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Top 5 Stardom Matches of 2018

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Well you didn’t think we’d have all these Top 5s and forget Stardom did you? We have a Joshi Expert just for these reasons! Let’s see Mathew’s top Stardom matches of 2018.

This one is a bonus list I wanted to do for a couple of reasons and one will be at the bottom of countdown later.

I’m sure people were surprised that a single Stardom match didn’t make it to my list this year and it’s not that they were bad by any means, it’s just that the matches I listed were just a little bit better.

However, I decided to give them their own list with my Top 5 favorite matches of the promotion as they do deserve to be viewed. So out of just Stardom, which five were my favorite for the year? Well, let’s check it out.

 

5. Starlight Kid vs. AZM (Queen’s Fes in Sapporo 6/3/18)

– This one even I’m surprised that it made it on here too but at the same time, Both AZM and Starlight have been tearing it up lately this year every time they face each other that it’s hard to ignore them for that reason alone. Stardom recently created a new title called the Future of Stardom Championship and it’s a title qualified for people that are under twenty years old and/or have less than two years of experience which they both qualify for due to their age as they both have years of experience. Starlight won the title in April against AZM and she would then tell her that she would love to defend the title against her sometime and it looks like she now has an equal when it comes to the division.

AZM would eventually earn that title opportunity after pinning Starlight in a tag match and it took place at one of their Queen’s Fes shows in Sapporo in June and it was a test for herself to try and take that belt away from her. The two women have unbelievable chemistry in the ring that they would hardly mess up and if they ever did, it’s hardly noticeable and they catch it real quick to make it look like nothing happened. When it comes to this new division, these are your two best right now that can carry it to new heights to make it a must watch if they keep it up throughout 2019 alone with the other females involved. The match ended in a no contest due to the time limit and we were unable to get that proper conclusion to see who was truly better as they never had a one on one match after this, but they still fought off in tag matches for the time being. When will they fight for the title again? Who knows, but it’ll be worth seeing when that day happens.

 

4. Io Shirai & Mayu Iwatani vs. Kagetsu & Hazuki (Goddesses of Destiny 6/19/2018)

– This would be Io Shirai’s final match with the Stardom promotion, the company she has carried for years with her legendary title reigns and the career she made of herself there to make the company a must watch. Before Io would depart Stardom to head to the WWE, she would need to have one final tag match as she teams up with her old rival and former Thunder Rock partner, Mayu Iwatani. Thunder Rock was formed in 2012 before they would disband in 2016 when Io would turn heel to form Queen’s Quest but for one night only, the two would team up for her final show in Stardom as they fight two members of Oedo Tai, Hazuki and the World of Stardom Champion, Kagetsu.

For Thunder Rock, they looked like they never lost a step as a tag team after being away from each other for so long but then again, these are the companies best women that can have a great match with nearly anyone but their opponents are no laughing matter either as they could hold out on their own against them. They would fight all over the place in and out of the ring and Io would even hit one last Moonsault off the balcony to send the fans home happy before she would depart. Thunder Rock would win the match at the end and the ceremony they had for Io Shirai was just beautiful. Mayu would surprise Io with a kiss to make her weak in the knees and Kagetsu would tell Io that while she’s gone, she’ll be the one to lead the company where she left off as they give each other that final respect. Very fun tag team match and a perfect way to send Io Shirai off who’s doing more in the WWE to represent Japan and the place she made famous, Stardom.

 

3. Konami vs. Kagetsu (5 Star Grand Prix 8/18/18)

– Talk about a stiff fest right here since that’s what Kagetsu and Konami would do together. This was the first day of Stardom’s Five Star Grand Prix show which is their biggest tournament of the year, and the two would be paired off in the Red Stars block and even be involved in the first day right off the bat. Kagetsu is the reigning World of Stardom Champion and we haven’t really seen her do much with the title except for defeat Viper and Mayu Iwatani, so she needed the challenge to prove herself as the top champion of the company. Kagetsu was up for the challenge to try and be undefeated in her block to go onto the finals and prove she’s the actual future of the company and the focus should be set to her instead.

