It has been a long time since I’ve sat down and reviewed a Stardom event. Stardom has some of my favorite Joshi wrestlers and I’ve still been spot-watching matches, but due to time and other hobbies I haven’t been as focused on reviewing events lately. But with Utami Hayashishita and Hazuki in the main event of Stardom KAWASAKI SUPER WARS, I figured this was as good of an event as any to jump back into it. There are other fun things on the show as well, the winners of the big matches are fairly obvious but that doesn’t mean the matches won’t be entertaining. Here is the full card:
All wrestlers on the show have a profile on Joshi City, you can click on their names above to go straight to it. I’m watching the live version of the show, which probably won’t be any different from the Stardom World version but wanted to note that just in case.
(c) Ruaka vs. Lady C
Future of Stardom Championship
We start the show with a title match. Ruaka has been in Stardom for several years but is only 17 years old, she isn’t a high end wrestler (yet) but seems to have embraced her Oedo Tai persona and the promotion is giving her a solid go at it as she nears adulthood. Lady C has been wrestling for a year and has struggled to find any success – she very rarely picks up wins and even though she is 27 she currently ranks near the bottom of the promotion. She has won exactly one singles match in her career and so far is 0-3 against Ruaka in singles matches, so needless to say the odds are stacked against her picking up the championship.
Lady C charges Ruaka to start the match and boots her, elbows by Lady C and she chops Ruaka in the chest. Lady C charges at Ruaka but Ruaka hits a shoulderblock, Ruaka kicks at Lady C and challenges her to get back up, chop but Lady C but Ruaka knocks her down with another shoulderblock. Ruaka goes for a running senton but Lady C moves, hip toss by Lady C and she hits a running boot to Ruaka’s face. Another boot by Lady C and she covers Ruaka for two. Lady C picks up Ruaka and puts her in a stretch hold, but Ruaka gets out of it and hits a shoulderblock. Ruaka picks up Lady C but Lady C blocks the fisherman suplex, Lady C clubs Ruaka and goes for a choke hold, but Ruaka quickly gets out of it. Crossbody by Ruaka, but it gets a two count. Ruaka goes to the top turnbuckle but Lady C recovers and elbows her before she can jump off. Ruaka knocks Lady C back but Lady C hits a boot before tossing Ruaka back to the mat. Running kneedrop by Lady C and she covers Ruaka for a two count. Lady C applies a cobra clutch but Ruaka spins out of it and hits a lariat. Running senton by Ruaka, she picks up Lady C and delivers a fisherman suplex hold for a two count. Ruaka goes up to the top turnbuckle and nails the Freezer Bomb, picking up the three count! Ruaka wins and retains the championship.
A simple match, as one would expect. There is a reason that Lady C is struggling to move up the card – she is fundamentally coming along ok but she is a little awkward still and isn’t ready yet for a bigger role. Maybe one day. Ruaka isn’t great either but does enough to get by, so combining the two it wasn’t going to be a technical masterpiece. They were smart to keep the match short (under five minutes) as it allowed them to stay on point and get through the match with minimal downtime. Not a bad way to start the event, but hopefully the Future of Stardom Championship gets some better matches soon.
Fukigen Death and Saki Kashima vs. Hanan and Rina
Goddesses Of Stardom Tag League
As this event took place in the middle of the Goddesses of Stardom Tag League, they decided to put one filler match from the tournament onto this show. I say its a filler match as neither of these teams have any chance at winning the tournament as on one side is a clown and on the other side are two literal children. Really, its a case where these four probably would have had nothing to do on this show anyway so it made sense to go ahead and get their tag league match out of the way. Course, Rina is in Oedo Tai with Death and Saki Kashima, so this may not go well for Hanan either way. I’m not overly excited about it although I haven’t seen Hanan in awhile and I am curious to see how she is progressing based on the early promise she showed.
