Event: Stardom “10TH ANNIVERSARY YEAR DREAM FESTIVAL ~ PROLOGUE ~ OSAKA DREAM CINDERELLA”
Date: December 20th, 2020
Location: EDION Arena Osaka in Osaka, Japan
Announced Attendance: 1,027
Before closing the door on 2020 for good (which I am very happy to do), I first wanted to review one of Stardom’s last big events of the year. There is a lot going on here, with FIVE championship matches as they go out with a bang. A total of six titles are on the line, as Syuri and Giulia have a double title match for their SWA Undisputed World Women’s Championship and the Wonder of Stardom Championship, respectively. Here is the full card:
In the interest of saving time, I will be watching the Samurai TV! version of the show so some matches will be clipped. All wrestlers on the show have profiles on Joshi City, you can click on their name above to go straight to it.
(c) Maika vs. Saya Iida vs. Saya Kamitani
Future of Stardom Championship
We begin with a title match! Maika won the Future of Stardom Championship in July in a three way match and this is her third defense of the belt. Which doesn’t sound like a lot but isn’t bad for a title that is sometimes forgotten by Stardom. She is against one of the brightest young wrestlers on the scene, Saya Kamitani, and Saya Iida. Iida has the experience advantage and the belt would do her some good, and in a three way match it is anyone’s guess who will win.
They immediately get into it as Maika is attacked by both opponents, she fights them both off and shoulderblocks Iida out of the ring. She goes to Kamitani but Kamitani elbows her and the two trade shots, they go at it for over a minute before Kamitani gets Maika into the corner and stomps her down. Maika fires out of the corner with a hard shoulderblock, she goes off the ropes but Kamitani flips away from her and delivers a dropkick. Iida returns and dropkicks Kamitani, chops by Iida to both opponents and she knocks Maika to the mat. Kamitani grabs Iida but Iida chops her to the mat as well, Iida picks up Maika and they trade shoulderblock attempts. Iida knocks over Maika first but Maika returns to her feet and returns the favor. Maika goes for a suplex but Iida lands on her feet, she applies the Iida Bridge but Kamitani breaks it up. Kamitani knees Iida in the corner and hits a dropkick, over by Kamitani but it gets a two count. Kamitani goes up top and delivers a diving crossbody, but Maika breaks it up.
Irish whip by Maika to Kamitani but Kamitani hits a heel kick, Kamitani picks up Iida and hits a scoop slam. Kamitani goes to the top turnbuckle but Maika elbows her before she can jump off, Maika joins Kamitani and hits a superplex down to the mat. Maika picks up Kamitani and hits a cross-arm STO, but Iida barely breaks up the pin. Iida goes off the ropes and hits a double chop, Iida goes up top but Maika elbows her and goes up as well. Iida blocks the superplex attempt and hits a headbutt, she floats over Maika and nails a powerbomb. Iida grabs Kamitani but Kamitani blocks a suplex and boots Iida in the head. Kamitani picks up Iida but Iida spins away and delivers a Northern Light Suplex, Iida goes up top but she is interrupted by Kamitani. Iida grabs Kamitani anyway and spikes her with a front flip DDT, but Kamitani barely gets a shoulder up. Iida grabs up Kamitani and hits the brainbuster, getting the three count cover! Saya Iida is the new champion!
Even though Iida isn’t my favorite wrestler in this match, she certainly put in the work here and elevated herself to the occasion. Three way matches are always a bit of a tough sell, in this case Maika just disappearing but at least she took a hard powerbomb first to explain it. Iida finally has graduated by winning just via fluke pins, as the DDT and Brainbuster are both more exciting ways to win matches. I am curious to see where they go with Saya Iida as champion, a pretty entertaining opener to get the show off to a solid start. Mildly Recommended
Konami and Natsuko Tora vs. Riho and Ruaka
The first of two non-title matches on the show. These is a great example of the classic “we need to get these wrestlers on the card but have no plans for them so… here you go!” which is perfectly fine but don’t expect me to get too invested in it. I am interested in seeing evil Konami and to see if she has any good exchanges with the departing Riho, otherwise this is just filler.
This is joined in progress with Oedo Tai in control, but Riho and Ruaka both connect with running strikes. They single out Konami, face crusher by Riho and Ruaka delivers a running body press for a two count. Ruaka goes off the ropes and she boots Konami in the head, another boot by Ruaka and she delivers the Fisherman Suplex Hold for two. Ruaka elbows Konami and goes off the ropes, but Natsuko hits her from the apron with a chair. Konami quickly puts Ruaka in the Triangle Lancer, and Ruaka submits! Konami and Natsuko Tora are the winners!
