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STARDOM DREAM SLAM
MARCH 28, 2019
TOKYO, JAPAN AT KORAKUEN HALL
AIRED ON STARDOM WORLD
REPORT BY HARLEY R. PAGEOT, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
The seven competitors each spoke briefly ahead of the battle royal. Rina said she was coming for her older sister, Hanan. Iida thought she might be able to win because she’d get lost in the crowd. Sumire said this was Nao Yamaguchi’s last day as Oedo Tai’s manager. Yamgauchi did the Oedo Tai dance with the full crew for the last time.
(1) BATTLE ROYAL
The entrants were Hanan, Hina, Saya Iida, Jungle Kyona, Leo Onozaki, Rina, and Natsu Sumire. Everyone ganged up on Sumire until Yamaguchi tripped Kyona from the floor. The five rookies then tossed Sumire through the ropes to the floor and teamed up on Kyona. Hanan Shimai did a triple submission on Kyona until Onozaki and Iida saved their leader. JAN took three hip-tosses from the sisters. Hanan rolled up Onozaki and the tweens jumped on top for extra leverage on the pin.
Leo Onozaki was eliminated at 3:05.
Hina then caught her big sister in a pinning predicament and Rina jumped in to help.
Hanan was eliminated at 3:14.
Sumire returned to whip the twins but Kyona dispersed Sumire again. Kyona used her jungle power to body slam both twins and put them in a Boston crab at the same time. They both tapped.
Hina and Rina were eliminated at 4:03.
Sumire got Iida and Kyona seated in the corner and hit her crotch assault. T-bone suplex to Kyona but Kyona kicked out. She called Yamaguchi into the ring but Kyona fought off the manager. She charged at both but they moved and she toppled over the top rope. Kyona tried to skin the cat but Yamaguchi pulled on her feet as Sumire dropkicked Kyona in the back.
Jungle Kyona was eliminated at 5:33.
It came down to Sumire and Iida. The little giant hit a barrage of running dropkicks. Sumire kicked out. Sumire whipped her again as she came off the ropes. Yamaguchi returned and Sumire held Iida. Iida ducked and Yamaguchi clotheslined Sumire by accident. Kyona jumped into the ring and took out Yamaguchi. Iida caught Sumire with a bridging pin for the win!!
WINNER: Saya Iida in 6:48.
-Sumire was aghast at losing to the fourteen year-old rookie who only debuted two and a half months ago.
(Pageot’s Perspective: Oh my god, I’m crying. She did it. I wanted so badly for Iida to win but I thought for sure this was going to be another moment of pulling the rug out from under our feet at the last minute. Iida has picked up the first pinfall victory of her career. Next step: doing so in a singles match.)
-Stars laughed at the power imbalance between them and QQ. Kid said they’re like zombies, though, in that they keep getting back up. Hoshiki was almost unrecognizable, her hair cut shorter than usual and dyed dark. Guess that hair vs. hair match with Hazuki is unnecessary now. Konami agreed they have the power on their side and wanted to just sit back and watch Viper squash them all.
(2) STARS (Artist Of Stardom Champion Tam Nakano, Artist Of Stardom Champion Saki Kashima, Arisa Hoshiki, & Starlight Kid) vs. QUEEN’S QUEST (AZM, Konami, Bea Priestley, & Viper)
Kid offered to start for her team until she saw Viper was starting for QQ. She immediately turned around to tag out but nobody else wanted in so she reluctantly agreed to face the Scot. All four Stars women ended up in the corner for a Viper cannonball but they all moved out of the way in time. Kid and AZM tagged in at 5:20 and tangled. Stars quadruple-teamed AZM and tried to steal a pin but the rest of QQ broke it up. Everyone fought everyone. Viper hit the four-woman cannonball this time. AZM with a top rope double-stomp to Kid but she kicked out. Armbar but Kid transitioned into a pin for two. AZM with a roll-through pin of her own on Kid for the win.
WINNERS: Queen’s Quest in 7:40.
(Pageot’s Perspective: Just a “get everyone on the card” match. No real stakes or anything special.)
