Event: Stardom October Showdown!
Date: October 30th, 2016
Location: Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan
Announced Attendance: 965
I am trying not to review every Stardom show since they have so many and there are other quality promotions in Japan, but this was too big of a show to skip over. Tonight we have the FIVE STAR GP winner, Yoko Bito, cashing in her title shot as she battles Io Shirai for the World of Stardom Championship. We have two other title matches as well, plus we get the debut of young Natsuko Tora! Here is the full card:
- Arisu Nanase and Natsuko Tora vs. Azumi and Kaori Yoneyama
- Mayu Iwatani vs. Saori Anou
- Kasey Owens, Leah Owens, and Santana Garrett vs. Thunder Rosa, Holidead, and Kris Wolf
- Artist of Stardom Championship: Kyoko Kimura, Kagetsu, and Hana Kimura vs. Momo Watanabe, Jungle Kyouna, and Hiromi Mimura
- Wonder of Stardom Championship: Kairi Hojo vs. Chelsea Green
- World of Stardom Championship: Io Shirai vs. Yoko Bito
I am stupidly watching the Stardom World version because I am stubborn about watching full events if they are available, even though the early matches could really use some clipping. But hopefully they will pleasantly surprise me as I march towards the title matches.
Arisu Nanase and Natsuko Tora vs. Azumi and Kaori Yoneyama
A new Stardom baby! This is Natsuko’s debut match, she is 25 years old and goes straight into a feud with Azumi, who is of course a child. Arisu is underage too, so Kaori is the only one in the match that is both an adult and not a rookie. Which is a normal spot for her as she likes to help train new wrestlers.
Natsuko and Azumi are the first two in for their teams, but Yoneyama attacks Natsuko from behind and helps Azumi double team her. Welcome to wrestling. Yoneyama stays in and tosses around Natsuko by her hair, but Arisu comes in to try to help. She fails in helping as Yoneyama successfully swats them both away, and Yoneyama tags in Azumi. Dropkick by Azumi but Natsuko scoop slams her and hits mounted elbows. Azumi returns the favor and the two go back and forth, crab hold by Natsuko but Azumi gets to the ropes. Natsuko picks up Azumi and they trade elbows, DDT by Azumi and she throws down Natsuko by the hair. Natsuko tags in Arisu and she trades elbows with Azumi, Azumi avoids Arisu’s dropkick and hits a dropkick of her own for a two count. Yoneyama is tagged in, Mongolian Chops by Yoneyama but Arisu rolls her up and hits a dropkick. Cross legged submission by Arisu, Natsuko comes in and hits a running senton but Yoneyama still makes it to the ropes. Arisu tags Natsuko, shoulderblock by Natsuko but Yoneyama blocks the scoop slam. Side Russian leg sweep by Natsuko, but Yoneyama kicks out of the cover. Blockbuster Suplex by Arisu, running senton by Natsuko but Azumi breaks up the cover. Natsuko goes off the ropes but Yoneyama kicks her leg out from under her, scoop slam by Yoneyama and she hits a senton. Azumi comes in and suplexes Natsuko, diving senton by Yoneyama and she picks up the three count! Azumi and Kaori Yoneyama are your winners.
A fine opener, although nothing special. Azumi still seems surprisingly lost sometimes, yes I realize she is a still a child but she has been wrestling opening matches for two years so I’d think she’d have the basic style down pat at this point. Too soon of course to get a feel of Natsuko but she seemed fine, didn’t make any mistakes and didn’t look out of place during the match. Decent, but nothing memorable.
Mayu Iwatani vs. Saori Anou
For such a major event, this is a very low and not important match for Mayu. Mayu has a singles title but instead of defending it, she is against the young Actress girl’Z wrestler Saori Anou. Saori has shown a lot of early promise, but she is nowhere near Mayu’s level. So I am a bit disappointed to not see one of Stardom’s better wrestlers in a bigger match, however this should still be entertaining for a shorter midcard match.
