Event: TJPW Tokyo Joshi Pro 2020
Date: January 4th, 2020
Location: Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan
Announced Attendance: 1,467
Starting the year with something new – Tokyo Joshi Pro! Not a new promotion of course, but one that I didn’t watch much (if at all) in 2019 as their general style doesn’t always line up with my interests. This is one of their biggest shows of the year however, and the card is really stacked with four title matches and a special singles match between Natsumi Maki and Sareee. Here is the full card:
As Tokyo Joshi Pro is not a promotion I watch very often, I may miss some of the smaller nuances on what is going on but I’ll do my best. All wrestlers have profiles on the site, you can click on their name above to go straight to it.
Haruna Neko and Suzume vs. Kiryu and Sena Shiori
We kick off the show with a tag match, featuring a wrestler making her debut. None of these wrestlers have much experience, with Haruna being the “veteran” of the group as she debuted in November of 2018. Clearly in the year or so since they started, none have had much luck moving up the card. Sena is making her debut in this match, while I am not too familiar with any of these four I am interested to see if any stand out as having a potential future more than the others.
Suzume and Sena start, they trade holds on their feet before Suzume takes Sena down to the mat. Sena switches positions and applies a leglock but it gets quickly reversed, they jockey for position but end up in a stalemate. Back up, Suzume backs into her corner to tag in Haruna, while Mahiro is also tagged in. Haruna gets the first strike on Mahiro and tries to knock her over, but Mahiro stays up and applies a side headlock. Haruna Irish whips out of it but Mahiro hits a hard shoulderblock, she applies a front necklock as she tags in Sena. Sena tries to throw Haruna into the corner but it gets reversed, seated senton by Haruna to Sena and she covers her for two. Haruna tags in Suzume, Sena is thrown into the corner and she eats running strikes from both her opponents. Cover by Suzume, but it gets two. Suzume picks up Sena but Sena elbows her and the two trade blows, Sena tags in Suzume but Mahiro catches her with a scoop slam. Mahiro slams Suzume into the corner but Suzume connects with a dropkick and tags Haruna. Haruna goes for a slam but it gets blocked, Mahiro goes for a slam but Haruna gets out of it and hits a lariat. Cover by Haruna, but it gets a two count. Haruna tags Suzume, Suzume goes up top and she hits a diving crossbody for two. Suzume elbows Mahiro in the chest but Mahiro connects with a hard elbow and tags in Sena. Dropkick by Sena and she applies a single leg crab hold, but Haruna breaks it up. Mahiro throws Haruna out of the ring, Irish whip by Sena to Suzume but Suzume reverses it. Sena avoids Suzume’s dropkick and re-applies the crab hold, but Suzume wiggles to the ropes and gets the break. Elbows by Sena but Suzume elbows her back, schoolboy attempt by Suzume but Sena rolls through it. Dropkick by Suzume and she puts Sena in a sleeper hold, Sena struggles to escape but taps out! Haruna Neko and Suzume are the winners.
Even for a rookie/young wrestler match, the ending here was pretty sudden as there wasn’t really any foreshadowing that a sleeper finisher was in play. I was really impressed by Mahiro, her poise and mannerisms are great for a rookie and I could see her becoming a force down the line. I was less impressed by Haruna and Suzume, however I concede this was a really small sample size. Sena looked fine for a debut, seemed to be confident and didn’t mess up anything. Not a bad way to start, although a slightly longer end stretch would have been nice.
Hyper Misao vs. Shoko Nakajima
Time for one of our wacky matches of the evening. From best I can tell, the winner of this match gets to re-name the loser for one month. They are also both allowed to bring one ‘weapon’ to the ring with them. The naming rights are hung from the ceiling in a giant pinata, so basically its a ladder match with an odd stipulation. This was also billed as Hyper Misao’s return match, as Misao has left Sakisama and has returned to her Super Hero ways. Anyway, even with the goofiness this may still be good as Shoko is great and Hyper Misao has some comedic timing to her.
