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STARDOM CINDERELLA SUMMER IN NAGOYA
JULY 24, 2020
NAGOYA, JAPAN AT NAGOYA INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE HALL
AIRED ON STARDOM WORLD
REPORT BY HARLEY R. PAGEOT, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
A serious Saya Iida said she had a singles match against Konami last year. She would win this time. Konami just wanted to beat her up.
(1) KONAMI vs. SAYA IIDA
Konami frustrated Iida in the opening minutes, shrugging off her offensive attacks and dumping her on her ass. She eventually rallied with some dropkicks and gorilla slaps but Konami put her away with a buzzsaw kick.
WINNER: Konami in 7:34
(Pageot’s Perspective: The disappearance of Itsuki Hoshino and the retirement of Leo Onozaki means the Sayas have been losing more than ever. Considering it’s been years for AZM and Starlight Kid and their movement up the card has been neglible I don’t see much of a brighter future for Iida at this point.)
-Long time no see Nagoya death. Kid said they hadn’t been here since last year’s tag finals. This was some high speed training for her ahead of her title match on the next show. No words from Kashima.
(2) STARLIGHT KID vs. SAKI KASHIMA vs. DEATH YAMA-SAN
Kid interrupted Death’s chanting. Kashima just sat in the corner and watched. The babyfaces elected to go after her, drawing her into the fight. Kashima dumped Death and worked over Kid. The second Death returned and went after Kid, Kashima bailed to ringside. She tripped Kid as she ran the ropes and tossed Death around by her hair. Kid hit a standing moonsault on both women. Kashima went up top but was knocked to ringside and Kid caught Death with a code red for the win.
WINNER: Starlight Kid in 4:59.
(Pageot’s Perspective: So Starlight Kid will not be winning the high speed title in the three-way on our next show.)
-Nakano said she had been trying to think of a good name for her team with Riho. The best she came up with was Dream Monster, or Dori-Mon for short. Riho approved. No pre-match comments from Oedo Tai.
(3) DREAM MONSTER (High Speed Champion Riho & Tam Nakano) vs. OEDO TAI (Natsuko Tora & Natsu Sumire)
Oedo Tai attacked during Dori-Mon’s introduction. They isolated Nakano. Kashima kicked her bucket into Nakano’s faced. She then brought a chair into the ring and sat Nakano in it to hit a big boot. Tag to Riho. High crossbody to Sumire. Sumire carried her around like a baby, then suplexed her into a turnbuckle. Crotch assault. Tags to Nakano and Tora. Ascension to Nakano but she kicked out. Samoan pop. Tora lay her chain on Nakanos’s stomach and hit a top rope frog-splash but Nakano’s leg was under the rope so the refere wouldn’t count the pin. Double-team offense from Dori-Mon to Tora. Sumire whipped Nakano but Riho dropkicked her out of the air. Tora grabbed a chair. The referee grabbed the other end but she shoved him off and clocked Nakano. Then she cracked it across his back and he went down. Another chair shot to Nakano and the bell rang.
WINNERS: Dream Monster in 10:03 via disqualification.
-A chair shot for Riho. Body slam to Nakano onto the chair. A cameraman went down. Sumire took his camera and filmed some footage of their destruction.
(Pageot’s Perspective: Another rare disqualification finish in Stardom. The new Oedo Tai are not handling their trios title loss well. I guess they figure if they can’t win their matches, they’ll at least lose them by choice.)
-QQ said this was all out war. DDM said they wanted to crush them. Himeka said there was someone in QQ besides Kamitani that she wanted. Maika then called out Hayashishita and Syuri called out Watanabe so presumably Himeka was talking about AZM.
(4) DONNA DEL MONDO (Himeka & Artist Of Stardom Champions Giulia, Syuri, & Future Of Stardom Champion Maika) vs. QUEEN’S QUEST (Momo Watanabe, AZM, Utami Hayashishita, & Saya Kamitani)
Maika and Hayashishita started. By 10:00 DDM had Kamitani isolated and took turns working her over. AZM made a tag and dispatched of Giulia and Himeka. Everything broke down and Kamitani wound up alone again. She and Maika went face to face and traded clubbing blows. Maika tossed her around. Tag to AZM again. Rock Bottom from Maika.
Himeka and AZM battled at 15:00. Armbar applied but Giulia broke it up. Hayashishita and Himeka battled. They both wanted torture racks but both escaped. They traded shoulder tackles like caribou with neither going down. Himeka came off the ropes and took Hayashishita off her feet. Both were down.
Tags to Watanabe and Syuri at 20:00. They traded suplexes. Syuri with an armbar. AZM made the save. Everything broke down again. Syuri and Watanabe traded kicks. DDM quadruple-teamed Watanabe for elevated kicks from Giulia and Syuri. German suplex from Syuri but Kamitani made the save.
