TJPW The Mountain Top (29/10/22) Review

Moka’s biggest match yet. Credit: TJPW

Having battled her way to the International Title, it was time for Miu to see if she could hold onto it. Her first opponent was intriguing, as Moka Miyamoto stepped up to the top of the card, making this show’s main event a big occasion for both wrestlers. On top of that, TJPW treated Osaka to the debut of Willow Nightingale, the karate nurse teaming with the Ace and an appearance from Yuki Arai. It sure sounds like a good time, so let’s find out if it was.

Yuki Aino & Raku defeated Nao Kakuta & Yoshiko Hasegawa

Catch! Credit: TJPW

Yoppy made her second TJPW appearance in our opener and, much like the first, came away looking good. Initially, she did a lot of selling as we got the somewhat unusual sight of Raku and Yuki Aino isolating and working over a rookie. It’s not something I would expect from that pairing, but they did a decent job, and Yoppy continues the trend of every wrestler that comes from AWG having at least a solid base on which to build. Perhaps even more impressive was her home stretch with Aino, in which she showed strong underdog fire as she battled to delay the inevitable.

I’ve focused on Yoppy because despite being the one who got beat up the most and eventually took the pin, it felt like the match was doing the same. The other three were their usual reliable selves, and we got a bit of Kakuta booting people in the face, which is always appreciated, but this felt like Yoppy was getting put through her paces. Perhaps that’s a sign that we’ll see more of her in TJPW or that Cyberfight sees big things in her, but whatever it is, she looked up to the challenge.

Verdict: Yoppy Looks Good

Miyu Yamashita & Juria Nagano defeated Mahiro Kiryu & Kaya Toribami

Lots of cool kicks. Credit: TJPW

It’s fun watching Juria Nagano put all the pieces together. She’s still leaning heavily on those strikes, forgoing a lot of wrestling in favour of booting folk, but you’re starting to see her get a grip on the other stuff. When Miyu was setting Kaya up for a double team, Juria spent her free seconds glaring at Mahiro on the apron, daring her to come in and attempt to stop them. It’s a little thing, but figuring out what to do when you’re not wrestling is an overlooked part of being great.

Plus, Miyu and Juria are a fun pairing. Mahiro and Kaya were mainly out there to play the role of the sacrificial lambs, eating strikes galore, but someone has to do it, and we got to see a bit of Kaya’s flashy offence before they went down. It was a match that knew what everyone watching wanted to see, and while they kept it short and sweet, they still managed to deliver some sweet-sounding kicks before Miyu got the win with an AA. That’s a good day’s work.

Verdict: Did What It Wanted To

Mizuki, Suzume & Haruna Neko defeated Shoko Nakajima, Hyper Misao & Pom Harajuku

Pom came up a tad short. Credit: TJPW

The six-way tag continued the theme of the show by delivering an entertaining outing that wasn’t particularly newsworthy but didn’t suffer too much because of it. If anything, it might have benefitted from not trying to do too much. It felt like this was a chance for everyone to go out, stretch their legs and put on a good showing without worrying about anything else. Not that I think the likes of Mizuki and Shoko could ever be less than excellent together.

It was also a match that, with the help of a crowd who were able to make noise, reminded me how over Mizuki is. I’m not always sure people outside of Japan realise how adored the Popping Sugar Rabbit is, but plenty of people were shouting her name, and it’s easy to understand why. Matches like this show off how great a wrestler she is, as whether she’s going at it with Shoko or desperately trying to avoid Pom booting her in the shin, Mizupon always delivers something exciting.

With all that in mind, this ended up being the kind of tag that you don’t have to go out of your way to see, but if you do happen to stumble upon it or decide to watch this show in full, you definitely won’t regret giving it your time.

