Stardom Golden Week Stars on 5/3/17 Review

Event: Stardom “Golden Week Stars 2017”
Date: May 3rd, 2017
Location: Shin-Kiba 1st RING in Tokyo, Japan
Announced Attendance: 353

I typically try not to review Stardom back to back to back but other promotions are being a bit quiet right now and since Stardom is the most popular Joshi promotion, I figure I may as well keep trucking with them. This event was uploaded very quickly over at Stardom World, they are really stepping up their game. This was a smaller show for Stardom but a unique one, as a few luchadores make an appearance and we get a special match between Toni Storm and Kairi Hojo! Here is the full card:

All the Joshi wrestlers above have profiles on Joshi City, you can click on their name to go straight to it. Since this was shown on Stardom World, all the matches are unedited.

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Hanan vs. Konami

We start with a rookie match, which is generally the case with Stardom since they have so many rookies. Hanan is 12 years old and just debuted last month but has already picked up her first win, as she pinned Ruaka (who is also 12 years old) last week. She has a judo background (as much as a 12 year old can) which may be why she could be pushed ahead of Ruaka. Konami is 20 years old and is officially affiliated with GPS Promotion, however she is a regular in Stardom and looks here to teach Hanan a few things before soundly beating her.

stardom5-3-1Hanan dropkicks Konami as soon as the match starts, but Konami knees her in the stomach and applies a headlock on the mat. Hanan gets out of it and they trade holds back and forth, Konami gets a short armbar applied but Hanan makes it to the ropes for a break. Konami keeps working on Hanan’s arm, elbows to the corner by Konami and she dropkicks Hana before covering her for two. Hanan fights back with an elbow but Konami returns fire, kick to the leg by Konami but Hanan catches her with a judo throw. STO by Hanan, and she covers Konami for a two count. Dropkicks by Hanan but Konami goes beneath one of her elbow attempts and applies a sleeper. Hanan inches to the ropes to force a break, Konami picks her up and kicks Hanan in the gut, but Hanan ducks her next kick and applies a schoolboy for two. Snapmare by Konami and she kicks Hanan in the chest, she goes for a suplex but Hanan blocks it and hits a scoop slam. Konami comes back with a kick to the chest, fisherman suplex hold by Konami and she gets the three count! Konami wins.

I was surprised by how much offense Hanan got in, considering she has been wrestling for a month and is 12. Normally I’d say that Stardom sees something special in her, but at her age there is only so much that they can do. A few minor awkward moments but otherwise well-worked, Hanan seems to be picking things up pretty quickly. A basic rookie opener but not a bad watch.

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Hana Kimura and Kris Wolf vs. Hiromi Mimura and Hetzza vs. HZK and AZM

As is normal with smaller events, up next we get a wacky tag team match. Hana and Kris both represent Oedo Tai, which is now short a member since Kagetsu is taking a break from wrestling. HZK and AZM represent Queen’s Quest, which is led by Io Shirai. And Hiromi and Hetzza are just randomly thrown together, Hetzza is from the WWS promotion in Mexico and is in Stardom for three months on an excursion.

Hiromi, AZM, and Hana start the match for their respective teams. Hana wants to dance so she does so, she challenges Hiromi but Hiromi is attack by both of her opponents instead. Hiromi is briefly double teamed until they all trade schoolboys, but none of them can get the three count so they all tag out. Triple knucklelock and Hetzza armdrags both her opponents, but Hana runs in and knocks her to the mat. Kris kicks HZK in the back and tags in Hana, HZK is double teamed until Hana puts HZK in a crab hold. AZM tries to break it up but fails in epic fashion, HZK crawls to the ropes and she makes it to force a break. Hana picks up HZK but HZK elbows her and the pair trade shots, Hiromi runs in and elbows both of them against the ropes. She goes off the ropes but eats a double boot for her trouble, Hana throws HZK into the corner and she hits a double knee drop.

stardom5-3-2Dropkick by Hana, but HZK kicks out of the cover. HZK comes back with a dropkick of her own, she picks up Hana but Hana elbows her and they trade shots again. HZK and Hana trade running knees until both fall to the mat, for whatever reason Hiromi and Hetzza are both on the apron just watching. Kris and AZM are tagged in, kick by Kris but AZM delivers a dropkick. Hiromi finally returns and dropkicks AZM, DDT by Hiromi and she applies La Magistral, but Kris jumps off with a jackknife. All three trade flash pins, Kris gets back in control and hits a double knee on AZM in the corner before kicking her in the back for two. Hana goes for a missile dropkick but she kicks Kris by accident, HZK runs in and boots Hana and with AZM they attack Hetzza and Hiromi. HZK slams Hetzza in front of the corner and nails the Bombs Away, cover by HZK and she gets the three count! HZK and AZM win the match.

