Stardom All-Star Dream Cinderella on 3/3/21 Review

Stardom All-Star Dream Cinderella Poster

Event: Stardom 10th Anniversary ~Hinamatsuri All-Star Dream Cinderella~
Date: March 3rd, 2021
Location: Nippon Budokan in Tokyo, Japan
Announced Attendance: 3,318
Broadcast Information: Streamed Live on PPV and Samurai TV!

It is time for what will likely be the biggest Joshi event of the year! Since Bushiroad purchased Stardom, one of their goals was to have Stardom run in bigger buildings when the time was right, which leads them to Nippon Budokan for All-Star Dream Cinderella. They went all-out for the show, as SEAdLINNNG invades with big singles matches involving Nanae Takahashi and Yoshiko. Also, there is a Rumble with former wrestlers returning, and a total of five title matches. This review will be long so strap in, here is the full card:

I will be watching the live broadcast, so matches will be shown in full. All Joshi wrestlers on the event have profiles on Joshi City, you can click on their name above to go straight to it.

AZM vs. Natsupoi
(c) AZM vs. Natsupoi
High Speed Championship

We kick off the pre-show with a championship match! AZM is only 18 years old but has been wrestling since 2014, so even at her young age she is a seasoned vet. She won the title in July and this is her fifth defense of the belt. Natsupoi, better known to many fans as Natsumi Maki, recently joined Stardom and is now looking to win her first championship in the promotion.

They charge each other and get right into a fast exchange, they avoid each others dropkicks and after some flash pins attempts they end up back on their feet. Kick by Natsupoi and she throws AZM into the corner, dropkicking her down to the floor. She goes up top but AZM quickly recovers and gets onto the apron before kicking Natsupoi in the head. Natsupoi falls to the floor, AZM gets on the second turnbuckle and dives out of the ring with a double footstomp. AZM rolls Natsupoi back in and hits a swandive dropkick, cover by AZM but it gets two. She applies the Fujiwara Armbar but Natsupoi quickly gets to the ropes, Natsupoi throws AZM into the corner but AZM avoids her charge. Kick to the chest by Natsupoi, she goes off the ropes and delivers a dropkick. Natsupoi goes up top and hits a diving crossbody, but AZM rolls through it and applies a submission.

Natsupoi quickly gets to the ropes again, AZM goes up top and nails a diving double footstomp for two. AZM goes off the ropes and hits La Mistica, but Natsupoi rolls out of it. Head kick by AZM, she goes off the ropes but AZM hits La Mistica again. Natsupoi gets to the ropes, AZM runs to the corner but when she goes for the triple jump attack, she is greeted by a dropkick from Natsupoi. AZM and Natsupoi trade elbows as they return to their feet, AZM goes off the ropes but Natsupoi catches her with a kick. Backlash by Natsupoi, but AZM kicks out. Waistlock by Natsupoi and she nails a German suplex hold, but that gets a two as well. Natsupoi goes up top and delivers the twisting body press, but the cover gets a two count. Natsupoi picks up AZM but AZM elbows her off, rolling inside cradle by AZM but it gets a two count. They trade flash pins with neither having any luck, so Natsupoi superkicks AZM in the face. Natsupoi drags up AZM and hits rolling German suplexes, but the third only gets a two count. Natsupoi picks up AZM and nails a Cross-Arm German Suplex, and she picks up the three count! Natsupoi wins and is the new champion!

A really fun way to kick off the show. Not everything was super smooth but the energy helped make up for that as it was just go-go-go from the opening bell. Fans that only watch Stardom may not been as familar with what Natsumi has been up to in recent years but she is fantastic, and she got a pretty dominating win here as by the end of the match she was firmly in control. AZM hit some killer footstomps and stayed in the match, but it almost felt like a coming-out party for Natsumi and I assume she’ll hold the title for awhile. A quality match to begin the big event.  Recommended

Donna del Mondo vs. Oedo Tai
(c) Himeka and Maika vs. Natsuko Tora and Saki Kashima
Goddesses of Stardom Championship

The second pre-show match is also a championship match, as Oedo Tai challenges Donna del Mondo. Himeka and Maika just won the titles on February 14th against a different Oedo Tai team, so this is their first defense of the championship. Himeka and Maika are two of the brighter young stars in Stardom and were great pick-ups for the promotion last year, they are always fun to watch. The Oedo Tai team isn’t as talented in-ring but try to make up for it with cunning and cheating. Hopefully the two teams have the chemistry to put together an entertaining match.

