Stardom
February 22nd, 2015
Korakuen Hall
Tokyo, Japan
Photo credit: ProWrestlingIsArt

This is going to go down as one of the more infamous events of the year, if not longer. Going into the event it looked like it was going to just be a regular big show for Stardom, as three Championships were on the line. That didn’t turn out to be what made this event memorable, however, as the main event match turned into a shoot of sorts and fan favorite Act Yasukawa was badly beaten. But I am going to review the entire event, not just that incident.

Momo Watanabe vs. Tsukushi: This one is joined in progress as they trade elbows. Dropkick to the face by Watanabe and she hits two more. Watanabe puts Tsukushi in the corner and hits another dropkick. Drop toehold by Tsukushi into the ropes and Tsukushi dropkicks Watanabe in the back. Dropkick to the back again by Tsukushi and Watanabe hits a double knee to the head. Two more by Watanabe and she hits a third for a two count. Tsukushi avoids the next attempt and Tsukushi hits the Killswitch. Elbows by Tsukushi and she hits a dropkick. Tsukushi goes up top and hits a missile dropkick. Cover, but it gets a two count. Tsukushi puts Watanabe in the Twinkle Star Lock, which is neat looking, and Watanabe taps out.

This was clipped in half but I think both of them show a lot of potential, tons of dropkicks but they were hit well anyway. **1/2

Reo Hazuki vs. Yuna Manase: Joined in progress as Hazuki stomps down Manase in the corner. Manase attacks back and applies a submission but Hazuki quickly gets out of it. Elbows by Manase and she hits a few heel drops to Hazuki’s back. Manase avoids Hazuki’s dropkick and hits a heel drop to the head before hitting a big boot in the corner. Swinging neckbreaker by Manase but Hazuki blocks the chokeslam. Heel drop by Manase, and she covers for two. I can’t say what I am thinking as I watch this match as I’d probably lose most of my female twitter followers. Hazuki regains the advantage and she rolls up Manase for a two count. Hazuki applies a rear naked choke hold, and Manase goes nappy nappy, giving Hazuki the victory.

Only half of this one was shown too, there were lots and lots of heel drops. So many heel drops. If you like heel drops, you’ll love this match, otherwise probably not. *1/2

Heidi Lovelace, Kris Wolf, and Dragonita vs. Mayu Iwatani, Takumi Iroha, and Risa Sera: The Monster Army attacks as the match begins, triple Irish whip but Iwatani and company reverse the situation and apply a trio of Scorpion Deathlocks. Lovelace is isolated and triple teamed, Iwatani stays in the ring with her and hits a dropkick. Kicks by Lovelace to Iwatani and she spikes Iwatani on her head with a hurricanrana, possibly on purpose. Iwatani elbows Lovelace but Lovelace knees her in the stomach. Leg drop by Lovelace, Wolf comes in the ring and they both kick Iwatani. Wolf is thrown onto Iwatani, cover by Lovelace but it gets two. Backdrop suplex by Lovelace and she tags in Wolf. Wolf hits a jumping knee in the corner before kicking Iwatani in the back. Hard knee by Wolf but Iwatani dropkicks her in the chest. Iwatani goes off the ropes but Dragonita hits her with a cutter, then Lovelace hits a…. I’m not sure what since the video cut out. We come back with aww the video cut out again and the end of the match isn’t shown. Sad face.

The match was going really well as some of these women are my favorites to watch but the video I found online doesn’t show the end. Hopefully a non-broken version of the match shows up, I will update my review when it does.

