Event: Stardom “New Year Stars 2018”
Date: January 13th, 2018
Location: Yokohama Radiant Hall in Yokohama, Japan
Announced Attendance: 275
On to 2018! I know that I missed a lot of events from late 2017 but I don’t want to get even further behind so we are just moving on to the new year. I’ll have another Stardom review very shortly but I wanted to watch one event leading up to their big Korakuen Hall show. This show has a big main event, as Io Shirai accepts a challenge from Rachael Ellering! Here is the full card:
- Hanan vs. Miranda vs. Ruaka
- Hiromi Mimura and Mary Apache vs. Kaori Yoneyama and Natsuko Tora
- Hana Kimura, Kagetsu, and Natsu Sumire vs. Kay Lee Ray, Nicole Savoy, and Xia Brookside
- AZM, HZK, Momo Watanabe, and Viper vs. Jungle Kyona, Konami, Shiki Shibusawa, and Starlight Kid
- Wonder Of Stardom Championship: Io Shirai vs. Rachael Ellering
All the wrestlers above have profiles on Joshi City, you can click on their name to go straight to it. As this was shown on Stardom World, all matches will be shown in full.
Hanan vs. Miranda vs. Ruaka
We start, naturally, with a rookie battle! Hanan and Ruaka aren’t technically rookies but since both are 13 we still refer to them as such. They’ll be opening shows for the foreseeable future, unless they stop wrestling altogether. Miranda began wrestling in 2016, she lost in the first round of the Mae Young Classic but otherwise hasn’t done anything of note this early in her career.
Hanan and Ruaka double team Miranda to start, they get her into the corner and Hanan delivers a dropkick. Hanan tricks Ruaka and rolls her up for a two count, she tries again but Miranda gets her from behind and all three trade flash pins with no luck. Miranda and Ruaka stomp on Hanan, but Hanan slams Ruaka to the mat and Ruaka gets double teamed instead. Hanan puts Ruaka in a crab hold before Miranda kicks her in the head, they switch positions but Hanan dropkicks Miranda instead. Hanan is not one to trust in this match. Miranda rocks Hanan with a hard elbow, Ruaka attacks Miranda but Miranda elbows her to the mat as well. Hanan and Ruaka Irish whip Miranda but Miranda hits a spear on both of them, Miranda covers Hanan but it gets two. Miranda chops Hanan into the corner before hitting a running elbow, Miranda throws Hanan to the mat and delivers a sliding kick for another two count. Miranda elbows Hanan against the ropes but Hanan hits a hip toss, Ruaka finally returns and they both slam Miranda, but Hanan schoolboys Ruaka for two. Reverse STO by Ruaka to Hanan, she picks up Hanan and delivers the fisherman suplex hold for a two count when Miranda breaks it up. Miranda kicks Ruaka into the corner, dropkick by Miranda and she hits a second one on Ruaka for a quick cover. Cutter by Miranda, but Hanan breaks up the cover. Hanan and Ruaka both grab Miranda and hit a double fisherman suplex hold, but Miranda kicks out. Big boot by Ruaka in the corner, superkick by Hanan and she hits a STO on Ruaka. Another STO by Hanan, but Ruaka barely gets a shoulder up. Hanan gets on the second turnbuckle but Ruaka recovers, she hits a fisherman suplex back to the mat before delivering a second fisherman suplex hold for the three count! Ruaka is your winner.
I will say this – I expected this match to be really disjointed and awkward but it was pretty smooth overall. A minor hiccup here and there but Miranda didn’t seem out of place in the ring with two wrestlers that have faced off on a very regular basis in the last year. Nothing to get excited about of course, but all three got a bit of a chance to shine and it was a respectable way to start off the show.
Hiromi Mimura and Mary Apache vs. Kaori Yoneyama and Natsuko Tora
Time for a little random tag team action. Kaori Yoneyama and Natsuko Tora are both part of Team Jungle, which is Jungle Kyona’s faction which also includes Hiroyo Matsumoto. Yoneyama has a lot of experience early on Stardom cards so this is a normal place for her, as she frequently works with the newer wrestlers. On the other team, Mary Apache is a respected veteran Luchadora while Hiromi is in her third year of wrestling, she has settled in as a slightly comedic midcarder but with her personality she has her fair share of fans. Each team has a seasoned vet and a less experienced wrestler so its a pretty even pairing.
