Event: Stardom “Best Of The Goddesses 2017”
Date: November 19th, 2017
Location: Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan
Announced Attendance: 915
It is that time of the month again that Stardom has aired on Samurai TV and we catch up on what they are up to. While I don’t currently have the time/desire to watch all of Stardom’s smaller events, they really do their best to stack their Korakuen Hall shows. This one is a bit more iffy because the current crop of Gaijins are a bit more iffy, but there are still some big matches. Plus, this will be my first time seeing Sumire Natsu since she started in Stardom, I wasn’t ever really impressed with her in WAVE but in a new promotion and with a new attitude anything can happen. Here is the full card:
Since I am watching the Samurai TV version, I assume the undercard will be mercifully clipped. Per usual, all wrestlers above have a profile on Joshi City, you can click on their names above to go straight to it.
Hanan vs. Ruaka
In traditional Stardom fashion, we begin with a rookie battle. Hanan and Ruaka are both 13 years old, they have different skill sets and could develop into quality wrestlers one day, but we are still a few years away from knowing. Hanan in particular has shown some promise, so we’ll see if she continues to grow.
They lock right up to start, trading holds and elbows until Ruaka hits a reverse STO. Ruaka goes off the ropes but Hanan does too and cradles her for a two count, charging STO by Hanan but that gets a two count as well. Big Boot by Ruaka and a second one, she hits the Fisherman Suplex Hold and picks up the three count! Ruaka wins!
This was only a four minute or so match but was clipped in half from that, probably just highlighting the bigger moves in the match. Sometimes these two can have some awkward moments but none here, so either they were clipped out or they are improving. Just a standard Stardom rookie match, nothing particularly memorable was shown.
Kyona, Yoneyama, and Natsuko Tora vs. Konami, Shiki Shibusawa, and Starlight Kid
It makes me a bit sad that Kyona and Konami are so low on the card, but since they don’t have any current storylines this is where they end up until they get one. Kyona is leading her Team Jungle faction, while Konami is teaming with the rookie Shiki and the child Starlight Kid. Doesn’t seem like very even teams so I think we can assume that Team Jungle won’t have too much trouble.
We join the match very much in progress, with Natsuko and Shiki getting hot tags to become the legal wrestler. Natsuko and Shiki trade elbows, face crusher by Shiki and she puts Natsuko in a headscissors armbar. It quickly gets broken up but all six wrestlers end up in the ring, Team Jungle throws their opponents into each other before hitting body avalanches. Kyona, Kaori, and Natsuko go up top but all three are knocked off before they can jump, leaving Natsuko isolated in the ring. Natsuko is triple teamed in the corner, cover by Shiki but it gets a two count. Shiki gets on the second turnbuckle and hits a missile dropkick, she goes all the way up the next time but Natsuko avoids the second missile dropkick. Running knee by Natsuko, but Shiki gets her shoulder up on the cover. Natsuko picks up Shiki but Shiki sneaks in an inside cradle for two, Konami comes in to help and Shiki cradles Natsuko for another two count. Kaori and Kyona come in and clear the ring, Kaori hits a diving senton with Kyona following with a diving body press off the second turnbuckle. Natsuko then hits a diving body press off the top turnbuckle, and she covers Shiki for the three count. Team Jungle is victorious.
Even in heavily clipped form, they had some minor communication issues. Shiki isn’t very smooth and probably never will be, I see her more likely going the Hiromi Mimura route than ever elevating all the way up the card. Not enough shown to really give an opinion on, but I did like how Team Jungle worked together.
Kris Wolf vs. Momo Watanabe
After a long layoff due to injury, Momo Watanabe returned for her first match on November 4th and immediately continued her feud with Oedo Tai. Kris defeated Momo on that day due to shenanigans, so here Momo is looking for revenge. Kris Wolf is generally fun loving but all business once the bell rings, and she’ll be a good test for Momo to see if she has gotten back into form.
Momo dropkicks Kris right as the match starts, Momo stomps on Kris and whips her down by the arm. Irish whip by Momo but Kris springboards away and avoids her dropkick. They trade armdrags before reaching a stalemate, Momo asks for a handshake but Kris won’t return the gesture so they go back to trading holds. Snapmare by Momo and she kicks Kris repeatedly in the back, Tam gets on the apron but Kris knocks her back to the floor by accident. Momo kicks Kris in the back but Kris avoids her next kick and hits a dragon screw. Crab hold by Kris but Momo gets out of it and kicks her in the chest, more kicks by Momo but Kris gets back in control. Kris puts Momo against the ropes but Momo avoids her charge, Momo runs at Kris but Kris catches her leg on the second rope and kicks it. Kris goes for a running kick but Momo ducks it, vertical suplex by Momo but it gets a two count. Enzuigiri by Kris and she hits a suplex, but Momo kicks out of the cover. Kris goes up top but Momo dropkicks the top rope to send her back to the mat, Somato by Momo but Kris rolls through it for a two count. Kris goes off the ropes but Momo dropkicks her, Mom charges Kris in the corner but Kris moves out of the way. Momo jumps up to the second turnbuckle and hits a missile dropkick, diving Somato by Momo and she picks up the three count! Momo Watanabe is your winner.