At 25:00 QQ took out Syuri with a double-stomp, shooting star press, and running knees. DDM broke up the pin. Rear naked choke from Watanabe to Syuri. Rope break. Watanabe and Syuri traded forearms. German suplex from Syuri and AZM broke up the pin again. Suplex from Watanabe but the rest of the teams broke up the pin yet again. Roundhouse kick from Syuri. QQ broke up the pin yet again. Syuri with an armbar to Watanabe. QQ broke things up for the fortieth time. Time expired.
DECISION: Time limit draw in 30:00.
-All eight women had their arms raised by the referee. Giulia of course got the mic first. “QQ, you didn’t just lay down against DDM, huh?” she said in amazement. Women’s pro wrestling would see that DDM is the future. Watanabe said some outsiders wouldn’t be the future of Stardom. QQ is the future as they have the youth on their side. Both quartets went face to face again.
(Pageot’s Perspective: They really wanted this to have an epic quality of a war between the two factions but it was simply too long. They ran out of material after about 17 minutes and just kept circling back around to “these two women are evenly matched and no one can gain an inch” and having their partners break up every single pinfall or submission. Stardom referees are maybe the most lackadaisical of any promotion, routinely allowing weapons to be used and brawls in the crowd with the match continuing, but half an hour of every single pinfall being broken up by the teammates made him look like such a chump. I know it may seem like I’m just constantly dumping on DDM but in this instance I’m actually moreso dumping on eight-person tags. They’re just obviously “get everyone on the card” matches and I feel like they rarely further stories or amount to anything particularly meaningful. How many 8- or 10-person tags are on your list of all-time favorite matches?)
-“Please feel my determination,” Kyona said. Iwatani said it had been a while since they’d been in Nagoya and since she defended the red belt. (The last time was January 19th against Watanabe.) This was also the arena where she dislocated her elbow. It’s a traumatic venue for her and she had goosebumps as soon as she walked in. She was audibly nervous and more resigned than usual.
Big match feel as cameras caught Konami giving Kyona a final pep talk backstage. The cameras followed Kyona down the hall and into the arena. She had a new long white coat and wore a string of bullets and carried her rave gun. Her hometown crowd gave her a standing ovation.
Backstage Iwatani donned her mask, stretched, and adjusted her robe before power walking through the curtain. On the other side she paused to survey the room. A stoic Kyona looked on from in the ring. Iwatani paused as the steps into the ring and placed her hands on the apron, seeming to take a couple deep breaths and center herself.
Stardom president Rossy Ogawa posed with the pair for photos and held up the red belt. Starlight Kid and Tam Nakano were seconding the champion. Konami was seconding the challenger. No streamers due to COVID precautions.
(5) MAYU IWATANI vs. JUNGLE KYONA – WORLD OF STARDOM CHAMPIONSHIP
Kyona has been wrestling for five years but this marks the first singles match ever between the two. Lock-up. Iwatani into the ropes and they break. Standing switch. Wristlocks and headlocks. Iwatani to the mat. Kyona looked for a pin but Iwatani bridged out at one. Reset. Another takedown from Kyona. Side headlock wearing away at Iwatani. A shoulder tackle sent Iwatani toppling into the ropes. She tried one of her own but bounced off Kyona. Kyona ran through her but Iwatani kipped up. A spinning back elbow dropped Kyona. They traded forearms. Iwatani fell backwards on her rear end. Kyona caught her running the ropes and chucked her away with a fallaway slam. Backbreaker from Kyona. She draped Iwatani on the top rope and dropkicked her in the back of the spine.
Kyona grounded Iwatani and stretched on her neck and shoulders. A suplex attempt from Kyona was turned into a guillotine choke by Iwatani. Kyona started to fade but powered back to her feet and got Iwatani up and over for the first two-count of the match at 6:56. Kicks to the spine of Iwatani. Iwatani suddenly sprung to the top rope and caught her with a missile dropkick. Backslide into a submission on Kyona’s elbow. She forced the rope break. Iwatani wrapped the right elbow around the middle rope and pulled until the referee forced her off. Dropkick to Kyona in the ropes gave Iwatani her first two-count at 10:00.
Frog-splash avoided by Kyona. Lariat to the back of the head. Running clothesline turned Iwatani inside out for a near-fall. Body slam. Kyona went up top but was cut off by Iwatani. Frankensteiner blocked by Kyona. Second rope powerbomb blocked by Iwatani. Instead Kyona just gorilla press slammed Iwatani to the mat. Top rope splash but Iwatani got her knees up! Both women were down. They crawled toward each other. Iwatani suddenly lunged forward, grabbing Kyona’s arm and pulling at the shoulder Kyona dislocated last fall. Kyona struggled as Iwatani turned it into a kimura lock. The fans rallied behind the challenger with loud clapping. Kyona finally got her foot on the rope to force the break. Iwatani immediately pulled her back to her feet and planted her with a crucifix bomb for a near-fall. The champion wanted her dragon suplex but settled for a standard German. She held on and stuck the dragon on the second attempt. Kyona kicked out at two and a half.
