Stardom Goddesses of Stars on 11/20/16 Review

Event: Stardom Goddesses of Stars Day 1
Date: November 20th, 2016
Location: Shin-Kiba 1st RING in Tokyo, Japan
Announced Attendance: 379

We are skipping ahead a bit, as if I reviewed every Stardom show my head would probably explode. Since we last checked in with Stardom, not a lot has happened except that Io Shirai turned on her long time friend Mayu Iwatani to turn heel. This is the first time Stardom has had a true heel since Yoshiko left (Oedo Tai is too cute and funny to be considered true heels), giving the main events a different dynamic. When she turned on Mayu, Io also brought in a new partner, the mysterious HZK (formally known as Reo Hazuki). This is Stardom’s first event since Io shocked the Stardom World, as Mayu looks for her revenge. Here is the full card:

  • Azumi and Natsuko Tora vs. Arisu Nanase and Ruaka
  • Kris Wolf vs. Thea Trinidad
  • Kairi Hojo and Hiromi Mimura vs. Thunder Rosa and Holidead
  • Jungle Kyouna vs. Yoko Bito
  • Io Shirai and HZK vs. Mayu Iwatani and Momo Watanabe

Since this is a house show I have low expectations, but hopefully it will be fun.

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Azumi and Natsuko Tora vs. Arisu Nanase and Ruaka

Another new wrestler has debuted for Stardom, as the promotion continues to expand their roster. Ruaka is only 12 years old so she is the youngest wrestler in the match, while Azumi and Arisu are under 16 years old as well. Natsuko is the adult in the match but she just debuted herself, so really there is no veteran here to hold things down like Stardom usually has. I guess Kaori Yoneyama needed the day off. So we’ll have to see how the rookies do without a more seasoned wrestler to help lead them.

stardom11-20-1Ruaka attacks Natsuko from behind before the match starts, perhaps showing she is more than just your average rookie, slap to the chest by Ruaka and she hits another dropkick for a one count cover. She goes off the ropes again but this time Natsuko kicks her and hits a scoop slam. Ruaka elbows Natsuko but Natsuko elbows her hard back and makes the tag to Azumi. Snapmares by Azumi and she throws down Ruaka by her hair, Ruaka lands in her own corner and makes the tag to Arisu. Natsuko comes in the ring and with Azumi they hit a leapfrog footstomp, running body press by Natsuko and she hits a shoulderblock. Arisu pushes Natsuko away and they trade elbows, side Russian leg sweep by Natsuko and she covers Arisu for two. Natsuko elbows Arisu into the corner but Arisu dropkicks Natsuko, another dropkick by Arisu and she gets a two count cover. Ruaka is tagged back in but Natsuko chokes her to the mat, body press by Natsuko but Ruaka avoids the senton. Jumping crossbody by Ruaka, Arisu comes in and they hit a leapfrog footstomp of their own. Roll-up by Ruaka, but Azumi breaks up the cover. Natsuko puts Ruaka in a crab hold, but Ruaka gets to the ropes to force the break. Natsuko tags Azumi, dropkicks by Azumi and she covers her for two. Vertical suplex by Azumi, she applies a waistlock but Ruaka blocks it, Natsuko comes in but she kicks her partner by accident. Arisu also enters the ring but eats a DDT from Azumi, modified STO by Ruaka to Azumi and she covers her for a two count. Ruaka goes off the ropes but Azumi kicks her, sunset flip by Azumi but it gets two. La Magistral by Azumi, and this time she gets the three count! Azumi and Natsuko Tora are the winners.

While you can’t expect high-end wrestling in an opening rookie match, I can say that there weren’t any serious miscues and the action stayed at a decent pace. Some of the strikes weren’t hit very crisp and they were a few moments where the action didn’t click, but Arisu and Natsuko both looked good and Ruaka is already bigger than the other four even though she is only 12 so she didn’t seem out of place. Slightly different than usual since there were more new wrestlers, obviously nothing great but a watchable opener.

