Event: Stardom World Climax 2022 ~ The Best
Date: March 26th, 2022
Location: Tokyo Ryogoku Kokugikan (Sumo Hall) in Tokyo, Japan
Announced Attendance: 2,712
Broadcast: Streamed Live on PPV, later added to Stardom World
There are big events, and there are massive holy shit big events, and this show is the latter. Stardom really went all-out for their two day stint in Sumo Hall. There is a lot going on here to be excited about – Prominence continues their invasion, Syuri and Giulia collide, and we also have the return of Kairi Hojo! Wrestling now as KAIRI, this is her first match since leaving WWE back in 2020. There are three other title matches as well, with Kamitani vs. Hayashishita having a chance of stealing the whole show. Here is the full card:
What a show. As this aired live on PPV, all matches will be shown in full. Every wrestler on the event has a profile on Joshi City, you can click on their name above to go straight to it. This is going to be a long one so let’s hop to it.
(c) Hanan vs. Rina
Future of Stardom Championship
We start the show with the lowest ranking title in Stardom, one that is designed for younger/less experienced wrestlers that are still on the rise. Hanan is 17 years old and won the title from Ruaka in December, this is her second defense of the championship. She goes up against her younger (and more evil) sister Rina, who is 15 years old. Even though both are very young, they have been in Stardom for several years off and on so they are well-trained. As a general rule I don’t go into matches with wrestlers this young with high hopes, but with them training together and being sisters they should have pretty good chemistry to put on a watchable match.
They immediately trade elbows to start, with Rina getting the better of her older sister. Scoop slam by Rina and she covers Hanan for barely a two count. She quickly applies an armbar but Hanan inches to the ropes and makes it for the break. Stomps by Rina, she picks up Hanan and twists her arm in the ropes. More stomps by Rina but Hanan tosses her with a judo throw, Rina rolls Hanan to the mat however and kicks her in the face. Rina charges Hanan but Hanan trips her and applies a kneelock. Rina gets to the ropes for the break, Hanan puts Rina’s leg in the ropes and dropkicks her in the knee. Double wrist-clutch armsault by Hanan, but it gets a two count. Hanan picks her up and elbows Rina into the corner, her Irish whip is reversed however and Rina kicks Hanan in the stomach when she goes for a crossbody.
Rina picks up Hanan and they trade elbows, with again Rina winning the dual. She goes off the ropes but Hanan catches her with a dropkick, Stretch Muffler by Hanan but Rina reaches the ropes. Hanan picks up Rina but Rina slips away and applies the Octopus Hold. She gets Hanan to the mat with the Ground Manjikatame but Hanan gets a foot on the ropes for the break. Rina throws Hanan into the corner and hits a running double knee, she goes to the top turnbuckle and nails a diving double kneedrop for a two count. Rina tries to get Hanan on her back but Hanan spins away and delivers a STO. Blockbuster by Hanan but Rina rolls through it, she gets Hanan on her back and slams her to the mat for a two count cover. Rina picks up Hanan but Hanan nails a jumping knee, Fameasser by Hanan and she covers Rina for a two count. Hanan picks up Rina and hits a backdrop suplex, she keeps the hold on and hits a second backdrop suplex, keeping Rina down for the three count! Hanan wins and retains the championship.
For an opener with two underage wrestlers, this was pretty decent. The match started a little slow as Rina on offense isn’t overly interesting (lots of stomps) but once her more talented sister took over it got more interesting. Hanan has had an off-and-on career due to injuries and taking time off, plus her schedule is limited due to still being in school, but if she decides to fully commit to wrestling once she graduates I think they may have something special with her. Good for what it was, Rina still has a bit of a ways to go to move up from being just the “other” wrestler in any match she is in, but she didn’t drag the match down and overall this was perfectly watchable wrestling.
MIRAI vs. Saya Iida
Next, we have the recently signed MIRAI versus the recently returned Saya Iida. MIRAI joined Stardom in late 2021 as one of Giulia’s new henchmen in DDM, she quickly slotted into the midcard of the promotion as she works to build a connection with a new audience. Saya missed almost a year of action due to a leg injury but made her return to the ring on March 11th, she seems to be fully healed and is now just working off some rust from her time away from the ring. Saya before she got injured was slowly progressing up the ranks as she had recently won the Future of Stardom Championship, she drew a tough opponent though for this event as MIRAI has been holding her own recently against the top wrestlers in the promotion.