Saki and Death attack Hanan as the match starts with Rina (her own partner) watching as she is in Oedo Tai so she doesn’t actually like Hanan (in wrestling, I am sure IRL the sisters are good friends). Rina beats on Hanan before Saki hits a scoop slam, Saki chokes Hanan and tags in Death. Death grabs Hanan and throws her down by the hair but Hanan hits a judo toss and tags in Rina. Rina picks up Hanan and slams her onto Death, she then grabs Hanan and drop toeholds her onto Death for a two count cover. Rina puts Death in an Octopus Hold into a cradle, but Death kicks out at two. Irish whip by Rina, reversed, and Death pokes Rina in the eyes. Back elbow by Death, and she covers Rina for two. Death tags in Saki, she hesitates to hit Rina so Rina elbows her and hits a hip toss.
Hanan comes in and they Irish whip Saki, but Saki breaks through their arms and kicks Hanan out of the ring. Capture suplex by Rina to Saki, but it only gets two. She makes the tag to Hanan, dropkicks by Hanan but Saki blocks the suplex attempt. Face crusher out of the corner by Saki and she delivers a big boot for a two count. Rina comes in and they both toss Saki to the mat, Hanan picks up Saki and delivers a Cutie Special for a two count. Death comes in but Hanan dropkicks her, Hanan tries to dropkick Saki but kicks Rina by mistake. Rina isn’t happy about this and she helps Saki boot Hanan before all three hit running strikes in the corner. Double arm suplex by Saki, but Hanan barely gets a shoulder up. Saki drags up Hanan and delivers the My Emblem, and she picks up the three count! Saki Kashima and Fukigen Death win and gets two points in the tournament.
While at least this had something resembling a story due to the Hanan/Rina dynamic, still not a whole lot here to get excited about. Faction wrestlers do frequently wrestle against each other (as we’ll see later tonight) so it wasn’t outside the realm of normal in Stardom for Rina to fight her own teammates to try to get the win, but she didn’t stay committed to that theory for very long. A short match that I guess showed that the Oedo Tai family is tighter to Rina than her real family.
Maika vs. Mina Shirakawa vs. Saya Kamitani
Business has picked up a little bit as we have a unique three way match. Three way matches by definition can struggle to find their footing, as it can be awkward with a third wheel, but these three are all pretty solid wrestlers. Saya Kamitani I wish had a bigger match on the event as she is one of the brighter young stars in the promotion, but Maika and Mina are no slouches so its not like she is wrestling too low on the card. The three way element makes the winner less predictable than most of the matches on the show, which is nice, and if the match is long enough to give the individuals a chance to shine it should be a solid match.
Mina goes on the offense to start as she armdrags both opponents, but gets kicked by both for her trouble. Mina briefly gets them to pose with her before Saya kicks Mina and she is double teamed. Saya and Maika face off, Saya flips away from Maika but Maika avoids the dropkick. Saya then avoids the sliding lariat and dropkicks Maika in the back, Saya throws Maika into the corner but Maika flips her out to the apron. Saya knocks back Maika and goes for a springboard crossbody, but Maika catches her and slams Saya to the mat for a two count. Maika picks up Saya but Saya blocks the suplex, she goes off the ropes but Maika re-appears and hits a jumping double chop on her. Dropkick by Mina, and she covers Saya for two. Mina asks Maika to help her so she does, as they put Saya in a double Mexican Surfboard. Saya rolls out of the ring as Mina and Maika face each other, Mina blocks the suplex and the two trade elbows.
Saya dives in with a combo springboard dropkick/crossbody to interrupt, Maika throws Saya into the corner and hits a lariat. Hard shoulderblock by Maika, she picks up Saya but Mina rolls up Maika from behind as all three trade flash pins. Mina grabs Maika but Maika levels her with a short-range lariat, Saya returns and dropkicks Maika but Maika knocks her back. Heel kick by Saya, she goes to the top turnbuckle but Maika recovers and joins her. Maika hits a superplex while Mina sneaks in and powerbombs Maika, sending both crashing to the mat. Mina elbows Saya in the back of the head, she props her legs up on the top rope and delivers a DDT for a two count. Mina picks up Saya but Saya blocks the DDT, Maika runs in and lariats Saya in the back. Rolling kick by Mina to Maika, she goes back to Saya and goes for the DDT again, but Saya blocks it and snaps off a hurricanrana for two. Saya charges Mina but Mina hits a Lou Thesz Press, she picks up Saya and this time nails the Implant DDT for the three count! Mina Shirakawa is the winner!
