STARDOM “Grow Up Stars 2015″
A Review by Kevin Wilson

Date:  March 8th, 2015
Location:  Shin-Kiba 1st Ring in Tokyo, Japan
Announced Attendance:  373

Stardom is one of my favorite promotions in Japan and one of the more popular ones on my website, so it seemed fitting to jump ahead and review another one of their events.  This is the first Stardom show since the infamous one on 2/22, but after some talking at the beginning they kicked right into their usual presentation.  This is a small event but I still expect it to be entertaining. Here is the full line-up:

- Hatsuhinode Kamen vs. Heidi Lovelace vs. Kris Wolf
- Dragonita vs. Kaori Yoneyama
- Kyoko Kimura and Hudson Envy vs. Takumi Iroha and Reo Hazuki
- Stardom Passion Injection 2015 ~ Passion Injection #3: Nanae Takahashi vs. Momo Watanabe
- Io Shirai 8th Anniversary: Io Shirai and Koguma vs. Mayu Iwatani and Kairi Hojo

Everything is shown in full which is great, but it isn’t a very long show.  Let’s get to it.

Hatsuhinode Kamen vs. Heidi Lovelace vs. Kris Wolf
Kamen starts the match posing but she takes too long and gets attacked by Lovelace and Wolf.  Wolf and Lovelace tie-up Kamen in the ropes and both press their boots against her head.  Wolf and Lovelace are friends so this doesn’t really seem fair.  Kamen distracts Wolf with some food, she then shoulderblocks Lovelace a few times and hits an elbow drop.  Wolf trips Kamen from the floor and hits a slingshot doublestomp, Lovelace tries to drop Wolf onto Kamen but Kamen moves.  Crab hold by Kamen to Lovelace, Wolf kicks Kamen in the chest but that just makes Kamen apply the move tighter.  Wolf finally boots Kamen off, Wolf sneaks in a schoolboy on Lovelace but it gets two.  Lovelace isn’t happy about it, Wolf goes to do it again but Lovelace blocks it.  They go for a double vertical suplex but Kamen blocks it and punches them in the stomach.  Kamen hits a lariat on both, she covers both but gets a two count.  High kick by Wolf but Lovelace breaks up the pin.  Wolf and Lovelace trade pushes and all three hit a DDT/STO combination.  Lovelace and Wolf both cover Kamen and they get the three count, with the referee declaring Lovelace the winner.  Lovelace and Wolf hug afterwards so everyone is happy.  As far as comedy matches go this wasn’t a bad one, Wolf is adorable and Kamen works in these situations.  Nothing mind-blowing but not a bad way to start off a card.  Score:  5.0

Dragonita vs. Kaori Yoneyama
They trade shoulderblock attempts to start, with Yoneyama eventually getting the better of it.  Dragonita rakes Yoneyama in the eyes but Yoneyama regains the advantage and ties up Dragonita in the ropes.  Yoneyama applies a Muta Lock followed by a stretch hold and then a camel clutch.  Yoneyama just going through her whole repertoire of submission moves.  Dragonita boots Yoneyama back but Yoneyama kicks her in the stomach.  Flapjack by Dragonita and she hits a sliding kick.  Yoneyama and Dragonita trade chops and Yoneyama knees Dragonita in the back.  Yoneyama goes up top and she hits a missile dropkick for a two count.  Northern Lights Suplex by Yoneyama but that gets a two as well.  Dragonita drives Yoneyama back in the corner and she hits a lariat.  Dragonita goes up top  and he hits a diving crossbody and she hits a senton.  Pump handle slam attempt by Dragonita but Yoneyama rolls up Dragonita for a two count.  Lariat by Dragonita, but Yoneyama kicks out of the cover.  Dragonita picks up Yoneyama but Yoneyama rolls up Dragonita and gets the three count.  This was a really simple match.  Fundamentally sound but nothing exciting nor memorable about it.  Score:  3.5

