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(NOAH) WEEKLY NEWSLETTER VOL.21 ~ 3RD FEBRUARY 2019

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With Navigation for Future winding down and Marufuji returning from injury, Hisame brings us a stacked NOAH Newsletter this week!

CURRENT TOUR RECAP

During the first match of the final night of “Navigation for Future 2019”, Masao Inoue appeared at ringside in plain clothes, and immediately was attack by The Hooligans. Inoue later said his reason for being there was to stop them doing their usual tricks, but something more would come of this later in the evening.

The match itself saw Kenoh team with two bright green rookies, Yoshiki Inamura and Kinya Okada, and of course only went about six minutes.

YO-HEY & HAYATA reunited in the second match. I think that HAYATA went to leave, but YO-HEY stopped him and held out his hand, which HAYATA looked at and then took, they embraced, and then HAYATA shook hands with both Yoshinari Ogawa and Kotaro Suzuki before leaving with them.

YO-HEY posted later on Twitter, “Welcome home wife”.

Daisuke Harada has made no comment about RATELS now being over, but Tadasuke has said he was shocked by it, and from now on, he will be thinking of himself.

The Backbreakers defended the GHC Junior Heavyweight Tag titles against Kouki Iwasaki and Keisuke Ishii. They were challenged backstage by Kotaro Suzuki and Yoshinari Ogawa (Suzuki and Kumano got into a fight after Kumano basically told them to “beat it”, which was broken up by their tag team partners).

Title match has been set for the 24th February at Korakuen Hall.

Naomichi Marufuji returned from injury looking happier and healthier (not the perpetually exhausted ghost he had become in 2018) to a curtain of red and orange streamers. He said was fine after the match with no problems from his arm or his leg.

Atsushi Kotoge appeared to have done away with the pink (he later told fans he loved pink and would not be abandoning it all together) for a golden chrome colored ring attire, and fans called him “The Golden Revolutionary Hero”. Naturally he was manic, and Go Shiozaki had his patient face on. Kotoge had told fans via Twitter that he had a surprise that night, but the nutcases’s new clothes, were not the only surprise he had in store.

So, while Marufuji celebrated his return, Nakajima did too – by smirking and kicking him.

Mohammed Yone had promised he would bring muscle to the ring to prevent The Hooligans from interfering in the GHC Heavyweight Tag Title match, and he bought out Takashi Sugiura, Naomichi Marufuji, Masao Inoue and Akitoshi Saito. Each time The Hooligans tried to interfere, they were fought off outside the ring by what would become known as “The Sugiura Army”.

Fifty Funky Powers were victorious, and Quiet Storm took the title win from Maybach Taniguchi.

Takashi Sugiura got in the ring and challenged The Hooligans to a match. He said that if they lost, they disbanded. KAZMA SAKAMOTO told him they accepted his terms, but he in return must accept his; if they win, he becomes their lackey and he has to wash their clothes, their backs, lick KAZMA’S shoes, and I’m not even going to mention just what Hino said about Sugiura could do for Cody Hall.

Sugiura agreed to their request and chose the team of Masao Inoue, Akitoshi Saito, Yoshiki Inamura and Kinya Okada to face The Hooligans.

Match has been set for the 24th February at Korakuen Hall.

Then Atsushi Kotoge appeared back in the ring, and challenged 50 Funky Powers for the title belts.

While Kotoge might be one gunman short of a posse, even he realized he needed a partner, and after a rambling promo about how he had asked people (including the veterans who he somehow thought were his friends, although he had been in a team that had been fighting against them to overthrow them), he announced he had “found a revolution member from the outside”.

Eddie Edwards appeared on the screen, he said he would “Revolution” with Kotoge for the GHC Heavyweight Tag Titles. Fans are calling their team “The Die Hard Revolution”.

The title match has been set for the 24th February at Korakuen Hall. Eddie Edwards does not seem to be appearing on any of the earlier dates in the tour (which starts on the 11th February), but there is always a possibility that he may stay on for the final two dates of the 2nd and 3rd March (the cards at the time of writing have not been announced). I would imagine that Edwards not appearing in the early part of the tour is due to his IMPACT schedule. It will be interesting to see if “The Die Hard Revolution” reunite for Global Tag League which starts in April. 

Kaito Kiyomiya successfully defended the GHC Heavyweight title against Masa Kitamiya in a grueling hard hitting match which took almost half an hour, in which both of them pulled everything out of every box that they had. Afterwards, like fans knew that he would, Naomichi Marufuji challenged for the GHC Heavyweight title, telling Kiyomiya that “You won the global league that I was supposed to win, and you won the belt that I was supposed to capture.” 