For their respective weapons, Shoko brought with her a giant bag of kaiju action figures while Misao will use…. Tokyo Joshi Pro producer Tetsuya Koda, who is in no way a wrestler. But he does distract Shoko off the start which allows Misao to attack her from behind, Rocking Cradle by Misao while Koda puts a sheet down on the mat. They roll up Shoko in the sheet, Misao gets the ladder and starts climbing up, but the still-cocooned Shoko knocks it over. Koda and Misao grab the ladder but Shoko dropkicks it away from them and gets the sheet off, she puts the ladder on her shoulders and spins it into Misao. Misao falls out of the ring but Shoko dives out onto her, she goes back in the ring to get some of her action figures and starts throwing them at Misao. Misao crawls under the ring to get away, Shoko goes out to try to find her but Misao sneaks up from behind and sprays her from a spray can. Back in the ring, Irish whip by Misao and she hits a crossbody, she sets up the ladder but Shoko pulls her off. They fight over the ladder until Misao smashes Shoko’s hands between the rungs and then throws the ladder at Shoko. Shoko recovers and hits a bulldog into the turnbuckle, she goes up top and delivers a missile dropkick.
Shoko charges Misao but Misao hiptosses her onto the ladder, Misao sets up the ladder but Shoko takes it back down and drives Misao into the corner with it. Shoko puts the ladder across the ropes in the corner, trapping Misao in, and sets up her toys in the middle of the ring. Misao gets free and charges her, Shoko puts Misao on the top turnbuckle and joins her, hitting a Frankensteiner. Shoko gathers the toys again into a pile, Shoko scoop slams Misao onto the toys before going up top, but Koda runs in and protects Misao. Shoko dives off with a senton attempt but Koda helps Misao get out of the way (maybe?), Misao sets up the ladder and climbs it, but Shoko pulls her off. They trade punches until Misao back bodydrops Shoko onto the toys, but Shoko spins away from her and they both start to climb the ladder. They elbow each other at the top of it, Shoko knocks Misao off the ladder and breaks open the pinata, pulling out the banner! Misao runs up and tries to get it from her but its too late, as Shoko puts it on. Shoko Nakajima is the winner!
These types of matches always annoy me, as just based on skill they could have had a pretty fun ten minute ladder match but in the end it was just about the silly gimmick tied to it. There were a few really nice/painful bumps hidden in here, and when they just got a chance to wrestle this was fine, but when it was about the Hello! Project concert and Koda and toys everything came to a halt. I am sure this match is for someone out there in the world, just not really for me. I want to see destruction in ladder matches, not sub-par comedy.
(c) Saki Akai vs. Yuki Kamifuku
DDT Iron Man Heavymetalweight Championship
I’m not sure if this is going to end up being a comedy match, so I guess we will find out. The DDT Iron Man Heavymetalweight Championship is frequently played for laughs but this appears to just be a straight one vs. one match, with Akai just winning the title the day before. Yuki may be best known to most Western fans for her… amusing tweets but she is a two year veteran who has won this title once before. I’m trying to keep an open mind, let’s see how this goes.
Saki starts with a side headlock, Yuki reverses it and takes Saki to the mat but it only lasts a moment as they return to their feet. Yuki stomps on Saki’s feet and trips her, Saki is thrown into the corner and Yuki elbows her. Saki switches positions with her but Yuki avoids the boot, Yuki charges Saki but Saki kicks her in the stomach. Saki stomps Yuki and chokes her in the corner, kick to the back by Saki and she covers Yuki for two. Saki picks up Yuki and hits a drop toehold into a headscissors, Yuki inches to the ropes and makes it there for the break. Saki goes off the ropes and boots Yuki in the head, cover by Saki but it gets another two. Yuki returns to her feet but Saki kicks her back down again, Saki throws Yuki into the corner and delivers a big boot. Saki goes for a suplex but Yuki lands on her feet and hits a handstand face crusher.
Yuki tosses Saki into the corner and slams her into the turnbuckle repeatedly, boot by Yuki and she covers Saki for two. Yuki picks up Saki but Saki kicks her arm away and the two trade blows, with Saki finally knocking down Yuki with a big boot but Yuki quickly gets up and delivers a “dropkick.” Yuki throws Saki into the corner but Saki knocks her back, head kick by Saki and she goes to the top turnbuckle, but Yuki dropkicks her as she jumps off. Scissors Kick by Yuki, but Saki is too close to the ropes and using them to break up the count. Yuki goes after Saki, Saki quickly puts her in a Triangle Choke but Yuki gets to the ropes. Schoolboy by Yuki, but it gets two. Yuki goes for a dropkick but Saki swats it away and hits a PK for a two count. Saki goes up top again and this time hits a diving crossbody, but Yuki kicks out of the cover. Kick to the chest by Saki and she hits the Pendulum Knee Strike, Quetzalcoatl by Saki and she picks up the three count! Saki Akai wins and is still the champion.
