STARDOM FLASHING CHAMPIONS 2022
MAY 28, 2022
OTA WARD GYMNASIUM
TOKYO, JAPAN

Stardom returns to Ota Ward with what I consider to be the most loaded show in company history. Not only is every single championship in Stardom is on the line but Prominence will be in action on the undercard and KAIRI makes her return to team with Tam Nakano opposite Utami Hayashishita and QQ’s newest recruit Miyu Amasaki. If this card lives up to expectations it could be one of the best wrestling shows all year and I for one can’t wait.

FUTURE OF STARDOM
HANAN (C) DEF. RUAKA

I’ve said it before but I love how Stardom uses the Future title now. Every time it opens a PPV we’re guaranteed a short, entertaining match where both wrestlers work hard. This was more of the same from Hanan and Ruaka who opened the show at Stardom Dream Queendom back in December with a similarly solid outing. What I liked here was seeing Hanan pull out some more flash pins, most of which I’ve never seen her use before. ***

Post Match: Tomoka Inaba of JUST TAP OUT who has been feuding with Hanan on Stardom’s New Blood shows was out to challenge for the Future of Stardom Championship. If you’ve somehow never seen Tomoka Inaba before, change that. Inaba vs Hanan is going to tear the house down whenever it happens.

PROMINENCE (SUZU SUZUKI, MOCHI NATSUMI & AKANE FUJITA) DEF. COSMIC ANGELS (UNAGI SAYAKA, MINA SHIRAKAWA & WAKA TSUKIYAMA)

Not only did this match perfectly showcase Suzu Suzuki but it also added more layers to Waka’s ongoing search for a win. There was a lot of good work in the match, Mina Shirakawa and Mochi Natsumi specifically had some really fun exchanges, but the central focus of the match was Suzu vs Waka. Suzuki is of course the big star so she was shaking off everything Tsukiyama had and beat on her with ease, despite that Waka never gave up and even got a 2-count on Suzuki. In the end, it was Suzu Suzuki that got the win for her team when she hit a beautiful bridging German suplex on a lifeless Waka for the three. I have to compliment Stardom for how well they’ve shown off Suzu Suzuki to any viewers that may not be familiar with her from Ice Ribbon, she’s been made to look like a big star every time she steps into the ring. ***1/2

HIGH SPEED CHAMPIONSHIP
AZM (C) DEF. THEKLA

Thekla adds such an interesting X-Factor to every match she’s in and that really added to this one. While I do believe this was a step down from some of AZM’s recent outings it was still a fun match. If Thekla can get some more reps in High Speed style matches I think these two could have an even better match down the line but what we got here was a nice introduction to high speed Thekla. ***1/2

Post Match: The High Speed division gets another fresh competitor as STARS’ Momo Kohgo was out to challenge AZM for the title. Excited to see what KoMomo (direct disciple of Hazuki) can do in this division.

SWA CHAMPIONSHIP
MAYU IWATANI (C) DEF. FUKIGEN DEATH

Sometimes I feel the need to mention that Fukigen Death (Kaori Yoneyam) is one of the best Joshi wrestlers of all time. While she mostly does comedy stuff in Stardom nowadays she will occasionally remind the wider Joshi sphere of her talents. This match was one of those times as she and Iwatani had a fantastic sub-5-minute sprint that was loaded with action, heck Fukigen even attempted a MOONSAULT. Mayu and Kaori have such great chemistry that they deliver every time they wrestle no matter the aim. ***1/4

KAIRI & TAM NAKANO DEF. UTAMI HAYASHISHITA & MIYU AMASAKI

Miyu Amasaki was at the heart of this tag match for better or for worse. KAIRI threatened to toughen up Amasaki by subjecting her to the same beatings KAIRI took in her younger days as a wrestler. I don’t think KAIRI really followed through on her threats sufficiently, I’ve seen her hit much harder countless times in the past. Nevertheless, Amasaki was given a massive spotlight as this match, involving three of Stardom’s biggest names, was all about her and her attempt to prove herself to KAIRI. Utami and Tam had some fun exchanges when they were involved in the match but this was largely the Miyu Amasaki show. ***1/4