Kyoko Kimura and Hudson Envy vs. Takumi Iroha and Reo Hazuki
Kimura and Hazuki start off and Kimura tosses Hazuki around.  Kimura gets Hazuki to the mat but Hazuki gets out of the hold and they return to their feet.  Hazuki elbows Kimura into the corner, Kimura gets the advantage but Iroha runs in to help.  Hazuki hits facewashes in the corner and then a running boot while Iroha celebrates.  Kimura pushes Hazuki back and tags in Envy while Hazuki tags in Iroha.  Envy and Iroha trade shoulderblocks, which Envy gets the better of.  Envy celebrates too long and Iroha kicks her, but Envy elbows her in the face.  Dropkick by Iroha and she tags in Hazuki.  Envy stomps on Hazuki and tags in Kimura.  Kimura tosses Hazuki by her hair back and forth and covers her for two.  Necklock by Kimura but Hazuki sneaks in a backslide for two.  Envy runs in to knock Iroha off the apron for no reason while Hazuki elbows Kimura.  Hazuki dropkicks Kimura and she manages to tag in Iroha.  Envy comes in but Iroha throws Kimura into Envy and hits a German suplex onto Kimura.  Iroha drops Envy onto Kimura and then hits a splash onto both of them.  Iroha grabs Kimura and hits a few uppercuts but Kimura applies an Octopus Hold.  Kimura tags in Envy and Envy stomps Iroha before hitting a few elbows.  Rolling kick by Envy and she covers Iroha for a two count.  Envy hits a fisherman suplex hold but she gets a two count.  Envy picks up Iroha but Iroha hits a heel kick for a two count.  Iroha picks up Envy but Envy hits a German suplex hold for a two count.  Envy tries to tag out but Iroha grabs her and hits a German suplex hold for a two count. 

Iroha tags in Hazuki and Hazuki hits a trio of dropkicks, but Envy stays up.  Hazuki goes for a suplex but Envy lands on top of her for two.  Elbow drop by Envy and she hits a leg drop.  Envy goes for a kick but Hazuki ducks it and rolls up Envy for two.  Iroha comes in to help and hits a superkick on Envy.  Envy kicks Iroha and stomps Hazuki before tagging in Kimura.  Kimura goes for a suplex on Hazuki but Hazuki lands on her feet and applies a sleeper hold.  Kimura gets out of it and applies her own sleeper but Hazuki gets to the ropes.  Kimura goes off the ropes but Iroha runs in and kicks her.  Heel kick by Iroha and Hazuki hits a jawbreaker.  Scoop slam by Iroha and Hazuki hits a doublestomp off the first and then second turnbuckle.  Top turnbuckle doublestomp by Hazuki, cover, but Envy breaks it up.  Hazuki goes off the ropes but Kimura catches her with a face buster.  Envy comes in and helps, Kimura covers Hazuki but Iroha breaks it up.  Kimura picks up Hazuki and she hits a vertical suplex.  Kimura picks up Hazuki but Hazuki rolls her up for two.  Big boot by Kimura, she covers Hazuki and she gets the three count.   This was a really good match, they didn’t blow the roof off but both teams worked really well together and action kept up from start to finish.  Envy is growing on me fast, she brings a lot to the table, and there were no weak links in the match.  A fun mid-card tag.  Score:  7.0

Nanae Takahashi vs. Momo Watanabe
98% chance that Watanabe will be sore after this match.  Takahashi attacks Watanabe as soon as the match starts and chokes her with her shirt.  Takahashi elbows Watanabe in the corner but Watanabe switches spots with her.  Dropkick by Watanabe and the two trade elbows.  Dropkick by Takahashi and she applies a short armbar.  Takahashi twists on Watanabe’s arm but Watanabe hits a side headlock takedown.  Takahashi hits a leg drop on Watanabe’s arm and stomps her in the ribs.  Reverse chinlock by Takahashi and she chops Watanabe in the corner.  Dropkick by Watanabe and she hits a second one.  Another dropkick and she covers Takahashi for two.  Schoolboy by Watanabe and she applies an elevated crab hold.  Takahashi gets to the ropes, Watanabe goes up top and she hits a diving crossbody for two.  Backdrop suplex by Takahashi and she gets a two count.  Takahashi goes up to the second turnbuckle and hits a missile dropkick.  Crab hold by Takahashi but Watanabe eventually wiggles to the ropes to force a break.  Chops by Takahashi and she delivers a lariat.  Senton by Takahashi for a two count cover, she positions Watanabe and goes up to the second turnbuckle but Watanabe avoids the body press.  Rolling vertical suplexes by Watanabe and she hits a double knee for a two count.  Lariat by Takahashi in the corner and she hits a second one.  Cover by Takahashi and she gets a two count.  Takahashi slams Watanabe to the mat and she applies a crossface, Watanabe struggles for a moment but has to submit.  Takahashi was more gentle than I was expecting although she did stretch her a bit on some of the submission holds.  Watanabe got some good offense in and showed some fire, but this was Takahashi’s match from start to finish.  Solid match.  Score:  6.0

