PRINCESS CUP Quarterfinals
AUGUST 15, 2020


Tokyo Joshi Pro Wrestling returned to Kanda Myojin Hall for what was supposed to be the first of two Princess Cup shows this weekend, with the quarterfinals making up the majority of the first night’s card. With the first three nights of the Princess Cup being hit or miss, TJPW needed night 4 to be a success to avoid having this year’s Princess Cup seen as a disappointment. In addition to the 4 tournament matches, tonight’s card has 3 tags, all with a significant veteran presence. This show will be as good as the workers make it, as TJPW has set them up for success booking-wise.

The day before the show it was announced that newcomer Moka Miyamoto would not be appearing due to a possible heat stroke.

Up Up Girls Performance

Like a match between Young Lions at a NJPW show, it just isn’t TJPW without the Up Up Girls getting the crowd pumped up to start off the afternoon. That being said, I understand not everyone wants J-pop with their wrestling. For those of you, the ring entrances for the first match begin at 15:26 and know that I will make it known in these reviews if anything important happens during the performance.

Rika Tatsumi, Haruna Neko & Nodoka Tenma def. Sena Shiori, Mirai Maiumi & Suzume

With the top of the card taken up by four singles matches, that left a lot of pushed veterans available to fill out the tag matches. We see the benefit of that immediately with the opening match, as Rika Tatsumi and Nodoka Tenma’s presence took this match to a higher level than the normal TJPW opener. Rika and Suzume started the match off with some nice work with Rika gaining the upper hand. After tagging in Haruna Neko, they teamed up on poor Suzume until an amusing disagreement caused Tatsumi and Tenma to attack each other, with Neko forced into the role of peace maker. After watching the show for a while, their opponents eventually jumped in and tossed Tatsumi and Tenma from the ring, leaving poor Neko all alone against the three. After a few minutes of basic tag teamwork, Tatsumi locked Shiori in a figure four in what would be the next big spot of the match, as Maiumi and Suzume kept rolling the pair over, reversing the hold in Shiori’s favor. Once Rika was able to make the ropes and break her own hold, they sprinted into a very good closing stretch, with the highlight being Maiumi’s double lariat destroying Neko and Tenma. Tatsumi sent her from the ring with the missile hips, then finished off Shiori with the Twist of Fate. A really good opener that had both comedy and action. ***

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Mahiro Kiryu & Yuki Kamifuku def. Pom Harajuku & Hikari Noa

Kamifuku and Noa start us off with some nice chain wrestling before tagging in their respective partners to do the same. Kiryu made the first mistake of the match, paying more attention to Kamifuku’s instructions on proper stomping technique than her opponent, leading to Harajuku getting a near fall and control. With Mahiro trapped in the corner, Pom tagged in Hikari, who planted a foot in Mahiro’s face as Pom stood on the apron, viciously adding shin kicks to the double team. The beat down on Kiryu continued with some hand stomping, a threatened eye poke, and a slam, followed by a couple more body slams once Pom reentered the match. Kiryu eventually found an opening to hit a dropkick, allowing her to make the hot tag to Kamifuku who took Pom’s head off with a kick. Pom blocked a suplex attempt and got dropkicked to the corner instead, allowing Noa to make the tag. This began the closing stretch, as the teams worked back and forth quickly trading the advantage, with Harajuku hitting a very nice second rope dropkick at one point, and Kiryu scoring a huge spinebuster on Pom for the win.  After being critical of her work in her Princess Cup match, I need to point out that Pom’s work tonight was excellent, as was everybody’s so far tonight. ***1/4

Yuka Sakazaki & Raku def. Himawari Unagi & Mina Shirakawa

Unagi and Shirakawa practically look like they were made to team together. I would not be surprised to see them teaming up often in the future, alongside Yuki Kamifuku for 6 woman action. Sakazaki, coming off her loss to Hyper Misao on the last show, was all smiles with Raku but all business towards her opponents, refusing the handshake. I feel bad for her next few opponents. This was an enjoyable tag match that highlighted TJPW’s strengths, as they mixed good work in with the comedy spots. The crowd is really adding to the matches tonight, responding to everything appropriately. The amount of audible laughter at the humor spots really stands out. Other than completely blowing the opening sequence, the women kept the show on the right track with the third hit out of three. One memorable moment had Sakazaki carry Raku piggyback style, tell the referee she’d get out of the ring in one minute so hold on, then perform Raku’s stomach stepping lullaby pin. That has got to hurt. The finish saw the Magical Girl hit the basic version of her top rope splash on Unagi, then force the submission by hooking an omoplata, grabbing the other arm and yanking. ***1/4

