Another day, another Princess Cup review. It never stops, does it? Still, who am I to complain about an abundance of wrestling that I enjoy?
BAKURETSU Sisters (Yuki Aino and Nodoka Tenma) and Haruka Neko defeated Maki Itoh, Raku and Himawari Unagi
Neko and Itoh are one of those random pairings that always work well together. Itoh takes great pleasure out of bullying Tokyo Joshi’s number one cat wrestler, stepping out of the way to trip her up or unleashing her own claws. It’s a dynamic that tends to be a highlight of any tag they’re in.
Outside of that, this was a fairly standard opener. Unagi continues to get her legs back underneath her post-injury while the presence of Nodoka will always brighten my day. Her wee sister would pick up the win as Aino’s good form seems in no danger of stopping.
Verdict: Cat vs Idol
Mizuki defeated Sena Shiori and Mirai Maiumi
Sena and Mirai are learning. When Mizuki ‘innocently’ offered to pair up with Sena at the start of the match, the rookies shared a glance and decided they were much better together. You can’t spend your whole career being a goblin child without it occasionally biting you on the bum.
Unfortunately, sometimes when you do the right things, you don’t get the reward you deserve. The rookies may have been smart enough to not trust Mizuki, but she’s still Mizuki, and those goblin tendencies are part of an impressive package. This was a match built around the kids impressing, but Mizuki was still a step ahead of them the whole way, dishing out lessons as she went. At least they got an education out of it.
Verdict: Rookies Should Avoid Goblins
Natsumi Maki defeated Pom Harajuku in the Princess Cup Second Round
Pom was full of tricksy ideas in this one, going for the Shin Kick out of the handshake before ‘tripping’ as she ran the ropes, luring Natsupoi into a series of flash pins when she tried to pick her up. (Since I wrote this, Pom has actually admitted that she just tripped… but it worked!)
It was a flurry that left Maki really struggling to get a grip on the match. Pom followed up the Shin Kicks by going after Poi’s leg, never really giving her a road into the action. In fact, it was only a missed Pom de Justice that turned the tide, stunning its executor for long enough to let Natsumi set up the Cartwheel Bomb and the win.
That was a really well-worked wee match. Pom’s one of these people who is quietly improving, perhaps not showing the flash of some of her contemporaries, but taking steady strides forward. Much like her match with Miyu earlier in the year, they built this around her unique offence, and it was all the better for it.
Verdict: Lovely Stuff
Shoko Nakajima defeated Mahiro Kiryu in the Princess Cup Second Round
I must have mentioned this before, but I spend an unusual amount of time during Kiryu matches thinking about how comfy her trousers look. They at least appear to be really soft, and as the pyjama bottoms I wear around the house are looking a bit shabby after getting a lot of use recently, I’d quite like a pair.
Em, wrestling! Yes, that’s what we’re here to talk about. Kiryu was given a decent amount of this match. I’m not sure I ever bought into the idea that she could win, but with their respective positioning in the company, I was expecting Shoko to breeze through. Instead, Kiryu put up a stiff challenge, looking good in a rare opportunity to have a decent length singles. She’s someone that I haven’t given too much credit too, but judging by this, I should perhaps pay some more attention to her.
Verdict: Well Done, Kiryu
Daydream (Miu Watanabe and Rika Tatsumi) and Suzume defeated Cat’s Pye (Mina Shirakawa and Yuki Kamifuku) and Moka Miyamoto
Mina and Miu were not messing around. They bulldozed their way into the spotlight and were in no mood for the usual fun time Tokyo Joshi tag antics. It says a lot about both of their recent rises up the card that it felt like a big-time pairing, and I hope we get to see it again in the future.
Their pairing seemed to set the tone for the action as this became a hard-working bout, Rika eventually pinning Moka for the win. Said rookie looked decent, though, which is becoming a recurring theme. She’s got a flair to her wrestling already and seems to be quickly finding her feet.
It all added up to match that, for me, over-delivered. I nearly always expect these tags to be good, but it’s generally in quite a relaxed way. This pushed things up a notch or two and was a nice change because of it.
Verdict: Really Good
Miyu Yamashita defeated Hikari Noa in the Princess Cup Second Round
Our semi-main was a biggie. It’s clear to anyone with eyes that Noa is a star, and Tokyo Joshi has been slowly building her up. However, the January 4th show aside, she’s slipped into the background a bit. Picking up a lot of wins, but not being placed front and centre. That made the chance to wrestle the Ace in a semi-main event spot a big opportunity.
And while a lot of people, myself included, were expecting her to get the win here, her defeat did not take away from what was a great performance. Miyu, for the most part, was out there trying to make Noa look good, an asset of her game that never gets enough appreciation. For the bulk of this match, Noa was presented as Miyu’s equal, matching her while grappling and when they got back to her feet. Then, when she began to move in for the victory, she picked up an incredible 2.99 off a pinning combination, the fans unable to stop their gasps.
The problem, as it is so often is when you wrestle Miyu, is that one mistake can lead to your head entering orbit. Even by Yamashita standards, though, the kick that flared into life out of nowhere was a brutal one, leaving poor Noa with no chance. She’s still a star in the making, but it might be a while before she gets one over the Ace.
Verdict: The Wait Goes On
Hyper Misao defeated Yuka Sakazaki in the Princess Cup Second Round
Before the match, Misao declared she was going to fight clean, removing the various objects she had hidden around her person. Unfortunately, she forgot about the spray-can she had in her bra, so I don’t think she can be blamed for using that to get ahead. As for the second one, well, who doesn’t carry around an extra? The third? Em, it always helps to be prepared?
Unsurprisingly, the opening act became about Yuka trying to hold Misao’s antics at bay. At one point, she snapped, choking everyone’s favourite superhero with her own cape, leading Referee Kiso to shake his head and ask ‘what has gotten into you?’. She seemed unsure as to what the answer was, but I suspect Sakazaki was enjoying it since she was ramming Misao with the turnbuckle pad shortly after.
And while the antics ran out, Yuka’s anger didn’t go with them, as she moved to focus on Misao’s leg with some real intensity. It stripped the saviour of Tokyo Joshi back, leaving her without her various weapons and hobbling around the ring. Yet, she refused to give up, slugging it out with Yuka and fighting safe in the knowledge that she always has one last trick. This one was shenanigan free, though, a well timed pair of knees blocking the Magical Girl Splash and letting her bundle Yuka into a pinning combination for the win.
I enjoyed that a lot. While it started like an injection of pure Misao, that was slowly stripped away by the champ, forcing her to find a way to win without the gimmicks. She’s the superhero we need for a reason, and this was a well-deserved victory.
Verdict: Misao Always Has A Plan
The Princess Cup keeps delivering as these are proving to be a blast. They are kept, like most Tokyo Joshi shows, to around two hours, which always helps, but I don’t think it matters how long they are when they are this damn fun. There are promotions out there who deliver consistently higher quality wrestling that Tokyo Joshi, but there are very few that make me as happy.
Watch Tokyo Joshi Pro: https://www.ddtpro.com/universe/videos?teamId=tjpw