TJPW: Sakazaki and Nakajima Tear Down the House at Wrestle Princess III

Tokyo Joshi Pro-Wrestling celebrated its final big event of the year at Tokyo Dome City Hall with high-profile guests. Yuka Sakazaki and Shoko Nakajima continue their main event rivalry.

Wrestle Princess III emanated from Tokyo Dome City Hall on October 9th with bilingual commentary available on Wrestle Universe

What I love about Tokyo Joshi Pro-Wrestling is that while they have only a handful of big events during the year, they really put together fun shows that showcase the scope of the entire roster and the variety of matches they tend to have. Their big events are a great opportunity to hop on the bandwagon and see some rare appearances and special guests, too. Between showing off everything TJPW has to offer at CyberFight Festival 2022 in June and celebrating summer before diving headlong into the Tokyo Princess Cup with Summer Sun Princess ‘22, what makes TJPW easy to hop onto like a trolly is that the bigger shows tend to have a lot of special matches that don’t necessarily require the viewer to know all the ins and outs of every single wrestler, their journey, and the machinations of the company. It makes it very accessible and often brings in big names that have a standing relationship with the company or some surprise debuts to freshen up the matches. 

Even with the influx of returning international talent, the company finds a fluid way to weave the story together despite the distance across oceans. There often isn’t any overly complicated backstory or tournaments involved either. A prime example would be The Uprising (Rhia O’Reilly and Nightshade) winning a TJPW opportunity as a tag team, and then the company setting the wheels into motion for them to be a fresh challenge for Reiwa Double A Canon. 

The same with Alex Windsor who one Pro-Wrestling EVE’s 2022 SHE-1 and then headed to Tokyo to challenge Maki Itoh for the International Princess Championship. She returned home to England as International Princess Champion, defended against Hikari Noa in the UK before returning to Tokyo with the belt (and her gear in her carry on suitcase this time). After a stellar Tokyo Princess Cup for Suzume and Miu Watanabe the pair squared off to be the next challenger, with Watanabe advancing. Sometimes simplicity makes it far more enjoyable. 

With big announced names like the returns of Aja Kong, Max The Impaler, Ryo Mizunami and Riho as well as storied rivalries like Yuka Sakazaki and Shoko Nakajima, there’s a little something for everybody. Plus, there is fun. You like fun, right? Having a bad day? Just throw open the windows, pour a cozy autumn beverage and lose yourself in the unbridled fun of it all. It’s a great way to flip your reset switch if one is in need of something fresh and light in wrestling.  

Spoiler-Free Synopsis

  • Tag Match: Fundamental basics, but a great demonstration for younger talent – Worth a Watch
  • 6-Person Tag Match: A fun mix of TJPW and GanJo – Worth a Watch 
  • Singles Match: I *heart* Suzume. I *heart* Aniki. – Recommended 
  • Singles Match:  A feel good match up with shenanigans – Worth a Watch 
  • 6-Person Tag Match:  Do you like fun… and using your friends as weapons? – Recommended
  • Tag Match: Taking pain and suffering worldwide – Highly Recommended
  • International Princess Championship:  Don’t worry, the champ packed her gear and her working boots in her hand luggage this time  – 8th Champion’s 2nd Defense – Highly Recommended
  • Princess Tag Championships: Will The Uprising be packing new hardware for their return home?  –  The 10th Champions’ 2nd defense – Recommended
  • Princess of Princess Championship: Forever Rivals Fight Forever, Please and Thank you –  The 10th Champion’s 5th defense – Highly Recommended

Pre-Show Notes

  • Haruo Murata and Reika Saiki interview Yuka Sakazaki, Shojo Nakajima, Miu Watanabe and Reiwa Double A Canon (Saki Akai and Yuki Arai)
  • Yuka Sakazaki: “I’m in the best condition of my career.”
  • Shoko Nakajima: “The only way we can show everyone a new TJPW, is to change, evolve and get better.”
  • Saki Akai: “I’ve fought international wrestlers before, but with it being a title match and we’re the champion, it feels completely different.”
  • Yuki Arai: “I’m not worried about wrestling international wrestlers, I’m more worried about them taking our championship titles away from us.”
  • Max The Impaler gave everyone a jump scare by passing through the interview area. 
  • Miu Watanabe: “If Saiki wasn’t a [muscle idol wrestler], I don’t think I would have trained as hard as I have.”
  • English Commentary by Chris Brookes and Baliyan Akki
  • Two new trainees were introduced: Haru (Tokyo; 14 y/o; high school freshman) & Momo (Saitama Prefecture; 14 y/o; 3rd year of junior high school school); both indicated that they will train hard, so they may be able to make their TJPW professional debuts in the future.
  • Up Up Girls (Hikari Noa, Miu Watanabe & Raku) opened the show performing their single “Three Years Since We Entered the Ring ~All Along the Way~”
  • Vocal cheering was permitted at this show
  • UUG introduced SHINO, their latest member (Shizuoka Prefecture; 24 y/o) passed the audition to join UUG and she’s training hard to make her wrestling debut. However, she did perform “Upper Kick!” as her UUG debut!