If I had to predict a winner, it would not have been “Mina pins Saya” but all three are on a similar level right now in Stardom. Mina has vastly improved since joining Stardom, similar to Maika – whatever they are doing in the dojo at Stardom is working as everyone they sign gets better. For a short chaotic three way match this wasn’t bad, Saya looked impressive with her high flying and Mina controlled the action well. Maika got lost in the shuffle here and wasn’t memorable, but that’s just the way that things go sometimes. A perfectly fine midcard match, but nothing you’ll really remember by the end of the event.
Himeka and Natsupoi vs. Koguma and Mayu Iwatani
Another match that ultimately means nothing but still could be a banger if they put the effort into it. I enjoyed Himeka in AgZ but she’s really stepped it up since joining Stardom, her partner Natsupoi has had some iffy moments in Stardom with execution however I still find her exciting to watch. On the other side, the Icon Mayu Iwatani teams with the recently returned Koguma, I haven’t seen much of Koguma since her comeback so I am interested to see how she is coming along. A fun combination of wrestlers so I’m expecting good things.
Natsupoi and Koguma start off and get right to it, getting into a fast exchange ending in a stalemate. Koguma slides out of the ring and pulls Himeka out with her, using Himeka as a distraction as she runs around the ring. She eventually slides back in as Natsupoi follows, she jumps out to the apron and slides back in with a sunset flip for two. She tags in Mayu, snapmare by Mayu and she kicks Natsupoi in the back. Chinlock by Mayu, Himeka tries to break it up but Koguma sends her out of the ring. Mayu lets go after a moment and throws down Natsupoi by the hair, she tosses Natsupoi into the corner and tags in Koguma. Stomps by Koguma and she hits a scoop slam, body press by Koguma but it only gets a two count. Mayu is tagged back in as Natsupoi continues being the Face In Peril, but she finally gets away and delivers a jumping crossbody which gives her time to tag in Himeka. Hard shoulderblocks by Himeka, she throws Mayu into the corner but Mayu avoids her charge and delivers a sliding kick. Mayu tags in Koguma, body avalanche by Koguma in the corner to Himeka but Natsupoi runs in to help her partner. She doesn’t help much as Koguma stacks them both in the corner and hits a body avalanche followed by a jumping crossbody for two. Koguma picks up Himeka but Himeka gets Koguma on her shoulders and hits a Samoan Drop.
She makes the tag to Natsupoi, dropkick by Natsupoi but Koguma avoids the next attempt and stands on Natsupoi’s back near the ropes. Natsupoi avoids the jumping footstomp and nails Koguma with the Murder Dropkick, cover by Natsupoi but it gets two. Natsupoi picks up Koguma and goes for a cradle, however Koguma reverses it for a two count of her own. Scoop slam by Koguma, she picks up Natsupoi but Himeka runs in with a knee. Neckbreaker by Natsupoi, she goes for a cover but Koguma cradles her for two. Koguma applies a sleeper and she swings her around before dropping her to the mat. Koguma goes off the ropes but Natsupoi ducks the lariat and drops Koguma with a release German. Koguma follows with a release German of her own, both wrestlers roll to their corners and tag in their partners. Kick by Mayu but Himeka fires out of the corner with a shoulderblock and she puts Mayu in an elevated crab hold. Mayu gets into the ropes for the break, Himeka gets Mayu on her shoulders but Mayu slides off and schoolboys Himeka for two. She quickly follows with a sliding kick, Mayu goes for a slam of some sort but Himeka blocks it. Koguma flies in over Mayu with a face crusher onto Himeka, Koguma stays in and helps double team Himeka but Natsupoi breaks up Mayu’s cover. Mayu goes to the top turnbuckle but Natsupoi hits her from the apron, Himeka joins Mayu on the turnbuckle and gets her on her shoulders, but Mayu slides off as she lands on the mat. Natsupoi dropkicks Mayu, double Irish whip to Mayu but Mayu grabs their hands and delivers a double springboard armdrag.
