Stardom Best of the Goddesses
November 19 2017
We’re in Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, for some Stardom action. Stardom has found itself in a strange place with Toni Storm accidentally becoming champion when Mayu Iwatani broke her arm. Toni isn’t available all the time so here they’ve loaded the show up with title defences for the other champions; Yoko Bito and Oedo Tai. Pre-show Mayu comes out here to hype the crowd up and her arm is in a soft cast/bandage. If you’ve seen the footage of her shocking injury it’s pleasing that she’s not as horribly injured as it looked like she was. Apparently it was a dislocation rather than a break, which is good news. It means she’ll be back quite soon.
Hanan vs. Ruaka
I swear this is on every show. These two were born days apart and have similar experience levels. Which is to say virtually none. This will make you feel old; Ruaka was born the same day that Randy Orton won the world title at Summerslam 2004. Ruaka is the eldest of the two! She takes it with a Northern Lights suplex in under five minutes. The bridge was not good. For two 13 year old children doing battle this was ok.
Final Rating: *
Team Jungle (Jungle Kyona, Kaori Yoneyama & Natsuko Tora) vs. Konami, Starlight Kid & Shiki Shibusawa
The non-Jungle team has very little experience. Shiki literally debuted this year, although she’s not a child, she’s 27. Konami is the most experienced, with three years of regular work under her belt. Tora has changed her hair. She used to look like a genie but she’s had it cut and blonde highlights put in. That was how I identified her! For anyone struggling to identify Stardom wrestlers Joshicity.com has handy pictures on their profiles. Team Jungle rock their “Jungle, Jungle” taunt before all coming off the same turnbuckle for the win.
Final Rating: *3/4
Momo Watanabe vs. Kris Wolf
Momo is 17 years old and is working her way up the card. She’s in Queen’s Quest and is looking to use Kris as a stepping stone. Wolf isn’t ready for her aggression. It looks like she isn’t ready for anything. She doesn’t even have a tail! Momo has been out injured since January so the implication is that she will struggle here. She wrestled Kris at the start of the month in her first match back and lost. I do like the Japanese way of treating injury comebacks. If you’ve been out injured for a long time you always lose your first match back. It’s ring rust. Kris bullies Momo a bit here and Watanabe looks like she’s been out for a while. She is rusty. Her problem is that her finish is diving knees and her knee was injured, so she looks really anxious every time she goes for a knee attack. Which is the focal point of the entire match. She gets there in the end but there are apprehensive moments littered throughout. The best part of the match is Wolf going up top and Momo dropkicking the rope to bring her back down. Wolf unfortunately falls on Momo’s leg and it’s another awkward moment where you worry about Watanabe’s wellbeing.
Final Rating: **1/2
Queen’s Quest (AZM & HZK) vs. Chardonnay & Scarlett
Chardonnay is from my neck of the woods and wrestles for Kamikaze Pro under the name Katherine Darcy. Scarlett is Scarlett Bordeaux, who you may have seen in ROH. She did a job for Nia Jax on RAW this year. Scarlett used to have red hair but now she’s a “perfect blonde” (comms). Her gimmick is highly sexed up. AZM is 15 years old so she thinks the whole thing is pretty laughable. Every time Scarlett parades along the apron the pervert local Japanese men pull out their cameras with zoom lens. She’d have been a shoe-in for the old WWE divas division. Chardonnay, stripped of her “Queen of the Chavs” gimmickry is fairly nondescript. Her in-ring is accomplished and her interactions with the native duo are far smoother than sexy Scarett’s work. The gaijin duo go over because Chardonnay knows the “Nigel”. Tower of London finishes Azumi off. This was decent at times. Scarlett has the gimmick down, Chardonnay the work.
Final Rating: **3/4
Hiromi Mimura vs. Natsu Sumire
Mimura has been having issues with Oedo Tai and they’ve brought in Natsu to take her out. Sumire normally wrestles for WAVE. Mimura is as pure as driven snow, whereas Sumire looks like the hostess of an S&M club. It’s a regular culture clash.
Sumire is a perfect fit for Oedo Tai. If you asked me to draw a picture of someone who would be friends with Hana Kimura it’d probably look a lot like Natsu. She laughs off Mimura as a non-threat, making her look like a little girl lost. The actual work is incredibly dumb. Mimura tries to get the crowd fired up but then walks into a slap to the face. The technical side of things is disappointing and they can’t find a tone for the match either. Sumire going for mockery, Mimura unsure of how to cope with that.
