Event: Stardom “Shining Stars 2017”
Date: June 4th, 2017
Location: Shin-Kiba 1st Ring in Tokyo, Japan
Announced Attendance: 433
Just from looking at the card, this is a pretty average show from Stardom, but it carries a much deeper meaning. Kairi Hojo announced in May that she was leaving Stardom for a new voyage, with that new voyage taking her to WWE. This is her farewell event and is sure to be emotional, even if the match card itself is nothing special. Here is the full card:
The Kairi Hojo vs. The Roster match wasn’t pre-announced but wasn’t completely shocking since it is a match type sometimes done on Joshi shows when a wrestler is leaving or having a major anniversary. All the wrestlers above have profiles on the website, you can click on their name to go directly to it.
Hanan vs. Ruaka
We begin the show in traditional Stardom fashion, with a rookie battle! Hanan and Ruaka are both 12 years old, as Stardom recently has been debuting more younger wrestlers. Both bring something different to the table, as Ruaka is already taller than half the roster while Hanan has a background in judo. Hopefully they can put on a good show, even with their young age and inexperience.
The kiddos start slow as they trade wristlocks, Ruaka gets Hanan to the mat first but Hanan avoids her kick and rolls up Ruaka for two. Dropkicks by Hanan, she picks up Ruaka but Ruaka blocks the scoop slam. Quick toss by Hanan and she puts Ruaka in a headlock, Ruaka reverses it into a headscissors but Hanan does a kip-up to get out of it and both return to their feet. They trade elbows until Ruaka boots Hanan to the mat, but Hanan fires back with a dropkick. Hanan throws Ruaka into the corner and hits a jumping elbow, but Ruaka catches her with a reverse STO when she goes for a second one. Crab hold by Ruaka but Hanan crawls to the ropes to force the break, stomps by Ruaka and she charges Hanan, but Hanan goes off the ropes and slams Ruaka to the mat. Ruaka reverses her STO attempt into a reverse STO, running boot by Ruaka and she covers Hanan for two. Ruaka goes for a fisherman suplex but Hanan reverses it with an inside cradle, running elbow by Ruaka but Hanan returns fire. Hanan grabs Ruaka’s head and cradles her to the mat, she holds Ruaka down and gets the three count pinfall! Hanan is the winner.
A bit awkward at times, as one may expect, but both show early signs of at least “getting” wrestling and do most of their moves pretty smooth. Both are two young to get excited about their potential careers, anyone still school age is likely to disappear with little warning like Starlight Kid (who returned at this event) or Arisu did, but not a bad rookie opener.
Hana Kimura vs. Rebel
Oh boy, this match. You know how sometimes something is cute, then its done a lot and it gets less cute, and then something happens where its so over the top you want to start kicking babies? That is my fear for this match. Hana Kimura has been doing a sexy “pose off” with opponents for awhile but Rebel is even more scandalous than she is, so this is not going to be a serious match. It normally works because Hana’s opponents aren’t interested and have to get tricked into it, but it makes it all kinda silly when her opponent is just as into it as she is. I assume it will be lots of posing, some sexual innuendos, and then perhaps some actual wrestling if we are lucky.
As expected, the first portion of this match was both Hana and Rebel dancing around the ring and posing for the crowd, trying to get the most cheers. That finally stopped when they get into a pushing match, Rebel gets Hana into the corner and chops her before running away. Hana gets serious and chops Rebel in the chest, more chops by Hana and she knocks Rebel out of the ring. Hana eventually goes out after her and chases Rebel around the ring, Rebel returns but Hana is tired from all the running and is much slower to get back in. Rebel promptly rolls back out and continues staying away from Hana, Hana gases herself out which allows Rebel to get a few kicks in. Rebel misses the leg drop however, Hana goes for a wheelbarrow but Rebel catches her and slams Hana to the mat. Rebel puts Hana in a guillotine before ramming her into the corner, Hana goes off the ropes and she delivers a dropkick. Hana gets on the second turnbuckle and hits a missile dropkick, cover by Hana but it gets two. Hana goes off the ropes and goes for a wheelbarrow, but Rebel can’t hold her up so they collapse to the mat. Jumping double chop by Rebel and she hits a spinning neckbreaker for two. Rebel hits a delayed front suplex, she picks Hana up and slams her in front of the corner. Rebel goes up to the second turnbuckle but Hana avoids the moonsault, Rebel somewhat lands on her feet but Hana schoolboys her for two. Vertical suplex by Hana, she boots Rebel in the face before going up to the top turnbuckle. Missile dropkick by Hana, and she covers Rebel for the three count! Hana Kimura wins the match.
