I would love to know who comes up with the Tokyo Joshi show names. What made them decide on this part of the tour being labelled, ‘The Bullet’? It seems awfully violent for a company that generally goes with things like ‘Winter Lovers’ and ‘Change the Wind Direction’. Is this what happens when Itoh goes to AEW and spends time with those people?
The Magical Sugar Rabbits (Yuka Sakazaki & Mizuki) & Hyper Misao defeated BeeStar (Mirai Maiumi & Suzume) & Mahiro Kiryu
If your first thought on seeing these line-ups was that one of these teams was ever so slightly overpowered, then Misao agrees. Her pre-match promo saw her offering to sit back and chill, leaving the Sugar Rabbits to do the hard work and still taking home a nice cheque. Unfortunately for everyone’s favourite superhero, her opponents disagreed, using the opportunity to attack her. Which, now I think about it, might not have been their brightest moment. They probably should have left her to wander off and grab a beer.
The Sugar Rabbits playing with rookies is always a delight, as they take great pleasure in torturing the young’uns. At one point, Yuka simply sat on Suzume, giggling to herself as she did so. It was only when she was presented with the powerhouse Maiumi that she put on her serious face, dropping her on her head with a lovely looking Brainbuster. When you throw Misao being, well, Misao, into that mix, you have a guaranteed good time.
It made for the kind of match that I will always go to bat for. Yes, nothing noteworthy happened, and the result was never in doubt, but it was fun. They had three of their best rookies going up against three of their best veterans, and whether they’re messing around or going all out, I’ll watch it every day of the week.
Verdict: Good Stuff
The Bakuretsu Sisters (Yuki Aino & Nodoka Tenma) defeated HikaShio (Hikari Noa & Sena Shiori)
I’m glad to see the HikaShio pairing continue beyond the tag tournament. Sena has hit a bit of a bottleneck in her development, as she’s a solid young wrestler but needs something to help her stand out and reach that next level. My hope is that teaming her up with her real-life bestie lets her find whatever she needs to get over that bump.
It also gives Noa something to do until TJPW find the right spot to strap the rocket to her and send her to the moon. I trust their booking, so I have no worries about it, but she is ready whenever they need her to be. The way she entered this match after Sena had been overpowered at every turn by the sisters, unleashing with a hail of dropkicks, was awesome. The one disadvantage of her pairing with her pal is that you can’t picture these two getting a title shot, and I’d quite like to see Noa get that rub. Then again, BeeStar got one last year, so perhaps I’m wrong.
One suspects if that were the plan, though, they wouldn’t have been put away quite so convincingly here. This wasn’t a squash or even a dominant win for the sisters, but it was a definitive one. While HikaShio put up a fight, that famous Bakuretsu power eventually allowed Yuki to lock on the Full Nelson and force Sena to tap. That probably puts the besties at the back of the line, but if they ever do make their way to the front, this suggests they would do themselves proud with any shot they got.
Verdict: A Solid Match
Nao Kakuta, Shoko Nakajima and Haruna Neko defeated Yuki Kamifuku, Marika Kobashi and Arisu Endo
As predicted by many, Nao has slipped into position to go after the International Princess title, getting the win in this match and laying down what Kamiyu dismissed as the lamest challenge ever. I just mentioned that I trust Tokyo Joshi’s booking, and the way they’ve slowly phased Kakuta in is an excellent example of why. It’s easy to sign someone, push them to the moon and get a bit lost about where to go next, but TJPW took the scenic room with Nao. They let her hang out in these mid-card tags, getting used to working with the roster and slowly building up her importance. Her role in matches got bigger and bigger as she picked up more wins and had more impressive showings, giving her the perfect base from which to go after the belt.
We didn’t get a lot of Nao vs Kamiyu here, but what we did see was intriguing. Kakuta got the best of their exchanges, countering Kamiyu’s offence and looking like she was a step ahead. It was a nice tease, one that set her up as a viable challenger, but without giving too much away. Outside of that, it was a solid wee match. Endo’s still green, and Neko’s never going to deliver classics, but Shoko excels at holding things together. We also got the amusing sight of Kamiyu deciding to give the Big Kaiju a chance by wrestling her on her knees before being bamboozled by the combined forces of the kaiju and the cat, both of whom make up for their lack of height with their innate tricksiness.
