WORLD WONDER RING STARDOM
OSAKA SUPER WARS
DECEMBER 18, 2021
OSAKA EDION ARENA
Wedged into Stardom’s schedule we have Osaka Super Wars. A show that exists almost in its own vacuum with most recent shows building solely to Stardom Dream Queendom on December 29. With that said, we will have a unit tournament take place on this show as four teams battle it out to win 10 million yen and more importantly either Momo Watanabe or Starlight Kid will be forced to leave their faction in a match that promises to shift the landscape in Stardom.
SYURI DEF. LADY C, WAKA TSUKIYAMA & MAI SAKURAI
This was basically Syuri doing some final XP grinding before heading to the final boss at Stardom Dream Queendom when she takes on Utami Hayashishita for the World of Stardom Championship. Much like anyone does when grinding for XP Syuri found some of the easiest targets in Stardom and handily beat all three in quick fashion with all three “matches” following a similar pattern. **
UNIT TOURNAMENT FIRST ROUND & ARTIST OF STARDOM CHAMPIONSHIP
DONNA DEL MONDO (MAIKA, HIMEKA & NATSUPOI) (c) DEF. TAKUMI IROHA, MARIA & RIN KADOKURA
This was my favorite match of the night by a bit. I really enjoyed each new pairing and the overall teamwork was solid. Himeka and Maria’s exchanges down the stretch were so fun and I was on a knife-edge rooting for the trio from Marvelous to get the win which only added to my enjoyment of the match. Takumi Iroha was as always a real highlight and was really at the top of her game throughout the match no matter who she was in the ring against. I’m upset that the Marvelous team lost but Himeka absolutely creamed Maria with a powerbomb at the finish so I can’t be too annoyed. Every time we see Marvelous talents come to Stardom they deliver the goods, the house styles of the two promotions are just different enough to create a stylistic clash that’s always entertaining. ****
UNIT TOURNAMENT FIRST ROUND
STARS (MAYU IWATANI, HAZUKI & KOGUMA) DEF. COSMIC ANGELS (TAM NAKANO, MINA SHIRAKAWA & UNAGI SAYAKA)
I had very high hopes going into this one, the STARS trio is made up of three of Stardom’s best workers and the Cosmic Angels have improved a ton recently. Add in the notable excellent chemistry between Sayaka and Hazuki and this one had all the makings of a show-stealer. Unfortunately, it just didn’t hit that level and it’s really difficult to put my finger on why. Part of that is on the shoulders of Mina Shirakawa. Shirakawa has missed a few recent shows due to injury and was a noticeably step off of everyone else in this match, it was an unfortunate blip for the usually solid Shirakawa. I also don’t think either faction really ran through their best hits which left this feeling underwhelming. ***1/4
CAPTAIN’S FALL LOSER MUST JOIN OPPOSING UNIT & STARLIGHT KID’S MASK ON THE LINE
OEDO TAI (STARLIGHT KID, RUAKA, KONAMI & SAKI KASHIMA) DEF. QUEEN’S QUEST (MOMO WATANABE, AZM, UTAMI HAYASHISHITA & SAYA KAMITANI) VIA DQ
Here we have it, the most important match of the show. Honestly, it was very similar to past Oedo Tai stipulation matches. Oedo Tai looks on the verge of defeat as the babyfaces have the advantage in eliminations, Oedo Tai cheats, Oedo Tai win. I was mostly waiting for the match to hit those beats but the action in between was absolutely frantic, as it always is in major Oedo Tai matches. Sometimes I do wish they’d follow a better story through the match but the balls to the wall “let’s do what Dragon Gate does” method works just as well for most folks.
