The Max Heart tag tournament came to an end on this show, with Tokyo Joshi running the semis and the final all at once. With four potential winners left (okay, three and HikaShio), it was time to find out who would be taking home a couple of big old trophies. How exciting!
NEO Biishiki-gun (Sakisama & Mei Saint-Michel) defeated HikaShio (Hikari Noa & Sena Shiori) in the Max Heart semi-final
I don’t think it’s too cruel to suggest that HikaShio never stood a chance of making the final. Sena still hasn’t won a match, and as great as Noa is, it was going to be a hell of a task for her to carry her pal past the combined might of Sakisama and Mei Saint-Michel.
And I’ve wanged on about how brilliant Mei is plenty, so let’s focus on Sakisama. Early on, Noa attempted to escape her Camel Clutch by pulling her hair and biting her finger. Both actions generated a look of utter disgust as if the very thought that this commoner had dared touch her made Sakisama want to vomit. More importantly, though, they were then followed by her getting more violent, covering Noa’s mouth with both her hand and her glove. It’s an experience that anyone who has ever dealt with a rich prick will know well.
While they did feel a bit like sacrificial lambs, HikaShio played their part well and made sure this was a strong enough opener. The real-life buds have good chemistry, and I think Sena needs someone like Hikari alongside her to help push her to the next stage of her career. She’s a solid wrestler, but she often struggles to stand out in a roster with as much charisma as the TJPW one. Being placed in a regular team could help encourage her out of her shell.
121000000 (Miyu Yamashita & Maki Itoh) defeated Kyoraku Kyomei (Hyper Misao & Shoko Nakajima) in the Max Heart semi-final
Before the match, Misao promised to make this a fair fight and not a back-alley stabbing like she and Shoko have occasionally done in the past. (I think she was speaking metaphorically). Then, less than two minutes in, Misao dropped off the apron and ducked out of sight of the camera. The next time we saw her, she was stood behind Miyu, preparing to wrap her cape around her head and leave the Ace unable to see. I don’t think it can be stressed enough that you should never trust Hyper Misao.
Of course, blindfolding Miyu isn’t enough to guarantee success, and while she did tag in with the cape still in place, that didn’t stop her from fighting both opponents off. It kind of summed up what I love about watching these two teams face-off. In theory, you have a combination of goofs and serious wrestlers in that ring, but the reality is that they’re all equally as good at playing in each other’s worlds. That was backed up by the fact that after the cape shenanigans, Misao and Shoko gave 121000000 a serious match and looked really good. I’ve been shouting about Shoko being one of those wrestlers who is so reliably good that she often gets forgotten, and this did nothing to change that opinion. Any tag match she’s in, she feels like the glue that holds it together, no matter how accomplished everyone around her is.
In the end, an all-seeing Miyu was simply too strong, an AA to Misao sending 121000000 to the final. And while there was a feeling throughout that no-one involved was going all out (the knowledge that 121000000 had another match later in the night presumably encouraging them to hold back), it still did more than enough to keep me entertained.
Verdict: Blind Miyu >>> Most Wrestlers
Nao Kakuta, Mahiro Kiryu, Raku and Marika Kobashi defeated Mirai Maiumi, Suzume, Moka Miyamoto and Arisu Endo
We’re now onto what I think of as the relaxing part of the card. Tokyo Joshi’s randomly thrown together tag matches are some of my favourite things because I can watch them with a grin on my face and exactly zero worries. Or at least I thought I could. Right up until, MOKA, MIRAI, SUZUME AND ARISU TRIED TO DO THE GOOD NIGHT EXPRESS! HOW DARE THEY!
Thankfully, tragedy was thwarted before it could occur, but I ask you, who would do such a thing? What kind of person would think that it was alright for them to step onto the hallowed turf that is the Good Night Express? That is a right reserved for one woman and one woman only, our lord and saviour, Raku. Anyone else doing so must have a sick and twisted mind.
I’m sure the rest of the match was enjoyable, and I might have even noted that they are slowly ramping up the presence of Nao, but I was too horrified to pay attention to such things. The wrestling world very nearly saw a tragedy, and I will now live in fear that it might happen again.
Yuki Kamifuku defeated Haruna Neko and Mizuki in a three-way
Thankfully, the cat, the former farmer and the devil child were here to calm me down. If you want a taste for the tone of this match, consider that it started with Kamiyu asking Neko to cover her ears, at which point she covered the fluffy cat ones on top of her head. Kamiyu, meanwhile, was convincing Mizuki to team up with her and engage in some animal abuse.
