SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
STARDOM 8TH ANNIVERSARY IN OSAKA
JANUARY 27, 2019
OSAKA, JAPAN AT EDION ARENA
AIRED ON STARDOM WORLD
REPORT BY HARLEY R. PAGEOT, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Hanan said this was her sisters’ debut at Edion Arena and their first time teaming as a trio there. It was also Iida’s Osaka debut (being only her third match ever).
(1) JAN (Kaori Yoneyama, Ruaka, & Saya Iida) vs. STARS (Hanan, Hina, & Rina)
Iida and Rina started things off. Rina mocked her height by asking for the test of strength of Yoneyama and Ruaka jumped in. They triple-teamed Rina and did their jungle pose before eating a trio of dropkicks from the sisters. The twins put their double armbar on Iida while Hanan put her in a figure four. JAN broke things up. Ruaka with a Boston crab on Hina. Hina’s sisters broke it up. A trio of STOs from the Stars girls and a bridging suplex from Hanan to Yoneyama for a two-count. Yoneyama rolled through on Hanan and sat down to pin her for the three.
WINNERS: JAN in 6:18.
(Pageot’s Perspective: Another fun opener with Yoneyama and the rookie squad. The twins’ dropkicks are terrible but they’re otherwise fun and Iida continues to impress in her early days.)
-Sumire said everyone would be satisfied with her and Hayter as partners. Team Pink bragged about being undefeated (after one match) with Kashima pretending to hold a microphone for Gracia to speak into. Hayter and Gracia were both visibly excited to be showered with streamers (a rarity for gaijin wrestlers in Stardom).
(2) STARS (Artist Of Stardom Champion Saki Kashima & Alex Gracia) vs. OEDO TAI (Jamie Hayter & Natsu Sumire)
Sumire grabbed a fistful of Kashima’s hair and threw her across the ring. Hayter worked over Kashima and Sumire whipped her with her baton behind the ref’s back. Sumire went for her crotch attack but Kashima moved and she crashed into the turnbuckle. Springboard bulldog from Kashima to Sumire. Tag to Gracia, who hit a missile dropkick. Kashima wound up legal again and Hayter suplexed her into the turnbuckle. Hayter looked for a German suplex but Kashima fought it and they both fell backwards into the corner. Sumire couldn’t resist hitting the crotch attack on both women. She apologized to Hayter after. Kashima with a hurricanrana to Hayter. Gracia followed with a 619. Double underhook suplex from Kashima. Top rope double stomp from Kashima to Hayter for a believable near-fall. Gracia with a shining wizard but Sumire broke up the pin. Hayter hit a vertical suplex into a gutbuster on Gracia for the win.
WINNERS: Oedo Tai in 8:03.
(Pageot’s Perspective: Hayter’s dominance continues with her being one of the winningest people in the company this year. We know she’s on track for a white belt showdown with Momo Watanabe. Kashima continues to look good and I’m excited to finally see the trios champions in action again soon.)
-Konami said they’ve fought these two so many times that they should be able to end it quickly. Kid named their duo StarLight and encouraged us to buy their towel.
(3) STARS (Starlight Kid & Arisa Hoshiki) vs. QUEEN’S QUEST (Konami & AZM)
Konami and Hoshiki began with some quick kicks. AZM went after Kid’s right arm and Konami quickly followed suit. Hoshiki got the hot tag and unloaded with kicks on both opponents and a split-leg dropkick. AZM with a tilt-a-whirl into an octopus. Kid hit a twisting top rope splash on AZM at 8:30 but Konami broke up the pin. AZM rolled up Kid moments later.
WINNERS: Queen’s Quest in 8:50.
(Pageot’s Perspective: Kid’s losing streak continues. Is this a set up for her turning heel and joining Oedo Tai as Kagetsu’s mystery traitor? The other three are always reliable in the ring but each feel a little directionless right now. There are no stories going on, just random tag matches for them every show.)
