Tokyo Joshi Pro Wrestling
Winter Lovers 2021
January 16, 2021
Narimasu ACT Hall
Watch: Wrestle Universe
After a very well-received January 4 show at Korakuen Hall, there is little time to rest for Tokyo Joshi Pro with the expanded number of bigger shows they have scheduled in 2021. With another Korakuen show, Positive Chain, on the horizon for February 11th, and this being the only show to air live between the two Korakuens, I expect tonight’s show to do a lot of storyline heavy lifting.
Up Up Girls Performance
Hikari Noa loves deathmatches, Miu Watanabe is 120% energy, and the Black Ship in Shizuoka is Raku’s train of the day. And to think, without the translation thread or fluency in Japanese, the only thing you would learn from this segment is Raku now has a cute hat. This is your average Up Up Girls number. For those who have no interest in J-pop performed by wrestlers, the introductions for the first match begin at 14:05.
Maki Itoh def. Arisu Endo
Even before both of the wrestlers are in the ring this match reached the must-watch list, if only due to the wicked air guitar solo performed by the guy waiting for Maki Itoh to come through the curtain. While I’d be the first to admit that Brooklyn The Hole is a rocking jam, please save the air guitar strumming for the privacy of your own home.
With that out of the way, this was a great opener. Endo carries herself like she’s been wrestling for three years, not three matches, and Itoh is showing character growth after earning the respect of Miyu Yamashita. Maki Itoh accepted the opening handshake, and other than distracting the referee in the most amusing way possible (Hey, it’s Keiko Kitagawa!) to inflict some in the ropes punishment, she wrestled a totally clean match. Endo fought her hard, taking Itoh’s condescending head pats in stride and returning well timed dropkicks and some decent strike exchanges. Twice she even managed to hook Itoh into the Camel Clutch, but one does not defeat the Cutest Wrestler in the World in your third match ever. A DDT followed by a Boston Crab gave Maki Itoh the victory. *** 1/4
After giving her fallen opponent a respectful thumbs-up, Itoh got on the mic and challenged Neo Biishiki Gun to a handicap match at the February 11th Korakuen, which later became Maki Itoh & Miyu Yamashita VS Neo Biishiki Gun during the backstage comments. Get hype!
The Tokyo Joshingers (Hyper Misao & Shin Ultra Shoko) def. Moka Miyamoto & Miyu Yamashita
It’s all okay now, I am here. -Shin Ultra Shoko
I’d be lying if I said this was anything more than an average match. There was some definitely sloppy work, Miyu’s strikes lacked their normal viciousness, and I’m honestly not sure how much the cape interfering with Shoko’s work is real and how much is for the story. But what this match lacked in work rate was more than made up in sheer entertainment value. Watching Shin Ultra Shoko realize that her Space Karate doesn’t seem to work on Moka Miyamoto more than justifies this match’s existence. Tokyo Joshi’s resident super heroes, after realizing Miyu Yamashita may be a bit too much for them at this stage in their partnership, isolate the game rookie Miyamoto allowing Hyper Misao to hit something the camera missed to pick up the pin. **1/2
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Yuki Kamifuku & Pom Harajuku def. Sena Shiori & Mirai Maiumi
Now this was a great match that continues the success story of Yuki Kamifuku. It is amazing how far she has come since she first appeared in a TJPW ring. Pom and Mirai started things off with some nice mat wrestling until Pom started unleashing the devastating shin kicks. How Mirai Maiumi could even stand we may never know. Everyone got a chance to shine. Pom the blur of joyous energy, Mirai bringing strong style to Tokyo Joshi with strikes and lariats, and Shiori with a high energy hot tag, but this is the Casual Beauty’s story, so Kamifuku had the starring role. Whether she was outwitting Maiumi during the strike exchange or outlasting Shiori’s burst of energy, Yuki shined tonight, eventually hitting the Fame Asser on Shiori for the three. Watching Yuki Kamifuku progress up the card has been an unexpected joy. ***1/2
Yuki Aino, Nodoka Tenma & Haruna Neko def. Suzume, Nao Kakuta & Marika Kobashi
It is great to see Marika Kobashi in the ring after being pulled from the Jan 4th show due to “the thing.” After missing the Korakuen, Kobashi was given a lot of time to shine here, with some entertaining bratty offense on Neko, along with a nice segment with Tenma. Outside of that, some cat on cat violence between Kakuta and Neko that included some illegal tail pulling, and the spanking Tenma gave Kakuta this was largely just a match. Suzume and Yuki Aino had a high energy finishing stretch that, aside from some sloppy spots, definitely brought the match up a gear or two. I probably enjoyed this much more than your average watcher would since I’ll pick up pretty much anything Suzume, Kakuta or Kobashi are putting down. This match was a lot like the card so far; something to watch for us hardcore TJPW fans and a skip for everyone else. ***1/4
Post-match The Toyko Joshingers came to the ring and challenged the tag champions for a title match at the February 11th Korakuen. I don’t think I could see a title change happening there, but it definitely sounds like a fun match.
Rika Tatsumi, Yuka Sakazaki & Mizuki def. Hikari Noa, Raku & Miu Watanabe
On one side of the main event, we have the Up Up Girls, who may not team together in matches all the time, at least perform together at each and every show. On the other side, we have one of the best tag teams in wrestling, The Magic Sugar Rabbits teaming with…. Rika Tatsumi? Who just took the Princess of Princess Championship off of Yuka Sakazaki less than two weeks ago? I’m sure they will get along just fine. Except for the time Rika tripped Yuka from the outside. Or the time Rika tagged herself in after Yuka refused. Or even the time Yuka just kicked Rika in the gut and threw her out of the ring so her and Mizuki could perform a double team attack in peace.
Look, I can’t tell you this was a bad match. The talent level alone in the ring gave this a floor of three stars. But there was a moment when Rika Tatsumi got the hot tag and proceeded to hit three straight missile hips and I started scrolling through my Twitter feed. Rika did have a nice exchange with Miu Watanabe that definitely has me looking forward to their title match at Korakuen, but at the end, as Sakazaki held Hikari Noa in place so Rika could hit the final top rope missile hips for the finish, this was just another match, which just isn’t enough for a main event. ***1/4
On the one hand, the February 11 Korakuen is coming together nicely. Maki Itoh and Miyu Yamashita vs. Sakisama and Mei Saint Michel, Yuki Kamifuku defending the International Princess Title against Mirai Maiumi, The Bakuretsu Sisters defending the tag titles against The Tokyo Joshingers, and The White Dragon defending the Princess of Princess title against Miu Watanabe. That is a stacked lineup already, and there are sure to be a couple of fun tag matches added to fill out the card. On the other hand, this show is a definite skip for all but the most dedicated Tokyo Joshi Pro fans. No Mei Saint Michel or Sakisama, no singles matches beyond the opener, and some lazy work from the promotions best, this show was the equivalent to a house show, or the middle “Road to” show in an especially long New Japan tour. With the whole video file clocking in at under 1:45 including sanitation breaks and Up Up Girls performance, there is no reason not to watch this if you love Tokyo Joshi. Each match has its moments, and while I know it doesn’t sound like it, I did enjoy the show. But if you’ve never watched Tokyo Joshi Pro Wrestling before, or if you only drop in for the big shows, give this one a pass and come back for the February 11 Korakuen.