This wasn’t…. as bad as it could have been? They played it pretty straight after the posing and unusual segment of Rebel running away from Hana, but the match was pretty short so they didn’t have a lot of time to do much of substance. Probably the less said the better, but it definitely wasn’t the worst match I have seen, I just hope that Stardom finds a better use for Hana down the road.
Jungle Kyona and Natsuko Tora vs. Mayu Iwatani and Hetzza
This match screams “we need to get everyone on the card” but at least these pairings aren’t completely random. While Jungle normally teams with Hiroyo, they have also at times welcomed the rookie Natsuko onto their team so there is some history there between them. Hetzza is visiting Stardom from WWS in Mexico, she has teamed with Future Ace Mayu Iwatani once before but it was back in April. Low expectations going in, but Jungle and Mayu are both great and Natsuko has shown some talent for a rookie so we should see some solid action.
Hetzza and Natsuko are the first two in, armdrag by Natsuko but Hetzza returns with a shoulderblock. Both tag out as the speed of the match dramatically changes, shoulderblock by Kyona but Mayu goes off the ropes and hits a back elbow. Mayu and Kyona trade elbows, Natsuko comes in to help her partner but Mayu flings them both to the mat with a split-legged springboard armdrag. Mayu throws Kyona into the corner and tags Hetzza, running shoulder tackle by Hetzza and she puts Kyona in a stretch hold. Kyona gets into the ropes for the break, Hetzza works over Kyona’s arm before tagging Mayu back in, dropkick by Mayu into the corner and she covers Kyona for two. Mayu goes off the ropes but Kyona catches the hurricanrana attempt, Mayu pushes away from Kyona but Kyona knocks her down with a shoulderblock. She makes the tag to Natsuko, shoulderblock by Natsuko and she knocks down Hetzza as well. Natsuko slams Hetzza on top of Mayu before hitting a running senton, she goes off the ropes but Mayu avoids the next senton attempt and kicks Natsuko in the back. Natsuko pushes Mayu away and the two trade elbows, Natsuko knees Mayu in the stomach and hits the running senton for a two count cover.
She tags in Kyona, Kyona applies the swinging sleeper but Mayu gets out of it and rolls up Kyona for two. Sliding lariat by Kyona, she picks up Mayu but Mayu blocks the suplex attempt. Kyona goes for a lariat but Mayu ducks it and hits a superkick, she goes up top and delivers a missile dropkick. Mayu gets on the second turnbuckle and hits a diving footstomp, she covers Kyona but it only gets a two. Mayu goes off the ropes but Kyona catches her with a hard lariat, Mayu slowly crawls to her corner and tags in Hetzza. Hetzza goes up top and comes in with a diving armdrag, she covers Kyona but it gets a two count. Hetzza picks up Kyona and applies a sunset flip, Kyona kicks out of it and she hits a short-range lariat. Kyona picks up Hetzza but Hetzza reverses the powerbomb attempt into a hurricanrana. Cover by Hetzza, but Natsuko breaks it up. Hetzza picks up Kyona and holds for her Mayu, but Natsuko grabs Mayu which gives Kyona time to dispatch Hetzza. Kyona powerslams Mayu off the turnbuckles, she then gets on all fours so that Natsuko can hit a senton off her back onto Hetzza. Running body press by Kyona, but Hetzza kicks out at two. Kyona gutwrenches Hetzza and nails the Hammer Throw Powerbomb, and she picks up the three count! Jungle Kyona and Natsuko Tora win the match.
This was basically a tale of two different matches. When Kyona or Mayu were in the ring (especially together), everything was smooth and perfectly executed. When the other two were in (particularly Hetzza), the action crawled and got a bit less crisp. Some really good spots were spread throughout, it just wasn’t a cohesive match due to the vast difference in experience and skill between the four wrestlers.
(c) Kairi Hojo, Hiromi Mimura, and Konami vs. Io Shirai, HZK, and AZM
Artist of Stardom Championship
Few results in wrestling are more obvious than when a leaving wrestler has a title defense on their last night, but what can you do. Kairi and friends won the Trios title on May 6th against the same team that they are facing today, as Queen’s Quest looks to regain the championship. While we know who was winning, it still should be a fun match as Kairi and Io will want to go out with a bang against each other for one of the last times in Stardom.
