WORLD WONDER RING STARDOM
STARDOM 10th Anniversary
JANUARY 16, 2021
Stardom celebrates its tenth anniversary with a loaded Korakuen Hall show. Four titles are on the line on this show and we have a big grudge match between Tam Nakano and Starlight Kid on tap. The road to Nippon Budokan will have to start heating up so this show could see some developments for All Star Dream Cinderella in March.
At the very beginning of the show a video aired with Yoshiko saying she wants an answer from Mayu and Stardom within a week. We’ll likely see Mayu address this after her match with Tam Nakano in Osaka on the 24th, or Stardom could surprise us and have Mayu show up at SEAdLINNNG’s next event on the 22nd.
FUTURE OF STARDOM CHAMPIONSHIP
SAYA IIDA (C) DEF. UNAGI SAYAKA
Iida gets her first defense under her belt with a good match against Sayaka. Iida offers something different to the rest of the roster as she tries to win with her sheer brute strength and that always makes her matches stand out, Sayaka was competent here and is coming along well for someone with such little experience. ***1/4
NATSUPOI DEF. KONAMI – DQ
Before the show, it was announced that NatsuPoi had officially joined Stardom and she debuted a new entrance theme before the match, so it seems we’ll finally see her get a consistent push. This match was a good prelude to the Goddesses Of Stardom title match coming up on the 30th. Konami worked the arm as usual and NatsuPoi got to use her High-Speed trickery in her comeback. The finish made Konami look particularly vicious as she was intent on destroying Poi’s arm. ***
AZM (C) DEF. KAORI YONEYAMA
This was pretty standard High-Speed action but it did its job of getting AZM another defense under her belt. It’s been so long since we’ve seen Yoneyama in Stardom without the death gimmick so this felt fresh even though these two wrestled not too long ago for the title. AZM vs NatsuPoi is the big match for the High-Speed division and this was a good placeholder defense to get us to AZM vs NasuPoi at Budokan. ***1/4
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TAM NAKANO DEF. STARLIGHT KID
This match did a lot for both competitors. Tam Nakano was on top for quite a bit of the match and showed the skill and poise needed to lead her own faction. Starlight Kid never backed down and she even managed to have Nakano on the ropes at times. Nakano continues to grow into the role of leading the Cosmic Angels and matches like this where both competitors can come away looking good are something she’ll need to deliver consistently as she stakes her spot at the top of the card. ***1/2
FOUR-WAY ELIMINATION TAG MATCH
QUEEN’S QUEST (SAYA KAMITANI & MOMO WATANABE) DEF. OEDO TAI (SAKI KASHIMA & BEA PRIESTLEY), STARS (MAYU IWATANI & RUAKA), & DONNA DEL MONDO (SYURI & HIMEKA)
It took seven minutes to get our first elimination when Kashima pushed Mayu off the top rope to eliminate her. Iwatani did nothing in this match as most of the early going was an Oedo Tai heat segment on Ruaka. Yes, in a four-way match where four people are legal we SOMEHOW got an Oedo Tai heat segment.
Oedo Tai was the next team eliminated when Syuri submit Kashima. Stardom had mercy on us and didn’t make us sit through more Oedo Tai
The final stretch kicked things into gear as Momo Watanabe and Syuri gave us a preview of what they’ll bring to their title match on the 30th. Saya Kamitani won the match for her team by pinning Himeka with the Star Crusher. Kamitani and Himeka wrestled to a draw in the 5STAR Grand Prix but this time Kamitani pinned Himeka, this shows how much progress she has made in a short period of time thanks to her new moves that are winning matches for her. ***
WONDER OF STARDOM CHAMPIONSHIP NO RULES MATCH
GIULIA (C) DEF. NATSUKO TORA
After months of Oedo Tai DQs, we got to see Natsuko Tora in a no DQ environment as she and Giulia had a hell of a fight here over the Wonder Of Stardom title. They used chairs, what looked like roof tiles, and help from their stablemates to really go at it. I find matches like this have a hard ceiling and this never really got near being great but it was a fight that played into Tora’s character and gave Giulia another strong win to continue building her up as their top star. ***1/2
WORLD OF STARDOM CHAMPIONSHIP
UTAMI HAYASHISHITA (c) DEF. MAIKA
Hayashishita successfully got her revenge in Maika after losing to the Donna Del Mondo member in the 5STAR Grand Prix. This match was rather grounded and slower-paced, as we’d expect from the two. They hit on all the right notes for what a main event match should be but they never went beyond that, in part due to how predictable the result was. These two will no doubt wrestle many more times in the future and we’ve already seen that they work well together so the best is surely yet to come.
What I would like to mention is how secure Stardom’s future is. Maika debuted in 2019, Hayashishita debuted in 2018, both are relatively young and yet they just delivered a very competent 25-minute main event world title match. The fact they can keep a match together for that long is a credit to their talents as prodigies of the sport. The future of Stardom is in good hands with these two as leaders of a new generation, Maika especially proved here that she will be a world champion someday. ***3/4
Post Match: After the match, Saya Kamitani challenged Hayashishita for Nippon Budokan. Hayashishita didn’t accept the offer but seemed ok with the idea of facing her tag team partner. Stardom has been making a big deal of how they’re pushing the “future of Stardom” right now and putting two of their homegrown young stars in the world title match at Budokan would fit that mantra. Whether Kamitani is ready for such a match remains to be seen, but if Stardom is clever they can have this match be 3rd or 4th most important on that card with Yoshiko and Nanae around to take some of the pressure off of Utami and Saya.
The image of the Nippon Budokan show became a lot clearer during this show as we had two different title matches set up for the show. This was also a pretty loaded show to celebrate Stardom’s 10th Anniversary and it lived up to the hype as the main event delivered a terrific contest while there were good matches sprinkled throughout the rest of the card. Stardom continues to bring its best to Korakuen Hall.