Oedo Tai jump DDM before the match starts and isolate Maika, double teaming her. Saki stays in as the legal wrestler and kicks Himeka before tagging in Natsuko, bootscrapes by Natsuko but Himeka kicks her from the apron. This gives Maika time to recover and she tags Himeka, Himeka and Natsuko trade shoulderblocks with Himeka winning the battle. Saki runs in but Himeka stacks them both in the corner and hits a lariat. She puts both up on the turnbuckle and places them in an Argentine Backbreaker together before dropping them to the mat. Himeka picks up Natsuko and delivers a Jumping Knee, but Natsuko kicks out of the cover. Himeka tags Maika, Maika tosses Natsuko around the mat before hitting a STO for a two count. Stomps by Maika and she hits a lariat, but she didn’t notice that Saki blind tagged herself in. Saki jumps in the ring with a bulldog to Maika, Maika is thrown into the corner and Saki hits a running knee. Saki gets on the top turnbuckle and hits a headscissors into a cradle, picking up a two count.

Natsuko is tagged back in, she stacks both opponents in the corner and delivers a cannonball. Samoan Drop by Natsuko, she tags Saki and Saki hits a diving footstomp. She quickly tags Natsuko back in, diving body press by Natsuko but Maika kicks out of the cover. Swinging side slam by Natsuko, but that gets a two count as well. Natsuko picks up Maika but Himeka runs in to help, Saki kicks Himeka however and she falls out of the ring. Natsuko tags Saki, flying headscissors by Saki to Maika but Himeka cuts her off with a knee. Himeka and Maika charge Saki but accidentally lariat each other, scoop slam by Saki to Maika and she goes up top but Maika recovers and joins her. Superplex by Maika to Saki, she picks her back up and hits a STO but Natsuko breaks up the cover. Himeka comes in and with Maika they hit a lariat on Saki followed by a sliding lariat for a two count. Maika picks up Saki but Saki slides away and pins her down for a two count. Natsuko has found her way back in but she eats a double chokeslam, Maika picks up Saki and nails a Michinoku Driver II for the three count! Donna del Mondo win and retain the championship.

Normally I like title matches to be a little longer than this, but considering the participants and the fact this was a pre-show match, I don’t mind it as much here. This was pretty well-worked, nothing mind blowing but a good match within their limitations. Maika and Himeka are a bundle of fun, I could watch them all day as they bring something fresh and interesting to Stardom’s matches. Saki really brought her A game today which helped elevate the match, and Natsuko didn’t do much which is for the best. Oedo Tai wrestled the match oddly straight besides from the pre-bell jumping, with no cheating which surprised me. A solid match to keep the show rolling along, even if it was nothing special.

Stardom All-Star Rumble
Stardom All-Star Rumble

The main show has begun! Going into the event, Stardom was advertising special returns for the All-Star Rumble, including retired wrestlers Yoko Bito, Hiromi Mimura, Koguma, and Yuzuki Aikawa to bring some excitement to the card. The Battle Royal style matches in Japan typically are more playful than the US versions, so don’t go in expecting a super serious match. As this is a Time Delay Battle Royal, wrestlers will enter the match in unknown intervals, and wrestlers can be eliminated by pinfall, submission, or by being thrown Over the Top. No real way to predict who will win due to the chaotic nature of these matches, but hopefully it has some fun moments.

Starlight Kid and Mei Hoshizuki are the first two in the match. They start pretty traditionally as they trade holds, armdrag by Starlight Kid, Mei catches her crossbody attempt but Starlight Kid spins it around into a cradle for two. Dropkick by Mei as Gokigen Death comes down, but she just poses while the other two keep fighting. They get tired of this and jump her, but Starlight Kid and Death end up double teaming Mei. Momoe Nakanishi is the next wrestler to enter the match, she goes up top but Death and Starlight Kid shake the ropes to knock her off. Irish whip to Momoe but she runs over all three opponents and poses on the mat with Death. The veterans stay in control and pose on Starlight Kid and Mei, as Koguma enters the match! First time we have seen Koguma wrestling in almost six years. Koguma hits a falling body press on Death and Starlight Kid before they all get into a fast exchange. Meanwhile the next wrestler is already on their way to the ring, Unagi Sayaka! Starlight Kid is attacked by everyone in the corner but is able to knock back Unagi, Unagi is stomped on by everyone while Saya Iida enters the match. Saya chops everyone, and while she is doing that Mina Shirakawa comes down as the next wrestler in the match.

