In 2020, Tokyo Joshi Pro-Wrestling was scheduled to have its first stand-alone show at Mania weekend. Of course, the global pandemic had other plans, resulting in the plans being scrapped. Three years later, this was easily one of the most highly anticipated showcases of Mania Weekend, especially by the fans of the joshi and Japanese wrestling fans. Bringing TJPW announcer Sayuri Nanba and permitting light sticks and streamers, made this feel close to a Japanese fan experience, with some American zest.
The Night Before TJPW Live: Mark Hitchcock Memorial SuperShow
In a special showcase on the WrestleCon Mark Hitchcock Memorial SuperShow, TJPW gave fans in attendance a healthy dose of Puroresu L-O-V-E with a 10-Woman Tag match. Hyper Misao, Mizuki, Shoko Nakajima, Yuki Aino & Yuki Kamifuku defeated Hikari Noa, Nao Kakuta, Miu Watanabe, Raku & Rika Tatsumi (14:23). Many of the other roster members without scheduling conflicts went to support their colleagues.
Today, TJPW participated in the WrestleCon Mark Hitchcock Memorial Supershow.
We're very excited that we got to wrestle in front of an amazing US crowd.
Tomorrow, at the Globe Theater again, this time it's our show.
— TJPW 東京女子プロレス (@tjpw2013) March 31, 2023
Pre-TJPW LIVE Verdict: Fans of AEW and new ROH will recognize some of the names and faces, especially TJPW’s Mako Itoh, Yuka Sakazaki, Miyu Yamashita, as well as Billie Starkz, Trish Adora, and Wasteland War Party (Max The Impaler & Heidi Howitzer) who are rapidly rising stars here in the US. When Mania Week was scheduled for Tampa in 2020, the TJPW show was on my bucket list of shows to attend, so I admittedly had a fair bit of FOMO going into this show.
TJPW Quick Picks
- Max The Impaler/Heidi Howitzer vs. Shoko Nakajima/Miu Watanabe
- Maki Itoh/Miyu Yamashita vs. Yuka Sakazaki/Mizuki
- Tag Match: Free WiFi vs Daisy Monkey – Recommended
- Singles Match: The Casual Beauty vs The Kick Demon – Worth a Watch
- Tag Match: Super Heroes are Real – Recommended
- Tag Match: LA Wasteland War Party – Highly Recommended
- International Princess Championship: Champion’s First Defense – Recommended
- Princess Tag Championship Match: Pillars of TJPW Match – Highly Recommended
Tag Match: Free WiFi (Hikari Noa/Nao Kakuta) vs Daisy Monkey (Suzume/Arisu Endo) (11:37)
A great standard TJPW opener with their version of high-speed tag team wrestling. Often Suzume and Arisu find themselves opening, shows but I feel like it isn’t due to their lack of experience. Their speedy response times, keep the audiences looking around to see how face the pacing of the match will actually go. Last year, Hikari was dispatched to Pro-Wrestling EVE in September of last year to challenge Alex Windsor for the International Princess Championship. For Kakuta, Suzume, and Endo, this was all their first trip abroad with TJPW!
Singles Match: Janai Kai defeated Yuki Kamifuku (5:11) – Demon Ish
Earlier this year, Kai headed to Japan for her TJPW debut. While she was over there, she squeezed in a challenge for the International Princess Championship against Miu Watanabe. Kamifuku has been busy globe-trotting across Asia, with a handful of international excursion matches. Prior to becoming a wrestler, KamiYu lived in the United States due to her family relocated there for work when she was a teen. This was a match-up with lots of kick striking.
Tag Match: Hyper Misao/Trish Adora defeated Yuki Aino/Raku (9:16) – Misao pinned Raku
Easily your feel-good, sleeper hit of the show. Hyper Misao took a moment to dub Trish Adora as a fellow superhero, transforming her into Hyper Trish with her own Mask. Yuki Aino and Raku tried their best to foil The Hyper Heroes plans, but Raku singing them a sweet lullaby, so they fall asleep was very short-lived!
Tag Match: Wasteland War Party (Max The Impaler/Heidi Howitzer) defeated Shoko Nakajima/Miu Watanabe (11:51)
If you love a great David and Goliath tale, have I got the epic story for you. Wasteland War Party becoming part of the TJPW lore has been one of the most endearing story arcs in the company. Much like the rare appearances of Aja Kong, Howitzer and Max provide otherworldly challenges for many of the TJPW roster, but who doesn’t love a great kaiju film? Neither Nakajima nor Watanabe would allow WWP to get a squash victory and fought valiantly.
Miu hoisting Heidi Howitzer into her big swing was nothing short of monumental. Max taking a keen interest in Nakajima’s monster tail could lead to a trophy hunt in the future!
International Princess Championship: Rika Tatsumi © defeated Billie Starkz (8:44) – Hip Attack/Pin
The White Dragon, Rika Tatsumi, defeated her own tag partner, Miu Watanabe to become International Princess Champion. Unlike STARDOM’s SWA Championship, the International Princess Championship does not have a mandatory requirement of opponents needing to be of different nationalities. Her relieving her tag partner of the International Princess Championship, advanced Rika into the rarified air of TJPW Grand Slam Champion.
