End of year fun to be had in NOAH! NOAHful Gift isn’t overly serious, but it does set a decent tone for Navigation for the Future. Hisame let’s us know everything we need to know-ah. Get it? No? Shuddup and read.
NOAH held their final event of the year, “NOAHFul GIFT”, at Korakuen Hall on the 24th December 2018. The usual flea market was held where the wrestlers sold their old clothing and ring gear (one fan bought something of Nakajima’s and said there was a faint smell of sweat on it).
Fortunately, Genba Hirayanagi did not repeat his threat to turn up in some old pants (or turn up at all).
NOAH held a lottery to determine random drawing of the first three matches prior to the Costumed Battle Royale (I’ll get to that. Its highly disturbing).
The matches were:
1. Yoshiki Inamura vs Hi69
2. Kaito Kiyomiya vs Kenoh vs Kinya Okada
3. Tadasuke, Atsushi Kotoge & Go Shiozaki vs Junta Miyawaki, YO-HEY & Katsuhiko Nakajima.
Inamura put on a good show, but naturally, fell to Hi69 – but it was Kinya Okada in the “random” drawing of the second match (which no one seriously believes was “random”), who stole the show. Okada, with only about seven matches or so since he debuted, completely stole the show. He proved himself to be a natural, at times he had the small blip to show his lack of experience, but you couldn’t fault his ring presence. Sarcastic (he’s going to be NOAH’s very own homegrown Yuji Hino), by pretending that he didn’t see the GHC Heavyweight Champion telling him off for double crossing him, smirking (not sinister like Nakajima though, more in a troublemaker, butter wouldn’t melt in my mouth, kind of way) and when he said to Kiyomiya about Kenoh, “let’s get that blonde bastard”, using language common to his generation.
He is going to be one the nastier heavyweights, and in years to come, and a big part of NOAH.
Naturally, Kenoh and Kiyomiya faced off, Kiyomiya showing an attitude that he hasn’t had for the past twelve months since he came back by standing up to Kenoh.
Kaito Kiyomiya won with the Boston Crab on Kinya Okada after 13 minutes and 27 seconds
The next match had more of a focus on Atsushi Kotoge and Go Shiozaki…and it read like a plot to a anime.
Go Shiozaki was having trouble chopping his opponents, and was offered the cape by Atsushi Kotoge. Shiozaki, put the cape on, and his powers were restored. Kotoge was out of what is left of his mind, when Shiozaki did the “Revolutionary Fist”.
After the match (in which Nakajima and YO-HEY sat in the audience to cheer on Miyawaki), a delighted Kotoge asked Shiozaki whether from now on, he would like to wear his magic power granting cape?
Shiozaki looked like you do when granny asks were that nice Christmas jumper is with Santa on it she bought for you last year?
It should be noted (that with the possible exception of Hi69, who is an eighteen year veteran), that all of the matches featured the younger stars of NOAH.
Then there came the Battle Royale.
EVERYONE (except one person) dressed up for this, even Ally (ring announcer) dressed up to announce it.
Special mention goes to:
~ Santa Masa Kitamiya subduing his too cute reindeer (Hitoshi Kumano and Junta Miyawaki) after they beat him down with soap in a sock
~ Maybach Taniguchi dressing as his Sasumata, and being used as a battering ram
~ Tokyo Sports describing Masao Inoue’s mask as one used for “convenience store robberies”
~ Mohammed Yone bringing a camera to the ring, and taking pictures of EVERYTHING…and I mean EVERYTHING. Yes. Even what you are about to read about.
~ Atsushi Kotoge was an out of control hyperactive “Kotode Mercury” (Freddie Mercury), complete with cane, and what looked like a bath lily stuck to his chest to simulate chest hair.
~ Akitoshi Saito came out as Atsushi Kotoge, and did a dance involving a crotch chop, which I never want to see again.
~ Hajime Ohara recycled his Kiki costume from 2017.
~ HAYATA refused to dress up (no surprises there)
~ Kenoh came as the masked “Menso-re Oyaji”, complete with his beloved can of Orion beer (its from his summer holiday retreat of Okinawa), and did things that Kenoh would not normally do (come on, we all know Mr. “I don’t smile normally in my everyday life”, was smiling under the mask)
~ Kaito Kiyomiya came as a songstress clad in a Kimono and with the traditional white painted face. He made his entrance in the traditional way a dancer does, with the fan over the face and the knees slightly bent.
~ Katsuhiko Nakajima came as a samurai, and then found that Samurai didn’t high kick people as their clothing didn’t allow it.
Takashi Sugiura came as a gorilla.
Yes. A gorilla.