Momo’s injury last January came at the worst time for her, as she was finally hitting her stride and putting everything together. She looked a little rusty here, some shaky transitions, but I’m sure she’ll get back into it once she gets a few more matches in. The “high speed” sections Kris does so well weren’t too high speed in this case, but they worked together well and have good chemistry. Kris is fun to watch and it was an important win for Momo so she can continue moving up the card like she was late last year. A good match with solid action, but I expect to see more from Momo shortly. Mildly Recommended
AZM and HZK vs. Chardonnay and Scarlett
Chardonnay and Scarlett have been touring with Stardom since October, they were a tag team in the Goddesses of Stardom Tag League and in the tournament had a win over the Queen’s Quest team of Io Shirai and HZK. So there is some backstory for the match. AZM and HZK are the junior members of Queen’s Quest, both still trying to work their way up the card. A win against the Gaijin team would be a good place to start.
Scarlett and HZK start the match but AZM comes in to take HZK’s place, AZM kicks Scarlett while she is dancing and goes off the ropes before hitting a hurricanrana. AZM poses to the crowd but Scarlett attacks her from behind, hip toss by Scarlett and she hits a scoop slam followed by a senton for a two count. Scarlett goes off the ropes but AZM trips her, HZK runs in and she dropkicks Scarlett in the head. AZM tags in HZK, bootscrapes by HZK but Scarlett recovers and the two trade elbows. Scarlett gets the better of the exchange and she hits HZK some hip attacks, cover by Scarlett but it gets two. Snapmare by Scarlett and she knees HZK in the back of the head, but that gets a two count as well. Scarlett finally tags in Chardonnay, Chardonnay rams HZK into Scarlett’s and hits a lariat followed by a dropkick. Body avalanche by Scarlett in the corner and Chardonnay hits one as well, hip attack by Scarlett and they both suplex HZK. Chardonnay goes off the ropes and boots HZK, but HZK responds with a pump kick and makes the hot tag to AZM. AZM dropkicks Chardonnay and Scarlett, hanging armbar by AZM and she schoolboys Chardonnay for a two count. AZM goes off the ropes and applies a tilt-a-whirl schoolboy, but she gets another two. Chardonnay catches AZM and hits a backbreaker, double underhook suplex by Chardonnay and she covers AZM, but HZK breaks it up. Scarlett comes in and hits a modified brainbuster onto HZK, scissors kick by Chardonnay to AZM but AZM gets a shoulder up. Chardonnay picks up AZM and puts her on the top turnbuckle, London Tower by Chardonnay and she picks up the three count! Chardonnay and Scarlett win!
I will say that this was better than I was expecting. That’s not to say it was great, the wrestler quality was going to be a bit of a blockade, but they worked well within their limitations and there weren’t any noticeable miscommunications. Chardonnay and Scarlett have a fair amount of ass-based offense and controlled the action, but HZK and AZM’s comebacks were well done and the match flowed along without any hiccups. I wouldn’t say it was a good match necessarily, but it was definitely watchable.
Hiromi Mimura vs. Sumire Natsu
Oh boy. Sumire Natsu joined up with Oedo Tai last month, as the faction has gone in some ways more towards comedy as Sumire has not been fully accepted by all the other members as she is a bit of a showboat. Plus Sumire is more style than substance, which we know from watching her in Pro Wrestling WAVE. Hiromi is also more of a character than anything else, as her in-ring ability is average at best. But she does have a charming personality and the crowd likes her. Without a quality ‘worker’ I am not sure what direction this match will go, besides giving Sumire an easy win as a new active wrestler in the promotion.
Sumire beats down Hiromi to start but Hiromi dropkicks her back, sending her out of the ring. Hiromi goes out after her and gets up on the stage, but Sumire elbows her as she comes back to the floor. Sumire throws Hiromi back on the stage but she talks too much, giving Hiromi a chance to recover and hit a diving crossbody. Back to the ring, Sumire takes back over and even gets a chance to drink some water in the ring before drooling it onto Hiromi’s face. Bronco Buster by Sumire and she elbows Hiromi, but Hiromi keeps getting back up. Knee by Sumire and she boots Hiromi in the head, but Hiromi delivers a DDT. Acid Drop by Hiromi and she dropkicks Sumire, covering her for a two count. A La Magistral by Hiromi also gets two, she goes up top but Sumire avoids her diving crossbody. Hiromi cradles Sumire and they trade flash pins, with Tam providing some assistance from ringside. Tam elbows Hiromi, cover by Sumire with her feet on the ropes, but the referee notices. Bodyscissors roll-up by Hiromi for two, boot by Sumire and she hits a bridging suplex. Shining Wizard by Sumire, she picks up Hiromi and delivers a capture DDT for the three count! Sumire Natsu is the winner.
