The Future of Joshi series is an effort to highlight the best, young talent in Joshi pro wrestling for fans to keep an eye on in 2023 and beyond. Led by Scott Edwards, a number of Joshi podcasters, writers, and fans took part in hyping up the best young talent from the scene as 15 wrestlers will be highlighted as well as honorable mentions. Next up is the other name with growing interest from JUST TAP OUT, Aoi!


Aoi

When you’re looking for a prospect in wrestling as a fan, there are certain attributes you look for to see where they can eventually go. Some are just instant-made for the ring, showing that they are going to be workrate machines now and in the future. Then there are the rare few who come around and have that thing you can’t teach — especially at the beginning — which is charisma. It’s that charisma that can elevate you higher than maybe any other prospect as the in-ring part can and will come. JUST TAP OUT’s Aoi is no slouch in the ring as she has shown improvement in every opportunity she’s had, but what is most important about her is that her charisma is off the charts. So much so that she is as undeniable of a prospect on this list as she hopes to follow her fellow JUST TAP OUT trainees into future glory.

When comparing her to the likes of Tomoka Inaba and Maika, she’s very different from what they bring to the table. While they are more so ring generals already to their point in this career, Aoi seemingly has it easy when it comes to showing who she is and what she’s all about. It certainly doesn’t hurt when you are a break dancer turned wrestler (as you can see in all of her entrances). From personal experience, the first time I had the chance to see Aoi wrestle was as part of STARDOM’s NEW BLOOD series. Whether it’s the look of the baggy shorts that are reminiscent of Kagetsu’s look or the confidence she has despite being so new to this — she became an instant one to watch.

Dr. Aris Emmanouloudis said it best when he said that the best way to describe Aoi was with the word “cool.”

If I had to describe Aoi from JTO with one word, it would be “cool.” Having a background in hip-hop dancing, this student of Taka Michinoku makes sure to always stand out by performing a dance routine during her entrance. But also, after the bell has rung, she combines smooth submission techniques with agile strikes. Apart from singles competition, Aoi spent a big part of 2022 tagging with Tomoka Inaba as “AoTomo,” even scoring an unexpected win against the veteran duo of Maya Yukihi and Yuu Yamagata in TAKATaichiMania 3. Aoi has been part of the first three New Blood events of Stardom and is at the moment in a (quite unorthodox) alliance with Unagi Sayaka.

With Aoi slowly but surely spreading her wings outside of JTO, it is a matter of time before we see her appear more frequently in bigger events. – Dr. Aris Emmanouloudis (@ArgyEmm)

As time has gone on, the in-ring is catching up to her charisma, only solidifying her all the more as a future star in the world of Joshi. What she brings into the ring is an interesting offense that is highlighted by devastating chops. Her best match yet was the tag team match from TAKATaichiDespeMania when she teamed with Tomoka Inaba against Maika and MIRAI of STARDOM. While they came up on the losing side of things (and most remember Inaba’s performance more than anyone else), it was a proven ground for Aoi at her experience level that she can hang with some of the very best today. Seeing that she only debuted in May 2021 and has 53 matches to her name (according to Cagematch), it only becomes all the more impressive of where she already is in her career.

With 2023 already beginning to feel like her year to really grow and get out there to more than just JUST TAP OUT, it will be exciting to see what Aoi is able to accomplish. Her tag team with Unagi Sayaka has become a story worth watching as she’s beginning to corner Sayaka and learn from “The Eel.” It’s an oddball relationship but one that only stands to help Aoi in the coming months.

Finally, she has to be the one to dethrone Tomoka Inaba as the Queen of JTO Champion. It feels like where they will go but this is Aoi’s chance to get the biggest win of her career. Inaba is in the midst of the longest reign that title has seen in its short history so it will only benefit her AoTomo partner if she’s able to have that match again but this time — beat her. They met in the final of the JTO GIRLS 2022 Tournament and Aoi was close then. Next time, it’s hers to win.

Keep an eye out for Aoi!

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