Event: Stardom “Shining Stars #9 Final Race”
Date: August 5th, 2016
Location: Shinjuku FACE in Tokyo, Japan
Announced Attendance: 385
It has been a few weeks since I last reviewed a Stardom show, so lets see what they are up to. Io Shirai is out due to an injury, which gives their cards a different dynamic as with Io around you always knew there would be at least one great match. Now we have no such guarantee. There are three title matches on this show however so there are several opportunities to impress, here is the full card:
Please note that I am reviewing the Samurai TV version and not the Stardom World version of the event, so it will be clipped but pro-shot. You can click on the names above to go to their profile if I have one on the site.
Arisu Nanase vs. Eimi Nishina
It’s baby time! Arisu debuted earlier this year and is 14 years old, making her one of the youngest wrestlers in Stardom. Nishina is in her early 20s and wrestles primarily in Actress girl’Z. This match is clipped and was short anyway so I assume it will be over before it really begins.
The match is joined in progress as Eimi hits a backbreaker followed by the Somato for a two count. Eimi goes for a slam but Arisu gets out of it, backslide by Eimi and she gets the three count! Eimi Nishina wins!
Ok that was clipped even more than I was expecting, nothing much to really see here. Nice backslide I guess?
Hiroyo Matsumoto and Hiromi Mimura vs. Kaori Yoneyama and Natsumi Maki
This is a bit of a hodgepodge of wrestlers but all bring something to the table. Hiroyo is one of the top Freelancers in Japan and wrestles a lot in Stardom, here she is teaming with Stardom rookie Hiromi. On the other side, Yoneyama is a veteran affiliated with YMZ while Natsumi is a young wrestler from Actress girl’Z. So each side as a veteran and a young one, so either team can pick up the win.
Natsumi and Matsumoto start the match together, Natsumi dances around the ring which Matsumoto doesn’t like so she puts her in a backbreaker. Yoneyama comes in to break it up and they pose on her, Hiromi feels left out and comes in the ring to pose too which Matsumoto does not appreciate. Natsumi elbows Matsumoto but Matsumoto chops her back, Natsumi goes for a crossbody but Matsumoto doesn’t budge. Matsumoto tags in Hiromi, Hiromi goes for La Magistral but Natsumi blocks it and hits a bridging leg hook neckbreaker but Matsumoto breaks it up. Yoneyama comes in but Matsumoto lariats both Natsumi and Yoneyama, Hiromi puts Natsumi in La Magistral and she picks up the three count! Matsumoto and Hiromi are the winners!
This was too clipped but the spots they showed were fine, a few cute spots with Hiromi posing instead of helping Matsumoto and I like Natsumi’s bridging moves. But not enough shown to get excited about.
(c) Kagetsu and Kyoko Kimura vs. Kris Wolf and Leah Vaughan
This match is for the Goddesses of Stardom Championship. If you are wondering why Oedo Tai is challenging Oedo Tai for the tag belts, well it is simply because Wolf and Leah challenged Kagetsu and Kimura for it so they agreed. Sometimes things don’t have to be complicated. They won’t be taking it easy on each other, but I assume that all will still be friends when they are done.
Kagetsu and Wolf begin the match, Kagetsu gets the early advantage but Wolf tricks her with a fake handshake and stomps on Kagetsu’s foot. Springboard crossbody off the ropes by Wolf, but she only gets a quick two. Kagetsu throws Wolf to the mat and takes her outside of the ring while Kimura throws chairs at Leah. Kagetsu hits Wolf with chairs too, Kimura gets into the ring and sets a chair up before putting Wolf on it and hitting her with another chair. Kimura goes off the ropes but Wolf avoids the big boot and gets a metal stick. Leah comes in with magic feel good spray but Kimura blocks her attempt to use it with a sign. Wolf takes the sign from Kimura and hits her repeatedly with it, Leah comes in and hits a lariat on Kimura. Assisted body press by Wolf to Kimura, and she covers her for a two count. Wolf gets on the top turnbuckle and hits a diving double kneedrop, but Kagetsu breaks up the cover. Kagetsu is thrown into the corner but she hits a double missile dropkick, Kagetsu picks up Wolf and she hits the Samoan Drop. Kagetsu and Kimura both boot Wolf, Kagetsu gets up top while Kimura grabs Wolf and they hit an assisted Gory Bomb. Leah runs in but she lariats Wolf by accident, Kagetsu gets a parking sign but she accidentally hits Kimura with it. Wolf goes off the ropes but Kimura nails her with a big boot, and she picks up the three count! Kagetsu and Kimura are still the champions.
The clipping of the match made it a big disjointed, hard to really get into a match when it jumps around so much. But from what I could make of it, it was a fun match, Oedo Tai is a great faction and I like all four of them quite a bit. Leah is my favorite gaijin wrestler in Stardom of the last few months and Kagetsu is extremely under-rated, although she has slowly started getting some much deserved buzz. Too clipped to recommend but what they showed was good.
