TJPW Event Report Debut!
By: Karen Peterson
Welcome to my first POST event report for Tokyo Joshi Pro-Wrestling. As I prepared for CyberFight Festival Event Report, I really enjoyed learning more about the four promotions within the CF group, and through Dream Slam Weekly, I’ve been able to learn more about TJPW in particular. One of my goals with DSW and POST is to help expand the coverage of the Japanese wrestling scene, especially where the women’s promotions are concerned. I am thankful to add his little change up to my regular menu of coverage.
If you are new to Tokyo Joshi Pro (like me), check out my pre-CyberFight Festival interviews with Maki Itoh & Yuka Sakazaki (DSW vol. 7; 6/11/22) as well as my pre-Summer Sun Princess interview with Princess of Princess Champion, Shoko Nakajima (DSW vol. 11; 7/9/22).
The Road to Summer Sun Princess
- Nakajima defeated Sakazaki in the semi-main event at CyberFight Festival (6/12) to retain the Princess of Princess Championship, but since Sakazaki is half of the Princess Tag Champions, she repaid her forever rival with a title match.
- TJPW held Additional Attack ‘22 (6/19). The main event would see Magical Sugar Rabbits (Yuka Sakazaki & Mizuki) defend against Shoko Nakajima & Hyper Misao in the main event.
- Also during CFFes2022, Rika Tatsumi, a former Princess of Princess Champion defeated Yuki Kamifuku, Miu Watanabe, and Mizuki in order to become the number one contender at Summer Sun Princess.
- International Guests Announced: AEW’s Women’s World Champion, Thunder Rosa and Pro-Wrestling EVE’s 2022 SHE-1 Winner, Alex Windsor announced for SSP. (DSW vol. 9; 6/25/22)
- Card Change: Willow Nightingale’s TJPW debut (DSW vol. 8; 6/18/22) was postponed due to visa delay. Replaced by Ryo Mizunami.
The show opened with ring announcer Sayuri Namba reviewing the new rules for vocal cheering. The key point emphasized is that masks must be worn at all times when cheering/jeering. Paper streamers were also allowed today, including fans to move down to the arena floor to throw them during the opening of the matches, but must immediately return to their seats afterward.
Maki Itoh and Yuki Arai (SKE48) came out to the ring for the announcement of a TJPW x The Idol Master Collaboration: Cinderella Girls (Bandi Namco). Seeing their reactions to hearing fans cheer again was heartwarming. IdolMaster is a Pop Idol-genre video game series, so it’s cool to see the Fallen Idol, Itoh, and SKE48’s Arai being selected as the collab talents. At a later date, portraits of Itoh and Arai in character costume will be available.
The Up Up Girls (Miu Watanabe, Raku & Hikari Noa) opened the show, performing “Upper Kick!” (アッパーキック！01/04/18). While the group currently has three members, they announced an audition earlier in the year, with the potential of adding up to thirty new members. This would make UUG akin to the big idol groups like Morning Musume
They also gave their self-introductions one by one and the cheering voices of the crowd gave me chills. Not because I haven’t been to shows where I’ve cheered in the last year, but seeing the girls’ reactions, on the verge of happy tears, truly shows how long everyone has waited for this moment. The trio also performed “Don’t Wanna Lose!” (Maketakunai! 負けたくない! 11/07/20). For the first time in over two years, they were able to open the show with a collective voice.
English Commentary: DDT’s Chris Brookes and Baliyan Akki (I watched the JP commentary because I wanted to study. Yes, on a Saturday morning!)
