Gold May 2015
May 17th, 2015
Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan

After reviewing smaller events in the world of Joshi lately, it is nice to get a chance to review one of the bigger events of the year. Lots going on for Stardom on this show, as three titles are up for grabs. Also we get Chelsea being accepted as a full member of the roster as she wrestles the legendary Meiko Satomura. This is going to be fun, onto the matches!

Haruka Kato vs. Hatsuhinode Kamen: Kato attacks Kamen before the match starts and applies a sleeper into a cross armbreaker, she then applies a seated armbar but Kamen gets to the ropes. Shoulderblock by Kamen and she hits a couple more, but Kato avoids the elbow drop. Back up they trade strikes, Kamen gets Kato up on her shoulder and she rams her stomach-first into the turnbuckles. Body avalanche by Kamen, she picks up Kato but Kato dropkicks her in the knee and rolls her into a cross armbreaker. Kamen powerbombs out of the hold but Kato immediately re-applies it, face crusher by Kato and she hits a seated senton for two. High kick by Kamen and she delivers a boot. Vertical suplex by Kamen but Kato quickly rolls her up for two. Kato goes off the ropes and hits a tilt-a-whirl horizontal cradle, but Kamen kicks out. Kato goes off the ropes but Kamen catches her with a vertical suplex. German suplex hold by Kamen and she picks up the three count!

This was probably the most ‘straight’ I have seen Kamen in a match and while I don’t think she is a great wrestler it did make the match easier to watch. Plus Kato is cute which never hurts. In-ring wise just average but not a bad way to open up the card.

Kaori Yoneyama vs. Kris Wolf vs. Momo Watanabe vs. Reo Hazuki: All four women are legal, first pinfall/submission wins the match. They start all applying wristlocks to each other, and Wolf bites Watanabe on the arm. Yoneyama is still holding Hazuki so Wolf bites her too, Irish whip to Hazuki but Yoneyama rolls up Wolf for a two count. Wolf is thrown to the ropes by all three and she eats a triple big boot, Yoneyama holds Wolf next so that Hazuki and Watanabe can both dropkick her. Yoneyama then dropkicks both Hazuki and Watanabe, but everyone fights back against her. Yoneyama is stomped down on the mat and then attacked by all three while he is tied up in the ropes. Face crusher by Hazuki and a kick by Wolf, cover by all three but Yoneyama kicks out. Yoneyama is thrown into the corner and all three of her opponents hit running strikes, but Wolf rolls up Hazuki from behind for a two count. Hazuki elbows Wolf but Wolf sneaks in a modified sunset flip for two. Kicks by Wolf to Hazuki, Hazuki applies a waistlock but Watanabe applies a waistlock to Hazuki. Yoneyama pushes all three against the ropes and rolls up Watanabe, but it gets two. Shoulderblock by Yoneyama to Hazuki, and Yoneyama slams Wolf on top of Hazuki. Yoneyama puts Watanabe near the pile and hits a senton on all three of them, she lays them next to each other on the mat but all three avoid the diving senton. Somato by Watanabe to Yoneyama but Hazuki breaks it up. Full nelson slam by Hazuki to Watanabe, but Wolf breaks that up, Wolf picks up Hazuki but Hazuki elbows her off. Wolf elbows her back, Yoneyama runs in as they trade elbows and grabs them but Wolf and Hazuki get her to the apron. Wolf and Hazuki kick Yoneyama and Watanabe out of the ring, then Wolf boots Hazuki for a two count cover. Wolf picks up Hazuki, she hits a suplex and picks up the three count! The ending made me laugh as I think Hazuki was supposed to kick out of the boot but Wolf had such a ferocious cover that she couldn’t, so the referee just pretended like she did.

A four way undercard match isn’t going to be great almost by design but it was fine. Ultimately meaningless of course, I’d rather have seen Wolf and Hazuki in a singles match as they have pretty good chemistry but in a four way no one really gets a chance to shine. But it was harmless fun and a good way to get three of the newer wrestlers on the card.

