Event: Stardom “Third Anniversary”
Date: January 26th, 2014
Location: Tokyo Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan
Announced Attendance: 1,150
*I am slowing bringing my Joshi Reviews from Puroresu Central over to Joshi City so I can have all my Joshi reviews in one place. Some features of my current reviews on this site may be missing as my style has changed over the years, however I will have it match the Joshi City review format as closely as I can. The original review date can be found at the bottom of the review, I will try not to make any major changes to the text unless I see something that needs clarifying or correcting.*
Stardom is another promotion that I am introducing myself to as I broaden my wrestling viewing a bit. I have heard good things about the promotion as they have some skilled wrestlers, so hopefully their first event to be taped for 2014 leaves a positive first impression. This is a big event for Stardom as three of their titles are being defended. Here is the full card:
All the Joshi wrestlers above have profiles on the website, you can click on their names to go straight to it. Let’s hop to it.
Koguma vs. Yuna Manase
Wristlock by Koguma to start, Manase cartwheels out of it and yanks on Koguma’s arm. Koguma rolls out of it and hits an armdrag, she charges Manase in the corner and delivers a dropkick. Kicks by Koguma, she picks up Manase but Manase pushes her off and throws Koguma in the corner. Irish whip by Manase and she hits a running dropkick. Stomps by Koguma, Irish whip to the corner, reversed, and Manase delivers a running boot to the face. Koguma falls down to a seated position and Manase stomps on her repeatedly. Knee by Manase, she pulls out Koguma and covers her for a one count. Manase picks up Koguma but Koguma clubs her off, and the two trade strikes. Big boot by Manase but Koguma hits a DDT, cover, but it gets a two count. Koguma applies a sleeper before applying a stretch hold, but Manase gets out of it. Front facelock by Koguma but Manase stomps her foot and hits a scissors kick. Armbar by Manase but Koguma wiggles to the ropes to force a break. Manase waits for Koguma to get up but Koguma avoids the big boot and hits an elbow. Slap by Manase, she goes for a scissors kick but Koguma catches it and covers Manase for a two count. Koguma picks up Manase, Irish whip, reversed, and Manase kicks Koguma in the chest. Grounded front facelock by Manase and she hits the Payday for a two count cover. Manase picks up Koguma and goes for it again, but Koguma gets out of it and rolls up Manase for a two count. Running boot by Manase near the corner, she grabs Koguma and nails the Heel Drop. Cover, and she picks up the three count. Your winner: Yuna Manase
A rookie match, although I am glad that Manase is over 18 with that outfit that she wears. It was easy to tell these two are still learning, as they still haven’t mastered the staple of Puroresu – strike exchanges. But besides the awkwardness of those it was not a bad match, just basic which is understandable. Manase hit her kicks well (the Heel Drop was nice) and it wasn’t long enough to be offensive or anything. Rookies need experience so while not a great match it wasn’t a bad way to start out the event.
Kaori Yoneyama, Kellie Skater, and Yuhi vs. Manami Toyota, Matsumoto, and Iwatani
Iwatani and Yuhi start things off. Yuhi kicks Iwatani to start the match, Irish whip, reversed, Yuhi goes off the ropes as well and Yuhi knocks Iwatani to the mat. Wristlock by Yuhi and she goes for a springboard move, but Matsumoto shakes the ropes. Matsumoto comes in the ring and they beat down Yuhi, double Irish whip but Yuhi cartwheels by them. Skater comes in the ring, and she hits a springboard armdrag while Yuhi hits one onto Matsumoto at the same time. Yuhi and Skater kick Iwatani and Yoneyama is tagged in. Toyota and Skater beat down Iwatani, triple Irish whip by Iwatani but she slams on the breaks and Toyota comes off the top turnbuckle with a diving crossbody onto all three. Skater is singled out in the ring and Matsumoto hits a running splash onto Skater. A little brown backpack of some sort is put onto Skater’s chest, Iwatani goes up to the top turnbuckle and hits a body splash onto Skater. They then dump a box full of little brown things (they look like mini-hamburgers), Toyota goes up to the top turnbuckle but Skater moves out of the way of the diving body press. Yoneyama comes back in the ring and attacks Iwatani from behind, German suplex hold by Yuhi to Iwatani but it gets a two count. Skater waits for Iwatani to get up and kicks her in the chest before hitting a cross-armed Side Russian Leg Sweep for a two count cover. Matsumoto gets in the ring, the brown bag is put over Skater’s head and Toyota hits a missile dropkick from the top turnbuckle. Matsumoto grabs Skater and hits a Liger Bomb, cover, and she picks up the three count. Your winners: Manami Toyota, Hiroyo Matsumoto, and Mayu Iwatani
I don’t care what all the results say on various websites, it was Matsumoto that got the pin, not Toyota… I know who Toyota is. Only half of the match was shown but I assume we got the gist of it, I am not 100% sure what the significance of the brown bag is but in the grand scheme of things it doesn’t really matter. We didn’t really see enough of this to get a great feel for it, but what we saw was fine. Compared to the last match you could tell these were more seasoned wrestlers as the moves were all hit smoothly and they kept the pace going. Solid match, just not a lot of it was shown.