Koguma comes in and they both dropkick an opponent, sending them out of the ring. Mayu goes off the ropes and goes for a plancha suicida, but her opponents move and she ends up landing on her own partner and random ringside wrestlers instead. Natsupoi then goes up top and dives down onto Mayu and Koguma, Himeka slides Mayu back in and nails a big lariat for a two count. Himeka picks up Mayu and hits a backdrop suplex, sliding lariat by Himeka but again her cover only gets two. Himeka drags Mayu to her feet and throws her into the corner, Himeka sets up Mayu for a powerbomb while Natsupoi goes to the top turnbuckle, but Mayu ducks Natsupoi’s crossbody while hitting a hurricanrana on Himeka for a two count. Superkick by Mayu to Himeka with Koguma following with a missile dropkick. German Suplex Hold by Mayu to Himeka, but it gets a two count. Koguma is still in the ring as they both grab Himeka, but Himeka pushes them off before Natsupoi hits a diving crossbody on both. Himeka gets Mayu on her shoulders and nails the JP Coaster, but Mayu kicks out of the pin. Himeka lariats Mayu in the back and sets her up on the turnbuckle, she sets up Mayu for a powerbomb while Natsupoi dives off the top with a crossbody. Cover by Himeka, but Mayu barely gets a shoulder up. Himeka scoops up Mayu before nailing a powerbomb, but that gets a two as well. Lariat by Himeka as she gets Mayu up for a powerbomb again, she nails the running powerbomb but Koguma breaks up the cover. Before she can do anything else, the bell rings as time has expired. The match is a Draw.
Even though this was only a 15 minute match, they packed A LOT into it. They had no downtime whatsoever, it was pretty much go-go-go from bell to bell. Everyone looked really good here and the chemistry they have is off the charts, as the action was smooth and the teamwork was always on point. Himeka continues to really elevate herself in any match I see her in, she presents herself as a power wrestler really well and Stardom wrestlers are generally so tiny that she has no issue throwing them around and leveling them with hard lariats. Koguma appears to have knocked all the rust off as she kept up with the others without any issue, and the match just clicked. While having a Draw is a bit of a cop-out, its not a big deal on the midcard. A really well structured and entertaining match. Recommended
(c) Starlight Kid vs. Momo Watanabe
High Speed Championship
This one is interesting as I think everyone (including myself) expected some type of shenanigans as neither of these two should be losing clean here. Starlight Kid has been on a tear since joining Oedo Tai and its way too early for her to be dropping a title while in her new persona. Momo hasn’t had as much success lately but she is a respected vet and is capable of going after a major title whenever she wants to, plus she’s one of the better in-ring wrestlers they have. Even though I went into this not expecting a legitimate ending, they have good chemistry so whatever they do should be entertaining.
Starlight Kid pushes Momo into the ropes but Momo knocks her down with a dropkick, another dropkick by Momo but Ruaka trips Momo from the floor to give Starlight Kid the upper hand. Starlight Kid grabs Momo by the hair before going to the apron and pulling her head through the ropes. All of Oedo Tai jump on the apron to pose on Momo, kicks to the head by Starlight Kid and she boots Momo in the face. Back in the ring, cover by Starlight Kid but it gets a two count. Stomps by Starlight Kid and she throws Momo into the corner, Momo jumps up on the turnbuckle but Starlight Kid quickly pulls her back off and stomps her again. Starlight Kid charges Momo but Momo catches her with a double knee strike, she throws Starlight Kid out of the ring and hits a PK from the apron. Momo picks up Starlight Kid but Starlight Kid punches her and goes for a slam on the floor. Momo blocks it and eventually connects with a vertical suplex. Momo slides Starlight Kid back in, kick by Momo but Starlight Kid chops her back as the two trade blows. Momo delivers a series of kicks and goes for the B Driver, Starlight Kid blocks it but Momo kicks Starlight Kid in the shin. She goes for the Somato but Starlight Kid ducks it, Momo quickly recovers though and still hits the Somato anyway for a two count. Momo gets on the second turnbuckle and nails the diving Somato, but Starlight Kid gets a shoulder up on the cover.
