Stardom Shining Stars #2 on 6/4/16 Review

Event: Stardom Shining Stars 2016 #2
Date: June 4th, 2016
Location: Hirano Kumin Hall in Osaka, Japan
Announced Attendance: 258

I realize I said that I review way too much Stardom and I plan on mixing it up some more going forward, but I’ll be damned if Stardom didn’t put on back to back shows so here I am reviewing Stardom today once again. This is the second show in the Shining Stars tour, and also takes place away from their home in Tokyo. This is a small show but it does have an Io Shirai championship match as she defends one of her four titles. Here is the full card:

Lots of rookies and the return of big match Io! As always, click on the wrestler’s name above to go to their profile if I have one on the site.

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Arisu Nanase vs. Natsumi Maki

stardom6.4-1You know that Maki was excited to see her match on the card, as she very rarely gets to win. But here she gets to wrestle Nanase in her second ever professional wrestling match, so a victory is pretty much a lock. Nanase is 14 years old and showed a lot of promise in her debut match, hopefully she can follow it up with a strong effort against the bendy Maki.

Nanase and Maki trade holds, Maki keeps cutely doing cartwheels to reverse wristlocks but Nanase gets Maki to the mat. Back up they trade elbows, dropkick by Maki and she puts the super rookie into a crab hold. Nanase gets to the ropes, dropkick by Nanase and she slams Maki before putting her in a leg submission hold. Maki gets out of the hold and cartwheels out of a slam, bridging fallaway slam by Nanase but it gets two. Maki blocks the next one and applies a backslide, getting her own two count. Swinging neckbreaker by Maki, and she bridges over Nanase for the three count! Maki is the winner.

Maki was so surprised she won that she didn’t even apply the cover correctly. It is hard to hate a match like this, two young but well trained wrestlers putting on a short match but not one without some memorable moments. Both are a ways away from moving up the card, expect them both to be in a similar position to this for the rest of 2016, but still an enjoyable way to kick things off.

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Azumi vs. Eimi Nishina vs. Starlight Kid

This almost seems unfair to Azumi, as she is without her Azumi Army in this three way battle. Azumi is the youngest wrestler in Stardom, even though she has been at it for a few years, while Nishina is affiliated with Actress girl’Z (as is Maki in the previous match). Starlight Kid is a 15 year old rookie, but has shown some promise the last few months. This is anyone’s game as all are young enough that they can take a pin from any of the others.

stardom6.4-2Azumi and Starlight Kid go after each other first, Nishina  joins in after a moment but they both kick her down. Starlight Kid and Azumi reach a stalemate, Starlight Kid is thrown into the corner and both her opponents dropkick her. Starlight Kid dropkicks Azumi back, Nishina slams Azumi and puts her in a camel clutch, but Starlight Kid dropkicks Nishina. Nishina is briefly double teamed until Azumi applies an inside cradle to Starlight Kid. All three wrestlers return to their feet and they do the triple sleeper spot, Starlight Kid gets out of it first and dropkicks Azumi before trading elbows with Nishina. Face crusher by Nishina and she hits a Somato, but Azumi breaks up the cover. Starlight Kid flings Azumi to the apron, she goes to the second turnbuckle and hits a diving crossbody for two. Monkey flip by Azumi to Starlight Kid and she applies a wing clutch hold for two. Azumi goes for a suplex but Starlight Kid reverses it and hits her standing moonsault for the three count! Starlight Kid wins.

That is twice now that Starlight Kid has pinned Azumi, and I don’t think she likes it. Not as good as the last match as I think the three way battle structure is a hard one to make entertaining, but it was still fine. Nothing really interesting as it was too short but nothing offensive either.

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Chelsea and Kairi Hojo vs. Alex Lee and Hiroyo Matsumoto

This is the second match with Candy Crush since Chelsea’s return to Stardom. This is a bit of an odd one, Lee and Matsumoto have no real affiliation aside from the fact that neither are contracted wrestlers, but having Lee in the midcard is an easy way to get Candy Crush a win. Chelsea looked a bit rusty in her first match back so we’ll see if she is any smoother in her second match.