Location: Ota Ward Gymnasium, Tokyo
- Singles Match: Queens of Karate Warfare – Worth a Watch
- 8-Person Tag Match: Lighthearted, good clean fun – Worth a Watch
- Singles Match: One of Miu’s biggest challenges to date – Recommended
- Tag Match: A Summer to Remember – Worth a Watch
- Tag Match: Summer Reunion Turned Showdown – Recommended
- International Princess Championship: Windsor’s Japan debut – Highly Recommended
- Special Singles Match: La Mera Mera Returns! – Highly Recommended
- Princess Tag Team Championship: MSR vs. Reiwa Double A Cannon! – Recommended
- Princess of Princess Championship: Kaiju vs. White Dragon – Highly Recommended
Singles Match (1/15): Moka Miyamoto defeated Juria Nagano (4:58) via Rashômon (submission)
Moka was the first to re-experience the colorful streamers and vocal cheering again! This was also Juria’s first streamer shower since her debut earlier this year. Both girls practice karate but in different forms. Moka’s costuming with her modern take on kimono and hakama and Juria’s having more of a shinobi/ninja flare, but with inlaid brocade panels, made it feel like a fight from the past, when both are arguably part of TJPW’s future.
Juria debuted earlier this year in March at GRAND PRINCESS ‘22, and has progressed since her debut. While she is still learning, Juria has been working with wrestlers who have really helped bring out her strengths. With more time, she could easily climb to the top of TJPW.
8-Person Tag Match (1/15): Aja Kong, Yuki Aino, Raku & Pom Harajuku vs. Hyper Misao, Nao Kakuta, Kaya Toribami & Haruna Neko (12:28) with Aino pinning Toribami after a Venus DDT
Kaya Toribami debuted during the pandemic era, so this was her first experience having streamers during her entrance, and she looked thrilled and surprised (because I feel like she didn’t expect it). One by one, streamers rained down on the ring and hearing cheers and laughter, I believe the popular phrase here is “nature is healing.” It may seem silly to harp on it so much, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t
Hyper Misao greeted the audience, and rallied everyone to wish Aja Kong a big “WELCOME BACK!!” Misao tried her best to switch the card up, suggesting that she and Pom switch teams, and even tried to convince Kong to slap her, but Kong apologized to Pom before slapping Misao to the mat! One of the consistent things TJPW (at least from a newcomer’s perspective) does is mixing talent throughout their cards including a big name like Aja Kong on the lower card. This match was fun, lighthearted, and comedic with plenty of Hyper Misao trying to outsmart Aja Kong. Having Kong in the match gave opportunities for younger talent to work with a legend, and I really enjoyed it.
Singles Match (1/15): Ryo Mizunami defeated Miu Watanabe (11:53) via Hot Limit & pinfall
Due to visa delays, Willow Nightingale was unable to participate in Summer Sun Princess, but Ryo Mizunami, everyone’s beloved Aniki, stepped up, so as to ensure that Miu didn’t lose her singles match. Mizunami is one of the freelance industry leaders, including traveling to the US to perform at AEW, so her presence in TJPW, only elevated the show further. This opportunity for Miu was a great one as the original plan was power fighter versus power fighter, and she still had that match with a different international superstar.
I love that Miu tightened up her ponytail and was determined to get Mizunami into her big swing. Having cheering back helped that power-up moment feel … well… extra powerful! What I love about Mizunami as a veteran is her energy almost demanding her opponents to bring everything they’ve got. Miu’s refusal to not give up on getting Mizunami into that big swing was a sight to behold, and she did get several spins in before dropping Mizunami unceremoniously onto the mat. This was another showcase of the bright future ahead for one of TJPW’s younger talents.
Miu was part of the Princess of Princess Number One Contender Match at CyberFight Festival, which her tag team partner, Rika Tasumi won… by pinning her. I feel like the Tokyo Princess Cup could be an ideal stage for her to make a solid run for the Cup!
Tag Match: Hikari Noa/Hikaru Shida (AEW) vs, Yuki Kamifuku/Mahiro Kiryu (13:32) Shida pinned Kiryu after an Arawashi Driver
I’d love to personally thank cosplay queen, Hikaru Shida, for her Dr. Strange-inspired entrance gown costume. Hikari Noa and Shida arrived with a kendo stick and steel chair in tow, even though this wasn’t a hardcore match. I do love that KamiYu kept trying to appeal to Shida’s sensibilities as she also has fluency in English from her time living in the United States.