-This was supposed to be Kimura, Tyler, and Sadie Gibbs challenging for the Artist Of Stardom titles but Gibbs had to leave on an emergency. Kimura said they’d win anyway and go to Disneyland. Iwatani dressed a little frilly to try to be like Nakano, who loved it.
(4) STARS (Artist Of Stardom Champion Mayu Iwatani & Artist Of Stardom Champion Tam Nakano) vs. HANA KIMURA & BOBBI TYLER
Iwatani and Tyler started for their teams. There was a higher-pitched “Mayu” chant followed by the men chanting “Bobbi.” They chain-wrestled until their partners got involved. Kimura and Tyler tried to do a double surfboard on Nakano but they couldn’t get her up. Iwatani with a slingblade to Kimura. Double dropkicks from Stars. Former friends Nakano and Kimura threw hands. Nakano hit a knee strike off the top rope to Tyler but Kimura prevented the pinfall. Iwatani and Tam hit a codebreak into a German suplex combo but Tyler reached the ropes to prevent the pin. Nakano hit a running knee strike on Tyler.
WINNERS: Stars in 11:19.
-Kimura gave Iwatani the finger after the match at ringside. Iwatani returned it so Kimura shoved her from behind.
(Pageot’s Perspective: For all of the talent involved that was just okay. Presumably we’ll still get that originally-scheduled trios title match once Gibbs returns.)
-Kyona said she has lots of reasons for wanting to beat these two. Tora said there’s a personal aspect to this (Watanabe & Hayashishita having defeated them to capture the tag titles back in November). Watanabe said they don’t have to fight these two but they will just because. Tora didn’t get one single streamer during her entrance. Hayashishita got a few and Kyona and Watanabe got a lot. JAN attacked Watanabe as she posed.
(5) QUEEN’S QUEST (Wonder Of Stardom Champion Momo Watanabe & SWA World Champion/Future Of Stardom Champion Utami Hayashishita) vs. JAN (Jungle Kyona & Natsuko Tora) – GODDESS OF STARDOM CHAMPIONSHIP
Kyona wrapped Watanabe’s knee around the middle rope and dropkicked it. Watanabe quickly tagged out. Hayashishita in and she put Kyona into a Boston crab. They worked over Kyona until Tora tagged in at 5:10. She suplexed Hayashishita onto Watanabe and splashed them both. Kyona and Hayashishita traded strikes. Kyona mowed her down with jungle power. Tora hit a series of spears on Watanabe at 10:00. Kyona suplexed both opponents at the same time and kicked Hayashishita to ringside. Tora hit a top rope splash on Watanabe but Hayashishita broke up the pin. Kyona took out Hayashishita again and Tora went for a second splash. Watanabe got her knees up. Watanabe with a dragon suplex to Tora but Kyona saved the match. Hayashishita with a Samoan drop and Watanabe with running knees for a two-count. Watanabe hit a pumphandle suplex on Tora.
WINNERS: Queen’s Quest in 14:11 to retain the tag titles.
-Watanabe said they were humiliated. They’ve beaten most of the stables and nobody’s on their level. Arisa Hoshiki came into the ring and challenged them to defend against her and Iwatani. Iwatani came out and watched from the apron. The champions agreed, then dismissively walked past Hoshiki to shake Iwatani’s hands.
(Pageot’s Perspective: Another good one with the arrogant champions defeating the embittered former champs. I still think seven championships is about three too many for a roster the size of Stardom but nothing’s going to change about that any time soon so you’re bound to end up with matches like the one we’ve just confirmed: one of the trios champions facing the midcard champion and the international champion/rookie champion for the tag championship.)
-Hazuki said she’s changed since joining Oedo Tai and it’s time to take the red belt from Kagetsu. Kagetsu said there wasn’t much to say about this one so enjoy the match.
