Event: Stardom “10th Anniversary”
Date: January 17th, 2021
Location: Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan
Announced Attendance: 713
Broadcast Information: Aired on Samurai TV! on 1/24/21
As is my custom, I try to review all of Stardom’s big events, which tend to happen about once a month at Korakuen Hall. I don’t really have time to review every Stardom show, as they have quite a few, but their TV tapings usually deliver. This is a big show for Korakuen Hall, with four title matches. None of the title matches are high-end on paper however, so the wrestlers are going to have to work hard to make this a memorable event. Here is the full card:
As I am watching the Samurai TV! version, some matches will be clipped. All wrestlers have profiles on Joshi City, you can click on their name above to go straight to it.
(c) Saya Iida vs. Unagi Sayaka
Future of Stardom Championship
Saya won the Future of Stardom Championship on the last show I reviewed, and today we are getting her first defense. Since she won the title in a triple threat, which is a little iffy, here is her chance to win in a one on one situation to show she deserves the title. Unagi recently joined Stardom and even though she has prior experience from her time in Tokyo Joshi Pro, she is working her way up and still has a lot to prove to the Stardom fan base. I don’t have high expectations for this match but I’m open to being surprised.
The match is Joined in Progress, as Saya hits a jumping double chop on Unagi. Saya goes off the ropes and hits a running elbow, cover by Saya but it gets two. Saya and Unagi trade elbows on their knees, they keep exchanging elbows until Unagi drops Saya with a scoop slam. Unagi goes up top and hits a diving body press, but Saya kicks out of the pin attempt. Unagi picks up Saya and gets her up on her back, but Saya spins off and hits a dropkick. Unagi goes off the ropes but Saya catches her with a modified Spinebuster, Northern Lights Suplex Hold by Saya but it only gets two. Saya chops Unagi into the corner and hits a dropkick, modified Diamond Dust by Unagi and she covers Unagi for the three count! Saya Iida wins and retains the championship.
Even with this being heavily clipped, it still wasn’t the most smooth match. Both are wrestlers that benefit a lot from having the right opponent, or at least one they have chemistry with, and some interactions just didn’t click here. Too cut up to really evaluate, but not the ideal start to the show.
Konami vs. Natsupoi
I am certainly going into this one with higher expectations than the last match. Konami has now been wrestling for almost six years (time flies) and is one of the better in-ring wrestlers in Stardom. In the past she lacked sizzle but since joining Oedo Tai, she has shown a little more personality and continues to deliver in the ring. She is against Natsupoi, better known as Natsumi Maki, who just recently joined Stardom. These two are both stuck in the midcard/upper midcard at the moment but hopefully some impressive performances will get them higher on the card.
The match is Joined in Progress, as Natsupoi goes for a dropkick but Konami moves and kicks her in the side. Stomps by Konami while Natsupoi is against the ropes, she grabs Natsupoi’s arm and knees her in the elbow. Snapmare by Konami but Natsupoi lands on her feet, kick by Natsupoi and she delivers a neckbreaker. Dropkick to the knee by Natsupoi and she follows with a dropkick to the chest, Konami ends up against the ropes but Natsupoi dropkicks her again. Natsupoi goes up top and hits the diving crossbody, but Konami rolls through it and goes for the cross armbreaker. Natsupoi gets a toe on the ropes to force the break, fisherman suplex by Konami and she covers Natsupoi for two. She quickly goes back to Natsupoi’s arm but Natsupoi gets out of it, kicks by Natsupoi and she delivers the Backlash for a two count cover. Natsupoi charges Konami in the corner but Konami kicks her back and applies a hanging armbar over the top rope. She lets go and climbs to the top turnbuckle, hitting a missile dropkick for two. German suplex by Konami and she nails the Buzzsaw Kick, but Natsupoi barely gets a shoulder up. Triangle Lancer attempt by Konami but Natsupoi reverses it into a cradle for two. Rolling La Magistral by Natsupoi but Konami kicks out and applies a seated armbar. Natsupoi inches to the ropes for the break but Konami is slow to break the hold, pushing down the referee. She gets a chair and wraps Natsupoi up in it, while maintaining the armbar. The referee has seen enough and calls for the bell. Natsupoi wins by DQ!
I don’t mind matches ending in DQ to help establish a character, my main issue here is just that Konami doesn’t need to take Ls against wrestlers at Natsupoi’s level. Konami was doing well in the match anyway, so it felt like a forced way to show that Konami is “evil” now to use the chair to lose the match. Even worse, she didn’t do a long post-match beatdown which would have made more sense, instead just leaving the ring and strolling to the back like nothing happened. The action was fine as both are quality wrestlers and I was enjoying what they were doing, the DQ ending just didn’t feel necessary in this case.
