It’s day two of the Princess Cup and day two of four for Tokyo Joshi in Shinkiba. This is a schedule that they don’t usually run, so I’m intrigued to see how the wrestlers cope with working this much. Day one definitely suggested they were taking it a little bit easy (for which I don’t blame them, and I still had a nice time), so will that extend into day two? Or will they start to ramp things up? Let’s find out!
Pom came out to help Namba do some of the pre-show stuff and was being delightfully Pom like. Raku also stopped to hug her while the Up Up Girls made their entrance, which was really cute, so I enjoyed it.
Kyoraku Kyomei (Hyper Misao & Shoko Nakajima & Nao Kakuta defeated Mahiro Kiryu, Mirai Maiumi & Moka Miyamoto
For a second there, I thought disaster had struck. An argument between Misao and Shoko (which they blamed on Nao) caused Misao to storm to the back in a strop. Thankfully, it all turned out to be a ruse, and Misao returned with a birthday cake to celebrate the 1st anniversary of Moka’s debut. Sure, that cake ended up being one of Misao’s spray cans which went off in Moka’s face, but I think we can all agree it’s the thought that counts.
There is a reason Shoko and Misao so often get put in matches like this, and it’s because they can wrestle anyone and make it entertaining. With Misao’s antics and Shoko’s general excellence, you can rely on them to go out and put on a solid, enjoyable match. Throw in a decent partner and some strong opponents, and you’ve got yourself a good time.
Which is what this was. There was nothing blow away about it, but it was a breezy, easy watch of an opener that kicked the show off well.
Verdict: A Nice Time
Haruna Neko defeated Mizuki and Pom Harajuku in a Three-Way
I’ve been playing Dark Souls recently (trust me, this is going somewhere), and there were some moments in this match that reminded me of it. You see, Mizuki is a better wrestler than Pom and Neko, and in a one on one fight, she can smoke them both. When they gang up on her, though, it’s not that easy. Much like how tens of hours into Dark Souls you will still somehow find yourself being overwhelmed and killed by the weakest enemies, Pom and Haruna were able to catch Mizuki off-guard and gives themselves an advantage.
Anyway, very laboured points aside, this was a really fun three-way. There is something about the rampant creativity of Tokyo Joshi that allows them to take what is traditionally a tough stipulation and come up with loads of really cool ideas. The finish here was a perfect example of it, Neko taking advantage of a series of roll-ups to bundle Pom up and leave Mizuki unable to break the fall. It was a well thought out piece of wrestling, and I came out of this impressed with everyone involved.
Verdict: Dark Souls Is Wrestling
Yuki Kamifuku, Raku & Suzume defeated 121000000 (Miyu Yamashita & Maki Itoh) & Arisu Endo
We’re already previewing the second round with Kamiyu set to take on Miyu while Itoh prepares to be sent home by Raku. That gave us a chance to get a wee glimpse of some gameplans as Kamiyu tried to stop Miyu’s kicks with eye pokes (unsuccessful) and Raku deployed her magic and sorcery on both of 121000000 (successful). I feel I need to stress once more that Raku turning into Jigglypuff is amazing.
In the more straightforward parts of the match, Kamiyu was given a decent showing here, managing to avoid being decapitated by Miyu and getting the win over Endo. Unfortunately, she also attempted to steal Itoh’s cutest punches, which saw the two pals get into a rather intense showdown.
It all left us with something that felt like a mid-tournament tag, where the wrestlers were taking it somewhat easy but making sure to tease future encounters. There was nothing you needed to go out of your way to see, but you’ll enjoy it if it’s on.
Verdict: Did What It Needed To Do
Miu Watanabe defeated Kaya Toribami in the Princess Cup First Round
It’s funny how the more I see of Kaya, the greener she appears. After shining brightly in her first few matches, we’re now seeing the curse of many a young high flyer (cough Tall Saya cough) as there is always a chance her moves go horribly wrong. I don’t necessarily mean that as a strong criticism either. It’s to be expected, and at least she hasn’t landed on her head yet.