AZM and Kairi start the match, AZM works the headlock but Kairi gets out of it only to fall to the satellite cradle for two. Both wrestlers trade trips before turning to their feet, AZM asks for a handshake but AZM kicks Kairi when she accepts it and both her teammates come in to help attack Kairi. Kairi tries to fight them all off but ultimately fails, but her teammates finally run in to even the odds. Kairi tags in Konami while Io comes in also, kicks by Konami to Io and she hits a sliding kick for two. Konami goes off the ropes but Io trips her while sliding to the apron, slingshot dropkick by Io and she tags in HZK. HZK tosses Konami into the corner by her hair, scoop slam by HZK and she tags AZM back in. AZM dropkicks Konami in the corner and hits a slam before giving Konami a footstomp with the assistance of the ropes. Io comes in next as Konami plays the Face in Peril, which is surprising with Hiromi standing on the apron. Konami finally manages to sneak in a kick on HZK and makes the hot tag to Kairi, Kairi catapults off HZK and elbows both her other opponents off the apron. Kairi charges HZK in the corner but HZK moves, Io runs in and dropkicks Kairi but Kairi hits running shoulder tackles on both of them. AZM comes in but Kairi stacks all three of them in one corner, Hiromi and Konami come in and all three hit running strikes multiple times. All three Chibis put a member of Queen’s Quest in an Ikari, they let go after a moment and Kairi goes up top, hitting the Flying Kabuki Elbow onto HZK for a two count cover. Kairi picks up HZK but HZK elbows her and they trade shots, HZK chops Kairi to the mat and makes the tag to Io.
Io goes up top and hits a missile dropkick, cover by Io but it gets two. Back up they trade strikes, spinning chops by Kairi but Io ducks one and hits a German suplex hold for two. Both wrestlers roll to their corners and tag in Hiromi and AZM, they trade elbows until Io kicks Hiromi from the apron. Rolling vertical suplexes by AZM, but Hiromi kicks out of the cover. Io and HZK both come in and they triple team Hiromi, but Kairi breaks up AZM’s cover. AZM picks up Hiromi and slams her in front of the corner, Io goes up top but Konami kicks her before she can hit the moonsault. She falls into the Tree of Woe, Kairi goes to the top turnbuckle and delivers the diving footstomp to Io. Hiromi and AZM are back up, HZK tries to help but she hits AZM by accident. Konami and Kairi get in the ring and hit stereo sliding strikes onto AZM, La Magistral by Hiromi but it only gets a two count. DDT by Hiromi, she picks up AZM but HZK grabs her when she goes for a tornado bulldog. Io runs in and hits a double knee onto Hiromi, AZM goes for a cradle but Hiromi pushes her off and the two trade flash pins. Konami breaks up a pin but HZK boots her in the head, Kairi takes care of HZK but Io hits a missile dropkick onto Kairi. Kairi falls out of the ring next to Konami, and Io flies out onto both of them with an Asai Moonsault. AZM and HZK take turns on Hiromi, bridging cover by AZM but it gets a two count. AZM jumps on Hiromi’s back and delivers the Japanese Rolling Clutch, and she picks up the three count! Queen’s Quest are the new champions!
If this had really been Kairi’s final match in Stardom, it would have been a rather lackluster way to go out. Stardom booked themselves into a corner as they tend to do, but it doesn’t make a lot of sense that The Chibis won the belts from Queen’s Quest in May just to drop the titles right back to the same team a month later. The experience and skill levels of the wrestlers here ranged wildly, as the best and worst Stardom wrestlers were all present which meant not all sections were great. Also, Kairi didn’t do that much for a final match, which if I was there live would have telegraphed a bit that something else was coming. It wasn’t a bad match, it was just a pretty normal Stardom six woman tag match with less memorable moments than you’d expect from Kairi’s final real match in Stardom.
Kairi Hojo vs. Stardom Roster
Singles Match Series
This match was not announced ahead of time, but became a ‘bonus match’ after the show had unofficially ended when Kairi requested it in her post-match promo. The way it works is that Kairi will have a series of singles matches against the Stardom Roster (10 wrestlers total). Each match only has a one minute time limit so its not taken too seriously, however each wrestler will probably be actively trying to win in that one minute. Of course, by the end of it Kairi Hojo will be worn down while her opponents are always fresh, adding another element to the festivities.
