Stardom "Appeal The Heart"
A Review by Kevin Wilson
Date: October 11th, 2015
I am a bit behind in my Stardom reviewing, so we are going to catch up really quick. This is a big show for Stardom on several different levels. First, Act Yasukawa has a big singles match against Kairi Hojo to find the #1 Contender for the World of Stardom Championship. Also, Iwatani challenges La Rosa Negra for the High Speed Championship and Dark Angel challenges Io Shirai for the Wonder of Stardom Championship! This was billed as Dark Angel's last match in Japan before going to WWE. Here is the full card:
- Hiromi Mimura vs. Kris Wolf
Onto the fun.
Hiromi Mimura vs. Kris Wolf
This is Hiromi Mimura's debut. I can't find a lot of information on her, but she is 29 years old and was set to debut several times but it was delayed due to injury. But here she finally has her first match and it is against the energetic Wolf. This will no doubt be basic but I am sure that Mimura and Wolf have interacted quite a bit in the dojo so hopefully it will at least be smooth.
Wolf toys with Mimura to start but Mimura kicks her from behind and they go to the mat trading holds. Wolf bites Mimura in the arm but Mimura applies a wristlock. Wolf quickly gets out of it, snapmare by Wolf and she kicks Mimura in the back. Mimura gets back up and elbows Wolf, but Wolf kicks her in the leg as they go back and forth trading strikes. Mimura surprisingly gets the better of it, dropkick by Mimura and she covers Wolf for two. Back up, Mimura rolls Wolf to the mat and applies a leg submission, but Wolf gets out of it and gives Mimura a hard knee to the head. Running kneelift by Wolf, she goes up to the second turnbuckle but Mimura rolls out of the way of her dive and hits a quick crossbody for two. Wolf elbows Mimura away and they trade shots until Wolf pulls down Mimura by her hair and hits a double kneedrop for a two count. Jumping knee by Wolf in the corner and she kicks Mimura in the back for another two. Wolf suplexes Mimura, she goes to the top turnbuckle and nails a diving double kneedrop for a three count! Kris Wolf wins the match.
This was not your typical wrestler debut, for a few reasons. First, Mimura is not a child so she can physically hang with Wolf as their sizes/strength are similar. Second, Mimura started training a year ago, her debut was debuted due to injuries, so she has some decent experience. And finally, Wolf just debuted in August 2014 herself, so while she does have more experience it is not a significant amount. I thought this was pretty solid for a debut, I am sure there are some nerves but it was pretty smooth and Mimura showed off some really solid moves. If she sticks with it and continues improving, Mimura will likely have success in Stardom down the road, the match was too short to get excited about but not a bad way to start the event.
Haruka Kato vs. Saori Anou
This is random as hell. If you don't know who Anou is, don't feel bad. Anou wrestles for a small promotion called Actress girl'Z. I mean they are a beginners level promotion (their twitter handle is actually "Beginning Pro") that puts on small events that never make television. So I have never seen Anou before and I am not sure why she is wrestling on a Stardom card. Kato is a solid midcard wrestler that likes doing cross armbreakers, which is the primary reason I like her and not because she is stunningly cute.
They tie-up to kick things off, shoulderblock by Anou and she hits another one. Anou picks up Kato but Kato elbows her away and they trade shots. Scoop slam by Kato and she applies a cross armbreaker, but Anou rolls it into a cover for two. They both go off the ropes, Anou hits a shoulderblock and hits a nice fisherman suplex hold for a two count. Backslide with a bridge by Anou, but that gets a two as well. Anou goes for another fisherman suplex but Kato gets out of it and hits a tilt-a-whirl schoolboy for two. Kato goes back to the arm, she gets the cross armbreaker locked in and Anou has to submit! Kato is your winner.
I thought this was a step down from the last match, as these two did not have the chemistry that Mimura and Wolf had. When Anou had a chance to show a few things she can do it worked fine, she is very bendy, but the match itself was disjointed. Kato isn't known for her high-end matches so the bar was low for Anou's Stardom debut, and while it may have worked to introduce her to the crowd it wasn't the best situation to to put Anou in to succeed. Watchable but nothing more than that.