I hate to go back on what I said about nine minutes ago, but this match really needed some comedy elements. Or something. No one has ever accused Saki of being a super worker (I assume, if they have they are wrong), but she can work a good match if put in the right situation. Going up against someone of the same type of wrestler, but worse, was not the right situation. This was awkward, uncoordinated, and poorly laid out. I am not sure why they would do this to Saki and Yuki. Make it a wacky tag match or a five way match or something, give them some protection. The rookies in the opening match put on a better performance, including Sena. Skip this one.
Aja Kong, Harajuku, and Raku vs. Shirakawa, Maiumi, and Manase
Moving along now. On first skim this would appear to be a normal looking Tokyo Joshi Pro midcard match, until you notice Aja Kong is in it. It should be noted that Aja Kong came out with the DDT Iron Man Heavymetalweight Championship which is a 24/7 title, so she won it from Saki Akai since the match that just took place (in fact, she won it from her while Akai was doing her backstage post-match interview). Anyway, aside from Kong this is mostly the younger and/or less experienced wrestlers of Tokyo Joshi Pro getting a match on the card, but a few of these are popular with fans (particularly Harajuku) so getting them a match is important. Not sure what to expect but since Aja Kong is proudly showing off the title I have a feeling her recent win may come into play at some point.
Mirai and Pom kick things off and trade wristlocks, they end up on the mat but Mirai locks in a side headlock as they get back up. Mirai drives Pom back and tags in Yuna, while Kong tags in as well. They lock up, Kong pushes Yuna into the ropes and she gives a clean break. Yuna elbows Kong and goes off the ropes, but she fails in her attempts to shoulderblock Kong over. Kong slaps Yuna against the ropes, Irish whip by Yuna and she hits a double chop to the chest. Kong goes for the elbow drop but Yuna moves and kicks Kong in the back, she quickly tags in Mina and Mina goes for the Romero Special, but Kong ignores her and rolls over to break it up. Kong kicks Mina in the leg and tags Raku, Raku runs over Mina’s midsection but Mina moves when she tries to sit down on her. Pom comes in to help get Mina back to the mat, they invite Kong in but she stays on the apron. Raku tries to sit on Mina again but once again she moves, Mina is knocked down and finally Kong agrees to come in. All three take turns running over Mina’s midsection with Kong sitting on Mina to end the spot, cover by Raku but it gets a two count. Mina scoop slams Raku and puts her in the Romero Special, she lets go after a moment and tags in Mirai. Scoop slam by Mirai and she elbows Raku in the corner, Yuna is tagged back in but Raku greets her with elbows to the chest. Yuna avoids Raku’s lariat and hits a hard shoulderblock, she goes for a kick but Raku catches it and hits a face crusher. She makes the tag to Pom, swinging headscissors by Pom to Yuna and she rolls over Yuna for a two count.
Pom kicks Yuna in the leg but Yuna delivers a big boot in the corner, shoulderblock by Yuna and she tags Mina. Diving double chops by Mina but Pom trips her and delivers a dropkick for two. Pom picks up Mina but Mina blocks the scoop slam, Lou Thesz Press by Mina and she covers Pom for two. Pom ducks the backfist and kicks Mina in the shin, giving her time to tag Kong while Mirai is also tagged in. Mirai tries to knock over Kong with no luck, Mirai goes for a scoop slam but Kong doesn’t budge. Scoop slam by Kong, she gets on the second turnbuckle but Mirai pulls her off from behind. Kong quickly comes back with a punch to the face, Mina runs in to try to help and she hits a backfist on Kong. Yuna also gets in the ring and shoulderblocks Kong over, lariat by Mirai to Kong but Kong kicks out at two. Mirai picks up Kong and goes for a backdrop suplex, but Kong blocks it. Elbows by Mirai and she goes off the ropes, but Pom catches her with a forearm. Mina runs in and DDTs Pom, but Raku hits a diving chop to Mina. Yuna boots Raku, she goes to Kong and tries to help Mirai hit a double vertical suplex, but it gets reversed. Kong waits for Mirai to get up and hits a hard lariat, cover by Kong but Mirai bridges out of the pin. Kong looks annoyed, she picks up Mirai and plants her with a backdrop suplex, but the cover is broken up. Kong positions Mirai and gets on the second turnbuckle, falling back elbow drop by Kong and she picks up the three count! Aja Kong, Raku, and Pom Harajuku are the winners.
