Stardom “Grows Up Stars #3” on 3/26/16 Review

Event: Stardom “Grows Up Stars #3”
Date: March 26th, 2016
Location: Shibata Sun Village Arena in Niigata, Japan
Announced Attendance: 255

I for once am not falling behind on my favorite Joshi promotion! This is the smallest event that we have seen yet this year, in terms of crowd size, so it is a breather show after the bigger event last week. We still do get a title match however, as Io Shirai takes on Alpha Female for the World of Stardom Championship. Here is the card:

This is a short event, let’s hop to it.

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Alex Lee vs. Azumi vs. Starlight Kid

The show begins with a normal Stardom opener. Alex Lee is the seasoned vet of the match, with the 13 year old Azumi and 15 year old Starlight Kid. These are the two youngest wrestlers in Stardom, so low expectations going in but Starlight Kid hopefully will show off some of her flashy moves.

stardom3.26-1Lee leaves the ring to let the kids fight, they battle for a bit before inviting Lee back into the ring. She locks knuckles with both as Lee is double teamed, Lee puts Starlight Kid in a crab hold and slams her to the mat. Starlight Kid covers Lee in a roll-up and they trade quick pin attempts, Azumi and Starlight Kid go back to double teaming Lee, they dispatch her and Azumi gets Starlight Kid to the mat. Monkey flip by Azumi and she puts Starlight Kid in La Magistral for two. Lee returns and she hits a double vertical suplex on Azumi and Starlight Kid, but Lee is thrown into the corner and dropkicked by both. Shiranui by Starlight Kid to Lee, but Azumi breaks up the cover. Starlight Kid dropkicks Azumi and hits the backflip into a moonsault, but Azumi kicks out of the pin. Starlight Kid goes up top but Lee brings her back into the ring, Lee nudges Starlight Kid out of the ring but Azumi puts her in a Japanese Leg Clutch Roll for two. Azumi and Starlight Kid trade elbows, DDT by Azumi and she cradles Starlight Kid for the three count! Azumi wins the match.

Even by Stardom opening standards this was really simple and basic. There were a few cute spots here and there but that is about it. Aside from some enjoyment in watching the rookies go at it, nothing special here.

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Hiromi Mimura vs. Kaori Yoneyama

The theme for this tour has been the younger wrestlers taking on the veterans of the promotion, and that continues here as the rookie Mimura wrestles the veteran Yoneyama. Yoneyama is not officially a member of Stardom, but she is a regular in the promotion and this should be a good experienced for the young lioness.

stardom2.26-2Yoneyama and Mimura trade wristlocks and headlocks to start, Yoneyama charges Mimura but Mimura moves and delivers a dropkick. Yoneyama throws down Mimura by the hair a few times in return and she applies a bodyscissors, she then applies a camel clutch before putting Mimura in the ropes. Yoneyama rakes on Mimura’s face, scoop slam by Yoneyama and she covers Mimura for two. Yoneyama chops Mimura down but Mimura avoids her lariat and hits a dropkick. Mimura puts Yoneyama in a modified stretch hold, they return to their feet and Yoneyama hits a shoulderblock. She goes for a running senton but Mimura avoids it and hits a low crossbody for two. A diving crossbody by Mimura also gets a two count, she then sneaks in a few cradles but she can’t keep the veteran down. Face crusher by Yoneyama and she hits a running senton, but Mimura barely kicks out. Yoneyama drags Mimura to the corner, she gets on the second turnbuckle and she nails the diving senton for the three count! Yoneyama is your winner.

I love Mimura, she is a spunky little thing, but there wasn’t much to this. The best I can say is that it was fundamentally sound, the positive of having someone with Yoneyama’s experience is you don’t see the occasional miscues that plague the rookie matches sometimes. The downside of that is there was no way that any of Mimura’s nearfalls were convincing since she wasn’t beating Yoneyama under any circumstances. Decent, but nothing memorable.