Wolf enjoys a snack during the match

High Speed Championship – (c) Koguma vs. Starfire: Side headlock by Starfire to start but Koguma Irish whips out of it and hits a scoop slam. Irish whip by Starfire to the corner, reversed, and Koguma hits an armdrag. Wristlock by Starfire and she hits a leg drop on Koguma’s arm. Mexican Surfboard by Starfire, she lets go and charges Koguma but Koguma pulls down the rope and Starfire spills out of the ring. Koguma goes up to the top turnbuckle and she dives out onto Starfire with a plancha suicida. Koguma slides Starfire back in, she goes up top and she hits a missile dropkick for a two count. DDT by Koguma and she applies a sleeper hold on the mat. Starfire drives Koguma into the turnbuckles to get out of it but Koguma hits a cutter for another two. Koguma elbows Starfire into the corner, Irish whip, Koguma avoids Starfire in the corner and she applies a horizontal cradle for two. Koguma goes back to the sleeper but Starfire slams her off, waistlock by Koguma but Starfire pushes her off and hits an elbow in the corner. Koguma goes for a roll-up but Starfire reverses it into a pin of her own for two. Capture suplex hold by Starfire, but she gets a two count on that as well. Starfire goes up top but Koguma recovers and joins her and hits an avalanche cutter. Cover, but Starfire kicks out. German suplex hold by Koguma, but Starfire gets a shoulder up. Koguma throws Starfire into the corner and goes up top, but Starfire slides away and hits a bridging muscle buster hold for a two count. Elbows by Koguma, she goes off the ropes but Starfire hits a lariat. Starfire picks up Koguma and she hits a Michinoku Driver for a two count cover. Starfire positions Koguma, she goes up top but Koguma throws her off to the mat. Now Koguma goes up but Starfire grabs her from behind and hits the Splash Mountain! Package Piledriver by Starfire and she picks up the three count, Starfire is your new champion!

This one started slow, which is never a good thing in an eight minute match, but I really enjoyed the stretch run. Koguma is still a kid, literally, so losing the title won’t hurt her and Starfire has been looking really good lately. Loved the Splash Mountain straight to Package Piledriver finish, just felt really definitive, no question she earned the win. Overall a good match. Mildly Recommended

Starfire puts away Koguma

Chelsea vs. Meiko Satomura: Chelsea asks to lock knuckles to start but Satomura kicks her in the leg and applies a wristlock. Chelsea reverses it but Satomura applies a hammerlock and they trade holds. Pancake by Satomura, Chelsea goes for an elbow drop by Satomura moves and hits one of her own. Knuckle lock by Satomura and she throws Chelsea to the mat before applying an armlock. Chelsea gets out of it and applies a leg lock into a single leg crab hold. Satomura quickly gets out of it and applies a cross kneelock, but Chelsea gets to the ropes. Chelsea pushes Satomura down and goes for a figure four, but Satomura kicks her in the chest. More kicks by Satomura, she kicks Chelsea in the leg and applies a kneelock. Shoulderblock by Satomura, she picks up Chelsea and goes off the ropes, but Chelsea hits an armdrag. Armlock by Chelsea but Satomura reverses it into a single leg crab hold, but Chelsea wiggles to the ropes and gets the break. Irish whip by Satomura and she hits a jumping elbow in the corner but Chelsea hits a rolling neckbreaker followed by a leg drop for two. Rolling vertical suplexes by Chelsea, she bridges the last one and she gets a two count. Chelsea goes up top and she hits a diving crossbody, but Satomura gets a shoulder up. Chelsea goes off the ropes but Satomura kicks her, uppercut by Satomura and she hits a DDT. Satomura goes off the ropes and she drills Chelsea with the cartwheel knee drop, but the covers gets two. Satomura gets Chelsea on her shoulders but Chelsea elbows off, Satomura goes off the ropes but Chelsea hits a backbreaker for two. Uppercut by Satomura and she kicks Chelsea in the side of the head. Single leg crab hold by Satomura and Chelsea quickly taps out!

I will say this, for reasons unknown the crowd really loves Chelsea, I am guessing they are going to go the idol-route with her as she is extremely adorable and very photogenic. I was hoping Satomura would be more vicious in this as aside from the crab holds she wasn’t really doing much, and Chelsea’s offense is 50/50 on whether it looks solid or a bit awkward. A pretty average match, with Satomura in there to lead I was hoping for a bit more.

