Watching everyone return to Korakuen, even if it is in front of small crowds, is a joy. There is just something right about wrestling airing live from that place, even if this did take place at 4 am on a Thursday for me. Still, it’s Tokyo Joshi! Who needs sleep?
Mirai Maiumi and Sena Shiori defeated Suzume and Moka Miyamoto
Moka Miyamoto is our latest TJPW rookie and has a background in karate. She also has interesting gear with a long skirt that I initially assumed she was going to take off after her entrance. I was wrong and it ended up adding a bit to her wrestling as the way it flowed around her looked really cool.
That wasn’t the only thing to look good, as she’d have a strong debut, shaking off the nerves that were (unsurprisingly) visible on her face beforehand. There was a crispness to her wrestling and she already seemed quite happy to throw herself into moves, unafraid of slugging it out. I was impressed!
Outside of the newbie, it was routine stuff with a focus on giving Mirai the rub. While Moka was the one debuting, she wasn’t the only rookie in that ring, and yet I don’t think anyone who was watching for the first time would have been able to tell.
Verdict: Hello, Moka!
Pom Harajuku and Mahiro Kiryu defeated Haruna Neko and Unagi Himawara
From a debut to a return as Unagi comes back from injury with a fresh new look. She kept it rather simple, working through that ring rust, but she didn’t look particularly off the pace, even if she would end up taking the pin, Pom de Justice seeing her off.
Talking of Pom, she seemed unusually serious out there, which slightly clashed with the fact that her hair is now half red, half blue. She looked good, though, grasping the opportunity to be one of the lead figures in the match and picking up a rare victory.
There was nothing particularly special about this, but everyone did well and it was nice to have Unagi back.
Verdict: Welcome Back, Unagi
Hikari Noa defeated Raku
An Up Up Girls’ match in Korakuen Hall? Yes, please.
They seemed to have two goals in this, the first of which was to continue Hikari recent build. It’s obvious that TJPW sees what everyone else does, and there is a reason she is racking up all these wins. She’s someone who has nailed the little things, like that extra streak of aggression that had her throwing elbows at Raku even when she’d gone down.
However, this also felt like a chance to continue Raku’s recent story, as she’s now a lot closer to Hikari than she would have been at the start of the year. Yes, she would ultimately lose, but she made her fellow idol work for it, showing a lot of that babyface fire she’s cultivated in recent months. Raku might not be on Noa’s level yet, but she’s not as far away as she once was.
Verdict: These Up Up Girls Have Talent
Mina Shirakawa defeated Yuki Kamifuku
Things are not well between Mina and Kamiyu. With Yuki grabbing the chance to push herself up the card, Mina was jealous and unafraid to say so. For Kamiyu, however, that was her friend making the whole thing about her, dragging the spotlight back onto someone who she felt had wrestling come easily to her, in direct contrast to the struggles she’d personally faced.
It meant that this was not a friendly battle between partners with Kamiyu, in particular, coming out with some vicious strikes. There was a Big Boot that looked like it could have decapitated poor Mina and she showed no qualms about driving her pal’s head into the turnbuckle. Friends are often the ones that hit hardest, and that was definitely proving to be true here.
They also often come together for the best matches, and this was really good. Kamiyu and Mina are part of that group of TJPW wrestlers who are all coming into their own around the same time, and both have taken massive steps forward. They have a crispness and confidence to their wrestling that wasn’t there even six months ago, as they put together what was probably one of the best outings of both their careers.
In the end, it was Mina who got the win, hitting a Spin-Out Slam thing (technical name) for the three. However, for the second match in a row, this was a contest that benefited both of them. Mina might be a step ahead right now, but as she carried her friend to the back, you can bet that this isn’t the last time they’ll face off on a big stage. Hopefully, next time, they won’t need to fall out to do so.
Verdict: Lovely Stuff
Miyu Yamashita, Natsumi Maki and Mizuki defeated Yuna Manase, Maki Itoh and Nodoka Tenma
If you were worried Yuna’s farewell would be too emotional, Itoh-chan was here to provide some laughs. She was so screechy during her interactions with Natsupoi that both Miyu and Mizuki dropped off the apron, wanting to avoid tinnitus. Not long after, she decided she wanted a slice of Yuna’s, em, chest-based offence, but proved to lack the padding necessary for it to be effective. Yea, I should probably leave that one alone.