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Jungle Kyouna and Momo Watanabe vs. Kaitlin Diemond and Viper

The Oedo Tai vs. everyone else feud continues, as Diemond and Viper take on two more young Stardom wrestlers. Watanabe just turned 16, so even though she has over a year of experience she still has a lot to learn. Kyouna is the highest ranking rookie from the last class in October, which is clear from her placement on the card. Diemond and Viper have been doing really well in Stardom and with Act Yasukawa’s help they will try to dispatch the young Stardom stars as quickly as possible.

stardom3.26-3Diemond and Viper both attack their opponents to start the match, with Viper staying in the ring with Watanabe. Watanabe is tied in the ropes and attacked by all of Oedo Tai, she tries fighting back but she doesn’t have any luck. Diemond is tagged in and she hits a backbreaker on Watanabe, she slams Watanabe into each corner but Watanabe gets the upper hand and dropkicks Diemond. She makes the hot tag to Kyouna but Viper comes in too, Kyouna elbows both of them but Diemond boots Kyouna in the face. Side slam by Diemond, she picks up Kyouna but Kyouna hits a powerslam for a two count. Kyouna tags Watanabe, missile dropkick by Watanabe and she dropkicks Diemond in the corner. Body avalanche by Kyouna and Kyouna hits a cutter onto Watanabe’s knee. Watanabe grabs Diemond but Diemond hits a full nelson slam and tags Viper, Viper slams Watanabe and she hits a body press for a two count. Watanabe avoids the senton and rolls up Viper, Kyouna comes in too and they double team their opponent. Somato by Watanabe but Act trips Kyouna from the floor. Back in the ring, Viper charges Watanabe and she hits a jumping crossbody for the three count! Diemond and Viper win the match.

The event is slowly picking up steam as this was a fun match. Both teams worked really well together, it helps these mid-card tag matches when the teams act as a unit and not just as two separate individual wrestlers. Everything was fluid and both rookies got a chance to show off before inevitably losing. Overall a solid but short match.  Mildly Recommended

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Hiroyo Matsumoto and Kagetsu vs. Kairi Hojo and Mayu Iwatani

There are a handful of moving parts in this match, as it is not as random as it seems. The weekend after this show, Matsumoto and Kagetsu are challenging for the Goddesses of Stardom Championship, which are held by Iwatani and Shirai, so this is a warm-up fight for them. Hojo and Iwatani are also trio champions (with Shirai), so they are also teammates. Since Shirai is in the main event, her other two friends are facing off against Matsumoto and Kagetsu. I hope that makes sense. But really it is a way to showcase Matsumoto and Kagetsu before their big match next week.

Kagetsu and Iwatani are the first two in the ring, Kagetsu gets in the first few moves but Iwatani comes back with an armdrag and both tag out. Matsumoto stomps on Hojo but Iwatani comes in and helps her, and Iwatani dropkicks Matsumoto in the head. Hojo dropkicks Matsumoto in the corner, elbow drop by Hojo to Matsumoto and she tags in Iwatani. Iwatani dropkicks Matsumoto again but Matsumoto comes back with a vertical suplex. Matsumoto tags Kagetsu, and Kagetsu works over Iwatani with kicks. She tags Matsumoto back in and Matsumoto puts Iwatani in a crab hold, but Iwatani gets to the ropes. Kagetsu returns and slams Iwatani in the corner, jumping elbow by Kagetsu and she covers Iwatani for two. Kagetsu runs at Iwatani but Iwatani avoids her charge and she hits a Sling Blade. That gives her time to tag in Hojo, Hojo chops Kagetsu but Matsumoto hits her from the apron. Matsumoto comes in the ring but Hojo spears her before hitting a triple jump elbow strike onto Kagetsu. Kagetsu comes back with a springboard dropkick, and she tags in Matsumoto.