Post match, they try to trick Aja Kong and pin her to win the DDT Iron Man Heavymetalweight Championship, but Kong is too smart and bails.
For a midcard match, this was perfectly fine. Not everyone here is a great wrestler so hiding them in a six wrestler tag was a good idea, as it was really about Aja Kong either playing along with some silliness or the younger wrestlers trying to knock her over. Not an original theme but an effective one that I can appreciate. I thought Mirai looked good here, showed a lot of fire and the offense she did connected pretty well which I can’t say for everyone involved. Not critical viewing but decent enough for what it was going for.
Natsumi Maki vs. Sareee
Finally getting to the main reason I am watching this show (although I am sure some of the latter matches will be a lot of fun too). This is Natsumi Maki’s return match after missing the last three months due to injury, and she is coming back with a bang. Natsumi had a pretty good year in Tokyo Joshi Pro after joining the promotion in early 2019, and she fit in the promotion well as she can do a little comedy, is cute, and can kick your ass while wearing a smile. Sareee is a wrestler based in Diana but known also for her work in Sendai Girls’ and other promotions, she was one of the top Joshi wrestlers in 2019 but is making her first appearance in Tokyo Joshi Pro. These two can both go, and midcard or not I suspect they will deliver.
Natsumi dropkicks Sareee right as the match starts, another dropkick by Natsumi but Sareee blocks the crossbody and slams Natsumi. Natsumi bridges out of the pin, armdrag by Natsumi but Sareee armdrags her back and they reach a stalemate after a few trips. Tie-up, Natsumi gets Sareee into the ropes and slaps her as she gives the break. Sareee slaps her back, she throws Natsumi into the corner and tosses her down by the hair. Natsumi returns the favor but Sareee whips her down again, elbows by Natsumi but Sareee elbows her hard to the mat. Stomps by Sareee and she hits a scoop slam, modified Muta Lock by Sareee but she lets go after a moment to kick Natsumi in the leg. Crab hold by Sareee but Natsumi inches to the ropes and makes it there for the break. Sareee jumps down on Natsumi’s back, Irish whip by Sareee but Natsumi connects with a dropkick for two. Natsumi quickly goes for the cross armbreaker and gets it locked in, but Sareee wiggles to the ropes to force the break. Dropkicks by Natsumi before Sareee can get back up, Natsumi goes off the ropes and dropkicks Sareee in the face. Sareee falls out of the ring, Natsumi goes to the top turnbuckle and dives out onto Sareee with a plancha suicida.
Natsumi slides Sareee back in, she goes up top again and hits a diving crossbody for two. Natsumi applies a waistlock but Sareee reverses it and hits a wheelbarrow German suplex. Sareee picks up Natsumi, Natsumi elbows her but Sareee elbows her right back, sending Natsumi off her feet. They trade elbows back and forth with Sareee generally getting the better of it, dropkick by Natsumi but Sareee dropkicks her back. Running dropkick by Sareee, she picks up Natsumi and hits a fisherman suplex hold for two. Sareee goes for the uranage but Natsumi blocks it, Irish whip by Sareee but Natsumi ducks the lariat and schoolboys Sareee for two. Natsumi goes off the ropes, Sareee goes for a uranage but Natsumi blocks it and cradles Sareee for two. Natsumi picks up Sareee, kick to the head by Natsumi and she goes off the ropes, hitting the Backlash for a two count. Back up, Sareee blocks the suplex attempt and drops Natsumi with a German suplex hold, but Natsumi gets a shoulder up. Sareee goes towards the turnbuckles but Natsumi grabs her leg, Natsumi slaps Sareee but Sareee elbows her and kicks her in the jaw with a back kick. Uranage by Sareee, and she covers Natsumi for the three count! Sareee is the winner!