Takumi Iroha vs. Yoshiko
Joined in Progress. Elbow by Iroha but Yoshiko hits her back and they trade shots. Yoshiko splashes Iroha from behind and gets her on her shoulders, but Iroha gets out of it. Iroha goes for a suplex, Yoshiko gets out of it and goes off the ropes but Iroha delivers a dropkick. Backdrop lift into a front sit-down slam by Iroha, cover, but it gets a two count. Iroha waits for Yoshiko to get up and goes for a kick but Yoshiko catches it and headbutts Iroha. Chokebomb by Iroha and she hits a senton for a two count cover. Yoshiko positions Iroha in front of the corner, she goes for a reverse splash but Iroha rolls out of the way. Waistlock by Iroha but Yoshiko elbows out of it, Iroha goes off the ropes and hits a spinning heel kick. Cover, but Yoshiko kicks out. Iroha stomps Yoshiko and goes up to the top turnbuckle, delivering a diving body press. Cover, but again it gets two. Iroha picks up Yoshiko and applies a waistlock, German suplex hold by Iroha but Yoshiko kicks out. Iroha picks up Yoshiko and goes for a vertical suplex, but Yoshiko blocks it. Lariat by Yoshiko, cover, but it gets two. Yoshiko picks up Iroha and hits a second chokebomb, cover, but Iroha gets a shoulder up. Yoshiko positions Iroha in front of the corner, she goes up to the second turnbuckle and hits a diving senton. Cover, and she picks up the three count. Your winner: Yoshiko
Looks like we only saw about half the match. Yoshiko needs a new killer move, I am generally not a big fan of repeating big moves in a match unless its a big title match or something, especially if the move is just a set-up for the finisher. Iroha is a rookie going through her ‘trial series’ so it is more about her learning than it is about her actually winning matches. Maybe here she learned that trading strikes with someone twice your size is not a great idea. Seemed fine for what we saw but I would have liked to have seen the first half of the match.
(c) Nanae Takahashi and Miho Wakizawa vs. Kyoko Kimura and Alpha Female
Goddesses of Stardom Championship
Kimura and Alpha Female attack their opponents with the belts before the match has started, and beat them down in the ring. Wakizawa and Takahashi are thrown into different corners but they get the advantage and lariat Kimura and Alpha Female. Kimura is isolated but she applies The Claw to Takahashi and Wakizawa. Wakizawa hits a neckbreaker onto Kimura and Takahashi follows with a dropkick. Wakizawa puts Kimura in a camel clutch while Takahashi poses over them. Double Irish whip to Kimura but she avoids the double dropkick and kicks both of her opponents. Kimura tags in Alpha Female, and Alpha Female applies a stretch hold. Kimura comes back in the ring with some ketchup (I am assuming) in a bottle, and she hits Takahashi with it. She then sets up Wakizawa in the ropes and sprays ketchup all over her face. If it had been mayo this would have been a far more disturbing image. Kimura gets a running start in the ring and kicks Wakizawa in the back of the head while she is still tied up in the ropes. Kimura tags in Alpha Female, and Alpha Female stands on Wakizawa’s face before rubbing her face into the mat. Alpha Female stomps Wakizawa into the mat and goes for a lariat but Wakizawa ducks it and rolls up Alpha Female for a two count. Wakizawa tags in Takahashi, Takahashi clubs Alpha Female against the ropes, Irish whip, reversed, and Takahashi hits an elbow. Alpha Female returns the favor, Kimura comes in the ring but Takahashi hits a crossbody onto both of them. Takahashi hits lariats onto both Kimura and Alpha Female in the corner, Wakizawa goes up to the second turnbuckle and hits a diving body press onto Alpha Female. Cover, but it gets a two count. Wakizawa applies a crossface onto Alpha Female but Alpha Female muscles out of it and hits a side slam. Alpha Female picks up Takahashi and hits a fallaway slam. Alpha Female tags in Kimura, knees by Kimura to the head of Takahashi and she tries to hit her with the ketchup, but Takahashi blocks it. Lariats by Takahashi, cover, but it gets a two count.
