SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
STARDOM GLORY STARS
MAY 6, 2019
TOKYO, JAPAN AT SHIN-KIBA 1ST RING
AIRED ON STARDOM WORLD
REPORT BY HARLEY R. PAGEOT, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
In the arena ring announcer Yurie Kozakai was wearing a referee shirt over a tulle skirt to officiate the annual janken (rock paper scissors) tournament.
(1) 2019 JANKEN TOURNAMENT
Oedo Tai (Kagetsu, Hazuki, Natsu Sumire, Andras Miyagi, & Natsuko Tora) were introduced first, dressed as characters from One Piece. Queen’s Quest (Momo Watanabe, Bea Priestley, Utami Hayashishita, Leo Onozaki, & Hina) were next as the cast of Doraemon complete with Priestley carrying a Doraemon plush doll.
Stars were Disney princesses with Mayu Iwatani as Cinderella, Arisa Hoshiki as Belle, Tam Nakano as Jasmine w/Producer P as Genie, Saki Kashima as Aurora, Starlight Kid as Minnie Mouse, Hanan as Snow White, & Saya Iida as Ariel.
Toni Storm was out next as Minoru Suzuki complete with towel over her head, kicking fans at ringside. They sang along to his theme music as you would hope. She grabbed Priestley’s Doraemon doll and hit him with a Gotch piledriver.
A Japanese-language cover of Randy Newman’s “You’ve Got A Friend In Me” played to welcome Toy Story Cyber Squad. Hana Kimura and Jungle Kyona were aliens from the claw machine, Konami and Rebel Kel were both Woody, Rina was Buzz Lightyear, and Ruaka was Lots-O’-Huggin’ Bear.
Kozakai asked each team for any last words before the tournament began. Kagetsu said they were The Janken Kings. Hayashishita spoke for Doraemon who said he would win. Kid said they’re princesses so they’d win. Suzuki growled at Oedo Tai. Kimura whispered something to Kozakai. She yelled “Andy is coming!” and all of TCS fell to the mat and played dead.
Participants drew for numbers to determine the tournament seeding. Each bout was two out of three falls. If the first bout was a draw, both participants earned one point. From that point on each draw was a do-over. First to two points wins.
Andras Miyagi (representing Oedo Tai) d. Utami Hayashishita
Rina d. Rebel Kel
Saki Kashima d. Bea Priestley
Hana Kimura d. Mayu Iwatani
Konami d. Momo Watanabe
Jungle Kyona d. Tam Nakano
Ruaka d. Starlight Kid
Toni Storm d. Arisa Hoshiki
Rina d. Hazuki (representing Oedo Tai)
Saki Kashima d. Hana Kimura
Jungle Kyona d. Konami
Toni Storm d. Ruaka
Saki Kashima d. Rina
Jungle Kyona d. Toni Storm
Jungle Kyona d. Saki Kashima
(Pageot’s Perspective: Kyona won the 2016 janken tournament and the blind sword fight tournament two nights earlier. She’s on a roll! Up next the trios titles with Kimura and Konami in ten days?)
-Everyone but Kimura, Kyona, and Konami left. Kimura bragged about one of them winning the janken tournament and prompted the fans to yell “yes sir!” when she yelled “let’s have fun!” They ran down the card. Kimura put over Kyona winning the blind sword fight tournament and the janken tournament. They said they’d win the cash prize in the main event too and make it a clean sweep. In the main event Kaori Yoneyama makes her debut as a member of TCS. Her new name is Death Yama-san.
-Our official opening contest was a tag team gauntlet match. There were no pre-match promos on any of the undercard matches due to the janken tournament.
(2a) TOKYO CYBER SQUAD (Ruaka & Rina) vs. STARS (Arisa Hoshiki & Starlight Kid)
Kid caught Rina with a bridging pin.
WINNERS: Stars in 2:52.
(2b) STARS (Arisa Hoshiki & Starlight Kid) vs. QUEEN’S QUEST (Hina & Leo Onozaki)
Hoshiki caught Onozaki with a pin.