Lee and Chelsea begin the match and awkwardly trade holds, scoop slam by Lee and she kicks Chelsea in the chest for a two count. Matsumoto comes in as they double team Chelsea, Hojo finally comes in to help and Lee ends up being double teamed herself. Leg drop by Chelsea, and she covers Lee for two. Lee manages to tag in Matsumoto and Matsumoto flings Chelsea around the ring. Lee returns and puts Chelsea in a crab hold, jumping knee by Lee and she kicks Chelsea in the back before covering her for a two count. Matsumoto is tagged back in and she snaps Chelsea’s neck over the top rope, missile dropkick by Matsumoto and she covers Chelsea, but Hojo breaks it up. Chelsea finally slides away from Matsumoto and hits a standing guillotine legdrop, giving her time to make the hot tag to Hojo. Hojo chops Matsumoto into the corner but Matsumoto returns the favor, Hojo goes for a spear but Matsumoto blocks it and throws Hojo to the mat.

stardom6.4-3Hojo fights back and hits her triple jump elbow smash out of the corner, Matsumoto goes for a powerbomb but Hojo gets out of it. Roaring elbow by Matsumoto, she goes off the ropes but Hojo gets up and levels her with a spear. Back up they trade strikes, Matsumoto grabs Hojo and gets her onto her shoulders before dropping her with a gutbuster. Lee is tagged in and kicks Hojo into the corner, high kick by Lee and she hits a single arm suplex for a two count. Chelsea and Matsumoto both run in to help which Chelsea gets the better of, heel kick by Chelsea to Lee and Hojo hits the Sliding D. Hojo goes up top but Matsumoto runs over and joins her, hitting a superplex. Lee pick up Hojo and hits a backdrop suplex, but Chelsea breaks up the cover. Matsumoto elbows Lee by accident, Chelsea knocks Matsumoto over the top rope before sailing after her with a sloppy but effective plancha suicida. Superkick by Lee to Hojo but Hojo catches her with a spinning backfist, she goes up top and she nails the diving elbow drop for the three count! Candy Crush win!

The most interesting thing in his match to me is that in a 15 minute match, Candy Crush had one tag. Almost unheard of. Anyway, this was not great but not bad either. Lee looked good here as she got the chance to mix it up with a great wrestler like Hojo, and I give Chelsea credit for putting in maximum effort even though skill-wise she lags behind most the other wrestlers in Stardom. The Matsumoto/Hojo segments were great, the match was just a little slow in a few parts. I liked it quite a bit but still with its flaws.  Mildly Recommended

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Diosa Atenea, Kagetsu, Kris Wolf, and Vaughan vs. Mimura, Kyouna, Iwatani, and Watanabe

This is an Elimination Tag Team Match. This is not a gauntlet, so all eight wrestlers can be tagged in and out the same as any other tag match, it basically has the same rules as a Survivor Series match except wrestlers can also be eliminated by being thrown over the top rope. Which is a staple in Japan for some reason even though I hate it. The teams are of course the evil Oedo Tai vs. the wholesome Stardom team, which consists of three rookies and the holder of many titles in Mayu Iwatani.

Oedo Tai naturally attacks before the bell rings, because why wouldn’t they, but Team Stardom quickly recovers and isolates Vaughan. Vaughan isn’t wearing all green this week so she doesn’t look like Kellie Skater, which is a plus. A brawl ensues as the action spills out of the ring, with Atenea and Watanabe left inside. They all end up outside the ring as Oedo Tai throws their opponents into chairs at ringside, Mimura is eventually slid back in and is quadruple teamed in the ropes. Oedo Tai takes turns on Mimura, Mimura hits a DDT on Kagetsu which gives her time to tag in Momo. Atenea comes in too but Watanabe hits a crossbody on both, with Kyouna running in to help knock the duo over. Kagetsu is attacked by all the members of the Stardom team, Iwatani stays in with Kagetsu and armdrags her into the corner. Kagetsu comes back with a dropkick and they trade elbows, Iwatani gets the better of it and both tag out as Wolf and Kyouna come in. Kyouna gets Wolf on her shoulders but Wolf slides away, Vaughan runs in but she dropkicks Wolf by accident. Iwatani and Momo both kick Wolf, Kyouna goes up top and she nails a diving body press for the three count! Kris Wolf is eliminated.

stardom6.4-4Atenea replaces her, she can’t knock over Kyouna with a shoulderblock but she connects with a kick to the head. Kyouna tosses Atenea to the mat and tags Mimura, Mimura goes off the ropes and hits a dropkick on Atenea. Mimura and Atenea trade chops to the chest, Atenea puts Mimura in a fireman’s carry and tosses her to the mat. Mimura is kicked from the apron, Atenea puts Mimura in a unique bendy submission hold and Mimura submits! Hiromi Mimura is eliminated.

Kyouna comes in, she knocks Atenea out to the apron over the top rope but when she charges her to knock Atenea to the floor, she ends up on the apron as well. Wolf tugs on Kyouna from the floor while Kyouna hangs onto Atenea, Watanabe dropkicks Atenea from inside the ring and both Atenea and Kyouna flop to the floor. Both Diosa Atenea and Jungle Kyouna are eliminated.

All four remaining wrestlers stay in the ring and trade blows, Kagetsu grabs Iwatani but Iwatani blocks her kicks and hits her in the face. Iwatani and Kagetsu trade blows, Iwatani grabs Kagetsu’s arm and runs up the corner but Kagetsu pushes Iwatani to the apron. Kagetsu charges Iwatani to try to knock her to the floor, but Iwatani grabs Kagetsu and pulls her over the top rope. Both immediately fall to the floor in the process, and both Kagetsu and Mayu Iwatani are eliminated.