Sugi often refers to himself as one (although KENTA once called him a “Hippo”), and he came out clutching a bunch of bananas.
Then the gorilla got in the ring, and attempted to, shall we say, mount Hi69 (a panda) before being chased away, at which point he then tried to…well…get into Kiki’s drawers.
I guess we should be grateful, had a watershed not existed along with broadcasting laws, he probably would have come as The Baboon…
Moving on – the Battle Royale (in which the Geisha and the Samurai danced together, in what looked like a lopsided Edo period drama of a 5’11 Geisha dancing with a 5’9 man), the event was won by Kotode Mercury.
The traditional picture was taken at the end, even Naomichi Marufuji got in the ring for it (he had been enjoying the action from ringside), the only people missing were YO-HEY and Yoshinari Ogawa. YO-HEY, with his new heel persona felt he couldn’t join in, and Yoshinari Ogawa had come to the ring and been chased off by Daisuke Harada.
After the event, Go Shiozaki (in his role as chairman of the NOAH, wrestlers association) thanked everyone for coming, and thanked them for helping to raise the roof so to speak. Next year the wrestlers and the staff, will continue to devote themselves to Pro Wrestling Noah.
NOAH will hold their next event on January 6th 2019 at Korakuen Hall
POWER HALL & KUSHINO PRODUCE
Riki Chosu held another “POWER HALL” on the 28th December at Korakuen Hall, the same day Kuishinbo Kamen held his produce in Osaka.
YO-HEY & HAYATA (despite YO-HEY turning on RATELS), had to tag together in a three man match. They got into an argument during it, which led to them both being taken down at one point, and a rather sad looking YO-HEY refusing to help HAYATA up, or even tag him in.
If they were going to work together, it was going to be difficult.
The final “POWER HALL” of 2018 featured NOAH wrestlers, Kaito Kiyomiya, Masa Kitamiya, Katsuhiko Nakajima, Takashi Sugiura and Akitoshi Saito (plus regular NOAH freelancer, Minoru Tanaka).
Nakajima was his usual evil grinning sadistic self, who took pleasure in beating up on Big Japan’s Takuya Nomura (who seems to always be busted open whenever he faces NOAH).
Takashi Sugiura wore his tired old man face when confronted with some members of the opposite team.
Kaito Kiyomiya hugged his belt, and looked distressed when someone playfully tugged at it.
Kiyomiya’s team lost, and he said afterwards that this wouldn’t do, it (i.e. 2018) “could not end like this” and he wanted to fight another round.
“COME AT ME YOU BASTARDS”
Kenoh wrote his final column of 2018, and reflected on the past year, calling it the “best and the worst”. He speaks mainly about Kiyomiya and his concerns that the company is pushing him into something he is not ready for.
NAVIGATION FOR THE FUTURE 2019
NOAH are back on the 6th January 2018, with a live broadcast show at Korakuen Hall (to find out your timezone, put into Google “11.30 JST”).
On the 6th January, Kaito Kiyomiya will face Kenoh in his first defense of the GHC Heavyweight title, The Hooligans (Yuji Hino and Maybach Taniguchi) will defend the GHC Heavyweight tag titles against Katsuhiko Nakajima and Go Shiozaki (this is the rematch after the chaotic title match in Yokohama). Junta Miyawaki and Seiya Morohashi will have their trial match to see whether or not Hajime Ohara will let them challenge for the GHC Junior Heavyweight titles (but they have been challenged by Keisuke Ishii & Kouki Iwasaki).
Yoshiki Inamura will also go up against his hero, Takashi Sugiura, in a singles match opener. He will also have a series of singles matches against various seniors.
Elsewhere, Daisuke Harada will defend the GHC Junior Championship against YO-HEY on the 26th in Osaka, but prior to that on the 20th, HAYATA will face YO-HEY, Harada will take on Ogawa, and Tadasuke will fight Kotaro Suzuki.
For this tour, the following outside talent have been announced to be participating in one way or another: Mitsuya Nagai, KAZMA SAKAMOTO, Yuji Hino, Masao Inoue, Minoru Tanaka, Kotaro Suzuki, Seiya Morohashi, Kokuki Iwasaki, Seichi Ikemoto, Kanjyuro Matsuyama and Keisuke Ishii.
