At the end of a long, shitty week, few things cheer me up as much as some Tokyo Joshi. Their latest show had an intriguing main event, as Kamiyu stepped up to defend the International Title for the first time, taking on a somewhat unproven challenger in Mahiro. It was a big moment for the two of them, so let’s find out how they did.
Mirai Maiumi defeated Haruna Neko
With Mirai getting better and better, the one advantage Haruna has left is her tiny stature. By virtue of her height, she was able to scurry around her powerhouse opponent, avoiding attacks and finding small openings to sneak into.
It allowed her to get a surprising amount of offence in, perhaps even too much. Mirai is ready to make the step-up and that could be cemented by her dominating matches against her peers. Still, she would eventually get her hands on the wee cat and put her away decisively. Ignoring my minor complaint about the structure, this was a perfectly serviceable, if somewhat unremarkable, opener.
Daydream (Rika Tatsumi & Miu Watanabe) and Nao Kakuta defeated Maki Itoh, Suzume and Pom Harajuku
Match two gave a lot of time to Miu being the best wee hoss not named Miyuki Takase. She was catching folk out of the air, throwing them across the ring and generally looking like a badass.
Outside of Miu, Suzume continues to catch the eye. I was thinking the other day about who would be my most improved wrestler this year, and I reckon she’d be in for a shout. She’s gone from a body filling a spot to someone I always enjoy watching, and her interactions with Rika really stood out. I love the way she throws herself into her crossbody, making a widely used move look unique.
Of course, she would lose that battle, as Rika continues to be heated up for her January 4th showdown with Yuka. She caught Suzume out of the air when she went for her Cutter (another move she’s made her own) and twisted her round into a Dragon Sleeper Camel Clutch, a move she’s named the White Dragon Sleeper. Whatever its name is, it looked cool and was a nice ending to a good showing.
Verdict: Bumblebees And Hosses
NEO Biishiki-gun (Sakisama and Mei Saint-Michel) defeated Sena Shiori and Moka Miyamoto
Are we sure Mei Saint-Michel isn’t a devil child? Following flutes in the woods? That feels like something the spawn of Satan might do. Either way, she’s certainly got some goblin tendencies in the ring, seemingly taking great pleasure out of inflicting pain and even slotting her shiny serving plate in the exact right spot to send poor Ref Kiso flying. It works as a perfect contrast to Sakisama’s kick based elegance.
Mei also clearly still needs a bit of polish, as she misfired and caught Sakisama on a couple of occasions. So far, it hasn’t caused any lasting damage, and she is suitably adoring whenever her mentor is in the ring, which will surely keep her in the good books. Mei will have to be careful, though, or Sakisama might take away the cakes she apparently adores.
It did leave their opponents somewhat outgunned. Moka and Sena looked fine, but they are both still a fair few rungs below their opponents. As bodies to show off Sakisama’s new disciple, they did what they had to do, but it wasn’t their match. NEO Biishiki-gun are a hard team to outclass, and one suspects this was the last chance the rookies had to take them down.
Verdict: Next Stop Tag Titles
Bakuretsu Sisters (Nodoka Tenma & Yuki Aino) and Shoko Nakajima defeated Miyu Yamashita, Hikari Noa and Marika Kobashi
My favourite spot on the show happened in this match as Aino climbed onto Nodoka’s shoulders before Shoko climbed onto hers. It, of course, ended horribly, all three of them crashing face-first to the floor as they realised this plan wasn’t going to work. Not that it would have made any sense even if it had. Marika was standing, winded, in the opposite corner, but what were they going to do if they made it across the ring? Yes, she’s taller than Nodoka, but she’s nae that big. It was a perfect piece of nonsensical wrestling, and it’s still making me chuckle even as I write this an hour or so after watching.
Outside of that genius, this was a great wee showing. You only have to look at who was involved to see that was probably the case. It also featured yet another skull breaking kick from Miyu, which almost isn’t worth mentioning now, but drew an audible reaction from the crowd. Throw these six onto any card in the world, and I’d trust them to deliver, so it was no surprise that they did so here.
Verdict: Three Women Tower
Magical Sugar Rabbits (Yuka Sakazaki & Mizuki) defeated Hyper Misao and Raku
Look, if a match features Raku beating Sugar Rabbits quite gently round the head with kitchenware, it’s a classic, I don’t make the rules. Sure, I didn’t know that was a rule an hour or two ago, but it’s come to be, and we must accept that.
Because it doesn’t really matter what these four do, put them all in a ring together, and I’m going to start smiling. They have the ability to turn off the critical side of my brain and simply leave me having a lovely time. Sure, that’s not great when writing a review, but isn’t it also a huge part of wrestling? Forming an emotional bond with the fans is as pivotal to this stuff as any work rate bollocks. The greatest match of all time can be appreciated no-matter-what, but it can only be loved when you care for at least one of the people in the ring.
Still, tangent aside, it was a delight with the Sugar Rabbits picking up the win. Wee shout out to Raku too, who joins Suzume in the shortlist for that most improved spot. She’s still not a super worker, but watching her with Mizuki and Yuka, you can see how far she’s come.
Verdict: Lovely Stuff
Yuki Kamifuku defeated Mahiro Kiryu to retain the International Princess Title
I was intrigued by this main event rather than excited. Mahiro is the exact opposite of what I described above, a solid wrestler, but someone who I’ve never connected to emotionally. Her primary role is as person number two in a team with a someone I like more, for example, Kamiyu. So, I went in intrigued to see how she handled the top spot for the first time.
And I think she did well. Kamiyu and her have very natural chemistry, built around Mahiro’s strait-laced style clashing with the champ’s willingness to cheat. Right from the start, it was Yuki who showed an edge, slapping Mahiro across the face and draping her between the ropes before pulling her neck first into them. In response, Mahiro managed to find some fire. As I said, she’s a strong wrestler, probably a better pure worker than Kamiyu, but lacking whatever it is that makes me care. There were moments, though, where she found a taste of it. A forearm exchange between the two was looking like a bit of a damp squib, the blows lacking bite until Kamiyu escalated things with a vicious slap. When prodded, Mahiro was able to meet her there, the two slugging it out and pulling me back in just as I worried they were about to lose me. It wasn’t perfect, but it was a step up, convincing me that if she can find that gear more often, I would come to care.
In the end, the new champ picked up a solid first victory, one of those vicious big boots proving the difference-maker. The two would then come together, reissuing their challenge for the tag titles after the last one was cancelled due to Kamiyu’s finger injury. The Bakuretsu Sisters were more than willing, accepting the call and giving us our second confirmed match for January 4th.
Verdict: Mahiro’s Getting There
That was another enjoyable Tokyo Joshi show, which is nowhere near being a surprise at this point. With January 4th just around the corner, the card is beginning to take shape as I think it’s a safe bet Sakisama and Mei will face someone too. Outside of that, my big hope is for Sareee vs Miyu, which would make up for the lack of an International Title defence. Whatever they do, I trust them to make it a lovely time for all involved.
Watch Tokyo Joshi Pro: https://www.ddtpro.com/universe/videos?teamId=tjpw