Event: Stardom “Shining Stars #3”
Date: June 11th, 2016
Location: Yokohama Radiant Hall in Kanagawa, Japan
Announced Attendance: 265
There are small shows, and there are really shows, and this certainly is the latter. Before the Stardom World days we would never seen a bit of this event as of six matches, five are rookie matches which is a high percentage even for Stardom. The main event is a title match, and while it does have three of the best wrestlers in Stardom in it (Shirai, Iwatani, and Kagetsu), it still is one of the lesser titles in Stardom. Still, the rookies can be fun to watch and Threedom will no doubt bring it in the main event. Here are the matches:
As is usually the case, click on the wrestler’s name above to go to their profile on Joshi City.
Arisu Nanase vs. Kris Wolf
We start things off with a match including the newest rookie. Wolf returned last month and seems to be wrestling all the children in the promotion as she gets back into the swing of things. Nanase is 14 years old and debuted in May, so clearly this match is more for Nanase to gain experience and hopefully entertain us in the process.
Nanase starts the match fired up as she attacks Wolf from behind and knocks her into the corner, the kid works a headlock and a wristlock but Wolf reverses it and takes her to the mat. Wolf beats Arisu around the ring, the rookie fights back however and dropkicks Wolf in the corner. Kick to the chest by Wolf and she spanks Nanase before setting her up in the corner and hitting a double knee strike. Kick to the back by Wolf but Nanase avoids her dive and dropkicks Wolf in the chest. Blockbuster by Nanase, but Wolf manages to get a shoulder up. Wolf knees Nanase after she goes off the ropes, running knee to the head by Wolf but Nanase kicks out of the pin. Wolf waits for Nanase to sit up and kicks her in the chest, Wolf holds down Nanase and she picks up the three count! Kris Wolf wins.
This match was cute and fun in parts. Nanase still has a ways to go of course but shows potential, and Wolf is constant energy and excitement so it is hard to get bored watching her matches. A perfectly fine way to kick off the show.
Azumi and Kaori Yoneyama vs. Eimi Nishina and Maki Natsumi
More really young wrestlers! This will be a recurring theme today as I mentioned above. Azumi and Yoneyama represent “Azumi Army,” a playful early-card faction with the 13 year old Azumi acting as the leader. Nishina and Natsumi both are from Actress girl’Z, and it isn’t unusual for them to tag together against the nefarious Azumi Army.
Azumi and Maki begin for their teams and trade holds, Azumi attacks Maki from behind and Yoneyama runs in to assist. They pose on Maki with arm submissions, Yoneyama twists Maki’s hair and she flings her to the mat. Maki cartwheels away from Yoneyama and kicks her, Eimi come sin and they both dropkick Yoneyama. Maki tags in Eimi, dropkick by Eimi but Yoneyama hits a scoop slam and tags in Azumi. Dropkicks by Azumi and she applies a rolling crab hold, but Eimi gets into the ropes. Face crusher by Eimi and she dropkicks Azumi before making the tag to Maki. Rolling neckbreaker by Maki and she puts Azumi in a stretch hold, she goes to run off the ropes but Yoneyama grabs her from the apron. DDT by Azumi, but Eimi breaks up the cover. Yoneyama elbows Azumi by accident, cyclone neckbreaker by Maki and she covers Azumi. Yoneyama tries to break it up but Maki moves and Yoneyama hits Azumi by accident, Maki picks up Azumi and hits another swinging neckbreaker but this time Yoneyama breaks it up successfully. Yoneyama drags Azumi to her corner so she can tag herself in, punch by Yoneyama to Maki but Maki avoids the senton. She tags in Eimi, Somato by Eimi but Yoneyama kicks out. Maki comes in and they both dropkick Yoneyama, but Yoneyama hits a crossbody on both of them. DDT by Azumi to Maki while Yoneyama rolls up Eimi for the three count! Azumi and Yoneyama are your winners.
The early card feud of Azumi vs. Maki is a unique one, usually you don’t see so much time dedicated to giving the rookies something to do so its a nice change of pace. The match itself was pretty basic, but Azumi hadn’t gotten a win in awhile so even though it was indirect it still helped her build some confidence. Definitely a match just for hardcore fans but not without some worth.
Chelsea vs. Hiromi Mimura
The Candy Crush dynamite goes it alone this week as she faces the rookie Mimura in the first match in the Gaijin vs. Rookie series. Chelsea is still working off some ring rust after not being in Stardom for about six months, while the 29 year old rookie Mimura has fallen well behind her fellow rookie Kyouna so needs to pick up some momentum so she doesn’t fall behind further.
