Tokyo Joshi Pro Wrestling
Wrestle Princess 2
October 9, 2021
Ota City General Gymnasium
Tokyo, Japan

Watch: Wrestle-Universe

Pom Harajuku, Raku & Ram Kaicho def. Haruna Neko, Kaya Toribami & Mahiro Kiryu

Has anyone ever incorporated so many scratch-based offensive moves as Haruna Neko? I held my breath when Kaya went for her flippy senton move, but thankfully she hit it perfectly. Good enough opener and Ram fitted in nicely with the TJPW style. **1/2

Nodoka Tenma def. Hyper Misao and Rika Tatsumi

It feels refreshing to have a big supercard match with three TJPW players who have been around since the halcyon days of 2016-2018 when everyone had a very well defined character and role. This was a wonderful match and really highlighted just how good the veterans of TJPW are. The wrestling was as smooth as butter and the comedy was not overstated. Hilarious spot with Rika having both Misao and Nodoka in the submission but Nodoka’s legs being too short to reach the ropes. Great stuff. ***3/4

ASUKA & Yuki Kamifuku def. Marika Kobashi & Nao Kakuta

I’m still not sure why Kamiyu’s nickname is the ‘casual beauty’ because her and ASUKA’s preening fashion show entrance complete with a sparkling new ice-diamond costume was the complete opposite of casual. Nao also has a new costume, which looks to be military-inspired and I liked her energy in this match. Nevertheless, the result was never in doubt and even the commentators didn’t seem to think Marika and Nao stood a chance. ASUKA did a risky top rope moonsault to the floor and Kamiyu picked up the pin with the Billy Gunn’99. **3/4

Riho & Shoko Nakajima def. Arisu Endo & Suzume

This was good, but I couldn’t help but think during this that we’ve just had two tag matches in a row where the result was a foregone conclusion to pretty much everyone and whether ASUKA and Kamiyu vs Shoko and Riho would have a been a better match for this event. It’s somewhat understandable for TJPW to have predictable booking on their house shows, but this is Wrestle Princess and if we all know who’s going to win a match then there’s no heat. This was pretty much what you would have expected and Suzume, in particular, showed why she’s perhaps the best of the new Teej generation, although given the booking tonight, who knows how long she’ll have to wait to win anything. ***

Aja Kong & Moka Miyamoto def. Miu Watanabe & Yuki Arai 

This match was a lot better than the previous two, because they worked hard to make it seem like anyone could win. At one point I even bought that Yuki Arai was going to pick up a pinfall on Aja. Arai is really something special and she brings a great presence to her matches despite being a rookie. TJPW fans will certainly debate for eons whether Miu was actually supposed to swing Aja or not. Moka did very well too and it says a lot that we was able to hang comfortably as Aja’s tag partner here. ***1/2

International Princess Title
Hikari Noa (c) def. Yuki Aino

This was very acceptable. Nothing was bad, but it never really clicked with me, although I can understand if other people liked it. ***1/2

Princess Tag Team Title
Magical Sugar Rabbits (Mizuki & Yuka Sakazaki) (c) def. NEO Biishiki-gun (Mei Saint-Michel & Sakisama) (c)

Sakisama arrives on a literal throne of roses. Awesome. We get some tray-based shenanigans at the start and the camera zooms in on Sakisama’s Adidas shoes which kinds breaks the ‘late 18th century French Aristocrat’ gimmick. Maybe she picked them up on her time travels. Impressive spots galore from the Magirabbits with Yuka launching Mizuki off her shoulders and then in/out stereo top rope dives. For me, this was the first match that really felt like it had some heat and high stakes. This whole match was basically a highlight reel for the gif makers and a lot of fun. ****

Princess Of Princess Title
Miyu Yamashita (c) def. Maki Itoh

An awesome match, but once again TJPW’s main event booking leaves me scratching my head. Earlier in the year we already what was perhaps the worst booking in TJPW history with Yamashita going over Sakisama, who up until then had been booked as TJPW’s final boss, but for some inane reason lost to Miyu at a regular TJPW show and killed the mystique. Now we have Itoh, whose rise to the top has been well documented, arriving on the perfect stage to finally win the top title and…MiyuwinsLOL. It feels like a rehash of last year when Mizuki lost to Yuka, despite everyone thinking the stars had aligned for a challenger victory. The match was very good and there was some brilliantly smooth reversals from Itoh who has really improved dramatically as a wrestler since her early days when part of her gimmick was that she was scared to go to the top rope. Now she bounds up there with fiery enthusiasm. Worth watching for sure and I feel like this will go in many people’s match of the year lists.  ****1/2

Final Thoughts

Two four-star matches and a clutch of threes makes this an easy recommendation, especially for new viewers looking to dip their toes in. Yet for long-time TJPW watchers it felt like there were missed opportunities. The standard booking formula for TJPW for a long time has been what feels like randomized match generation on the undercard and a conservative approach to the POP title. This works when the roster has strong characters and the appeal is seeing how different personalities interact with each other, but with a depleted roster and a seeming inability for people to move up in the rankings, it risks retreading old ground. If Wrestle Princess is supposed to be the flagship show of the promotion, then it would make sense to book the card more strategically and to give meaning and intrigue to the undercard. It should be noted that TJPW brought in four guest workers for the show and each one was on the winning side of their match. Hierarchies are not unique to TJPW, but if matches on your main show are predictable then people aren’t going to be invested. With all that said, this was still a very comfy show and the top two matches were stand outs that deserve a wider audience.

Thumbs in the middle. Good, but could have been a lot better. 

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