2/15 STARDOM NEW YEARS STARS report: Kagetsu’s retirement gauntlet, Stars vs. TCS in trios action, AZM vs. Zoey Skye in the High Speed Grand Prix

By Harley R. Pageot, PWTorch contributor


SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...

STARDOM NEW YEARS STARS
FEBRUARY 15, 2020
TOKYO, JAPAN AT SHIN-KIBA 1ST RING
AIRED ON STARDOM WORLD
REPORT BY HARLEY R. PAGEOT, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR

Hoshino acknowledged Onozaki retiring at tomorrow’s show and said she’d try her best to win. Kamitani asked her to work together as a team but Hoshino insisted she’d do her best and she was going to win. Hina said it will be lonely not teaming with Onozaki anymore but she wanted to end with a smile. Onozaki noted an impending loneliness on her as well but said they would win one last time.

(1) QUEEN’S QUEST (Leo Onozaki & Hina) vs. SAYA KAMITANI & ITSUKI HOSHINO

QQ wrestlers don’t usually shake hands but Onozaki did here as a sign of respect ahead of her retirement. She and Hoshino started. Running dropkicks from both QQ members to Hoshino. Kamitani tagged in but took tandem offense from the duo as well. Hoshino fired up with some crisp dropkicks to Onozaki. Onozaki with a running cutter. They both looked for roll-ups. Hoshino wound up on top.

WINNERS: Hoshino & Kamitani in 6:12.

-Hoshino was in tears, suffering through the first retirement of one of her peers.

(Pageot’s Perspective: Kamitani and Hoshino are both still officially factionless per their intro graphics. I’ve ragged on Onozaki in the past for being, in my opinion, the worst wrestler on the roster but any retirement is still sad, especially at her young age. It will definitely feel strange not seeing her around anymore. Losing Shiki Shibusawa, Nao Yamaguchi, Hazuki, Kagetsu, and Leo all in one year is a lot.)

-Skye said her first Stardom match ever was against AZM. Today she proves a point, though. AZM said she’s the only one in this Grand Prix with 5Star Grand Prix experience so she knew she was winning this one.

(2) AZM vs. ZOEY SKYE – HIGH SPEED GRAND PRIX

Quick running of the ropes and attempts at early pinfalls as is high speed tradition. AZM suggested a test of strength but Skye stomped her into the corner. Skye with a draping DDT to AZM on the apron. She ran the apron for a penalty kick but AZM caught her leg. Missile dropkick from AZM. Skye slid AZM under the bottom rope and dropkicked her head into the ring post. Tilt-a-whirl armbar from AZM but Skye quickly escaped to the ropes. Skye avoided a double-stomp and they traded roll-ups. AZM blocked a lungblower in the corner and caught her with the AZM Sushi for the pin.

WINNER: AZM in 5:43.

(Pageot’s Perspective: Wow, this may have been the best match in the tournament so far. Skye acted very heelish, looking like a real member of Oedo Tai for the first time, and they were actually given more than two minutes. There are only two matches remaining in the tournament now: AZM vs. Kid and Skye vs. Hirsch. AZM defeated Death, Death defeated Hirsch, and Hirsch defeated AZM previously so they are stalemated in a tie for first. My suspicions have AZM and Hirsch going over there, setting up the two of them in the finals and AZM going over in their rematch, earning the right to face Riho for the title. No date is scheduled for either match at this time.)

High Speed tournament rankings:
AZM – 4
Leyla Hirsch – 4
Death Yama-san – 4
Zoey Skye – 2
Starlight Kid – 2

-Sumire said this is nothing special, just another throwaway multi-person tag. Tora agreed. Saya Iida walked into the room (off-screen) so they yelled at her and walked off in pursuit. Ruaka handled the whole promo for her team. Kimura patted her on the head and said, “Good job.”

(3) OEDO TAI (Natsuko Tora, Saki Kashima, & Natsu Sumire) vs. TOKYO CYBER SQUAD (Hana Kimura, Ruaka, & Leyla Hirsch)

Kashima and Ruaka started. Kashima took some cheap shots at Kimura and Hirsch on the apron, prompting Kimura to tag in and work her over. Hirsch did too but Ruaka lost the advantage for TCS to a tag from Sumire. Kimura and Tora battled. In the end it was obviously Ruaka taking the fall, Kashima finishing her with My Emblem.

