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).
— TDE Wrestling (@totaldivaseps) June 18, 2018
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)
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.
— We Are Stardom (@we_are_stardom) June 30, 2018
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.
— We Are Stardom (@we_are_stardom) July 1, 2018
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?
— We Are Stardom (@we_are_stardom) June 18, 2018
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.
— We Are Stardom (@we_are_stardom) July 3, 2018
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
Andrew’s Stardom 5 Star Grand Prix Red Stars Ratings & Review: Day 7 & 8
We get another combined article because of the way Stardom likes to stagger matches in this tournament.
Day 7 actually didn’t have any Blue Star matches at all, so now the articles will be titled a little differently. I need that Rick and Morty clip about getting your shit together and direct it at Stardom booking. Oh wait, I can!
So with that established, I guess we should look at the matches to come. Tam is eliminated but still has 3 matches to go. So she can go from a measly 2 to a respectable 8 if she can put a few wins together. Utami and Rachael however are still very much in the thick of things, and even face one another on Day 8.
Let’s find if anyone else gets eliminated, or if we continue to have the top half stay alive.
Rachael Ellering vs Tam Nakano
Rachael’s promo is fake and over enthusiastic, whereas Tam’s was realistic and a little bubbleheaded. So it’s really hard for me to ever connect to Ellering’s promos, cause she’s not convincing and her matches thus far have been…umm…shall we say, sub par. So sadly Tam seems to be in the plucky underdog role this year and always getting close with not much of a pay off. So let’s she if she picks up a win to play spoiler, or continues to come up short.
I have no clue what it is about most of Rachael’s matches, but they are hard to watch. Rachael’s Pump Kick that she over uses never looks impactful, she doesn’t take or sell offense well, and it’s just a schlog. This match was no different.
Tam’s kicks are usually crisp, but they hit awkwardly and slowly. Tam even went for a bottom rope assisted Back Body Drop, but Rachael’s foot cause the middle rope and it just looked sloppy. Tam still sold her back, while Rachael focused it, so that was good.
We also see a decent barrage at the end of the match with some false finish rollups, Rachael’s Bossman Slam and then Ellering finally finishes this with the Fallaway Powerbomb.
Winner: Ellering via Fallaway Powerbomb
Rating: * 1/2
Kagetsu vs Kimber Lee
Kimber always has this oddly endearing way of cutting a promo. She talks fairly slowly (the way people do when you’re speaking a language people might not understand), which I find ridiculous, but she says all the correct babyface things. Kagetsu however has a skull mask on her head, pops up into frame and just starts talking casually about things. She just wants to end the match, eat some good food and head to Osaka. It’s casually dismissive of Kimber, but not cruel, perfect tweener kind of temperature.
Kagetsu takes the early advantage and does the cocky heel thing by throwing Kimber to the outside. Hazuki and Sumire get in a few cheap shots before rolling her back in. Kagetsu takes a drink of water and then we get her water spit/mist spot. Which I’m still not sure why that isn’t a disqualification, but I like it, so I’m not questioning it.
After the initial cockiness, Kimber takes advantage of Kagetsu taking her foot of the gas and puts together some offense. A few well placed kicks and suplexes lead to the Swanton Bomb attempt, but Kimber misses. After a little more struggle, Kagetsu eventually hits a Chokeslam and then enough of the Oedo Coaster to get the pinfall.
Not Kagetsu’s best work, but it was a fairly short match and Kimber isn’t positioned as a threat in this tournament.
Winner: Kagetsu via Oedo Coaster
Rating: *** 1/4
Kimber Lee vs Tam Nakano
The opening promos are pretty low energy for both women. Kimber talks about being eliminated but fighting for herself and Tam tries her best to psych herself up. The lack of points is effecting both of these women. Who will get the ball moving to end on a high note?
Not a bad match, just fairly short. Given that all of the Grand Prix matches have a 15 minute time limit, even the longer ones are a little short. Both women utilize a fair amount of kicks and flexibility in their offense, so the mirror aspect was on full display.