By now there are too many people in the ring, a common issue in Battle Royal style matches. The Stardom wrestlers get into an exchange while Yuna Manase enters the match. Yuna and Saya exchange shots, Starlight Kid comes over to help but Yuna lariats both of them. Suddenly all of Gatoh Move appear on the ramp as Emi Sakura is the next wrestler down, Emi immediately goes after Momoe and hits a crossbody in the corner. Everyone watches as Emi and Momoe trade dropkick attempts before they hug, but we take a break as Lady C is wrestler #11 to join the match. Lady C snapmares Emi and puts her in a headscissors, and you know what is coming as this starts a giant headscissors chain with all the wrestlers (except Momoe, who runs over all of them instead of joining them). As it is broken up, Kyoko Inoue enters the ring but she is immediately attacked by everyone. She fights back but Lady C drops her with a chokeslam, everyone covers Kyoko but she kicks out. Lariat by Kyoko to Lady C, and she covers her for the three count! Lady C is eliminated.

Ruaka is the next wrestler, she shoulderblocks Kyoko to the mat and boots her, but Kyoko fires back with a lariat for the three count! Ruaka is eliminated. Rina Kadokura enters the match while Emi tricks Kyoko and gets everyone to cover her again, this time getting the three count! Kyoko Inoue is eliminated. We get some Random Chaos in the ring a Hiroyo Matsumoto is the next entry, she is in no rush to enter but eventually makes it into the ring. Miho Wakizawa is wrestler #16, while in the ring Hiroyo is beating everyone with a giant tawashi. Or something like one. Momoe is set up in the ropes to get a rubber band snapped in her face, but it accidentally gets sent back into Miho by mistake. Mima Shimoda comes into the match and dumps Yuna Manase over the top rope! Yuna Manase is eliminated. The legend Bea Priestley enters but Emi chops her in the chest and everyone tries to throw her out of the ring. She hangs on as Yuuri Haruka makes her entrance, meanwhile Mima is thrown over the top rope along with Bea in quick succession. Mima Shimoda and Bea Priestley are eliminated!

Yuuri applies an armbar to Death but it gets broken up, the camera pans to the stage and we see Hiromi Mimura is on her way down. Before she gets in the ring, Emi helps dump Yuuri over the top rope to the floor! Yuuri Haruka is eliminated. Hiromi winds up for an attack but is kicked by Miho, but Starlight Kid comes to the rescue. Hiroyo whacks Hiromi with a backpack, Miho puts Hiromi in the Backslide and she gets the three count! Hiromi Mimura is eliminated. Yoko Bito is the 21st entry, while Hiroyo dumps a box full of tawashis in the ring. Miho hits a Frankensteiner on Emi onto all the tawashis, and Emi is covered by multiple wrestlers for the three count. Emi Sakura is eliminated. Miho is slow to recover so everyone covers her as well, picking up another three count! Miho Wakizawa is eliminated. Not done yet, the mob rolls up Hiroyo, keeping her down for the three count! Hiroyo Matsumoto is eliminated. That clears the ring a little bit. Yuzuki Aikawa enters as the next wrestler, and she still looks the same as she did when she retired eight years ago. As she slowly walks down, Saya and Starlight Kid work together to throw Rin over the top rope. Rin Kadokura is eliminated. Not wasting time, Chigusa Nagayo quickly follows as she enters the match, Saya Iida greets her and the two trade blows. While they duke it out, the final wrestler enters the match – Kikutaro

Back in the ring (which most wrestlers aren’t even in anymore as they stand on the apron) Chigusa drops Saya with a Death Valley Bomb but Saya kicks out of the cover. Chigusa picks up Saya and drops her with a heel kick, but again Saya gets a shoulder up. Saya hulks up and knocks over Chigusa with a double chop, but her cover gets two as Chigusa puts Saya in an armlock. No one helps her and Saya submits! Saya Iida is eliminated. Yuzuki comes in the ring finally and challenges Chigusa, kicks by Yuzuki but Chigusa blocks the heel drop and punches her in the stomach. Yuzuki throws Chigusa into the corner and hits a body avalanche, as everyone else joins in attacking Chigusa in the corner. Yuzuki and Yoko both kick Chigusa, cover by Yuzuki but it gets a two count. She tries again with everyone else helping her, but that gets a two count as well. Chigusa gets back up but is schoolboyed from behind, and finally she is held down for the three count! Chigusa Nagayo is eliminated.

