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Dragon Gate King of Gate Results & Ratings: Blocks C & D Part 1

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Okay, so right on the heels of the AJPW Champion Carnival, we are graced with Dragon Gate’s largest tournament, King of Gate. The field is broken into four groups, which get boiled down to the four winners. The four block winners will pair off in semi-final matches to get to the finals. Also as a wrinkle this year, the two lowest point holders, will have a consolation match for overall last place.

Since we didn’t do a predictions article, here’s my guesses for the Final Four and overall winner.

A Block: YAMATO
B Block: BxB Hulk
C Block: Eita
D Block: Shingo Takagi

Overall Winner: YAMATO

So with all that out of the way, my articles will cover C & D Block. Whereas, A & B Blocks will be covered by Mathew again. A Block is pretty stacked, so definitely keep an eye on that one.

C Block:

5/8/2018

 

Naruki Doi vs Eita

Now this is fun since Naruki is a former tournament winner, and Eita has put on some very impressive matches.

This starts off as a typical face against heel match. ANTIAS continues to use their heelish tactics when Takashi Yoshida interferes and attacks Doi while on the outside.

Even though it started off a little simple, the match really picks up. We saw numerous top rope manuevers, submission attempts and strikes back and forth. It really looked like Eita was going to pick up the victory, but Doi showed the resilience of a past winner. After a near fall with his sliding kick, Eita went for a Frog Splash, but missed and got pinned after a Muscular Bomb.

Winner: Naruki Doi via Muscular Bomb

Rating: *** 1/4

 

5/12/2018 *Not Shown on Stream

Naruki Doi vs Punch Tominaga
Winner: Doi via Bakatare Sliding Kick

 

5/13/2018

 

Punch Tominaga vs Yosuke♡Santa Maria

We’ve go the Japanese George Jefferson, against Dragon Gate’s Exotico Santa Maria. Now this may need some explaining, so let me say, Dragon Gate has a lot of Lucha Libre elements and Exocticos are one of them. Long and short, men that dress up in drag and are referred to in a feminine way.

So now as we get to the match, it’s well…a match? Starts off a little slow, picks up with a few strikes and Santa Maria has a fantastic flurry capped off with a Spin-A-Roonie into a diving Triangle Body Press. Sadly though, the exotico had the most flair to her offense, but Punch ends up winning with a big Cross Armbreaker from the top turnbuckle.

Nothing overly special, but Santa Maria is actually a pretty polished high flier. Should be interesting to see if she gets more singles opportunities.

Winner: Punch via Flying cross armbreaker

Rating: **

 

5/14/2018 *Not Shown of Stream

Eita vs Punch Tominaga
Winner: Time Limit Draw (1 Point Each)

 

C Block Standings:

Naruki Doi 2-0 (4 Points)
Punch Tominaga 1-1-1 (3 Points)
Eita 0-1-1 (1 Point)
Dragon Kid 0-0 (0 Points)
Yosuke♡Santa Maria 0-1 (0 Points)

 

D Block:

5/8/2018

 

Masato Yoshino vs Shingo Takagi

This was a very hard hitting match, that saw the ANTIAS stable facing the MaxiMuM stable in first matches for their respective blocks. While I’m admittedly not well versed in the history between these two, since there aren’t as many competitors in each block for King of Gate, every match matters. With only 5 men, in 4 different blocks, that means each match is 25% of your tournament hopes if you want to move forward.

After coming off a slightly disappointing, but still impressive run in the AJPW Champion Carnival, Shingo has a little bit to prove. This match went back and forth the entire times, trading strikes, chops and big moves. Also we saw ANTIAS work a little bit like LIJ from New Japan where they helped out Shingo on the outside by piling up chairs or causing distractions, but not being outright in the way.

Shingo had to throw literally everything at Masato, where after 2 Last Falconry attempts, Yoshino still kicked out. So Takagi laid him out with one more Pumping Bomber lariat, and finally picked up the pinfall victory.

Winner: Shingo Takagi via Pumping Bomber

Rating: **** 1/4

 

5/13/2018

 

Kagetora vs Ryo Saito

So I’m not totally familiar with Kagetora, but Ryi Saito is…quirky let’s say. He lost the Owari belt and got his head shaved, purely to prove to Shingo that he’s a good comedy wrestler. He really wrestles, on his own wave length.

This match is no different, with Saito starting off bowing and complying with Kagetora at one point by telling him to just fall down. After that we get an, okay match. A few submission attempts and a missed SaiRyo Rocket brings us towards the ending sequence.

We see both men spill to the outside, and take turns trying to hit the other and slide in, but they hit the apron at the same time and decide to trade blows instead of beat the count. So we get a double count out, which means no one gets points, and Saito raises his hands like he just won the match.

Sometimes…I don’t even know.

Winner: Double Countout (no points)

Rating: * 1/2

 

5/14/2018 *Not Shown on Stream

Susumu Yokosuka vs Ryo Saito
Winner: Yokosuka via Jumbo no Kachigatame

 

D Block Standings:

Shingo Takagi 1-0 (2 Points)
Susumu Yokosuka 1-0 (2 Points)
Kagetora 0-0-1 (0 Points)
Masato Yoshino 0-1 (0 Points)
Ryo Saito 0-1-1 ( 0 Points)


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Andrew’s G1 Climax 28 A Block Ratings & Review: Day 1

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So, much like you may have noticed, Mathew Sarpraicone and I like to split up tournaments so it’s not such an arduous undertaking. So for B Block days, make sure to keep an eye out for his articles.

Now, as with all tournaments, part of the fun is picking winners. Right? So if all of my fantasy booking works out, the Finals will be Hiroshi Tanahashi from A Block and Kota Ibushi from B Block. Now, yes I’m aware of the fact that the winner usually comes from the block opposite of the current IWGP Champion, but that trend has to break at some point.  So I’m picking Kota Ibushi to win the whole thing, so we can have the Golden Lover showdown at Wrestle Kingdom.

So with the pick out of the way, let’s get to today’s matches.