Even though Natsumi (in experience) isn’t on Sareee’s level, she sure did try to match her move for move. Sareee tried submissions, Natsumi did too, Sareee threw elbows, Natsuki returned fire, almost as if she was trying to prove she could do anything Sareee can. But in the end that was her undoing – her elbows weren’t as hard, her dropkicks weren’t as on point, and her submissions weren’t as effective. It wasn’t a complex story but it was a smart one, realistically Natsumi wasn’t winning this but she wanted to show the fans that she wasn’t intimidated or backing down to The Sun God. Sareee has gotten so good in the last few years, she doesn’t look intimidating but she hits harder than anyone and her suplexes are beautifully executed. While I wish they had gotten more time, they were able to tell the story they wanted to, and overall I really enjoyed it and look forward to where Natsumi goes from here in Tokyo Joshi Pro. Recommended
Mizuki vs. Thunder Rosa
Time for a special attraction match, although there is some method to this madness. Thunder Rosa has been in Tokyo Joshi Pro before, and in her last appearance she challenged (unsuccessfully) for the Princess of Princess Championship. On this tour, the next night she will challenge Maki Itoh for the International Princess Championship, so her wrestling Mizuki first is a bit of a warm-up. Obviously that foreshadows that Thunder Rosa is winning this match, as she isn’t going into a title match with a loss, but this will introduce her to any new fans and give her a chance to maybe work out some jitters before her big match coming up.
Mizuki offers her hand to start the match, Thunder Rosa goes to shake it but Mizuki tries to kick her. Thunder Rosa catches the kick and throws Mizuki to the mat. Mizuki is up quickly and hits a tilt-a-whirl armdrag, dropkick by Mizuki but Thunder Rosa throws her into the corner. Mizuki kicks Thunder Rosa back when she charges and goes for a diving crossbody, but Thunder Rosa catches her and hits a backbreaker. Front slam by Thunder Rosa and she covers Mizuki for a two count. Stomps by Thunder Rosa, she picks up Mizuki and slams her again. Thunder Rosa puts Mizuki in the Tree of Woe and dropkicks her in the leg, she picks up Mizuki and hits a scoop slam for two. Single leg crab hold by Thunder Rosa into the rocking cradle, she picks up Mizuki and chops her against the ropes. Mizuki goes for a quick cradle but Thunder Rosa kicks out and boots her in the head, she rakes at Mizuki’s face before slamming her into the mat. Thunder Rosa puts Mizuki in the ropes and chops her in the chest, Irish whip by Thunder Rosa but Mizuki ducks the lariat and connects with a dropkick. Mizuki charges Thunder Rosa and hits a crossbody, sending Thunder Rosa off the apron to the floor.
Mizuki goes up to the top turnbuckle and dives out of the ring with a plancha suicida, she slides Thunder Rosa back into the ring and goes up top again, hitting a diving crossbody for two. Mizuki picks up Thunder Rosa but Thunder Rosa knees her in the head, she picks up Mizuki but Mizuki slides down her back and delivers a Backstabber. Armtrap crossface by Mizuki but Thunder Rosa muscles out of it, she gets Mizuki on her shoulders and drives her into the turnbuckles before hitting a Death Valley Bomb. Cover by Thunder Rosa, but Mizuki barely bridges out. Stomps by Thunder Rosa, she gets on the top turnbuckle but Mizuki recovers and joins her. Superplex by Mizuki and both wrestlers are down, they slowly get to their feet as they trade strikes. Chops by Thunder Rosa but Mizuki goes off the ropes and hits a tilt-a-whirl crossbody for two. Mizuki charges Thunder Rosa, Thunder Rosa tries to kick her back but Mizuki slides her legs onto the second ropes and hits a reverse double kneedrop. Mizuki goes up top but Thunder Rosa avoids her dive, running kick by Thunder Rosa and she drops Mizuki with the Thunder Driver for the three count! Thunder Rosa wins!
I guess the best way to describe this match would be fundamentally sound. It was pretty basic but solid, the two worked together pretty well and they kept it short enough that it never felt like it was pushing its time. The beginning was a bit clunky as I didn’t buy Mizuki has being able to out-strike Thunder Rosa, but once she got more to her high flying moves everything they were doing started to sync up. One of the better matches on the show so far, which I mostly credit to the veteran Thunder Rosa, but Mizuki held her own once they got to the meat of the match. Not a bad showing by either. Mildly Recommended
(c) Maki Itoh vs. Hikari Noa
International Princess Championship
The International Princess Championship is a relatively new title in Tokyo Joshi Pro, as Natsumi Maki became the first champion after beating Gisele Shaw in mid-2019. Maki Itoh is already the third champion since that time, however she has had some success with the belt as this is already her third defense. Hikari Noa is one of the Up Up Girls (Pro Wrestling), she has had a few title matches in her short career however has come up short each time. This is her first shot at a singles title however, as she looks to climb up the ladder in Tokyo Joshi Pro.