Jungle Kyouna and Mayu Iwatani vs. Momo Watanabe and Yoko Bito
The first thing I noticed when they came out is that Momo has a new outfit and haircut, which in Japanese Wrestling World means she has moved up in the pecking order. She teams here with recently returned Yoko Bito, who is still looking to to regain her old form after four years away from the ring. On the other side, Kyouna is the Wonder Rookie that debuted last fall, while Iwatani is a future Ace Candidate that holds the High Speed and Artist of Stardom Championship going into the match. Both teams feature a veteran and a young wrestler/rookie, so its anyone’s game.
Momo and Iwatani kick things off, they trade armdrags and takedowns but neither can get a clear advantage so they tag out. Bito and Kyouna lock up, hard shoulderblock by Kyouna but Bito kicks her when she goes for another one and kicks the rookie repeatedly in the back. She tags Momo back in, dropkick by Momo but Kyouna fires back with a shoulderblock. She tags Iwatani, snapmare by Iwatani and she kicks Momo in the back. Mom gets away and tags in Bito, Bito kicks Iwatani and then hits a double vertical suplex on her and Kyouna. Iwatani and Bio trade kick attempts, high kick by Bito and she gets a two count cover. Iwatani goes for a dragon suplex by Bito blocks it, superkick by Iwatani but Bito makes it to her corner first and tags in Momo. Kicks by Momo and she dropkicks Iwatani into the corner, another dropkick by Momo and she follows up with a missile dropkick. Momo picks up Iwatani but Iwatani hits a Northern Lights Suplex for a two count pinfall. Iwatani goes for the dragon suplex but Momo blocks it and rolls up Iwatani for two. Iwatani returns the favor with her own roll-up, kick to the head by Iwatani and she tags Kyouna. Kyouna waits for Momo to get up and hits a lariat, Iwatani rolls in and she superkicks Momo. Diving body press by Kyouna, but Bito breaks up the cover. Iwatani takes care of Bito, Kyouna picks up Momo but Momo wiggles away and hits a snap vertical suplex. Kyouna and Momo trade elbows, kick to the chest by Momo and she hits the Somato, but Iwatani breaks up the pin. Momo picks up Kyouna as Bito returns, and they both kick Kyouna in the chest. Double PK to Kyouna, but she kicks out of the cover. Iwatani goes up top but Bito shakes the rope and then kicks her off the top turnbuckle to the floor. Missile dropkick by Bito to Kyouna, Momo goes up top and she nails a diving Somato for the three count! Momo Watanabe and Yoko Bito win the match.
Finally a match we get to see enough of to enjoy. I liked this match a lot, all four are quality wrestlers and they have great chemistry together. This was a bit of a ‘coming out’ party for Momo, as she showed off a new finisher to go with her new outfit and pinned Kyouna, who is a rookie but due to her age had been placed on the same level as Momo. Bito continues to shake off the rust and looked solid here, and everyone got a bit of a chance to shine. Really good midcard match. Mildly Recommended
(c) Toni Storm vs. Shanna
This match is for the SWA Undisputed Women’s Championship. This belt was created a few months ago, with Io Shirai beating Toni Storm in the tournament final to become the first champion. Toni Storm avenged her defeat last month and won the title back, and this is her first defense against Shanna. Shanna has been hanging around Stardom since late Spring and has had a couple title challenges, but thus far has not had any success.
Storm gets Shanna on the mat early in the match but Shanna quickly switches positions with her and they jockey for control on the mat. Back up they trade wristlocks, armdrag by Storm but Shanna rolls her up for a quick two. Storm kicks at Shanna but Shanna comes back with elbows and they trade blows until Shanna connects with a big kick to the face. Storm retorts with a release German, Shanna crawls to the corner but Storm hits a running hip attack followed by a fisherman suplex hold for a two count. Enzuigiri by Shanna and she applies a trap submission on the mat, but Storm gets into the ropes to force a break. Leg drop by Shanna and she hits an elbow drop for a two count cover. Storm goes for a Backstabber from the ropes but Shanna blocks it, Shanna goes up top but Storm grabs her and suplexes Shanna back into the ring.
Storm goes to the second turnbuckle but Shanna recovers and joins her, hitting an Avalanche Frankensteiner. Tilt-a-whirl slam of sorts by Shanna, but it gets a two count. Rolling dragon suplexes by Shanna, but Storm rolls out of the ring before Shanna can cover her. Shanna goes up top and dives out onto Storm with a plancha suicida, she slides Storm back in but Storm goes off the ropes and sails out of the ring with a tope suicida. Back in the ring, Storm hits the Backstabber off the ropes and tosses Shanna with a capture suplex. Another Backstabber by Storm, but Shanna grabs the ropes to break up the pin. Storm picks up Shanna but Shanna sneaks in a sunset flip, Storm goes for a double underhook but Shanna gets out of it and hits a Stunner. Double underhook slam by Shanna, but the pin gets a two count. Shanna goes up to the top turnbuckle but Storm avoids the diving crossbody attempt and plants Shanna with a piledriver. Storm positions Shanna and goes up to the top turnbuckle, diving leg drop by Storm and she gets the three count! Storm retains the championship.
