STARDOM
All Star Grand Queendom
April 23, 2023
Yokohama Arena
Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan

Watch: PPV (@we_are_stardom)

The biggest women’s wrestling show in decades. That’s how major All Star Grand Queendom is. In a show that can only be compared to Dream Slam, STARDOM heads to Yokohama Arena with the best of their roster, the Joshi scene, and the world to put on what will go down as a historic, all-time show when it’s all said and done. Here’s what you need to know as we get ready for All Star Grand Queendom.

Yokohama Rumble

The Yokohama Rumble will kick off All Star Grand Queendom as the remainder of the roster not set for a big match on the show will compete as well as a number of surprises. The only wrestler confirmed for the match is two-time AJW Champion and Joshi legend Momoe Nakanishi.

When All Star Dream Cinderella had their All-Star Rumble back in 2021, Unagi Sayaka was able to win and use that to build momentum for her breakout year. That means the Yokohama Rumble could do the same for a competitor this year. Picking the winner here is as difficult as any match on the show because there’s really no favorite. Prediction: Hanan

Hazuki & Fuwa-chan vs. Utami Hayashishita & Miyu Amasaki

Japanese celebrity Fuwa-chan will compete in her second career match as she once again teams with her trainer Hazuki to take on a Queen’s Quest duo — this time Utami Hayashishita and Miyu Amasaki. As we saw in her debut match, Fuwa-chan proved to be a potentially special talent. She was that good. So now getting to see her back in competition is one of the most exciting parts of this card as we will get to see what she has added in her recent training. This match came about, however, as Hayashishita wanted to challenge her rookie Amasaki against someone like Fuwa, who had shown so much in her debut. This will be a good test for both competitors and the match itself should be incredibly entertaining as the world will get to see what Fuwa-chan is all about. Prediction: Utami Hayashishita & Miyu Amasaki

Thekla, Mariah May, Jessie & Xena vs. Oedo Tai (Natsuko Tora, Momo Watanabe, Saki Kashima & Ruaka)

The Club Venus trio of Mariah May, Jessie, and Xena will team up with Donna del Mondo’s Thekla to take on Oedo Tai in what is sure to be a hostile match. Hostile because of how much Thekla does not like the individuals she is teaming with which make it all the more entertaining. With how Club Venus has been rolling, you’d think they would be the favorites in this match but no one works better as a faction than Oedo Tai. They have the advantage in this one. Prediction: Natsuko Tora, Momo Watanabe, Saki Kashima & Ruaka

AZM & Mei Suruga vs. Starlight Kid & Mei Seira

High-speed greatness is on the way. Rather than having a High-Speed Championship match, STARDOM has upped the ante with a tag team bout featuring four of the best high-speed wrestlers in the world. On one side, you have the High-Speed Champion AZM teaming up with Mei Suruga. On the other is Starlight Kid, who started this feud by heading to Gatoh Move and challenging Suruga. But it was clearly all part of a plan as she’d introduce a former partner of Suruga’s in Mei Seira, the former Mei Hoshizuki, as her partner. It’s stunning for many reasons as we haven’t seen Seira wrestle since 2021 when she was a member of the Marvelous roster. The 20-year-old’s return to pro wrestling comes at a time when she can make a massive impact on the roster and in the high-speed division.

If I were a betting man, I’d expect Kid and Seira to get the win with Seira using the victory to earn herself a match against AZM for the High-Speed Championship somewhere down the line. She had challenged AZM previously for the champion during AZM’s first reign with the title, so it’d not only be great to play that one back but see how Seira has evolved and if she could be the next High-Speed Champion. Prediction: Starlight Kid & Mei Seira

Himeka’s Retirement Match
Himeka vs. Maika

The retirement of Himeka has arrived and her final STARDOM match will happen at All Star Grand Queendom. While she will have one more match that follows, Himeka vs. Maika will be as emotional of a match as you’ll see this year. Not only will the retirement aspect play into it, but it’ll be the final time MaiHime shares a ring together. The bond that they’ve created over the past two and a half years is one of the strongest we have seen in pro wrestling. They not only established themselves as one of the best tag teams in STARDOM but one of the best in the world. Their final title match against 7Upp felt like that match where they reached their height as the world wanted to see them win. Sadly, it wasn’t the case as they lost and Himeka made the decision to move on shortly thereafter.