 

Togi Makabe vs Yoshi-Hashi

Yoshi has been mostly unimpressive and even disappointing the last few years. Managing only 2 wins last year, another bad run could mean he gets removed from next year’s tournament. As for Makabe, most people think he’s hitting that “old veteran” wall, and last year saw him struggle early before rattling off 3 wins in a row, ending with a respectable 4 wins. So with Makabe not having many G1s left because of age, and Yoshi looking at the chopping block because of failure…this match means quite a bit to both competitors.

The match starts off with both men just throwing forearm shots, as Makabe ducks a lariat and drives Yoshi to the ground with a Shoulder Tackle. From there we see a lot of back and forth from both men. Makabe with some big strikes and Yoshi-Hashi continuing to try and find his spot. Makabe goes to the top turnbuckle for his Spider German Suplex, but Yoshi-Hashi counters it and hits a running Sitout Powerbomb to turn the tide.

From there we see a few attempts at the Butterfly Lock and even a top rope Blockbuster from Yoshi-Hashi, still can’t put away Makabe. After popping up right after a German Suplex, Yoshi charges at Makabe only to get lariated into next week. Makabe then places him on the top rope again, hits the Spider German Suplex, into the King Kong Knee Drop, for the 1-2-3.

So another loss for Yoshi-Hashi, but he did show a few glimpses of resilience, so there might be hope for him yet.

Winner: Makabe via King Kong Knee Drop

Rating: ** 3/4

 

Bad Luck Fale vs Hangman Page

So this has weight thanks to the Tongans attacking the rest of the Bullet Club members and continuing the Civil War. Hangman is in his first G1, so there’s no past history to work off of and Fale has had 10 or more point the last 4 tournaments. So Fale usually having good luck in tournaments, coupled with the on going Bullet Club drama…makes you wonder how this one will play out.

Fale with an early cheap shot before Hangman gets in the ring, sends him careening into the barricade. After that we see a good bit of time outside, with Fale tossing Page into the barricade and multiple rows of seats. Eventually they get back into the ring, where Page shows some life.

What starts off as Fale dominating, gets turned around into a lot of impressive moments from Hangman. Tonga Loa comes out to distract, but Hangman fights him off and even lands his beautiful Moonsault onto both Fale and Loa. Following that up with his Buckshot Lariat, things begin looking like Page is on his way to a victory. But before he can really attempt the Rite of Passage, Tama Tanga hits the ring, throws the ref and all 3 beat down Hangman.

This causes the referee to have to DQ Fale, and give Page his first G1 victory…coupled with an ass kicking.

Winner: Hangman via DQ

Rating: ** 1/4

 

EVIL vs Michael Elgin

EVIL coming off the year that elevated his status thanks to his win over Okada last year. Elgin is an odd case where he puts up respectable numbers in his previous three G1s, but after having the shortest NEVER Openweight Title Reign this year and all his other personal drama, it’s really not easy to pinpoint his role in this years tournament. Both tend to do fairly well in the G1, the are 1-1 against each other, so the early momentum would be useful, and  a tie breaker.

This was a heavy striking affair. Elgin took an early advantage until he missed a lariat outside, which saw his lariat the ring post. After that, EVIL wrapped a chair around his arm and drove that into the post. Later in the match we see EVIL continue to work on the arm by driving the Elgin’s arm from the apron, across the barricade.

Elgin fought from underneath with the one arm for the better portion of the match, but that didn’t hurt any kind of suspense. He’d use the injured arm, regardless of pain, and they would trade lariats and power moves for a while.

As we got to the end, EVIL kept trying to go for Everything is Evil, but Mike counters repeatedly, even attempting his own finishers like the Burning Hammer, we see Elgin hit a big Gutwrench Splash Mountain into Elgin Bomb for the victory.

Winner: Elgin via Elgin Bomb

Rating: ****

 

Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Minoru Suzuki

Neither of these men need an introduction honestly. Be it referencing their 2012 Match of the Year at King of Pro Wrestling, or even Suzuki torturing the Intercontinental Title off of Tanahashi earlier this year at New Beginning at Sapporo. We know what these two are about, and are always possible winners of any tournament they’re in. Should be fun to see who gets the early 2 points.

Well now, umm, this was a Suzuki clinic. Suzuki dominates this match with tons of strikes, Knee Bars, Achilles Lock, Heel Hooks, Figure Four Leg Locks, but Tanahashi lands an Inverted Dragonscrew Leg Whip, and that changes everything. Suzuki screams like his knee got dislocated or something, so a Sling Blade and two High Fly Flows give Tanahashi a win, when he spent most of the match screaming on his back.

Suzuki’s strategy made sense, and is exactly his type of thing. Torture before a quick victory. But I can’t help but feel it ended too abruptly and it was just odd to watch Tanahashi win out of nowhere.

Winner: Tanahashi via High Fly Flow

Rating: *** 1/4

 

Jay White vs Kazuchika Okada

So Jay White gets his first shot at Okada since returning from excursion and joining Chaos. Jay did say he wanted more inner stable matches, but given that neither have titles currently, this is just awkward. Okada sporting red hair and new awful music, and Jay White asking people where his belt is…I don’t even know what to think here. One will bounce back after big losses, but neither seems to be mentally complete at the moment.

Okada comes out with his balloons and looking relaxed to the point of goofiness, but does manage to take an early advantage. After some time on the outside, Jay White turns it around and starts banging Okada’s back off the barricade and apron. Plenty of entertaining spots in this match. Jay rips off the banner from the apron and tries to asphyxiate Okada, wait til 4, and then reattaches it as the crowd applauds that. Jay beats down Okada on the outside, Red Shoes starts counting, but Jay goes out there and throws Okada in the ring as the crowd applauds that also. So even though he’s doing obviously heelish things, they’re applauding when he does nice stuff as a show of respect, even if Jay is being disingenuous.

Even though this shell of Okada isn’t the same man that defended the IWGP title for 720, he gets a small fire under him when Jay starts toying with him. The Okada Dropkick, Macho Man Style Elbow Drop, Scooby Dooby Doo Crossbody and even a Rainmaker pose, but Jay manages to counter the Rainmaker the first few times.