Takahashi goes off the ropes but Kimura catches her with a big boot, Kimura goes off the ropes now but Takahashi hits a lariat. Waistlock by Takahashi but Kimura elbows out of it. Elbows by Takahashi and she applies another waistlock, Wakizawa comes in the ring to help and Takahashi is finally able to hit the backdrop suplex. Cover, but Kimura gets a foot on the bottom rope. We clip ahead as Alpha Female is in the ring and she lariats Wakizawa. She and Takahashi both go off the ropes but Takahashi’s lariat hits the mark. Takahashi goes up to the second turnbuckle, Wakizawa then runs in the ring and Wakizawa hurricanranas Takahashi onto Alpha Female. German suplex hold by Wakizawa to Alpha Female but it gets a two count. Wakizawa picks up Alpha Female but Alpha Female hits a short-arm lariat. Alpha Female goes up to the top turnbuckle but Takahashi is back in the ring and hits Alpha Female. Wakizawa then gets up, she joins Alpha Female on the top turnbuckle and hits a superplex. Cover, but Alpha Female kicks out at two. Wakizawa stomps Alpha Female, she goes up to the top turnbuckle but Kimura runs up on the apron and stops her. Takahashi knocks Kimura out of the ring, while Alpha Female joins Wakizawa on the top turnbuckle. Wakizawa quickly jumps down and sits Alpha Female on the top turnbuckle, Wakizawa then climbs back up and goes for a Frankensteiner, but Alpha Female catches her. Kimura comes in the ring and holds Wakizawa, and Alpha Female comes off the top turnbuckle, slamming Wakizawa into the mat. Cover, but Takahashi breaks it up. Alpha Female picks up Wakizawa and hits a shoulder drop slam, cover, but again Takahashi breaks it up. Alpha Female picks up Wakizawa and puts her on her shoulders, but Wakizawa gets off and hits a backslide for a two count. Wakizawa and Takahashi put their opponents lying in the ring, they both go up to the top turnbuckle and go for diving body presses, but both Kimura and Alpha Female get their knees up. Alpha Female hits a lariat onto Wakizawa, cover, but Wakizawa barely kicks out. Alpha Female picks up Wakizawa and nails the Alpha Plex, and she picks up the three count. Your winners and new champions: Kyoko Kimura and Alpha Female
A solid match, but the clips in the action made it hard for the wrestlers to really get a good flow going as it was disjointed in parts. Not that it is their fault, it is just the way the match was presented which is disappointing for a title match. The wrestling was generally solid although a bit silly at times (such as the ketchup usage and Wakizawa doing a Frankensteiner on her own partner). There wasn’t anything noticeably wrong with the match, the skipping just hurt the structure. Mildly Recommended
(c) Act Yasukawa vs. Kairi Hojo
Wonder of Stardom Championship
Hojo wants to shake Yasukawa’s hand to start the match, Yasukawa won’t shake it so Hojo dropkicks her in the back instead. Another dropkick by Hojo and she hits a third before stomping Yasukawa down in the corner. Snapmare by Hojo and she hits an elbow drop. Cover, but Yasukawa kicks out. Hojo applies a single leg crab hold but Yasukawa quickly gets to the ropes to force a break. Yasukawa slams Hojo into the turnbuckle, Irish whip by Yasukawa and she delivers a dropkick. Yasukawa picks up Hojo and throws her against the ropes before choking her with her boot. Yasukawa picks up Hojo, puts her over her shoulder and applies a submission hold. Yasukawa releases it and picks up Hojo, but Hojo elbows her in the chest. Hojo goes off the ropes and goes for a spear, but Yasukawa blocks it and spins Hojo to the mat. Cover by Yasukawa but it gets two. Yasukawa picks up Hojo and goes for a slam but Hojo slides down her back. Clubs to the back by Hojo and she stomps Yasukawa. Hojo goes off the ropes and hits a running neck whip, cover, but it gets a two count. Cross-armed choke applied by Hojo and she stomps Yasukawa in the back. Hojo goes up to the second turnbuckle but Yasukawa rolls out of the way of the diving elbow drop. Yasukawa picks up Hojo and puts her on her shoulder, but Hojo rolls her up for a two count. Crab hold by Hojo and she pulls it all the way, wrenching Yasukawa’s back. Elbow drops to the back by Hojo, she covers Yasukawa but she gets a shoulder up. Hojo picks up Yasukawa, Irish whip, reversed, and Yasukawa rolls up Hojo for a two count. Yasukawa goes for the Stretch Muffler but her back gives out, preventing her from locking in the move. Yasukawa picks up Hojo, Irish whip, reversed, and Hojo hits a running shoulder tackle. Spear by Hojo, cover, but it gets two.