(c) AZM vs. Kaori Yoneyama
High Speed Championship
Time for our second title match of the evening. AZM won the High Speed Championship back in July and this is her fourth defense, so she has been a pretty active champion all things considered. This is the first sustained singles push of young AZM’s career, and she is doing her best to make it memorable. She is against Kaori Yoneyama, wrestling as herself and not a literal clown. Which is good, since AZM already defeated the gimmicked version of Yoneyama back in November. Its a little lazy to have AZM against the same wrestler so soon, but at least she changed her character so it doesn’t feel stale. This is set up to give AZM another win over a veteran, to establish her as a legitimate champion in Stardom.
AZM charges Yoneyama as they go into a fast exchange, armdrag by Yoneyama and they trade trips for quick one counts. Kick by AZM and she runs to the ropes, but Yoneyama pushes her out of the ring and hits a jumping knee off the apron. Yoneyama slides AZM back in and goes up top, hitting a missile dropkick to the back. Knee to the back of the head by Yoneyama, she gets on the second turnbuckle and delivers a diving senton for two. Yoneyama goes all the way up but AZM recovers and joins her, Yoneyama pushes AZM back but AZM kicks her in the head and re-joins her. AZM snaps Yoneyama’s arm on the top rope and brings Yoneyama back into the ring with a head-spiking headscissors. AZM goes up top and delivers a diving footstomp, she puts Yoneyama in a Fujiwara Armbar but lets go so she can kick Yoneyama in the head. AZM picks up Yoneyama and drives her into the mat from the second turnbuckle, double armbar by AZM but Yoneyama gets a foot on the ropes. AZM goes up top again but Yoneyama joins her, suplexing AZM to the mat. Yoneyama is up first and grabs AZM, knee to the head by Yoneyama but AZM fires back with a kick. They trade flash pins with neither getting the three count, Chaos Theory attempt by Yoneyama but AZM rolls through and kicks Yoneyama in the head. La Mistica by AZM, Yoneyama tries to get to the ropes but AZM pulls her back to the middle of the ring and applies a Grounded Octopus Hold. Yoneyama struggles for a moment but has no choice but to submit! AZM is the winner and retains the championship.
Even though this was short, they packed a lot into it and overall it was a fun match. Since I don’t watch YMZ, I don’t get to see Yoneyama wrestling as “herself” very often so that was a nice change of pace. She isn’t a high end wrestler but is more than capable of being more than just a clown. AZM looked good in victory as she took some of Yoneyama’s offense before winning clean with a submission in the middle of the ring. It won’t by itself vault AZM up the card but its a step in the right direction as she claims another quality win. Mildly Recommended
Starlight Kid vs. Tam Nakano
SK and Tam Nakano have been slowly building a feud recently, leading up to a big singles match between the two. Tam used to be in the same faction as Starlight Kid, STARS, but recently broke off to create the Cosmic Angels. While the split was pretty amicable, I am sure Starlight Kid would like to show Tam that she made a mistake by leaving while Tam wants to show that she made the right choice. Nothing really on the line here, but with some backstory its not a throw-away midcard match either.
They lock knuckles to start and trade holds, snapmare by Tam but Starlight Kid ducks the kick to the back. Springboard armdrag by Starlight Kid but Tam avoids her dropkick, hitting a running knee of her own. Tam picks up Starlight Kid, snapmare by Tam and she kicks Starlight Kid in the back. Scoop slams by Tam, Starlight Kid tries to fight back but Tam kicks her back to the mat. Irish whip by Tam but Starlight Kid hits a tilt-a-whirl headscissors, Starlight Kid goes off the ropes but Tam drops her onto the apron. Starlight Kid grabs Tam and DDTs her onto the apron, Starlight Kid gets back in the ring and goes to the top turnbuckle, diving down onto Tam. Back in the ring, Starlight Kid goes for a Tiger Suplex but Tam gets out of it. Tam goes for a backdrop suplex but Starlight Kid lands on her feet, slap by Starlight Kid but Tam elbows her back. They trade shots until Tam elbows Starlight Kid to the mat, Tam picks up Starlight Kid but Starlight Kid blocks the Tiger Suplex and cradles her for two. Armdrag by Starlight Kid, she goes off the ropes and ducks Tam’s kick attempt before nailing the Tornado Star Suplex Hold for a close two count. Starlight Kid picks up Tam and goes for another suplex but Tam spins away and delivers a heel kick. Tam grabs Starlight Kid but Starlight Kid again blocks the Tiger Suplex Hold into a cradle as the two trade flash pins. Knee to the back of the head by Tam and she delivers a sliding kick to the front. Tam quickly picks up Starlight Kid and drops her with a Tiger Suplex Hold for the three count! Tam Nakano is the winner.
