Event: Stardom “New Summer” Day 1
Date: July 11th, 2020
Location: Shin-Kiba 1st RING in Tokyo, Japan
Announced Attendance: 140
Since Stardom is currently the most popular Joshi promotion among Western fans, for the sake of general interest in my reviews its a good idea if I give them extra attention. Its not a hard decision anyway, since I like so many of Stardom’s wrestlers and they rarely put on a bad show. This isn’t a big event, as there are no title matches, but with wrestling finally back in swing these shows are important to set up storylines. Plus we get Syuri vs. Starlight Kid, what’s not to love about that. Here is the full card:
As this aired on Stardom World, all matches will be shown in full. All wrestlers on the show have a profile on Joshi City, you can click on their name above to go straight to it.
Death Yama-san and Rina vs. Jungle Kyona and Konami
One of the overall gimmicks coming into this show is that the matches weren’t announced before the event, so imagine everyone’s surprise when the first match is Tokyo Cyber Squad vs. Tokyo Cyber Squad. This is Kyona’s first match since Hana’s passing as she missed the last show, so its good to see her back in the ring. Even though they are stablemates they don’t mind fighting either, which is the beauty of Stardom factions – sometimes they just have to battle it out. They’ll still be friends after the match is over, no concerns about that here.
Kyona and Death start the match, Death poses around the ring but kicks Kyona when she gets her to do the same. Hard shoulderblocks by Kyona and she hits a body press for a two count. Kyona throws Death into the corner but Death avoids her charge and makes the tag to Rina. Double Irish whip to Kyona and she eats a double boot, they pick up Kyona but Kyona hits a double vertical suplex. Wristlock by Kyona to Rina and she gets her to the mat with an armbar, she keeps twisting on the wrist before feeding her to Konami so that Konami can apply an armbar over the top rope. She lets go after a moment and Kyona tags her in, Konami keeps on Rina’s arm and puts her in a stretch hold. She lets go and covers Rina, but it gets a two count. Konami picks up Rina but Rina fights back with elbows, she goes for a judo toss but Konami blocks it. Scoop slam by Rina and she tags Death, but Konami avoids Death’s running senton. Kyona comes in but Death avoids both of them and hits a senton/dropkick combination on both opponents before hitting a running senton on both of them. Kyona leaves the ring, Death picks up Konami but Konami catches her in a Fujiwara Armbar. She switches to a cross armbreaker but Rina breaks it up, Death tags in Rina and Rina dropkicks Konami in the corner. STO by Rina and a second one, cover by Rina but Konami kicks out. Rina picks up Konami but Konami gets away from her, backslide by Rina switched into a jackknife hold but it gets two. Rina goes for the Hydrangea and gets it applied still on their feet, but Konami gets into the ropes for the break. Kyona comes in to help and hits a sliding lariat, Konami picks up Rina but Rina avoids the Triangle Lancer and schoolboys Konami for two. Kick to the chest by Konami, she picks up Rina and applies the Triangle Lancer. Rina struggles for a moment but has to tap out! Jungle Kyona and Konami are the winners!
Somewhat interesting the effort they made to ease Kyona back into it, not only putting her in the short opener but having Konami pick up the win. Nothing I’d look into too deep and probably a good idea, as she took Hana’s death the toughest of the current roster members. A pretty short match, not a whole lot to it. Rina doesn’t look out of place which is probably the best compliment I can give her at this point in her career, and everything was smooth. A step better than your average opener and an easy watch to start the show.
Saya Iida and Tam Nakano vs. Saya Kamitani and Utami Hayashishita
Our next battle pits STARS vs. Queen’s Quest. Saya and Utami got new outfits and seem to be being pushed as the main tag team of Queen’s Quest, which is a little disappointing as a big Utami fan as I’d rather see her going for the singles titles, but that scene is pretty full right now so this is the next best slot. Saya Iida is the clear weak link here, even though she certainly has her fans she isn’t on the level of the other wrestlers (including the rookie Saya Kamitani). This match will probably be used to further establish the Queen’s Quest team.