Kimber does her split spot, Tam goes for a Buzzsaw Kick, but Kimber blocks it and tries to sweep the leg, but Tam does a split and they both start throwing forearms from the split position. Kimber hits a kick combination first, which drops Tam but only for two. In her opening promo Tam put some emphasis on not wanting to lose to kicks, since those are kinda her thing.
Maintaining advantage, Kimber goes to the top rope but Tam shows some fight. Eventually hitting the Avalanche Snapmare and going up for her Diving Idol Knee, for only a near fall. After a few more close calls, Kimber catches Tam coming off the ropes for a Brain Buster, pulls her to a corner and lands the Swanton Bomb for the pinfall.
Valiant efforts in all her matches, but Tam really can’t catch a break.
Winner: Kimber via Swanton Bomb
Rating: ** 1/4
Rachael Ellering vs Utami Hayayshishita
Well, ya know I’m usually overly disinterested in whatever Rachael’s been doing, but this match was a little different. She basically got to play the heel since she was being very tough on Utami and showing some personality while arguing with the referee. So when it comes down to Rachael’s involvement, it wasn’t the thing that brought the match down, for a change.
However, after the initial burst from Rachael and the playing up a few strikes on the outside, the match never kick it into another gear. It basically was treading water for the last half. Signature moves were hit, Utami landed her Sleeper Hold takeover into the Coquina Clutch, but Rachael got out of it. I’m guess the high point was supposed to be Rachael hitting a Superplex, but nothing felt important, desperate or impressive.
The match ends just as Utami cinches in an Inside Cradle, but the time expires. All of the draws in this tournament are a little off putting.
Winner: Time Limit Draw
Red Stars Standings:
Kagetsu 4-1-1 (9 Points)
Rachael Ellering 4-1-1 (9 Points)
Jungle Kyona 3-1-2 (8 Points)
Utami Hayashishita 3-1-2 (8 Points)
Konami 3-3 (6 Points) – Eliminated
Kimber Lee 2-4 (4 Points) – Eliminated
Tam Nakano 1-5 (2 Points) – Eliminated
Natsuko Tora 1-5 (2 Points) – Eliminated
You know Stardom, you know what happens when you make Tam look good but don’t give her wins? Nothing happens, it’s actually decent story telling and could set up for a big upset of Kagetsu on the Finals day. So as much as the fan in me hates watching Tam come up short (Naito fans around the world know that feel), her determination and the storyline wrinkles could pay off later.
As for the two days…meh? Nothing stood out and these really just felt like matches to set up for the final swerve. These kind of days happen in all tournaments, it just hit really hard in these four matches. I just really really hope Rachael doesn’t win Red Stars.
Mathew’s Stardom 5 Star Grand Prix Blue Stars Results & Review: Day 8
So tomorrow is the last day of the Five Star Grand Prix where we will have our final four matches and the final match on the same day but we got two matches left to cover before we go to the final day.
This show is for people that didn’t have their six matches before the final day and we’re using this to make sure they’re all caught up to speed and we can see who has a chance to make it and who doesn’t. I know it says day 8 in my headline but I had no matches on the seventh day, so I decided to just skip it and go where I have my actual matches. So who wins these two matches?
Let’s find out and…dive right in.
Grand Prix Blue Stars Match
Kelly Klein vs. Natsu Sumire
Review: It’s pretty clear that Sumire is pretty much eliminated and even if she does win this match and her last one, the fact that Mayu would hold the tiebreaker over her if she lost today and won tomorrow, but would still be out if Momo won on the final day since she’d have nine points while Sumire would still have eight if she won both and wouldn’t matter, but she has been one of the highlights of this tournament due to her personality flourishing a lot more here and the fans loving her more and more. Sumire in her pre-match interview seems to be more focused on her bust size and even talked about the supplements she’s been taking for a couple weeks now and is disappointed that there’s been no change in her results just yet and hopes to provide progress updates. Kelly is her opponent tonight and if Kelly does win here, she’ll be in the top spot of the standings and would have a strong chance of winning. Can Kelly win again or will Sumire ruin it for her?
