Stardom Tokyo Dream Cinderella Special Edition on 6/12/21 Review

Stardom Tokyo Dream Cinderella Poster

Event: Stardom Tokyo Dream Cinderella Special Edition
Date: June 12th, 2021
Location: Ota City General Gymnasium in Tokyo, Japan
Announced Attendance: 1,240
Broadcast: Streamed on Stardom World

I tend to fall behind in my Joshi watching and rarely get around to reviewing “new” events, so for me this is a quick turnaround. This was a huge event for Stardom on several levels. First, just in its presentation as not only was it live on PPV but for the first time they had live English commentary, making the event far more accessible for Western fans. Second, the long delayed ending of the Cinderella Tournament is taking place, with both the Semi Finals and Finals happening tonight. To top it all off, we also have a killer main event as Utami Hayashishita and Syuri battle for the World of Stardom Championship! Plus a few fun tag matches to fill out the rest of the show, as even those are filled with high-end talent. Here is the full card:

As this streamed on both PPV and on Stardom World, all matches will be shown in full. All wrestlers on the show have profiles on Joshi City, you can click on their names above to go straight to it. I will be reviewing the PPV version of the event, with the only major difference being the PPV did not have the dark match.

Unagi Sayaka vs. Maika
Maika vs. Unagi Sayaka
Cinderella Tournament Semi Final

We kick off the main show by diving right into the Cinderella Tournament! Which makes sense, as the winner has to wrestle again later. To get here, Maika defeated Konami in the first round and upset Giulia in the second round. She was a pre-tournament dark horse to do well so its not a complete surprise she is here, but it still shows her growth in Stardom since arriving last year. Unagi getting this far is more surprising as she hasn’t been slotted high since showing up in Stardom, she defeated Natsuko Tora and Syuri to reach the Semi Finals. With the Over The Top Rope win condition, anything is possible in the Cinderella Tournament, so anyone can win at this point.

They immediately start trading elbows after the bell rings, Unagi gets Maika in the corner but Maika gets her foot up on the charge. Unagi catches it however and hits a running boot to Maika’s apparently already injured leg (its wrapped up), she flings Maika to the mat and covers her for two. Unagi keeps working on Maika’s leg, she picks up Maika but Maika plants her with a side slam. Vertical suplex by Maika, she goes off the ropes but Unagi catches her with an elbow. A dropkick by Unagi sends Maika to the apron, Unagi charges her again but Maika avoids her slide and hits a double footstomp. Maika returns to the ring and hits a scoop slam, sliding elbow by Maika and she applies a sleeper. Unagi gets to the ropes for the break, Maika picks her up and the two trade elbows. Judo toss by Maika but Unagi blocks the monkey flip attempt and hits a leg drop.

Unagi picks up Maika and she hits a running facecrusher, double legdrop by Unagi and she covers Maika for two. Unagi positions Maika and goes to the top turnbuckle, but Maika recovers and elbows her before she can jump off. Maika joins Unagi and hits a delayed superplex back to the mat, but Unagi kicks out of the pin attempt. Maika picks up Unagi but Unagi pushes her off and hits a spinebuster. Unagi goes back up top and hits a Frog Splash, but Maika barely gets a shoulder up. Unagi goes off the ropes but Maika levels her with a lariat, cross-arm STO by Maika but her cover gets two. Maika picks up Unagi but Unagi wiggles away and schoolboys her for two. Heel drop by Unagi, she picks up Maika but Maika spins away and applies a sleeper. Cover by Maika, but it gets a two count. Maika drags Unagi to her feet and delivers a Michinoku Driver, and she picks up the three count! Maika is the winner and advances to the Finals.

The effort was there but this was a bit sloppy. Unagi tries hard but she is a bit loose when it comes to her mechanics, as several moves here were either not hit clean or looked awkward. Maika was the grounded force she always is, keeping things together with her simple but impactful offense. The right wrestler definitely won, maybe Unagi’s time will come but its not here yet. I won’t drag it too much as they kept the pace up and the end stretch went well, but not a high-end match.