Tam and Kamitani start the match, they lock knuckles and go into a Test of Strength which Kamitani wins as she pins Tam down to the mat. Tam pushes her off and they both bridge before returning to their feet, headlock by Tam but Kamitani Irish whips out of it. Armdrag by Kamitani but Tam returns the favor and the two reach a stalemate. They both tag out, Utami pushes Iida into the ropes but she gives a clean break. They tie-up again, this time Iida gets Utami into the ropes and she elbows her repeatedly in the chest. Irish whip by Iida but Utami hits a hard shoulderblock, Kamitani comes in and they double team Iida. Kamitani leaves the ring as Utami stomps on Iida, Utami tags Kamitani back in and Kamitani stomps down Iida in the corner. Kamitani picks up Iida and hits a scoop slam, cover by Kamitani but it gets a two count. Kamitani applies a leg submission while Utami protects her she lets go after a moment and puts Iida in a Sickle Hold. She releases it so she can apply a crab hold, but Iida crawls to the ropes and forces the break. Kamitani tags Utami, scoop slam by Utami and she hits a second one. Iida pushes Utami back but Utami tags in Kamitani, scoop slam by Kamitani but Iida dropkicks her twice. This gives her time to tag Tam, Tam goes off the ropes but Kamitani avoids her running boot. Utami comes in to help but Tam fights them both off, ending with her hitting a cutter on Utami. Cartwheel into a double kneedrop by Tam to Kamitani, and she covers her for two.
Back up, Kamitani elbows Tam off and they trade blows, back kick by Tam but Kamitani knocks her down with a heel kick. She tags in Utami, shoulderblock by Utami to Tam and she hits a running elbow in the corner followed by a dropkick for a two count. Utami picks up Tam but Tam slides away from her, Tam goes for a suplex but Utami blocks it as they struggle for position. Tam gets away but Utami hits a Samoan Drop, sleeper by Utami but Tam wiggles to the ropes to force the break. Utami picks up Tam in a waistlock but Tam blocks the suplex, kicks by Utami but Tam gets her back and hits a backdrop suplex. She makes the hot tag to Iida, dropkick by Iida to Utami and she chops her in the chest. A double chop by Iida sends Utami to the mat, she goes off the ropes and hits a running back elbow for two. Tam gets on the top turnbuckle and delivers the Destiny Hammer, Iida then goes up and hits a missile dropkick for two. Iida picks up Utami but Utami blocks the Northern Lights Suplex, she gets Iida’s back but Iida gets away and puts Utami in the Iida Bridge for two. Superkick by Tam to Utami, Iida delivers the Northern Lights Suplex but Kamitani breaks it up. Iida goes off the ropes but Kamitani dropkicks her, lariat by Utami and she covers Iida for two when Tam breaks it up. Utami and Kamitani take care of Tam, Utami goes back to Iida and with Kamitani they hit the Magic Killer. German suplex hold by Utami, and she gets the three count! Utami Hayashishita and Saya Kamitani are the winners!
Even though the end result was obvious, I’ll give Stardom credit for how quickly they have elevated Kamitani up the card. It doesn’t feel forced, she fits right in with Tam and Utami, aided of course by her size and general demeanor in the ring. Iida has her fans but her ceiling is Hiromi Mimura, so there really isn’t any reason for them to give her much focus in a match like this where the others have stories to tell. She kept up however, which helped make the Queen’s Quest team look stronger in the end. For a lower card match, this was pretty entertaining and maybe a sign of things to come with Utami and Kamitani if they continue to rack up wins. Mildly Recommended
Starlight Kid vs. Syuri
For an unannounced midcard match, this is about as good as it gets. Starlight Kid is one of the brightest young stars in Stardom, and while due to her size she will have a tougher climb than other wrestlers, I think she’ll have a good place in Stardom for as long as she wants it. She has a tough match here though as she goes against Syuri from the Donna del Mondo faction. Syuri is a former MMA fighter and incredibly difficult to beat, so while Starlight Kid doesn’t have much of a chance here I am sure she’ll put on a good show.
They circle each other to start, Syuri slams Starlight Kid into the corner but Starlight Kid switches positions with her and gives a clean break. Waistlock by Syuri, reversed by Starlight Kid but Syuri reverses it back and gets Starlight Kid to the mat. Starlight Kid quickly returns to her feet as they go through a quick exchange, but they reach a stalemate. Armdrag by Starlight Kid and she hits another off the ropes before dropkicking Syuri out of the ring, she goes to do a dive but feints back into the ring instead. Syuri elbows Starlight Kid as she gets back on the apron, she returns to the ring and catches Starlight Kid’s crossbody attempt. Syuri slams Starlight Kid to the mat, stomps by Syuri and she snapmares Starlight Kid before kicking her in the back for a two count cover. Syuri twists Starlight Kid’s arm around the top rope, she lets go after a moment and kicks Starlight Kid in the back. She goes for the cross armbreaker and gets it locked in, but Starlight Kid quickly gets to the ropes to force the break. Stomps by Syuri, she picks up Starlight Kid and throws her into the corner. Running knee by Syuri, she pulls Starlight Kid back to the the middle of the ring and covers her for two. Syuri applies an armlock but Starlight Kid gets to the ropes again, stomp by Syuri and she knees Starlight Kid in the midsection.
