STARDOM
Stardom Dream Queendom 2023
December 29, 2023
Ryogoku Sumo Hall
Tokyo, Japan

Watch: PPV

Miyu Amasaki, Azusa Inaba & Yuzuki vs. Rana Yagami, Sayaka Kurara & HANAKO

The opening contest of STARDOM Dream Queendom 2023 is a look into the future of STARDOM as Miyu Amasaki leads the trio of Azusa Inaba and Yuzuki against HANAKO and STARDOM’s two newest rookies, Sayaka Kurara and Rana Yagami.

Much like we saw two years ago at the first STARDOM Dream Queendom event, the opening match features what should be big names in STARDOM in the coming years. Perhaps the most exciting aspect of all this is that both Yagami and Kurara will be wrestling their second-ever career matches in such a massive fashion. Nerves will be extreme for five of these six wrestlers, considering everyone but Amasaki is a rookie. That makes for a fun exhibition to open the show as Amasaki will comfortably lead her team to victory. Prediction: Miyu Amasaki, Azusa Inaba & Yuzuki

Lady C & Hina vs. Thekla & Mai Sakurai vs. Yuna Mizumori & SAKI vs. Saki Kashima & Ami Sourei

The next match on the card is a four-way tag between four teams that are not in the position for titles any time soon but it can act as momentum either way. What makes this match noteworthy is the return of SAKI to STARDOM — who hasn’t appeared in the promotion since the Cinderella Tournament Finals back in April. She’ll offer support for Yuna Mizumori with the Cosmic Angels still being low in numbers.

It’s a real pick’em here in terms of predicting who will be getting a win but we’ll side with two-thirds of the Artist of Stardom Champions to pick it up. Prediction: Thekla & Mai Sakurai

AZM, Nanae Takahashi & Yuu vs. Mei Seira, Syuri & Mina Shirakawa

If there’s an undercard match that is going to deliver to the standards of Ryogoku Sumo Hall, it’s going to be this trios match. In what almost feels like an All-Star battle, AZM will team up with 7Upp to take on the High-Speed Champion Mei Seira, Syuri, and Mina Shirakawa. If this match gets the time it deserves, there’s no reason to believe it’s anything less than great.

There’s a match brewing between AZM and Seira, but it has yet to lead to a challenge for the High-Speed Championship from AZM. It’s the reason that this match likely comes down to these two wrestlers with the other four cancelling each other out. Speaking of the others, maybe my main complaint with this card is what Syuri and Mina Shirakawa are left doing — especially Syuri. While it’s known that Syuri will be challenging for the IWGP Women’s Championship a week after this match, it’s still a shame seeing how important Syuri has been in STARDOM Dream Queendom’s history.

In Year 1, she won the title in the main event by defeating Utami Hayashishita. In Year 2, she entered the event as champion before losing to Giulia in the main event. Now, she’s just a member of the card. If there’s any bright side to the decision, it’s that she will go all-out in this match because that’s what she does.

If there’s any match that ends up being memorable from the undercard, and can and should be this one. Prediction: AZM, Nanae Takahashi & Yuu

STARS (Mayu Iwatani, Hanan, Saya Iida & Hazuki) vs. Oedo Tai (Starlight Kid, Rina, Ruaka & Fukigen Death)

Mayu Iwatani will make her grand return to STARDOM after having to miss the past month and a half due to her dislocated pinky finger, making this match important for that reason alone.

She’ll team up with her STARS stablemates for a collision with Oedo Tai’s Young OED and Fukigen Death. When the match had previously been announced, it felt like a precursor to what might be a Starlight Kid title challenge after. With Syuri swooping in and taking that IWGP Women’s Championship match, that won’t be the case this time around. Nonetheless, it is a chance for the former student of Iwatani to try and get one over on her once again. Anytime Iwatani and Kid collide, it’s among the best matchups STARDOM has to offer.

There should be little question to who wins this match. STARS has their core going head-to-head with Oedo Tai who won’t have their top two members in the match. Prediction: Mayu Iwatani, Hanan, Saya Iida & Hazuki

Goddess of Stardom Championship
AphroditE (Utami Hayashishita & Saya Kamitani) (c) vs. XL (Natsuko Tora & Momo Watanabe)

AphroditE will try for their first successful defense of the Goddess of Stardom Championship on Friday as their story continues against Oedo Tai’s Natsuko Tora and Momo Watanabe.

If you’ve been following STARDOM throughout 2023, one of the key stories of the whole year was the battle between Queen’s Quest and Oedo Tai. The latter tried their best to pull Utami Hayashishita away from Queen’s Quest, challenging her leadership that ultimately had the rest of her faction doing the same. It all went towards an All-Out War inside a Steel Cage, where Hayashishita delivered one of the best performances of the year when she survived the cage after getting her team out. She managed to earn the win and it all looked to be going good for Queen’s Quest from there before Hayashishita and Saya Kamitani were injured, stopping whatever story they were in the midst of following the battles with Oedo Tai.

Fast forward to GOLD RUSH. AphroditE returned to the ring as a duo, winning the vacant Goddess of Stardom Championship by defeating Divine Kingdom. Any hopes they had of moving forward together with no more Oedo Tai roadblocks were soon put to rest when Tora and Watanabe made their way out to challenge.

Hayashishita has promised that this will be it for their feud, hoping to end what has been going on since Watanabe turned her back on Queen’s Quest to join the heel faction. I believe her to be right as AphroditE should be kicking off their second reign with these titles with a big first defense against their rivals. Prediction: Utami Hayashishita & Saya Kamitani

NJPW STRONG Women’s Championship
Giulia (c) vs. Megan Bayne

Giulia will make her seventh defense of the STRONG Women’s Championship when she defends against Megan Bayne at STARDOM Dream Queendom 2023.