Samurai TV! felt the same way about this match as I did, as they butchered the shit out of it. Good for you, Samurai TV. There wasn’t enough here to really comment on but Konami looked good. Love Konami.
Bea Priestley and Saki Kashima vs. Himeka and Natsupoi
The second, and final, non-title match on the show. I am assuming Samurai TV will give it the same treatment as the last match, there is just too much goodness on this event to focus on matches with no real meaning. That doesn’t mean these are bad wrestlers – Bea is great and both Himeka and Natsupoi are a bundle of fun, but they just didn’t have important things to do on this day. Hopefully however much of this match they show delivers.
We join this match in progress as Himeka picks up Saki, she gets her onto her shoulders in an Argentine Backbreaker before slamming her to the mat for a two count. Himeka throws Saki into the corner and hits a lariat, Bea runs in to help but Himeka avoids her charge and stacks them both in the corner. Himeka gets both opponents on her shoulders in an Argentine Backbreaker, she releases them after a moment and kicks them both out of the ring. Natsupoi goes to the top turnbuckle and dives out onto them with a diving crossbody, Himeka slides Saki back in but Saki avoids her lariat attempt and cradles her for two. Himeka is up first and hits a hard lariat, running powerbomb by Himeka and she covers Saki for the three count! Himeka and Natsupoi are the winners.
This was obviously clipped to just the last minute so I didn’t get to see much of Bea, but Himeka is such a treat to watch I don’t mind. She is so good with her facial expressions she is captivating to watch, and her power moves were all hit well here. A hot ending, I assume the rest of the match was good as well.
(c) AZM vs. Mei Hoshizuki
High Speed Championship
Mei has bright new wrestling attire, finally out of her rookie gear. Marvelous and Stardom for years have had a good relationship but they don’t interact too often, so its always a special moment when they do. AZM has improved a lot over the last two years but Mei has really gotten better as well, so this should be a good high speed match between two talented young wrestlers. AZM is the favorite going in as its on her own turf, but Mei isn’t a rookie anymore that is going to go down easy.
As one would expect they start off with a fast exchange which ends with a double kip-up stalemate, AZM goes for Mei’s arm and gets the Fujiwara Armbar but Mei quickly gets to the ropes. Irish whip by AZM to the corner and she delivers a dropkick, cover by AZM but it gets a two count. AZM goes back to the arm but Mei gets to the ropes again, they trade elbows back on their feet until AZM boots Mei to the mat. AZM goes off the ropes, Mei goes for a dropkick but AZM avoids it. AZM charges Mei but Mei drops her onto the second rope, she quickly goes to the apron and hits a dropkick before returning to the ring to hit a second one. Mei connects with a series of dropkicks, she covers AZM but it gets a two count. Irish whip attempt but Mei but AZM blocks it, they trade elbows until AZM knocks Mei to the mat. AZM picks up Mei and runs up the corner, but Mei recovers and pushes her down to the floor. Mei goes to the floor but AZM avoids her dropkick, kick by AZM from the apron and she returns to the ring. Mei slowly follows but AZM grabs her as she gets on the apron and hits a hurricanrana to get her back into the ring. Vertical suplex by AZM, she goes up top and nails a diving double footstomp but Mei barely kicks out. AZM picks up Mei and applies La Mistica but Mei gets out of it and the two trade flash pin attempts. Mei applies a series of cradles with no luck, they trade even more flash pins but still neither gets the win. Both wrestlers go off the ropes, AZM rolls Mei to the mat and applies a cradle for the three count! AZM wins and retains the championship.
I started out really liking this match but the ending didn’t do a lot for me. They had pretty good chemistry considering they probably don’t get a lot of chances to practice together, and everything was done very smoothly. But I didn’t really enjoy the last couple minutes of the match just being flash pins – I have nothing against flash pins but after the hard elbows and head-spiking it felt like nothing else mattered up to that point as they just went back and forth on 20+ cradles. A match can be ‘high speed’ without that, as Hazuki showed, and I’d rather they just kept going with the violence. Still an entertaining match, I just wish they had a different plan for how to end it. Mildly Recommended
(c) Shirakawa, Nakano, and Sayaka vs. Gokigen Death, Iwatani, and Starlight Kid
Artist of Stardom Championship
This match is an Elimination Match, which means wrestlers can be eliminated by pinfall, submission, or by being thrown over the top rope. While often the trios titles in Stardom are afterthoughts, there is some deeper meaning to this one. Prior to the match, all six of these wrestlers were part of the same faction – STARS. But in the long build-up it became clear that Tam Nakano wanted to split off her team into their own group, called Cosmic Angels. So this seals the split, I wouldn’t say it was an overly angry split but Tam wanted to do her own thing with her new friends. Some fans didn’t like it but I’m a big fan, as I don’t like giant stables. I’d prefer groups stay in the 3 to 5 people range if I had my way, so STARS breaking off into two groups is ok with me. Since this is an elimination match with very flexible tag rules, anything can happen.
