Stardom Kyoto Stars on 2/4/17 Review

Event: Stardom Kyoto Stars 
Date: February 4th, 2017
Location: KBS Hall in Kyoto, Japan
Announced Attendance: 315

It is time for some February reviews! Up first is Stardom, this month the two Stardom shows I will be reviewing are this show and their big event on 2/23. I chose this one because it looked like the second best of the bunch on paper, plus I really love Konami and wanted to see her against Io Shirai. We also have one title match here, as Viper challenges Toni Storm for the SWA Undisputed World Women’s Championship. Here is the full card:

You can click on the names above to go to their profiles on the site, since this was shown on Stardom World it is unclipped.

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Kris Wolf vs. Ruaka

We start off with a rookie match, in classic Stardom fashion. Ruaka is the youngest wrestler on the Stardom roster at only 12 years old, but she is already bigger than 75% of the roster so at her current pace she could be a force to be reckoned with way down the road if she sticks with wrestling. Kris Wolf is part of Oedo Tai, not a big match for her but everyone has to take their turn wrestling the rookies.

stardom2-4-1Wolf and Ruaka lock knuckles before trading wristlocks, Wolf puts Ruaka in the ropes and stretches her face. Wolf elbows Ruaka in the corner and puts her across the ropes, she then stands up on her back and and poses in the corner. Running knee by Wolf, and she covers Ruaka for a two count. Ruaka fights back as they trade elbows, snapmare by Wolf and she puts Ruaka in a crab hold. Ruaka gets to the ropes, Wolf picks her up and she slams Ruaka in front of the corner. Wolf gets on the second turnbuckle but Ruaka avoids her dive and boots Wolf in the chest. Running boot by Ruaka in the corner, she goes for a slam but Wolf blocks it. Reverse STO by Ruaka and she rolls up Wolf, but Wolf reverses it. Knees by Wolf and she hits a running knee in the corner, snapmare by Wolf and she kicks Ruaka in the back. Scoop slam by Wolf, she gets on the second turnbuckle and she delivers the diving kneedrop for the three count! Kris Wolf is the winner.

Even on the Stardom Opener Scale this was pretty basic, but when one of the wrestlers is 12 years old that is to be expected. Kris Wolf was fun as always but she was nicer than usual, no biting or poking. Nothing offensive but not much to it.

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Hiromi Mimura vs. Zoe Lucas

If there is one thing I can always say about Stardom, they are always introducing me to new wrestlers. For better or worse. Hiromi we know, she debuted in 2015 and will likely be a lifetime mid-carder as she is an itty bitty and not quite as skilled as Kyona or Momo. Zoe Lucas is a UK wrestler that mostly wrestles in RevPro, that’s about all the useful information I could find so we’ll see how it goes.

stardom2-4-2After trading wristlocks to start, Zoe gets Hiromi to the mat but Hiromi quickly wiggles away and they return to their feet. Zoe wants a Test of Strength but Hiromi can’t reach the high so she kicks her instead, Hiromi goes off the ropes but Zoe kicks Hiromi in the chest. Knee by Zoe and she puts Hiromi in a guillotine, but Hiromi gets out of it and dropkicks Zoe in the corner. Shoulder tackle by Zoe but Hiromi ducks the PK and rolls up Zoe for two. Running crossbody by Hiromi, she rolls Zoe to the mat and she applies a leglock. Zoe gets into the ropes for the break, Hiromi tries to slam Zoe but Zoe blocks it. High kick by Zoe and she hits a fisherman suplex hold for a two count. Back up they trade elbows until Hiromi sneaks in a backslide for two, La Magistral by Hiromi but that gets a two count as well. High kick by Zoe, Hiromi goes off the ropes but Zoe kicks her in the head again. Spin Kick by Zoe and she picks up the three count! Zoe Lucas wins!

I try to be a positive happy kind of guy but this was bad. Its not something I can defend or try to find the bright side of, there is nothing particularly good here. I never have seen Zoe before so maybe this was an issue of wrestling in a new promotion against a new wrestler but she looked very stiff and awkward. Hiromi was her usual self but she needs someone really good to pull her up and it didn’t happen here. Even the ending looked partially botched, which I think was Hiromi being out of position but who knows. Not a good first impression for a wrestler on her first Stardom tour.

