Event: Stardom “American Dream 2019 in the Big Apple”
Date: April 5th, 2019
Location: NYC Arena in Queens, NY, USA
Announced Attendance: Unknown
I did a preview of this event on Thursday, and since I am watching it live it only made sense to review it as quickly as possible as well. This is not Stardom’s first voyage to the United States, however it is the first show of theirs that really feels like a Stardom show and not a event that Stardom wrestlers just appear on. We get several big matches here, including the first ever singles match between Momo Watanabe and Utami Hayashishita! Here is the full card:
The bottom rope is broken in the ring, they tried to fix it for about 20 minutes but eventually gave up so this event will take place with a very loose bottom rope. The other two ropes seem fine however. If you want more details about any of the wrestlers above that are from Stardom or have wrestled in Stardom before, you can click on their names to go to their profile on Joshi City. Lets get to the review!
Jungle Kyona and Natsuko Tora vs. Sonya Strong and Violette
Since Stardom is using the arena with the assistance of House of Glory, it was only fair that their top two female wrestlers take part in the card. Sonya Strong is a recent House of Glory Women’s Champion, a title that she won from her teammate Violette last summer. Sonya hasn’t fully broken out yet on the indie scene but as a four year pro she is one of the next in line and just last weekend wrestled in both SHIMMER and RISE. Her partner Violette is a bit of an enigma as she mostly wrestles just in House of Glory, she began wrestling in December 2016. The Gaijin team face off against the top two wrestlers in JAN (Jungle Assault Nation) – Jungle Kyona and Natsuko Tora. Unlike Sonya and Violette, Kyona and Natsuko have teamed for years and have won both the Trios and Tag Team Championships together. Kyona and Natsuko have a similar level of wrestling experience as Sonya and Violette (3+ years and 2+ years, respectively), however they do have the chemistry and teamwork edge.
Jungle and Sonya start the match, they test each other’s strength with shoulderblock attempts until Sonya sends Jungle to the mat. Sonya tags Violette, Violette throws Jungle to the mat and puts her in a neck crank. Violette puts Natsuko in a grounded necklock but Jungle gets into the ropes for the break. Sonya returns and continues working over Jungle, Jungle fights back with chops as the two women trade blows. Hard shoulderblock by Jungle and she makes the hot tag to Natsuko, Natsuko tries to pick up Sonya but Sonya fights out of it. Violette comes in but Natsuko avoids her charge and she stacks both in the corner before hitting a running shoulder tackle. Natsuko goes for a splash on both but they move, double Irish whip to Natsuko but she delivers a double spear to them both. Natsuko picks up Sonya but Sonya dropkicks her and kicks her in the head. Cover by Sonya, but it gets a two count.
Violette is tagged in, dropkicks by Violette and she hits a spinning backfist, but Natsuko drops her with a spinebuster and tags Jungle. Jungle and Natsuko pick up Violette and throw her into the corner for the double team but Violette throws them into each other and hits a Codebreaker on Jungle. Cover by Violette, but Jungle barely gets the shoulder up. Sonya and Violette trade kicks to Jungle, cutter by Violette but it gets another two. Violette picks up Jungle but Jungle lariats both of them, sliding lariat to Violette but her pin attempt gets two. Sonya returns to attack Jungle but Natsuko dropkicks her, Violette and Sonya are thrown to opposite corners and hit with elbows. Jungle and Natsuko slam their opponents and go up to opposite turnbuckles, with both delivering a diving body press. Jungle grabs Violette around the waist and nails the Hammerthrow Powerbomb, and she picks up the three count! Jungle Kyona and Natsuko Tora win!
I am surprised they decided to kick off the show with a more grounded power battle, but the match was good. Sonya and Violette showed general competency here, there were some missed moves and clunkiness but I can chalk up some of that to being against Jungle and Natsuko for the first time. I was surprised Jungle was the original face in peril but the match generally felt dominated by Sonya and Violette, with the Stardom team getting their big spots in when needed. The crowd was quiet during some of the beatdown segments but got very vocal whenever Jungle was involved, as she was the clear star of the match. A fine match to start off the show and to ease the crowd into the action that is to come.
