Stardom Shining Stars #1 on 5/29/16 Review

Event: Stardom Shining Stars 2016 #1
Date: May 29th, 2016
Location: Shin-Kiba 1st Ring in Tokyo, Japan
Announced Attendance: 378

After a bit of a break, due mostly to the Europe tour, Stardom is finally back! A new tour has begun, Shining Stars, which means not only that we get new gaijins but also a new Stardom wrestler debuting as well. On top of that, Kris Wolf and Chelsea are back! So much going on. Here is the full card:

As is usually the case, you can click on the names above to go to that wrestler’s profile on Joshi City. Lots going on, let’s get to the action.

stardom5.29-1
Arisu Nanase vs. Momo Watanabe

This is Arisu Nanase’s debut match! Arisu is only 14 years old so is the latest underage wrestler to debut for Stardom (the last was Starlight Kid in the fall), but as we are about to find out, Stardom doesn’t debut wrestlers until they at least have the basics down so I am sure she will be fine. Momo of course is only 16 herself but does go into the match with about a year and a half under her belt.

stardom5.29-1They start the match trading holds, Watanabe gets Nanase to the mat first but she picks her up and puts her in a guillotine. Watanabe stomps Nanase down in the corner, Nanase fights back with elbows, armbar by Nanase but Watanabe rolls her up for two. Crab hold by Watanabe but Nanase makes it to the ropes, Irish whip by Watanabe but Nanase avoids the dropkick. Dropkick by Nanase and she hits two more, but Watanabe takes back over and applies a cross arm submission. Watanabe goes for the Somato but Nanase ducks, kick to the stomach by Watanabe and she covers Nanase for two. Watanabe gets on the second turnbuckle but Nanase avoids the missile dropkick and applies a bridging suplex hold for two. Nanase applies a leg submission hold, she lets it go after a moment and hits a bridging fallaway slam for two. Nanase goes off the ropes but Watanabe does too and hits a dropkick, dropkick by Watanabe in the corner and she hits another one for two. Suplex by Watanabe and she delivers the Somato, picking up the three count! Momo Watanabe is the winner.

Who was winning was never in doubt, but since Watanabe is still a kid herself, she was able to give Nanase a bit more offense than we are used to seeing in rookie matches. By that I mean that Nanase hit about four moves but two were nearfalls so it was still a successful debut. Nanase looked fine for a 14 year old in her first match, she sold well and has a nice bridge. Just the beginning of hopefully a successful career, but so far so good.

stardom5.29-2
Kris Wolf vs. Starlight Kid

Almost two years ago I became the owner and operator of the Kris Wolf hype train, and judging from Twitter in the last week I think I better make some more room. Wolf has been out for most of the year but makes her glorious comeback against the rookie wonderkid Starlight Kid. Wolf of course is in the faction Oedo Tai, but I don’t think she will need any help in this one, as while Starlight Kid is full of energy she still has a ways to go before she reaches the next level.

stardom5.29-2Wolf sniffs at Starlight Kid to start, which since she is a Wolf is ok to do even though usually smelling a 15 year old isn’t socially acceptable. She likes what she smells as Wolf bites Starlight Kid in the arm, she puts her into the ropes and then bites the kid in the ear. Wolf picks up Starlight Kid but the rookie slides behind her back and applies a sleeper. Wolf eventually gets her off and she puts Starlight Kid in a submission hold. Jumping knee by Wolf but Starlight Kid comes back with a pair of dropkicks. Another dropkick by Starlight Kid but Wolf blocks the Tiger Feint Kick and puts Starlight Kid in the Giant Swing. Starlight Kid reverses the crab hold attempt however, she goes off the ropes and hits a crossbody into a sunset flip for a two count. Shiranui by Starlight Kid, she gets on the second turnbuckle but Wolf avoids the diving body press. Knees by Wolf, she sets up Starlight Kid in the corner and she hits a running knee to the midsection. Starlight Kid avoids the diving double kneedrop, elbow by Starlight Kid and they trade shots back and forth. Buzzsaw Kick by Wolf, she pulls Starlight Kid in front of the corner and connects with the diving double kneedrop, but Starlight Kid reverses her cover into a roll-up. Starlight Kid goes off the ropes but Wolf grabs her with a small package, and Wolf picks up the three count! Kris Wolf is the winner.

