TJPW Live in Los Angeles
March 31, 2023
We’re in the Globe Theatre in LA. Hosts are Jonny Loquasto and Thom Fain. This is only my second show from the Globe after NJPW x Impact. I didn’t watch it live because of clashes with other shows. People who did watch it live seemed high on it.
Daisy Monkey (Arisu Endo & Suzume) vs. Free WiFi (Hikari Noa & Nao Kakuta)
Noa is one of the Up Up Girls. She is a big clumsy delight. The match has some odd stuff in it. Like Free WiFi biting Endo’s hair. Suzume looks the best wrestler in this with some tremendous drop kicks. Kakuta blows a spot in the corner and they awkwardly re-attempt it. She does attempt a fair few rope spots and they’re mostly very impressive. Free WiFi take it with a Washing Machine on Endo. This was fun but a little rough around the edges.
Janai Kai vs. Yuku Kamifuku
Kamifuku is the “Casual Beauty”. She’s leggy and relatively inexperienced. Janai Kai was heading up the rankings until getting injured and missing all of 2020. The “Kick Demon” once earned my scorn by basing all her offence around kicks and not being good at them. She seems to have a better balance now. Kai wins with an Ensiguiri out of nowhere. This was perfectly ok.
Raku & Yuki Aino vs. Hyper Misao & Trish Adora
The last time I watched TJPW Hyper Misao had retired (2017). Nice to see her back. Both Raku and Aino have debuted since then. Misao cuts a promo announcing “new hero…Hyper Trish” and gives Adora a mask. Adora has fun doing superhero shit. Raku’s gimmick is a pillow. She waffles Misao with it and then tries to coax her to sleep. Misao wins with the nefarious hairspray in the eyes and a high crossbody. Not particularly heroic. Either you die a hero or you live long enough to become a villain. I enjoyed this. Fun gimmicks. Best match so far.
Shoko Nakajima & Miu Watanabe vs. Max the Impaler & Heidi Howitzer
Miu has gotten over while I was away. Shoko was good the last time I watched TJPW. I’m a fan of Max’s gimmick but Heidi is new on me. I’m thrilled to discover it’s the same as Max, basically, only more verbal. Shoko is sub five foot and Miu is a cutesy gimmick. It helps to create a huge contrast between the vicious gaijin and the plucky underdogs. Heidi does a brainbuster in this, which causes me to gasp. Heidi is easier to conquer but when Miu slams Max, it feels like a real proper giant killing. The crowd goes banana. ***½
Miu Watanabe looks like the real deal. The giant swing and her various tactics to take on the two bigger wrestlers were excellent. If I do stick around, maybe joshi is the way forward.
International Princess Championship
Rika Tatsumi (c) vs. Billie Starkz
This is the only singles match on the card. It’s a card designed to get a lot of workers on it. A showcase of the talent. Starkz is still only 18. The lack of experience is palpable. There’s a lot of awkwardness and a worrying amount of thigh slapping. For her age she is excellent but until she’s developed there’s no way of telling how good she’ll actually be. A key part of the match is Rika putting a rabbit head on Starkz so she can’t see and then attempting to do spots. It’s not the best of ideas. Rika finishes with a hip attack off the top. Sadly the rabbit gimmick having gone by that point so Billie can’t even use it as an excuse.
Princess Tag Team Championship
121000000 (Miyu Yamashita & Maki Itoh) (c) vs. Magical Sugar Rabbits (Mizuki & Yuka Sakazaki)
Yamashita and Maki are the two wrestlers I most associate with TJPW. Yamashita for her in ring, Itoh for her personality. Yamashita is going on excursion to the USA right after this, which somewhat telegraphs the outcome. Itoh’s hard-headed offence is wonderful. The timing on her Kokeshi here is beautiful. The match is carnage and it breaks down very early and stays that way. The result is determined by Magical Sugar Rabbits having the best teaming ability, whereas 121000000 (1 to 1M) are great individuals. As is evidenced by them collectively taking out Yamashita on the floor before Itoh gets double stomped for the loss. Although, I wasn’t happy with Maki having to lie around for ages waiting for the finish. A fun match but not a great one. ***½
It’s a real shame this was the only women’s show on the weekend. The standard was good with a few matches worth mentioning. Chaotic tags for the main event and the Wasteland War Party both delivered.