STARDOM TRIANGLE DERBY
JANUARY 3, 2023
With STARDOM Dream Queendom behind us, it’s time to reset and with STARDOM heading to Yokohama Arena in April it all begins again right now with the opening night of the Triangle Derby. How will Mina Shirakawa do leading Club Venus? How prominent will outsiders be leading up to Yokohama? Who will emerge as Giulia’s first challenger? Let’s find out.
CLUB VENUS (MINA SHIRAKAWA, XIA BROOKSIDE & MARIAH MAY) (2) DEF. LOLLIPOP (WAKA TSUKIYAMA, RINA AMIKURA & YUKO SAKURAI) (0)
This was our first exposure to Club Venus and a first look at how Mina performs as a leader. I must say I like the presentation of Club Venus, Shirakawa certainly stands out more in this role than she does backing up Tam Nakano in the Cosmic Angels. Brookside and May fit alongside her pretty well too. In the ring this was a good match from two of the “weaker” teams in this tournament. While Shirakawa is definitely still getting back into the swing of things after her facial injuries she had a really good exchange with Tsukiyama at the heart of the match. As is standard now, Tsukiyama carried a lot of the workload and she worked quite well with each member of Club Venus.
I paid particular attention to Brookside and May and they had a solid first outing. Brookside has clearly improved and changed a lot since her last run in STARDOM and May has obvious potential. ***1/4
PROMINENCE (RISA SERA, SUZU SUZUKI & KURUMI HIIRAGI) (2) DEF. UNIQUE GLARE (STARLIGHT KID, RUAKA & HARUKA UMESAKI) (0)
I could watch Suzu Suzuki an Starlight Kid wrestle until the end of time and never get sick of it. Aside from those two this was a standard enough match that ended pretty abruptly with Suzuki getting one over on Ruaka. There’s definitely a lot more that these two teams could do but for the six minutes they got this was a good time. ***
GOLD SHIP (NATSUKO TORA, MOMO WATANABE & SAKI KASHIMA) (2) DEF. H&M (MAYU IWATANI, HANAN & MOMO KOHGO) (0)
It made perfect sense that this eventually came down to Momo Kohgo and Saki Kashima. Iwatani’s current issue with Kohgo first popped up when Kohgo was showing too much interest in Kashima, having her lose to Saki again just further gives Mayu reason to demand more of her stablemate ***
MAIHIME WITH C (LADY C, MAIKA & HIMEKA) (2) DEF. COSMIC ANGELS (TAM NAKANO, NATSUPOI & SAKI)
As always, it is nice to see DDM take lumps out of NatsuPoi after she turned on them last year. Both Maika and Himeka held nothing back when in the ring with her and it is always entertaining. Maika getting the win continues the recent push for her into the number 2 spot in DDM, even if she did only get a flash win over Poi. ***1/4
7UPPP (YUNA MIZUMORI, NANAE TAKAHASHIT & YUU) (2) DEF. CLASSMATES (SAYA IIDA, HAZUKI & KOGUMA (0)
This never really decided on a direction which brought it down a bit. They seemed to want it to be a teaser for FWC vs 7Upp (only two Ps not three like trio) but Iida was the featured performer on her team. Iida and Mizumori had some time to work together and while I like them both, they didn’t really work well together in this match, Takahashi getting in and beating on Iida was much better. Takahashi pinned Iida to get the win for her team and continue the trend of Nanae mainly pinning lower card members of the roster. ***
QUEEN’S QUEST (AZM, UTAMI HAYASHISHITA & SAYA KAMITANI) (1) VS ABERENBO GE (SYURI, MIRAI & AMI SOREI) (1) – DRAW
Our first standout match of the tournament as two of STARDOM’s finest teams went at it. This served the secondary purpose of fully bulking Ami Sorei up ahead of her match with Saya Kamitani for the white belt. While they briefly showed off some of the stronger pairings like Syuri vs AZM this was largely about Ami Sorei taking the fight to QQ, which isn’t ideal if you’re looking for a great match but I can understand why they did it. This was still the clear match of the show so far, although the main event may have something to say about that. ***3/4
REBELXENEMY (MAYA YUKIHI, RAM KAICHO & MAIKA OZAKI) (2) DEF. BARI BARI BOMBERS (GIULIA, MAI SAKURAI & THEKLA) (0)
Here it is, the match we all came for. Maya Yukihi steps into a STARDOM ring opposite Giulia as the two are already teasing a match in press conferences. This match did a really good job of filling time until it got to the inevitable clash between Yukihi and Giulia, which was everything I wanted it to be. It’s clear to anyone with eyes that Yukihi is going to challenge Giulia for her title sometime soon, based on what they did in this match I’m confident that one will be great.
Maya Yukihi was the star of this match and I have to imagine that even fans who aren’t aware of her previous exploits came away with the notion that she is a top-tier wrestler. After all, the match ended with her taking Sakurai’s head off and winning in the first STARDOM main event of 2023. This brings me to something I really like about STARDOM, even if a wrestler has a strong history they make sure to showcase that before diving into the big matches. STARDOM could have easily put Yukihi vs Giulia on any given show and those of us who know of their past encounters in Ice Ribbon would have been hyped. Instead, they went a step beyond and not only had them cross paths here but showcased Yukihi’s strengths while giving her the win.
When Yukihi vs Giulia eventually does happen for the red belt, it will be that much better thanks to STARDOM presenting Yukihi as a strong threat on their shows. ****1/4
Post Match: Suzu Suzuki was appointed as Giulia’s first challenger, that match will take place at the February PPV in Edion Osaka Arena. I expected Yukihi to be Giulia’s first challenger but it appears we’re holding off on that one, potentially for Yokohama Arena or the Triangle Derby final in Yoyogi.
While this wasn’t the kind of show that will blow anyone away, but it did have a lot of interesting movement. Coming off of Dream Queendom we got to see the first steps in some storylines that will no doubt play out for the rest of this tournament. Most importantly, this show featured Maya Yukihi’s big debut and both she and STARDOM knocked it out of the park. It’s not every day that a former two-time ICExInfinity Champion walks in the door, but when it does we should all pay attention.
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