Mayu and Tam start the match, Mayu gets Tam’s back but Tam spins her off and hits a cutter. Cartwheel kneedrop by Tam, and she covers Mayu for two. Tam goes off the ropes but Starlight Kid grabs her from the apron, Death comes in and all three hit running strikes on Tam in the corner. Snapmare by Mayu and she kicks Tam in the back before tagging in Death, Death puts Tam in a stretch hold but Tam gets into the ropes for the break. Death tags Starlight Kid, scoop slam by Starlight Kid and she covers Tam for two. Knees by Starlight Kid to Tam, Tam goes for a backdrop suplex but Starlight Kid lands on her feet. Tam kicks Starlight Kid in the head, Death and Mayu run in but Tam DDTs both of them. The STARS team rolls out of the ring, Mina and Sayaka come in and help Tam hit a plancha down onto all their opponents. We clip ahead to Sayaka and Death in the ring as the legal wrestlers, Sayaka gets Death on her back but Death gets away and cradles Sayaka for the three count! Unagi Sayaka is eliminated via pinfall.
Tam hits Death from behind, sending Death to her corner as she tags in Starlight Kid. Tilt-a-whirl headscissors by Starlight Kid to Tam, Mayu comes in and they hit double 619s. Standing Moonsault by Starlight Kid, and she covers Tam for two. Starlight Kid picks up Tam but Tam kicks her away, elbow by Starlight Kid and she delivers a cross-legged suplex hold for two. Tam is positioned in the middle of the ring as the members of STARS take turns hitting top rope moves, with Starlight Kid hitting a diving crossbody off of Mayu’s shoulders for two when the pin is broken up. Starlight Kid drags up Tam but Tam blocks the Tiger Suplex, backdrop suplex by Tam and Mina comes in to help. Double strike to Starlight Kid, Tam goes to the top turnbuckle and delivers the Destiny Hammer for two. Tam picks up Starlight Kid and goes for a suplex, but Starlight Kid lands on her feet and nails the Tiger Suplex Hold for the three count! Tam Nakano is eliminated via pinfall.
Mina comes in as the last wrestler on Cosmic Angels, double chop by Mina and she puts Starlight Kid in a stretch hold which is broken up by Mayu. Double vertical suplex to Mina, Mayu sits on the turnbuckle while Starlight Kid goes to get on her shoulders, but Mina recovers and knocks them both off the top turnbuckle. Mina gets a running start and knocks Mayu out of the ring, eliminating her! Mayu Iwatani is eliminated via Over The Top.
Starlight Kid is still on the turnbuckle and dives off with a crossbody onto Mina, getting a two count. Mina plants Starlight Kid with a DDT, she picks up Starlight Kid and elbows her in the head. Irish whip by Mina but Starlight Kid reverses it, Starlight Kid charges Mina but Mina avoids her charge and dumps her onto the apron. Mina kicks at Starlight Kid to try to send her to the floor while Death tries to hold her up, Mina gets a running start and dropkicks Starlight Kid to the floor, eliminating her! Starlight Kid is eliminated via Over The Top.
Now we are down to just Mina and Death. They trade elbows before Mina hits a Side Russian Leg Sweep, dropkick by Mina and she covers Death for two. Mina picks up Death but Death gets away, cradle attempt by Death but Mina reverses it into her own two count. Mina goes off the ropes and hits a Lou Thesz Press, but Death rolls it over into a two count cover. Spinning backfist by Mina, she gets on the top turnbuckle and hits a diving seated senton for two. Mina picks up Death and nails the GSS, cover by Mina and she gets the three count! Cosmic Angels win and retain the championship.