We see Jay going to any lengths necessary to try and win the match, while verbally harassing Okada and messing with the crowd. Speaking of the crowd, they were oddly quiet through a lot of it. I’m not sure if they’re still trying to figure out new Okada or if they’re just not ready to openly support him after a year of cheering ever challenger he faced. Either way, the tense atmosphere, coupled with Jay’s insistence upon cheating to make it “his Chaos”, gave the match an odd feel.

Towards the end, Jay brings in a chair, pushes down Red Shoes and goes to hit Okada, but the Rainmaker Dropkicks the chair into Jay’s face and looks to be on track to winning the match. Red Shoes gets up, Okada winds up Jay for the Rainmaker, but Jay backfists Red Shoes before eating the Rainmaker. So even though the ref could’ve counted to 12, White’s tactics paid off. Kazuchika goes to pick him for another move, Jay hits a low blow, followed by throwing the chair into Okada’s face and finally, Blade Runner ends the match as the referee comes to.

So it told a good story of Okada still not being himself, and Jay White finding a character that will go to any lengths to win all while claiming everything is his.

Winner: Jay White via Blade Runner

Rating: **** 1/2

 

A Block Standings:

Togi Makabe: 1-0 (2 Points)

Jay White: 1-0 (2 Points)

Hangman Page: 1-0 (2 Points)

Hiroshi Tanahashi: 1-0 (2 Points)

Michael Elgin: 1-0 (2 Points)

Kazuchika Okada: 0-1 ( 0 Points)

EVIL: 0-1 (0 Points)

Yoshi-Hashi: 0-1 (0 Points)

Minoru Suzuki: 0-1 (0 Points)

Bad Luck Fale: 0-1 (0 Points)

 

Thoughts:

Good first night, solid matches, a lot of storyline movement and even the big upset from Jay White. What’s going to become of Chaos after this tournament? Is Broken Okada gonna snap out of it? Do the Tongans care about winning, or just beating the hell out of the rest of the Bullet Club?

Only one way to find out. Story seems to be driving this G1 besides the prospect of high quality matches, and I’m not mad at all.


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Stardom Goddesses of Destiny Results & Review (6/17/2018)

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Well, everyone, this is it, this will be Io Shirai’s final appearance with Stardom before she departs to the WWE.

Io has been with the company in 2011 around when Stardom wasn’t even a year old yet and has been with them ever since. She has won every title Stardom has and also set a bunch of records for the company with lengthy reigns and title defenses. Only accolade that evaded her grasp was the Cinderella Tournament (she really wanted to wear that dress too).

There might be a huge gap open once Io is gone, but the past few months have shown that the company can still shine bright and still have a promising future even without their ace. It’s a stacked show and has a special match for her final day which I’ll get to when the match comes up, and we got Momo defending her belt in the main event. So let us close this chapter together and…dive right in.

Tag Team Match
Kaori Yoneyama & Ruaka vs. Leo Onozaki & Natsuko Tora

Review: It looks like all members of JAN except Kyona are fighting off in a tag team match with one of the champions teaming up with one of the rookies and looks like Natsuko got Leo and Kaori has Ruaka, let’s see who picks it up in this friendly competition. All four of them shook hands and soon as Kaori and Ruaka turned their backs, Natsuko and Leo would attack them from behind and would hold Kaori’s arms so that Ruaka could jump on her own partners back to do the jungle pose, but Natsuko see’s her and pushes her off. The match itself was incredibly sloppy with poor and unbelievable strikes from all of them except for Kaori who was surprisingly the best part out of this whole match. Leo, you used to do like four to five cutters a match and now you’re here doing one or two the minute I made a counter for you, the hell girl? The last part of it was Leo and Ruaka in the ring together to see who can get the win out of these two while Natsuko and Kaori are fighting outside, but Ruaka would win it with a Fisherman Suplex.

Recommended: Not really.

Leo’s Cutter Count: 1 (Gotta up your game)

 

Singles Match
Hanan vs. Natsu Sumire

Review: Been a while since I saw Sumire in a singles match and makes sense since Nao is still technically not medically cleared, Kagetsu and Hazuki are booked, and Hana is still in Mexico…I hope she’s doing well. So with Oedo Tai all busy, she has to do this match solo against one of the younger talent, Hanan. Sumire pointed out that she’s fighting a middle schooler tonight and she’s not wrong there, but since she’s in charge of the declining birth rate, she must give the kids a bright future.

Hanan would offer her hand for Sumire to shake and once she does, Hanan would kick her in the midsection and would start to get the early advantage with the Dropkick and now Sumire would turn it around to make Hanan lose any momentum she had. The majority of the match is Sumire beating her down, not giving her any chances to have a comeback at all and I like the idea of that since it builds sympathy for the babyface and Sumire is a good heel to do it with. It was only a matter of time when Sumire would pull out the flogger out and start whipping Hanan with it and I have faith in her call since she is the Counselor for the Declining Birth Rate and I trust her judgment. The would still use the flogger for a good couple of minutes until the referee tried to play tug-o-war with Sumire to try and grab it as Hanan used this opportunity to Dropkick the flogger and would start to take Sumire down to finally get her shine in. Hanan started to take her down with an STO and quickly applies the Armbar until Sumire would grab the ropes and hits a few more STO’s for good measure just in case, but Sumire would turn it around on her to attempt a Reverse DDT and gets reversed into a roll up. Hanan had another close call with a roll up and Sumire would barely kick out of it and before she attempts to finish Sumire off, she would reverse it into a Reverse DDT and hold her in that position for a while before actually hitting it but she surprisingly kicks out of it! Sumire looked a bit annoyed and hits a Suplex with a bridge for the win..a bit anti-climatic to a fairly good match.

Recommended: Not gonna lie, I was fairly surprised. Give it a watch.