Hojo crosses Yasukawa’s legs and goes for a crab hold but Yasukawa quickly gets a hand on the ropes. Stomps to the back by Hojo, she puts Yasukawa on her shoulders but Yasukawa hops off and elbows Hojo in the chest. Hojo elbows her back and they trade strikes, which Yasukawa gets the better of. Hojo gets back up and elbows Yasukawa against the ropes, double chop by Hojo and she goes off the ropes, but Yasukawa catches her and slams Hojo to the mat. Cover, but it gets a two. Yasukawa goes up to the top turnbuckle but Hojo recovers in time and throws her off the top turnbuckle to the mat. Hojo then goes up to the top turnbuckle and hits a diving elbow drop to Yasukawa’s back. Cover, but Yasukawa gets a shoulder up. Hojo crosses Yasukawa’s legs and cranks down, twisting Yasukawa’s back. Yasukawa rakes Hojo in the face to break up the hold and hits Hojo in the head. Hojo recovers first and elbows Yasukawa while they are still on their knees, and Hojo delivers a headbutt. Cover, but it only gets two. Hojo picks up Yasukawa and elbows her in the head, she goes for another one but Yasukawa catches her with an STO. Yasukawa goes up to the second turnbuckle and hits a rolling senton, cover, but Hojo gets a shoulder up. Yasukawa picks up Hojo and puts her on her shoulder, but Hojo lands on her feet and elbows Yasukawa in the back of the head. Jackknife hold by Hojo, but Yasukawa gets a foot on the ropes. Hojo picks up Yasukawa, snapmare, she goes off the ropes but Yasukawa ducks the elbow and rolls her up for a two count. Yasukawa quickly applies the Stretch Muffler, adding in a leg hook to apply more pressure. Hojo fights it for several moments but she is stuck, and the referee calls for the bell! Your winner and still champion: Act Yasukawa
This was a really good and well worked match. The focus by Hojo on Yasukawa’s back was done really well as she never lost focus the entire match. Yasukawa on her part also sold it the entire match and even failed to be able to apply her finishing move the first time because of it, something that I always enjoy seeing as it just shows that both wrestlers understand the psychology being used and won’t sacrifice that just to get a spot in. Also the referee calling for the bell without Hojo submitting keeps her strong, as even though it was the right call she protested after the match and stayed crying in the ring while Yasukawa celebrated. Just overall a really entertaining back and forth battle between these two. Recommended
(c) Io Shirai vs. Natsuki*Taiyo
World of Stardom Championship
Tie-up to start, wristlock by Taiyo but Shirai reverses it into a side headlock. Taiyo spins out of it, side headlock takedown by Taiyo, headscissors by Shirai and both wrestlers return to their feet. They lock-up and go into a Test of Strength, monkey flip by Taiyo but Shirai hits a Bodyscissors into an armdrag. Shirai charges Taiyo but Taiyo trips her up and both are back up again. Wristlock by Shirai and an Irish whip, and she throws Taiyo to the mat. Taiyo is back up and goes off the ropes, shoulderblock by Shirai and she flips off the ropes. They flip around each other for a moment until Shirai hits an armdrag and Taiyo falls out of the ring. Shirai goes off the ropes but Taiyo rolls back in and dropkicks Shirai in the knee. Taiyo goes up to the top rope and does a doublestomp on Shirai’s arm as she gets up. Taiyo kicks Shirai in the arm, elbow by Shirai and they trade elbow shots. Taiyo gets the better of it, she goes off the ropes and a hard elbow sends Shirai to the mat. Taiyo picks up Shirai and kicks her in the back and then in the leg. Taiyo tries to kick Shirai while she is seated on the mat but Shirai ducks multiple times and rolls up Taiyo for a two count. Taiyo kicks Shirai in the chest but Shirai doe a kip-up and hits a dropkick. Back up they trade elbows, slaps by Taiyo and she hits Shirai down in the corner. Taiyo backs up to get a running start and dropkicks Shirai in the chest. Taiyo goes up to the top turnbuckle and delivers the missile dropkick, she goes for a corner dropkick but Shirai moves out of the way. Running double knee strike by Shirai in the corner, she goes up to the top turnbuckle but Taiyo is up and jumps up on the top turnbuckle as well. Shirai grabs Taiyo by the arm and jumps down onto the apron, snapping Taiyo’s arm on the top rope. Shirai then goes back up top and hits a missile dropkick, cover, but it gets a two count. Shirai picks up Taiyo and hits a facebuster, cover, but gets a two count. Shirai applies a crossface into more of a choke hold, and Shirai releases the hold after a moment. Shirai goes up to the top turnbuckle but Taiyo hops up and hits an armdrag off the top. Double springboard moonsault by Taiyo, cover, but it gets two. Shirai grabs Taiyo around the waist but Taiyo trips her up and applies a seated armbar. Shirai gets to the ropes to force a break, Taiyo goes up to the top turnbuckle and hits the diving body press for a two count.