WINNERS: Oedo Tai in 8:30.

(Pageot’s Perspective: Predictable and just a “get everyone on the card” match like Oedo Tai said in their promo. Kashima continues to be built up ahead of a presumed match with Iwatani on March 8.)

-Giulia said they were fighting a gorilla, a panda, and a squirrel. Where are all the humans? Maika said she would tame the gorilla Iida. Nakano said you can’t tame a gorilla on a rampage.

(4) ARTIST OF STARDOM CHAMPIONS DONNA DEL MONDO (Giulia, Syuri, & Maika) vs. STARS (High Speed Champion Riho, Tam Nakano, & Saya Iida) – NON-TITLE MATCH

Riho and Giulia started. Iida and Maika quickly tagged in. DDM isolated Iida and took turns tagging in and out on her. Iida finally escaped Maika with some chops and tagged Riho. Riho took out Maika and battled Giulia some more. Tag to Nakano. She held her own against Giulia for a while but foolishly tagged Iida again so you knew the end was near. Syuri made Iida tap to an armbar.

WINNERS: Donna Del Mondo in 11:38.

(Pageot’s Perspective: The use of Riho in Stardom is so strange. This was her first appearance in over a month and it’s just back into a throwaway multi-person tag. Nobody commented on her absence or her losing the AEW title. She keeps getting put in tags with Stars but she’s not officially a member of Stars. They’re doing a whole tournament just to determine who gets to challenge her for the title but otherwise Stardom is doing even less with her than AEW is and AEW folded her into a paper champion for nearly her entire title reign.)

-Hayashishita reminded us that Hayter took the SWA title from her and Priestley betrayed Watanabe in Korakuen Hall, leaving QQ to join Oedo Tai. They’re not sad anymore, just pissed off. The top gaijins put on Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson voices and called their opponents nerds. Priestley said she held the red belt for QQ almost all of last year while Watanabe and Hayashishita kept losing. QQ? Fuck you.

(5) GODDESS OF STARDOM CHAMPIONS OEDO TAI (SWA World Champion Jamie Hayter & Bea Priestley) vs. QUEEN’S QUEST (Future Of Stardom Champion Utami Hayashishita & Momo Watanabe) – NON-TITLE MATCH

QQ attacked before the in-ring introductions could take place. Tandem flapjack to Priestley. Priestley came back and put Watanabe down. She slapped Hayashishita on the apron while Hayter choked Watanabe behind the referee’s back. The gaijins isolated Watanabe. Hayashishita with the hot tag. In the end everything broke down and Watanabe pinned Priestley with a Peach Sunrise.

WINNERS: Queen’s Quest in 12:07.

-Watanabe said that was payback for the events in Korakuen. Since they beat them, though, they want a shot at the tag titles. Priestley shoved her and the teams brawled until they were separated. Hayter said, “Okayyyy.”

(Pageot’s Perspective: Watanabe gets a measure of revenge and a title match is set up for the next Korakuen show on March 8. They obviously won’t win that one but this is fine. All these tag matches really start to blur together after a while, though. Outside of the High Speed Grand Prix we’ve only had one singles match on the past three shows and that was Hayter squashing Onozaki. Hey look, here comes another…)

-Kyona said she was thinking about Iwatani too much and cut her bangs too short. She ran away. Kid said this was a preview of Iwatani’s title defense against Kyona (which has since been postponed due to the coronavirus) while she had her eyes on Death.

(6) STARS (World Of Stardom Champion Mayu Iwatani, Wonder Of Stardom Champion Arisa Hoshiki, & Starlight Kid) vs. TOKYO CYBER SQUAD (Jungle Kyona, Konami, & Death Yama-san)

Kid and Death started with some high speed action. TCS isolated Kid. Tag to Hoshiki, renewing her 2019 rivalry of the year with Konami. Hoshiki slammed Kyona onto Konami and Death onto both of them. She came off the top with double knees to the pile of bodies but Konami kicked out of a pin attempt. Kyona and Iwatani battled, then Kyona and Kid. Hammer throw powerbomb to Kid for the pin.

