Event: Stardom No People Gate
Date: March 8th, 2020
Location: Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan
Announced Attendance: No fans in attendance
We are living in unusual times in early 2020, as we are getting our first ever Stardom event not taking place in front of a crowd. Due to concerns over the coronavirus, many events in Japan are either being cancelled or taking place in an empty arena. Most of Stardom’s events for a month were cancelled, however this event still took place, possibly due to TV contracts. Also for the first time ever, this event was streamed live on Youtube, so we got to watch it in real time. This is not the strongest Korakuen Hall show but there is still some potential, with the tag title match in particular giving me hope for an excellent match. Here is the full card:
- Time Change Battle Royal with Death Yama-san, Saya Iida, AZM, Momoe Nakanishi, Ruaka, Rina, Hina, Captain STARDOM, Starlight Kid, Leyla Hirsch, Konami, Tam Nakano, Natsu Sumire, Saya Kamitani, and Super Strong Starlight Machine
- Natsuko Tora vs. Battle Royal Winner
- Giulia and Maika vs. Hana Kimura and Jungle Kyona
- Goddesses of Stardom Championship: Bea Priestley and Jamie Hayter vs. Momo Watanabe and Utami Hayashishita
- Lumberjack Match: Mayu Iwatani vs. Saki Kashima
Originally, this event was supposed to have Natsuko Tora vs. Arisa Hoshiki, but Arisa was a very late scratch due to a neck injury. So the matches were changed to have Natsuko Tora challenge the winner of the Battle Royal, that way she didn’t lose her spot on the card altogether. As this aired live on Youtube, it will be shown in full. All wrestlers on the show have profiles on Joshi City, you can click on their names above to go straight to it.
Time Change Battle Royal
Stardom has hyped up this match quite a bit, as its rare for them to have Time Change Battle Royals (like the Royal Rumble, where wrestlers come to the ring in intervals) and they have promised us some surprises. So we may see a debut or two here, or at least Stardom “borrowing” wrestlers from other promotions they are friends with such as Marvelous or Sendai Girls’. The winner doesn’t get anything particularly special, so I expect this will be a chance for them to have a “new” wrestler be put over or set up a new challenger for Arisa Hoshiki down the road.
The first two participants in the match are Death Yama-san and Saya Iida. Death does Death things until Iida gets tired of it and kicks her from behind, dropkick by Iida but Death blocks the scoop slam. Chops by Iida as the next wrestler comes down, AZM! AZM is in no rush to get in the ring but eventually does and covers Saya Iida for the three count! Saya Iida is eliminated. AZM and Death trade chops while the next wrestler comes down, Momoe Nakanishi (in a mask)! Well that’s a hell of a surprise. She does some Death things but they rip the mask off of her, as Ruaka comes down to the ring as the fourth wrestler. They all go after Nakanishi but she manages to stay in the ring, so AZM and Ruaka go at it while the next wrestler comes down, Rina! Rina puts AZM in an Octopus Hold while Ruaka has Nakanishi in an armbar, as the countdown goes and the next wrestler runs in the ring – Rina’s sister Hina! Hina goes after Death and hits a hip toss, Momo☆Latch by Nakanishi to Death and she picks up the three count! Death Yama-san is eliminated. All four wrestlers cover Ruaka next, and she is eliminated! Rina and Hina both attack AZM while Nakanishi gets some water, there seems to be some delay with the next wrestler since music has been playing for awhile. Finally a wrestler wearing a green mask and cape comes down, and its… Captain STARDOM! I think its Saya Iida again but she is attacked by everyone and they rip at her mask, but they don’t get it off as Starlight Kid enters the match.
Starlight Kid and Captain STARDOM are attacked by everyone else, they are both covered but both kick out at two. Starlight Kid is trying to protect the other masked wrestler while the next participant comes down, Leyla Hirsch! Leyla goes after Rina and then AZM, as she slams AZM on top of her. Rina is slammed on the stack as well but Nakanishi feigns an injury to avoid Leyla’s wrath. The next wrestler arrives as Konami enters the match, she goes after AZM as they make a suplex chain with six wrestlers. Konami’s side wins the battle as Tam Nakano arrives. We have a headscissors chain in the ring, with Tam hopping on the end of it while Nakanishi runs over the entire group. Nakanishi turns them over with a crab hold while the next wrestler comes down, Natsu Sumire! Natsu brings some water in the ring with her, she takes a drink before spraying some of the wrestlers with cold spray. She then uses the water to drool on all of them, leading to the headscissors chain to finally be broken. Saya Kamitani makes her entrance with a mask that will probably be on Depo Mart tomorrow for $700 dollars, meanwhile Captain STARDOM rolls up Rina for the three count! Rina is eliminated. Starlight Kid then cradles Hina, and she is eliminated as well! Leyla and Captain STARDOM trade flash pins with no luck, another cradle by Leyla and she holds down Captain STARDOM for the three count! Captain STARDOM is eliminated.