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Kris Wolf vs. Thea Trinidad

One thing about house shows is you get random little matches like this one. This is Thea Trinidad’s first match in Stardom, but some of you may know her from her run in TNA as Rosita. A six year pro, she is only 25 years old and is looking to continue her career progression whether it be in Stardom or WWE/NXT. Kris Wolf is everyone’s favorite lovable carnivore, she is on the lower end of the Oedo Tai totem pole but is a rather infectious wrestler that consistently has fun matches.

stardom11-20-2Kris has no interest in the pre-match handshake and puts Thea in a headlock instead, Kris bails out to the apron but Thea elbows her and bites Kris in the arm. Kris rams Thea’s head into the turnbuckle before jumping back into the ring, they both trade kick attempts but neither can connect. Kick to the stomach by Thea and she hits a spinning headscissors, she charges Kris but Kris moves out of the way and Thea ends up in the ropes. Kris spanks Thea before applying a leglock around the bottom rope, kick to the leg by Kris and she connects with a kneedrop. Running dropkick to the leg by Kris in the corner and she chokes Thea with her tail, she picks up Thea but Thea wiggles away and hits a series of kicks. Thea applies a choke in the ropes, she then climbs the second turnbuckle and hits a diving crossbody for a two count. Kris kicks Thea away but Thea kicks her back, Thea charges Kris but Kris quickly suplexes her. Kris gets on the second turnbuckle and delivers a somersault senton, but it gets a two count. They trade quick pin attempts with no luck, Backstabber by Kris and she kicks Thea in the back for a two count. Swinging neckbreaker by Thea, she goes up top and she nails a moonsault for the three count! Thea Trinidad is your winner.

I sometimes affectionately refer to these matches as ‘card fillers’, but at least in this case it was also used to introduce Thea Trinidad to a new crowd in a safe match. This is a lot easier than debuting a new wrestler against someone like Io, as the expectations can become way too high. Six minutes isn’t long enough to get much of a match but there was nothing wrong with it, Thea generally hit her moves fine and Kris was her usual consistent self. Not overly memorable but effective in what it was going for.

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Kairi Hojo and Hiromi Mimura vs. Thunder Rosa and Holidead

Known as the “Twisted Sisters,” Thunder Rosa and Holidead returned to Stardom in October to participate in the Goddesses of Stardom Tag League, where they picked up four points but did not reach the finals. They are against Kairi and Hiromi, also known as the “Kaihiro Pirates,” even though as they pointed out it is the first time they have teamed together in many months. Kairi took a bit of a mentor role with Hiromi, which is a bit amusing since Hiromi is older, so Kairi will be able to see how much Hiromi has grown since they lasted teamed up.

Kairi and Rosa kick things off, Kairi armdrags Rosa into the corner but Rosa flips her out onto the apron when she charges in. Kairi slides under the bottom rope and rolls up Rosa, but Rosa gets out of it and they return to their feet. Hiromi and Holidead tag in, Hiromi comes in with her knife (a fake knife of course) but Holidead isn’t intimidated as she takes it form her before “stabbing” Hiromi in the stomach. Holidead mocks Kairi’s pose but Hiromi reverses a suplex attempt into a few flash pins. The trick doesn’t work on Holidead who chokes Hiromi until Kairi comes in to break it up, crossbody attempt by Hiromi but Holidead catches her and throws Hiromi at Kairi. Rosa comes in as they choke the Kaihiro Pirates in the ropes, double elbow to Hiromi and they apply a double crab hold. Kairi tries to help Hiromi by throwing her a rope, but Holidead intercepts it and attacks Hiromi with it. Backbreakers by Holidead to Hiromi, and she covers her for two. Holidead tags in Rosa, Rosa puts Hiromi across the ropes in the corner and jumps down onto her back with a double knee. Holidead is tagged back in as they work over Hiromi near the corner, but Hiromi dropkicks Holidead a few times before tagging in Kairi.

stardom11-20-3Kairi spears Holidead and elbows her against the ropes, but Rosa kicks Kairi from the apron. Rosa comes in the ring but Kairi armdrags both of them, Kairi chops Holidead in the corner before hitting a triple jump elbow smash. Kairi applies the Octopus Hold but Holidead slams her way out of it and hits a vertical suplex. Holidead picks up Kairi but Kairi hits a spinning chop to the face and both wrestlers are down. Hiromi and Rosa are both tagged in, Argentine Backbreaker by Rosa but Hiromi slides out of it and applies a sunset flip for two. Facebuster by Rosa, Hiromi fights back with elbows but Rosa drives Hiromi into the corner. Rosa puts Hiromi on the top turnbuckle but Hiromi kicks her before hitting a Tornado DDT for a two count. Holidead lariats both Kairi and Hiromi, the Twisted Sisters wait for their opponents to get up but they accidentally lariat each other. Spear and a Sliding D by Kairi, Hiromi puts Rosa in La Magistral but it gets a two count. Hiromi gets on the second turnbuckle but Rosa pops her and hits a chokebomb for two. Rosa picks up Hiromi and hits a modified fisherman driver, but Kairi breaks up the cover. Heel drop by Rosa, she gets on the top turnbuckle and she hits a diving footstomp to Hiromi’s back for the three count! The Twisted Sisters win the match.