They begin with a quick exchange, with Mayu getting the better of it with a hard kick to the back followed by a running elbow smash. Mayu throws Saori into the corner and dropkicks her, cover by Mayu but it gets two. Footstomp to the back Mayu and she applies a camel clutch, she toys with the younger wrestler as she continues her slightly cocky offense. Saori knees Mayu into the corner, jumping knee by Saori and she hits hard shoulderblock for a quick two count. Saori picks up Mayu but Mayu elbows her off and they trade blows, backslide by Saori but Mayu kicks two. Figure Four by Saori, but Mayu gets a hand on the ropes to break the hold. Saori picks up Mayu and goes off the ropes, but Mayu catches her with a kick to the gut, elbows by Saori but Mayu returns fire. Both wrestlers go off the ropes, Mayu goes for a headscissors but Saori catches her and hits a sidewalk slam. Fisherman suplex hold by Saori, but Mayu gets a shoulder up. Saori sits Mayu on the top turnbuckle but Mayu slaps her away and hits a missile dropkick. Mayu goes up top again and delivers the diving footstomp, she grabs Saori from behind but Saori fights her off and rolls up Mayu for two. Buzzsaw Kick by Mayu, she picks up Saori around the waist and delivers the German Suplex Hold for the three count! Mayu Iwatani wins.
It is interesting that Stardom wrestlers just default to being cocky assholes when against young wrestlers, Mayu must have learned that from Io. Too short to get excited about, but I did like that Mayu sold the leg the rest of the match after being in the Figure Four for so long, even though it was a throw-away match she still took it seriously. Saori showed her usual spurts of ability but Mayu controlled this one, decent match but that’s about it.
Kasey Owens, Leah Owens, and Santana Garrett vs. Thunder Rosa, Holidead, and Kris Wolf
Even though this is not the Owens’ first match in Stardom, it is my first time ever seeing them wrestle in a normal non-mask filled match so it will be a new experience for me. The Owens Twins are Irish wrestlers that mostly wrestle around Europe, this is their first Japanese tour since 2013 in Ice Ribbon. Santana we have seen before of course, she is a former Champion in Stardom and returns for the Tag Tournament that is taking place around this event. Thunder Rosa and Holidead return to Stardom for the same reason, they are in the Tag Tournament while also representing Oedo Tai, and Wolf rounds things out since a sixth wrestler was needed and she is friends with Rosa and Holidead. This match was an easy way to get gaijins already on the tour some exposure on the event, even though there is really no backstory aside from all of them being in the Tag Tournament.
Oh goodie, a match with twins I am not familar with, this will be fun. Thank goodness for tattoos. Kasey and Rosa start, they trade armdrags back and forth with neither getting the advantage. Holidead and Santana tag in, Holidead shoves Santana to the mat and gets her on her shoulder, but Santana punches out of it and goes for a roll-up. Holidead doesn’t budge and chokes Santana, Holidead charges Santana but Santana flips away and both wrestlers tag in the last pairing. Leah throws Wolf in the corner and hits a neckbreaker, she sits Wolf on the second turnbuckle but Wolf switches positions with her and hits a series of kicks to the chest. Running knee by Wolf, she rolls Leah to the mat and kicks her in the back for a two count. Holidead and Rosa come in to help as they triple team Leah, ending Holidead being flapjacked onto Leah for a two count. Oedo Tai continues triple teaming Leah until Kasey finally comes in to help out her sister, Wolf tags in Rosa and Rosa kicks Wolf in the back for a two count. Rocking Horse by Rosa and she tags in Holidead, sleeper by Holidead by Leah hits a jawbreaker to get out of it. Holidead stays in control, she Irish whips Leah but Leah slams Holidead into her knee and hits a side slam for two. Leah finally gets away and tags in Santana, Wolf is tagged in too and Wolf hits a springboard crossbody for two. A sunset flip gets the same result, Santana pushes Wolf away and she hits a Side Russian Leg Sweep. Rosa comes in but Santana puts them both in a submission hold, with help from the Owens Twins. Holidead comes in and breaks that up, running knee by Kasey to Wolf and Santana goes for the Shining Star Press, but Holidead breaks it up. Rosa and Holidead come in the ring, tope suicida by Holidead onto the Owens Twins with Rosa following with a diving crossbody off the top turnbuckle to the floor. Wolf goes up top but Santana kicks her before she can jump off, headscissors by Santana and she hits the Shining Star Press for the three count!The Owns Twins and Santana Garrett win the match.