Kikutaro still hasn’t entered the ring but finally does so, he’s in full creeper mode as everyone runs away from him. He grabs Unagi but Mina attacks him, Kikutaro covers both of them but Starlight Kid breaks it up. Starlight Kid attacks at Kikutaro, he gets away but Chigusa jaws at him from the apron. Chigusa takes one for the team as Kikutaro grabs her… intimately, she gets back in the ring and hits him with an elbow. Everyone else joins in stomping down Kikutaro, Momo☆Latch by Momoe and she holds down Kikutaro for the three count! Kikutaro is eliminated. Moonsault by Momoe to Death, and she holds her down for the three count as well! Gokigen Death is eliminated. Starlight Kid and Momoe go after each other, Momoe jumps up to the top turnbuckle but Starlight Kid pushes her off before she can hit a move. She keeps hitting Momoe as she dangles on the top rope, dropkick by Starlight Kid and Momoe crashes to the floor. Momoe Nakanishi is eliminated. Snapmare by Yoko to Koguma, she picks her up but Koguma snaps off a DDT. Starlight Kid grabs Koguma and holds her for Yoko, but Koguma ducks and Yoko kicks Starlight Kid by accident. Yoko charges Kid but Kid holds down the top rope, sending Yoko to the apron. Koguma runs over and kicks Yoko, sending her to the floor! Yoko Bito is eliminated

We are down to five wrestlers! Cutter by Koguma on Starlight Kid and she nails a German Suplex Hold for the three count! Starlight Kid is eliminated. Koguma and Unagi trade flash pins, but Unagi gets help from Mina and Yuzuki as they hold down Koguma for the three count! Koguma is eliminated. We are down to three – Mina Shirakawa, Yuzuki Aikawa, and Unagi Sayaka. Yuzuki fights off both Cosmic Angels before getting into an elbow exchange with Mina, slap by Mina but Yuzuki slaps her back. Mina elbows Yuzuki against the ropes and charges her, but Yuzuki avoids the dropkick and hits a heel drop. Yuzuki goes for a tiger suplex but Unagi saves Mina, Mina then returns the favor but Yuzuki nails Mina with a heel kick and delivers the Tiger Suplex Hold for the three count! Mina Shirakawa is eliminated. Yuzuki charges Unagi but Unagi dumps her onto the apron, she goes for a kick but Yuzuki gets her out onto the apron with her. Kicks by Yuzuki as they both stand on the apron but Unagi catches one, heel drop to the back by Unagi and she hits another one to send Yuzuki to the floor. Yuzuki Aikawa is eliminated.  Unagi Sayaka is the last wrestler standing and is the winner!

Its always hard to ‘rate’ Battle Royals, and ones that take place in Japan tend to be even more difficult due to the more lighthearted atmosphere. There was a lot of wrestlers standing out of the way while the planned spots were going on, with some wrestlers such as Koguma disappearing for long periods of time. Some of the exchanges were really enjoyable though, such as Chigusa Nagayo/Saya Iida and the final threesome, and it was really nice of Chigusa Nagayo to “take one for the team” with Kikutaro as I can only imagine the Internet’s reaction if he had done that to Starlight Kid. It was great seeing Yuzuki again in particular, and none of the returning wrestlers looked too out of place. Its a long match with stretches of nothing, but still enough fun moments that long time Joshi fans will likely find something to enjoy.

Nanae Takahashi vs. Momo Watanabe
Nanae Takahashi vs. Momo Watanabe

A championship doesn’t have to be on the line for a match to be special, and this one is definitely an example of that. Nanae Takahashi was one of the original stars of Stardom as well as their trainer, but left the promotion in 2015 in disgrace after the Yoshiko/Act Incident. She would go on to start her own promotion, SEAdLINNNG, which has slowly grown from a vanity project to one of the more popular Joshi promotions. To the shock of just about everyone, Nanae Takahashi and her main student Yoshiko appeared in Stardom in late 2020, leading to a challenge and this match being announced. Momo Watanabe is a former champion in Stardom and at only 20 years old is poised to lead the promotion for years to come. Momo was still early in her career when Nanae left, but has grown since then and looks to defend Stardom here as the former leader invades.

Momo and Nanae face off and trade slaps, Nanae pushes Momo into the corner and hits a series of elbows. Momo avoids one and kicks Nanae in the head, she hits her own elbows but Nanae gets her back and hits a German suplex. Nanae elbows Momo while she is against the ropes, snapmare by Nanae and she kicks Momo in the back. Momo returns the favor but Nanae catches the PK attempt and hits a dragon screw. Lariat by Nanae but Momo fires back with a dropkick, she dropkicks Nanae down in the corner and delivers a hard dropkick to the chest. More dropkicks by Momo and she kicks Nanae repeatedly in the chest. Nanae eventually catches one but Momo slaps her, headbutts by Nanae and she kicks Momo onto the apron. Nanae picks up Momo and hits a short range lariat, elbows by Nanae and she slams Momo to the mat for a two count cover. Nanae goes off the ropes but Momo nails a head kick, elbows by Momo and she kicks Nanae in the head. Momo goes off the ropes and hits the Somato, but Nanae kicks out of the cover.

