KAWASAKI SUPER WARS
NOVEMBER 3, 2021
KAWASAKI TODOROKI ARENA
Watch: Stardom World
Since the last time I reviewed a Stardom show, I’ve been pretty down on the company. The high highs of the 5STAR GP final are in the rearview thanks to a lackluster follow-up to such a strong tournament. Kawasaki Super Wars, like all other upcoming PPVs, seems like an unwanted roadblock on the path to Syuri vs Utami at Ryogoku on December 29. Despite some of the issues coming into this show the card has the potential to deliver if everything comes together.
FUTURE OF STARDOM CHAMPIONSHIP
RUAKA (c) DEF. LADY C
I thought this match was a great showcase of how far both Lady C and Ruaka have come in the past year. It’s been roughly a year since Lady C debuted in Stardom and she went from a slightly awkward wrestler to someone who is very solid no matter her opponent. Ruaka completely transformed with her heel turn and brings a real grit and toughness to her big singles matches that stand above anything the other Future of Stardom division members are doing. This was a clash of both Ruaka’s toughness and Lady C’s fighting spirit that delivered a fun opening contest at Kawasaki. ***
GODDESS OF STARDOM TAG LEAGUE
RED GODDESSES BLOCK: I LOVE TOKYO SPORTS (SAKI KASHIMA & FUKIGEN DEATH (2) DEF. WATER & OIL (HANAN & RINA) (0)
As you can imagine this match involving three members of Oedo Tai and one member of STARS had a number of spots where everyone teamed up on poor Hanan. There were parts of the match when the sisters actually worked together against Kashima and Death but for the most part this was a one-sided affair with Oedo Tai shenanigans. Hanan hits a badass version of the Cutie Special though so I’ll bump up my rating. **3/4
MINA SHIRAKAWA DEF. SAYA KAMITANI, & MAIKA
I understand why this match happened and it served as a way to get all three on the card without sticking them on the pre-show with Mai and Waka but this wasn’t the best use of Mina and Maika. Both are much better when they can work off of one opponent which made some of the typical three-way spots look a bit sloppy when they were involved. That said, this was a good match with Saya standing out as the star of the show mostly because of the insane springboard dropkick/cross body combo. Shirakawa pinning Saya clean isn’t what I expected from this match at all but we’ll have to see where that leads. ***1/4
MAYU IWATANI & KOGUMA VS NATSUPOI & HIMEKA – TIME LIMIT DRAW
These two teams delivered a very entertaining exhibition match that managed to overcome the lack of build and the relative unimportance of the match itself by providing the one thing we all crave, really great wrestling. I loved everything Mayu and Himeka as they further proved that they have some of the best chemistry in Stardom. As a fan of both Natsupoi and Koguma I enjoyed what they brought to the table even if it took a backseat to the Mayu/Himeka interactions.
It’s interesting to note that they made it very clear Himeka would have pinned Iwatani if not for the time limit expiring, we’ll have to wait and see how that plays out. ***1/2
HIGH SPEED CHAMPIONSHIP
STARLIGHT KID (C) VS MOMO WATANABE – DOUBLE COUNT OUT
Going into this match I was pretty tepid on this feud. The basis of it being Kid goading Momo into fighting for a belt she didn’t want just wasn’t clicking with me especially with some of the low-hanging fruit insults Kid was using. This match, and the performance of Momo Watanabe in particular, finally managed to hook me on the feud. Watanabe was pissed off and she made it clear from the moment she walked out, instead of the usual calm and collected Momo we got a sour-faced Watanabe ready to fight. Kid, as she so often does, was happy to poke the bear and antagonise Watanabe throughout as both women went in for the kill.
