Stardom 9th Anniversary
January 19, 2020
We’re in Tokyo, Japan at Korakuen Hall. The build for this show has centered around Mayu Iwatani. They’ve been experimenting with pushing various different people but since the day Io Shirai walked out of Stardom there’s only been one ace.
Zoey Skye vs. AZM vs. Starlight Kid
I’m sure Skye normally wrestles as Dust out here. She’s pretty good. AZM has the weight of expectation on her shoulders now more than ever with several departures pushing her up the rankings. AZM outsmarts Skye for the pin here to emphasise that. They’ll need her to deliver in the coming months and years.
Final Rating: **1/2
Oedo Tai (Saki Kashima, Natsu Sumire & Natsuko Tora) vs. Saya Kamitani, Saya Iida & Itsuki Hoshino
Kashima just turned heel and joined Oedo Tai. They needed something after the departure of Kagetsu so the Evil version of Kashima it is.
Here Oedo Tai are up against the plucky youngsters of Stardom so the entire match is underdog spots. Cheeky roll ups and the like. That is until Kashima finishes with her version of the Killswitch.
Final Rating: **
Kagetsu vs. Tam Nakano
Kagetsu is on her farewell tour or Retirement Road as its been dubbed. She finishes against Meiko Satomura next month.
There are question marks over company management being responsible but she’s also been carrying injuries for quite some time. She wants to give Tam her best on the way out. Tam being central to one of Stardom’s best angles in recent years where Nakano was forced out of Oedo Tai after losing a pinfall to Momo Watanabe. Kagetsu, leader of Oedo Tai, being central to that result and leaving Tam emotionally scarred. This match is on the edge. Tam repeatedly kicks Kagetsu in the head. Kagetsu is a horrible bitch in response. Constantly looking to take shortcuts, although that’s fits into the beats of the match. Tam has to dig deep and comes up with a half hammerlock straightjacket suplex straight into the pin. This is followed by lots of crying. Fantastic little match here. The emotion was an added bonus. I’m pleased Tam was chosen for this spot. She’s been good at delivering this kind of emotional punch that a lot of the other Stardom talent can do but not in such a focused manner.
Final Rating: ***3/4
Goddesses of Stardom
Jungle Kyona & Konami (c) vs. Bea Priestley & Jamie Hayter
Bea & Jamie came together despite being from rival factions after a contest last year (5STAR GP 22/9) and competed in the tag league. They came up short but made the final. Kyona & Konami feel like a people’s team. A couple of underpushed wrestlers who are well respected by the locker room. This title run felt like a reward for their efforts. This is the end of it though. Queen’s Landing puts Konami away in a shade under 13 minutes. This was completely fine throughout.
Final Rating: **3/4
Hana Kimura, Death Yama-san & Leyla Hirsch vs. Donna del Mondo (Giulia, Maika & Syuri Kondo)
Donna del Mondo is Giulia’s new faction. Both the names were surprises. Maika has been wrestling less than a year and isn’t much of a get but Syuri is a big name who’s never been in Stardom before. Yama-san is the most dedicated to her gimmick of anyone currently on Stardom’s roster. She just loves Kiss, man.
It’s great to see Leyla Hirsch in action. She was fantastic in wXw last year. Hana Kimura does a wonderful job in this match of hating Giulia. You can feel her contempt for the new faction leader after she put in so much time working up to leading her own faction. Giulia is already a divisive character. There are those who aren’t keen on her being here and even blame management (IE Bushiroad) for her essentially replacing Kagetsu. This isn’t a big performance by her stable to make people change their minds. Giulia ends up getting the pin here on Leyla. Both Leyla and Death Yama-san were really good here and overshadowed the new faction’s arrival.
Final Rating: ***1/4
Wonder of Stardom Championship
Arisa Hoshiki (c) vs. Utami Hayashishita
The first move of the match is a headbutt if you want to know what level of intensity we’re in for. They immediately switch gears into a lengthy heel control period for Utami, interspersed with Arisa throwing strikes.
Utami gets badly cut and I rewind to check it out.
They have to reassess for a bit and this includes Arisa paintbrushing Utami and trying not to hurt her. It’s all very awkward.
Utami seems fairly reluctant to take any of Arisa’s better spots and everything is very tentative as Utami has so much blood running into her eyes. They’re put in a tough spot and it takes a while to get the match back on track. Every time Arisa swings a kick I’m worried that Utami’s cut will get worse. It creates a genuine sense of dread when Arisa is throwing her usual crazy strikes. The knees terrify me. It gives Utami an out for losing too. No one can blame her given the blood loss. However the match isn’t a home run because the blood loss causes fuck ups. They try very hard to keep it together and, credit to Utami, the match doesn’t collapse on itself. The Brazilian Kick puts Utami out of her misery. They got through a tough spot here but it was a rough ride to get there. Points for overcoming adversity.
Final Rating: ***1/2
World of Stardom Championship
Mayu Iwatani (c) vs. Momo Watanabe
Momo is the former Wonder of Stardom champ but she’s never had this, despite a run that felt like the passing of the torch. This is Mayu’s second run and her first, back in 2017, also felt like a passing of the torch. So this should be a longer title run, providing she can stay healthy.
If Mayu is carrying an injury Momo is not careful about it. Kicking at her joints. Stretching her into unusual positions. Mayu is so good at making me think she’s hurt and takes some of the best bumps in the business. The standard of the work has been good all night but this is a level higher than all that. As it has been traditionally with Stardom. The main events have always shone the brightest. Although you could argue that about many promotions. The match is based around Momo breaking Mayu down, slowly but surely and hitting progressively more head-droppy suplexes. But she can’t keep Mayu down and Iwatani has more tricks up her sleeve than the one-dimensional challenger. The poison rana in particular feels like a turning point. Dragon suplex puts Momo away and Mayu retains in a strong main event.
Final Rating: ****1/4
A very upset Momo admits defeat and it’s a nice moment for Mayu, who’s clearly the #1 wrestler in the promotion now. She’s consoled by Queen’s Quest teammate Bea Priestley who promptly drills her with Kamigoye. She’s defected to Oedo Tai. Convinced by her partnership with Jamie Hayter to move into Kagetsu’s spot. The post-Kagetsu Oedo Tai may be a massive collection of assholes.