(3) SHIKI SHIBUSAWA RETIREMENT CEREMONY
Shibusawa entered alone in a white dress and brown boots. Queen’s Quest presented her with a bouquet of flowers and hugged her. Oedo Tai also gave her a bouquet and posed for a selfie from Sumire. Shibusawa appeared to be crying already as JAN and Stars were next. Kyona gave her a gift and they presented her with more bouquets. The two babyface factions posed with Shibusawa for photos. A female vocal cover of “Desperado” by The Eagles and then Frank Sinatra’s version of “My Way” were playing in the background. Two unidentified women and a baby were out next with more flowers and to pose for more photos. Stardom president Rossy Ogawa was next with the largest bouquet of them all. He left and Shibusawa handed the bouquets to Starlight Kid at ringside. She posed for more photos as she tried to blink away the tears. She got a microphone as some fans yelled “speech!”
“Long time no see everyone. I’m Shiki Shibusawa. I’ve been gone since last November, maybe about four months. I decided to retire and I’m sorry to all of you who’ve supported me. After training for a year I joined Stardom for a short time – about one year, eight months. Training included I was with Stardom for about three years but I was always clumsy. I couldn’t do anything but I always had the support of Mr. Ogawa, seniors, and others.”
She and I were both crying hard by this point.
“They taught me a lot and, despite my own self, I was able to entertain fans. I’ve been gone but I had so much support. Seniors and staff all told me, ‘Come back any time because you’re Stardom family.’ I’m happy I was able to spend time with such warm people. I am retiring today but my friend said, ‘You’re always family.’ Being in this wonderful place for three years, it was the first time in my life I could try my best. And because of everyone I tried my best, saying ‘I’ll do my best’ for you, the fans. I’m retiring but I will always love pro wrestling and love Stardom. I don’t think that will ever change. And if you see me at the venue as a fan, please feel free to say hi to me. I’m happy to have been given this opportunity to come here and greet all of you. It was a short three years. Thank you all very much.”
The lights dimmed and they did a ceremonial ringing of the bell ten times. The fans drowned her in pink and white streamers.
(Pageot’s Perspective: When I first checked out Stardom back in January of last year Shibusawa was one of the first women on the roster I really latched onto. I loved her outfit and the plucky underdog spirit hooked me as a fan. I watched every event that month before falling off as a viewer due to the sheer amount of Stardom shows there are and my free time being mostly dedicated to catching up on Lucha Underground. It wasn’t until January of this year again that I was able to make Stardom a regular habit. For the past three months I’d wondered where Shibusawa was and read assumptions that she was injured. When news came out that she was retiring it was sad. When the rumors elaborated that her decision was in part due to cyberbullying and harassment from “fans” who thought she wasn’t good enough or learning fast enough it was heartbreaking. Not everyone who sets out to be a wrestler will be a main eventer or a champion or have a long career. Some will retire early due to injury and start their own gyms. Some will realize they can’t afford to keep up a double life and slowly phase out the bookings for a steadier job in construction or office work. If this decision is truly Shibusawa’s to make and what she feels right about, then good for her for making it because you know it wasn’t an easy one. All the best wishes going forward.)
-Kel said she’s seen Hayashishita training and knows she’s tough but she’s had to fight too, to get to Japan and to earn this title match. Hayashishita said she wants to take Kel’s big body and German suplex her and give her a torture rack bomb.
(4) FUTURE OF STARDOM CHAMPION/GODDESS OF STARDOM CHAMPION UTAMI HAYASHISHITA vs. REBEL KEL – SWA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
Kel overpowered early on. Hayashishita tried for the torture rack at 7:00 but Kel fought out. Sleeperhold from Hayashishita. Torture rack slam.
WINNER: Utami Hayashishita in 8:53 to retain the SWA title.
(Pageot’s Perspective: No tears this time. This was slow and plodding. Kel’s offense was very paint by numbers and Hayashishita simply sold for eight minutes before hitting two moves. She’s probably the one wrestler on the roster I care the least about because she never shows any emotion and always wins. I have no investment in any of her matches.)
