Event: Stardom Gold May 2019
Date: May 16th, 2019
Location: Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan
Announced Attendance: 783
Even though I don’t have any intention of reviewing every Stardom event, I do want to try to hit all the Korakuen Hall events as they tend to be quality. This is their first big show since the draft (not counting the Cinderella Tournament which is its own beast), so we have a lot of fresh matches. They stacked the event with three title matches, including Cinderella Tournament winner Arisa Hoshiki challenging Momo Watanabe for the championship. We also get a “special attraction” match as Kagetsu faces off against the visiting Toni Storm. Here is the full card:
Lots of potential here. I am watching the Samurai TV version of the event, so some matches may be clipped. All wrestlers on the show have profiles on Joshi City, you can click on their names above to go straight to it.
Andras Miyagi and Natsuko Tora vs. Hanan and Starlight Kid vs. Hina and Onozaki
I mentioned in a previous Stardom review that their roster is so stacked now, that sometimes if a wrestler is not in a big match they end up stuck in the opener. This time, that wrestler is Andras Miyagi, who outranks everyone else in this match. But this is a classic faction battle, with Oedo Tai vs. STARS vs. Queen’s Quest. The Leo/Hina team is the lowest ranking team but in a three way match, anything can happen.
They brawl to start with Oedo Tai being the focus of the offense, as STARS and Queen’s Quest clear the ring so they can battle each other. Hanan and Hina both hit judo throws, leaving just the two of them, they grapple until Hina gets Hanan to the mat. Cross armbreaker by Hina but Hanan quickly gets out of it, STO by Hanan and she applies a cross armbreaker of her own, but Leo breaks it up. Scoop slam by Hanan and she stomps on Hina’s arm before tagging in Starlight Kid. Stomps by Starlight Kid but Hina drops her with a STO and tags in Leo. Running elbow by Leo and she hits a cutter for a two count. Cradle by Leo but it gets broken up, Natsuko and Andras both come in but they are dropped by STOs. Hanan and Starlight Kid take out Leo and Hina, 619 by Starlight Kid to Leo and Hanan hits a STO. Standing Moonsault by Starlight Kid, but Hina breaks up the cover. Starlight Kid goes up to the top turnbuckle but Leo avoids the diving body press, Natsuko runs in and spears Starlight Kid. Hanan takes care of Natsuko but Andras boots Hanan, Hina runs in and dropkicks Andras and Leo elbows Andras to the mat. Natsuko runs in and spears Leo and Hina, Steel Ball Run by Andras to Leo and Natsuko sails off the top turnbuckle with a diving body press for the three count! Oedo Tai wins!
This was more fun than it had any right to be. Hanan and Hina sometimes working together was cute as they are still sisters, ultimately on opposite teams but in a match like this they could work together as well. Andras Miyagi had an easy night but everyone deserves a break sometimes, and for a five minute match with a bunch of underage wrestlers it was pretty cohesive. Solid way to kick off the event.
Death Yama-san (Kaori Yoneyama) vs. Natsu Sumire vs. Saya Iida
This is the second and final “prelim” match before we get to the beef of the evening. This match also has wrestlers from three different factions so it won’t turn into a two on one situation, unless Kaori is double teamed due to her veteran status. Between Kaori doing a new uh “Death” gimmick and Natsu being Natsu, I don’t expect this to be a technical masterpiece but hopefully it will be funny.
Kaori poses as the match starts while her opponents are confused, Saya and Natsu begin trading holds with Kaori occasionally chipping in until they reach a stalemate. They elbow each other while standing in a triangle formation, Kaori is briefly double teamed and eats a double dropkick. The cooperation ends when Natsu schoolboys Saya, Saya gets mad but Natsu convinces her that she is her friend. Natsu tries to schoolboy her again but Saya has smartened up and blocked it, she goes for a dropkick but both Natsu and Kaori move out of the way. Bronco Buster by Natsu to Saya but Kaori squashes her from behind, Kaori goes for a suplex but Natsu reverses it. Natsu goes off the ropes but Saya dropkicks her in the leg, another dropkick by Saya and she hits a scoop slam for a two count. Kaori runs in to hit a senton on them both but Saya moves so she only hits Natsu, Saya does a bridging cover on both of them but it only gets two. Natsu goes off the ropes and hits a neck drop on both of them, she goes up top but Kaori rams Saya into the corner to knock her off and rolls up Saya for the three count! Death Yama-san wins the match.
