Wrestle Princess II was a show of the year contender, as Tokyo Joshi delivered a feast of wonderful wrestling. However, that’s done now, and it’s time to find out what’s next. Will Miyu kick more of the internet’s favourites in the head? I certainly hope so.
Yuki Aino defeated Arisu Endo
Endo taking Yuki off her feet with an elbow only to collapse to one knee, too beaten down to take advantage of it, is the good shit. It’s also the stuff that Endo has seemed to understand since day one. She makes wrestling look like it is hard work, and as Aino is one of the masters of that, it kept this whole thing grounded. Much like Yuki vs Noa at Wrestle Princess, I believed these two were competing to see who was the best.
And we’re starting to see Arisu levelling up. Aino would hit the Side Suplex, a move she often uses to win lesser matches, but chose not to go for the cover because she knew it wouldn’t be enough. It’s a subtle thing, but it’s the subtle things that make a difference, especially to those paying attention. Approaching her first anniversary, Endo is already earning that level of respect, and it can’t be too long till we see her take the next step. Putting on fun wee matches like this one will certainly do her case no harm.
Verdict: Really Good Stuff
Shoko Nakajima defeated Raku and Pom Harajuku
This match, this fucking match. If Shoko, Raku and Pom had sat down backstage and deliberately tried to cater it to me, they wouldn’t have been able to do a better job. The central story was mischievous genius Raku convincing Pom to gang up on Shoko only to then run away and leave Pom to face all the consequences whenever Nakajima recovered. She’s a genius.
And Raku is so good at this stuff because who would ever suspect Raku of being the mastermind behind it all? She wears a yellow, frilly dress to wrestle in! Yet, she’s getting better and better at incorporating that streak it into her matches. There was even a moment where Shoko chased her around the ring, so she just happened to run past her personal superfan Yuki Aino, leading to Nakajima being mysteriously tripped. Of course, that wasn’t what Raku was planning, she’s just a nice train nerd after all.
It is the kind of wrestling I can watch all day, every day. Quietly inventive stuff that allows people to show off how smart and creative they are. Raku, Pom and Shoko are all of those things. Whether it’s Raku being mischievous, Shoko getting frustrated, or Pom taking another beating (something that she’s becoming very good at, by the way), I will never tire of watching it.
Miu Watanabe defeated Moka Miyamoto
I assume all the people moaning that TJPW never elevates young talent are unaware of Miu Watanabe (and the fact Miyu is 26). She might not be a tag champion this year, but you’d have to have bricks in your head not to see that she’s been pushed up the card. Even something as simple as being trusted to go out and have a decent match with a rookie shows the trust those behind the scenes have in her.
And this match wasn’t perfect. There was a crossing of the wires, Miu trying to throw Moka into the ropes while she thought she was going into the corner, that led to a momentary breakdown in communication. However, I actually think a botch adds some interest to a showdown like this. We get to see how they react, and while it took them a few seconds to get back on track, the overall response was positive, as they readjusted and got back to the plan.
It does mean that I think these two have a better showing in them, particularly with Moka’s recent rapid improvement, but this was still a solid outing. Watching Miu chuck someone about is always fun, and while Miyamoto didn’t quite reach the levels of her fights with Arai, she is moving in the right direction. Having to react to a mistake will only help her in the long run, and I still had a nice time.
Verdict: Flawed, But Enjoyable
Rika Tatsumi, Nodoka Tenma & Hyper Misao defeated Yuki Kamifuku, Suzume & Mahiro Kiryu
You might think that Nodoka, Rika and Misao would have stopped bickering now that they were all on the same team, but you’d be wrong. They started where they left off at Wrestle Princess, Misao’s suggested team name of Rikanchu causing more in-fighting and setting the tone for what was to come.
And honestly, I could watch those three do anything. You’ve got to be pretty special to steal the attention away from a team including charisma machine Kamiyu, but they did it with ease. The tale of Misao’s desperate attempts to get Rika to love her (it was going well when they paired up to use Tenma as a weapon, but Tatsumi decided to use PaMi too) with Nodoka awkwardly stuck between them is comedy gold. Plus it’s giving Rika a chance to get frustrated and violent, which is always fun.
It was also joyous from a pure wrestling standpoint. You can tell Suzume has spent her career wrestling these fast-paced tags, as she’s always a blast, while Mahiro and Kamiyu are a strong pairing. We even got the rare delight of a clean PaMi win, as there wasn’t a Misao antic to be seen when she got Mahiro to tap. That was the perfect finish to a lovely day’s work for all involved.
Verdict: More Nodoka, Rika and PaMi, Please!
The Magical Sugar Rabbits (Yuka Sakazaki & Mizuki) defeated Nao Kakuta & Haruna Neko
I know calling the Sugar Rabbits terrors is kinda pointing out the obvious, but they were particularly so in this match. Yuka seems to live for torturing poor Neko, even climbing up to the top to interrupt her rope walking by growling at her. It sounds like a backhanded compliment, but that wee cat excels when she’s being bullied, and the Sugar Rabbits made sure she got to do plenty of that.
Less willing to be bullied is Nao, who has been quietly brilliant recently. She brings so much fight to every match she’s in, feeling like someone gunning to make an impression. It’s certainly worked for me, as I’d love to see her get a tag team together or go after the International Title again, as I have a feeling she could top her (already impressive) last effort easily.
Eventually, Yuka stopped the bullying and got serious, putting the cat away with ease, It all made for a very enjoyable MagiRabbi outing as seeing them with the tag belts feels right. I have a feeling we are going to get a lot of brilliant matches in their reign, and I can’t wait.
121000000 (Miyu Yamashita & Maki Itoh) defeated Hikari Noa & Marika Kobashi
They may have been only a week removed from a war that saw Miyu crush the dreams of fans who like seeing Itoh swear on Twitter, but 121000000 are back, attempting ridiculously elaborate headbutts and bickering. This match was designed to re-establish them as a team, and it did its job.
However, it also did a great job of making Noa and Marika look good. We know Hikari has chemistry with Miyu and Itoh, as we’ve seen it countless times, but that doesn’t stop it from being enjoyable. Marika, meanwhile, has been having a good few months. Her battles with Yamashita drew out some strong fire, as she fought well from underneath and refused to be barrelled through.
In the end, though, 121000000 were just too much, Itoh holding Hikari in a Crab as Miyu got the job done. Not that it stopped the bickering, the aftermath seeing Itoh accuse Miyu of not really loving her and frustrating Yamashita so much she threatened to hit her with a mirror backstage. They really do have a lovely friendship.
Verdict: 121000000 Are Kinda Friends Again
This wasn’t an essential Tokyo Joshi show, as they got back into the swings of things post-Wrestle Princess, but it was a fun one. It’s the kind of watch that breezes by, nothing ever feeling essential (apart from Pom, Raku and Shoko), but everything feeling good. They’re approaching the end of the year in lovely shape, and I can’t see it falling off anytime soon.
Watch Tokyo Joshi Pro: https://www.wrestle-universe.com/en/videos?labels=-tjpw