(c) Nanae Takahashi and Kairi Hojo vs. Kyoko Kimura and Hudson Envy: This match is for the Goddesses of Stardom Championship. Yay it is Hojo, I adore her. Kimura and Hojo start off but Takahashi runs in and Kimura gets his with a double dropkick. Double chop to Kimura and Takahashi drops Hojo onto Kimura. Everyone gets out of the ring except for Hojo, and Hojo dives off the top turnbuckle with a plancha suicida. Outside the ring Envy chokes Takahashi with a metal rod and hits her with it. Envy stomps Takahashi and kicks her in her bad leg. Wolf and Dragonita join in on the attack of Hojo, until Kimura and Hojo return to the ring. Hojo is kicked while tied up in the ropes, Envy grabs her and elbows Hojo hard in the head. Envy slams Hojo into the corner and hits a running elbow drop. Takahashi runs in and lariats Envy, she then sets her up in the corner so that Hojo can hit a diving doublestomp. I dunno about Hojo’s new outfit, I liked her other one better. Takahashi and Hojo go to kick Envy but Envy moves. Kimura comes in and stomps Takahashi and Hojo, then Envy hits a double knee on both of them. Capture suplex by Envy to Hojo, then Envy and Kimura double team Hojo until Takahashi comes in to break it up. Envy positions Hojo and goes up top, but Takahashi joins her and hits a superplex. Hojo then goes up to the top turnbuckle and she nails her patented elbow drop for a two count. Kimura comes in and slaps Hojo, then Envy hits a Schwein on Hojo for a two. Envy picks up Hojo but Hojo slides away and Takahashi hits a lariat. Hojo covers Envy but Kimura throws powder in her face. Takahashi and Envy trade elbows, and Envy accidentally spits red liquid in the referee’s face. The referee has had enough (which is ironic considering what happened in the main) and calls for the DQ. Takahashi and Hojo are still the champions.

Again this was clipped but that is normal for Stardom unfortunately. What they showed was really fun, all four of these women are great and I could watch Hojo all day. Good match. ***

Hojo with her famous elbow drop.

(c) Io Shirai vs. Koguma: This match is for the High Speed Championship. They use a referee camera during this match a few times and it annoys the hell out of me, just to say that up front. Koguma opens up with a headscissors and she hits an armdrag. Short armbar by Shirai but Koguma gets to the ropes. Handstand double kneedrop and a standing moonsault by Shirai and she applies a chinlock. Dropkick to the back by Shirai, she twists up Koguma in the ropes and delivers a dropkick. Shirai goes for an Asai Moonsault but Koguma pulls her out of the ring and hits a tornado DDT. Koguma goes up to the top turnbuckle and dives out with a plancha suicida. DDT by Koguma and she applies a sleeper. Dragon sleeper by Koguma and she stomps on Shirai. Koguma goes off the ropes but Shirai hits a drop toehold. Koguma avoids the tiger feint kick and plans Shirai with a DDT. Koguma goes up top and hits a missile dropkick to Shirai’s back for a two count cover. I feel the need to point out that Koguma is only 17 years old and she’s awesome. Elbows by Koguma but Shirai cartwheels around her and kicks Koguma out of the ring. Shirai runs up the corner and dives out onto Koguma with a moonsault down to the floor. Shirai slides Koguma back in and hits a swandive missile dropkick followed by a tiger feint kick and a swandive sunset flip for a two count.

Armtrap crossface by Shirai as she rolls Koguma back to the middle of the ring and hits a swinging kick followed by a buzzsaw kick. Running double knee by Shirai in the corner and she covers Koguma for two. Shirai goes up to the top turnbuckle but Koguma pushes her to the apron. Shirai elbows Koguma back and goes up top, but Koguma joins her. Koguma grabs Shirai drops her chest-first onto the top rope. Koguma applies a dragon sleeper in the ropes and then hits a cutter. Koguma goes up top and hits a diving body press for a two count. Back up they trade strikes, and they trade pin attempts. Kick to the head by Shirai, she puts Koguma on the top turnbuckle and joins her, but Koguma knocks her off. Koguma jumps off the top turnbuckle and hits a Yoshitonic for a two count. Koguma picks up Shirai and hits a German suplex hold but that also gets two. Powerbomb by Shirai, she picks up Koguma and she hits a German suplex for two. Shirai goes up top but Koguma rolls out of the way of the moonsault. Jackknife hold by Koguma, but Shirai kicks out at two. Koguma goes off the ropes, she jumps at Shirai and then hits a Yoshitonic, picking up the three count! Koguma is your new champion.