As I already mentioned, Kamiyu wasn’t too impressed with Kakuta’s challenge, but the Rat Chaser would send a message, blocking Yuki’s attempt to go for her eyes and grabbing a handful of hair. That match will be taking place at Korakuen next month, and I wouldn’t bet against it stealing the show.
Verdict: Nao’s On The March
Sakisama defeated Moka Miyamoto
As if facing off with Sakisama isn’t enough for a young rookie, poor Moka also had to deal with a certain French goblin at ringside. Mei Saint-Michel got involved at every chance. Whether it was stamping on Miyamoto, using her tray to help pull Sakisama to the ropes or bopping Ref Kiso on the head to take him out of a commission for a bit, she was a terror. Although she always made sure to smooth out Moka’s skirt afterwards, so you can see where that maid training kicks in.
And Sakisama doesn’t need MSM to beat a rookie. She’s perfectly capable of doing that solo. However, she’s also aristocracy, and if there’s one thing the aristocracy excel at, it’s finding shortcuts that make things more difficult for the rest of us. Why should she bother herself breaking a sweat when it’s much easier to get the help to give her a hand? Honestly, where’s that guillotine?
Anyway, it made for a match, that while hardly an in-ring classic, helped to cement who Sakisama is while giving Moka a good run-out. It also allowed NEO Biishiki-gun and the Bakuretsu Sisters to have another face to face in the aftermath. Sakisama hading out some ‘friendly’ business advice before Nodoka made plans to eat some rice. As usual, grab your translations from ddtpro_eng on Twitter.
Verdict: Off With Their Heads!
121000000 (Miyu Yamashita & Maki Itoh) & Raku defeated Daydream (Rika Tatsumi & Miu Watanabe) & Pom Harajuku
Our Itoh’s been making waves, hasn’t she? People in America have leapt on the hype train, and I’m delighted for her. Sure it’s always going to lead to some idiots popping up, but Itoh has been open about wrestling in America being her dream, and I think Tokyo Joshi fans having to deal with people asking dumb questions or making annoying comments is a decent sacrifice to make in exchange for that. Although Cornette and his gang of losers can, of course, fuck off. Anyway, forget all that because the most important thing is that she’s challenged Rika and will be going for the big belt at Korakuen. Throw in the fact that it was Pom Day, and this was quite the match.
It was also a load of fun, building from the light comedy of Itoh, Miyu and Raku having to figure out whether the convoluted headbutt or the Good Night Express took precedence (they compromised) to an intense showdown between Maki’s big old head and Rika’s diamond ass. Throw in a bit of Miyu vs Miu (not at all confusing), plus Pom and Raku being Pom and Raku, and you’ve got yourself a perfect main event. The main focus was, rightly, Itoh, but there was a lot of talent around her, who were more than capable of stealing some moments for themselves.
Itoh would be the one to pick up the win, though, surviving some miscommunication with Miyu to get one on one with Pom and put her away with the Itoh Deluxe. Tokyo Joshi put a lot of work into pushing Maki into this spot (even before the AEW stuff), and it’s paying off. Her newfound fame adds to the feeling that she could end Rika’s title run at one defence, but even without that, I think she’d be a viable challenger at this point. Everything she and Miyu have done over the last few months has been designed to push her up the ladder as a serious wrestler, and it’s worked. I’m still not convinced this match will be her time, but that moment is drawing ever closer.
Verdict: Itoh Is Back!
It feels like forever since we’ve had a live Tokyo Joshi show, although it’s probably not been that long. Either way, it was nice to have them around, and this was the usual easy, breezy watch. Not that it was all throwaway. We got Nao’s challenge, the return of Itoh and more build to our tag title showdown. They’re setting up another very exciting Korakuen, which considering how great the last two were, is something we can all be happy about.
Watch Tokyo Joshi Pro: https://www.ddtpro.com/universe/videos?teamId=tjpw