We are as close to Wrestle Princess as we’re ever going to get! Well, that’s not actually true, it could be the day before, but we’re as close as we’re going to get while reviewing a TJPW show. Yup, it’s the go-home show for the big one, and with the card all sorted, we’re just adding a little of polish.
Before we got underway, Mahiro came out and announced she is fit and will be appearing at Wrestle Princess. It means the card will have to do a bit of reshuffling, but that’s obviously great news.
Yuki Kamifuku defeated Kaya Toribami
Kamiyu working the dominant veteran role was a perfect fit. Portraying arrogance is one of her strong suits, but now she’s got the in-ring talent to back it up. She repeatedly booted the rookie in the face, taking her time as she dismantled Kaya and making sure to poke her in the eyes a few times too.
It didn’t make for a match that I’m going to be raving about or demanding people watch, but if you’re a Kamiyu fan (which I am), it brings with it a certain satisfaction. She’s come a long way over the last few years, and it’s not that long ago that I would have worried about her having to lead the action. Now she’s out there putting talented rookies through their paces, and (considering what an all-around decent person she seems to be) I’m delighted to see it.
Verdict: Well Done, Kamiyu!
Raku defeated Hyper Misao and Haruna Neko in a three-way
Put these three together, and you know it’s time for mischief and nonsense. Within a minute of the bell ringing, Raku and Neko had disappeared, leaving Misao to wrestle Kiso as she attempted to keep the show on the road. By the time they’d returned, and Misao had been put in a bag, I was already on board with everything they had planned.
And watching Raku wave to her opponents as she heads to the back, ready to act out her plan, makes me so fucking happy. I love seeing what these weirdos come up with, and I love that they can still surprise me after all this time. There’s a tendency to be apologetic about liking this kind of wrestling, feeling the need to point out that it’s not for everyone or that Neko isn’t a great worker, but I’m fed up with doing that. People like Haruna make my heart feel happy, so in my mind, she is a good wrestler No one ever feels the need to caveat dull, joyless displays of ‘serious’ pro-wrestling, so why should I do so for my lovely nonsense?
Wow, I went off on one a bit there. I guess what I’m trying to say is that this match made me feel good.
Verdict: I Think I Covered It
Maki Itoh & Yuki Aino defeated Nao Kakuta & Moka Miyamoto
The point of this match was to give Maki and Yuki a bit of momentum heading into their title challenges. In that sense, they nailed it. Both of them looked good, and they made a fun, overly enthusiastic pairing. It’s no secret that I’m a fan of theirs, so putting them together was never going to be a bad thing.
The person who impressed me the most, though, was Nao. I feel like I have said this before, but she has figured out who she is in TJPW over the last few shows. She’s settled into this aggressive, scrappy and slightly heel (or at least as heel as anyone not in Biishiki-gun gets in this company) character that suits her perfectly. Her in-ring has been reliably good for a while, but it feels like everything else is clicking too, and that’s a great thing to see.
Verdict: Did What It Needed To, And a Bit More
Miyu Yamashita & Hikari Noa defeated Nodoka Tenma & Pom Harajuku
I would happily watch Hikari fire off those relentless dropkicks all day. She’s the living embodiment of someone who has figured out one move they’re good at in a fighting game and is going to use it till it gets the job done. It means you can almost sense the frustration of her opponents as she refuses to give them a second to get back on their feet and take a breath. It rules.
Elsewhere, I’ve long believed that Pom and Miyu are an underrated pairing, and this did nothing to dissuade me. They harked back to the match they had once where Pom’s shin kicks momentarily had Miyu rattled, forcing her to readjust. It also plays into my theory that Miyu’s weakness is as important as her strength. Yes, she’s probably going to kick your head off, but she’s always been great at introducing that moment of doubt, that convinces you someone like Pom might actually pull off an upset.
Of course, that wasn’t going to happen here, as this was the champs’ turn to build momentum heading into Wrestle Princess. Poor Pom’s head hit the back row, and this was an enjoyable wee tag.
Verdict: Good Stuff
Yuka Sakazaki, Mizuki & Shoko Nakajima defeated Miu Watanabe, Suzume & Arisu Endo
I know the whole world has seen it by now, BUT MIU SPUN TWO PEOPLE AT THE SAME TIME! Our wee hoss is all grown up and getting scary strong in the process. So proud.
This is one of those matches that almost doesn’t me rabbiting on about it. You’ve got an obvious story, with three younger wrestlers taking on three company veterans, and it’s no surprise that it was a blast. They also gave Arisu plenty of time to get in the ring and show how talented she is, and while there was one awkward moment with Shoko that nearly went very badly, she generally grabbed the chance well.
If you were being harsh, you would point that it was basically a house show main event, but it was an entertaining one and also featured MIU SPINNING TWO PEOPLE AT THE SAME TIME! If you can’t enjoy that, I pity you.
Verdict: What Needs To Be Said?
With this being the go-home show, the whole roster came out and closed the show together before everyone took a moment to say something into the mic. I’m a big fan of stuff like that, as it plays into the idea of TJPW being one big, weird, happy family. I love them all.
A fun but not essential show from TJPW. I can’t imagine anyone feeling like they’d wasted their time, but if you’re looking for significant developments, you’re going to come out disappointed. Still, we got Raku making mischief and Miu doing spins, which is more than enough to keep me happy.
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