With Brookes and Akki on English commentary, it was a lovely way to start my Sunday morning. They’ve helped provide constant English commentary for TJPW, and as wrestlers talking wrestling, I find them very informed and knowledgeable of TJPW. Tokyo Dome City Hall was sold out, which demonstrated the consistent growth in recent years.

Tag Match (1/20):  Moka Miyamoto & Julia Nagano defeat Arisu Endo & Kaya Toribami (9:24) – with Nagano pinning Toribami

With her commitments outside of the ring, it was great to see Juria back and teaming with Moka. I really liked their battle of karate styles, but I would also love to see them team up for the next tag league. The moving target that is Arisu’s constantly changing hair color continues, but I love that she finds ways to make it match her gear. She’s also one that has improved over the last year, and I have really enjoyed both her and Moka’s involvement in the ~Dream on the Ring~ series, where she made some appearances to work with the participants. 

Juria and Toribami have two different styles, but they both find ways to showcase their skills to the crowd. Juria gets her first win in TJPW after her debuting in March of this year at Grand Princess ‘22. 

6-Person Tag Match (1/20):  Nao Kakuta, Yuna Manase & Yoshiko Hasegawa (GanbarePro) defeated Yuki Kamifuku, Mahiro Kiryu & Neko Haruna (12:11) – with Kakuta pinning Neko Haruna

Nao Kakuta with new gear!? Let’s go!!! There was a little confusion with the announcement order, but ring announcer, Sayuri Namba, apologized and eventually sorted it out. Before the bell, all six exchanged handshakes. Yoshiko joined Ganbare Pro over the summer, and I am happy to see her crossing over into the TJPW realm. While Kamiyu usually is clad in denim from head-to-toe, I do love the upgraded lace and sequins version of her costume, too. 

One of my favorite things about Mahiro Kiryu is the exceptionally relatable public apologies she makes for things that happen in the ring. In this match, she apologized on behalf of her team and Neko Haruna scratching Yoshiko’s face… while kneeling on top of Yoshiko’s back. Whenever Yuna Manase gets in the ring, I can’t get enough of her presence. She’s powerful and passionate and I love that she’s able to wrestle the way she loves to with GanJo and bring that authenticity back to TJPW as a former full-time TJPW wrestler. 

At the very end Nao put Neko Haruna away with a TKO, a Fireman’s Carry and a neckbreaker. Whew! I would love to see Nao team up or show up in GanJo. 

Singles Match (1/15): Ryo Mizunami defeated Suzume (11:05)

I can’t have a bad day when I see Suzume… or TJPW in general. While the wrestling can get very intense, everything just feels light and fun loving. However, I have never seen Suzume so focused! Usually all smiles and honey sweet, she took the fight to Mizunami from the get go! Suzume had to get very creative in taking her fight to Mizunami, as Ryo had the definite power advantage throughout the entire match. To her credit, Suzume uses the entire ring to her advantage to break down Mizunami! Just like that persistent bee you can’t swat away, Suzume stays on Mizunami, refusing to give up and throwing everything at her, including some new moves! 

The biggest challenge Suzume runs into with Mizunami, is finding moves with enough momentum to catch her opponent off guard so she can use their weight against them. What I love about Mizunami’s intensity is that she wants more from Suzume and pushes Suzume harder throughout the match to get creative and not give up. Even though Suzume fell to Mizunami, Aniki refused to let Suzume give up, encouraging her to bring even more next time. 

