Stardom Midsummer Champions review (8.13.17)

Stardom Midsummer Champions review (8.13.17)

Stardom Midsummer Champions

 

August 13 2017

 

We’re in Korakuen Hall for yet another Stardom spectacular. Io Shirai is back. Also Kagetsu steps up for a shot at the World of Stardom title. Thanks to this show falling in a tour we’ve got Toni Storm, Viper and Shanna involved too.

 

AZM vs. Hanan vs. Ruaka

The children kick the show off. I’m not joking. They are literally children due to Japanese women starting wrestling at 13 years old. I don’t understand it but here we are. It’s the kind of match you’d expect children to have. It’s flashy and silly and everyone looks a bit awkward. All it’s good for is profiling perverts on the internet. Yes you! Stop it.

Final Rating: ½*

 

5 Star GP 2017 Qualifier

Natsuko Tora vs. Tam Nakano

Tora is a genie. She’s not in a bottle. Nakano fancies herself as either a dancer or a swordsmith. Maybe both. Anyone whose entrance is dancing while waving a samurai sword around is ok by me. Given their lack of experience these are two for the future. Tora is 26 and started into wrestling relatively late (about 15 years late compared to some). Nakano is more of a natural and does a lot of things better than Tora. Especially her strikes, which are tasty. Like an especially delicious spaghetti Bolognese, with extra kicks. Or sauce. Depending on your perspective. You wouldn’t want to get kicked while you’re chowing down on spag bol. The sauce would go everywhere. The nerd commentator calls a Samoan Drop a backbreaker, making me think he’s some sort of Japanese Tony Schiavone. I’m watching you son! The match is a display of how great Nakano’s high kicks are and how long Tora can survive being kicked in the side of the face.

This long.

Final Rating: ***1/4

 

Yoko Bito & Konami vs. Gabby Ortiz & Hiromu Mimura vs. Starlight Kid & Shiki Shibusawa vs. Kris Wolf & Hana Kimura

You don’t normally get this high concentration of talent due to Stardom’s relatively small roster.

SMCHana

We get four women in the ring at all times and Hana starts us off with a sexy dance off. Shiki is really bad at sexy. Yoko is also terrible. You either have it or you don’t. They try to all charge Hana in the corner but Hana just destroys Mimura for daring to steal her poses.

The match is jolly good fun with an element of car crash. It alternates between Dragon Gate-esque multi-man sequences and playful posing. That is until Kris Wolf notices that Gabby Ortiz has been knocked out and pins her for the win.

Final Rating: ***1/4

 

SWA Undisputed World Women’s Championship

Toni Storm (c) vs. Xia Brookside

SMCToni

The Stardom World Association is something Stardom came up with on a tour of Europe. It’s basically an belt to show the global presence of their wrestling, although it’s not the promotions top title. Xia looks like a little girl next to full-on woman Toni Storm. There’s a big difference in presence. Toni has come on a lot since joining Stardom and has become one of their best workers. She’s prepared to get Xia over here and give the kid a good match. Xia for her part shows plenty of determination and aggression. Then Toni just kills her with a piledriver. Match was under eight minutes a demonstration of the difference in status between the two.

Final Rating: **1/2

 

High Speed Championship

Shanna (c) vs. Mary Apache

Shanna became the first Portuguese title holder in Japan’s history just last month, unseating Kris Wolf. Portugal’s Perfect Athlete’s first defence is against veteran luchadore Mary Apache. Shanna, from the Iberian peninsula (second home of lucha), decides to go hold for hold like this is Mexico City and we’re wrestling in a bullfighting arena with a dirt floor. Apache dominates with lucha moves and everything Shanna responds with seems a bit clumsy.

With some notable exceptions! I do like Shanna but sometimes you don’t click with your opponent and lucha-libre is a big ask. Shanna over-extends herself on a Tiger Suplex, unable to carry Apache’s weight and the bridge is non-existent. Apache hits a Swanton and that’s the end of Shanna’s brief High Speed title run. I am shocked. Shanna’s 28 day reign is the second shortest run in the history of the strap.

Final Rating: **1/4

 

Artist of Stardom Championship

Team Jungle (c) vs. Queen’s Quest

Not only is Io Shirai back but Viper has signed for Queen’s Quest. This leaves Team Jungle (Matsumoto, Kyona & Yoneyama) at a bit of a disadvantage. QQ trio is completed by HZK.

SMCQueens

Queen’s Quest now looks like some weird inter-nation adoption agency. Look at how happy Io is that Viper has agreed to take these two youngsters back to Bonny Scotland. Imagine the antics they’ll get up to!

SMCViper

“Mom! Mom! Wear this mask mom! It’ll look cool!”

The crowd are way into Io and she has them eating out of the palm of her hand. There’s only one winner of this match and it makes me sad that an elite team like Team Jungle are reduced to the part of supporting act. This is one of those matches where there are frequent tags and everything is jolly good fun. It’s easy to forget how hard it is to assemble these matches, which are compiled of one complicated sequence after another. Io is the heart of the match, at the centre of all that’s good and wholesome. Whether she’s taking a beating or administering one. Everything she does is so outstanding that whoever she’s in the ring with is elevated. Both partners and opponents. Even when Io is not involved the match flies along at breakneck pace and is unrelenting. The near falls with HZK and Kyona are great. The ‘monster’ sequences with Viper and Matsumoto are great. Jungle Kyona gets kicked square in the face and bleeds from the nose and mouth. Io Shirai is sympathetic to this and immediately belts her across the cheek. HZK gets the pin on the bloody Kyona and this belting 16 minute match comes to a conclusion. Io’s tope near the end was beautiful.

Final Rating: ****

SMCemotion

 

Main Event Time!

SMChug

 

World of Stardom Championship

Mayu Iwatani (c) vs. Kagetsu

Kagetsu has the support of Oedo Tai (Kris Wolf & Hana Kimura). Best evil dance troupe, ever!

mayustreamers.gif

Mayu continues to have the best streamer game in the biz. As is the Stardom way this is violent and deserving of the main event slot. Kagetsu is one of the many wrestlers Stardom have that need to step up in the absence of Kairi Hojo. Kagetsu can be a complete dick, evidenced by her pouring water over Mayu’s head. Having back up is what makes Kagetsu seem like a legitimate challenger.

SMCMayu

Kagetsu literally hangs Mayu from the entranceway. Seeing her dangling from her neck above a six foot drop is pretty terrifying. The treatment of the champion is what makes Kagetsu look genuine. She has to be a mean fucker to establish a threat. Play Mayu’s game and she’ll lose. When they return to the ring it becomes a game of finisher teasing, along with the numbers game. Oedo Tai try and swing momentum away from Iwatani and her raw ability. For as moment I even buy into the possibility of the belt changing, although it’s never happening. Kagetsu does step up though and proves she belongs in the big matches. Eventually Mayu has too much in her arsenal and the dragon suplex finishes. This felt very brisk at 16 minutes. I felt they could have gone another ten quite easily.

Final Rating: ****

 

Post Match: Mayu ‘Tanahashis’ her trophy

SMCtrophy

 

Summary:

There’s no blowaway main event but Stardom have put on a consistently good show here. The worry with Stardom is that they’ll end up top heavy because of a lack of top tier talent coming through. It’s increasingly Mayu and Io and misc. That didn’t reflect on this show though where other talent shone. Including Kagetsu, who didn’t look out of place in the main event.

 

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