Momo gets on the second turnbuckle and delivers the diving Somato, but again Nanae kicks out. Momo applies the crossface chickenwing but Nanae gets to the ropes for the break, Momo picks up Nanae and hits the B Driver, but Nanae rolls through it and hits one of her own for a two count. Both wrestlers slowly get up, jumping kick by Nanae and she goes to the top turnbuckle, but Momo avoids the Refrigerator Bomb and hits a knee to the back of the head. Momo goes to the top turnbuckle and delivers the diving Somato, but it gets two. Momo goes back up again but Nanae joins her and hits a superplex. Nanae goes to the top turnbuckle and this time nails the Refrigerator Bomb, but the cover only gets a two. Nanae picks up Momo but Momo slides away and delivers a Tequila Sunrise for two. Momo drags up Nanae but Nanae gets away and hits an elbow. Head kick by Momo, she goes off the ropes but Nanae catches her with a lariat. Nanae picks up Momo and drops her with the Nana☆Racka but Momo barely kicks out. Nanae picks Momo back up and nails the One Second EX, and she picks up the three count! Nanae Takahashi is the winner.

While this match was “good,” something felt like it was missing. Maybe due to the length or placement on the card, it didn’t have that pop I was expecting and never really felt like it elevated itself. If not for the history between Nanae and Stardom, it would have felt like a pretty standard veteran vs. young star match. Which probably isn’t fair, there was nothing “wrong” with the match at all, it just didn’t feel special either. Even with their limited time they seemed to run of out ideas, with lots of Somatos and elbows, and it makes you wonder if they just aren’t too familar with each other and decided to keep it simple. Hard hitting for sure, and Momo held her own, it just felt more like an introduction than an all out war. A decent enough match, but ultimately nothing that will leave a lasting impression once the show ends.  Mildly Recommended

Syuri vs. Konami
(c) Syuri vs. Konami
SWA Undisputed World Women’s Championship

On the surface this looks like just another title defense for Syuri, but these two’s relationship goes far deeper than that. Konami was originally trained by Kana (now Asuka in WWE) and debuted in 2015. Kana soon left for America, leaving Konami without a trainer or a wrestling home. Syuri, who was the Ace of REINA at the time, took her under her wing and continued her training, as well as gave her a primary place to wrestle. Konami eventually left REINA, as did Syuri, and went in their own directions. Fast forward to 2020, when Syuri joined Stardom and they were finally in the same promotion again. Both are in different factions (DDM and Oedo Tai) and aren’t friends, but in the build-up they acknowledged their past. So, this is a chance for Konami to show one of her initial trainers how much she has grown in the last six years, while Syuri looks to retain her title against her former pupil.

They circle each other to start before grappling for position on the mat, Syuri goes for the armbreaker but Konami easily blocks it and goes for one of her own. Syuri gets to the ropes to break the hold, sliding kick by Konami and Syuri falls out to the floor. Natsuko comes over but Konami pushes her away and slides Syuri back in, stomps by Konami and she delivers a dropkick for a two count. Konami quickly transitions to the Fujiwara Armbar, Syuri rolls out of it but Konami keeps a hold on the arm. Syuri rolls out again and gets a hold of Konami’s ankle, but Konami reverses it and applies her own ankle hold. Konami gets Syuri’s back in a crucifix before driving her to the mat, she gets a stretch hold locked in but Syuri gets to the ropes. Strike combination by Konami and she delivers a head kick, but Syuri fires back with a release German. Konami hits a suplex of her own and applies a sleeper, Syuri gets up but Konami plants her with a Sleeper Suplex for two. Konami goes for a Buzzsaw Kick but Syuri catches her leg and hits a double knee gutbuster.

Konami quickly connects with a head kick but is too hurt to capitalize, they slowly get to their knees and trade elbows. They trade kicks as they return to their feet, running knee by Syuri and she covers Konami for two. Syuri applies a guillotine before putting Konami’s feet on the top rope and dropping her with a DDT for a two count. Syuri picks up Konami but Konami slides away and applies a cross armbreaker. Syuri quickly gets out of it and applies a Stretch Muffler, but Konami gets to the ropes for the break. Syuri gets Konami on her shoulders and hits a modified Emerald Frosion, but Konami kicks out of the cover and quickly applies a modified armbar. Syuri muscles out of it and gets the Stretch Muffler re-applied, but modifies it to also tie up Konami’s arm (Stardom called this move the “White Tiger”). Konami struggles for a moment but is forced to submit! Syuri wins the match and retains the championship.

