January 4th, 2023 is a date that revolves around history. On January 30th, 2013, Tokyo Joshi Pro Wrestling held its first public practice in Akihabara Twin Box in front of about 150 fans and no ring. After some musical performances, Chikage Kiba had a sambo exhibition with referee Daisuke Kiso, and Miyu Yamashita defeated KANNA in 3:46.
Soon after, Shoko Nakajima, Yuka Sakazaki, and Rika Tatsumi joined, and the promotion was alive and well. On January 4th, 2016, their first Korakuen Hall show saw the main event of Yamashita vs Nakajima to crown the first Princess of Princess champion.
With an Ittenyon card every year at Korakuen, the company has continued to grow its reach all around the world. Entering its 10th anniversary year in 2023, TJPW January 4th 2023, is looking to make some history as it marches onward.
TJPW January 4th 2023 –
Yuki Aino vs Himawari
Himawari is making her debut after a couple of appearances for ActWresGirl’z last year and making the leap to train under the ToJo Dojo. The rookie, clad in yellow and checkerboard patterns, brought a ton of energy early like some kind of crazy taxi.
She kept it basic with dropdowns and dropkicks, but seemed to run out of steam at just over 5 minutes into the match. Aino, the 5 year veteran, took the victory and showed some encouragement to the debutante, welcoming her to the TJPW family.
Moka Miyamoto and Juria Nagano vs Wakana Uehara and Arisu Endo
Wakana Uehara made her debut after competing in the Dream on the Ring project, held by TJPW in order to find their next trainee from the entertainment world. She teams with Arisu Endo, who is celebrating her own two-year anniversary on this date but is already one of the fastest-rising stars on the roster. Wakana opened the bout getting beat up by the karate girls, last year’s rookie sensation Juria Nagano and the three-year veteran of the match Moka Miyamoto.
The four up-and-comers were determined to show off their talents to the packed Korakuen Hall crowd. Arisu shined with her speed and agility. Juria displayed great striking. Wakana showed a willingness to join the youth race, full throttle, no matter if that meant landing hard on her face. Moka proved her experience by tapping out TJPW’s newest rookie.
Mahiro Kiryu, Nao Kakuta, Kaya Toribami vs Haruna Neko, Raku, Pom Harajuku
Sometimes you’ve got to get everyone on the show. The cat Haruna Neko, the God of Sleep Raku, and the loud Pom Harajuku took control early through Pom yelling the other team into submission and Raku singing them to sleep for the Goodnight Express.
The mostly normal team of two women, Mahiro Kiryu and Nao Kakuta, plus bird Kaya Toribami fought back. Kakuta scored the pinfall over Neko. If TJPW is good at one thing, it’s great comedic timing.
Shoko Nakajima vs Hyper Misao
For the fourth year in a row, TJPW’s superhero Hyper Misao and the 147 cm Kaiju Shoko Nakajima battled in a ridiculous match for no other reason than to celebrate the new calendar, the year of the Rabbit. Three plush bunnies were suspended over the ring, but only one would bring victory.
The wrong ones brought rule changes. It started as a ladder match, with Shoko retrieving one of the decoys. That added to the match lumberjack rules which brought out four other girls: Kiryu, Arisu, Himawari, and Aino in bunny ears and plastic hammers.
Shoko was soon mobbed on the outside, but when Misao tried to disguise herself as a lumberjack, she too was attacked. When Misao retrieved a decoy, weapons were introduced; namely Shoko’s kaiju toybox. The lumberjacks continued to do their job. The combatants jousted with scooter and bicycle.
Mechagodzilla got involved. They both climbed the ladder and retrieved the correct plushie, declaring them both the winner. Perhaps in 2023 everyone will win. Or everyone will lose. The bunny lumberjacks then chased off Shoko and Misao to the back.
Mizuki vs Maki Itoh vs Rika Tatsumi vs Yuki Kamifuku vs Hikari Noa vs Suzume
The battle to crown a number 1 contender for the Princess of Princess title featured 6 of the top stars trying to break into heaven. The battle royale started with deathmatch idol Hikari Noa and GCW alum Maki Itoh. The two rivals grappled back and forth. The third entrant was the Casual Beauty Yuki Kamifuku who hit the ring with eye pokes. The fourth entrant was Rika Tatsumi. Hikari was knocked off the top turnbuckle by a dropkick from Kamiyu.