Once again, Sumire made the match fun when it was needed due to it not being the best bout in the tournament here but they did work with what they got, even if it was as pretty standard as they come. Kelly did an okay job in the match as well and probably my least favorite outing of her in the Grand Prix and she just wanted to dominate Sumire. Sumire was mostly doing her antics that you would see in her matches with the false handshakes, cradling them up when they least expect it, and just whipping them. It looked like Kelly was going to go for the win here and when she ran the ropes, Kagetsu kicked her in the back to stun her long enough for Sumire to grab the Oedo Tai sign so she could hit Kelly with it, but Kelly moved out of the way causing the sign to bounce off the ropes and hit Sumire instead in which it gets turned around for Kelly to hit the Fireman’s Carry Slam for the victory and she’s now in first place.
Rating: Tony Schiavone
Grand Prix Blue Stars Match
Hazuki vs. Mayu Iwatani
Review: A win here is very crucial for Mayu Iwatani if she wants to tie it up with Kelly, otherwise she would be eliminated from the tournament and her opponent, Hazuki would take the top spot with nine points and potentially win the whole thing if things work out in her favor. The last time the both of them fought one on one was around February during the ROH Women of Honor tournament and Mayu would come out the winner of that match and Mayu wants to beat her again to show she’s on a whole different level now. Who will take the top spot of the standings, Mayu or Hazuki?
Hazuki is in my top 5 wrestlers of Stardom right now and this match here with Mayu just solidified my statement for this claim. This whole tournament, she has been one of the most consistent wrestlers in her matches with her sequences being on point, her moves are crisp, and how to handle a match lately has been outstanding that she should be under peoples radar. Hazuki right away was being aggressive with Mayu before the bell even rang when she attacked her from behind and kept rolling her up which failed, but she kept on the attack by throwing her around into chairs on the outside and even destroyed Mayu’s arm during the whole match and not holding back on her, I love this side of Hazuki.
This match is one of my favorites in my block next to Hazuki/Momo still being my favorite one, but this one was still pretty damn close with their chemistry in the ring together gave us a special match and it’s not even their last one for their block. They told a great story in the ring, executed everything almost flawlessly, seeing a more aggressive side of Hazuki in her previous two matches, and Mayu selling it all to make it look more dangerous than it probably is, but they were just on point with everything together. Hazuki was pulling out all the stops with having her in the Crossface, working on her arm, stiff Dropkicks and a Codebreaker, but it still wasn’t enough to take Mayu out as she hits the Dragon Suplex Hold and gets the victory to tie first place with Kelly Klein. After the match, she told the crowd that she was now in first place and hopes the crowd will still support her as she looks to win it all at the final.
Rating: Bruce Prichard
Overall: Can’t really give it a fair assessment due to only having two matches with one being average and the other one being great, but the average of it was solid enough. I’m glad to see that all three of my picks are in the top 4 of potential winners and excited for the last day since it’s stacked.
Favorite Match: Hazuki vs. Mayu Iwatani
Blue Stars Standings:
Mayu Iwatani: 4-2 (8 Points)
Kelly Klein: 4-2 (8 Points)
Momo Watanabe: 3-2-1 (7 Points)
Hazuki: 3-2-1 (7 Points)
Nicole Savoy: 3-3 (6 Points)
Jamie Hayter: 2-4 (4 Points)
Saki Kashima: 2-4 (2 Points)
Natsu Sumire: 2-4 (4 Points)
Now that we have our final standings before the final show tomorrow, we see that our top 4 people that could still win this are Mayu Iwatani, Kelly Klein, Momo Watanabe, and Hazuki. We’re gonna break down the final card for tomorrow and see who has a real chance and how can it be done.
- Mayu Iwatani vs. Momo Watanabe
- Hazuki vs. Natsu Sumire
- Kelly Klein vs. Nicole Savoy
- Saki Kashima vs. Jamie Hayter
Here is how these four can win.