Kaori Yoneyama vs. Momo Watanabe vs. Starlight Kid
Another debut, as this is Starlight Kid's first match. I can't find much information on her, the fact she wears a mask and has a gimmick name obviously doesn't make it any easier. But this is a pretty low key situation to debut, as it is a short triple threat match against a seasoned veteran in Yoneyama and a literal child that debuted late last year.
Watanabe is teamed up on first but Starlight Kid rolls up Yoneyama for a quick two count. Handstand into a spinning headscissors by Starlight Kid to Yoneyama and she hits a tilt-a-whirl headscissors on Watanabe. Watanabe falls out of the ring but returns after a moment, and Starlight Kid hits a dropkick for a two count. Yoneyama comes back in and throws Watanabe and Starlight Kid in the same corner, but they avoid her when she charges in. Watanabe and Starlight Kid both attack Yoneyama in the corner, Watanabe dropkicks Starlight Kid in the opposite corner and take turns dropkicking both of them. Reverse STO by Watanabe to Starlight Kid and she hits rolling vertical suplexes for a two count. Shiranui by Starlight Kid to Watanabe, but Yoneyama breaks up the cover. Starlight Kid falls out of the ring, Yoneyama goes up top and she hits a diving senton on Watanabe for the three count! Yoneyama wins the match.
I gotta say, for a debut I thought this was about as good as you can get. Starlight Kid showed a lot of ability in this short match, obviously it wasn't long enough to see much of her but she showed a lot of quickness. Beyond that this was nothing special, as these triple threat Stardom matches generally aren't, but it was fun to watch the rookie go.
Act Yasukawa vs. Kairi Hojo
This match is for the #1 Contendership for the World of Stardom Championship held my Meiko Satomura. These two need no introduction. Hojo is the former champion and just won the FIVE STAR GP, while Yasukawa just recently returned after being injured in a match earlier this year against Yoshiko. Really Hojo should not have had to wrestle anyone for the #1 Contendership since she won the tournament, but she is never one to back down from a fight, and since Yasukawa was unable to be in the tournament it only seemed fair.
They start with tie-ups and wristlocks, but neither gets a clear advantage. Next they trade elbows, Hojo knocks Yasukawa into the corner and starts marching but Yasukawa pulls her down from behind by her hair. Yasukawa picks up Hojo but Hojo slides away and they trade elbows. Hojo gets the better of it and goes up top, hitting a diving elbow strike. Hojo applies a crab hold but Yasukawa gets a hand on the ropes to force a break. Hojo goes for the Sliding D but Yasukawa kicks her arm and dropkicks Hojo in the knee. Yasukawa and Hojo go back and forth with elbows, powerslam by Yasukawa and she covers Hojo for a two count. Yasukawa goes up top but Hojo rolls out of the way of the somersault senton and hits a Sliding D to Yasukawa's back. Cross legged crab hold by Hojo, she lets go of the hold but Yasukawa ducks the spinning backfist and rolls up Hojo for two. Stretch Muffler by Yasukawa, she picks up Hojo but Hojo slides away and rolls up Yasukawa for a two count. Cross-legged crab hold by Hojo but Yasukawa won't give up, Hojo goes to the second turnbuckle but falls as she goes to jump off. She gets on the second turnbuckle again and hits a diving elbow drop to Yasukawa's back, but Yasukawa barely gets a shoulder up. Hojo goes up top again, she nails the diving elbow drop and she picks up the three count! Hojo wins the match and is the new #1 Contender.
No one can ever say I am too biased, as while I love both Yasukawa and Hojo I thought this wasn't a great match. First of all it was clipped which I am sure hurt it a bit, but it was probably clipped for a reason. This was Yasukawa's first big match since last February so I have no doubt she was rusty, there were a few good sections and I liked Yasukawa's attitude but it wasn't cohesive. Also, and I always complain about this, if a move is botched it annoys me when wrestlers just repeat the spot. Poor Yasukawa had to lay on the mat way too long since Hojo slipped off the turnbuckle, I have no issue with her slipping as that happens but she should have gone over and slammed or kicked Yasukawa then gone back up top. So between the clipping, lack of focus, and messed up ending I can't recommend this match, even though I think both are great wrestlers that on a normal day are two of the best in Stardom.
