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