular. Kiryu was particularly great in standing up to Kamiyu’s bullying ways, facing her down and, well, paying the price. But she tried! And I respect that.

Ultimately, this was a pretty routine win for Cat’s Pye, but (as is usually the case with Tokyo Joshi) the journey that got us there was pleasant.

Verdict: Another Pleasant Watch

Hyper Misao defeated Nodoka Tenma

Bonding. Credit: TJPW

Hyper Misao and Nodoka Tenma in the ring together? Tokyo Joshi, you spoil me. If anything was capable of putting a smile on my locked down face, it was this.

Sadly, the show didn’t air live meaning there was no translation, and I didn’t have a clue what Misao was saying, but it ended with the two of them speed drinking cartons of milk, so I assume it was great. What was in that milk I don’t know, but it fired them the fuck up, and they were off, wrestling at a hundred miles an hour.

Said milk became a recurring theme as whenever one of them would tire they’d get a wee hit, which served to get them going again. If Big Milk watched this they’ll have been rubbing their hands with glee, as for Tenma and Misao it seems to have taken on some Venom style properties.

As anyone who has read these reviews before will know, this is the kind of shit I eat up, and when it comes from two of the funniest wrestlers on the roster, it’s even better. Just watch Tenma and Misao’s expressions throughout this match. The joy on Nodoka’s face after chugging a carton of milk is brilliant, although the impact when she missed a Splash seconds later probably wasn’t. It’s joy through wrestling, and I am always alright with that.

Verdict: Milk!

Maki Itoh and Raku defeated Miu Watanabe and Suzume

Maki gets involved. Credit: TJPW

One of life’s underrated pleasures is Tokyo Joshi wrestlers dancing to each other’s entrance music. For an example of that, watch how excited Suzume looks when Miu’s hits. She was having a lovely time.

Away from the dancing, we’re on the road to Maki and Raku challenging for the tag titles, with the match designed to show off their abilities as a team. We got to see moments like Raku grabbing Maki to prevent her from missing the falling headbutt, returning the rolling Suzume into position and then allowing Itoh to complete the move. It was both a lovely comedy spot and a perfect expression of their growth as a pairing.

We also, more importantly, got to see the continued evolution of Raku. She’s taken a much more active role in these matches, working a lot more offence and being involved in the closing stretches. She even picked up another pinfall, hitting Doctor Yellow as she settles into the idea that she can beat anyone.

This was a nice little match which furthered Raku and Itoh’s story as they head towards the belts. It also did a solid job of keeping Miu strong, letting her shine in moments and keeping her away from the finish. In that respect, there is absolutely nothing to complain about.

Verdict: Well Done All!

Magical Sugar Rabbits (Yuka Sakazaki and Mizuki) and Hikari Noa defeated Shoko Nakajima, Yuki Aino and Mirai Maiumi

Flying rabbits. Credit: TJPW

In a weird way, these are the matches I find hardest to review because beyond just describing what happened in it, all I can say is that I had a fucking lovely time. For the period these six were in the ring, they put the accelerator on and blasted through a frantic back and forth whirlwind of action.

It also quickly became clear that Noa teaming up with the Sugar Rabbits was going to be all kind of fun. Those three seemed to click, leading to some nice moments between the three of them as they took on their more powerful opponents. Those opponents looked great too, Shoko and Yuka having a fun back and forth, while Mirai is getting better and better at putting her stamp on the action.

On the home stretch, it became clear the Sugar Rabbits chemistry was going to win out, that natural instinct they have given them the edge. However, as I said above, this was just fun wrestling. Sometimes you don’t need to overanalyse stuff, and your job becomes merely to sit back and enjoy.

Verdict: A Blast!

Miyu Yamashita defeated Natsumi Maki

Ouch. Credit: TJPW

Natsumi Maki cannot beat Miyu Yamashita. For the third time in as many months, she got her chance to take on the woman who sets the bar in Tokyo Joshi and, for the third time, she lost. However, that’s not Natsupoi’s story at this time. Her story is that with every step, she gets a bit closer.

And this was easily the closest she has come yet. With the gap between this show happening and it going on Universe, I sadly came in spoiled, but when she hit the Backlash and rolled into a pin, I still thought she had it. She’d wrestled the match so well, attacking Miyu’s leg and showing a vicious streak that wasn’t there back in January. It meant when that move hit, it made all the sense in the world that Yamashita would be unable to kick out.

Except, Miyu is fucking Miyu, and that’s the other side of this story. When she has her game face on, there is no-one better, and Maki isn’t the only one has learnt from their matches. Just watch the way she effortlessly sidesteps Natsupoi first attack, a memory of their previous encounter installed in her mind. This is the Mega Champ, and she doesn’t just lose to anyone.

Natsupoi can take hope, though. She might have lost for the third time, but when Miyu hit that beautiful Reverse Roundhouse Kick, she was too exhausted to follow-up. They both crawled to their knees, grabbing each other by the hair as Maki let a roar of frustration. It was enough to tell Yamashita that she was going to have to go that extra step to get the win, taking off across the ring to come flying back with Crash Rabbit Heat. Yea, she beat her, but this time she had to kill her to do it.

Verdict: Perfection

Post-match Miyu offered Natsupoi her hand, only to have it smacked away. It seems Maki is fed-up of playing respectfully.

Overall Show

The world could be ending outside (and it kind of feels like it is), but Tokyo Joshi would still make me smile. It’s even better when it’s Tokyo Joshi headlined by Natsupoi vs Miyu, as they continue to wrap up that feud of the year award without trying (I suspect they’re trying). Outside of that, the show was just hella enjoyable as Tokyo Joshi does what Tokyo Joshi does best. Love it!

Watch Tokyo Joshi Pro:

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