(c) La Rosa Negra vs. Mayu Iwatani
This match is for the High Speed Championship. La Rosa Negra won the High Speed Championship last month from Starfire in an upset, in a match that also saw Starfire injure her knee which may have led to that ending. Iwatani on the other hand is one of Stardom's rising stars and already has the tag team championship with Io Shirai. Of course, Shirai has her own singles title so Iwatani wants one too, all she has to do is beat La Rosa Negra to get one.
La Rosa Negra and Iwatani do the usual wristlocks trading to begin, La Rosa Negra goes for a wheelbarrow facebuster but Iwatani gets out of it. Dropkick by La Rosa Negra and she chops Iwatani into the corner, she goes for a suplex but Iwatani lands on her feet and hits a Northern Lights Suplex for a two count. Iwatani grabs La Rosa Negra's wrist and flips off the ropes with an armdrag, La Rosa Negra falls out of the ring and Iwatani goes to the top turnbuckle. La Rosa Negra recovers, she jumps on the apron and throws Iwatani down to the floor. La Rosa Negra then gets in the ring and dives out onto Iwatani with a tope suicida. Back in the ring, Iwatani kicks La Rosa Negra in the gut and she delivers a spinning headscissors. Dropkick by Iwatani in the corner and she kicks La Rosa Negra in the back, La Rosa Negra throws Iwatani into another corner but La Rosa Negra rebounds out of the corner with a crossbody. Back up they trade elbows until La Rosa Negra snaps off a reverse neckbreaker, La Rosa Negra charges Iwatani in the corner and hits an elbow drop. Cover by La Rosa Negra but Iwatani kicks out at two. La Rosa Negra picks up Iwatani and applies the airplane spin before slamming Iwatani to the mat. La Rosa Negra goes up top but Iwatani avoids the Rose Splash, schoolboy by Iwatani but it gets two. Iwatani kicks La Rosa Negra back, she gets on the second turnbuckle and delivers a missile dropkick. Diving footstomp by Iwatani, she goes up top again and she hits a diving body press for a two count. Iwatani picks up La Rosa Negra and she hits a crucifix slam for another two. Buzzsaw Kick by Iwatani, she picks up La Rosa Negra but La Rosa Negra sneaks in a schoolboy for two. Back up, backslide with a bridge by Iwatani but it gets two as well. Iwatani charges La Rosa Negra but La Rosa Negra catches her with a powerslam, La Rosa Negra goes up top but Iwatani gets up and joins her. Superplex by Iwatani, she goes up top and nails the diving footstomp. Iwatani drags La Rosa Negra up and she delivers the dragon suplex hold, getting the three count pinfall! Your winner and new champion is Mayu Iwatani!
This was really solid, the best I have seen of La Rosa Negra so far. There was no time filler, no meandering limb work that didn't go anywhere, and it lasted the perfect length. The moves were hit crisply and they were on the same page, which was my primary fear since they don't have a lot of experience wrestling against each other. About as good as I could have hoped for and entertaining from start to finish, even if you aren't familiar with La Rosa Negra it is definitely worth a watch. Recommended
(c) Io Shirai vs. Dark Angel
This match is for the World of Stardom Championship. This is a special match, as it is also billed as Dark Angel's last match in Japan. Dark Angel, also known as Sarah Stock, was already signed to WWE before this match took place as she was headed there to become a trainer in NXT. While I am sure she will have another match down the road, at the time of this review this was her last match period as she did not wrestle again after this one before joining NXT. She of course is going out on a high note, challenging Stardom superstar Io Shirai for her World of Stardom Championship.
