Tokyo Joshi Pro-Wrestling Live In Los Angeles
By Thomas Hall on 3rd April 2023
TJPW Live In Los Angeles
Date: March 31, 2023
Location: Globe Theater, Los Angeles, California
Commentators: Jonny Loquasto, Thom Fain
This is Tokyo Joshi Pro-Wrestling, a Japanese women’s promotion which I’ve heard some amazing things about. There are going to be some names here you might have seen in AEW or elsewhere over the weekend, but I have no idea what to expect from the show. Let’s get to it.
Note that I don’t follow the promotion so I apologize in advance for not knowing history, characters or anything else.
The ring announcer welcomes us to the show and gives us a quick preview while also plugging the WrestleCon appearances. She also reminds the fans that the wrestlers don’t speak much English and apologize in advance. Fair enough and something often forgotten.
And now, as is tradition, here are three wrestlers (Hikari Noa, Raka and Miu Watanabe, the Up Up Girls) for a song, apparently how they open all of their shows. With the mini concert over, the women greet the fans.
The announcer says some stuff in Japanese, which is apparently the introduction to the first match (almost fifteen minutes into the broadcast).
Daisy Monkey vs. Free WiFi
This would be Arisu Endo/Suzume vs. Hikari Noa vs. Nao Kakuta as I love Japanese team names. In response to why they’re called Free WiFi, the answer is simple: who doesn’t like free wifi? Hikari and Suzume (rather popular) start things off with Hikari quickly being sent into the corner so Endo can come in for a dropkick to her back.
Kakuta gets in a cheap shot from the apron though and Endo gets caught in the wrong corner. What appears to be a double bite of the head has Endo in more trouble and stereo basement dropkicks make it worse. Endo’s dropkick gets her out of trouble though and it’s Suzume back in to pick up the pace.
Hikari pulls Suzume off the top and gets two off a rollup before it’s back to Endo. A choke over the ropes slows Suzume down but she’s back with a running bulldog. Kakuta comes back in with a dropkick into a camel clutch, sending Endo bailing to the ropes for two. Everything breaks down and a double torture rack faceplant finishes Kakuta at 11:41.
Rating: B-. Good start to the show here as they had a fast paced match with some fun action. The ending looked good as well as Kakuta got dropped on her face. Free WiFi (that’s so ridiculous of a name that it’s brilliant) was a nice team but Monkey (these names are fun) looked a bit more complete so the ending felt like the right choice.
Janai Kai vs. Yufi Kamifuku
Yufi dances a lot and gets kicked in the chest to cut him down. A running kick to the back gives Kai two but Yufi kicks her way up from the mat. There’s a pair of dropkicks to send Kai into the corner but she’s right back with a dragon sleeper. With that broken up, Kai hits a spinning kick to the head for the pin at 4:49.
Rating: C. This was more of a showcase for Kai, who had some rather hard kicks in there. At times the best thing that you can do is have someone go out there and kick someone else really hard, which is what Kai has done. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen Kai before and you know what you’re getting going in, which worked well here.
Hyper Misao/Trish Adora vs. Raku/Yuki Aino
Misao is a super hero and you’ve probably seen Adora a time or two. Before the match, Misao officially dubs Adora a superhero as well, giving her her own mask and naming her Hyper Trish. Adora backs Raku into the corner to start and everything breaks down rather fast. The heroes grab stereo submissions but Misao accidentally hairsprays (or whatever it was) Adora in the face.
Then Raku whips out a pillow and puts the heroes to sleep for two before it’s off to Aino. Misao fights up and hands it back to Adora for the power. Aino grabs a gutwrench suplex for two as everything breaks down. Misao sprays them both and a high crossbody finishes Raku at 9:04.
Rating: C+. Mild obsession with the spray can aside (which isn’t very heroic), this was a fun match and was giving me flashbacks to the Mighty Molly or Hurricane days (in a good way). It was designed to be nothing but fun and Adora is someone who feels like she could be a breakout star if she is given the chance. Raku stands out a bit as well, but that might be due to being in on the song earlier.