GHC BELT NEWS
- GHC Heavyweight Champion: Kaito Kiyomiya
- GHC Junior Champion: Daisuke Harada
- GHC Heavyweight Tag Champions: Yuji Hino & Maybach Taniguchi (“The Hooligans”)
- GHC Junior Tag Champions: Hitoshi Kumano & Hajime Ohara (“The Backbreakers”)
~ President Uchida apparently had a little too much to drink at the Noah Christmas party
~ No one could work out how Tadasuke was sitting at (what looked like) the airport, and even less how he could sleep like that
~ Daisuke Harada wore a pointy Santa Hat for his stint as one day manager at Yoneya, Masa Kitamiya will be there in January 2019
~ Kenoh will be back on “Satoko’s Room” in January 2019 (he was last on it in 2019)
~ Yoshiki Inamura took Takashi Sugiura’s advice, and smiled a little more when out on promotion
KING SHAMELESS CORNER
Samurai TV will broadcast the first night of “Navigation For The Future 2019” LIVE on the 6th January at 11.30am JST
The translation into English of “Heir to The Ark” (Naomichi Marufuji’s biography), has reached Chapter 4 “Fight to the Death; Battles with KENTA, GHC Grand Slam, returning to the juniors”.
Chapters 1, 2 and 3 are now complete.
While I am still waiting for “PHOTO THE LIVE” to arrive, two other books on Mitsuharu Misawa\NOAH did “Sailing: The Mitsuharu Misawa autobiography” and “Mitsuharu Misawa: understanding the cause of NOAH”.
The first book seems to deal with his life primarily from childhood to the founding of Noah (it was published in about 2001/2002).
As this is the last newsletter of 2018, I want to take a moment to thank everyone for supporting me, following me this year and reading this.
In particular I want to thank Metal Noah, not only for kindly sending me his autographed copy of “Heir to The Ark”, but also for being one of the main reasons I can do a recap of NOAH shows (a big thanks also goes to Abeshin, Nacky, Hamaharin, Shishido, Hai, Karin, Fujiwara Armbar, Pinkie Pie, Kei and Maybach Metapoko, and many many others, whom I may have forgotten to mention).
Thank you also to Wilfred Watches and Greg (GoodnightLove) for having me on their podcasts, and to Andrew Balaz (Chairshot) and Andre Corbeil (Wrestling with Wrestling) for asking me to write for them.
A thank you to Purodino for kindly sending me some Noah merchandise on her trip to Japan, and for translating some articles for the site.
A thank you to Jen J for never failing to send me the articles from Puroresu Weekly
A thank you to Brother Mort & Ro Bert for uploading the NOAH shows\Battlemen.
A thank you to John LaRocca for the shout outs on his podcast.
A thank you to my boyfriend for editing my podcast (which I hope to be restarting soon after a hiatus caused by family and work issues)
And a thank you to all those who contributed to my Patreon (the dream of being able to do this full time, from home and paid, comes closer and closer with each donation\subscription)
…and to anyone else I may have neglected to mention, you know who you are x x x
Finally, a big thanks goes to Pro Wrestling NOAH themselves, for being here in 2018 and for not blocking me from any of their accounts.
SUN ON THE SEA: A RECAP OF PRO-WRESTLING NOAH’S 2018
Go Shiozaki vs Konosuke Takeshita ~ transcript of press conference
Kaito Kiyomiya, “a new scene” in the ring with Kenoh
Kenoh to the new champion, Kiyomiya, “I will make it easy”
Freddie Mercury wins the costume Royal Rumble?
Noahful Gift – post match promos
Shiranui Curry (online shop)
HAYATA “My Turning Point” (translated by Purodino)
GIF credit: Battlemen News
PIC credit: Noah.co.jp
(NOAH) WEEKLY NEWSLETTER VOL.22 ~ 9TH FEBRUARY 2019
Hisame brings us the NOAH news leading up to the Navigation to The Progress tour and assorted NOAH information.
Hisame brings us the NOAH news leading up to the Navigation to The Progress tour and assorted NOAH information.
CURRENT TOUR RECAP
Since finishing up “Navigation For The Future 2019”, NOAH will not be active until the 11th February when the next tour, “Navigation for The Progress” starts in Fukushima.
Yoshiki Inamura will continue with his “Seven Match Series” facing Masa Kitamiya.
Naomichi Marufuji and Kaito Kiyomiya will be building up to the GHC Heavyweight title defense on the 10th March in Yokohama, as will Daisuke Harada and Minoru Tanaka over the GHC Junior Heavyweight. This tour will also see a rare match (twice) which will put Marufuji and Harada facing each other in the ring.
Atsushi Kotoge and Eddie Edwards will challenge for the GHC Heavyweight tag tiles on the 24th March at Korakuen Hall. Edwards (due his schedule in IMPACT) will not be appearing in any earlier dates, and at the time of writing as NOAH have not announced the cards for the last two dates of tour (2nd or the 3rd March), so it is unknown as to whether he will be appearing on them.