Irish whip by Syuri but Starlight Kid ducks the lariat and delivers the tilt-a-whirl headscissors. Tiger Feint Kick attempt by Starlight Kid, Syuri ducks down but Starlight Kid hits it anyway over the bottom rope. Standing moonsault by Starlight Kid, but it only gets a two count. Starlight Kid picks up Syuri but Syuri blocks the suplex attempt, elbows by Starlight Kid but Syuri knees her in the gut. Syuri connects with a DDT, she goes for the cross armbreaker again but Starlight Kid blocks it so she switches to a seated armbar. Starlight Kid inches to the ropes until she gets the break, Syuri picks her up and hits a double underhook suplex for two. Syuri goes off the ropes but Starlight Kid does too and hits a satellite DDT, she goes up top and connects with the diving crossbody. Starlight Kid quickly grabs Syuri and nails the cross legged suplex, but Syuri barely kicks out. Starlight Kid gets Syuri up and hits the cyclone neckbreaker, she goes to the top turnbuckle and delivers the swivel body press, but again Syuri kicks out. Starlight Kid goes for the Ki-chan Bomb but Syuri blocks it and hits a running knee for two. Syuri goes for the Buzzsaw Kick but Starlight Kid ducks it, Syuri picks up Starlight Kid but Starlight Kid applies a sunset flip for two. They trade flash pins with neither having any luck, Starlight Kid goes off the ropes bu Syuri drills her with a head kick. Cover by Syuri, but Starlight Kid kicks out. Syuri gets Starlight Kid on her shoulders and drops her with a double knee gutbuster, she puts Starlight Kid in the Suzaku Armbar and Starlight Kid is forced to submit! Syuri is the winner.
This was straight-forward, but still solid. The match was structured exactly how you would have expected, which I guess isn’t a big surprise for a random midcard match. If they ever want to go outside the box with these two, this probably wasn’t the time. So it has the Syuri control segment, some Starlight Kid hope spots and nearfalls, then Syuri regaining control and getting the tap out. Just because its predictable doesn’t mean it wasn’t good, but the first part did seem to be going at a slower speed before they really got into it. Starlight Kid is so smooth, I’ll always have nice things to say about her, but nothing here was really special. Just her usual fun self. A good midcard match, but nothing more than that. Mildly Recommended
AZM and Momo Watanabe vs. Mayu Iwatani and Riho
Finally, Riho has returned to Stardom! We haven’t seen her in a Stardom ring since mid-February, mostly due to the pandemic cancelling events but she hasn’t been a super regular in the promotion even though she does hold a title. She isn’t officially in STARS but teams with them sometimes, as here she is with “The Icon” Mayu Iwatani to take on Queen’s Quest. We saw the other two wrestlers of Queen’s Quest earlier, theses are the younger two but with lots of potential to lead the promotion if called upon (Momo is already ready but looks like she has been passed in the pecking order). All four are minimally really good wrestlers so this should be an entertaining match.
AZM and Riho start the match, they immediately go into a fast exchange but they end up in a stalemate. They tag out, Mayu and Momo circle each other more methodically and tie-up, Momo pushes Mayu into the ropes and she gives a clean break. They trade waistlocks and then wristlocks, they end up on the mat but Momo quickly gets away from Mayu as they return to their feet. Snapmare by Mayu and she kicks Momo in the back, she then stands on Momo’s back before stomping down on it. Mayu picks up Momo and tags Riho, Riho throws down Momo by the hair before stomping her in the corner. Riho puts Momo in a Camel Clutch as Mayu comes in to pose with her, double knee to the back by Riho and she tags Mayu back in. Scoop slam by Mayu and she covers Riho for a two count. Armdrag by Mayu and she puts Momo in a stretch submission hold, AZM comes in to try to help but Riho cuts her off. Mayu lets go after a moment and stomps on Momo’s back, kick to the back by Mayu and she tags Riho. Dropkick by Riho, and she covers Momo for a two count. Riho goes for a suplex but Momo blocks it, Riho goes off the ropes but Momo kicks her in the chest and makes the tag to AZM. Dropkick by AZM, Mayu comes in but AZM stacks them both in the corner and hits a dropkick. AZM tosses them both to the mat and connects with a double dropkick, cover by AZM to Riho but it gets a two count. Riho goes off the ropes but AZM cradles her and the two trade flash pins. Knee by Riho but AZM kicks her in the head before tagging in Momo.