Dark Angel immediately gets a double underhook applied but Shirai gets away, they lock knuckles and Dark Angel flips Shirai to the mat. Back up they trade elbows, armdrag by Dark Angel and they trade quick pin attempts. Hard dropkick by Dark Angel but Shirai cartwheels away from Dark Angel and dropkicks her out of the ring. Shirai goes up top to do a moonsault but Dark Angel knocks her down and powerbombs Shirai right on the apron. Dark Angel returns to the ring while Shirai gets the magic spray, back in the ring Dark Angel grabs Shirai and she hits a neckbreaker. Dark Angel stretches Shirai's back and covers her for a two count. Rolling senton by Dark Angel and she hits a backbreaker, another cover but it gets another two. Dark Angel gets Shirai on her shoulders and applies a backbreaker before flinging her to the mat. Dark Angel goes off the ropes but Shirai drop toeholds her into the ropes, Shirai charges Dark Angel to hit a tiger feint kick but Dark Angel reverses it with an armdrag. Jumping knee by Dark Angel in the corner and she hits another one, Dark Angel throws Shirai into the corner but Shirai springs up to the top turnbuckle and hits a missile dropkick. Dark Angel falls out of the ring, Shirai gets a running start and sails out onto Dark Angel with a tope suicida. Shirai slides Dark Angel back in and hits a springboard missile dropkick, tiger feint kick by Shirai but Dark Angel avoids the next missile dropkick and puts Shirai in an elevated crab hold.
Shirai eventually gets to the ropes, Dark Angel picks up Shirai and hits a few knees to the back before dropping her in the corner and rolling Shirai up for two. Dark Angel picks up Shirai but Shirai avoids the jumping knee and hits a running double knee in the corner. Dropkick by Shirai, she picks up Dark Angel and hits a few elbows, but Dark Angel comes back with a dropkick. Shirai falls out of the ring, Dark Angel goes up top and dives out onto Shirai with a plancha suicida. Back in the ring, Dark Angel goes up top and she hits a diving crossbody for a two count. Dark Angel picks up Shirai but Shirai slides away and hits the double underhook facebuster. German suplex hold by Shirai, she picks up Dark Angel and plants her with a tombstone piledriver. Shirai goes up top but Dark Angel gets both feet up when Shirai goes for the moonsault. Both wrestlers are slow to get up and trade elbows, Dark Angel kicks Shirai against the ropes and hits the Tiger Driver, but Shirai barely gets a shoulder up. Dark Angel gets Shirai on her back in La Reienera but Shirai gets out of it and applies a choke. Dark Angel elbows out of that and goes for another Tiger Driver, but Shirai reverses it and hits an Air Raid Crash. Shirai kicks Dark Angel in the head, she goes up to the top turnbuckle and nails the moonsault for the three count! Shirai is still the World of Stardom Champion.
This was a great match for a lot of reasons, most of which in this case I will credit to Dark Angel. Dark Angel is a seasoned veteran that knows what she is doing, there is a reason she is going to be a trainer at NXT. Her focus on the back was on point, almost all of her offense focused on Shirai's back area which directly lead to her finisher which targets... the back. It is so simple but so few wrestlers take the time to tell a logical story from start to finish that I appreciate it when it happens. It helped that her offense was all interesting, between backbreakers and powerbombs on the apron she was mixing up how she was hurting Shirai. Shirai was fine here, she sold the back pretty well and only forget about it when she had to do her spots. Which I understand the crowd came to see her do her spots but when she was on offense it became the standard Shirai match we've all seen before. Which is still entertaining, just a bit predictable. Dark Angel is the one that made this one, probably by design since it was her farewell match, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Highly Recommended
The best thing about this show is that nothing was bad. All the rookies had bright points, with Starlight Kid in particular showing a lot of promise. The only disappointment was the Hojo/Yasukawa match, partly because it was clipped and partly because they just didn't seem to mesh very well on this evening. But the show rebounded with two quality title matches, with the main event being one of the better matches in Stardom so far this year. Dark Angel is a top tier wrestler, which I picked up from just one match (I don't think I've ever seen her wrestle before). With the debuting wrestlers and the title matches I can definitely recommend this one, just don't go in expecting too much from the Hojo and Yasukawa match.