Wasteland War Party vs. Miu Watanabe/Shoko Nakajima
That would be Max the Impaler and Heidi Howitzer. After getting the streamers out of the ring, we start with Watanabe bouncing off of Max. Nakajima comes in and avoids a charge in the corner but the much bigger Max sends her into the corner. It’s off to Heidi for two off a stalling brainbuster but Nakajima gets over to Watanabe anyway. The pace picks up for a few moments, until Heidi runs Watanabe over again.
Watanabe slugs away at Max and Nakajima comes in to add some running dropkicks. Max is finally knocked into the corner but comes back with the Wasteland. Back up and Watanabe gets Max up for a pretty impressive slam before taking Heidi down as well. Nakajima hits a 619 on Max but Heidi runs her over. An elevated splash (the Master Blaster) gives Max the pin at 11:52.
Rating: C+. The War Party are one heck of a monster team and they were showcasing it here. Watanabe and Nakajima were cowering in fear, or at least looking scared, to put the War Party over. This was a good example of a way to have two stars look like threats and it isn’t a surprise that they were apparently Tag Team Champions until a few weeks ago (if I heard commentary right).
International Princess Title: Rika Tatsumi vs. Billie Starkz
Tatsumi is defending what seems to be the midcard singles title. They go with the grappling to start but Tatsumi gets a bit more serious by ripping at Starkz’ face. Starkz is right back up with a running knee to the back of the head for two, with Starkz getting frustrated by the near fall.
Tatsumi is back up with a hip attack and we hit the Figure Four in the middle. Starkz’ long legs get her to the ropes so Tatsumi hip attacks her again. Back up and Starkz hits a brainbuster onto the knee for two but Tatsumi blasts her with a running hip attack. The Twist of Fate sets up a top rope hip attack to retain Tatsumi’s title at 8:44.
Rating: C+. This was probably the weakest match of the night so far, partially because I didn’t really buy that Tatsumi was in danger. Starkz is very talented for her age but she felt like she was in over her head with this one. It certainly wasn’t bad, but it came off more like Tatsumi just waiting until she could finish Starkz off.
Respect is shown post match.
Princess Tag Team Titles: 121000000 vs. Magical Sugar Rabbits
That would be Maki Itoh/Miyu Yamashita (defending) vs. Mizuki (top singles champion)/Yuka Sakazaki. Miyu misses a big kick (her thing) to Sakazaki to start so it’s Itoh coming in for an elbow to the face and a run around the ring. Everything breaks down fast and the champs headscissor them to the floor, setting up the big stereo dives. Back in and Itoh shrugs off a face first ram into the buckle and hits an assisted splash for two.
Itoh bites Mizuki’s fingers and Miyu comes in for some kicks to the back. A roll over allows Mizuki to bring Mike back in to clean house. Everything breaks down and Itoh hits a….I’m not sure what that was but she follows with a brainbuster for two. Mizuki is back in with a high crossbody for two on Itoh with Miyu making a save.
Itoh goes up but gets superplex right back down. Back up and Itoh pulls her into a kneeling Texas Cloverleaf but the save is quickly made. Everything breaks down again and Miyu knees Itoh by mistake. With Miyu sent outside, Sakazaki hits a top rope splash, followed by Mizuki’s top rope double stomp for the pin and the titles at 16:18.
Rating: B. The title change makes the show feel important and it was after a good match as well. The Rabbits felt like a more complete team and apparently they held the titles at some point before this. It was a solid main event and getting Itoh on the card was a necessity after the attention she got in AEW, though she was mostly playing it straight here.
Post match the new champs thank the and the locker room comes out to the ring for a JOSHI chant. The roster takes a photo and a PLEASE COME BACK chant takes us out.
Overall Rating: B-. The show wasn’t a classic, but I can absolutely get the appeal for a lot of fans. These wrestlers are going to get your attention and the wrestling ranges from good to very good. While I don’t think I’ll be watching regularly, it’s the kind of thing I could see myself watching again once or twice. Nice stuff here, with everyone working hard and having a good time.
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