WINNERS: Stars in 2:44.
(2c) STARS (Arisa Hoshiki & Starlight Kid) vs. STARS (Hanan & Saya Iida)
Hanan and Iida ran out and immediately dropkicked their stablemates, not waiting for introductions or allowing them to get a breather. A Brazilian kick from Hoshiki to Iida took her out.
WINNERS: Hoshiki & Kid in 3:04.
(Pageot’s Perspective: You had to assume they were going to run the gauntlet here as it was Hoshiki, undefeated in 2019 and challenging for the white belt in ten days, along with all of the rookies.)
(3) WORLD OF STARDOM CHAMPION BEA PRIESTLEY vs. WONDER OF STARDOM & GODDESS OF STARDOM CHAMPION MOMO WATANABE vs. REBEL KEL – NON-TITLE MATCH
Our new top champion, Priestley, entered to virtually no reaction from the crowd. Watanabe got her usual bounty of streamers and Kel got three. Priestley received literally one. Kel managed to overpower the two Queen’s Quest members to start. QQ eventually turned on each other with kicks. Priestley would go on to pin Kel with a bridging German suplex.
WINNER: Bea Priestley in 5:28.
(Pageot’s Perspective: Kind of a nothing match. Weird that they would throw the two top champions and QQ stable mates Priestley and Watanabe out here against each other in a five-minute lower card match.)
(4) STARS (Artist Of Stardom Champions Tam Nakano & Saki Kashima) vs. OEDO TAI (Andras Miyagi & Natsuko Tora)
Tora looked unusually taciturn. Miyagi and Nakano started. Tora tagged in and the heels worked over Nakano. A series of body slams from Miyagi. Kashima tagged in for the first time at 5:36. Double bulldog to both Oedo Tai members and a butterfly suplex to Miyagi onto Tora. Kicks and an armbar from Nakano to Tora. Rope break. Double-team back body drop from Oedo Tai. Top rope dropkick from Miyagi. Tag to Kashima. Eye rake from Miyagi. Stereo superkicks from Stars put down Miyagi. Top rope knees from Nakano. Top rope double stomp from Kashima. Pedigree. Tora broke up the pin. Kashima ducked and Tora clubbed Miyagi. Unprettier from Kashima to Miyagi. Tora broke it up again. Miyagi countered a tilt-a-whirl headscissors from Kashima into a spinning tombstone.
WINNERS: Oedo Tai in 13:52.
(Pageot’s Perspective: Good match but it didn’t feel like there were any stakes. Kashima was somewhat elevated, though, as she rarely gets to hold her own against upper midcard wrestlers like these. Usually she just participates in lower midcard matches with people like Kid and Alex Gracia. The feud with Sumire seems to be doing her some good. She received more pre-match streamers than either of the top two singles champions in the previous match.)
(5) NXT UK WOMEN’S CHAMPION TONI STORM vs. KONAMI – NON-TITLE MATCH
Storm with a bow and arrow lock early but Konami made it to the ropes. Konami went on the offensive for the first time at 4:50. Stretch muffler but Storm made the rope break. Konami with the triangle lancer at 8:30 but Storm reached the bottom rope with her foot to break the hold. Two headbutts from Storm. Piledriver.
WINNER: Toni Storm in 9:27.
(Pageot’s Perspective: Huh. I know she’s WWE superstar Toni Storm but Konami’s been getting a significant push since the draft. This is another kind of headscratcher having her lose so definitively in a relatively short match.)
-Kagetsu, Hazuki, and Sumire were backstage. Kagetsu said they were winning that prize. Nearly the full TCS (Kimura, Kyona, Konami, Kel, Ruaka, & Rina) were backstage with the former Kaori Yoneyama. Now renamed Death Yama-san her hair was more of a faded auburn than her JAN-era bright orange and she wore thick white facepaint with dripping black eye accents like she was a member of KISS. They all yelled “Death!” and Yama-san stuck her tongue out like Gene Simmons.