Singles Match:  Mizuki defeated Hyper Misao (8:25)

Point of clarification, how is it that Misao can get a toy gun and the aerosol can past the referee? Misao’s plan for a cutesy hardcore match, and it would see that Mizuki was more than prepared with a squeaky mallet and confetti easter eggs! A bag full of plastic dinosaurs was dumped into the ring, rumored to be the personal collection of The Big Kaiju, Shoko Nakajima. She scooped up Mizuki and slammed her right on top of them. Can’t remember the last time I saw silly string, but I feel like it needs to make a comeback in hardcore matches… or in this case…kidcore match. There are lots of nostalgic weapon choices in this match. 

Misao shoves Mizuki into a giant plastic garbage can while she goes and gets her bicycle… and Mizuki escapes and brings back a giant ribbon clad fire extinguisher. Shout out to Arisu, Moka & Mahiro for running out to brace the ladder, so Mizuki could throttle Misao with a massive double stomp jump from the top of it. 

6-Person Tag Match:  Aja Kong, Raku & Pom Harajuku vs. Rika Tatsumi, Yuki Aino & Max the Impaler (12:48) – with Tatsumi pinning Pom

Obviously we could have an absolute slaughter of a singles match between Kong and Max, but there is something endearing and heartwarming about pairing them with the colorful and fiery wrestlers like Raku, Pom, Aino and Tatsumi. Kong shoving Pom out in front of Max to get the match started, rallied the crowd behind her. Max taking a trophy from Pom in the form of her pompom hair tie was adorable, and Kong consoled her briefly before rolling Pom back into the ring. 

Raku tried her best to put Max to sleep, but they just kept rising up. Aino and Tatsumi tried to convince Max to body press Raku, but instead Max decided to use Aino as a weapon… before beckoning Tatsumi.When Tatsumi refused, Max used Aino again. Aino and Raku got some offense before Raku tagged in Kong. While the match had lots of Kong and Max rag dolling the TJPW regulars, I did love how much they both played into the antics in their own way before clashing against one another. Pom tried to pass Kong the aluminum can, and Kong tagged her in instead. Rika Tatsumi got really brave trying to use Max The Impaler as a weapon against Aja Kong!! 

While she did scream a hearty“SORRY,” we’ll have to see if it smoothes everything else out! Aja and Max fight outside and up onto the stage, but Tatsumi, Aino, Raku and Pom work hard to pull them apart. I still can’t get over Max with Pom’s pompoms on their wrist. I love a cute personality gap.  

 A preview ~Dream on the Ring~ (10/14) at Shinjuku FACE trailer was shown before the final third of the card. Those in attendance at the show will be able to cast ballots to help determine the winner of the contest series. 

Tag Match:  Miyu Yamashita & Maki Itoh defeated Riho (AEW) & Hikari Noa (13:44) – With Itoh submitting Noa with a vicious Itoh Deluxe Texas Cloverhold

Maki Itoh makes one SKE 48 appearance and her irresistible charisma is even further off the charts! She looks past Hikari Noa who also helped promote the AEW Fight Forever game at the Tokyo Game Show, demanding that Riho face her. This match shifted gears out of the standard, lighthearted fare into TJPW’s secret recipe spicy cutthroat menu. The Itoh head butts, Riho’s jumping knees and suplexes and kicks of every variety for everyone.  At the core of this match, it was a showcase for Hikari Noa, of the four being the only one without a proper AEW TV debut. While she went to Pro-Wrestling EVE in August to challenge Alex Windsor for the International Princess Championship and worked the exhibition matches at TGS, not only did she get a lot of offense, but the crowd was firmly behind her as well. 

The combination of personality and fighting styles in the ring just made this match the perfect one to phase into the final third of the card. I didn’t care who won. I wanted everyone to win. I just loved the caution thrown to the wind and absorbed the wrestling. Would love to see them revisit this match on an international scale. 

International Princess Championship: Miu Watanabe defeated Alex Windsor © (10:21) – 8th Champion’s 2nd Defense via Teardrop

Admittedly, I was a bit crushed when Yuka Sakazaki edged out Miu Watanabe in the finals of the Tokyo Princess Cup, especially after her massive wins former Princess of Princess Champions in Shoko Nakajima and Miyu Yamashita to advance to the finals to face a third former POP Champion. She started 2022 off strong with a win with Rika Tatsumi in the Futari no Princess Max Heart Tag Tournament, leading to a challenge against the Princess Tag Champions: Magical Sugar Rabbits (Yuka Sakazaki) and Mizuki at Grand Princess ‘22, in which they ultimately fell short.