They lock-up to start but break cleanly, they lock knuckles as MIRAI gets Saya to her knees but Saya recovers and gets the advantage on MIRAI. MIRAI gets out of the hold and elbows Saya, Saya chops her back and the two trade shots for a solid minute. Saya chops MIRAI against the ropes but MIRAI ducks one, she goes off the ropes but Saya clubs her to the mat. Saya elbows MIRAI against the ropes but MIRAI elbows her back, she goes for a slam but Saya blocks it and hits one of her own. Saya picks up MIRAI and chops her in the chest some more, but MIRAI avoids one and puts Saya in a stretch hold. She lets go after a moment, MIRAI goes off the ropes and hits a lariat, but Saya stays on her feet. Saya hits a lariat with the same result as they go back and forth until MIRAI finally knocks Saya off her feet. Saya springs back up however and lariats MIRAI over, but MIRAI is back up as well as they keep at it. Eventually they lariat each other at the same time, and both collapse exhausted to the mat. MIRAI applies a sleeper but Saya slams MIRAI into the corner to get out of it, lariat by Saya and she goes to the top turnbuckle to hit a diving shoulderblock. Saya picks up MIRAI but MIRAI blocks the Northern Lights Suplex, slamming Saya face-first into the mat. Both wrestlers slowly get up and hit lariats, they both block each other from hitting one until Saya levels MIRAI and covers her for two. Saya picks up MIRAI but MIRAI rolls her to the mat and applies the Miramare. Saya almost makes it to the ropes but MIRAI gets her back to the middle of the ring, and Saya has no choice but to tap out! MIRAI is the winner.
I understand what they were going for here, and I respect it even though I’m still not convinced on Saya Iida. Saya has a lot of Western fans and its easy to understand why, as she has the type of fighting spirit energy that pops off the screen. Its not her fault, but for me its a little hard to totally buy into her offense just because she is tiny. There is nothing wrong with being a smaller wrestler of course, but its tough to be both a powerhouse and 4’9″. MIRAI certainly gave her equal ground to put the idea over and like I said I respect what they are doing with her character, I’m just not sure it has long term potential. The fact MIRAI had to “escape” with a flash submission that wasn’t foreshadowed shows the effort to protect Saya even in defeat. I would say it was a pretty good hoss-style match, even if part of me is having trouble seeing Saya Iida as a true hoss.
AZM, Lady C, and Miyu Amasaki vs. Himeka, Natsupoi, and Mai Sakurai vs. Mina Shirakawa, Waka Tsukiyama, and Momo Kohgo vs. Saki Kashima, Fukigen Death, and Ruaka
When Stardom does a “get everyone else on the show” match, they don’t mess around. This is a Gauntlet match, so two teams will start and once a team is defeated, the next team will come in. This continues until one team remains. Four different factions are represented here, with only STARS being excluded as they had other things to do on this show. There really isn’t any need to go on too long before getting to the match, this is just filler before the real action starts.
Cosmic Angels and Oedo Tai are the first two teams in. Cosmic Angels charge before the match starts but it epically fails as Oedo Tai immediately takes control and triple teams Momo in the ring. Death stays in as the legal wrestler and throws down Momo by the hair before choking her in the corner with her boot. She tags in Ruaka, Irish whip by Ruaka to the corner but Momo slides out to the apron before springboarding back into the ring with a crossbody off the second rope. She tags in Mina, Mina elbows Rina and hits a dropkick. Mina goes off the ropes and does a tilt-a-whirl, Ruaka blocks the leg sweep but Momo helps out with a swandive dropkick. Mina picks up Ruaka but Ruaka pushes her into the ropes, Irish whip by Ruaka but Mina blocks it and hits an elbow. Hard shoulderblock by Ruaka and she tags Saki, but Mina dropkicks her in the knee. Mina puts Saki in a Mexican Surfboard, she lets her go after a moment and tags in Waka. Double Irish whip to Saki, Saki briefly gets the better of it but Momo runs in and hits a 619. Waka goes up top and hits a missile dropkick, cover by Waka but Ruaka breaks it up. Uppercut by Saki to Waka and Death runs in with a senton. Body press by Ruaka, Saki picks up Waka and hits a double underhook suplex hold for two. Head kick by Saki, she picks up Waka and delivers the My Emblem for the three count! Oedo Tai wins.
The next team in is Queen’s Quest to take on Oedo Tai. Oedo Tai attacks as QQ gets in the ring, they isolate Miyu and boot her to the mat. Death stays in and throws Miyu into the corner, but Miyu boots her when she charges in. It happens two more times, Miyu goes off the ropes and delivers a jumping DDT. She tags AZM, dropkick by AZM but Ruaka grabs her from behind. AZM fights them both off as she hits an armdrag/headscissors combination. Double dropkick by AZM and she covers Death for two. AZM goes off the ropes but Death drop toeholds her and tags Saki. Saki goes off the ropes but Miyu dropkicks her, knee drop by Lady C and AZM drops Saki with a vertical suplex. Head kick by AZM, she goes to the top turnbuckle but Saki avoids the diving footstomp. Kishikaisei by Saki, but the cover is broken up. AZM goes for a kick but Saki ducks it, AZM quickly applies a Leg Roll Clutch Hold and she gets the three count! Queen’s Quest wins.
