Tokyo Joshi Pro Wrestling
Starting Point PPV
January 30, 2021
Watch: Openrec.tv (Unlimited viewing until 2/14/2021 for 3000 yen.)
(VOD will be available on WrestleUniverse at some point in March of this year.)
8 years ago, on January 30, 2013, a fledgling Joshi promotion put on their first “practice” show at TwinBox AKIHABARA in Tokyo. There was no ring for the event, so they wrestled on mats. With only three trainees appearing, the Idol musical performances made up most of the event. For the matches, DDT referee Daisuke Kiso was drafted into a three-minute sambo exhibition against trainee Chikage Kiba. Oh, and someone by the name of Miyu Yamashita debuted against KANNA. Now in 2021 Tokyo Joshi Pro returns to its birthplace triumphant, a standout performer in the crowded Joshi scene. The previous year saw the debut of Wrestle Princess, a new event the promotion can build throughout the year towards, a successful first foray into English commentary for the January 4 show, and the promotion cracking the top 25 in Voices of Wrestling’s MOTY poll. With more Korakuen Hall shows on the schedule than ever before and Wrestle Princess 2 announced, TJPW looks ready to continue their growth and solidify their hold on the number 2 Joshi promotion spot behind STARDOM.
But before that, it is time to celebrate the past, as we go back to TwinBox AKIHABARA with Miyu Yamashita, for Idol performances and wrestling on mats with no ring. It is time to celebrate Tokyo Joshi Pro Wrestling!
Like any other Tokyo Joshi show, the card starts off with an Idol performance by the Up Up Girls, but tonight they get opening acts. Maki Itoh started things off with Brooklyn, The Hole, and immediately set the tone for the night, turning in a ridiculously high energy performance. Next out was the White Dragon, Rika Tatsumi, who sang her entrance song Love and Revolution while wearing her Princess of Princess championship. The Up Up Girls finished off the musical portion of the evening’s entertainment with a whole 3 song set. As they told us themselves, Hikari loves deathmatches, Miu is cute, muscular, and entergetic, Raku’s train of the day is the Tsukuba Express, and they get more songs because they’re actually Idols.
Miya Yamashita def. Arisu Endo
Miya dancing on the stage during her
ring entrance was an entertaining sign of how much fun the women seemed to have putting on this show. Everyone looked like they were having a blast throughout this event, and it was infectious. Endo is amassing a pretty impressive list of opponents for a wrestler who hasn’t had 10 matches yet. Tokyo Joshi definitely sees something in her, and she does seem to be a step or two above the normal TJPW debut. She showed really nice fire here, losing a strike exchange only to fire right back at Yamashita and momentarily gain the upper hand. Endo managed to hook on the Camel Clutch, but Miya was able to escape and take back control. Endo blocked the AA, but summoning her inner Okada, Miya latched on the Money Clip, took Endo down, and secured the submission. ***
The Hero is here to protect the peace in AKIHABARA!
Hyper Misao (with Shin Ultra Shoko) def. Sena Shiori
Hyper Misao and Shin Ultra Shoko brought an egg-shaped, glittery star decorated bomb to the ring. Sena Shiori did not have a bomb. This somehow did not feel fair. Misao immediately asks for the microphone and offers Shiori a spot in the superhero gang, due to Shin Ultra Shoko’s poor little nose being broken. If Shiori accepts, instead of a match this would become a welcome ceremony. Shiori takes the mask and cape offered her, then in a swerve out of nowhere, attacks Misao with the cape! After time spent on defense, Hyper Misao uses a heroic eye rake to gain the upper hand. (Hey, when you’re fighting for truth and justice, sometimes you have to rake a few eyes.) Misao forced the mask on Shiori at one point, and I have to say that Sena would make a good superhero. Perhaps a direction for after Shin Ultra Shoko regains her own name? A Shoko assisted body press caused the referee to scold Shoko, putting him right in the path of Misao Irish whipping Shiori, knocking him senseless in what was definitely an accident and not a devious plot. The superheroes spot the downed official and do what any comic book superheroes would do:
check to see if he is okay grab the bomb and start tossing it between the two of them. While I am sure the final step of this plan is profit, what they were intending to do with the bomb will never be known, as Shiori intercepted it and bonked each of them on the head. Probably not the best idea, but hey, it didn’t explode so all is well. A dropkick/simultaneous headlock takedown was the last gasp of offense for Shiori though, as the power of Peace, Love, Truth, Justice, insert your capitalized value here is unbeatable. Hyper Misao hits the Hypami Returns (Like a GTR but to the mat, not the knee) for the pin. ***1/2
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Traditional Japanese Girl VS Charisma of the New Era
Maki Itoh def. Moka Miyamoto
Important news for Joshi World, as Maki Itoh uses the pre-match comments to reveal she no longers wants to be known as “The Fired Idol,” rather now she is “New Era Charisma.” She gives the standard overlooking the rookie promo veteran wrestlers have been giving for ages before having the standard rookie almost ends up being too much for the veteran match. Itoh is very good in this match, but Miyamoto plays her part to perfection. Itoh pounds on Moka until making the mistake of getting insulting with her attacks. Moka blocks a bodyslam and delivers one of her own and it’s on. A very nice strike exchange between the two led into another slam and a near fall. Moka used some karate to put Itoh down and hook on a submission hold. This got really good near the end of the match, with Itoh hitting a DDT and Moka throwing a flurry of flash pin attempts at New Era Charisma. It’s out of one of these flash pins that Itoh caught her legs and turned Moka over in full Boston Crab for the tap. ***1/2