The Hooligans will face Takashi Sugiura, Masao Inoue, Akitoshi Saito, Yoshiki Inamura and Kinya Okada on the 24th February. The match will be an elimination and comes with stipulations; should The Hooligans win, Sugiura enters and is their lackey, should The Hooligans lose, they have to disband.
The Backbreakers will defend the GHC Junior Heavyweight tag against Kotaro Suzuki (who gets a chance to team with his “older brother”, Naomichi Marufuji, on the 22nd February) and Yoshinari Ogawa on the 24th February.
This will be NOAH’s last tour using the iconic green mat outside of the Misawa memorial shows.
DIFFER ARIAKE TORN DOWN
“Next to the venue is the former NOAH office and dojo. You go up the stairs where the commemorative photographs of the wrestlers were held at the inaugural meeting in 2000, you go through the office next to the Differ offices, and then to NOAH’s office. There was once a dojo on this floor where the training equipment and ring was installed.”
(Differ Ariake, “Holy Land of Noah”, looking back in records and memories)
Masa Kitamiya recently retweeted a post a fan had sent him, of the empty lot where the venue, and once the “Holy Land of NOAH” once stood.
Differ Ariake started life in July 1988 not as NOAH’s home or a sports venue, but as a venue for disco and other music related events, later foreign bands would play here, and it saw a boom during the “Bubble Era” of the 1980s and early 1990s before closing and reopening as a sports venue in 2000.
NOAH moved into the venue soon after Misawa led the exodus from All Japan, and set up their offices and dojo there (their home was not the main stadium, but rather the complex to the left of the picture, the famous staircase can be seen on the main building).
Three generations (arguably from Marufuji’s to Kiyomiya’s) would grow up here until 2016 when the venue changed hands, and NOAH moved out.
NOAH would return to the venue one final time in November 2017 for the last ever Differ Cup. After the event they walked sadly through a place that they once called home. Each corner, each room, each inch must have held some memory for all of them, whether good or bad.
It was here in 2000 that NOAH held their inauguration event, “Departure”, which sold out in twenty minutes and for those fans who couldn’t get tickets, monitors were set up in the parking lot. Round about 6pm that evening, Misawa came out to talk to the fans who were waiting in line.
It was here that NOAH had held SEM, and filmed all their Christmas (and otherwise) specials, and in June 2009 after the tragic death of Misawa, 25,000 came to pay their respects.
It is ironic that with NOAH’s new owners changing the promotion and doing away with the iconic green, changing the new logo and laying the memory of Misawa to rest, that the home of NOAH should also disappear, like a final break with the past.
Differ may have now physically gone, NOAH may be changing and heading out to new and unknown waters out of Misawa’s shadow, but the picture taken of a vanished era in NOAH standing on the steps of their new home, their faces young and full of hope for the future, no matter their individual fates and that of the promotion they all turned their faces towards, will always remain part of the landscape, no matter what fills the now vacant lot filled with so many memories, emotions and history.
Toshiaki Kawada held his 4th “Holy War” produce. This is the first time that he has not had a “Talk Battle” with a NOAH wrestler (the others being Naomichi Marufuji, Katsuhiko Nakajima and Akira Taue).
- Hiroshi Yamato defeated Junta Miyawaki (7 minutes and 1 seconds)
- Kazushi Miyamoto, Mitsuya Nagai & Shiro Koshinaka defeated Shunsuke Sayama, Tomoya Hirata & Yoshiki Inamura (13 minutes and 59 seconds)
- Go Shiozaki & Shotaro Ashino defeated Masao Inoue & Tamon Honda (18 minutes and 19 seconds)
IPW have announced that Fight Network (SKY Channel 192) will start broadcasting an edited version of their shows. This a great way for NOAH fans to catch the roster members when they appear in the UK, especially (at the time of writing) Daisuke Harada, who is the current IPW Junior Heavyweight champion. You can watch the inaugural show (featuring Harada) here
Yahoo Japan are hinting that there may be a coalition or an alliance between NOAH, All Japan and W-1. However, it looks as if NOAH’s new owners will be instituting a policy of isolation at the present time and not entering into any partnerships with other promotions, besides the ones they all ready have. Naomichi Marufuji, however, has spoken of the importance of co-operation.
- GHC Heavyweight Champion: Kaito Kiyomiya
- GHC Junior Champion & IPW Champion: Daisuke Harada
- GHC Heavyweight Tag Champions: Quiet Storm & Mohammed Yone (“50 Funky Powers)
- GHC Junior Tag Champions: Hitoshi Kumano & Hajime Ohara (“The Backbreakers”)
~ Due to his injury, Naomichi Marufuji had to cancel his one day stint as the manager of “Yoneya” (Mohammed Yone’s restaurant), the rescheduled date took place recently.