Konami shook Syuri’s hand after the match and gave her a hug, showing a level of post-match respect that is rare for a member of Oedo Tai. This definitely had a different feel than most matches in Stardom, as it was a very ground-based and submission focused match. It really did feel like a match these two would have had against each other in 2016, obviously Konami is more polished now than she was back then but the structure reminded me of the older days of Konami. As far as mat-based matches go, this was pretty fun to watch and very fluid, and you could tell they are very comfortable with each other as nothing looked forced. I wouldn’t have minded a little more excitement in the closing stretch as it ended with little warning, but still an enjoyable match that probably meant more to the wrestlers than it meant to anyone else.  Recommended

Mayu Iwatani vs. Yoshiko
Mayu Iwatani vs. Yoshiko

This is the second Stardom vs. SEAdLINNNG match on the card, and its a doozy. Mayu and Yoshiko were in the first initial training class in Stardom, and both debuted in January of 2011. Early on, Yoshiko got more of a push than Mayu but by 2014 they were on a similar level and appeared to be the future of the promotion. In 2015, the Yoshiko/Act Incident happened, leading to Yoshiko retiring and eventually joining SEAdLINNNG. Mayu stayed in Stardom and grew into the role of Icon, becoming one of the top wrestlers in the promotion. Six years later, Yoshiko has returned to Stardom as part of the SEAdLINNNG invasion, and Mayu is tasked with showing that she is the top wrestler from that first training class that debuted ten long years ago. A lot of history here, hopefully they can deliver a match that is memorable.

They tie-up to start, Yoshiko pushes Mayu into the ropes and gives a clean break. Kick by Mayu but Yoshiko blocks the armdrag, hitting one of her own. Hard shoulderblock by Yoshiko, she picks up Mayu and throws her down by the hair. Bootscrapes by Yoshiko in the corner and she delivers a running boot, cover by Yoshiko but it gets two. Yoshiko quickly applies a headlock but Mayu gets into the ropes, Yoshiko picks up Mayu and kicks her in the back. Yoshiko keeps stomping on Mayu’s back before picking her up and applying a stretch hold. Mayu gets into the ropes for the break, Irish whip by Yoshiko but Mayu reverses it and hits a headscissors. Mayu goes off the ropes and drills Yoshiko with a dropkick, sending the SEAdLINNNG wrestler out of the ring. Mayu gets a running start and sails out onto Yoshiko (mostly missing) with a plancha suicida, she slowly recovers and slides Yoshiko back in the ring. Mayu goes up top and hits a missile dropkick, cover by Mayu but it gets a two count. Mayu picks up Yoshiko but Yoshiko blocks the suplex attempt, low kick by Mayu but Yoshiko catches her with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Crab hold by Yoshiko but Mayu crawls to the ropes and makes it for the break. Yoshiko quickly gets on the second turnbuckle and hits a diving senton onto Mayu’s back, she goes back up to the second turnbuckle and connects with a regular diving senton for a two count cover.

Yoshiko picks up Mayu but Mayu gets her to the mat with a reverse hurricanrana. Dodonpa by Mayu, but it gets a two count. Mayu picks up Yoshiko but Yoshiko gets to the ropes to block the dragon suplex, Mayu pulls her off the ropes but Yoshiko elbows her off. Mayu ducks a lariat and drops Yoshiko with a release German, Yoshiko gets back up but Mayu delivers the dragon suplex hold for a two count. Mayu goes up top and goes for a moonsault, but Yoshiko gets her feet up to block the move. Both wrestlers are slow to recover, they trade strikes when they return to their feet until Yoshiko knocks Mayu back to the mat. Mayu gets back up but eats another hard elbow for her trouble, Mayu returns to her feet and temporarily knocks Yoshiko to her knees before eating two hard lariats. Yoshiko picks up Mayu and slams her to the mat from a fireman’s carry, but Mayu kicks out of the cover. Yoshiko positions Mayu and goes to the top turnbuckle, she nails the diving senton but Mayu barely kicks out of the cover. Yoshiko drags up Mayu but Mayu gets her back and applies a schoolboy for two. Superkick by Mayu and she kicks Yoshiko in the head, another superkick by Mayu and she covers Yoshiko for two. Mayu picks up Yoshiko and delivers the Two Stage Dragon Suplex Hold, but Yoshiko barely gets a shoulder up. Mayu quickly goes up to the top turnbuckle and nails the moonsault, cover by Mayu and she gets the three count! Mayu Iwatani is the winner.