 

Tag Team Match
AZM & Konami vs. Shiki Shibusawa & Starlight Kid

Review: Next up is a tag match with Queen’s Quest taking on STARS members and since AZM and Konami are the only two active members right now, they’ll be paired up to take in Shiki and Starlight Kid for this bout. AZM and Starlight, of course, start us off and that is fine by me because I will gladly watch these two fight each other any time since they have such great chemistry together and always do something different in their matches whether it’s tag team or singles to make the rivalry much more interesting and I cannot wait for the payoff once it finally happens. Konami, not gonna lie has some pretty deadly kicks and apparently, she made Starlight bleed in the last match they were in together and even hits a Dropkick right on her forehead when AZM had her in a Camel Clutch, that had to hurt. Starlight would hit a Running Crossbody onto AZM and she kicked out of the move by bridging out it only to be Dropkicked by Shiki and Starlight would hit another Dropkick for good measure before hitting a Standing Moonsault for a two count. Shiki and Konami would get in the ring now as Konami would attempt to make Shiki tap with the Fujiwara Armbar and wouldn’t work just yet as Starlight would come in to help Shiki out as Shiki hits Konami with a Bulldog onto the ropes to Starlight can hit a 619 and tops it off with a Slice Bread #2 before throwing her over to Shiki for a Missle Dropkick and it looked like she had it, but AZM breaks up the pin. Konami would get Shiki into the Armbar once again only for Starlight to break it up and AZM pushes her out of the ring before Konami would hit a modified Armbar to make her tap out, giving Queen’s Quest the win.

Recommended: Very solid match, worth watching.

 

Tag Team Match
Deonna Purrazzo & Zoe Lucas vs. Saki Kashima & Tam Nakano

Review: We got another tag match with the remaining members of STARS, Tam Nakano and Saki Kashima taking on Zoe Lucas and Deonna Purrazzo.  Saki and Deonna are starting off the match as they both lock up and Saki would be thrown into the ropes and springboards off it for an arm drag and Deonna would do an arm drag in return and both Dropkick their feet before quickly standing up to tag Tam and Zoe into the ring.

The two are known for their kicks and they try to kick each other but either dodge or hit their own legs to deflect the kick and Deonna got tagged back in and hit a Double Flapjack on Tam to knock her down and once picked back up, Tam would have Deonna in a Reverse DDT while Zoe tries to break it up, but Tam would kick her in the midsection and hits the DDT on both of them and once Saki came in, they both would hit the Stunner on both Deonna and Zoe to knock them down. Deonna would hit the Three Amigos for a two count and would try to make her tap with an Armbar and fails to do so and the two would start to kick each other a few times until they both fall down to make the tag to Zoe and Saki. Zoe looked to get the early advantage until Saki would turn it around for a moment and even knocked her down for Tam to do a Senton off the second rope and gets a two count. Deonna would come in to hit a forearm Saki in the chest to daze her enough for Zoe to try and get the win, but Saki would hit the Killswitch to give STARS the win here.

Recommended: Average match, so really up to you if you wanna watch it.

 

Tag Team Match
Hazuki & Kagetsu vs. Io Shirai & Mayu Iwatani

Review: So Io Shirai’s final match is a tag team match where he partner is Mayu Iwatani and they actually have teamed up before when they were called Thunder Rock in their early Stardom careers before Io formed Queen’s Quest and the two became rivals with some fantastic matches together. Now they will team up one last time as they take on Hazuki and current World of Stardom Champion, Prime Minister Kagetsu. Will Kagetsu be able to pin Io again like she did last time or will Io end her Stardom career on a high note?

Oedo Tai didn’t have a pre-match interview it looks like and that made me sad because I wanted to see what our Prime Minister had to say about the match. Mayu talked about saying she thinks they’ll still have that Thunder Rock chemistry after not being partnered for about two years and wants to go do their best together in the match. Io and Hazuki will be the ones that will start us off as they lock up and would have Hazuki by the ropes to tap her chest, shades of Okada since she’s just been toying with her during their time together, not even taking Hazuki seriously before she goes to the corner to tag in Mayu. Kagetsu would get tagged in as well and would start to kick her down and Mayu would jump onto the ropes to roll Kagetsu up and Dropkick her right away and once she ran to the ropes, Sumire would drag her to the outside so that Kagetsu and Hazuki would attack Io to send her outside as well. Sumire would be working on Mayu and having a chair on her throat to choke her out while Hazuki would slam Io by a sign in the crowd to make her get knocked out before Hazuki made her way back to the ring with Mayu back into the ring as well as Oedo Tai would do their pose on Mayu and Kagetsu would spray water on both Mayu and the referee, and I’m sure she had a good reason to spit at the ref since she’s the Prime Minister after all. Hazuki would get tagged back in as she had Mayu on the turnbuckle and would run the ropes until Io grabbed Hazuki to hold her still, which made Kagetsu run in to attack Io and drag her to another turnbuckle so the two would kick their faces to knock them out and Hazuki pins Mayu for a two count and applies the Crossface on Mayu until she grabbed the rope only for Kagetsu to step on her arm. Mayu would hit her Slingblade to give herself time to tag in Io as she would have Hazuki by the turnbuckle and hits her knees onto her chest and as she ran to the opposite turnbuckle, Hazuki would charge at her with an elbow and Kagetsu would come in for both of them to throw her into the ropes as Io would do her cartwheel and backflip before Dropkicking both of them to the outside and before she would attempt a Suicide Dive, Kagetsu would throw their sign at her.