Talk about a mixed bag. I could write an essay on ‘no selling as fighting spirit’ vs. ‘no selling due to being lazy at transitions’ but it would be boring to read (and everyone would call me a nerd). But this match was the latter, they did some really shady selling such as on the Avalanche Frankensteiner but it wasn’t for Fighting Spirit purposes, they were just doing what they had to do to get to their next spot in the match. Which is annoying on bigger moves that should get a bit more respect. Also the early strike exchange was really weak (until Shanna kicked Storm’s head off) as strikes don’t appear to be their strong suit. On the flip side, they did a good job of making the match feel important, like it was a title match, as both were pulling out every move they had to try to win. It was pretty exciting in slightly clipped form, it just had a few bad moments that took me out of it a bit. Overall more good than bad but with some noticeable flaws. Mildly Recommended
(c) Kairi Hojo vs. Chelsea
This match is for the Wonder of Stardom Championship. More proof that titles are more important than friendship, as the former team of Candy Crush collide. I say former since both have kind of moved on in Stardom, although they have remained friends. Hojo won the title from Santana Garrett on May 15th, this is her second defense of the championship. Chelsea has never had a singles title in Stardom, and looks to change that here against the Pirate Princess.
The friends tie-up to start, they trade holds and end up on the mat where Chelsea gets a headscissors applied. Hojo gets out of it with a bridge and they return to their feet, they lock knuckles until Hojo gets away and dropkicks Chelsea. Chelsea boots Hojo in the face but Hojo ducks the high kick and armdrags Chelsea. Springboard ax handle by Chelsea, she chops Hojo and dropkicks her out of the ring. Chelsea goes up to the top turnbuckle and she literally falls out of the ring back-first and onto Hojo and other minions at ringside. Don’t think I’ve ever seen a ‘dive’ quite like that before. Chelsea then gets on the apron and hits a heel drop onto Hojo’s head before rolling her back into the ring, working over Hojo’s arm in the process. Back in the ring, Chelsea continues focusing on Hojo’s left arm before hitting a jumping knee in the corner, but Hojo spears her when she goes for another one. Hojo slams Chelsea into the corner and elbows her repeatedly in the back, Sliding D in the corner to Chelsea’s back by Hojo and she hits an avalanche diving elbow strike. Crab hold by Hojo but Chelsea gets into the ropes, Hojo jumps down on Chelsea’s back and charges Chelsea, but Chelsea moves and Hojo ends up on the apron.
Chelsea drapes Hojo over the second rope and hits a leg drop, Hojo fights back with elbows and she chops Chelsea to the mat. More chops by Hojo, she goes off the ropes but Chelsea catches her with a high kick. Another kick by Chelsea, and she covers Hojo for a two count. Chelsea quickly applies a reverse armbreaker, she reverts it into a regular armbreaker but Hojo gets a foot on the ropes. Chelsea goes up top but Hojo elbows her, Chelsea catches Hojo’s arm and she applies a hanging armbar over the top rope. Chelsea releases the hold and hits a diving crossbody, cover by Chelsea but it gets a two count. Chelsea picks up Hojo and goes for a kick, but Hojo ducks it and hits a Final Cut Elbow. Hojo goes off the ropes and elbows Chelsea in the back, cover by Hojo but it gets a two. Hojo smacks Chelsea in the ass and goes for the Ikari, but Chelsea quickly gets to the ropes. Hojo goes up top but Chelsea recovers and hits her before she jumps off. Chelsea joins her but Hojo headbutts her into the Tree of Woe, diving footstomp by Hojo and she covers Chelsea for two. Hojo picks up Chelsea but Chelsea wiggles away and applies a sunset flip for two. Chelsea applies the figure four necklock, but Hojo gets out of it and puts her in the Ikari. Hojo releases the hold, she goes up top and she nails the Diving Elbow Drop to Chelsea’s back for the three count pinfall! Kairi Hojo retains the championship!
I can say with full confidence that this is the best match of Chelsea’s career. That isn’t to say it was perfect, but it told several stories very well and it stayed fun throughout. Both wrestlers targeted a body part and stayed on that body part all match, including going for their finishers that targeted that area. I wouldn’t have minded if they sold the part a bit more between segments, but that both kept going back to it was a big plus. Chelsea never gets a ton of height on her kicks but she connected with them forcefully and the Trust Fall Dive as I am calling it has to be seen as that is a new one to me. They also had solid chemistry, with no noticeable miscommunications which happens in Chelsea’s matches sometimes. It started a little slow, but overall a really good match and the best one we saw tonight. Recommended
With the first three matches too clipped to get much of a feel for (even though the action shown on all three matches was fine), this show was mostly about Momo’s graduation and the two title matches. The Momo/Yoko tag match was solid, nothing that will blow you away but fun to watch. Storm/Shanna was a bit too inconsistent for my liking but they worked hard, and the main event really surprised me as it was a well put together and entertaining match. Clipped down to this degree it is hard to recommend the show, but nothing was bad on it and it was an easy watch.