STARDOM
MidSummer Champions 2023
July 2, 2023
Yokohama Budokan
Kanagawa, Yokohama, Japan

Watch: PPV (see @we_are_stardom)

Waka Tsukiyama & Yuna Mizumori vs. Queen’s Quest (Miyu Amasaki & Hina)

The opening content for MidSummer Champions 2023 will be a preshow bout as the mix-and-match duo of Waka Tsukiyama and Yuna Mizumori team up to take on Queen’s Quest’s Miyu Amasaki and Hina. In most cases like these, I’d be more inclined to choose the faction over the tag team co-existing, but Tsukiyama and Mizumori are in higher standing on this roster and should be able to make it work. Prediction: Waka Tsukiyama & Yuna Mizumori

Hazuki, Saya Iida & Aya Sakura vs. Suzu Suzuki, Mei Seira & HANAKO

Hazuki will be one week removed from the Steel Cage loss to the Bari Bari Bombers that she and her STARS team felt with the Artist of Stardom Championships on the line. This week will be a lot less dangerous and with little stakes at hand as she teams with STARS stablemate Saya Iida and rookie Aya Sakura to take on Suzu Suzuki, Mei Seira, and HANAKO.

Suzu Suzuki and Mei Seira both came into STARDOM full-time at the same time and have been paired up as a duo — a dominant one at that. They’re 14-3-1 in tag team and trios bouts but are fresh off a trios loss a week ago when they teamed with Maika against KAIRI and meltear. Seeing that they have the stronger rookie on their team and have worked more frequently as of recently than Hazuki and Iida, they should be able to get back on track here with a win. Prediction: Suzu Suzuki, Mei Seira & HANAKO

STARS (Mayu Iwatani, Koguma, Momo Kohgo & Hanan) vs. Queen’s Quest (Utami Hayashishita, Saya Kamitani, AZM & Lady C)

More tag team action is set but this one has a bit more meaning as it will be the first time fans can see Queen’s Quest as a united team since the Steel Cage main event last Sunday at STARDOM SUNSHINE 2023. Utami Hayashishita delivered one of the best performances of her career in one of STARDOM’s greatest matches that completed one of their greatest stories. Now as all competitors trying to build momentum towards the upcoming 5STAR Grand Prix, we’re pretty confident that Utami and company will be taking the victory. Prediction: Utami Hayashishita, Saya Kamitani, AZM & Lady C

Donna del Mondo (Giulia, Maika, Thekla & Mai Sakurai) vs. Oedo Tai (Natsuko Tora, Momo Watanabe, Rina & Ruaka)

What is Oedo Tai going to look like when they were on the other side of a loser leaves faction match? A shell of themselves? Or far more aggressive? Based on the instant reaction to Saki Kashima being kicked out of the group, we’re going to go with the latter. They instantly brought the boots to Kashima following the cage match loss before Queen’s Quest chased them off. Rina, however, was notably upset with the decision, and perhaps, that could be what effects them in this match.

Donna del Mondo is back to being a well-oiled machine. The Bari Bari Bombers are rolling as a trio, Maika can’t be defeated, and Giulia is preparing for a NJPW STRONG Women’s Championship match at STRONG Independence Day days after this. Nothing is really stopping them from success right now and seeing that Oedo Tai is on their heels looking for answers, it’s tough to go with them this coming Sunday. The faction that has long worked best as a team has to answer a lot of questions right now. Prediction: Giulia, Maika, Thekla & Mai Sakurai

Nanae Takahashi vs. Starlight Kid

Nanae Takahashi’s Passion Injection series reaches a new level at MidSummer Champions 2023 as she takes on Starlight Kid.

There are a lot of different ways to think about this match heading in. On one hand, Takahashi is the veteran using these matches to test the young talent of the STARDOM roster without any worry of losing. And on the other, it’s Starlight Kid — a wrestler who has been on the rise for two years now and is heading into the 5STAR Grand Prix with something major to prove to everyone. And it’s these two factors that make this match all the more exciting.

Kid has been training with Momoe Nakanishi to fully develop her own version of the Momoe Latch, a beautiful flash pin that could set Kid up for a huge tournament if she’s able to use it to her advantage. Perhaps it’ll be this match that we see how much the training has helped? I believe so.

Starlight Kid shouldn’t be losing here with the big tournament ahead and Takahashi doesn’t have a clear future in STARDOM moving forward. Kid should get the win, especially if it’s the final time we see a Passion Injection match. Prediction: Starlight Kid

Goddesses of Stardom Championship
ROSE GOLD (Mina Shirakawa & Mariah May) (c) vs. God’s Eye (Syuri & Ami Sourei)

One week after winning the Goddesses of Stardom Championship, ROSE GOLD gets their first chance to defend the gold against God’s Eye once again at MidSummer Champions 2023 — but this time Syuri replaces MIRAI. Mina Shirakawa and Mariah May have been seamless in becoming a tag team, showing instantly in their tag title win that the chemistry they have is even better than that of the champions at the time, THE NEW ERAS.