Yoneyama and Apache start off trading armdrags and trips before reaching a stalemate, Apache tags in Hiromi while Natsuko also tags in. They do a pose-off before trading elbows, hard shoulderblock by Natsuko and Yoneyama comes in to help double team Hiromi. Yoneyama stays in and throws Hiromi by the hair into the corner, chops by Yoneyama and she chops Hiromi in the throat. Hiromi fights back with a dropkick, she kicks Natsuko off the apron but goofs around too much and doesn’t capitalize. Yoneyama charges Hiromi in the corner but Hiromi hits a tornado DDT, giving her time to tag in Apache. Apache puts Yoneyama in a Mexican Surfboard, Hiromi returns and she helps Apache jump down on Yoneyama against the ropes. Natsuko runs in and helps Yoneyama turn the tide on Apache, Yoneyama tags in Natsuko and she hits a running shoulder tackle on Apache in the corner. Apache recovers but Natsuko delivers a spear, Yoneyama comes in and hits a diving senton onto Apache. Tora follows with a diving senton of her own, Natsuko picks up Apache but Apache nails Natsuko with a jumping heel kick, cover by Apache but Yoneyama breaks it up. Apache lariats both of them, Hiromi comes in and she dropkicks Natsuko in the face. Lariat by Apache, and she covers Natsuko for two. Ligerbomb by Apache, and she picks up the three count! Hiromi Mimura and Mary Apace win!
Almost literally a nothing match, with very little substance. Natsuko and Yoneyama work well together but nothing else can really be pulled out of this match, aside from Hiromi being goofy and Mary Apache not really being given a chance to add anything of note. Skippable match.
Hana Kimura, Kagetsu, and Natsu Sumire vs. Kay Lee Ray, Nicole Savoy, and Xia Brookside
As the title of the match implies, this features the top wrestlers in Oedo Tai against the latest group of gaijin invaders. Kagetsu is the leader of Oedo Tai, with Hana Kimura being the likely #2. Natsu Sumire joined Oedo Tai in the fall, she still hasn’t gelled with all her teammates but they are working on it. On the gaijin side, Kay Lee Ray is a semi-regular in Stardom, doing a couple tours a year, while this is Xia Brookside’s second tour with Stardom. SHIMMER Champion Nicole Savoy is in her first stop with Stardom and looks to be set up as the top gaijin on this particular tour.
Oedo Tai attacks before the match starts, Kagetsu stays in with KLR but Savoy runs in and drops Kagetsu with a gutwrench suplex. Xia comes in too to help, neckbreaker by KLR to Kagetsu and she puts her in a quick submission. Hana and Natsu come in but the Gaijin Team stays in control, KLR elbows Kagetsu in the corner and tags in Savoy. Xia is tagged in but Tam pulls her out of the ring and beats down Xia at ringside. Natsu helps Tam before Xia is rolled back into the ring as all the members of Oedo Tai pose around her. Kagetsu kicks Xia before tagging in Hana, Hana kicks at Xia and tags in Natsu, as Xia plays the Face in Peril, Natsu gets her bottle water and spits water down onto Xia. Natsu suplexes Xia into the corner and hits the Bronco Buster, but Xia comes back with a jumping knee and a face crusher for a two count. Xia tags in Savoy, butterfly suplex by Savoy and she drops Natsu with a German suplex. Kagetsu runs in but she gets suplexed as well, she then hits a Fallaway Slam on Hana before booting Natsu. Natsu schoolboys Savoy which gives her time to tag in Hana, drop toehold by Hana and she boots Savoy in the head. Fisherman Buster by Savoy to Hana and she tags in KLR, KLR slaps Hana in the chest and delivers a high kick for a two count. Dropkick by Hana to KLR and she puts her in the Ground Manjikatame, but KLR quickly gets to the ropes. Hana elbows KLR but KLR nails her with a superkick, she tags in Xia while Kagetsu is also tagged in. Spinning headscissors by Xia and she kicks Kagetsu in the head for a two count. Xia gets Kagetsu on her shoulders but Kagetsu slides off, Codebreaker by Xia and she covers Kagetsu for another two. Xia picks up Kagetsu and puts her on the top turnbuckle before flinging her to the mat, but Hana breaks up the cover. Elbows by Xia but Kagetsu tosses P-chan at her and kicks Xia in the head. Hana runs in and boots Xia, Ebisu Drop by Kagetsu but KLR breaks up the pin. Kagetsu picks up Xia and hits a vertical suplex, chokeslam by Kagetsu and she covers Xia for the three count! Oedo Tai are the winners!