This was one of those matches that they’d packed with things I like. Mizuki has great chemistry with Itoh and Tenma, Miyu’s taking heads and Natsupoi is making the incredible look effortless. It’s the kind of tag that you can relax into, sitting back safe in the knowledge you are in good hands that are going to leave you with a big old smile on your face.
Ultimately, though, it was about Yuna and this whole lead-up to her stepping away from Tokyo Joshi has made it pretty clear that she’s a beloved figure in that locker-room. Everyone seems to have a place in their heart for her, and while this is more a see you later than a farewell, she couldn’t stop herself getting emotional at the end. She can take heart from the fact she went out on a high, though, saying cheerio with a damn entertaining match.
Verdict: Yuna Come To ChocoPro
Daydream (Miu Watanabe and Rika Tatsumi) defeated Kyoraku Kyomei (Hyper Misao and Shoko Nakajima) to retain the Princess Tag Titles
Misao promised before the match to fight cleanly, a promise that I believed with all my heart. It’s also worth remembering that there was a fair amount of history to this with Miu and Rika winning the titles being a big part in Misao snapping (unsnapping? Depends on your point of view really) and returning to her superhero destiny.
Unsurprisingly, it was also a whole lot of fun, and if Misao did tie Miu’s legs around the ring post and attempt to ride a bike into her, well, the ref didn’t see it, so was it really cheating? It was Miu who threw Shoko onto the kaiju toys! She better be willing to pay for any of those that broke, I’m willing to bet there are a few collectables in there.
Jokes aside, Shoko and Misao’s antics have made them one of my favourite tag teams while Rika and Miu proved great foils. Watanabe has the perfect, wild-eyed look of confusion to sell their nonsense and there is a decent chance she is genuinely confused. Misao and Shoko are living on a different planet to the rest of us.
In the end, sadly the kaiju and the superhero fell victim to superior power, Miu’s ability to toss them into the air turning the tide. That gave Rika and that diamond arse the chance to take flight, and not even a superhero can survive that.
Verdict: A Perfectly Clean Fight
Yuka Sakazaki defeated Yuki Aino to retain the Princess of Princess Title
I’ve long believed that your standard fan view of botches and what they mean is dumb. Wrestling presents itself as a fight, two people decking it out and trying to prove who is the best. In that environment, people are going to make mistakes. They’re going to struggle to lift each other and mess up their incredible feats of high-flying. It’s kind of the natural next step to punching each other in the face.
And that’s what this match felt like. It felt like two people who wanted to punch each other in the face. Yes, that meant it wasn’t always pretty, and there was more than one moment where I drew in a breath and hoped no-one was about to land on their head, but it was the right kind of breath. If anything that struggle drew me further in. It felt like Aino and Sakazaki were in a fight, and for all that my taste in wrestling can lean towards the silly, I also really like it when they fight.
On top of that, it played into the idea of Aino grabbing onto the biggest shot of her career so far and throwing everything at it. Even as her body let her down, making it harder and harder for her to lift Yuka, her mind refused to accept it. She was going to give her all and if it meant she dropped Sakazaki on her head, so be it.
Plus, if you’re looking for the spectacular, it wasn’t lacking. Aino pushed Sakazaki so far she pulled out a good old-fashioned super finisher, a 450 version of the Magical Girl Splash that I’ve certainly never seen before. It was a moment of beauty at the end of a hard-hitting war.
Yuka’s post-match promo had her call Mizuki into the ring for a hug, and that was just lovely. All tag-teams partners should be there for when their pal needs a hug.
Scrolling back through what I’ve written, that was a damn good show, wasn’t it? You’ve got debuts, returns, great singles matches, Misao trying to ride a bike into someone and a main-event with a shitload to talk about. God, I love TJPW.
Watch Tokyo Joshi Pro: https://www.ddtpro.com/universe/videos?teamId=tjpw