~ Hitoshi Kumano celebrated six years in wrestling on February 9th. Ge debuted at Korakuen Hall in 2013 against Atsushi Kotoge
~ Naomichi Marufuji did some clearing out, and found old phonecards with Takashi Rikio during his sumo days on them
~ Takashi Sugiura was given a chocolate gorilla for Valentine’s Day
~ Because the NOAH dojo has no heating or air conditioning, Kiyomiya and Miyawaki trained in tracksuits (the picture Miyawaki took revealed the dojo to have a CD collection and remote controls for the player)
~ YO-HEY celebrated his 31st birthday on February 6th
~ Naomichi Marufuji commented that he doesn’t know what KENTA’S plans are, but he wants him to go somewhere where he can be himself again. Takashi Sugiura came out and basically asked him what his plans were.
~ NOAH will be holding an event called “Navigation TO A NEW ERA” on May 2nd. Further details to be announced.
~ President Fuwa has started a Twitter account
KING SHAMELESS CORNER
He’s managed to behave himself this week, no pictures of Masao Inoue at the urinal or his dog defecating.
“Great Voyage in Yokohama” on the 10th March will be broadcast by G+ plus on the 16th March on G+ at 8.30pm (JST)
Jun Akiyama wrote a book called “Inheriting The Giant Stars” (thanks to GuyOnInternet for telling me about this); the book has been added to my shopping basket and will be purchased and then translated in due course.
If you do know of any NOAH\All Japan related books, by all means, do let me know. My ambition is to one day build up a digital library translated into English for Western fans.
The “Green Guide to the History of Pro Wrestling Noah” has been updated
Eddie Edwards Mini Interview
Press conference: Naomichi Marufuji vs Tetsuya Endo
The Last Showa Born Heel: Can Masa Kitamiya be the new era Masa Saito?
Naomichi Marufuji to challenge Kiyomiya, defense plans after taking the championship
Stardom 8th Anniversary Results & Review 1/14/2019
Stardom, the leader in Joshi wrestling, celebrates another year! Mathew brings us a breakdown of their anniversary show!
Welcome back as we adventure to Stardom for their eight-anniversary show!
Stardom has been around for about eight years now and they’ve been through so many changes from when they first started and they can only go up from here. We have some big matches planned for this show that you don’t wanna miss and I’m excited to get right into it.
Will they start their anniversary show strong? Let’s find out as we…dive right in.
Match Rating List
- 0 Stars: Dave Meltzer
- 1 Star: Vince Russo
- 2 Stars: Tony Schiavone
- 3 Stars: Eric Bischoff
- 4 Stars: Bruce Prichard
- 5 Stars: Jim Cornette
Natsuko Tora vs. Saya Iida
Review: Our opening match is a singles match between Natsuko Tora and the debut of Saya Iida. From the last show I covered, Saya came to the ring to challenge Natsuko to a match for this show in which she would accept. I don’t have any info about Saya at this time but I do wish her luck here and excited to see what she’ll do. Will Saya get a big win in her debut of does Natsuko defeat her?
For this match, I’m mostly focusing on Saya’s abilities and how she faired in the ring since I didn’t fully expect someone like another Utami to come in here to have a stellar match in her debut. How did Saya fair? I think she is so far better compared to the previous rookies we have currently outside of Utami since she pulled off stuff well when she needed to, she did fine selling and was just getting into the match. Natsuko is a great first opponent for someone like her since she is a solid worker to help work with the rookies in the promotion and made her look good in the match as well. Saya hits a few Dropkicks but Natsuko wouldn’t bump them all as she landed on the ropes. Natsuko would try to get momentum back when she had Saya on her shoulders but Saya would get off to roll her up for a two count. Natsuko would miss a Splash off the second rope only for Saya to attempt a La Magistral but turned it into a different pin which looked different but not terrible. Natsuko would finally hit the Steamroller and a Splash off the top rope as she gets the victory.
After the match, Natsuko would congratulate Saya on her debut match as she said she will be a more complete wrestler in the future. Saya would thank her and promised the crowd that she would become a better wrestler as she requests to join JAN. Jungle Kyona would come into the ring and would quickly accept Saya as a new member of JAN. I think it’s a good move for her and she can definitely learn from them. I wish her the best of luck on her new journey.
