Tokyo Joshi Pro 5th Princess Cup N1 review (6.3.18)

Tokyo Joshi Pro 5th Princess Cup N1 review (6.3.18)

Tokyo Joshi Pro: 5th Tokyo Princess Cup Day 1

 

June 3 2018

 

We’re in Tokyo, Japan at Shinjuku Village Studio C. I’ve never seen this venue before. I’ve seen one TJP show before, in January, but I keep hearing good things about it so I’m dipping back in. As per my ideal wrestling watching this show is about 2 hours long. If your shows are regularly 3 hours+ I’ve probably lost interest in your product.

 

PCstart

 

Hikari vs. Miu

This is a qualifier for the tournament. Winner gets into the tournament but it’s a big tournament so they won’t be wrestling again tonight.

PCMiu

Plucky Miu is out here rocking the pink. She’s 18. Hikari is 20. I have a sneaking suspicion I’ve seen them wrestle before this year. Both debuted in January when I caught a TJP show. In that match they both stank. Considering that was only six months ago, they’re already showing tremendous levels of improvement. They keep it basic and everything is taut. Everything has a purpose. They even decent transitions, although Miu is still throwing her clothesline miss way too high. It’s still a bit rough around the edges but the contact is meaningful when it needs to be and they don’t make a massive mess of anything. Hikari gets the win with a bridging roll up and I’m genuinely impressed at how much better both women are six months into their careers.

Final Rating: *3/4

 

Yuki Aino vs. Rika Tatsumi vs. Shoko Nakajima

Shoko’s 8-bit music makes her a clear favourite for me. Aino is of unknown experience levels as she has no cagematch profile. They try and make this a genuine working three-way match with a three-way tie up and everyone trying to work holds with the third wrestler in mind, or being caught out because they don’t. It’s actually a smart worked three-way than the bulk of the big companies triple threats. Although it’s not long before Shoko decides to take a nap outside the ring and it goes to shit. They do recover courtesy of a double Figure Four spot.

Aino is involved in all the worst parts of the match. Especially a dreadful double shoulderblock spot where Tatsumi has to go over despite there being no contact. It’s her lack of experience and brutal inability to recover when things go wrong that tanks the match. It’s clear that Shoko and Rita had a great game plan but she can’t execute her role in it. Maybe they set up things that were too difficult for her. Shoko wins by pinning Aino.

Final Rating: **1/2

 

Yuki Kamifuki vs. Azusa Christie

PCmcdonald

Yuki Kamifuki comes out here to “Old McDonald Had a Farm”. What the fuck? She doesn’t even have a country girl gimmick. I guess she does have jorts on. The old Daisy Dukes.

PCChristie

At least Azusa comes out here with religious music to go with her religious look.

So they do this and well…shit. How do you recover from that? They do a decent job of getting back on track but the standard of work in this is BAD. Christie tries for a running elbow at one point and that’s almost as bad as the above. They can’t get the contact on moves. They can’t bump right. It’s just a fucking mess. They do occasionally hit something that doesn’t suck and I’m amazed at it. At least Christie sticks to her character on the pin; doing the arms crossed like the Undertaker. Match was awful though. Just awful.

Final Rating: DUD

 

Tokyo Princess Cup 1st Round

Nodoka-Oneesan vs. Yuna Manase

PCOneesan

Oneesan doesn’t have a serious gimmick. She’s also tiny and Manase has a major height advantage. 5’ 7” vs. 4’ 9”. Oneesan seeks to bring Manase down to size by grinding at a headlock. Manase needs to work on her gear. She has this weird belt thing that cuts across her back and it looks weird. Plus on the back she has half a tutu. It’s very distracting. My complaints with Oneesan stem largely from how small she is. Even with Manase sitting down she can’t manage to give her a high crossbody. She’s adorable but in wrestling you rather need more than that. When Oneesan mounts her plucky comeback the match is at its best. She hurls herself at Manase and eventually does enough to put her down for three. They told a smart story of the larger Manase bullying Oneesan but the execution was a bit off. Oneesan’s fiery work at the end was worth the wait.

Final Rating: **1/2

 

Tokyo Princess Cup 1st Round

Hyper Misao vs. Saki-sama

If you’ve seen TJP before you’ll know Saki-sama is Saki Akai with a French aristocracy gimmick.

PCMisao

While Misao is a super hero. Saki boots Misao in the face while she’s cutting a pre-match promo. You can’t go around boring the aristocracy darling, they’ll have you for lunch.

PCSaki

Misao displays tremendous cowardice in the face of danger and runs for the hills but there’s only so many places to run to. She ends up taping Saki to the steps and running back into the ring. Saki breaks free with loads of time left though. She must have been worried about beating the count. Saki takes it to Misao, although her character is blatantly a heel. I guess that’s the trouble when one wrestler has more experience than the other but not enough to dictate the right kind of match. Misao is more of a cheeky heel who the crowd love (think Yano). They both end up taped together by the ankles.

