Stardom vs. World Selection on February 7th, 2016 Review


Event: Stardom 5th Anniversary Day #3 – Stardom vs. World Selection

Date: February 7th, 2016
Location: Shin-Kiba 1st Ring in Tokyo, Japan
Announced Attendance: 335

Another Stardom event has aired, which of course means I am going to review it promptly since they are one of my favorite promotions in the world. Even though this event has five matches, it is in essence a one match card. There are no titles on the line here, but the main event sees Stardom take on gaijins from everywhere in a big 5 vs. 5 elimination tag team match. This is “Survivor Series” style, not 1 vs. 1 style like what we saw in Sendai Girls’ back in October, but you can also eliminate your opponent by throwing them over the top rope. Here is the full card:

  • Azumi vs. Kaori Yoneyama
  • Haruka Kato vs. Starlight Kid
  • Hiromi Mimura vs. Kaitlin Diamond
  • Alex Lee vs. Hiroyo Matsumoto
  • Stardom vs. World Elimination Tag: Team Stardom (Io Shirai, Jungle Kyouna, Kairi Hojo, Mayu Iwatani, and Momo Watanabe) vs. World Selection (Chelsea Green, Evie, Kellie Skater, Santana Garrett, and Viper)

To make the review complete of course I am going to review all the matches, but none of the first four matches even went more than eight minutes and are mostly rookie/basic style since all the main players are in the main event.

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Azumi vs. Kaori Yoneyama

stardom2.7-1This is a pretty standard opening for Stardom, a very young wrestler vs. veteran affair that will be short on surprises but is good experience anyway. I expect nothing from these matches so I am never disappointed, sometimes the young wrestler does show something though so I always watch it anyway.

Azumi dropkicks Yoneyama before the match starts and stomps on her, but Yoneyama quickly turns the tide and tosses Azumi to the mat. Sleeper by Yoneyama, she picks up Azumi and hits a scoop slam. Yoneyama throws Azumi in the corner and hits a knee, she charges Azumi again but Azumi moves and hits a dropkick. Elbows by Azumi but Yoneyama blocks the crossbody. Dropkick by Azumi and she hits a satellite into a sunset flip for a two count. She goes for another one but Yoneyama blocks it and slams Azumi to the ground. Running senton by Yoneyama and she picks up the three count! Yoneyama wins the match.

There isn’t a hell of a lot to say about this match, it was under five minutes long and neither got much of a chance to do a whole lot. Yoneyama put Azumi away pretty easy even by opening match standards. Just filler, nothing more.

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Haruka Kato vs. Starlight Kid

This is the same match type as the last match, as Starlight Kid just debuted last fall and Kato is a constant mid-carder for Stardom. Starlight Kid has shown some flashes of ability and flies around pretty well, while Kato will no doubt focus on the arm and try to keep the match on the mat.

stardom2.7-2Starlight Kid charges Kato to start the match and hits a dropkick, another dropkick by Starlight Kid and she connects with a third. Kato has had enough and kicks Starlight Kid, she starts on the arm and gets an armbreaker applied, but Starlight Kid gets a foot on the ropes. Seated armbar by Kato and she hits a scoop slam, covering Starlight Kid for two. Kato works a headlock but Starlight Kid gets out of it and hits a standing moonsault. She picks up Kato and hits a scoop slam, Starlight Kid goes to the second turnbuckle and hits a diving body press for a two count. Shiranui by Starlight Kid, but again Kato kicks out. Starlight Kid applies a sunset flip but Kato reverses it, Kato and Starlight Kid trade elbows but Kato gets Starlight Kid to the mat and goes for the arm again. Cross armbreaker by Kato in the middle of the ring, and Starlight Kid taps out! Haruka Kato is your winner.

I liked this one better, as at least Starlight Kid did get in some legitimate offense, including the standing moonsault and the Shiranui. Everyone knew that Kato was winning with an armbreaker, no surprises there, but it wouldn’t have been near as fun to watch if Starlight Kid didn’t get a chance to do anything. Still nothing to get excited about, however it was at least somewhat satisfying and I think Starlight Kid has a bright future as a spunky undersized underdog.

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Hiromi Mimura vs. Kaitlin Diamond

Poor Diamond was left out of the World Selection, so instead she gets to go against Stardom rookie Mimura. Mimura debuted in the fall but is 29 years old, so she definitely got a late start. Diamond hails from Canada and is a ten year veteran, winning titles in multiple promotions along the way. So a mismatch for sure, and another match in the rookie vs. veteran theme.

stardom2.7-3Diamond attacks Mimura while she is trying to be cute, she throws Mimura out of the ring and then dances with Mimura’s streamers. That is just cold. Act Yasukawa supervises while Diamond beats Mimura around the floor, they return to the ring and Mimura connects with a few elbows. Dropkick by Mimura and she goes for a bodyscissors, but Diamond slams her to the mat. Backbreaker by Diamond, she puts Mimura in the ropes and Yasukawa pours sake on her. Punches by Diamond but Mimura slides away and lariats her in the back of the head. Rolling leglock by Mimura and she slams Diamond’s knee into the mat, she gets on the second turnbuckle but Yasukawa runs in. Mimura hits a crossbody on Yasukawa instead, Diamond grabs her and hits a swinging backbreaker for a two count. Mimura sneaks in a roll-up for two followed by a La Magistral, she goes for another roll-up but Diamond catches her with a modified jawbreaker for a two count. Crossface by Diamond, and Mimura taps out! Diamond wins the match!

