Stardom “Grows Up Stars #7” on 4/24/16 Review

Event: Stardom Grows Up Stars #7
Date: April 24th, 2016
Location: Minato Kumin Center in Osaka, Japan
Announced Attendance: 275

As I continue in my quest to keep up with Stardom, we are back with another Stardom review! Usually, Stardom does one show per weekend, but since they were on the road last weekend we are treated to two shows instead. This event does have a title match, but like the last one we are missing part of the roster as the younger children are not on the card. Here is the full match list:

  • Hiromi Mimura vs. Lizzy Styles
  • Alex Lee vs. Alpha Female
  • Kyoko Kimura vs. Momo Watanabe
  • High Speed Championship: Mayu Iwatani vs. Diosa Atenea
  • Io Shirai and Jungle Kyouna vs. Kairi Hojo and Saori Anou

Another interesting card with new match-ups, let’s see how things go.

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Hiromi Mimura vs. Lizzy Styles

Thus far on this tour, Lizzy Styles has shown a lot of energy but hasn’t shown enough in-ring ability to really impress in her first appearances in Stardom. She gets a another chance here, as she faces off in the opener against one of the Stardom’s newest wrestlers. Styles has more experience but will that be enough against the tough and well-trained rookie?

stardom4.24-1Styles and Mimura work holds to start, Styles flings Mimura to the mat and she kicks her in the back. Running elbow by Styles in the corner and she puts Mimura in a crab hold, but Mimura makes it to the ropes. Back up they trade elbows, Irish whip by Mimura and she dropkicks Styles in the corner. Styles goes for her own dropkick but Mimura avoids it and rolls up Styles for two. Mimura goes for a slam but Styles blocks it and hits a slam of her own for a two count. Styles kicks Mimura in the head and hits a running elbow in the corner, she gets on the second turnbuckle and she hits a missile dropkick for another two. Mimura elbows Styles and applies the rolling cross kneelock, but Styles makes it to the ropes, Mimura goes off the ropes and hits a low crossbody. She hits a  second one, but Styles kicks out of the cover. Mimura goes off the ropes again but Styles catches her with a superkick, running knee by Styles but Mimura barely gets a shoulder up. Styles picks up Mimura and she hits a vertical suplex, and she picks up the three! Styles is your winner!

It feels like the ending got mixed up, as the running knee would have been a better finish than a vertical suplex. Styles is good at selling moves, I will give her that, but her strikes are weak and she isn’t very agile. I wish that Mimura’s leg lock would have gotten the win, it was applied perfectly in the middle of the ring and she needs to beat someone with it at some point. Pretty lackluster way to start the show.

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Alex Lee vs. Alpha Female

Apparently Alpha Female is on a quest to crush all the Freelancers that Stardom uses, as yesterday it was Yoneyama and today it is Alex Lee. This will be interesting as normally Lee goes against rookies and children, but here she gets about the opposite of that as Alpha Female is a hard hitting veteran that will smash your face. This will be fun.

Lee tries to shake hands before the match starts, which is a mistake as Alpha Female grabs her hand and hits a backdrop suplex. Mounted elbows by stardom4.24-2Alpha but Lee reverses it into a cross armbreaker. Alpha quickly gets a hand on the ropes, she throws Lee into the corner and hits a Northern Lights Suplex for a two count. Alpha reverses the lariat until an armbar, she gets up and kicks Alpha in the head. Alpha rolls out of the ring to re-group, Lee goes after her but Alpha hits her with a chair. After throwing her around the ring, Alpha slides Lee back in and clubs her in the chest. Body slam by Alpha, we finally see that Alpha’s nose is bleeding a bit which is probably why she is so angry. Well angrier than usual. Lee quickly applies a short armbar, but Alpha gets a foot on the ropes. Neckbreaker by Alpha, she rolls out of the ring and she gets another chair, she goes to hit Lee with it but Lee ducks and superkicks the chair into Alpha’s face. Kicks by Lee, she gets on the second turnbuckle and she hits a missile dropkick for a two count. Lee goes off the ropes, she kicks Alpha’s arm and hits a cross armbreaker takedown, but Alpha gets to the ropes. Lee goes for a dropkick but Alpha moves and hits a vertical suplex. Lariat by Alpha, she picks up Lee and nails the Omega Slam for the three count! Alpha Female is your winner.