Hazuki would fight Io outside of the ring while Kagetsu would the same with Mayu, but you won’t see what they do since they’re too focused on Io’s end since it’s her last match and all, Hazuki would fight with Io as they go up the stairs into the crowd and it looked like Kagetsu had the same idea since all four of them were in the middle section of the crowd and they would attempt to throw Io and Mayu at each other and they would switch it around so Hazuki and Kagetsu would fight each other and now Io would go to the bleachers as she would hit her Diving Moonsault on the both of them to knock them down as she made her way back to the ring with Mayu dragging Hazuki back in as well. Io doesn’t give Hazuki any time to rest as she would hit a 619 and then a Springboard Dropkick before she attempts to put her away with her Diving Moonsault Press, but Hazuki would push her down and held her up for a Tombstone until Io flipped it around and Hazuki would roll her up for a two count and quickly gives her a Codebreaker to make them both go down. Hazuki would make her way back to her feet to hit her own Springboard Dropkick and tagged Kagetsu in as she kicked Io around and even hits Mayu just in case as Kagetsu now uses her sign to hit both Io and Mayu with it to get that heel heat from the crowd and hits her Michinoku Driver on top of the sign and the referee would refuse to count due to her using a weapon and Kagetsu would push the referee down and use the weapon some more as both Konami and AZM have had enough and started to attack Kagetsu to the turnbuckle before Io would get thrown into Kagetsu just to miss as everyone lines up. Much like the last retirement match we had in March, the roster would line up to hit a move onto Io while she was on the turnbuckle and would mostly take Dropkicks except for Konami who would just hug her tight and then Sumire would take a selfie with Io until it was Mayu’s turn as she hits a Running Dropkick and a Standing Moonsault and tells Kagetsu to pin her so she could break it up as we get back to the match. Kagetsu would attempt a Brainbuster as Io would roll her up only for Kagetsu to pick her back up as she hits the Brainbuster this time for a two count and would pick her up for a Chokeslam, but Io hits a Frankensteiner for a one count and Mayu gets tagged in now as she hits a Super Kick to Kagetsu and then her and Io would hit their Uppercut/Thrust Kick combo before Mayu hits the Dragon Suplex Hold and it looks like she’s got it until Hazuki hits a Senton on top of Mayu to break the count. Kagetsu would have Mayu on the turnbuckle for a Shattered Dreams position and Hazuki would hit a Codebreaker while she was in that position and it looked awesome as Kagetsu would top it off with an Oedo Coaster for Io to break up the pin and Kagetsu would throw Io to the outside but she makes herself do a Suicide Dive to the outside landing on Hazuki and Mayu would attempt a dive of her own but trips by accident as she saves herself by just stomping on her from off the apron, but Thunder Rock would go to the top rope to hit their Double Dropkick for a two count. Hazuki would make her way back to the ring until Io turned her around to hit her Uppercuts and Mayu has her set up for a Tombstone as Io jumped off the top rope looking like their own version of the Metlzer Driver but without the flip and they would do it to Kagetsu before Io would hit her final Diving Moonsault Press and then Mayu hits her Dragon Suplex Hold to get the win.

After the match, Mayu would grab the mic to cut a promo saying teaming up with Io one last time was a lot of fun and turned her attention to Kagetsu saying she pinned her in the match and how the World of Stardom Championship belongs to her and she may not know when she’ll get it back, but it will come back to her. Kagetsu would reply saying that Mayu is worse on the mic as usual and told her that the red belt doesn’t belong to her as she earned this belt and told her that she is the Prime Minister and don’t you forget it. She also told Io what no matter where she goes, she told her not to forget that they fought in this ring and told her to rise to the top while she makes Stardom bigger than how she created it, now she thanks her as they both hug it out. Io would start to thank the fans for making her not feel alone until Mayu would give her a bouquet of flowers and would pull her in for a kiss on the lips to even make her go weak in the knees, but they hug it out laughing after. The President of Stardom would give her a second set of flowers followed by Io’s family as she told the crowd that she wouldn’t cry in this ring, but would fly around the world with everyone’s smiles in her heart as she thanked everyone one last time.

Recommended: Great match, worth a watch.

 

Wonder Of Stardom Title Match
Momo Watanabe (c) vs. Jungle Kyona

Review: This will be Momo’s first title defense after defeated Io for the title a few weeks ago and was challenged by Jungle Kyona who is a good first test to prove herself since Kyona is a highly underrated worker and can go in a big match when she wants to. Momo is shaping up to be one of Stardom’s futures and has a long mountain to climb and defeated Io was the first step, and now she has to keep proving her worth. The two wouldn’t waste any time as they start charging in at each other with Kyona tackling her down and the two would just have this intensity with Dropkicks, stiff kicks, and shoulder tackles back and forth to each other as you can tell how badly they both want to win this match here since, for Kyona, it’s her first singles main event for a title and wants to win it to be taken seriously as a competitor and for Momo, it’s to prove she’s Stardoms future after defeating Io Shirai for that very same belt and wants to show that she has earned her way to this level. It appears Kyona has found an opening since it looks like Momo has tweaked her knee a little bit as Kyona would use this as her advantage as she begins to do some more damage to her leg if she wanted to go for a submission victory and would even Splash herself on top of her leg for good measure before grabbing it to wrap around her neck to crank her leg more until Momo grabbed the ropes to save herself. Momo would try to get a shine in and would attempt a kick only to have her foot caught in the rope and Kyona kicks her knee out to do more damage and Kyona throws Momo to the turnbuckle only for Momo to find a way to get onto the ropes to hit her with a Dropkick to make Kyona go outside and would go to the ring apron to kick Kyona in the face and goes to do it one more time until Kyona sweeps her leg to make her go down and roll to the outside so she could attempt for Jungle Bomb only for Momo to flip it around to hit her Package Cradle to the outside and hurts her knee in the process.

The referee would begin to count Kyona out due to her being knocked out for so long and once they got to the fifteen mark, Momo would go out the ring since she didn’t wanna win like this and would bring her back inside and do another Cradle until Kyona would flip it around to try and get the pin, but Momo kicks out of it. Momo would eventually get Kyona to the corner as she would hit two Running Dropkicks and Kyona kicked out of it and I’m loving the determination between these two with every sequence they do together in the ring and Jungle would hit Momo with a Powerbomb and instead of going for the pin, she would pick her up to do a Sitout Powerbomb and gets a two count. Kyone would hit a Lariat onto Momo once she was able to sit up and Momo would find a way to roll her around and hits a running Somato for a two count as Momo would get Kyona up to attempt another Somato, but Kyona would catch her before she could land it but it wouldn’t last long as Kyona falls down to take the move and still kicks out of it. Momo would lock in the Crossface Chickenwing to try and make her tap out and once Kyona was on her feet, Momo would attempt to hit the Tequila Sunrise but Kyona would turn it around to try and go for a German and once she saw she wasn’t going to hit it, she would hit a Lariat to get her down and after Momo would attempt a kick, Jungle would get behind her to hit the German Suplex and would hit her with two Lariats with the last one hitting her in the back of her head for a two count. Kyona goes to the top rope and Momo would go up with her to try to hit a Superplex as she fails and falls to the ground and Kyona hits her Jungle Splash and instead of covering her, she goes for a Gutwrench Powerbomb only for Momo to flip her over for a pin and Kyona would flip her over too as Momo would kick out. Momo would hit the Uranagi and would hit a Package Cradle on top of that for a two count, but she picked her up real quick to try and do it again from the second rope as Kyona would attempt a Sunset Flip Powerbomb as Momo would hold onto the ropes and kicks her off so she could hit the Somato off the second rope the another two count. Momo had her in the Chickenwing one more time and she would just keep the submission hold in this time until Kyona would stand up on her own and tries to grab the rope, but Momo kicked her arm and used this opportunity to hit the Tequila Sunrise and retains the championship.