This wasn’t totally bad which is about as positive as I can be. The beginning of the match was weird and didn’t get them off to the best start, and Sumire is far from convincing in the dominate heel role which was the middle portion of the match. Hiromi certainly tried her best in the underdog role and she is pretty good at it, it just would have worked better against a true “monster” and not a wrestler just trying to be one. The ending helped put over Sumire as a wrestler to be reckoned with, which was the true point of the match anyway. About as good as it could have been but still not a particularly well structured match.
(c) Hana Kimura and Kagetsu vs. Bea Priestley and Kelly Klein
Goddesses of Stardom Championship
We really need this match to deliver, but I think it will. Bea and Kelly won the Goddesses of Stardom Tag League which earned them a title shot, they are the top Gaijin wrestlers on the tour. Hana and Kagetsu defeated Hiroyo Matsumoto and Jungle Kyona for the tag team championship on June 21st, 2017 and this is their third defense of the belts. Oedo Tai is definitely on the upswing in Stardom right now, but Bea and Kelly are looking to impress so they can increase their chances of being invited back on future tours.
Kelly and Bea attack before the bell rings but they both eat a dropkick for their trouble, Kelly and Bea throw their opponents into each other before Kelly press slams Hana out of the ring (well on the apron). Kelly then tosses Kagetsu out of the ring as well, Bea manages to get herself to the apron and hits a cannonball down to the floor. Back in the ring, Kagetsu is double teamed, Bea stays in as the legal wrestler and she covers Kagetsu for two. She tags in Kelly but Hana blind tags herself in, which Kelly doesn’t see as she hits a Northern Lights Suplex on Kagetsu. Hana sneaks in and schoolboys Kelly for two, Hana and Kelly go back and forth until Hana rolls up Kelly and tags in Kagetsu. Kagetsu comes in the ring with a diving footstomp, punches by Kagetsu in the corner and Hana comes in to distract the referee while Kris and Tam help by kicking Kelly. Kagetsu wraps up Kelly in a submission but Kelly gets a foot on the ropes, Kelly is put between the ropes and all of Oedo Tai pose around her. Kagetsu tags Hana back in, vertical suplex by Hana and she covers Kelly for a two count. Hana gets on the second turnbuckle but Kelly avoids her dive and hits a Samoan Drop for two. Hana spits I assume water into Kelly’s face, although she drank no water so many she just blew on her, and she knees Hana in the corner.
Kelly quickly regains the advantage and with Bea they kick Hana in the corner, slingshot splash by Kelly and she makes the tag to Bea while Kagetsu is tagged in as well. Bea goes for a suplex but Kagetsu blocks it, Hana runs in but she dropkicks Kagetsu by mistake. Kelly elbows Kagetsu, cyclone suplex by Bea but Hana breaks up the cover. Kelly returns and hits a fallaway slam, PK by Bea to Kagetsu but Kagetsu barely kicks out. Kagetsu fights back and trades elbows with Bea, side suplex by Kagetsu but Kagetsu springs up and hits a kick combination. Ebisu Drop by Kagetsu but Bea reverses the cover into a pin attempt of her own for two. Sunset flip with a jackknife by Kagetsu, but Kelly breaks it up. Kelly elbows Kagetsu but Tam hits her from the apron and Hana boots her in the face. Hana picks up Bea and feeds her to Kagetsu on the second turnbuckle, and Kagetsu hits an avalanche powerbomb for two. Kagetsu and Hana both hit running boots to Bea, Ebisu Drop by Kagetsu and she nails the Oedo Coaster for the three count! Hana Kimura and Kagetsu are still the champions!
