Event: Strong Style Pro Wrestling Vol. 18
Date: August 25th, 2022
Location: Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan
Announced Attendance: Unknown
Broadcast: NicoPro PPV
It has been awhile since we have visited Real Japan/Strong Style Pro Wrestling, lets see what they are up to. Strong Style Pro Wrestling is the rare hybrid puroresu promotion that has an almost equal number of men’s and women’s matches. Other promotions of course have both, but with SSPW it is generally split pretty evenly. That is the case here, with three Joshi matches to go along with the three men’s matches. SSPW only has a few contracted wrestlers, and mostly uses Freelancers or loans wrestlers from other promotions. That gives us some unique match-ups, as this card has wrestlers from Diana, PURE-J, COLOR’S, and some Freelancers. We also get a fun match with three masked wrestlers, as SSPW wrestler Tiger Queen takes on two invading evil wrestlers – Dark Cheetah and Dark Tiger. I will only be reviewing the Joshi matches on the event, here are the Joshi matches on the card:
Most wrestlers on the show have a profile on Joshi City, you can click on their name above to go straight to it. Let’s get to the fun.
Leon vs. Nanami
We start off with a super veteran vs. young wrestler match, a staple of Joshi wrestling. Leon (wrestling out of PURE-J) has been wrestling for over 20 years and has well over a dozen title reigns in her career. Nanami (wrestling out of Diana) on the other hand is 16 years old and has done nothing. So this is lopsided by design, hopefully giving Nanami some valuable experience that she can use to become better and stronger going forward.
They circle each other before locking up, Leon pushes Nanami into the ropes but Nanami switches positions with her and hits a series of elbows. Irish whip by Nanami but Leon blocks it an elbows her, armdrag by Nanami and she dropkicks Leon. Snapmare by Nanami and she applies a bodyscissors, Nanami rolls Leon around the ring before holding her down for a two count. Back up, Leon throws Nanami into the corner and delivers a dropkick. Scoop slam by Leon and she hits a somersault senton for a two count. Camel Clutch by Leon, she lets go after a moment and hits an elbow drop. Leon sets up Nanami in the ropes, she then goes out to the apron and hits a series of chops. Back in the ring, Irish whip by Leon but the two collide with neither going down. Nanami goes off the ropes and tries to knock over Leon, but Leon kicks her. Nanami knocks Leon into the corner and finally hits a successful shoulderblock for a two count. Scoop slam by Nanami, she goes to the second turnbuckle and hits a diving bodypress for two.
Nanami picks up Leon but Leon knees her off, Nanami goes off the ropes but Leon catches her with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Crab hold by Leon but Nanami crawls to the ropes to force the break. Leon pulls Nanami to the middle of the ring and clubs her in the back, she waits for Nanami to get up and Nanami hits a series of elbows. Leon knocks her back down with a hard elbow, she picks up Nanami and slams her into the corner. Running shoulder tackle by Leon, she goes to the top turnbuckle and hits a missile dropkick for two. Leon picks up Nanami but Nanami pushes her off and throws Leon to the mat. Leon quickly gets back up, she goes off the ropes but Nanami hits a shoulderblock followed by a Northern Lights Suplex Hold for two. She goes for another one but Leon blocks it, cradle by Nanami but Leon kicks out. Nanami goes for a couple more flash pins with no luck, Spear by Leon and she covers Nanami for two. Leon positions Nanami, she goes to the top turnbuckle and nails the Mad Splash for the three count! Leon is the winner.
I seem to be watching a lot of Nanami matches lately. Completely not on purpose, although I guess she is improving some? Hard to tell. Leon is a really solid veteran that could have a good match with a broom, she isn’t flashy but she knows how to structure a match and keep it moving. Nothing here broke any new ground, it was a pretty standard veteran vs. child match, but Leon did give Nanami a near fall or two so it wasn’t a squash. Nothing special, but not awkward or disjointed which I guess is a win.
Itsuki Aoki and Jaguar Yokota vs. Sae and SAKI
The next Joshi match on the card feels pretty random. If there is a real connection between these teams, I don’t know what it is and for a midcard match it doesn’t feel worth doing hours of research to figure it out. Itsuki Aoki is a popular Freelancer who wrestles in just about any promotion that will let her, including WAVE, SEAdLINNNG, Marvelous, and OZ Academy. She teams with Jaguar Yokota, a true legend and one of the best Joshi wrestlers of all time. They are against Sae, who represents Yanagase Pro Wrestling, and SAKI from the COLOR’S Unit. I’m not sure what to expect here, hopefully they can mesh together and put together something fun.