-Brookside said this is the final show of her current Stardom tour. She was away for about a year, competing in the Mae Young Classic and signing with NXT UK, but Hazuki was training hard in that time too. Hazuki said she’s brought this belt to a new level and she’s ready to take down Brookside.
(5) HAZUKI vs. XIA BROOKSIDE – HIGH SPEED CHAMPIONSHIP
Hazuki avoided a Brookside Bomb at 4:00. They traded roll-ups with Hazuki coming out on top.
WINNER: Hazuki in 4:20 to retain the high speed title.
(Pageot’s Perspective: The last high speed title match went 5:00 and that was a three-way. I know it’s the title for quick wrestlers but does that mean the matches have to be “blink and you miss it” too?)
-Tora said her last singles match with Iwatani was two years ago with Iwatani winning. Iwatani said winning here would mean she could live out her dream of wrestling in Madison Square Garden. She’ll be going to New York for the Stardom show regardless but a loss here would mean she’d be watching the G1 Supercard from the audience.
(6) ARTIST OF STARDOM CHAMPION MAYU IWATANI vs. NATSUKO TORA – WOMEN OF HONOR WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
Tora chop-blocked Iwatani from behind the second the bell rang. She targeted the left knee immediately. Tora body slammed her at ringside and wrapped her knee in a folding chair before dropkicking it. She then bashed Iwatani’s leg with the chair. Iwatani came back with a top rope hurricanrana. Stretch muffler from Tora but Iwatani made the rope break. High crossbody from Iwatani to Tora at ringside. Missile dropkick and top rope double-stomp in the ring. Two top rope moonsaults from Iwatani. The first connected but Tora avoided the second. Superkick. Crucifix bomb. Tora with a top rope frog-splash. She followed with a double-stomp of her own. Single-leg Boston crab. Rope break from Iwatani. Top rope leg drop onto Iwatani’s hurt knee. Tora hit a dragon suplex. (The ultimate insult.) Swing-out side slam but Iwatani kicked out again. Two superkicks from Iwatani and a kick to the side of the head. Another. Top rope moonsault. Dragon suplex.
WINNER: Mayu Iwatani in 13:10 to retain the WOH title.
-Stars immediately checked on Iwatani’s leg and Kashima hit her with some cold spray. Iwatani took a mic and led the crowd in an “MSG” chant. She said she was taking her dragon suplex there and bringing the title back.
(Pageot’s Perspective: Good match only hurt by the knowledge that there was no way Tora was winning an ROH title. She looked credible, though, in a way the JAN members rarely do. Iwatani will now face Kelly Klein once again at G1 Supercard on April 6. It seems likely that she’ll be losing that one and coming back to Stardom empty-handed.)
-Kong spoke in Spanish without subtitles. Kagetsu said it’s her 8th title defense. In eleven years Kong is the biggest person she’s faced. Fighting her is like a war. It’s going to be painful but if she wins she raises herself and the belt to a new level and will go to America as the champion.
(7) KAGETSU vs. GOYA KONG– WORLD OF STARDOM CHAMPIONSHIP
It took two and a half minutes to end up fighting into the crowd. Kong bit her forehead. Body slam. Running elbow drop. Springboard dropkick from Kagetsu. A suicide dive sent Kong into the front row of chairs. The ref tried to back Kong off but she shoved him away. Kagetsu used the moment to spray with her red mist. (Red mist burns rather than blinds.) Top rope double stomp from Kagetsu. 450 splash but Kong kicked out. Kagetsu hulked up. She tried for a death valley driver but Kong was too heavy. Kong turned a victory roll into a German suplex. She hit her finishing move that pinned Kagetsu in their tag match but the champ was able to roll her shoulder up at two and a half. Kong went to the second rope. Kagetsu pulled her off into a firewoman’s carry and nailed the death valley driver. She positioned her for another 450 and hit it. But just to be safe… A third. And a fourth.
WINNER: Kagetsu in 11:45 to retain the red belt.