After a hot start at the beginning of the year, Watanabe would get pinned by Tatsumi, her tag partner, at CyberFight Festival which would lead to Tatsumi challenging Nakajima at Summer Sun Princess for the POP Championship, which her first singles match against an international wrestler, Willow Nightingale, would later turn into a singles match against international superstar, Ryo Mizunami when complications rose from Nightgale’s visa not being cleared in time. After SSP and the conclusion of the Tokyo Princess Cup, Watanabe and Suzume would be given a chance to become the number one contender for Windsor’s International Princess Championship as the pair were both semi-finalists in the Cup.

I really enjoyed their match. Windsor is a welcomed addition to TJPW and I feel like she has the skill and charisma to draw more eyes from the JPN scene across the continents and oceans to her work in the UK. She’s a fantastic heel, but the crown still rallied behind her, especially when she had answers for everything Miu threw at her. You all know how I love power fighting and technical wrestling, and Windsor is a great asset and complement to someone who is still comparatively young like Watanabe. While I would have loved to see Windsor have had a few more defenses with the championship, I certainly hope this isn’t the last time we get to see her in a TJPW ring. If she gets the opportunity to face a wide range of talent in the company, she could easily help make new stars while blazing her own trail. Also, I loved how she sold that big swing. *chef’s kiss*

I am thankful that the Summer of Windsor rekindled my interest in the British women’s wrestling scene. While there is so much wrestling I admittedly can’t watch and remained gainfully employed, she’s definitely one who has helped put the UK wrestling scene as a whole back on my radar after NXT UK stripped the smaller promotions and Speaking Out genuinely smothered my remaining interest in it. With only two matches in TJPW, I am already a fan, and I can’t wait to watch more of her in Pro-Wrestling EVE and RevPro UK. Thank you, Alex, for added Japan to your list of places and helping me rediscover women’s wrestling in the UK. 

Just when I was ready to give up on a Watanabe singles run, she beat Suzume to advance. I worried that Watanabe’s 2022 was sunk after the failed challenge for the tag championships and coming in second place in the Cup, I am glad there was a slow burn plan in action for her behind the scenes. At 22, she hopefully has a long career ahead of her and starting her first reign as International Princess Champion is a great way to start. I hope that TJPW will consider sending Miu over to Wrestle Queendom V with EVE, so she could defend her championship and gain more international experience. 

Princess Tag Championships:  Reiwa Double A Canon © (Saki Akai & Yuki Arai) defeated The Uprising (EVE; Rhia O’Reilly & Nightshade) (16:57) –  with Arai pinning Nightshade

When I watched their TJPW excursion opportunity match on EVE’s Thursday Night Fights series on their YouTube channel, I was absolutely obsessed. I knew nothing about The Uprising, but everyone knows my love of cohesive units and matching gear. Nightshade and O’Reilly certainly didn’t disappoint either! I know I am supposed to jeer and boo the heels, but how I love well-developed characters and power fighters. For Nightshade, this was her first time back in three years, and she made a little ten day tour of it, including a drop-by Ganbare Pro! For O’Reilly, this was her first time back since 2018, when she dropped by Marvelous and Sendai Girls!

More than anything, this match felt like a confidence builder for Yuki Arai, who has only been wrestling for a  year, but what a way to gain better experience than with an unholy baptism under fire. The Uprising concentrated their efforts on Arai, completely cutting her off from Akai in their corner. She finally breaks free to tag Akai and she quickly serves up a heavy dose of Nightshade’s own medicine to her. I also liked how Arai’s confidence is growing, especially with their tag moves. I find Akai very captivating to watch, and the confidence and guidance she’s providing Arai definitely shows. I hope they continue flourishing as a tag team, and are able to carry the titles into the New Year, if not to Grand Princess ‘23.

I would love to see more of The Uprising in TJPW, so I hope this isn’t their only opportunity to participate. With the likely return of the Futari no Princess MAX HEART Tag League in January, they would be a blessed (or unholy depending on your perspective) addition to the mix. They present a fantastic pair of Goliaths for everyone to go toe to toe with. I definitely did a solo “please come back” chant after the match because they truly earned it.

Princess of Princess Championship:  Yuka Sakazaki (2022 Princess Cup Winner) defeated Shoko Nakajima © (22:24) –  a Magical Merry-go-Round followed with a very definitive Springboard 450 Splash.