Now to focus on the major news item from this match. Momo Watanabe swerved everyone and turned on Queen’s Quest at the end of the match by breaking a chair over AZM’s head. This was designed to be a massive shock heel turn as QQ was fighting to keep Watanabe in their ranks but no no no Oedo Tai was on step ahead and Momo was in fact evil already. To me, this moment felt so artificial, I had made peace with Momo going to Oedo Tai but doing a big SWERVE and muahahaha I’ve been evil all along turn didn’t sit right with me. Probably because we saw this exact thing play out with Oedo Tai just last year when Konami turned on Jungle Kyona, Oedo Tai’s playbook is so shallow and is reliant on shocking swerves that are becoming less impactful as time goes by. Instead of being shocked and emotional over Watanabe turning on her long-time colleagues I just felt like “ah, of course, the joke’s on me for expecting something straightforward”. And it’s really not the WAY Watanabe turned, I was old enough to be “in on it” when Seth turned on The Shield in a similar manner and I was hooked by that, but the fact I’ve been here before with Oedo Tai and Stardom is making me a bit more hesitant this time.
Now with all that out of the way, this was definitely the right decision. Watanabe was finding it difficult to really be used to the best of her abilities in QQ as Stardom is clearly focused on Utami and Saya. Letting Watanabe, now known as the “Black Peach”, get a fresh coat of paint and a new group that she can be at the forefront of is a great way to use her going forward. I have no idea what the ceiling is for her in Oedo Tai but it seems like she will forever be at odds with QQ and they’re about to have two of the top belts in the company in their ranks. It’s also well known that Watanabe flourishes in a more heelish capacity, her record-breaking Wonder of Stardom title run saw her sit atop the company like a cocky bully and it was amazing for everyone involved. If she can recapture even half of that energy in this new run she will be a highlight of Stardom for some time to come.
Now after all that the match was maybe ***1/2. People that like the spots upon spots upon spots tag matches will have a fun time with this but I can see those done better elsewhere and would have preferred a more thorough flow leading up to the turn.
UNIT TOURNAMENT FINAL & ARTIST OF STARDOM CHAMPIONSHIP – LADDER MATCH
DONNA DEL MONDO (MAIKA, HIMEKA & NATSUPOI) (c) DEF. STARS (HAZUKI, MAYU IWATANI & KOGUMA)
I was very interested to see what Stardom’s wrestlers could do with a ladder involved, to my knowledge this is the first time they’ve ever had a ladder match in company history. This match went a long way to reclaiming ladder matches as it was just a really good match that utilized the ladder as it needed, this was less TLC from WrestleMania 17 and more akin to the Scotty Davis vs LJ Cleary ladder match I saw live at OTT. There were of course some big spots as Iwatani did a moonsault off the ladder, Koguma did an insane dive to the outside, and Maika hit a suplex off the ladder to Iwatani, but these spots were all spaced out enough to truly feel impactful.
What was extra unique to this match was eliminations were in play so it ended up being a 2 vs 2 match with Koguma and Maika eliminated, this is important as it put Himeka and Natsupoi at the heart of the match. As I mentioned in my last review Natsupoi and Himeka have been at odds for some time now with the tension between the two blowing over on recent shows. At the conclusion of this match, Himeka and Natsupoi repaired their relationship when Himeka helped her smaller teammate up the ladder to grab the briefcase for the win. While I feel like this was a rushed reparation to give this show an extra meaningful moment it was a good way to work current storylines into what initially seemed like a random tournament.
I’d be down with seeing Stardom bringing more stipulations like this into play going forward, as someone that’s thoroughly burnt out on the American wrestling style of ladder match they offered a really fresh take on the match that a lot of fans will appreciate. While I do think the finish came kind of out of nowhere this was still a really good match. ***3/4
All I wanted from this show was a couple of good matches and for Starodm not to do anything silly before Starodm Dream Queendom. And while I am not super happy about the execution of the Momo Watanabe heel turn I got two enjoyable matches on a five-match show and a whole heap of Takumi Iroha being great so I can’t complain too much. Ultimately, Osaka Super Wars was a breezy watch that has me intrigued to see the fallout of Momo Watanabe’s heel turn.
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