Mizuki entered as the fifth entrant. Alliances were made and broken in an instant. Maki eliminated her own best friend Kamiyu by pulling down the top rope. Suzume entered as the final entrant. After Rika attempted multiple strangulations, she was pinned by the other three all at once. Maki submitted Suzume, leaving her to face off against her old partner Mizuki as the final two.
They reignited their storied rivalry for one hell of a sprint, going for big move after big move. Their passion was something out of their match of the year from 2021. Mizuki pinned her old friend with the Cutie Special, starting off the Year of the Rabbit strong. The Popping Sugar Rabbit is number 1 contender to TJPW’s top title.
Miu Watanabe vs Trish Adora
After a career-making run last year, Miu Watanabe has taken on the International Princess title and invited all challengers from around the world as per the belt’s purpose. The Afro Punk Trish Adora made her debut in Japan and TJPW to take on the 120% energetic champion. Trish brought her own brand of American strength, taking advantage early over the pink powerhouse. Miu had her arm worked over, trying to power through the pain and anguish.
Trish punished the champion through innovative submissions and an impressive german suplex from her knees. Miu countered by swinging the challenger like a backpack on her own shoulders before hitting the proper giant swing on the larger opponent.
For all of her muscles, she is really great at showing the struggle in every thing she does. Trish Adora had a great first showing, but a flurry of offense late delivered the victory to the champion for her second defense.
Yuki Arai and Saki Akai vs. Max the Impaler and Heidi Howitzer
In the semi-main, the Wasteland War Party of Max the Impaler and Heidi Howitzer challenged Reiwa AA Cannon for the Princess Tag Team belts. Yuki Arai and Saki Akai have held the titles since July, with three solid defenses to their name.
The frightening foreigners attacked the champions before the bell and beat them down on the outside. Akai tagged out early, leaving the young Arai to try her luck against the dangerous duo.
Akai tagged in to turn the tide a little bit, but the chaotic challengers took back control. Max’s strength was impressive, yet Akai used her veteran savvy to stay alive. Reiwa AA Cannon used zombie rules and aimed for the head. But like any terrifying monster, they weren’t put down that easy.
Arai was brutalized and pinned to make the Wasteland War Party the new tag team champions. With that dominant a performance, who in TJPW could possibly dethrone them? Who doesn’t fear Max the Impaler?
Yuka Sakazaki vs Miyu Yamashita
The main event saw the two most powerful entities in TJPW do battle once more. They reversed and countered each other until a kick right to the face sent Miyu Yamashita to the outside to regroup. The challenger then banged her head on the floor, tumbling over the top rope, leading Yuka Sakazaki to follow up and hit a brainbuster on the mats.
Spicing up their 10-year rivalry, they simply decided to kill each other. Dangerous spots that had English commentary go quiet kicks to the head that had commentary screaming, and even a disgusting thunk of a headbutt on the top turnbuckle.
Nothing much more to say other than 15 minutes of glorious violence and the absolute best of the promotion, leaving it all on the dancefloor. And at the rate that they destroyed each other in this match, they might not be dancing at this perfect level much longer.
TJPW January 4th 2023 – Conclusion
Yuka Sakazaki retained the Princess of Princess Championship in her second defense in an early Match of the Year contender. As murder-Yuka stood in the ring, her mood soon shifted to tears and laughter when her close friend joined her, the number 1 contender Mizuki. They will be facing off at Grand Princess in March, a rematch of their 2020 TJPW MOTY. And they’ve only gotten better since then.
The January 4th card was a good showcase of the variety Tokyo Joshi Pro Wrestling has to offer. A number of trainees and debuts to join a thriving youth movement. Comedy gimmicks. Wacky matches. Zany personalities. A passionate, emotional sequence between former friends Maki Itoh and Mizuki.
A great psychological title bout between Miu Watanabe and Trish Adora. An intriguing upset. And a phenomenal main event of pure violence that must be seen to be believed. As TJPW heads towards more big shows in Japan and their American debut during Mania weekend, the Year of the Rabbit looks to be bright.