Event: Stardom “Queen’s Fes”
Date: February 18th, 2018
Location: Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan
Announced Attendance: 1,050
And we are back to Stardom, as I still plan on reviewing all their Korakuen Hall events in 2018. This is a really big show that got a fair amount of buzz online, as the promotion has hit onto a few hot storylines. The split we saw last month with Oedo Tai comes to a head as Tam tags with Mayu to go for the tag team titles, and we also get Meiko Satomura vs. Toni Storm in a mini dream match. In the main event, Momo Watanabe has her first Korakuen Hall main event singles match as she goes for Io Shirai’s Wonder of Stardom Championship! Here is the card:
All the Joshi wrestlers above have profiles on Joshi City, you can click on their names above to go straight to it. I am watching the Stardom World version of the show for the first three matches so I can see the matches unclipped, then for the bigger matches I’ll switch to the Samurai TV airing for the better camera angles. Here we go.
Hanan, Ruaka, and Shiki Shibusawa vs. Kaori Yoneyama and Konami
We kick off the show, as anticipated, with a handful of rookies and children. The match does have a slightly different setup however, as instead of mixing and matching the teams, we have the three rookies against the two veterans to try to give them a one wrestler advantage. Which I doubt will help. Hanan is probably at the moment the best on the rookie team even though she is only 13, as even though Shiki is twice as old she still has a way to go.
Ruaka and Konami start the match but Yoneyama immediately attacks Ruaka from behind, Shiki and Hanan run in and hit dropkicks, giving them a chance to triple team Konami. The extras leave as Ruaka elbows Konami, but Konami kicks her back and delivers a dropkick before making the tag to Yoneyama. Yoneyama tosses down Ruaka by her hair, chops by Yoneyama and she punches Ruaka in the gut. Ruaka comes back with a big boot and tags Shiki, dropkicks by Shiki and she covers Yoneyama for two. Knee by Yoneyama but Shiki blocks the Irish whip and hits a face crusher, scoop slam by Shiki but Yoneyama bridges out of the cover and boots Shiki in the face. Yoneyama tags in Konami, kicks to the chest by Konami but Shiki catches one. Konami quickly applies a short armbar things break down as all five wrestlers end up in the ring. With the odds in their favor, the rookies take over as Shiki tags in Hanan and everyone attacks Konami in the corner. Missile dropkick by Shiki, Ruaka picks up Konami and hits the fisherman suplex before Hanan delivers the STO for a two count. Hanan goes for a suplex on Konami but Konami blocks it, Ruaka comes in to help but Yoneyama and Shiki come in too and they end up in a stalemate. Yoneyama and Konami dropkick all three of their opponents, fisherman suplex by Konami to Hanan and she nails the Buzzsaw Kick for the three count! Kaori Yoneyama and Konami are the winners!
This was good enough mindless fun. And at least it was structured differently so it wasn’t the same literal match we have been watching in the opening of Stardom for the last six months. While not all the rookies are great, they kept the match short (about five minutes) so each got a little bit of a chance to shine without being asked to do too much. Nothing special but at least it was watchable.
AZM and HZK vs. Miranda and Nicole Savoy vs. Jungle Kyona and Natsuko Tora vs. Starlight Kid and Xia Brookside
Elimination Tag Team Match
For everyone that didn’t have a feud coming into the show, they ended up in this big four team elimination match! These teams for the most part at least make sense, as AZM and HZK are in Queen’s Quest together while Kyona and Natsuko are both in a regular group called “Team Jungle.” Miranda and Nicole are teamed together since they are the Invading Gaijins of the Month, while Starlight Kid and Xia are a similar age so fit together well. Still a bit random but I’ve seen far worse attempts by Stardom to get everyone on the show in a meaningful way.