Konami has gone through a character change ever since she got drafted to Queen’s Quest and has made herself more lethal with her strikes and submissions that she made sure to capitalize all of them in her matches, especially against Kagetsu since she wanted to prove herself against the champion to thinking that she deserves to hang with the best and won’t be overlooked anymore. They went back and forth pulling everything they could against each other here and made themselves feel each impact placed upon them as the match went on. Konami would pull off the surprise as she made Kagetsu tap out on the first night and not only did she defeat her, but she would also leave her with an injured neck in the process to show her who serious she can be and she wanted Kagetsu to remember that should they ever fight again. Both intense and brutal, this is one fight I would check out to see what both of these women are made of and Konami will show you why the Triangle Lancer is indeed 100%.

 

2. Mayu Iwatani vs. Utami Hayashishita (5 Star Grand Prix 9/24/2018)

– The Five Star Grand Prix will once again make its way to the list but this time, we’ll be talking about the final match of the tournament as the Icon, Mayu Iwatani takes on Stardom’s Super Rookie, Utami Hayashishita. Utami is someone who has had a lot of pressure on her ever since making her debut in Stardom since she’s also a reality star which set a lot of eyes on the product and people didn’t know who she would fair off in the squared circled but to everyone’s surprise, she was a quick learner during the training camp and made so much of an impression in her debut that Stardom’s President, Rossy Ogawa would even invite Utami to take the final spot of the Red Stars block for the tournament in which of course, Utami would say yes as this would be a perfect opportunity to see what she really is all about.

Utami has impressed a lot of people in this tournament that she would even win her block to even get a chance to fight Mayu as this was now the big test to find out if she can be a future star of the company. The answer to that question is yes as she has had solid matches against a lot of people to prove her worth and did that with Mayu to show the amount of potential she has in the ring and why she has the nickname of Super Rookie. Mayu did a great job in making Utami look like a star with her selling and even making it fairly even with her when it came to their abilities. Mayu would win the tournament to show that she can still be the top star of the company to get a future rematch against Kagetsu for the World of Stardom Championship, which we still don’t have an official date for it yet. The main part of the match was still building towards a better future as we seem to know who will be our top stars going forward after the departure of Io Shirai such as Mayu Iwatani, Kagetsu, Momo Watanabe, Jungle Kyona, and now Utami Hayashishita. Still a great match wit ha proper story to back it up that it’s a must for those to see how the future of Stardom will be.

 

1. Io Shirai vs. Momo Watanabe (Gold Star 5/23/2018)

– My favorite match in Stardom for many reasons, one of them is this would be the last time we’ll see Io Shirai be a champion in Stardom since she one day had to pass the torch before leaving and two, it was a great match, to begin with. Momo Watanabe fought Io for the Wonder of Stardom Championship in February and she would eventually lose that match but Momo wouldn’t give us as it motivated her to do better to one day top her Queen’s Quest leader and mentor. Momo had a second chance when she won the Cinderella Tournament and was able to request any match she wanted against any opponent and she would decide to fight Io one more time in a rematch for the Wonder of Stardom Championship since she felt like she was ready this time to defeat her. The match was made official and it would take place at their Gold Star show in the main event.

Momo has been wrestling since she was fourteen years old and already has four years of experience under her belt, and the progression she has made in those four years has been an experience since you can tell she was groomed for success someday when the time was right and it just so happens to be the day where they would pull the trigger. Momo would finally defeat Io to win her first major title as the new Wonder of Stardom Champion and thus, creating a star in the process when she defeated the now former ace. Ever since she defeated Io, she has been pushed to be the future of Stardom while being the main focus for most of their shows, even more so than Kagetsu who is their World of Stardom Champion, so it shows who their prime focus is for the company despite not being their World of Stardom Champion. Momo has successfully retained this title eight times and is three more defenses away from beating for mentors record of ten title defenses. Momo has also had a chance to fight Kagetsu for the World of Stardom Championship which she lost due to a double knockout and has made new rivalries along the way with Hazuki and Mayu Iwatani, who she has defeated in the Icon vs. Ace match a couple of months ago and solidified herself as the top star.

