Stardom "Stardom X Stardom 2014"
A Review by Kevin Wilson
Date: August 10th, 2014
Sometimes I am just in a Joshi mood, and when the mood hits I usually default to Stardom. While there are other Joshi wrestlers I enjoy in different promotions, Stardom generally has the most complete cards. This is a really big card for Stardom, as we have three title matches taking place. Here is the full card:
- Azumi vs. Maya
Let's get to the Joshi goodness.
Azumi vs. Maya
Match Thoughts: This was billed as a "Kids Fight," both are in the 12 to 13 year old range. Anyway, I've seen worse opening matches. Both of these girls are obviously trained, and since they are both around the same age it seemed like a fair fight. Maya is bigger than Azumi, which is why Azumi stuck to quick pins to try to win, there was no other way she was winning this match. It was simple, of course, and the already short match was further clipped, but it wasn't bad and its a unique chance to see if these two girls can grow into being great down the road or if they will just disappear into thin air in a year or two. Score: 3.5
Kris Wolf vs. Reo Hazuki vs. Koguma
Match Thoughts: Like the last match, this was a short match that was further clipped. I am not sure why this needed to be a three way as rarely were all three in the ring at the same time, unless that just made it easier for Wolf in her debut. There were a few shaky moments, but nothing too earth shattering, the main issue was just the shortness and a general lack of creativity with the spots. I can cut them some slack since it was Wolf's debut and debut matches tend to be simple, but still there was nothing here that anyone could recommend. Score: 3.0
DASH Chisako vs. Takumi Iroha
Match Thoughts: Not a bad match but the action seemed a bit lopsided. Maybe it was due to the slight clipping, but it really appeared like Iroha dominated the match and up until the end Chisako was only staying in it with flash pins. Then suddenly she hits that avalanche cutter and it was time for the ending stretch with Iroha never even having a hope spot after that. So the action was fine, the structure just felt off and it didn't make Iroha look very strong in defeat. Score: 5.0
(c) Miho Wakizawa, Hiroyo Matsumoto, and Mayu Iwatani vs. Tsubasa Kuragaki, Kaori Yoneyama, and Hatsuhinode Kamen
Wakizawa and Iwatani try to throw Kamen and Kuragaki into each other, but Kuragaki and Kamen reverse it, hitting lariats on their opponents. Kuragaki and Kamen then return the favor, Kuragaki gets Iwatani and Wakizawa onto her shoulders before dumping them to the mat. Kamen picks up Wakizawa and hits a vertical suplex, cover, but it gets a two count. Kamen tags in Yoneyama, and Yoneyama comes off the top turnbuckle with a missile dropkick to Wakizawa. Yoneyama picks up Wakizawa and puts her onto her shoulders while Kamen goes up top, but Wakizawa slides down. Wakizawa goes for a backslide onto Yoneyama, Matsumoto comes in the ring to hit Yoneyama but Yoneyama ducks and Matsumoto hits Wakizawa by accident. Iwatani then holds Yoneyama for Matsumoto, but again Yoneyama ducks and Matsumoto hits Iwatani by mistake. Kuragaki comes in the ring and kicks Matsumoto into the corner, but Matsumoto fights off Kuragaki and Kamen. Yoneyama knocks down Matsumoto, then Yoneyama and Wakizawa hit each other at the same time as now all six wrestlers are down on the mat. Wakizawa is up first, knee by Yoneyama and she goes off the ropes, but Wakizawa catches her with a Fisherman buster. Cover, but Yoneyama gets a shoulder up. Wakizawa picks up Yoneyama and goes for another one but Yoneyama blocks it, backslide by Yoneyama but it gets a two count. Wakizawa holds Yoneyama as Matsumoto and Iwatani come into the ring with weapons, but Yoneyama ducks and both wrestlers wallop Wakizawa. Yoneyama goes off the ropes and dropkicks Matsumoto, while Kuragaki comes in the ring and hits the Metal Wing onto Wakizawa. Crucifix roll-up by Yoneyama to Wakizawa, and she picks up the three count. Your winners and new champions: Tsubasa Kuragaki, Kaori Yoneyama, and Hatsuhinode Kamen
Match Thoughts: I really need to poke around online to see if I can find the significance of those little brown ball things. This wasn't the worst match I have seen with this combination of wrestlers, which is probably the best compliment I can give. Some of the spots were well done, Yoneyama always ducking the double team attempt was a cute repeated spot and they kept the action going fast enough that no one really looked weak. Kuragaki seemed out of place since she is better than everyone else in the match, but she joined in on the goofiness while still doing her power spots. Not a long match, especially one for a title (although a not overly important title), but not a bad one. Score: 5.5