Brittany Blake and Britt Baker vs. Bea Priestley and Konami vs. Hana Kimura and Bobbi Tyler
To get the true Stardom experience, you really need to have a match like this one – a multi-team tag team match. It is normal for Stardom to have events with only five matches, so they are used to finding creative ways to get as many wrestlers on the card as possible. To their credit, these aren’t “random” teams (at least on the Stardom side) as these wrestlers are very familiar with each other. Bea and Konami are both part of the faction Queen’s Quest, which was originally founded by Io Shirai. They haven’t won any titles together yet but have been teaming together when Bea is in Japan since last May of last year. Bobbi Tyler toured for the first time in Stardom in January and regularly teamed with Hana Kimura, so they are friends as well. Brittany and Britt have never teamed together before that I am aware of, Brittany Blake wrestles mostly in the Mid-Atlantic region while Britt Baker recently signed for AEW. For the match, in theory one wrestler from each team is legal at all times, first pinfall/submission wins.
Baker, Hana, and Konami start the match, Hana gets the first advantage but Konami schoolboys her as they trade flash pins. They all tag out, Blake is tossed out of the way and Bea kicks Bobbi in the head. Konami comes in and they double team Bobbi, but Hana returns and hits a double dropkick on both of them. Hana stays in with Konami and throws her a few times by the hair, Bobbi comes back and they put Konami in a double Romero Special. Baker slides in and tries for a pin while the move is applied so they release it, Bea and Konami double team Hana and drill her with a double kick for two. Blake comes back in as legal and hits a bulldog on Bea, but her cover gets two. Hana tags kicks Blake and tags herself back in, she dropkicks Bea but Konami comes in and trades elbows with Hana. Kicks by Konami to Hana, she delivers a head kick and covers Hana for two. Grounded necklock by Konami to Hana but Hana muscles out of it and hits a vertical suplex for two. Hana goes off the ropes and goes for the boot, but Konami moves and applies a kneelock over the top rope. We still only have two wrestlers since Bea has beat up everyone else at ringside, Ground Manjikatame by Hana but Bea quickly breaks it up. Bea remains and hits a backdrop suplex onto Hana, but Bobbi breaks up the cover. Bobbi also remains in the ring and she hits a Reverse STO off the ropes, she covers Bea but Baker breaks it up. Slide Blade by Baker, Blake comes in but she kicks Baker by accident. Missile dropkick by Hana to Blake, and she covers her for the three count! Hana Kimura and Bobbi Tyler win!
While I wouldn’t have minded if they got more time, the action we saw was entertaining. I know she wasn’t the focus but I really like Bobbi, she was a good selection by Stardom to bring in earlier this year and works really well with the wrestlers. All six looked good but Hana and Bobbi were the standouts, which made it fitting that they won the match. Blake isn’t quite on the level as everyone else here but hit her spots fine, and generally each of the Stardom wrestlers got a brief chance to get their shots in which is all the crowd wanted from this type of match. A solid match, just a bit shorter than I’d have liked. Mildly Recommended
(c) Hazuki vs. Dust
High Speed Championship
We have reached the first of two title matches for the event. Hazuki won the High Speed Championship in December and has been a very active champion, with this already being her fifth defense. Anyone that hasn’t seen Hazuki before is in for a treat, she is only 21 but has grown significantly in her skills just within the last six months. Sometimes she gets overshadowed by other members of Oedo Tai, so its great to see her get a chance to impress the American audience in a singles match. Dust, also known as Zoey Skye, is no slouch either and just lost her title in SHIMMER a few hours before the show. She also has wrestled in RISE and had a tour in Stardom last summer. Since Dust looked pretty good in Stardom last year, I’m expecting a pretty fun title match.