Even with the occasional dodgy moment from the rookie, I enjoyed the simplicity of this match. Early on, Kaya’s fancy moveset caught Miu off-guard. The rookie flew in with various fancy kicks, putting the wee hoss on the back foot and forcing her to readjust. When she did, though, she quickly took control, her power allowing her to bludgeon her way through. In many ways, that’s wrestling 101, but that doesn’t mean it’s stopped being entertaining. Mistakes or not, this was a simple, well-worked match that showed off both wrestlers’ strengths. Job done.
Yuki Aino defeated Yuki Arai in the Princess Cup First Round
I have a lot of respect for Yuki Arai. When she first came into Tokyo Joshi, it seemed like it would be a part-time deal, but she’s realised how much work this stuff takes and is willing to put it in. It’s paying off in her wrestling too, as she’s improving rapidly. Being comfortable in front of a crowd will help you get so far, but she’s already looking like someone who has been doing this a lot longer than she has. All that said, when she gets hit, she still acts like someone acting as if they’ve just been hit. Obviously, that is what she’s doing, but it’s all a bit too big at the moment, never actually convincing me that she’s been hurt. Still, it’s better to overact than be unresponsive, and I’m sure she’ll eventually learn what it’s like to be caught with a stray blow. (Wow, that sounded threatening, I am not threatening Yuki Arai.)
Credit for her improvement also has to go to the people working with her, and Aino was a solid in-ring presence here. It’s crazy that she’s only been doing this for three years herself because she’s incredibly reliable. She helped set the tempo of this match, giving Arai a few hope spots but controlling it like a veteran and eventually getting the win. It didn’t make for anything particularly mindblowing, but when one person is having their 8th ever match (and that includes her wee run in 2018), you can’t really complain about that.
Verdict: Great Showing From Yuki
Marika Kobashi defeated Nodoka Tenma in the Princess Cup First Round
BOOOOO! What is this disgraceful decision? How dare you put Nodoka in a tournament and have her lose in the first round! I demand a refund! No, in fact, I demand you give me more money than I’ve given you. I will not stand for this!
It was all going so well too. Nodoka was in full bruiser mode, dominating with her physicality as she took the fight to Marika. Meanwhile, I was getting all comfy, thinking I was about to watch one of my favourites cruise to a nice comfortable win. I don’t expect her to win the whole thing. I’m not greedy. I just want to see her do well and send this particular fan home happy.
Marika had to come along and ruin it. As the match went on, she slowly came back into the action before managing to leap into that Guillotine hold she’s been making good use of recently. At first, even that looked like it would be okay, Nodoka powering up to her feet, but unfortunately, she couldn’t stay there, eventually collapsing under the pressure and causing this utter outrage. BOOOOO!
Verdict: Well Done, Marika, I Guess
Rika Tatsumi defeated Hikari Noa in the Princess Cup First Round
In what feels like our first clash of the titans, Rika and Noa both turned up and delivered big match performances.
For Rika, that saw her go back to the plan that won her the big belt. From the start, she focused on Hikari’s leg, weakening it up to use that Figure Four. Noa, meanwhile, tried to turn this into a fight, leaning into her love of a deathmatch. She took the battle to the outside, slamming Tatsumi on the floor and launching her into the ring post.
As the match went on, it was the leg work that was doing the most damage, though. Hikari loves to fire off with those dropkicks, but that was getting harder with every Dragon Screw and Figure Four. Instead, she was forced to go for a quick victory, pulling out submissions and pinning combinations, hoping to end this before the pain got too bad. Even there, though, the leg would prove a constant weak spot, giving Rika an opening whenever she needed it. It might just be a second as Noa reaches down to grab the injury after a kick, but it was a second that made all the difference.
Ultimately, though, regardless of tactics, what this felt like was a battle between two evenly matched competitors. Hikari has been presented as a vulnerable champion, but this was a more confident side of her, someone willing to take the fight to the former champion. They pushed each other, and it would take a Twist of Fate and that Diamond Ass for Rika to get the win. If this is now used to set up an International Princess match between the two (which I don’t think is a guarantee), it suggested they could bring the house down.
Much like day one, this was a really enjoyable, short wrestling show. The difference from day one is that it ended with a proper barnburner where either wrestler could have picked up the win. Rika vs Noa is the highlight of the tournament so far, and honestly, if it ends up being the best match, that wouldn’t be a slight on the rest of the competition.
Watch Tokyo Joshi Pro: https://www.ddtpro.com/universe/videos?teamId=tjpw