The rules of the match are that each team still in the match has one wrestler active, so it starts with four legal wrestlers in the ring. Natsuko is triple teamed to start but quickly turns the tide as she stacks all her opponents in the corner. Natsuko goes for a body avalanche but everyone moves so she just hits the turnbuckle, Kyona tries to do the same but she accidentally hits Natsuko. Miranda hits a spear on both Starlight Kid and AZM, Miranda dropkicks Starlight Kid in the knee and delivers a DDT for two. Elbows by Starlight Kid but Miranda shrugs them off, Nicole comes in to help but is quickly sent back out of the ring as things quickly (and predictably) break down. Starlight Kid and Xia isolate AZM in the ring, Codebreaker by Xia and Starlight Kid hits a standing moonsault for two. HZK breaks up the next cover attempt, AZM rebounds out of the corner with a crossbody and holds down Starlight Kid for the three count! Starlight Kid and Xia Brookside are eliminated.
AZM tags in HZK as Kyona comes in the ring, they trade elbows until HZK DDTs Kyona for a two count. Nicole comes in and suplexes both HZK and Kyona, she then puts them both in a stretch hold but after she lets go both her opponents toss her to the mat. We end up with HZK and Kyona alone again, hard headbutt by HZK and both wrestlers are down. AZM and Natsuko replace them, HZK boots Natsuko and AZM applies the Wing Clutch Hold for two. Natsuko goes for a suplex but AZM reverses it, AZM picks up Natsuko and goes off the ropes, but Kyona runs in and lariats her. Spear by Natsuko and she nails the swinging side slam for the three count! AZM and HZK are eliminated.
We are down to the final pair, Team Jungle dropkick Nicole and Miranda and Kyona goes for the powerbomb on Miranda, but Miranda slides away and hits a cutter. Tilt-a-whirl something by Miranda gets a two count and she tags in Nicole, sliding knee by Nicole and she covers Kyona for two. Nicole goes for the suplex but HZK blocks it, cradle by Nicole and she puts Kyona in a single leg crab hold. Natsuko breaks it up, Nicole goes off the ropes but Kyona hits a lariat. Nicole stays up and goes off the ropes but finally is sent off her feet with another lariat, Natsuko comes in and they both hit body blocks. Diving bodypress by Kyona and then Natsuko, cover by Natsuko but it gets two. Fallaway Slam by Nicole, she picks up Natsuko and goes off the ropes, but Kyona cuts her off with a lariat. Miranda runs in and spears Natsuko, she then kicks Kyona in the head before Nicole goes back to Natsuko and delivers a backdrop suplex for a two count. Nicole picks up Natsuko and delivers a fisherman suplex hold, and she picks up the three count! Nicole Savoy and Miranda win the match.
I have to give credit where it is due, this match was more entertaining than I was expecting. The vast majority of this was solid, they worked together really well and it stayed fast paced and interesting. Miranda was the only one that lagged behind as she isn’t quite as skilled as everyone else on the match, but aside from a few of her segments, everything else was gravy. About as good as a Stardom undercard match can get, it kept me amused which is all I can ask for. Mildly Recommended
Hiromi Mimura vs. Natsu Sumire
I’m not sure what to expect from this match, aside from a general lack of crispness. Hiromi and Natsu are both more style than substance, and when the stars align their styles can be quite amusing. But it certainly isn’t a given. I have found it is best to go into Hiromi singles matches with low expectations which I will do here as well, but since she is retiring soon perhaps she will have something special up her sleeve to go out on a high note.
After some mic work, Natsu manages to trick Hiromi into thinking she is emotional and sad about this match but quickly suplexes Hiromi and knees her in the head. Natsu stomps Hiromi and elbows her in the corner, running elbow by Natsu and she puts Hiromi in a camel clutch. Headscissors by Natsu and she slams Hiromi’s head into the mat, Natsu lets go after a moment and gets her whip, but Hiromi avoids the whip blows. Natsu pulls the referee in front of her to stop Hiromi’s charge and hits a lariat, she then drinks some water to try to spit it onto Hiromi but Hiromi kicks her back and hits a scoop slam. Now it is Hiromi that get some water and spits it onto Natsu, stomps by Hiromi and she goes for the Acid Drop, but Natsu shoves her off. Natsu picks up Hiromi but Hiromi gets away, she goes off the ropes and hits a low crossbody followed by a dropkick. Hiromi goes up top and delivers a diving crossbody and she delivers a… modified Acid Drop to Natsu, Hiromi charges Natsu but Natsu whips her in the face. Natsu keeps whipping Hiromi as the referee tries to get her to stop, Natsu pushes the referee away as she continues her assault, but Hiromi dropkicks Natsu back into the referee. Hiromi charges Natsu but Natsu drop toeholds her into the referee in the corner. Bronco Buster by Natsu and she chokes Hiromi with the whip, the referee gets her to stop but Natsu whips the referee. The referee has finally seen enough and calls for the bell, giving Hiromi the victory by DQ.