Momo gets Riho up for the B Driver but Riho wiggles away, she drop toeholds Momo onto the second rope and hits the Tiger Feint Kick. She rolls over to her corner and tags Mayu, Irish whip by Mayu to the corner but Momo reverses it. Mayu slides out to the apron when Momo charges in but Momo kicks her back into the corner and delivers a dropkick. Another dropkick by Momo, she picks up Mayu and hits a vertical suplex for two. Momo applies an armlock but Riho breaks it up, Irish whip by Riho to Momo and both she and Mayu dropkick her. Mayu picks up Momo and hits a dragon screw, Scorpion Deathlock by Mayu but AZM breaks it up. Mayu picks up Momo and they trade kick attempts, high kick by Momo but Mayu delivers a superkick and both wrestlers are down on the mat. Momo makes the tag first, AZM cuts off Mayu from tagging out and hits a vertical suplex for two. Fujiwara Armbar by AZM, she switches it to a double armbar but Mayu gets into the ropes for the break. AZM goes up top and delivers a diving double footstomp, she picks up Mayu and hits the La Mistica but Riho quickly breaks it up. Momo takes care of Riho, she tries to catapult AZM onto Mayu but Mayu moves out of the way. Riho returns to even the odds, they take care of Momo before hitting a double suplex on AZM. Buzzsaw Kick by Mayu to AZM, but AZM kicks out of the cover. Mayu goes up top and connects with the Frog Splash, but Momo breaks up the cover. Riho knees Momo in the face, Mayu picks up AZM and she applies the Child Crusher (modified Dragon Sleeper), leading to the quick tap out! Mayu Iwatani and Riho win!
I can’t think of any other time Mayu has won with that dragon sleeper than against AZM since it requires a tiny person to put it on, but it does look really good. This match got a fair amount of praise online which I think says more for Stardom than anything else as its a pretty standard tag match. But, its a standard tag match with four quality wrestlers that know how to put on a tight and entertaining match, even though there were no particular blow-away moments. Its just solid from bell to bell, well-worked with a nice variety of offense to keep it going for 13 minutes. In a way this is a “normal” meaningless tag match in Stardom but “normal” is better than most promotions can pull off on their best day. A fun match and a key one for Riho as it shows she can hang with the Stardom wrestlers without any issue. Recommended
Giulia, Himeka, and Maika vs. Natsuko Tora, Natsu Sumire, and Saki Kashima
In the main event, we get Donna del Mondo vs. Oedo Tai! These are two factions going in different directions. Donna del Mondo just picked up a new member in Himeka, and has found a good deal of success since forming earlier this year. On the other side, this version of Oedo Tai hasn’t accomplished much of anything, particularly when you take Bea and Jamie out of the equation. Natsuko is one of the weaker faction leaders in recent Stardom memory, and still has a ways to go to really feel right for the part. Anything can happen in Stardom, but Donna del Mondo certainly comes into the match with all the momentum.
Natsuko and Giulia start the match, punch to the guy by Natsuko but Giulia quickly gets her to the mat with a headlock. Natsuko reverses it into a hammerlock as the two struggle for position, Natsuko pulls on Giulia’s hair to get an armlock applied but Giulia pushes Natsuko into the ropes. Armdrag by Giulia but Natsuko trips her and the two end up in a stalemate. They tag out as Maika and Saki come in, Saki throws down Maika by the hair but Maika gets her in a Fujiwara Armbar. It quickly gets broken up but Giulia and Himeka both run in the ring to help. Maika gets the hold sunk back in but Saki gets to the ropes for the break, Maika stomps on Saki’s arm and throws her into the corner so her teammates can help with the beatdown. She tags Giulia, Giulia applies a choke before eventually letting Saki go and hitting a scoop slam. Giulia tags Himeka who hits a slam before tagging Maika, who hits a slam as well. Donna del Mondo take turns on Saki until Giulia ends up the legal wrestler again, Natsuko tries to help Saki but Giulia tosses her out of the ring and Saki is triple teamed. Giulia goes off the ropes but Natsuko trips her from ringside, giving Saki time to tag her in. Natsuko bootscrapes Giulia and nails a running boot, she tags in Natsu who come in with her whip. Natsu hits Giulia with the whip a few times until she tosses it out of the ring, she kicks at Giulia before tagging in Saki. Saki throws Giulia down by the hair a couple times and stands on her neck, she tags in Natsuko who comes in the ring with her chain.