Unlike the last match, this one was not smooth as they didn’t always seem to be on the same page and the humor wasn’t at the level to make up for it. A few cute spots but ultimately a skippable match, triple threat matches are hard to pull off and they just didn’t click here.
Kagetsu vs. Toni Storm
Originally, we were supposed to get Toni Storm vs. Bea Priestley on this event, but the match got cancelled by forces “beyond Stardom’s control” which probably means WWE didn’t want one of their wrestlers to face someone affiliated with AEW. Which is logical. But as fun as that match would have been this is a great match too, I am not sure what Toni’s deal is wrestling back in Stardom occasionally but I am all for it. Kagetsu just recently lost the World of Stardom Championship which she actually won from Toni Storm in June of 2018, so she is looking to rebound here with another victory as two former champions collide.
They begin slow as they feel each other out, Toni gets Kagetsu to the mat first but Kagetsu switches positions with her as they grapple for position. Back up, Kagetsu goes for Toni’s arm but Toni gets away and hits a side headlock takedown. Headscissors by Kagetsu but Toni gets out of it, she offers a handshake but Kagetsu kicks her and takes Toni to the mat. Toni gets the headscissors applied, Kagetsu flips out of it and both wrestlers are back on their feet. Toni offers a handshake again but this time she hits a takedown and applies a modified figure four. Kagetsu gets into the ropes for the break, Toni goes off the ropes and she boots Kagetsu out of the ring before quickly sailing out onto her with a tope suicida. She gets back in the ring to attempt a second one but Kagetsu hits her in the head with the Oedo Tai sign and nails her with a running sliding kick while Toni is hanging over the ropes.
Kagetsu throws Toni into a row of chairs, she pulls a couple chairs from under the ring and starts stacking chairs on top of Toni before hitting her with another chair. Toni escapes and returns to the ring, Kagetsu goes to the top turnbuckle and hits a missile dropkick. Running elbow by Kagetsu in the corner, she sets up Toni’s leg on the second rope before hitting a dropkick. Vertical suplex by Kagetsu and she covers Toni for a two count cover. Kagetsu picks up Toni but Toni slides away and applies a dragon sleeper, but Kagetsu walks up the turnbuckles to reverse it. Toni reverses it back and then applies a grounded front necklock, but Kagetsu muscles out of it and hits a vertical suplex. Both wrestlers slowly get up and trade elbows, uppercuts by Toni and they trade headbutts, an exchange that Toni wins. Toni picks up Kagetsu but Kagetsu blocks the Strong Zero, Kagetsu goes for the chokeslam bu Toni gets away and drops her with a release German. Kagetsu quickly gets back up and hits a high kick followed by the Ebisu Drop, but her cover gets two.
Keylock by Kagetsu but Toni gets into the ropes to force the break. Kagetsu picks up Toni but Toni avoids the chokeslam and hits a hard lariat. German suplex hold by Toni, but Kagetsu kicks out. Toni picks up Kagetsu but Kagetsu blocks the Strong Zero, so Toni puts her in a modified STF instead. Kagetsu gets to the ropes to get a break, Toni picks up Kagetsu but Kagetsu avoids the Strong Zero. She tries to mist Toni but Toni ducks, and Kagetsu mists the referee by accident. Toni takes advantage of this and finally delivers the Strong Zero, but the referee is in no condition to count the cover. Toni checks on the referee, she gives up and goes to the top turnbuckle, but Kagetsu spits blue mist in her face as she dives off. Ebisu Drop by Kagetsu, she quickly gets on the top turnbuckle and nails the Oedo Coaster, but Toni barely kicks out of the cover. Kagetsu picks up Toni and delivers a Death Valley Bomb, but the bell rings before she can make a cover as the time has expired. The match is a Draw.