There’s not much of a question as to who will win this but rather how far they will go. There will be tears from the wrestlers and fans alike. But for one last time, “Jumbo” will get to show the world how great she is and why there’s a “fire on the dance floor” every time she competes. Prepare for an emotional battle to close out Himeka’s career. Prediction: Maika

Goddess of Stardom Championship
7Upp (Nanae Takahashi & Yuu) © vs. The New Eras (MIRAI & Ami Sourei)

7Upp has been one of the best tag teams in professional wrestling since coming together to take part in the Goddess Tag League at the end of 2022. They rode the victory in the tournament to a Goddess of Stardom Championship win over meltear at Stardom Dream Queendom to close out the year. They’ve since defended the titles successfully against BMI2000 and MaiHime, setting themselves up for what should be an interesting defense against back-to-back Cinderella Tournament winner MIRAI and Future of Stardom Champion Ami Sourei. What we’ve seen out of The New Eras has been an up-and-down showcase but they figured out a lot of their problems in the Goddess Tag League.

The New Eras have an interesting style because they’re clearly a powerhouse duo but they don’t click as a MaiHime has for example. If there was a match for them to begin connecting dots and figuring out who they truly want to be as a duo, this has to be the time. We know they both have roads elsewhere, out of the tag team conversation so that makes this match more 50-50 than I initially thought it’d be when it was first announced. That being said, the Cinderella Tournament victory could push MIRAI to another big title win. She could ride that success to a win here and her eventual singles title win whenever she uses her wish to get a title shot at the World or Wonder of Stardom Championship. Prediction: MIRAI & Ami Sourei

Artist of Stardom Championship
PROMINENCE (Suzu Suzuki, Risa Sera & Kurumi Hiiragi) © vs. REstart (KAIRI, Natsupoi & Saori Anou)

One of the biggest Artist of Stardom Championship matches of all time. Fitting for All Star Grand Queendom, really.

PROMINENCE has established themselves as a dominant force in STARDOM, maybe the most dominant trio we’ve seen after winning the inaugural Triangle Derby tournament as the Artist of Stardom Champions. They most recently defeated the top trio of Queen’s Quest to defend their titles for a second time but it was after Suzu Suzuki pinned Utami Hayashishita that PROMINENCE was met with their newest challengers. To the surprise of many, that came in the form of KAIRI, who asked if she could make a challenge before revealing who her partners would be. As we know now, KAIRI’s plan was to reform stArt, now known as REstart with Natsupoi and Saori Anou joining her for the challenge.

On a show filled with unbelievable, top-quality matches — this is as good as any of them. To start, we will get to see KAIRI and Suzuki share a ring for the first time ever. Every time KAIRI steps into the ring, it’s a treat at this point but doing so against one of wrestling best young stars makes it all the better. Saori Anou’s return to STARDOM has already been interesting despite wrestling a match. Not only will she compete with Natsupoi and KAIRI, but this past Saturday saw her join Cosmic Angels as well. It’ll be interesting to see what that means for the future, but nonetheless, it does feel REstart and their uncertainty as a trio will be what gives them the win on Sunday. This is my pick for the darkhorse match of the night. Prediction: KAIRI, Natsupoi & Saori Anou

Syuri vs. Chihiro Hashimoto – Only way to win is via KO, submission, or referee stoppage

Following her World of Stardom Championship loss at Stardom Dream Queendom, Syuri didn’t take long to make her next goal clear. In her post-match interview, she challenged Sendai Girls ace Chihiro Hashimoto to go to their Korakuen Hall show that kicked off 2023 and, as they say, the rest is history. Not only did Hashimoto show up, but it became apparent that Syuri wanted a match with Hashimoto which is scheduled for this Sunday.

In terms of unique roads to getting to a match, this is up there for STARDOM. Making a match four months out is a big deal but one that has only made this special singles match all the better. Hashimoto laid waste to MIRAI when the “Ash-Covered Ace” challenged Hashimoto to a match at Supreme Fight 2023 including multiple brutal German Suplexes that dropped MIRAI squarely on her head. Hashimoto then made easy work of Syuri’s former stablemate, Himeka, to further show how dangerous she can be.

The last time Syuri and Hashimoto faced off in a match was at Sendai Girls’ Don’t Forget That Day in March 2020, where Hashimoto got the win while successfully defending the Sendai Girls World Championship. There’s no doubt that the loss has stayed in the God’s Eye leader’s mind, making this match have all the more meaning. With the stipulation of only being able to win by knockout, submission, or referee stoppage, we know this match is going to be much more of a fight than a traditional match. It’ll be great. Prediction: Syuri

IWGP Women’s Championship
Mercedes Moné © vs. Mayu Iwatani

The Dream Match. The Best of the East vs. The Best of the West. Once in a lifetime.

If you’ve read my previous article about this match (Mercedes Moné vs. Mayu Iwatani: Dreams Do Come True), you know how much this match means to me. Since writing that up, the match has only gotten better. While we still don’t know what Mercedes Moné’s future is beyond Sunday, we do know that her determination to make Japan her future is apparent. To guarantee that, a win over Mayu Iwatani, someone she’s had the number of each and every time they’ve met face-to-face, is necessary. The IWGP Women’s Championship has only seen one successful defense for both champions to this point, so Moné is looking for more than just another win here but to already show she’s the best to hold that championship thus far.