Elimination Matches are a bit of a tough sell for me as they tend to be overly random, but this one I think accomplished its goal of putting over Cosmic Angels and putting a final nail in their split from STARS. As I mentioned at the top, the tag rules are very loose/non-existent as Mayu wasn’t even the legal wrestler when she was eliminated, and the structure was all over the place to get to the final 3 vs. 1 situation. Mina handled her business to retain the titles but it didn’t feel like a title match, more like an early card ‘special attraction’ type match as the Elimination gimmick didn’t do the quality wrestlers in the match any favors. A fun casual watch but nothing more.
(c) Giulia vs. (c) Syuri
Wonder Of Stardom Championship/SWA Undisputed World Women’s Championship
A special double championship match! Due to issues getting Gaijins in Japan they are really playing it loose with the SWA Undisputed Championship, which by rule has to be defended against a wrestler of a different nationality. But Syuri is half Filipino and Giulia is half Italian, so that is allowing Stardom to have the title up for grabs. Giulia had a great first full year in Stardom, winning the Wonder of Stardom Championship in July after a tournament to crown a new champ. These two are in the same faction (Donna del Mondo) so its wasn’t an overly hateful build, but Giulia doesn’t have any chill so expect it to still be a hard hitting match.
Syuri pushes Giulia into the ropes to start, she tackles her instead of giving a clean break but Giulia switches positions with her as they jockey for position. They end up back on their feet, Backstabber by Syuri and she kicks Giulia in the back for a two count cover. Syuri goes off the ropes but Giulia catches her with a slam, she picks up Syuri but Syuri snaps off a German suplex. Giulia returns to her feet and hits a German suplex of her own, but Syuri delivers a running knee and both wrestlers end up down on the mat. They trade elbows as they get back up, Giulia wins the elbow battle as she knocks Syuri back down and stomps on her back. Giulia goes off the ropes but Syuri gets up and hits a step-up enzuigiri, kick to the head by Syuri and Giulia collapses to the mat. Syuri drags Giulia up and kicks her some more, head kick by Syuri and Giulia is out. The referee checks on her as Syuri doesn’t go for a cover, she picks Giulia back up and kicks her repeatedly in the chest. Giulia finally catches one but Syuri gets away and kicks her again anyway, Syuri gets Giulia on her shoulders but Giulia slides off and applies a standing armbar. Syuri gets out of it and hits a Schwein, picking up a two count. Giulia rolls out of the ring but Syuri follows her out, Syuri picks up Giulia and takes her up the ramp, knees by Syuri but Giulia blocks the German suplex. Giulia gets Syuri’s back and drops her with a Glorious Driver, they both slowly crawl back to the ring to try to beat the generous count, with both making it.
Giulia goes off the ropes and delivers a sliding knee, she puts Syuri on the top turnbuckle and joins her, hitting an Avalanche Glorious Buster for a two count. Giulia picks up Syuri and hits a double underhook suplex, but that gets a two as well. Giulia goes for a running boot but Syuri avoids it and applies a sleeper, but Giulia gets out of it with a backdrop suplex. Giulia picks up Syuri but Syuri slides away, Giulia applies a double underhook and nails a Package Piledriver for two. Giulia grabs Syuri but Syuri throws her to the mat, kick to the back by Syuri and she hits a running knee in the corner. Another knee to the back by Syuri and she hits a STO for a two count. Syuri picks up Giulia and hits a German suplex hold, but it gets two. Giulia fires back with a big boot, she goes for a backdrop suplex but Syuri blocks it. Giulia ducks Syuri’s kick and hits one anyway, front dropkick by Giulia and she covers Syuri for two. Giulia picks up Syuri and hits the Glorious Driver II, but Syuri barely gets a shoulder up on the cover. Giulia picks up Syuri but Syuri levels her with a head kick, Buzzsaw Kick by Syuri but Giulia grabs the bottom rope to break up the pin. Syuri drags up Giulia but Giulia headbutts her, spinning backfist by Syuri and both wrestlers are down. Before either moves, the bell rings as time has expired. The match is a Draw.