After the match, Momo would grab the mic and say she was successful in her very first title defense with this belt and said she loved how fired up Kyona was during the match, but told her she just wasn’t good enough and the belt is far out of her reach, but tells her to do her best if they were to fight again and the two shook hands before Kyona left the ring. Momo would say she wants to nominate her next challenger who she wants to fight former Queen’s Quest member, Hazuki but before that happens, Deonna Purrazzo came out and said she doesn’t know if this will be her last tour in Japan but wants to end it on a high note and challenge Momo for the championship first before she fights Hazuki, which Momo accepts as Hazuki comes out and tells her that even if Momo somehow loses the belt, she still wants to fight her one on one and slaps her face before leaving. Momo would stop talking as she says this is Io’s moment due to it being her farewell and Io comes out saying it should with Stardom’s past and future in the ring together as the roster would come out to the ring as they say their motto together. “Believe now, shine tomorrow. We are Stardom.” Io would then take the Wonder of Stardom Championship and would wrap it around Momo’s waist to make it the official passing of the torch as Io has chosen her successor once she’s gone.

Recommended: Great match, worth watching.

 

Overall: Aside from the opening contest being a dud, this was a pretty solid show since the rest of the matches were very well executed. While I am sad to see Io Shirai leave Japan, I do wish her nothing but love and support for her next chapter in her wrestling career and I know she’s gonna show the world who Io Shirai is. Thank you for seven amazing years in Stardom and good luck, Io Shirai.

Favorite Match: Thunder Rock vs. Oedo Tai or Momo Watanabe vs. Jungle Kyona

Least Favorite Match: Kaori Yoneyama & Ruaka vs. Leo Onozaki & Natsuko Tora

Score: 8.5/10


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International Coverage

Stardom Shining Stars Day 3 Results & Review (6/10/2018)

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We continue our Io Shirai Farewell Tour as she has two shows left to do before she departs to the WWE and this will be where she does her traditional Gauntlet Match which we’ll get to later on in the review.

Last show, we had an unexpected result with Kagetsu defeating Toni Storm for the World of Stardom Championship and I am thrilled for her winning it since she definitely earned it, just the unexpected match-up without any build is what threw me off and hey, it worked. We’re close to having a brand new chapter in Stardom and all we need to close it up for good is for Io to have her final match and she’ll make the most of her last days.

So let us…dive right in.

 

Three Way Match
Hanan vs. Kaori Yoneyama vs. Zoe Lucas

Review: Our opening bout is a three-way dance between Hanan, Kaori, and Zoe and it’s good to see Hanan still working again and hopefully we get some good results here. The three would lock hands as Kaori and Zoe would both have Hanan’s arms and hit her back before throwing her to the ropes and it looked like Hanan was going for a Dropkick and missed it which gives Kaori a chance to pin Hanan but she kicks out and now Hanan sweeps Zoe down to go for a pin and kicks out, but now Zoe tries the same thing with Kaori and she kicks out as all three stood up in a stalemate. Hanan would suggest a truce with Kaori as they attacked Zoe and as Hanan threw Kaori into Zoe, she would roll her up for a two count and now offer to team up with Zoe as they now attack Kaori and they both went for a kick as they accidentally hit each other and Zoe had Hanan in for a German and Kaori jumps behind Zoe as well to have their arms in a submission until she broke it up. Zoe would hit a Running Crossbody on Hanan and Kaori would break the pin with the Senton and would try to hit another one on both of them, but they rolled out of the way and Hanan would do a variation of a Suplex for Zoe to break it up and Hanan hits Zoe with an STO and picked her up to try and put her away, but Zoe broke out of it and kicked Kaori out before hitting Hanan with a Backdrop and quickly picked her up to hit her Split Leg Drop and looks a lit nicer this time as she gets the win.

Recommended: It was a short match, but not the worst nor great either. So, up to you.

 

Tag Team Match
Deonna Purrazzo & Toni Storm vs. Saki Kashima & Shiki Shibusawa

Review: This is Toni’s first match since losing the championship as she partners up with Deonna Purrazzo to take on STARS members, Saki Kashima and Shiki Shibusawa.

Appears as if Shiki and Toni are gonna open this one off as Shiki attempts to do a test of strength with Toni, but it doesn’t work with Shiki using both her hands to try one of Toni’s and just doesn’t budge as she starts to overpower Shiki and step on her hands. Toni and Deonna would just tag each other back and forth to pretty much work on Shiki to make sure they can try and take her out without even giving her a chance to tag in Saki. Toni looked like she was gonna go for a Powerbomb and Saki runs in to hit her with a Sunset Flip to have her let go of Shiki while she Dropkicks Toni once Saki moved out of the way after doing the flip. The match was decent and was most impressed with Saki and Deonna in this bout, especially when they were in the ring together where Saki reversed her German Suplex into a Bulldog and then went to do an Underhook Suplex, she had a good flow with it. Deonna and Toni were a decent team while Saki and Shiki were okay at least and Saki does a lot better with Mayu as a partner since they could do more together. Shiki would take the loss from Toni Storm once she hits the Strong Zero Piledriver.

Recommended: It was a decent match, up to you if you wanna give it a watch.

 

Six Man Tag Team Match
Jungle Kyona, Leo Onozaki & Natsuko Tora vs. Mayu Iwatani, Starlight Kid & Tam Nakano

Review: Up next, we have JAN taking on STARS with Leo being on their team instead of Kaori due to wrestling earlier as they take on Mayu, Starlight, and Tam, so least they both have one member from the future division on their team.