For the final pairing, DDM enters to face Queen’s Quest. AZM and Natsupoi start the match and immediately get into a fast paced exchange, they end up rolling around on the mat with AZM applying a cradle for a two count. They trade kick attempts and flash pins after with no success, sliding kick by AZM and she tags Lady C. Lady C boots Natsupoi against the ropes but Natsupoi avoids the next boot attempt and hits a dropkick. Cover by Natsupoi, but it gets two. Natsupoi tags Himeka, shoulderblock by Himeka and she throws Lady C into the corner. Lariat by Himeka but Lady C avoids her next charge, Miyu runs in and hits a Space Rolling Elbow and Lady C hits a jumping neck drop on Himeka. Lady C goes to the second turnbuckle and delivers a brain chop, cover by Lady C but it is broken up. Lady C picks up Himeka but Himeka spins away from her and hits a lariat. Himeka picks up Lady C and gets her on her shoulders, but AZM hits a missile dropkick off the second rope to knock Himeka over. Natsupoi suplexes AZM but Miyu dropkicks Natsupoi, cutter by Mai to Miyu and the ring is cleared aside from the legal wrestlers. Lariat by Himeka to Lady C, but Lady C gets a shoulder up. Himeka picks up Lady C and gets her on her shoulders, JP Coaster by Himeka and she covers Lady C for the three count! DDM win the match!
They really ran through this match quick, as all three pairings combined lasted under ten minutes. Needless to say, this wasn’t really enough time for them to really get things going, and some wrestlers did virtually nothing at all (look at you, Mai). There was a ton of talent in this match so its not a knock on the wrestlers, AZM and Himeka are really enjoyable to watch and looked good here, but obviously they couldn’t really get anything cohesive going. Pretty good for a filler match, but ultimately forgettable the minute it was over.
Maika and Thekla vs. Risa Sera and Suzu Suzuki
The Prominence invasion continues, as the faction takes on DDM. I could write an entire article about the history of this feud but since this is just a match introduction I’ll do a quick summary. Suzu Suzuki, Risa Sera, and three other wrestlers left Ice Ribbon in late 2021 to form their own group, Prominence. Not long after, they shocked the Joshi world when they showed up in Stardom, targeting Giulia, who had left Ice Ribbon under questionable circumstances back in 2019. They aren’t jumping straight to Suzu vs. Giulia as that would be bad booking, so to built up the faction some, Prominence is going after Giulia’s faction mates in Maika and Thekla. Safe to assume that Prominence will be put over pretty strong here, as they want to make sure the group is viewed as a serious threat before they are fed to Giulia down the road.
The DDM team attacks before the bell rings and the action quickly spills out to the floor, with Prominence soon regaining the advantage. Risa and Maika return to the ring as the legal wrestlers, crab hold by Risa and she puts Maika in the Rocking Horse. Risa lets go after a moment and picks up Maika, putting her into the ropes before tagging Suzu. Suzu hits a sliding kick from the floor to Maika, she enters the ring and kicks at Maika. Suzu goes off the ropes but Maika catches her with a slam and tags in Thekla. Risa comes in too however, double Irish whip attempt to Thekla but Thekla fights them both off. Double spear by Thekla and she hits a running elbow on Suzu in the corner, monkey flip by Thekla but Suzu lands on her feet and knocks Thekla to the mat. She tags Risa, elbow by Risa in the corner but Thekla hits a tilt-a-whirl headscissors and tags Maika. She tags in as both she and Maika hit running strikes on Risa in the corner, boot by Thekla and Maika hits a lariat. Shoulderblock by Maika but Risa doesn’t go down, but she does on the second attempt. Maika picks up Risa but Risa blocks the slam, she picks up Maika and drops her with a Schwein.
Running double knee by Risa in the corner, she picks up Maika but Maika quickly hits a vertical suplex. Back up, Maika goes off the ropes but Risa catches her with a TKO. They trade elbows in the middle of the ring, Risa goes off the ropes but Maika catches her with a lariat. A second lariat by Maika, but her cover gets two. Maika picks up Risa but Risa hits another Schwein, both wrestlers crawl to their corners and tag in their partners. Elbows by Thekla to Suzu, Suzu goes off the ropes but Thekla kicks her. She goes for a dropkick but Suzu swipes her aside, Thekla gets Suzu to the mat and puts her in a Sickle Hold. Risa breaks it up, Maika gets rid of her and picks up Suzu, hitting a suplex while Thekla also delivers a superkick. Double sliding attack by DDM to Suzu, but Suzu barely kicks out of the cover. Thekla picks up Suzu, Irish whip to the corner but its reversed. Suzu spins Thekla so she is sitting on the second rope and slides under her, while suplexing Thekla back into the ring. Risa jumps on the second turnbuckle, Suzu hops on her back and Risa comes down with a double kneedrop onto Thekla. Suzu picks up Thekla but Thekla elbows her, chops by Suzu and she delivers a jumping kick. Suzu tries to climb the turnbuckles but Thekla stops her, Suzu kicks Thekla in the head and proceeds to the top anyway. Thekla recovers and joins her but Suzu maintains the advantage and slams Thekla to the mat for a two count. Suzu drags up Thekla and nails a deadlift German suplex hold, picking up the three count! Prominence are the winners.