(6) KAGETSU vs. HIGH SPEED CHAMPION HAZUKI – WORLD OF STARDOM CHAMPIONSHIP
Kagetsu chain-wrestled Hazuki to the mat. As speed picked up Kagetsu dropkicked her off the apron. Hazuki responded by hurling a steel chair at her head and hitting a suicide dive onto her leader in front of Sumire and Hayter at ringside. Hazuki hurled Kagetsu across the floor where she rolled into all the front row chairs. She looked to do it again but Kagetsu reversed and sent Hazuki flying into the chairs. Kagetsu got heated and dragged her around the corner of the ring and threw her into more chairs as the fans scattered. She fetched a steel chair from under the ring and bashed Hazuki across the back. Kagetsu ran her head-first into the ring post. Hazuki came back and tossed Kagetsu into the seats before accepting a drink of water from Sumire.
Hazuki connected with a springboard dropkick to the back of Kagetsu’s head in the ring and followed with a DDT through the ropes onto the apron. Kagetsu grabbed her by the throat. Hazuki responded with a barrage of forearms that drove her mentor the mat. She continued to unload with dozens of strikes. Kagetsu with a springboard dropkick of her own. Hazuki with a crossface at 11:00. Kagetsu with the rope break. Hazuki with a falcon arrow but Kagetsu avoided her top rope frog-splash. They stood and threw strikes. Hazuki connected with a pump-kick as Kagetsu came off the ropes. Kagetsu connected with some kicks of her own. Firefighter’s carry slam from Kagetsu. She went up top for her 450 but Hazuki met her for a superplex. She hung up Kagetsu in the corner and hit a codebreaker. Body slam. Hauzki up top for her seated frog-splash, which connected this time. Kagetsu kicked out, though. Brainbuster from Hazuki for another two.
Both women were down at 16:00. The referee started to count them out but Kagetsu got to her feet at seven. She dragged Hazuki into position for the 450 but Hazuki met up her top again. They fought on the second rope with Kagetsu hitting a super firefighter’s carry slam. She tried to follow with her 450 but Hazuki moved and rolled her up for a very close near-fall. Hazuki back to the crossface. The fans rallied behind Kagetsu as she struggled to free herself. After about a minute she finally reached the bottom rope with her foot. Hazuki with a body slam. She went up top one more time but Kagetsu shoved the ref into the ropes. Kagetsu slammed Hazuki and hit her 450. She lifted Hazuki up and hit the firefighter’s driver. That still wasn’t enough, though. Without even trying for a pinfall she locked in a rear naked choke and transitioned into a type of triangle choke. Hazuki faded and the ref called for the bell.
WINNER: Kagetsu in 20:35 to retain the red belt.
-Sumire and Hayter immediately jumped in the ring to join the ref in checking on Hazuki, who was out of it. Kagetsu said she had defended the title for the seventh time. She asked Hazuki if she had any regret. Hazuki said was still out cold on her back. Kagetsu said everyone can see Hazuki has changed. She asked if she knew why Kagetsu chose to have this match now. Hazuki was pulled into a sitting position leaning against Hayter and Sumire. They were all stone-faced. Kagetsu said Hazuki shouldn’t be satisfied with where she is right now. People like her will have to carry the future of Stardom.
All the other wrestlers entered the ring for the end of show photo. Tomorrow do your half-assed best. They are Oedo Tai. Kagetsu offered a handshake to Hazuki again who just looked at her without shaking.
(Pageot’s Perspective: People have called this Hazuki’s best match ever. I haven’t been watching long enough to say but I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s true. She felt like a main eventer here and that really seemed like the intent with Kagetsu suggesting this match in the first place. I know Oedo Tai are heels and are known for their cheating but how can Hazuki just accept her leader taking the cheap way out by shoving the referee into the ropes to beat her? Kagetsu’s been claiming on social media that there’s a traitor in another faction interested in joining Oedo Tai. Maybe she should be worried about people in her own group growing tired of her antics.)
Find Harley on Twitter @talkinghonor and listen to he and Emily Fear talk all things Ring Of Honor every Wednesday on the PWTorch Dailycast “Talking Honor.”