Mayu Iwatani: Defeat Momo Watanabe and Nicole Savoy defeats Kelly Klein.
Momo Watanabe: Defeat Mayu Iwatani and Nicole Savoy defeats Kelly Klein.
Kelly Klein: Defeat Nicole Savoy
Hazuki: Defeat Nicole Savoy, Momo Watanabe defeats Mayu Iwatani, and Nicole Savoy defeats Kelly Klein
If Momo and Hazuki do win their matches and Kelly loses, these two will be in a tie and it’ll be interesting to see who gets the final spot since they did tie it up in their outing, interesting direction if that’s the case.
(NOAH) WEEKLY NEWSLETTER VOL.2 ~ 21ST SEPTEMBER 2018
CURRENT TOUR RECAP
NOAH finished up their mammoth five day in a row event (14th September to the 18th September), fortunately no-one was injured, but both Hajime Ohara (neck) and Hi69 (knee) seem to be carrying injuries.
After losing the GHC Heavyweight Tag Title challenge against Naomichi Marufuji and Akitoshi Saito, Kaito Kiyomiya intimated that he would be interested in challenging for them again, but with another partner (i.e. Go Shiozaki). Shiozaki was seen watching Kaito Kiyomiya in the tag match against 50 Funky Powers in Hakata Stalene. Later in the tour he mentioned on Twitter about “shutting them up” and their GHC Heavyweight Tag Challenge
.Speaking of Go Shiozaki there was a very sweet moment that took place in Hakata, involving both himself and Atsushi Kotoge. When they made their entrance in their match against The Hooligans (Cody Hall and Maybach Taniguchi), a little boy could be seen dressed in a homemade “Revolutionary Cloak”. When Kotoge appeared the little boy and the little girl next to him (most probably his sister), did the revolutionary fist pumps (to the delight of Kotoge who joined in), and when he had gone, Shiozaki noticed, did it for half a second, and then went bright red (Shiozaki gets very shy when he has to do physical comedy, he also has a tendency to start giggling as well when others do it).
During the match, the brawl went into the crowd, and a little girl was upset by it and started crying. Go Shiozaki, gave her a hug to comfort her, and once back in the ring got The Hooligans in the corner, pointed to her and said “this is for you”, and proceeded to chop them.
Despite his claim to “bring the revolution to Hakata, and defeat the villains!”, Atsushi Kotoge took the Zwei Bomb from Taniguchi.
Naomichi Marufuji is still not accepting the challenge of The Hooligans, and gave a somewhat bad tempered promo in Ehime saying they were “a fool, a baldie” and “even though I am an asshole with a lack of sleep, I am going to crush you all. Come and line up with your heads bowed. I am not going to accept your challenge! I’m not in the mood!” Marufuji is still being obsessively hated by Kenoh, and he certainly has taken it from him on this tour, but the person the five days really belongs to, is Katsuhiko Nakajima, who utterly obliterated Takashi Sugiura and did the cocky pin on him. I don’t think anyone has ever at any time or anywhere ever done this…
Nakajima, being Nakajima, wasn’t finished there as he draped the belt over him, and then threw Sugiura out of the ring. When Sugiura had recovered and scraped himself off of the floor, Nakajima had gotten the microphone, and standing on the turnbuckle he told him that he would continue to plague him like he did today, he would plague him again tomorrow and the day after that and forever afterwards.
At the end of the five day tour, having been thoroughly battered by Nakajima, Takashi Sugiura said tiredly he couldn’t keep up and says that he has had no choice but to get better, and rethink his strategy. I can only imagine that Sugiura is playing the spider and the fly…
“Black or white, this is a league.” (Hi69)
The NOAH Juniors, despite being divided over Junior Global League, are all gunning for Kotaro Suzuki (Hitoshi Kumano says that he is going to “crush the beat so no sound comes out”). Kotaro Suzuki has dismissed even the freelancers amongst the NOAH Juniors as being “weak”.