Himeka vs. Saya Kamitani
Himeka vs. Saya Kamitani
Cinderella Tournament Semi Final

To find out who will go against Maika later tonight, Himeka and Saya Kamitani collide. The future of Stardom looks so bright with these two leading the charge (with others), as both have shown so much potential early in their careers. To get here, Himeka defeated Hanan in the first round and Mayu Iwatani in the second, one of the bigger upsets in the tournament. Saya had wins over Tam Nakano and Starlight Kid, two big victories as well. Both could use a win here to each the Finals, so its anyone’s game.

They get right into it as they go into a fast paced exchange, dropkick by Saya but Himeka boots her and goes for a scoop slam. Saya slides away and hits another dropkick, she hangs Himeka over the second rope and goes out to the apron to deliver an ax kick. Back in the ring, neck crank by Saya and she lets go so she can apply a full nelson. Himeka gets to the ropes to force the break, Saya throws Himeka into the corner but Himeka moves when she charges in and gets Saya on her shoulders. She dumps her over the top rope onto the apron, Himeka charges her but Saya springboards back into the ring. Himeka stays in control and delivers a backbreaker, crab hold by Himeka but Saya gets to the ropes for the break. Himeka picks up Saya and gets her in an Argentine Backbreaker, she slams Saya to the mat and covers her for two. Himeka goes off the ropes but Saya delivers a big boot, leaving both wrestlers on the mat.

Himeka recovers first and elbows Saya, Saya returns fire as they trade shots while still on their knees. They keep trading back on their feet, Saya goes off the ropes and hits a spinning heel kick. Saya picks up Himeka but Himeka blocks the suplex attempt and plants Saya with a short-range lariat. Sliding lariat by Himeka, and she covers Saya for two. Himeka picks up Saya and drops her with a powerbomb, but Saya barely kicks out. Himeka picks up Saya and throws her into the corner, lariat to the back by Himeka before she sets up Saya for a powerbomb, but it is blocked. Saya slides out to the apron and hits a swandive crossbody, but Himeka kicks out. Dropkick by Saya, she picks up Himeka but Himeka drills her with a short-range lariat. Saya quickly returns to her feet and hits another heel kick, Fisherman Suplex Hold by Saya but it gets two. Saya gets Himeka back up and delivers the Star Crusher, and she picks up the three count! Saya Kamitani wins and advances to the Finals.

I could watch these two wrestle all day. Its interesting that neither match went with the Over The Top cop-out victory, showing both Maika and Saya Kamitani were the better wrestlers and not just the luckiest. A good mixture of hard hitting and high flying, the time flew by as they kept the action interesting. My one quibble is Saya no-selling the lariat and immediately going into the end stretch of the match. I don’t mind no-selling or delayed selling if its returned by the opponent, but here it was more Saya completely shrugging off a big move and dominating from there until she won. Not the end of the world, but certainly a smoother transition could have been used. Overall a solid match though.  Mildly Recommended

AZM & Natsupoi vs. Giulia & Tam Nakano vs. Mina Shirakawa & Momo Watanabe
AZM and Natsupoi vs. Giulia and Nakano vs. Shirakawa and Watanabe

Even though I spoiled the teams above, the gimmick going into this match is the wrestlers did not know who their tag partner would be. They had sticks that they drew, and the wrestler was paired with whomever had the matching color. I can’t say with 100% certainty that it was rigged but the obvious assumption is of course it was, as all the factions were split up just to make things more interesting. The wrestler quality here is pretty high, as instead of being in big title matches we have both Giulia and Tam Nakano present (and Momo is here too). Which isn’t any indication of their long term position in the company, but on any given big card not everyone can be in the main event. Since we didn’t even know the teams coming into the match there was no real way to predict who would win, but hopefully they still put some effort into it and don’t just coast on the fact they are on silly teams.