I have seen quite a few Alex Lee matches in my day, and I can say without hesitation that this is the best one I have ever seen. I have mentioned it before, but Alpha Female is just so good at being hard hitting and scary that Lee had to step her game up, which she did a bit. Not a long match but entertaining, I love it when one wrestler can elevate another close to their own level, and it was fun to watch.  Mildly Recommended

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Kyoko Kimura vs. Momo Watanabe

Another match with a clear winner but perhaps the match I am looking forward to the most on this show. Kimura is a 12 year veteran and is old enough to be Momo’s mother, and she is also the leader of Oedo Tai. Watanabe debuted in late 2014 and is only 16, but she has really come on strong the last few months and continues to improve every time I see her. I am hoping that Kimura will be game here and lead the youngster to a solid veteran vs. rookie match.

After trading hammerlocks and headlocks, Momo armdrags Kimura but Kimura quickly returns to her feet. They lock knuckles but Kimura pushes her stardom4.24-3off and throws down Watanabe by her hair. Scoop slam by Kimura and she puts Watanabe in a crab hold, she then puts her in a STF but Watanabe manages to make it to the ropes. Watanabe tries to fight back but Kimura brushes her off, Watanabe messes up a spot in the corner so Kimura just kicks her to the mat instead. Watanabe connects with a trio of dropkicks, she goes up top but jumps off when Kimura charges in. Diving crossbody by Watanabe and she hits a missile dropkick, but Kimura avoids the Somato and applies a rear naked choke. Watanabe gets to the ropes, Kimura waits for her to get to her knees and hits a few boots to the head. Watanabe finally ducks one and rolls up Kimura for a two count, running knee by Watanabe but the cover gets another two. Watanabe picks up Kimura but Kimura puts her in a front necklock, but Watanabe gets into the ropes. Big boot by Kimura, she covers Watanabe but Watanabe gets a shoulder up. Vertical suplex by Kimura and she puts Watanabe in a front necklock, and this time Watanabe has to submit! Kyoko Kimura is the winner.

This didn’t live up to what I was hoping it would be in my mind, but it was still not a bad match. I think wrestling so much with wrestlers she trains with every day makes Momo look smoother than she really is as there were a few mistakes here. Which isn’t unusual for a 16 year old still learning the ropes, but she usually is so good with the basics that it was more noticeable. Kimura didn’t give Watanabe much of a chance here as she was firmly in control, and it lacked some of the drama I was hoping for since Watanabe has had some back and forth encounters with high ranking wrestlers in the past. A decent midcard match but nothing more than that.

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(c) Mayu Iwatani vs. Diosa Atenea

This match is for the High Speed Championship. This is Iwatani’s fifth defense of the title, it isn’t the most frequently defended title in Stardom but it is defended a whole lot more often than the Wonder of Stardom Championship anyway. This is a pretty low-level defense, as it is certainly not normal for a wrestler to get a title shot in their third match in the promotion, however it is not unusual for a foreign invader to get a chance at it. Last year both Star Fire and La Negro Rosa held the title, so it isn’t totally outside the realm of possibility that Atenea will win, however it is unlikely.

stardom4.24-4Iwatani and Atenea get right into it, springboard armdrag by Iwatani and she armdrags Atenea to the mat again. Iwatani takes Atenea to the mat but as they return to their feet they trade wristlocks. Atenea knocks Iwatani out of the ring where she is attacked by Oedo Tai, and Kimura throws Iwatani into the ring post. Back in the ring, Atenea throws down Iwatani by her hair a few times, but Iwatani avoids her charge and hits a high kick. Spinning headscissors by Iwatani and she dropkicks Atenea while she is against the ropes. Iwatani gets on the second turnbuckle but Atenea recovers and elbows Iwatani to the mat while she is hanging over the second rope. Elbows by Atenea and she hits a big boot, cover by Atenea but it gets two. Armdrag by Iwatani, she grabs Atenea’s wrist and runs up the corner before hitting a split-legged armdrag. Atenea falls out of the ring, Iwatani goes up top but Act spits Sake in her face. Now Atenea goes up top and hits a diving crossbody, but it only gets two. Atenea hits the Atenea Destroyer, but Iwatani gets a shoulder up. Kimura trips Iwatani and holds her for Atenea, but Iwatani ducks and she hits Kimura by accident. Act runs in but she accidentally spits Sake in Atenea’s face. High kick by Iwatani, she goes up top and she hits a diving footstomp. She goes up top again and delivers a frog splash, and she picks up the three count! Iwatani retains the championship!