This is the first time both teams are fighting each other with Mayu involved ever since JAN decided to form their own group due to Mayu not picking them in the draft, so they wanna make sure that they beat STARS here to prove they can be taken seriously…sorta. Kyona and Mayu started the match with Kyona going for a handshake and then kicks Mayu to beat her down, but Mayu turned it around and hits a sloppy arm drag and then Kyona swept her up off her feet to pin her as Mayu kicks out and they both stand up. Starlight and Leo get tagged in now and in the pre-match interview, Leo said she learned a new technique she wanted to use in the match and I hope it’s a Double Cutter, but the two would chain wrestle with Starlight getting the upper hand as she tagged in Tam who hits her handstand and lands her knees on Leo and rather poorly might I add. STARS worked on Leo until she made the tag to Kyona and knocks Starlight down until Starlight would hit her Bow and Arrow submission before tagging in Mayu as the two go at it again. Mayu went to go for a German Suplex but Natsuko would attack Mayu and the two would double-team her until Mayu flipped it around to throw the two of them into the ropes with Tam catching them both for a Stunner to make their throats hit the ropes with Mayu and Starlight hitting a Standing Moonsault right after that. Kyona was going for a Powerbomb and Mayu reverses it into a Frankensteiner for a two count and hits a Thrust Kick to daze Kyona to attempt her Dragon Suplex, but Kyona breaks free from it to hit a German Suplex, making Mayu land on her head on that one, ouch. Kyona would tag Natsuko in and tried to get the momentum, but Mayu would roll her up for a two count and hit her with a Roundhouse Kick and tagged in Tam due to her neck being in pain. Natsuko would hit Tam and attempted to go for a Spear, but Tam kicks her head to knock her down before she could connect. Everyone starts going into the ring now and ended with Kyona hitting a Double Clothesline onto Tam and Mayu as she turned around for her and Natsuko to hit Tam, but they hit each other by accident as Starlight Dropkicks Kyona out the ring and Mayu runs after Natsuko to only be Speared this time. You know, I’m surprised Leo hasn’t hit a single Cutter in this ma…nevermind! After a valiant effort by Leo, Tam would hit her Spinning Kick on her to win the match for STARS.

Recommended: Couple of sloppy spots, but it was still solid for what it was. Worth one view.

Leo’s Cutter Count: 1

 

Six Man Tag Team Match
Hazuki, Kagetsu & Natsu Sumire vs. AZM, Konami & Momo Watanabe

Review: Our first show with Kagetsu as the World of Stardom Champion and since Hana is gone until September, looks like Hazuki is gonna replace her for the six-man tag bouts as they fight Queen’s Quest in our pre-main lead by Wonder of Stardom Champion, Momo Watanabe. Can Kagetsu gain more momentum going forward as the new champion or will Momo derail her and prove she’s the future? Looks like Oedo Tai extended their dance a little bit and I already love it, probably did it for Kagetsu’s title victory the day before.

Soon as Queen’s Quest got into the ring, Oedo Tai would attack them right away with four of them fighting around the outside while Sumire would kick around AZM after bringing her back into the ring until Konami would grab Sumire’s leg to stop her and all three members of Queen’s Quest would hit their Triple Dropkick for a two count. Momo would get tagged in to do some work on Sumire before tagging AZM back in as she kicked her from the turnbuckle and it looked like AZM was attempting another Dropkick to the corner, but she stops herself to slap Sumire in the face. They would punch each other back and forth and Sumire would yell out “you little brat” while AZM yells out back at her “you old bitch” in which Sumire replies “it feels good to be in my mid-twenties” while slapping AZM, but AZM ended by saying Sumire had a grandma face…damn girl.

Konami gets tagged in now and kicks Sumire in the back and before she could kick her face in, she saw Hazuki sliding the flogger in for Sumire to grab and Konami picks it up before she could and whips Sumire in the face before throwing it away, but Sumire would attack Konami once she threw it away and would roll her up for a two count and quickly tagged in Kagetsu. Kagetsu and Hazuki would kick Konami down and do a Running Senton on top of her before Kagetsu would pick Konami up as the two start kicking each other back and forth for a while and it looked like Kagetsu had it, but Konami would kick her chest once she ran the ropes and hits a PK for a two count, but Konami didn’t stop as she ran towards her but gets caught in a Samoan Drop and the two are down until they crawled to their corners as Hazuki and Momo are tagged in now. The two start going at it with Momo hitting a Dropkick to Hazuki on the corner to her first and then Hazuki would do it back in return and hit a Half Nelson Slam and a Running Senton, but now Momo would start to get some punches in until they went back and forth again till Momo caught her for a Crossface Chicken Wing. Momo attempted to turn the hold into a Tequila Sunrise and Hazuki fights it off with a Codebreaker and Momo kicks her head in to make them go down. I smell money for this feud, a former Queen’s Quest member taking on the new current leader and feels like it could be a jealousy issue here and if done right, can have an amazing delivery.

AZM gets tagged in now, but Oedo Tai would gang up on her into the corner while they all hit their moves on her and Sumire throws her into Hazuki to hit a Double Axe Handle for a two count. Hazuki had AZM in a Full Nelson and both Kagetsu and Sumire attempted to go for a kick but they accidentally hit Hazuki instead, giving Momo and Konami time to get them out of the ring and they kicked Hazuki down before AZM would hit a Lionsault for a two count. AZM went running to the top rope and AKgetsu sprays water into her eyes before Konami kicked her down and Hazuki would deliver some stiff kicks to both Momo and AZM for a two count, but she went to pick her up quick and AZM caught her with a Small Package for a two count as well. Hazuki had enough playing around as she hits a Michinoku Driver and goes to the second rope for the Atomic Bombs Away as she wins the match for Oedo Tai.

After the match, Kagetsu cuts a promo saying Queen’s Quest is basically useless without Io Shirai and she talked about how she defeated Toni Storm the night before as she will now be known as Prime Minister Kagetsu, and I for one welcome our new Prime Minister. Kagetsu has also appointed roles for both Sumire and Hazuki as Sumire will now be in charge of declining birthrate and Hazuki will be Chief Cabinet Secretary and awards them both title opportunities with Sumire saying she’s going for the Goddesses of Stardom Championships and will increase birthrate, now Hazuki wants to fight Momo for the Wonder of Stardom Championship. Mayu and Saki came out and said they’ll defend their belts against Sumire and Hazuki at the next show, but Kagetsu pointed out that Mayu already has a match with Io Shirai as her partner meaning we have a Thunder Rock reunion!