This leaves only Vaughan and Watanabe as the last two wrestlers. Watanabe quickly dropkicks Vaughan a few times until she is tripped from the floor and all of Oedo Tai come in to help. Watanabe is quadruple teamed in the corner until Team Stardom finally pulls the extra wrestlers out of the ring. Kagetsu gets her Parking Sign but Iwatani fights it from her, Watanabe dropkicks Kagetsu before turning her attention back to Vaughan. Missile dropkick by Watanabe and she hits a vertical suplex for a two count. Watanabe charges Vaughan in the corner but Vaughan moves and hits a fisherman suplex. Elbows by Watanabe, she goes off the ropes but Vaughan catches her with a big spear for the three count cover! Team Oedo Tai wins the Elimination Match!

A fun and fast paced match, although not much more than that. I am not a huge fan of the over-the-top elimination rule, its a staple in Stardom but most of the time it is just used as a cop-out for quick eliminations, as it was here. Having five wrestlers eliminated in under three minutes isn’t incredibly satisfying. But when they were given time to develop a rhythm it was entertaining, and I really like the Oedo Tai faction even if Stardom seems hell bent on not letting them win any titles. Not a bad co-main, just wish it had gotten more time and had a bit more beef to it.  Mildly Recommended

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(c) Io Shirai vs. Shanna

This match is for the SWA Undisputed Championship. Don’t feel bad if you have not heard of this title, as it has only existed for less than a month and Io Shirai is the first champion. Io won the title while wrestling in RCW, which is a wrestling promotion in Spain. Shanna is from Portugal and wrestles all over Europe, so it was logical that she got a title shot even if this is her first tour of Stardom. Io hasn’t been pinned in a long time, will Shanna be able to knock the Ace off her throne?

After the introductory feeling out process, Shanna gets Shirai to the mat and starts twisting on her arm. Shirai gets into the ropes to force a break, Shanna applies a headlock but Shirai gets out of the hold, both wrestlers go for dropkicks but both miss and return to their feet. Shirai dumps Shanna onto the apron and out of the ring, she goes to do a dive but flips back into the ring instead and poses. Shanna returns to the ring and twists Shirai awkwardly into a modified DDT of sorts, Shirai falls out of the ring and Shanna dives out after her with a tope suicida. Shanna throws Shirai around at ringside and wraps her head in a chair for extra measure before eventually returning to the ring with Shirai. Shanna stomps on Shirai and chokes her in the corner, cover by Shanna but it gets a two. Fisherman suplex hold by Shanna, but Shirai kicks out of that as well. Shirai recovers and hits a missile dropkick out of the corner, Shanna rolls out of the ring and Shirai sails after her with a plancha suicida. Shirai tosses Shanna back into the ring, Tiger Feint Kick by Shirai and she hits a swandive missile dropkick for a two count.

stardom6.4-5Armtrap crossface by Shirai, but Shanna gets a hand on the bottom rope for a break. Shirai hits a running double knee in the corner, she sits up Shanna and goes up top, but Shanna recovers and tries to throw Shirai to the mat, but Shirai lands on her feet. Hurricanrana by Shanna but Shirai rolls through it and they trade quick pins. Enzuigiri by Shanna, she picks up Shirai and drapes her over the top rope before diving off the turnbuckle with a kick to the head. Shanna goes for a double underhook but Shirai blocks it, they trade holds until Shirai drops Shanna with the Schwein. Double underhook facebuster by Shirai, but Shanna blocks the Package German and hits a Stunner. Shanna goes up top and delivers the diving body press, but Shirai kicks out. Shanna picks up Shirai and drops her with the double underhook side facebuster, but Shirai gets a shoulder up on the cover. Shanna drags up Shirai but Shirai ducks the enzuigiri and hits a deadlift German for two. They trade elbows as they slowly get up, back kick by Shanna but Shirai hits a palm strike. Tombstone Piledriver by Shirai, she goes up top and nails the moonsault for the three count! Shirai retains the championship.

I wouldn’t call this one of Shirai’s best singles matches but there was certainly no shortage of effort from either wrestler. Shanna appeared a bit sloppy at times, if not slightly unsafe, but being a little rough around the edges can enhance the match in some circumstances. Definitely not as smooth as most Io matches, however. I was surprised that Shanna hit the only move we have seen her win with, as once she hit that and Io kicked out, she really didn’t have anything else to go to that the crowd had seen before that could win her the match. Course if Shanna is a one and done in Stardom then it doesn’t really matter. A really good small show main event, probably forgettable in the long run but its always a pleasure to see Io in a championship-style match.  Recommended