These matches are always a bit all over the place, and tend to not really be my cup of tea. The Hiromi/Hetzza team would just disappear for chunks of the match with little explanation, and the only good exchange they had was HZK and Hana a bit towards the middle. More midcard filler than anything else.

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Hiroyo Matsumoto, Kyona, and Natsuko Tora vs. Havok, Tessa Blanchard, and Rebel

Stardom vs. Gaijin Invaders! Well Hiroyo isn’t officially a Stardom wrestler but since she has a belt, she still counts for the moment. Hiroyo and Kyona come into the match as the Goddesses of Stardom Championship, they are teaming here with the oldest rookie as Natsuko Tora is 26 years old. On the other side, this is Jessicka Havok and Rebel’s first tour in Stardom, while this is Tessa Blanchard’s first tour since the fall.

Kyona and Tessa start the match, they both go off the ropes until Kyona hits a hard shoulderblock. Both Hiroyo and Natsuko come in the ring as they triple team Tessa, Kyona goes off the ropes but Havok grabs her from the apron and Tessa hits a dropkick. Tessa tags in Havok, Kyona drives Havok back into the corner and makes the tag to Hiroyo. Hiroyo and Havok lock knuckles and go into a Test of Strength, headlock by Hiroyo but Havok reverses it. Hiroyo elbows Havok but Havok returns fire, they trade chops until Havok slams Hiroyo to the mat. Havok charges Hiroyo but Hiroyo slides to the apron and snaps Havok’s neck over the top rope. She tags in Natsuko, dropkicks by Natsuko but Havok swats her to the mat. Havok tags in Rebel, Space Rolling Elbow by Rebel and she chokes Natsuko in the corner with her boot. Rebel rides Natsuko in the ropes before tagging Havok back in, Natsuko goes for a crossbody but Havok catches her and hits a fallaway slam. Tries to sit on Natsuko but Natsuko moves and makes the tag to Kyona, Kyona goes off the ropes while Hiroyo goes up top and knocks her over with a missile dropkick. Palm strikes by Kyona, she goes off the ropes and hits a body avalanche but Havok stays on her feet.

stardom5-3-3Kyona goes for shoulderblocks with no luck, they both go off the ropes and Havok sends Kyona to the mat. Both crawl to their corners and tag in Natsuko and Tessa respectively, dropkick by Natsuko but Tessa avoids the senton attempt and hits a pair of lariats. Backdrop suplex by Tessa, and she covers Natsuko for two. Natsuko goes for the leg sweep but Tessa blocks it, she applies an Octopus Hold instead while her teammates run in to cut off their opponents. Hiroyo tries to get Havok up in a backbreaker, Kyona comes over to help but Havok lariats both of them. Havok picks up Natsuko and hits a backbreaker, dropkick by Tessa and she covers Natsuko for two. Irish whip by Havok but Natsuko holds he ropes, Havok charges her but Natsuko holds down the top rope and Havok falls to the apron. Tessa tries to dropkick Natsuko but hits Havok instead, Kyona and Hiroyo come in to help Tessa as Kyona hits a diving body press. Natsuko follows with a diving senton, but Rebel breaks up the cover. Tessa and Natsuko trade elbows, scoop slam by Tessa and she goes up top, but Natsuko joins her. Havok hits Natsuko from behind and kicks her in the head, Diving Codebreaker by Tessa and she gets the three count! Tessa Blanchard, Jessicka Havok, and Rebel win the match.