Verdict: A Good Time

Rika Tatsumi & Yuki Arai defeated Hikari Noa & Arisu Endo

The Diamond Ass comes for all. Credit: TJPW

Yuki Arai booting people in the face has become almost as reliably entertaining as Nao or Kamiyu booting people in the face. I don’t think she quite has their vindictive streak yet, and it’s hard to imagine her developing that edge, but she’s still doing a good job. It’s certainly helping her get over with the fans, as she got a reaction to mirror Mizuki’s from the Osaka faithful.

If she ever does want to develop a nasty side, Rika would be the perfect person to teach her. Tatsumi has a gift for being brilliant in mid-card tags, and her belligerent and aggressive nature is a big part of why. I could watch her yell, punch and hip-attack her way through a million matches, and I’m not sure I’d ever get bored of it. It’s working for her, too, as she picked up the victory over Arisu with the Dragon Sleeper.

Not to get repetitive, but like the last match, this was a lovely old time without doing anything particularly momentous. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t watch it, you’ll enjoy it if you do, but if you’re in a rush and only checking out the important stuff, it’s another one you can miss.

Verdict: More Good Times

Yuka Sakazaki & Willow Nightingale defeated Maik Itoh & Yuki Kamifuku

Not every part of Willow’s debut was fun. Credit: TJPW

After a bit of a delay, Willow Nightingale finally made her TJPW debut and seemed delighted to be there. Her enthusiasm was infectious, as the fans got behind her when she overpowered Kamiyu and forced her into a dance. As someone who had never seen her wrestle before, it was enough to convince me that Willow was in the right place.

She backed up her obvious charisma with a decent in-ring showing too. In a company where even the hosses tend to be wee, Nightingale brings something a bit different to TJPW, her physicality standing out. There was a point towards the end where she put her serious face on when exchanging blows with Itoh, and I could easily picture her thumping her way through the bulk of the roster.

Most importantly (at least for me), Willow was really likeable. She’s wonderfully expressive, as there were moments in the match where I found myself watching her react on the apron rather than what was going on in the ring. TJPW didn’t skimp on surrounding her with star power for her debut, but she matched them all and won the whole thing with an incredible-looking powerbomb to Kamiyu. They’ve been on a roll with bringing foreign talent in recently, and I suspect they’ve done it again.

Verdict: Willow Looks Great!

Miu Watanabe defeated Moka Miyamoto to retain the International Princess Title

The champ will spin you. Credit: TJPW

Moka Miyamoto was never going to win this match. TJPW had been building to Miu winning a single belt for too long, and there was no chance of her losing it on her first defence to someone elevated into this position for the first time. However, that didn’t matter. What mattered was that Moka went out there and proved she could handle the pressure of being in a main event title match for the very first time.

And I was pleased to see that she could. Miu and Moka built this around the simple stuff, making moves like bodyslams or Miu’s clubbing blows to the back feel vital. It was a perfect choice, as I think these wrestlers are great at making those little things count. As I’ve said before, Miu’s expressions can sell anything, while Moka has a knack for making every move feel important. You don’t need to do anything fancy when you can make the ordinary feel big.

Plus, when the flash did come (Miu powering out of a submission and somehow twisting Moka around to spin her by the head), it was all the more impressive because of it. It also proved that Moka and Miu, despite their relative inexperience, know how to put a match together. The action built nicely to those moments, and while Miu was always the dominant party, Moka’s comebacks were well-spaced out so as not to make it feel like Watanabe had blown her away.

It all left me feeling a bit warm and fuzzy inside. TJPW might not book things as quickly as certain people want them to, but they have a plan, and Moka vs Miu being a match that can headline and sell out the available tickets in a reasonably sized room in Osaka, has got to be a step forward in it. They’re moving these pieces into place, and in moments like this, you can see the future. If it’s already this good, then we’re all in for a treat.

Verdict: Proud Of Them

Overall Show

If I were being very harsh, I’d say the only matches you have to see on this show are the last two. However, if you skip ahead, you’re missing out on a lot of good stuff. The combination of fans who could make noise and some fun matches made this show a breezy, easy watch, and I’d recommend everyone give it their time.

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