TJPW Autumn Tour (16/9/22) Review

The bee goes for a spin. Credit: TJPW

After a quiet couple of weeks, TJPW were back in Shinkiba to start making moves toward Wrestle Princess. The main event of this show decided who would challenge for the International Title while the semi-main put Shoko and Yuka on opposite sides of the ring. I’ve always got a base level of excitement for big TJPW shows, but let’s see if this manages to push me over the edge.

Free WiFi (Hikari Noa & Nao Kakuta) & Kaya Toribami defeated Yuki Aino, Raku & Pom Harajuku

Pomwheel. Credit: TJPW

A lot of what I like about wrestling could be found in this match. You’ve got the nonsense angle covered by Pom and Raku, some violent delinquents in Free WiFi and Aino to bring a touch of the hoss. Throw in the bird and that it’s a TJPW opener, a genre I have a lot of time for, and there wasn’t much chance of me coming away disappointed.

And yet, I still came out of it pleasantly surprised. Because not only did this lot give me everything I expected from them, they gave me a little extra on top, with Free WiFi, in particular, continuing their recent good form. It started with Aino vs Nao, the two of them laying into each other a bit harder than needed before Noa took over to continue the good times with Yuki and follow them up with some more against Pom. It was a perfect example of why Noa and Nao have slightly taken up the role of TJPW’s workhorses, as you can trust them to deliver in everything from main events to light openers.

It was also a match that highlights how far TJPW has come. I’ve always liked their silly undercard, but it wasn’t exactly packed with great wrestling a couple of years ago. Now, you still get the joy of Pom wanting to try and do a cartwheel like Kaya, but it’s built on a strong foundation. Their roster has improved immeasurably, and while the bulk of the acclaim for that goes to the top of the card, those at the bottom are doing great too.

Verdict: Exceeded Even My Expectations

Hyper Misao defeated Yuki Kamifuku and Haruna Neko in a three-way

Don’t throw cats at people. Credit: TJPW

Neko fans rejoice because our second bout is for you. Okay, she didn’t win, but she did interrupt Kamiyu and Misao arguing over who got to talk before the match, bop them both on the head with a mic and then spend a couple of minutes crawling between their legs and being a general menace. My understanding (I’m generally more of a dog person) is that most cats would consider that a good day’s work.

It was also the start of a match that, unlike the opener, hit my expectations. That’s no bad thing, though, as my expectations were for a fun wee outing, and that’s what we got, as anything featuring Misao and Kamiyu throwing a cat at each other will at least get a giggle and a thumbs up from me. If you are skipping through the undercard, it’s not an essential watch, but I had a nice time.

Verdict: Smiles All-Round

Rika Tatsumi defeated Mahiro Kiryu

Never apologise for strangling someone who wouldn’t apologise for strangling you. Credit: TJPW

Mahiro Kiryu might be too pure for wrestling. How many shows has she been on with Rika Tatsumi? And she still agreed to let her do an extra pat down of her before the match, which, as expected, led to Tatsumi getting a cheap shot in. Then again, she also responded to Rika’s strangling by doing it right back, so maybe she’s slowly learning.

Jokes about her niceness aside, I thought this was one of Mahiro’s better singles matches. Rika’s violent nature drew a touch of scrappy underdog spirit out of her. There was a great moment where Tatsumi seemed to have escaped from an attempted crab, almost backstroking to the ropes, only for Mahiro to refuse to let go, drag her back to the centre of the ring and put it on anyway. You got the impression she knew she was in a fight and subsequently couldn’t afford to give an inch to her opponent.

Of course, she would eventually lose, but when you combine this with the tag title shot (the build to which was also good), Mahiro’s probably had one of the better months in her career. That might not be hugely important in the grand scheme of things, but it’s nice to see, and I hope she can take confidence from that into whatever she does next.

Verdict: Well Done, Kiryu

Mei Suruga defeated Moka Miyamoto

You get used to the biting. Credit: TJPW

I always feel extra invested when Mei Suruga makes her way to other promotions. It’s like watching a young footballer who came through at Aberdeen sign for a big club. Sure, I didn’t play a part in it, but I’ve been watching since day one, and I want to see her succeed. Between seeing her grow up in Gatoh Move and finding a lot of solace in ChocoPro, I’ve grown attached to the Apple Goblin, and I am rooting for her to go on to bigger and better things (while also hoping she sticks around in the small, cool places that I like).

