Event: Tokyo Joshi Pro “Tokyo Princess Cup 2021”
Dates: July 22nd to August 15th, 2021
Broadcast: Streamed on Wrestle Universe
Just about every major promotion in Japan has a marquee tournament that takes place each year and Tokyo Joshi Pro is no different. Every year, generally in late Spring to Summer, the Tokyo Princess Cup takes place with the top wrestlers (or in the case of this year, almost every wrestler) in the promotion taking part. The Tokyo Princess Cup uses the “Knockout” system, meaning it is a single elimination tournament. This year is the biggest year yet, with 23 participants! As that is clearly an odd number, some wrestlers received an automatic bye into the second round if they drew a lucky number. The bracket can be found above, here are all the participants:
You can click on the wrestler’s name above to go to their profile on Joshi City, I will be updating their profiles as well over the next month. The only TJPW wrestlers missing are Yuka Sakazaki and Sakisama, so its a pretty complete showing. Instead of reviewing the full events that contained tournament matches, I will strictly be reviewing the tournament matches themselves and then will evaluate the tournament as a whole once it completes on August 15th. Let’s get started!
Date: July 22nd, 2021
Location: Shin-Kiba 1st RING in Tokyo, Japan
Announced Attendance: 142
Here are the tournament matches on this event:
- Round 1: Arisu Endo vs. Mahiro Kiryu
- Round 1: Moka Miyamoto vs. Raku
- Round 1: Mirai Maiumi vs. Pom Harajuku
- Round 1: Miyu Yamashita vs. Nao Kakuta
Arisu Endo vs. Mahiro Kiryu
We kick off the tournament with two of the lower ranking wrestlers in Tokyo Joshi Pro. Mahiro debuted in early 2019 but has struggled to move up the card, as she has yet to win any titles or have any notable successes. Arisu Endo debuted in early 2021 and is five years younger than Mahiro, so even though Mahiro hasn’t escaped the middle tier she still clearly ranks above Arisu. This will give Mahiro a chance to show something in the second round, unless she suffers an upset.
They trade holds to start and trade wristlocks, they end up on the mat but quickly reach a stalemate and return to their feet. Headlock by Arisu but Mahiro Irish whips out of it, elbows by Arisu and she delivers a dropkick for two. Arisu goes for a sleeper but Mahiro elbows out of it, stomps by Mahiro and she throws Arisu into the corner. Irish whip by Mahiro and she hits a running elbow in the corner before covering Arisu for two. Stomps by Mahiro and she goes for a slam, but Arisu blocks it and hits an elbow. Mahiro delivers the scoop slam on her next attempt, sleeper by Mahiro but Arisu gets to the ropes for the break. Irish whip by Mahiro but Arisu dropkicks her, more dropkicks by Arisu and she elbows Mahiro into the corner. Dropkick by Arisu and she drives Mahiro’s head into the mat with her knee for a two count. Arisu goes off the ropes but Mahiro avoids her kneedrop, dropkick by Mahiro and she puts Arisu in a crab hold. Arisu gets to the ropes again, Mahiro picks her up but Arisu elbows her and the two trade blows. Knee by Mahiro but Arisu boots her back and hits a missile dropkick off the second turnbuckle for two. Camel Clutch by Arisu but Mahiro gets the break, kneedrop by Arisu and she covers Mahiro for a two count. Elbows by Arisu but Mahiro catches her with a backbreaker, but Arisu avoids the elbow drop attempt and puts Mahiro back in the Camel Clutch. Mahiro gets out of the hold and hits an elbow drop, Irish whip by Mahiro and she delivers a spinebuster for the three count! Mahiro Kiryu wins and advances in the tournament.
This was ok but a little clunky at times. Arisu of course I’ll give a pass for having some moves that didn’t look very crisp, she’s still new, but Mahiro two years into her career wasn’t as fluid as one may hope. She wasn’t bad (nor was Arisu), and they both seem to have the basics down, but the elbows and dropkicks didn’t have a lot of impact so it came across as a very “rookie” style match. Maybe Mahiro turns it on against higher ranking opponents, hopefully we’ll find out in the next round or two. Not a bad match but nothing memorable.
Moka Miyamoto vs. Raku
Next we have two more young wrestlers still looking to leave their mark in Tokyo Joshi Pro. Both of them have unique wrestling attires so I am not 100% sure what I am getting myself into, I know that Raku has some comedic elements to her matches but I am not familar enough with Moka to know her style. I’m not going into this one with any expectations, so hopefully they put together something fun.
They tie-up to start before getting into a fast exchange, Raku gets Moka to the mat and steps over her a few times before sitting on her chest for a two count. Raku picks up Moka but Moka throws her into the corner and hits a series of elbows. Raku avoids her charge and hits an elbow of her own before taking her around the ring and slamming her into each turnbuckle. Snapmare by Raku and she stands on Moka near the ropes, Raku hopes on Moka’s back and cradles her for a two count cover. Irish whip attempt by Raku but Moka blocks it, she finally gets Moka going but Moka catches her with a scoop slam. Elbows by Moka and she chops Raku in the chest, she throws Raku into the corner and hits a running elbow. Scoop slam by Moka and she covers Raku for two. Moka goes for another slam but Raku slides away and delivers a Side Russian Leg Sweep for a two count. Sleeper by Raku, but Moka drives her into the corner to break up the hold. Running elbow by Moka but Raku chops her in the throat before slamming her head into the mat. Raku gets on the second turnbuckle but Moka blocks her chop and clubs her in the back of the head. Moka applies a stretch hold but Raku gets out of it, Irish whip by Moka and she delivers a dropkick for two. Moka picks up Raku but Raku pushes her off and hits a Sling Blade. Raku waits for Moka to get up and connects with the Dr. Yellow (running neckbreaker), and she picks up the three count! Raku wins and advances in the tournament.
This was wrestled as a straight match, which is good, but I can’t see a lot of long-term potential for either of these two down the road. Nothing here was awkward or messed up but a lot of little things didn’t really connect well – the dropkicks were lackluster, the strikes didn’t pop, and even Raku’s finisher didn’t look like a finisher. Moka has been wrestling for a year now but nothing about her really jumps out, I’m sure she functions well as the “fall wrestler” in a tag match but she still seems a good ways away from getting a push of her own. A step down from the last match, it wasn’t unwatchable but it was utterly skippable.
Mirai Maiumi vs. Pom Harajuku
The wrestlers are getting slightly more advanced as the show continues as these two are pretty solidly in the midcard of Tokyo Joshi Pro. Mirai and Pom both haven’t won any titles yet in their careers but both have 2+ years of experience so they know their way around the ring. Mirai is more of a power wrestler while Pom can lean into the comedic side of wrestling, this is just their second singles match against each other. I would assume the power wrestler would win this one, but in a tournament settings anything can happen.
Pom immediately rolls up Mirai for two as the bell rings, she bites Mirai’s arm before kicking her in the shin. Snapmare by Pom and she clubs on Mirai’s chest, quick cover but it gets two. Irish whip by Pom but Mirai reverses it, Pom goes into a roll into a headscissors but Mirai blocks it. Pom manages to apply the spinning headscissors anyway, kick by Pom and she hits an armdrag out of the corner. Pom goes for Mirai’s leg but Mirai quickly gets to the ropes, Pom tries to kick Mirai’s legs but Mirai climbs the turnbuckle to get away. That doesn’t work as Pom punches her anyway and flings her to the mat before applying a leg submission hold. Mirai gets to the ropes for the break, Pom picks her up but Mirai blocks the Irish whip. Scoop slam by Mirai, she picks up Pom and gets her to the mat before hitting a series of shoulderblocks.
Mirai clubs on Pom’s chest and stomps her, she throws Pom into the corner and hits a running elbow. Mirai charges Pom but Pom ducks out of the way, she goes off the ropes but Mirai levels her with a shoulderblock. Mirai picks up Pom and hits a scoop slam, another slam by Mirai and she covers Pom for two. Back up, the two trade strikes until Pom kicks Mirai in the lower leg. Leg drop to the leg by Pom, she goes off the ropes and dropkicks Mirai in the chest. Pom waits for Mirai to get up and knocks her into the corner, she gets on the second turnbuckle but Mirai elbows her before she can jump off. Mirai grabs Pom but Pom gets away, boot by Pom but Mirai connects with a back elbow. Running lariat by Mirai and she hits a short-range one for a two count. Mirai picks up Pom but Pom wiggles away and cradles her for two. Mirai applies the Miramare (modified armlock), Pom struggles for a moment but has to submit! Mirai Maiumi is the winner and advances in the tournament.