They circle each other to start, Hikari trips Maki and goes for her ankle, Maki reverses it and the two go back and forth. Maki applies a side headlock and takes Hikari down, but Hikari quickly gets out of it and dropkicks Maki out of the ring. Hikari goes out after her and they trade blows, scoop slam attempt by Maki on the floor but Hikari blocks it. Maki drags Hikari around the ring and this time manages to hit the scoop slam, she tells the crowd to move and she hits Hikari down in a chair. Maki stands over Hikari but Hikari slides between her legs and hits her in the back with a chair, she slams Maki into the ring apron and then into the ring post. Back in the ring, cover by Hikari but it gets a two count. Elbows by Hikari and she Irish whips Maki, but Maki reverses it and hits a scoop slam. Maki picks up Hikari but Hikari throws her into the corner, Maki avoids Hikari’s charge and smacks her in the midsection. Maki stands over Hikari in the corner and delivers rapid fire punches, she tosses Hikari back to the middle of the ring but Hikari quickly cradles her for two. Maki goes for a strike, Hikari bridges down to avoid it but Maki hits a falling headbutt. She goes for a submission but Hikari quickly gets out of it, rolling cradle by Hikari and she holds down Maki for two.
Hikari gets on the top turnbuckle but Maki recovers and joins her, headbutt by Maki and she tosses Hikari back to the middle of the ring. Itoh Special by Maki to Hikari, but Hikari crawls to the ropes and makes it for the break. Maki stomps at Hikari, Irish whip by Maki but Hikari blocks it and applies a grounded cobra twist. Hikari drags up Maki and hits a short-range lariat, cover by Hikari but it gets a two count. Hikari tries a few more quick pins with no luck, she goes for a lariat but Maki blocks it. Maki goes for a DDT but Hikari pushes her off and hits a dropkick, but Maki kicks out of the cover. Hikari goes for a suplex but Maki blocks it, she goes off the ropes but Maki plants her with a DDT. Maki goes to the top turnbuckle and delivers the diving headbutt, but Hikari barely gets a shoulder up. Maki picks up Hikari but Hikari avoids the headbutt and suplexes Maki to the mat. Hikari elbows Maki as they start to get up, but Maki elbows her back. They trade blows as they get up, dropkick by Hikari but Maki isn’t phased and she goes after Hikari’s injured leg as she puts her in the Itoh Deluxe (Elevated Texas Cloverleaf). Hikari struggles for a moment but is forced to submit! Maki Itoh wins the match and retains the championship.
While the ending felt a bit sudden, I still enjoyed this one. Maki has gotten better since the last time I saw her, I still wouldn’t call her a high-end wrestler but she connects well with the crowd and her offense was both smart and effective. Hikari still wrestles a simple style but it works at this level, my main complaint is that Maki did great work on Hikari’s leg but she never really showed any signs it was hurting her until the very end with the dropkick. I appreciate some quality limb work, but a little limp can go a long way. Still a pretty well structured and executed match, Maki could have just done a bit more to foreshadow the end with the submissions finally wearing her down to the point of having to submit. Mildly Recommended
(c) Miu Watanabe and Rika Tatsumi vs. Nodoka Tenma and Yuki Aino
Princess Tag Team Championship
Daydream (Miu and Rika) have been teaming off and on since the Spring and won the Princess Tag Championship from Misao and Sakisama on November 3rd, 2019. This is their first defense of the title and its not an easy one, as they take on the Bakuretsu Sisters. Unlike Miu and Rika, the Bakuretsu Sisters have been teaming since 2018 and are very familiar with each other. This is their third shot at the tag team championship, so it may be now or never for the long term team with not as much success on their records as they would probably prefer.
Miu and Yuki start the match, they both try to shoulderblock each other over until Yuki sends Miu to the mat. Nodoka tags in as does Rika, Rika takes Nodoka to the mat but Nodoka reverses positions with her and the two trade holds. Rika goes off the ropes but Nodoka knocks her down with a shoulderblock, she tags Yuki back in and they double team Rika. Yuki picks up Rika and throws her into the corner but Rika kicks her back when she charges in and tags Miu. Miu elbows Yuki in the corner, elbows to the back by Miu and she hits a running elbow. Miu puts Yuki in a bear hug before throwing her in the corner, she tags Rika and they double team Yuki. Rika puts Yuki in a waistlock but Yuki gets a foot on the ropes for the break. Rika picks up Yuki but Yuki elbows her back, she knocks over Rika and makes the tag to Nodoka. Shoulderblocks by Nodoka to both her opponents and she hits a scoop slam on Rika, crossbody by Nodoka and she gets a two count. Rika throws Nodoka into the corner, she puts her leg over the second rope and dropkicks her in the leg. Rika slams Nodoka’s leg into the ring post a couple times before dropkicking it into the post, cover by Rika but it gets two. Rika hits a dragon screw on Nodoka and follows with a hip attack, Nodoka gets Rika around the waist and picks her up, but her knee gives out.
