We have been witnesses to Miyu Yamashita kicking heads in for nine years.
The Tokyo Joshi Pro-Wrestling star recently celebrated her nine-year anniversary as a wrestler. Early in that timespan, she proved herself to be TJPW’s best. Even as a baby-faced teen, it was clear from the start she was going to be special.
For the bulk of the company’s history, whether she is the top champion or not, she has roosted at the top of the food chain. Yamashita is the ace, the end boss. She is the alpha female TJPW’s wrestlers must defeat to claim any sort of dominion over the promotion.
Credit her imposing aura, her cut-through-steel glare, her vicious and artful kicks. She has long looked and wrestled like TJPW’s grand champion gladiator.
But one has to wonder what’s next for her and how much of that involves TJPW and how much of it happens in some other promotion’s spotlight.
Yamashita was the first Princess of Princess Champion. She has the longest reign in that title history. She’s the only wrestler to win it three times. A hefty portion of TJPW’s greatest matches involve Yamashita. She’s the go-to option for putting together the biggest match possible.
She has owned this company. She has made it a playground for her ruthlessness. We are, though, starting to see Yamashita take her brand of violence elsewhere.
After dropping the Princess of Princess Championship to Shoko Nakajima earlier this year, Yamashita began to venture out of her Tokyo-centered queendom.
In Portland, Yamashita bested Masha Slamovich at a Prestige Wrestling event. The Pink Striker headed to North Carolina where she clashed with joshi freelance star Miyuki Takase at Deadlock Pro Wrestling’s No Pressure. And most visibly, Yamashita marched into AEW in search of a victory over Thunder Rosa. A win over Rosa in Japan earned The Forever Ace a crack at the AEW Women’s Championship.
There’s no doubt that these were not Yamashita’s last stops abroad. Her greatness is too big to exist in TJPW alone. Whether it’s AEW, the American indies or the European scene, Yamashita promises to bring her overwhelming kicks beyond the Japanese borders.
It’s hard to imagine a TJPW without her, but it’s equally difficult to foresee a future where she is not traveling the globe, a coveted talent by bookers everywhere.
I recently had the chance to ask Yamashita several questions. With a translation assist from the TJPW office, she talked to me about wrestling in America, teaming with her rival Maki Itoh, and the recipe for a great kick.
Q: What is the secret to a great kick?
Yamashita: Look carefully at what you’re kicking and go for it. Also, lots of practice.
Q: What is the biggest difference in your wrestling ability comparing your rookie year to now?
Yamashita: My ability hasn’t changed much. But if I have to say something in particular, I don’t have to dance in my entrance anymore (laughs)
Q: Which of the younger rising stars do you think has the best chance to be the next ace of TJPW?
Yamashita: It very difficult to say as they’re all growing in their own directions. I hope they gain lots of experience and find out their own style instead of worrying about the title Ace.
Q: What’s it like to team with Maki Itoh?
Yamashita: Itoh gives me lots of excitement as a partner and as a rival. Our match against NEO Bi-Ishiki Gun on June 17th, 2021, was one we lost but I enjoyed it a lot. As for singles, it’ll be January 4th, 2021, Korakuen. It was a match that could only have been made against such an opponent like Itoh.
Q: After being so dominant for so long and winning the Princess of Princess Championship three times, what’s left for you to accomplish?
Yamashita: Winning the TJPW [Tokyo Princess Cup] Tournament. I’d love to wrestle overseas and America too. And to win their title belt.
Q: How much do you plan on wrestling outside of Japan moving forward? Do you feel pressure to be an ambassador abroad for TJPW and for joshi wrestling?
Yamashita: To be able to wrestle at many places and go against many wrestlers is my first goal. I don’t really think of myself as an ambassador, but I want to show my style to the world.