WINNERS: Tokyo Cyber Squad in 8:26.

-Kyona told Iwatani that would be her next time. She promised a new technique that would crown her the next world champion.

(Pageot’s Perspective: Ah yes, the first quarter of the year and the time when Kyona gets to compete in big titles matches and make the champions looks great as she loses. Then they get to move on to bigger and better things in the summer and Kyona can go back to midcard tag matches. January 2019 it was Kagetsu and the red belt. March 2019 it was Watanabe and the white belt. Now it’s Iwatani with the red belt. Maybe in April or May she can put over the white belt champion again. To everything, turn, turn, turn…)

(7) KAGETSU RETIREMENT GAUNTLET

Freelance Kagetsu said she didn’t think she’d be in Stardom again but here she was for one last time… again. She had no idea how many opponents there would be but she’d do her best to win to the end.

Kagetsu entered wearing the Stardom mask that Iwatani bestowed to her at the end of the January 26 show, carrying what was left of Producer P after her dog attacked him, and carrying the jitte (hand weapon) that was passed to her from Kyoko Kimura when Kagetsu became leader of Oedo Tai. Her on-screen graphic was a unique logo for herself as opposed to the Oedo Tai logo.

Matches in the traditional Stardom retirement gauntlet have one minute time limits. Win or lose, Kagetsu must keep battling until she has run out of opponents.

(7a) KAGETSU vs. SAYA IIDA

Running dropkicks from Iida. Kagetsu ate them all and asked for more. She put Iida down with a dropkick of her own. Chops from Iida. One from Kagetsu. Iidabashi! Kagetsu kicked out.

DECISION: Time limit draw in 1:00.

(7b) KAGETSU vs. RINA

Hiptoss from Rina. Octopus! Bridging pin but Kagetsu kicked out. Armbar and Rina quickly tapped.

WINNER: Kagetsu in 0:34.

(7c) KAGETSU vs. HINA

A series of monkey flips from Hina. She tried for the same armbar that her sister just tapped to but Kagetsu fought it off. The tween got a near-fall off a pin attempt but Kagetsu kicked out. Hina tapped to the armbar just like her twin sister.

WINNER: Kagetsu in 0:59.

(7d) KAGETSU vs. RUAKA

Ruaka with a series of big boots. Fishergirl’s buster blocked by Kagetsu. Armbar!

WINNER: Kagetsu in 0:42.

(7e) KAGETSU vs. ITSUKI HOSHINO

Dropkick to the back of Kagetsu before she could get to her feet. Another. Body slam blocked by Kagetsu. Body slam to Hoshino. Another. A third. Hurricanrana from Hoshino. She had Kagetsu down for a cover but as the referee counted two the bell rang.

DECISION: Time limit draw in 1:00.

(7f) KAGETSU vs. LEO ONOZAKI

Forearms from Onozaki. Kagetsu fired up with kicks, tired of being a punching bag for all the kids. Running cutter from Onozaki. Crucifix pin for two. Onozaki tapped to the armbar.

WINNER: Kagetsu in 0:58.

(7g) KAGETSU vs. SAYA KAMITANI

Running dropkicks from Kamitani. Running shooting star press avoided by Kagetsu. Water spit in the face of Kamitani!

DECISION: Time limit draw in 1:00.

-Natsu Sumire checked on Kagetsu and gave her a quick drink of water to refill.

(7h) KAGETSU vs. STARLIGHT KID

Kid climbed straight to the top rope for a high crossbody. Another! A third! A fourth! Northern lights suplex but Kagetsu kicked out. Kid with a hurricanrana.

DECISION: Time limit draw in 1:00.

(7i) KAGETSU vs. DEATH YAMA-SAN

Kagetsu was dead on the mat as Death played to the crowd. Kagetsu just stared at her, bewildered. Death taught Kagetsu how to do the chant and they did it together, once for each side of the ring. The bell hilariously rang with time having run out.

DECISION: Time limit draw in 1:00.

-Death high-fived Kagetsu and left.