No one in the world of Joshi has been in the news like Giulia has been. With rumors swirling regarding her future, this match has all the more interest because of it. The Donna del Mondo leader has made the STRONG Women’s Championship a title worth chasing for wrestlers around the world. She’s defended it against the likes of Risa Sera, Deonna Purrazzo, and most recently AZM. In every defense, things have been different but it’s been for the better — with the AZM match being the best of the bunch. Bayne presents her toughest challenge yet.

“MEGASUS” walked into STARDOM as a force to be reckoned with and has shown she’s nearly unbeatable. Giulia learned that firsthand when they collided for the first time one-on-one, going to a 15-minute time limit draw last month. That is what earned Bayne this opportunity and she’ll now try to win her first title as a part of STARDOM.

The future of Giulia may be cloudy but there’s no way she loses this championship now. Even against a challenger like Megan Bayne. Prediction: Giulia

Wonder of Stardom Championship
MIRAI (c) vs. Saori Anou

After going to a 30-minute draw at GOLD RUSH, MIRAI will once again defend the Wonder of Stardom Championship against Saori Anou.

What a year it has been for these two wrestlers, making them fitting of this spot on the card. MIRAI won her second Cinderella Tournament in a row to earn her shot at the Wonder of Stardom Championship before defeating Tam Nakano to win the belt. She’s now held the belt for 177 days, having successfully defended against Konami and Momo Watanabe before meeting her match against Anou.

Anou walked back into STARDOM at All Star Grand Queendom as part of REstart. Little did anyone know at that time that it’d be Anou, not KAIRI or Natsupoi, who would be in one of the biggest matches come the end of the year. But she’s earned every bit of the opportunity that she’s been given this week. If you watched any of the 5STAR Grand Prix, it was apparent for much of the tournament that Anou was one of the MVPs of the entire thing thanks to her big matches with Giulia, Maika, and others. When she stepped up to MIRAI for a Wonder of Stardom Championship match, it was fitting after the work she had put in. The match wasn’t where anyone expected it to go, which is why the rematch should be welcomed for them to get it right.

MIRAI is still looking for her signature match of the title reign. I think that this can be exactly that. Some fans are not as welcoming of the rematch but with the lights shining brightest in Ryogoku Sumo Hall, I expect this to be everything that the first match should have been. Anou has a chance… but it’d be a stunner if MIRAI didn’t walk out as champion. Prediction: MIRAI

World of Stardom Championship
Suzu Suzuki vs. Maika

This is it. STARDOM Dream Queendom 2023 will play host to the most important match of the year for STARDOM. The 5STAR Grand Prix winner Suzu Suzuki will collide with Maika to crown a new World of Stardom Champion in a match that is months in the making.

It doesn’t take a lot to see how weird of a year it’s been for STARDOM. There’s been tons of ups and downs. Booking that isn’t fitting of what they’ve done the last two years. And frankly, little balance in what is a usually great storytelling promotion. Despite that, two stories have taken over this year. One was the Queen’s Quest struggles and the other is this — the rivalry of Suzu Suzuki and Maika.

A rivalry that started as a friendship has become a blood feud with both trying to get to the top of STARDOM. The Generational Struggle matches throughout STARDOM’s summer looked to be just that — the new generation trying to show they could hang with the old generation. But as time has gone on, it’s shown that there is much more to it and it’s between Maika and Suzuki. The number of times Suzuki questioned Maika’s ability and her shortcomings began to make things testy between the two. And then they finally came to blows in the 5STAR Grand Prix Finals. Maika, who has been with STARDOM since 2020, was on the brink of earning her biggest win ever. A win that she has been trying to get for years now it feels like. And just as it looked like she was going to get it, the 21-year-old Suzuki came into STARDOM it took it away from her. Enough is enough at times and this was exactly that.

Maika did get her revenge in the finals of the Goddesses of Stardom Tag League when she teamed with Megan Bayne to win the league and defeat Suzu Suzuki in the finals. But that wasn’t enough. After the bell, she attacked Suzuki and laid her out in the middle of the ring, bringing them to their highest level of hatred for one another ever since.

When Maika earned her chance to challenge for the vacant World of Stardom Championship, it only felt inevitable before she won the one-night tournament. There was no other result that was as fitting for Stardom Dream Queendom 2023. And we’ve only see them fight since then.

Their most recent brawl came backstage, when Maika splashed Suzuki with a drink before they ripped at once another at Korakuen Hall. These two do no like each other. And that is why this match is so deserving of the main event spot.

A new star is going to be made when this match is over. One of them will be the new World of Stardom Champion but as this feud has shown us, that’s playing second to their hate for one another. Every part of this match is going to be physical. Personal. Nasty. It’s fitting of what STARDOM has done with the first two Stardom Dream Queendom main events. But this time, it’s two new faces in the main event. That’s why this is the most important match of the year for STARDOM.

When it comes to winning, this is as 50-50 as a world title match can be. Suzuki feels like the slight favorite. Understandably as there’s a real chance she’d be World of Stardom Champion right now if Tam Nakano wasn’t injured. Yet, if you listen to the crowds, you know where STARDOM is right now in popularity. She’s at another level. And that level has brought her to this moment. I’m not confident in who wins this but no matter who does, it’ll be the right choice. Prediction: Suzu Suzuki

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