Stardom World Climax – Night 1: The Best
March 26, 2022
Arena: Ryogoku Kokugikan
Stardom World Climax might just go down in history as the best double-header Stardom has ever done. The anticipation and excitement for Stardom’s return to Sumo Hall has been at an all-time high since it was announced that KAIRI (formerly Kairi Hojo) would be returning home AND teaming with Mayu Iwatani on night one. Since then Stardom has weaved storylines throughout the card culminating in an exciting show that will see Donna Del Mondo change forever as World of Stardom Champion Syuri defends against Giulia in the main event.
FUTURE OF STARDOM
HANAN (C) DEF. RINA
Sister vs. sister in the opener as Hanan defended against Rina. I’ve loved what Stardom’s done with the Future belt in recent times as it consistently opens the PPVs and gives some of their talented young wrestlers a featured match on a big stage like this one.
As far as openers go this was solid, both sisters went out to make the most of the time they were given. For a match involving two teenagers, this deserves some credit. ***
GOLDEN GENERATION SHOWCASE
MIRAI DEF. SAYA IIDA
It’s not often that Joshi wrestling treats us to powerhouse vs powerhouse matches. That’s exactly what we had here as two members of Stardom’s self-anointed “Golden Generation” clashed in an effort to showcase MIRAI. Saya Iida has been on a real tear since coming back from injury at New Blood 1 and this was no different, she matched up perfectly with MIRAI in this battle of powerhouses which had lariats and big hits aplenty. MIRAI winning is a good choice as she’s clearly been positioned for massive success down the line while Iida can eat losses and never really take much of a hit. ***1/2
4-WAY TRIOS GAUNTLET
DONNA DEL MONDO (MAI SAKURAI, HIMEKA & NATSUPOI) DEF. QUEEN’S QUEST (AZM, LADY C & MIYU AMASAKI), OEDO TAI (SAKI KASHIMA, RUAKA & FUKIGEN DEATH), COSMIC ANGELS (MINA SHIRAKAWA & WAKA TSUKIYAMA) & MOMO KOHGO
This was a pretty standard “get everyone on the show” tag that even featured the odd tag team of STARS member Momo Kohgo teaming with two members of Cosmic Angels. There was nothing standout until DDM and Queen’s Quest had some fun exchanges towards the end, but even those were nothing I haven’t seen a dozen times over on Stardom’s smaller shows. **3/4
PROMINENCE (SUZU SUZUKI & RISA SERA) DEF. DONNA DEL MONDO (MAIKA & THEKLA)
While this was another standard tag it also served as the in-ring Stardom debut of former Ice Ribbon star Suzu Suzuki. Suzuki is a prodigious talent who Ice Ribbon fast-tracked to the ICExInfinity Championship within her first 2 years as a pro wrestler, despite her being a teenager. I felt this match was a needed showcase for the Prominence team as both Sera and Suzuki could be put in big matches down the line, Suzuki especially was pretty good anytime she was against Thekla, another former ice Ribbon wrestler, who she has great chemistry with. While Suzuki has a whole other level we have yet to see, she got the win here and established herself in a big way. ***1/2
GODDESS OF STARDOM CHAMPIONSHIP
MOMO WATANABE & STARLIGHT KID DEF. FWC (HAZUKI & KOGUMA) (c)
I felt this one was hurt by going on after a high-paced tag match. Putting two tag matches back-to-back where the aim was to do lots of stuff kind of made it tough for this to stand out. Despite that everyone worked really well together and delivered a match that was right in line with FWC’s consistent output throughout their reign.
Watanabe and Kid, whose team name I am never using (ever), were a sure thing to win the titles here to set them us as the main antagonists of the division, with a big match against AphroditE presumably in their near future. ***1/2
KAIRI & MAYU IWATANI DEF. COSMIC ANGELS (TAM NAKANO & UNAGI SAYAKA)
I don’t want this to turn into a WWE bashing segment, but watching KAIRI here made me wonder how WWE never got more out of her. She made her entrance here and immediately felt like the biggest deal in the company, and that’s not a knock on anyone else on the roster, but high praise of KAIRI’s charisma and star power. And then, she went and backed it up in the ring.
I didn’t have the highest hopes for this, I felt it would be a good match that could give KAIRI a win over some established acts and reintroduce her to Stardom. KAIRI was having none of that and reintroduced herself in the only way she knows, by beating the hell out of Sayaka and Nakano. For my money, KAIRI was one of the best wrestlers in the world when she set sail for WWE, and this match was a reminder of why. She was so smooth in the ring, so charismatic, and when the time came she was hitting ridiculous spinning back fists that looked like they could take heads off.
While Unagi Sayaka did her job as the annoyance that we all wanted KAIRI to beat up, Tam Nakano was more than willing to take KAIRI on head-to-head and it gave us some great exchanges that left me hoping we would see a singles match between the two somewhere down the line.
This was the perfect reintroduction for KAIRI and a great match to boot. ****
WONDER OF STARDOM CHAMPIONSHIP
SAYA KAMITANI (C) DEF. UTAMI HAYASHISHITA
A year ago these two wrestled in a World of Stardom Championship match that went a long way to proving both women’s talent and ability to deliver on the biggest stage. This year they ran it back, with Kamitani entering as champion this time and Hayashishita the challenger.
I prefer last year’s match. The dynamic on display there with Kamitani playing an incredibly scrappy underdog was fantastic, this time around the two entered the match as equals and didn’t have such a strong story to work off. That said, it was a great mix of Utami’s typical match structure and a Saya Kamitani title match. It started out with grappling that Hayashishita got the better of, then as time went on and the big hits started coming it was Saya Kamitani that put her foot down and endured to get the win.
What I would like to say about this match is that it went a long way to fully legitimizing Saya Kamitani as a big, big star in Stardom. Utami Hayashishita was a world champion for over 400 days, the entire company was her playground in 2021, and yet, Saya Kamitani beat her clean at Sumo Hall. This may not have been Saya Kamitani’s coronation, but it will be remembered as her biggest win to date. ****1/4
WORLD OF STARDOM CHAMPIONSHIP
SYURI DEF. GIULIA (c)
I was cautious going into this match. Last time Giulia and Syuri wrestled on PPV I wasn’t blown away by their match. Thankfully, they managed to avoid all of the pitfalls of their previous match and delivered a fantastic main event here. The opening was definitely the weakest part of the match as Giulia isn’t all that good at mat work, in fact, Giulia isn’t good at a lot of things (and I say that as a fan). But what she’s great at is making a match feel as violent and intense as possible. As soon as this match got going it was just nonstop “holy sh*t” moments with both Syuri and Giulia hitting some ridiculously stiff strikes throughout the match.
When Giulia hits, there are few wrestlers like her. She is willing to do anything to herself, and her opponent in the name of having the best match possible and delivering the most entertaining match possible to the fans. This match with Syuri was just another example of what she can be at her best, despite how rarely we see that.
There’s no doubt about it. Giulia will be World of Stardom Champion eventually. And when she does, who knows what level of violence it will take to stop her. ****1/2
Stardom World Climax Night 1 delivered as the top 3 matches were all great in different ways with fun matches sprinkled throughout the rest of the card. KAIRI coming back is a huge addition to Stardom, both in the star power department, and for their in-ring output. World Climax Day 2 has a lot to live up to if its to surpass this show, but with KAIRI’s first singles match in years, and Mayu Iwatani vs Syuri set to headline, I’m confident that Stardom will knock it out of the park again.
If you have time for nothing else on this show, do yourself a favor and watch KAIRI in her natural habitat. She is a massive star, and one of the world’s best wrestlers to boot.
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