(7j) KAGETSU vs. JUNGLE KYONA

Kagetsu caught her breath and waited for her next opponent. Once she saw it was Kyona she immediately rolled out of the ring. Test of strength between the two. Kagetsu slammed her down. Kyona with the giant swing. She made 23 rotations(?!) until the time ran out.

DECISION: Time limit draw in 1:00.

-Kagetsu was lifeless on the mat.

(7k) KAGETSU vs. HANA KIMURA

Kimura lifted her to her feet and locked on the octopus. She transitioned nto the ground octopus. Kagetsu wanted a rope break and was able to make it. Roundhouse kick to Kimura. Chokeslam. Kimura set up Kagetsu for a chokeslam of her own.

DECISION: Time limit draw in 1:00.

-Kimura hit the chokeslam and left.

(7l) KAGETSU vs. KONAMI

Kicks from Konami to the chest of Kagetsu. Kicks from Kagetsu. Triangle lancer and Kagetsu tapped for her first loss!

WINNER: Konami in 0:39.

(7m) KAGETSU vs. GIULIA

Stomps from Giulia. Delayed falcon arrow. Kagetsu kicked out at two and a half. The crowd rallied behind Kagetsu with loud chants, led on by Kimura at ringside. Giulia lifted her for the Glorious tombstone but the time ran out as she hit it.

DECISION: Time limit draw in 1:00.

(7n) KAGETSU vs. SYURI

Kicks from Syuri. Suplex. They tusseled on the mat, both looking for submissions.

DECISION: Time limit draw in 1:00.

(7o) KAGETSU vs. AZM

Kagetsu was dead on the mat so AZM went straight to the top and hit a double-stomp. Armbar but Kagetsu made the rope break. Kagetsu raked the eyes. High speed action leading to a hurricanrana from AZM. Inverted atomic drop from Kagetsu. Tilt-a-whirl armbar from AZM.

DECISION: Time limit draw in 1:00.

(7p) KAGETSU vs. UTAMI HAYASHISHITA

Hayashishita offered a handshake but turned it into a rear naked choke. Kagetsu struggled. The ref dropped her arm but she fought. Hayashishita let go and elected to hit a torture rack slam instead.

DECISION: Time limit draw in 1:00.

(7q) KAGETSU vs. MOMO WATANABE

They traded kicks. Running knees from Watanabe for a near-fall. All of Queen’s Quest jumped into the ring for a five-way dropkick. Peach Sunrise and Kagetsu was pinned for the first time!

WINNER: Momo Watanabe in 0:59.

(7r) KAGETSU vs. SAKI KASHIMA

Kashima helped her to her feet. She bowed respectfully to the former leader of Oedo Tai and offered to lay down for her. An exhausted Kagetsu was grateful and went for the cover but Kashima rolled her up. Kagetsu kicked out at two. “Why?!?” her expression screamed. Kashima called for an Oedo Coaster of her own. She went up top, played to the crowd, and the bell rang, saving her from having to attempt a 450 splash. She breathed a sigh of relief and climbed down.

DECISION: Time limit draw in 1:00.

(7s) KAGETSU vs. NATSUKO TORA

Tora with a hard forearm. Clothesline in the corner. Shoulder tackle. Another. A third. Eye rake from Tora! Kagetsu with an eye rake! Body slam from Tora. Top rope frog-splash but the bell rang as she made the cover.

DECISION: Time limit draw in 1:00.

(7t) KAGETSU vs. JAMIE HAYTER

Hayter checked on Kagetsu, who was dead on the mat again. She hugged her, then hit her with a knee. Hayter dropped her kneepad and looked for an ushigoroshi. Kagetsu avoided it but took a lariat. The refere counted two as the time ran out.

DECISION: Time limit draw in 1:00.

-An annoyed Hayter hit an ushigoroshi to her exposed knee anyway despite protests from Sumire.

(7u) KAGETSU vs. BEA PRIESTLEY

Priestley with a running knee strike. Queen’s Landing!

WINNER: Bea Priestley in 0:21.

(7v) KAGETSU vs. TAM NAKANO

Nakano helped Kagetsu to her feet. Roundhouse kick. Running knee strike. Another. A third. Enziguiri and knee strike from Kagetsu. Nakano threw the severed head of Producer P to Kagetsu and clocked her with a spinning heel kick.