(c) Kyoko Kimura and Alpha Female vs. Nanae Takahashi and Kairi Hojo
Hojo goes up to the top turnbuckle but Alpha Female joins her, Takahashi comes up from behind and grabs Alpha Female, pulling her down into the Tree of Woe. Doublestomp by Hojo and she hits a running elbow while Takahashi dropkicks Alpha Female from the apron. Cover, but it gets a two count. Alpha Female gets up in the corner, Hojo charges in but Alpha Female moves and then lariats Takahashi. Kimura comes in the ring, Irish whip to the corner and Alpha Female hits a lariat. Jumping elbow by Kimura, she picks up Hojo and throws her to Alpha Female, who hits a lariat. Cover by Alpha Female, but it gets two. Kimura picks up Hojo and goes for a powerbomb but Hojo slides off, Takahashi runs in and lariats Kimura, then she catapults Hojo up to Alpha Female who had gone up to the top turnbuckle, and Hojo hits an elbow smash. Alpha Female falls out of the ring with Kimura, Hojo goes up to the top turnbuckle and dives out onto both Alpha Female and Takahashi. Takahashi goes off the ropes in the ring and hits a tope suicida onto both Takahashi and Alpha Female as well. Hojo and Takahashi slide their opponents back in the ring, they both go up to different turnbuckles but Kimura and Alpha Female roll out of the way of their diving attacks. Slam by Alpha Female to Hojo, cover, but it gets two. Alpha Female picks up Hojo and hits a front slam, cover, but Takahashi breaks it up. Kimura throws Takahashi out to the apron, she picks up Hojo and puts her in a Widow's Peak position, then Alpha Female comes off the top turnbuckle and drives Hojo's head into the mat. Cover by Alpha Female, but it gets a two count. Quick crucifix cover by Hojo, but it gets a two. Kimura runs in and boots Hojo, Kimura holds Takahashi for Alpha Female but Takahashi moves and Alpha Female hits Kimura by accident. School boy by Hojo and she applies the wing clutch hold to Alpha Female for a two count. Hojo chops Alpha Female in the chest, she goes off the ropes but Kimura trips her from the floor. Takahashi runs in and dropkicks Kimura, while Alpha Female grabs Hojo. Hojo slides down Alpha Female's back, and Takahashi runs in the ring and lariats Alpha Female. Takahashi and Hojo go off the ropes, Takahashi kicks Alpha Female in the back of the head while Hojo hits a Sliding D. Cover, but it gets a two count. Hojo goes up to the top turnbuckle and she hits her famous diving elbow drop, cover, but Kimura breaks it up. Takahashi throws Kimura out of the ring, Hojo picks up Alpha Female and hits a series of elbows. Alpha Female punches her back but Hojo punches Alpha Female, causing Alpha Female to fall to a seated position. Sliding D by Hojo, and she picks up the three count. Your winners and new champions: Nanae Takahashi and Kairi Hojo
Match Thoughts: I hate that 20% or so of this match was clipped. I didn't mind the opener was clipped, or the first few matches but this was a title match with one of my favorite wrestlers and dammit I wanted to watch the whole thing. The aspects of this match I didn't like, for example some of the transitions or the structure, I don't know if it was due to the clipping or if that is the way it was live, and I can only judge a match by what I saw. I really enjoyed the action here, particularly my girl Hojo getting the best of the behemoth Alpha Female at the end. That really put her over as a force to be reckoned with as generally Alpha Female has been pretty protected. Both teams work together really well, the teamwork and interactions were constant, I like when a team acts like a team that talked strategy/planned/etc. before the match. So the action I liked but the clipping I didn't as I know I missed stuff that would have made the match make more sense. Score: 7.0
(c) Io Shirai vs. Yoshiko
