Stardom Dream Slam in Nagoya review (4.1.18)

Stardom Dream Slam in Nagoya review (4.1.18)

Stardom Dream Slam Nagoya

 

April 1 2018

 

We’re in Nagoya, Japan at the Nagoya Congress Center Event Hall. This is a loaded card for Stardom and should be one of their biggest shows of the year. Attendance is a shade over 1000 and women’s wrestling has a lot to do in Japan to get back to anywhere near the popularity of the women’s game in the 1990s. I’m watching the tight two-hour TV edit and I’m very happy about that. Every show should have a tight two-hour TV edit version. Especially DDT.

 

Oh and this show has an exploding bat death match. Plus Toni vs. a fit again Mayu. Get excited now.

 

Hanan & Nao Yamaguchi vs. Ruaka & Leo Onozaki

The children kick the show off. Onozaki looks worryingly uncoordinated trying to clap on her way to the ring. The match is heavily clipped, which is probably for the best as what’s left is terrible. Ruaka beats Yamaguchi with a fisherman suplex and we can all forget this is how the show started.

Final Rating: ½*

 

IPW: UK Women’s Championship

Xia Brookside (c) vs. Konami

DSXia

The prestigious IPW: UK Women’s Championship is going global! It’s a world title now lads! Xia is still super green, despite the pink hair colouring, but being in Stardom is working wonders for her. She still makes her kick-outs really obvious and her strikes need a lot of work but she’s coming along.

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Xia takes it with the Iconoclasm into a bridging pin a la Sabre Jr. CIMA and Zack are two pretty decent wrestlers to be imitating. It’s been so long since I saw Robbie Brookside wrestle that I can’t remember if he utilised either move. Xia is still inexperienced and time will tell if she can be a big star in the world of wrestling but you’d think so. Genetics innit?

Final Rating: *1/2

 

Future of Stardom

Starlight Kid (c) vs. AZM

The fluidity of this match serves as a stark reminder than the Stardom girls have been wrestling since they were children (and some of them still are) so Xia has a lot of catching up to do. She’s nowhere near as smooth as either of these two.

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AZM tries to murder Starlight Kid with a Camel Clutch but gives up on it and Starlight Kid’s revenge is a ridiculous Boston crab.

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Look at the crank on that thing it’s fucking ridiculous. They go flying into a frantic near falls sequence that has me convinced the match is over multiple times.

Considering their ages this is quite the banger. Starlight Kid finishes by coming off the top and they only wrestled for 5 minutes but it was really fucking good. Vicious submissions, slick mat counters and decent high spots. Both women have huge futures and Stardom do seem to be doing a solid job of building new talent, although they need big stars fast!

Final Rating: ***1/4

 

Bea Priestley vs. Momo Watanabe

Speaking of future stars; Watanabe is going to be awesome. She’s only 18 years old but she’s easily as good as Bea, who’s had the benefits of travelling the globe and training with a variety of great people. Bea has only been wrestling for 3 years but her year on year improvement has been noticeable. Like Xia she’s improving thanks to working for promotions like Stardom.

Momo gets killed on the finish, taking a double stomp to the back of the head, which looks sick as fuck. Holy shit it’s brutal. This got pretty heavily clipped so it’s a tough rate but what aired was pretty good.

Final Rating: **1/2

DSBea

 

HZK vs. Hana Kimura

I’ve seen Hana is so many tags recently it’s weird to see her in singles. HZK looks totes unimpressed.

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Hana spends a lot of timing posing and not taking this even remotely seriously. This leads to a fired up HZK looking to utterly fucking end Hana with boot scraps and volleys of forearm strikes.

All of this gets Hana all fired up and she straps on this murderous fucking armbar that I swear is going to be the finish but it isn’t! Hana’s boot in the ropes is the V-Trigger of women’s wrestling. It’s so violent. My only beef with it is that it should be a finisher. The match is a wee bit untidy but they make up for that with the sheer enthusiasm and attempts to kill each other. HZK charges into a roll up at the finish and Hana wins in what looked like a complete fluke. HZK is pissed off about it and they have to be separated after the bell. Oh this was fucking good too. Hana has been getting good for a while but she’s actually there now and her dickish attitude towards the younger members of the roster could be a theme for years to come. Beautiful!

Final Rating: ***1/2

 

Natsuko Tora, Saki Kashima & Shiki Shibusawa vs. Faby Apache, Mary Apache & Natsumi

Saki Kashima was one of these child proteges but she walked away from wrestling at age 19 and now she’s back. She’s already cut most of her hair off to get back in ring condition.

DSApache

Natsumi is an honorary Apache tonight with headdress and everything. Mary Apache controls this one, bullying most of the other team and telling everyone where to go. Kashima takes the bulk of the beating to make amends for fives years away. This match is summed up beautifully by Shiki’s hot tag. She walks two feet into the ring and gets superkicked. This team is taking a hiding. Faby gives zero fucks about what that does for Shiki or Tora or Kashima. Zero fucks. It does allow the other team to work super babyface. The trouble comes when their actual comebacks SUCK. Just suck, suck, suckity suck. It’s like they’re scared to hurt Mary in case she straight up murders them all. Tora is the best wrestler on her team and it’s telling she comes closest to upsetting Mary. Lots of cheeky roll ups. Tora still eats the pin however and the Apache’s get out of here with minimal effort. Natsumi barely got in there.

Final Rating: **3/4

 

SWA Undisputed Women’s Championship

Viper (c) vs. Jungle Kyona

Viper only just won this belt off Toni Storm so if she lost it after a couple of days it would be a bit weird.