DECISION: Time limit draw in 1:00.

-Nakano inspected the panda head and determined “It’s not P-san!”

(7w) KAGETSU vs. HIROYO MATSUMOTO

Huge surprise! Lady Godzilla hadn’t been seen in Stardom since March 2018, mostly wrestling for OZ Academy, SEAdLINNNG, and Sendai Girls these days. They traded forearms. Matsumoto hung up Kagetsu in the corner and hit a running knee strike to her midsection. Kagetsu returned the favor.

WINNER: Kagetsu in 0:59.

(7x) KAGETSU vs. ARISA HOSHIKI

Dropkick from Hoshiki. A barrage of forearms and kicks. Step-off kick. Brazilian kick ducked by Kagetsu.

DECISION: Time limit draw in 1:00.

-Blue mist to Hoshiki! Ebisu drop. Oedo Coaster

(7y) KAGETSU vs. MAYU IWATANI

Iwatani insisted on ringing the bell herself, joyously looking forward to pinning her archenemy in a ten-second match. She climbed up top for a moonsault, not even bothering to take her hoodie off. Sumire jumped on the apron and grabbed her leg. Iwatani shoved her off and climbed down. Iwatani and Kagetsu played rock paper scissors. Kagetsu lost twice and got slapped each time. Bridging German suplex to the champ. Crucifix bomb to Kagetsu. Bridging German to Kagetsu. Another. Top rope moonsault from Iwatani but they were out of time.

DECISION: Time limit draw in 1:00.

-Bridging dragon suplex from Iwatani. The referee informed her the match was over so she just mussed up Kagetsu’s hair.

Oedo Tai checked on Kagetsu, who was exhausted after fighting 25 opponents in a row. She said they were terrible to her. She couldn’t even remember what just happened. She just remembered that Bea and Jamie were the worst. She asked someone to get her jitte. She asked Oedo Tai if they would run things as they saw fit after she was gone. She called forth Tora, who knelt in front of her. Kagetsu said she couldn’t pass on the jitte or give her her blessing if she wasn’t ready to accept the leadership position. If she accepted, it had to be with a certain determination in her heart. Would she accept? Tora, with tears in her eyes, said she accepted. They embraced.

Kagetsu told the audience they were witnesses to the future of Oedo Tai. She asked all of the Stardom roster to join her in the ring. She told Hanan and all of the youngsters that she beat with the jumping armbar that that was a special message for them. She encouraged them to use it in the future. She called out Matsumoto and said she was really surprised. She heard nothing about her appearance and thanked her very much. Io Shirai’s gone so she couldn’t say things to her that she’d have liked to but Matsumoto remained her number one senpai. She thanked everyone again.

“I belong to Stardom. I’m Stardom’s Kagetsu and I’m grateful with all of my heart.” Her last two months in Stardom were her retirement road and then she spent a month as a freelancer. It’s been weird but she didn’t forget for one second that she was Stardom. She went to other companies as Stardom and in her heart she is still a member of Stardom. Please always remember that. Until she retires she will always be Stardom’s Kagetsu no matter where she goes.

She drew everyone in close for the press photos. Believe now, shine tomorrow. They are Stardom.

(Pageot’s Perspective: 25 opponents in a row. The only absences were those not officially signed to Stardom (Maika, Leyla Hirsch, Zoey Skye), Hanan (who isn’t wrestling at the moment), Riho (who perhaps may not be signed to Stardom?), and Natsu Sumire (also technically a freelancer though her uninvolvement here could be seen as storyline due to her closeness with Kagetsu). The fact that Konami, Watanabe, and Priestley were the only ones to defeat Kagetsu is interesting. The appearance of Matsumoto was a fun surprise. I wish she’d come back to Stardom but it’s very much a young woman’s promotion. And Kagetsu again leaves with the utmost honor, caring only about the next generation and passing the torch to Tora and the rookie squad. What a class act. I truly hope that this isn’t the end of Kagetsu in professional wrestling. Ideally she will go to Sendai Girls or somewhere else and keep wrestling but, if not, hopefully she finds a home as a trainer or agent because she would be far too big of a loss to the world of joshi.)

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