Princess Cup Quarterfinal
Mizuki def. Yuki Aino

I had a feeling this was going to be good just from the way Yuki Aino entered the ring. The tags on the average show are fun. This is serious. This is the Princess Cup, and these women made it seem important tonight. From the opening bit of chain wrestling, these two were on the same page. They came out to put on a great wrestling match, and they more than succeeded. Mizuki is so cute while cheating you almost want to defend her to the referee. “But how can she not use Yuki’s hair as a handle Ref? It’s right there!” This was eleven and a half minutes of action as they left everything in the ring. Muziki seemed to have things well in control until Aino rolled through a flying body press and took over. From there, it was all Mizuki could do to survive, as Aino hit her with a gutwrench suplex, a splash, and a face-first drop from the shoulders before locking her in a full nelson. After a bulldog and a big shoulder tackle, frustration got the best of Aino. Climbing the ropes to try to put Mizuki away, she instead got caught by an avalanche Cutie Special. While things looked bleak for Yuki, she had one more trick remaining, scoring a reverse DDT when Mizuki thought she had the match won, and almost got her up for the UBV before Mizuki wiggled free. A top rope double foot stomp and a normal Cutie Special gave Mizuki the spot in the semifinals and ended Aino’s Cup run. As they caught their breath post-match, the look the two shared made it clear they knew they hit a home run. After listening to Mizuki bawl with joy over the great match her friends Yuka Sakazaki and Shoko Nakajima put on at last year’s DDT Ultimate Party (Their segment starts at 4:21:40), it was so great seeing Yuka right there to celebrate with her.  ****1/4

Princess Cup Quarterfinal
Maki Itoh def. Miu Watanabe

After the last match, I was expecting a letdown.  Itoh would do her entrance performance, they’d run through about five minutes of spots and someone would get the pin. Nothing offensive, but at the same time, nothing that impressive. Well, other than Itoh’s entrance performance, I couldn’t have been more wrong. This is one of the best Maki Itoh single matches I’ve seen, and may actually be the best match possible between these two wrestlers. The work was crisp, Itoh’s facial expressions were on point, and Watanabe is a future ace. While they spent the majority of the match working over each other’s backs, in the end, it was Maki Itoh’s “big” head that made the difference, as she used it to block the Laserbeam strike, and then hit 2 Flying Big Head’s for the finish. ***3/4

Princess Cup Quarterfinal
Shoko Nakajima def. Natsumi Maki

After an intermission for the crowd to catch their breath, the show comes back for the final two matches. After the standard opening chain wrestling, Natsumi began to work over Shoko, first attacking a leg before moving on to a body scissor assisted stretch, and a camel clutch. After making the ropes and eating a slam, Shoko flipped a running Natsumi over the top to the apron and dropkicked her to the floor to seize the advantage. One beautiful topé suicida later and the little Kaiju was in complete control, rolling Maki in for a string of offense culminating with a missile dropkick. It looked like it was over as Nakajima set Maki up for the northern lights, but Maki was able to block the suplex, and when Shoko whipped her into the ropes, Natsumi used the momentum to swing up into a submission that would make ZSJ proud. Making the ropes didn’t improve Shoko’s position, as while she leaned against the bottom rope after the hold was released, Natsumi crushed her with a beautiful dropkick to the face. After giving a primal scream, Maki went for the finish but it was Nakajima’s turn to block and turn the tide with a hurricarana and dropkick. A strike exchange was followed by dueling flash pins until Maki hit a dropkick to a seated Nakajima’s head. Maki tried to use this time to climb the ropes to set up a finish, only to be caught and fall victim to a top rope rana. The final stretch here was excellent. After Shoko hit a 619, Natsumi blocked the double arm DDT and backdropped her, only for Shoko to hold on, turning it into a sunset flip, except Natsumi escaped and drilled her in the head with a thrust kick. Natsumi hit the Backlash, but instead of going for the pin picked Shoko up and this spelled her undoing. Shoko blocked whatever devastating move Natsumi had in mind, and when Natsumi settled for a momentum aided german suplex, Shoko popped right to her feet and nailed her with a northern lights suplex. Not even trying to hold the bridge, Shoko instead hit the double arm DDT, then a legitimately painful-looking top rope senton to move to the semifinals. ****