Not a very exciting match but not bad either. I say this all the time but I never know when someone is reading one of my reviews for the first time – six wrestler tags that go in the ten minute range are rarely going to be any more than solid. It just isn’t enough time, by the time each wrestler gets a turn at the start and they do the finishing stretch there is little left to have any meat to the action. Leah played Face in Peril fine and no one looked lost or out of place, just not enough happened to leave a lasting impression.
(c) Kyoko Kimura, Kagetsu, and Hana Kimura vs. Watanabe, Kyouna, and Hiromi Mimura
Artist of Stardom Championship
Our first of three title matches of the evening. These are two teams we are very familar with, and not the first time they have faced off in some capacity. Oedo Tai is the main heel group of Stardom but are fun loving heels so its hard not to root for them. They won the titles on October 2nd from the Three Daughters, and this is their first title defense. On the other side are three rookies (Momo isn’t really a rookie but due to being only 16 is still called one), making this on paper an easy first defense as Kagetsu and Kyoko combine for 21 years experience.
Hana is immediately isolated by The Rookies, but Hana dropkicks both Kyouna and Momo to leave just her and Momo in the ring together. Hana elbows Momo but Momo elbows her back, Hana takes her off scarf however and she chokes Momo with it. Hiromi tags herself in but Kyoko runs in and pulls Kyouna to the floor. Kyoko attacks Kyouna near the stands as things break down on different sides of the ring, Oedo Tai pulls Hiromi near the apron and all the members of the team pose on her, even those not in the match. Hana and Hiromi return to the ring, jumping knee by Hana in the corner and she tags in Kagetsu. Kagetsu mostly toys with Hiromi before tagging in Kyoko, as Oedo Tai controls the action against the oldest rookie in Stardom. Hiromi finally escapes and tags in Kyouna, Kyouna clears the ring of all the Oedo Tai members and Momo comes in to lend a hand against Kyoko. Face crusher by Kyouna onto Momo’s knee, but Kyoko regains the advantage and puts all three rookies in a stretch hold before tagging in Kagetsu. Kagetsu kicks Kyouna in the chest but Kyouna fires back with a shoulderblock, giving her a chance to tag in Momo. Momo goes off the ropes and armdrags Kagetsu, drop toehold by Kagetsu and she dropkicks Momo in the head.
Momo fights back with kicks, she goes off the ropes but Kagetsu kicks her in the head. Kagetsu picks up Momo but Momo drives her down with a double knee, Momo crawls to her corner and tags in Hiromi while Kagetsu tags in Hana. Hiromi dropkicks Hana and hits an elevated DDT, dropkick to the head by Hiromi and she covers Hana for a two count. Hiromi stomps at Hana’s head but Hana connects with a hard elbow, he knocks Hiromi against the ropes and decks her with a hard running boot for a two count. Kagetsu gets her Parking Sign but Momo dropkicks it away from her, Kyouna knocks over Kagetsu then hits a PK/sliding lariat combination with Momo on Hana. Somato by Momo, jackknife cover by Hiromi to Hana but Kyoko breaks up the cover. Hiromi gets on the second turnbuckle but Kagetsu comes in and catches Hiromi when she goes for the diving crossbody. Kagetsu slams Hiromi on the Parking Sign and then hits Momo and Kyouna with it, she gives Hiromi a shot as well before Hana drops Hiromi with a suplex for a two count. Hana goes for a big boot but Hiromi ducks it, Hiromi elbows Hana in the chest but Hana elbows her back and covers Hiromi for two. Hana goes up top and nails a missile dropkick, cover by Hana and she gets the three count! Oedo Tai retain the championship.
I am not sure what it is with this event, but things just aren’t clicking for me. It may be over-saturation, not that this is Stardom’s fault but after you watch 30+ events in one year from a promotion with only about ten wrestlers on their roster, you start feeling like you’ve seen everything they can do. Hana was the standout for me here, again likely because she is the ‘new’ factor in the match, but Kyoko added very little which was a disappointment. Momo still seems a bit lost at time, she’s only 16 so its not a big deal but it does impact the match. Kyouna was the top rookie here as she seemed to always know what was going on, even though like Kyoko she didn’t do much in the match. It just felt more like a random six wrestler tag than a title match. A few good moments but in general a bit disappointing.