This was an interesting little match. Generally speaking I thought the action was really good, wide variety of violence was used and there was very little downtime so there was never a dull moment. Maybe too little downtime, as some of the selling (by all involved) was incredibly suspect, even more so than usual, meaning that even the bigger moves didn’t have a ton of impact. Suzu was my favorite wrestler in Ice Ribbon and the main reason I kept up with the promotion at all, so I am excited to see her in Stardom and where this storyline goes. The right team won, as they need Prominence to pick up some wins in front of a new audience if they are to be taken seriously. A good match with fresh pairings, I wouldn’t have minded if the match was a little longer and given some time to breath but still pretty solid. Mildly Recommended
(c) Hazuki and Koguma vs. Momo Watanabe and Starlight Kid
Goddesses of Stardom Championship
We’ve reached the second title match on the show, as Momo and Starlight Kid challenge Hazuki and Koguma. A year go, neither of these teams existed, as Koguma and Hazuki weren’t even in Stardom and Momo/Starlight Kid were both wrestling in different factions. But a lot can change in the world of wrestling, as Starlight Kid and Momo both joined Oedo Tai in 2021 while Koguma and Hazuki made their grand returns to the promotion. The STARS team won the Goddesses of Stardom Championship from Giulia and Syuri in January, and this is their third defense of the titles. Momo and Starlight Kid have a ton of momentum behind them as they have embraced their dark sides, so this one is anyone’s game.
Hazuki and Momo start the match, they jockey for position before Momo snapmares Hazuki to the mat. Hazuki blocks the kick attempt and dropkicks Momo against the bottom rope, bootscrapes by Hazuki and she hits a running boot. Hazuki tags Koguma and runs on Momo’s back, she picks up Momo but Starlight Kid runs in the ring and trips her. Starlight Kid pulls Koguma out of the ring while Momo goes after Hazuki as they battle around the floor. Starlight Kid slams Koguma to the floor and Momo slams Hazuki on top of her, as Oedo Tai pose on their opponents. Momo and Koguma return to the ring, stomp by Momo but Koguma elbows her to knock her back. Koguma hits more elbows while Momo shrugs them off, kick to the chest by Momo and she covers Koguma for two. Momo tags Starlight Kid, Starlight Kid stomps on Koguma and kicks her repeatedly in the head. Starlight Kid goes off the ropes but Koguma hits a drop toehold followed by a dropkick. This gives her time to tag Hazuki, elbow by Hazuki to Starlight Kid and she puts her in an armtrap crossface. Momo quickly breaks it up, double Irish whip by Oedo Tai but Hazuki hits a double springboard armdrag followed by a double dropkick.
Momo and Starlight Kid fall out of the ring, Hazuki gets a running start in it and sails out onto both with a tope suicida. Hazuki slides Starlight Kid back in and gets on the apron, hitting a swandive dropkick. Cover by Hazuki, but Starlight Kid kicks out. Starlight Kid throws Hazuki into the corner but Hazuki drops her onto the apron, Starlight Kid slams Hazuki’s head into the turnbuckles and goes to the top turnbuckle, hitting a diving crossbody. Starlight Kid picks up Hazuki but Hazuki elbows her and the two trade strikes. Hazuki goes off the ropes but Momo cuts her off with a dropkick, Tiger Feint Kick by Starlight Kid and she hits a standing moonsault for two. Starlight Kid picks up Hazuki but Hazuki blocks the suplex attempt, cradle by Starlight Kid but Hazuki reverses it before hitting a Codebreaker. Hazuki goes off the ropes but Starlight Kid hits a jumping kick, Hazuki quickly fires back with a boot and both wrestlers are down on the mat. Both wrestlers tag out, elbows by Koguma to Momo but Momo avoids her charge in the corner and hits a dropkick. Kick to the chest by Momo, she picks up Koguma and snaps off a uranage for two. Momo gets on the second turnbuckle but Koguma elbows her before she can jump off, Koguma joins her and hits a cutter down to the mat. Koguma goes to the top turnbuckle and hits a missile dropkick, cover by Koguma but it gets two. Koguma goes for a suplex but Momo elbows out of it, snap half nelson suplex by Momo but Koguma ducks a head kick and drops Momo with a release German.