All seem to have accepted their short term tag partners as the match begins, with the legal wrestlers being Tam, Natsupoi, and Mina. Tam and Natsupoi lock up first while Mina messes with her partner Momo, Momo decides to pose like Mina but gets knocked off the apron for her efforts. Mina is double teamed but shoulderblocks both Natsupoi and AZM, Momo comes in the ring and helps Mina out. Tam breaks things up and tries to steal a cover, but she only gets a two count. Tam and Mina have an exchange, elbow by Mina and with Momo they both hit running strikes on Tam. Mina goes off the ropes but Giulia hits her from the apron, Giulia holds Mina but Momo holds Tam. Natsupoi and AZM come in and take care of both pairs, Giulia gets in the ring as maybe the legal wrestler (who knows) and plays around with Natsupoi. Tam tries to help but doublestomps Giulia by accident, dropkick by Natsupoi to Tam and she lands on Giulia in the process. Natsupoi asks Giulia for forgiveness but Giulia kicks her in the face, cover by Giulia but AZM breaks it up.

Tam and Giulia both hit backdrop suplexes before going to the top turnbuckle, but AZM and Natsupoi joins them in their respective corners. Giulia and Tam both get them back and deliver diving moves, but the pin is broken up. Now it is Momo and Mina’s turn but they eat a dropkick by Giulia, Tam randomly elbows Giulia but Giulia elbows her back and the partners trade shots while everyone else watches. Mina and Momo interrupt them with dropkicks, Momo throws Giulia in the corner and hits another dropkick. High kick by Tam to Momo, Giulia recovers and fights over who can beat up Momo with Tam. They eventually both kick Momo before Giulia picks up Tam and slams her onto Momo for a two count. Sliding Kick by Giulia but AZM suddenly returns and hits a triple jump crossbody out of the corner. Momo reemerges and trades elbows with AZM, vertical suplex by Momo but it gets two. Irish whip by Momo but AZM delivers La Mistica, Momo rolls out of it but AZM hits a vertical suplex.

Natsupoi comes in to help but Tam and Giulia interrupt them, they get Tam and Giulia to their knees before Natsupoi jumps off their backs and hits a footstomp. Mina tries to do the same trick but trips, everyone gets annoyed at her and stomps Mina out. Mina is thrown into the corner but Mina avoids their charges and takes out all four of her opponents. Mina and Natsupoi are alone for a moment, high kick by Natsupoi but Mina drops her with a powerslam for two. Momo finally comes back to help her partner but AZM comes in too and they deliver dropkicks. Natsupoi and AZM both go up the same turnbuckle and hit double… double footstomps, but Momo hits them both with a Somato. She goes up top but Giulia joins her, Tam comes over to help as they create a suplex tower down to the mat. Natsupoi gets Mina’s back, AZM tries to help but kicks her own partner by mistake. AZM goes for La Mistica, Mina rolls through it but AZM applies the A. Cyclone for the three count! AZM and Natsupoi win!

They certainly leaned more into the silly than the serious with this one, which isn’t totally surprising considering the way the match was formed. Even with that though there still was plenty of hard hitting action as well, as when it gets down to it all of these wrestlers enjoy inflicting violence (even if on their own partner, in the case of Tam and Giulia). There were a lot of cute spots but needless to say it was pure chaos, with the referee not even attempting to keep things under control. Maybe a little more random and meandering than my personal preference would be but it did make me laugh a few times and they seemed to be having a good time. An interesting match, I enjoyed it as a one time thing but hopefully it doesn’t become a recurring gimmick.  Mildly Recommended

STARS vs. Oedo Tai
Hanan, Koguma, Iwatani, Starlight Kid, and Kadokura vs. Fukigen Death, Konami, Natsuko Tora, Ruaka, and Kashima
Elimination Match, Loser Must Join Other Faction

Speaking of recurring gimmick matches I don’t like, this match stipulation is at the top of my list. Not the elimination part, I love elimination matches. No, Stardom is going back to the “the last wrestler that is pinned joins the other faction” stipulation. Which I hate and yet Stardom keeps doing it. Even in the illogical world of wrestling, we all have limits and this goes a step too far for me, as you can’t “force” a wrestler to cooperate with a faction they don’t want to. The factions don’t have binding contracts, they join and leave whenever they want. The loser could just say “nah” and re-join their old faction, but they won’t, for “mysterious reasons.” Plus Rin isn’t even in Stardom to be forced to do anything. Beyond not liking that match stipulation, there are a lot of good wrestlers here and I do like elimination matches so I’m sure it will be entertaining. Like most Stardom elimination matches, wrestlers can be eliminated by pinfall, submission, or by going Over The Top Rope.

