Event: JWP Recapture: Tag League Tournament #1
Date: January 31st, 2016
Location: Itabashi Green Hall in Tokyo, Japan
Announced Attendance: 190
It is JWP time! JWP is not nearly as big as it was back in the heyday of Joshi but it is still plugging along and has some quality wrestlers. This event starts their annual Tag League The Best Tournament, a single elimination tournament this year that has been a tradition in Joshi for decades. Off and on. Anyway here is the full card (wrestlers with profiles on this site are clickable if you need more information on the wrestler):
All the matches got time so let’s see if any delivered.
Cat Power and Yako Fujigasaki vs. Kagetsu and Sawako Shimono
As odd as it may sound, I am not sure if I have seen Cat Power wrestle before. Maybe once or twice. Cat Power is a Canadian wrestler that freelances in Japan, wrestling in various promotions. Fujigasaki is a young JWP wrestler, while Kagetsu and Shimono are veteran wrestlers. A bit of star power as we open as both Kagetsu and Shimono have held titles in JWP.
Kagetsu and Fujigasaki start off but Cat Power quickly comes in and Kagetsu is double teamed. Shimono joins her partner and they get the upper hand temporarily, but it doesn’t last long. Fujigasaki is double teamed again, Kagetsu kicks her in the back and tags in Shimono. Shimono puts Fujigasaki in a surfboard before tagging Kagetsu back in, scoop slam by Kagetsu and she covers Fujigasaki for two. Shimono comes back in as Fujigasaki is double teamed again while Cat Power watches from the apron, but she finally hits Kagetsu and Fujigasaki hits a missile dropkick for a two count. She tags in Cat Power as Shimono comes in too, but Cat Power lariats both of them. Lariat by Cat Power on Kagetsu, she picks up Kagetsu and hits a scoop slam. Elbow drop by Cat Power but Kagetsu fires back with a spear. She tags Shimono, lariat by Shimono in the corner but she can’t knock over Cat Power with shoulderblocks. She finally sends her to the mat but Cat Power slides away from her and applies a sleeper.
Shimono gets out of it but Cat Power kicks her in the chest. Superman Punch by Cat Power and she tags in Fujigasaki. Missile dropkick by Fujigasaki and she hits another one, covering Shimono for two. Shimono knees Fujigasaki but Fujigasaki hits a hard elbow followed by a double wrist suplex for a two count. Cat Power comes in and slams Shimono, diving body press by Fujigasaki but it gets a two count. Shimono is sent off the ropes but Kagetsu comes in with a double swandive missile dropkick on both opponents. Shimono and Kagetsu both elbow Fujigasaki, Samoan Drop by Shimono but it gets two. Cat Power tries to help but she lariats Fujigasaki by mistake, lariat by Shimono to Fujigasaki and she gets a two count cover. Fujigasaki sneaks in a backslide and a wing clutch hold cover, but neither can keep Shimono down. Fujigasaki goes off the ropes but Shimono catches her with a lariat, Kagetsu kicks Fujigasaki in the head and Shimono drops her with a Ebisu Drop for the three count! Kagetsu and Shimono win!
It is nice when promotions don’t have short meaningless openers but get straight to it with a well-structured match that gets a decent amount of time. This won’t rock anyone’s world but it was perfectly watchable and never slowed down throughout. Kagetsu was the standout here, which is no surprise, but no one really lagged behind even if not all of it was perfectly fluid. A straightforward and decent opener.
Akane Fujita and Leon vs. Konami and Syuri
This match is part of the JWP Tag League The Best Tournament. This year the tournament is single elimination, so if you lose you are done. Akane Fujita and Leon are JWP regulars, with Leon being the veteran and Fujita debuting in 2013. Konami and Syuri hail from REINA (at the time of the tournament), Syuri being the awesome veteran and Konami the young one as she just debuted in early 2015. A common theme with tag teams in Joshi, pairing veteran wrestlers with newer wrestlers, we’ll see how this turns out.
