Welcome to my Day 1 review of…Stardom? Wait-wait, who agreed to this? I don’t do Stardom. *walks off to argue with agent*
Yeah! Well your mother is a hamster and your father smells of elderberries! Stupid-erhm-OH!
Hello, again everyone. So yeah…time to start this review like exes and overdrive. Don’t question me, I’m not used to covering this. I blame Steve Corino.
Natsuko Tora vs Kimber Lee
Kimber’s power and flexibility were on display when she won the Greco-Roman knuckle lock and pushed down into a pin. When Natsuko tried to kick her legs out from under her, Kimber did a split. She then did a Splitting Jawbreaker just to hammer home the flexibility one more time.
After that we get a normal match with some strike exchanges and top rope attempts. Natsuko hits a Frog Splash for only 2, and Kimber slowly starts taking the control back. Kimber hits a nice Swanton Bomb, and that’s all she wrote for the first match of Red Star Block.
Winner: Kimber via Swanton Bomb
Rating: ** 3/4
Utami Hayashishita vs Tam Nakano
This is only Utami’s second match out of the Stardom dojo, and her first was a draw. She’s a reality TV star, and the fastest student to ever graduate the dojo (4 months). Tam wants to have a fun match, but also realizes since she’s the senior wrestler, she needs to win.
The match started off a little slow, but Utami actually controlled the early going after back and forth shoulder tackles. Eventually Tam’s martial arts background helps her put together some offense with a beautiful Front Crescent Kick and a Spinning Back Kick.
We do get to see the contrast in styles, where Tam likes to incorporate her karate, Utami shows that she’s a technical wrestler. Sleeper Holds, Coquina Clutch, Sleeper Hold Takedowns, all nice mat based submission wrestling. The match stays competitive and close until Tam goes for a Running Knee Strike, but Utami catches her with back to back Judo Throws.
A dropkick sends Tam flying into the corner, and then Utami locks in the Argentine Backbreaker, causing Tam to give up.
Winner: Utami via Argentine Backbreaker
Jungle Kyona vs Rachael Ellering
Rachael comes out to Pat Benatar’s Hit Me With Your Best Shot, appropriate for the tournament.
This is one of those weird matches where you can tell they’re trying, but it’s just not working. Kyona gives a lot in this match, but after a Back Body Drop to Rachael on the ramp, the match gets weird.
Ellering starts favoring one leg and noticeably limping, which gives Jungle the opening to lay in some Sliding Lariats and big moves. But then, the selling stops and the leg is suddenly fine for numerous Pump Kick variations, power moves and the Fallaway Powerbomb finish.
Kyona showed solid selling and work throughout, but Rachael picked and chose when she wanted to actually try, and it hurt the match a lot.
Winner: Rachael via Fallaway Powerbomb
Rating: ** 1/4
Kagetsu vs Konami
Being that she is the heel World Champion and Prime Minister of Oedo Tai, Kagetsu dismissed the younger wrestler. Konami kept her composure, said her piece, and let her actions in the ring do the talking.
What we got was a more technical match than I’ve ever seen in Stardom. A lot of mat based maneuvers, both women going for a bevy of submissions before it looked like Kagetsu was getting the momentum.
Kagetsu manages to get out of a Guillotine with Body Scissors and apply her own Double Wristlock to Konami. Our little cheat code gets to the ropes, but Kagetsu makes her pay with a trifecta of Michinoku Drivers and then goes up for her 450 Splash.
The Splash misses and Konami wastes little time applying the Triangle Lancer, which is unique looking. It seems to be an Arm Ringer with the head and neck triangled forward. So it puts strain on the neck and the arm at the same time, making movement difficult.
Pretty damn cool honestly.
Winner: Konami via Triangle Lancer
Rating: **** 1/4
Red Stars Standings:
Konami 1-0 (2 Points)
Kimber Lee 1-0 (2 Points)
Rachael Ellering 1-0 (2 Points)
Utami Hayashishita 1-0 (2 Points)
Tam Nakano 0-1 (0 Points)
Jungle Kyona 0-1 (0 Points)
Natsuko Tora 0-1 (0 Points)
Kagetsu 0-1 (0 Points)
With the exception of the Rachael/Jungle match, this was actually really solid. Any one who has seen clips knows Stardom tends to like to utilize a lot of gimmicks during normal shows. But, it seems that this tournament is being handled seriously.
Given the fact I’m not as fluent in Stardom as Mathew, this was a nice change from what I’m used to seeing. This show didn’t feel like a live action recreation of an anime for a change, and I’m quite happy with that.