Some online didn’t like this match due to them getting worked too hard by Giulia’s gimmick and thus hating everything she does, but this was a real quality match. It may have helped I saw the clipped TV version. But this was just non-stop hard hits and big bombs, its matches like this that make me not at all surprised when wrestlers are taped up or retire early as they were really laying it into each other. Since they were going for the Draw, the end stretch was maybe a bit too long but the transitions were so smooth I didn’t mind too much. Giulia having a reversal or back-up plan for everything is fun to watch, such as switching suddenly to the Package Piledriver, as her arsenal is incredibly deep. One of the more exciting matches I’ve seen in the last few months, really entertaining match between two wrestlers with surprisingly good chemistry. Highly Recommended
(c) Utami Hayashishita vs. Momo Watanabe
World of Stardom Championship
Time for the main event! Its like they designed this event just for me, as the two big matches have two of my favorite Joshi wrestlers. I’ve been on the Utami bandwagon since Day 1 and my faith has been rewarded as she has grown into a great wrestler and champion for Stardom. Utami won the World of Stardom Championship from Mayu Iwatani on November 15th, and this is her first defense of the title. Momo has always been tough to beat in Stardom, and even though she hasn’t gotten a big push in 2020 she is still a respected wrestler in the promotion. For the main event of one of the biggest events of the year for Stardom, I suspect both of them will go all-out to put on a show.
We join this one in progress as Utami throws Momo into the corner, but Momo jumps up on the turnbuckles and hits a tornado DDT. Utami rolls out of the ring to regroup but Momo goes out to the apron and hits a PK. Momo jumps down to the floor and removes the mats at ringside, she grabs Utami but Utami gets away. Momo gets her again however and drops Utami with the B Driver on the exposed floor. Back in the ring, Momo kicks at Utami and covers her for two. Momo picks up Utami and elbows her repeatedly, Momo goes off the ropes and avoids Utami’s dropkick attempt before kicking her in the chest. Momo goes for a dropkick but Utami moves, Momo avoids Utami’s charge as well but Utami knocks over Momo with a hard shoulderblock. Running elbow by Utami in the corner and she hits a dropkick, Utami goes up top and hits a missile dropkick for a two count. Utami picks up Momo and gets her on her shoulders, but Momo slides away. Utami blocks Momo’s kicks and hits a big lariat, Utami picks up Momo and goes for the BT Bomb, but Momo slides away. Utami blocks her suplex attempt and hits a Samoan Drop, she gets on the top turnbuckle but Momo recovers and joins her. Avalanche Uranage by Momo but Utami recovers and hits a Release German.
Momo quickly gets back up and hits a Tequila Sunrise, Utami rolls through it however and they get back up to trade elbows. Utami goes off the ropes but Momo kicks her in the head, Somato to the back by Momo and then from the front for a two count. Momo applies a crossface chicken wing but Utami gets a foot on the ropes for the break, Momo goes up top and delivers the diving Somato for a two count cover. Momo goes back up top but this time Utami hits her before she can jump off and goes up top as well, she gets Momo on her shoulder and drops her with an Avalanche Schwein for a two count. Utami drags Momo up and gets her on her shoulders, she spins her around and slams Momo to the mat for two. Momo goes for a Triangle Choke but Utami quickly powerbombs out of it, she picks up Momo and goes for the BT Bomb, but Momo gets out of it and goes back to the crossface chicken wing. She gets Utami back up and delivers the Tequila Sunrise, but Utami kicks out. Momo picks up Utami and goes for the Peach Sunrise, she nails it but Utami barely gets a shoulder up. Elbows by Momo and she kicks Utami in the head, another head kick by Momo but Utami blocks the next Peach Sunrise attempt and hits a backdrop suplex. Utami grabs Momo around the waist and hits three rolling German suplexes, but it only gets two. Utami picks up Momo, she gets her up in the crucifix and nails the BT Bomb for the three count! Utami Hayashishita wins and retains the championship.
This was probably a little too clipped to get a great feel of the match as a whole, but the 13 minutes or so of the match Samurai TV showed was great. Some are worried about Momo’s future in Stardom but I am not – she may never be the “Ace” but she will always have a good place in the promotion as she is just too good not to. Utami continues to be impressive as well as she seems to grow some in the ring each time I see her. Like the last match, they weren’t holding back as the match was full of hard strikes, big moves, and snug suplexes. As presented, no real downtime whatsoever and it had the urgent feel of a big title match. While I am sure the full match was quite good as well, even as shown here its easy to recommend. Recommended
While I have no regrets on watching the Samurai TV version of this event as it took me a week just to get through it (my free time is pretty limited), I do wish I had watched the last two matches in full and not trimmed down. That being said, this was a pretty complete show from Stardom that really was only missing that high-end midcard match that they typically deliver. AZM vs. Hoshizuki had that potential but while I generally enjoyed what they did I didn’t love the overall match structure. The last two matches certainly delivered however and even in clipped form that is 30+ minutes of action I can definitely recommend. Top to bottom a solid effort from Stardom.