A pretty fun midcard match, the teams really clicked well together and it stayed amusing from start to finish. Of the new wrestlers that debuted in the last year or so, Hiromi has probably progressed the least amount as in-ring she still is lacking, but at least she has the personality to still entertain anyway. Kairi is great and helped tie the match together and the Twisted Sisters are fun wrestlers that are solid in ring but like Hiromi also have fun characters as well. The story was basic but well told, and the end stretch was well done. Nothing that will change the world, but a solid tag match, and I think the Twisted Sisters are worthwhile additions to Stardom events.  Mildly Recommended

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Jungle Kyouna vs. Yoko Bito

Even though there isn’t a big backstory to this match, it is still noteworthy as the young Kyouna looks to show what she can do in a singles match against one of the top wrestlers in Stardom. Kyouna debuted a year ago but quickly jumped to the top of the ‘rookie’ line, as she has had a handful of title matches in 2016. Yoko just took at a shot at the World of Stardom Championship but it didn’t go well, so here she is looking to defeat Kyouna to rebound from her recent defeat.

stardom11-20-4Bito and Kyouna lock knuckles to start, elbows by Yoko and they take turns trying to shoulderblock each other over. Kyouna finally wins the battle, she goes for a body press but Bito moves out of the way. Bito goes for a PK but Kyouna avoids it, Bito stomps on Kyouna anyway and throws her down into the corner. Kicks by Bito and she throws Kyouna again, she puts Kyouna across the ropes in the corner and chops her in the stomach. Cover by Bito, but it gets two. Single leg crab hold by Yoko but Kyouna gets to the ropes, Bito goes off the ropes but Kyouna avoids her lariat. Kyouna charges Bito but she lands on the apron, Bito tries to kick Kyouna off the apron but Kyouna catches her leg. Kyouna clubs on Bito’s leg while it is on the second rope, dropkick to the knee by Kyouna and she hits a body avalanche in the corner. Kyouna puts Bito upside down in the corner and hits another body avalanche, cover by Kyouna but Bito kicks out. Back bodydrop by Kyouna, she goes off the ropes and she hits a sliding lariat. Kyouna charges Bito again and hits a lariat, cover by Kyouna but it gets a two count. Kyouna gets on the second turnbuckle and hits a diving body press, she then goes all the way up but Bito recovers and joins her. Superplex by Bito, and she covers Kyouna for two. Release German by Bito but Kyouna springs to her feet and lariats Bito, and both wrestlers stay down on the mat. Kyouna elbows Bito but Bito hits a lariat, Kyouna lariats her back however and hits a short-range lariat for two. Kyouna goes off the ropes but Bito nails her in the head with a kick, Bito goes up top and she hits a missile dropkick. Bito picks up Kyouna and drills her with the Doll-B, cover by Bito and she gets the three count! Yoko Bito wins!

I liked this match quite a bit, one of the better Yoko Bito matches since she returned. It wasn’t a long match but that worked well for them as they stayed focused and didn’t waste any time with moves that ultimately wouldn’t matter. This is one of the first times also that Bito really connected with the Doll-B, maybe she is finally shaking off the last of that ring rust. Kyouna wasn’t ever going to win this but she still looked good in defeat, going toe to toe with the FIVE STAR GP Winner while winning several of the strike battles. Matches like these are the reason I sometimes watch Stardom house shows as it gives the young wrestlers more chances, an entertaining match and more proof that Kyouna has a bright future in Stardom.  Recommended

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Io Shirai and HZK vs. Mayu Iwatani and Momo Watanabe

It is time for Mayu to get her revenge! This is their first match since Io Shirai turned on Mayu Iwatani on November 11th, and the first time we have seen HZK in the ring. Course, HZK is former Stardom wrestler Reo Hazuki, which they aren’t hiding, but it is still a new character debut. To help her get revenge, Mayu is teaming with 16 year old Momo Watanabe, who continues to try to prove she is ready to move up the card and make a difference in the promotion.