A fun midcard match. The wrestlers are capable of more than that of course but with the match length and placement on the card, this was about all we could hope for. All the gaijin team members looked great in limited action, with Savoy and KLR being particularly impressive. Natsu on a skill-level is below everyone else but was well protected here, and everyone played their part well. Solid, but nothing overly memorable long term. Mildly Recommended
AZM, HZK, Momo, and Viper vs. Jungle Kyona, Konami, Shibusawa, and Starlight Kid
This is shockingly late on the card for some of these wrestlers. The last match featured Oedo Tai, this one features Queen’s Quest, the other major faction in Stardom. Queen’s Quest leader Io Shirai is in the next match, but this is the rest of the group as they take on an unusual hodge-podge of wrestlers. Kyona isn’t with her own group here, as she teams with the rookies Shiki and Starlight Kid. Joining them is Konami, who usually tags with Hiromi Mimura. The team screams “everyone else available is thrown in this match” but hopefully they work together well.
Momo and Kyona kick things off, Kyona boots Momo in the stomach and hits a hard shoulderblock. Armdrag by Momo and she rolls up Kyona for two, but Kyona gets her to the mat and they end up in a stalemate. Kyona tags in Starlight Kid while Viper is also tagged in, Starlight Kid stomps on Viper’s foot and hits a few dropkicks, but Viper catches her on the crossbody attempt. Viper tries to sit on Starlight Kid but Starlight Kid moves, dropkick by Starlight Kid and she covers Viper for a quick two count. Starlight Kid goes for a tilt-a-whirl headscissors but Viper catches her, she goes off the ropes but Shiki runs in and stops her from hitting a bodypress. Queen’s Quest stacks up all their opponents in the corner before Viper hits a cannonball, Viper then picks up Starlight Kid and headbutts her. She tags in AZM, scoop slam by AZM and she kicks Starlight Kid in the back. AZM tags Momo, Momo dropkicks Starlight Kid in the corner and hits another scoop slam for two. Starlight Kid elbows Momo but Momo knocks her to the mat and tags in HZK. HZK picks up Starlight Kid and elbows her against the ropes, but Shiki runs in and dropkicks HZK. Tiger Feint Kick by Starlight Kid and Shiki hits a face crusher, double dropkick to HZK and Starlight Kid makes the hot tag to Konami.
Konami applies a seated armbar to HZK but it gets broken up by Momo, Viper tries to break it up too but Konami puts all three in an armbar. Knees by Konami to HZK and she delivers a dropkick, back kick by Konami and she hits a fisherman suplex hold for two. Konami tags Kyona, Kyona and HZK trade elbows until Kyona swings HZK to the mat with a sleeper. Momo breaks it up and with HZK they suplex Kyona, double knee to the back to Kyona and Momo delivers the Somato. Pump Kick by HZK and she hits Michinoku Driver on Kyona for two. HZK gets on the second turnbuckle but Kyona avoids the senton, lariat to the back by Kyona but HZK avoids the next lariat and hits a headbutt. Kyona comes back with a hard shot but HZK sneaks in a DDT and both wrestlers are down. Shiki and AZM are tagged in, dropkicks by Shiki and she scoop slams AZM. Standing Moonsault by Starlight Kid and Konami delivers a sliding kick to AZM, Shiki follows with a missile dropkick and she covers AZM for two. AZM gets away from Shiki and hits a triple jump crossbody out of the corner, giving her time to tag in Viper. Elbow by Viper and she hits a low crossbody, but the cover is broken up. All of Queen’s Quest stay in the ring, triple dropkick to Shiki and Viper follows with a running senton for the three count! Queen’s Quest win the match.