At 15:00 Iwatani went up top for a moonsault. Kyona moved and Iwatani crashed to the mat. Kyona hoisted her up for a gutwrench but the champ fought out. Big elbow from Kyona and a second rope splash to Iwatani’s spine. Kyona flipped her over and went up top for a big splash! Iwatani kicked out at two and a half. Kyona pounded the mat in frustration. Gutwrench into a hammerthrow powerbomb! Iwatani kicked out again. A lariat sent Iwatani corkscrewing threw the air. Clothesline in the corner and Kyona lifted her up for a Jungle Buster. Iwatani squirmed out. Kyona slapped her and lifted her up again. She dropped her with the Jungle Buster. Iwatani kicked out at 3. (Okay, we’ll say 2.99.)
Kyona called for Hana Kimura’s package piledriver. Iwatani slipped out and rolled Kyona up for a near-fall. Superkick to the kneeling Kyona. A second. A third. Kyona refused to stay down. Both women glared at each other before collapsing out of exhaustion. The arena was raucous, even with all the fans masked and sitting down. Iwatani made it to her knees first but Kyona made it to her feet first. They traded forearms. Roundhouse kick from Iwatani. Split leg dropkick to Kyona in the ropes. The challenger fell to ringside and the champ went up top.
High crossbody from Iwatani onto Kyona and all the seconds at 20:00. She rolled Kyona back into the ring. Dragon suplex! Kyona rolled a shoulder up at the refeee’s count of 2.98. Iwatani wanted a two-stage version but Kyona resisted. Iwatani finally hit the two-stage dragon suplex again for the win.
WINNER: Mayu Iwatani in 21:01 to retain the red belt.
-Polite applause quickly died out. The seconds jumped into the ring with cold spray to tend to the wrestlers. Iwatani tussled Kyona’s hair with them both laying on the mat. Ogawa presented the red belt to Iwatani while Kyona looked on from a seated position.
Iwatani took a mic. She said wrestlers can truly shine when everyone can watch them. She thanked the fans for coming and thanked Kyona. She said Kyona was inspired to become a wrestler after watching her wrestle. She passed her the mic and let her close the show since they were in her hometown.
Kyona stood to continued applause. She thanked the fans. With tears in her eyes she said, “I prepared and trained my hardest to fight Mayu, but I was still useless today. I had so many heavy thoughts, coming in to fight Mayu, but because it was her I was able to give it my all.” She started to cry. She thanked Mayu and everyone who supported her.
Kyona and Iwatani shook hands. Kyona exited and Iwatani closed the show but the camera lingered on Kyona being consoled by Death Yama-San at ringside.
(Pageot’s Perspective: Long-time readers know that Kyona is my favorite wrestler on the planet. As such, they might expect a long, drawn-out rant here filled with expletives and annoyance. Sorry to disappoint you. Am I bummed that she took the clean pin as opposed to going to a time limit draw? Yes. In retrospect the draw in our fourth match should have tipped us off that we would not see that as a finish here. If I thought this was a complete burial of Kyona, that she will be relegated back to the tag team scene now, and that Ogawa simply doesn’t see in her what so many others do, I would undoubtedly be very upset. But framing is important.
Stardom only comes to Nagoya three or four times per year. In March 2019 Kyona challenged Watanabe for the white belt in the main event and lost. That match, and her post-match promo in particular, was the moment she became my favorite wrestler. July 2019 Kyona & Konami captured the tag titles for the first time in the main event in Nagoya. November 2019 Kyona & Konami lost to Watanabe & AZM in a tag league match in the penultimate match on the card. This was their first time back since then.
A hometown crowd is a special thing, especially when the wrestler in question is a perpetual underdog who’s never held singles gold. On top of that, nobody in Stardom wears their heart on their sleeve like Kyona. Three of the last four times she’s left a Nagoya show it’s been in tears. Entering this show for her first singles match against Iwatani, her first shot at the red belt since January 2019, her first match back in her hometown since COVID-19 hit, and her first hometown appearance since one of her closest friends took her own life, emotions were understandably high. She put up a hard-fought battle and she lost fair and square. “[She] was useless today,” she said. But useless only if the goal was to walk out as champion. If the goal was to rally her fans behind her even more, to make us believe in Jungle Kyona even more, and wish even more to see her finally achieve her dreams and win the title for us, for herself, and for Hana, who never got a chance to hold a singles title in Stardom either… then this was a success by all accounts.
Jungle Kyona will win the 2020 5Star Grand Prix. And when she gets one more shot at that red belt, she won’t leave empty-handed.)
Find Harley on Twitter @yrechoheart and listen to he and Emily Fear talk the best in women’s wrestling every Tuesday on the PWTorch Dailycast “Grit & Glitter.”