Fujita and Konami are the first two in and start politely, but Syuri kicks Fujita from the apron and helps Konami kick Fujita around the ring. Fujita shoulderblocks Syuri as Leon comes in, and they both hit somersault sentons on Konami. Fujita tags Leon, Leon stomps Konami and applies a stretch hold on the mat. Konami gets out of it and tags Syuri, Syuri grapples with Leon, scoop slam by Leon and she tags Fujita. Syuri quickly hits a Backstabber and tags Konami, kicks by Konami and she hits a PK for a two count cover. Fujita blocks a suplex and slams Konami, but Konami jumps on her back with a sleeper. Schoolboy by Konami, but Fujita kicks out.Elbow by Konami but Fujita catches her with a suplex and tags Leon. Running shoulder tackle by Leon in the corner, Konami comes back with kicks but Leon catches her with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Crab hold by Leon but Syuri breaks it up, Konami gets Leon down and goes for the armbreaker but Leon blocks it. Leon tries to powerbomb out of the hold but Syuri pushes her over to help Konami lock it in, which Fujita quickly breaks up. Konami tags Syuri and Syuri kicks Leon repeatedly in the chest before hitting a jumping knee.
Single arm suplex by Syuri and she goes for a cross breaker, but Leon scoots to the ropes to force a break. Syuri goes to kick Leon but Leon moves, Fujita comes in and helps Leon hit a missile dropkick for two. Knee by Syuri but Leon catches her with a tilt-a-whirl slam. Leon goes up top and nails a Frog Splash, but Konami breaks up the cover. Knees by Leon but Syuri blocks the Capture Buster and hits a jumping knee. Leon falls in her corner and tags Fujita, shoulderblocks by Fujita and she hits a powerslam. Chop to the chest by Fujita and she applies a crab hold while Leon does the same to Konami but Syuri gets to the ropes. Syuri and Fujita trade elbows, running knee by Syuri but Fujita barely kicks out. Knee by Syuri to Fujita and she kicks her with Konami, but the cover gets two again. German suplex by Syuri, she goes for another one but Leon runs in with a spear. Michinoku Driver by Fujita, but she gets a two count. Fujita goes off the ropes but Syuri catches her with a high kick, Leon comes in but she gets one too. Buzzsaw Kick by Syuri, and she gets the three count! Syuri and Konami win the match and move on in the tournament.
This was fun, I liked it. The “good” about this match is the general presence of Syuri and just how smooth and snug she is with everything, she elevates just about any match she is in, but everyone here held their own. There was constantly something going on, moves were either being reversed or teammates were running in, which kept he pace at almost a fever pitch at times. That worked to the match’s detriment as well as there wasn’t a lot of structure, a lot of the time it was just random move after random move. Still an enjoyable watch though. Mildly Recommended
KAZUKI and Rydeen Hagane vs. Meiko Tanaka and Sareee
This match is part of the JWP Tag League The Best Tournament. My favorite young tag team is back! Looks like Tanaka and Sareee are just teaming everywhere, which is great since I am starting to like them quite a bit. They are affiliated with Diana, while on the other side the team of KAZUKI and Hagane are JWP stalwarts. The JWP team lost the last tournament match so we’ll see if KAZUKI and Hagane can do any better.
We start with Tanaka and Hagane, and Hagane promptly starts tossing Tanaka around the ring. Sareee kicks Hagane from the apron to help and Hagane is double teamed until KAZUKI makes the save. KAZUKI and Hagane take turns dropping knees on Tanaka, KAZUKI stays in as legal and puts Tanaka in a crab hold. Tanaka reaches the ropes, backdrop suplex by KAZUKI and she applies a bodyscissors. Tanaka bites KAZUKI’s foot to get out of it and tags Sareee, but KAZUKI elbows Sareee hard to the mat. She tags Hagane but Sareee slips away and applies a grounded front necklock. Hagane helps KAZUKI out of the situation but Tanaka comes in and KAZUKI is double teamed. Sareee sneaks in a roll-up for two, kick by Sareee but KAZUKI connects with a few knees before dropping Sareee with a double underhook lift into a gutbuster. She tags Hagane, Hagane picks up Sareee and delivers a military press slam for two. Sareee slides away from Hagane and hits a roll-up into a footstomp, but Hagane slams her again to the mat. Dropkick by Sareee and she connects with a second one, German suplex by Sareee and she tags Tanaka.