Both wrestlers slowly get up, DDT by Koguma but she is too hurt to take advantage. Starlight Kid slides in to attack Koguma but Hazuki quickly comes in too, both teams trade double team attempts until STARS win the exchange. Hazuki and Koguma deliver a slam/cutter combination to Momo, diving body press by Koguma but Starlight Kid breaks up the cover. Koguma picks up Momo but Momo gets her back with a crossface chickenwing. Starlight Kid goes to the top turnbuckle as Momo lets go and hits a swivel body press, Momo picks up Koguma and drops her with the B Driver but Hazuki breaks up the cover. Momo and Starlight Kid pick up Koguma but Hazuki cuts them off, high kick by Momo to Koguma but Hazuki breaks up the cover. Double Irish whip to Hazuki but Hazuki fights them both off until Momo whacks her in the head with a chair. Momo goes back to Koguma and hits a modified tombstone, she picks Koguma back up but Koguma rolls away from her. Starlight Kid tosses the chair to Koguma and dropkicks it in her face, they pick up Koguma and deliver an assisted side slam. Momo picks up Koguma and nails the Peach Thunder, cover by Momo and she gets the three count. Momo Watanabe and Starlight Kid are the new champions!
Really enjoyable match, about everything one could ask for in this spot. Starlight Kid and Momo are just so good and have already built great chemistry as a team, really loved their constant cooperation and everything they did was fluid. I wouldn’t put Koguma on the level as the other three but she held her own here, and mostly let the others control the action. Very fast paced with something constantly happening to hold your attention, but it never felt excessive either as they’d slow down enough to let you catch your breath. They kept the big spots to a minimum due to their card placement but they sprinkled in enough, and the weapon violence was well done. I’m looking forward to seeing more Momo and Starlight Kid matches in the future, they are a great team. A fun match as we ramp up to the big matches on the event. Recommended
Mayu Iwatani and KAIRI vs. Tam Nakano and Unagi Sayaka
Sandwiched between title matches, this is perhaps the match people were most looking forward to as Kairi Hojo (now known as KAIRI) makes her return to Stardom! Kairi’s last match took place in July of 2020, before she returned to Japan to be a “WWE Ambassador.” No one really knew what that meant but as she was still under WWE contract she was unable to wrestle when and where she wanted. Her WWE contract expired earlier this year, leading to Kairi soon announcing a return to where her wrestling career began. This is not a full-time return, the exact scope of how often she will wrestle is unknown, but for at least two nights we get Kairi back where she belongs. She teams with The Icon Mayu against two Cosmic Angels in Nakano and Sayaka. This is all about Kairi, but Tam and Mayu are great so it should be a pretty good match even if Kairi overshadows it.
Mayu and Tam start the match, they do some introductory trading of holds before trading armdrags. They end up in a stalemate after some missed kicks, Tam tags Unagi and Unagi calls for KAIRI to be tagged in. Mayu obliges, Unagi asks for a knuckle lock but KAIRI sweeps out her leg instead. They tie-up, KAIRI pushes Unagi into the ropes and gives a clean break after teasing a backfist. Elbows by Unagi and she slaps KAIRI, KAIRI get angry and rolls up Unagi before putting her in a stretch muffler. KAIRI tags in Mayu, dropkick by Mayu and with KAIRI they double team Unagi. Mayu picks up Unagi, snapmare by Mayu and she kicks Unagi in the back. Another kick by Mayu and she covers Unagi for two. Mayu tags KAIRI back in, KAIRI puts Unagi in the ropes and chops her in the chest. Sliding elbow by KAIRI, Unagi falls out of the ring and KAIRI hits a footstomp while Unagi is bridged over the apron. KAIRI returns to the ring and waits for Unagi, Unagi eventually rolls back in and KAIRI covers her for two.
Dropkick by KAIRI and she tags Mayu, dropkick by Mayu and she stomps on Unagi. Mayu applies a Camel Clutch but Tam quickly breaks it up, Mayu throws Tam out of the ring and tosses Unagi in the corner. Chop by Mayu and she tags KAIRI, Unagi elbows KAIRI but KAIRI blocks the scoop slam and applies an ankle hold. She lets go after a moment to knock Tam off the apron, KAIRI picks up Unagi but Unagi hits a Codebreaker. Unagi finally makes the hot tag to Tam, Tam goes to the top turnbuckle and hits a diving crossbody. Tam picks up KAIRI but Mayu hits her from behind, double Irish whip to Tam but Tam cartwheels past them and dropkicks them. Tam get on the mat and poses towards KAIRI, KAIRI poses back at her but the happy moment doesn’t last long as they grab each other by the hair and return to their feet. KAIRI and Tam trade elbows, they go at it for a minute until Tam floors KAIRI with a spinning head kick. KAIRI tags Mayu while Tam tags Unagi, Unagi and Mayu avoid each other’s kicks until Mayu kicks Unagi in the chest. Dropkick by Mayu, she goes to the top turnbuckle and delivers a diving body press for two. She goes back up to attempt a moonsault but Tam grabs her from the apron, knocking her off.