Even though this match was pretty basic, at least it had a story and Mirai is the most impressive wrestler we have seen so far. Mirai’s offense was really simple, lots of scoop slams and shoulderblocks, but at least she looked convincing while doing them. Pom’s lower leg based offense seemed silly at first but she was so persistent with it that I have to respect it. The match felt like it ended too suddenly as Mirai hadn’t really done anything of note to weaken the arm, I’d rather the match ended on one of her strong lariats then on a submission hold that wasn’t built up to. Still, a solid match that just could have used a little more time and an ending that fit the match. Mildly Recommended
Miyu Yamashita vs. Nao Kakuta
For the main event we get one of the top wrestlers in the tournament against one of the newer wrestlers to Tokyo Joshi Pro. Miyu is a Tokyo Joshi Pro OG, as she debuted on their first event in 2013. Since that time, she has won the Princess of Princess Championship three times and is one of the most dominate wrestlers in the promotion. She comes into the tournament the champion, but in her career she has never won the Tokyo Princess Cup so she is looking to finally win it in 2021. She is against Mao Kakuta, a wrestler that started in Actwres girl’Z but moved over to Tokyo Joshi Pro in late 2020. Even though she has been wrestling for six year and is 34 years old, she hasn’t really found her place yet, so getting a shocking upset win in the first round would do a lot to jump start her rise to the top.
Nao elbows Miyu during the opening handshake and the fight is on, Nao attacks Miyu in the corner and rakes her face against the top rope. Curb stomp by Nao and she covers Miyu for a one count. Nao goes for a kick but Miyu catches her boot and kicks Nao in the leg. Knee to the ribs by Miyu and she stomps Nao, Irish whip by Miyu and she kicks Nao to the mat. Knee to the midsection by Miyu and she applies an armbar, but Nao gets to the ropes for the break. Knee by Miyu and she throws Nao into the corner, but Nao kicks her back when she charges in and applies a hanging necklock over the top rope. She lets go after a moment and tries to snap Miyu’s neck on the top rope, but Miyu knocks her onto the apron and kicks her down to the floor. Nao returns after a moment but is greeted with a kick, Nao fights back with elbows but Miyu kicks her in the chest for a two count. Irish whip by Miyu but Nao reverses it, knee by Miyu and she hits a jumping lariat for two.
Miyu charges Nao in the corner but Nao moves, she slides out to the apron and pulls Miyu’s neck on the top rope before snapping her head over it. Sliding kick by Nao and she applies the Cobra Clutch, but Miyu eventually gets into the ropes for the break. Nao delivers a running boot to Miyu and she nails a modified Complete Shot, but Miyu kicks out of the cover. Nao gets Miyu on her shoulders but Miyu knees out of it, release German by Miyu and she boots Nao into the corner. High kick by Miyu and she knees Nao in the midsection, high kick by Miyu but Nao blocks Miyu’s attempt to put Nao on her shoulders. DDT by Nao and she kicks Miyu in the back of the head, slow cover by Nao but it gets a two count. Nao gets Miyu on her shoulders but Miyu blocks the TKO and delivers a Buzzsaw Kick. Crash Rabbit Heat by Miyu, and she picks up the three count! Miyu Yamashita wins the match and advances in the tournament.
It is hard for Miyu to have a bad match as her strikes are just so much fun to watch. The knees, the kicks, everything she does is on-point and she carries herself as a dominate wrestler even though she is the same size as her opponents. Nao tried to keep up but isn’t on Miyu’s level, it just felt like a Miyu match with a little Nao sprinkled in so that it wouldn’t be a short and lopsided match (although eleven minutes is rather short anyway for a main event). Nao had some decent nearfalls but none felt likely to work, and most of her runs were quickly cut off by the TJPW champion. I enjoyed it because I enjoy Miyu, but I wouldn’t say it was one of her better matches this year as it never felt like she was in serious trouble. The right result anyway, and a decent way to end the show. Mildly Recommended
Date: July 23rd, 2021
Location: Shin-Kiba 1st RING in Tokyo, Japan
Announced Attendance: 142
Here are the tournament matches on this event:
- Round 1: Kaya Toribami vs. Miu Watanabe
- Round 1: Yuki Aino vs. Yuki Arai
- Round 1: Marika Kobashi vs. Nodoka Tenma
- Round 1: Hikari Noa vs. Rika Tatsumi
Kaya Toribami vs. Miu Watanabe
Day 2 begins with a match between the young Miu Watanabe vs. the rookie Kaya Toribami. Even at 21 years old, Miu has had some success early in her career as she had a long run with the Princess Tag Team Championship last year and challenged for the Princess of Princess Championship earlier this year. Kaya just debuted in June, she showed some potential in her first match so I am looking forward to seeing her again. Kaya has little chance of winning here but I’m sure she will be given a chance to impress.
Kaya and Miu trade holds to start, a battle that Kaya wins with an armdrag. Irish whip by Kaya but Miu hits a hard shoulderblock, Kaya rolls over Miu’s back and chops her in the chest. Scoop slam by Miu and she picks up Kaya, throwing her into the corner. Hard elbows by Miu to Kaya’s back, she throws Kaya to the mat and covers her for two. Miu presses Kaya’s back over her knee, Kaya returns to her feet but Miu slams her again. Miu goes off the ropes but Kaya catches her with an overhead armdrag, Kaya elbows Miu into the corner and delivers a dropkick. Irish whip by Kaya, Miu reverses it but Kaya flips over her and hits a step-up kick for two. Kaya picks up Miu and hits a fireman’s carry slam, she goes to do a springboard move but Miu grabs her and hits a gutbuster. Jumping back kick by Kaya and she hits another step-up kick, she goes to the ropes and hits a… springboard elbow drop for a two count. She goes off the ropes again and hits a springboard senton (probably what she was going for the first time) but that gets a two count as well. Irish whip by Kaya but Miu avoids the kick and chops Kaya in the chest. Giant Swing by Miu, she picks up Kaya but Kaya cradles her for two. Back kick by Kaya, she goes off the ropes but Miu slaps her in the chest. Teardrop by Miu, and she covers Kaya for the three count! Miu Watanabe wins and advances in the tournament.
Miu is a stealth beast and I love her for it, she doesn’t look imposing but she is strong and doesn’t mind tossing people around. Kaya is still a work in progress – she has some flash but isn’t crisp yet. Maybe she is a little overly ambitious but practice makes perfect and I don’t really mind wrestlers pushing the boundaries as long as they keep improving (like Saya Kamitani did). I like Miu’s offense and I appreciate Kaya’s attempts at being entertaining, the pieces aren’t all there yet for Kaya but I think Miu is the real deal and could make a big push in this tournament.
Yuki Aino vs. Yuki Arai
In a battle between two wrestlers with similar names, next in the tournament is Aino vs. Arai. Aino has been in Tokyo Joshi Pro since 2018 and has mostly had success in the tag division teaming with Nodoka Tenma. Arai is a newcomer to Tokyo Joshi Pro but is getting some extra attention due to also being an Idol (although from my 15 seconds of research, not a high level Idol). Aino has a significant experience edge so she should be winning here unless Arai is getting a big push due to her background.
They tie-up to start and trade wristlocks, takedown by Aino but Arai gets away and they return to their feet. Waistlock by Aino and she spins Arai back to the mat, but Arai reverses things into an armbar. Arai breaks the hold and goes off the ropes, but Aino greets her with a hard shoulderblock. Arai gets back up and the two trade elbows, Aino elbows Arai into the corner and hits a running back elbow. Snapmare by Aino and she covers Arai for two. Aino applies a chinlock but Arai gets to the ropes for the break. Aino kicks and stomps Arai and goes for a scoop slam, but Arai blocks it and applies a flash pin for two. Aino gets up angry but Arai knocks her down with a back elbow, elbows by Arai but Aino elbows her back and kicks her in the midsection.
Scoop slam by Aino and she covers Arai for a two count. Arai fights back and knocks down Aino with a back elbow, but she collapses to the mat instead of making a cover. She gets back up but Aino hits her with a shoulderblock, running senton by Aino and she applies the full nelson. Arai makes it to the ropes to force the break, Aino gets on the second turnbuckle but Arai avoids her dive and applies a sleeper. Aino attempts to elbow out of it but Arai locks it in deeper, Aino gets to her feet however and slams Arai backwards into the corner to force the break. Full nelson slam by Arai, but Aino kicks out. Aino avoids the heel drop and hits a gutwrench suplex, she applies the full nelson and Arai has to give up! Yuki Aino wins and advances in the tournament.
This is probably the first match of the tournament I’d lean more towards calling it “bad” and not just unpolished. Which it was that as well. Arai doesn’t have a lot of matches under her belt so a competitive singles match may just be too much for her right now, and Aino wasn’t able to lead her into something good. Arai’s selling was bizarre, just randomly falling to the mat to act hurt, and the offense by both was very repetitive and not interesting. I’m looking forward to seeing what Aino can do in the next round, as this wasn’t a great showing by either.
Marika Kobashi vs. Nodoka Tenma
Moving along in the tournament, this is an interesting match. At one point a couple years ago, Nodoka looked like a rising star in the promotion when she wrestled as Nodoka-Oneesan, but after a name and image change so did her fortunes. She still is doing ok, and had a tag title run, but she hasn’t been able to break through as she continues to struggle against the top tier of Tokyo Joshi Pro. Marika Kobashi took a long break in 2019 to 2020 but returned in November and is still looking to regain her footing in the promotion. Both of these wrestlers would be helped by going further in this tournament, not sure what direction they will go.