This match was exactly what it was trying to be – a fun midcard match. Having Wolf back is great as she is an entertaining character and a bundle of joy, and these types of matches she excels in as she can be goofy fun without worrying about someone like Io ruining everything. Starlight Kid is still really young but has all the basics down pat and executes well. About all you could ask her, mindless entertainment.  Mildly Recommended

stardom5.29-3
Azumi vs. Kaori Yoneyama vs. Natsumi Maki

This match was billed as “Azumi’s Army Three Way Battle” as all three of these wrestlers are in Azumi’s Army. I actually didn’t know that Maki was in the group, its a fluid situation, but Yoneyama certainly is. Course Azumi’s Army is a playful stable, as Azumi is only 13 years old. This match is a little later on the card than normal, as really any of the first three matches could have swapped spots and it wouldn’t have mattered.

stardom5.29-3Before the match, Maki gives Azumi a gift so they double team Yoneyama to start. Yoneyama hits a crossbody on both of them and goes to steal Azumi’s gift, but Azumi attacks her from behind. Maki dropkicks Yoneyama but Yoneyama throws her down by the hair before stomping her in the corner. Yoneyama tries to toss Maki but twice Maki cartwheels out of it, Azumi returns and Maki is double teamed against the ropes. Vertical suplex by Azumi and she focuses back on Yoneyama, Yoneyama and Azumi trade strikes until Maki recovers, but Maki just dances. Yoneyama and Azumi get annoyed with her and stomp on Maki, Maki jumps on Yoneyama’s back, Azumi goes to attack Maki but she is distracted by another gift. Maki suplexes Yoneyama but Azumi breaks up the pin, Azumi trades elbows with Maki until Azumi hits a DDT for two. Tilt-a-whirl roll-up by Azumi but Yoneyama rolls up Azumi and she gets the three count! Kaori Yoneyama wins!

Probably the least entertaining of the three “opening” matches. It was certainly cute in parts and I like Maki quite a bit, but it wasn’t as smooth and was mostly just random carnage as they didn’t have enough time to really tell a story so to speak (besides Azumi having gifts). The pre and post match was fun but the match itself was pretty pedestrian.

stardom5.29-4
Hiromi Mimura vs. Shanna

Our streak of matches that could have been openers continues, this is one beefy undercard. Mimura is a rookie that debuted last fall, while this is the first time we have ever seen Shanna in Stardom. Shanna is a wrestler from Portugal, she is a ten year veteran and wrestles in many of the larger promotions around Europe. She has a match on June 4th in Stardom against Io Shirai for the SWA Undisputed Women’s Championship, so this it a bit of a tune-up for her.

stardom5.29-4Mimura starts the match fired up and elbows Shanna into the corner, she goes for a quick pin but Shanna blocks it and applies a pin of her own for two. Mimura slaps and dropkicks Shanna, crossbody by Mimura but it only gets a two. Discus Lariat by Shanna and she connects with a running kick to the face, snapmare by Shanna and she drops a leg across Mimura’s chest. Grounded necklock by Shanna but Mimura gets a foot onto the bottom rope, Shanna throws Mimura into the turnbuckles before hitting a cyclone neckbreaker for a two count. Double underhook by Shanna but Mimura gets out of it, roll-up by Mimura but Shanna kicks out. Rolling leglock by Mimura but Shanna gets to the ropes, elbows by Mimura but Shanna elbows her back. Enzuigiri by Shanna, she puts Mimura near the corner before going up top and delivering a diving body press for two. Double underhook facebuster by Shanna, and she gets the three count! Shanna is the winner!