The finish was especially good as they fought nonstop around the ring eventually leading to the count-out draw as neither Kid nor Watanabe cared about the title in that moment, instead, they were intent on ripping each other to shreds. On-screen, this feud has been somewhat undercooked but anyone following some of the off-screen interviews has likely seen some of Kid’s jabs including her remark that Watanabe is unremarkable and boring in her view. What we saw in this match was Watanabe showing that anger and intensity to prove Kid wrong. Now I just wonder if Starlight Kid knows what she’s unleashed on herself and Oedo Tai. ***1/2
SWA CHAMPIONSHIP & SYURI’S RIGHT TO CHALLENGE BRIEFCASE
SYURI (c) DEF. AZM
Syuri and AZM had an uphill task ahead of them to overcome the predictability of this match. We’ve seen this same pattern play out between them before with AZM winning the tournament match in a shocking upset and proceeding to lose the important match between the two down the line. And that’s exactly what happened here. Their chemistry in the ring is undeniable and the work was really good but without that seed of doubt in my mind that Syuri may actually lose this failed to really engage me enough to enjoy it. ***1/2
Post Match: Himeka comes out to challenge her stablemate Syuri for the championship and briefcase. Himeka getting such a strong showing earlier in the night makes a lot more sense now that she’s next in line for Syuri
WONDER OF STARDOM CHAMPIONSHIP
TAM NAKANO (c) DEF. UNAGI SAYAKA
I never, ever expected to say this but Unagi Sayaka is one of the most interesting parts of Stardom. Stardom takes every opportunity to remind us that she will be a big star for them in the near future and this match will be looked back on as a major part of her rise up the card. I was very high on the Unagi/Tam match from the 5STAR Grand Prix and thought they executed that one perfectly even if it wasn’t a 4-star match or anything like that, I was unsure of their abilities to surpass their GP match but both Tam and Unagi proved me wrong here. It was a simple match with both Sayaka and Nakano putting life and limb on the line for the Wonder of Stardom Championship with the ridiculous shoot headbutts being the highlight of their exchanges.
I almost hesitate to say this but Unagi Sayaka is the main character of Stardom right now, with Utami and Syuri in limbo until Ryogoku and Mayu Iwatani waiting for her next feud to sink her teeth into its Sayaka and Momo Watanabe standing out as the main focuses of the promotion right now. Everything Unagi is doing right now is steadily building her up and getting more and more people invested in her rise, when Stardom pulls the trigger on her push, presumably next year, it’s going to be a fantastic moment for those of us who have followed along with the rise of Unagi Sayaka. ****
WORLD OF STARDOM CHAMPIONSHIP
UTAMI HAYASHISHITA (c) DEF. HAZUKI
I didn’t review Osaka Dream Cinderella (shout out to my pal Scott Edwards for deputizing) so this is my first chance to talk about Utami’s new entrance theme on here. In my humble opinion, this song was the missing piece of the puzzle for Utami, she already had the charisma, she already had the look, she had the talent, she was just missing a theme song that fit someone of her essentially ace-like status. Her new entrance theme is the perfect addition to her presentation it feels so regal and like something you’d hear played during the final boss fight in an epic RPG. Right now, nobody in Stardom emanates the star aura and charisma that Utami Hayashishita does, although Momo, Mayu, and Giulia do come close.
To me, this match felt like a real “I’m back” statement from Hazuki. Before her retirement, Hazuki was one of the best big match wrestlers in Stardom and we had yet to see if she could continue to perform at that level after her return, in this match she put any and all doubts to bed and put in a fine performance.
This was another strong title defense for Utami and I really enjoyed seeing some of Utami’s more aggressive work when she was on top, sometimes she can be too passive on offense but it felt like she really had something to prove against Hazuki. All in all, this achieved everything it needed to for both Utami and Hazuki. ****1/4
Anyone who listens to me on Stardom Quest will know I wasn’t super intrigued coming into this show. The top matches all felt predictable and running this show in the midst of the Goddess of Stardom Tag League meant that most of the matches had a subpar build-up. This show managed to turn me around and win me over in large part due to the performances of Momo Watanabe and Unagi Sayaka. Even a match like Hazuki vs Utami Hayashishita which felt predictable managed to work out well for both competitors despite Hazuki losing. As we head into Tokyo Super Wars later this month I’m much more optimistic as Tam vs Mina and Himeka vs Syuri are very interesting matches that should deliver from an in-ring perspective.
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