After a quick exchange, armdrag and dropkick by Marika but Nodoka knocks her over with a hard shoulderblock. Irish whip by Nodoka and she applies a side headlock, Marika Irish whips out of it but Nodoka shoulderblocks her again for a two count. Nodoka picks up Marika and throws her into the corner, stomps by Nodoka and she knees Marika. Irish whip by Nodoka to the other corner and she hits a back elbow, scoop slam by Nodoka and she covers Marika for two. Headscissors by Nodoka but Marika gets to the ropes for the break. Irish whip by Nodoka, reversed, and Marika hits a neckbreaker followed by a dropkick. Elbows by Marika and she hits another dropkick, covering Nodoka for two. Leg drop by Marika, she picks up Nodoka and applies a front necklock.
Nodoka quickly gets out of it and hits a shoulderblock, she charges Marika in the corner but Marika moves and applies a sunset flip for two. Marika charges Nodoka but Nodoka catches her with a fallaway slam. Nodoka picks up Marika but Marika elbows her off and the two trade blows. Dropkick by Marika but Nodoka fires back with a shoulderblock, Nodoka goes for a submission but Marika quickly gets into the ropes before she can lock anything in. Elbows by Nodoka and she hits a backbreaker, she goes to the second turnbuckle and delivers a diving body press for two. Nodoka puts Marika in a chicken wing submission but Marika muscles out of it, leg lariat by Marika and she hits a tornado bulldog out of the corner. Nodoka isn’t phased and hits a Samoan Drop, Marika quickly puts her in a front necklock and keeps the hold on while rolling her back to the middle of the ring. Nodoka struggles for a moment but eventually goes unconscious and the referee calls for the bell! Marika Kobashi wins and advances in the tournament.
As a casual TJPW viewer, this feels like an upset and I’m surprised they had Nodoka lose in such a convincing fashion. Nodoka controlled much of the match, and looked good in the process as she is a really solid wrestler. Marika got in her spots but right up until the end it still felt like Nodoka’s match to win until the front necklock was locked in. The placement wasn’t great as Nodoka could have easily reached the ropes, but at least Marika rolled her back to the middle of the ring. It could have used a few more minutes as it felt like they had more to give, all the tournament matches have been on the short side. I enjoyed what they did, I’m a fan of Nodoka and they kept the match entertaining from bell to bell even if I wouldn’t have minded if they gave them more time. Mildly Recommended
Hikari Noa vs. Rika Tatsumi
Time for the main event of Day 2, and this one should be a doozy. Rika Tatsumi is a former Princess of Princess Champion and Tag Team Champion, and in her 7th year in Tokyo Joshi Pro she is among the top wrestlers in the promotion. She is against Hikari Noa of the Up Up Girls, she comes into the match the current International Princess Champion and has been gaining steam. Rika out-ranks Hikari but in a tournament there are always a few surprises and Hikari won’t go down easy.
Rika and Hikari trade waistlocks before Rika gets Hikari to the mat, they jockey for position until Hikari knocks over Rika with a dropkick. Irish whip to the corner by Hikari, reversed, Hikari flips Rika out to the apron and gives her a hard elbow. Rika falls to the mat but Hikari goes out after her, hitting an ax handle from the apron. Hikari attacks Rika around the ring and hits a scoop slam on the floor, Hikari grabs Rika and whips her into the ring post. Hikari finally slides Rika back in the ring, cover by Hikari but it gets two. Hikari grabs Rika by the hair but Rika breaks free, dropkick to the knee by Rika and she throws Hikari into the corner. Rika keeps on the knee as she stands on it in the corner before hitting a dropkick to it. Cover by Rika, but it gets two. Kicks to the leg by Rika as she stays focused on it, putting Hikari in a submission hold. Hikari crawls to the ropes to force the break, Hikari tries to fight back but Rika kicks her in the leg and hits a kneebreaker. Rika picks up Hikari but Hikari blocks the dragon screw, she goes for a dropkick but Rika swats her away. She connects however on her second dropkick attempt, another dropkick by Hikari and she quickly hits a few more. Hikari goes up top and hits a missile dropkick, cover by Hikari but it gets two.
Hikari picks up Rika and applies a Cobra Twist, she cradles Rika to the mat but it only gets a two count. Hikari goes off the ropes but Rika avoids the dropkick, she twists Hikari’s leg in the rope and hits a dragon screw. Back in the ring, another dragon screw by Rika and she applies a figure four leglock. Hikari gets to the ropes, Rika picks her up but Hikari avoids the cutter and applies a jackknife cover for two. Rika picks up Hikari, elbow by Hikari and the two trade blows. Hikari knocks Rika to her knees and goes off the ropes, but Rika catches her with a swinging backbreaker. Sleeper by Rika but Hikari gets out of it with a suplex, Hikari puts Rika in the Blue Racer but Rika gets to the ropes for the break. Back up, Rika catches Hikari’s kick and hits a dragon screw, but Hikari grabs her legs and sneaks in a cover for two. Hip attack by Rika, she picks up Hikari and hits the Dragon Twist of Fate for a two count cover. Rika goes to the top turnbuckle but Hikari recovers and joins her, Rika pushes her off but Hikari avoids the Missile Hip. Jumping lariat by Hikari, she picks up Rika and delivers a Blizzard Suplex Hold but Rika lands in the ropes and is able to break up the pin. Superkick by Hikari and she kicks Rika again, Rika avoids the next one however and kicks Hikari in the head. Dragon Twist of Fate by Rika, she goes up to the top turnbuckle and nails the Missile Hip for the three count pinfall! Rika Tatsumi wins and advances in the tournament.
Really enjoyed this match, Hikari has been killing it and is putting everything together nicely. They actually gave this match the time it needed and they used the time well, with Rika focusing on the leg while Hikari went for submissions and suplexes. The Blizzard Suplex Hold was a good nearfall with smart placement near the ropes to give Rika an easy way out, and her varied offense kept the match interesting. Rika is good as well, I think she was out-done by Hikari but she still did her part and her leg work was well varied (plus I love a good dragon screw). The best match of the tournament so far by a noticeable margin and a quality main event. Recommended
Date: July 24th, 2021
Location: Shin-Kiba 1st RING in Tokyo, Japan
Announced Attendance: 142
With the unusual tournament structure that saw a handful of wrestlers get a bye, we are onto the second round! Here are the tournament matches on this event:
- Round 2: Haruna Neko vs. Yuki Aino
- Round 2: Mirai Maiumi vs. Mizuki
- Round 2: Miyu Yamashita vs. Yuki Kamifuku
Yuki Aino vs. Haruna Neko
Round 2 begins with a wrestler we saw win yesterday in Yuki Aino against a wrestler that got the lucky draw into the second round. Even with my limited TJPW knowledge I am not really excited for this match as I’m not sure who is going to guide this one. Aino we just saw is a competent wrestler but can struggle if she has to take the lead, and Neko isn’t known for her in-ring prowess. Sometimes a competent wrestler and a character wrestler can pull one out that is entertaining even despite the odds, hopefully this is one of those times.
They trade hammerlocks to start, side headlock takedown by Aino but Haruna gets out of it as they trade holds on the mat. They end up back on their feet again, Haruna does the cat thing for a bit until she applies a wristlock. Aino gets out of it and hits a shoulderblock, elbows by Aino and she kicks Haruna into the corner. Back elbow by Aino and she snapmares Haruna before covering her for two. Chinlock by Aino but Haruna wiggles to the ropes to force the break, she goes for a slam but Haruna blocks it. Elbow by Aino and she hits another shoulderblock, she goes for a senton but Haruna rolls out of the way and rakes her in the eyes. Jumping neckdrop by Haruna, she throws Aino into the corner and chops her in the throat. Cat scratches follow, snapmare by Haruna and she jumps down on Aino for a two count. Irish whip by Haruna but Aino hits a jumping shoulderblock, senton by Aino and she hits a diving shoulderblock off the second turnbuckle for two. Gutwrench suplex by Aino, she picks up Haruna but Haruna spins away and schoolboys Aino for two. Handstand into a hurricanrana by Haruna, but that gets a two as well. Hard elbow by Aino but Haruna delivers a Codebreaker, front roll by Haruna but Aino kicks her back. Diving neckdrop by Haruna, but Aino kicks out of the cover. Haruna waits for Aino to get up and does a front roll into a Codebreaker attempt, but Aino catches her and slams Haruna to the mat. Bulldog by Aino, she picks up Haruna and drops her with the Venus DDT for the three count! Yuki Aino wins and advances in the tournament.
They put together a well structured match and kept the action moving, which I think is all we could have hoped for. Haruna is going to do cat things, no way around that, but most of it stayed pretty focused on the action and Haruna has a good variety of offense when she gets down to it. Both aren’t what I’d consider natural athletes, some of the movements weren’t very fluid, but overall a watchable match that didn’t do any harm.
Mirai Maiumi vs. Mizuki
At the 10th match of the tournament, we finally get to the Tokyo Princess Cup Legend – Mizuki. Mizuki has won this tournament the last two years so its hard not to label her as the wrestler to beat. She hasn’t had a lot of recent success outside of this tournament, but when it is Tokyo Princess Cup time, she turns it up a few notches. She is against the young Mirai Maiumi, who defeated Pom Harajuku in the 1st Round. Mirai has an uphill battle here if she wants to advance to the Quarterfinals.