(c) Kairi Hojo vs. Chelsea Green
Wonder of Stardom Championship
Oh boy. I am generally pretty good at avoiding reviews and such of events before I watch them, but even I heard about this match. Kairi Hojo won the Wonder of Stardom Championship from Santana Garrett on May 15th and this is her third defense of the belt, last defeating the other Chelsea on August 5th. This is Chelsea Green’s first tour in Stardom since last February, she is also in the Tag League with Santana Garrett. Not a lot of build-up was done for this match, so its more of a random gaijin going for a Stardom belt than anything else.
Kairi and Chelsea both go off the ropes early in the match, Kairi goes for her spear but Chelsea sidesteps it. They trade wristlocks and headlocks, Kairi flips out to the apron but Chelsea boots her down to the floor. Chelsea gets on the apron and goes for a kick, but Kairi avoids it and trips Chelsea onto the apron. Chelsea rolls back into the ring while Kairi goes up top, but Chelsea kicks her as she jumps off. Kairi falls out to the floor, Chelsea goes off the ropes and sails out onto Kairi with a tope suicida. Chelsea battles Kairi up into the stands, smashing her arm into various things before kicking her back near the ringside area. Chelsea returns to the ring and waits for Kairi, uppercut by Chelsea and Kairi falls back out of the ring again. Kairi rolls back in and is greeted with boots, as Chelsea continues to go after Kairi’s arm. Kairi fights back with elbows, she knocks Chelsea into the corner but Chelsea grabs her arm and kicks it. Snapmare by Chelsea and she hits a flipping neckbreaker followed by a Somato for a two count cover.
Running knee by Chelsea in the corner but Kairi goes off the ropes and levels Chelsea with a spear. Chops by Kairi and she knocks Chelsea back into the corner, running shoulder tackle by Kairi and she hits a triple jump elbow smash out of the corner for a two. Kairi grabs Chelsea by the hair and puts her in an Octopus Hold, but Chelsea gets out of it. Elbow by Chelsea but Kairi elbows her in return, Kairi goes for the Sliding D but Chelsea blocks it by getting her leg up. Armbar by Chelsea and she reverts it into a cross armbreaker, but Kairi gets a foot on the ropes to force a break. Jumping lariats by Chelsea and she boots Kairi in the chest, she goes up top and she hits a missile dropkick for two. Chelsea slaps Kairi before slamming her head into the mat, running stomp to the back by Chelsea and she hits a second one for a two count cover. Chelsea goes up top but Kairi avoids the footstomp, spinning slaps by Kairi and she delivers the Sliding D for two. Kairi picks up Chelsea and hits a Final Cut, she goes up top but Chelsea kicks her before she can jump off. Chelsea joins Kairi but Kairi elbows her down into the Tree of Woe and hits the diving footstomp. Kairi goes back up top and this time she nails the diving elbow drop, picking up the three count! Kairi Hojo wins the match and retains the championship.
This match wasn’t actually as bad I was expecting, but it still wasn’t particularly good. The issue was two fold, both in the layout and and in the execution. Wrestlers keep going for Kairi’s arm in her matches but it never ends up mattering, she always still hits the Sliding D and diving elbow drop so they really need to come up with a new method of wearing her down. Chelsea isn’t a bad wrestler, her strikes just aren’t great and she is a bit awkward in the ring, which isn’t unusual with taller wrestlers when they first start out (she isn’t that tall, but much taller than Kairi). I think Kairi is a really good wrestler but needs the right opponent and they haven’t been doing her a lot of favors lately, hopefully her next defense is someone that wrestles more her style so it will be more fluid and less fragmented in its execution. As a lower card match this would have been acceptable, it just fell flat as a title match at Korakuen Hall.
(c) Io Shirai vs. Yoko Bito
World of Stardom Championship
As is sometimes the case in Stardom, it is up to Big Match Io to save the day! Up to this point this has probably been the worst non-house show of Stardom I’ve watched in a few years, so they really need to deliver here. Bito made her return to Stardom after four years away last June, and she won the FIVE STAR GP to earn a shot at the World of Stardom Championship. Io won the belt from Meiko Satomura on December 23rd, 2015 and this is her 7th defense of the title this year, making her a very active champion. Will Bito finally show why she was the Ace Candidate four years ago by winning Stardom’s biggest championship, or will Io continue her dominance in the promotion?