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Jungle Kyona, Arisu Nanase, and Natsuko Tora vs. Shayna Baszler, Purrazzo, and Jaynes

Stardom vs. Gaijins! Kyona is the best wrestler on her side, as Arisu and Natsuko are both rookies still figuring things out. Shayna is the boss on the Gaijin side as she has an upcoming match against Io Shirai, she is a former MMA fighter and legitimate badass. Deonna Purrazzo has had some success on American Indies, she is only 22 but has had matches in NXT, TNA, ROH, WSU, and WWR. Christi Jaynes mostly wrestles around Texas, she just debuted in 2016 so she is on the similar experience level as Arisu and Natsuko.

Kyona and Shayna start things off, they try to shoulderblock each other over but neither can, so Shayna kicks Kyona to the mat. Kyona comes back with a hard shoulderblock to send Shayna off her feet, she quickly gets up and connects with a strike combination. She tags in Deonna, Christi comes in too but Kyona hits a double crossbody on both of them. Natsuko and Arisu jump in the ring and Deonna is triple teamed in the corner before posing on her. Kyona tags in Natsuko, shoulderblocks by Natsuko and she hits a body press on Deonna for two. Deonna fights back with elbows, kneelift by Deonna and she rakes Natsuko’s eyes with her boot. Deonna tags Shayna in, kicks by Shayna and she tags in Christi. Christi twists Natsuko’s arm in the ropes before Shayna returns, as they take turns attacking the rookie. Natsuko fights back against Christi and dropkicks her into the corner, she crawls to her corner and makes the hot tag to Arisu. Elbows by Arisu to Christi and she dropkicks her, Kyona come sin to help but so does Shayna. Arisu hits a spinning headscissors onto Shayna and hits a crossbody on Christi, but Christi drops her with a STO.

stardom2-4-3Enzuigiri by Christi, but the cover is broken up. She tags in Deonna, she picks up Arisu and hits a neckbreaker for a two count. Arisu gets away and dropkicks Deonna, giving her time to tag in Kyona. Backdrop suplex by Kyona but Deonna retorts with a release German, she gets to her corner and tags Shayna. Natsuko is tagged in too and she dropkicks Shayna, but Shayna spears her for a two count. Shayna goes for a cross armbreaker but Kyona breaks it up, Kyona picks up Shayna and with Natsuko they hit a double shoulderblock. Senton by Natsuko, but Shayna kicks out. Christi comes in but Kyona lariats her, while Natsuko keeps the attack on Shayna. Natsuko gets on the second turnbuckle but Shayna grabs her and hits a bridging vertical suplex for two. Fisherman Buster by Shayna, but Kyona breaks up the pin. Arisu comes in too but Shayna suplexes both of them, she kicks Natsuko in the stomach and delivers a rolling gutwrench suplexes for the three count! Shayna Baszler, Deonna Purrazzo, and Christi James are the winners.

This match really lagged some towards the beginning and I was concerned, but it picked up at the end and turned out to be a decent match. Christi is still early in her career but never looked lost, easy to hide new wrestlers in six wrestler tag matches but no one in this one stood out as being out of place. Shayna continues to impress, and Kyona asserted herself as ready to continue her ascension up the card. Nothing overly exciting but an above average midcard match.

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Io Shirai vs. Konami

Now this is what we came to see. They wouldn’t mention it on commentary I assume, but the special appeal to this match is that Konami was trained by Kana. Course, Kana and Io Shirai have a complicated history which hasn’t really been addressed by either in many years, so having her only trainee facing off against her former stablemate is a fun development. Konami debuted in 2015 but immediately showed natural ability, she is pretty great at the strike/submission style and I am happy to see her in Stardom. Io of course is the best wrestler in the world and Ace of Stardom, so while we know who is winning it should still be a fun journey.