The biggest build so far is Daisuke Harada vs Kotaro Suzuki, which will take place in Yokohama (Suzuki has already lost to the other “elder” of the Juniors, Hajime Ohara). Daisuke Harada in Kochi, delivered the message to Suzuki that he would beat him down, and then he would “tell you this”…Harada spoke silently to the camera and walked off. Kotaro Suzuki later said that he had no idea what he was saying, but would find out before they faced each other.
Suzuki has made unflattering comments about various NOAH juniors, Hitsohi Kumano is “heavy” and “bulging with fat”, and Tadasuke, due to “too much hair treatment” is “greasy”.
Kotaro Suzuki, known for being just as “slippery” as Tadasuke (maybe even more) has promised something special for his “vision of Korakuen” (he also posted a picture of himself and Yoshinari Ogawa out drinking and said they were “discussing strategy”), well, whatever he has planned, it is probably a lot better than what Tadasuke has promised, he says that he may have to “poison the rice of the winning candidates” if he doesn’t win.
Suzuki and Harada clashed in a tag match on the 18th September on the last day of tour with Harada getting in his face with the belt, and Suzuki playing the innocent after attacking him while standing on the ring apron.
There has been no rift between The Backbreakers, with Hitoshi Kumano defeating Hajime Ohara. Kumano said he had to win, even though Ohara’s neck was very bad.
Part of his reasons for wanting to beat Ohara was due to the comments made by Daisuke Harada when he was aiming for the GHC Junior Heavyweight championship a few months ago, Harada had basically said that Kumano was “below Ohara” or that he was his “subordinate”.
Between RATELS, Daisuke Harada is too busy to comment on Tadasuke beating him, and YO-HEY and HAYATA still appear to be friends (better description might be master and pet).
Junta Miyawaki is still to get his first win, but the boy has earned a lot of accolades with people praising him and saying he was “insanely good” in his matches. NOAH are really teasing his first win with many near pinfalls. He has also been likened to a young Kenta Kobashi, which means that now in NOAH we have almost the Four Pillars for a new generation with Misawa (Kiyomiya) and Kawada (Kenoh) – now we just need a Taue.
NOAH have had very good attendances out in the provinces for this tour, not all venues have been sold out, but attendances have been very high. The promotion has a policy whereby they travel outside of the metropolitan areas (i.e. Tokyo, Osaka) and the big city areas and bring the show to the “provinces” (i.e. the countryside or the more rural areas on the edge of the suburbs). While this doesn’t always result in a full house (something a lot of people don’t seem to understand and they think its a reflection on NOAH ), what it does do is bring a company who unlike New Japan, All Japan, Big Japan etc doesn’t have a streaming service and\or a TV show, to people who wouldn’t see them otherwise. They have also attracted a lot of new fans too.
Global Junior League Scores (as of 18th September 2018)
Ikuto Hidaka: 6
Daisuke Harada: 6
Kotaro Suzuki: 6
Hitoshi Kumano: 4
Minoru Tanaka: 4
Hajime Ohara: 2
Seiya Morohashi: 2
Junta Miyawaki: 0
QUIET STORM CELEBRATES 20 YEARS
Quiet Storm has celebrated his own twenty years in wrestling on the 16th September, he debuted in 1998 (about a month after Naomichi Marufuji did) at roughly the age of seventeen, and while in America had spells with Ring of Honor, PWF and NYWC. Quiet Storm made his debut in his hometown of New York (he’s a Brooklyn boy I think). He came to Japan and trained with KAIENTAI DOJO, but had to return home due to a family situation. Aside from NOAH, his other affiliation is with Osaka Pro. He has been with NOAH since 2014.
His tag team partner, Mohammed Yone, presented him with flowers in the ring.