This was a really great match. As I mentioned above, Koguma is only 17 but obviously the promotion sees a lot of potential in her (as do I) to give her a belt already. She had Shirai well scouted and had some answer for all of her finishers that would have won Shirai the match. It had a lot of big moves but it flowed really well and the crowd was really behind Koguma by the end to see if the kid could pick up the upset. A very entertaining match. ****1/4

Shirai with a moonsault to the floor

Koguma wins the match with a Yoshitonic!

(c) Yoshiko vs. Act Yasukawa: This match is for the World of Stardom Championship. After the bell rings, they stare at each other before trading punches and elbows, with Yoshiko clearly winning the battle and getting Yasukawa to the mat. They tussle on the ground until the referee Wada gets Yoshiko up. Yasukawa is bleeding badly from the nose as she crawls to the corner, and is checked on by Kimura and the referee. The match continues, Yoshiko pushes Yasukawa against the ropes as Yasukawa punches her, but Yoshiko punches Yasukawa down to the mat again until the referee gets her up. Yasukawa returns to her feet as the match continues, Yasukawa goes for a takedown but Yoshiko pancakes and Yoshiko gets on top on the mat. Yasukawa gets a foot on the ropes and Yoshiko gets up. Yoshiko kicks Yasukawa as she rolls away, Irish whip by Yoshiko and she hits a shoulderblock. Another Irish whip and shoulderblock by Yoshiko and she stomps Yasukawa in the head. Yoshiko throws Yasukawa into the corner and then throws her down by her hair. Yoshiko punches Yasukawa to the mat again and gets her back, punching Yasukawa in the back of the head. The referee gets her up again, and Yasukawa rolls out of the ring. The Monster Army checks on her at ringside, Yasukawa tries to get back in but Kimura stops her and throws in the towel. Yoshiko is declared the winner and is still the champion.

Yoshiko violently attacks Yasukawa

This is just my opinion, but I honestly believe part of this was initially planned as a ‘worked shoot’ of sorts, or the referee/owners knew they planned to start the match legitimately fighting. Even after Yasukawa was badly bleeding from the nose, minutes later they were doing Irish whips and shoulderblocks like it was an actual wrestling match which felt so bizarre. If Yoshiko had just attacked Yasukawa unprovoked, one would hope someone would have stepped in and they surely wouldn’t have switched back to pro wrestling moves. But actions such as Wada not stopping it, the match ending with a ‘towel throw’, and the fake pull-apart brawl at the end shows to me that at least part of it was planned or known about, not that that excuses Yoshiko going way too far and badly injuring Yasukawa.

  

After the main event was over, Act Yasukawa was taken straight to the hospital, with both of her eyes swollen shut. She ended up with multiple broken bones in her face and damage to her retina, however as of this review date there is no indication of life-changing damage. A few days after the show, Yoshiko was suspended indefinitely by Stardom, and the management of the promotion all took 30% paycuts for three months. They also announced several new rules, including banning punches to the face and having a doctor at ringside for all future events. Obviously, this was a terrible event, made worse because of Act Yasukawa’s history with injuries and also because she is a fan favorite due to overcoming her real-life struggles. As of this review the long term ramifications are not known, when will Yoshiko return to wrestling? Only time will tell, but hopefully Stardom as a promotion can learn from this situation and Yasukawa will soon heal up and return to her passion of wrestling.

Final Thoughts:

I don’t want to focus all my thoughts on just the main event. What happened was hard to watch and bizarre, as in a lot of ways it leads to more questions than answers. The Koguma/Shirai match was fantastic however and everything else was solid. This should have been a big moment in Koguma’s career but obviously it will be overshadowed. I don’t even know how to grade this so I am not going to, the main event overshadowed everything, but if you skip the main the rest of the card is entertaining.  Overall Grade:  N/A

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