Billie Starkz made her Japan debut late last year before having her own rampage all over the United States. Their match had a solid back-and-forth, and the match was rather quick.
Princess Tag Championship Match: Magical Sugar Rabbits (Yuka Sakazaki/Mizuki) defeated 121000000 (Miyu Yamashita/Maki Itoh) © vs (16:07) – Mizuki pinned Maki Itoh to become the new Princess Tag Champions
This was easily the match-up that draw many new wrestling fans to TJPW. With Itoh, Sakazaki, and Yamashita all having international exposure on AEW as well as working on a variety of international show dates, the main event featured four talents whose names are synonymous with TJPW as four highly decorated singles and tag team champions.
The main event was shorter than I expected, but it wasn’t lacking in the excitement by any stretch of the imagination.I didn’t anticipate the tag championships changing hands so quickly after GRAND PRINCESS, but with Yamashita’s three-month international excursion, it does make sense.
I would like to thank everyone in LA who went to the TJPW show. The audience (at least on the broadcast) seemed supportive of the wrestlers without any inappropriate chants or trying to touch the wrestlers. I loved seeing the streamers and light sticks because it brought it that much closer to the authentic experience in Japan. If there were wrestling fans checking out TJPW for the first time either at the Globe Theatre or via Fite+, I sincerely hope they’ll continue to support TJPW (and not just when they crop up on the independent scene or on AEW/ROH).
Without live Japanese commentary, it was cool to hear that Haruo Murata (freelance combat sports commentator) was able to host a Twitter Space where he provided live commentary FROM LA with DDT’s President Sanshiro Takagi. This was a creative way to provide support to the TJPW audience regulars who were unable to make the trip to LA to watch live.
The only thing I would have preferred to make the show all the better was a blend of the usual TJPW English Commentary members like Chris Brookes, Baliyan Akki, Drew Parker, and/or Shota. I felt like without the voices which are familiar to the TJPW diehard audience, it didn’t feel true to the typical TJPW atmosphere. Additionally, having someone available to provide Japanese language translation as well as greater explanations of the culture, customs, and histories within the scope of TJPW’s Wrestle Universe would have been a great way to loop in new fans. Also, as a female wrestling fan watching a joshi promotion featuring women and non-binary competitors, I would have loved a more diverse English commentary booth. There was a real opportunity here to make progressive strides for Tokyo Joshi (Women’s) Pro-Wrestling.
However, if you are curious about TJPW, I would definitely chase up on this show if you want to check it out. It’s a nice gateway sampler of talent and matches, including international talent who have made their way to Japan. In true TJPW-style, the show closed with the entire roster coming down to the ring to close the show together… yes…INCLUDING Max The Impaler and Heidi Howitzer. With only six matches, this show is likely one of the shorter Mania weekend shows, but it has a magical air all it’s own. If you need some lighthearted, feel-good wrestling, pull up a chair!
What’s Next for TJPW?
After a busy weekend of meet and greets at WrestleCon, the bulk of TJPW will return to Japan with their next show at Ryogoku KFC Hall, followed by the next show with Mizuki’s first Princess of Princess Championship defense.
TJPW SPRING TOUR ’23 (4/8) Ryogoku KFC Hall, Tokyo
- 6-Woman Tag: Mahiro Kiryu, Wakana Uehara & Toga vs. Yuki Aino, Haru Kazashiro, Runa Ohkubo
- Singles Match: Hikari Noa vs. Shino Suzuki
- 3-Way Match: Hyper Misao vs. Raku vs. HIMAWARI
- Tag Match: Yuki Kamifuku & Neko Haruna vs. Suzume & Arisu Endo
- Tag Match: Rika Tatsumi & Miu Watanabe vs. Shoko Nakajima & Kaya Toribami
- Tag Match: Mizuki & Moka Miyamoto vs. Nao Kakuta & Pom Harujuki
- Absent due to international touring commitments: Miyu Yamashita, Maki Itoh & Yuka Sakazaki
STAND ALONE ‘23 (4/15) Korakuen Hall; Full Card TBA
- Tag Match: Shoko Nakajima & Hyper Misao vs. Yuki Arai ＆HIMAWARI
- Princess of Princess Championship: Mizuki © vs. Nao Kakuta – Champion’s First Defense
- Announced: Vert Vixen’s TJPW debut match
UPDATE! Sawyer Wreck Packs her Passport! Wreck will head to Japan to compete in TJPW during Golden Week on 4/29 (Shinagawa), 5/1 (ShinKiba 1st Ring) and 5/5 (Korakuen Hall). Her May 1st appearance will be a death match against The Deathmatch Idol, Hikari Noa and she’ll challenge for the Princess of Princess Championship on May 5th (getting the winner of Mizuki vs. Nao Kakuta from STAND ALONE ’23).
April 2023 Calendar
- TJPW LIVE Spring Tour (4/7) Ryogoku KFC Hall
- STAND ALONE ‘23 (4/14) Korakuen Hall
- CLIMB OVER ‘23 (4/14) Osaka Edion Arena, Gym #2
- Play TJPW 8 (4/23) Ryogoku KFC Hall – Wrestle Universe Members Only
We’ll keep you POSTed on all the upcoming ongoings in Tokyo Joshi Pro-Wrestling, so keep an eye for Dream Slam Monthly and other coverage soon!