They waste no time as they go into a high speed exchange, as Hazuki’s recent matches tend to, but neither wrestler gets a clear advantage. Dropkick by Dust but Hazuki dropkicks her back, Hazuki knocks Dust down in the corner and hits some bootscrapes followed by a running kick. Scoop slam by Hazuki and she throws Dust into the corner, but Dust avoids her charge and hits a jumping elbow. Kick to the back by Dust and she hits a sliding kick, cover by Dust but it gets two. Dust goes off the ropes but Hazuki jumps off to the apron and hits a springboard missile dropkick. Big boot by Hazuki and she covers Dust for a two count. Hazuki picks up Dust but Dust sneaks in a cradle for two, Hazuki hits Dust with hard elbows but Dust goes out to the apron and pulls Hazuki out with her, hitting a DDT onto the apron. Dust goes up top and connects with a diving crossbody, running knee to the back by Dust and she nails the Codebreaker for two. Dust goes up top but Hazuki recovers and joins her, they trade elbows but Dust knocks Hazuki back to the mat. Dust jumps off, Hazuki moves but Dust hits a Backstabber for two. Dust waits for Hazuki to get up but Hazuki avoids the kick and puts her in La Magistral for the three count! Hazuki is still the champion!
This match being shorter isn’t surprising as all of Hazuki’s titles matches are short, but again I still wish they got more time (the commentator mentioned it too and agrees with me, so I’m not just being difficult). An entertaining match for sure, Hazuki has really started putting all the pieces together and has a wide variety of quality offense, making her matches unique each time as she has quite a few moves that she can end a match with. Dust connected well on everything and I liked the general story of Dust being in control but losing to Hazuki’s “quick” move since it fits in with the name of the title. Didn’t get enough time to get too emotionally invested but a good match between two talented wrestlers. Mildly Recommended
This event is flying by, but we still have two big matches left.
(c) Momo Watanabe vs. Utami Hayashishita
Wonder of Stardom Championship
For any Stardom fan, this is the match to see from the event. I could type all day about how amazing Utami is for a rookie and how she is primed to be one of the top stars in Stardom for years to come, but then I’d have to type for another day to give Momo her props as well. These are the top two Ace Candidates in Stardom and barring injury/early retirement they will be leading Stardom for many years to come. The champion, Momo, is only 19 years old but a four year pro, she moved up the card slowly but once Io Shirai left she really “grasped the brass ring” so to speak and developed into one of the top wrestlers in Japan. She’s the total package and as she is still growing it is going to be fun to see how much better she will get. Utami Hayashishita just debuted last summer and is the most talented Joshi rookie of the last 20 years, taking Stardom by storm. In just eight months she already holds the SWA Undisputed World Women’s Champion Championship, Future of Stardom Championship, EVE International Championship, and the Goddesses of Stardom Championship, but will she add the Wonder of Stardom Championship? In her first ever singles match against tag partner and primary competition to lead the promotion, can she score the big win? While a Draw is the likely result, anything can happen in the world of wrestling.
They start slow as they trade holds with neither getting the advantage, but Utami slaps Momo in the face which leads to the action picking up. Dropkick by Momo and she kicks Utami in the back, chest kick by Momo and she chokes Utami with her boot. More kicks by Momo, she kicks Utami out of the ring and goes out to the apron, delivering a PK as Utami stands back up. Momo goes out to get Utami and they trade strikes back in the ring, slap by Momo and she hits a scoop slam for two. Momo throws Utami to the corner, Utami reverses it as Momo goes for a dropkick, but Utami moves and puts Momo in the Camel Clutch. Momo gets a foot on the broken bottom rope for the break, scoop slam by Utami but Momo quickly kicks out of the cover. Crab hold by Utami, Momo gets out of it but Utami dropkicks her in the back. Momo briefly regains the advantage but Utami schoolboys her and re-applies the crab hold. Momo gets to the ropes for the break, Utami picks her up and goes for the Argentine Backbreaker, but Momo blocks it and delivers a head kick. Momo goes for a suplex, Utami blocks it but Momo rolls her up for two. Back up they trade elbows until both collapse to the mat, Momo is up first and throws Utami to the corner, dropkick by Momo but Utami fires back with a running elbow as they go back and forth.