Post match Chelsea cuts a quick promo in Japanese that the crowd likes, and even though she has notes it is still fairly impressive as she hasn’t been in Japan very long. Chelsea is ‘officially’ now part of the Stardom roster.

Always time for a photo op!

Wonder of Stardom Championship – Io Shirai vs. Nikki Storm:  They tie-up to start but break cleanly, wristlock by Storm but Shirai quickly reverses it. Armbar by Storm on the mat but Shirai rolls away and both are back on their feet. Storm applies a stretch hold but Shirai wiggles to the ropes to force a break. Storm attacks Shirai in the corner, Irish whip, but Shirai hits a rebound missile dropkick. Storm falls out of the ring, Shirai goes out to the apron but Storm yanks her out of the ring with her. Storm removes the mat at ringside and she hits a neckbreaker on the floor. Shirai gets the special magic spray while Storm picks up Shirai and throws her into the ring post. Storm puts Shirai on the apron and she hits a dragon screw neck whip down to the floor. Damn. Storm rolls Shirai back in and slams her head into the mat. Storm slams her head into the mat again and applies a stretch hold followed by a choke, Storm picks up Shirai and she hits another neck breaker. Cover by Storm but Shirai kicks out. Storm picks up Shirai but Shirai applies a front facelock, which Storm promptly reverses into a Northern Lights Suplex for a two count. Storm picks up Shirai and she hits a snap leg clutch neckbreaker, but Shirai kicks out at two. Storm charges Shirai, Shirai moves but Storm avoids the tiger feint kick. Shirai and Storm trade elbows, Shirai goes for a swandive move but Storm catches her and snaps her neck over the top rope. Storm drags Shirai’s feet over the second rope and hits another dragon screw neckwhip, but Shirai gets a foot on the ropes. Storm is pissed as she picks up Shirai, she puts her on the top turnbuckle but Shirai punches her back. Shirai goes off the ropes and she hits a cartwheel into a dropkick.

Storm falls out of the ring, Shirai runs to the corner and hits a moonsault down to the floor. Shirai rolls Storm back in and hits a swandive missile dropkick followed by a tiger feint kick and another swandive missile dropkick for a two count. Crossface by Shirai but Storm gets to the ropes. Shirai positions Storm, she goes up top but Storm catches her from behind. Storm grabs Shirai and hits a sit-down powerbomb, Storm picks up Shirai and hits a spinning neckbreaker. TKO by Storm but Shirai barely gets a shoulder up. Storm picks up Shirai and elbows her, she sets up Shirai in the ropes and delivers a running neckbreaker. Storm puts Shirai up on the top turnbuckle, she grabs her and drops her with a dragon screw neck whip, but Shirai gets a shoulder up. Storm picks up Shirai but Shirai gets away and hits a tombstone piledriver. Shirai is up first, she picks up Storm but Storm elbows her back. Double underhook facebuster by Shirai, cover, but Storm kicks out. Arm trap German suplex hold by Shirai, but it only gets a two. Shirai goes up top, she nails the moonsault and she gets the three count! Shirai is your new champion!

This was an awesome match, I hadn’t seen Storm until this most recent run in Stardom and she is so good in just about every way. The concentration on the neck/upper back was spot on from start to finish, this is one of the more enjoyable matches I have seen in awhile. My only complaint is that Storm did so good, it didn’t feel right that Shirai came back and won the match. She should have been done. But still, find a way to watch this match, especially if you are already a fan of Io Shirai or Nikki Storm. Highly Recommended

Dragon screw neck whips everywhere!