In the ring a wire had been strung high above the ring from one corner to the opposite diagonal. A cash prize hung from the middle. The match would be contested under standard trios rules with members being required to tag in and out. The first team to pull down the prize would win but members could also be eliminated from the match via pinfall, submission, or going over the top rope and having both feet touch the floor.
As Oedo Tai huddled in their corner to talk strategy, Yama-san and Kyona lifted Kimura into the air and carried her toward the prize. She nearly had it when Oedo Tai noticed and ran over to stop them.
(6) TOKYO CYBER SQUAD (Hana Kimura, Jungle Kyona, & Death Yama-san) vs. OEDO TAI (High Speed Champion Hazuki, Kagetsu, & Natsu Sumire) – TRIOS ELIMINATION “NOT A LADDER MATCH” MATCH
The teams brawled into the crowd. Kagetsu choked Yama-san but Yama-san no-sold and made the “rock on” hand gestures. In the ring Kagetsu tried to use some device she brought to pull down the prize but it failed to work. Sumire and Hazuki began to lift her but Kyona prevented them. Face wash from Hazuki to Kyona. Crotch assault from Sumire. Tora distracted the ref and Kagetsu sprayed water in Kyona’s face. Tag to Yama-san at 5:00. Oedo Tai immediately triple-teamed her while Tora and Miyagi distracted the ref. Yama-san with a split-leg dropkick off the top rope to Kagetsu and Sumire while landing in a back senton on Hazuki. Kimura put her on her shoulders to reach the prize but they were too short. Kel jumped in and lifted Yama-san on her shoulders but Oedo Tai attacked and Yama-san fell over the top rope.
Death Yama-san was eliminated at 6:30.
Sumire knocked Kyona to all fours and stood on her back to nearly reach the prize. She almost reached it again when Kyona lifted her for a powerbomb but Kimura prevented it and Sumire toppled over the ropes.
Natsu Sumire was eliminated at 9:00.
Kyona tried to leap off the top rope and grab the prize but she came up way short and crashed to the mat with a yelp. (Hilarious.) Kagetsu lifted Hazuki on her shoulders. Kimura knocked her off with a missile dropkick. Another top rope dropkick to Kagetsu but she kicked out. Assisted bulldog from Kimura + Kyona to Kagetsu. Hazuki broke up the pin. Kyona lifted Kimura onto her shoulders. Kagetsu sprayed water in Kyona’s face. Hazuki took out her leader with a springboard dropkick by mistake. Kyona lifted Kimura onto her shoulders again and Kimura jumped off to grab the prize.
WINNERS: Tokyo Cyber Squad in 13:52.
-Kimura put over TCS winning every cash prize over the past four days. Kimura said Kagetsu’s become a loser lately and she’s not interested in her. She called out Mayu Iwatani instead. Kimura said they want to challenge for the trios titles. Iwatani said she can’t compete because she’s not fully healed yet. Kimura told her to forfeit the titles then. Kyona said, honestly, she doesn’t care about the trios titles. But the three of them want to take Stars down. Defend the titles or forfeit them. Konami said when she was in QQ she didn’t care about the trios titles but those three sickly people have the titles and it would be better if TCS did instead. Iwatani was joined by Kashima and Nakano by this point. Iwatani again said she’s not coming back yet. Kimura told her to go back to the hospital. Iwatani left while Nakano and Kashima gave her looks of disgust. Kimura told Stardom president Rossy Ogawa to strip them of the titles.
(Pageot’s Perspective: This was a blast. Yoneyama’s evolution from noisy grandma to middle-aged KISS fan makes more sense than we might first expect and TCS are really coming together as a tight faction with a clear aesthetic and direction. The post-match was very interesting. An official trios title match has been announced for the May 16 show. If Iwatani isn’t ready to compete, as she says, I suspect we get a three-on-two defense with Nakano & Kashima fighting against the odds. Opening that can of worms, though, raises a lot of questions about Utami Hayashishita’s multiple championships and when she will be back in action.)