It seemed that a broken nail was enough to flip the switch on KamiYu and bring out her aggressive side, including a flick to Shida’s eye. Mahiro has a conflict of heart when Hikari Noa brings a chair into the ring, and while she attempts to use it on Shida, Hikaru is too fast for her. Could a mean streak or ditching of the rules be on the horizon for Mahiro? The match was solid, but it did go a little longer than I expected. It was fun to see Noa and Shida work together and be a little naughty, but the pace was a little slower than I would have liked, especially in a match that could have highlighted KamiYu and Mahiro more.
— 水波綾 (Ryo Mizunami) (@mizunami0324) July 9, 2022
Just a shameless Ryo Mizunami & Hikaru Shida appreciation tweet!
Max the Impaler Announced for August 8/13-14!! They will be debuting at the Tokyo Princess Cup Finals on August 13th and participating in TJPW PERFECTION ‘22 on August 14th. Both shows will be at Korakuen Hall. In the promotion video, Max was highlighted as a freelancer who has been featured on AEW and Ring of Honor.
Tag Match: MeiBee SURPRISE (Suzume/Mei Sugura; GMCP) vs. Riho (AEW; GMCH)/Arisu Endo (14:21) with Suzume pinning Arisu with Ring a Bell
There was something fun about the opening face-off between Mei and Riho as they were in Gatoh Move together. While they have been both in AEW, they’ve been kept apart. For Arisu, this was her first time wrestling Mei. Also, top marks to Suzume for the new costume, as she continues to evolve into the Queen Bee of TJPW!
The strict veteran Riho came out during the match, especially when she locked Suzume in a single-legged Boston Crab, but kept her eyes firmly locked on Mei across the ring in the blue corner. For the majority of the match, Riho and Mei were kept apart, while Arisu and Suzume with one another, and interact with both opponents. Naturally, the biggest reaction came from the eventual reunion between Riho & Mei, whose journey started in Gatoh Move, but also runs occasionally parallel with appearances in AEW.
Arisu and Suzume looked particularly strong, and I am excited to see where the Princess Cup takes them. I loved how much Riho and Mei elevated their opponents and afforded them the opportunity to shine. That’s been the one thing I liked about the special guests in TJPW, while the names are big (and usually they are the ones to win), they do a lot to showcase the company’s talent and bring more out of them. The focus was largely on Suzume and Arisu, which I really appreciated.
Women’s Only Special Show Go Girl 3 Announced! The show will be held on August 28th at Korakuen Hall. It will be available only to female fans and every ticket is FREE!! TJPW will unveil a new brand logo at the show as well!
International Princess Championship (1/30): Alex Windsor (PW EVE) defeats Maki Itoh © (13:22) with a GTF & pin combo
SHE-1 2022 Winner Alex Windsor had a little hiccup with her luggage getting lost in transit on her way to Japan, she strode into Ota Gym looking like a sheer force to be reckoned with. One of the hardest working girls in TJPW, Maki Itoh has really carved a legacy with her International Princess Championship, especially with traveling to the US for AEW and working at independent promotions like GCW and Prestige Wrestling. With a successful defense, Itoh would tie Hikari Noa for the longest defense record for the IP Championship. The match opened with some appeals to the crowd for chants and clapping, but they quickly went to work!
I love how Haruo Murata (Play-by-Play/Lead Commentator) highlighted Windsor’s recent achievements for the Japanese audience by mentioning her defeated DDT’s Asuka in the SHE-1 and her meeting against Shoko Nakajima in Pro-Wrestling EVE earlier this year. TJPW’s partnership with Pro-Wrestling EVE will give British wrestling fans opportunities to see some really great matches and I hope it brings more talent, including Windsor, back to Japan in the future! As someone new-to-EVE as well, the more I watch Windsor, the more I find myself slowly being drawn back into the British wrestling scene once more. Windsor is a great example of the wrestling scene outside of the US, and I think more folks should definitely watch her moving forward. (Yes, I am aware I am likely VERY late to the Alex Windsor party.)
This was Itoh’s fifth defense as the seventh champion, but it would be Alex Windsor who finally shattered her streak. I know lost luggage and brand new makeshift gear isn’t what she wanted, but maybe it was the universe making Windsor’s journey to Japan and the International Princess Championship a little bit of a fun side note to the Japan Chapter of her wrestling journey! Congratulations to the new champ.