She tries again and this time hits a Samoan Drop, She crawls to her corner but Rika tags in Miu and Miu cuts off Nodoka, body avalanche by Miu in the corner and she hits a hard shoulderblock. Giant Swing by Miu, she picks up Nodoka but Nodoka slides away and applies a side headlock. Nodoka picks up Miu and hits a fallaway slam, she gets to her corner and tags in Yuki. Yuki boots Miu and Nodoka jumps off her back with a crossbody. Cover by Yuki, but it gets two. Yuki elbows Miu and hits a running elbow in the corner, she gets on the second turnbuckle but Miu avoids her dive. Bulldog by Yuki but Rika comes in and rescues her, Nodoka also comes in however and Rika eats a double shoulderblock. Yuki gets on her shoulders as Nodoka goes up to to give her the Bakuretsu Bulldog, but Miu gets away and Rika hip attacks Nodoka off the top turnbuckle. Miu and Rika drop Yuki with an assisted Dragon Twist of Fate, cover by Miu but Nodoka breaks up the pin. Nodoka goes for the Unprettier on Rika but Rika blocks it and hip attacks Nodoka out of the ring, Miu picks up Yuki and she hits a shoulder backbreaker for two. Miu goes for a punch but Yuki ducks it and hits a gutwrench suplex, Yuki applies a full nelson but Miu snapmares out of it. Punch by Miu, she picks up Yuki and nails the Tear Drop for the three count! Daydream win and retain the tag team championship.
Another solid match. From an outsider’s perspective, the Bakuretsu Sisters appear to be done as threats, as if after two years together all you have are three failed title challenges, maybe its time to move on to something else. Miu and Nodoka were my favorite two here, both of their segments on offense were entertaining and they have a variety of ways to hurt people. The leg work was quickly forgotten but it wasn’t enough of a focus to hurt the match, and the end stretch was really good. Rika and Aino didn’t do anything wrong in the match but it just felt like they were kinda ‘present’ rather than doing anything overly memorable, but Tokyo Joshi Pro is full of wrestlers without a lot of experience and not all wrestlers are going to make a difference in every match. Pretty short for a semi-main title match, but an ease to watch with good pacing and a satisfying ending. Mildly Recommended
(c) Yuka Sakazaki vs. Miyu Yamashita
Princess of Princess Championship
After a long show, time for the main event! Miyu Yamashita held the Princess of Princess Championship for over 475 days but lost the title in May of 2019 to Shoko Nakajima. Shoko then lost the title to Yuka Sakazaki in November, and this is Yuka’s first defense of the title. Miyu Yamashita never got a rematch against Shoko so this is her first shot at the title since losing it eight months ago, so needless to say she is anxious for a chance to get it back. This is Yuka’s second reign with the belt but she is far more experienced now than she was during her first run in 2017, so she has no intention of losing the championship at the biggest show of the year in her first defense.
They begin trading wristlocks and headlocks but reach an early stalemate, Yuka sends Miyu to the mat but Miyu reverses positions with her as they jockey for control. Yuka bails out of the ring to regroup but Miyu goes after her, Yuka strikes Miyu as she leaves the ring and kicks her from the apron. Yuka clubs on Miyu’s back and takes her up into the bleachers before throwing her into a wall. Yuka takes Miyu up further into the crowd and scoop slams her on the floor, she gets a table and gets it ready at the top of the stairs to use as a sled. Yuka sits Miyu on the table and pushes her down the stairs, but security is in the way so she only gets about halfway down. Yuka runs down and pushes her the rest of the way, sending Miyu crashing down to the floor at the bottom. They make their way back to ringside and Yuka throws Miyu into the ring post, Yuka props a table up against the post but Miyu fights back with elbows. Yuka elbows her back and scoop slams Miyu into the table (which obviously doesn’t break), Yuka picks Miyu up and slams her into the table again (it kinda breaks this time, Yuka seems satisfied). Yuka brings Miyu up onto the apron but Miyu gets Yuka on her shoulders and slams her onto the apron.
