Stardom "Third Anniversary" on 1/26/14
A Review by Kevin Wilson
Date: January 26th, 2014
Stardom is another promotion that I am introducing myself to as I broaden my wrestling viewing a bit. I have heard good things about the promotion as they have some skilled wrestlers, so hopefully their first event to be taped for 2014 leaves a positive first impression. This is a big event for Stardom as three of their titles are being defended. Here is the full card:
- Koguma vs. Yuna Manase
Koguma vs. Yuna Manase
Match Thoughts: A rookie match, although I am glad that Manase is over 18 with that outfit that she wears. It was easy to tell these two are still learning, as they still haven’t mastered the staple of Puroresu – strike exchanges. But besides the awkwardness of those it was not a bad match, just basic which is understandable. Manase hit her kicks well (the Heel Drop was nice) and it wasn’t long enough to be offensive or anything. Rookies need experience so while not a great match it wasn’t a bad way to start out the event. Score: 4.0
Kaori Yoneyama, Kellie Skater, and Yuhi vs. Manami Toyota, Hiroyo Matsumoto, and Mayu Iwatani
Match Thoughts: I don’t care what all the results say on various websites, it was Matsumoto that got the pin, not Toyota... I know who Toyota is. Only half of the match was shown but I assume we got the gist of it, I am not 100% sure what the significance of the brown bag is but in the grand scheme of things it doesn’t really matter. We didn’t really see enough of this to get a great feel for it, but what we saw was fine. Compared to the last match you could tell these were more seasoned wrestlers as the moves were all hit smoothly and they kept the pace going. Solid match, just not a lot of it was shown. Score: 5.0
Takumi Iroha vs. Yoshiko
Match Thoughts: Looks like we only saw about half the match. Yoshiko needs a new killer move, I am generally a big fan of repeating big moves in a match unless its a big title match or something, especially if the move is just a set-up for the finisher. Iroha is a rookie going through her ‘trial series’ so it is more about her learning than it is about her actually winning matches. Maybe here she learned that trading strikes with someone twice your size is not a great idea. Seemed fine for what we saw but I would have liked to have seen the first half of the match. Score: 4.0
(c) Nanae Takahashi and Miho Wakizawa vs. Kyoko Kimura and Alpha Female
Takahashi goes off the ropes but Kimura catches her with a big boot, Kimura goes off the ropes now but Takahashi hits a lariat. Waistlock by Takahashi but Kimura elbows out of it. Elbows by Takahashi and she applies another waistlock, Wakizawa comes in the ring to help and Takahashi is finally able to hit the backdrop suplex. Cover, but Kimura gets a foot on the bottom rope. We clip ahead as Alpha Female is in the ring and she lariats Wakizawa. She and Takahashi both go off the ropes but Takahashi’s lariat hits the mark. Takahashi goes up to the second turnbuckle, Wakizawa then runs in the ring and Wakizawa hurricanranas Takahashi onto Alpha Female. German suplex hold by Wakizawa to Alpha Female but it gets a two count. Wakizawa picks up Alpha Female but Alpha Female hits a short-arm lariat. Alpha Female goes up to the top turnbuckle but Takahashi is back in the ring and hits Alpha Female. Wakizawa then gets up, she joins Alpha Female on the top turnbuckle and hits a superplex. Cover, but Alpha Female kicks out at two. Wakizawa stomps Alpha Female, she goes up to the top turnbuckle but Kimura runs up on the apron and stops her. Takahashi knocks Kimura out of the ring, while Alpha Female joins Wakizawa on the top turnbuckle. Wakizawa quickly jumps down and sits Alpha Female on the top turnbuckle, Wakizawa then climbs back up and goes for a Frankensteiner, but Alpha Female catches her. Kimura comes in the ring and holds Wakizawa, and Alpha Female comes off the top turnbuckle, slamming Wakizawa into the mat. Cover, but Takahashi breaks it up. Alpha Female picks up Wakizawa and hits a shoulder drop slam, cover, but again Takahashi breaks it up. Alpha Female picks up Wakizawa and puts her on her shoulders, but Wakizawa gets off and hits a backslide for a two count. Wakizawa and Takahashi put their opponents lying in the ring, they both go up to the top turnbuckle and go for diving body presses, but both Kimura and Alpha Female get their knees up. Alpha Female hits a lariat onto Wakizawa, cover, but Wakizawa barely kicks out. Alpha Female picks up Wakizawa and nails the Alpha Plex, and she picks up the three count. Your winners and new champions: Kyoko Kimura and Alpha Female