It helps, of course, that Mei is infinitely better at wrestling than anyone who has come out of Aberdeen has been at football for a long old time. Sure, she kept biting Moka and was generally a bit of a menace (although with the first one, you can at least read it as a tribute to Abadon, who she replaced in this match after visa issues), but you get used to that. If anything, it’s part of her charm, which Suruga has in buckets. Mei excels in these one-off matches because she’s a charisma machine, able to win people over and have them clapping to her tune within minutes.

Credit also has to go to Moka, who reacted perfectly to this annoying wee apple coming in and trying to gnaw on her arm. A match with Abadon would have been a good chance for her to get some eyes on her, but Mei is a decent second choice, and Miyamoto always looks good when given these opportunities. She’s already an impressive young wrestler, but they let her show a bit of personality, so while Mei was definitely the centre of attention, Miyamoto made sure not to be forgotten. Although, she will still need to check whether you need any shots after being bitten by an Apple Goblin.

Verdict: The Lass Continues To Do Good

The Magical Sugar Rabbits (Yuka Sakazaki & Mizuki) defeated Shoko Nakajima & Arisu Endo

Endo is no pushover. Credit: TJPW

Maybe it’s because they murdered an otter the weekend before this match, but MagiRabbi seemed in a cheery mood. They were bantering away while working Arisu over, keeping Yuka’s Wrestle Princess opponent, Shoko, out of the action so Mizuki could chomp down on Endo’s arm (spot the two people on this show who spent time training under Emi Sakura).

And I always find the way these build-up matches are constructed interesting. It’s a fine line to walk between giving people enough to want to tune in but not enough to feel like they’ve seen it all. They walked the more conservative side of that line here, Shoko spending most of her time in the ring with Mizuki before having a quick blast of action with Yuka. Not that there is anything wrong with that. Shoko and Mizuki are a great pairing, and a quick blast is sometimes all you need.

It also lets us see Endo do what she does best, stealing tag matches from under the noses of more established wrestlers. Her home stretch with Yuka went exactly the way you would imagine it did, all fiery rookie defiance and eventual Yuka murder. However, Arisu has become one of the very best at fulfilling that role. I’ve said in the past that I don’t have to believe a rookie will win, but I want to believe they do, and Endo has that magic. She throws herself into these encounters, desperate to prove herself, and once again, she would do exactly that.

Verdict: Endo Steals The Show

Miu Watanabe defeated Suzume to become the number one contender for the International Princess Title

Miu so strong. Credit: TJPW

Watching this match felt like seeing the start of something exciting. Suzume and Miu are in place to be the next top generation of TJPW, and with their only previous encounter being a draw, this could feasibly be the first step in a series that will go on for years. While there is no doubt in my mind that both will reach the top, it was a chance to see who has the early lead.

It would be Miu who put that first marker down, but I think this match told us more about Suzume by showing us where she fell short. While she is a brilliant counter wrestler, using her speed to catch people as they go on the offensive, she’s not as comfortable controlling a match. Every moment from her came after catching Miu off-guard, slipping into a hold or finding an opening to go for a move. In contrast, Miu’s power gives her a way to control the action, able to turn the tide at the exact moment Suzume gained some momentum by popping her up into a Giant Swing.

Yet, despite all that, Suzume still nearly won. She hit a variation of the Ring-A-Bell to a kneeling Miu and came agonisingly close off multiple roll-ups. It’s entirely possible that she doesn’t need to control the action to get the three, but when you’re in there with someone like Miu, that leaves you open to being hoisted into the air and brought down with a bang. Right now, Suzume didn’t have the tools in her arsenal to stop that happening, but she came mighty close (and the match ruled), so while Miu may have got out the blocks a bit quicker, I’ve no doubt that the bee will be hot on her heels.

Verdict: I Can’t Wait To See Where These Two End Up

Overall Show

I don’t know if I’m just in a good mood or what, but I thought that was a brilliant TJPW show. The worst match on the card made me smile from ear to ear, and everyone else felt like they had an extra pep in their step. TJPW have turned their eyes toward Wrestle Princess, and we now know that Miu vs Alex Windsor, Misao vs Mizuki and Raku, Pom and Aja vs Max, Aino and Rika will join Shoko vs Yuka on the card. That’s a hell of a base to build on, and I’m already very excited about the show.

Watch Tokyo Joshi Pro: https://www.wrestle-universe.com/en/videos?labels=-tjpw.

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