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STARDOM GLORY STARS
APRIL 14, 2019
TOKYO, JAPAN AT SHIN-KIBA 1ST RING
AIRED ON STARDOM WORLD
REPORT BY HARLEY R. PAGEOT, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Hina said this was her first match against Rina in six months. Rina said she was down 1-2 in their series and wanted to tie it up here.
(1) HINA vs. RINA
Amateur wrestling to start with both girls trying to gain the upper hand on the mat. Very even back and forth as you’d expect. They traded strikes, then pin attempts. Rina caught her sister with a bridging pin.
WINNER: Rina in 4:52.
Kel said she’s going to let Nakano and Hanan take each other out and then try for the pin. Hanan said she wants to win, then get her name called in the draft. Nakano was pretty nervous about the draft but said everything’s she done has led up to this day.
(2) ARTIST OF STARDOM CHAMPION TAM NAKANO vs. REBEL KEL vs. HANAN
Hanan slapped away the pre-match handshake and attacked Nakano with forearms instead. The other two teamed up on Hanan in retaliation before working to chop down the bigger Kel. Hanan bodyslammed Nakano on Kel and put them in a double armbar. They both stood up and powered her into a powerbomb. Hanan with a series of roll-ups. Nakano caught Hanan with a bridging pin across her folded-up legs.
WINNER: Tam Nakano in 5:52.
-Hanan again blew off the post-match handshake from Nakano and left.
(Pageot’s Perspective: An okay match. Nakano is my favorite wrestler in all of Stardom so I’m still anxiously waiting for something substantial to happen with her. She challenged for the white belt three months ago and is one-third of the trios champions but beyond that she hasn’t had much story to work with. It’s hard to tell if her dislike of Arisa Hoshiki is building to something or if it’s just a funny background note to the escapades of Stars.)
Tora asked her partners how they feel about Oedo Tai. Iida and Onozaki said they get beat up by them a lot so they’re happy for the chance for revenge. Tora said she’s looking forward to seeing how much her partners have grown. Hazuki said everyone’s worried about the draft but they’re living for the now. Miyagi grunted.
(3) OEDO TAI (High Speed Champion Hazuki, Natsu Sumire, & Andras Miyagi) vs. JAN (Natsuko Tora, Leo Onozaki, & Saya Iida)
JAN attacked during the referee’s weapons check and triple-teamed Hazuki. The heels took over on Iida. Tora tagged in at 4:45 and cleaned house. Miyagi with a DDT and back body drop. Iida tagged in against Sumire. Body slam for two. The faces triple-teamed Sumire as her partners watched from the floor. Miyagi clubbed Sumire by accident when Iida spun around. Iida with a small package for a very close near-fall. Sumire held Iida up for a codebreaker from Hazuki. Northern lights suplex from Sumire to Iida.
WINNERS: Oedo Tai in 10:27.
(Pageot’s Perspective: Some good drama with Iida and Sumire, the only person Iida has ever pinned in her wrestling career. Sumire got her win back here but things were close at points.)
Konami said QQ want to win with their usual teamwork. They clearly had the balance of power. AZM said Kid always say “I’ll win, I’ll win, I’ll win” even though she never does. Kid said it’s the day of the draft and she didn’t know if Stars would have the same members after the main event. She’s lost a lot to AZM lately but today she was going to win.
(4) STARS (Artist Of Stardom Champion Saki Kashima, Arisa Hoshiki, & Starlight Kid) vs. QUEEN’S QUEST (Konami, AZM, & Bea Priestley)
Kashima and Konami started for their teams. Priestley targeted Kid’s left arm and the others followed suit. QQ worked over Hoshiki for a period as well. AZM and Kid tagged in at 9:40 and picked up the speed. Sliced bread from Kid for two. She hit her twisting splash but Konami stopped the pin. Kid found herself alone with her three opponents and ate a triple dropkick. AZM with the top rope double-stomp but Kashima and Hoshiki broke it up. AZM looked for the octopus but Kid caught her in a pinning combination.
WINNERS: Stars in 12:25.
(Pageot’s Perspective: Nothing too special. Hoshiki and Konami were the legal women for the long middle stretch and they’re probably the two blandest characters in Stardom, although Kashima and Priestley might give them a run for their money in that category.)
Ahead of the draft Kimura proclaimed, “Viva la revolucion!” Kagetsu said everybody knows she wants AZM as her first pick. Kyona said she wasn’t picked last year but she’s a leader now and can’t afford to let JAN die. Watanabe said it’s her first time representing QQ in the draft as Io Shirai was in charge last year. She has to beat Kagetsu because she wants to keep AZM in QQ. Iwatani said she has to be careful not to see Stars disband.