Mirai gets Mizuki to the mat first but Mizuki gets better position as they go back and forth. On their feet again, wristlock by Mizuki but Mirai reverses it and applies a headlock. Mizuki drives Mirai into the corner but Mirai gets free and delivers a hard shoulderblock. Scoop slam by Mirai and she hits another one, a third scoop slam by Mirai but Mizuki bridges out of the pin and hits a dropkick. Mizuki stops on Mirai’s hand before clubbing her in the side of the head, Mizuki stomps down Mirai in the corner and mushes her with her boot. Mizuki applies a stretch hold, she releases it after a moment only to stretch Mirai’s back some more. Mirai gets to the ropes this time but Mizuki stomps on her hand, dropkick by Mizuki and Mirai falls out of the ring. Mizuki goes out to the apron and jumps off with a double footstomp. Mizuki slides Mirai back in, elbow by Mizuki but Mirai gets her back. Mizuki tries to flip away but Mirai slams her to the mat, she goes off the ropes and hits a shoulderblock. Two more shoulderblocks by Mirai, she picks up Mizuki and hits a running elbow in the corner followed by a shoulderblock for a two count.
Mirai picks up Mizuki but Mizuki blocks the suplex attempt, kick by Mirai but Mizuki swats away her dropkick and applies a crossface. Mirai gets out of it, kicks by Mizuki and she drop toeholds Mirai onto the second drop. Dropkick by Mizuki and she hits a quick footstomp, she goes to the turnbuckles but Mirai avoids the diving footstomp and drops Mizuki with a powerslam. Mirai goes for Mizuki’s arm but Mizuki quickly gets to the ropes, she picks up Mizuki and the two trade elbows. Mirai applies a modified hammerlock but Mizuki slides out of it and applies the crossface. Mirai crawls to the ropes and makes it for the break, Mizuki charges Mirai and nails the Murder Dropkick. Mizuki goes to the top turnbuckle but Mirai has recovered and elbows her, Mizuki elbows her back and goes for a diving crossbody, but Mirai moves out of the way. Miramare by Mirai but Mizuki is too close to the ropes and makes it for the break. Hard lariat by Mirai and she hits an elbow followed by a short range lariat for a two count. Mirai goes off the ropes but Mizuki catches her with a dropkick, cradle by Mizuki and she hits a footstomp for two. Mizuki grabs Mirai and hits the Cutie Special, and she picks up the three count! Mizuki wins and advances in the tournament.
I like Mirai as I enjoy hard hitting action, but two years into her career I wouldn’t mind a more varied moveset as while effective the shoulderblock isn’t the most exciting move. Love her lariats though. This felt like a real battle as between Mirai’s power and Mizuki’s speed they meshed well to put on a smart match. I actually found myself rooting for the upset, which I am not sure was the intention but Mirai fought with a lot of fire. The ending felt a little sudden as Mirai was in control shortly before the Cutie Special, but the Cutie Special is a quality move so I’ll let it slide. I wish Mirai’s power offense had a wider range and the end stretch was a little longer but an entertaining match. Mildly Recommended
Miyu Yamashita vs. Yuki Kamifuku
For the second time in this tournament, an event ends with Miyu Yamashita. Which makes sense, with Yuka Sakazaki not participating in the tournament, Miyu is their biggest draw (and the current champion). Yuki got a pass into the second round but she didn’t exactly get an easy path, as now she has to face one of the top wrestlers in the tournament. Yuki is no slouch as she is a former International Princess Champion, but she is going to have to dig deep to overcome Miyu Yamashita.
They tie-up to start, Yuki works a headlock but Miyu reverses it. Yuki pushes Miyu into the ropes but gives a clean break, kicks to the chest by Miyu and she covers Yuki for two. Miyu picks up Yuki and kicks her in the midsection, leg kick by Miyu and she finishes with a spinning kick for a two count cover. Miyu applies a Fujiwara Armbar but Yuki gets to the ropes for the break, Miyu picks up Yuki but Yuki elbows her. Handstand by Yuki but Miyu blocks her move attempt and hits a double knee gutbuster. Bodyscissors by Miyu but she lets go so she can kick Yuki in the back, another cover but again it gets two. More kicks by Miyu and she clubs Yuki in the back, knee by Miyu but Yuki kicks her away and boots Miyu in the face. Yuki sits Miyu on the top turnbuckle and boots her, Yuki charges Miyu and dropkicks her off the top turnbuckle down to the floor.
Miyu slowly gets back on the apron but Yuki promptly dropkicks her back to the floor again, Miyu returns again and Yuki quickly puts her in an Octopus Hold. Miyu gets out of it and drops Yuki to the mat, Yuki slowly returns to her feet and the two trade elbows. Miyu sends Yuki to the mat with a hard kick to the chest, knee to the stomach by Miyu but Yuki kicks her in the head. Miyu regains the advantage and delivers a head kick out of the corner, she gets Yuki on her shoulders but Yuki rakes her face and puts Miyu back in the Octopus Hold. She lets go after a moment to hit the Fameasser, she goes off the ropes but Miyu avoids her kick. Chop to the chest by Yuki and she hits a dropkick for a two count. Yuki re-applies the Octopus Hold but Miyu gets to the ropes, kick combination by Miyu but Yuki chops her. Miyu sends Yuki crashing to the mat with a head kick, cover by Miyu but Yuki barely kicks out. Miyu waits for Yuki to get up and nails the Skull Kick, cover by Miyu and she picks up the three count! Miyu Yamashita advances in the tournament.
Yuki Kamifuku is a limited wrestler, but I thought they worked well within her limitations here and put on a good show. Miyu bumped like a mad woman to make Yuki’s offense look as good as possible, and of course her kicks were on point. The repeated use of the Octopus Hold was a little excessive, and Yuki’s strikes aren’t too convincing, but everything else was well put together and the match felt like it went the right amount of time considering the structure of it. Not quite as good as the last match but still solid, as Miyu showed why she is one of the best on the Joshi scene. Mildly Recommended
Date: July 25th, 2021
Location: Shin-Kiba 1st RING in Tokyo, Japan
Announced Attendance: 142
The completion of the second round! Here are the tournament matches on this event:
- Round 2: Mahiro Kiryu vs. Suzume
- Round 2: Maki Itoh vs. Raku
- Round 2: Marika Kobashi vs. Shoko Nakajima
- Round 2: Hyper Misao vs. Rika Tatsumi
Mahiro Kiryu vs. Suzume
Suzume has finally entered the tournament, as she was one of the wrestlers that get a bye into the second round. The popular young wrestler faces Mahiro Kiryu, who defeated Arisu Endo in the First Round. Suzume has the slight experience edge over Mahiro, but they are close enough in ranking that either wrestler could pick up the win here.
Side headlock by Mahiro but Suzume takes her to the mat, they jockey for position but end up in a stalemate. Irish whip by Suzume but Mahiro shoulderblocks her down, both wrestlers go off the ropes and Suzume delivers a dropkick. Suzume throws Mahiro into the corner and elbows her, but Mahiro switches positions with her and returns the favor. Running elbow by Mahiro in the corner and she hits a scoop slam, elbow drop by Mahiro and she covers Suzume for two. Armbar by Mahiro but Suzume gets into the ropes for the break, double knee to Suzume’s back and Mahiro covers her for a two count. Mahiro picks up Suzume but Suzume quickly schoolboys her, Mahiro goes off the ropes but Suzume connects with a running elbow. More elbows by Suzume and she hits a dropkick, Suzume throws Mahiro into the corner but Mahiro avoids her charge.
Suzume boots Mahiro back, sleeper by Suzume but Mahiro drives her into the corner to break it up. Suzume goes to the top turnbuckle but Mahiro elbows her before she can jump off, Suzume ends up hanging off the turnbuckles and Mahiro dropkicks her in the back. Crab hold by Mahiro but Suzume crawls to the ropes to force the break, Mahiro picks her up but Suzume pushes her off and hits a headscissors. Face crusher by Suzume out of the corner, she waits for Mahiro to get up but Mahiro avoids the cutter attempt and hits a sidewalk slam. Mahiro picks up Suzume but Suzume blocks the slam attempt and applies a few flash pins for two counts. Suzume pushes Mahiro to create some space and charges in, delivering the Ring a Bell (modified cutter) for the three count! Suzume wins and advances in the tournament.
These two didn’t break any new ground with this match but it will still pretty well worked with a good flow to it. I’ve mentioned match length a few times in this review but this one being short was fine – they are less experienced wrestlers still honing their craft so putting on a tight eight minute match was a smart way to go. Suzume shows a lot of potential, she is small but connects well with the crowd and has solid execution. Too basic to get excited about but a good way to kick off the tournament portion of the event.
Maki Itoh vs. Raku
Maki Itoh also got a bye into the second round, she faces off against Raku from the Up Up Girls. I can’t fathom a scenario that Itoh would lose here, as she is one of the most popular wrestlers in Tokyo Joshi Pro and Raku is a mediocre midcarder with limited long-term upside. So even though I am all for upsets, a swerve just for the sake of a swerve is generally a bad idea so an Itoh win here is a pretty safe bet.