— We Are Stardom (@we_are_stardom) January 20, 2019
Rating: Tony Schiavone and three quarters
Gauntlet Tag Team Match
Alex Gracia & Starlight Kid vs. Hanan & Ruaka vs. Hina & Rina vs. Mary Apache & Natsumi
Review: Our next match is an elimination tag gauntlet as the participants consist of four teams and aside from Mary Apache and Starlight Kid, the rest of them are from the rookie class to give them a chance to try and showcase. As always, both teams will enter first and the next one will come out once one is eliminated. Which of these four teams will win it?
Our first two teams taking part in this match is Hina and Rina taking on Starlight Kid and Alex Gracia, so let’s see how the sisters do against them. Hina and Rina are kind of showing a little bit of progress but are still very green and it shows in this match here. Starlight, of course, was the one to carry this part of the match and Alex didn’t do a whole lot in the match just yet except for hitting a nice 619 on Rina. Starlight Kid would eventually hit the Rounding Frogsplash onto Rina to pin her as Mary Apache and Natsumi are next to come out. Alex and Mary had a fun little sequence to get the crowd into it before Alex would hit a nice Hurricanrana to get Mary down before having Starlight in the match with Natsumi. This part of the match was rather shorter than the previous one as Mary is in the ring with Alex again and Mary would Alex with a Lariat to eliminate her as Ruaka and Hanan are the final participants. Hanan doesn’t last very long in the ring with Mary before she tagged Ruaka in to try and fight her off but doesn’t really work as Mary hits a Rolling Senton onto her for a two count. Natsumi gets in the ring to apply the Paradise Lock before hitting a Double Stomp for another two count. Ruaka would try to fight her back with some forearms and tried to hit the Fisherman but Natsumi powered out of it and does a Frankensteiner to pin Ruaka and get the victory.
Rating: Tony Schiavone and a half
Six Man Tag Team Match
Oedo Tai (Hazuki, Jamie Hayter & Natsu Sumire) vs. Bobbi Tyler, Hana Kimura & Sadie Gibbs
Review: Our next match is our first six-man tag match of the evening with Oedo Tai members, Jamie Hayter, Natsu Sumire, and current High-Speed Champion, Hazuki take on Hana Kimura, Bobbi Tyler, and Sadie Gibbs. I’m sure Hana would like to get another shot at payback against Oedo Tai due to Jamie betraying her and the others. Will Hana’s team get a victory or will Oedo Tai win this one?
I have no idea what the letters on Sumire’s outfit mean on her outfit and since it is Sumire we’re talking about, I’m kinda afraid to find out. Jamie would rush into her opponents to attack them before the bell would ring and the match starts to get underway. Jamie did take quite a beating early on in the match and it was expected since Hana wanted to get a little bit of retribution on her. Why is Hazuki so damn good? She keeps showing why she’s great in that ring by being so damn consistent and able to work with just about anyone and give them a good match. Now that I saw more of both Bobbi and Sadie, I can safely say that I’m becoming fans of both these women after seeing their work in Stardom as they’re a much better crop of gaijins compared to the ones they had last year. I thought it was a solid tag match with good enough wrestling from all six of these women, Hana is slowly starting to show off her character a little bit more here finally, Bobbi and Sadie are showing that they’re wonderful additions to the roster, Sumire is Sumire, and Hazuki is still great. Most of the wrestlers are outside as Sadie does her dive to the outside, shades of Will Ospreay and gets the crowd into it before ducking Sumire’s flogger. Sadie would hit a Twisting Moonsault on Sumire to get another victory and I’m getting a feeling that Stardom might have some plans for Sadie in the future with all these victories.
— We Are Stardom (@we_are_stardom) January 23, 2019
Rating: Eric Bischoff and a quarter
Six Man Tag Team Match
STARS (Arisa Hoshiki, Mayu Iwatani & Saki Kashima) vs. Queen’s Quest (AZM, Bea Priestley & Konami)
Review: We got another six-man tag match in the mix here as Queen’s Quest members, AZM, Bea Priestley, and Konami take on STARS members, Arisa Hoshiki, Mayu Iwatani, and Saki Kashima. Last month, Mayu would have a small injury on her left leg that made her unable to compete for a short period of time but it looked like she was cleared to do this match. Not only is this Mayu’s return match, but it is also her eight-year anniversary as a wrestler as well, so it’s a big deal for her to be apart of his match. Do STARS win or will Queen’s Quest reign supreme?
It looks like Bea finally changed her attire into something a little more badass and I gotta say that I’m digging the new look. Mayu, of course, will be starting it off and she would have a strong opening until she got kicked in the back as AZM would use this time to attack Mayu’s injured leg to do some more damage to it for that little bit of heat from the crowd. I love how Bea was first one of my least favorites in the roster from 2018 to being someone that I wanna see more of in Stardom this year since she was made a lot of improvements in the ring as she’s just more crisp with her delivery while adding some new stuff to her arsenal like a modified Bow and Arrow along with a Cross-armed Electric Chair onto Mayu. I got to see a little more of Arisa this time around not involved in a gauntlet match like the last time I saw her and I really love her kicks in the ring since she’s very agile in the ring and makes them look vicious with the training she had recently.