For her first match in Stardom, I thought Shanna was pretty solid. Sometimes gaijins come in and it takes them some time to get used to wrestling different wrestlers in a different style (sometimes they never get used to it) but everything flowed well here and they seemed in sync throughout. Mimura may be a rookie but she can wrestle a basic match quite well, and while Mimura got in more offense than I was expecting, it was a pretty thorough win by Shanna. Too early to tell if Shanna will be around Stardom a lot or is just in town for one tour, but I like what I have seen of her so far.  Mildly Recommended

stardom5.29-5
Chelsea and Kairi Hojo vs. Haruka Kato and Hiroyo Matsumoto

Candy Crush is back! Chelsea and Hojo were a popular tag team last summer into the fall, however Chelsea has not wrestled in Stardom since October. She makes her grand return in the co-main against two random Freelancers in Kato and Matsumoto. It will be interesting to see if Chelsea has kept her crowd support, her in-ring work never was great but the crowd loved her. But here we are seven months later, Hojo holds two other belts and seems to have moved on from Candy Crush while Chelsea was away. Chelsea will likely need to survive on her own if she is going to stay an important part of Stardom.

Hojo and Matsumoto start the match, elbows by Hojo but Matsumoto hits a hard shoulderblock. They get back up and do the Respect Stalemate before tagging in Chelsea and Kato. Kato and Chelsea trade wristlocks, Kato trades Matsumoto back in and Matsumoto chokes Chelsea against the ropes. Kato comes back in and stomp on Chelsea, but Chelsea slams Kato and tags in Hojo. Candy Crush double team Kato, and Chelsea gets so excited she jumps over Kato so she can hug Hojo. So cute. Hojo isn’t as playful and tosses Kato by her hair, Kato fights back but Hojo hits a hard elbow. She tags in Chelsea, Chelsea hits the dreaded Running Hug to soften up Kato before hitting a dropkick. She tags Hojo back in, hard elbows by Hojo but Kato applies a hanging armbar over the top rope. Chelsea tries to help but gets elbows for her trouble, face crusher by Kato on Hojo and she tags in Matsumoto. Hard shoulderblock by Matsumoto, Hojo comes back with chops but Matsumoto blocks the spear attempt and puts Hojo in a backbreaker. Matsumoto slams Hojo to the mat, she goes up top and hits the missile dropkick for a two count. Backbreaker by Matsumoto, she picks up Hojo, Hojo slides away but Matsumoto decks her with a hard elbow.

stardom5.29-5Spear by Hojo and she makes the tag to Chelsea, leg drop by Chelsea to Matsumoto and she then hits an elbow drop. Chelsea applies an armlock but Matsumoto gets out of it and applies a crab hold. Chelsea gets in the ropes, Matsumoto tags Kato and Chelsea is double teamed. Kato goes off the ropes but Chelsea hits a spinning heel kick, and she tags in Hojo. Hojo goes up top and hits a diving forearm shot on Kato, Chelsea lariats Kato and Hojo covers her for two. Heel drop to the back by Hojo, Matsumoto comes in and she hits a backdrop suplex on both Chelsea and Hojo. Hojo and Chelsea fall out of the ring, Matsumoto picks up Kato and throws her out of the ring and onto both of their opponents. Back in the ring, Matsumoto slams Kato onto Hojo a few times, diving crossbody by Kato but Chelsea breaks up the cover. Back up, Kato and Hojo trade strikes and Kato spins Hojo to the mat before applying a cross armbreaker. Hojo gets into the ropes, Chelsea kicks Kato from the apron and Hojo hits a spear on Kato. Hammerlock fisherman suplex hold by Hojo, but Matsumoto breaks up the cover. Hojo goes up top but Matsumoto joins her, Hojo elbows Matsumoto into the Tree of Woe and hits a diving footstomp. Kato avoids the Alabama Slam but Hojo catches her with a spinning backfist. Hojo goes up top and she nails the diving elbow drop, picking up the three count! Candy Crush win!