Even with the predictable non-ending, this was still a great match. Even with their limited experience against each other they have good chemistry, their match last year was fantastic and this wasn’t much below it as they wrestled it as if it was a big title match and not just a midcard match. The referee not calling for a DQ when he himself got misted goes beyond even normal Stardom “no DQ on anything” procedures, but beyond that everything flowed well and they kept the action interesting. I loved some of the transitions, such as Kagetsu hitting Toni with the sign and the final misting spot, as Kagetsu is one of the more innovative and unique high end wrestlers current in Joshi wrestling. I have to knock it a bit due to the ref spot and the predictable ending, but still a match worth watching. Recommended
(c) Mayu Iwatani, Kashima, and Tam Nakano vs. Hana Kimura, Kyona, and Konami
Artist of Stardom Championship
The STARS team won the trio championship back on September 30th, 2018 and this is their 5th defense of the titles so they have been pretty active. All three were lucky enough to be drafted back to STARS (well, Saki and Tam since Mayu was the one doing the picking), so we didn’t have to worry about the belts being vacated like they were in 2018. The challengers are the new Tokyo Cyber Squad faction, lead by the young but charismatic Hana Kimura. Hana is still trying to prove to everyone that her new faction is the best faction, but if STARS loses here the faction will be left without any titles at all.
TCS attack STARS before the match officially starts, they end up outside the ring with TCS staying in control. Hana wraps Mayu’s leg around a pole and hits it with a chair before dragging her back to the ring, stomps by Hana to Mayu’s leg and she slams it into the mat before tagging in Konami. Konami keeps up the leg work, she tags in Kyona and all three of them participate in hurting Mayu’s already banged up leg. Single leg crab hold by Kyona but Saki breaks it up, Tam comes in too and all three of the STARS members put a member of TCS into a submission hold. They eventually let go but Kyona stops Mayu from making the tag as she slams her knee into the mat. Kyona charges Mayu but Mayu snaps off a dropkick and she makes the hot tag to Tam. Running elbow by Tam in the corner but Kyona returns the favor, Konami comes in but Tam pushes Kyona into Konami and hits a cutter on Kyona. Hana runs in but Tam takes out both her and Konami, TCS end up against the ropes and STARS hit a trio of dropkicks.
Tam goes back to Kyona but Kyona delivers a lariat and tags in Hana. Running boot by Hana to Tam, another boot by Hana and she covers Tam for two. Tam goes off the ropes but Hana hits a sidewalk slam, Hana picks up Tam but Tam pushes her way and hits a backdrop suplex. Cartwheel into a kneedrop by Tam, but her cover gets broken up. Tam goes for a kick but Hana ducks it and hits a vertical suplex, both wrestlers crawl to the corners and tag out, as Konami comes in along with both Miyu and Saki. Konami is double teamed as she eats a double kick, Mayu gets on the second turnbuckle and hits a diving footstomp. Cover by Mayu, but Konami kicks out. Mayu goes for a suplex but Konami gets out of it and nails a dragon screw. Sliding kick by Konami followed by a suplex, she applies a kneelock but Mayu inches to the ropes for the break. Konami nails a big leg trap release German, but Saki breaks up the cover. Tam comes in too and all three take turns kicking Konami in the head, assisted DDT to Konami and Mayu hits a German suplex hold for two.
The ring clears of the extra wrestlers as Mayu goes to the top turnbuckle, but Konami moves out of the way of the moonsault attempt and quickly goes for the Triangle Lancers. Mayu rolls out of it but Konami quickly puts her in a Stretch Muffler, but Mayu makes it into the ropes for the break. Konami charges Mayu but Mayu catchers her with a superkick, she crawls to her corner and tags Saki who boots Konami in the head. Butterfly suplex by Saki, she picks up Konami and delivers a double underhook facebuster for two. Saki goes off the ropes but Hana kicks her from the apron, sliding lariat by Kyona and Konami covers Saki for two. TCS all get their licks in on Saki, buzzsaw kick by Konami but Saki barely kicks out. Saki slides away from the Triangle Lancer and applies a crucifix pin, but it gets broken up. Tam and Mayu come in and suplex Kyona and Hana, Saki picks up Konami but Konami spins away and applies the Triangle Lancer. Saki struggles for a moment but she had no choice but to submit! Tokyo Cyber Squad are the new champions!