Konami and Leyla control the action while the next wrestler comes down, Mima Shimoda! She has a chair, of course. Natsu gets Konami in the corner and hits the Bronco Buster, but Shimoda hits her from behind with a chair and covers her for three! Natsu Sumire is eliminated. Meanwhile, a new masked wrestler comes down, Super Strong Starlight Machine! Who oddly resembles Saya Iida. Meanwhile, Starlight Kid goes for a moonsault on Nakanishi but misses, moonsault by Nakanishi and she gets the three count! Starlight Kid is eliminated. Tam and Konami trade kicks, Fujiwara Armbar by Konami and she hits a sliding kick, but Tam holds down the tope rope when Konami charges in to send her to the apron. Konami applies a hanging armbar but Tam kicks her as she gets back in the ring and sends her to the floor! Konami is eliminated. Shimoda ends up on the mat and is literally run over by all the other wrestlers still in the match, but Shimoda recovers and dumps Tam onto the apron. Tam pulls Shimoda out onto the apron with her and goes for a suplex, but Shimoda blocks it. Shimoda kicks Tam’s arms until she can’t hold on, and she falls to the floor! Tam Nakano is eliminated. Shimoda manages to get back in the ring but eats a suplex from Nakanishi, Pele Kick by Kamitani and she hits the running Shooting Star Press on Shimoda, but Nakanishi breaks up the pin.
Shimoda and Nakanishi hug but are dropkicked, Shimoda momentarily gets back in control until Kamitani dropkicks her. Missile dropkick by Kamitani, but Shimoda kicks out of the cover. Kamitani picks up Shimoda and hits a scoop slam, she goes up top but Shimoda recovers and pulls her back to the mat. Shimoda gets on the second turnbuckle but Kamitani dropkicks her, sending Shimoda out of the ring! Mima Shimoda is eliminated. Super Strong Starlight Machine and Kamitani go at it next, dropkick by Kamitani to Super Strong Starlight Machine and she hits the Pele Kick. Running Shooting Star Press attempt by Kamitani but Super Strong Starlight Machine rolls out of the way and hits a lariat. Devil Windmill Suplex by Super Strong Starlight Machine, and she picks up the three count! Saya Kamitani is eliminated. Nakanishi and AZM both attack Super Strong Starlight Machine but AZM attacks Nakanishi. Nakanishi pulls AZM onto the apron with her, but Super Strong Starlight Machine runs over and dropkicks them both to the floor! Super Strong Starlight Machine is the last wrestler remaining and wins the Battle Royal!
I think I missed Leyla Hirsch’s elimination but there was a lot going on. While I went in with low expectations since Battle Royals aren’t overly serious affairs in Japan, I loved the surprise of Momoe Nakanishi. Nakanishi retired back in 2005 and has only done a few exhibition matches since then, so she was definitely unexpected. Of course she hasn’t lost a step and out-worked most of the other wrestlers in the ring, which isn’t too big of a surprise as she was pretty great back in her day. Logically it doesn’t make sense that Iida can enter the match multiple times but it goes in with the general wackiness of Battle Royals so no complaints. A few fun surprises and the action moved pretty quick, so overall a pretty satisfying Battle Royal.
Natsuko Tora vs. Super Strong Starlight Machine
After the match, Super Strong Starlight Machine talks on the mic and Natsuko Tora comes down to the ring so they can have their hastily thrown together match. The action quickly goes to the floor as Natsuko throws Super Strong Starlight Machine into the empty chairs at ringside. Natsuko returns to the ring with Super Strong Starlight Machine slowly following, as she stays on offense. Lariat by Natsuko in the corner and she hits a cannonball, scoop slam by Natsuko and she hits a body press off the second rope for a two count. Super Strong Starlight Machine chops Natsuko but Natsuko chops her back as they trade strikes, Super Strong Starlight Machine wins the chop battle and she covers Natsuko for two. Super Strong Starlight Machine goes up top and delivers a missile dropkick, but her cover again gets two. Iida Bridge by Super Strong Starlight Machine, but that gets a two count as well. Natsuko blocks the suplex attempt and hits an elbow, sliding lariat by Natsuko and she covers Super Strong Starlight Machine for two. Swinging Side Slam by Natsuko, she picks up Super Strong Starlight Machine and hits an Argentine Backbreaker into a sidewalk slam for the three count! Natsuko Tora wins!
