Event: New Japan “WRESTLE KINGDOM 16 IN TOKYO DOME”
Date: January 5th, 2022
Location: Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan
Announced Attendance: 6,379
Broadcast: Asahi Channel and New Japan World
I don’t normally do reviews of just one match, but there are always exceptions. In a truly historic moment, at this year’s annual New Japan Tokyo Dome event, Stardom had a match that not only happened on the main show but was televised. In past years, since Bushiroad purchased Stardom, Stardom has had a match at the Tokyo Dome but it was a dark match that was not made available via TV or streaming services. This year, the match is not only on the middle of the card but it was broadcasted as well, giving Stardom a whole new audience. Here is the match:
All four wrestlers on the show have a profile on Joshi City, you can click on their name above to go straight to it.
Mayu Iwatani and Starlight Kid vs. Kamitani and Tam Nakano
For their offer match, Stardom sent four of their best wrestlers to put on a good show. These teams in no way reflect the current factions in Stardom, as each team contains two wrestlers that are not normally teammates. The most out of place, based on current storylines, is that Starlight Kid and Mayu Iwatani are in no way friends, in fact they are enemies that in a normal circumstance would never team together. Saya Kamitani and Tam Nakano are also in different factions, but they aren’t necessarily enemies so its not quite as odd of a team. For this special occasion, Mayu and Starlight Kid will be friends like the good ‘ol days in order to put on the best show they can for the large New Japan audience.
Starlight Kid and Saya start the match and get right into it with a high speed exchange, spinning headscissors by Starlight Kid and she delivers a dropkick. She tags in Mayu, Starlight Kid kicks Saya into the ropes and both of them hit 619s followed by stereo standing moonsaults. Mayu sits up Saya and kicks her in the back, Irish whip by Mayu but Saya knocks her down with a spinning heel kick and tags in Tam. Mayu kicks Tam but Tam bridges to avoid the lariat, Tam cradles Mayu to the mat before delivering a dropkick. Tam picks up Mayu with a waistlock but Mayu elbows out of it, hard elbow by Tam but Mayu returns fire as the two trade blows. Mayu rolls Tam to the mat and kicks her in the head, Mayu picks up Tam but Tam blocks the suplex attempt. Mayu gets Tam’s back and nails the Dodonpa, but Tam kicks out at two. Tam gets out of the suplex again and delivers a head kick, but Mayu comes back with a Sling Blade and makes the tag to Starlight Kid. Saya is tagged in as well, Starlight Kid goes off the ropes but Saya connects with a dropkick. Saya charges Starlight Kid but Starlight Kid drops her onto the apron, Saya goes for a swandive move but Starlight Kid moves. Mayu and Tam both return to the ring, Mayu grabs Saya and Tam by the wrist and hits a dual springboard armdrag.
Tam and Saya fall out of the ring, Starlight Kid goes out to the apron and nails an Asai Moonsault. Mayu slides Saya back in the ring while Starlight Kid goes to the top turnbuckle, swivel bodypress by Starlight Kid but Saya kicks out. Mayu gets on the second turnbuckle, Starlight Kid climbs up onto her shoulders and dives down onto Saya with a crossbody. Cover by Starlight Kid, but Tam breaks it up. Starlight Kid applies a Texas Cloverleaf but Tam breaks up that as well, kneeing Starlight Kid in the back. Starlight Kid falls out of the ring, Tam goes up to the top turnbuckle and dives out onto both her and Mayu with a plancha. Starlight Kid is rolled back into the ring as Saya gets on the apron and hits a swandive crossbody. Northern Lights Suplex Hold by Saya, but Mayu breaks it up. Saya goes for a fisherman leg hook but Starlight Kid gets away and the two trade flash pins. Bridging suplex hold by Saya, but Starlight Kid kicks out at two. Saya picks up Starlight Kid but Mayu comes in and superkicks her, Momo☆Latch by Starlight Kid but it gets broken up by Tam. Mayu grabs Tam and hits a release Dragon Suplex, but Tam returns to her feet and hits a Tiger Suplex, leaving both wrestlers down on the mat. Saya is the first to recover, she picks up Starlight Kid and hits a Fisherman Driver in front of the corner. She goes up to the top turnbuckle and nails the Phoenix Splash, cover by Saya and she picks up the three count! Saya Kamitani and Tam Nakano are the winners!
For a special attraction match, I thought they really delivered. Stardom has some of the best wrestlers of the world, we know that, but getting the chance to show off in front of a new audience is a big deal as if even 5% of everyone watching on NJPW World was curious to see more that would be a big deal for Stardom. This match showed their wrestlers’ athleticism and strength, not just their speed which I think may have surprised some of the more casual viewers that had not seen Joshi in awhile. All four got a chance to have their moments, with Starlight Kid and Saya really jumping off the screen as special talents. On a Stardom card this would have just been a fun mid-card match, but I think they accomplished what they were going for and exhibited in a very condensed setting what Stardom is capable of. Recommended