This is the exact type of match that I want to see from a six wrestler tag. Both teams were not only really in sync with each other but smooth with their opponents as well, everything clicked. The leg work on Mayu made sense as she came in with a bum leg, and even though it didn’t play into the finish it was referenced back to often enough that it didn’t just feel like wasted time. They focused on the better wrestlers so the action stayed crisp, and they continued to put over the Triangle Lancer as a death submission which is a-ok with me. Exciting and captivating, a great showing by all six wrestlers. Highly Recommended
(c) Bea Priestley vs. Hazuki
World of Stardom Championship
When Bea’s match with Toni Storm didn’t work out, her consolation prize was taking on the young High Speed Champion. Bea won the World of Stardom Championship from Kagetsu just a few days earlier, on May 4th, and this is her first defense of the title. Even though Hazuki is the High Speed Champion and has been since December, she is still a big underdog here as Bea has been very difficult to defeat recently in Stardom. This is Hazuki’s second shot at the World of Stardom title already in 2019, as she lost to Kagetsu in a title challenge back in January.
Hazuki charges Bea as soon as the match starts and boots her in the face, Hazuki tosses Bea out of the ring and sails out onto her with a tope suicida. Hazuki quickly rolls Bea back in and hits a swandive missile dropkick followed by another boot, brainbuster by Hazuki but Bea gets a shoulder up on the cover. Hazuki slams Bea in front of the corner and goes up top, but Bea kicks her before she can jump off and joins her, stomping Hazuki in the back of the head. Bea picks up Hazuki, Hazuki tries to get away but Bea knees her back to the mat. Both are slow to get up, they trade elbows as they do so and trade running strikes until Bea obliterates Hazuki with a jumping knee. Hazuki rolls out of the ring to try to recover, Bea goes to the top turnbuckle and dives down onto Oedo Tai with a cannonball. Bea rolls Hazuki back into the ring and hits a dropkick in the corner. Running knee by Bea and she hits a backdrop suplex for a two count. Bea applies a double armbar but Hazuki inches to the ropes and makes it there for the break. Bea picks up Hazuki and sets her up in the corner, superkick by Bea and she goes for the Queen’s Landing, but Hazuki slides away and ferociously tosses Bea around by the hair. Facewashes by Hazuki, she picks up Bea but Bea avoids the Pump Kick and hits a backdrop suplex. Running knee by Bea and she nails a Regal-Plex, but Hazuki gets a shoulder up. Bea drags up Hazuki, she gets her on her shoulders but Hazuki slides off and applies La Magistral for two. Head kick by Bea and she delivers the Curb Stomp, Queen’s Landing by Bea and she picks up the three count! Bea wins and retains her championship.
Another great match, this show is on a roll. One of the big pluses is this felt very different from the last two matches, as it was fast paced but also a power struggle. Both had a sense of urgency, which has been Hazuki’s style lately but Bea kept up with her. Bea improves every time I see her and she is becoming one of my favorite wrestlers to watch, her strikes were on point and she has a wide enough variety of moves that her matches feel fresh. A really fun sprint, perfectly done by both wrestlers and a pleasant surprise as while I was expecting it to be a good match their pace and execution really put it over the top for me. One of the better sub-10 minute matches you’ll see in Joshi this year. Recommended
(c) Momo Watanabe vs. Arisa Hoshiki
Wonder of Stardom Championship
Momo Watanabe won the World of Stardom Championship last May from Io Shirai, after winning the Cinderella Tournament and using her “wish” to go after the championship. Here we are a year later, and it is Momo that is the unstoppable champion, defending against the latest Cinderella Tournament winner. This is Arisa’s second challenge of the Wonder of Stardom Championship, but the last time was back in December of 2011, before her long hiatus from Stardom. Now that Arisa is full time in the promotion again, she is ready to show that she can lead it and winning the championship would be a big step towards doing that.
