SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
STARDOM NEW YEARS STARS
FEBRUARY 16, 2020
TOKYO, JAPAN AT SHIN-KIBA 1ST RING
AIRED ON STARDOM WORLD
REPORT BY HARLEY R. PAGEOT, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Hina said her match got changed to a singles match against Hayter. (It was supposed to be a three-way with Itsuki Hoshino but Hoshino got bumped up the card due to Ruaka being injured.) She said Hayter’s pretty big but she’d do some damage. Hayter reflected back on one time in the dojo when she dropkicked Hina and she cried. This ought to be fun.
(1) GODDESS OF STARDOM & SWA WORLD CHAMPION JAMIE HAYTER vs. HINA
Squash. Hayter with a Boston crab and Hina tapped.
WINNER: Jamie Hayter in 4:01.
(Pageot’s Perspective: With Leo Onozaki retiring tonight Hina becomes the sole rookie in Queen’s Quest so expect to see her getting beat up more regularly.)
-Kimura and Li’l Rina Kimura were dressed identically and did their promo in unison. AZM, in a Mickey Mouse sweatshirt, simply encouraged us to enjoy the match.
(2) QUEEN’S QUEST (Momo Watanabe & AZM) vs. TOKYO CYBER SQUAD (Hana Kimura & Rina)
AZM and Rina started. QQ worked over Rina. Kimura cleaned house but fell to Watanabe. Tags back to AZM and Rina. Stereo octopi from TCS to the QQ members. Rina with a leverage pin but Watanabe broke it up. Watanabe with a suplex and AZM with a top rope double-stomp.
WINNERS: Queen’s Quest in 8:07.
(Pageot’s Perspective: Two sisters, two losses. Hina and Rina’s older sister Hanan is almost done school for the term and will be returning to Stars so we’ll have the whole family taking L’s again in no time. Rina was surprisingly protected by the finish, though, as it took Watanabe coming in illegally and a double-team for QQ to get the pin on the thirteen year-old.)
-Kyona said it was supposed to be her and Ruaka teaming but Ruaka’s apparently injured so Hoshino would be taking her place. Hoshino was already in tears over her peer retiring. She said she was honored to be in the match and admitted she was nervous. She asked Hoshino if she knew Kyona used to have her own faction called JAN. Hoshino did. They did the “Jungle! Jungle!” chant together. Onozaki was all smiles. She introduced herself as “Lionheart” for old time’s sake and Iida was “The Little Giant” once again. Onozaki said she chose this match and wanted to lift up Iida on her way out. They also did the “Jungle! Jungle!” chant.
Kyona entered to her TCS music with Hoshino following behind. Onozaki and Iida entered to the old JAN music and posed together on the turnbuckle.
(3) JUNGLE ASSAULT NATION (Leo Onozaki & Saya Iida) vs. JUNGLE KYONA & ITSUKI HOSHINO – LEO ONOZAKI RETIREMENT MATCH
Onozaki and Hoshino started. Kyona tagged in and put Onozaki down. Hoshino hopped on her back for an old-fashioned JAN backpack splash. They both looked to Iida. After a moral dilemma she sprang onto Hoshino’s back to help triple-squash Onozaki. Stereo back elbows from Onozaki and Iida to Hoshino. Kyona back in and she took a barrage of chops from Iida. Onozaki wanted her running cutter but Kyona shoved her off. After some back and forth she hit it but Hoshino broke up the pin. Stereo dropkicks to Kyona. Springboard back elbow from Onozaki. Onozaki with about sixty or seventy forearms but Kyona wouldn’t go down. One from Kyona staggered her. Hoshino with a running cutter of her own to Onozaki. Kyona with a top rope splash.
WINNERS: Kyona & Hoshino in 8:34.
(Pageot’s Perspective: I mean it just wouldn’t be right for Onozaki to win, even in her retirement match. Her 2019-2020 singles record was 1-25 and her tag record was only better because of her teammates. Hoshino already has a better record and she only debuted three months ago. She was enhancement through and through but she put the work in and she always stood out due to being the most androgynous person on the roster. The JAN reunion match was a nice way to go out as that was clearly the most important period of her career whereas she’s only been in Queen’s Quest for the past ten months and spent most of that time teaming exclusively with Hina and rarely getting to share space with Watanabe or Hayashishita.)