stardom3.26-4Matsumoto slams Hojo, Hojo goes for a spear but Matsumoto blocks it. Jumping neckbreaker by Hojo and she tags in Iwatani, Iwatani goes up top and she hits a missile dropkick. Iwatani kicks Matsumoto and she hits a headscissors, Matsumoto lands against the ropes and Iwatani connects with a dropkick. Iwatani goes for a suplex but Matsumoto knees her, Iwatani goes for an armdrag off the ropes but Matsumoto blocks it. Matsumoto pulls Iwatani through the ropes and Kagetsu hits a springboard footstomp. Reverse double knee by Matsumoto, but Hojo breaks up the cover. Matsumoto picks up Iwatani on her shoulders and throws her over the top rope down onto Hojo on the floor. Back in the ring, Matsumoto hits a body avalanche in the corner followed by a backdrop suplex for a two count. She tags Kagetsu, kicks by Kagetsu and she applies a submission hold, but Hojo breaks it up. Kagetsu and Iwatani trade elbows, superkick by Iwatani and a second one sends Kagetsu to the mat. She then hits an enzuigiri on Matsumoto, Iwatani goes up top and hits a diving footstomp on Kagetsu for two. She goes up top again and hits a diving bodypress, but Matsumoto breaks up the cover. Matsumoto and Kagetsu double team Iwatani, Kagetsu slams Iwatani to the mat but the cover gets two. Kagetsu picks up Iwatani but Iwatani applies a crucifix for a two count. High kick by Kagetsu to Iwatani, she rolls up Iwatani with a jackknife and she gets the three count! Matsumoto and Kagetsu steal the win!

I really enjoyed this one a lot, a really smooth and well structured match. Kagetsu looked great here and did not look out of place against three wrestlers that have a lot more experience with each other. The flash pin of sorts worked as they needed both teams to look strong, since Hojo and Iwatani hold titles but Matsumoto and Kagetsu had to look good before their title match. Definitely worth a watch, a fast paced and entertaining match from start to finish.  Recommended

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(c) Io Shirai vs. Alpha Female

This match is for the World of Stardom Championship. Alpha Female returned to Stardom last week and immediately went to assert herself as the top monster gaijin in the promotion. Due to her past in Stardom as a former champion, she immediately got another title shot against the ace of Stardom, Io Shirai. Io Shirai defends her titles on a regular basis and is afraid of no wrestler, so while this is a small event it is still a chance for Shirai to further cement her place as the best wrestler in the promotion.

Alpha Female makes her power advantage clear from the start as she tosses and punches Shirai around the ring until Shirai bails to regroup. She returns after a moment as Alpha continues her assault, tossing Shirai around the ring like a rag doll. Alpha clubs Shirai in the chest and covers her, but it only gets two. Alpha lariats Shirai over the top rope and down to the floor, she followers her out and chops Shirai while she is sitting in the crowd. Alpha gets Shirai on her shoulders and throws her into the apron, she gets a chair but Shirai ducks the shot. The referee tries to stop Alpha but fails as she chokes Shirai with the chair before rolling her back into the ring. Sleeper by Alpha but Shirai gets out of it and dropkicks Alpha out of the ring. Shirai goes out to the apron and hits an Asai Moonsault down onto Alpha, Shirai rolls her back in and hits a swandive missile dropkick followed by the Tiger Feint Kick. Swandive sunset flip by Shirai and she puts Alpha in the armtrap crossface.

stardom3.26-5Alpha gets a hand in the ropes to force the break, Shirai goes for a suplex but Alpha blocks it. Sleeper by Shirai but Alpha rams her into the corner, Shirai jumps onto the second turnbuckle but Alpha catches her when she dives off and hits a fallaway slam. Body slams by Alpha, she picks up Shirai but Shirai reverses the suplex attempt into a hurricanrana. Dropkick by Shirai and she hits the running double knee strike in the corner for a two count. Shirai goes for a trio of moonsaults but Alpha stops her before she can hit the third and delivers a sit-down powerbomb for a two count cover. Alpha picks up Shirai but Shirai hits a buzzsaw kick and both wrestlers are on the mat. The slowly get up, strikes by Shirai but Alpha levels her with a lariat for two. Alpha goes to get a chair but the referee stops her from using it so she sets it up in the corner instead. She tries to throw Shirai into the corner but Shirai slams on the breaks, she tries again but Shirai slides under and Alpha runs into the chair. German suplex hold by Shirai, and she gets the three count! Io Shirai is still the champion.

Alpha Female is incredibly good at what she does, which really helped the match, but I can’t say I was in love with the ending. The first 75% or so of the match was just about perfect, as Alpha Female looked as dominant as any wrestler can and made it seem like Shirai had no chance in hell of winning. I thought it broke down a bit at the end, Alpha had plenty of time to see that Shirai moved before running into the chair and then the match quickly ended with the suplex. Aside from some illogical in-ring decisions I thought this was a fun match, not a classic by any means but a fitting main event for a smaller Stardom show.  Mildly Recommended