They start cautiously, kick to the chest by Momo and she twists Arisa’s leg on the mat. Side headlock by Momo but Arisa reverses it, they trade holds until Momo gets Arisa with a kneelock. Side headlock takedown by Momo, Arisa gets out of it but Momo promptly kicks her in the chest. Snapmare by Momo and she kicks Arisa in the back, kick to the chest by Momo and she covers Arisa for two. Kicks to the chest by Momo, Arisa fights back with elbows and she hits a dropkick, but Momo dropkicks her back. They trade kicks, Arisa throws Momo into the corner but Momo hits a missile dropkick. Arisa falls out of the ring, Momo goes to the apron and she hits a PK. Momo goes for the B Driver but Arisa slides away and delivers the Diamond Buster on the floor. Back in the ring, running double knee strike by Arisa and she gets a two count. Step-up kick by Arisa, she goes to the top turnbuckle and nails the 1399 for another two. Arisa picks up Momo and hits another Diamond Buster, she goes to the top turnbuckle but Momo recovers and joins her. Superplex by Momo, they both slowly get up and they trade kicks to the chest.
They both hit high kicks, Somato by Momo and she covers Arisa for two. Momo picks up Arisa and hits the B Driver, she gets on the second turnbuckle and delivers a diving Somato before then going all the way up top and hitting another diving Somato for a two. Momo drags up Arisa and delivers the Tequila Sunrise, but Arisa barely gets a shoulder up. Momo goes for the Peach Sunrise but Arisa blocks it, cradling Momo for two. Momo drags Arisa back up but Arisa catches her with a Diamond Buster, ADAMAS by Arisa but Momo kicks out of the cover. Arisa goes for the Brazilian Kick but Momo ducks it and hits a Half and Half Suplex for another two. Momo keeps the hold partially applied and brings Arisa back to her feet, she nails the Peach Sunrise but Arisa’s feet land too close to the ropes and she gets a toe on one to break up the count. Momo goes off the ropes but Arisa catches her with a jumping knee, a second jumping knee by Arisa and she delivers a Brazilian Kick. Momo is badly staggered, Arisa nails a second Brazilian Kick and she covers Momo for the three count! Arisa Hoshiki is the new champion!
You know that you just watched a hell of a show when a match like this is the 4th best match on it. This is the best I have seen Arisa since she returned, she still needs a few more signature moves so she doesn’t spam Diamond Busters but generally she looked really good here. My main complaint is that the match started slow for a match that wasn’t going that long, under 13 minutes is on the short side for a big title match but it wasn’t a sprint like we saw with Hazuki and Bea. That doesn’t mean I necessarily wanted it to be longer, the ending felt right and with Arisa’s limitations she shouldn’t be in 20+ minute singles matches, but I wouldn’t have minded if they picked up the pace a bit. Still, the end stretch was done well and the moves were snug, and overall I was entertained by it even if I wish Momo’s long run had ended in a more ‘epic’ match. Mildly Recommended
This will end up being one of the best Joshi event of 2019. The first two matches were skippable yet inoffensive, but all the matches after that ranged from really solid to fantastic. Even better, they all felt different as Stardom wrestlers have a variety of styles, so it wasn’t just the same formatted match over and over. The trios match was the match of the night as it was just chaotic exciting fun, but Bea/Hazuki and Toni/Kagetsu were not far behind. The only thing holding the event back was the main event, which was “only” solid but was overshadowed by the rest of the card and wasn’t the most exciting way to end Momo’s long run. It was also missing a true MOTYC, as even though I really enjoyed the trios match its not one of the top matches so far this year in Joshi. Still, this is a must-see event, go out of your way to watch it if you can.