TJP Tokyo Joshi Pro ‘20
January 4, 2020
We’re in Tokyo, Japan at Korakuen Hall. It’s packed! 1467 in attendance. It’s been a while since I saw TJP so I don’t know who anyone is in the opener.
Mahiro Kiryu & Sena Shiori vs. Naruna Neko & Suzume
Neko wears black. Suzume is in yellow.
Neko is 4’8”. She’s so tiny. Kiryu is in blue and is a giant at 5’5”. As with most Japanese wrestling the youngsters show a lot of potential and work really hard. Clearly there are some timing issues and some of the bumps are rubbish but hey, between all four they barely have a year in the business. Suzume is the stand out. Her dropkicks have plenty of stink on them. She taps out Shiori with a sleeper. Suzume is one to watch. The others need seasoning.
Final Rating: *1/2
Rename in the Pinata Loser Name Change Match
Hyper Misao vs. Shoko Nakajima
There’s a colourful pinata over the ring.
I assume its full of colourful new names for whoever loses this match. Shoko has a bag of plastic dinosaur toys to use as a weapon. Misao has a guy in a suit helping her with props. At one point rolling Shoko up in a rug. This isn’t just for jokes though. When they pull out a ladder, to get the pinata, there are some genuinely savage bumps.
Let’s not forget these sons of bitches. Shoko pulls open the pinata and Hyper Misao is no more. Arise Akemi Daredasore. Fucking hell, that’s much harder to spell.
Final Rating: ***1/4
DDT Ironman Heavymetal Championship
Saki Akai (c) vs. Yuki Kamifuku
Yuki’s entrance music is Old McDonald Had a Farm, which is certainly a Choice. Saki is virtually a veteran now, which is just weird to think about. Yuki is basically the same wrestler, only younger. It’s like watching two broomsticks have a fight. Or that time the Undertaker wrestled the Undertaker…only obviously it’s a better match because Yuki Kamifuku is a way better wrestler than Brian Lee. That said, this match isn’t particularly good. Saki finishes with her abdominal stretch driver. This was fine.
Final Rating: **1/4
Yuna Manase, Mina Shirakawa & Mirai Maiumi vs. Aja Kong, Pom Harajuku & Raku
Aja Kong has won the DDT Ironman belt since the last match. Backstage antics no doubt.
I hear good things about Pom and Raku but hey, I heard good things about Lulu Pencil too. They do cutesy stuff and then make Aja do cutesy stuff, which make me laugh. Of course she’s only ever a matter of seconds away from murdering someone with a backfist. I also love how Pom keeps ‘saving’ Aja like she needs the help. She’s one “leave my mom alone” from a happy family. Aja ends up winning on her own, which is as it should be. This was decent.
Final Rating: **3/4
Natsumi Maki vs. Sareee
I’ve been a big Sareee fan for a while now but Maki is superb too. They work at a breakneck pace. Maki is so smooth and quick. It’s alarming that I’ve not seen her in a big singles match before. Sareee is obviously great and she plays queen bitch here, looking to put Maki in her place with slaps and submissions.
Only Maki isn’t a one trick pony. She’s not just about the speed. She has that mat game and the submissions aren’t a one-way street. Maki spends the whole match trying to live up to Sareee’s superiority. Maki is a wee bit rough around the edges and the difference is in moves like dropkicks where Sareee’s land hard and Maki’s barely connect. Although that is the dynamic of the match. Maki isn’t on Sareee’s level but she’s trying hard to get there. Some of the near falls, mostly off sneaky roll ups, are excellent. Sareee ends up winning but Maki pushed her hard and there’s a nice showing of respect for it. This was smooth and clinical for the most part. Well worth checking out.
Final Rating: ****
Mizuki vs. Thunder Rosa
Rosa is going after Maki Itoh’s title tomorrow so she’s not losing here.
Mizuki is no pushover though. She’s a talented all rounder and she’s particularly impressive going through or off the ropes. Rosa picks up the win. This was rock solid and consistently good throughout.
Final Rating: ***1/4
International Princess Championship
Maki Itoh (c) vs. Hikari Noa
Maki Itoh, self-proclaimed “world’s cutest wrestler”, is coming into the first of two defences this weekend ahead of her first trip to the UK.
Maki is beautifully overconfident here. She takes victory over Noa completely for granted. At 77 days she is the longest reigning International Princess champ so she has every right to consider herself the don. Plus she is Maki Itoh. It’s a tough cross to bear. There’s a lot of mat work in this with Noa considering this her best option for a title switch. Some of the cradles are outstanding. I’m not convinced the rolling cradle works but apart from that she’s technical gold. It’s a really fun match and Maki ends up retaining with a brutal looking Texas Cloverleaf. Good times here!
Final Rating: ***1/2
Post-Match: Thunder Rosa comes out to talk shit so Maki Itoh screams at her in English. “What you say?” I love Maki Itoh. 2019 Most Charismatic in the WON awards please voters.
Princess Tag Team Championship
Miu Watanabe & Rika Tatsumi (c) vs. BAKURETSU Sisters (Nodoka Tenma & Yuki Aino)
Semi main event and this show has flown by. The champs work over Tenma but the whole sequence feels like time filling. The match picks up when Miu does a fucking crazy giant swing. I also dig that Tenma doesn’t just hot tag out but rather takes over with a headlock and leaves the ring in a position of power. Miu has a particularly good match and feels like the star of proceedings. Everyone else is fine with Aino being the best of the rest. Considering Aino’s lack of experience I thought she came across really well. The sequence where Miu keeps beating her to the punch is perfect and leads right into the finish. Aside from the Tenma heat segment I thought this was very effective and a strong second top bout.
Final Rating: ***1/2
Princess of Princess Championship
Yuka Sakazaki (c) vs. Miyu Yamashita
Yamashita had that incredible 484 day run as champion from Jan 2018-May 2019. She lost to Shoko Nakajima, who in turn lost to Yuka, but she’s never had a rematch. Yamashita is arguably the best women’s wrestler in the world.
She comes in all business here and while Yuka’s fun-loving persona is in evidence during her entrance she quickly switches to her game face.
Pretty soon she’s table surfing Miyu down the steps at Korakuen and nearly murdering security guys. I’m pretty sure he fucked up and got in the way here so he deserves that broken leg. Just let them do dumb spots mate. The basics of the match are also very solid. Miyu controls on the mat but Yuka isn’t out of her depth there. The feeling is that Sakazaki needs to use her speed and flying ability to cancel out that Yamashita dominance.
However Yamashita is also fast and also capable of popping off some crazy rope related offence. Some of the big spots (flying rana to floor) don’t quite land as clean as they could but they keep pushing the boundaries of what they can do and I respect that. The two biggest issues are that 1) they botch too much and 2) I’m never convinced that Yamashita isn’t the better of the two, which is supposed to be the story as Sakasaki retains. Springboard Sparkle Splash finishes. I admire what they attempted here and they really did shoot for epic but ended up a little short. I remained convinced that Yamashita is the best wrestler in this promotion.
Final Rating: ***3/4
The best TJP show I’ve seen from top to bottom. They’ve been improving and the quality control is definitely there now. The better wrestlers are in singles where they can stand out. The ones that aren’t as good are given good spots where they can improve. The overall standard is so much higher than it used to be. Tokyo Joshi Pro could genuinely challenge the likes of Sendai Girls and Stardom for best joshi promotion if they keep this up. Excellent improvement across the board.