-Kyona asked Onozaki if she heard the cheering for her. She told her many people support her, not just there but around the world. Kyona said that being a pro wrestler allows her to take out the bad things in her life in the ring. You can put all of your feelings into the ring and everyone watching can give you courage and energy to stand. Kyona admitted that Onozaki had a hard time and lost many matches but she still gave people courage even in defeat. She asked her if she was glad she became a pro wrestler. “I’m very happy,” Onozaki said. Kyona thanked her and left as Onozaki tried her best to wipe her tears on her shirt.
Saya Kamitani came out. She and Hoshino (both sobbing) presented her with a card.
Stars (Iwatani, Hoshiki, Nakano, Kid, Hanan, and Iida) gave her a bouquet of flowers.
Donna Del Mondo (Giulia and Maika) presented a gift bag and hugged Onozaki, never looking so soft and human.
Kamitani, who had been holding the ropes open for the parade of guests, was kicked off the apron by Natsuko Tora. Tora (representing Oedo Tai) shoved a single flower (clearly plucked from a garden) into Onozaki’s hand, then slapped her hard on the back.
Tokyo Cyber Squad (Kyona, Konami, Kimura, Rina, and Hirsch) threw Onozaki up in the air “for she’s a jolly good fellow”-style.
Queen’s Quest (AZM, Watanabe, Hayashishita, and Hina) gave her a bouquet of flowers and a hand-drawn card.
Onozaki was shocked to find one last surprise visitor… Kagetsu! She was all smiles in street clothes and hugged a tearful Onozaki and gave her an envelope.
Stardom president Rossy Ogawa was last. He also presented Onozaki with an envelope and posed for a photo.
Onozaki was given the empty ring and a microphone. She said her retirement announcement was sudden but many people came so she was very thankful. She was able to fulfill her dreams from a young age but, due to many injuries, she’s decided it’s best to retire. She was able to make it as long as she did because of the support of the Stardom fans. Pro wrestler Leo Onozaki retires today but she wants the second half of her life to be even happier.
They rang the bell ten times in silence before the crowd showered her in orange and black streamers one last time. Queen’s Quest carried her to the back on their shoulders.
(Pageot’s Perspective: Credit to Stardom for treating every wrestler on the roster with the utmost dignity and respect. How many promotions would provide the time and space for an elaborate retirement ceremony for the lowest-ranked enhancement talent on the entire roster? I didn’t think this one would make me cry like Hazuki’s and Shiki Shibusawa’s did but Kyona’s speech got me and was another reminder of why Kyona’s my favorite wrestler on the planet. All the best to Onozaki with whatever she does next. At the very least I’ll always remember the lionheart as the premiere jobber when I first started watching Stardom. Also she had one of the top 3 best entrance themes in the promotion.)
-Giulia said she’d already pinned Hirsch and Konami is just Kimura’s lackey so this would be a quick one. Konami said they were in top condition.
(4) ARTIST OF STARDOM CHAMPIONS DONNA DEL MONDO (Giulia & Maika) vs. TOKYO CYBER SQUAD (Konami & Leyla Hirsch)
Hirsch and Maika started. Giulia took a cheap shot while Hirsch ran the ropes and Maika took over. Konami eventually made the hot tag and unloaded with kicks to both opponents. Whenever she began to get momentum on Maika, though, Giulia would jump in illegally. Giulia of course pinned Hirsch with a Glorious tombstone.
WINNERS: Donna Del Mondo in 8:42.
(Pageot’s Perspective: DDM remain undefeated since the stable formed, 7-0 in tag matches now. I suspect their first loss comes at the March 8 show when this duo takes on Kimura & Kyona.)
-Tora said she’d beat Hoshiki while Kashima was aiming for Iwatani. Kid said this a preview of two singles matches but Iwatani corrected her that she hasn’t accepted a match with Kashima and she has no interest in such a match.
(5) STARS (World Of Stardom Champion Mayu Iwatani, Wonder Of Stardom Champion Arisa Hoshiki, High Speed Champion Riho, Tam Nakano, & Starlight Kid) vs. OEDO TAI (Goddess Of Stardom Champion Bea Priestley, Natsuko Tora, Saki Kashima, Natsu Sumire, & Zoey Skye)
Tora hit a top rope leg-drop on Hoshiki but pulled her up before the referee could count three. She chose instead to hit a firewoman’s carry into a swinging side slam for the pin.