The title match has been set for the 10th March in Yokohama (where Daisuke Harada will also defend the GHC Junior against Minoru Tanaka)

FULL RECAP 
POST MATCH PROMOS 

NEWS

NOAH’S NEW OWNERSHIP
On the 29th January, NOAH announced the promotion now had a new parent company (this will be the fourth NOAH have had).

Estbee IT Ltd have sold the company to LIDET Entertainment and as a result, President Masayuki Uchida (along with three other members of staff) have had to resign. Uchida, however, will join LIDET as a special adviser.

LIDET are a company that as well as advertising food and drink, also promote and produce shows (such as Riki Choshu’s “Power Hall” among others, they were also behind the ill fated “GENESIS” which was to be the Takeshi Morishima return show).

President Uchida said, “After Marufuji’s 20th anniversary box office finished, I had progressed to a good point. The younger wrestlers had risen up, and there were good signs seen. Noah decided it was going to the next stage, and I thought it would best to leave it to LIDET, who have ideas that I do not.”

Yosuke Fuwa will replace Uchida as president, and producer Akihiro Takeda (who was once a New Japan executive and contributed greatly to the regeneration of the company a few years ago) has also joined the team.

Their aims are to bring money back to the promotion, increase and promote the big matches and to have it break away from, but not forget its roots, and start again.

Distressingly the iconic green mat will not be used anymore (aside from the Misawa memorial shows in June) after the 10th March show in Yokohama, and the logo will be redone. The owners explain that this is not intended to be disrespectful to Misawa, but the promotion must now come out from under his shadow. Misawa will never be forgotten, and his memory will always be cherished, but NOAH must now “voyage” without him. The term “Giving Up Misawa” has been coined.

They want to make NOAH the number two promotion in Japan within three years. 

“Giving up Misawa, “The Last Voyage” is determined 

“KENTA COME HOME”


KENTA at the NOAH dojo in September 2018 when he came back for “Flight”

Following his match at Royal Rumble 2019, KENTA changed his user name from his WWE persona and back to his real name saying simply, “THANK YOU”. This naturally caused a flurry of excitement on social media, with some people speculating that he had left the company, and others saying that he had simply changed his name back (some wrestlers do use their real names).

It was later said, (although not officially announced), that he had asked for his release from the company. Details are at this point sketchy with some outlets reporting that he was only given his release if he promised to return to Japan and not wrestle for any of the WWEs competitors in America. As of yet it is unknown whether he will return to Japan (and NOAH as is hoped) or stay and freelance in America with IMPACT and\or Ring of Honor, IMPACT of course being affiliated with NOAH, and KENTA having ties to Ring of Honor in his NOAH days. 

Although both KENTA and NOAH have been silent on the subject, KENTA’S 90 day clause runs out just before NOAH start Global Tag League 2019.

No matter what he chooses to do in the future, I would be very surprised if KENTA didn’t make at least one appearance in NOAH now he is once again, free.

COME AT ME YOU BASTARDS (KENOH’S FEBRUARY COLUMN)
Kenoh manages to keep in his hatred about Kaito Kiyomiya on the front cover of “Weekly Pro” to himself (although he was photographed looking at it and looking disgusted), and instead takes a tone about him which is akin to a concerned older brother, his hatred of Marufuji continues, and he has a grudging respect for Sugiura.

He also compares the heavyweights to each item of ingredients in a stew: himself and Sugiura are the oysters, the flavorless cabbage with bulk and not much else are Shiozaki and Nakajima, Kotoge is pepper, Kitamiya, Garlic, and Kiyomiya a photographic fresh chicken breast.

Marufuji does not make Kenoh’s list of ingredients.

STREAMER BAN
NOAH have announced for “environmental reasons” they will be introducing a streamer ban in the future. Streamers may be allowed still at Korakuen Hall, but in some venues, they will not be allowed at all.

Recycling in Japan is done at individual expense, and not by a neighborhood committee or automatically by the city council. While individuals are expected to recycle (and you can find the relevant bins for paper, plastics, tin, which the municipality will empty), businesses have to pay for their own to be taken away and disposed of. While for many businesses in Japan this may be a collection of soda cans drunk by employees, paper and styrofoam, and other normal recyclable waste; NOAH (and other promotions) are faced with how to dispose of a mountain of paper streamers, of which there are enough to coat an entire wrestling ring. You can imagine the pile after an event like Korakuen or Yokohama.

The streamers cannot simply be bundled up and taken to a nearby paper bank and stuffed through the hole, neither can they be put into a recycling bag and left on the curb for the garbage-men. NOAH (and other promotions) have to pay for their disposal. The venue do not clear up either after the shows, this is done by the seconds. Naturally the venue will have its own cleaning staff, who will go in afterwards, but it is up to the promotion to “leave it as they found it” so to speak. You can imagine the cost and the inconvenience of getting the streamers taken away, and sympathize with NOAH as to why they are banning it (for now at least). 