Kairi Hojo vs. Hanan – Hanan slaps Kairi as the bell rings before they start trading elbows, judo toss by Hanan and she holds down Kairi for a two count. She goes off the ropes but Kairi swats away her dropkick attempt and hits an elbow drop. Crab hold by Kairi and she reverts it into the Ikari, and Hanan has no choice but to submit! Kairi Hojo wins the match.
Kairi Hojo vs. Ruaka – Ruaka and Kairi lock up before exchanging elbows, Ruaka hits the fisherman suplex hold but it gets a two. Ruaka throws Kairi into the corner but Kairi avoids the big boot, schoolboy by Kairi and she gets the three count! Kairi Hojo wins the match.
Kairi Hojo vs. AZM – AZM immediately goes off the ropes and applies a hanging armbar, Kairi tries to make it to the ropes but each time she gets close the ropes get pulled away from her. Schoolboy by AZM, but Kairi kicks out at two. AZM throws down Kairi by the hair and facewashes her in the corner, running boot by AZM but the bell rings as time expires. The match is a Draw.
Kairi Hojo vs. Natsuko Tora – Natsuko immediately dropkicks the still reeling Kairi, elbows by Natsuko but Kairi chops her in the chest. Spear by Natsuko and she hits three running sentons, cover by Natsuko but it gets a two count. She tries a few more covers but can’t get the three count, they trade mounted elbows but the bell rings as time is up. The match is a Draw.
Kairi Hojo vs. Konami – Konami gets on the second turnbuckle off the bat and applies a hanging armbar over the top rope to Kairi, she lets go and jumps off the second turnbuckle with a missile dropkick for two. Punches by Konami and she goes off the ropes, but Kairi does too and she hits a spear. Cross armbreaker takedown by Konami but Kairi gets a foot on the ropes to get the break, Konami kicks at Kairi but the bell rings. The match is a Draw.
Kairi Hojo vs. Jungle Kyona – Kairi struggles to get up as Kyona runs to the ring and hits a hard shoulderblock. Kairi falls out of the ring but Kyona goes out after her and carries Kairi around the floor before rolling her back into the ring. Kyona picks up Kairi and swings her around while in a front headlock, cover by Kyona but Kairi gets a shoulder up. Kyona elbows Kairi in the chest but the bell rings as the minute is up. The match is a Draw.
Kairi Hojo vs. Mayu Iwatani – Mayu and Kairi play Rock Paper Scissors until Mayu slaps her, she goes off the ropes and dropkicks Kairi while she is against the ropes. Yoko Bito comes in the ring and hugs Kairi before chopping her, they both put Kairi in a seated armbar and pose on her until the time expires. The match is a Draw.
Kairi Hojo vs. Io Shirai – Io circles the still hurt Kairi but waits for her to get up, Kairi chops Io repeatedly at her invitation but Io nails her with a palm thrust. Double underhook facebuster by Io as time expires, but she goes up top and hits a moonsault anyway. The match is a Draw.
Kairi Hojo vs. HZK – Kairi is still down on the mat as HZK comes down, she immediately goes up to the second turnbuckle and hits a diving elbow. Rolling cradle by HZK, but Kairi kicks out at two. Axe Kick by HZK, she goes up top and she nails the Bombs Away for the three count! HZK wins the match!
Kairi Hojo vs. Hiromi Mimura – As a fitting final pair, Kairi ends with her newest little buddy, Hiromi. Kairi is back up but Hiromi gets on the top turnbuckle and hits a diving crossbody for two. Kairi elbows Hiromi away and they trade shots as Kairi encourages Hiromi to hit harder, Hiromi goes off the ropes but Kairi pushes her away when she goes for the elevated DDT and knocks her to the mat. Alabama Slam by Kairi in front of the corner, she goes up top and nails one final Diving Elbow Drop for the three count pinfall! Kairi Hojo wins her final match in Stardom.
I don’t think one can really “rate” a match like that, since they aren’t trying to put on a good match by the traditional standards. Some wrestlers were serious, some playful, some were trying to win and some weren’t. It was more each wrestler’s way of saying goodbye to Kairi Hojo, and it was a touching tribute that I enjoyed watching. Afterwards, Kairi gives one of her famous emotional and inspirational speeches, before everyone says farewell to Kairi for the last time.
On paper, this was really just a small house show with only four scheduled matches and none being particularly high end. But this event did have the added emotion behind it since it was Kairi Hojo’s Farewell, and everything that happened after the title match lasted an hour so that was the real focus of the show. For Stardom fans this event is a must, but more casual fans can safely avoid it since none of the matches are worth going out of your way to see just based on the in-ring action.