Shirakawa was able to use these tag titles as some sort of bounce-back win after dropping the Wonder of Stardom Championship to Tam Nakano at Flashing Champions 2023. With the roll she’s been on this year, these titles could be on ROSE GOLD for quite some time as she feels she needs to redeem herself after the loss. May has been fantastic of course since joining STARDOM, so seeing her capture her first gold in STARDOM was a special moment as well.

Things change in this match though with Syuri entering the conversation. It was Ami Sourei who was pinned by Shirakawa last week to drop the titles via Glamorous Driver Mina, so the fact she gets a shot to redeem that loss — but this time with Syuri at her side should give her the confidence she may be missing after that loss.

Most importantly — the new champions should not be losing in their first defense. Prediction: Mina Shirakawa & Mariah May

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

Well, this got a lot more interesting. When the match was originally announced, I questioned what the point was other than Saki Kashima wanting a successful first defense. But now with her exit from Oedo Tai, it has become far more interesting just a week out.

Fukigen Death didn’t take part in the Oedo Tai Steel Cage loss, so we don’t know how the clown is feeling about the exit of Kashima yet. It’s pretty easy to assume that she won’t be siding with the High-Speed Champion by any means but it should make the match more compelling and a real battle.

Kashima and where she goes next is going to be one of the main stories of STARDOM for the remainder of 2023, but as long as she has the High-Speed Championship around her waist, it shouldn’t be all too bad. Prediction: Saki Kashima

Natsupoi vs. Saori Anou in an Indian Strap Match

Natsupoi and Saori Anou have been destined to fight. And MidSummer Champions 2023 will be the time to do so. It was at the June 4 Korakuen Hall show that one small mistake by Natsupoi and Anou was ready to fight her the moment she saw her after the match. And yes, they won that tag team match mind you.

Anou instantly went for a Swinging Neckbreaker which was answered by a swift Roundhouse Kick attempt by Natsupoi — so much for being in the same faction (or two). With the history between these two, I’m sure Cosmic Angels leader Tam Nakano was hoping that there wouldn’t be any problems anymore but the moment she left them alone, bam.

And not only will they have a match to deal with one another but they’ve leveled up the violence with an Indian Strap Match. The rules are as follows:

  • You must pin your opponent before touching the four corners of the ring consecutively
  • Once you touch the four corners, you win
  • If your opponent gets to their feet prior to touching all four corners, it will all rest
  • Using the strap as a weapon is allowed

This match is going to be brutal. It’s going to be physical. And it’s going to be personal. But it’s going to be tremendous. There isn’t a more consistent “big match” performer in STARDOM than Natsupoi. Stepping into a match with someone like Anou, who has been nothing but excellent since returning to STARDOM earlier this year, should make this one of the best of the year. If they can utilize the strap to their advantage and not have it be a hindrance, I believe it will deliver.

As to who wins, it feels like Saori Anou has a big final six months coming up with her first entry into the 5STAR Grand Prix. Defeating Natsupoi can be how she kicks that off. Prediction: Saori Anou

Wonder of Stardom Championship
Tam Nakano (c) vs. MIRAI

It is MIRAI’s time. It has to be.

The back-to-back Cinderella Tournament winner has finally used her wish to get another shot at the Wonder of Stardom Championship. She’s been waiting since April to use this wish and get her title shot so you know she will be going in determined. What stands in front of her, however, is the second-ever World and Wonder of Stardom Double Champion in the history of STARDOM — Tam Nakano. And these recent victories have certainly gone to Nakano’s head.

In the build towards this match against MIRAI, we’ve seen Nakano relentlessly attack the “Ash-Covered Cinderella” whether it’s stabbing her in the head with a fork or pushing her around during one of her photoshoots. It was only after THE NEW ERAS dropped their Goddesses of Stardom Titles at STARDOM SUNSHINE 2023 that MIRAI finally fought back.

The Cinderella winner laid out Nakano in the middle of the ring with a brutal lariat before putting her knee down on Nakano’s throat to inform her she’s ready for the match.

Now, who wins?

Nakano will be making her first defense since becoming a Double Champion. MIRAI will be trying to become a champion and not fail on back-to-back Cinderella wishes. It’s almost impossible to make sense of who walks out of this one with both options very much possible. That said, it should be the “Ash-Covered Cinderella” walking out of this match as the new Wonder of Stardom Champion.

She’s been ready for this moment since the end of the 5STAR Grand Prix last year, reaching a level that made me believe she’d be defeating Saya Kamitani for the Wonder of Stardom Championship to end the historic reign. It didn’t happen and instead, Mina Shirakawa accomplished that feat, so beating the second-ever Double Champion would be a great feather in the cap of MIRAI as well.

MIRAI is ready for the moment come MidSummer Champions 2023 and should be entering the 5STAR Grand Prix as the Wonder of Stardom Champion. Prediction: MIRAI

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