I wish that Mimura would have gotten a bit more of a chance here as I like her quite a bit, but when a match is under five minutes long it is hard to get much of a chance to shine. Diamond looked fine here and I liked seeing Yasukawa still mix it up, but just not enough here to get excited about.

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Alex Lee vs. Hiroyo Matsumoto

Well this one is definitely different anyway, as neither of these two are rookies. It will be an interesting test for Lee, normally she is hidden in tag matches or three way matches, but here she gets a singles matches against one of the better Freelance wrestlers currently on the Joshi scene. So if this match is uneventful and mediocre, that would reflect worse on her than someone of Matsumoto’s status.

stardom2.7-4Lee dropkicks Matsumoto to kick things off, for some reason Matsumoto poses on the apron and Lee kicks her in the back of the head. Matsumoto swats Lee away and his a double knee drop before choking Lee in the corner. Matsumoto catches Lee’s kick and pushes her to the mat before applying a crab hold, but Lee gets to the ropes to force the break. Matsumoto charges Lee but Lee moves, kicks by Lee and she hits a jumping knee in the corner. Suplex by Lee, she goes up top but Matsumoto rolls out to the apron. Matsumoto grabs Lee and walks her over to the ramp, but Lee slides off her back. Body avalanche by Matsumoto against the ropes, she goes for a powerbomb on the stage but Lee reverses it into a back bodydrop. Back in the ring, superkick by Lee and she picks up a two count. She goes for a piledriver but Matsumoto blocks it, Matsumoto goes for a backdrop suplex but Lee elbows out of it. Matsumoto blocks the chokebomb but Lee connects with the superkick, chokebomb by Lee and she goes up top, but Matsumoto avoids the diving footstomp. Spinning elbow by Matsumoto and she hits a German suplex, lariat by Matsumoto and she delivers the backdrop suplex for the three count! Your winner is Hiroyo Matsumoto.

This match was short but still felt like it dragged which is never a good thing. I don’t think Lee is a bad wrestler, she is clearly trained but a lot of what she does just doesn’t feel natural. While some wrestlers are quick to adapt, Lee at times looks like she is still feeling things out, if it ever really clicks is anyone’s guess. So a few sections didn’t look quite right, the one thing I did like about the match is the decisive ending. Lee had her chances to win but once Matsumoto took over, it was bang-bang-bang dead. I like matches that have a sense of finality to them. So that was a plus, but otherwise just an average match.

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Team Stardom (Io Shirai, Jungle Kyouna, Kairi Hojo, Mayu Iwatani, and Momo Watanabe) vs. World Selection (Chelsea Green, Evie, Kellie Skater, Santana Garrett, and Viper)

This match is a 10 Woman Elimination Tag Match. You can eliminate your opponent by the usual match methods (pins, submissions, DQ) and also by throwing them over the top rope. In December, lots of new gaijin wrestlers invaded Stardom, which is what led up to this match. This is the best of those invaders, with the exception of Kay Lee Ray as she unfortunately had to return home due to a personal matter. Team Stardom is an interesting mixture of their biggest stars and rookie/young wrestlers, as they like to do, as it gives the young wrestlers some quality experience and helps them feel like they are part of the team. The tag rules will be very loose here, just as a warning.

Kyouna and Green begin the match for their teams but after trading quick pin attempts they tag out as Evie and Hojo enter the ring. Evie goes for roll-ups on Hojo with no luck so they next two come in, Garrett and Shirai. Shirai and Garrett trade elbows, hurricanrana by Garrett but Shirai throws her out to the apron. Garrett kicks Shirai back and returns to the ring with a bulldog but Shirai tosses her to the mat. Skater and Iwatani are tagged in, spinning headscissors by Iwatani but Skater hits a springboard armdrag. Viper and Watanabe then come in (noticing a pattern?), with Viper having little issue with the smaller Watanabe. Team Stardom all enter the ring and attack Viper in the corner and they do the ten wrestler suplex spot, with World Selection getting the better of it.

Viper goes back to pounding on Watanabe before tagging in Garrett, and Garrett hits a side Russian leg sweep. Green takes her turn next, then Skater as Watanabe continues to be attacked, until she manages to dropkick Skater and tags in Kyouna. Green comes in to help but Kyouna escapes them both and shoulderblocks Green. Kyouna picks up Skater and hits a back bodydrop, Skater tags in Viper but Kyouna manages to avoid Viper as she charges her around the ring. Viper finally catches Kyouna with a lariat, the rest of Team Stardom runs in but Viper body bumps them all to the mat. Team Stardom are all put lying on the mat, and Team Selection takes turns hitting jumping body presses on all of them. Viper picks up Kyouna and slams her to the mat, body press by Viper and she picks up the three count! Kyouna is eliminated, the match is now World Selection – 5, Team Stardom – 4.