Io offers to shake Mayu’s hand as the match starts, Mayu takes it but Io immediately elbows her in the face. HZK comes in and hits a Codebreaker on Mayu, Io takes control until Momo comes in too to assist Mayu. Io dropkicks both of them and they fall out of the ring, Asai goes to the apron and hits an Asai Moonsault down onto the floor. Io slides Mayu back in and tags HZK, HZK kicks at Mayu’s head, Io returns and continues beating Mayu down. Mayu goes for a springboard move but Io just steps out of the way to avoids it, Mayu goes for a tilt-a-whirl headscissors but Io lands on her feet and dropkicks her. Mayu finally knocks Io back and makes the hot tag to Momo, Momo dropkicks Io and she hits a crossbody out of the corner. HZK runs in but Momo puts her in a Tree of Woe, she then puts Io in the Tree of Woe too before dropkicking both of them. Mayu returns and dropkicks Io, Momo goes off the ropes but Io dropkicks her in the leg. Io applies the armtrap crossface, Momo inches to the ropes and she reaches them to force the break. Momo knocks down Io with a dropkick and tags Mayu, elbows by Mayu and she connects with a jumping elbow to the face. Kicks by Mayu and she hits a diving footstomp, she goes for the cover but Io kicks out. Mayu charges Io but Io slides out to the apron, she misses the springboard but elbows Mayu in the face anyway.

stardom11-20-5Double underhook facebuster by Io, Momo runs in but Io suplexes her onto Mayu. Io picks up Mayu but Mayu blocks the German suplex, Mayu goes for a dragon suplex but Io lands on her feet. Superkick by Mayu and she hits a German suplex, but Io quickly hits a German suplex of her own and both wrestlers are out on the mat. Both Io and Mayu tag out, full nelson slam by HZK to Momo and she gets a two count. HZK picks up Momo but Momo dropkicks her into the corner, Momo gets on the second turnbuckle but HZK avoids the missile dropkick and hits a senton. HZK hits a running elbow in the corner, after choking Momo she gets on the top turnbuckle and delivers the diving senton, but Mayu breaks it up. Io runs in to dropkick Mayu, HZK goes for a kick but Momo avoids it and kicks HZK in the chest for a two count. Momo suplexes HZK, she gets on the second turnbuckle and connects with the missile dropkick. She goes for another one but Io grabs her from the apron, Mayu runs in to dropkick Io to the floor which allows Momo to nail the avalanche Somato, but Io barely breaks up the cover. Triple jump dropkick out of the corner by Mayu, she goes up top and sails out of the ring onto Io with a plancha. Back in the ring, HZK avoids Momo’s Somato and puts her in an armtrap crossface, but Mayu breaks it up. Mayu holds HZK for Momo, HZK ducks but Momo intentionally kicks Mayu in the chest anyway. PK by Momo onto her own partner, HZK ‘rolls up’ Momo from behind and she holds her down for the three count! Io Shirai and HZK are the winners.

After the match, Momo stomps down Mayu until Kairi comes in to stop her. Io officially welcomes Momo to her new faction, as now the lines are officially drawn with Io, HZK, and Momo against Kairi, Yoko Bito, and Jungle Kyouna.

Of all the ways for a wrestler to turn heel, this is probably my least favorite. I never liked a wrestler waiting until the very end of a match to turn on their partner, as it basically means Momo fought her real friends for 18 minutes just as a ruse. At least wait until after the match and turn on your partner out of frustration, as doing it this way just feels like a swerve for the sake of having a swerve, there was no foreshadowing or reason for it being done this method. That being said, I am enjoying heel Io quite a bit, although I also enjoyed face Io so that shouldn’t be a big surprise. HZK looked really good but was in the ring a very limited amount of time, maybe she is still working off the ring rust or on her conditioning as Io did the vast majority of the work. Mayu showed some fire, which is the point of all this as if she is going to lead Stardom she will have to show some of that passion. A fun match, the action stayed at a decent pace and they did a good mix of strikes, big moves, and submissions to keep the crowd into it. Didn’t love the “Finger Poke of Doom” ending but otherwise a fun display and one that continues to change the landscape of Stardom.  Recommended