Taiyo goes back to the arm and goes for a jackknife hold, but Shirai pushes her way out of it. Sit-down powerbomb by Taiyo, cover, but it gets two. Taiyo goes off the ropes but Shirai catches her with a dropkick. Taiyo falls out of the ring, she tries to skin the cat but Shirai dropkicks her in the back. Shirai bounces off the far ropes and sails out onto Taiyo with a plancha through the ropes. Shirai goes up to the top turnbuckle and hits a moonsault down onto Taiyo as she was starting to get up. Shirai throws Taiyo into the ring, she then goes on the apron and hits a swandive dropkick. Tiger feint kick by Shirai and she hits another swandive dropkick, cover, but it gets a two count. Shirai waits for Taiyo to get up and goes for a kick, Taiyo blocks the first one but not the second one. Kick to the side of the head by Shirai but Taiyo finally catches one and hits a powerbomb. Shirai deflects Taiyo’s next attack and delivers another kick to the side of the head. Shirai positions Taiyo in front of the corner and hits a standing moonsault, she then goes up to the second turnbuckle and hits a moonsault, and finally she hits one off the top turnbuckle. Cover, but Taiyo kicks out at two. Shirai goes up top again but Taiyo is up in plenty of time and jumps on top as well. Taiyo goes for a German suplex off the top but Shirai lands on her feet and delivers a sliding kick to Taiyo. Cover, but Taiyo gets a shoulder up. Shirai picks up Taiyo and goes for a suplex but Taiyo slides between her legs. They trade move attempts before getting into a strike battle, Taiyo grabs Shirai and hits the leg capture suplex hold for a two count. Taiyo goes up to the top turnbuckle and nails the diving double stomp, cover, but Shirai gets a shoulder up. Taiyo picks up Shirai, she goes off the ropes and delivers the Taiyo☆Chan Bomb for a two count. Taiyo picks up Shirai, she goes off the ropes but Shirai catches her with a hurricanrana for a two count. Shirai picks up Taiyo and hits a hard elbow, but Taiyo returns fire as they trade shots. Headbutt by Shirai and a slap sends Taiyo to her knees. Sliding kick by Shirai, cover, but Taiyo kicks out at two. Shirai positions Taiyo in front of the corner, she goes up to the top turnbuckle and hits the moonsault doublestomp . Shirai goes up top again and this time she hits a second incredibly accurate moonsault doublestomp. Suplex de Io by Shirai and she picks up the three count. Your winner and still champion: Io Shirai
Well this was a match. To get straight to the point I thought it was pretty amazing. There were some little things here and there that didn’t work as they tried to get too cute, but considering the speed in which they go and having very little downtime some missteps here and there are expected. It may stop the match from becoming an all-time classic but it doesn’t take away from all that they did right. I have to admit any match with a perfect moonsault doublestomp automatically is good in my book, it is such an awesome looking move when hit properly like the second one was in this match. I hadn’t seen either of these women before and Shirai is great fun to watch as she was just flying around everywhere. They didn’t spend a lot of time with submission holds, just a few general ‘weaken your opponent’ ones and seemed content to just drop bombs and big moves on each other. It felt like a big match, and it was as this was a big anniversary show for the promotion, so they were sure to end the event with a bang. Overall just a great match, I can look past a few of the hiccups when a match is as exciting as this one, definitely a must-see. Highly Recommended
review completed on 3/25/14
The event started slow, but each of the three title matches was better than the last one, climaxing with a great encounter in the main event. The wrestlers were really going all out here for their anniversary show, and win or lose there was certainly no lack of passion. The last two matches are definitely worth watching, and the others aren’t bad even though some are clipped and as a general rule of thumb I hate clipping in matches. Definitely worth picking up if you are already a fan of Stardom, but even if not I think this event has a lot of good going for it even with the clipped matches.