Missile dropkick off the second turnbuckle by Momo, she picks up Utami and kicks her into the corner. Running dropkick by Momo, she then hits a Uranage followed by a Somato for a close tow count. Momo gets on the second turnbuckle and nails the diving Somato, she then goes all the way up and delivers another diving Somato but Utami barely gets a shoulder up. Momo applies the chickenwing, she goes for a kick but Utami catches it and flings Momo to the mat. Sleeper by Utami and she hits a sleeper takedown, giving the hold applied on the mat. Momo rolls towards the rope and reaches it for the break. Utami picks up Momo and puts her up in the Argentine Backbreaker before dropping her back with a Samoan Drop, she drags up Momo by the waist and nails a German suplex hold for a close two count. Utami picks up Momo and goes for the Argentine Backbreaker again but Momo rolls out of it, Utami goes off the ropes but Momo catches her with the B Driver for a two count. Momo puts Utami in the chickenwing before kicking her hard in the back of the head, Tequila Sunrise by Momo but Utami barely kicks out. Momo drags Utami up but Utami pushes her away and sneaks in a cradle for two. Utami goes off the ropes but Momo nails her with a high kick, Peach Sunrise by Momo, and she picks up the three count! Momo Watanabe is the winner and retains the championship.
By any standard, this was a fantastic match, but when you consider their ages and experience levels it just goes to a different level. They work together so well and nothing they did felt wasted, there weren’t any time killing or meaningless spots as everything they did served some type of purpose. Both are so crisp with the transitions and there were so many small spots throughout designed to keep your eyeballs on the match. These two bring it all, from hard strikes to smart submissions to great looking suplexes, and their offensive variety keeps the action fresh. I will admit I am surprised Momo won, not that she doesn’t have the experience edge but since it wasn’t the main event it felt like they would go in a different direction, but it gives Utami a mountain to climb and quiets down the less intelligent fans that thought Utami was being pushed too hard (which isn’t true anyway). Utami never hit her biggest move so she still has that in her pocket, and Momo had to whip out a quality sequence of moves to keep the Big Rookie down so there is no shame in defeat for her. One of the better Joshi matches so far in 2019, just an exciting and entertaining match bell to bell that shows why Stardom fans are so high on Momo and Utami as future leaders of Stardom. Highly Recommended
Session Moth Martina, Jamie Hayter, Kagetsu, and Andras Miyagi vs. Mayu Iwatani, Saki Kashima, Tam Nakano, and Arisa Hoshiki
Elimination Match (by pinfall, submission, or Over the Top Rope)
If this was a regular eight woman tag it would be disappointing as not everyone would get a chance to shine, however it being an elimination match should give all the wrestlers ample opportunity to impress. The match pits Oedo Tai, lead by Kagetsu, against the faction STARS, led by Mayu Iwatani. The chemistry between Kagetsu and Mayu is off the charts and I’m sure they will have a quality segment somewhere within this match, and I wouldn’t be surprised if this match got 25 to 30 minutes. Martina is the weak link here as her shtick can be a bit overwhelming, however with Oedo Tai present the match will likely break down into chaos at some point anyway. I’m expecting a fast paced match with lots of Oedo Tai shenanigans to send the crowd home happy.
They immediately start brawling into the aisles and into the crowd, things settle down a bit with Mayu and Kagetsu in the ring as the legal wrestlers. Kagetsu tags in Jamie and suplexes Mayu into the turnbuckles, she tags in Martina and she suplexes Mayu for a two count. The quick tags continue as Mayu is weakened , Andras runs through her offense on Mayu but the cover is broken up. Andras goes to do a dive but Mayu catches her with a Sling Blade, giving her time to tag Saki. Jamie and Martina run in but are taken back out, spinning headscissors by Saki to Andras and she plants Kagetsu as well. Saki jumps on the second turnbuckle and hits a face crusher, double underhook face crusher by Saki to Andras but Kagetsu stops Saki when she tries to dive off the top turnbuckle. All of Oedo Tai run in and hit running strikes on Saki, Andras grabs Saki and nails the Samoan Driver, but the cover only gets two. Andras picks up Saki but Saki blocks the piledriver and cradles Andras for a close two count. Saki goes off the ropes but Andras catches her with the spinning tombstone piledriver and she picks up the three count! Saki Kashima is eliminated.
Arisa comes in as the legal wrestler with Martina, brainbuster by Martina but Arisa kicks out of the cover. Martina gets Arisa on her shoulders but she gets a little help from her friends, kicks by Arisa to Martina but Martina blocks the suplex attempt. Members of both teams run in as we get all seven in the vertical suplex attempt, with STARS winning the battle. All three remaining members of STARS work over Martina, ending with a triple dropkick for a two count. Arisa picks up Martina and with Tam connects with dual kicks, Brazilian Kick by Arisa and she covers Marina for the three count! Session Moth Martina is eliminated.