Raku applies a waistlock but Itoh easily gets out of it and they trade wristlocks until Raku gets Itoh to the mat. Itoh gets out of her grasp and they return to their feet, Itoh starts acting a little crazy which confuses Raku, giving Itoh a chance to club her to the mat. Itoh throws Raku into the corner and shoulder tackles her in the back, Irish whip by Itoh and she scoop slams Raku for a two count. Itoh puts Raku in the ropes and stretches her, running elbow by Itoh and she covers Raku for another two. Chinlock by Itoh and she switches it to a single leg crab hold, but Raku gets to the ropes for the break. Itoh goes for an Irish whip but Raku blocks it, back elbow by Raku and she hits a few more before dropkicking Itoh off her feet. Raku runs over Itoh and rolls over top of her for a two count. Raku goes off the ropes but Itoh catches her with a sleeper and hits a backbreaker.
Raku elbows Itoh but Itoh elbows her back and the two trade blows. Raku wins the battle but Itoh blocks the leg sweep, face crusher by Raku and she hits a jumping neckdrop. Raku charges Itoh but Itoh moves and delivers an elevated DDT. Raku quickly applies a few flash pins but Itoh kicks out of each, sleeper by Raku but Itoh drives her back into the corner to break it up. Raku gets on the second turnbuckle and tries to chop Itoh in the head, but Itoh’s head is too hard. Raku chops Itoh in the face but Itoh headbutts her and hits a DDT for a two count. Itoh grabs Raku and puts her in the crab hold, Raku almost makes it to the ropes but Itoh pulls her back to the middle of the ring and applies the Itoh Punish (elevated crab hold). Raku struggles for a moment but submits! Maki Itoh wins and advances in the tournament.
Itoh is certainly a character. She isn’t a high-end technician but she makes up for it by being unique, although not everyone appreciates her uniqueness. I like her fine, although I can understand those that don’t as she definitely blurs the line between comedy and serious wrestling within the same match. She gets away with it as she is charismatic, but I am not sure if she’ll ever reach the top level of Tokyo Joshi Pro. Raku hung in there which is all you can hope for, and generally the match was good (although not great). The right result and a decent watch all things considered. Mildly Recommended
Marika Kobashi vs. Shoko Nakajima
As far as experience goes, Shoko Nakajima has the clear advantage in this match-up. Shoko debuted for Tokyo Joshi Pro very early in their existence, back in mid-2013, and in 2019 she had a run as the Princess of Princess Championship. She is against the young Marika Kobashi, who defeated Nodoka Tenma to get here but ranks quite a bit below Shoko in the pecking order. If Marika is going to win here, its going to take another upset like she had in the first round of the tournament.
Marika dropkicks Shoko before the match starts, small packages by Marika but each gets a two count. Marika applies a grounded necklock but Shoko muscles out of it with a suplex for a two count cover. Shoko puts Marika in the ropes and hits a 619, Shoko applies a submission but Marika gets a foot on the ropes for the break. Dropkick by Shoko, she picks up Marika but Marika avoids her dropkick attempt and hits a leg lariat. Shoko recovers first but Marika elbows her, hurricanrana by Shoko but Marika reverses the cover into her own two count before quickly applying the grounded necklock. Shoko slams her into the corner to get out of it, strikes by Marika but Shoko hits a back bodydrop. Shoko goes off the ropes but Marika applies the grounded necklock once again until Shoko shakes her off. Shoko drapes Marika over the second rope and hits a DDT, Shoko puts Marika in the ropes but Marika avoids the 619 and hits a dropkick. Marika applies the…. you guessed it, grounded necklock but Shoko wiggles to the ropes and gets there for the break. Marika picks up Shoko but Shoko pushes her off, DDT by Shoko and she delivers the Northern Lights Suplex Hold for the three count! Shoko Nakajima is the winner and advances in the tournament.
I’m a big fan of Shoko but there wasn’t much to this one. While I respect that Marika obviously felt the grounded necklock was her only path to victory, as a fan I would have liked a little more variety to her offense. Something to weaken up Shoko so it wasn’t the same submission move four times in a five minute match. Shoko put away Marika pretty easily when she got back in control, which is fine, but if a match is this short I’d prefer it be more of a sprint. Perfectly watchable but nothing memorable and the match layout wasn’t my favorite.
Hyper Misao vs. Rika Tatsumi
Time for the main event and the final match of Round 2! Rika Tatsumi is a former Princess of Princess Champion (she lost the title in May) and has really improved over the last year as she has fought to the top tier of the promotion. Hyper Misao has had a very interesting career as she is mostly a midcarder but has moments of being in major storylines. She has comedy elements to her character but can put on quality in-ring matches as well, so she has a lot going on. Rika Tatsumi is one of the favorites to win the tournament but Hyper Misao is the type of wrestler that can pull of a big upset at any time.
They get right into it as they trade holds, Rika gets the early advantage but Misao evens things out and they end up back on their feet. They trade waistlocks, Rika starts on Misao’s leg, Misao returns to her feet however and hits a footstomp onto Rika’s back. DDT by Misao and she applies an elevated armbar, but Rika gets into the ropes for the break. Stomps by Misao, she throws Rika into the corner and yanks on her arm. Arm snaps by Misao and she throws Rika to the other corner, but Rika avoids her charge and drops her onto the apron. Misao snaps Rika’s arm over the top rope a few times before elbowing her in the back, she whips Rika to the mat and twists her arm before hitting a leg drop on it. Rika fights back with elbows but Misao catches her when she runs in and drops her onto her knee. Charging back elbow by Misao, and she covers Rika for two. Misao stays in control on the mat but Rika snapmares her and hits a quick hip attack. Irish whip by Rika to the corner and she hits a running hip attack, she goes to the second turnbuckle and delivers a diving one for a two count. She goes for the figure four, Misao pushes her off but Rika levels her with a sliding hip attack.
This gives her time to apply the figure four leglock, but Misao is able to get to the ropes for the break. Rika wraps Misao’s leg in the ropes but Misao avoids her dropkick attempt, Misao charges Rika and knees her hard in the back. This sends Rika out of the ring, Misao kicks Rika through the ropes and follows with a diving crossbody off the second rope down to the floor. Misao slides Rika back in but Rika grabs her leg and hits a dragon screw through the ropes. Rika goes back to the apron with Misao but Misao blocks the Dragon Twist of Fate, they trade elbows until Misao Irish whips Rika into the ring post. Misao picks up Rika and goes back into the ring, applying a front necklock before hitting a hanging Final Cut for a two count. Misao goes to the top turnbuckle but Rika recovers and elbows her before she can jump off. Dragon Twist of Fate by Rika, she picks up Misao but Misao puts her in a headlock. Misao goes for the crossface chickenwing and gets it locked in, but Rika breaks free and applies the Dragon Sleeper. Rika rips off Misao’s mask as Misao manages to get to the ropes, she puts it back on and then blocks Rika’s kick before applying La Magistral for two. Sliding back elbow by Misao but Rika fires back with a hip attack, jumping head kick by Rika but Misao avoids the Dragon Twist of Fate. She goes for a flash pin but Rika quickly applies a Japanese Leg Roll Clutch Hold for the three count! Rika Tatsumi wins and advances in the tournament.
I think this match was a small step below Hikari Noa vs. Rika Tatsumi, but still was damn entertaining. Misao is a stealthy really good (maybe even great) wrestler, everything she did here was on point. If anything I think her super hero gimmick holds her back a bit as its not a Champion Gimmick, but it wasn’t the focus of this match as they went right at it. Even her mask coming off didn’t come across as a big deal, she has been mask-less before, so I don’t see that as a big focal point of the match. Both had good strategies with the limb work and had a wide variety of ways to attack said limbs so it never got boring. There were some transition issues that very slightly irked me, such as Rika going right back on offense after Misao’s dive out of the ring and after her Final Cut, as I think big moves should get a little time to breath and be meaningful. And while the limb work was good I wouldn’t have minded if it impacted the ending in some way. But overall it was a fun match with solid action from bell to bell, a really good effort by both to end the second round. Recommended
Date: July 31st, 2021
Location: Shinjuku FACE in Tokyo, Japan
Announced Attendance: 226
Regular tournament setup from here on out, no more byes. Onto the Quarter Finals! Here are the tournament matches on this event:
- Quarter Final: Maki Itoh vs. Suzume
- Quarter Final: Miu Watanabe vs. Yuki Aino
- Quarter Final: Rika Tatsumi vs. Shoko Nakajima
- Quarter Final: Miyu Yamashita vs. Mizuki
Maki Itoh vs. Suzume
We kick off the Quarter Finals with this interesting match. Suzume and Yuki Aino are probably the least likely to win the tournament of the wrestlers left, so Maki Itoh got a lucky draw here as she does come in the favorite. Suzume is only 22 and is not quite two years into her career, so even getting this far is an accomplishment. Should be the usual Maki mixture of goofy, funny, hard hitting, and serious that we have grown to know and love.