There was a lot to enjoy here, a really entertaining match. Its kinda amazing these two still have such great chemistry after all these years, and everything they did here clicked. Yoshiko’s work on Mayu’s back was top notch, probably good enough it could have used a little more long term selling by Mayu but Mayu constantly looks in pain so it still worked out. I really loved the ending, with Mayu not wasting a second before going to the moonsault. No slow dramatic climb up the turnbuckles and pointing to the crowd, just quickly taking advantage of a hurt Yoshiko who is not the easiest wrestler to pin. The time just flew by and I wouldn’t have minded if it was a few more minutes, but they told their story and told it well. I don’t know where Stardom and SEAdLINNNG’s relationship is going from here, but this was a great hard hitting match that delivered on the expectations.  Highly Recommended

Utami Hayashishita vs. Saya Kamitani
(c) Utami Hayashishita vs. Saya Kamitani
World of Stardom Championship

Even though this is really a “B Level” challenge for the title, that doesn’t mean the match won’t be great. Going into the match, many questioned if Saya was qualified for a title challenge on such a big Stardom show. Those discussions are completely justified – Saya is an exciting young wrestler but really hasn’t done enough up to this point for this match. Many have theorized this wasn’t the original plan but after other plans fell through, this was the best they could come up with. Either way, even though this is not a top-level defense, no one can deny that Saya can put on a show. Sometimes wrestlers do get early title challenges to size up their progress, so even though its not ideal, its not unheard of either. These two are in the same faction so its not a blood feud like the next match, but both are quality young wrestlers that are going to go all-out to impress on such a big stage.

They tie-up to start, Utami pushes Saya into the ropes but she gives a clean break. Saya quickly kicks her and they lock-up before trading holds, they go through an exchange off the ropes ending with Utami dropkicking Saya in the chest. Utami picks up Saya and hits a scoop slam, another slam by Utami and she covers Saya for two. Utami puts Saya in the ropes and delivers a sliding kick to the back, double kneedrop to the back by Utami and she covers Saya for two. Utami applies a Camel Clutch but Saya inches to the ropes for the break. Utami stomps at Saya and boots her in the corner, Utami picks her up and hits a scoop slam for a two count. Saya fights back but Utami avoids her dropkick and kicks Saya in the back. Saya fires back with a dropkick of her own, hurricanrana by Saya and Utami falls out of the ring. Saya goes off the ropes and dives out onto Utami with a tope con hilo, she picks up Utami and tosses her back into the ring. Saya goes up top and hits a missile dropkick, cover by Saya but it gets a two count. Saya picks up Utami but Utami elbows her and the two trade shots. Utami wins the battle, she picks up Saya and goes off the ropes but Saya catches her with a dropkick. Another dropkick by Saya and she covers Utami for a two count. Saya picks up Utami but Utami slides away and delivers a sliding kick.

Utami picks up Saya but Saya snaps off a Canadian Destroyer, scoop slam by Saya and she goes up top but Utami hits her from behind and knocks her onto the apron. Saya comes back into the ring with a swandive hurricanrana, she picks up Utami and hits a Northern Lights Suplex Hold for two. Saya picks up Utami but Utami slides away and hits a release German. Utami gets Saya on her shoulders but Saya spins off and delivers a heel kick. Saya picks up Utami and drops her with a fisherman sitout slam, cover by Saya but it gets a two count. Saya picks up Utami and slams her in front of the corner, she goes to the top turnbuckle but Utami avoids the Phoenix Splash. Utami applies a sleeper but Saya drives her back into the corner to break it up, Saya charges Utami but Utami gets her on her shoulders and nails the Air Raid Crash. Utami gets the sleeper on but Saya gets a toe on the ropes for the break. Utami picks up Saya and gets her onto her shoulders, she spins Saya around and slams her to the mat for a two count. Utami picks up Saya and gets her up in a crucifix, but Saya hits a hurricanrana for a two count. Utami recovers first and picks up Saya, rocking her with a hard lariat. Another lariat by Utami, she picks up Saya and nails the Hijack Bomb (Spinning BT Bomb) for the three count! Utami Hayashishita wins and retains the championship.

While the last match was great, this one was even better. Even though Saya wasn’t an A+ challenger, she still brought everything she had and she has never looked better than she did here. Everything she hit was smooth as butter and her selling was top-notch, as she made everything Utami did look like death. She did so well in the match, I actually was buying into the nearfalls which is the biggest compliment I can give to a match that on paper had a clear winner. The dynamic between Utami’s power and Saya’s finesse created constantly entertaining back and forths, and I was on the edge of my seat the entire match as there was no telling what they were going to do. The ending was definitive as Utami threw Saya right through the ring, a fitting ending to an evenly contested match. These two are the future of Stardom if they stick with wrestling, easily the best match of Saya Kamitani’s career and a great showing from Utami as well.  Highly Recommended

Giulia vs. Tam Nakano
(c) Giulia vs. Tam Nakano
Wonder of Stardom Championship

Hair vs. Hair matches don’t happen very often in the world of Joshi, but Stardom pulled out all the stops for their biggest event in years. Tam and Giulia have been feuding since last summer, when Giulia first won the Wonder of Stardom Championship in a match versus Tam and then had a successful defense of it against her not long after. To justify another match, they had to really up the ante, and up the ante they did. The winner of this match will hold the World of Stardom Championship, but equally important they will get to keep their hair, while the loser will have their hair shaven off. Needless to say, this is a big deal and just adds even more drama to a match that already saw two rivals battling in the biggest match of the show.