I thought this was a much better tag match on this show and had fantastic delivery from all six of these women since they were able to tell a story in the ring, all of them doing enough to showcase to make a solid match. The selling with Mayu is still one of the best in the company with how she takes the moves and even her reactions while giving moves back in return when she had a little kick off with AZM, which Mayu won and fell down as she looked defeated despite kicking AZM out. AZM looked like she was going to make Mayu tap with the Fujiwara Armbar but Saki would break the hold before she hits a Springboard Bulldog onto both Konami and Bea to get them out of the ring and does a Splash to the outside. AZM went for a Wheel Barrel as Mayu caught her for a Dragon Sleeper which looked great and Mayu would hit the Moonsault off the top ropes, shades of her old finisher as she would pin AZM for the victory!
Rating: Eric Bischoff and three quarters
EVE International Title / SWA Undisputed World Women’s Title Match
Viper (c) vs. Utami Hayashishita
Review: Our first of three title matches of the show as it’s a battle between two Queen’s Quest members, Viper and Utami Hayashishita. Utami claimed she wanted to go for all of the gold last month and she already has two titles under her belt with the Goddesses of Stardom and Future of Stardom Titles as she now challenged Viper for now just one, but two of her titles. Viper is currently the SWA Undisputed World Women’s and EVE Internation Champion as she would gladly accept the challenge to her fellow member to see what the Super Rookie can do. Will Viper ruin Utami’s goal or does Utami add two more belts into her collection?
The match went exactly how it needed to go, with Viper controlling most of the match due to her size while Utami struggles to try and lift her up for the Torture Rack. I know I talked about how Viper’s matches are usually a hit and miss but this one was definitely a hit and possibly one of her best matches in Stardom since she just works so well with Utami and was able to showcase how good she is in the ring unlike when she fought the Hanan sisters. Utami I believe has solidified herself more like a star here in Stardom these past couple of months when she started going on this little crusade to win these championships to prove she is the new queen of Stardom. Viper would go on the attack for the majority of it with her Cannonballs which have proved to be pretty deadly to Utami as she does hit a couple of them in the match while Utami would keep failing to get the Torture Rack up on her.
When Utami eventually does pick her up, she would attempt the Reverse Steamroller to make it look a little sloppy but also expected due to Utami struggling to sell it, but at least she was finally able to lift her up for the time being. Utami gets hit with two more Cannonballs but she would kick out of them to keep the match alive. Viper goes to the top rope to hit the Splash but Utami rolls out of the way and quickly applies the Sleeper Hold to get here right where she wants her and she’s not done as she would lift Viper up for the German Suplex Hold and would pin Viper to get the victory! Utami now officially has four titles under her belt and it looks like Stardom might actually go through with this plan of Utami All Belts for a little longer, but I do wonder what championship will she be eyeing next? My bet is the Artist of Stardom Titles next.
Rating: Bruce Prichard
Wonder of Stardom Title Match
Momo Watanabe (c) vs. Tam Nakano
Review: Our second title match is next as Momo Watanabe is set to defend the Wonder of Stardom Championship against Tam Nakano. This one has been a bit of a personal rivalry between the two as Tam looks like she’s ready to show herself as a legitimate threat to Momo and to the rest of the Stardom roster with her new look and change in her persona a little bit. Momo looks like she might want to surpass Io Shirai’s record for title defenses as this will be defense number eight and would be a bit closer towards that goal. Will Momo retain the title once again or will we finally have a new champion to dethrone the new ace?
The match would start with a little bit of a kickoff but the two evenly matched with the crowd giving them a round of applause. Momo would be the first one to take control of the match with Tam getting the underdog type of story treatment of this one and it makes sense since Momo has been on a roll lately by blowing away through most of her competition. Tam eventually got the upper hand on Momo when she would apply the Kneebar to weaken up her arsenal a little bit but Momo grabbed the ropes to break the hold. I thought this is probably Tam’s best match in a while since she really stepped up her game these past few months and it shows right here how good she actually can be in the ring and in the top spot if they ever did give her a singles title run during her time there.