Suzume dropkicks Maki before the match starts while she is doing her singing, establishing herself as the heel in the match. Another dropkick by Suzume and she quickly covers Maki for a two count. She goes for a third but Maki avoids it, she goes for a slam but Suzume lands on her feet and dropkicks Maki out of the ring. Suzume goes out after her and clubs her in the back, Suzume rolls Maki back in but Maki kicks Suzume as she gets on the apron. Back out to the floor, ax handle by Maki and she throws Suzume into the ring post. DDT by Maki on the floor, Maki gets back in the ring with Suzume slowly following. Stomps by Maki and she covers Suzume for two. Scoop slam by Maki and she hits a second one followed by a third, cover by Maki but it gets a two count. Suzume tries to fight back but Maki puts her in a sleeper, she pulls back on Suzume’s neck but Suzume makes it to the ropes for the break. Maki picks up Suzume but Suzume blocks the Irish whip, elbows by Maki but Suzume elbows her back and hits a running back elbow. More elbows by Suzume and she covers Maki for a two count. Suzume picks up Maki and throws her into the corner, running elbow by Suzume and she goes up to the top turnbuckle. Maki avoids her diving body press however, she goes for Suzume’s legs but Suzume pushes her away and hits a headscissors.
Maki falls out of the ring, Suzume goes up top and dives out with a crossbody down to the floor. Suzume slides Maki back in, cover by Suzume but it gets two. Suzume applies a sleeper, Maki struggles but eventually makes it to the ropes for the break. Suzume charges Maki but Maki holds down the top rope, sending Suzume out to the apron. Maki immediately grabs her and drapes her legs over the second rope, delivering a DDT back into the ring. Maki throws Suzume into the corner and sits on the turnbuckles, elbow by Maki and she hits a headbutt. Maki dives off the turnbuckles but Suzume catches her with a cutter, they trade elbows as they return to their feet until Suzume gets Maki back down to the mat. Suzume picks up Maki but Maki headbutts her and snaps off a DDT. Maki goes to the top turnbuckle but Suzume avoids the diving headbutt, face crusher off the ropes by Suzume and she covers Maki for a two count. Suzume waits for Maki to get up but Maki avoids the Ring a Bell, Suzume goes for a few flash pins but each gets a two count. Dropkick by Suzume, she waits for Maki to get up but Maki blocks the Ring a Bell again. Maki rolls Suzume to the mat and puts her in the crab hold, she drags Suzume to the middle of the ring and applies the Itoh Punish. Suzume struggles for a moment but has to tap out! Maki Itoh wins and advances in the tournament.
They certainly tried to bring the drama since it was a tournament match, but at the end of the day it really had the setup of any veteran vs. young underdog match. Suzume got in most of the offense and looked good, she has quite a spark to her, but Itoh winning with a modified crab hold while doing little to set it up just made Suzume look way out of her league. Which maybe she is, but for a big Quarter Finals match I wouldn’t have minded a little more drama at the end instead of Maki Itoh getting the quick win. That being said, there was no comedy here as Itoh was focused on the win, which did make the match feel important and showed that she saw Suzume as a threat. An enjoyable match, I just wish that the ending was a little more flushed out instead of going straight to the submission win. Mildly Recommended
Miu Watanabe vs. Yuki Aino
This the only Quarter Finals match that doesn’t have a former (or current) singles champion involved. Miu seems to be on the cusp of breaking out, she lost in a close title match against Rika Tatsumi earlier this year and had a long run with the tag team titles in 2020. Yuki Aino has also had tag team success but doesn’t have the in-ring talents that Miu does, so to most she’d be considered the underdog here. Still, with two rising stars its hard to know what direction the promotion will go, should be a close match.
Miu gets Yuki to the mat early in an armbar, Yuki Irish whips out of it but Miu hits an armdrag followed by a hard shoulderblock. Elbows by Miu in the corner and she stretches Yuki over her knee, focusing her offense on the back. Yuki pushes Miu away and knocks her to the mat, she kicks Miu into the corner before hitting a running elbow. Yuki turns Miu around and delivers a running elbow to her lower back, snapmare by Yuki and she covers Miu for two. Chinlock by Yuki but Miu gets into the ropes for the break, snapmare by Yuki and she applies a stretch hold. Miu gets to the ropes again, running senton by Yuki and she covers Miu for two. Yuki picks up Miu and hits a scoop slam, elbow by Yuki but Miu picks her up and hits a backbreaker. Miu gets Yuki on her shoulder but Yuki slides away, armdrag by Miu and she hits a body avalanche in the corner. Hard shoulderblock by Miu, she goes for Yuki’s legs but Yuki flips her and hits a senton.
Yuki gets on the second rope and hits a reverse splash, but Miu kicks out of the cover. Yuki picks up Miu but Miu blocks a suplex attempt, Yuki gets the Full Nelson locked in but Miu gets into the ropes for the break. Miu gets away from Yuki and throws her into the corner, but Yuki elbows her when she charges in. Yuki gets on the second turnbuckle but Miu grabs her, bringing her back into the ring and giving her the Giant Swing. Miu picks up Yuki and hits a backbreaker over her shoulder, cover by Miu but Yuki barely kicks out. Miu grabs Yuki but Yuki applies a headlock before dropping Miu with a bulldog. Yuki pulls Miu out to the apron and nails a reverse DDT, she pulls Miu back into the ring and goes for another one but Miu snapmares out of it. Gutwrench suplex by Yuki, she picks up Miu but Miu blocks the double underhook. Hard shoulderblock by Yuki but Miu hits a series of hammer blows, Tear Drop by Miu and she covers Yuki for the three count! Miu Watanabe wins and advances in the tournament.
My thoughts on the match may be a little biased as Miu is the type of wrestler I tend to naturally like, but this was a quality match. Miu is a mini-hoss, she isn’t very tall but she has a lot of power and uses it to implement a wide variety of back-focused offense. Yuki did her part as well, even if it felt like Miu stayed in control and Yuki was just doing her best to keep up. The reverse DDT on the apron probably wasn’t necessary as Miu recovered pretty quickly, but it did give the fans a moment to think maybe Yuki could pick up the upset. The ending felt a little sudden as Yuki had finally strung a few moves together, but Miu had done enough offense up to that point that it wasn’t completely out of thin air. Pretty entertaining and I am glad to see Miu continue in the tournament. Recommended
Rika Tatsumi vs. Shoko Nakajima
The next match is a big one, as two former champions collide. Rika Tatsumi held the Princess of Princess Championship for four months earlier in 2021, and prior to that was a tag team champion. Shoko held the Princess of Princess Championship back in 2019 for six months, but since then she has not gotten another match for the title. Winning this tournament would be the easiest way to finally get herself another title shot, as she has fallen in the pecking order a bit since then. Rika is always a threat however and also did not get a re-match when she lost the title, so both have an argument for getting another chance at the gold.
Tie-up to start, they trade holds until Shoko gets Rika to the mat but Rika gets away and both wrestlers return to their feet. Side headlock by Shoko but Rika reverses it, Irish whip by Shoko but Rika hits a hard shoulderblock. Both wrestlers go off the ropes until Shoko hits an armdrag followed by a dropkick. Shoko throws Rika into the corner but Rika reverses the Irish whip, Rika trips up Shoko in the corner and starts working on the leg. Shoko gets into the ropes to get a break, Rika picks her up and throws her back into the corner. Rika twists Shoko’s leg in the middle rope but after she lets go, Shoko switches positions with her and hits a series of elbows. Shoko charges Rika but Rika moves and immediately goes back to Shoko’s leg. Rika pulls Shoko’s leg around the post and slams her knee into it, she then gets on the apron and dropkicks Shoko’s leg into the ring post. Rika slides Shoko back in but Shoko dropkicks her as she enters and sails out onto Rika with a tope suicida. Shoko slides Rika back into the ring and goes to the top turnbuckle, but Rika recovers and elbows her. Dragon screw by Rika while Shoko is sitting on the top turnbuckle, she then grabs Shoko’s leg and twists it again before applying the figure four leglock.
Shoko quickly gets to the ropes to force the break, but Rika stays on Shoko and gets the hold re-applied. Shoko manages to reverse the hold so Rika grabs the rope to break it up, 619 by Shoko but Rika elbows her and the two trade blows. Rika charges Shoko but Shoko hits a dropkick, bulldog by Shoko but Rika puts her on the top turnbuckle and applies a Dragon Sleeper. She lets go after a moment and hits a hanging reverse Dragon Twist of Fate, she goes for a regular Dragon Twist of Fate but Shoko blocks it and applies a Northern Lights Suplex Hold for two. Shoko flips Rika into the ropes and hits the 619 again, she goes for another suplex but Rika blocks it and hits a backbreaker. Sleeper by Rika but Shoko blocks it when she goes for the Dragon Sleeper and hits a neckbreaker. Shoko sits Rika on the top turnbuckle and joins her, but Rika pushes her back and hits a diving hip attack. Rika goes back up top but Shoko avoids the Missile Hip and schoolboys Rika for two. Hurricanrana by Shoko but Rika nails her with a hip attack, jumping head kick by Rika and she applies the sleeper. Dragon Sleeper by Rika but Shoko rolls out of it and hits a suplex. Double arm DDT by Shoko, she goes to the top turnbuckle and nails the Diving Senton for the three count! Shoko Nakajima is the winner and advances in the tournament!