WINNERS: Oedo Tai in 17:48.
-Tora insisted Hoshiki must let her challenge for the white belt now. Hoshiki said of course. Tora booted her in the face. Kashima asked Iwatani for her answer. She doesn’t need the red belt, she just wants a singles match. After a couple confusing jump-cuts it appeared that Iwatani agreed as long as she can choose the stipulation. The stipulation was not revealed.
(Pageot’s Perspective: Since this was filmed it’s been announced as a lumberjill match for March 8 in Korakuen with the rest of Stars and Oedo Tai as the lumberjills.)
-Kamitani said she really admires Hayashishita and was happy to finally have a singles match. Hayashishita said Kamitani’s been a super rookie since debuting but she’s a wall she can’t climb.
(6) UTAMI HAYASHISHITA vs. SAYA KAMITANI – FUTURE OF STARDOM CHAMPIONSHIP
Hayashishita dominated the first five minutes. Kamitani controlled most of the next five. They traded forearms. Kamitani hit a couple dropkicks. She went to the second turnbuckle but Hayashishita yanked her off. Hayashishita went to the second turnbuckle but Kamitani dropkicked her to ringside and followed with a high crossbody. Missile dropkick. Pele kick. Hayashishita avoided the running shooting star press. Rear naked choke to the challenger. Back suplex. Torture rack slam.
WINNER: Utami Hayashishita in 14:39 to retain the future title.
(Pageot’s Perspective: An alright match but one where it was very difficult to buy into the challenger winning. Kamitani is still fairly green and Hayashishita has received a push Roman Reigns would be envious of. It feels like she’ll just forfeit the belt at a certain point as none of the rookies or teens in Stardom are credible threats to her. I was quite surprised to see this as the main event since the Future title is probably the least prestigious of the seven Stardom belts. The last time Hayashishita even defended it in Stardom was back in August and then March before that.)
-Hayashishita thanked Kamitani and hugged her. She won her sixth defense! But she’s going to relinquish the title. (Okay, there we go.) Six successful defenses is the record for the Future title. Now she’s aiming for the red or white belts. Holding this belt hostage (my word, not hers) doesn’t seem right (her words, not mine). She left it on the mat and turned attention to Onozaki’s retirement. Not only is Leo gone but Priestley betrayed them recently too by joining Oedo Tai. She wants QQ to be at the top but they don’t have enough members. “Kamitani, how about joining Queen’s Quest?”
Kamitani was in tears. She’s been trying to follow in Hayashishita’s footsteps since starting as a wrestler. “Please let me enter Queen’s Quest!” They hugged and AZM, Watanabe, and Hina showed up to pile on. Itsuki Hoshino and Tam Nakano were seen watching from ringside. Hoshino looked upset. Kamitani said she’d like them to grow together and join QQ together. The rest of QQ seemed open to it. Hayashishita held her hands out. Hoshino climbed onto the apron and took the mic.
Hoshino essentially said, “How dare you force me into making a choice here now on the spot.” She doesn’t want to stand next to Kamitani, she wants to go beyond her. “I want to enter Stars!” Nakano, Hanan, Kid, and Iida surrounded her. Hoshino and Nakano shook hands and hugged as QQ looked on.
Kamitani offered a handshake and wished her good luck. Hoshino told her she doesn’t have to worry about her anymore and left. Nakano stared down Kamitani and told her she’d be seeing her.
(Pageot’s Perspective: Some interesting developments to be sure. The two 2019 rookies have finally pledged sororities. After Kamitani stole the 2019 rookie of the year award from Iida it was clear that she was a cop so she belongs in QQ. She can fill the lower midcarder spot AZM was in last year now that AZM’s risen up to top three status in the unit. Hoshino joining Stars is a bummer, though. With her dour expressions all the time she would have been great in Oedo Tai and a rookie for Oedo would have been something really new and different for them. Stars already has Kid, Iida, and Hanan. I fear she’ll get lost in the shuffle. Also Stars has the worst tag record out of all five stables at 4-21 this year! I do like her telling Kamitani she doesn’t need some older sister looking out for her all the time. Presumably they’ll face off in a singles match for the vacant Future title in the near future.)