While midcard six wrestler tag matches generally are nothing special, they did about as much as they could here by making Havok the focus. Havok at least brings something different to the table and gives the wrestlers something a bit different to do, and she could tag out when needed so it didn’t get stale. They kept Rebel’s involvement to a minimum but she looked fine, and Natsuko continues to show a lot even though she is just a rookie. A difficult situation as ten minute six woman tag matches tend to just be the wrestlers going through the motions, but this was a step above that as they did some fun stuff.  Mildly Recommended

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Kairi Hojo vs. Toni Storm

Even though both of these wrestlers have titles in Stardom, this is a non-title match. Really its the only match on this card with a good chance of being a quality one in regards to in-ring action, not that I don’t expect the main event to be fun but it will likely be more playful. Toni Storm hasn’t been pinned in Stardom I believe since last summer, so she has a really impressive run going in Stardom. She has an upcoming title match against Io Shirai. Kairi Hojo has held the Wonder of Stardom Championship for a year, and she has an upcoming title defense against Mayu Iwatani. Since I don’t know when these two will have a chance to wrestle again, I hope even though its a small show that its an entertaining match.

They grapple for the first few minutes of the match, showing that both are more than just flashy moves, but either can get a clear advantage and they end up in a stalemate. Toni continually tries to focus on Kairi’s arm and gets the cross armbreaker applied, but Kairi quickly gets into the ropes. They continue grappling with Kairi getting the advantage this time, chop by Kairi but Toni boots her out of the ring and sails out onto Kairi with a tope suicida. Toni chops Kairi while she is against the ropes and hits an uppercut, she slams Kairi into the apron before rolling her back into the ring. Hip attacks by Toni, she picks up Kairi and hits a snap vertical suplex. Chops by Toni in the corner, she trips Kairi down to a seated position but Kairi counters the running hip attack attempt with a spear. Kairi stomps repeatedly on Toni’s butt, she puts Toni upside down in the corner and chops her repeatedly in the butt some more. Kairi really didn’t like those hip attacks. Dropkick by Kairi, and she covers Toni for a two count.

stardom5-3-4Kairi picks up Toni and puts her in the Octopus Hold while spanking her, but Toni slowly gets to the ropes to force the break. Kairi kicks Toni in the butt some more and goes up top, Toni briefly joins her but Kairi elbows her off and they trade shots in the middle of the ring. Kairi goes off the ropes but Toni punches her in the face, backdrop suplex by Kairi and both are down on the mat. Release German by Toni and she hits a running hip attack in the corner, fisherman suplex by Toni but it gets a two count. Toni goes for a piledriver but Kairi blocks it, Sliding D by Kairi and she applies the 4173 for a two count. Kairi elbows Toni in the back and goes for the Ikari, Toni gets to the ropes but Kairi quickly goes up top and nails a Diving Elbow Drop to Toni’s back. Toni slowly rolls out of the ring, Kairi goes up top but Toni hits her and gets back in the ring, pulling Kairi off the top turnbuckle and hitting a fisherman suplex hold for two. Snap piledriver by Toni, but she is too hurt to quickly cover and the time limit expires. The match is a Draw.

A good match, but it definitely felt more toned down than if it was a title match. I didn’t mind the first few minutes being a grappling-fest and it showed that both wrestlers have skills beyond just doing flashy moves, but it never really picked up until about five minutes in. Kairi beating on Toni’s ass as a retort for the hip attacks was funny, but ultimately nothing more than that since Kairi doesn’t have any finishers that focus on that region so it was forgotten as well. Kairi finally did get focused with a few minutes left to Toni’s back, but it was too late at that point. Toni was polished as she always is but I never felt she was in control of this one, it was mostly Kairi in charge with Toni occasionally getting in some offense so as to not get slaughtered. I enjoyed it since both are really high end wrestlers, but on a bigger stage and with a winner I think they could have put on something near MOTYC status.  Mildly Recommended

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Io, Dr. Wagner Jr., and El Hijo de Dr. Wagner Jr. vs. Mayu, Black Tiger, and Dragon Heat

Crazy main event time! This match is to celebrate Rossy Ogawa’s 60th Birthday, which may explain why its so unique. Dr. Wagner Jr. is a legendary luchadore that wrestles primarily in AAA, he is joined here by his son, who wrestles in various independent promotions in Mexico such as IWRG. He hasn’t reached near Dr. Wagner Jr.’s status, but is a solid wrestler. On the other side, I don’t know for certain who is under the Black Tiger mask, but I assume it is Tatsuhito Takaiwa since Mayu mentions that they have met before and Takaiwa still wrestles under the gimmick. Dragon Heat is popular wrestler Minoru Tanaka, who still wrestles regularly in All Japan. Black Tiger didn’t look overly amused to be in the match during the interview segment, but the luchadore duo look pretty excited so hopefully they bring the pain.