Crossface chickenwing by Momo and she spins Starlight Kid around, dropping her with the B Driver for another two. Momo picks up Starlight Kid but Starlight Kid blocks the Tequila Sunrise, she goes for a hurricanrana but Momo blocks it and kicks Starlight Kid in the head. Momo picks up Starlight Kid but Starlight Kid quickly snaps off a Ki-chan Bomb for two. Starlight Kid picks up Momo and hits the cyclone neckbreaker, Starlight Kid goes to the top turnbuckle and nails the moonsault for a two count. Starlight Kid goes for a suplex but Momo blocks it, kick to the head by Momo and she charges Starlight Kid, but Starlight Kid holds down the top rope and Momo tumbles out of the ring. Starlight Kid goes out after her and they jockey for control out on the floor, hard head kick by Momo but Starlight Kid blocks the Tequila Sunrise and delivers a dropkick. Starlight Kid slides Momo back in but then pulls her right back out, as the rest of Oedo Tai come over to help. Starlight Kid sets up a chair on the ramp and Momo is sat on it, while Starlight Kid assaults her with food. Running boot by Starlight Kid but Momo hulks up and starts kicking everyone, she slams Starlight Kid’s head repeatedly into a chair and rips at her mask. Starlight Kid gets away and the two start trading elbows, Starlight Kid pushes Momo against the railing but Momo switches positions with her as they continue to brawl. The referee eventually has had enough and starts the count, and he reaches 20 while the two are still way down the ramp. The match is a Draw, Starlight Kid retains the championship.
A non-conclusive ending as was expected, but what they did was fun to watch. Momo is at her best when she’s an ass kicker and she kicked a bunch here, as she was in no mood for Starlight Kid’s attitude and showed off her more aggressive side as a result. She really came across as the better wrestler, but that’s ok as she is more accomplished than Starlight Kid, who is still building her career. The ending will lead to a bigger match down the road more than likely on a bigger event, so this was an entertaining taste of things to come. A little short, but overall still a good time. Mildly Recommended
(c) Syuri vs. AZM
SWA Undisputed World Women’s Championship and 5STAR Grand Prix Contract
They really tried to build intrigue for this match, but it was a hard sell to Stardom fans. Syuri not only is popular but traditionally is extremely difficult to defeat. There is a reason she went to a Draw with Utami and won the 5STAR Grand Prix – she’s one of the toughest wrestlers in the promotion. AZM has been doing better in the last year but is still only 19 years old with one singles title run in her career. She’s feisty, but there is no way she was going to take down Syuri. Still, Syuri is a giving wrestler so AZM should put up a good fight before losing.
They trade waistlocks to start, Syuri gets AZM to the mat first but AZM switches positions with her as they jockey for position. They eventually return to their feet and lock knuckles, Syuri gets AZM’s back as they continue going back and forth. Hard shoulderblock by Syuri but AZM quickly returns to her feet and armdrags Syuri out of the ring. AZM gets on the apron but Syuri catches the PK and pulls AZM down to the floor with her. AZM whips off a hurricanrana, she gets back in the ring and dives out onto Syuri with a triple jump plancha from the corner. AZM returns to the ring, Syuri slowly gets on the apron and AZM hurricanranas her through the ropes for a two count cover. AZM picks up Syuri but Syuri scoops her up and drops AZM on her face. Syuri puts AZM in a crab hold but AZM makes it to the ropes for the break, stomps by Syuri but AZM slaps her in the face. More slaps by AZM and she goes off the ropes, but Syuri knees her in the midsection. AZM fires back with a vertical suplex, she gets on the top turnbuckle but Syuri recovers and joins her. AZM slides to the apron and kicks Syuri, sending her into the Tree of Woe, allowing AZM to quickly hit a diving kneedrop.