This was good because both wrestlers are really good, but the strong focus on the Tiger Suplex Hold took me out of it a bit. I know that was the story going in, as Starlight Kid had pinned Tam a month prior with the move which normally is used by Tam, but they went a little overboard with it. Starlight Kid didn’t do hardly any of her regular signature moves as she was too focused on telling the Tiger Suplex story, and while Tam was more diverse she also went for the hold several times before succeeding. They clearly had a story idea going in, which was fine but they didn’t have enough around it to make a complete match. Also, while I appreciate new moves more than anyone else, the Tornado Star Suplex is a little convoluted. All that being said, the action was smooth and Tam is an underrated talent, but I do think they could put on a better match if they let the action flow more naturally. Mildly Recommended
Bea Priestley and Saki Kashima vs. Himeka and Syuri vs. Mayu Iwatani and Ruaka vs. Momo Watanabe and Saya Kamitani
This is an Elimination Tag Team Match. The four Stardom factions collide in this special Oedo Tai vs. Donna del Mondo vs. STARS vs. Queen’s Quest match. Four wrestlers are legal at a time (one from each team, naturally) so this match will likely be chaos until a couple teams are eliminated. Like most Stardom elimination matches, wrestlers can be eliminated by being thrown over the top rope, making things even more random as teams can be eliminated at the blink of an eye. While this may have seemed like a lazy way to get the other big stars on the show, at least its a faction-based match so it fits in with the storylines in Stardom, plus it can create a few new ones depending on who wins.
Bea, Saya, Ruaka, and Himeka start the match but Bea soon leaves the ring, allowing everyone else to fight instead. Himeka is double teamed at first but shoulderblocks both opponents, Saya dropkicks Ruaka but Ruaka hits a jumping crossbody on both of them. Saki trips Ruaka from the floor while Bea runs in to clean house, as the action ends up on the floor with the wrestlers brawling around the ring. Except Mayu, who is just watching. Mayu eventually does get in the ring and dives out (under the top rope) with a tope suicida onto a bunch of wrestlers, but is immediately stomped down by Oedo Tai for her trouble. Back in the ring, Bea elbows Ruaka but Momo kicks her from the apron and joins the match. Boots by Bea but Momo dropkicks her, Syuri runs in and snapmares Momo before kicking her in the back. Momo ducks the front kick and cradles Syuri for two, Saki comes in and covers both of them but she only gets a two count. Mayu attacks Syuri from behind, she grabs Syuri and Momo by the hand and jumps up to the top rope to hit a double armdrag, but Saki runs in and pushes Mayu from the top rope to the floor. This eliminates Mayu via Over The Top, so STARS is out of the match.
Back in the ring, Syuri and Momo take turns kicking Saki before turning to each other and doing more kicking. Double arm suplex by Syuri to Momo and she covers her for two. Syuri picks up Momo but both Bea and Saki run in, and both connect with flying headscissors. Momo is booted out of the ring, but Himeka comes in and lariats both Saki and Bea. She kicks Bea out of the ring while Saki stays in with Syuri, face crusher by Saki but Syuri catches her with a double knee gutbuster for two. Syuri puts Saki in the Seiryu, and she has no choice but to submit! Oedo Tai is eliminated.
Syuri and Momo trade elbows until Syuri hits a release German, PK by Syuri and she covers Momo for two. Syuri kicks at Momo but Momo nails a head kick, Buzzsaw Kick by Momo and she hits a second one for a two count. Momo applies the crossface chickenwing but Syuri elbows out of it and they trade blows again. Momo elbows Syuri to the mat but Syuri catches her kick and kicks Momo in the head. Syuri charges Momo but Momo catches her with a suplex and both wrestlers are down on the mat. Saya and Himeka run in as the legal wrestlers, dropkick by Saya and she puts Himeka in a crab hold. Himeka gets into the ropes for the break, Saya goes off the ropes and dropkicks Himeka in the back. Saya goes up top and she hits a missile dropkick, covering Himeka for a two count. Saya picks up Himeka but Syuri runs in and knees Saya, Himeka and Syuri go off the ropes and both hit knees on Saya. Himeka goes up top and Syuri helps her hit a Swanton Bomb, but Syuri breaks up the cover. Himeka picks up Saya and hits a hard lariat, Himeka puts Saya in the Argentine Backbreaker before slamming her to the mat. Saya reverses the cover into one of her own, but Syuri breaks it up again. Syuri goes for a kick but connects with Himeka’s head by mistake, Momo kicks Himeka and Saya delivers a springboard crossbody for two. Saya drags Himeka up and drops her with the Star Crusher, picking up the three count! Queen’s Quest win the match!
