TJP Tokyo Joshi Pro ‘19
January 4 2019
We’re in Tokyo, Japan at Korakuen Hall and this was the TJP show that took place right before Wrestle Kingdom. This is the first time I’ve watched TJP on the new DDT player and it’s certainly an improvement over the fucking terrible last one. This one has skip forward/back options that seem to work efficiently.
Up Up Girls (Hikari Noa, Miu Watanabe, Pinano Pipipipi & Raku vs. Haruna Neko, Marika Kobashi, Mina Shirakawa & Pom Harajuku
The Up Up Girls are a pop group.
They dance around for the amusement of Brother Mort, here pictured in front row. Two outstanding names here; Pinano Pipipipi and Pom Harajuku. The former being announced has me in bits because it sounds even more ridiculous in Japanese. When she tags in and comms is constantly mentioning her I am in bits.
I have great difficulty remembering who is who here because there are eight competitors I’m largely unfamiliar with. It’s not technically very good at all. There doesn’t appear to be a lot of experience on show. It’s a long match too, running nearly 13 minutes, and would benefit from a severe clipping. Marika gets isolated at the finish and has to tap out. Up Up Girls for the win!
Final Rating: **
Queen of USA
Hyper Misao vs. Yuna Manase vs. Veda Scott
Misao is a superhero. I know her. Manase is a sexy cop. Veda is a Canadian nerd. The winner will be the person who retrieves a hat. Which leads to a lot of hat grabbing and whenever it’s on someone’s head a “USA” chant plays over the tannoy. Is this actually TJP…or DDT? It’s definitely a match loaded with shenanigans. At one point Misao alludes to Veda’s cat hat being sentient and then uses it as a weapon. Animal cruelty! Veda looks marginally less terrible than usual here, especially on the switches. Her spot work isn’t great but her strikes look better. I’ll take any improvement with someone who’s been so bad in the ring over the past 2 years.
The spear is still godawful. Eventually Veda dances for long enough wearing the hat for the ref’s liking and is declared the winner! U-S-A!
Final Rating: **1/4
BAKURETSU Sisters (Nodoka Tenma & Yuki Aino) vs. Millie McKenzie & Natsumi Maki
Maki is a regular from Actwres girl’Z. Millie’s regular Japanese gig is Sendai Girls and she towers over everyone else. Millie fits in nicely with the other talent and with spears and release suplexes comes across like a beast who can overpower the others at will. It’s the same gimmick she uses in the UK but it seems even more appropriate for her against such small opponents. Maki wins with a German suplex of her own and the makeshift team take the win.
The match was succinct and to the point. It didn’t outstay its welcome at 10 minutes and Millie looked like a star in the making, as did Maki. Perhaps the start of a long friendship.
Final Rating: **3/4
Yuki Kamifuku & Himawari Unagi vs. Saki Akai & YUMI
Kamifuku looks like a junior version of Saki Akai. Unagi translates to “sunflower eel” apparently, which explains the food pictures if you search for her on Google. Saki is looking painfully thin, even by her standards.
As the match advances it becomes painfully obvious it’s not going to be good. Saki, for all her improvements since her debut, has hit a brick wall because of her lack of athleticism. This is as good as she’s ever going to get unless she goes to the gym and gains some weight. The match is really sloppy and it’s everyone’s fault. The one Saki roll up into a triangle sequence with Unagi is absolutely terrible.
Unfortunately that the finish so my memory of the match is that it’s sloppy and bad.
Final Rating: *
Reika Saiki vs. Meiko Satomura
Saiki had her big breakthrough match at the same show a year ago against Miyu Yamashita. One year on and she’s not been able to take the top of the card but as a reward for her persistence she’s got Meiko.
Meiko had a stunning 2018. Touring the world, being a symbol of women’s wrestling.
She’s had a match in TJP before, putting Yamashita herself in her place. Now it’s Saiki’s turn to get a lesson from the queen. Meiko is all about bringing that A Game intensity every time out. She makes it abundantly clear that Reika isn’t getting shit in this match unless she earns it. Reika experiments with landing stiffer shots, including a dropkick to the throat, but gets clubbed back into her lane. Basically Meiko doesn’t take any shit during the match. They can shake hands later but now it’s business time. I love Meiko punting Reika between the shoulderblades and walking away. “Go on, get up then”. Saiki gains respect in fighting back and Meiko starts to be a little more generous with her bumps and selling. She even takes the ‘knees up’ spot on the frog splash. Any time Meiko is taking offence to the stomach you can tell she’s fine because she has abs of steel but it always looks painful. Saiki isn’t outstanding here but she does put in a good shift and forces Meiko into finishing her with the Death Valley Bomb. Cracking match, easily the best thing on the show.
Final Rating: ***3/4
Tokyo Princess Tag Team Championship
Mizuki & Yuka Sakazaki (c) vs. Riho & Shoko Nakajima
Shoko thinks she’s a wild animal of sorts. I want her to tag with Kris Wolf.
The champs rough up Gatoh Move regular Riho but can’t maintain that dominance. The match ends up going back and forth. Sakazaki vs. Nakajima seems to be the most fluid match up for counters and general work but it’s generally a pleasing match. The quality of the work is definitely superior to most of the rest of the card. It’s not 100% gold and there’s the odd flub but the key difference is that they recover better. Like when Riho slips on a rope running spot but instead of carrying on just drags Sakazaki hard into the canvas on an armdrag. It looks improvised and way harsh.
Sakazaki is probably my favourite wrestler in the match. She seems the most in control of her own body and her ring positioning is always good. You can see her guiding Mizuki up the ropes on their double crossbody spot. She’s the general there, no doubt.
I totally thought the first move was a 619 and the tope caught me completely by surprise. Excellent execution from Shoko Nakajima. pic.twitter.com/RQhrB6ldmi
— Arn (@ArnoldFurious) January 13, 2019
They go from this into a barn burning conclusion. Breakneck excitement. Sakazaki takes it with her springboard twisting splash. Great effort all around another top contest.
Final Rating: ***3/4
Tokyo Princess of Princess Championship
Miyu Yamashita (c) vs. Maki Ito
Big opportunity for Ito, who’s already a star in DDT for her character work. Yamashita is a proper, legitimate wrestler and a big challenge for Maki.
I love Yamashita leaving a streamer across her face for ages because she’s so busy death staring the challenger. Ito is a great character but there’s definitely a disconnect with her work, which is coming along but isn’t quite there yet. The trouble is; she’s Main Event levels of over so she needs to be pushed but she can’t deliver in the matches. 2018 was a big breakthrough year for her in terms of character and attitude so hopefully she can step up the training and live up to the hype. If they wanted to they could have Yamashita just beat her up all match and have Ito work from underneath. I’d be fine with this and they do lean that way but Ito gets way too much. It wouldn’t be so bad if Ito was great at selling but she isn’t. It’s patchy. Maki has her best successes here when she just launches herself at Yamashita. Normally head first.
— Arn (@ArnoldFurious) January 13, 2019
Yamashita absolutely batters Ito going down the stretch. She collapses her with a few running strikes before ending her with Crash Rabbit Heat.
Solid main event that never quite lived up the massive hype attached to Maki Ito. Yamashita looked great as ever but the match was not consistently good.
Final Rating: ***
Overall this was a solid show. The Saki Akai tag was pretty bad but otherwise everything was watchable and the top end stuff was proper decent. Especially Saiki/Satomura and the semi-main tag. TJW is a show I generally like but struggle to drop into because my main preference in Japan is Stardom and Sendai Girls but, with many other promotions, I’ll try and keep up to date with them in 2019!