AZM whips Syuri to the mat and puts her in an armbar. She lets go after a moment to hit a diving footstomp to Syuri’s arm, she goes up top and nails a regular diving footstomp for a two count. AZM picks up Syuri but Syuri kicks her in the head, both slowly get up and AZM hits a series of elbows. Syuri blocks her slam attempt and hits a Final Cut, picking up a two. AZM avoids a Syuri kick and hits a high kick of her own, Syuri snaps off a German suplex however and dropkicks AZM into the corner. Running knee by Syuri and she drops AZM with a DDT for two. Syuri goes up top but AZM avoids her diving legdrop, La Mistica by AZM but Syuri gets a foot on the ropes. Kick to the leg by AZM and she delivers a head kick, Canadian Destroyer by AZM but it only gets two. AZM goes for a cradle but Syuri reverses it, AZM goes off the ropes and applies La Mistica again. She rolls it over into a seated armbar but Syuri gets out of it and hits a double knee gutbuster. Cover by Syuri, but it gets a two count. Syuri puts AZM in a Scorpion Deathlock but AZM crawls to the ropes and makes it for the break. Kicks to the chest by Syuri, she sits up AZM but AZM catches her kick and delivers a cross-legged suplex hold for two. Elbows by AZM and she goes for La Mistica again, but this time Syuri catches her and slams AZM to the mat. Syuri puts AZM in the White Tiger, and AZM has no choice but to submit! Syuri wins and retains her championship.
Just because the ending is known in advance doesn’t mean the match can’t be entertaining. AZM continues to grow in the ring every time I see her, and while her size may hold her back a bit, she certainly has the talent to be a major player in Stardom for years to come. She didn’t look out of place at all in the ring with Syuri, who traditionally has been known to sometimes have awkward matches with wrestlers that can’t match her style. AZM going for the La Mistica one too many times was a fitting mistake for a younger wrestler to make, and Syuri certainly capitalized in a very even match. Not a real long match but it felt like it went the right amount of time, really good match and an important stepping stone for AZM as her upward climb continues. Recommended
(c) Tam Nakano vs. Unagi Sayaka
Wonder Of Stardom Championship
Like the last match, the winner here is clear. Tam Nakano is one of the most popular wrestlers in the promotion and has held the Wonder of Stardom Championship for 250 days. While no doubt she will drop the title sooner than later, it won’t be to Unagi, who is more of a B-Tier title challenger. Unagi briefly held the Future of Stardom Championship earlier this year but otherwise has had limited success as a singles wrestler and currently ranks 3rd in her own faction (behind Tam and Mina). If they are smart, they will keep this match relatively short as more of a sprint, but knowing Stardom that won’t happen as most title matches get stretched out. I hope that Unagi pulls something special out as on paper, this is the major title match I was most concerned about delivering.
The match starts slow as they trade holds on the mat, Tam applies a guillotine into a side headlock as they return to their feet as Unagi struggles to get out of it. She eventually does so and hits a hard shoulderblock, she goes for a lariat but Tam brides under it and cradles Unagi for two. Head kick by Tam, she picks up Unagi and snapmares her before kicking Unagi in the back for a two count. Irish whip by Tam from the corner and she hits a running elbow, she rolls Unagi to the mat and kicks her repeatedly for another two. Headscissors by Tam as she slams Unagi’s head into the mat, but Unagi makes it to the ropes for the break. Back up, Unagi fights back with elbows but Tam absorbs the blows and elbows her to the mat. Head kick by Tam but she lifts her up on the cover attempt, Tam goes off the ropes but Unagi drops her throat-first onto the top rope. Tam ends up half out of the ring, Unagi exits and grabs Tam’s head while it is hanging over the apron, delivering a corkscrew DDT down to the floor.
