Wresting is supposed to be fun, wrestling is supposed to be entertaining, wrestling is supposed to a form of escapism. Something that you can put on and take your mind off of your problems for an hour or two. Wrestling is at its best when it can do all of those things for you.
I only follow two promotions where I watch every single show. One being Pro Wrestling NOAH (which I started watching regularly in 2019), and the other being Tokyo Joshi Pro Wrestling (which I started in 2020 and regularly in 2021).
Tokyo Joshi has quickly become something that I look forward to when they release a new show or live stream one. Something that is becoming a fixture of my week. Something I enjoy. I always have fun with every single show. Be that a smaller show or one of their bigger one. I usually always have a smile on my face most of the show.
Today I want to talk to you about why I love Tokyo Joshi Pro Wrestling.
What is Tokyo Joshi Pro Wrestling?
Before I talk about why I love TJPW(Tokyo Joshi Pro Wrestling) let’s find out what TJPW is.
Tokyo Joshi Pro is an all woman’s promotion based in Japan. TJPW was established in 2013. To begin with, they only had a few roster members (their first event had 3 and a referee had to wrestle). They wrestled on mats and in smaller venues.
Over the years Tokyo Joshi Pro has grown substantially. They now have one of the largest if not the largest roster in the Joshi scene. They can run Korakuen Hall multiple times a year. TJPW had their biggest show in history last year. Wrestle Princess was held at Tokyo Dome City Hall.
Tokyo Joshi Pro are known for their colourful characters. While the characters may be the biggest selling point they do have a sneakily good roster with some of their main stars being some of the best in the world.
With that out of the way let me give you reasons why I love Tokyo Joshi Pro Wrestling.
Atmosphere at Tokyo Joshi Pro Wrestling Shows
When you click on a TJPW show for the first time you might not know what to expect. Especially if you are coming from maybe western wrestling or another Joshi Company like Stardom (like I was).
Right from the get-go you get Sayuri Namba TJPW’s ring announcer reading out the match card and rules, regulation etc.
Then the Up Up Girls, TJPW’s resident idol group usually get the show started with a song (sometimes two). This gets the crowd energized and ready for the show ahead. They (usually Miu Watanabe) give us the start call and we are away.
The typical TJPW show is filled with fun moments and some good matches. The constant between them all is the atmosphere. The atmosphere is one of fun and almost cheerfulness.
And the shows never end on a bad note. No matter what happens or whoever closes the show it ends on a happy note.
Tokyo Joshi is a Japanese company. Me I don’t speak Japanese at all. So it may seem like it would be hard for me to follow the stories. There are two reasons why I can follow. One is the DDT/TJPW English updates which gives us translated in-ring and backstage promos(which usually goes up on youtube) and stuff like that.
The other reason is that TJPW’s stories aren’t overly complex. So you can follow without too much confusion. In a world where some companies want to give us overly complex soap-opera esque, Tokyo Joshi keeps it simple. If I wanted those soap opera stories I would go and watch a soap program like Eastenders.
These simple stories are great for me. Not saying I can’t comprehend those over the top dramatic stories. That’s just not what I want in my wrestling. Wrestlers use their bodies to tell a story. I don’t need multiple backstage segments to show me the story.
Simple but effective
Something simple like “we are former tag partners. You are now the champ so I want to surpass you and take the championship”. This was one of the more recent stories going on. itis was between Miu Watanabe and Rika Tatsumi. Tatsumi won the Princess of Princess Championship (TJPW’s top championship). Watanabe is Tatsumi’s first championship defence.
This simple story has me invested. In the preview matches, they played on Tatsumi avoiding Watanabes big moves. Until the last preview match where Watanabe was finally able to hit her finisher on Tatsumi.
Simple storytelling is what I like in my wrestling and Tokyo Joshi Pro are great at it. providing small details in the preview matches that will feed into the big match. This simple storytelling means that you can pick up and understand the story without prior knowledge
Simple but effective storytelling is what I want. Tokyo Joshi provides that in buckets.
Roster and Characters
Everyone has a few wrestlers in their favourite companies that they want to do well. They also have people that they are indifferent about.
For me, I want everyone in TJPW to do well. Every single person on that roster does their hardest and best. That may be the bare minimum for some fans, but I appreciate how much they work to get better. Most of the roster doesn’t come from a wrestling background. Most of the early roster were idols. Recently some of their rookies have been from sporting backgrounds. Take Moka Miyamoto, one of the most recent rookies. She has a black belt in Karate. So it’s not just idols, former idols, models etc, that come through Tokyo Joshi’s door any more.