DSJungle

Especially as Toni held it for 612 days. Jungle Kyona looks nervous, facing the prospect of giving up nearly 100lbs in weight.

They’re going ok until this spot. Who thought this was a good idea? Viper needs to get more in touch with her Vader side. You cannot go taking bumps like that. It doesn’t make any sense. The match gets better, thankfully, as Kyona flat out assaults Viper with strikes. That’s more like it. That clotheslining the legs away bullshit irked me though. Viper kills her for it and does the big corner splash but Jungle has the ropes! Great survival spot. The match is definitely growing on me. Kyona goes all Hulkamania with a body slam but gets a bit carried away attempting a piledriver/powerbomb of sorts. Viper Driver finishes and this turned dead good after that apron spot.

Final Rating: ***

DSViper

 

World of Stardom Championship

Toni Storm (c) vs. Mayu Iwatani

Mayu gets actual pyro. Is that part of the compensation for fucking her shoulder up? Toni comes out here with all her belts. I get the feeling she dropped the SWA one because she had too many to fit in her luggage.

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Mayu looks a wee bit jittery and it takes her a long time to get into position for the pre-match photos. She cheers herself up by doing the ‘spinning in streamers’ thing.

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Toni looks a bit miffed that she’s the champ and gets a fraction of Mayu’s streamers. This is, sort of, the main event. Only there are no exploding bats so they go on second last. You can’t follow exploding bats. Toni throws in the exact same spot that Mayu bust her arm on but it’s a fake out! I’m not sure there’s a lot of mileage in heel Toni. The more experienced wrestlers get the more capable of being a good heel they become. Toni not only wrestles like a dick but she also targets that arm of Mayu’s, which she’s not long recovered from. It’s a good little story and has Mayu as a mega underdog face.

I love how fiery her offence is! She throws the dropkick in that she dislocated her shoulder doing last time and she looks pretty jazzed about hitting it. The match is half and half. Half Mayu getting all fired up about her comebacks and half Toni beating her back down again. I’m totally into the near falls here. Mayu eats a pair of Strong Zeros. The first with a delayed lack of cover, the second she kicks out of at the last possible moment. I feel Mayu’s struggle. She really wants that belt back. Toni never legitimately beat her. Toni wants to keep it and she hits two more Strong Zeros to retain in 13.24 to stunned silence! Holy shit what a great reaction. Mayu’s little attempt to kick-out after the pin is completely done is incredible. What a performance from her.

DSToni

Plus Toni has now finally earned the title she won last September by actually beating the champion. It’s a bold move by Stardom but they’ve doubled down on Toni and she’s the face of the company. Well, apart from Io but that goes without saying. I hope Mayu doesn’t treat this is as an opportunity to sneakily retire like she was threatening to. Really enjoyed Toni’s sly heel work and Mayu’s fighting spirit. Good match.

Final Rating: ****

 

DSIwatani

Sad Mayu is genuinely quite upsetting. To have waited for so long to win the belt then lose it because of injury and then not be able to win it back. No wonder she’s crying. I’m totally on board for her second journey to the big belt.

 

Current Blast Exploding Bat Death Match

Io Shirai & Tam Nakano vs. Oedo Tai (Kagetsu & Natsu Sumire)

Tam needed a partner and begged Io to help her. She agreed, by slapping the lovely Tam in the face.

DSTam

Three great wrestlers here and also Sumire but hey, you can’t have it all. I do enjoy how Stardom basically revolves around what Tam Nakano is doing to the point where Io has been shanghaied into the angle she had nothing to do with.

Io is all over the place here. She hits a fantastic tope and then throws out the 619 for reasons best known to herself. She recovers to Matrix dodge an exploding bat shot. You need to wrestle out of these predicaments. If you’re landing bat shots the garbage wins. Tam isn’t on her A Game here, perhaps constricted by wearing a full body suit rather than her usual gear. They also have an issue with teasing the bat shot and teasing near falls, which blatantly aren’t happening without the bat shot. It’s a strange match. Kagetsu positions herself as the workhorse while Sumire is the bitch who does all the underhanded stuff. Kagetsu hits a bat shot and the thing doesn’t go off. So she does it again. Nothing. Alarms still sounding. What? That kills the crowd.

And then; kaboom! Io looks pretty unimpressed with that and bails to get water thrown over her burnt legs. Hey, it looked cool though and that’s what wrestling is all about baby. Naturally the match doesn’t end like that and Oedo Tai give Tam a kicking until she mounts her own comeback. Io holds Kagetsu back while Tam murders Sumire.

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Not long after this Tam finishes with running knees on Sumire and gets a measure of revenge on Oedo Tai for turning their backs on her when she fought tooth and nail for the group.

DSNakano

She looks completely demented at winning. The exploding bat match ages you. Everyone got fucked up with it but this was not a conventionally good match. The bat was a distraction that didn’t always work. The women didn’t look at all comfortable doing the spots and the wrestling around them was drawn out and I didn’t buy into anything before the first bat shot. Hey, at least Tam won. Love Tam. The bat shots were fairly cool visuals but this probably didn’t play out how Stardom were hoping.

Final Rating: ***1/4

 

Summary:

Really strong show from Stardom. Loved the title match but there were a few hidden gems lower down the card. The Hana Kimura performance was tremendous. Starlight Kid vs. AZM just fills me with hope for the future of wrestling. Doing that much in five minutes is very impressive. The main event was a slight disappointment but the match wasn’t terrible or anything, just odd and long. Thumbs up!

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