Unagi returns to the ring with Tam slowly following, Unagi clubs Tam and hits a jawbreaker. Leg drop by Unagi, and she covers Tam for two. Heel drop by Unagi, she goes up top but Tam recovers and joins her. They trade elbows while on the turnbuckles, slaps by Tam but Unagi hits a headbutt. Tam headbutts her back and Unagi falls down to the floor, Tam quickly returns to the top turnbuckle and dives out of the ring with a plancha. Back in the ring, running knee by Tam but Unagi kicks out of the cover. Tam picks up Unagi but Unagi slides away, she gets Tam to the mat and puts her in a Dragon Sleeper. Tam gets to the ropes for the break, Unagi picks her up but Tam gets away from her and hits a Tiger Driver. Both wrestlers are slow to recover as they trade elbows on their knees, Unagi knocks Tam over but Tam hits an up-kick. Back up, elbows by Unagi and she goes off the ropes, but Tam catches her with a superkick. Another head kick by Tam, she picks up Unagi but Unagi blocks the Tiger Suplex and drops her face-first into the mat.
Unagi waits for Tam to get up but Tam avoids her boot and hits a German suplex hold for two. Tam goes up top but Unagi boots her down to the apron, Unagi grabs Tam and hooks her feet on the top rope before driving her into the mat. Unagi puts Tam in the Gori Special before delivering a face buster, cover by Unagi but Tam kicks out. Unagi picks up Tam and nails the Taigi De Atta, but again Tam gets a shoulder up. Unagi kicks Tam into the corner and puts her onto the top turnbuckle, Unagi joins Tam but Tam elbows her off. Tam dives off the top but Unagi avoids her, Tiger Suplex by Tam and she nails a pair of head kicks. Sliding knee strike by Tam, and she covers Unagi for two. Tam drags up Unagi and hits the Tiger Suplex, she rolls Unagi back up and delivers the Twilight Dream for the three count! Tam Nakano wins and retains the championship.
This may have been a smidge longer than it needed to be but overall it was pretty good. Unagi has improved since joining Stardom but she still needs a slightly more varied offensive moveset, which will come with time. The only part of the match I didn’t like was Tam lifting Unagi on one of the covers instead of pinning her. This wasn’t a blood feud where two people really wanted to beat each other up, they are in the same faction so it didn’t make any logical sense that Tam would have a chance to win but not do it to inflict more violence. Plus it came way too early in the match to be a believable moment anyway. The fact I knew Unagi couldn’t win took out some of the drama but they tried hard to show them on the same footing and Unagi had some quality near-falls. A few moments I would have probably cut out, but overall it exceeded my expectations. Mildly Recommended
(c) Utami Hayashishita vs. Hazuki
World of Stardom Championship
It is time for the main event and my primary motivation for watching this show. Hazuki shocked the Joshi world when in August she stepped back in a Stardom ring and announced she was returning to the promotion. She retired in December of 2019 and appeared to be on not the best terms with Stardom at the time, but things change and here she is back again for her third run in Stardom. This is just her 6th match since returning but is already challenging Utami for the top title in the promotion. Utami won the championship last November and this is her 8th defense as she has been a pretty active champion. The chances of Hazuki taking down Utami so soon after returning are slim, but I’m still excited to see her back and being put in such a big match for Stardom.
They lock knuckles before trading waistlocks, Hazuki gets Utami to the mat first but Utami eventually switches positions with her as they go back and forth. They reach a stalemate but tie back up, Hazuki goes off the ropes but Utami knocks her over with a shoulderblock. Stomps by Utami and Hazuki rolls out of the ring, but Utami quickly goes out and gets her before slamming her to the mat. Irish whip by Utami, Hazuki goes for a dropkick but Utami swats it away. Hazuki fights back with feeble elbows but Utami kicks her back down, Irish whip by Utami but Hazuki connects with the dropkick this time. Hazuki puts her boot on Utami but Utami stands back up and hits a dropkick of her own, scoop slam by Utami and she puts Hazuki in a crab hold. Hazuki gets to the ropes to force the break, Utami picks up Hazuki and slams her head into the mat for a two count. Utami puts Hazuki in the corner, Irish whip by Utami but Hazuki jumps up on the turnbuckles and hits a dropkick. Full nelson into a backbreaker by Hazuki and she hits a running senton, Utami ends up against the ropes so Hazuki gives her a series of bootscrapes. Running boot by Hazuki, she throws Utami into the corner and hits a running back elbow. Codebreaker by Hazuki, and she covers Utami for two.