(c) Kairi Hojo vs. Mayu Iwatani: This match is for the World of Stardom Championship. Wristlock by Hojo to start but Iwatani rolls out of it and reverses it. They trade hammerlocks and headlock takedowns, with neither getting an advantage. Hojo pushes Iwatani into the ropes but Iwatani elbows her in the chest. They both go for dropkicks with no luck, and they trade elbows back on their feet. Iwatani goes off the ropes but so does Hojo and she hits a spear. Hojo clubs Iwatani into the corner and she chokes Iwatani with her boot. Iwatani slides out of the ring and then under it, Iwatani goes up top and she hits a missile dropkick. Iwatani dropkicks Hojo in the chest while she is against the ropes, Hojo falls out of the ring but Iwatani sails out onto her with a plancha off the top turnbuckle. Back in the ring Iwatani snapmares Hojo and she stands on her arm. Iwatani wraps Hojo’s arm over the top rope before applying a wristlock. Seated armbar by Iwatani and she applies a cross armbreaker, but Hojo rolls out of it. Iwatani picks up Hojo and kicks her to the mat, Irish whip by Iwatani as Iwatani goes for a springboard move, but Hojo dropkicks her in mid-air. Hojo dives Iwatani a dropkick of her own, she goes up top and she hits a diving elbow smash. Running shoulderblock by Hojo in the corner and she hits a rolling neckbreaker for a two count. Single leg crab hold by Hojo but Iwatani makes it to the ropes for a break. Hojo quickly re-applies it but Iwatani gets to the ropes again, Hojo charges Iwatani in the corner but Iwatani kicks her right in the face. Northern Lights Suplex by Iwatani, but it gets a two count. Sling Blade by Iwatani, she picks up Hojo and hits a judo throw. Iwatani goes up to the second turnbuckle and hits a diving footstomp to Hojo’s arm for a two count. Iwatani goes for the dragon suplex but Hojo blocks it, Hojo grabs Iwatani’s leg and she applies a submission hold. Back up, Hojo picks up Iwatani but Iwatani wiggles away and rolls up Hojo for a two count. Hojo positions Iwatani near the corner, she goes up top but Iwatani recovers and joins her. Hojo and Iwatani trade elbows, Hojo hits Iwatani down in the tree of woe but Iwatani gets herself free.

Iwatani re-joins Hojo up top and she suplexes her down to the mat. Iwatani hits a crucifix bomb, but Hojo gets a shoulder up. Iwatani drags Hojo up and goes for the dragon suplex, but Hojo blocks it. Iwatani pulls Hojo back and hits it anyway, but Hojo lands in the ropes so she has to break the hold. Hojo rolls out of the ring and gets the special cure spray (they are putting over Iwatani’s dragon suplex as a really big move), Iwatani rolls Hojo back in and she hits a diving footstomp. She goes up top again but Hojo has a second wind and joins her. Hojo puts Iwatani in the tree of woe, she goes up top and she hits a diving footstomp. Hojo puts Iwatani down on the mat, she goes up to the top turnbuckle and she nails the diving elbow drop. She is too hurt to cover right away however, and when she finally does Iwatani is able to kick out. Iwatani is up first and she elbows Hojo, but Hojo elbows her back. They both fall back to the mat again. Iwatani is up first and she goes for her dragon suplex, but Hojo gets away, roll-up by Iwatani but it gets a two count. Spinning backfist and a club to the face by Hojo, she picks up Iwatani and slams her in front of the corner. Hojo goes up top and she nails a second diving elbow drop, and this time she picks up the three count! Hojo is still your champion.

This was a great war. I say it like that because by the end both were exhausted, which says a lot because both have amazing cardio. I couldn’t even tell at times towards the end if they were just selling really well or they legitimately not all there, it turned sloppy but in a good way. Hard to explain. Iwatani having her dragon suplex hold protected was great, and the offensive moves were on point. It also never went too far into being excessive, everything made sense. Just a great match between these two young Stardom stars.  Highly Recommended

The best damn elbow drop in the business today

Final Thoughts: The first four matches on this card were perfectly acceptable. Some weren’t good but none were bad, although in general they are skippable if you are a cherry-picker. Then I got to the last two matches and they both blew me away. I wasn’t too familiar with Nikki Storm until recently and now I can’t get enough of her, it helps being in the ring with someone like Shirai but it was a great match. Then there was the main event which was just a war of attrition as both gave 100% which made the match and title feel more special. So I absolutely recommend the last two matches but the others all have some good parts (particularly Starfire/Koguma) and you gotta see how much the crowd loves Chelsea. Overall a must-see event for fans of women’s wrestling.

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