Watanabe and Garrett enter the ring, kicks by Garrett and she applies La Magistral for a two count. Watanabe hits a diving crossbody off the second turnbuckle and hits a snap vertical suplex for two. DDT by Watanabe, she gets on the second turnbuckle and hits a missile dropkick. Watanabe picks up Garrett but Garrett kicks her twice in the face for a two count. Iwatani and Shirai go up top to try to help, but Viper comes in and throws them off. Viper smashes them in the corner, then Skater and Evie both kick Watanabe. Shining Star Press by Garrett to Watanabe, and she gets the three count! Watanabe is eliminated, and now it is World Selection – 5, Team Stardom – 3.

stardom2.7-5Hojo comes in and Garrett tags in Green, jumping lariat by Green and she delivers a high kick for a two count. Cross-arm submission by Green, she goes up top and hits a missile dropkick to Hojo’s stomach. Shirai and Iwatani break up the cover, Skater and Evie come in but Hojo moves when they all charge in. Missile dropkicks by Iwatani and Shirai, and they catapult Iwatani into Green with a dropkick. Hojo goes up top and nails the diving elbow drop to the head of Green, picking up the three count cover! Green is eliminated, and it is World Selection – 4, Team Stardom – 3.

Hojo and Garrett trade elbows, both end up on the mat and they crawl to the corners to tag in Shirai and Skater. Skater kicks Shirai and she hits a DDT. Back kick by Skater, she picks up Shirai and throws her into the corner. Sliding lariat by Skater, but the cover is broken up. Skater picks up Shirai but Shirai lands on her feet on the suplex attempt. Shirai dumps Skater onto the apron, Evie and Garrett run in but so does Hojo. Hojo spears Evie and Garrett, Viper comes in as Iwatani does but Viper is dropped by a triple dropkick. Spike Piledriver to Skater by Iwatani and Shirai, Shirai picks up Skater and hits a package German suplex hold for the three count! Skater is eliminated, and we are tied 3 – 3.

Iwatani and Evie trade kick attempts, Iwatani grabs Evie’s arm but Evie knocks her out to the apron. Viper comes in but Shirai jumps on her back with a sleeper while Garrett suplexes Hojo.  Garrett goes for the Shining Star Press but Iwatani stops her, Evie tries to dump Hojo over the top rope but Hojo hangs on. Hojo goes up top, Garrett goes for a headscissors but Hojo knocks her onto the apron. Diving elbow shrike by Hojo from the top turnbuckle on the apron but Garrett blocks the Sliding D. Spinning backfist by Hojo on the apron and Garrett falls off the apron. As Garrett is falling to the floor, she grabs Hojo’s leg and pulls her down with her, eliminating both of them! The score is now 2-2. Shirai and Iwatani are left on Team Stardom, while World Selection has Viper and Evie.

Shirai and Viper come in as the legal wrestlers, dropkick by Shirai and she covers Viper for two. Waistlock by Shirai but even with Iwatani’s help she can’t get Viper over, Evie comes in as Viper lariats Shirai over the top rope, but Shirai lands on the apron. Iwatani goes for a crossbody on Viper but Viper catches her and throws Iwatani to the mat. Shirai holds onto Iwatani so she won’t fall to the floor, Evie dropkicks both of them but they hang onto the top rope. They skin the cat to get back in the ring and go after Viper, Iwatani goes for a hurricanrana on Viper while Shirai goes for one on Evie, but both fail. High kick by Evie to Shirai, Viper puts Shirai in an Argentine Backbreaker while Evie hits Iwatani with the TTYL, picking up the three count! Iwatani is eliminated, leaving Shirai against both Viper and Evie.

Evie boots Shirai in the corner, Viper goes for a reverse splash but Shirai rolls out of the way. Viper collides into Evie on accident, Shirai hits Viper to the mat and all three wrestlers are down. They slowly get up as Viper hits lariats on Shirai, cover by Viper but it gets two. Viper gets Shirai on her shoulders but Shirai rolls out of it and covers Viper for two. Evie runs in but Shirai drops her with a double underhook facebuster, Shirai then drop toeholds Viper onto Evie. Shirai goes up top but they both avoid the Moonsault, TTYL by Evie to Shirai and Viper nails the Reverse Splash for the three count! Shirai is eliminated and Team World Selection wins!

It took a bit of time to get going, which is understandable since they had time to kill, but once they were rolling it was a fun match. I don’t really like the ‘over the top’ rule in matches that are supposed to be meaningful, it is almost too much of an easy cop-out and it kills some of the flow as no matter what is happening in the match the wrestlers have a quick and easy way to get a fluke win. I really did like the constant assistance from teammates, it made it seem more like two teams that really did know each other than a bunch of singles wrestlers thrown in together. The World team winning was necessary to set up new challenges for the Stardom titles, and the action itself was very solid, it was just a bit meandering to start and I didn’t love the match rules.  Mildly Recommended