Io Shirai can now be content with the fact that she left Stardom in good hands.

 

Thoughts:

Thank you all for tuning in for just the Stardom countdown and I do have an announcement or a goal for this one.

Recently, Stardom called out a certain journalist about them complaining that New Japan doesn’t have a women’s division, but ignore just the female promotions in Japan. The point is to Stardom, I’m interested in being the one to cover more of your shows to give you that much-deserved exposure.

True while I might not have a big credential list, I care a lot about the Stardom product and have been following them for years now that I want to help more people see this promotion since it really is a great company and deserves such recognition. Let’s get a #HireMat trend going on Twitter and gonna hope for the best.

Thank you all again and see you all next time!


Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
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Andrew’s G1 Climax 29 Ratings & Analysis: Night 7 A Block

KENTA and Okada may start pulling away in A Block! Who falls first? The Rainmaker or The NOAH Outsider?

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KENTA and Okada may start pulling away in A Block! Who falls first? The Rainmaker or The NOAH Outsider?

Aside from the big names being stuck in the middle of the pack, we’ve got poor little Zack Sabre at zero points. Can he twist Fale into a pretzel and figure it out?

Then we have Okada facing a banged up Ospreay, while KENTA takes on a rising EVIL.

Do we still have any undefeated participants in A Block after today?

Ratings:

  • Yota Tsuji & Juice Robinson vs Jon Moxley & Shota Umino: Shooter wins via Boston Crab @3:55 – ** 1/4
  • Taichi, Minoru Suzuki & Yoshinobu Kanemaru vs Toru Yano, Hirooki Goto & Yuya Uemura: Kanemaru wins via Deep Impact @8:50 – ***
  • Yujiro Takahashi, Chase Owens & Jay White vs Jeff Cobb, Tomoaki Honma & Toa Henare: Chase wins via Package Piledriver @9:50 – ** 1/2
  • Shingo Takagi, BUSHI & Tetsuya Naito vs YOSHI-HASHI, Ren Narita & Tomohiro Ishii: BUSHI wins via MX @7:35 – **
  • A Block: Zack Sabre Jr vs Bad Luck Fale: Sabre wins via Countout @6:30 – ** 1/4
  • A Block: Lance Archer vs Hiroshi Tanahashi: Tanahashi wins via Victory Roll @12:00 – ** 1/2
  • A Block: KENTA vs EVIL: KENTA wins via Go 2 Sleep @15:05 – *** 1/2
  • A Block: Kota Ibushi vs SANADA: Ibushi wins via Kamigoye @19:15 – *** 3/4
  • A Block: Will Ospreay vs Kazuchika Okada: Okada wins via Rainmaker @21:55 – **** 1/2

 

 

Analysis:

Still a lot of heat from their NXT past and Moxley’s debut match in NJPW. Juice and Mox don’t face each other until the end of their block schedule, but if this needed more heat…well this was gasoline. Juice and Mox stay on each other, brawl to the back while the Young Lions fight, but Mox apparently gets the best of the brawl. He returns to the ring to help Shooter, hit their Hart Attack tandem move and Shooter sinks in the Boston Crab.

There’s history between Taichi and Goto centering around the NEVER Openweight Title, Yano and Suzuki have fun history and it looks like Uemura is stepping up to Suzuki. So there’s a lot of fun moments, Uemura has a death wish trying to fight Suzuki, but it’s still fun. A lot of moving pieces in this one that kept it very entertaining.

Honma got put through the paces, Jay White got tossed around a little bit by Jeff Cobb, but the Bullet Club tag partners proved to be more useful than Cobb’s. Chase has picked up a few wins in the tag matches, so he might get some kind of push coming soon.

BUSHI continues to pick up pinfalls in these tag matches, and this sort of builds for Ishii and Naito, but not a ton happens. YOSHI-HASHI is there, Shingo looks like a million bucks and BUSHI wins the match, LOL. This was very paint by numbers.

