TOKYO JOSHI PRO
PRINCESS CUP NIGHT 2
AUGUST 9, 2020
TOKYO KANDA MYOJIN HALL
While the first night of the 2020 Princess Cup could be called no better than an average show, the winner of four out of the five tournament matches were never in question, robbing the show of any real drama. Night 2 brings us a second single cam show from Kanda Myojin Hall with four tournament matches and a fun looking undercard. Last year’s winner Mizuki begins her quest to repeat as champion, while her former partner in the Itoh Respect Army, Maki Itoh, attempts to advance beyond the second round for the first time.
UP UP GIRLS PERFORMANCE
Is there a better way to get a crowd excited for a wrestling show than a J-Pop performance? Yes, probably, but that isn’t going to stop me from suggesting that New Japan take the idea and run with it. May I suggest Taiji Ishimori, Master Wato, and YOH for the roles?
POM HARAJUKU, MIYU YAMASHITA & MAHIRO KIRYU DEF. SENA SHIORI, HIKARI NOA & NATSUMI MAKI
This opening six-woman tag was better than anything on night one, and got the crowd hot from the start. Previewing two tournament matches for night 3, Harajuku Vs Maki and Yamashita Vs Noa, all 6 women worked in a higher gear than anyone last night. The exchanges between Yamashita and Noa were excellent, with Miyu unleashing her vicious kicks and Hikari Noa responding with a beautiful exploder suplex. Everyone pulled their weight in this match, with Pom Harajuku, in spite of her shin kicks rivaling Orange Cassidy’s in effectiveness, scoring the pinfall over Shiori with the Pom Do Justice. ***1/2
SHOKO NAKAJIMA DEF. HARUNA NEKO AND NODOKA TENMA
Clocking in at a little under six minutes, these women packed a lot of match into the time they were given. They worked the first half of the match with a series of spots involving all three wrestlers, eventually resulting in Tenma taking control and locking her opponents in a double leg choke submission. At this point, they started to use the traditional triple threat trope with one wrestler on the floor while the other two work in-ring as they sprinted towards the finish. Haruna Neko had a great showing to make up for her disappointing match with Suzume on night one, and Tenma showed more fire in this triple threat than in her singles match against the champion. The finish came as Tenma had Neko up for a probable fall away slam, only for Nakajima to hit them both with a missile dropkick from the top rope, followed by a northern lights suplex on Neko for the three count. ***
PRINCESS CUP ROUND 2
MIZUKI DEF. SUZUME
The show goes three for three, as working with the veteran Mizuki allows Suzume to turn in a vastly improved performance over night 1. This match wasn’t anything fancy, with Suzume’s offense mainly consisting of flash pins and dropkicks while Mizuki added in some tactics that were more brat-like than heelish. While no one thought Suzume could score the upset when the match began, a close near fall off a reversal near the end drew audible gasps from the crowd and got them to rally around the underdog. Mizuki gave the young one more than required, making Suzume appear as an actual threat. Even the finish got Suzume over, as she reversed a suplex attempt by Mizuki into a guillotine choke, before Mizuki re-reversed into a fisherman’s suplex and scored the fall. ***1/4
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PRINCESS CUP ROUND 2
MAKI ITOH DEF. YUKI KAMIFUKU
Up until about the four-minute mark, this was shaping up to be the first miss of the night. The work wasn’t bad, it just had the feel of two people going through the motions. Once Kamifuku sold that her back had given out, and Itoh began heeling it up a bit the action picked up. Unfortunately, the action picked up with Kamifuku completely ignoring her back, which was injured to the point that it prevented her from throwing a strike a mere minute before she lifted Itoh into a perfect vertical suplex. I’m normally not that pedantic overselling, but this was especially ridiculous. The “Casual Beauty” continued her comeback with some stiff looking (for TJPW) strikes and close near falls off of flash pins until Itoh scored a tornado DDT and locked in an Itoh Special that did not look very painful for the submission. **1/2
Note for first-time TJPW viewers: No, it isn’t a music rights fee issue. Yuki Kamifuku really comes to the ring to the rocking sound of “Old MacDonald had a Farm.” No, I cannot explain it.
YUKA SAKAZAKI, MOKA MIYAMOTO & MINA SHIRAKAWA DEF. HIMAWARI UNAGI, HYPER MISOA & RAKU
After intermission we have a six-woman tag theoretically previewing the Yuka Sakazaki Vs Hyper Misoa tournament match on night 3. It would have served as a better preview if they would have had more than a single short one on one interaction, but even that small taste showed that it has the opportunity to be a show-stealer. They worked a bunch of comedy into this one, including an opening spot that I am not even going to attempt to explain, Hyper Misoa showing she hasn’t forgotten all the heel techniques she learned in NEO Biishiki-gun, and the poor rookie Miyamoto taking both Unagi’s corner breast smothering and Raku’s lullabye pin attempt. The Magical Girl Sakazaki picked up the fall for her side with a Merry-Go-Round on Himawari Unagi, resulting in Moka Miyamoto having her hand raised in victory for the first time in her short career. Here’s to many more! **3/4
PRINCESS CUP ROUND 2
MIU WATANABE DEF. MIRAI MAIUMI
As they traded strikes and shoulder tackles, the story became Watanabe trying to survive Maiumi’s chickenwing armlock. Every time Watanabe would reach the ropes and force a break, Maiumi would reverse a move right back into the chickenwing. After Watanabe reached the ropes the final time, Maiumi looked to be in control, absolutely crushing Miu in the corner with a clothesline and setting her up for what was sure to be a devastating finisher, only to have Watanabe dodge and hit the Laserbeam punch, followed by the Tear Drop for the win. Watanabe did a great job selling the damage to her arm from the chickenwing, and that the laserbeam punch was a last gasp desperation move that further sacrificed her injured limb. Best tournament match of the Cup so far. ***1/2
PRINCESS CUP ROUND 2
YUKI AINO DEF. RIKA TATSUMI
I have a confession to make: Rika Tatsumi does nothing for me. It is one thing when a wrestler resorts to idiotic comedy attacks when they can’t work. But Tatsumi is a legitimately very good worker, which makes her reliance on Taguchi-like butt based offense all the more annoying to me. With that out of the way, this match was excellent. Both women worked like they were in the main event, and both looked like they were trying to win, not just getting through a series of spots. Tatsumi only resorted to a butt attack once in a spot where it actually seemed like legitimate offense rather than a spot to crack up the crowd. Aino hit two gutwrench suplexes, including one from the second rope bringing Tatsumi back into the ring that was incredible. Yuki Aino advanced to the quarterfinals with her new double-arm body drop type move, the UBV, finishing off a good show with a great match. ***3/4
All in all a much better show than night 1, night 2 of the Princess Cup once again clocked in slightly over 2 hours including intermission and Up Up Girl performance. With no more than 90 minutes of wrestling action and nothing being worse than average, there is no reason not to watch the whole show this time. If you are pressed for time, watch the opening tag, Watanabe/Maiumi, and Aino/Tatsumi.