stardom2-4-4Io won’t shake hands before the match, Konami gets Io on the ground first but Io switches positions with her and both return to their feet. Io pushes Konami into the ropes, Konami switches positions with her and instead of giving a clean break she kicks Io in the head. Punches and knees by Konami and she kicks Io in the chest for a two count cover. Waistlock by Konami but Io gets into the ropes, knees by Konami but Io ducks the PK and rolls Konami up before kicking her in the back of the head. Dropkick by Io and she knees Konami into the corner, Io goes up top and she delivers a missile dropkick. Io picks up Konami but she blocks the facebuster and puts Io in an ankle hold. Io inches to the ropes to force a break, kicks to the leg by Konami but Io knocks her back. Kick to the stomach by Konami and she dropkicks Io in the leg, Konami charges Io but Io moves out of the way and dropkicks Konami. Dragon screw by Io and she hits the running double knee in the corner, double underhook facebuster by Io and she covers Konami for a two count. Io goes for the moonsault but Konami kicks her in the leg before she can jump off, Konami pulls Io off the turnbuckles and puts her in a sleeper. Schoolboy into an ankle hold by Konami, release German by Konami and she nails the Buzzsaw Kick for two. Konami picks up Io and applies an ankle hold into a pin, but Io kicks out and rolls up Konami with the Magistra del Io for the three count! Io Shirai sneaks out a win.

Let me count the ways I loved this match. Just for full disclosure, I will openly admit these are two of my favorite current wrestlers so naturally I am going to enjoy watching them face off. But the reason they are two of my favorite is because they are so damn good in the ring, and they immediately had chemistry. It was very different than the normal Io match as Konami dominated, Io never did her big comeback or got a chance to be cocky as Konami stayed on her from bell to bell. Io still won since she is a crafty veteran with a big bag of tricks, but it came across as Konami having her number and Io having to get the win by any means. I wish it was longer of course, I’d love to see them in a main-event style match, but for a sub-10 minute match I thought it was fantastic. If you haven’t seen Konami before, just two years into her career she is already great at what she does, a really fun match.  Highly Recommended

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(c) Toni Storm vs. Viper
SWA World Championship

We have reached our only title match of the evening. Toni Storm won the SWA World Championship from Io Shirai on July 24th of last year, this is her 4th defense of the title. This is her first tour of Stardom since September/October, however she did miss some time due to injury. Viper is a Scottish wrestler that has been on a few tours for Stardom since early 2016, this is her 7th title match in Stardom but she has yet to win any of the matches.

After trading waistlocks and wristlocks Storm gets Viper to the mat, she starts working on Viper’s arm but Viper trips her and applies a leglock. Storm gets out of it and applies a headlock, headscissors by Viper but Storm gets out of it and shakes Viper’s hand as she lets her back up. Storm and Viper lock knuckles, monkey flip by Viper but they reach another stalemate. Hard shoulderblock by Viper, armdrag by Viper but Storm rolls her up for a two count. Viper returns the favor before they return to their feet again, Storm rakes Viper in the eyes and chops her in the corner. Viper jumps out to the apron but Storm boots her down to the floor, she gets a start off the far ropes and hits a tope suicida. Stomps by Storm and she tries to chop Viper against the post, but Viper moves out of the way. Storm rolls Viper back into the ring but Viper hits a crossbody as Storm returns herself.

stardom2-4-5Viper chops Storm in the corner, Storm fights back with elbows but Viper hits a crossbody for two. Viper jumps on the second turnbuckle and hits a quick tornado DDT, running butt smash by Storm and she covers Viper for a two count. Storm goes for a piledriver but Viper blocks it, she puts Storm on the top turnbuckle and Storm goes for another tornado DDT, but Viper blocks it and slams her to the mat. Cannonball by Viper, and she covers Storm for two. Viper picks up Storm but Storm slides away, headbutt by Viper but Storm headbutts her back. Backstabber by Storm, but Viper kicks out of the pin. Storm goes up top and delivers a diving leg drop, and again Viper barely gets a shoulder up. Storm goes off the ropes but Viper grabs her and hits a Michinoku Driver. Cover by Viper, but Storm rolls out of it and holds down Viper’s shoulders for a three count! Toni Storm is still the champion.

This match was weird. I don’t even know how to describe it. The first third was mat wrestling and a few “mutual respect” spots. Then it went straight to be moves (tope suicida, tornado DDT, etc.) before going into the home stretch with very little build. It wasn’t that anything they did was bad, but the way it was structured I never really got into the match. The action itself was generally smooth, just as a match it didn’t really do anything for me, it lacked the passion and the sense of urgency you’d like to see in a title match. Two good wrestlers but a disappointing match between them.