Miyu throws Yuka back into the ring finally, cover by Miyu but it gets a two count. Snapmare by Miyu and she kicks Yuka in the back, Yuka returns to her feet but Miyu knocks her to the mat again. Running knee by Miyu and she hits a gutbuster, kick combination by Miyu and she puts Yuka in a chinlock, but Yuka gets out of it and pushes Miyu out of the ring. Miyu kicks Yuka from the apron as she returns but Yuka catches her with a diving double chop. Running hurricanrana by Yuka and she hits a jumping forearm, missile dropkick by Yuka but Miyu avoids the Sliding D. Yuka connects on her second try, cover by Yuka but it gets two. High kick by Miyu and she nails a rebound high kick out of the corner, running kick by Miyu and Yuka collapses to the mat. Yuka recovers but Miyu kicks her in the back of the head, cover by Miyu but it gets two. Yuka gets back up and elbows Miyu, Miyu elbows her back but Yuka catches her with a vertical suplex. Rolling vertical suplexes by Yuka, she goes up top but Miyu recovers and joins her.
Yuka pushes Miyu off the top turnbuckle to the floor, she gets on the apron and hits a diving hurricanrana. Yuka puts Miyu up on the apron with her head hanging over and goes to the top turnbuckle, delivering a diving body press. Yuka rolls Miyu back in, cover by Yuka but it gets a two count. Swandive body press attempt by Yuka, but Miyu gets her knees up. Kicks to the chest by Miyu but Yuka slaps on a leg submission hold, Miyu inches to the ropes and makes it for the break. Yuka puts Miyu on the top turnbuckle and joins her, hitting a reverse STO down to the mat. Yuka goes out to the apron and gets on the ropes, but Miyu kicks her in the head before she can jump off. Another head kick by Miyu, she goes out to the apron and dives off the ropes with an elbow to Yuka. Cover by Miyu, but it gets two. More kicks by Miyu but Yuka ducks one and cradles Miyu for two. Rolling elbow by Miyu but Miyu gets her back and hits a German suplex hold for two. Miyu kicks Yuka in the head some more, she goes off the ropes but Yuka catches her with a hammerlock suplex. Miyu goes out to the apron and nails the Magical Magical Girl Splash, cover by Yuka and she picks up the three count! Yuka Sakazaki wins and retains the championship.
I had heard going in that this match was sloppy, and while there were one or two moves that didn’t hit well I wouldn’t consider that overly unusual in a 20 minute match. Maybe the type of thing that keeps a match from being a true MOTYC, but nothing that impacted my overall enjoyment of the match. My main complaint is the ‘outside the ring’ portion felt too long and wasn’t completely satisfying since the sled spot didn’t appear to go as planned, so it felt more like wasting time than contributing to the match. Once they got back into the ring though, business really picked up and both wrestlers are so much fun to watch. Miyu’s kicks are killer, and she can hit them from anywhere as she can deliver a kick to someone that is well over her own head (which she did several times). A classic flyer vs. strikes match, I wouldn’t have minded if the end stretch was longer so Yuka could get in some more offense, but still a fitting main event as they both went all out. I appreciate the effort and desire to create something amazing and memorable even if not everything landed as smooth as they had planned, hopefully next time things will sync better and they will create a true epic. Recommended
All in all this was a mixed bag for me, but more good than bad for sure. One of my issues with Tokyo Joshi Pro over the years is the bulk of their roster is young and they don’t have enough quality veteran hands to improve the card as a whole. Their top tier is great (Miyu Yamashita, Yuka Sakazaki, maybe Natsumi Maki) and they have some wrestlers that have shown potential (Nodoka, Miu, Maki Itoh) but its not enough and the wrestlers they’ve lost in the last year hurt. Combine that with the fact I’m not really a fan of DDT’s brand of comedy, and some of these matches right off the bat aren’t really going to hit with me. Still, for this show the top end delivered, with everything from Sareee/Natsumi Maki and up ranging from solid to great. Any show with two matches I can easily recommend isn’t a bad show, the first half of the card (and some of the later matches) just had some so-so wrestlers that aren’t quite there yet. I am not sure when I will dip into TJPW again, but for my yearly watch this was pretty satisfying and overall a show I can recommend, even if I’d advise Joshi fans to just skip to the Sareee vs. Natsumi Maki match and go from there.