Did the damn thing. pic.twitter.com/mNUJGlDTjC
— Alex Windsor アレクス・ウィンザー (@HailWindsor) July 9, 2022
There is a happy end to Windsor’s lost luggage story: #ANDNEW International PRincess Champion AND she was reunited with her luggage after the show!
Special Singles Non-Title Match (1/30): Miyu Yamashita defeated Thunder Rosa (©AEW) (13:39) via small package
On Yamashita’s last US tour in June, she tagged with Skye Blue against Serena Deeb and Nyla Rose on AEW Dark Elevation. When the former International Princess Champion was announced as returning at Summer Sun Princess with her shiny AEW Championship, Miyu would be the one to appeal for a match. The caveat for this match is that if Yamashita manages to defeat Thunder, she gets the opportunity to go back to America and challenge for the AEW Women’s World Championship.
Yamashita recently wrestled Alex Windsor in Barcelona, Spain and will have additional international dates throughout the summer. It’s been two and a half years since Thunder Rosa. The technical skill and chemistry between Thunder and Yamashita were off the charts. If you love
Honestly, I wish they would have allowed this match to be a title defense for Thunder Rosa because it would give the AEW Women’s World Championship notoriety and legitimacy being defended outside of the US… you know… like in the rest of the world it’s supposed to represent. I guess the argument could be made that Yamashita isn’t ranked in singles competition in AEW, so this would force her to earn a challenge and bypass the rankings, but still. Perhaps they are teeing up a big match for All Out or another special edition of Dynamite in the future.
I'm a lucky girl to have been able to fight Rosa at this timing.
I might have used all of my luck for the rest of my life.
— 山下実優 Miyu Yamashita (@miyu_tjp) July 9, 2022
Princess Tag Team Championship: Reiwa’s AA Canon (Saki Akai (DDT) & Yuki Arai (SKE48)) defeated Magical Sugar Rabbits (Yuka Sakazaki & Mizuki) © (24:28) with Saki pinning Mizuki after a Double Rookie Award (Curb Stomp)
From the announcement of Yuki Arai teaming with DDT’s Saki Akai, I felt a shift happen. I felt like TJPW was preparing to strap the rocket on Arai, especially after her previously challenging Maki Itoh for the International Princess Championship earlier this year and being a Futari no Princess Max Heart semi-finalist with Moka Miyamoto. However, with the wild popularity of Magical Sugar Rabbits, I wasn’t confident that this was going to be her time just yet.
Mizuki in particular was vicious in this match, between biting Saki’s leg and twisting Yuki up into a pretzel for a submission. Neither she nor Sakazaki was letting the challengers get the championships without a seriously fierce fight. My only criticism of this match is that I don’t think it needed to be nearly twenty-five minutes long. While I am sure the story was to build up Reiwa Double A Cannons as a credible threat moving forward and to avoid making Magical Sugar Rabbits look weak, it did force Yuki to do a lot of the heavy lifting as the veteran in the pair, as well as Mizuki and Sakazaki to work doubly hard at times. Five minutes could have easily been shaved off and I don’t think it would have detracted from the overall feel of the match.
This was MSR’s sixth defense as the ninth champions. They’ve held the tag championships since Wrestle Princess II (October 9, 2021), and had defenses that included Maki Itoh, Shoko Nakajima, Miyu Yamashita, and the Futari no Princess Max Heart Tournament Winners, Rika Tatsumi and Miu Watanabe. This also gives Arai a veteran ally in Akai, who could also potentially train her to fight in DDT, should there be interest by Arai. Arai debuted in May 2021, so she just cleared her first year of in-ring competition and a tag championship run could be another great way to push her forward as a wrestler.
Not going to lie though, Yuka clasping Mizuki’s hand as Saki nabbed the three-count and broke their reign, hit my heart hard. In my limited time as a TJPW fan, I’ve only ever known the Magical Sugar Rabbits as the Princess Tag Champions, so now I am excited to see how they move forward without the belt. This loss frees both Sakazaki and Mizuki for the Tokyo Princess Cup and also provides potential new challengers for Arai and Akai (as only Arai is participating in the TPC).