Tiger Feint Kick by Shirai and she hits a swandive sunset flip for a two count. Shirai applies the crossface but Yoshiko gets to the ropes. Running double knee by Shirai in the corner, cover, but it gets a two count. Shirai goes up to the top turnbuckle nails the Rider Kick, and Yoshiko falls out of the ring. Shirai goes to the ropes and hits a springboard plancha suicida down onto Yoshiko. Shirai picks up Yoshiko and slides her back into the ring, and she hits a standing moonsault followed by a moonsault off the second turnbuckle. She goes for a top turnbuckle moonsault but Yoshiko gets her knees up in time. Yoshiko waits for Shirai to get up and hits a shoulderblock, Shirai gets up and Yoshiko hits a second one. Mounted punches by Yoshiko, cover, but it gets a two count. Yoshiko hits a running senton and then a second one followed by a reverse splash. Yoshiko goes up to the second turnbuckle and hits the diving senton, cover, but Shirai gets a shoulder up. Yoshiko goes up to the top turnbuckle but Shirai rolls out of the way of the diving senton. Shirai and Yoshiko both hit elbows, Shirai ducks Yoshiko's lariat and applies La Magistral, but it gets a two count. Shirai waits for Yoshiko to get up but Shirai blocks the kick attempt, Shirai goes for the trapped German but Yoshiko elbows out of it. Hurricanrana by Shirai but Yoshiko reverses it into her own pin attempt for a two count. Yoshiko waits for Shirai to get up and hits a lariat, cover, but it gets a two count. Yoshiko picks up Shirai but Shirai wiggles away, waistlock by Yoshiko, reversed by Shirai but Yoshiko reverses it back. Shirai lands on her feet when Yoshiko goes for a backdrop suplex, punch by Shirai and she charges Yoshiko, hitting a headbutt. Trapped German suplex hold by Shirai, but it gets a two count. Shirai picks up Yoshiko and goes for another German but Yoshiko gets out of it, clubbing blows by Yoshiko but Shirai hits an uppercut. Shirai goes off the ropes but Yoshiko catches her with a lariat, cover, but it gets two. Yoshiko positions Shirai in front of the corner, she goes up to the top turnbuckle and she delivers the diving senton. Cover, and she picks up the three count. Your winner: Yoshiko
Match Thoughts: At least I understand the clipping here (an even higher percentage was cut), as it was a 27 minute match. While like the last match it did lead to some disjointed moments as one of the clips was obvious, I still felt like I got a pretty good feel for the match. I'm still not completely sold on Yoshiko but clearly they are giving her the ball and letting her run with it. The diving senton just doesn't seem like a convincing finisher for a wrestler in 2014, I wish she had something 'special' for big matches like this one to make it feel more convincing. Shirai was great here and was on point with everything, I love the Rider Kick and all her dives looked good. Yoshiko was a good 'base' for Shirai's offense but the move before the final diving senton looked off and her move variety is a bit limited (shoulderblocks are an odd end-of-match-stretch move). I liked the match as I think Shirai is great, but between Yoshiko not convincing me and the clipping it wasn't the best I have seen of her this year. Score: 6.5
Best Match: Kyoko Kimura and Alpha Female vs. Nanae Takahashi and Kairi Hojo. It was a bit of a toss-up as I was more annoyed about this one being clipped, but it was still the best match on the card. All four wrestlers looked great, and it was a very clean win that really helped put over the new champions. I will talk about Hojo more below but she was great, and all the moves/transitions were hit crisply. The tag work was also really well done and the emotion was there so it felt like a title match. I wish more of it was shown but there is not much to complain about what did make it onto DVD.
MVP: Kairi Hojo. I already loved her anyway, as Hojo is just the right combination of cute and tough. But she was the star of the match, as in the end she was left alone with Alpha Female, out-striking the much larger gaijin and picking up the clean victory. Even before the ending she looked good though and was a constant presence in the match. She has been wrestling for less than three years and is only 26 years old, so hopefully she sticks to wrestling and continues to grow in the future.
Overall: I really wanted to love this event. All three title matches were good at what they were (the first isn't really my thing as I think the wrestlers are average, but it wasn't a total waste) and with so many title changes it felt like a big card. But the clippings on this events just hurts it for me, I am sure I would have enjoyed the last two matches more if I saw the entire thing, but clippings can really hurt the structure of the match. So the overall score is a bit higher than the scores may reflect as I think the action was really solid throughout, and if you don't mind clipped matches you'll probably like it even more than I did. With three title changes, there is a new wave coming to Stardom so it will be interesting to see how they do for the rest of the year.
review completed on 1/3/15