I’m slowly getting through the overload of shows from last weekend and up next is day two of the Princess Cup. The first round was rather upset free, so would there be any surprises in the first half of round two? Time to find out.
Miyu Yamashita, Pom Harajuku and Mahiro Kiryu defeated Natsumi Maki, Hikari Noa and Sena Shiori
Our opener saw Natsumi Maki discover that the best way to respond to Pom’s shin kicks is to do it right back to her, leaving the two of them limping back to their corners. There is something about watching two grown women kick each other in the shin that will never stop being funny.
That was one of the two second-round matches we were building to here as we also got a taste of Miyu vs Noa, an encounter a lot of people had their eye on (and which has obviously now happened). We were only given snippets, but it was Noa who came out on top, connecting with a Uranage and leaving Miyu in enough pain that she didn’t even celebrate the victory with her team. I reckon that made it 1-0 to Hikari.
Verdict: Teasing Us
Shoko Nakajima defeated Nodoka Tenma and Haruna Neko in a Three-Way
Nodoka, famously, has to use her arm when doing the Figure Four Neck Lock because her legs are too short. In this match, perhaps buoyed by being in the ring with two people the same height as her, she decided to put it on both opponents at once. It was a dream she dared to dream, and one can only praise her spirit.
It wasn’t the only moment Nodoka got to shine in this one as she was slipped into the role of the powerhouse. There were a couple of spots where she struggled to get people up, but she always recovered, which only added to the action for me. Sadly, her impressive performance wasn’t enough to earn her the win, as we learnt that kaijus will quite happily gobble up cats.
Still, even if my favourite wasn’t granted a victory, it was a decent wee match that was enjoyable while it lasted.
Mizuki defeated Suzume in the Princess Cup Second Round
Suzume’s first Princess Cup came to an end as the luck of the draw presented her a mountain too big to climb.
That was the story of the action as Suzume found herself facing someone a step up on the toughness scale. She even hit the move that got her the win against Haruna, leaping from the top with a Crossbody, but what beats Haruna Neko doesn’t necessarily beat Mizuki.
Suzume can still look back on this happily, though. It was her first Princess Cup, and she put on a couple of decent matches before falling to a vastly more experienced opponent. There is no shame in that.
Verdict: Well Done, Suzume
Maki Itoh defeated Yuki Kamifuku in the Princess Cup Second Round
I’ve always been a fan of wrestlers who have that one move in their arsenal that they know they can always rely on. It doesn’t matter how much trouble they are in they can fall back on it like a beloved comfort blanket, unleashing it at the exact right moment to turn things in their favour. For Kamiyu that move is rapidly becoming her brilliant Big Boot, which is a good choice as it regularly looks capable of decapitation.
It played into a key moment in this match as Itoh took advantage of Kamiyu’s frustration early on. She’s been having a rough time with friends recently, so when Itoh refused her handshake, she went after her, snapping a wee bit. Unfortunately, it also made her sloppy, giving Maki the opening she needed to start attacking that back and setting up for the Itoh Special.
The boot would then briefly change the game, but unfortunately for Kamiyu, Itoh also has a weapon her pocket, namely that big fucking head. As Kamiyu slapped her across the face, it looked like things were going south for Itoh-chan, but a headbutt changed that. As Yuki crumbled, all that was left was to slap on the Itoh Special and have that work from earlier in the match pay-off.
I really enjoyed this one. Kamiyu and Itoh are two rapidly improving wrestlers who understand how to tell a story in that ring. It’s a pairing I will happily watch a hundred more times.
Verdict: Lovely Stuff
Yuka Sakazaki, Mina Shirakawa and Moka Miyamoto defeated Hyper Misao, Raku and Himawari Unagi
With this being a Hyper Misao match, we started with a strange dance battle to make up for the lack of summer festivals. Honestly, if you haven’t accepted this kind of thing by now, you’re watching the wrong company. She also apologised to Moka for calling her a nobody the day before. Sure, it was a distraction to kick her in the gut, but I have a feeling she was sincere.
Misao was also out there to preview her match with Yuka, and we got a rare hint of a serious superhero in their interactions. I would be shocked if that extended into a shenanigan free match, though. (Spoiler, it didn’t.)
Throw in some strong performances from everyone else involved, and this was another fun multi-women tag. It was also the first win of Moka’s career, which I’m sure was a nice moment for her even if she didn’t make the pin.
Verdict: Superheroes Dance Too
Miu Watanabe defeated Mirai Maiumi in the Princess Cup Second Round
Wee hoss vs rookie hoss! Mirai walked down to the ring with a serious look on her face, and you instantly got the impression we were in for a fight.
A fight was what we got as these two had a match I was not expecting from them. This became a very mature battle with Miu going after Mirai’s back and the rookie returning the favour by going after the arm. All match long they were consistent in their attacks, focusing their offence and doing a good job selling too (Miu even fell back clutching that arm after getting the win). It was a damn good showing and a step above what I expected from them (which I don’t mean as a slight, I’m a fan of both these two).
In the end, Miu had that little bit more to her, a big blow to the chest stunning Maiumi long enough to drop her with the Teardrop. This was a hell of a bout, though, and perhaps one of the best singles matches of both wrestlers’ young careers.
Verdict: Damn Good!
Yuki Aino defeated Rika Tatsumi in the Princess Cup Second Round
Aino is developing a shitload of fighting spirit, ain’t she? Post-war with Yuka, she was handed a tough draw against a Rika who was determined to take her leg out from under her. Whenever it looked like Yuki was about to find some momentum Rika went back to that damaged leg, using it to turn the tide in her favour.
Yet, Aino kept fighting. She’s got a real physicality to her wrestling that turns these matches into fights and the fact she absorbs so much damage only adds to that. We’re seeing her start to excel as that battling babyface, taking a beating, but refusing to stay down until there is literally nothing left.
Unlike the match with Yuka, this time she was able to get the win. There was nothing wrong with Rika’s plan, but Yuki gave off the vibe of someone who wasn’t going to lose. She’s got a taste of that main event, and if you’re looking to budge her, it’s going to take a hell of an effort.
Verdict: Battling Yuki!
If you’re focusing purely on the in-ring work, then this was a step-up from day one of the Princess Cup. There are three matches here that I would urge you to check out (Maki vs Kamiyu, Mirai vs Miu and Yuki vs Rika), but the whole thing is well worth your time. This is already proving to be a good tournament, and we’ve only got exciting things ahead!
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