This match was decided on pretty late, and it showed since they didn’t do a whole lot. Most memorable thing for me is how Natsuko Tora’s new finisher looks rough, they need to figure out how to make that smoother or its just going to be a flat way to end her matches. A decent enough match and I’ll give them credit for trying to make changes to include a fifth match on the card, but pretty skippable aside from Iida getting a bit of the rub in this whole sequence.
Giulia and Maika vs. Hana Kimura and Jungle Kyona
With Donna del Mondo being a new faction, its important for them to get some airtime, and they get a chance to show off here against Tokyo Cyber Squad. Giulia and Hana have been feuding since Giulia joined the promotion in December, so it makes sense that they would have their own match on the show and not just be squeezed into the Battle Royal. So far I am a big fan of what they are doing with Donna del Mondo, so hopefully that trend continues here.
Maika and Kyona start the match, Kyona tries to shoulderblock Maika over but Maika doesn’t budge. Maika returns the favor as they both go for shoulderblocks, but Kyona eventually sending Maika to the mat. Giulia grabs Kyona from the apron but Hana grabs Maika from the opposite apron, as they have a stalemate. They both eventually get free, Giulia gets in the ring to help and Kyona is double teamed. Hammerlock by Maika to Kyona and she drives her into the corner, Maika tags Giulia who puts Kyona in an armlock. Double armbar by Giulia but Hana comes in to break it up, Maika comes in but Hana tosses her out of the ring. Giulia sends Hana out of the ring as well before going back to Kyona, she throws Kyona in the corner and tags Maika. Maika twists Kyona’s arm in the ropes and kicks it, Giulia comes back in and they take turns booting Kyona. Giulia holds Kyona while Maika pulls out her extensions, which pisses off Kyona and she bodyslams Maika. She makes the tag to Hana, Hana gets rid of Giulia before booting Maika in the head. She boots her a second time, cover by Hana but it gets two. Hana picks up Maika but Maika blocks the suplex attempt, Giulia attacks Hana from behind but Hana dropkicks both of them.
Hana picks up Maika and applies a Cobra Twist, Giulia tries to break it up but Hana puts her in a dragon sleeper at the same time. She lets go after a moment and picks up Maika, but Maika flips her to the mat and makes the tag to Giulia. Neckbreaker by Giulia, and she covers Hana for two. Giulia picks up Hana but Hana pushes her away and the two trade elbows. Hana goes off the ropes but Giulia boots her, Hana boots her back however but Giulia sends Hana to the mat with one final boot. Both get back up as Giulia goes for the Spider Web, finally getting it locked in. Hana muscles out of the hold and slams Giulia to the mat, she picks up Giulia but Giulia boots her in the face and both wrestlers are down on the mat. Both tag out as Kyona and Maika come back in, Maika puts Kyona in an armbar but Kyona gets into the ropes for the break. STO by Maika, and she covers Kyona for two. Maika applies the cross armbreaker but Kyona gets out of it, Giulia comes in and they hit a double STO. Giulia goes off the ropes and assists Maika in hitting a cross armbreaker takedown, Maika gets the hold locked in but Kyona is too close to the ropes and makes it to get the break. Hana runs in and boots Maika, double dropkick to Maika and Kyona hits a sliding lariat for two. Giulia throws Hana out of the ring and stomps on Kyona, but Kyona throws them into each other and Hana comes off the top with a double missile dropkick. Kyona lariats Maika in the corner and puts her on the top turnbuckle, she goes for the Kinniku Buster and drops her in the middle of the ring. Cover by Kyona, and she gets the three count! Tokyo Cyber Squad win!
This was a step down from the last Donna del Mondo match I watched but still solid. Maika isn’t quite ready for this type of spot, and while I appreciate them trying she really needs more experience. When she was in the ring the match tended to be far less crisp, she has the mat game but just isn’t smooth with it. The match needed more Hana and Giulia going at it, but what we got from them was really good and elevated the match. It was still a decent match overall since the other three really enhanced it, but Maika still being a bit light with her strikes and clunky brought it down from the level I was hoping it may reach. Mildly Recommended
(c) Bea Priestley and Jamie Hayter vs. Momo Watanabe and Utami Hayashishita
Goddesses of Stardom Championship
On paper, this match has the most potential to be the best match on the card. Its been a great year for Bea and Jamie so far, as they won the Goddesses of Stardom Championship from Jungle Kyona and Konami on January 19th. This is their first defense of the title, as they go against former champions Momo and Utami. Momo and Utami held the belts for over 200 days from 2018 to 2019, so they are anxious to win their titles back. I doubt they will have Oedo Tai drop the tag titles already, but Momo and Utami are tough challengers so I don’t think they will just roll over and take an easy L.