Unagi grabs Mayu from inside the ring and drags her over the top rope, dropping her head-first into the mat for a two count. KAIRI comes in but so does Tam and they both slam KAIRI to the mat, kick by Tam to Mayu and Unagi hits a leg drop for two. Unagi picks up Mayu and hits a fisherman driver, but KAIRI breaks up the cover. Tam comes in but KAIRI spears her, spinning backfist by KAIRI to Unagi and both Cosmic Angels fall out of the ring. Mayu and KAIRI go to different corners and dive down onto Unagi and Tam, Mayu gets Unagi back into the ring and kicks her in the head. Mayu goes for a dragon suplex but Unagi gets out of it, superkick by Mayu and she drags Unagi near the corner. KAIRI goes to the top turnbuckle and nails the Diving Elbow Drop, Mayu then goes up top and delivers a moonsault for the three count! Mayu Iwatani and KAIRI are the winners!
I don’t think I would have ever correctly guessed the structure of this match. Its interesting as while KAIRI was the draw, she wasn’t the focus. The first third of the match had Unagi playing the “face in peril,” with Tam getting the big hot tag to take on Mayu and KAIRI. Its not that I expected KAIRI to have that role in her re-debut but this was almost structured like a Southern Tag match with the focus being on the Cosmic Angels. In fact if I didn’t know this was KAIRI’s return match I wouldn’t have known from the action as she really was presented on the same level (at best) as Mayu and Tam. I assume this was by design to slowly integrate her back into the promotion, but if she is going to be a “special attraction” wrestler I think they missed the mark. The match was fairly entertaining and KAIRI looked good, but the weakest link (Unagi) being such a focus took it down a notch from what it could have been. It was great to see KAIRI again but as a match it was a little disappointing as far as general excitement goes, even if it still was a solid tag match. Mildly Recommended
(c) Saya Kamitani vs. Utami Hayashishita
Wonder of Stardom Championship
Even though this match flew under the radar as it doesn’t have the big story some of the other matches on the show do, it should still be a banger and may end up being one of the best matches on the show. Saya and Utami are both in the same faction, Queen’s Quest, which doesn’t really matter too much in the world of Stardom when there is a title on the line. Saya continues getting a big push from Stardom early in her career, she won the Wonder of Stardom Championship in December from Tam Nakano and this is her third defense of the title. Utami was on top of the promotion for all of 2021 so she is in a bit of a cooling off period, she is no stranger to big pushes but this appears to be the time for Saya to assert herself as a long-term main event quality wrestler. Either way, both Saya and Utami are exciting young wrestlers and are sure to bring everything they have on a big stage.
They tie-up to start, Utami pushes Saya into the ropes but gives her a clean break. They tie-up again and Utami pushes Saya again in the ropes but she lets her free. Side headlock by Utami, Saya Irish whips out of it but Utami hits a shoulderblock. Saya kips up, they go through an exchange off the ropes until Saya hits a hurricanrana which sends Utami out of the ring. Saya goes off the ropes but Utami charges back in the ring and shoulderblocks Saya to the mat. Stomps by Utami and she hits a scoop slam, Utami picks up Saya and slams her again, crab hold by Utami but Saya gets to the ropes for the break. Utami throws Saya into the corner, Irish whip by Utami and she whips Saya hard into the corner multiple times. Utami stomps at Saya and hits a double kneedrop to her back, camel clutch by Utami but she releases the hold to cover Saya for a two count. Saya fights back with elbows, Utami goes off the ropes but Saya catches her with a dropkick. Saya picks up Utami, snapmare by Saya and she applies a facelock. Saya puts Utami in a headscissors but Utami gets a foot on the ropes. Saya pulls Utami’s head so its hanging over the ropes and kicks her in the head, heel drop by Saya and she dropkicks Utami. Back in the ring, Saya picks up Utami and delivers a jumping heel kick. Neckbreaker by Saya and she covers Utami for two.
Saya picks up Utami and the two trade elbows, which Utami gets the better of. Dropkick to the back by Utami, she charges Saya in the corner but Saya moves. Utami tosses Saya out to the apron, elbow by Saya but Utami blocks it when Saya goes for a swandive move and back bodydrops her into the ring. Sliding elbow by Utami and she covers Saya for two. Irish whip by Utami, but Saya flips herself out to the apron and nails a swandive hurricanrana. Utami falls out of the ring, Saya gets a running start and sails out onto her with a no hands tope con hilo. Saya slides Utami back in the ring, she goes to the top turnbuckle and hits a missile dropkick for two. Saya picks up Utami but Utami blocks the hook attempt, elbows by Saya but Utami snaps off a dropkick. Saya dropkicks her back but Utami throws her against the ropes and tosses her to the mat. Both wrestlers slowly get up and exchange elbows until Utami elbows Saya hard to the mat. Utami tries to go off the ropes but Saya grabs her and hits an elbow, Utami elbows Saya in the back in response and puts her in an Argentine Backbreaker before dropping Saya to the mat. Cover by Utami, but Saya kicks out. Utami picks up Saya but Saya grabs the ropes to block a suplex attempt, elbow to the back by Utami but Saya gets free and goes off the ropes. Utami gets Saya on her shoulders but Saya wiggles free, release German attempt by Utami but Saya lands on her feet and hits a moonsault side slam for two.