One common theme during this tournament is the wrestler having limb work done on them makes no effort whatsoever to acknowledge it at any point. I don’t know if its a Tokyo Joshi Pro thing or due to the time constraints in the tournament, but they really take it to the next level. Generally I am pretty forgiving about such things, I don’t expect wrestlers to sell every move for the rest of the match, but here it was the focus of Rika’s offense. Even after dropkicking Shoko’s leg into the ring post, which is a pretty notable move, literally ten seconds later Shoko was running around the ring to hit a tope suicida and at no point after did she sell her leg unless it was actively in a move. Just an unforced error that is easily fixed with an occasional leg shake or leg holding. Anyway, if I put that rant aside, this was a pretty good match otherwise. Both wrestlers have fun offense and everything felt like it was done with a purpose as there was no wasted effort. The action was smooth and Shoko looked great as always when in control (not as great with limb selling), maybe she will win this tournament and finally get her rematch. A solid match that was just hurt by Rika’s leg work not being more respected. Mildly Recommended
Miyu Yamashita vs. Mizuki
Time for the main event, as the Princess of Princess Champion faces off against Ms. Princess Cup. Mizuki has never held the top title in Tokyo Joshi Pro but she has won the last two Tokyo Princess Cups, so until someone knocks her off she remains the favorite as far as I am concerned. Miyu Yamashita is the Ace of Tokyo Joshi Pro, a three time Princess of Princess Champion and the current champion going into the match. On paper, Miyu outranks Mizuki in the promotion but tournament settings are different than the real world. This is the biggest match of the tournament so far, as something has to give.
Snapmare by Miyu to start but Mizuki hits one of her own, she goes for a quick cradle but Miyu kicks out. Dropkick by Mizuki and Miyu rolls out of the ring, Mizuki goes to the top turnbuckle but Miyu jumps up to the apron and grabs Mizuki. Mizuki slides away but Miyu throws her into the ring post, sending Mizuki down to the floor. Jumping knee by Miyu off the apron to the floor, she gets back in the ring with Mizuki slowly following. Double knee gutbuster by Miyu and she applies a bodyscissors, she switches it to a sleeper but lets go so she can knee Mizuki in the stomach. Mizuki gets back to her feet but Miyu knocks her back to the mat and hits a tornado kneedrop for two. Mizuki goes off the ropes but Miyu drops her with a gutbuster, but Mizuki bridges out of the pin and hits a missile dropkick. Miyu ends up against the ropes so Mizuki nails the Murder Dropkick, Mizuki goes to the top turnbuckle but Miyu avoids her crossbody attempt. Corner springboard kick by Miyu out of the corner, but her cover gets two. Miyu picks up Mizuki and hits a neckbreaker, she puts Mizuki in the Anaconda Vice but Mizuki gets out of it and applies a crossface. Miyu struggles back to her feet but Mizuki gets her back down, Miyu inches to the ropes and eventually makes it to force the break.
Mizuki goes to the top turnbuckle but Miyu kicks her before she can jump off, Miyu joins Mizuki and tries to get her on her shoulders but Mizuki blocks it and elbows Miyu into the Tree of Woe. Miyu gets back up but Mizuki elbows her down again and delivers a diving footstomp to her chest. Miyu ends up on the apron but Mizuki grabs her from inside the ring and hits a crossbody through the ropes, sending Miyu to the floor. Mizuki then gets on the top turnbuckle and nails a diving footstomp down to the floor, Mizuki slides Miyu back in and covers her for two. Mizuki picks up Miyu but Miyu delivers a head kick, more kicks by Miyu but Mizuki elbows her back as they trade blows. Miyu goes off the ropes but Mizuki elbows her, Mizuki goes for a cradle but Miyu blocks it and hits a German suplex hold for two. Head kick by Miyu, she goes to get a running start but Mizuki grabs her leg to stop her. Miyu kicks her off and boots her into the corner, jumping knee by Miyu and she delivers an Attitude Adjustment for two. Miyu goes for a head kick but Mizuki ducks it, cradle by Mizuki and she hits a footstomp for two. Suplex by Mizuki, she goes to the top turnbuckle and delivers the diving footstomp. Cutie Special by Mizuki, and she holds down Miyu for the three count! Mizuki wins and advances in the tournament!
One benefit of the styles of these two is we didn’t have to worry about ignored limb work as Miyu is all about kicks and gutbusters while Mizuki enjoys suplexes and footstomps. Much easier to manage. This match was enjoyable but it felt like they needed a few more minutes, as it was still a pretty back-and-forth match when it ended and it didn’t have a hot ending segment that you’d expect from the main event between wrestlers of their skill levels. The action was really solid though, Miyu is great and Mizuki rises to the occasion when needed. Her offense is more “soft” than Miyu but the diving footstomp is hurt-y no matter who is doing it, so I was glad she stepped it up a bit so she didn’t seem out-gunned. The champion going out this early is a surprise but that’s what happens when you run into Mizuki early, with Mizuki’s past success it looks like she is destined for at the least the Finals. Overall an enjoyable and hard hitting match, only thing holding it back was just the fact it felt a little incomplete for a match of this caliber. Recommended
Date: August 14th, 2021
Location: Tokyo Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan
Announced Attendance: 437
Time for the Semi Finals! Here are the tournament matches on this event:
- Semi Final: Miu Watanabe vs. Shoko Nakajima
- Semi Final: Maki Itoh vs. Mizuki
Miu Watanabe vs. Shoko Nakajima
Even though this is not the big match of the Semi Finals, hence why it is going first, I am still excited for it. Miu is only 21 years old but is a talented mini hoss and is my favorite young wrestler in the promotion. Getting this far in the tournament is a success for her, and while I give her little chance of winning here she should still put on a fight. Shoko is a former Princess of Princess Champion and is attempting to win the tournament to finally get her rematch for the title which she never got after losing it two years ago.
Shoko works a headlock to start but Miu Irish whips out of it, they go through a fast exchange until Miu drops Shoko with a hard shoulderblock. Miu puts Shoko in the corner and elbows her repeatedly in the back, backbreaker by Miu and she presses Shoko down over her knee. Miu applies a waistlock but Shoko jumps through the ropes to get out of the hold and snaps Miu over the second rope. Shoko clubs Miu and puts her in a headscissors before slamming Miu’s head into the mat. Miu gets into the ropes for the break, Shoko throws Miu into the corner and delivers a dropkick. Shoko catapults Miu up into the bottom rope, cover by Shoko but it gets a two count. Shoko knees Miu in the back of the head a few times before applying a stretch hold, but Miu muscles out of it. Miu picks up Shoko but Shoko elbows away and hits a quick suplex, she re-applies the hold as she twists up Miu. Miu gets into the ropes again for the break, she goes for the Northern Lights Suplex but Miu blocks it and slams Shoko to the mat. Hard shoulderblock by Miu and she hits a body avalanche in the corner, which she follows with another shoulderblock. Miu goes to pick up Shoko but Shoko kicks her back, Shoko grabs Miu but Miu elbows her off.
Shoko returns fire as the two trade blows, dropkick by Shoko but Miu doesn’t go down and hits a powerslam. Miu picks up Shoko and gets her on her shoulder, but Shoko slides away and hits a Northern Lights Suplex. Shoko goes to the top turnbuckle but Miu avoids the diving senton attempt, she goes for a hurricanrana but Miu catches her. Shoko applies a front guillotine but Miu gets out of it and swings Shoko around in the Giant Swing. Miu picks up Shoko but Shoko pushes her off and drops Miu on the second rope. She goes for the 619 but Miu moves and clubs Shoko in the chest, she then muscles Shoko up and hits a single shoulder backbreaker for a two count. Miu gets Shoko back up again in a backbreaker, Shoko flips out of it but Miu clubs her in the chest for a two count. Miu picks up Shoko but Shoko hits a back bodydrop, Miu clubs Shoko but Shoko snaps off a hurricanrana. Locomotion-Style Northern Light Suplex Hold by Shoko, and she picks up the three count! Shoko Nakajima wins and advances to the Finals.
Even though I never doubted the winner here, I still came out of it impressed by Miu. I wouldn’t say this was the most cohesive match as at times it came across as random offense with iffy transitions, but Miu’s work on Shoko’s back was solid and she has a nice variety of offense. It really felt more like a Miu match than a Shoko match, as her offense and comeback spots were more interesting (and that’s coming from someone that likes Shoko as well). The action was very smooth through with no miscommunications, and they kept it interesting from bell to bell. I wouldn’t have minded if Shoko had a bit more of a clear game plan but still an enjoyable and easy watch. Mildly Recommended
Maki Itoh vs. Mizuki
For the main event of the show, the popular Maki Itoh goes against the unstoppable Mizuki. As I have mentioned a few times, Mizuki has won the tournament the last two years so even though she has never held the top title in the promotion, she is the one to beat. Maki Itoh hasn’t held the top championship in Tokyo Joshi Pro either but has a slew of fans that would love to see her reach the Finals. Mizuki is likely still the favorite, but neither of these two would be a bad choice to go for the tournament win tomorrow.