(5) ARTIST OF STARDOM CHAMPION MAYU IWATANI (STARS) vs. WONDER OF STARDOM CHAMPION/GODDESS OF STARDOM CHAMPION MOMO WATANABE (QUEEN’S QUEST) vs. JUNGLE KYONA (JAN) vs. WORLD OF STARDOM CHAMPION KAGETSU (OEDO TAI) vs. HANA KIMURA (INTERNATIONAL ARMY) – 5-WAY BATTLE TO DETERMINE DRAFT SELECTION ORDER
First person to score a pinfall, submission, or throw someone over the top rope and to the floor earned the first pick of the draft. She then exited, leaving the other four to continue. Repeat until there were only two people left. The winner of that duel received the fourth pick in the draft with the loser forced to disband their faction on the spot.
There was a five-way test of strength to begin. Everyone tried to dump Kimura but everyone wound up on the apron instead. Kimura chased Iwatani around the apron while Kagetsu sat down and drank some water. Kimura held Watanabe and Kyona in the ring for a dropkick from Kagetsu. Kagetsu looked to springboard in but Iwatani pushed her off and to the floor.
WINNER: Mayu Iwatani in 2:15 to earn the first draft pick.
Kagetsu dragged Watanabe to the floor. They battled at ringside while Kimura and Kyona faced off in the ring. Watanabe took down Kagetsu with some kicks. Kagetsu hit a firewoman’s driver. Kyona tried to powerbomb Kagetsu over the ropes but she landed on the apron. She clubbed Kagetsu but Kagetsu sprayed water in her face. Watanabe ran over and kicked Kagetsu off the apron.
WINNER: Momo Watanabe in 5:30 to earn the second draft pick.
Kyona with a body slam to Kagetsu. Top rope splash but Kimura broke up the pin. Kagetsu with a springboard kick to Kimura that toppled her off the turnbuckle and onto the apron. Kagetsu baseball slid between her legs and yanked Kimura off the apron to the floor.
WINNER: Kagetsu in 6:57 to earn the third draft pick.
Kyona clotheslined Kimura over the top rope. Kimura with a dropkick and face wash. Suplex. Octopus stretch. Rope break. Kimura went up top but Kyona cut her off. She looked for a fallaway slam from the second rope but Kimura fought back and Kyona fell onto the apron. Kimura charged, Kyona ducked, and Kimura toppled over onto the apron too. They traded strikes. Kyona skinned the cat but Kimura stomped at her until she fell off.
WINNER: Hana Kimura in 11:48. JAN must disband.
-The rest of JAN consoled Kyona on the floor. Iida and Onozaki were sobbing. Tora looked crestfallen.
(Pageot’s Perspective: I’m so upset right now. I don’t know what to say. The match itself was very fun, due especially to the high stakes. Iwatani getting the first pick was shocking as I had convinced myself the barely-a-faction Stars would be the ones disbanding. Watanabe stealing the second elimination is right in the QQ wheelhouse where winning is all that matters and who cares about ethics? Once it came down to Kimura and Kyona it was obvious JAN were losing and then it just became something akin to watching your pet die: knowing it’s happening and there’s nothing you can do to stop it. Frustration, heartbreak, anger. Before I fall apart completely, though, the show’s not over yet.)
-The rest of the roster congregated on the stage while Iwatani, Watanabe, Kagetsu, and Kimura collected themselves in the ring. Kimura grabbed her phone to presumably check her notes on who she wanted. Iwatani took the house mic. She said when you think of Stars you think of one person…
#1 pick for Stars – Starlight Kid
Kid was overjoyed that Iwatani chose her first two years in a row. Watanabe made her first pick as Kagetsu collapsed in frustration.
#1 pick for Queen’s Quest – AZM
AZM was also ecstatic about being picked first for QQ two years in a row. She said she and Kid are the future of Stardom. With AZM off the table Kagetsu called for Hazuki.
#1 pick for Oedo Tai – Hazuki
Hazuki teased her about wanting AZM over her. Kimura sat on the top turnbuckle and yelled into the crowd for Kyona.
#1 pick for International Army – Jungle Kyona
Kyona was crying badly. “Last year I created JAN with these hands. Today I lost JAN with these hands. I really love the members of JAN but I like Hana’s way of life.” The crowd oohed. She said she’ll make the most of the opportunity.
#2 pick for Stars – Arisa Hoshiki
#2 pick for Queen’s Quest – Utami Hayashishita
#2 pick for Oedo Tai – Andras Miyagi
Natsu Sumire looked a little upset on stage. Kimura called out to “Plain Jane” in the crowd, someone she called a bit player. It took a moment before people realized who she meant.
#2 pick for International Army – Konami
Konami said, since their recent match, she doesn’t hate Kimura. They fist-bumped. Iwatani laughed about Sumire not getting chosen yet.
#3 pick for Stars – Tam Nakano
Nakano looked disappointed. If she’s not the first pick, Iwatani doesn’t really mean it. Iwatani and Hoshiki tried to hug her but she pushed Hoshiki away. Watanabe made it clear that she would have chosen Konami at this point if she could have.
#3 pick for Queen’s Quest – Bea Priestley
Kagetsu chose Natsu… Sumire? No. Natsu… ko.
#3 pick for Oedo Tai – Natsuko Tora
Tora said she was hoping to be chosen by them and hugged all three of them. Kimura’s next pick was her “Mexican mom.”