GHC BELT NEWS
- GHC Heavyweight Champion: Takashi Sugiura
- GHC Junior Champion: Daisuke Harada
- GHC Heavyweight Tag Champions: Naomichi Marufuji & Akitoshi Saito
- GHC Junior Tag Champions: Minoru Tanaka & Hi69
Atsushi Kotoge will be holding his own fan event, further details to be announced (this is not a produce)
Comedy wrestler Kikutaro (who returned to Japan to have ear surgery), announced that before he leaves for America, he wants to appear in NOAH(he was once a regular in SEM, where he memorably teamed with KENTA, who had him thrown out of the building afterwards, Kikutaro made his way back in though), and a match has been arranged against Atsushi Kotoge for the 4th October at Korakuen Hall. Kotoge has asked Kikutaro whether he wants to join the “Revolutionary Army”. What should be a very funny match, will be broadcast on Samurai on the 11th October (FYI: Fuji TV no longer exists, it is now “ForJoyTV“)
Hajime Ohara, (who quite rightly is called “NOAH’s treasure”), has taken part in more municipal activities in Kawasawki by lecturing the Staff Hygiene Committee about exercise that can be done at the office and at home.
Thanks to Metal-Noah who very kindly sent me a copy of “Heir to The Ark”, Naomichi Marufuji’s biography, English translation has started, and can be found here. This is a work in progress, and I hope to update it daily. The book is ranked #3 on the Japanese book charts. TOUR TIDBITS
- Tadasuke used a chair on Seiya Morohashi (which is unusual for him).
- Whilst in Shikoku, a big crab turned up on Hi69’s cigarette packet (its probably HAYATA shape-shifting)
- The ceiling was so low in Hakata Stalene that people’s feet and heads grazed it.
- Naomichi Marufuji watched “the youngsters” going off together after NOAH arrived in Kochi, and said “the old man is going to bed”
- Tadasuke announced to Kotaro Suzuki “Hey, Fool! I am today’s NOAH Junior!” (and Kotaro Suzuki beat him down in ten minutes with the Tiger Driver)
- Naomichi Marufuji wrapped Yoshiki Inamura in Atsushi Kotoge’s cloak, and forced him to do the “Revolution Pose”, right in front of Kotoge.
- YO-HEY’S rambling promos include him having all his teeth knocked out (he hasn’t), and likening himself to a 16th century Japanese warlord, a champion stallion racehorse which was put out to stud (don’t ask) and then forgetting what he was talking about. He is still convinced that he will be facing Yoshiki Inamura in the finals of Global Junior League, despite the fact that Inamura isn’t in Global Junior League.
- Yoshinari Ogawa took Atsushi Kotoge’s cape and used it to wipe his boots, much to Kotoge’s horror.
- Ehime Pro did an opening exhibition at Noah’s show at TEXPORT Imbari
- Yoshiki Inamura getting good reviews.
- Go Shiozaki went to shake hands with Kotoge, but Kotoge drew his hand back, wiped his head and walked off (Shiozaki, notorious for giggling, couldn’t keep a straight face)
- NOAH have had a crack down on people filming at the event, Atsushi Kotoge said “Heroes obey the rules”.
- Masao Inoue is holding another bowling event, wrestlers participating will be Atsushi Kotoge, Kaito Kiyomiya and Tadasuke
- On September 17th, Atsushi Kotoge, Kenoh, Katsuhiko Nakajima and Masa Kitamiya went to a sports bar and spent until the early hours watching classic Four Pillars era All Japan (the match Kotoge photographed on the TV was Mitsuharu Misawa vs Kenta Kobashi on the 21st October 1997. When this match took place, Kotoge and Kenoh would have been 12, Kitamiya 14 and Nakajima 9).
- Cody Hall and Maybach Taniguchi now have a finisher called “The Hooligans Bomb”.
- On the long drive back from Tottori to Tokyo, (about nine to eleven hours), Takashi Sugiura photographed Masao Inoue at the urinal (twice), and then predictably, things got even worse when Marufuji filmed Inoue eating an ice cream on the bus, and then pausing to look briefly at a passing woman. Between Marufuji and Sugiura, this turned into Inoue thinking about “licking” women…
Lets just end this newsletter here until next week.