They lock knuckles and trade wristlocks, they did a cute spot where Chelsea did a big step over their arms to reverse the hold, but since Mimura is so small in order to duplicate the step she had to take out Chelsea’s legs first before stepping over. Hey I am trying to find things I like. Mimura gets Chelsea to the mat first but Chelsea quickly reverses things, dropkick by Mimura and she rolls up Chelsea for two. Rolling leglock by Mimura, she applies La Magistral but Chelsea kicks out. Chelsea applies a short armbar, they return to their feet and Mimura hits a rebound side headlock takedown. Mimura charges Chelsea but Chelsea catches her with a kick to the midsection, jumping heel drop by Chelsea and she covers Hiromi for two. Rolling Armbreaker by Chelsea, and Mimura has to submit! Chelsea is the winner of the match.
This was really short and just forgettable. Neither looked bad here, aside from Chelsea’s kicks, but there wasn’t really any substance here to get excited about. A lackluster way to kick off the series.
Jungle Kyouna vs. Leah Vaughan
This is the next match in the Gaijin vs. Rookie series. Kyouna is definitely Stardom’s star rookie and is being pushed pretty quickly on the Stardom Rookie Scale as she has already battled many of the biggest stars in Stardom and stood her own. She also beats the other rookies with little issue and has already moved past being in the typical opening matches. This is our first look at Vaughan in a singles match, lets see how she looks outside of being in multi-woman matches.
Kyouna immediately rolls up Leah for two as she goes for quick win, shoulderblocks by Kyouna but Leah takes over and chokes the rookie in the corner before putting her in the camel clutch. A slightly intoxicated Wolf helps from ringside as Leah stays in control, and she puts Kyouna in a headscissors. Leah continues putting Kyouna in submission holds, they get back up and Kyouna finally hits a big lariat to get the gaijin off her feet. Backbreaker by Kyouna and she rams Leah into the corner before hitting a body avalanche. Kyouna gets on the second turnbuckle and hits a diving bodypress, picking up a two count. Crab hold by Kyouna but Leah gets to the ropes, Leah drops Kyouna on the top rope and hits quick suplex for a two count cover. Leah goes for a Lionsault but Kyouna gets her knees up, they trade strikes as they return to their feet until Kyouna hits a powerslam. Kyouna goes up top but Leah recovers in time and throws her off, Lionsault by Leah but Kyouna gets a shoulder up. Vertical suplex by Leah, she goes up top but Kyouna joins her, Leah elbows her off and she delivers the Tornado DDT. Leah applies the Leah Lock, and Kyouna quickly submits! Leah Vaughan is the winner.
I enjoyed this match quite a bit and by far the best match of the night so far. Leah looked pretty impressive here, I thought she showed she could have a place in Stardom as while there were a few awkward moments it generally flowed really well. Kyouna continues to impress also as she went over ten minutes with an invading Gaijin which is no small feat. Solid showing by both wrestlers and a good match overall, probably forgettable in the long run but for a smaller house show it delivered. Mildly Recommended
Momo Watanabe vs. Shanna
This is the last match in the Gaijin vs. Rookie series. Momo is the most experienced ‘rookie’ as she has been wrestling for over one and a half years, but is still considered a rookie since she is only 16. Shanna on a recent show got a title shot against Io Shirai and has had the biggest spotlight on her on this tour, so she gets the ‘best’ rookie to try to take down.
Momo immediately dropkicks Shanna but Shanna dropkicks her back and they go back and forth with dropkicks. Momo wins the dropkick battle, she gets on the second turnbuckle and hits a missile dropkick. Momo goes for the Somato but Shanna moves and goes for Momo’s leg. Dropkicks by Momo in the corner but Shanna grabs the ropes when she goes for a cover. Momo gets on the second turnbuckle, it looks like Shanna tried to reverse it with a double knee but Momo overshoots her and lands on Shanna’s face. This opens a cut over Shanna’s eye and probably knocks her a bit loopy, the referee checks her and has the doctor look, and they decide to stop the match. Your winner by Doctor Stoppage is Momo Watanabe.
I don’t want to go on a rant in a review but this wasn’t a satisfying ending. In 25 years of watching wrestling I have never seen a wrestler request to be checked by the referee/doctor due to a cut. Most wrestlers are like Samoa Joe in his match against Finn Balor, trying to avoid the doctor at all costs, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a match stopped for a cut unless it was for storyline reasons (only possible exception being Joey Mercury but the match continued without him in it plus his face literally exploded). I am not judging Shanna too harshly, this was a house show mid-card match and she was hoping for a bandage rather than having the match stopped by the doctor, but it still wasn’t ideal and since it happened so early in the match we didn’t get to see much of it. So, disappointing overall.