They tie-up to start, Maki pushes Mizuki into the ropes and elbows her instead of giving a clean break. Mizuki returns the favor and the two trade blows, Maki grabs Mizuki and tosses her out of the ring. Maki goes out after her and shoulder tackles her into the apron, she then removes part of the mat on the floor. She goes to slam Mizuki on the exposed floor but Mizuki blocks it, so Maki throws her into the guardrail instead. Maki slides Mizuki back into the ring, cover by Maki but it gets a two count. Maki twists up Mizuki in the ropes and elbows her in the back, cover by Maki but Mizuki bridges out of it and hits a footstomp to her back. Mizuki applies a stretch hold, she lets go after a moment but Maki drops her with a face crusher. Maki goes to the second turnbuckle but Mizuki avoids her diving headbutt, which hurt Maki even more than usual as she came into the match with a previously broken face. Mizuki comes out after Maki and slides her back in, cover by Mizuki but it gets a two count. Mizuki picks up Maki and throws her face-first into the corner, running boot by Mizuki and she dropkicks Maki in the back. Diving footstomp by Mizuki, and she covers Maki for a two count. Mizuki stands up Maki on the apron, she then gets a running start in the ring and hits a crossbody between the ropes. Mizuki goes for a diving footstomp off the apron but Maki moves, they both trade slam attempts until Maki successfully slams Mizuki on the previously exposed floor.
Maki slides Mizuki back in, Mizuki pushes Maki into the corner but Maki grabs her and delivers a Tornado DDT. Cover by Maki, but it gets a two count. Maki goes to pick up Mizuki but Mizuki cradles her, Mizuki goes for a few more flash pins but Maki won’t stay down. Murder Dropkick by Mizuki, Maki lands outside the ring, Mizuki goes to the top turnbuckle but Maki recovers and gets back on the apron. Maki grabs Mizuki and DDTs her onto the apron, Maki puts Mizuki in the crab hold but Mizuki gets to the ropes for the break. Maki goes to the top turnbuckle but Mizuki joins her, hitting a superplex to the mat. Cover by Mizuki, but it gets a two count. Mizuki puts Maki across the ropes in the corner and hits a double footstomp, she goes back to the top turnbuckle but Maki avoids the diving footstomp. Tornado DDT by Maki, she goes to the top turnbuckle and nails the Diving Kokeshi to Mizuki’s back. Cover by Maki, but Mizuki gets a shoulder up. Maki grabs Mizuki and puts her in the Itoh Punish, but Mizuki makes it to the ropes for the break. Maki grabs Mizuki by the wrist and elbows her in the face, but Mizuki fights back and the two trade elbows. Maki headbutts one of Mizuki’s elbow strikes, but Mizuki quickly hits a Cutie Special for a two count. Mizuki picks up Maki but Maki headbutts her, Maki puts Mizuki in the Itoh Deluxe and Mizuki has no choice but to submit! Maki Itoh wins and advances to the Finals!
I think I am finally starting to understand Maki Itoh. Sometimes you have to watch a wrestler within a well told story to get what they are all about, and this tournament has helped me appreciate Itoh and what she brings to the table. She isn’t the best in-ring wrestler, nor has the most “potential,” nor shows off the flashiest moves, but her determination to win just jumps off the screen and she has the ability to pull you into her matches. Sure, maybe her matches in AEW weren’t able to show that off but those were spot matches, they weren’t really telling her story. Here, she came in with a face that was already (legitimately) injured, she is against a wrestler unbeatable in tournaments, and she gave every ounce of what she had to pull off the win. She sold her face extremely well so each time she used it anyway as a weapon, it resonated with the viewer how much she wanted to win. The focus on the back was well done and then led directly to the ending, with one of the most painful looking submissions I’ve ever seen. Mizuki did her part as well, she’s talented and is entertaining, but this match was all about Itoh’s story and it was perfectly told. A gripping and intense match, and easily the best we’ve seen in the tournament thus far. A must-see for Joshi fans or for anyone that doesn’t understand why Maki Itoh has legions of fans around the world. Highly Recommended
Date: August 15th, 2021
Location: Tokyo Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan
Announced Attendance: 567
Time for the Finals! Naturally, only one tournament match on this event:
- Final: Maki Itoh vs. Shoko Nakajima
Maki Itoh vs. Shoko Nakajima
After the longest review in Joshi City history, it is finally time for the main event! At this point, no big leadup is necessary, as Shoko’s drive to re-gain the Princess of Princess Championship goes up against Maki Itoh’s desire to move up the ranks and get her title shot as well. Arguments could be made to support either wrestler winning the tournament, so this should be a close match between two of Tokyo Joshi Pro’s more entertaining wrestlers.
They tie-up to start before trading holds, Maki gets Shoko in a headlock but Shoko reverses it. They end up back on their feet as they lock knuckles, Maki gets the better of it and she applies a stretch hold. Shoko gets out of it and hits a side headlock takedown, Maki struggles back up and Irish whips out of it but Shoko hits a springboard armdrag followed by a dropkick. Maki throws Shoko into the corner but Shoko flips herself out to the apron, she gets on the top turnbuckle but Maki elbows her before she can jump off. Maki goes out to the apron and hits a hanging DDT on Shoko, scoop slam by Maki on the floor and she drives Shoko back-first into the guard rail. Maki slides Shoko back into the ring and goes in after her, but Shoko dropkicks her as she gets on the apron. Shoko gets a running start in the ring and sails out onto Maki with a tope suicida, Shoko snaps Maki’s neck on the second rope and hits a 619 to Maki’s back. Cover by Shoko, but it gets a two count. Shoko throws Maki into the corner and hits a dropkick, neckbreaker by Shoko and she gets another two. Shoko picks up Maki and elbows her in the back of the head, stomps by Shoko and she starts working on Maki’s leg.
Maki gets into the ropes to force the break, but Shoko catapults Maki neck-first into the bottom rope. She does it a second time before dragging Maki back into the ring for a two count. Elbows to the back of the head by Shoko and she knees Maki a few times in the throat before applying a reverse chinlock. Snapmare by Shoko and she hits a running neckbreaker, but Maki kicks out of the cover. Shoko puts Maki in a submission hold but Maki gets out of it, elbows by Maki and she hits a DDT. Maki gets Shoko up but gets too close to the ropes, allowing Shoko to get away and apply a submission in the ropes. She lets go and goes to the top turnbuckle, but Maki catches her as she dives off and applies a crab hold. Shoko gets to the ropes for the break, running elbow by Maki in the corner and she hits a face crusher. Maki picks up Shoko but Shoko throws her into the corner, she charges Maki but Maki kicks her back and hits a Tornado DDT for a two count. Maki goes for the Ito Punish but Shoko slides away and bulldogs Maki into the turnbuckles. Shoko goes to the top turnbuckle and hits a missile dropkick, cover by Shoko but it gets a two count. Shoko gets the Mujin Zairaisen applied but Maki wiggles to the ropes and makes it for the break.
Shoko picks up Maki and slams her head-first into the mat, she goes for the Northern Lights Suplex but Maki blocks it and hits a Tornado DDT off the ropes. Maki puts Shoko in a crab hold but Shoko kicks her off and hits a hurricanrana for two. Northern Lights Suplex by Shoko, but her cover gets another two count. Shoko goes up to the top turnbuckle but Maki avoids the diving senton, jumping DDT by Maki and she goes to the top turnbuckle. Shoko recovers and she joins her, delivering a Frankensteiner back down to the mat. Both wrestlers slowly get to their knees as they trade elbows, Maki delivers a series of elbows but Shoko elbows her down to the mat. Headbutt by Maki and she hits a DDT, she goes to the top turnbuckle but Shoko avoids the Diving Kokeshi. Double Arm DDT by Shoko, and she hits a Northern Suplex Hold on Maki for a two count. Shoko drags up Maki but Maki flips her off, hard elbow by Shoko but Maki blocks the Northern Lights Suplex and puts Shoko in the Itoh Punish. Shoko crawls to the ropes and makes it for the break, quick hurricanrana by Shoko but Maki catches her 619 attempt and puts Shoko in the Itoh Deluxe. Shoko struggles for a moment but has no choice but to tap out! Maki Itoh wins the match and the Princess Cup!
While I don’t think it reached the emotional high of Maki Itoh’s last match, this was still pretty damn good. Shoko works better when she isn’t supposed to be selling a body part in particular, as we’ve seen in the tournament, so the random carnage that both were bringing fit in well with her strengths. There wasn’t a ton of structure, besides Maki’s usual back work, but they were throwing big moves and hard strikes at each other pretty consistently for over twenty minutes. Maki didn’t hit a many of her big moves but she made the ones she did hit count, and her bag of tricks ended up being deep enough to win as no one is getting out of the Itoh Deluxe. Since it was so back-and-forth, the match ending on a move counter leading to the finish fit in well with everything that came before it. Well paced and entertaining throughout, a fitting Finale for Tokyo Joshi Pro’s premiere annual tournament. Recommended
From the 1st match to the 22nd match, this was a quality tournament. My main complaint is simply that the first two rounds didn’t really have but one ‘upset’ as they went mostly chalk, which isn’t quite as entertaining to watch as the spunky underdogs picking up some wins. I probably would have been equally satisfied if I had skipped the first two rounds entirely. The Quarter Finals, Semi Finals, and Finals were really good however, and considering all her matches, Maki Itoh was the clear MVP as she was killing it. Overall I enjoyed my dive back into Tokyo Joshi Pro, and even though I wish there were more surprises, having Maki Itoh win was a cool moment and a well deserved victory for the Cutest Pro-Wrestler in the World.