It is very rare for me to say this but here it goes – this match was a bit too long. As a re-introduction to Candy Crush and with a known jobber in the match (no offense to the departing Kato), there was really no need for this one to go 18 minutes as some parts just dragged a bit. Chelsea, bless her heart, showed some ring rust for sure and the crowd didn’t react quite as much as I am used to for the team, it will be interesting to see where they go from here since Hojo now holds two titles. There was definitely some solid action, as Hojo and Matsumoto are top notch, but it was just a bit too slow and when Matsumoto and Hojo were on the apron the match suffered. Farewell to Kato, we will miss you!

stardom5.29-6
Diosa Atenea, Kagetsu, and Leah Vaughan vs. Io Shirai, Kyouna, and Iwatani

The main event of the evening features three wrestlers from Oedo Tai against three wrestlers representing Stardom! Kyouna is subbing for Hojo in the Stardom representation, since Hojo teamed with Chelsea in the previous match. This is the Oedo Tai B Team also since Kimura isn’t in the match, so I guess it is still a fair fight. This match is Vaughan’s first match ever in Stardom so hopefully she impresses, while Luchadora Diosa Atenea returns for another tour. It doesn’t look good for Oedo Tai but anything can happen in Stardom six woman tag matches.

Oedo Tai attacks before the match starts and immediately isolate the rookie Kyouna. Shirai and Iwatani return and help turn the tide, they toss Oedo Tai out of the ring but Oedo Tai blocks them from doing a dive out (with an assist from Wolf). Kagetsu then does a cannonball off the apron, Atenea follows with a dive off the apron and Vaughan finishes with a plancha off the top turnbuckle. They battle around the ring and into the stands before Kagetsu and Iwatani return, and Iwatani is triple teamed in the ropes. Atenea stays in with Iwatani and stomps her in the apron, but Iwatani comes back with a crossbody. Iwatani tags in Shirai, Vaughan runs in too but Shirai crossbodies both of them with the help of Kyouna. Shirai and Kyouna clear the ring, Shirai grabs Atenea but Atenea gets away and hits a hurricanrana. Armdrag by Atenea and she jumps down on Shirai’s back before covering her for two. Vaughan is tagged in, chops by Vaughan and Kagetsu comes in to slam Shirai.

stardom5.29-6Moonsault off the ropes but Vaughan and she puts Shirai in a submission, but it broken up and Shirai hits a standing moonsault on Vaughan. She tags Iwatani but Vaughn boots her and hits a suplex. Vaughan tags Kagetsu, Iwatani grabs Kagetsu’s arm and hits a split legged armdrag off the ropes. Kagetsu comes back with a dropkick and elbows Iwatani in the corner, but Iwatani returns fire. Iwatani knocks down Kagetsu with a jumping forearm, Shirai comes in but Kagetsu spears her for her trouble. Kick to the head by Iwatani and she makes the tag to Kyouna. Shoulderblocks by Kyouna, Kagetsu temporarily gets away but Kyouna plans her with a powerslam. This leads to a brawl as everyone comes in the ring, Shirai hits a double missile dropkick on Vaughan and Atenea before hitting a running double knee on Kagetsu. Diving body press by Kyouna to Kagetsu, but the cover is broken up. Kagetsu throws the referee at Kyouna, she gets a bottle and hits everyone in the head with it. Wolf comes in too to help attack Kyouna, they all kick Kyouna but Shirai breaks up the cover. Kagetsu gets a parking sign, Iwatani takes it from her but Shirai accidentally spears the sign into Iwatani. Kagetsu gets the sign back and hits Kyouna with it, roll-up with a jackknife by Kagetsu and she gets the three count! Oedo Tai win!

This was a fun match event, and a perfectly acceptable one for a smaller show. I wish it was a little longer as it went under 13 minutes, but it was action packed and they did the best the could with the constraints. It wasn’t a great look at Vaughan since she didn’t have a ton of in-ring time but she seems solid, although from a distance she looks just like Kellie Skater as she has a similar outfit and hair. Kagetsu getting the win was nice as Oedo Tai keeps racking up victories, they worked together really well and are a cohesive team. Overall an entertaining match, but nothing to get too excited about.  Mildly Recommended