Hazuki applies the armtrap crossface but Utami muscles out of it and drops her with the Air Raid Crash. Sliding kick by Utami and she covers Hazuki for two. Utami applies a sleeper but Hazuki gets out of it and snaps off a DDT. Running boot by Hazuki which sends Utami out of the ring, Hazuki gets a running start to do a dive but Utami gets back on the apron and elbows her. Utami gets Hazuki out on the apron with her and drops her with a modified Air Raid Crash, with Hazuki’s head bouncing off the apron. Utami slides Hazuki back into the ring, she gets on the top turnbuckle and delivers a missile dropkick for a two count. Utami picks up Hazuki and gets her on her shoulders, but Hazuki quickly slides off and the two trade elbows. Utami wins the strike battle at first but Hazuki comes firing back, back elbow by Utami but Hazuki hits one as well. Sidewalk slam by Utami, Hazuki quickly gives her a boot but Utami drills her with a dropkick. Utami picks up Hazuki and gives her a hard elbow, she gets Hazuki on her shoulders but Hazuki spins off and hits a hurricanrana. Utami falls out of the ring, Hazuki goes off the ropes and flies out onto her with a tope suicida. Hazuki returns to the ring and hits a second one, she slides Utami back in the ring and gets on the apron as she delivers a swandive dropkick for a two count. Armtrap crossface by Hazuki, Utami almost makes it to the ropes so Hazuki switches to the Rings of Saturn.
Utami eventually gets a toe on the ropes for the break, Hazuki goes off the ropes and boots Utami in the face. Scoop slam by Hazuki in front of the corner, she goes up top but Utami elbows her before she can jump off. Utami gets Hazuki on her shoulders and hits a Samoan Drop, sliding lariat by Utami and she covers Hazuki for two. Hazuki picks up Utami and hits the Air Raid Crash, but that gets a two as well. Utami gets Hazuki around the waist but Hazuki blocks the suplex as she cradles Utami for two. Hard shoulderblock by Utami and this time she connects with the German Suplex, picking up a two count. Utami gets Hazuki to her feet but Hazuki slides away and hits a Backstabber followed by a sliding kick for two. Running elbow by Hazuki and she hits a Codebreaker out of the corner, she puts Utami on the top turnbuckle and hits a second Codebreaker back down to the mat. Hazuki goes to the top turnbuckle and delivers the diving senton, but Utami kicks out of the pin. Scoop slams by Hazuki and she hits a brainbuster for another two count. Hazuki picks up Utami and goes for a suplex, but Utami gets away and hits a German Suplex. Both wrestlers slowly get up in opposite corners, Hazuki goes foot but Utami ducks and drops Hazuki with a lariat. Utami picks up Hazuki and hits a series of short-range lariats for a two count. Utami picks up Hazuki and gets her in a crucifix, but Hazuki slides off and applies La Magistral for a nearfall. Lariat by Utami, she picks up Hazuki and hits a backdrop suplex. Hazuki charges Utami but Utami catches her and slams her to the mat, she picks up Hazuki and finally nails the Hijack Bomb for the three count! Utami Hayashishita wins and retains the championship.
This one took a bit to get going but once it did, it was a quality match. They were telling the story that Hazuki wasn’t ready for someone like Utami, which is a fine story to tell but it made the first five minutes or so a little slow as Utami was just handling Hazuki with offense that wasn’t always overly interesting. Once Hazuki started her comeback and worked her way up to standing toe to toe with Utami it got better, and while I think she showed a little bit of rust with some of her timing overall she hasn’t missed much of a step. I think the story could have been tightened up a bit, or the first chunk could have just been more interesting in general, but I really enjoyed the last half and just seeing Hazuki back in the ring again. This won’t make anyone’s MOYTC list, but a solid defense for Utami. Recommended