The doors may have swung open at Tokyo Joshi and had a few people wander out, blinking in the glare of stardom, but business goes on! There are still a fair few talented wrestlers in old TJPW, and any rumours of their demise have been greatly exaggerated.
Mirai Maiumi defeated Moka Miyamoto
I’m sure this is at least partly a shift in my perception, but after her impressive tag title shot, Mirai feels like a bigger deal. It’s been clear for a while that the lass has vast potential, but she’s levelled up. While Mirai is still a rookie, she’s widening the gap between her and the likes of Moka.
It helps that she’s not your typical Tokyo Joshi wrestler. In a company that leans on character, she feels like someone that could have emerged in one of the more traditional wrestling promotions. She works a back to basics style, based around strong fundamentals and simple power moves, putting them together in a way that looks bloody sore.
That was reflected in a contest that was surprisingly grappling heavy. Miyamoto and Mirai worked hard, putting together a physical match-up that felt different from what we usually see in these opening spots. In the end, that physicality played to Mirai’s strength, but both women came out of this looking impressive.
Verdict: Strong Work
Daydream (Miu Watanabe and Rika Tatsumi) and Raku defeated Hyper Misao, Shoko Nakajima and Sena Shiori
Kamiyu was at ringside despite having broken her finger, and Shoko was nice enough to ask if she was okay. What a caring kaiju. Not that it stopped her getting involved in Misao’s nefarious antics. Everyone’s favourite superhero was furious to learn Daydream had been setting up future contenders without consulting her, so demanded that if they win, they get a shot at the belts.
Surprisingly, though, after a spray heavy opening this match was rather shenanigan free. It did, however, feature Rika and Miu oversleeping after the Goodnight Express, causing Raku to have to slap them (gently) awake. Honestly, that might make it my match of the year.
Okay, it maybe wasn’t quite that good, but it was an enjoyable watch. While there wasn’t a whole lot to get your teeth into, it flew by and never stopped being entertaining. As a mid-card tag with little to no stakes (apart from those invented by Misao), it delivered a nice time.
Mizuki defeated Haruna Neko
Matches like this one always provide a challenge. Haruna Neko is not beating Mizuki 95% of the time, but she’s certainly not doing it while she’s building towards a title challenge. So, how do you make it interesting? You have to find another way to hook your audience in.
Well, if you’re Mizuki and a wee goblin child, you bully the cat. She was grabbing hold of Neko’s hair in a submission, yanking on it and having fun before letting out a scream of annoyance when she dared reach the ropes. It was a lovely little way to build sympathy for the rookie, drawing you into supporting her even if you knew she didn’t have a chance.
I still never believed Neko was going to pull off that heist, and the match was little more than an extended squash, but it was an entertaining one. Neko wasn’t drowned in Mizuki’s charisma, and the number one contender got another win under her belt – job done.
Verdict: Did What It Needed To
Yuka Sakazaki defeated Suzume
See all the preamble I did to Mizuki vs Neko? Yea, that again except this time it’s the champ, not the challenger, and a bee, not a cat.
It was a different match style, though. These two went for more of a veteran vs rookie vibe, Yuka trying to slow things down against the energetic Suzume. Coming off that brilliant tag title shot, Suzume was looking to impress, working hard and continuing to look good.
Again, though, it never convinced me that Yuka was going to lose. It was enjoyable enough, but a tad too long, as a minute or two being shaved off would have made it that little tighter. That might be me nitpicking, though, as like Mizuki vs Noa, it did what it needed to do.
Verdict: Rinse And Repeat
Miyu Yamashita and Maki Itoh defeated Hikari Noa and Marika Kobashi
You know normally if you’ve been off work for a long time you’re welcomed back with a trip to the pub or questions about how you’ve been. There are very few workplaces where it is acceptable for Miyu Yamashita to kick your head off on your first day back.
Sadly, that is what happened to poor Marika, but she looked good before the decapitation. While there were a couple of moments of rust, the odds are that I only really noticed them because I was looking for them. Considering how long she’d been away, she slipped back in nicely, showing no fear when trying to chop the shit out of Miyu.
The other treat from this match was how fun Miyu and Maki were as a pairing. They had prepared a ridiculously elaborate Falling Headbutt move that took so long to set-up that Kobashi could have gone and got a coffee, but it made me laugh. It feels more and more like it doesn’t matter who you put Itoh with, she ends up making a decent team out of it.
Verdict: Welcome Back, Marika
The Bakuretsu Sisters (Nodoka Tenma and Yuki Aino) defeated Mahiro Kiryu and Pom Harajuku
Originally this was supposed to be Kamiyu and Mahiro, but as I mentioned before, Kamiyu broke her finger. While that’s a damn shame for Yuki, it was nice to see how excited Pom was, bouncing out from behind the curtain. Then again, she usually bounces, so maybe it was just a typical day at the office for her.
Whatever she felt, it was a fantastic performance from her. I’ve mentioned before that Pom has been improving, but I think this was the clearest example of it yet. She’s put together a fun move-set with those Shin Kicks always opening up some interesting spots. Her and the always reliable Mahiro made for a good pairing, Kiryu even pulling out a little tribute to Kamiyu by going against her generally good nature with an eye poke.
In the end, though, the Bakuretsu Sisters were always a step ahead of them. Kiryu and Pom played the defiant rookies, but the sisters were too tough, Nodoka at one point standing and soaking up Mahiro’s elbows. While they might not quite be grizzled veterans, they have been in this spot before and know how to win these matches. That experience would ultimately prove the difference.
However, this is the second rookie tag-team that has impressed in a main event recently. TJPW’s tag division is quietly doing a nice job of giving these talented youths a chance, and I love to see it.
Verdict: Good Stuff!
Another enjoyable TJPW show. There perhaps wasn’t a match that I would be screaming at people to watch, but everything worked well, and it built nicely to the main event. If you’re in a rush, you probably need only watch said main event (and maybe the semi-main), but the whole thing is worth your time.
Watch Tokyo Joshi Pro: https://www.ddtpro.com/universe/videos?teamId=tjpw