STARS attack Oedo Tai before the bell rings as both teams brawl, Mayu gets isolated in the ring and all of Oedo Tai take turns attacking Mayu. Natsuko stays in as the legal wrestler, she throws Mayu in the corner and tags Saki. Stomps by Saki and she connects with a series of mounted elbows, she tags in Ruaka as the Mayu beatdown continues. Konami is next as she comes in and kicks Mayu in the back, she goes off the ropes but Hanan runs in and hits a judo toss. This gives Mayu time to tag in Rin, dropkick by Rin to Konami and Koguma comes in too so they can double team her. All of STARS eventually join in the fun as they attack various Oedo Tai members, but things finally calm back down with Rin and Konami alone in the ring. Cross armbreaker takedown by Konami but it gets broken up, she hits a sliding kick on Rin before connecting with a vertical suplex. She tags in Saki, hurricanrana by Saki on Rin and she delivers a big boot. Saki charges Rin but eats a superkick, Saki boots her back however and makes the tag to Ruaka. Hanan is tagged as well, dropkick by Hanan but Ruaka hits a shoulderblock. Ruaka and Hanan trade elbows, drop toehold by Hanan and Starlight Kid flies in with a 619. Hanan tags Mayu, dropkick by Mayu as Starlight Kid and Koguma get in the ring as well. Ruaka’s teammates take care of Koguma and Starlight Kid for her, Mayu is thrown in the corner and all the members of Oedo Tai deliver running strikes. Ruaka goes up top and hits the diving body press, but Hanan breaks up the cover. Ruaka goes back up top but Rin joins her, hitting a Frankensteiner down to the mat. Double superkicks to Ruaka, Mayu hits the Dodonpa on Ruaka while Rin dropkicks her, and Mayu gets the three count cover! Ruaka is eliminated.

Konami runs in as the legal wrestler and hits a release German on Mayu, knees by Konami but Koguma runs in and dropkicks her. This gives Mayu time to recover and tags in Koguma, dropkick by Koguma and she stomps on Konami. Footstomps by Koguma against the ropes, she picks up Konami but Konami gets away and kicks her in the midsection. Throat Trust by Death on Koguma, Konami plants Koguma with a Fisherman Suplex Hold but it only gets two (Koguma didn’t kick out though). The match breaks down as both teams charge the ring, Starlight Kid hits a double diving crossbody and Koguma follows with a missile dropkick on Konami. Mayu jumps on Koguma’s shoulders, Starlight Kid then gets on the top turnbuckle to stand on Mayu’s shoulders, hitting a diving body press down onto Konami. Mayu follows with a diving footstomp, German suplex hold by Koguma to Konami and she picks up the three count! Konami is eliminated.

Death enters but Koguma plants her with a DDT, she tags in Hanan but Death swats away her dropkick attempt. Crossbody from Hanan out of the corner and she hits a monkey flip for two. She goes for the cross armbreaker but it gets broken up quickly, Natsuko picks up Hanan and Saki boots her. Diving senton by Death to Hanan, and she covers her for the three! Hanan is eliminated. Koguma quickly runs in and hits a Northern Lights Suplex Hold on Death, but it gets a two count. Rin goes to the top turnbuckle but Konami kicks her from the apron, sending Rin to the apron. Death charges Rin but Rin holds down the rope, so Death ends up on the apron with her. They battle on the apron until Mayu dropkicks Death, which sends both her and Rin crashing to the floor! Fukigen Death and Rin Kadokura are both eliminated.