I think the last half of the match was the best part of it since it was more emotional between the two women and still evenly matched with a lot of close calls that it could go either way with one of them. When they were outside of the ring, Momo would attempt a Tequila Sunrise to the outside but Tam moved out of the way to hit a German Suplex outside of the ring and Momo went down. Momo would hit the Tequila Sunrise to top it off and she would quickly transition it to the Peach Sunrise to try and put Tam away with that instead of pinning her with just the one, but Tam would roll out of it to go for the pinfall and she almost got the win when Momo kicked out of it. Tam would kick Momo in the face and hits the Tiger Suplex as it looks like this could be it but Momo kicked out of it. Tam would bring Momo to the top rope to go for a Super Tiger Suplex but Momo would push her off and hits a Somato off the top rope for a two count! Momo would then pick Tam up for a Tequila Sunrise and Tam kicks out at two but Momo quickly picked her up for the Peach Sunrise and it connects this time as Momo retains the title in a great match!
After the match, Momo would give Tam some respect and also tell her that she’s not on her level yet as she hopes Tam would get there soon so they could do this again. Tam would tell Momo that she won’t give up on getting the white belt. Jamie Hayter and Sadie Gibbs would both come out to make a challenge to Momo and it looks like that Jamie will be taking on Momo next.
— We Are Stardom (@we_are_stardom) January 24, 2019
Rating: Bruce Prichard and a quarter
World of Stardom Title Match
Kagetsu (c) vs. Jungle Kyona
Review: We’re up to our main event now as Kagetsu is set to defend the World of Stardom Championship against Jungle Kyona. The two have reignited their rivalry during the 5 Star Grand Prix when they fought to a no contest due to the time limit, and then they would fight again in a Fatal Four Way where Jungle would actually get a victory over Kagetsu as she made a challenge to go for the title. This will be a big test for Kagetsu as she now has the main event with the title over anyone and has a big match to show she can be the main eventer when both red and white belts on the line. Will Kagetsu retain her title once again or will Kyona finally win the big one.
The match started off fairly even as the two would just start with chain wrestling in the ring and it has that nice little slow start in the beginning, which is fine since it’ll pay off at the end of the match. Kyona started to get a little more momentum until Kagetsu would start with the heel tactics when she punched her in the gut with a pair of brass knuckles a couple of times before putting them away. Kagetsu would then pull the sleeve off of Kyona’s arm to expose the injured elbow and she used this to start attacking her until Kyona rolled outside as Kagetsu would come out to attack her around the arena. The part did drag a little bit in my opinion but it also did the job when she slammed her elbow against the wall and does a Triangle Choke off the balcony to do more damage to Kyona’s arm before getting her back into the ring. What I do love about this match is how Kyona sold the injury and used her emotions to tell the story in the ring, which Kyona can do great in if given the right opponent just like Kagetsu.
Jungle would try to get some momentum back as she attempts a Lariat as Kagetsu would hit her injured arm and instead of selling it more, she would unwrap the tape and hits another Lariat as it connected this time, causing Kagetsu to do a backflip from the power. Jungle would hit the Splash for a two count but KAgetsu would turn it around into a Kimura Lock as she locked it in tight as Kyona looked like she was going to tap out until she grabbed the ropes to break the hold. Kagetsu went to go for a Frankensteiner as Kyona caught her to drop her on her neck with a Powerbomb before picking her back up for a Sitout Powerbomb for a two count. Kyona would then try to go for the Jungle Bomb until she dropped Kagetsu as it appeared to spat green mist into her eyes when the referee wasn’t looking and did it again before hitting the Michinoku Driver. Kagetsu would get to the top rope to hit the Oedo Coaster and instead of pinning her right then and there, she would pick her up for the Death Valley Driver and pins Kyona to get the victory in a great match!
After the match, Kagetsu told the crowd this was her sixth successful title defense and mocked Kyona asking if she really thought that she was going to wrestle a clean match from bell to bell and she called Hazuki into the ring now. Kagetsu announced that she would like to defend her title against her own Oedo Tai member next at the January 27th show as Hazuki would accept the challenge. I cannot wait for this match to go down.
— We Are Stardom (@we_are_stardom) January 24, 2019
Rating: Bruce Prichard and a quarter
Overall: I thought it was a much better show compared to the last two I covered and it was exactly the show that needed to get them on the right track again. None of the matches were considered terrible, the six-man matches were fun, we had a successful debut, and three great title matches on top of it. Next show I’m gonna cover is the January 27th one which is also the 8th anniversary in Osaka. Be sure to look out for that one.
Favorite Match: Kagetsu vs. Jungle Kyona and Momo Watanabe vs. Tam Nakano
Least Favorite Match: Alex Gracia & Starlight Kid vs. Hanan & Ruaka vs. Hina & Rina vs. Mary Apache & Natsumi
Final Score: 8/10