Princess Cup Quarterfinal
Miyu Yamashita def. Hyper Misao

The main event of the afternoon starts with Hyper Misao bringing a literal bag of tricks to the ring, offering it to the referee to show that no matter how she acted in her previous match with Yuka Sakazaki, she was going to wrestle this match within the rules. As she went to hand the bag to the ref, however, she “accidentally” dropped everything all over the ring. What a klutz! Misao and the referee began to pick up the various items, though Misao seemed more interested in getting Miyu to help than in actually picking anything up. Wisely enough, Miyu was having none of this obvious attempt to distract her and was ready when Misao came at her with the cold spray, grabbing her wrist and denying her the cheap opening shot. Unfortunately for Miyu, she didn’t expect Misao to have a second can of spray in her other hand, resulting in a quick blinding and a cradle attempt.

When that failed to score her the victory, Misao put her acting skills to the test, tossing an object to Miyu while the ref’s back was turned then acting like Miyu just hit her with it. While attempting to explain the ruse to the ref, Misao attempted another distraction roll up for a two count. Miyu nailed Misao with a couple of strikes once back to her feet, and that was enough for Misao to decide to put plan b into motion, exiting the ring, untying the apron, and searching for something under the ring. Sick of this foolishness, Miyu went to retrieve Misao and return her to the ring, only to walk right into Hyper Misao’s most devious plan yet! After a quick use of yet another can of cold spray, Misao finished untying the apron and made a Yamashita burrito out of it, finishing the package with a quick wrap of duct tape. As Miyu complained to the ref about her opponents obviously illegal activities, Misao worked on untying the corner padding. The Yamashita burrito managed to enter the ring, and actually hit a flying burrito block before the referee removed the tape allowing Miyu to free herself. No longer unfairly disadvantaged, Miyu took control, first trying to rip Misao’s head off before switching to an arm. Misao made the ropes, and after one false start saw her take a kick to the gut, used a flying body press to take back the advantage. The champion of peace and love then tossed Miyu to the floor, and because they hadn’t quite reached the shenanigan quota for this match yet, she once again removed the corner padding. Sending Miyu back first into the exposed steel, Misao couldn’t get the pin in spite of adding leverage with her feet on the ropes. Thus began the finishing stretch which saw an extremely close two count for Misao off a body press, a great strike exchange, and Miyu hitting a strong Attitude Adjustment. Crash Rabbit Heat, 1, 2, 3. A fun finish to a great show. ***1/2

Final Thoughts

With the news of a positive COVID test of a roster member not on this show forcing the cancelation of night five of the Princess Cup, we really have to cross our fingers and hope it is an isolated case and they are back to running for their next scheduled dates. I want to wish a quick recovery to whoever tested positive, as well as to Moka Miyamoto (if the two are not the same). The semifinal matches, assuming they take place, both look promising, with Mizuki taking on Maki Itoh in a battle of former teammates, and Miyu Yamashita looking to avenge her Princess title loss to Shoko Nakajima. As for tonight’s show, I give it my highest recommendation, and it is now the show I will show friends who want to check the promotion out. Every match on card succeeded. All three tags were better than expected, and every tournament match was excellent. If I had a criticism, it would be having such a shenanigan heavy match as the main event, but that is picking nits. All four tournament matches could have closed this show.

If you like Joshi, watch this show. If you like wrestling, watch this show. If you like TJPW, why haven’t you watched this show already? By far the best show of the Princess Cup so far. This is Tokyo Joshi Pro Wrestling.