Queen’s Quest try to attack before the match but Jamie and Bea both bail out of the ring, Utami and Momo go after them but are immediately jumped for their trouble. Bea and Jamie both take a victory lap around the ring before hitting a high five, they go back to stomping on Momo and Utami before Momo is finally slid back in. Bea joins Momo and twists her arm in the ropes, she props up Momo’s arm on the mat before stomping on her elbow. Cover by Bea, but it gets two. Bea throws Momo into the corner so Jamie can help her with Momo, she tags in Jamie and Jamie elbows Momo in the corner. Scoop slam by Jamie and she slams Momo into the turnbuckles, strikes by Jamie but Momo hits a missile dropkick and makes the hot tag to Utami. Utami shoulderblocks Jamie and throws her into the corner, Bea runs in but Utami slams Bea into the same corner before hitting a running elbow. Utami gets on the second turnbuckle and hits a missile dropkick, cover by Utami but it gets two. Utami charges Jamie but Jamie catches her and suplexes her into the turnbuckle, running elbow and she hits a lariat. Short-range lariat by Jamie, and she covers Utami for a two count. Knees by Jamie and she hits an elbow combination, side slam onto her knee by Jamie and she hits a vertical suplex for two. Bea is tagged in, Irish whip by Bea but it is reversed. Bea kicks Utami when she charges in but Utami ducks her boot, elbows by Bea and she goes off the ropes but Utami catches her with a lariat.
Utami tags Momo, dropkick by Momo in the corner but Jamie grabs her from the apron. Bea runs over but dropkicks Jamie by accident, kicks by Momo to Bea and she hits a low dropkick in the corner. Side slam by Momo, and she covers Bea for two. Momo goes off the ropes but Bea catches her with a jumping knee, cover by Bea but it gets two. Bea goes off the ropes and knees Momo in the head, Momo ends up on the apron but Bea springs up to the top turnbuckle to jump after her. Momo moves and grabs Bea, hitting the B Driver on the apron. Utami holds Bea while Momo goes up top and hits a Somato to her back, regular Somato by Momo and she covers Bea for two. Momo hits a second B Driver, but Jamie breaks up the cover. Utami tries to get rid of Jamie but Jamie throws her out instead, leading to Momo being double teamed. Jamie and Bea wait for Momo to get up but Momo avoids their charge, she hits a Tequila Sunrise on Bea while Utami hits a German suplex on Jamie. Momo goes up top a nails the diving Somato, but it only gets two. Peace Sunrise by Momo to Bea, but Jamie barely breaks up the cover. Utami collects Jamie and they exit the ring, Momo picks up Bea but Bea snaps off a Regal Plex. Bea grabs Momo by the arms and knees her in the head, cover by Bea but Momo kicks out. Jamie gets rid of Utami and stays in the ring, they wait for Momo to get up and deliver a double strike. Bea knees Momo in the back of the head, she sets her up in the corner and nails the Queen’s Landing, and she gets the three count! Bea Priestley and Jamie Hayter retain the championship.
This was good, it took a few minutes to get going but the last few minutes were really exciting. This is the first Joshi event that took place in Japan that I’ve ever watched unspoiled, so its extra fun not knowing who is going to win as the match unfolds. I love all four of these wrestlers, both teams work together well and while Bea is obnoxious I find her obnoxious in an good way. Everything was smooth as there wasn’t a “weak link” in the match, and Momo takes a beating pretty well. No major complaints about the match, it didn’t reach the high peak but stayed interesting up to the hot ending. Not a MOTYC, but a fun co-main with four of my personal favorites in Stardom. Recommended
Mayu Iwatani vs. Saki Kashima
There haven’t been many Lumberjack matches in Stardom history, but for this “grudge” match it was only fitting. Saki and Mayu used to be best friends as part of the STARS faction, but Saki turned on Mayu in January as she joined Oedo Tai. Naturally this hurt Mayu’s feelings, leading to this match. The Lumberjacks will include members of STARS and Oedo Tai, so I expect this to be a pretty crazy chaotic match. This is a non-title match, which makes the ending far more difficult to predict as there will be a lot going on. I wouldn’t be surprised if Saki wins just to further the feud and set up a title match down the line.