A small step down from the last match but still decent enough, even though it wasn’t an ideal match for a semi-main event. They kept the pace up, as you’d expect in a pretty short eight wrestler tag match, but it lacked anything resembling a structure as it was mostly just random carnage. Perfectly fine for a casual watch, but nothing more than that here.
(c) Io Shirai vs. Rachael Ellering
Wonder of Stardom Championship
And we have reached the lone title match of the evening. Io Shirai is continuing her tradition of facing off against the top gaijins on each tour, she has a different belt then she used to but the end result is still the same. Io Shirai won the Wonder of Stardom Championship on November 19th from Yoko Bito, she has been a very active champion as this is already her fourth defense of the belt. Ellering is probably best known as the daughter of the legendary Paul Ellering, but she has had success in her career in SHIMMER and AAW, and reached the second round of the WWE Mae Young Classic last summer.
They tie-up to start, wristlock by Rachael but Io applies a headlock. Rachael gets out of it but Io drops her into the ropes, she goes for a Tiger Feint Kick but Rachael slides out of the way. Irish whip by Rachael and she hits a shoulderblock, Io kips up but Rachael elbows her back down to the mat. Chops by Rachael but Io avoids a senton, Io goes for a dropkick but Rachael moves out of the way. Io blocks a piledriver but Rachael snaps off a cutter for two. Rachael grabs Io around the waist and flings her to the mat, kicks by Rachael and she shoulder tackles Io in the corner. Rachael scoops up Io and hits a shoulder breaker to the gut, cover by Rachael but Io kicks out. Elbow by Rachael and she hits a scoop slam, senton by Rachael and she covers Io for two. Rachael kicks at Io and connects with a few elbows, she goes for a kick to the back but Io catches it and dropkicks Rachael in the knee. Io charges Rachael in the corner, Rachael drops her onto the apron however and boots Io down to the floor. Io quickly gets back into the ring and hits a scoop slam, she goes up top and hits a flying body press for two. Rachael rolls out of the ring, but Io goes off the ropes and sails out onto her with a plancha suicida. Io slides Rachael back in and hits a missile dropkick, running double knee by Io in the corner and she covers Rachael for two. Io goes up top but Rachael hits her from behind, Rachael pulls Io off the top and hits a STO. Leg drop out of the corner by Rachael, but Io kicks out of the cover. Io lands on the apron, Rachael goes for a boot but Io catches it and snaps Rachael’s leg on the top rope. Io goes up top but Rachael joins her and delivers an Avalanche Falcon Arrow for a two count cover. Rachael picks up Io and elbows her, but Io elbows her back and they trade blows. Palm strike by Io but Rachael boots her in the face, spinebuster by Rachael, but Io gets a shoulder up on the cover. Rachael picks up Io but Io gets away on the powerbomb attempt and delivers a German suplex hold for two. Io picks up Rachael and hits a dragon screw, Io picks up Rachael and delivers a tombstone piledriver. Io goes up top and she nails the moonsault, cover by Io and she picks up the three count! Io Shirai is still the Wonder of Stardom Champion!
While obviously I adore Io and think she is one of the best wrestlers in the world, this match was a bit disappointing. I am not faulting Rachael either, she was on point, but at times they just didn’t mesh well and it didn’t feel near as fluid as I expect from Io’s matches. The biggest slip-up was all Io but other times I couldn’t fault one or the other, it just didn’t always feel natural. I did love Rachael’s dangerous looking Falcon Arrow and the big spots were executed well, it just didn’t get enough time (about 13 minutes) for them to overcome the issues early in the match. It was still “good” overall because current day Io isn’t capable of not having a good match, but for a title match it didn’t fully deliver. Mildly Recommended
With less than 55 minutes of in-ring action, something on this event would have had to really pop out for me to recommend it, and unfortunately nothing did. The midcard matches had some good moments but are largely forgettable, and with so many wrestlers in the faction matches no one really had a chance to shine. The main event was perfectly fine but will probably go down as the worst Io Shirai title match of the year, not because the wrestlers aren't good but because of the match length and clunkiness of it. Overall not an event that needs to be sought out, you can safely skip it and head straight to the Korakuen Hall event on 1/21.