Both women win while the ref is bumped on the floor. Saki gets taped up again and this is getting dangerously close to BDSM porno. Misao sets up another incredibly convoluted spot to win it; blinding everyone with spray before planting the spray and her mask in Saki’s hands. The revived ref calls for a DQ and we all have a jolly good chuckle about it.

PCfinish

Although as you can see Saki has her second Azusa Christie in the ring and she has a pair of scissors. That alone should be enough for a DQ. This was wacky hijinks. They were well executed, although I hate ref bumps they used the bumps to good effect.

Final Rating: ***

 

Mizuki & Hinano vs. Yuka Sakazaki & Raku

Hinano & Raku were the other half of that awful trainee match from January. If they’ve improved like Miu and Hikari I have nothing to worry about. Card placement would suggest they have. Everyone here is super wholesome. Sakazaki has the genie gimmick that I was very into in January. There is a lot of wholesome double teaming here with both teams jog around the ring and stomp a fallen opponent in the middle. As with the girls in the opener Hinano and Raku have shown improvement over the past 6 months. I’m only occasionally reminded of that horror show when a bump looks weird or something goes astray. It’s pretty clear that Sakazaki and Mizuki control the pacing and dictate everything. Most of the stuff works, thanks to Sakazaki’s tireless workrate and ability. Sakazaki is probably my favourite wrestler in TJP. I feel bad for her because she’s constantly making sure every one is in the right place and covering for other people’s fuck ups. It’s really hard to get three inferior wrestlers up to your level but that’s what she does. When she’s not in there it goes to shit. Mizuki cannot carry anyone and luckily the bulk of the match is on Sakazaki. Mizuki ends up pinning Raku with a double stomp and they got out of there with a reasonable little match. Need more Sakazaki in my life.

Final Rating: ***

 

Tokyo Princess Cup 1st Round

Miyu Yamashita vs. Maki Ito

PCMakiIto

Yamashita is one of TJP’s top talents and their incumbent champion. Maki Ito (pictured) is a big prospect for them though. This match has the benefit of feeling like a big deal, which is what happens when you can move your champion down the card a little. Yamashita is good but she got saddled with Veda Scott when I saw her in January and I didn’t like her match at all. Yamashita is all kinds of mean, deliberately kicking Ito in the butt and roughing her up. It’s a good match for Ito because she gets all fired up and they throw in strike duels. It’s a shame the fans aren’t more into it because I think it’s a barnburner. You’re going to work Maki up into doing fucking shoot headbutts! Yamashita does not spare the horses on her strikes. Her missile dropkick is full on swank and her roundhouse isn’t far behind.

PCcrab

Maki responds by stretching Yamashita with this high Samoan version of the Boston crab. I’m very into Maki getting all fired up by headbutting the turnbuckles. It’s like a more violent George Steele.

Yamashita has Ito in trouble from here and finishes with a DVD variant. Ito put up a great fight though. I really enjoyed this.

PCMiyuYamashita

Although Maki Ito leaves with her head down and her tail between her legs she’s won over at least one new fan with that performance.

Final Rating: ***3/4

 

Tokyo Princess Cup 1st Round

Yuu vs. Reika Saiki

PCSaiki

Saiki is one of TJP’s proteges. She debuted in 2016 and is already as good as anything this promotion has to offer. She was the champ until dropping the belt to Yamashita in January. Speaking of which; Yuu is another former Princess of Princess champions. At 5’1” Yuu towers over Saiki. Part of the issue for Japanese girls going to work elsewhere is that so many of them are tiny. Kairi Sane looked normal height in Japan but as soon as she showed up in NXT she looked like a midget. The size difference, with Yuu also being a good deal heavier, means the match doesn’t seem to click as it should. It’s sluggish and underwhelming. They settle in after a while and the striking gets really good. Yuu’s chops vs. Reika’s kicks. Both make an excellent sound. The size difference continues to hamper them. In particular when Reika is trying to land moves quickly that are designed to knock Yuu over. Yuu ends up crushing Reika with the Last Ride. This had a lot of potential to be a showstealer as they had two of their top names in there. However they struggled to find a story to tell with the size difference and the message got lost. It was a mixed bag. Some of the stuff worked and some didn’t.

Final Rating: ***1/4

 

Summary:

The second half of the show saw a marked upturn in quality. Tokyo Joshi Pro is a promotion that has a lot of potential but the undercard is a bit of a slog while these women are learning the business. The top end has some genuine talents; Yuka Sakazaki, Maki Ito, Miyu Yamashita, Reika Saiki and Hyper Misao. It might end up being a promotion I drop into once every 6 months until it gets good; like Stardom did. Or maybe until I get used to the wrestlers and learn to temper my expectations.

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