Mayu attacks Saki before the match starts but Saki quickly gets in control and throws Mayu into the turnbuckles. Mayu kicks Saki and tosses her out of the ring, but she runs away from the STARS lumberjacks and slides back in. Saki throws Mayu out and she is beaten by Oedo Tai, Natsu Sumire wraps up Mayu in the ring apron while Natsuko hits her with an umbrella. Natsu slides Mayu back in and Saki starts working over Mayu’s leg. Saki sets up Mayu in the ropes while Natsu takes off one of the turnbuckle pads, Saki throws Mayu into the exposed corner before choking her in it. Saki trips Mayu and applies an ankle submission hold, but Mayu gets to the ropes for the break. Saki sets up Mayu’s leg in the ropes and dropkicks it, sending Mayu crashing out of the ring. Natsu beats her with the turnbuckle pad until STARS comes over to try to help, but Oedo Tai wins the melee and go back to attacking Mayu. STARS returns as they brawl again, with STARS getting the better of it this time. Saki comes out to and hits Mayu with the turnbuckle pad herself, she slides Mayu back into the ring and continues stomping on her. Saki throws Mayu into the corner but Mayu avoids her charge and delivers a dropkick.
Mayu goes off the ropes and hits a dropkick, sending Saki out of the ring. Mayu goes up to the top turnbuckle and dives out onto Oedo Tai with a plancha suicida, but they catch her and carry Mayu up into the (empty) stands. STARS run after them and rescue Mayu, Mayu goes to the top of the balcony and dives off of it onto the crowd. Saki hits her from behind with a chair while she is celebrating, Saki takes Mayu even higher into the stands and kicks her down the stairs. They finally get back into the ring, Saki goes for a diving footstomp but Mayu rolls out of the way and drop toeholds her into the exposed turnbuckle. Mayu gets Saki up in the Running Three position and tosses her out of the ring and down onto the lumberjacks. They roll Saki back in, dropkick by Mayu and she kicks Saki in the back. Slap by Mayu but Saki slaps her back, kicks by Saki and she slams Mayu into the mat. More slaps by Saki and she boots Mayu, cover by Saki but it gets two. Saki picks up Mayu but Mayu gets away and hits a release dragon suplex.
Saki charges Mayu but Mayu moves, she goes for a superkick but hits the referee by accident. The rest of Oedo Tai all run in the ring and attack Mayu in the corner, but STARS come in and do the same to Saki. Mayu goes up top and hits a missile dropkick, cover by Mayu but there is still no referee. Mayu goes up top again and hits a diving body press, she calls for the moonsault and nails it as the referee returns. Cover by Mayu, but Saki barely gets a shoulder up. Mayu goes for the Two Stage Dragon Suplex but Saki blocks it and cradles her for two. Head kick by Mayu, she picks up Saki and hits the dragon suplex hold, but the referee is pulled out of the ring before he can finish the count. Mayu goes off the ropes but Natsu hits her with a chair, Bea boots Mayu but STARS come in to even the odds as they clear the ring. Superkick by Mayu to Saki and she hits two more, Buzzsaw Kick by Mayu and she hits a tombstone piledriver. Mayu goes up top (referee is back) and hits a second moonsault, cover by Mayu and she gets the three count! Mayu Iwatani wins the match.
There was so much going on in this match. First, the good – Mayu Iwatani is amazing. She held this match together, while people around her were having issues she was laying in hard kicks and diving off things and tumbling down things to make the match memorable and fun. As for the bad, there were a lot of little missed spots like Natsu with the chair and the lumberjack setup at times was overly chaotic. Its a fine line, some chaos is good but a few times it felt like it was just dragging things out. The referee bump wasn’t really necessary since the rules were pretty loose anyway, but at least he recovered both times pretty quickly. All in all, a fun match that had a lot of small flaws but ultimately was enjoyable due to the strong effort by Mayu. Recommended
Stardom was dealt a pretty bad hand leading into this show, but I think they did the best they could. Having a show with no fans is quite an experience, I don’t think it hurt the matches any but a hot crowd never hurts the overall product. Having a title match being scratched at the last minute was unfortunate, and it wasn’t a great card to begin with so they couldn’t really afford to lose that match. Still, the Battle Royal had some fun surprises and none of the matches were average or worse, which is a big plus. The main thing missing was that ‘must see’ match as it certainly didn’t have that, none were particularly close. But a handful of entertaining matches is hard to complain about, its not the type of show I’d say someone needs to drop what they are doing to watch but for a casual Sunday viewing I think it would hit the spot. Hopefully Stardom will be able to ramp back up soon and put on a better show at Korakuen, but under the circumstances it could have been a lot worse.