Saya goes to the top turnbuckle but Utami clubs her before she can jump off, sending Saya to the apron. Utami then lariats Saya, sending her crashing to the floor. Utami slides Saya onto the apron, she joins her and gets Saya on her shoulders, but Saya escapes and nails a hurricanrana down to the floor. Saya gets back into the ring with Utami slowly following, Saya goes for a pump kick but Utami catches it and hits an Air Raid Crash. Utami goes to the top turnbuckle and hits a missile dropkick, she picks up Saya and hits a German suplex hold for a two count. Utami drags Saya to her feet and gets her on her shoulders, but Saya gets away and delivers a reverse hurricanrana. Heel kick by Saya and she quickly hits a fisherman suplex hold for two. Saya positions Utami and goes to the top turnbuckle, but Utami recovers and elbows her in the back. Utami goes for a crucifix powerbomb but Saya reverses it into a hurricanrana, Saya charges Utami but Utami hits a sidewalk slam. Big lariat by Utami, she picks up Saya and goes for the Hijack Bomb, but again Saya reverses it with a hurricanrana. Pump kick by Saya, she cradles Utami before scooping her up with a suplex. Jumping heel kick by Saya, she picks up Utami and delivers a fisherman driver for a two count. Saya positions Utami and goes to the top turnbuckle, nailing a Phoenix Splash for the three count cover! Saya Kamitani wins and retains the championship!
Even though the match wasn’t perfect, any claims that it was reckless or sloppy are very greatly exaggerated. Both wrestlers showed off their strengths here, as Utami was a beast and Saya stayed in the match with her quick moves and high flying expertise. With how many high risk moves Saya does, not every one is going to be hit perfectly, but she is still the most exciting wrestler in Stardom right now and just brings that unpredictability that is hard to find. While I really loved the bulk of the match as they meshed together well their two styles, I do think the end stretch was probably a couple minutes too long. There can be a point of excess and they may have crossed it, which isn’t really uncommon with big title matches and at least they didn’t let it go on for more than a few minutes. A really great match between two wrestlers that are only getting better, the fact they can do a match like this so early in their careers says so much about their potential down the road. Highly Recommended
(c) Syuri vs. Giulia
World of Stardom Championship
To close out this massive event, we get former friends and future enemies battling for the World of Stardom Championship. Needless to say, these two have quite a history in Stardom. Syuri joined Stardom in January 2020 and immediately joined Giulia in her faction, Donna Del Mondo. Since then, they have wrestled as a team and even held the tag team titles together for the bulk of 2021. Things started changing in late 2021, as Giulia returned from an injury and brought more new wrestlers into DDM. Meanwhile, Syuri won the top title in Stardom in December, which obviously Giulia wanted. As we saw in the last match, two stablemates can fight and remain friends, but that is not the case here as both wrestlers have acknowledged that after this match that Syuri will be leaving the group. So this is not only a big title match, but the end of an era as after two years they will go in different directions once the final bell rings.
Giulia and Syuri quickly end up on the mat and trade holds, but they end up in a stalemate and back on their feet. Syuri works a headlock but Giulia Irish whips out of it, Giulia kicks Syuri in the leg but Syuri tackles her when she goes off the ropes and both wrestlers spill out of the ring. They jockey for position down on the floor and Syuri goes for an armbreaker, but Giulia blocks it so Syuri applies a seated armbar instead. The referee gets her to stop but Giulia grabs Syuri from behind and tries to suplex her into the ring post. Syuri blocks it and goes for a high kick, but Giulia ducks and she kicks the post by accident. Giulia throws Syuri into the post before sliding her back into the ring, Giulia picks up Syuri but Syuri elbows her and they trade shots. Giulia trips Syuri and puts her in a STF, but Syuri gets to the ropes for the break. Giulia hits a running elbow in the corner, she sits Syuri on the top turnbuckle before picking her up and suplexes her to the mat. Giulia picks up Syuri but Syuri swats her away and hits a Backstabber. Syuri throws Giulia into the corner, knees by Syuri and she hits a suplex. Sleeper by Syuri but Giulia is too close to the ropes and quickly gets the break. Snapmare by Syuri and she kicks Giulia in the back a few times. Giulia crawls to the corner, Syuri charges her but Giulia slides out to the apron and dumps Syuri out of the ring. Kick from the apron by Giulia, she goes out after Syuri and puts her in a stretch submission hold on the floor.