Princess of Princess Championship: Shoko Nakajima © defeated Rika Tatsumi (19:23) with a Diving Senton and pin combination
One thing I have loved about this reign for Nakajima is that TJPW has started lining up former Princess of Princess Champions for Nakajima to build her second reign upon. With her defeating Miyu Yamashita at GRAND PRINCESS ‘22 (03/19/22 at Ryogoku Kokugikan), beating former Princess Tag Champions in Hyper Misao and Yuki Aino, and recently defeating her forever rival Yuka Sakazaki at CyberFight Festival, Nakajima’s second reign is quickly becoming stronger than her first.
Tatsumi has a long history with Nakajima and herself, a former PoP Champion. Much like her match against Sakazaki, this match-up with Tatsumi was hard-hitting, technical, and for the most part non-stop. This mythical battle between dragon and monster was another great match for both competitors and really shows how much both wrestlers have evolved since their first meeting in January 2014. Tatsumi’s Dragon Sleeper really made me think she would shut down Nakajima’s reign, but somehow The Big Kaiju reversed it, escaped and hit her with a diving senton for the win. This is Nakajima’s fourth successful defense as the tenth champion. She enters the Tokyo Princess Cup as PoP Champion.
There are so many things I could say about this match, but watch it and watch it back again.
“Rika, you were so strong. I’m going to keep on defending this championship, but I will be waiting for you again in the future.” – Shoko Nakajima (to Rika Tatsumi, post-match in-ring promo)
Nakajima’s closing comments included thanking the fans for cheering the entire time, how their voices have been missed, the scope of talent in TJPW, how hard everyone has come, and to stick around for the Tokyo Princess Cup (their next series starting on 7/15).
HEY YOU!! Want a little bonus for reading this far? Here’s a shortcut to my complete interview with the Princess of Princess Champion! We also talk about the Tokyo Princess Cup, traveling abroad and a little more about The Big Kaiju.
TJPW 2022 Calendar
SUMMER TOURNAMENT: The Tokyo Princess Cup 2022 (7/15-8/13) – bracket announcements TBA
- Ryogoku KCF Hall (7/15-17) & Shinjuku FACE (7/23) – Princess Cup Opening Round Matches
- Otemachi Mitsui Hall (7/31) – Princess Cup QuarterFinals
- Korakuen Hall (8/12-13) – Princess Cup Semi-Finals
- Korakuen Hall (8/12-13) – Princess Cup Finals
Announced Participants: Kaya Toribami, Mahiro Kiryu, Harajuku Pom, Neko Haruna, Yuki Arai, Moka Miyamoto, Arisu Endo, Suzume, Raku, Miu Watanabe, Hikari Noa, Nao Kakuta, Yuki Kamifuku, Yuki Aino, Hyper Misao, Mizuki, Rika Tatsumi, Miyu Yamashita, Yuka Sakazaki & Shoko Nakajima.
TJPW TPC Notes:
- Last year’s Tokyo Princess Cup Winner, Maki Itoh, will participate in a GCW show on 8/14, so she will miss this year’s tournament. It’s her wish to help promote TJPW overseas.
- Due to scheduling conflicts, Juria Nagano will also not participate in the tournament.
2022 Additional Shows
- TJPW Perfection ‘22 (8/20) Ryogoku KFC Hall, Tokyo
- TJPW Perfection ‘22 (8/26) Ryogoku KFC Hall, Tokyo
- TJPW Autumn Tour ‘22(9/2) Narimasu Act Hall, Itabashi, Tokyo
- TJPW City Circuit ‘22(9/3) Nagoya International Conference Center Event Hall, Aichi
- TJPW Autumn Tour ‘22 (9/16) Shinjuku FACE, Tokyo
- TJPW Autumn Tour ‘22 (9/24) Ryogoku KFC Hall,Tokyo
- TJPW City Circuit Autumn ‘22 (10/21) Aizu Wakamatsu Cultural Center, Fukushima
- Show Name TBA (10/28) Edion Arena, Osaka
October 2022 BIG EVENT
Wrestle Princess III: (10/9) Tokyo Dome City Hall – Final Big Event of 2022