I saw some love for this match online, and maybe the Samurai TV clipping didn’t do it any favors but this never went past just “good” for me. Kelly and Bea have some ability for sure but some sections of this match didn’t look very smooth. I also really didn’t like Kagetsu randomly no-selling the suplex, which Bea had been building up to, with really no return to the no-sell. In the ‘old days’, two wrestlers would no-sell each others moves and then collapse to the mat, I like that type of thing but when a wrestler just no-sells a move and stays in control it just comes across to me as a really lazy transition. On the plus side, Kagetsu was otherwise fantastic and helped tie the match together, and Bea was impressive on the Gaijin team. More good than bad as the match was generally exciting, it just wasn’t without its faults. Mildly Recommended
(c) Yoko Bito vs. Io Shirai
Wonder of Stardom Championship
With Kairi Hojo leaving the promotion and Io Shirai taking some time off in the summer, Yoko Bito took the opportunity to step up. Bito defeated Mayu Iwatani for the championship on September 23rd, and this is her third defense of the belt with a win over Jungle Kyona and a draw against Takumi Iroha. Io Shirai needs no introduction – she is the true Ace of Stardom as the duration of all her title reigns combined in the promotion is over seven years
. Which is longer than the promotion has even existed. But Io has no belt coming into the match which is unlike her, so tonight she looks to change that.
They take it to the mat after a brief feeling out process, Bito gets Io up while locking in a headlock before snapping her to the mat and kicking Io in the back. Io returns to her feet but Bito does it again, PK by Bito and she covers Io for two. Bito kicks at Io but Io backflips away from her and hits a dropkick, sending Bito out of the ring. Io dives out onto her with a plancha suicida, she briefly returns to the ring before sliding back out to kick Bito and toss her into the crowd. Io removes the mat off the floor and goes for a suplex, but Bito blocks it and kicks her in the head. Bito grabs Io and delivers the B Driver on the bare floor, the referee tends to Io while Bito gets back into the ring. Io manages to beat the 20 count, Bito puts her in the ropes and chops Io repeatedly in the chest before dropkicking her in the upper leg for a two count. Bito throws Io into the corner and kicks her in the chest, running knee by Bito but Io dropkicks Bito in the knee in return. Io picks up Bito but Bito elbows her in the head, she goes off the ropes but Io elbows her back and dropkicks her in the head for a two count. Io charges Bito but Bito boots her in the chest, she goes for the B Driver but Io blocks it and puts her in a stretch submission hold. Bito gets out of the hold after a moment, Tiger Feint Kick by Io and she delivers the swandive dropkick for a two count. Bito comes back with a big boot to the chest, she then goes up top and hits the missile dropkick.
Bito nails a brainbuster, cover by Bito but Io gets a shoulder up. Bito goes for the B Driver again but Io wiggles away and hits a palm strike, Io charges Bito in the corner but Bito gets Io on her back and finally hits the B Driver for two. Bito picks up Io but Io slides away from her and hits a dragon screw leg whip. Double knee strike by Io, she goes up top but Bito hits her from behind before she can jump off with a moonsault. Bito pulls Io back to the mat, Io gets Bito’s ankle and puts her in an ankle hold. Io snaps down onto Bito’s leg before putting her in a Texas Cloverleaf, but Bito gets to the ropes. Io kicks Bito in the head as she gets up, she goes to the top turnbuckle and goes for a moonsault, but Bito gets her knees up. Both wrestlers slowly get up, elbows by Io but Bito elbows her back to send the Ace to the mat. Head kick by Bito and she delivers a killer German suplex, Buzzsaw Kick by Bito but Io barely kicks out of the cover. Doll B by Bito, she gets Io on her shoulders and hits the Splash Mountain, but again Io gets a shoulder up on the pin. Bito picks up Io and puts her on the top turnbuckle, she joins her as she gets Io on her shoulders, but Io reverses the avalanche Splash Mountain attempt into a Frankensteiner. Io waits for Bito to get to her knees and hits a running double knee strike to her back, rolling German suplexes by Io and she hits a final package German for a two count. Both wrestlers get up, tiger suplex hold by Io but that gets a two as well. Io goes up top and nails the moonsault, cover by Io and she gets the three count! Io Shirai is the new champion!
After the match, Yoko Bito announces that she will be retiring in December, which helps explain the result. This was an entertaining match with a lot of memorable moments, as is generally the case in Io title matches. Bito has always been less smooth than the other wrestlers at the top of Stardom this year and in-ring I wouldn’t consider her a Top 5 in the promotion, however her kicks were on point here. There were a couple awkward moments where the moves didn’t look quite right, but they overcame that in the final stretch as the last five minutes or so were very exciting. Io pulled out everything she had and looked great as usual, while Io doesn’t “need” a belt I am glad she has one again as it means more big singles matches like this one. A fitting main event and a quality title match, it wouldn’t make my MOTYC list but an enjoyable match nonetheless. Recommended
Top to bottom, this was far from the best Stardom show in 2017. The midcard was in general skippable, and the stat of the card was a combination of too clipped and had too many less experienced wrestlers to really do anything too memorable. The tag title match was good, but not much more than that, with the main event being the only match on the show I can recommend seeking out to watch. Stardom is still in a bit of a transition and I don't expect every show from every promotion to be a slam dunk, but aside from the final match this is a pretty skippable offering.