GOLD RUSH 2023
November 18, 2023
Edion Osaka Arena No. 1
Watch: PPV via @we_are_stardom
Moneyball Tournament Round 1
STARS (Hazuki, Hanan & Saya Iida) vs. Konami, Ami Sourei & HANAKO
The Moneyball Tournament returns for the second year in a row at STARDOM GOLD RUSH 2023 as four trios wrestle for a chance to win themselves some money. The first match will see STARS vs. God’s Eye along with HANAKO battle.
Mayu Iwatani was removed from the match after dislocating her pinky finger, resulting in Saya Iida stepping up for the STARS side. On the opposing side marks the STARDOM return for Konami, who will team with Ami Sourei and HANAKO. Saki Kashima remains injured after last weekend, so she’s been replaced by the rookie — who steps into a huge spot. Prior to Iwatani’s removal, it surely made predicting this match easy but now it could go either way. The STARS trio still feels like the team with the most momentum and after winning last year’s Moneyball Tournament, it’d only be right that they try to run it back. Prediction: Hazuki, Hanan & Saya Iida
Moneyball Tournament Round 1
Donna del Mondo (Giulia, Mai Sakurai & Thekla) vs. Oedo Tai (Momo Watanabe, Natsuko Tora & Ruaka)
Mai Sakurai was the one to propose the return of the Moneyball Tournament, setting her and the Artist of Stardom Champions up to be the heavy favorites to win the mini one-night tournament.
Donna del Mondo will face off with Oedo Tai, making for a physical matchup that could get personal quickly. In terms of what to look for in this match, it always comes down to what Giulia and Momo Watanabe often do against each other. They have a rivalry-like tension when they square off and should control where this match goes by the end of it. It’s hard to bet against the Donna del Mondo trio since they are the reigning Artist of Stardom Champions, so they should get the win here. Prediction: Giulia, Mai Sakurai & Thekla
Moneyball Tournament Finals
The final is contested in a Ladder Match. No matter which team is able to win the first tournament match, the easy bet to win the entire match is Giulia, Mai Sakurai, and Thekla. It all comes down to the Mayu Iwatani injury once more, as no other trio truly rivals the Donna del Mondo team now that she’s out and replaced by Saya Iida. The Artist of Stardom Champions should show they’re the best trio once more. Prediction: Giulia, Mai Sakurai & Thekla
Suzu Suzuki vs. AZM vs. Starlight Kid
If there was one way to make up for no World of Stardom Championship match, STARDOM has figured it out with this three-way match.
At STARDOM GOLD RUSH 2023, we will see Suzu Suzuki, AZM, and Starlight Kid face off for the first time in a single match. The future of STARDOM and pro wrestling runs through these three, each of them being 22 years old or younger with limitless potential ahead of them. It’s these three who are often compared to one another, so getting to see them compete head-on makes for an incredibly exciting match.
This marks the return of Starlight Kid. She has been out of action since NEW BLOOD 11 on September 29th after injuring her ankle. She missed the final day of the 5STAR Grand Prix as well as all of the Goddess of Stardom Tag League. It’ll be exciting to see her back in there against her greatest rival and Suzu Suzuki.
There’s a lot to gain in this match when it comes to AZM and SLK. Facing the World of Stardom Championship No. 1 Contender can give them a leg up if either is able to win, so that should be something to look out for. All of that is to say that it’s likely to be Suzuki who leaves this match with yet another victory. Prediction: Suzu Suzuki
Syuri vs. “Scandinavian Hurricane” Aliss Ink in a UWF Rules Match
Syuri has had a year of outside challenges and that will keep up on Saturday. After defeating Mina Shirakawa in a UWF Rules Match, she put out the challenge to anyone in the world to take her on. This led to former wXw Women’s Champion Aliss Ink laying down the challenge for STARDOM GOLD RUSH 2023. Nicknamed the “Scandinavian Hurricane,” Ink will join the few international wrestlers who have competed in STARDOM over the last year.
Ink is a different wrestler from who we’ve seen step into the ring, bringing an MMA background that should mesh well with that of Syuri’s. This will be her STARDOM debut and there’s no signal of whether or not she’ll stick around after the fact. For now, we’ll look forward to what she can bring to the table but it’s hard to believe she will take down Syuri in her first match in the promotion. It’ll be a fun challenge for Syuri in what has been a relatively quiet year for the God’s Eye leader. Prediction: Syuri
Mei Seira (c) vs. Momoka Hanazono
Mei Seira will make her first defense of the High-Speed Championship as she will defend against Momoka Hanazono.
Hanazono has become an unofficial member of the STARDOM roster any time they travel to Osaka. If they’re there, she’s on their shows and I’m all for it. Behind the bubble wand and the goofy personality is a talented, hard-hitting fighter. One that should be a perfect challenge against Seira, for that matter. Seira is going to wrestle her first true High-Speed match since taking the championship from Saki Kashima. As we saw in the Goddess of Stardom Tag League Final this past weekend, she looks more than ready for any challenge.
There’s not much story here. It’s going to be a High-Speed Championship match that has all the potential to be the best match on the entire show. Yeah, it can be that good. Seira will be retaining to earn V1 of what should be a long title reign. Prediction: Mei Seira
Wonder of Stardom Championship
MIRAI (c) vs. Saori Anou
The likely main event of STARDOM GOLD RUSH 2023 will see MIRAI defend the Wonder of Stardom Championship against one-half of the Goddess of Stardom Champions, Saori Anou.
Since returning to STARDOM in April, Anou has been sensational. Whether it’s been her trios work as part of REstart, tag team work with Natsupoi, or working singles in the 5STAR Grand Prix, she’s really been one of STARDOM’s MVPs. Her willingness to join Cosmic Angels sparked a group that was in desperate need of it and after all this hard work, she gets repaid with a Wonder of Stardom Championship match.
The match will be her first singles title match since re-joining STARDOM. As a past ICExInfinity Champion and AWG Champion, she has the chops to call herself Wonder of Stardom Champion by the end of this match. Anou earned this opportunity when she defeated MIRAI in the 5STAR Grand Prix. It was clear in that match that while it was a strong effort, they had so much left in the tank to ultimately put together one of STARDOM’s best matches all year.
When it comes to MIRAI, there’s no doubt this will be a huge challenge for her. She’s already defended the title twice — once again against Konami and the other against former champion Momo Watanabe. The challenge for MIRAI is that their history isn’t a long one. It’s the one match and Anou had her number. But as we’ve seen with MIRAI since she joined STARDOM — no challenge is too tall for her to tackle. But she’ll have to be careful, as it’s very clear she is banged up and has been for a bit now. She’s been all taped up on her right side since the 5STAR Grand Prix, showing the difficulties of that grueling tournament and being champion. If she can continue to fight through the pain, there’s no reason to think she can’t walk out of this match with her title.
While it may be hard to see a new champion crowned here, this feels like the first time in MIRAI’s reign that there’s a chance of a title change. Saori Anou has been a spark for STARDOM all year and could be the one they desperately need to close out 2023. MIRAI should be getting V3 here and moving forward to Stardom Dream Queendom 2023 as Wonder of Stardom Champion, but you never know. Anything can happen in what should be a top STARDOM title match of the year. Prediction: MIRAI
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