A solid match, its always fun to watch Iwatani. The outside interference was necessary as there was no other way that Atenea had any chance of winning, but it did bring the match down a bit as it almost turned into comedy relief by the end with the multiple interference miscues. Iwatani looked good though, she hit all her moves well and was her usual high speed self. A little short and a little silly at times, but not a bad quick defense by Iwatani to give this card some importance.  Mildly Recommended

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Io Shirai and Jungle Kyouna vs. Kairi Hojo and Saori Anou

This is an odd main event and shows that just because they are the trios tag champions doesn’t mean that Shirai and Hojo mind facing off against each other. I am not aware of any backstory here, just two members of Threedom grabbing a rookie to give them a chance at the main event. Kyouna is Stardom’s top rookie so it isn’t a surprise seeing her here, but its a big spot for Anou. Hopefully the young ones can keep up.

Anou and Kyouna are the first two in, Kyouna knocks Anou to the mat first but Anou gets back up and the two trade elbows. Shoulderblock by Anou but Kyouna kips up and they elbow each other again before tagging out. Shirai comes into the ring using the classic Keiji Mutoh entrance, just to make sure I love her even more than I already do. Anyway Shirai and Hojo trade armdrags, Hojo tags Anou back in but Shirai quickly takes over on the youngster and dropkicks her in the back. Shirai kicks Hojo for no reason before tagging in Kyouna, Kyouna slams Anou and tosses her back in the corner as Shirai returns as the legal wrestler. Handstand walk double knee by Shirai and she cockily covers Anou before knocking Hojo off the apron. Double knee by Shirai in the corner and she tags Kyouna, body avalanche by Kyouna but Anou snaps off a sidewalk slam and makes the hot tag to Hojo. Big spear by Hojo but Shirai jumps her from behind, double Irish whip to Hojo but Hojo fights them both off. Hojo and Kyouna trade chops, Hojo wins the battle but Kyouna comes back with a powerslam. Kyouna tags Shirai, dropkick by Shirai and she covers Hojo for two. Hojo throws Shirai into the corner but Shirai hits a heel drop from the second rope.

stardom4.24-5Hojo ducks the Tiger Feint Kick and hits a headscissors off the ropes, shoulder tackle by Hojo and she tags Anou. Shirai knees Anou but Anou avoids her charge in the corner, Shirai kicks Anou in the face anyway and Anou slowly rolls out of the ring while the referee checks on her. Shirai goes out after her and slides Anou back in, Hojo comes in too as does Kyouna, and Kyouna catapults Hojo so that Shirai can kick her in the midsection. Shirai goes to the apron and hits an Asai Moonsault onto Anou and Hojo, back in the ring Shirai hits a missile dropkick on Anou and covers her for two. Shirai tags Kyouna, lariat by Kyouna but her multiple covers don’t get three. Kyouna gets on the second turnbuckle, Shirai stands on her shoulders and hits a footstomp down onto Anou. Kyouna then goes for a body press but Anou gets her feet up, but Kyouna stops her from making the tag. Lariats by Kyouna, she picks up Anou but Anou sneaks in a sunset flip. Hojo runs in and hits the Sliding D on Kyouna, Anou bridges over her but Shirai breaks up the cover. Hojo elbows Kyouna, fisherman suplex hold by Anou but Kyouna gets a shoulder up. Shirai comes in with a missile dropkick to Anou, she slams Anou in front of the corner as Kyouna goes up top, but Hojo runs in and elbows her. Anou recovers and grabs Kyouna and hits the rolling fisherman suplex hold for the three count! Anou and Hojo are your winners!

I know I have said it before, but Io Shirai really is the one that makes these matches so damn fun. That isn’t to say everyone else wasn’t good, but with her flashy moves and cocky attitude it is Shirai will that make you remember this match as she was just perfect in it. Both teams worked together really well which I wasn’t really expecting to see since they aren’t regular tag teams, and the 16 minutes just flew by as it was structured perfectly. Not a high end Stardom main event since they all tend to be excellent, but still worth a watch, mostly to see why Shirai is currently one of the best wrestlers in the world.  Recommended