I would imagine an exception will be made for the Misawa memorial shows, and other big events.

NOAH THE THEME MUSIC
NOAH have announced that in April 2019 they will be releasing an album containing wrestler theme music. NOAH have not released an album like this since about 2009. There is no track listing as of yet.

FAN MEETING 2019 IN SHINKIBA
NOAH have announced their annual “Fan Meeting” event which takes place in the spring (February 17th this year); while in 2018 this was pretty much the kids get in the ring and play with the wrestlers, or an exercise class is held for children, Noah have made somewhat of a return to “The Golden Era” (minus the Chanko being served) this year.

All of the roster will take part, except for Go Shiozaki and Naomichi Marufuji, who will be competing in DDT.

There will be a meet and greet with the wrestlers, one of whom will hold a kind of talk show and Q&A.

Professor Nagahama (a trainer exclusive to NOAH who does sports massage) will give the fans a sports massage for 500 yen per time. Fans also can experience being a ring announcer for the day.

Miyaki Wakiko (NOAH’s official photographer, and author of “PHOTOGRAPH THE LIVE”) will give a lecture on the basics of photography, and fans can experience this when NOAH put on two secret matches when they photograph from the apron.

Fan club members will get in free, and have their own photography session with one of the roster (just who gets to do this will be drawn by a lottery, and will only be open to fifty people).

IPW
IPW have announced that they will be broadcast in Fightnet UK every Friday at 9pm starting Friday 8th February. As you know, NOAH have parented with them, and Daisuke Harada is their current Junior Heavyweight champion.

Robyn Goding’s beautiful pictures of YO-HEY, HAYATA, Daisuke Harada and Tadasuke from their participation in IPW can be found here.

CURRENT CHAMPIONS

TOUR TIDBITS
~ Naomichi Marufuji will team with Jinsei Shinzaki (ironically, Kenoh’s trainer) against Masaaki Mochizuki & Shun Skywalker at Giant Baba’s 20 year Memorial.
~ Takashi Sugiura counted the days he had been away from his little dog when he got home from tour, and Tadasuke immediately started playing “Kingdom Hearts”.
~ Naomichi Marufuji took part in the annual Setsubun celebrations.
~ Atsushi Kotoge wandered across the ring with a rolled up bit of streamer on his head. In a fatherly manner, Go Shiozaki removed it and then rearranged Kotoge’s hair.
~ A slight sound error occurred at Korakuen Hall when “Boogie Wonderland” started playing just before the pinfall was counted three.

KING SHAMELESS CORNER
Takashi Sugiura this week took a picture of his dog crapping on puppy training pads and posted it to social media, although he had taken care to cover up what was coming out of the dog with an emoticon…I think you can guess which one.

BROADCASTS
The last night of “Navigation for The Future 2019” will be broadcast on 9th February at 10pm (JST) on Samurai TV
“Great Voyage in Yokohama” on the 10th March will be broadcast by G+ plus on the 16th March on G+ at 8.30pm (JST)

BOOK CORNER
English translation of “Heir to The Ark” (Naomichi Marufuji’s biography) is ongoing.

LINKS
New structure statement, new owner is the LIDET Company, “I want to increase the big match”.
Noah GHC Champion Kaito Kiyomiya, former dorm manager Masa Kitamiya and the V2 match
Noah’s new structure, “We want to create a new face”
President Uchida resigns, and Noah shifts to a new regime, the skill and reputation of the new owner “LIDET” 
Kaito Kiyomiya vs Masa Kitamiya – transcript of the GHC Heavyweight title match signing
Report on Pro-Wrestling Noah’s new system 
GHC Champion Kiyomiya has a fierce fight for more than 29 minutes in his second defense, next challenger is Marufuji!
Kiyomiya’s second defense! Marufuji returns with the challenge, “that is the belt that I was supposed to win”.
Youngest GHC Champion Kaito Kiyomiya’s second defense, “Noah’s face is now me”… Marufuji makes challenge on return.
“Era”, Marufuji’s declaration to recover the belt
Yoshiki Inamura and Kinya Okada interview about their match against The Hooligans 

NOAH FROM THE VAULT
Looking back on Kenoh’s reformation of the ark (translation of article by @purodino)
Kenoh makes some eerily similar remarks about NOAH in March 2018, that the new owners in 2019 will echo.


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

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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.

NEWS

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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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.

HOLY WAR
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).

Results 

  • 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
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

COALITION
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.

CURRENT CHAMPIONS

TOUR TIDBITS

~ 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.

BROADCASTS
“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.

LINKS

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 


Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
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Stardom 8th Anniversary Results & Review 1/14/2019

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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

 

Singles Match
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.

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.

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.

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.

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


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