Tanaka tries to knock over Hagane with no luck, Hagane shoulderblocks Tanaka to the mat but Tanaka applies a sleeper. Lariats by Hagane in the corner and she hits a Reverse Splash, but Tanaka barely gets a shoulder up. Drop toehold by Tanaka, Sareee runs in and they both dropkick Hagane. Both then hit missile dropkicks, spear by Tanaka and Sareee goes up top to hit an assisted somersault senton. Tanaka goes up and they do the same thing, cover by Tanaka but KAZUKI barely breaks it up. Hagane fights back with a lariat on Tanaka and tags KAZUKI, but Tanaka picks up KAZUKI and hits a fireman’s carry roll. Tanaka goes up top and hits a dropkick after Sareee suplexes KAZUKI, but KAZUKI hits a double Codebreaker. Somato by KAZUKI to Tanaka, Hagane returns as they focus on Sareee, knocking her to the mat. Tanaka goes for a double spear but it is blocked, and they put her in a double Argentine Backbreaker. Sareee breaks it up but the Diana wrestlers are stacked in the corner before KAZUKI hits a double kneedrop. KAZUKI grabs Tanaka and delivers the Death-By-Roderick, getting the three count! Hagane and KAZUKI win the match and enter the next round in the tournament.
A much more traditional tag match than the last one. The first half followed the normal tag formula of isolating the weakest opponent, Tanaka in this case, until the hot tag happened and after that it turned more into what you’d expect from a Joshi tag. That being of course fast paced, lots of teammate assistance, and general chaos. I thought it worked since Tanaka was the natural one to target, and the big vs. little dynamic worked well here since Hagane really does carry herself as a monster wrestler even though she isn’t much bigger than her opponents. Overall a solid tag team match. Mildly Recommended
Command Bolshoi and Makoto vs. Kyoko Kimura and Hanako Nakamori
This is not a tournament match, it is just for fun. An odd assortment of Joshi wrestlers here for sure. Bolshoi is a JWP wrestler, so she is in the right place, but her teammate wrestles for REINA. On the other side is Nakamori, another JWP wrestler, teaming with a random Freelancer in Kyoko Kimura. Even more odd is that in the Tag League, Nakamori teamed with Makoto while Bolshoi teamed with Rabbit Miu so the teams don’t make a lot of sense. So basically this is a thrown together tag team match that hopefully will still be entertaining anyway.
Makoto and Nakamori begin, as Nakamori throws Makoto around like a child. She tags Bolshoi so Kimura also tags in, they grapple on the mat but neither gets an advantage. Both tag out again as we go back to the first pairing, kicks by Nakamori and she hits a leg drop. More kicks by Nakamori and she tags Kimura as the beatdown on Makoto is under way. as Kimura has no sympathy on Makoto. Nakamori kicks Makoto while she is twisted in the ropes, but Makoto hits a big boot on Nakamori and tags Bolshoi. Bolshoi palm strikes Nakamori and applies an ankle hold, but Kimura comes in and puts her in a sleeper. Makoto joins them and puts Kimura in a sleeper but Nakamori does the same to her. Bolshoi fights off both Kimura and Nakamori, but she goes down to a missile dropkick by Nakamori. Kimura is tagged in and Bolshoi applies an armbreaker over the ropes, she rolls Kimura back in and applies a grounded necklock.
Kimura reverses it into a kimura lock but Bolshoi reverses it back. Kimura boots Bolshoi but Bolshoi fights back and they trade blows. Bolshoi wins the exchange, she picks up Kimura but Kimura snaps off a backdrop suplex. Nakamori and Makoto are both tagged in, backdrop suplex by Nakamori but Makoto nails a big kick. Tiger Feint Kick by Bolshoi and Makoto applies a double underhook suplex for a two count cover. Makoto goes up top but Nakamori avoids the crossbody, they trade quick pin attempts but they are broken up. Kimura headbutts Makoto and hits a chokebomb, Nakamori goes up top and she hits a diving knee strike but Bolshoi breaks up the cover. Nakamori knees Makoto and rolls her up but the pin is broken up again. Makoto goes on a spearing spree and hits a cartwheel kneedrop on Nakamori, but Kimura breaks up the cover. Kick to the head by Nakamori, she picks up Makoto but Makoto sneaks in a schoolboy. Another quick pin doesn’t work, and the bell rings signifying that time has expired. The match is a Draw.