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Io Shirai and HZK vs. Kairi Hojo and Yoko Bito

This match originally had HZK teaming with Momo, but Momo hurt her ACL so the Queen’s Quest leader stepped in. Kairi and Bito are the tag champions but this is not a title match due to the change, just a good ‘ol fashion grudge match. Kairi and Bito have been on a tear since forming a team back in the fall, winning both the tag league and the titles in short order. HZK returned to Stardom at the end of 2016 after a long layoff, she is still growing as a wrestler but seems to be enjoying her new role under Io. Nothing on the line here besides pride, but main events in Stardom are rarely disappointing so I expect them to deliver.

Kairi and HZK begin the match, quick dropkick by HZK but Kairi chops her to the mat. Elbows by HZK and she hits another dropkick, mounted elbows by HZK but Kairi trades positions with her and hits elbows of her own. HZK throws down Kairi by her hair repeatedly, Io grabs Kairi from the apron but Bito grabs HZK as well. Io gets in the ring and they double team Kairi, Bito comes in too however and they dropkick Io and HZK out of the ring. Kairi then gets on the top turnbuckle and dives out of the ring onto both of them, while Bito holds them in place. Kairi rolls HZK back in, Kairi slams HZK to the mat and covers her for two. She tags in Bito, kicks by Bito and she dropkicks HZK in the chest. Kairi is tagged back in, she knocks Io off the apron and invites Bito into the ring so they can double team HZK some more. Kairi picks up HZK but HZK hits a double chop and tags in Io. Bito immediately comes in too but Io dropkicks both of them, Io knees Kairi in the corner and covers her for two. Io tags HZK, HZK throws Kairi in the corner and nails a running boot to Kairi’s face. HZK puts Io in a camel clutch before hitting a curb stomp, Io returns and she kicks Kairi around the ring. Chops by Io but Kairi levels her with a spear and tags in Bito. Bito picks up Io and dropkicks her in the corner, vertical suplex by Bito and she suplexes HZK onto Io for a two count. Bito tries to PK Io but Io ducks it and puts Bito in the armtrap crossface, Kairi tries to help but HZK intercepts her and puts her in the same hold. Bito crawls to the ropes and eventually makes it for the break, Io goes for the Tiger Feint Kick but Bito ducks it and makes the hot tag to Kairi.

stardom2-4-6Kairi snaps Io’s leg and elbows it while it is in the ropes, she goes up top and hits a diving elbow smash for a two count. Kairi applies an ankle hold but Io kicks her away, Io is up first but Kairi hits a headscissors into a roll-up for two. Stretch Muffler by Kairi, Io stands up to get out of it but Kairi hits an Alabama Slam. She climbs up top but HZK grabs her from the apron, this gives Io times to recover and she hits a Frankensteiner. Running double knee by Io in the corner, but she hurts her own leg in the process, Kairi elbows Io but Io hits a palm strike and both wrestlers fall to the mat. They both crawl to their respective corners and tag out, Bito tosses HZK out to the apron before hitting a leg sweep and a kick to the back. Bito goes up top and hits a missile dropkick, cover by Bito but it gets two. Kairi then goes up top and hits a footstomp while HZK is hanging over the top rope, vertical suplex by Bito and Kairi goes for a backfist, but HZK ducks and Kairi hits Bito by accident. Swandive missile dropkick by Io to Kairi while HZK kicks Bito in the head, Manami Roll by HZK but Bito kicks out of the cover. Io and HZK double team Bito, Bito fights back and temporarily regains the advantage until Io helps HZK hit a tornado DDT. Assisted moonsault by Io to Bito, jackknife cover by HZK but Kairi breaks it up. HZK goes to the second turnbuckle and hits a diving senton, but Bito gets a shoulder up. HZK goes up top but Bito recovers and joins her, Io hits Bito from behind and powerbombs Bito. Io goes for a moonsault but Bito rolls out of the way, Kairi hits a diving elbow drop on Io while Bito hits a superplex on HZK. Sliding D/kick combination to HZK, Bito picks up HZK and hits the B-Driller for the three count! Kairi Hojo and Yoko Bito are the winners!

A solid house show main event but that’s about it. I really don’t think that Bito is on the level of Kairi or Io, at least not yet. She is still a bit awkward, which she was back in 2012 as well, she is good with strikes but is generally not as fluid as a lot of the other wrestlers in Stardom. HZK wasn’t asked to do as much but looked good in what she did, and Io remembering her injured leg (maybe even carrying it over from the previous match) was a nice touch. An entertaining home stretch and generally a fun match, but pretty standard with nothing to set it apart from other similar matches these teams have had the last few months.  Mildly Recommended