Itsuki and Sae start the match, they go off the ropes trying to knock each other over until Sae knocks Itsuki to the mat. Itsuki quickly returns the favor, stomps by Itsuki and she tags Yokota. Yokota picks up Sae and rakes her face against the top rope, DDT by Yokota and she stomps Sae in the stomach. Yokota picks up Sae again and puts her in an Octopus Hold, but SAKI breaks it up. Snapmare by Yokota and she applies a sleeper, but Sae wiggles to the ropes to force the break. Yokota tags Itsuki, Itsuki elbows Sae in the chest and sets her up in the ropes. Body Avalanche by Itsuki, but Sae kicks out of the cover. Double kneedrops by Itsuki, she picks up Sae but Sae slams Itsuki and makes the tag to SAKI. Double Irish whip to Itsuki and she eats a double boot, SAKI picks up Itsuki but Itsuki hits a drop toehold followed by a sliding kick. Itsuki tags Yokota, Yokota stomps on SAKI’s head and throws her into the corner. Elbows by Yokota but SAKI reverses the Irish whip, Yokota boots SAKI as she charges in and follows up with a heel drop.
Yokota applies an abdominal stretch but Sae breaks it up, Yokota grabs them both and hits a sidelock takedown/headscissors combination followed by a somersault legdrop onto SAKI. She then tags Itsuki, Itsuki throws SAKI into the corner and hits a running elbow. Face crusher by Itsuki and she hits a bodypress for a two count. Itsuki picks up SAKI but SAKI elbows her to block a slam attempt, elbow by Itsuki but SAKI boots her back. They go back and forth until SAKI sends Itsuki to the mat with a boot, she tags in Sae and Sae promptly boots Itsuki in the face as well. Another boot by Sae and she covers Itsuki for two. Scoop slam by Sae and she hits a leg drop, but Itsuki kicks out of her cover again. Sae picks up Itsuki and boots her while she is against the ropes, she goes out to the apron as does SAKI but Itsuki avoids their double boot attempt and knocks them both to the floor. Itsuki joins them and holds both while Yokota dives off the apron with a cannonball. Sae is slid back in, running double knee by Itsuki and she hits a bridging vertical suplex for two. Itsuki picks up Sae and goes off the ropes, but Sae avoids her elbow and hits a spear for two.
Sae gets Itsuki around the waist but Itsuki elbows out of it, STO by Itsuki and she makes the tag to Yokota. Somersault legdrop by Yokota, but SAKI breaks up the cover. Double Irish whip to Yokota, boot by SAKI and Sae delivers a fisherman suplex hold for two. Sae goes off the ropes but Itsuki cuts her off with a lariat, Yokota hits a fisherman suplex hold of her own but that also gets two. Yokota picks up Sae but Sae snaps off a DDT, running boot by Sae but Itsuki breaks up the cover. With all four in the ring, Yokota and Itsuki throw their opponents into each other and Yokota drops Sae with a suplex. She goes to the second turnbuckle but SAKI grabs her, this gives Sae time to cover and she joins Yokota. Itsuki runs over and tosses Sae back to the mat, giving Yokota time to hit a diving somersault legdrop for two. SAKI boots Yokota but Itsuki delivers a lariat, Itsuki dropkicks Sae in the knee and Yokota applies a Japanese leg-roll clutch hold for the three count! Jaguar Yokota and Itsuki Aoki are the winners!
This was… fine? The best thing I can say about it is that they kept the pace up, all four got a chance to shine, and both teams worked well together as teams. It didn’t feel like a thrown together random match, which is really to their credit since it was indeed a thrown together random match. Yokota seemed fired up and hit all her moves cleanly, and Itsuki Aoki is always a bundle of fun. Sae’s offense is really really repetitive and I would have liked to have seen more of SAKI, but there was enough going on that it didn’t get old. A pretty solid midcard match, it won’t set your world on fire but won’t make you sad either if you watch it. Mildly Recommended
Dark Cheetah and Dark Tiger vs. Haruka Umesaki and Tiger Queen
This wasn’t the main event on the show but its certainly my main event, as we get three talented masked wrestlers along with a wrestler visiting from Diana. I am emotionally torn from maintaining kayfabe out of respect to Satoru Sayama, and being up-front as this website is supposed to be informative. Tiger Queen debuted in SSPW last year, she is pretty tall and very smooth in the ring. Plus she has a mean moonsault. She teams with young Haruka Umesaki from Diana, who has shown potential but has yet to really break out. On the evil side, we have Dark Cheetah and Dark Tiger. Dark Cheetah and Dark Tiger (along with their friend Dark Panther) rose to PROMINENCE in SSPW a few months ago and appear to be destined as Tiger Queen’s foil, the same way that Tiger Mask had Black Tiger back in the day. Every hero must have their villain. I’m expecting this match to be chaotic but fun.