The main issue here is just that there was too much going on and until the final pairing, no one was really able to get into a rhythm. The bit with Mayu at the beginning was also odd and gave the match almost a playful/not serious feel which shouldn’t have been what they were going for (although you can’t stop Mayu from being Mayu). A few of the pairings were really good, particularly any time Momo and Syuri were in the ring together and the Saya/Himeka parts, the match just would have worked better as a straight tag match. Overall an easy watch, just ultimately forgettable.
(c) Giulia vs. Natsuko Tora
Wonder of Stardom Championship
This is a No DQ match. It was smart of them to just go ahead and make this a No DQ match as otherwise absolutely no one would buy Natsuko as a credible challenger, since she has never beaten anyone of note. She still isn’t a credible challenger and is not going to beat Giulia, however the stipulation should allow her to get some convincing nearfalls and make a match out of it. This not being the main event says a lot, but hopefully this is a fun chaotic brawl that doesn’t try too hard to make Natsuko look to be actually on Giulia’s level as I don’t think that would be a possible task.
They get into a Sumo position to start and Natsuko pushes Giulia into the ropes, Irish whip by Natsuko but Giulia reverses it. Giulia goes for an armdrag but Natsuko blocks it, Giulia hits the armdrag on the next attempt and delivers a dropkick. Giulia goes off the ropes but Natsuko hits a hard shoulderblock, she throws Giulia down against the ropes and gives her some bootscrapes. Running boot by Natsuko and she hits a second one, which sends Giulia out of the ring. Natsuko goes out after her and throws Giulia into a chair tower that had been set up at ringside (presumably by Oedo Tai), Oedo Tai go over to attack her but Donna del Mondo fight hem off. Natsuko returns to the ring and takes off a turnbuckle pad so she can hit Giulia with it, she tries to throw Giulia into the exposed corner but Giulia blocks it. Giulia gets a chair but Natsuko catches it when she tries to use it and takes it from her, Irish whip by Natsuko but Giulia avoids the chair swing and dropkicks Natsuko. Syuri and Natsupoi slide some small boards of some sort in the ring while Giulia sets up a chair and puts Natsuko on it. She then stacks of some the boards on Natsuko’s back and punches down on it, breaking the boards. Dropkick by Giulia, she picks up Natsuko but Natsuko blocks her kick and they do an awkward strike exchange ending with a Giulia backdrop suplex.
Natsuko fires back with a spear, they both slowly get up and Natsuko avoids Giulia’s charge in the corner. Running elbow by Natsuko and she hits a cannonball in the corner, Samoan Drop by Natsuko and she covers Giulia for two. Natsuko picks up Giulia and hits a lariat, swinging side slam by Natsuko and she covers Giulia for two. Konami and Saki come in the ring with a table, Natsuko picks up Giulia and puts her on the table which is set up near the corner. Natsuko goes up top but Syuri and Natsupoi grab her from the apron before she can jump, giving Giulia time to recover and toss Natsuko off the top turnbuckle. Natsuko is given her chain and she hits Giulia in the chest with it, she wraps the chain over Giulia’s neck and tries to hang her over the top rope. Natsuko goes for a spear but Giulia moves and hits Natsuko in the head with a chair. Giulia goes up top and hits a missile dropkick, she gets more of the boards and stack them in the middle of the ring. Giulia picks up Natsuko and slams her onto the boards, cover by Giulia but it gets a two count. Giulia picks up Natsuko but Natsuko blocks the Glorious Driver, Giulia hits a backdrop suplex instead though followed by a sliding kick. Giulia puts Natsuko on the top turnbuckle and joins her, hitting a superplex.