Kagetsu jumps Arisa from behind, Tam tags in and she trades elbows with Kagetsu. Cutter by Tam, she grabs Kagetsu from behind but Kagetsu elbows her off. High kick by Tam but Kagetsu kicks her back, she goes off the ropes but Tam nails another high kick followed by a German suplex hold for two. Tam goes off the ropes but Hazuki hits her with the Oedo Tai board, Andras slams Tam and Kagetsu goes up top and nails the Oedo Coaster, but the cover is broken up. Kagetsu picks up Tam and hits the Death Valley Bomb, and this time she gets the three count! Tam Nakano is eliminated!
Mayu knocks Kagetsu back but Andras is tagged in and she hits a missile dropkick onto Mayu. Arisa tries to help but Andras dropkicks both of them and hits a backdrop suplex onto Mayu for a two count. Andras goes up top but Mayu joins her and delivers a Frankensteiner, sliding kick by Mayu and she covers Andras for two. Mayu goes off the ropes but Andras catches her and goes for a powerbomb, but Mayu slides out to the apron. Andras charges Mayu but Mayu gets a headscissors, sending Andras over the top rope to the floor! Andras is eliminated.
Kagetsu gets in the ring and she rakes Mayu in the eyes, suplex by Mayu and she tags in Arisa. Kagetsu grabs Arisa by the throat but Arisa pushes her off and the two trade kicks. Arisa goes off the ropes but Kagetsu kicks her to the mat, Kagetsu charges Arisa but Arisa nails her with a knee for a two count. Arisa drives Kagetsu’s head into her knee, she goes up top but Jamie and Andras grab her from the apron. Springboard kick by Kagetsu but Arisa knocks her back, Kagetsu gets some water and spits it into Arisa’s face. Kagetsu gets Arisa on her shoulders and tries to toss her out of the ring, but Arisa hangs on. They struggle on the top rope but they both end up tumbling out, as both Kagetsu and Arisa Hoshiki are eliminated!
Jamie and Mayu are the last two remaining. Kagetsu tries to mist Mayu but hits Jamie by accident, buzzsaw kick by Mayu to Jamie and she goes up to the top turnbuckle, nailing the moonsault. Cover by Mayu, and she gets the three count! STARS win, with Mayu Iwatani being the sole survivor!
This match was exactly what I was expecting, if not a bit better. The eliminations did come fast but with eight wrestlers that was bound to happen, and most of the wrestlers got to show off before they got eliminated from the match. In a way this was almost like an exhibition in that it showed new fans what each wrestler had to offer, then getting rid of them so that the next wrestler could shine. While I was a bit concerned Martina may slow the match down just because she isn’t as familar with some of the wrestlers, she didn’t and everyone was on point with great moves executed throughout. Oedo Tai was their usual Oedo Tai self and I popped for the mist since that will always be one of my favorite wrestling “moves” ever. I wish that Jamie and Mayu got a bit more of a segment at the end but they were likely speeding things up since the show started late and they wanted time for the meet and greet before everyone had to go to their next show. Overall this was a really fun and action packed match and a fitting way to close the show, and I am glad aside from the feed dying during Momo/Utami that the action in the ring delivered to the level that I am sure Stardom was hoping it would. Recommended
From top to bottom, for a two hour Stardom show they really packed a lot of great action in it and put on a great event. All the matches delivered on some level as even though the first three matches didn’t rise above the “very good” threshold they still gave both new and old fans alike a chance to see some of the top Stardom wrestlers in action. And none of the matches were bad so they didn’t drag down the card. The Wonder of Stardom Championship match was fantastic, and to see two wrestlers that young already so good shows why the future is bright for Stardom. The main event was entertaining chaos and a great display for Oedo Tai and Mayu, with all the wrestlers playing their roles well. The full show will eventually be on Stardom World, but if you can’t wait you can also still buy the replay from FITE TV, its definitely worth the price of purchase.