Well this match certainly had lots of “style” to it. For what it was, it was decent enough and was kept short, but neither of these two will ever win any awards for their in-ring ability. Still, variety on a card isn’t a bad thing and it certainly is different than the other matches on the card. Oedo Tai to me sometimes walks the line too close between being a goofy stable and being an ass-kicking one but at least Natsu has her character pretty down-pat so love it or not she is consistent. In a vacuum, not a good match, but a bit of a perhaps necessary breather before the big matches on the card get going.
(c) Hana Kimura and Kagetsu vs. Mayu Iwatani and Tam Nakano
Goddesses of Stardom Championship
We have reached the first championship match of the evening. There is such a long backstory to this match, which is great, but it is worthy of having its own column and not just a pre-match recap. I’ll do the best I can – Mayu Iwatani has been feuding with Kagetsu (and Oedo Tai) since 2016, Tam Nakano was in Oedo Tai but was forced out of the group after they lost an Elimination Match in January, and as soon as that happened she was invited by Mayu to team with her instead. So this match contains the blood feud between Mayu and Oedo Tai, which is story enough, but with an added element of Tam facing her old stable that she was forced to leave. On top of all that, titles are on the line as well, leading to what should be a pretty hot match.
Mayu and Tam try to shake hands before the match, their efforts are rejected so they jump Oedo Tai from behind instead. Hana is double teamed in the corner and gets kicked both both opponents in the stomach, Tam kicks Hana into the corner but Hana blocks the suplex attempt. Leg sweep by Tam and she stomps on Hana’s back before hitting a running senton. Fisherman suplex hold by Tam, but Hana gets a shoulder up. Tam hits a backdrop suplex, but that gets a two count as well. Mayu comes in and they hit a double vertical suplex, superkick by Mayu and Tam hits a high kick. Kagetsu runs in but she eats a double superkick, as does Hana, before Tam delivers a heel kick to Hana for a nearfall. Tam gets on the second turnbuckle but Hana avoid the diving senton and makes the hot tag to Kagetsu. Kagetsu throws Tam into the corner so that Mayu can tag in, Mayu does and they go through a quick exchange with neither getting the advantage. Strike combination by Kagetsu but Mayu kicks her in the leg, dragon suplex hold by Kagetsu but it gets a two count. Mayu picks up Kagetsu and hits an Ebisu Drop, but Kagetsu fires back with elbows. Superkick by Mayu and she nails a Buzzsaw Kick, German suplex by Mayu but it only gets a two count.
Mayu gets on the top turnbuckle but Kagetsu elbows her and chokeslams Mayu to the mat. Both wrestlers roll to their corners to tag out, Kris gets on the apron and spits water at Tam before Hana hits a dropkick. Running boot by Hana and she hits a vertical suplex, she applies a seated armbar but Mayu breaks it up. Hana goes for a boot but Tam moves and hits a high kick, Hana returns with a big boot before booting Tam in the head again for a two count cover. Tam avoids the next boot attempt and hits a heel kick, Tam goes up top but Kris hits her from the apron with a board. Big boot by Hana and she flings Tam back to the mat, cover by Hana but she pulls up Tam’s head before the three count. She then tags in Kagetsu, high kick by Kagetsu but Tam kicks her back. More kicks by Tam but Kagetsu doesn’t go down until she is hit by about a dozen of them. Kagetsu still recovers first as Tam is feeling the effects from previous damage, strike combination by Kagetsu and she nails a Buzzsaw Kick. Kagetsu goes for the Ebisu Drop but Tam rolls away, kick to the stomach by Tam but Kagetsu catches her with a chokeslam. Ebisu Drop by Kagetsu, she goes up top and she delivers the Oedo Coaster for the three count! Oedo Tai retain the titles.