It was the start of a match that helped me rediscover my smile. Kamiyu and Mizuki are great, while Neko was a lot of fun as the innocent stuck between them, constantly falling for their schemes. She’s a nice wee cat looking for a friend, left with two people ready to take advantage of that. Although that cat did show that she has claws, using them to blind Mizuki for our second brilliant sequence where someone was wrestling without being able to see.
This is the relaxing, enjoyable Tokyo Joshi that I love, and no-one tried to do the Good Night Express, so I came about happy.
Verdict: Poor Cat
Yuka Sakazaki & The Bakuretsu Sisters (Nodoka Tenma and Yuki Aino) defeated Daydream (Rika Tatsumi & Miu Watanabe) & Pom Harajuku
Yuka being paired up with the sisters is everything to me. From the entrance where Yuki and Yuka hung off Nodoka to the same pairing using Nodoka as a weapon and Yuka giggling away as Tenma returned to the corner, obviously in pain, it was a trio that had all the delightful energy (yes, I do count laughing at your friend’s pain as delightful energy).
In fact, everyone in this match was rocking the good vibes. Whether it was Pom prodding away at Yuki while Rika and Miu setup for their double elbow or the really solid wrestling that was on display throughout, it was yet another performance that dished up a tasty meal. It’s almost becoming pointless for me to review these matches. Unless something goes horribly wrong, I’m probably going to enjoy them as Tokyo Joshi has done a brilliant job of building this wacky cast of strong wrestlers that can be slotted into any combination.
Sadly, all my haters (I have many, you know) won’t be getting that pleasure any time soon because I also enjoy writing about them. Much like the wrestling itself, it fills me with a warm fuzzy glow, so I’m going to keep doing it! Sorry.
Verdict: Smiles For Everyone
NEO Biishiki-gun (Sakisama & Mei Saint-Michel) defeated 121000000 (Miyu Yamashita and Miu Watanabe) to win the Max Heart Tournament
As I think most expected from the beginning, our final was a rematch from Tokyo Joshi’s last Korkauen, with NEO Biishiki-gun getting their chance to gain revenge against 121000000. Unsurprisingly, it was not as good as that match. Both these teams had already wrestled, and it was a smaller show, so it would have been foolish to expect it to be.
However, that doesn’t mean it was bad. In fact, it was the opposite. These four have very quickly developed fantastic chemistry, Miyu and Itoh managing to take Sakisama out of the game for a while and focus on Mei, only for Sakisama’s return to shift the momentum back in their favour. It was a match packed with lovely little touches. From Miyu outsmarting the first attempt to introduce the tray, causing Mei to go flying, to Mei’s devastated shouts when she realised Sakisama wasn’t on the apron, waiting for her tag. These two teams are fantastic, so it was no surprise that they’d have another great match.
The final touch was it being Miyu, not Maki, to take the fall. Yamashita is such a powerhouse that, early tournament upsets aside, she barely ever loses, and that they protected Itoh over her is another sign of Maki’s rise in the hierarchy. The interesting twist is that you could argue it was Miyu who got her there. Both as opponent and partner, Yamashita is the person who pushes Maki hardest, and now she’s got her to the point where it’s Miyu apologising to her for their defeat, not the other way around. It also gives credence to the idea she’s set to challenge Rika as the company are protecting her a lot more than usual. However, she did mention in the post-match that she wants to go away and get strong, so I wonder if she’s off on a trip to AEW before that happens (a prediction that was a lot more impressive when I first wrote this on Sunday afternoon).
As a lovely cherry on top, this all means that if Sakisama and Mei go on to win those belts, we’re already set up for round number three. If it builds on what we’ve seen already, that will be a blinder.
Verdict: Great Final
The post-match saw Sakisama try to buy the tag titles, Mei try to steal them, and Nodoka climbing the turnbuckle so she could look down on her opponents while demanding they challenge the proper way. The long and short of it is that they will be facing off on the next Korakuen, and I’ve no doubt it will rule.
Shock, horror, it’s another Tokyo Joshi show that I enjoyed! I’m sure one day they’ll put on one that I’m ambivalent towards, but it wasn’t this day.
Watch Tokyo Joshi Pro: https://www.ddtpro.com/universe/videos?teamId=tjpw