-Kagetsu asked if we know why she won. Because this is Japan, this is Stardom, the home of Kagetsu. She told Kong she was strong and she was able to beat her in Japan but challenged her to a rematch in Mexico. They shook on it. Kong left and Kagetsu called Nao Yamaguchi into the ring.
Kagetsu told her she’s a junior but she’s a senior in life. She’s the only one that would put up with a unit like theirs. She handed Yamaguchi a bouquet and thanked her. Hazuki came out and said they joined Oedo Tai at the same time and went through a lot together. Sumire said she’s prepared a retirement allowance for her. It’s in dollars so she can use it abroad. But there was an extra 7000 yen so please use that in Japan. They gave her a mic as she started to tear up.
“Yesterday I was trying to think of what to say but my mind is blank. Thank you. I feel good but I want to explain my feelings. I don’t know how to say it but pro wrestling was hard for me. 99.9% was painful and 0.1% was fun for me. I thought if I passed my training, the hard part would be over with my debut. I wondered why I was doing this but I couldn’t go back. Kagetsu took me aside and asked me if I really want to do this. I said it was difficult and she understood. So Kagetsu thought of another way for me and made me the manager. From there Oedo Tai welcomed me very warmly as their manager. They were always warm, sometimes 100% angry, sometimes 100% drinking with me. It was a warm unit and without Oedo Tai I don’t think I’d have stayed with wrestling. Really, Oedo Tai, Kagetsu, Hazuki, Natsu… thank you! Many of you reserved tickets through me today and I really felt loved through the end. Really, thank you so much.”
She yelled “Everyone, Nao loves you all!” and the four of them posed together for the final time.
(Pageot’s Perspective: The greatness that is Kagetsu. I didn’t think I’d enjoy that match nearly as much as I did considering how limited Kong is. But Kagetsu’s selling, reactions, and determination to hit the DVD along with the punctuation of “I’m going to hit three 450 splashes in succession just to be sure without even bothering to make a cover” was terrific.
The post-match with Yamaguchi was very touching. We rarely get this kind of confessional honesty in wrestling. For her to just own up and admit that almost all of her experience with wrestling was painful and not fun, that it’s just not for her, is something you never really hear from wrestlers.)
-Miyagi just stared into the camera and made hand gestures. Watanabe said it’s her 12th defense and she’s taking on this weirdo.
(8) GODDESS OF STARDOM CHAMPION MOMO WATANABE vs. ANDRAS MIYAGI – WONDER OF STARDOM CHAMPIONSHIP
Watanabe blocked a suicide dive with a kick and hit a running soccer kick off the apron. Miyagi hit a neckbreaker on the apron at 5:45. Miyagi with some headbanging offense at 8:50. Watanabe with a trio of dropkicks at 11:30 for her first offense in a while. Miyagi remained in control for another extended period. They traded strikes at 16:15. Miyagi shoved the ref in their path at 17:30 and hit Watanabe with a folding chair behind his back. Miyagi with a top rope senton but Watanabe kicked out. Miyagi with a piledriver. Another kick out. Miyagi looked for a tombstone but Watanabe turned it into a victory roll for two. Release German suplex from Watanabe. Peach Sunrise for the win.
WINNER: Momo Watanabe in 20:06 to retain the white belt.
-Watanabe held her neck and boasted that she kicked out of the piledriver. She said her twelve defenses are an ongoing record and wondered who would come knocking next. In the meantime she’s decided who it should be: her tag team partner, Utami Hayashishita. Watanabe said she wants to defend against her. Hayashishita said this is her chance to get her fifth belt and she’ll gladly face her anywhere, any time.
(Pageot’s Perspective: That was about five minutes too long and honestly pretty boring for most of it. Very surprising considering that Watanabe’s last two title defenses have been my two favorite matches in Stardom this year. I guess the difference is she was playing the face here with Miyagi dominating most of the match. We’ll see how her match against Hayashishita compares. That will be a legitimately tough one to call and will likely end up being the match of the night for Stardom’s New York City show.)
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.”