Io and Bito get right into it as they start trading elbows, Io charges Bito in the corner but Bito gets Io behind her back to go to the B-Driver, but Io reverses it with a sunset flip. Bito swats Io away and goes for a kick, but Io catches her leg and dropkicks her in the other leg. Io clips away from Bito and dropkicks her out of the ring, Io goes off the far ropes but fakes the dive before quickly jumping out with a plancha suicida. Io slides Bito back in and puts her in the Figure Four, Io picks up Bito and kicks her hard in the back. Stomps by Io and she slaps at Bito, she goes off the ropes but Bito delivers a lariat. Cover by Bito, but it gets two. Bito picks up Io and dumps her out onto the apron, leg sweep by Bito and she kicks Io out of the ring. Io tries to springboard back in the ring but Bito grabs her and hits a slingshot suplex. Kicks to the back by Bito, and she covers Io for a two count. Bito goes up top but Io joins her, springboard dropkick by Io and Bito falls out of the ring. Io charges the corner, she jumps up on the top turnbuckle and she hits a moonsault down to the floor.
Io goes out after Bito but Bito delivers a B-Driver at ringside on the floor, Bito slowly rolls back into the ring with Io following, missile dropkick by Bito and she hits a vertical suplex for two. Bito picks up Io but Io blocks the B-Driver and hits a dragon screw leg whip. Running knee by Io in the corner, Io twists Bito’s leg in the second rope before dropkicking it. Tiger Feint Kick by Io and she hits the swandive missile dropkick, cover by Io but it gets two. Io hits a moonsault off the second turnbuckle, she goes to the turnbuckles again but Bito kicks her from behind. Io gets up on the apron, Bito goes for a kick but Io grabs her leg and hits a dragon screw in the ropes. Moonsault off the second turnbuckle by Io, but Bito kicks out. Io puts Bito in a cross-legged submission, but Bito gets to the ropes to force the break. Io goes up top but Bito recovers and hits her from behind, Bito joins Io and she hits a superplex. Bito picks up Io but Io fights back with elbows, Io goes off the ropes but Bito kicks her in the head and hits a German suplex hold for a two count. Bito picks up Io and hits a heel drop, B-Driver by Bito but instead of covering her she hits a second one for a two count. Bito goes for the Doll B but Io collapses, the referee checks on Io but Bito hits a heel drop on Bito for two. Bito picks up Io but Io hits a series of palm strikes, German suplex hold by Io but Bito gets a shoulder up. Package German by Io, but again Bito kicks out at two. Io positions Bito, she goes up top and nails the moonsault for the three count! Io Shirai wins the match and is still the World of Stardom Championship.
By far the best match on the show, although that isn’t a high bar. But it was well laid out and the action stayed a decent pace throughout, and Bito had several nearfalls that could have realistically ended the match. The leg work probably lasted a bit longer than it needed to since it didn’t play into the end of the match, but Io needed something to focus on even if Bito didn’t do much on her own to make it meaningful. Io was slightly more cocky than usual here but not by much as she tends to be a bit full of herself in her title matches, nothing that really tipped off the fans that just a week after this show she would officially turn heel. Definitely a fun match with the big moves spaced out well to help make the action more memorable without it just becoming a spotfest, worth a watch for sure even though its not one of Io’s top matches of 2016. Recommended
Oof what a show. This show was such a drag it took me five days to review it as I found any excuse in my life not to watch it, which is never a good sign, it was just a chore to get to the main event. This is definitely one of those shows that you can just watch the main event and skip everything else and not feel bad about it, as only the main event was memorable. There were some flashes of goodness other places on the card, such as seeing cocky Mayu and young Hana, but overall up to the main event the action either felt flat or just unimportant. The main event was very good, not fantastic but Io is in her own class and it was Bito’s best match since returning. A lot of changes are coming to Stardom and they couldn’t come at a better time, as the promotion really needs a re-shuffling of sorts top to bottom to get back on track.