JULY 23, 2022

Watch: Stardom World next week

Gokigen Death Wins Nagoya Rumble (Mayu Iwatani vs. Hazuki vs. Saki Kashima vs. Momo Kohgo vs. Hanan vs. Ruaka vs. Rina. vs. Hina. vs. Miyu Amasaki vs. MIRAI vs. Lady C vs. Super Strong Stardom Machine vs. Gokigen Death)

This was insanity to kick off STARDOM in SHOWCASE Vol. 1. No better way to describe it other than that. Anytime STARDOM has one of their Rumbles, there are often a number of surprises but more so than anything else — you just have fun. Gokigen Death making her return but also managing to win the match to celebrate with her former STARS unit is what mattered the most in the end. They were so happy and as a result, I was too.

Maika & Himeka def. Saya Iida & Ami Sourei in a Power & Power Match

This match looked like it would be a lot of fun on paper alone. When it was announced that Utami Hayashishita would be missing both shows, it presented a chance for the usual Donna del Mondo team of Maika and Himeka an opportunity to take on the makeshift team of Saya Iida and Ami Sourei in a Power & Power Match. What that meant, in the end, was that the match would be won by throwing one of your opponents over the top rope. Before that ever happened, however, we just got hoss work against one another. Honestly, the only wish I had was wishing this match got some more time.  Maika won by tossing Iida to the outside via a Gorilla Press Slam (fitting for Iida) so the team you’d expect to win did exactly that. **¼

Mina Shirakawa vs. Unagi Sayaka vs. SAKI in a Cosmic Rules Match ends in a No Contest

Cosmic Rules meant the use of water was allowed. There were water guns and beach floats. Honestly, the less I say the better. DUD

Syuri def. Hiragi Kurumi in an I Quit Match

The action got going with this match. Syuri losing to Prominence member Hiragi Kurumi was never in question but what was more in question was how much could Kurumi keep up with the World of Stardom Champion? The answer was just fine. If this was the first time you’ve seen Kurumi wrestle, then it’s hard to come away from it thinking anything other than she’s a great powerhouse. She managed to keep the World of Stardom Champion on the ropes for most of the match, making the “I Quit” question become more reasonable by the moment. Syuri, as she often has been in her reign, was resilient enough to battle back.

After escaping the terrifying grip of Kurumi at the top of the stage, Syuri put an end to Kurumi and her impressive challenge as she teased a Ryuen through the stage. Kurumi would quit instantly but the God’s Eye leader did not care as she would still drop Kurumi after officially winning the match.

It was no must-see encounter by any means but it was a great effort by both to give the match an edge. ***¼

AZM def. Momo Watanabe, Tam Nakano & Koguma in a Falls Count Anywhere Match

No matter what I say in this review, it will somehow not at all capture how much fun AZM, Momo Watanabe, Tam Nakano, and Koguma had in this one.

AZM stopped Momo Watanabe from having dinner. There was an inflatable elephant that saw Tam Nakano and Koguma come out of the other side with the other’s gear on. There was a rock climbing and slide inflatable that led to some hilarious moments as a Heel Hook by AZM led to both her and Watanabe sliding down at the same time. As they were fighting down the bottom, Nakano and Koguma decided to attack by sliding down right into them. And somehow after all that, Koguma’s failed diving attempt where she instead slid down and Mayu Iwatani laughed on commentary topped it all. And the match ended when AZM and Koguma did their best Kurt Angle-Shane McMahon impression as AZM suplexed Koguma through the wall on the stage to get the victory.

It was mayhem, it was insane, but most importantly it was incredibly entertaining. Maybe no match encapsulates the goal behind STARDOM in SHOWCASE more than this one. A job well done by them all. ***¾

Suzu Suzuki & Risa Sera def. Giulia & Mai Sakurai in a Hardcore Match

The injury of Suzu Suzuki put fear into many that this match wasn’t going to happen, let alone go as well as it did. With the growing hate between Giulia and Suzuki bubbling more and more as the days go on, it’s not all that shocking to anyone they managed to deliver once again going head-to-head. Prominence arrived with chaos on their mind and while they couldn’t embrace their deathmatch spirit as much as they would have probably liked to, they did everything they could to make this the match of the night. It’d be wrong to give all the credit to Prominence though, as Oh Mai Giulia had to bring the fight if they wanted to survive. They didn’t just survive but they matched Prominence at times. The biggest credit goes to Mai Sakurai, who had one of her finest performances to date.

Some of the major moments in the match included Suzuki hitting a Piledriver onto Giulia through a table on the outside. But no fear as the craziness of Suzuki led to her hitting a Superplex on Sakurai from the top of the ladder. Pretty much all this match did was allow Suzuki to show not only is she fine for the 5 STAR Grand Prix but she may run the circuit at this point. I had tempered expectations knowing this couldn’t get as violent as Prominence often does but it didn’t matter. They managed to capture the hatred between Suzuki and Giulia, making it the story of the match and allowing Sera and Sakurai to feel just as important at the same time. Great match to really give STARDOM in SHOWCASE its initial memorable match. ****

Yuu def. Saya Kamitani and Starlight Kid in a Coffin Match

The big reveal of the Mysterious Grim Reaper ended up being one-half of the Sendai Girls Tag Team Champions, Yuu! And what a surprise it was. The best way to walk away from this match is knowing it was good but if you gave these three a chance to have a regular match, it would be even better. No fear, as these three managed to have an entertaining match with Yuu getting the somewhat dominant win after placing both of them in the coffin and shutting it close. They all had their own moments though none better than Saya Kamitani jumping off the coffin with an amazing Crossbody to both of her opponents. Oedo Tai did all they could to try and help Starlight Kid, going as far as tying down Yuu in the corner to let Kid focus on Kamitani, who she was unable to defeat two weeks ago. Yuu was able to free herself and absolutely crushed Kid with a Pounce.

Yuu’s win hopefully means more of her in the future with STARDOM as she has shown all year long that she is one of the best freelancers in all of Joshi. A solid main event to conclude what was an overall good first effort for the new STARDOM in SHOWCASE series. ***¼

Some overall thoughts as I close out this review. The tease to close the show has to be the most exciting part about STARDOM in SHOWCASE moving forward. If Yuu is bringing Team 200kg partner Chihiro Hashimoto with her in the future than it makes the third brand of STARDOM that much more of a success. This show lasted less than three hours, brought a different vibe than any other show STARDOM does in their yearly lineup, and was just an overall good time. Maybe you’re not getting those match of the year contenders every single time out but what you do get is entertainment. Admittedly I didn’t love everything on this show but overall it was a great first effort and one I’ll remember fondly. They’re going to build upon Volume 1 to make Volume 2 and so on that much better. The roster was visibly having a whale of a time competing and enjoying the atmosphere. This was yet another win for STARDOM and makes Volume 2 a show worth looking forward to.

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