While idol’s and wrestlers have the same premise. Both aim to entertain the fans. Both have very different ways to achieve that. Some may find it hard to adjust to that. So the ones that do stay and make it train hard to adjust.
While TJPW’s roster might not be the most polished, experienced or amazing inside the ring. And that is a complaint that people have. That the undercard isn’t as good as Stardom’s, Ice Ribbons etc. I get that. Tokyo Joshi’s in-ring action and style might not be for everyone. You might not get any hidden gems in the middle of the card in the traditional sense.
It’s dependent on what you like.
I loved Nodoka Tenma vs Hyper Misao from the January 31st show. And some people didn’t. It’s all down to preference.
Tokyo Joshi provides so many different types of styles and that type of variety is great to have.
Whether it be Hyper Misao bringing the comedy shenanigans to Miyu Yamashita providing some heavy kicks and strikes to some poor opponent. Mizuki, Yuka Sakazaki and Shoko Nakajima bringing the fast-paced action.
Yuki Aino, Nodoka Tenma and Mirai Maiumi being powerhouses.
There is something for everyone.
What makes TJPW’s roster so special to me anyway is their ability to reel you in. get you invested in their story, character and matches.
Originally Tokyo Joshi was my “fun promotion”. Something I would put on, turn my brain off and just watch. Not thinking too much about anything. Not over-analyzing and nitpicking everything. Something just for fun. But as I continued to watch and get attached to the characters I found myself just having fun but feeling attached and invested to the characters that the company has to offer.
Whether it’s a hero that doesn’t act like one once the bell rings, a magical girl, a fallen idol that says swear and dirty words on her Twitter. A cat or the stoneface badass serious ace. There is a character for everyone in Tokyo Joshi. No matter what wrestling you like.
It’s hard not to get emotionally invested when the wrestlers are doing their best and at the big moments, you get to see how much it means to them. When they let their emotions flow, whether it be happiness, anger, shock or pride after a big win.
Example of emotional investment
For example, I got invested in the BAKURETSU Sisters. The team of the real-life sisters Nodoka Tenma and Yuki Aino. Two wrestlers that are different to most on the roster. Tenma is a 4’9 powerhouse. Aino is similar to Tenma as well although she is a little more well rounded in terms of moveset.
Since they started teaming together in 2018 the Princess Tag Team title had been something that had always eluded them. They had challenged on 3 occasions. Losing all 3.
TJPW had announced their biggest show ever, Wrestle Princess. All the championships would be on the line. There would be a #1 contenders match to determine who would face the tag champions. The sisters managed to pull off the win. They would face DayDream at Wrestle Princess.
The match at Wrestle Princess
The BAKURETSU sisters head into the biggest show in the company’s history. The stage couldn’t be bigger. The sisters fight with all they got in an emotionally charged match. In the end, Yuki Aino manages to pin Miu Watanabe to finally win the Princess Tag Team Championships on the fourth attempt. Aino looks to the sky and when she realizes they have won, emotion overcomes her. The sisters embrace and stand with their arms raised and the belts around their waist.
Now to some, it’s a good tag match. To me, it’s one of my favourite matches in TJPW history. One of my favourites because I got to see two people that I invested in win something big. The finishing stretch works so great. My favourite part is when Watanabe hits Aino with her finisher only for Tenma to make the save. Tenma gets attacked by Tatsumi and DayDream sets up for their finisher. Aino desperately grabs on to Tatsumi’s leg. Aino holds this just long enough for Tenma to break free and take out Watanabe with a fallaway slam. Then Tenma reverses Tatsumi’s hip attack into her finisher the killswitch.
That one desperate act from Aino turned out to be the turning point. Cause just a few minutes later Aino had pinned Watanabe to win the match and the championship. And the next part of the BAKURETSU Sisters story began.
Wrestling is at its best when the people that you emotionally invest in win big and achieve their goals.
A promotion that at first i was hesitant to watch at first because i was coming over from stardom and it was nothing like that. Now it’s a promotion where i watch every single show and wouldn’t miss one for the world
So when you add the cheerful atmosphere, the simple but effective storytelling and the roster that can pull you in and cause emotional attachment you have why I love Tokyo Joshi Pro Wrestling.