Tokyo Joshi’s last show before Wrestle Princess still had a couple of things to sort out. The biggest of which is figuring out who will join Mirai and Shoko in the semis of the International Princess Title Tournament. I know who I’m betting on, but as I’ve already watched the show, it would be a slightly tainted guess.
I have fully embraced the new Up Up Girls’ song. All the fist-pumping is great as is the bit where it stops and they all bow their heads before coming back strong. You can tell I used to review a lot of music, can’t you?
Mirai Mauimi defeated Sena Shiori and Moka Miyamoto
I respected what these three were going for as they wrestled this match like they’d sat backstage, working hard to come up with ideas for how to have all three as involved as possible. That’s an admirable goal, I’m just not sure it entirely worked.
The opening sequences were the perfect example of my issue, as one person would grab someone in a hold only for the third to come in and pull them away via a free limb, dragging them into a submission of their own. While in theory, I like that, the way they executed it lacked any sense of urgency or aggression. It felt like three people trying to remember their next move rather than slipping into the flow of the match.
Still, it’s worth remembering that Moka and Sena have less than a year’s experience while Mirai doesn’t have much more. I would rather see them try something different than go out there and stick to a formula. Sometimes it will work, sometimes it won’t. For me, this was the latter, but there is every chance it sets them up to succeed the next time they give it a go.
Verdict: A Worthy Effort
Miyu Yamashita, Maki Itoh and Raku defeated Hyper Misao, Shoko Nakajima and Haruna Neko
Misao had a plan! Alright, she always has a plan, but this was a smart one. She, rightly, felt that Miyu’s legs had the potential to kick them really hard, and wanted to find a way to stop her from doing so. That’s how we ended up with Miyu hopping around the ring with her legs taped together. Unfortunately, even hopping Miyu is a danger.
Honestly, with who was involved, it felt a bit like I might have booked this. We got Misao antics, Itoh and Miyu’s overly elaborate falling headbutt being combined with the Goodnight Express and, like the wonderful cherry on top, some great wrestling, particularly between Miyu and Shoko.
Add it all together, and it nicely encapsulates what I love about TJPW. I could watch this stuff all day, every day, so it should surprise no-one to hear that I had a lovely time.
Verdict: A Blast
Hikari Noa defeated Pom Harajuku in the first round of the International Princess Title Tournament
I go on about it all the time, but Pom’s shin kicks are a sneakily brilliant move. They’re as simple as it comes, yet they open up so many avenues in a match. People have to twist their wrestling to respond to them as the simple act of being kicked in the shin is kind of hard to ignore.
As for Hikari, I think she’s probably my pick to win this thing (although I’d have a supplementary bet on Kamiyu). While there have been a few false dawns in her push, it is time, and matches like this show why. She drew an aggressive streak out of Pom, pulling her up a level or two. That’s such a vital thing for a top wrestler to be able to do, and we’re at the point where you can put her in the ring with nearly anyone and guarantee a solid, enjoyable slab of action.
And that’s what this was. Honestly, there isn’t a huge amount more to say about it. They worked a decent match with Pom surviving a Uranage only for Noa to pull out a Blizzard Suplex Hold for the three. Go get that belt, lass!
Verdict: Good Stuff
Yuki Kamifuku defeated Suzume in the first round of the International Princess Title Tournament
Early on, Kamiyu rolled to the outside, clutching the finger that she recently broke. Suzume, like the lovely wee bumblebee that she is, followed, checking on her opponent. Of course, it turned out that Kamiyu was just fine and made sure to roundly mock Suzume as she got the cheap shot in.
That set up this match nicely, Yuki working at her sneakiest and Suzume as the defiant babyface she was born to be. A role that was further aided by Kamiyu repeatedly booting her in the face, an action that tends to draw sympathy.
And while Kamiyu (rightly) got the win, I felt like this worked to show how far Suzume has come recently. For a long time, she made little to no impression on me. She was a solid worker, someone to fill a spot, but nothing special. However, between this match and the recent tag title shot, she seems to have stepped up, figuring out who she is a wrestler – fingers crossed the improvement keeps coming.
Daydream (Rika Tatsumi & Miu Watanabe) and Yuka Sakazaki defeated Bakuretsu Sisters (Nodoka Tenma & Yuki Aino) and Mizuki in a Two out of Three Falls Match
Let’s see what happens when you smush the Wrestle Princess title matches together! The answer? A very nice time.
The chemistry between this lot is already well-established, so I have little to no doubt that both of these matches are going to deliver. That meant this served mainly as a wee appetiser before we get to the main course while also gave us the amusing sight of Daydream repurposing Yuka as a weapon, repeatedly slamming her onto Aino despite her numerous objections.
From a momentum standpoint, Yuka got a pinfall over Mizuki, getting a relatively straightforward three after an extended showdown. It was, however, Mizuki who left the ring on top, a flurry after the match restarted giving her a bit of hope. As for the tag teams, Bakuretsu picked up the first fall after a Bakuretsu Bulldog, but Rika did some work on Aino’s leg late in the match before introducing Tenma to that diamond ass. So, em, I guess it was all square?
As a build-up match, this was pretty great. It gave everyone a chance to shine, kept things pretty even and hinted at how good those showdowns could be – no complaints from me.
Verdict: Onto Wrestle Princess!
Rika invited the entire roster into the ring to plug Tokyo Dome City Hall one final time. That led to them all grabbing the mic to have their say, highlights of which included Hikari promising to paint that green belt ‘bloody red’ (bit aggressive) and Mizuki calling Yuka a dumbass. If you want them all, check out ddtpro_eng on Twitter for all your wonderful translation needs.
Yuka closed them out, fighting back the tears as both she and Mizuki seem incapable of thinking about this match without getting emotional. Christ knows what it will be like on the day, but I reckon it could be a little bit special.
I very rarely say anything about Tokyo Joshi that isn’t positive, so it will be no surprise to anyone to hear I thought this was a good show. Wrestle Princess is high on my most anticipated list, as it really feels like it could feature a bunch of defining moments for Tokyo Joshi. It’s not long now!
Watch Tokyo Joshi Pro: https://www.ddtpro.com/universe/videos?teamId=tjpw
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