Part of the DDT universe, Toyko Joshi Pro Wrestling (TJPW) has been growing steadily in popularity this year. Here’s a quick guide to help you learn more about the company.
What should I expect?
TJPW’s great strength is the charisma of the wrestlers and the characters they inhibit. If you’re expecting something along the lines of the fast-paced and snug-style like Stardom or NJPW, then you’ll be disappointed.
If you’re into the pageantry and pantomime of pro wrestling, then TJPW is up your alley. Like Jerry Lawler knew how to work an enthralling match based only around a punch, TJPW wrestlers have learnt how to keep your attention focused without doing mile-a-minute flips and piledrivers. It’s not simply gimmicks and visual appeal either, last month’s Brand New Wrestling 2 had a stellar tag title match and was headlined by a Tokyo Princess of Princess title match that would have been a Match of the Year candidate in any promotion.
How do I watch TJPW?
You can watch TJPW as part of the DDT Universe package which includes, DDT, TJPW, BASARA and GANBARE and there are usually 2-3 TJPW shows uploaded a month.
The DDT English language twitter account translates promos of events which will give you a better idea of what’s going on sometimes
The undisputed ace of the company, Yamashita won the Princess of Princess title in January and has defended it throughout the year with a grace and presence befitting the face of the promotion.
With a background in karate, it’s no surprise that she incorporates a lot of kicks into her moveset and her precision strikes and impact have made her matches must see affairs. At Brand New Wrestling 2, her match with Yuu elevated not only the title, but the promotion. She also headed up the Tokyo Joshi Freedom Fighters team at Chikara’s King of Trios this year.
It’s possible that Yuu’s gimmick is that she has no gimmick. During the build up to her title match at Brand New Wrestling 2, she commented that she often felt out of place in the DDT universe, known for its wacky angles and characters, as she’s a no nonsense fighter who just wants to win. Yuu rose to the occasion at Brand New Wrestling 2 and had what was probably TJPW’s match of the year with Miyu Yamashita, delivering a series of vicious chops that left Yamashita’s chest red. While she didn’t win, she came away with a new set of fans and a performance she could be proud of.
Maki Ito is not just one of TJPWs most popular wrestlers—she’s currently expected to win the DDT election (that gives you a shot at the KO-D title)—making her one of the most popular wrestlers in DDT.
Bitter after being fired from the idol group Lin-Q, Ito is sulky and irreverent both in and and out the ring, and seems to alternate between defiantly flipping the bird to any and everyone and throwing tantrums when she loses (which is quite a lot). Even if you don’t speak Japanese, her highly emotional promos are entertaining as hell and never feel cheesy or hammy because she performs them with such passion. In ring, she’s known for her headbutts not because she’s Samoan, but because she apparently has a “big face” for an idol.
Many TJPW fans sighed in disappointment when Nodoka changed her gimmick this year as her previous persona, a trip down nostalgia lane as the big sister presenter of a old Japanese kids show, complete with a dance routine, had ran its course. Her new character Nodoka Tenma, has a fresh new dark blue and yellow look complete with a pair of aviator goggles and debuted last month.
Yuki was TJPW’s ring announcer until midway through this year when she began wrestling. She’s Nodoka’s real life sister and often teams with her.
This superhero of TJPW isn’t averse to wrestling like a villain and her matches are often comedic affairs, and at Brand New 2 she rubbed wasabi on her mask (because Priscilla Kelly like to lick things, duh). At Yes Wonderland in May, Misao stole the show with a hardcore intergender battle with Jun Kasai, who was her real life inspiration for becoming a wrestler. The fight featured ladders, pyramids of chairs, and a magical green bike that Misao rode down the famous Korakuen staircase.
Formally part of the Itoh Respect Army with Maki Ito, the two had a catchy theme song and Mizuki was always there to console her partner when she inevitably lost her matches. However later in the year Mizuki found some respect of her own by winning the tag titles with Yuka Sakazaki. This upset Maki Ito and the mega powers explode at Brand New Wrestling 2 when Mizuki pinned Ito to retain the titles. Mizuki offered her a hand in friendship after the match but Ito pushed her away in anger, and Mizuki struggled to hold back her tears. Mizuki is one of the best in ring workers in TJPW and was part of the ultra-fast workrate promotion Gatoh move before joining the promotion
While also an employee of Wrestle-1’s cheer squad, Reika Saki has become a mainstay of TJPW, a former Princess of Princess champion and tag champ, the “Muscle Idol” has a distinctive bodybuilder look and is known for her power moves and fast pace in the ring. As well as wrestling she also sings and tours with Deadlift Lolita, with wrestler Ladybeard.
Under the spell of Saki Sama for most of the year, she was known as Asuzu Christie. Now free to be her own woman again, Azusa is a popular wrestler who often screams “I want to get married” when she jumps off the top rope onto a hapless opponent.
An aristocratic lady from revolution-era France who also has the ability to brainwash people into becoming her minions, Saki Sama is one of the most intriguing TJPW characters. Now that Kelly Azuza has left her clutches, who will she try to take next?
Previously as one half of the “Dragon Bombers” with ex-TJPW wrestler Maho Kurone, This year Rika has forged a path on her own, including headlining Korakuen Hall in a title match with Miyu Yamashita in May. Currently on the injured list.
We haven’t seen much of Yuna this year as she’s been out with injury for most of it. No stranger to comedy, she recently competed in a Queen of USA match with Hyper Misao which combined wrestling with dancing to cheesy pop music.
Known more commonly as “Kamiyu”, Yuki is not known for her ability to win matches, but nevertheless remains a popular member of the roster, in part due to her unfaltering confidence and her side gig as a gravure model. For some reason, she still uses Old MacDonald Had a Farm as her theme music, slightly incongruous for a wrestler whose sex appeal is part of her gimmick. Yuki is also a good English speaker and is often on hand to translate for American wrestlers.
The pint sized Kaiju is one of TJPW’s quickest wrestlers and can often be seen shooting out the ring like a flying fox. Nakajima was selected to be part of the “Tokyo Joshi Freedom Fighters” team for Chikara’s annual King of Trios event in the US, proving herself one of the best workers in the promotion.
You can get an idea of Yuka’s personality from her theme music, which is as bouncy and manic as she is. With her baggy pants and jewel encrusted necklace, Yuka is a genie that just burst from a lamp and is ready to fight with a smile on her face. One of TJPW’s best workers, she can hit both high flying and power moves and was part of the Tokyo Joshi Freedom Fighters Trio at Chikara’s King of Trios.
Marika is the youngest member of the TJPW roster, Marika’s twitter page states she is “the pro wrestler born in the 21st century”. Marika won the tag titles with Reika Saki before being forced to relinquish them due to an arm injury.
Up Up Girls (Pro Wres)
The Up Up Girls are a spin off Idol group featuring four members: Miu, Raku, Hikari and Hinano. They’ve only been wrestling since the beginning of the year and are clearly still learning a lot, but as well as grappling they also sing and perform their song (Upper Kicku) at almost every TJPW show. In June they even had their own special show, which culminated in the entire roster dancing on stage.
2018 Recommended Matches
- Hyper Misao vs Jun Kasai (May 3)
- Yuka Sakazaki vs Mizuki (June 9)
- Mizuki and Yuka Sakazaki vs Maki Ito and Reika Saki (August 25)
- Miyu Yamashita vs Yuu (August 25)