Wagner Jr. and Dragon Heat start the match, Wagner Jr. pushes Dragon Heat into the corner and gives a clean break while posing. Dragon Heat works on Wagner Jr.’s arm a bit, Dragon Heat goes for shoulderblocks but he can’t knock Wagner Jr. over. They reach a stalemate so they tag in Mayu and Io, Mayu and Io go off the ropes and do a high speed exchange which also ends in a stalemate (while Wagner Jr. dances on the apron). Hijo de Wagner Jr. and Black Tiger come in next, Black Tiger and Hijo de Wagner Jr. trade chops until Hijo de Wagner Jr. hits a jumping double chop and covers Black Tiger for two. Black Tiger rakes Hijo de Wagner Jr. in the eyes and tags in Dragon Heat, Mayu comes in too and they hit a double elbow to Hijo de Wagner Jr.’s chest. Dragon Heat kicks Hijo de Wagner Jr. in the chest and applies a chinlock, Hijo de Wagner Jr. gets out of it however and he makes the tag to Io. Io tries to Irish whip Dragon Heat but instead Dragon Heat kicks her back into the corner, Irish whip by Dragon Heat but Io slides out onto the apron and hits a missile dropkick for a two count. Io picks up Dragon Heat but Dragon Heat hits an armdrag, dropkick by Dragon Heat and he does a kip up to show off a bit. Suplex by Dragon Heat and he tosses Io out of the ring, where Black Tiger rakes her in the eyes. He slides Io back in, Dragon Heat kicks Io in the back and makes the tag to Mayu. Mayu puts Io in the ropes and delivers a dropkick, cover by Mayu but it gets two.

stardom5-3-5Dragon Heat returns and puts Io in a crab hold, but Io makes it to the ropes. He tags Mayu back in as Io plays the Face in Peril, Sling Blade by Mayu but Io avoids her when she goes for a dropkick against the ropes. Mayu cuts off Io before she can tag out but Io dropkicks her when Mayu jumps off the turnbuckle, and Io finally makes the tag to Wagner Jr.. Black Tiger is also tagged in, Wagner Jr. hits a bunch of dragon screws and when Black Tiger falls out of the ring, Wagner Jr. quickly goes out to the apron and hits a cannonball. Black Tiger is slid back in, Hijo de Wagner Jr. slams Black Tiger in front of the corner and hits a moonsault, cover by Wagner Jr. but the pin is broken up. Mayu comes in but is promptly triple teamed, Wagner Jr. puts Mayu on the top turnbuckle and hits a superplex while Io and Hijo de Wagner Jr. go up to different corners and hit a simultaneous diving headbutt/diving elbow drop. All three pose on Mayu, Black Tiger and Dragon Heat break that up, Black Tiger low blows Wagner Jr. and delivers the tombstone piledriver. Diving elbow drop by Black Tiger, but Hijo de Wagner Jr. breaks up the cover. Io and Hijo de Wagner Jr. clear the ring before sailing out onto Dragon Heat and Mayu, while Black Tiger tries to lariat Wagner Jr. in the ring with no success. La Magistral by Wagner Jr. to Black Tiger, but Black Tiger gets a shoulder up. Kick by Wagner Jr., he picks up Black Tiger and nails the Wagner Driver for the three count! Io, Dr. Wagner Jr., and El Hijo de Dr. Wagner Jr. win!

A pretty lighthearted affair, although at least it looked like everyone was having fun. Matches like this to me is just another reason Dr. Wagner Jr. is a legend and I love him – he easily could have coasted here but he didn’t. Not saying he did anything really crazy but he was actively involved the entire match and reacting to what was going in the ring, not just collecting a paycheck. Black Tiger seemed a bit less into it but that’s his general demeanor anyway, and Io of course was having a ball. This is the definition of a small card main event though, it wouldn’t have worked for a bigger show since there was no substance or story to it. Still, it was a fun atmosphere, and I enjoy seeing Io adapt to new situations instead of just doing Gaijin Battles all the time. An easy match to watch, nothing that will stick in your head for too long but enjoyable nonetheless.  Mildly Recommended