Match Thoughts: A solid match, but the clips in the action made it hard for the wrestlers to really get a good flow going as it was disjointed in parts. Not that it is their fault, it is just the way the match was presented which is disappointing for a title match. The wrestling was generally solid although a bit silly at times (such as the ketchup usage and Wakizawa doing a Frankensteiner on her own partner). There wasn’t anything noticeably wrong with the match, the skipping just hurt the structure. Score: 6.0
(c) Act Yasukawa vs. Kairi Hojo
Hojo crosses Yasukawa’s legs and goes for a crab hold but Yasukawa quickly gets a hand on the ropes. Stomps to the back by Hojo, she puts Yasukawa on her shoulders but Yasukawa hops off and elbows Hojo in the chest. Hojo elbows her back and they trade strikes, which Yasukawa gets the better of. Hojo gets back up and elbows Yasukawa against the ropes, double chop by Hojo and she goes off the ropes, but Yasukawa catches her and slams Hojo to the mat. Cover, but it gets a two. Yasukawa goes up to the top turnbuckle but Hojo recovers in time and throws her off the top turnbuckle to the mat. Hojo then goes up to the top turnbuckle and hits a diving elbow drop to Yasukawa’s back. Cover, but Yasukawa gets a shoulder up. Hojo crosses Yasukawa’s legs and cranks down, twisting Yasukawa’s back. Yasukawa rakes Hojo in the face to break up the hold and hits Hojo in the head. Hojo recovers first and elbows Yasukawa while they are still on their knees, and Hojo delivers a headbutt. Cover, but it only gets two. Hojo picks up Yasukawa and elbows her in the head, she goes for another one but Yasukawa catches her with an STO. Yasukawa goes up to the second turnbuckle and hits a rolling senton, cover, but Hojo gets a shoulder up. Yasukawa picks up Hojo and puts her on her shoulder, but Hojo lands on her feet and elbows Yasukawa in the back of the head. Jackknife hold by Hojo, but Yasukawa gets a foot on the ropes. Hojo picks up Yasukawa, snapmare, she goes off the ropes but Yasukawa ducks the elbow and rolls her up for a two count. Yasukawa quickly applies the Stretch Muffler, adding in a leg hook to apply more pressure. Hojo fights it for several moments but she is stuck, and the referee calls for the bell! Your winner and still champion: Act Yasukawa
Match Thoughts: This was a really good and well worked match. The focus by Hojo on Yasukawa’s back was done really well as she never lost focus the entire match. Yasukawa on her part also sold it the entire match and even failed to be able to apply her finishing move the first time because of it, something that I always enjoy seeing as it just shows that both wrestlers understand the psychology being used and won’t sacrifice that just to get a spot in. Also the referee calling for the bell without Hojo submitting keeps her strong, as even though it was the right call she protested after the match and stayed crying in the ring while Yasukawa celebrated. Just overall a really entertaining back and forth battle between these two. Score: 7.5
(c) Io Shirai vs. Natsuki*Taiyo
Taiyo goes back to the arm and goes for a jackknife hold, but Shirai pushes her way out of it. Sit-down powerbomb by Taiyo, cover, but it gets two. Taiyo goes off the ropes but Shirai catches her with a dropkick. Taiyo falls out of the ring, she tries to skin the cat but Shirai dropkicks her in the back. Shirai bounces off the far ropes and sails out onto Taiyo with a plancha through the ropes. Shirai goes up to the top turnbuckle and hits a moonsault down onto Taiyo as she was starting to get up. Shirai throws Taiyo into the ring, she then goes on the apron and hits a swandive dropkick. Tiger feint kick by Shirai and she hits another swandive