Sabre jumps all over Fale at the start and tries a plethora of submissions to no avail. A kendo stick shot from Jado pushes the action to the outside. Fale and Bullet Club look to have an advantage, but Sabre dodges some double team tactics, grounds Fale with a Triangle Arm Bar, and then races to the ring to beat the 20 count. Fale couldn’t make it back fast enough, so Sabre gets the first Countout win of this year’s tournament.

Tanahashi is really showing the age and injuries this year, so all of these flukey wins just come off as forced. The match was slow, had moments of being interesting, but Tanahashi not even being 50% of what he used to be makes these hard to watch at times. Archer is getting over well, but Tanahashi winning at this point does hurt the credibility a little. I get the story they’re telling, but unlike last year where Tanahashi could push through injuries, this year, they are much more obvious, and he’s much more hampered.

EVIL took the fight to KENTA and then they went to the outside. Through the back and then into the crowd area next to the ramp. EVIL went for Darkness Falls on a bunch of a chairs, but KENTA stopped him and suplexed him onto said chairs. When it got back in the ring, EVIL tried to weaken the legs and KENTA went after EVIL’s upper body to mitigate the power advantage. Heavily booed, KENTA played up heel nicely (I guess WWE did help for something), and eventually he gets the best of EVIL and lets him take a nap. KENTA moves to 4-0.

We get a solid match between two guys who are right on the precipice of the Main Event scene. Kota outsmarts SANADA early by not going for the stupid dueling Dropkick spot, and from then on it was an interesting struggle. Between fan support and the general “anything you can do, I can do better” pacing, this was entertaining, yet slow and felt too long in some spots. Both looked pretty good, but this could’ve been told faster and SANADA’s perpetual struggles are a little frustrating for anyone who is a fan of his.

Okada and Ospreay were expected to blow the roof off, and well I’d say this was a damn good shot. Ospreay is obviously dinged up, but he fought through the pain and pulled off numerous flipping counters and found a few different ways to hit the Os-Cutter. They both let their personalities fly and this was a lot of fun to watch. Okada always has this older brother aura since he’s the one that brought Ospreay to New Japan and Chaos, so whenever they get together, it’s very much like two siblings trying to outdo the other. Ospreay had a great flurry at the end, flipping through a Rainmaker attempt, to try his Stormbreaker, but Okada flipped through that and hit a short arm lariat. Rolling Rainmaker and a normal Rainmaker later, Okada edges out the little brother. Great match.

 

Overall Score: 7/10

Well this night struggled cause the first two Block matches were really weak. The next two amped-up the intensity a little, but fell short of a memorable match. The main event was fantastic, but generally speaking this felt like it was slow, plateau’d for a while and only picked up at the end. Nothing out right awful, but a lot of matches that could’ve been a little better.

Still a solid enough night if you’re following it all, but only the main event is worthy of seeking out individually. It is nice to see that everyone is on the board with some points. So if Okada and KENTA stumble a little, the rest of the block could plausibly catch up.

 

Block A Standings:

  • Kazuchika Okada: 4-0 (8 Points)
  • KENTA: 4-0 (8 Points)
  • Lance Archer: 2-2 (4 Points)
  • EVIL: 2-2 (4 Points)
  • Kota Ibushi: 2-2 (4 Points)
  • Hiroshi Tanahashi: 2-2 (4 Points)
  • SANADA: 1-3 (2 Points)
  • Will Ospreay: 1-3 (2 Points)
  • Bad Luck Fale: 1-3 (2 Points)
  • Zack Sabre Jr: 1-3 (2 Points)

 


Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
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Rob: Brock Is Back! But What About Seth?

Rob evaluates the fans’ role in the run of Seth Rollins and the excitement around Brock Lesnar’s third reign as WWE Universal Champion.

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WWE Brock Lesnar Seth Rollins Extreme Rules

Rob evaluates the fans’ role in the run of Seth Rollins and the excitement around Brock Lesnar’s third reign as WWE Universal Champion.