GODDESS OF STARDOM CHAMPIONSHIP
KOGUMA & HAZUKI (C) DEF. OH MAI GIULIA (MAI SAKURAI & GIULIA)

FWC are nothing if not a picture of consistency. A lot of their tag matches fall into the same region for me enjoyment wise and this was more of the same. My main takeaway was that I want to see more of Giulia and Hazuki who were too busy trying to fight on the outside to bother getting involved in the finishing stretch between Koguma and Sakurai. ***1/2

ARTIST OF STARDOM CHAMPIONSHIP
OEDO TAI (MOMO WATANABE, STARLIGHT KID & SAKI KASHIMA) DEF. MAIKA, HIMEKA & NATSUPOI (C) – NEW CHAMPIONS

If you like AEW’s signature trios matches, or enjoy Dragon Gate trios matches then this is the match for you. I firmly believe that Stardom does trios matches better than anyone else and this match presents the perfect example. The action was basically nonstop with great individual sequences mixed in. Both teams went hard, most of them hit hard, and the result was a frantic car crash of a match.

I’m very glad to see Oedo Tai get the titles here. Watanabe and Kid are too good to be out of the spotlight and Saki Kashima thrives in the spotlight, as she’s shown time and again over the years. ****1/4

WONDER OF STARDOM CHAMPIONSHIP
SAYA KAMITANI (C) DEF. MIRAI

I will preface my review by saying this match was aided greatly by my investment in the result, and watching live and unspoiled. If that isn’t the case then I can definitely see this match not standing out. Credit goes to Saya Kamitani who was as good as ever and sold so well that I firmly believed she was about to lose her title. Credit also goes to Stardom for booking such an unpredictable title match between two of the hottest names in the company. Credit does not go to MIRAI who I didn’t feel lived up to her end of the bargain for the most part, her lariats and big moves were on point as always but when it came time for her to control the match she didn’t bring a lot of interesting stuff to the table, and that’s an issue when the match goes 25 minutes. What I can compliment both women on is how well they milked the drama of the match for everything they could. Both Saya and MIRAI believably had a chance to win and both women thrived off that knowledge, laying out some incredible near-falls down the stretch tha

I can’t be too harsh on MIRAI who is still adjusting to Stardom’s house style and it’s longer matches but she owes Kamitani a thank you for this one.  MIRAI is over, and her time will come, but maybe it’s best to ease off on her push for now. ****

Post Match: Starlight Kid made her way out to challenge Saya Kamitani. I am calling it now that this may be Stardom’s Match of The Year! Kid and Saya have shown excellent chemistry anytime they’ve squared off in tags and a singles match between them is almost guaranteed to tear the house down

WORLD OF STARDOM CHAMPIONSHIP – KO OR SUBMISSION ONLY
SYURI (C) DEF. RISA SERA

I wasn’t too sure what to expect from this match going in but Syuri and Sera delivered a perfect title match befitting their feud. The match was intense right from the beginning as Syuri eschewed her usual opening grappling to take the fight to Sera. As Syuri gained the upper hand Sera and Prominence quickly turned to cheating to help them out as Sera mercilessly beat on Syuri with a kendo stick, even hitting her IN THE FACE at one point. Once Syuri regained control she demolished Sera and got the win when Prominence threw in the towel. Not only was the action in this one interesting and very snug but the match told an excellent story from start to finish that managed to perfectly fit the tone of the feud. An excellent match all around and another great Syuri defence. ****1/4

Post Match: Momo Watanabe came out to challenge Syuri to a rematch of last year’s 5STAR Grand Prix final (a match I gave 5 stars). I’m very excited to see what these two can do now that Momo Watanabe has joined the dark side.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Wow! What a show from Stardom. I had high expectations going in and they somehow exceeded them. This might just be the best Stardom show I’ve ever seen, although it has STIFF competition from last years GP finals. What I liked most was that even the matches that didn’t blow me away in-ring had some thread of intrigue that gave them importance, not every promotion can pull off that kind of top-to-bottom storytelling the way Stardom can. If you’re looking for just the greatest hits then I can definitely recommend Oedo Tai vs MaiHimePoi and Syuri vs Risa Sera.

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