Natsuko puts the chain in the middle of the ring, she slams Giulia on the chain and covers her for two. She tags Natsu, snapmare by Natsu and she applies a headscissors. She lets go after a moment, Giulia elbows her but Natsu boots her back and the two trade shots. Natsu gets Giulia in the corner and goes for the Bronco Buster, but Giulia greets her with a boot and tags in Himeka. Hard shoulderblock by Himeka to Natsu, Himeka picks her up but Natsuko comes in to help. She fails, as Himeka stacks them in the corner and hits a lariat, Himeka then scoops up both Natsu and Saki and puts them on her shoulders in an Argentine Backbreaker. Natsuko breaks it up, Himeka goes off the ropes and hits a running knee on Natsu for a two count. Himeka goes off the ropes again but Natsu catches her with a small package for two. Natsu gets Himeka in the corner and nails the gyrating Bronco Buster, but Himeka muscles out of it and goes for a powerbomb. Natsu slides away but Himeka lariats her, but Natsu drops her with a sit-down double arm DDT. Both wrestlers tag out as Maika and Natsuko arrive, eye rake by Natsuko but Maika applies a Fujiwara Armbar, she switches it to an attempted cross armbreaker but can’t get it locked in. Natsuko gets into the ropes to get Maika off of her, Maika goes off the ropes but Natsuko catches her with an elbow. Powerslam by Maika but Natsuko nails a spear, she tags in Saki and Saki boots Maika in the head.
Irish whip by Saki and she hits a tilt-a-whirl headscissors, running boot by Saki but Maika tosses her to the mat. Cover by Himeka, but it gets a two count. Himeka tags Giulia, Giulia picks up Saki but Saki throws her into the corner as her Oedo Tai teammates come in. Backbreaker by Natsu to Giulia and she hold she holds her there so that Natsuko can hit a leg drop. Double arm suplex by Saki, but it gets a two count. Drop toehold by Giulia and she applies a STF, but Natsuko breaks it up. Natsuko clears the ring and Giulia is triple teamed, Saki goes up top and hits a diving footstomp on Giulia for a two count. Saki grabs Giulia and hits a double underhook facebuster, but Giulia kicks out. Giulia spins away from Saki and Maika tosses her to the mat, lariat by Himeka to Saki and Giulia hits a backdrop suplex for a two count. Giulia picks up Saki but Saki blocks the Glorious Driver, Natsuko comes in but she lariats Saki by accident. Maika and Himeka chokeslam Natsu and Natsuko, they go to Saki and elevate her before dropping her onto Giulia’s knee. Giulia picks up Saki and hits a Falcon Arrow, but it only gets a two count. Giulia grabs Saki and goes for the Glorious Driver, but Saki gets away and applies a crucifix pin for the three count! Oedo Tai win!
I’m really not sold on this version of Oedo Tai. As far as in-ring goes, this is probably the least talented group of wrestlers that Oedo Tai has ever had, with all being serviceable but none really elevating beyond that. They also don’t seem to have a unifying style, with all three wrestling different (the “badass,” the comedy/playful wrestler, and the sneaky underdog) which leads to them not really meshing as a unit. I almost wish Natsuko had just made her own faction with a different name, but I guess I’ll just have to separate them in my own mind from the past versions of Oedo Tai and just pretend they aren’t the same so I stop holding them to a standard they can’t reach.
Anyway, the match was fine but nothing beyond that. As I mentioned above, with so many different styles in the ring they never really got into a rhythm, with the only particularly good parts being when one team or the other was controlling the ring with triple teams and working together so they felt like real factions. Giulia was by far the best wrestler in the match and held it together, but there were lots of just stomps and poor transitions throughout as they didn’t seem equipped to go 20 minutes. I like Maika but she didn’t add much, just some tosses and random arm submissions, and she didn’t leave much of an impression. I can get why Saki picked up the fluke win as it gets in Giulia’s head but even though I’m not a fan of long undefeated streaks I think they could have at least had her drop her first fall on a bigger show. As much as I love, love, love Giulia I didn’t love this match, it was just ‘decent’ at best and a bit boring and meandering at worst. Should have been a 10 to 12 minute midcard match, not a 20 minute main event, it would have worked better that way.
This event was humming along nicely until the main event, which didn’t do much for me. The midcard was really solid though, with two really good tag team matches and a solid Syuri vs. Starlight Kid match sandwiched in the middle. Ending with Oedo Tai vs. Donna del Mondo made sense for storyline reasons, but it just went too long for the ideas they had for in-ring entertainment and was the 4th best match on the card, which isn’t ideal for the main event on a five match show. I hope they figure out the Oedo Tai riddle as otherwise everything else on the show clicked, overall a good effort for a smaller show.