Saki and Koguma come in as the legal wrestlers, drop toehold by Koguma and she hits a dropkick. She puts Saki in the corner, Irish whip by Koguma and she hits a body avalanche followed by a face crusher for two. Starlight Kid and Mayu get in the ring and they triple team Saki, cover by Koguma but Natsuko breaks it up. Koguma picks up Saki but Saki quickly puts her in the Kishikaisei and picks up the three count! Koguma is eliminated. The wrestlers left are Mayu Iwatani, Starlight Kid, Saki Kashima, and Natsuko Tora. Mayu and Saki trade strikes, superkick by Mayu and she drops Saki with a tombstone piledriver. Mayu goes up top but Saki avoids the moonsault, Kishikaisei by Saki but the cover is broken up. Mayu picks up Saki and hits a headbutt, she goes for the Tiger Suplex but Saki blocks it and applies the Kishikaisei again, picking up the three count! Mayu Iwatani is eliminated.

Natsuko comes in when Starlight Kid does and attacks her in the corner, cannonball by Natsuko while Saki goes to the top turnbuckle. Diving footstomp by Saki, and she covers Starlight Kid for a two count. Saki picks up Starlight Kid but Starlight Kid avoids their charge, goes for a few flash pins on Saki before finally holding her down for the three count! Saki Kashima is eliminated. Natsuko goes for a senton but Starlight Kid avoids it, she can’t avoid the sliding elbow however and Natsuko covers her for two. Natsuko picks up Starlight Kid and gets her on her shoulders, but Starlight Kid slides off. Starlight Kid charges Natsuko but Natsuko plants her with a Black Hole Slam for a two count. Natsuko picks up Starlight Kid and goes off the ropes, but Starlight Kid trips her and applies a fireman’s carry cover, but Oedo Tai pulls the referee out of the ring. Konami and Saki return to the ring to attack Starlight Kid, Natsuko goes up top and hits the diving body press on Starlight Kid, but Starlight Kid barely gets a shoulder up. Natsuko picks up Starlight Kid and hits a Death Valley Bomb, she follows up with a second one and covers Starlight Kid for the three count! Starlight Kid is eliminated and must join Oedo Tai.

Putting aside my thoughts on the stipulation, which I’ve already kvetched about, this was a fun match but not without its issues. Having a ten wrestler elimination match go only 17 minutes means some eliminations and spots are going to be rushed, and not everyone is going to get a chance to shine. There are also more chances for mistakes with all the chaos going on, like with what looked like Koguma not kicking out of a cover because I assume she thought it would be broken up by a teammate. That being said, there were a lot of good spots throughout the match and having so many wrestlers helped protect those in the match that aren’t really on that high of a level. Even with the match being too short to give them time to do anything too memorable, still an entertaining sprint.  Mildly Recommended

Stardom 2021 Finals
Maika vs. Saya Kamitani
Cinderella Tournament 2021 Final

After delays, we are finally getting to crown the winner of the 2021 Cinderella Tournament! Both of these wrestlers are deserving and have arguments for why they should win. Both are young and relatively inexperienced wrestlers, but both have shown a lot of promise early in their careers and are popular with fans. They styles are very different and this is only their second ever singles match, so hopefully they mesh together well and can put on an entertaining and memorable finale.

They charge each other to start as Saya immediately takes out Maika’s injured leg and starts working it over. Saya applies the Sickle Hold but Maika gets into the ropes for the break, stomps by Saya and she throws Maika into the corner. Saya charges Maika but Maika moves, Saya slides out of the ring however and slams Maika’s knee into the ring post. Saya returns to the ring and picks up Maika, she goes off the ropes but Maika catches her with a backbreaker. Maika picks up Saya and hits a scoop slam, single leg crab hold by Maika but Saya gets to the ropes. Maika throws Saya into the corner and elbows her repeatedly in the back, stomps by Maika and she hits a scoop slam. Crab hold by Maika but Saya gets to the ropes again, Maika charges Saya but Saya goes off the ropes as well as they trade move attempts. Saya wins the battle as she dropkicks Maika in the back, she then puts Maika’s leg on the second rope and kicks it. Saya gets on the second turnbuckle and delivers another dropkick to the knee, she goes to the apron and goes for a swandive crossbody but Maika catches her and hits a Fallaway Slam. Lariat by Maika, she charges Saya and hits a second one for a two count.

