Event: Stardom “Grows Up Stars #5”
Date: April 17th, 2016
Location: Shin-Kiba 1st Ring in Tokyo, Japan
Announced Attendance: 290
After a one week break we are back with more Stardom! This is a small event at Shin-Kiba 1st Ring, but even though the series name has not changed we do have new gaijin wrestlers to enjoy. Viper and Diemond have gone back home, but in their place we have Lizzy Styles and Diosa Atenea! I don’t know much about them at the moment but I will by the time I get to their match. We also get the rookies/young wrestlers challenging for the Artist of Stardom Championship! Here is the full card:
- Alex Lee vs. Azumi vs. Eimi Nishina vs. Kaori Yoneyama vs. Natsumi Maki
- Hiroyo Matsumoto vs. Starlight Kid
- Alpha Female vs. Haruka Kato
- Diosa Atenea and Kyoko Kimura vs. Kagetsu and Lizzy Styles
- Artist of Stardom Championship: Io Shirai, Kairi Hojo, and Mayu Iwatani vs. Hiromi Mimura, Jungle Kyouna, and Momo Watanabe
Short show, let’s get to the action.
Alex Lee vs. Azumi vs. Eimi Nishina vs. Kaori Yoneyama vs. Natsumi Maki
This is your typical lighthearted Stardom opener. Five way matches such as these can’t be (or shouldn’t be) taken seriously as it is mostly done to further the Azumi Army ‘storyline’ and to get some of the younger wrestlers on the card. Alex Lee and Yoneyama are not young wrestlers but are more there to keep everyone else in line. Nishina and Maki are Actress girl’Z wrestlers that have been hanging out in Stardom, not sure if this is a permanent agreement or just a short term deal.
Maki is wearing a different color today, which she proudly announces, but she is stomped out by all four of the other wrestlers. She successfully fights back but Yoneyama goes after her, and each time Maki breaks away to pose another wrestler stops her. Azumi sneaks in a La Magistral when no one else is looking, annoying the other three so she gets stomped as well. Azumi takes it out on Nishina, they then turn to the two veterans but Yoneyama and Lee outsmart the younglings. Maki falls out of the ring, leading to Yoneyama and Lee going after each other, Maki trips Yoneyama from the floor, she goes up top but Azumi grabs her while Lee puts Nishina in a crab hold. That gets broken up, and both Maki and Nishina put Lee in a crab hold, Lee gets out of it and she superkicks Maki. Somato by Nishina to Lee, but it gets two. Nishina dropkicks Lee but Lee suplexes her, Maki and Azumi return and Azumi suplexes Maki. Azumi goes for a Japanese Leg Clutch Hold on Yoneyama, but Yoneyama blocks it and holds down Azumi for the three count! Kaori Yoneyama win the match.
You can’t take too much away from a match like this, a five minute match with five participants doesn’t give enough time for any one wrestler to shine. Both the Actress girl’Z wrestlers continue to look solid and show some flashy moves (and both are adorable), and Azumi’s character progression continues. Course she is only 13 so where it goes from here is hard to tell but at least she is getting some mic work. About what you’d expect, nothing great but not bad either.
Hiroyo Matsumoto vs. Starlight Kid
This is a mismatch, to put it mildly. Matsumoto is one of the most respected veterans in Joshi wrestling, while Starlight Kid is a 15 year old rookie. So while Starlight Kid has no chance of winning, maybe Matsumoto will squash her in entertaining fashion or perhaps the kid can sneak in a few moves to keep the fans on their toes.
Starlight Kid attacks Matsumoto from behind but it doesn’t work out for her, Starlight Kid applies a wristlock but Matsumoto quickly reverses it. Strikes by Starlight Kid but Matsumoto hits a backbreaker and Starlight Kid rolls out of the ring. She returns after a moment but Matsumoto bends her back again and stands on Starlight Kid near the ropes. Camel Clutch by Matsumoto and she covers Starlight Kid for a two count. Starlight Kid avoids Matsumoto’s charge and hits a quick Shiranui, backflip into a standing moonsault by Starlight Kid but it gets a two. Dropkicks by Starlight Kid but Matsumoto hits a hard elbow. Matsumoto charges Starlight Kid but again she moves, Starlight Kid goes for a Tiger Feint Kick but Matsumoto blocks it. Elbow by Matsumoto, she puts Starlight Kid in a crab hold and Starlight Kid submits! Hiroyo Matsumoto wins the match.
This was simple as one would expect, but it has been fun the last few weeks watching Starlight Kid gain confidence and grow as a wrestler. Early on she was looking hesitant on the moonsault and missing the Tiger Feint Kick, but here she hit everything solidly and looked better than you’d expect from a 15 year old. Matsumoto had her way with her of course and Starlight Kid being bendy helped make the offense look even better. Short and predictable, but a fun match.