The referee again has to tell them to knock it off, Giulia lets go and throws the referee into Syuri. Giulia then catapults off the referee’s back and dropkicks Syuri, she picks her up and drags Syuri up onto a table with her. Giulia grabs Syuri while standing on the table and nails a piledriver, breaking the table in the process. Giulia gets back in the ring while Syuri holds her head on the floor, the referee by now has recovered and he starts the count. Giulia goes back out after Syuri and brings her back to the ring, Giulia goes to the top turnbuckle and hits a missile dropkick for a two count. Syuri falls back out of the ring so Giulia has to go after her, snapmare by Giulia and she kicks Syuri in the back. Another kick by Giulia, she gets a running start but Syuri hits her with a piece of plexiglass that the commentary table was using. Syuri picks up Giulia and hits a single arm suplex, she gets up on the apron and hits a dropkick down to the floor. Syuri gets Giulia back to the ring, she goes to the top turnbuckle and hits a diving Fameasser, but Giulia reverses her cover into a submission, but Syuri gets to the ropes. Giulia picks up Syuri, Syuri gets away and hits a release German. Giulia fires back with her own release German, Codebreaker by Syuri but Giulia catches her kick and delivers a capture suplex. Both wrestlers slowly get up and face off from opposite corners, they charge each other and Giulia kicks Syuri in the head. Syuri fires back with a jumping knee, she picks up Giulia and hits a double knee gutbuster for two. Syuri goes for Giulia’s arm and applies an armbar, Giulia reaches for the ropes so Syuri traps that arm as well.
Giulia eventually manages to get a boot on the bottom rope, running knee by Syuri and she goes to the top turnbuckle. Giulia recovers and joins her, but Syuri knocks her back to the mat. Giulia slaps Syuri to the apron but Syuri kicks her in the head over the top rope, kick to the chest by Syuri and she returns to the turnbuckles. Giulia gets back up again and climbs the turnbuckles with her, hitting a double underhook suplex down to the mat. Giulia charges Syuri but Syuri spears her into the turnbuckles, Syuri gets Giulia on her shoulders but Giulia wiggles away and the two trade cradles. Backdrop suplex by Giulia, she picks up Syuri but Syuri avoids the Glorious Driver and slams Giulia to the mat. Syuri picks up Giulia again but Giulia slides off and nails an Emerald Flowsion for a two count. Both wrestlers are slow to cover and trade slaps while still on their knees, Syuri kicks Giulia when they return to their feet which sends Giulia crashing back to the mat. More kicks by Syuri, but Giulia eventually ducks one and suplexes Syuri. Knee to the face by Giulia, but Syuri kicks out of the cover. Giulia picks up Syuri and nails the Glorious Driver II, but again Syuri gets a shoulder up. Giulia immediately gets Syuri to her feet and drops her with a Northern Lights Bomb, but they are too close to the ropes and Syuri grabs the bottom one to stop the count. Giulia drags Syuri up but Syuri blocks it when Giulia goes for another one, Giulia goes off the ropes but Syuri kicks her in the head. Another high kick by Syuri, she picks up Giulia and hits a modified Emerald Flowsion of her own for two. Syuri gets Giulia on her shoulders but Giulia spins off and covers Syuri. Syuri gets out of it and hits a Buzzsaw Kick. Spinning backfist by Syuri and she hits a few more, Syuri gets Giulia on her shoulders and nails the Red World for the three count! Syuri wins and retains the championship.
This match was great for a few different reasons. First, after a long show they put on a match that played out differently than everything we’ve seen so far. It was more grounded and strike-oriented, but with enough big spots spread around to keep the excitement up and make the match feel special. These two are both so fluid, everything was snug but not to the point of feeling reckless or dangerous, they just have really good chemistry for two wrestlers that don’t face off often. Its quite a contrast to the last match, as here the ending stretch felt just right (even though the matches had the same run time) and it felt like it ended at the precise right time within the match flow which is easier said than done. Syuri is one of the best strikers in wrestling but Giulia looked great as well, it felt like a real war between the two with both having convincing near falls. A well structured match with two of the best wrestlers in Joshi wrestling, a must-see match that delivers on every level. Highly Recommended
Long shows like this can be tricky as some matches inevitably won’t get the time they need, but I think overall Stardom put on a pretty great event. The first half of the show was unspectacular but very solid, with all the matches being at least above average. The tag matches in the middle of the card were good, maybe not as good as they could have been with more time but still entertaining. The two title matches to end the show were both fantastic and also structured very differently so they complimented each other really well. The only match that was disappointing to me, and this may get me kicked off Joshi twitter, was the KAIRI match. KAIRI looked great but so much of the match was focused away from her, and having the first chunk of the match be a slow Unagi beatdown just felt off for KAIRI’s big return. Overall though, a damn good show with two must-see matches at the end to cap it off.