Flashing Champions 2023
MAY 27, 2023
Ota Ward General Gymnasium
Tokyo, Japan

Watch: PPV (@we_are_stardom)

Saya Iida vs. Momo Kohgo vs. Lady C

Due to injury, Miyu Amasaki will not be able to compete in the opening match of Flashing Champions 2023 which has led this to being a three-way. Momo Kohgo is fresh off a standout performance in the NJPW STRONG RESURGENCE show this past weekend, setting up the STARS member to possibly turn her recent woes around in her return to action in STARDOM. That said, Lady C has an upcoming title match against Rina to build to so she’s likely to walk away with a win here. Prediction: Lady C

Syuri & Aya Sakura vs. Rebel X Enemy (Ram Kaichow & Maika Ozaki)

Last year at Flashing Champions, Syuri was main eventing against Risa Sera with the World of Stardom Championship on the line. This year, she will team with rookie Aya Sakura against Rebel X Enemy in the second match on the card. It’s been odd to see Syuri out of the spotlight, but that hasn’t stopped her dominance. She helped other rookie HANAKO get the first win of her career so why bet against her doing the same for Sakura? Prediction: Syuri & Aya Sakura

Queen’s Quest (Utami Hayashishita, Saya Kamitani & Hina) vs. Young OED (Starlight Kid, Rina & Ruaka)

How will the problems of Utami Hayashishita and Saya Kamitani affect this match? That’s the main question heading into this tag as their deteriorating relationship has yet to lead them to any sort of losing streak, but it’s certainly leading somewhere — we just don’t know where. Young OED has to be looking at this matchup as a chance to take advantage of Queen’s Quest and maybe vault themselves to the front of the line in terms of Artist of Stardom Title challengers as well with a win. Hayashishita and Kamitani are set for the Generation Battle one week after this show, so they’ll still be trying to gain momentum but don’t be surprised if their problems lead to a shocking loss. Prediction: Utami Hayashishita, Saya Kamitani & Hina

STARS (Mayu Iwatani, Hazuki, Hanan & Koguma) vs. Club Venus (Mariah May, Waka Tsukiyama, Xena & Jessie)

I’ve fully convinced myself that Mariah May should be the first challenger for Mayu Iwatani and the IWGP Women’s Championship because they’ve had impressive chemistry in the house show tags that they’ve been in. A STARS vs. Club Venus faction battle looks like a chance to maybe make that a reality after the match seeing we still await what’s next for Iwatani and the title. In terms of the match itself, this should be a STARS victory as they should continue to heat up heading into the summer. Prediction: Mayu Iwatani, Hazuki, Hanan & Koguma

Maika, Suzu Suzuki & Mei Seira vs. Nanae Takahashi, Yuna Mizumori & HANAKO

When this match was initially announced, it surely was an interesting one to see. However, since the announcement, we’re starting to see it make a bit more sense. Suzu Suzuki and Mei Seira have been connected at the hip on essentially every show and have become what has been a pretty solid team all things considered. The interesting part is, of course, Maika. Suzuki and Maika have limited connection to one another but recently that has changed. In a match at Korakuen Hall, they showed one another respect with a fist bump following their three-way match with Ruaka. Fast forward to this past weekend and they’re on the same side of the Generation Battle with Utami Hayashishita and Saya Kamitani. Perhaps I’m looking further into it than I should, but it’s worth noting heading into this tag.

Nanae Takahashi has had problems with Yuna Mizumori recently and it’s led to a Passion Injection match at the next Korakuen Hall show. There’s no doubt that only betters the chances for Maika, Suzuki, and Seira walking away with the win. Prediction: Maika, Suzu Suzuki & Mei Seira

High-Speed Championship
AZM (c) vs. Saki Kashima vs. Fukigen Death

AZM has another big challenge ahead of her as two Oedo Tai members look to take the High-Speed Championship from her.

The High-Speed Championship reign of AZM has arguably been the best the title has seen. She’s not only been dominant but has had countless memorable defenses against rivals and fresh challengers. She’s been able to defeat both Saki Kashima and Fukigen Death during the reign, including a three-way defense where she pinned Fukigen Death. Her chances of winning solely depend on stopping the Oedo Tai duo from using shenanigans. They’re going to have some sort of plan and AZM, who picked Death to be in the match, will have to be ready for anything and everything.