My opinion of non-tournament draws is well documented, I don’t like them unless there is a storyline reason for it which there wasn’t here. This is a small event in front of 190 people, someone can take a fall to give the match a more satisfying conclusion, it wouldn’t hurt any of the wrestlers. Anyway this wasn’t bad but it took awhile to get going. The last three minutes or so were fast paced and flowed really well and there was some solid action here, but overall it was ‘just another match’ with nothing memorable.
Arisa Nakajima vs. Rabbit Miu
It is time for the main event! Not a bad way to end a smaller show, as the younger Miu battles one of the biggest stars in JWP. Nakajima comes into the match with three titles, all of the tag team variety, while 19 year old Miu has only held Jr. titles in her career thus far. Nakajima is more heel-ish now than she used to be as she joined Ozaki-gun in OZ, which may play a part in this match. No one would give young Miu a real shot at winning this but its a big opportunity for her against Nakajima here, and I am sure she will take full advantage.
Miu immediately proves my point as she dropkicks Nakajima as her name is announced, starting the match with a bang. Miu even has a new outfit I haven’t seen before, perhaps showing her new serious side, but Nakajima quickly suplexes her and dropkicks Miu out of the ring. That was a fun burst while it lasted. Back in things slow down a bit as they go to the mat, Nakajima gets a sleeper applied but they roll into the ropes to force Nakajima to release her. Nakajima flings around Miu by her hair and goes for the sleeper again but Miu gets out of it, Nakajima gets an armbreaker applied but again Miu wiggles out of the hold. Elbows by Miu and now she is the one doing the hair throwing, but Nakajima hits a knee in the corner. She misses the next one and Miu dumps Nakajima out of the ring, she goes up to the top turnbuckle and dives out out of the ring, but she misses Nakajima. Nakajima takes full advantage and beats Miu with chairs before putting a chair on her head and standing on it. Nakajima then gets on the apron, tosses a chair to Miu and then dropkicks it into her face.
Nakajima is no longer messing around, they return to the ring and Nakajima hits a missile dropkick for a two count. Nakajima boots Miu some more, Miu fights back with elbows and she knocks down Nakajima with a dropkick. Miu goes up top and hits a missile dropkick, roll-up by Miu but it gets two. More elbows by Miu, Nakajima goes for a suplex but Miu lands on her feet and hits a trio of German suplexes of her own. Miu goes for a roll-up hurricanrana but Nakajima counters it with a powerbomb. Back up they trade elbows, Miu goes off the ropes but Nakajima catches her with a bridging fallaway slam for a two count. Rolling Germans by Nakajima, she picks up Miu and hits a high knee. Running knee by Nakajima, she goes up top but Miu joins her and hits a superplex. Knees by Miu and she nails the Rabbit Suplex but Nakajima barely gets a shoulder up. Miu elbows Nakajima but Nakajima elbows her back and sends Miu to the mat. Package German by Nakajima, but Miu kicks out at two. Dragon suplex hold by Nakajima, and she gets the three count! Arisa Nakajima is the winner.
A really good match, hurt more by the fact there was just one camera in the back filming than anything else. Most the action outside the ring was missed, which was a pivotal part of the match, and strikes just don’t have the same impact from so far away. I did like that Nakajima gave Miu everything here, Miu had several chances to win and hung tough with Nakajima, never looking out of her league. So even in defeat this will only help Miu, and certainly not hurt her. Very fluid match and nothing felt wasted, the 15 minutes went by quickly. I also loved how vicious Nakajima was being, this wasn’t a feel-good type of match, the veteran was really laying in the shots and it was great. A fun match and a fitting main event for the show, definitely worth watching for a fan of JWP or Joshi in general. Recommended
For a smaller show, I thought this one delivered. All five matches were given plenty of time so there were no real throw-away matches on the show, everything was at least watchable with obviously some matches being more than that. Both the tournament matches were solid and the main event certainly gave me more respect for Miu as a potential player down the road even at her smaller stature. I wish it was pro-shot, as there is a ceiling of how good an event can be when its hard to see everything that goes on, but besides that no real complaints. Worth seeking out for sure if you’re a fan of JWP, and the last match should be enjoyable to just about everyone.