Maika picks up Saya but Saya slides out of the suplex attempt and hits a double kneedrop to Maika’s leg. Running Shooting Star Press by Saya, and she covers Maika for two. Saya goes up to the top turnbuckle but Maika hits her from behind, Saya kicks her back and keeps climbing but Maika elbows her again before she can jump off. Maika joins Saya and delivers a superplex down to the mat, she is too hurt to make a cover however and the two trade shots as they slowly stand back up. They keep exchanging elbows once on their feet, a battle ultimately won by Maika. Saya gets back up but Maika plants her with a backdrop suplex, picking up a two count cover. Maika applies a chinlock while controlling Saya’s wrist, but Saya gets a foot on the ropes for the break. Maika picks up Saya and hits the cross-arm STO, cover by Maika but Saya barely gets a shoulder up. Maika gets Saya up but Saya spins way, Maika levels her with a lariat but Saya returns with a big boot. Both wrestlers get back up and Maika hits another lariat, she goes off the ropes but Saya reverses her lariat with a moonsault side slam for a two count. Fisherman Driver by Saya, she goes to the top turnbuckle and nails the Phoenix Splash for the three count! Saya Kamitani wins the match and is the 2021 Cinderella Winner!

This was a great match. Its been really fun watching both Saya and Maika grow so much over the last year, and while Stardom may be overly stacked with quality wrestlers right now they seem determined to continue to grow these two young talents. Saya’s entire game plan was on point, as it was logical to go after Maika’s leg, while Maika tried to keep Saya grounded with power moves and the occasional submission. Saya was a little sloppy early in her career but she has figured it out, as all her high spots were delivered flawlessly, including a real impressive Phoenix Splash. Fast paced with many convincing nearfalls, I really have nothing bad to say about the match. I could nitpick Maika not selling the leg more considering Saya’s work on it, but it wasn’t distracting and since Maika doesn’t fly around the ring anyway it didn’t hurt the match. Overall just a really entertaining match and a good showcase for two great young wrestlers.  Recommended

Utami Hayashishita vs. Syuri
(c) Utami Hayashishita vs. Syuri
World of Stardom Championship

A long show is about to get longer, as it is time for the main event. I haven’t had my head in the sand for the last two weeks so I am completely aware that people are fawning over this match pretty hard. And this didn’t really surprised me, as I am a noted Utami fan and Syuri when put in the right situations is pretty damn good at what she does. Utami has held the title since November, when she won it from Mayu Iwatani, and this is her 5th defense. She has cemented herself as the Ace of Stardom at the moment, but Syuri is never easy to beat as she hasn’t lost a standard singles match since last October. I know this match is going to be a banger, and I’ve been looking forward to watching it for a couple weeks. Time to see what all the fuss is about.

They start slow as they get into a long lockup, Utami gets Syuri in the ropes but she gives a clean break. Syuri gets Utami into the ropes on the second tie-up, she goes for a kick but Utami ducks out of the way. Armdrag by Syuri and she keeps the armbar applied, but Utami gets out of it and the two trade holds. They end up breaking cleanly and returning to their feet, takedown by Syuri and she gets a front necklock applied. Utami gets out of it and applies a wristlock but Syuri reverses it, they trade standing holds until Syuri gets Utami back to the mat. Utami wiggles away as they get to their feet again, side headlock by Syuri but Utami hits a hard shoulderblock. Syuri gets the headlock re-applied and goes for a few covers, but she can’t keep Utami down. Back up they trade waistlocks, snapmare by Syuri and she hits an armdrag, but Utami returns the favor. They reach a stalemate as they get back up, hard elbow by Syuri but Utami elbows her back as they trade blows. Syuri tackles Utami through the ropes and down to the floor, stomps by Syuri and she gets on the apron to hit Utami with a running kick. She follows up with a hurricanrana down to the floor, stomps by Syuri but Utami catches a kick and slams Syuri knee-first into the ring apron. Utami slides Syuri back in the ring and keeps on Syuri’s leg, cross kneelock by Utami but Syuri gets to the ropes for the break. Utami goes back to the leg but Syuri knees her in the corner, Utami avoids her lariat however and pulls Syuri back to the middle of the ring. Syuri trips her and applies a submission, she goes for the cross armbreaker but Utami quickly gets to the ropes.