As a general rule, matches start slow and build to a climax, but I thought in this match they did the opposite. The match started super hot and I loved the frantic pace and urgency shown by Mayu and Tam as they dominated the first portion of the match, but it did slow down once Oedo Tai took over. Not that the match got bad but I wish they had gone ahead and just maintained that pace since it wasn’t a very long title match anyway (about 12 minutes). The story here of Tam trying her damndest but not being good enough yet was well done and Hana was really great both in her move execution and expressions. For a short midcard title defense, they really delivered an exciting match, hats off to all of them. Recommended
Meiko Satomura vs. Toni Storm
Even though Toni Storm has two titles in Stardom, neither are up for grabs in this match. Toni on a global scale is one of the most successful female wrestlers not in WWE, as she has made a name for herself in the United States, Europe, and Japan even though she is only 22 years old. Meiko Satomura is the promoter of the Sendai Girls’ promotion and a legend, and while she has been staying out of the title scene recently she still is incredibly hard to defeat. While the end result of this match is not in doubt, it still features two of the best active female wrestlers so I’m expecting something great between them.
They start with a grappling session and end up on the mat trading holds, but they reach a stalemate and shake hands back on their feet. Meiko kicks Toni in the face but lets Toni recover, Toni applies a wristlock on the mat but Meiko reverses it. Kicks by Meiko and she hits a double kneedrop, but Toni kicks out of the cover. Meiko charges Toni but Toni ducks behind her and drops Meiko with a release German. Hip attack by Toni and she hits a reverse neckbreaker, armbar by Toni but Meiko gets to the ropes. Toni picks up Meiko but Meiko blocks the piledriver, elbow by Meiko but Toni returns fire. Kick to the gut by Meiko and she hits a series of uppercuts which sends Toni to the mat. Meiko goes up top but Toni headbutts her down to the floor, she goes off the ropes and sails out onto Meiko with a tope suicida. Toni gets Meiko back into the ring but still can’t hit the piledriver, Meiko goes for the Death Valley Bomb but Toni slides down her back and hits a Backstabber. Toni goes up top but Meiko joins her, Toni slides under her legs however and hits a Buckle Bomb. Meiko comes back with a Pele Kick, kicks to the chest by Meiko and she drops Toni with a DDT. Meiko goes for the cartwheel kneedrop but Toni moves and applies the armbar. Meiko gets out of it and goes back to kicking Toni, slingshot footstomp by Meiko and she finally hits the cartwheel kneedrop. Meiko picks up Toni but Toni blocks the Death Valley Bomb attempt, snap piledriver by Toni but Meiko kicks out of the cover. Toni goes for a kick but Meiko swats her away and applies a sleeper, but Toni gets to the ropes. Death Valley Bomb by Meiko, but it only gets a two count. Meiko goes for another one but Toni hits the Strong Zero, she goes for another one but Meiko reverses it into a Death Valley Bomb. They slowly get up and Meiko delivers another one, but Toni rolls out of the ring before Meiko can make the cover. The bell rings as Toni reaches the floor, as time has expired. The match is a Draw.
Somewhere, hiding within this match, was a great match just waiting to come out. But it never really did. Part of the issue, as I mentioned above, is that everyone and their mother knew this match would be a draw. Now matches can overcome that, being predictable doesn’t automatically equal not entertaining, it just makes it harder. The beginning mat work dragged a bit wasn’t a big deal, but it felt like it went from the feeling out process straight to trading finishers without much ‘meat’ to the match. That isn’t to say it was bad, I’m just explaining why it wasn’t the epic I think these two could have based on their talent. They are both super smooth wrestlers with killer strikes, and I loved Toni’s suplex to Meiko. Plus her snap piledrivers are some of the best in the business. Certainly a good match but it never really did anything to go beyond that. Mildly Recommended
(c) Io Shirai vs. Momo Watanabe
Wonder of Stardom Championship
In the biggest match in her young career, Momo Watanabe takes on arguably the top female wrestler in the world in the main event at Korakuen Hall. No pressure. Momo and Io are friends and are both in the same stable, Queen’s Quest, but that won’t matter in this match. Io takes her title defenses very seriously and Momo isn’t going to hold anything back to win it, so once the bell rings the friendship is put aside until the bell rings again. This is just Momo’s second challenge of a singles’s title in Stardom, she is only 17 and missed almost a year due to a leg injury. Momo is the big underdog but she has shown some real fight since returning from injury a few months ago, and on such a big stage she is going to put everything out there to make an impression.
