Reintroducing myself to wrestling was easier than what meets the eye.
Starting small from the story of the ‘Golden Lovers’ all the way to being one of the earliest fans of an up and coming promotion known as ‘AEW’.
The possibilities in the wrestling industry are endless.
In terms of my introduction to Tokyo Joshi Pro (TJPW) was through streamed watchalongs in a wrestling discord server.
Overtime I looked through the WrestleUniverse site of previous matches throughout the years.
Learning about the fan favourites and even gathered my own.
Making me realise one thing; This is what I was missing from other forms of wrestling.
Now near the end of their annual ‘Princess Cup’ tournament, it is time for people to be latching onto TJPW
And also share the joy that they’ve been spreading.
For anyone who wants to know more about the current roster of 2020 there is a short thread linked below:
With all of this in mind let’s get right into it!
Diverse Character Styles
Every wrestling company, whether written for them or created by them, has a range of character styles from face value alone.
However when it comes to TJPW their character work is nothing short of unique and yet true to their overall character as a promotion.
From the ‘Strong Style’ of Miyu Yamashita, Yuki Aino and Mirai Maiumi.
To the ‘Out of the Box’ styles of Shoko Nakajima,Harajuku Pom and Himawari Unagi.
However there are two that those outside of the Joshi circle would recognise whether physically through other programmes or social media.
Yuka Sakazaki can be drawn to audiences from colourful appearances alone.
However her presence doesn’t stop at attire or themes.
It’s the pure face exterior and heel interior of her character that sticks out, especially when up against the likes of Hyper Misao.
But she is well loved, even through the most heelest of moments, exactly like our next character.
Now everybody knows who Maki Itoh is from social media presence alone.
Her twitter is the definite home of ‘SIMP’ culture and her content of vulgar english is one that even the most casual of fans find interesting.
But Itoh as a wrestler is definitely where her character shines.
In the beginning days of her career she was nothing more than an idol wanting to wrestle for the sake of promotion.
Meanwhile lazily getting by and having an attitude like no other.
Now four years into her career she has not only created the most daring tag team with DDT’s Chris Brookes under her ‘Itoh Respect Army’.
But Itoh has also slowly proving herself to be worthy of winning the ‘Princess Cup’ Tournament for this year.
Although an international fan, I feel the energy of wanting to be a part of the show radiate through the computer screen.
From the warm introductions of the MC Nanba.
To the musical stylings of the Up Up Girls.
All the way to the closing where it doesn’t matter who closes the show it always ends on a high note.
Beyond the physical shows within the recent times of COVID-19 allowed promotions to expand their horizons in audiences/wrestler communication.
So the introduction of ‘video style’ meet and greets allowed those who wished to have that experience can still continue to have it without restrictions in the way.
In smaller detail especially to fans living in Japan, TJPW is also known for their ‘fan only’ catered events with more of an intimate experience of wrestling.
As well as ‘women’s only’ events (known in other promotions) to mainly catered and filled only with female audience members.
Storytelling in wrestling is hard to comeby, especially in promotions where the main goal would be to have more of a ‘positive’ experience rather than ‘negative’.
However when it comes to TJPW their stories, especially in the long term, have been ones that immediately captured me without any knowledge of wrestlers prior.
This is best exemplified in the tragic and yet dramatic tale of Sakisama and Misao within their time as Neo-B.
Without giving too much of the story away the unique gift of turning heel and becoming someone completely different has been done throughout all promotions.
But what makes their story different to those previous and present is the connection between the two.
The pure ‘lust’ like relationship rooted within wanting to prove others (wrestlers and fans alike) wrong.
Also, how it took a conflict of heart and mind plus one final singles match between the two in 2019, to really mark the story at its end.
This story and plenty of others, subtle or not, are what make this promotion worthy of a continuous following.
You can catch up on TJPW through; https://www.ddtpro.com/ (you do need a membership)
Or through Youtube; https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQPAIKyGyLCBnbvdwG0j6BQ