Snapmare by Syuri and she kicks Utami in the back, she sits up Utami and kicks her in the chest. More kicks by Syuri, she throws Utami into the corner and stomps her into a seated position. Running knee by Syuri and she goes for the cross armbreaker, Utami blocks it so Syuri goes for a Triangle Choke instead. Utami stands up and gets out of the hold by slamming Syuri into the corner, running elbow by Utami and she hits a missile dropkick off the second turnbuckle. Lariat by Utami and she delivers a sliding lariat for a two count. Utami picks up Syuri but Syuri kicks her repeatedly, head kick by Syuri and she punts Utami in the face. Utami rolls out of the ring while the referee checks on her, Syuri gets tired of waiting and comes out after her, sliding Utami back in the ring. Cover by Syuri, but Utami barely kicks out. Dropkick into the corner by Syuri and she hits a running knee, Syuri goes up to the top turnbuckle and hits a diving legdrop to Utami’s back for two. Syuri picks up Utami but Utami gets her back and German suplexes Syuri into the turnbuckles. Lariat by Utami in the corner and she sits Syuri on the top turnbuckle, she joins her and hits Syuri on her shoulders. Avalanche Air Raid Crash attempt by Utami but Syuri flips out of it, allowing her to kick Utami in the face. Syuri gets Utami on her shoulders and connects with a double knee gutbuster, but again Utami rolls out of the ring before Syuri can cover her. Syuri goes to the apron but Utami avoids her running kick, as Syuri splats down to the floor. They both slowly return to the apron and trade elbows, kicks by Syuri but Utami catches one and drops Syuri with an Air Raid Crash on the apron. Utami returns to the thing but Syuri rolls back up, Utami goes after her but Syuri hits a front dropkick.

Tilt-a-whirl slam by Syuri and she follows with a DDT (which is likely what she was going for the first time), and both wrestlers are down on the floor. Syuri tries to get back in the ring but Utami grabs her from behind and German suplexes her neck-first into the edge of the apron. Utami gets back in as Syuri follows, Utami goes to the top turnbuckle and delivers a missile dropkick for two. Sleeper by Utami but she lets go so she can hit a backdrop suplex for a two count. Utami picks up Syuri and gets her on her shoulders, she spins Syuri around but Syuri reverses it with a DDT. Knees by Syuri to the midsection and she applies a cross armbreaker takedown, but Utami gets into the ropes for the break. Syuri scoops up Utami but Utami slides off to apply the sleeper, she gets Syuri to the mat while keeping the hold applied but Syuri gets a foot on the ropes. Utami puts Syuri on the top turnbuckle and suplexes her back down to the mat, she picks up Syuri but Syuri slaps her in the face. They trade strikes with Syuri winning the exchange, Syuri goes off the ropes but Utami strikes her to the mat. Release German by Utami and she delivers the Air Raid Crash, cover by Utami but it gets a two count. Utami gets Syuri on her shoulders but Syuri slides off and cradles Utami for two. Rolling cradle by Syuri, but that gets a two count as well. Syuri picks up Utami but Utami blocks the head kick and hits a short-range lariat. They both get up, jumping knee by Syuri and she hits a series of elbows. Utami elbows her back, but while they struggle to stand the bell rings, as time has expired! The match is a Draw.

Syuri isn’t satisfied and gets on the microphone, clearly wanting the match to continue. Utami agrees, and after OKing it with Rossy Ogawa, the match continues! Syuri and Utami charge each other and immediately start trading elbows, Utami elbows Syuri to the mat but Syuri connects with a series of knees. Syuri picks up Utami and darts her head-first into the turnbuckle, Syuri grabs her and plants Utami with a DDT for a two count. Syuri picks up Utami, Utami fights back but Syuri delivers a kick combination. Cross armbreaker takedown by Syuri and she switches it to a seated armbar. Utami rolls out of it and puts Syuri in a sleeper hold, but Syuri gets out of it with a jawbreaker. Kicks by Syuri but Utami avoids her charge and hits a release German. Slaps by Utami but Syuri slaps her back and the two trade shots. Takedown by Syuri and she hits mounted slaps, she goes for the cross armbreaker but Utami blocks it. Syuri goes for a PK but Utami ducks, she gets Syuri on her shoulders but Syuri hops off. Elbows by Utami but Syuri hits the Codebreaker, but Utami lands on top of Syuri for a two count cover. They both slowly get up, head kick by Syuri and she puts Utami in the Stretch Muffler. Utami is too close to the ropes and makes it for the break, Syuri grabs Utami and deadlifts her up before dropping her back to the mat for a two count. Syuri picks up Utami but Utami dropkicks her, she gets on the second turnbuckle but Syuri recovers and joins her.