#3 pick for International Army – Mary Apache
Iwatani teased the idea of picking Sumire if Kagetsu didn’t want her. She and Kagetsu huddled up and whispered to each other.
#4 pick for Stars – Saki Kashima
Kashima said Iwatani’s been pretty cold to her today. She’s been wracked with anxiety but she’s looking forward to staying with Stars.
#4 pick for Queen’s Quest – Viper
#4 pick for Oedo Tai – Jamie Hayter
#4 pick for International Army – Natsumi Apache
Iwatani said her next pick would lead Stars someday.
#5 pick for Stars – Hanan
#5 pick for Queen’s Quest – Chardonnay
Kagetsu asked if people were feeling sorry for Sumire.
#5 pick for Oedo Tai – Session Moth Martina
#5 pick for International Army – Rebel Kel
#6 pick for Stars – Xia Brookside
#6 pick for Queen’s Quest – Leo Onozaki
Onozaki was shocked. She didn’t have a home “so thank you for choosing me.”
#6 pick for Oedo Tai – Natsu Sumire
Kagetsu stopped selecting for Oedo Tai. Sumire was distraught about being chosen so late and almost ending up in Stars. She thanked Kagetsu out of relief and they hugged.
#6 pick for International Army – Bobbi Tyler
#7 pick for Stars – Saya Iida
Iwatani said Iida’s very Stars-like. Iida was crying and said she’ll try very hard. Iwatani stopped selecting for Stars.
#7 pick for Queen’s Quest – Hina
Hina managed to say through hard tears that she and her sisters are broken apart now but she really wants to be with them. Watanabe stopped selecting for Queen’s Quest. Kimura did eeny, meeny, miny, moe for her next pick.
#7 pick for International Army – Ruaka
The former JAN member was overjoyed. Rina was the only person left on stage and was bawling. Kimura called her over.
#8 pick for International Army – Rina
Rina told her she loved her. Kimura said she’s not much for teachers but would choose another one anyway.
#9 pick for International Army – Kaori Yoneyama
There was no one left to select so Kimura was done.
Kagetsu suggested each unit outline their goals. Watanabe told Konami that fighting her would be fun. QQ still wants to win all the belts. Kagetsu pointed out that the only change to Oedo Tai was adding Tora. She was delightfully surprised that the JAN members were scattered about. She told the world to prepare for a new Tora. Kimura quoted Che Guavara, “Diamonds can only be polished with diamonds.” She wants to polish these gems to shine like diamonds. She called forth Stars. Nakano was still upset and didn’t want to stand next to Hoshiki. Iwatani said they want to fight fairly so please keep supporting them. Iwatani closed out the show. Believe now, shine tomorrow.
(Pageot’s Perspective: Oof. It’s going to take a month or more to truly appreciate the consequences of all this. JAN is no more and they have been mostly dispersed with only Kyona, Yoneyama, and Ruaka being kept together. Like Team Jungle and Stardom Army last year I suspect Kimura’s group gets a new name and aesthetic overhaul in the weeks ahead. Kimura as the leader with Kyona and Konami as her #2 women will be interesting indeed. Kimura is frustratingly hard to pin down in terms of whether she’s a face or a heel and the lineup of her group doesn’t answer any questions in that regard. How will Kyona handle not being the leader anymore? Tora to Oedo Tai is interesting and I’m sure will be a big step up for her. Stars simply traded the twins for Iida, which in itself is kind of a cold-blooded move by Iwatani. Nakano’s frustration with Stars has been evident for a while. Could she be fated for a Kimura/Oedo Tai-style quitting? Queen’s Quest, the most winning faction in Stardom, is also on precarious ground right now with Hayashishita out injured and nearly half their lineup comprised of gaijin. When the Brits aren’t around it will just be Watanabe, AZM, Onozaki, and Hina. Everyone wanting AZM is definitely one of the big stories here so I’m surprised she just ended up staying where she already was. With a number of gaijin being included in the draft, does that mean the ones who weren’t chosen probably won’t be returning any time soon? Alex Gracia, Goya Kong, and Sadie Gibbs each made a significant number of appearances this year but weren’t chosen. If they do return I guess they’re officially free agents now.)
Current factions following the 2019 draft…
Mayu Iwatani – Artist Of Stardom Champion
Tam Nakano – Artist Of Stardom Champion
Saki Kashima – Artist Of Stardom Champion
Saya Iida (formerly JAN)
Momo Watanabe – Wonder Of Stardom and Goddess Of Stardom Champion
Utami Hayashishita – Future Of Stardom, SWA World, and Goddess Of Stardom Champion
Leo Onozaki (formerly JAN)
Hina (formerly Stars)
Kagetsu – World Of Stardom Champion
Hazuki – High Speed Champion
Natsuko Tora (formerly JAN)
Session Moth Martina
Jungle Kyona (formerly JAN)
Konami (formerly Queen’s Quest)
Natsumi (formerly Stars)
Ruaka (formerly JAN)
Rina (formerly Stars)
Kaori Yoneyama (formerly JAN)
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.”