Saki Kashima has never won a singles championship in her career and if it was going to happen, it’d be now. If she can get the Revival on either the champion or fellow challenger, we may see a new champion. Prediction: AZM

Goddesses of Stardom Championship
THE NEW ERAS (MIRAI & Ami Sourei) (c) vs. Oedo Tai (Natsuko Tora & Momo Watanabe)

THE NEW ERAS won the Goddesses of Stardom Championship at All Star Grand Queendom and have since been trying to prove that they’re worthy champions. At Fukuoka Goddess Legend, they were able to defeat Hazuki and Koguma in their hometown to prove that the countout victory over 7Upp to win the titles wasn’t going to define them. Heading into Flashing Champions 2023, they have an even bigger challenge ahead of them. The reason being isn’t just that Oedo Tai’s Natsuko Tora and Momo Watanabe have instantly gelled as a duo but MIRAI is dealing with an injury that held her out of action last weekend. Whatever that injury might be, expect Tora and Watanabe to try and exploit it to get an advantage.

Ami Sourei is coming off a Future of Stardom Championship loss at NEW BLOOD 8 against Rina, who Oedo Tai aided in the win. She’s going to be looking for redemption but if MIRAI isn’t 100 percent, it’d be asking a lot for her to carry the team to a win. Assuming that the time off for MIRAI is all she needed to get back to normal, THE NEW ERAS should be able to keep the Goddesses of Stardom Championship around their waists. Prediction: MIRAI & Ami Sourei

Artist of Stardom Championship
REstart (KAIRI, Saori Anou & Natsupoi) (c) vs. Donna del Mondo (Giulia, Thekla & Mai Sakurai)

Flashing Champions 2023 may only have one singles match, but it will be the show where we see KAIRI and Giulia share a ring for the very first time. This has been a face-off that both KAIRI and Giulia have been discussing since KAIRI returned to STARDOM a year ago, so you can understand how much excitement surrounds them squaring off. REstart will be defending the Artist of Stardom Championship for the first time as a trio. When they defeated PROMINENCE to become the champions, there was still a disconnect in terms of being a team.

KAIRI wrestled the match like a singles wrestler before tagging in. It was Saori Anou who eventually earned REstart the win when she hit her German Suplex and perfect bridge on Suzu Suzuki, but there’s no doubt that they need a win here to show their reformation and the win wasn’t a fluke. Donna del Mondo are looking to get gold back in the faction and have had a different intensity to them since Giulia lost the World of Stardom Championship and Himeka retired. A loss could send them further to that change that we’ve been witnessing.

They’ve been together longer but REstart are just getting started. Prediction: KAIRI, Saori Anou & Natsupoi

Double Title: World of Stardom Championship & Wonder of Stardom Championship
Tam Nakano (c) vs. Mina Shirakawa (c)

The main event of Flashing Champions 2023 will be one of the biggest matches in STARDOM history.

For the second time in the history of STARDOM, both the World of Stardom Championship and Wonder of Stardom Championship will be on the line in the same match. The first time that ever happened was back in 2018 as World Champion Kagetsu and Wonder Champion Momo Watanabe fought to a double knockout and neither walked away as a double champion. Mayu Iwatani is the only woman to hold the red and white belts at the same time. But taking the historic aspect out of this match and it’s a match full of personal history.

Mina Shirakawa wants more than anything to prove to Tam Nakano that she is on the same level as her former leader. It’s all Shirakawa has ever wanted to prove. When she won the Wonder of Stardom Championship at All Star Grand Queendom, it looked like that would be enough to show she deserves that recognition. Later that night, however, Tam Nakano was able to become the World of Stardom Champion. This all came one week after Shirakawa had officially left Cosmic Angels to make Club Venus an official faction.

These two were destined to go head-to-head but with the top two championships of STARDOM on the line? That never felt like it’d be a reality.

Nakano wants to show Shirakawa that she is still beneath her. The Club Venus leader simply wants respect. Shirakawa doesn’t need to win to be recognized on the same level as Nakano but she needs to fight. She needs to show why she deserves that respect. I don’t think either woman will walk out of this as a double champion and a draw is in play. To me that isn’t the story —  it’s how far Shirakawa is willing to go to show Nakano she deserves that respect she craves.

If the story they tell follows the path it has been on, this could be STARDOM’s match of the year. Buckle up for a historic, emotional fight. Prediction: Draw

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