Tokyo Joshi Pro-Wrestling
Summer Sun Princess 2023
July 8, 2023
Ota Ward General Gymnasium
Tokyo, Japan

Watch: Wrestle Universe 

Daisy Monkey (Arisu Endo & Suzume) def. Juria Nagano & Moka Miyamoto

Daisy Monkey are so good together as a team. They felt a bit thrown together at first, but they’re really coming together right now. Could they be the next Crush Gals and lead Joshi wrestling into a mainstream boom period?

Moka and Juria are quite a cool team too, and I can’t help but be a mark for wrestlers with karate-themed movesets. Still, it’s Daisy Monkey’s time to shine right now, and in a way, having them here in the opener feels like a gross misuse of their talents. Hopefully, both will get deep runs in the Princess Cup this year. I’m especially keen to see just how much Alice has grown as a wrestler as she seems to get better with every match.

Haruna Neko, HIMAWARI, Mahiro Kiryu & Shino Suzuki def. Haru Kazashiro, Kaya Toribami, Runa Okubo & Toga

Nothing special here, but this was a good showcase for HIMAWARI, who not only picked up the pin, but with the possible exception of Mahiro, felt like the most well-rounded wrestler in the bunch.

Nao Kakuta & Ryo Mizunami def. ASUKA & Yuki Kamifuku

The problem with having ASUKA and Ryo Mizunami on opposing teams in this match is that when they start fighting they kinda show up the rest of the wrestlers. Ryo’s been a guest star in TJPW a few times now, but while Aja has paired with Raku, Ram Kaicho with Raku (hey, Raku leave some for the rest of them), and Max with Pom, we haven’t really had a good angle with Ryo. She just kinda shows up, wrestles, and leaves, which never really leaves me that excited for her matches.

ASUKA and Kamiyu just feel so right as a team. Who else is doing half-assed dance routines with shirtless men as part of their entrance. Why aren’t they the tag champs right now? Who even are the tag champs right now? Why did we have one of the biggest shows of the year featuring five (5) tag matches and not one of them for the vacant tag matches? Why is the company so incompetent when it comes to booking on the fly?

DEFY Women’s Title Match
Vert Vixen (c) def. Hikari Noa

Like Hikari’s career in TJPW, this was perfectly fine but lacked any real flair or anything that made it stand out. Good enough but ultimately forgettable. Vert Vixen’s gamer gimmick where she shouts out catchphrases like “get over here” (Mortal Kombat) is fun, but I can see it getting old if you ever watch her matches more than a few times.

Kyoraku Kyomei (Hyper Misao & Shoko Nakajima) def. Aja Kong & Raku and Max The Impaler & Pom Harajuku 

Whether you like this match depends entirely on what you think about one of pro wrestling’s greatest living legends Aja Kong swinging a pillow case around. This may be a little silly for some of you serious types out there, but the real TJPW freakazoids will love it.

Nyla Rose def. Miu Watanabe

I’m all for DDT and TJPW getting publicity by breathing the same sanctified air as those holy AEW wrestlers, but it’s getting ridiculous now. This year we’ve had Eddie Kingston turning up to DDT’s American show so he can spend one of his seemingly infinite wishes to be a puro wrestler and in the process take the attention away from DDT wrestlers. We’ve had POP champ Mizuki get a match on AEW dark only to job in five minutes to Emi Sakura. Hey, I love Emi Sakura, but AEW doesn’t treat her like a big deal, so what does it say about the way they treat the TJPW champ? We also had Shunma, Mao, and Ueno appear on Dark too in a match where the commentators got their names mixed up.

Here’s the latest affront to this “partnership.” Take one rising star who is winning over audiences on both sides of the Pacific and job her out to a boring wrestler who barely ever makes TV in AEW. Well done. Unless Nyla Rose is coming back to put over Miu Watanabe, which seems very unlikely, then what was the point of this match? Terrible

EVE Title Spirit Of Eve Rules Match
Miyu Yamashita (c) defeats Sawyer Wreck

Speaking of EVE, how cool is it for them that Yamashita carried their belt into the TOKYO DOME this year? I hope they have a framed picture of that somewhere. That’s awesome.

Sawyer Wreck is fun. I like her attitude and her match with Mizuki this year was a real David the Ragdoll vs Goliath affair. Like Vert/Hikari, this match was fine but ultimately nothing special.

NEO Biishiki-gun (Mei Saint-Michel & Sakisama) defeat Wakana Uehara & Yuki Arai

The perfect antidote to the mediocrity of the rest of the undercard! A match that showcased everything that TJPW does best: Strong characters with motivations making moves mean something. In other words, an old-school TJPW match.

One thing I wondered is why Arai wasn’t teaming with her former tag partner Saki Akai from DDT to take on NBG. However, Wakana was a worthy replacement, and it’s abundantly clear why she’s getting these opportunities, because for a rookie she rocks. Mei was in her element here as the puckish servant for Sakisama, getting in the way and utilizing her signature silver serving tray as a weapon. Why hasn’t TJPW signed her? What is she doing that is more important right now? Get it together Koda.

The intense big boot exchanges between Yuki Arai and Sakisama and the ending, with Sakisama taunting the genius girl as she pinned Wakana, seemed to leave the door open for a future singles match. Sakisama vs Arai is by far the most interesting thing TJPW are doing right now in terms of stories and could really generate a buzz. With rumors swirling about Sakisama going back to France permanently soon, could it even be a main event singles that would wash the taste out of that awful Sakisama vs. Yamashita main a few years back?

International Princess Title Match
Rika Tatsumi (c) def. Yuki Aino 

I can report that Yuki Aino has finally got a clue. Maybe I’m just wearing those shiny new gear goggles, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen her more fired up than she was in this match, which was certainly her best-ever singles bout.

And this was a lovely-paced match that built up to a powerful crescendo. Why did we ever have a situation where Rika was not acknowledged as one of the top workers in the promotion? She’s absolutely flying right now in terms of delivering big singles matches. It’s clear now more than ever that Rika vs Mizuki is THE match that TJPW needs to deliver for Wrestleprincess. I don’t care that they both have titles. Let’s unify the belts or something cause this is getting ridiculous that the two best workers in the promotion have never gone one on one.

Princess Of Princess Title Match
Mizuki (c) def. Maki Ito 

When I first watched this, I thought it was just okay, but I went back and watched it again, and this is a really outstanding match, the sort of main event epic that TJPW pulls out the bag a few times a year and the Ota Gym setting really elevates in terms of stature. It’s just something that felt off for me about the build-up to this that affected my initial enjoyment. Mizuki and Itoh have a tangled history in TJPW as both tag partners and rivals and are certainly the two most successful singles wrestlers of the second wave that came after the originals. On paper, this is a great setup for a main event, but with Itoh spending more time in the US, and thus resorting at times to building this match through shoddily made youtube promos,  there was little of that giddy thrill you get when a fan favorite challenges for a top title they have never won before.

It’s a far cry from Wrestle Princess II, where EVERYONE believed that Itoh was going to win the POP for the first time. There was just something missing here, despite Itoh’s smirks and Mizuki’s grimacing, it never felt like the title was in jeopardy. A perfunctory match that was nevertheless great? Perhaps. Hopefully, this isn’t the last time we see these two, because they have great chemistry and this match was no different, it was just the wrong time. I’m being way too hard on this. Go and see it. The ending stretch is fantastic.

Final Thoughts

Overall, this was middling. It’s a LONG card so unless you’re a completionist, probably one to pick and choose from, but the top three matches are worthy of your time.

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