dropkick, cover, but it gets a two count. Shirai waits for Taiyo to get up and goes for a kick, Taiyo blocks the first one but not the second one. Kick to the side of the head by Shirai but Taiyo finally catches one and hits a powerbomb. Shirai deflects Taiyo’s next attack and delivers another kick to the side of the head. Shirai positions Taiyo in front of the corner and hits a standing moonsault, she then goes up to the second turnbuckle and hits a moonsault, and finally she hits one off the top turnbuckle. Cover, but Taiyo kicks out at two. Shirai goes up top again but Taiyo is up in plenty of time and jumps on top as well. Taiyo goes for a German suplex off the top but Shirai lands on her feet and delivers a sliding kick to Taiyo. Cover, but Taiyo gets a shoulder up. Shirai picks up Taiyo and goes for a suplex but Taiyo slides between her legs. They trade move attempts before getting into a strike battle, Taiyo grabs Shirai and hits the leg capture suplex hold for a two count. Taiyo goes up to the top turnbuckle and nails the diving double stomp, cover, but Shirai gets a shoulder up. Taiyo picks up Shirai, she goes off the ropes and delivers the Taiyo☆Chan Bomb for a two count. Taiyo picks up Shirai, she goes off the ropes but Shirai catches her with a hurricanrana for a two count. Shirai picks up Taiyo and hits a hard elbow, but Taiyo returns fire as they trade shots. Headbutt by Shirai and a slap sends Taiyo to her knees. Sliding kick by Shirai, cover, but Taiyo kicks out at two. Shirai positions Taiyo in front of the corner, she goes up to the top turnbuckle and hits the moonsault doublestomp . Shirai goes up top again and this time she hits a second incredibly accurate moonsault doublestomp. Suplex de Io by Shirai and she picks up the three count. Your winner and still champion: Io Shirai
Match Thoughts: Well this was a match. To get straight to the point I thought it was pretty amazing. There were some little things here and there that didn’t work as they tried to get too cute, but considering the speed in which they go and having very little downtime some missteps here and there are expected. It may stop the match from becoming an all-time classic but it doesn’t take away from all that they did right. I have to admit any match with a perfect moonsault doublestomp automatically is good in my book, it is such an awesome looking move when hit properly like the second one was in this match. I hadn’t seen either of these women before and Shirai is great fun to watch as she was just flying around everywhere. They didn’t spend a lot of time with submission holds, just a few general ‘weaken your opponent’ ones and seemed content to just drop bombs and big moves on each other. It felt like a big match, and it was as this was a big anniversary show for them. Overall just a great match, I can look past a few of the hiccups and a few minor selling when a match is as exciting as this one, definitely a must-see. Score: 8.5
Best Match: Io Shirai vs. Natsuki*Taiyo. What have I not already said about this match? It was exciting, high flying, brutal, and non-stop. It wasn’t flawless, but both women put on a hell of a match. A definite recommendation for anyone, even if you are not into Joshi I think that most fans of wrestling would enjoy this one.
MVP: Io Shirai. Between the two, Shirai was the more total package of being both elegant and brutal at the same time. She has great kicks, but also has no issue doing crazy moonsaults all over the place. I am looking forward to seeing more of her as I continue my review of Stardom in 2014.
Overall: The event started slow, but each of the three title matches was better than the last one, climaxing with a great encounter in the main event. The wrestlers were really going all out here for their anniversary show, and win or lose there was certainly no lack of passion. The last two matches are definitely worth watching, and the others aren’t bad even though some are clipped and as a general rule of thumb I hate clipping in matches. Definitely worth picking up if you are already a fan of Stardom, but even if not I think this event has a lot of good going for it even with the clipped matches.