Io Shirai, Kairi Hojo, and Iwatani vs. Diosa Atenea, Kagetsu, and Kimura
This match is for the Artist of Stardom Championship. Oedo Tai has been re-built since the spring, with new invaders and the inclusion of young wrestler Kagetsu. Now they are taking on some combination of Threedom in a series of matches for their titles, with this being the second one after Kagetsu failed to win Iwatani’s High Speed Championship. Next up for them is the trios title, with the best that Oedo Tai has to offer against the Three Daughters of Stardom.
Old foes Kagetsu and Iwatani start the match but Kimura quickly runs in and they double team Iwatani. Iwatani falls out of the ring while Oedo Tai do a dance at ringside (still no Act Yasukawa but Wolf is out with them). Diosa and Hojo come in as the legal wrestlers and Diosa armdrags Hojo out of the ring, she goes to do a baseball slide but Hojo pulls her out of the ring with her. Shirai and Kagetsu get in the ring but Shirai armdrags her out of the ring, she goes to do a dive but Kimura hits her in the head with a metal sheet. Kimura takes Shirai around ringside before the match returns to ‘normal’ with Iwatani being isolated in the ring (she has been the legal wrestler all along). Oedo Tai takes turns on Iwatani as she plays Face in Peril for a significant amount of time, but Iwatani finally hits a double split legged moonsault armdrag on Kimura and Kagetsu followed by a double dropkick which gives her time to tag in Hojo.
Kimura immediately puts Hojo in a grounded necklock but Hojo gets into the ropes to force a break. Stomps by Kimura but Hojo comes back with a series of chops. Kagetsu comes in to assist as does Diosa, but Shirai has seen enough and comes in too. It temporarily backfires, but eventually the Threedom wrestlers get the better of Kimura and Kagetsu, Space Rolling Elbow by Shirai to Kimura and she dropkicks her in the head for a two count (not sure if she is legal, but what can ya do). Double knee by Shirai in the corner, she goes for the moonsault but Kimura moves out of the way. Kimura traps Shirai’s arms and blows in her face, which apparently is quite painful, Kagetsu comes in and they drop Shirai with an assisted Gory Bomb. Iwatani returns but Kagetsu dropkicks her in the face, superkicks by Iwatani but Kagetsu delivers a high kick. Diosa comes in the ring with a diving bodypress to Iwatani, and the referee counts the two count (I guess we are officially under Lucha Libre tag rules).
Shirai comes in, she gets Diosa on her shoulders while Hojo goes up top and hits a jumping elbow smash. Diving footstomp by Iwatani, but Kimura breaks up the cover. Kagetsu hits Iwatani and Hojo with the Parking Sign before bopping Shirai as well, and all three of Oedo Tai put Threedom in submission holds. Ebisu Drop by Kagetsu to Iwatani, Diosa hits a diving senton but the cover is broken up. Big Match Io tries to clear the ring but Kimura drops her with a chokebomb, Wolf crawls in and tries to hit Iwatani but she hits Kagetsu on accident. Hurricanrana by Iwatani to Kagetsu, but the referee’s count is interrupted. Swandive dropkick by Shirai, Hojo runs in and they catapult Iwatani into Diosa. Assisted Tombstone Piledriver to Diosa, Shirai sails out of the ring onto Kimura and Kagetsu while Hojo hits a diving elbow drop onto Diosa. Iwatani then goes up top and hits a frog splash, cover by Iwatani and she gets the three count! Threedom are still the Artist of Stardom Champions.
A really fun match to end the show, as they got plenty of time and everyone got a chance to shine. Diosa was the clear weak link of the team so it was no surprise she got pinned here, although it took a few big moves to keep her down. I am not a huge fan of six wrestler tags as it usually has the same structure as this one – one wrestler isolated for a bit followed by random chaos until the match ends. For a smaller show though a suitable main event and an entertaining watch, even though it didn’t do much to set itself apart from other big Stardom matches. Recommended
If I had to rank all the Stardom events in 2016 this one would likely be towards the bottom, however it was mostly by design. It was set up to be a rookie-focused card so its hard to complain about it, the rookies do need experience and wrestling against people they are not familiar with is the best way to grow. The main event was certainly good and easily the best match on the card, but as a whole card it is more for those that enjoy watching the rookies develop rather than those seeking high end matches.