Momo immediately starts elbowing Io and throws her into the corner before hitting a dropkick, she goes to charge Io again but Io catches her in the face with a dropkick. Kicks by Io and she hits a scoop slam, footstomp by Io and she kicks Momo in the leg. Io keeps on Momo’s leg, Momo gets back to her feet and hits an elbow but Io elbows her back. More strikes by Io in the corner, Irish whip by Io but Momo springboards out of the corner and hits a dropkick. Double backflip into a dropkick by Io, Momo rolls out of the ring and Io goes off the ropes to do a dive, but Momo rolls back in and kicks Io in the chest. Momo gets on the second turnbuckle and hits a tornado DDT, kicks by Momo and Io bails out of the ring to regroup. The Stardom referee seems overly concerned as he continues being biased towards Io (which is a common theme in Stardom title matches), Momo finally goes out to the apron and kicks Io in the chest as she stands on the floor. Momo slides Io onto the apron, she gets Io on her shoulders and nails the B Driver. Back in the ring, dropkick by Momo in the corner and she hits a second dropkick, hard kick to the back by Momo and she covers Io for two. Momo picks up Io but Io elbows her off, dragon screw leg whip by Io and Momo rolls out to the floor.
Io goes to the apron and sails out of the ring with an Asai Moonsault, Io slides Momo back in and hits a swandive dropkick. Running double knee by Io in the corner followed by a double underhook facebuster, and she covers Momo for a two count. Io goes up top but Momo kicks her leg out before she can jump off, Momo joins Io and slaps her before hitting a superplex. Momo picks up Io and hits a side slam, another side slam by Momo and she delivers the Somato for a two count. Momo puts Io in a modified chickenwing choke but Io gets a foot on the bottom rope for the break. Momo picks up Io and goes for the B Driver but Io blocks it, cradle by Momo and she hits another Somato for two. B Driver by Momo, she goes up top and nails the avalanche Somato before putting Io back in the submission hold. Io gets to the ropes again but Momo keeps a hold of her arm and hits a dragon suplex hold for a two count. High kick by Momo, she puts Io on the top turnbuckle and goes for an avalanche B Driver, but Io reverses it into a powerbomb. Io grabs Momo from behind but Momo elbows her off, she goes for a kick but Io catches her leg and applies an ankle hold. She reverts it into a pair of German suplexes, Io then hits the package German but Momo kicks out at two. Io picks up Momo and nails a palm strike, busting open Momo’s lip in the process. Tombstone Piledriver by Io, she goes up top and she nails a moonsault for the three count! Io Shirai is still the Wonder of Stardom Champion.
First of all, its a good thing the match was already ending because Momo’s lip was cut open something fierce. This was a great match and honestly I didn’t know that Momo had this in her. By far the best match in her career and it isn’t even close. Io Shirai gets a lot of credit for that but Momo was on point from start to finish, hitting everything under the sun to try to keep Io down. Io did her usual superwoman act at times but I’ve never had an issue with that, she’s the Ace and that is what Ace’s do, they are supposed to be incredibly difficult to keep down for the three count. But they still wrestled with a purpose, as Io kept after Momo’s leg and Momo kept throwing every bomb she has in her arsenal. A must see match and my favorite Stardom match of 2018 so far, I’d recommend going out of your way to see it. Highly Recommended
As far as complete cards go, this is one of the better events I have seen in awhile. First of all, there were no bad matches, as the opener had a different set-up and was too short to be offensive, while the elimination tag match was surprisingly entertaining. Hiromi/Natsu wasn’t really my cup of tea but I can still recognize the entertainment value in what they did, so I wouldn’t consider it a failure. The tag title match was way too short but great fun, and Toni/Meiko wasn’t as good as it could have been but was still a solid match. The main event was truly special though, as Momo really rose to the challenge and put on a career-elevating match against one of the best wrestlers in the world. A lot of good to be found here with nothing skippable, definitely an easy recommendation to watch on Stardom World or Samurai TV.