Avalanche modified armdrag by Syuri and she applies a Kimura, but Utami gets to the ropes for the break. Utami picks up Syuri and hits a German suplex, she gets Syuri on her shoulders and delivers the Torture Rack Bomb for a two count cover. Utami picks up Syuri and gets her up in the crucifix, she spins her around but Syuri breaks free and puts Utami in a cross armbreaker. Seated armbar by Syuri but Utami again inches to the ropes, so Syuri switches the hold to a double armbar. Utami finally makes it to the bottom rope for the break, Syuri sits up Utami and nails a running knee but Utami gets a shoulder up on the cover. Syuri gets Utami on one shoulder and drops her with the Emerald Frosion, cover by Syuri but again it gets two. Syuri waits for Utami to sit up but Utami catches her kick attempt and hits a powerbomb. Utami picks up Syuri and gets her up, nailing the Hijack Bomb but Syuri lands too close to the ropes and grabs the bottom one to break the cover. Utami picks up Syuri but Syuri kicks her in the head, clubbing blows by Utami but Syuri nails a series of spinning backfists. High kick by Syuri but Utami fires back with a lariat, Syuri gets up and delivers a Buzzsaw Kick but she collapses to the mat along with Utami. The referee starts a count and makes it to ten, counting down both wrestlers. The match is declared a Draw due to a Double Knockout, and Utami Hayashishita retains the championship!

A lot has already been said about this match, but I am going to say a little bit more. First, I have no issue with the ending. These two gave literally everything over 40+ minutes and its perfectly believable that they used up every ounce of energy they had. I was beyond impressed that after such a physical match, Utami was still hitting the Torture Rack Bomb and the Hijack Bomb, showing how strong she is and how great both of their cardio is. They had every right to be puddles of goo by the end after going at each other so hard, but they kept a surprisingly fast pace up for much of the match. Normally matches that are Draws can drag for me but this match never did, as the early mat work stayed interesting and they spaced out the big spots so there was rarely a chance to let your guard down.

Utami’s early work on Syuri’s leg and later work on her neck was so well done it almost was unbelievable that Syuri was still functioning, and Syuri has some of the hardest strikes in the business as Utami at times seemed to be legitimately feeling the effects. There were one or two small miscues but its hard to really focus on those in a 45 minute match, and none had any real impact on what they were doing. The subtle and random violence like Syuri darting Utami into the turnbuckles or Syuri getting suplexed head-first into the ring apron were nice little surprises in an already enthralling match, and to say both gave it everything they had would be an understatement. This match may be what finally puts Utami over the edge into super stardom, a spot she has been destined for since she debuted just a few years ago, and Syuri showed she is still one of the best at what she does. A must-see match and one that will likely be remembered by Joshi fans for years to come, an instant must-see classic.  Very Highly Recommended

Final Thoughts:


What a show. First, a huge hats off to Stardom for having the event with English commentary, which I have no doubt helped some new fans get into the show. Its not something I personally require but anything that gets more eyeballs on Joshi is a good thing. Every match on this event was at least decent, with the last half of the show really delivering. The ten wrestler tag was chaos but certainly action-packed, and the Finals of the Cinderella Tournament was hopefully a sign that Saya Kamitani’s rise will continue. There is not much else to say about the main event that I (and others) haven’t already said, it is an instant classic and cemented Utami Hayashishita as one of the top Joshi wrestlers on the current scene. Especially with it being able to be found with English Commentary, a very easy recommendation.