Iwatani has done everything in STARDOM. She’s held every single championship in the promotion and has won both of the major tournaments (including the Cinderella Tournament twice). She’s unquestionably the best STARDOM has ever seen and it’s why she is “The Icon” of STARDOM. But the one thing that now alludes her is calling herself the IWGP Women’s Champion. She has the chance at Historic X-Over but it was KAIRI, not Iwatani, who walked out as champion. Moné has mocked, bullied, and gotten the best of Iwatani until this point much like she did with her longtime rival Bayley back in her WWE days. If this follows that same story, it’s time for Iwatani to leave as the new IWGP Women’s Champion.

This isn’t the main event or even the semi-main event, but it is a historic matchup and the definition of a dream. Get ready to see something special. Prediction: Mayu Iwatani

Wonder of Stardom Championship
Saya Kamitani © vs. Mina Shirakawa

“I will definitely shake off my fatigue. To become the hope for everyone to live is what keeps me going. I’ll start over again and get strong.”

These words were the words of Mina Shirakawa minutes after losing her Wonder of Stardom Championship challenge to Saya Kamitani last year. Of course, that was also with her face bloodied after a Phoenix Splash gone wrong smashed her in the mouth and left her in an unbelievable amount of pain. Since that moment, she’s done everything to start over and get back to this championship. And Shirakawa really did listen to her own words. She started over in every way by changing her look, bringing a new attitude, and ultimately leaving Cosmic Angels to create Club Venus as we saw Saturday. Now as the leader of her own group and in this big spot, it feels like it’s Shirakawa’s time to be the Wonder of Stardom Champion.

But to do so, she has to beat the most dominant champion in the history of the white belt, Saya Kamitani. “The Golden Phoenix” has set the record for most successful defenses and is closing in on 500 days with the championship around her waist. She’s beaten countless names including Utami Hayashishita, Tam Nakano (twice), and even Shirakawa, so why should we think that won’t be continuing Sunday? Also, add in the fact that MIRAI is waiting with another potential challenge after winning the Cinderella Tournament to fully understand that this very well could be a match that Shirakawa, who was once expected to win, could lose. It’s no longer as much of a lock as it once was.

Shirakawa has her own faction and has chased this moment. Her reign, if she wins, won’t likely be a record-breaking one like Kamitani’s was. That said, it’s about the moment and I think she gets it on Sunday at All Star Grand Queendom. Prediction: Mina Shirakawa

World of Stardom Championship
Giulia © vs. Tam Nakano

This is it. The main event of All Star Grand Queendom. The main event of the biggest STARDOM show in history. Giulia and Tam Nakano go to battle one more time in new territory — fighting for the World of Stardom Championship.

Giulia and Nakano have had devastating matches in the past but perhaps they’ve never had this personal of a build. When we’ve seen them face off, they’ve done so on the biggest stages. The main event in the Nippon Budokan in a Hair vs. Hair match at All Star Dream Cinderella. Last year’s 5STAR Grand Prix finals. Big matches and big moments have filled one of STARDOM’s most important feuds ever. Yet, again, it’s still more personal than ever before. There’s no hair on the line this time around but the destruction of each other because of a championship instead.

The press conference meeting between them ended with Nakano bloodied by Giulia and this, of course, was after Nakano cut the hair of Giulia following a tag between them at KBS Hall. That’s personal. That’s another. And that’s why this and nothing else is the correct main event.

“Because of Giulia, Tam is the person she is today,” Nakano said in my interview with her for Fightful last year. “The days when I fought with Giulia, my face was always swollen, and I was always frustrated and in a lot of pain, but those days made me stronger. Lately, I’ve started to miss those brain-shaking, stimulating slaps a little. I think Giulia does too, don’t you?”

The appreciation they have for one another hasn’t made them dislike each other any less. This is a feud made from loss, hatred, and gold after all. They weren’t supposed to be generational rivals but this is where life brought them. Giulia is still finding her footing as the World of Stardom Champion meanwhile Nakano continues to tease her retirement more and more. Nakano has done a lot in her career but the World of Stardom Championship has become her “final frontier.” With Cosmic Angels going through a shift like we could have never expected this past weekend, Nakano can respond in two ways. 1. Have that get in her mind and be the reason she falls. Or 2. Use the hurt of Mina Shirakawa and Waka Tsukiyama leaving to drive her to a World of Stardom Championship victory.

Everything about this match will be special and by the end of All Star Grand Queendom, the right person will be on top to push STARDOM forward into the future following their biggest show ever. Prediction: Giulia