The idea being that eventually Mimura fires up but every time she does Sumire cuts her down with half-hearted strikes. The story is there but neither wrestler is capable of executing it. Sumire is assisted by Tama Nakano, also of Oedo Tai and saves her from defeat a few times. There’s a longer storyline there and Mimura vs. Nakano is probably a better match up. The assistance allows Sumire to drill Mimura with the Righteous Kill to win. As it should be. Use the numbers game, don’t let some dumb babyface use pluck to win. I really like both acts but this didn’t work.
Final Rating: **1/2
Goddesses of Stardom Championship
Kagetsu & Hana Kimura (c) vs. Bea Priestley & Kelly Klein
Klein is a ten-year pro. You might have seen her wrestle in ROH. Bea is Will Ospreay’s girlfriend, which has led to her getting prominent roles in a few European promotions. She’s gotten good over the past year thanks to quality opponents and I’m not surprised she’s ended up in Stardom. Hana is the big star here. She gets a tonne of streamers and is clearly beloved despite her churlish attitude. This referee is clearly after Rob Reid’s heart as he refuses to count a pinfall because the wrong woman is being pinned. Klein is a big old powerhouse so Oedo Tai opt to use the numbers game to limit her influence.
They ruin the group shot by the cameraman focusing on Sumire when everyone could have gotten in the shot. It’s literally the worst timing on the camera work. Kelly’s offence is…something. She varies it up, instead of relying on the power offence that works so well. Every now and again she does something truly bizarre, like leaning on the ropes to ‘backflip’ into the ring. It looks awful. You’d think after ten years in the biz she’d know her strengths and weaknesses. Bea looks like the more polished of the two. Maybe this is just a huge indictment of how terrible the US Indies have been lately. Kagestsu’s timing and professionalism is required to hold everything together. Kagetsu finishes Bea with the 450 Splash. It’s the right decision. The two gaijin didn’t look effective as a team and Kelly doesn’t seem to know her abilities. When the match was clicking it worked nicely though. Kudos to the champs for that. Bea looked ok.
Final Rating: ***1/4
Post Match: Team Jungle show up to challenge the champions and Hana Kimura looks unimpressed. This is her natural state though. Kris Wolf barks at Jungle Kyona for daring to enter the ring during a celebration.
Wonder of Stardom Championship
Yoko Bito (c) vs. Io Shirai
Bito beat Mayu for the title in September. She looks very emotional pre-match. Yoko lays in a few tasty kicks but that merely serves as inspiration for Io to blow her away with gambolling antics, superior striking and a tremendous tope. Io has a huge range of skills. Yoko is a trier but she’s not in Io’s league. Io is fearless. Yoko is merely competent. There’s a huge gap between one and the other. However a competent wrestler can have a very good match with top tier talent. I feel bad for Yoko, who is routinely outclassed and rolls around screaming about her bad shoulder. It’s like watching a shoot where one guy is clearly going to lose but they won’t quit. You end up feeling sorry for them and hoping they just don’t get hurt. In fairness Bito gives Io a thrashing at times but Io outright tortures her for it.
Whether its with unpleasant looking submissions, or just a straight up kick to the head. It’s a vicious match at times, which is Stardom at its best. Io quite happily takes suplexes right on top of her head. How Shirai hasn’t had a career ending injury already is a mystery to me. Bito throws everything at Io, desperate to put her away but Io keeps kicking out. There is one hefty botch where Io counters a super BY Bomb into a rana off the top. There’s no way she gets enough contact on the rana for Bito to flip bump off the top. But hey, it’s one bad spot in a match loaded with realistic looking strikes so it’s tough to single it out. Bito keeps battling until the moonsault puts her away. Io wins the Wonder of Stardom title for a second time. It’s rough on Bito to lose the title so quickly but the reason swiftly became apparent as she announced her retirement after this match up. Her last match will be at December’s Korakuen Hall show.
Final Rating: ****
It wasn’t the best of shows top to bottom but Stardom seem to heavily load their top ends so I’m ok with this. The main event was excellent. I would heartily recommend seeing it. In fact, get Stardom’s VOD deal and cherry pick your way through their main events as an early Xmas present to yourself. You deserve it.