Io Shirai and Koguma vs. Mayu Iwatani and Kairi Hojo
This match is celebrating the 8th Anniversary of Io Shirai.  Koguma and Hojo begin the match, they miss dropkicks and Koguma hits an armdrag.  Hojo hits a doublestomp on Koguma but Koguma rolls her up for two.  Shirai and Iwatani tag in and Shirai hits a headscissors.  Iwatani comes back with an armdrag, Koguma comes in but Iwatani kicks Shirai back and Hojo goes in so both can hit spears.  Hojo and Iwatani apply submission holds, and Iwatani hits a scoop slam on Shirai.  Hojo is tagged in and she throws Shirai around the ring.  Elbow drop by Hojo and she gets a two count.  Hojo tags in Iwatani and Iwatani stomps Shirai in the corner.  Headscissors by Iwatani, Hojo comes in the ring and they double team Shirai against the ropes.  Shirai finally gets the tag to Koguma and she double teams Iwatani and Hojo by herself.  Shirai finally joins her and they throw Iwatani and Hojo out of the ring.  Shirai leaves the ring, Koguma goes up to the top turnbuckle and hits a diving plancha suicida.  Shirai then gets up on the top turnbuckle and she also hits a plancha suicida down to the floor.  Koguma and Iwatani return to the ring and she hits a reverse splash off the ropes for a two count.  Iwatani kicks Koguma in the back and she makes the tag to Hojo.  Hojo shoulderblocks Koguma in the corner and she hits a neckbreaker for two.  Koguma and Hojo trade elbows and Koguma applies a sleeper.  Koguma hits a DDT, cover, but it gets a two count.  Cutter by Koguma and she covers Hojo for another two. 

Koguma tags in Shirai and Shirai stomps Hojo into the corner.  Double underhook by Shirai but Hojo gets out of it and chops Shirai in the chest.  Double underhook facebuster by Shirai but it gets a two count.  Hojo catches Shirai’s leg and she pulls back on it until Koguma breaks it up.  Hojo goes up top and she hits a diving elbow smash for a two count.  Hojo tags in Iwatani and Iwatani hits a missile dropkick.  Iwatani hits a headscissors on Shirai and then dropkicks her against the ropes.  Hojo and Iwatani both dropkick Shirai, cover, but it gets a two count.  Iwatani goes up to the top turnbuckle but Shirai hits her and throws her off.  Waistlock by Shirai, Hojo comes in but Koguma grabs her from behind.  Iwatani dumps Shirai out to the apron, she then goes up top but Shirai recovers and joins her.  Shirai and Iwatani both his missile dropkicks on their opponents, and Shirai kicks Iwatani in the head.  Shirai and Iwatani trade elbows but Iwatani rolls her up for a two count.  They trade pin attempts and Iwatani hits a reverse hurricanrana for a two count.  Iwatani hits a crucifix bomb but it gets another two.  Iwatani picks up Shirai but Koguma goes up top and hits a missile dropkick on her.  Shirai goes up to the top turnbuckle but Hojo puts her down in the tree of woe.  Koguma runs in and snaps Hojo on the top rope while Shirai does a handstand walk double knee drop.  Shirai and Koguma both hit German suplex holds but they get two counts.  Shirai positions Iwatani in front of the corner, she goes up top and nails the moonsault.  Cover, and Shirai picks up the three count!  A fitting main event for Shirai’s Anniversary Show.  Koguma is the most impressive to me, she has improved so much in the last year, I would never know that she was only 17 years old just watching her in the ring.  Everyone in the match was good of course and the team work was constant.  The structure was more based on random action but the action was entertaining which is all you can ask for.  Very entertaining, although it was lacking a Hojo diving elbow drop.  Score:  7.5

Final Thoughts:

This was a smaller Stardom event as it only had five matches, no title matches, and was at Shin-Kiba 1st RING.  Even still the wrestlers held nothing back as they never do and most of the matches delivered on some level.  Envy, Koguma, and Shirai were the standouts in their respective matches but Watanabe held her own against Takahashi and overall it was just a fun show.  Nothing here will make any MOTY lists but still a solid event from start to finish.

Grade: C+ 

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event reviewed on 3/25/15