Recommended: Very solid match, worth watching for sure.

 

Io Shirai Gauntlet Match
Io Shirai vs. AZM, Deonna Purrazzo, Hanan, Hazuki, Jungle Kyona, Kagetsu, Kaori Yoneyama, Konami, Leo Onozaki, Mayu Iwatani, Momo Watanabe, Natsuko Tora, Natsu Sumire, Saki Kashima, Shiki Shibusawa, Starlight Kid, Takumi Iroha, Tam Nakano, Toni Storm & Zoe Lucas

Review: Well, this is Io Shirai’s second to last match with Stardom before she’s gone from the company and in the traditional matter, she is set to fight the roster in a Gauntlet Match. Rules are the same as the last one with Io fighting one person at a time with a one-minute time limit and once the time runs out, the next person comes in right away and it keeps on going until the last one is in the match. Even if Io wins or loses in one of the matches, it keeps going until all of them participated. I’m gonna do it a bit different this time and write it down as a list with who came up, who won, and if it was good or not and will write something if anything big happens in that minute. So let’s see how many Io can defeat or if anyone can even defeat her in this gauntlet match.

Entry 1: Leo Onozaki. Leo didn’t do any cutters in the match, so I’m disappointed with that and Io makes quick work of her by making her tap out to the Cloverleaf.

Entry 2: Hanan. Hanan had a better effort into beating down Io, but she would hit her Underhook Facebuster for a second win.

Entry 3: Zoe Lucas. Zoe would propose to Io with pocky and she refuses to take it and throws it out of the ring and now Zoe is made, she misses a Split Leg Drop and Io wrenches her leg till the draw happened.

Entry 4: Deonna Purrazzo. Deonna would mostly out maneuver Io and had her in the Fujiwara Armbar for the duration of the time to make it a draw due to not making Io tap out.

Entry 5: Shiki Shibusawa. Io would hit a 619 and a Dropkick off the top rope before applying a Boston Crab for a draw.

Entry 6: Starlight Kid. Starlight actually came close to winning when she hits her Tornado DDT, Moonsault Press, and a Code Red before Io kicked out for a draw.

Entry 7: Natsuko Tora. Io didn’t waste any time smacking her around soon as Tora got in. Tora hits a Spear and Io kicks out as we have another draw.

Entry 8. Jungle Kyona. Mostly testing their strength and Jungle had her in the Cesaro Swing til time ran out and kept going for a few extra seconds till she lets go

Entry 9: Kaori Yoneyama. Kaori asks Io to Moonsault her one last time and lays down for her, but would push her off once she got to the top and hits a Moonsault of her own, but misses and gets caught in a Cloverleaf til time ran out.

Entry 10. Tam Nakano. Tam pretty much kicking the living shit out of her even when Io to hit with everything she’s got til a draw.

Entry 11. Saki Kashima. Saki would get emotional and hug her till she tricked her into an Uppercut and even kissed Io a few times to try and hold her off for a Killswitch, but didn’t work as we get a draw.

Entry 12: Konami. She would hug Io to pin her down for a pin and mostly does strikes and has her in a submission until time ran out.

Entry 13. AZM. Had Io in the Black Widow for most of it and went back and forth until AZM caught her in a submission soon as time ran out.

Entry 14. Natsu Sumire. Sumire would bat Io with her photo book and would show it to the referee as they looked at the pictures. Sumire would mock Io by attempting her Moonsault but stood on the top rope till time ran out.

Entry 15. Hazuki. Would hit a Springboard Dropkick before the bell rings, they Crossface each other back and forth, and Hazuki hits her Atomic Bombs Away as the bell rang.

Entry 16. Takumi Iroha. Well, this is a very pleasant surprise and they hold each other’s hand so they could forearm each other back and forth until they both delivered stiff kicks to their heads and as Takumi went for the pin, the bell rang.

Entry 17. Toni Storm. Toni attempted the Strong Zero early on and backfired as Io attempted to beat her down, but gets knocked out. Toni would headbutt her till the bell rang and hits a Strong Zero before taking off.

Entry 18. Kagetsu. Kagetsu hits Io with the belt and would attempt a Chokeslam but Io reversed it into a Frankensteiner for a two count. Kagetsu would hit the Oedo Coaster to finally get a pinfall over Io, go Prime Minister!

Entry 19. Mayu Iwatani. Two went back and forth and played paper, rock, scissor as they slapped each other. Gonna miss these two fighting each other and wish they had one more match. Mayu hits a Standing Moonsault as the bell rang.

Entry 20. Momo Watanabe. Momo would attempt her Cradle but Io reversed it into her Underhook Facebuster as the time ran out, but Momo would allow her to hit her Diving Moonsault Press one last time as she does so and even lets Io pin her despite the time running out. (2-1-17)

This whole gauntlet was a lot of fun with a nice surprise from Takumi, everyone gave it their all and was an emotion fun ride. After the match, Io would cut a promo saying that she has one final match left before she leaves and would say to her that pro wrestling is life. Io said that even with her gone, Stardom will still shine and create a brighter future as she saw that today when she fought everyone. Everyone would come into the ring as she leads them to say their phrase which is ‘Believe now, shine tomorrow, we are Stardom”. They pose in the ring as everyone group hugs her.

Recommended: Great gauntlet match and an emotional one as we have one more show to go.

Leo’s Cutter Count: 0 (What sorcery is this!?)

 

Overall: The show was a solid one for what it was and we had a very nice gauntlet match. It’s now dawning on me that we may never see Io Shirai in Stardom again and it’ll be hard to see, but they’ll still shine brightly with or without her and they proved that tonight.

Favorite Match: Io Shirai vs. Stardom

Least Favorite Match: Hanan vs. Kaori Yoneyama vs. Zoe Lucas

Score: 7/10


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