Haruka and Cheetah start the match, they lock up and trade quick holds until Cheetah gets Haruka to the mat with a headlock. Haruka gets out of it but Cheetah hits a hard shoulderblock, they trade armdrags and Haruka dropkicks Cheetah to the mat. Haruka tags in Tiger Queen as Dark Tiger also tags in, Tiger Queen and Dark Tiger trade elbows until Dark Tiger rakes Tiger Queen in the eyes. Tiger Queen kips up and takes Dark Tiger to the mat, but Dark Tiger applies a headscissors. Tiger Queen kips out of it and kicks Dark Tiger in the chest, she tags in Haruka and Haruka hits a jumping lariat. Haruka positions Dark Tiger and applies a stretch hold, she lets go after a moment and goes for a suplex, but Dark Tiger blocks it. Vertical suplex by Dark Tiger and she steps on Haruka’s face before tagging in Cheetah. Snapmare by Cheetah and she kneels on Haruka’s head until Tiger Queen runs in to knock her off. Cheetah knees Haruka again before throwing her into Panther’s boot (Panther jumped on the apron for the occasion), Cheetah tags Dark Tiger and Dark Tiger throws down Haruka by the hair. Dark Tiger taunts Tiger Queen but the referee tells her not to get in the ring, Dark Tiger picks up Haruka and throws her into the corner.
Haruka kicks Dark Tiger when she charges in and hits a hurricanrana, dropkick by Haruka and she makes the hot tag to Tiger Queen. Tiger Queen kicks both Dark Tiger and Cheetah, they fall out of the ring so Tiger Queen goes to the top turnbuckle and dives out onto them both with a moonsault. Tiger Queen slides Dark Tiger back in and follows her, she goes off the ropes and hits a diving double chop to the chest for a two count. Tiger Queen goes off the ropes but Panther trips her from ringside and pulls her out of the ring. Tiger Queen is stomped down by Cheetah and Panther, Panther slides Tiger Queen back in where Dark Tiger and Cheetah are waiting for her. Cheetah stays in as the legal wrestler and hits a missile dropkick on Tiger Queen, picking up a two count. Cheetah gets Tiger Queen on her shoulders but Tiger Queen slides off and applies a sleeper. She spins Cheetah around and hits a DDT, she goes to the top turnbuckle but Cheetah moves when she dives off. Tiger Queen rolls as she hits the mat for a quick recovery and drops Cheetah with a German suplex. Tiger Queen picks up Cheetah but Dark Tiger elbows her from behind, Haruka dropkicks Dark Tiger but Cheetah sends her out of the ring with a lariat. Jumping back kick by Tiger Queen to Cheetah and she makes the tag to Haruka, Dark Tiger also tags in but Haruka delivers a dropkick. Murder Dropkick by Haruka, she goes to the top turnbuckle and hits a missile dropkick for two.
Haruka picks up Dark Tiger but Dark Tiger applies a dragon sleeper, which is broken up by Tiger Queen. Cheetah kicks Tiger Queen from the apron, Dark Tiger grabs her as Haruka runs over to help but Dark Tiger moves and Haruka runs into Tiger Queen. Dark Tiger dropkicks both of them, she picks up Haruka and drills her with a vertical drop reverse DDT for a two count when Tiger Queen breaks it up. Dark Tiger picks up Haruka but Haruka sneaks in a cradle for two. Dark Tiger goes off the ropes but Haruka catches her with a suplex, she goes to the top turnbuckle and delivers the swivel bodypress for two. Haruka picks up Dark Tiger but Dark Tiger blocks the suplex attempt, Panther pulls the referee out of the ring (isn’t that illegal) and then comes in to help triple team Haruka. All three of the villains hit running strikes on Haruka in the corner, Dark Tiger gets a sword (it has its cover on) and hits Haruka in the stomach with it. Crucifix slam by Panther to Haruka, Dark Tiger picks up Haruka but Tiger Queen runs in and boots her. Tiger Queen is attacked by both Cheetah and Panther, Dark Tiger goes to pick up Haruka but Haruka applies a small package for two. Haruka goes off the ropes but Dark Tiger catches her with a TKO. Dark Tiger picks up Haruka and drops her with a double underhook facebuster for the three count! Dark Tiger and Dark Cheetah are the winners!
I was actually hoping this would be more chaotic, as the bulk of it was just a regular match. Which all four are capable of doing but if you put four (including Panther) quality wrestlers under a mask, let them be a little crazy, not work headlocks. A few times they did expand their methods, such as pulling out the referee and using the sword, but it just wasn’t as “extra” as I was expecting. That being said, the action was still really solid, with Dark Tiger in particular looking impressive. Very fluid match with Haruka only looking out of place since she didn’t have a mask on, she didn’t hold back the match even though she had the least amount of experience. It didn’t quite reach the level I was desiring, but the in-ring action was good and it did leave me wanting to see more of Dark Tiger which was probably the goal. Recommended
This PPV by Strong Style Pro Wrestling was cheaper than many others (1,500 yen), so if I was interested in all the matches it was probably a pretty solid value. For just the Joshi matches, the first match was a typical super veteran vs. inexperienced wrestler match but the other two both delivered on some level. The midcard match had really random wrestlers in it but they clicked surprisingly well, and the main event was entertaining even though it wasn’t the full chaos I was hoping it would be. Overall, not a bad Joshi effort by Strong Style Pro Wrestling, and it left me interested to see where the Tiger Queen storyline will go.