Earlier in the week, when TJPW uploaded their ~Dream on the Ring~ video, announcing the final challenge opponents, seeing Nakajima included but Sakazaki omitted made me immediately think that there was a reasoning behind it. I wish they would have held off until airing that one episode until after Wrestle Princess III because it felt like it telegraphed the finish well before the final big event of the year started. That being said, I could watch Nakajima and Sakazaki fight all day every day. They knocked it out of the part back in June at CyberFight Festival, and when Sakazaki won the Princess Cup and asked Nakajima for one more chance, I was genuinely thrilled. If this match was a quarter of their banger at CFF22, I would be happy, but I was certain there was reasoning behind their continued back and forth. 

Both The Magical Girl and the Big Kaiju rolled up in updated costumes and I couldn’t help but love both of them. (Thank you Chris and Baliyan for engaging in costume commentary, big match gear is a cornerstone TBH.) Costumes and monikers aside, there is a reason why Nakajima and Sakazaki are constantly hovering around the title picture, they are truly two of the absolute best I’ve ever watched wrestle. Not just in TJPW. Not just against women Hands down. I love their technical prowess, speed, charisma, and in-ring acumen, so much so that I genuinely don’t think I could pick one over the other as a favorite. They’re too even in too many categories. Every time they face each other, they bring out the best wrestler in the other almost to their own detriment because the other knows them too well. 

If you’re curious about the level of wrestling in TJPW, kindly do not base it upon what you’ve seen in AEW. While TJPW gets a nice nod here and there on American television, I implore you to get that Wrestle Universe trial subscription and WATCH THIS MATCH. Go back and watch their CFFes match.. And then WATCH THIS MATCH AGAIN. Their story is told in a TJPW ring and while the exposure on international broadcast TV is fine and all, Nakajima and Sakazaki’s story makes you feel all the wonderful feelings one should feel about wrestling. The epic forever-rival storytelling is there. The unforgiving, strong style synonymous with joshi wrestling is there. Every single reason wrestlers “want to go to Japan” is there. If you haven’t given TJPW a fair shake, make the time to watch this match. 

Yes, there are some slips here and there, but neither competitor lets it phase them and they work twice as hard to keep going. I thought their match in June was my favorite in their series, but this one just blew it out of the water. The hugging. The crying. I love it all. Give me more. Just let them get some rest first. What I love about their rivalry and friendship is that it seems every time they utterly destroy one another in the ring, win or lose, they celebrate together in the ring and in their own little world together. They are truly the heart and soul of TJPW. I was fine … no crying until Nakajima asked for the belt from the referee and strapped it to Sakazaki herself. 

While some might think after two reigns at POP Champion, there really isn’t any other title left for Nakajima, I would like to see her eventually have a reign with the International Princess Championship because I love seeing Grand Slam Champions get minted. Plus, she suggested it herself when I interviewed her earlier this year! I sincerely hope Nakajima gets to go abroad again, especially to Peru, Mexico and England!

Honestly, while I could have easily seen Nakajima retaining, this was the big payoff for Sakazaki’s 2022 from losing the Princess Tag Championships after a long run with Mizuki, jetting back and forth to the US for AEW, their stellar CFFes22 semi-main event match, and winning the Tokyo Princess Cup… this was the most logical step to close the loop on this arc for her. With international travel increasing, I would love to see Sakazaki take the POP to AEW or other places around the world, but save her next date with Sakazaki until mid-to-late next year. I love watching them wrestle, but I also love seeing them kept apart, running parallel journeys until their paths cross again. 


Overall, this show was truly another fun and emotionally satisfying one. Every time I watch a TJPW show, the more I want to see one live. I also love how the entire roster comes together to close out the show. I feel like a broken record, but if you’re curious about TJPW, check out this show, along with Summer Sun Princess ’22, CyberFight Festival 2022 and Grand Princess ’22. You won’t be disappointed. 

TJPW does have shows scheduled throughout the remainder of 2022, so keep posted to Dream Slam Weekly for updates!

2023 Calendar

  • First Show of 2023 (1/4) Korakuen Hall
  • Grand Princess ‘23 (3/18) Ariake Coliseum, Tokyo
About Karen Peterson 98 Articles
Occasionally drops by wrestling podcasts, but remains rather elusive. Joined the Japanese wrestling fan scene in summer 2017, and continues to work on bridging the language gap between fans. Outside of wrestling, she’s a dog mom, perpetual Japanese learner, and when conditions permit, world traveler. Never skips dessert.