Magical Sugar Rabbits (Yuka Sakazaki & Mizuki) def. Pom Harajuku & Mahiro Kiryu
This whole show is a love letter to Tokyo Joshi fans. I cannot believe there was a reality where I actually considered not buying this show. If you watch this show, either now or when they add it to WrestleUniverse, make sure to pull up the English translation thread if you do not speak Japanese. There is so much that you’d miss for this show especially, with the pre-match interviews. Yuka Sakazaki is upset that there are no stairs to throw their opponents down, but she is calmed down by Mizuki, who reasons with no ring there is no law and order, so they can do anything and everything that they want. So what do they want to do? Dance like no one is watching on the way to the ring, and continue dancing for way too long? Apparently! Use the opening handshake as an opportunity to try cheap flash pins? Yes sir! Hook their opponents in leg scissors, then roll until they are posed side by side facing the camera, then reversing so their opponents are slammed together facing the camera? Amazingly yes! This was just incredibly entertaining lunacy. At one point Pom grabbed Yuka’s arm to do her top rope armdrag, but there was no ring. No problem, as she led/pulled/guided Yuka through the venue onto the stage to hit an armdrag, before guiding her into a guardrail assisted armdrag. Mission accomplished! While Pom and Kiryu had their spots, the Magical Sugar Rabbits had too much teamwork, hitting all their double team spots, even when it resulted in them running themselves into the barricades. Mizuki hit a double foot stomp on Kiryu to take her out of the match, and Yuka planted Pom with a long-delayed brain buster for the pin. ***1/2
Yuki Kamifuku def. Marika Kobashi
Never before in the history of puroresu has a non-main event had such high stakes. Forget about tournament finals and championship matches, this is a war over whether or not Marika Kobashi wears too much makeup. The International Princess titleholder, Yuki Kamifuku, the Natural Beauty stalked to the ring, the sounds of Old MacDonald had a Farm blasting from the sound system, carrying a weapon that made Shoko and Misao’s bomb look like a complete joke; makeup removal wipes! Folks, things were about to get intense! The work in this match was definitely secondary to the story, as Yuki channeled her inner Roman Reigns, keeping a running commentary going throughout the match on why Marika should wear less makeup. Instead of a strike exchange, we got a wipe exchange, as the two attempted to strip each other of makeup, until Yuki reached deep into her soul and realized what she needed to do to make her point; remove her own makeup to gain the moral high ground! Once she released her true Natural Beauty, Yuki was unstoppable, locking Marika up in an octopus hold, then forcing her to tap out to makeup removal. While I am not a puro historian, I think this may be the first submission ever from having your makeup removed. **1/2
The Up Up Girls (Hikari Noa, Raku & Miu Watanabe) def. Bakuretsu Neko-Chan (Haruna Neko, Nodoka Tenma & Yuki Aino)
Those tricksey Up Up Girls used the gift of a KitKat necklace to get the upper hand on Tenma, and we were off in this entertaining 6 woman tag match. This had all the spots you’d expect from these workers, just adapted for the location. The Good Night Express ran on time, and the Bakuretsu sisters heave-ho tossed Neko onto their prone opponents as per normal, and everyone got their time in the spotlight. The chaotic ending scramble saw Noa pull Raku out of harm’s way, allowing Raku to hit Tenma with the head chop, leaving Noa alone on the mat with Neko. Noa quickly hit her weird jumping clothesline, then hooked in the leg grapevine bridge known as Saigo No Bansan (Last Supper) for the 3 count. ***1/4
The Past, Present & Future of Tokyo Joshi Pro
Miya Yamashita & Mirai Maiumi def. Suzume & Rika Tatsumi
Miya Yamashita returns for the main event and it is only fitting that her matches bookend this PPV, as she is the only current roster member who appeared on that first practice show those 8 years ago. Joining her in the match were another year one roster member in current Princess of Princess champion Rika Tatsumi, and two future stars of Tokyo Joshi Pro, Mirai Maiumi and Suzume. This match was great. Maiumi looks practically can’t miss at this point, bringing Strong Style to a promotion some think of as “just” an Idol promotion. Suzume may need a gimmick change to break into the upper end of the card, but her work is strong enough to earn her the opportunity. And Rika and Miya are two of the best workers in the company, no matter how much the missile hips annoys me. This match definitely gave me the feeling that Miyu VS Rika is on the horizon, and I think that would be a great time to get the belt back around the waist of TJPW’s ace. These four were all over the venue working their tails off. The end came after Rika’s over-reliance on her rear came back to bite her, as she missed the missile hips and crashed into the wall, setting up Mirai to lariat her out of her boots. With Rika out, Miya put Suzume down with the AA and picked up the victory. ****
This was a birthday celebration for Tokyo Joshi Pro Wrestling, and if you are a fan of the promotion I don’t see how you could not have enjoyed this. If you are just dropping into the promotion, you should find something to entertain you at the least, though I could definitely understand if you weren’t sure what to make of the promotion when it was over. I wouldn’t choose this to show a new potential fan. But for those of us already hooked on this crazy promotion, this was a literal love letter from the company. The matches were better than I expected with no ring, but more than the work what came through was the absolute joy radiating off each roster member as they put on this show. Happy birthday, TJPW. And here’s to many more!