So we are now back in the era of Brock Lesnar as Universal Champion, after he cashed in on Seth Rollins at Extreme Rules.  The WWE did a decent job of putting some suspense into it by throwing out the possibility of Brock choosing to cash in on Kofi Kingston instead but by the time it happened most of the people I interact with on Twitter were strongly in favor Rollins being the victim and weren’t the least bit discouraged when Brock brought his reign to an end.  There are a lot of reasons for that, and I’ll have to get into them another time, but it really seems that there weren’t too many people happy with Rollins time as champion from his biggest supporters to his biggest detractors.  So with that in mind I’m gonna do what usually do when it comes to stuff like this – that’s right I’m going to throw some blame at the fans.

Now I am not one that was underwhelmed by Rollins run with the title.  The match with AJ Styles at Money in the Bank was really good and I did not hate the Baron Corbin feud like a lot of you did.  I think Corbin is a good heel and a pretty good worker.  By Wrestling Twitter standards he’s no good because he doesn’t check any of the boxes that one needs to in order to pass their test – never worked indies, doesn’t have 5 star matches, doesn’t do 100 moves or work work 30 minute matches, and he isn’t charming or funny in his role.  But a lot of you guys were so appalled at the mere idea the Baron Corbin would get a program for the Universal Title that you either complained nonstop or checked out entirely.  But I gotta ask you guys a serious question here – do you really support him like that, or is it more the idea of Seth Rollins as Universal Champion?  Is Rollins the guy who should be champion in your eyes or is he the best representative of the type of wrestler you think should be Universal Champion?

What I mean is that Rollins checks all the Wrestling Twitter boxes – indie cred, workrate guy, is popular enough – and he’s also a big enough guy to not look like a joke standing next to guys like Roman Reigns or Samoa Joe or Corbin.  And because of that he gets favored in those circles over guys like Reigns or Brock Lesnar or Braun Strowman.  But none of that has stopped the crowds from checking out of some of his biggest matches – Summerslam 2016, Extreme Rules and TLC last year.  Meanwhile Strowman can get 11 million views for an arm wrestling match with Bobby Lashley even after a lot of people on Twitter think the ship has sailed on him, and Reigns got maximum crowd participation last year even in filler matches with Jinder Mahal and Bobby Lashley.  There’s a real gap between how he’s viewed on Wrestling Twitter and how the general public takes him for sure.

And what I mean by that is that the Corbin feud shouldn’t have been a deal breaker for someone who you guys really are invested in as the top guy.  Reigns didn’t check out during those programs with Lashley and Mahal last year and they didn’t check out during the whole Shane McMahon feud despite being pretty vocal in wanting Roman to move on ASAP from Shane and Drew McIntyre.  Rollins singles champ counterpart on Smackdown Kofi Kingston hasn’t had any issue maintaining his support even through a multi Pay Per View program with the often groan inducing Dolph Ziggler (I’m not a Dolph hater but a lot of you are).  You’re supposed to just want to see your favorite as the champ; being in a program with a top level guy or gal isn’t supposed to be a requirement, especially in what is supposed to be a post WrestleMania honeymoon period for a new champion.

So it’s pretty simple to me if you’re a big fan of Seth Rollins or anyone else.  Yes you want them to face the best people and have the best matches all the time, but if they’re going to hold one of the top two titles then sometimes they’re going to have to get through a month or two against somebody who isn’t one of those people and you’re gonna have to ride it out and support them.  The card has to be balanced out and the champion is supposed to be at least somewhat of an attraction by themselves.  But if you’re crapping on what turned out to be some perfectly fine matches (his last two main events with Corbin were not bad, they just weren’t five star movefests like some of you guys think big title matches should be) because of, who the opponent is then you’re not helping your favorite out here at all.  He’s not above doing a couple of gimmicked up sports entertainment matches with Baron Corbin, ok?

But if you say he should be the top guy and then you demand that he only get to work with certain people under certain circumstances then well……that runs contrary to pretty much all of wrestling history.  So you’re gonna have to either change your demands, or maybe change your assessment of the guy.


Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
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