Alpha Female vs. Haruka Kato
Everyone say a little prayer for Kato. I am not sure what this says about me, but I really love matches like these. Kato is small, cute, and lovable but Alpha Female will rip out your spleen and eat it while continuing to kick you in the face. So you just know that Kato is going to get crushed and I can’t wait.
Alpha Female taunts the much smaller Kato to start before leveling her with a lariat and clubbing Kato repeatedly in the chest. Alpha picks up Kato but Kato hits a headscissors and rolls up Alpha for two. Alpha throws Kato into the corner but Kato applies the hanging armbar, she then gets on the second turnbuckle but Alpha catches her when she drives off and hits a series of backbreakers. Alpha works over Kato, Kato manages to put Alpha in a sleeper before transitioning it into a cross armbreaker. Alpha gets to the ropes, dropkick by Kato and she stomps on Alpha. Mimura hops on the apron to give Alpha advice, but Alpha returns to her feet and elbows Kato to the mat. Alpha puts Kato in a dragon sleeper with her good arm, she puts Kato on her shoulders and throws her into the corner. Alpha charges Kato but Kato moves and dropkicks Alpha in the knee. Face crusher by Kato, but Alpha kicks out. Kato goes up top and hits a diving crossbody, cross armbreaker by Kato but Alpha gets out of it. Cross armbreaker takedown by Kato but Alpha dumps her onto the apron before hitting a lariat. Hard knees by Alpha, she picks up Kato and she slams Kato to the mat for a two count. Omega-Plex by Alpha Female, and she gets the three count! Alpha Female is your winner.
I enjoyed this match quite a bit. It was a good dynamic with Kato just going for the arm and Alpha Female going for power moves/trying to break Kato in half. Alpha did a great job of selling the arm, to the point she changed up how she applied some of her normal moves, which is a small touch that you just don’t see a lot in wrestling. So I appreciate the extra effort. It felt it went the right amount of time as even though it wasn’t a squash by any means, Alpha was always one move away from defeating her smaller opponent. Overall a solid midcard match. Mildly Recommended
Diosa Atenea and Kyoko Kimura vs. Kagetsu and Lizzy Styles
Now we get to meet some new wrestlers! Well new to me, I have never seen Atenea nor Styles before so hopefully they are impressive. Styles hails from the UK and has been wrestling since 2013. Atenea is a Luchadora freelancer that debuted in 2007, she is a regular in the Lucha promotion WWS (Women Wrestling Stars) where she holds the WWS Championship. Atenea is teaming with Kimura as part of the faction Oedo Tai, which means Act Yasukawa and Kris Wolf are also at ringside, while Styles is teaming with popular young Freelancer Kagetsu. Hopefully Atenea and Styles can make a positive impact in their first Stardom match.
Atenea and Kagetsu are the first two in the match, springboard armdrag by Kagetsu but Atenea hits an armdrag of her own. They tag out, Kagetsu and Styles circle each other and they trade holds back and forth. Styles hits a few armdrags, Kagetsu falls out of the ring but she avoids Styles’s dive and Yasukawa pulls Styles down to the floor. Kimura attacks Styles up into the bleachers before they return to the ring, Styles is put into the ropes and all of Oedo Tai pose around her. Atenea tags back in but Styles catches her with an elbow, but Kimura stops her from making a hot tag. Lariat by Atenea, Kimura is tagged in and she starts working on Styles’s leg. Styles fights back with elbows and she connects with a dropkick, finally giving her a chance to tag in Kagetsu. Kimura pokes Kagetsu in the eyes, Atenea comes in but Kagetsu dispatches her and goes back to Kimura. Kimura knocks Kagetsu back and they trade elbows, big boot by Kimura but Kagetsu hits a spear. Another big boot by Kimura, she tags in Atenea and Atenea chops Kagetsu near the corner. Kagetsu fights back but Atenea hits a lariat followed by a dropkick in the corner. Another lariat by Atenea, and she covers Kagetsu for two. Samoan Drop by Kagetsu and she tags in Styles, Styles kicks Atenea and she hits a running elbow in the corner. Missile dropkick by Styles and she covers Atenea for a two count. Kagetsu comes in and they both dropkick Atenea, vertical suplex by Styles but Kimura comes in with a bat and start hitting Styles with it. She tosses the bat to Kagetsu as Kimura has been trying to recruit her into Oedo Tai, Kagetsu first hits Kimura and Atenea with the bat before laying into her partner Styles. Kimura and Kagetsu both kick Styles, Atenea picks up Styles and nails the Atenea Destroyer for the three count! Atenea and Kimura win the match.
