SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
STARDOM CINDERELLA SUMMER IN OSAKA
JULY 23, 2020
OSAKA, JAPAN AT OSAKA WORLD PAVILION
AIRED ON STARDOM WORLD
REPORT BY HARLEY R. PAGEOT, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
After a long time in Osaka, it’s Death. AZM said this was building to her high speed title match in Korakuen Hall so she needed to beat a former high speed champion here.
(1) DEATH YAMA-SAN vs. AZM
Death chanted, AZM interrupted, and a high speed flurry followed. Camel clutch from AZM. She hit some boots, which Death no-sold. Palm strike from Death leveled AZM. Tilt-a-whirl octopus from AZM. They traded a series of roll-ups and Death came out on top.
WINNER: Death Yama-san in 3:49.
(Pageot’s Perspective: One would have thought AZM had to win this one and yet. I probably said this a couple times last year but if she doesn’t win the high speed title on the 26th then I really think the ship has sailed and I have no idea where she goes next.)
-Stars spoke about it being five months since they had last been in Osaka. Watanabe didn’t care about the underlings and only had her sights set on Mayu Iwatani.
(2) QUEEN’S QUEST (Momo Watanabe & Utami Hayashishita) vs. STARS (Starlight Kid & Saya Iida)
Kid and Watanabe started. Hayashishita got the victory (of course) with a German suplex to Iida (of course).
WINNERS: Queen’s Quest in 10:58.
(Pageot’s Perspective: Just filler. Matches like these I really struggle to make the time for when Stardom runs three shows in the span of four days and only makes the matches available on delay at staggered intervals. My biggest wish for Bushiroad going forward is to make live-streaming happen, even if it’s just for the big shows at first.)
-Kamitani said she’s tall and cute so she wouldn’t lose. Himeka said she’s cuter.
(3) SAYA KAMITANI vs. HIMEKA
Himeka overpowered Kamitani in the opening minutes. Kamitani rallied but took a body slam. Boston crab from Himeka. Single-leg crab from Kamitani. Eventually the DDM member won (of course) with a running powerbomb.
WINNER: Himeka in 8:23.
-Himeka’s powerbomb got a rare instant replay.
(Pageot’s Perspective: Himeka’s first singles match in Stardom. She is evidently still pretty green as, like Kamitani, most of her offense was very basic and simple.)
-Kyona said this was the preview battle for tomorrow’s red belt match. Stars reiterated that fact with Nakano saying she was there for support. Iwatani wanted to avoid any injuries going into her title defense.
(4) STARS (World Of Stardom Champion Mayu Iwatani & Tam Nakano) vs. TOKYO CYBER SQUAD (Jungle Kyona & Konami)
The champion and challenger started. They were evenly matched but Kyona eventually gained a slight advantage. She tagged in Konami and they began to isolate Iwatani. Nakano tagged in for the first time at 6:00 and took out both opponents. Konami quickly took control again, though. Kyona and Nakano fought for a bit before Iwatani rejoined the match. Stars hit their tandem DDT/German wheelbarrow move on Kyona. A high crossbody from Iwatani took out Nakano at ringside. (It was unclear who she was aiming for.) Iwatani with a top rope frog-splash to Kyona. TCS with a missile dropkick/powerbomb combo to Iwatani. Iwatani wanted a crucifix bomb but Kyona blocked it. Clothesline. Jungle Buster. And Kyona pinned the champ.
WINNERS: Tokyo Cyber Squad in 20:01.
-Kyona mocked Iwatani’s “Osaka, good evening!!!” Tomorrow in Nagoya is the red belt battle that was stopped by corona, and all the various troubles. She was ready. She told Iwatani she’d plant her into the ring with another jungle buster. Kyona teased a handshake, Iwatani reached out, but Kyona instead turned it into a TCS salute.
(Pageot’s Perspective: Wow. The first development of the night that wasn’t completely rote. These are four of the top players in Stardom so it was unclear who would take the loss here but Konami was the most likely by default. Iwatani doesn’t lose often so this was a big victory for Kyona. Unfortunately it also makes it screamingly obvious that she won’t be winning the title tomorrow. My prediction remains a time limit draw with Kyona winning the 5Star Grand Prix to earn her rematch.)
-The cameraman knocked on Oedo Tai’s locker room door. Tora answered and asked what they wanted. “We’re not talking to you anymore! Fuck you, Stardom!” She slapped the camera out of his hands. Giulia finally admitted that she lost and said Oedo Tai ended her undefeated streak. She’d show them what is it to be a champion. Maika called out Tora. Syuri spoke to her title belt and answered back for it.
Both teams posed in the middle of the ring for the traditional pre-title match photo with Stardom president Rossy Ogawa. As he exited Sumire took off her coat and threw it over the DDM trio. Oedo Tai swarmed and cleared the sidekicks to ringside.
(5) DONNA DEL MONDO (Future Of Stardom Champion Maika, Giulia, & Syuri) vs. OEDO TAI (Natsuko Tora, Saki Kashima, & Natsu Sumire) – ARTIST OF STARDOM CHAMPIONSHIP
Oedo Tai surrounded Giulia and took turns clubbing her. Kashima connected with a big boot in the ropes but Giulia came right back with a body slam. Tag to Syuri, then Maika, as the advantages of the prematch attack immediately eroded and DDM worked over Kashima. Tora eventually tagged in and the fight spilled to the outside. Tora distracted the ref and Sumire whipped Giulia. Giulia quickly took control again. Oedo Tai targeted Syuri but she likewise wouldn’t allow them to land more than one move in succession. Maika with a series of hip-tosses to Tora.
At 10:00 the teams brawled at ringside again and Kashima hit another running boot to Giulia. Triple-team offense from Oedo Tai led to a pedigree from Kashima but Giulia kicked out. She also kicked out of a top rope double-stomp and hit a back suplex on Kashima. Triangle choke to Kashima. Rope break. Falcon arrow from Giulia and a kick out from Kashima. Sumire tried to whip Giulia but Giulia ducked and she hit Kashima instead.
At 15:00 DDM cleared out the others and Giulia wanted a Glorious Driver. Kashima countered into a flash pin but the others broke it up. Elevated kick from the champions. Glorious Driver and Giulia pinned Kashima.
WINNERS: Donna Del Mondo in 15:54 to retain the trios titles.
-Oedo Tai left. Giulia asked them how it felt to lose. They offered a rematch any time. Giulia said next was her winning the white belt on the 26th. DDM vowed to kick ass and continue collecting belts.
(Pageot’s Perspective: With that the Oedo Tai trio’s undefeated streak comes to a close. Now the best 2020 record in Stardom belongs to the champs: as a trio Giulia, Syuri, and Maika are 6-0. Second-best record in 2020 is the team of Tora, Kashima, & Sumire at 7-1, while third is DDM as a stable overall at 10-2 in tag matches, and fourth is Giulia alone at 4-0-2 in singles action. The numbers don’t lie.
Heel vs. heel matches are always tricky to pull off, even if Stardom is less defined with their heel characters than most promotions. At points Giulia was positioned as the de facto babyface, fighting from underneath. At other points the crowd applauded loudly for Oedo Tai’s offense and shenanigans. I will say it will be interesting to see how long the mega-push continues for DDM. Traditionally Stardom has been pretty even with faction records, keeping everyone more or less between the .700 and .400 range. They don’t usually have one group dominate this much. As for who’s next to challenge for the trio titles? No one obvious stands out. Possibly Kyona, Konami, and Death?)