Saki breaks up the cover however, Giulia grabs Saki and kicks her out of the ring. Giulia charges Natsuko but Natsuko moves, sending Giulia into the corner exposed earlier in the match. Bea and Konami run in the ring and both attack Giulia, they get the table re-set up in the corner and put Giulia on it. Natsuko goes up top and hits a diving body press through the table, she picks up Giulia but Giulia slides away from the Samoan Drop and hits a DDT. Giulia picks up Natsuko but Natsuko throws blue dust in her face, scoop slam by Natsuko and she delivers a guillotine leg drop for a two count. Natsuko picks up Giulia and hits a Death Valley Bomb, but Syuri pulls out the referee when he goes to make the count. This leads to Oedo Tai and DDM brawling at ringside while Giulia quickly cradles Natsuko for a two count. Natsuko gets her chain but Giulia kicks her arm away and delivers a headbutt. Giulia picks up the chain and warps it around Natsuko’s neck, swinging her around the ring with it. Giulia tosses Natsuko over the top rope so she can hang her by the chain, she pulls her back in after a moment and nails the Glorious Driver for the three count! Giulia wins and retains the championship.
While there were problems with this match, them making it a No DQ match was definitely the way to go. Their exchanges that didn’t involve weapons were just awkward and poorly done, as Natsuko just isn’t ready for a more traditional style of wrestling and may never be. But when they focused on weapons and chaos, it was a pretty entertaining match as they had a variety of violent ideas. I liked DDM helping just as much as Oedo Tai was so it wasn’t just the “heel” group getting involved, and the constant action helped the time go by. I can’t ignore the poor strike exchanges and iffy transitions, but if you just focus on the weapons-related portions of the match this was a fun and memorable defense for Giulia. Recommended
(c) Utami Hayashishita vs. Maika
World of Stardom Championship
Like the last match, this is a B-Level defense for a major Stardom championship, as no one went into the match thinking Maika had any chance of winning. Utami won the World of Stardom Championship in November from Mayu Iwatani and this is her second defense of the title. Maika joined Stardom last year and these two have had a bit of a rivalry for awhile now, as they first battled when Maika was still in JUST TAP OUT. Maika actually beat Utami in the FIVE STAR GP so she has shown she is able to defeat the champion, but she isn’t quite ready yet to be one of the faces of the promotion. Should still be a good match though.
They trade holds to start, Utami gets Maika to the mat but Maika quickly gets away from her and they return to their feet. They trade strikes until Maika takes Utami down and puts her in a Fujiwara Armbar. Utami gets to the ropes for the break but Maika keeps on her arm, takeover by Maika and she applies an armlock. Boot to the face by Maika but Utami avoids her charge in the corner and drops her with a Schwein. They both are slow to recover, Utami is up first but Maika back bodydrops out of a powerbomb attempt. Maika whacks Utami in the back of the head, she picks her up and hits a STO for a two count. Maika goes for the cross armbreaker but Utami blocks it so she switches to a Triangle Choke instead. Utami slams out of the hold, both wrestlers slowly get up but Utami avoids Maika’s charge and hits an elbow. Utami goes up top but Maika recovers and joins her, hitting a superplex.
Maika picks up Utami but Utami gets away and delivers a big release German suplex. Maika fires back with a release backdrop suplex, dropkick by Maika and she slams Utami to the mat for a two count cover. Maika picks up Utami and goes off the ropes, but Utami rocks her with a lariat. Another lariat by Utami and she covers Maika for two. Utami picks up Maika but Maika gets away from the BT Bomb and applies a sleeper hold. Utami almost goes out but uses the ropes to slam backwards to break the hold, lariat by Maika but Utami delivers a lariat of her own. Both wrestlers get to their knees and trade strikes, a battle that Utami wins with a hard slap. Utami gets Maika up in the Argentine Backbreaker before spinning her around and slamming Maika to the mat. Utami drags up Maika and drills her with the BT Bomb, cover by Utami and she gets the three count! Utami Hayashishita wins and retains the championship.
These are two of my favorite wrestlers in Stardom, just to make by biases clear. Samurai TV clipped almost half of this match which is suspicious, but everything they showed was fantastic. Maika has improved so much, she deserves this little push she is getting as unlike Natsuko Tora she looks like she belongs. She stood toe to toe with Utami and traded shots, with none of it looking awkward or out of place. Utami nailed all her big moves with ease, and came out of the match looking like a boss and bonafide Ace. I have to take into consideration how much of the match was missing, maybe they clipped out the bad parts, but as shown it was a very enjoyable match with no real flaws. Recommended
For what was an event with many title matches against B Level opponents, this came out pretty well. The main two title matches both delivered on different levels, they won’t be on any MOTYC lists but they were entertaining in their own way and if nothing else we learned two things – Giulia will do anything to put over inferior talent and Maika may be the real deal. The card up to that point was a little suspect with nothing really sticking out, although Starlight Kid/Tam Nakano at least helped show Starlight Kid is beyond being just another mid tier wrestler. Overall, a good enough show as they build to their bigger events coming up in the Spring.