This match was more about Kimura finally getting Kagetsu into Oedo Tai, it just happened to come at the expense of poor Styles. I didn’t get enough of a look at the new wrestlers to get a strong opinion. Styles is the a bubbly crowd-pleasure babyface type, but she didn’t have on a proper outfit, leading to her constantly adjusting it with limited effectiveness. Which was a bit distracting. Atenea looked more seasoned but also left less of an impression since she wasn’t really interacting with the crowd or doing anything to make herself stand out. Overall it was a bit of a flat match but with a memorable ending, with the baseball bat being used and Atenea finishing Styles off. Worth a watch for the payoff, but the match itself was a bit pedestrian.
(c) Io Shirai, Kairi Hojo, and Iwatani vs. Mimura, Kyouna, and Watanabe
This match is for the Artist of Stardom Championship. Shirai, Hojo, and Iwatani are called “Threedom” and are the top three wrestlers in Stardom (both in stature and ability). The challengers are all young wrestlers, with two rookies in Mimura and Kyouna and a 16 year old in Watanabe. That doesn’t mean they won’t put up a fight however, as all have shown a lot of promise in their young careers and anything can happen in a match with six wrestlers.
Mimura attacks Shirai before the match officially starts and the brawl is on, with the youngsters taking it to the champions. Shirai is isolated as they pose on her, Mimura stays in with Shirai but Shirai quickly takes control. Dropkick by Shirai and she hits a second one, Mimura gets back up but Shirai puts her in a sleeper. They end up back on their feet again, Watanabe and Iwatani are both tagged in and Iwatani hits an armdrag off the ropes. They trade quick moves before kipping up, and they tag in Hojo and Kyouna. Kyouna elbows Hojo against the ropes and hits a shoulderblock, armdrag by Hojo and she delivers the neckbreaker. Hojo tags Iwatani, Iwatani kicks Kyouna in the back before raking her face in the ropes. Shirai is tagged in but Kyouna picks her up and she hits a powerslam for a two count. Kyouna tags in Watanabe, dropkick by Watanabe and she puts Shirai in the Tree of Woe. Hojo and Iwatani both run in but so does Mimura, Watanabe puts Iwatani in the same corner with Shirai before putting Hojo in the corner as well. All three of the challengers hit running strikes in the corner, things settle down with Watanabe and Shirai trading elbows and Shirai puts Watanabe in an armtrap crossface.
Watanabe gets out of the hold and dropkicks Shirai, she tags in Kyouna, all the wrestlers run in and they all suplex each other. Kyouna ends up the last woman standing on the rookie team, running knee by Shirai in the corner and she covers Kyouna for two. Shirai tags in Iwatani, missile dropkick by Iwatani but Kyouna slides away and hits a body avalanche followed by a face crusher. Kyouna goes up top but Hojo throws her off, Shirai comes in too but so does Mimura and Watanabe as things break down again. Iwatani superkicks everyone, she picks up Kyouna but Kyouna gets away and tosses her to the mat. Kyouna then joins Shirai up top and hits a bodyslam to the mat, she goes back to Iwatani and she hits a big lariat. They both tag out as Hojo and Mimura come in, and Hojo drops the rookie with a spear. Kyouna comes in and lariats Hojo, Mimura twists on Hojo’s arm but Hojo ducks the lariat and hits a double chop to the chest. Hojo goes up top and hits the diving elbow smash, but the cover only gets two. Hojo picks up Hojo but Hojo rolls her up for two, Watanabe runs in and she hits the Somato on Hojo but Shirai breaks up Mimura’s La Magistral. Elbows by Mimura but Iwatani and Shirai get in the ring to help Hojo regain control. Sliding D by Hojo, but Mimura cuts it back into a cradle for a two count. All six wrestlers end up in the ring but they all knock each other out, they slowly recover and Shirai hits a swandive missile dropkick on Kyouna and Watanabe. All three of the rookie team are stacked in the corner and hit with the Iwatani Dart, diving elbow drop by Hojo to Mimura and she picks up the three count! Threedom retain the championship!
Top to bottom this wasn’t quite as good as some of the other 3 v 3 matches I have seen recently, but it was still an entertaining match. The best thing about it is just how well the rookies are coming along (I know Watanabe isn’t technically a rookie but she is only 16 so I still refer to her thusly). If you show this match to someone that didn’t know the wrestlers, there is no way they’d know one of the teams was so inexperienced. Everything was smooth and fast paced, and I loved the teamwork from both team even though it did make the match feel a bit disjointed since no two wrestlers ever got much of a groove going. A really fun lowkey match and a fitting main event for a smaller show. Recommended
I have said in the past that these smaller events are for the more hardcore fans, or to cherry pick, but they are always an easy watch. The total in-ring time was under 50 minutes, so certainly not a long event, but nothing was bad on the show. Alpha Female vs. Kato was a really smart and well done mid-card match, and the main event accomplished its goal of showing how far the rookies have really come as they went toe to toe with the best Stardom has to offer. Nothing here that will make any MOTY lists but a solid event nonetheless.