After circling each other they start tracking strikes, waistlock by Giulia and they trade holds. Tam gets Giulia to the mat but Giulia applies a headscissors, Tam slaps Giulia before returning to her feet. Tam goes for a cutter but Giulia applies a sleeper, snapmare by Tam and she kicks Giulia in the back. Giulia goes for a dropkick but Tam moves and applies a sleeper, Giulia tries to get out of it with a backdrop suplex but Tam lands on top of her. They trade elbows until Tam knocks Giulia to the mat, Giulia rolls out of the ring to recover while Tam waits for her in the ring. Giulia returns after a moment and picks up Tam, but Tam wiggles away. Release German by Giulia with Tam ending up on the apron, Giulia goes out to the apron as well and kicks Tam in the head. Giulia goes for a suplex but Tam blocks it, big boot by Giulia and she hits a cutter onto the apron. Tam falls out of the ring with Giulia going out after her, Giulia twists Tam in the guardrail and chokes her. Giulia stops choking her long enough to throw Tam into the railing, big boot by Giulia and she throws Tam into the rail again. Giulia gets a table and sets it up at ringside, she grabs Tam and pulls her up onto the table with her. Giulia gets Tam up and drops her onto the table with a piledriver, she returns to the ring while Tam slowly follows behind her. Giulia plants a sliding kick on Tam, cover by Giulia but it gets a two count.

Giulia gets on the top turnbuckle but Tam slowly gets up and joins her, Giulia grabs her head however and applies a guillotine choke while still on the turnbuckles. She lets go after a moment and Tam flops back to the mat, she goes for a missile dropkick but Tam avoids it. Tam goes for a knee but Giulia catches it, she gets Tam up in a Glorious position but Tam reverses it with Reverse DDT. Giulia recovers first and mounts Tam, slapping her in the face. Hard elbow by Giulia and she goes off the ropes, but Tam catches her with a heel kick. Giulia falls out of the ring, Tam goes up to the top turnbuckle and dives out onto her with a plancha. Tam slides Giulia back in, Tiger Suplex Hold by Tam but Giulia gets a shoulder up. Tam picks up Giulia but Giulia blocks her suplex attempt, getting to the ropes. Tam pulls her away and hits Giulia’s Glorious Driver, but it gets a two count. Tam drags up Giulia and kicks her repeatedly in the head, but Giulia ducks a kick and drops her with a backdrop suplex. Giulia picks up Tam but Tam pushes her away, headbutt by Giulia and she delivers a Glorious Driver for a two count cover. They both slowly get up and trade slaps, Tam connects with a series of slaps before knocking Giulia to the mat. Giulia gets back up and returns the favor, heel kick by Tam and she hits a second one. Giulia comes at Tam but Tam picks her up and drills Giulia with a Sitout Tam Screwdriver for a two count. Tam drags Giulia back up and nails the Twilight Dream, and she keeps Giulia down for the three count! Tam Nakano wins and is the new Wonder of Stardom Champion!

There is a lot to digest here. First, the emotion was certainly there and it just had a more urgent feeling than the last few matches. They weren’t really focused on trading bombs but having a real struggle, full of one-upmanship and emotion that was tangible. They still had a couple big moves but honestly they weren’t needed, the table spot was neat but added little to the match as that wasn’t what the match was about. Its harder to rate matches that are more about story and heart than smooth wrestling and big moments, but when considering all things this was a very captivating and memorable match. They didn’t fall into the ‘trading 2.999 nearfalls’ trap that many “epic” matches fall into, so each pinfall felt meaningful. Tam killed Giulia at the end, which was needed as a non-definitive ending just wouldn’t have worked to end this match and feud. A fitting way to end one of the best Joshi events in years, a very entertaining match that will be talked about in Stardom circles for years to come.  Highly Recommended

Final Thoughts:
5

 

From top to bottom, I think this is the best Joshi event in many years, perhaps since the glory days of Joshi. I’m not sure if I have ever reviewed an event with three matches I highly recommend watching, plus others I recommend as well. The “worst” match on the card was the Battle Royal, but that was still a fun walk down memory lane that was inoffensive and at times charming. But the final three matches really delivered on a high level, and they were also all different styles so the action felt fresh. All were in the sweet spot in regards to length so they didn’t outlive their welcome, and it will be a heated debate at the end of the year on which match from this event was the best. A fantastic event for Stardom and one that could set the tone for years to come, an easy recommendation to watch immediately.