SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
STARDOM CINDERELLA SUMMER IN TOKYO
JULY 26, 2020
TOKYO, JAPAN AT KORAKUEN HALL
AIRED ON STARDOM WORLD
REPORT BY HARLEY R. PAGEOT, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Hina said Kashima doesn’t play fair but she’d try her best. Oedo Tai were still refusing to record promos.
(1) SAKI KASHIMA vs. HINA
Hina attacked but Kashima laughed it off and quickly took control. Hina avoided a double-stomp but took a pedigree moments later. Kashima showboated and almost got caught with a roll-up but My Emblem ended things.
WINNER: Saki Kashima in 4:15.
-Rina said this was only her second time teaming with Death.
(2) TOKYO CYBER SQUAD (Death Yama-San & Rina) vs. OEDO TAI (Natsuko Tora & Natsu Sumire)
Death and Tora started. The heels double-teamed until Rina tagged in. Then they worked her over instead. Death made a spirited comeback against Sumire but Rina gave up the lead to Tora. Tora pinned Rina with a top rope frog-splash.
WINNERS: Oedo Tai in 7:12.
(Pageot’s Perspective: Oedo Tai continues to be kept high in the win column, which is necessary as they’re currently the smallest faction with only three members. It’s still unclear when the UK travel ban will be lifted or when Jamie Hayter and Bea Priestley might be able to return.)
-Maika said she’s ready to carry Stardom on her back. Watanabe said she had wanted to challenge for the red belt on this show but instead she’s facing some fake Utami Hayashishita wannabe. She promised to crush her.
(3) ARTIST OF STARDOM & FUTURE OF STARDOM CHAMPION MAIKA vs. MOMO WATANABE – NON-TITLE MATCH
Slow going to start. Maika eventually got an ankle lock in but Watanabe made it to the ropes. Maika worked over the leg by stomping on it and wrapping the knee around the ring rope. Watanabe came back with a couple minutes of dropkicks. Back to the ankle lock for Maika. Into a rear naked choke. Running knees from Watanabe for a near-fall. Diving Somato for the win.
WINNER: Momo Watanabe in 10:39.
(Pageot’s Perspective: Nothing special. Watanabe’s star really fell over the past twelve months as Ogawa prioritized a lot of other people over her once she dropped the white belt. They’re trying to heat her up again now for a rivalry with Iwatani but it’s unfortunately going to take some work still as she just doesn’t feel all that important and I can’t remember the last truly great match she’s had.)
-Syuri spoke as if this was a handicap match, completely disregarding Iida’s presence. Himeka said she officially signed with Stardom today. Iida said this was her first time teaming with Iwatani. She was beaming. She handled the bulk of the promo while Iwatani snacked on some nuts.
(4) DONNA DEL MONDO (Artist Of Stardom Champion Syuri & Himeka) vs. STARS (World Of Stardom Champion Mayu Iwatani & Saya Iida)
Iwatani and Syuri started. Other combinations were cycled through but by 10:00 it was back to Iwatani and Syuri trading kicks. Both collapsed to the mat. Iida got the hot tag. She cleared Himeka from the apron and unloaded on Syuri with forearms. Himeka got a cheap shot in from the apron, though, and it allowed Syuri to hit a DDT and take over. Armbar to Iida but Iwatani broke it up. Iidabashi but Himeka broke it up. Syuri with a buzzsaw kick to Iida for the pin.
WINNERS: Donna Del Mondo in 13:21.
-As Stars were leaving Syuri told them to hold up. She wanted a shot at the red belt. It was the main reason she came back to Stardom. Iwatani said she had been waiting for someone to step up. Syuri was strong but that made it more rewarding. She offered her a title match in Yokohama in August.
(Pageot’s Perspective: If you had Iida taking the pin as your prediction, you win… nothing. Thankfully this was the last filler match of the night. As for the title match, I’m strongly against it. The 5Star Grand Prix starts in two weeks and the whole point of that tournament is to earn a shot at the red belt. They shouldn’t just be handing out matches this close, especially since that title match is now apparently taking place at a time when the tournament will be ongoing. Unless both women are going to be sitting out the tournament it doesn’t make sense and undercuts the prestige of the GP. But I strongly suspect both will be involved as they need all the bodies they can get with the lack of access to gaijin talent right now.)
-AZM said she’s going to let all her months sitting at home during lockdown come out during this match. Kid said this was her fifth time challenging for the high speed title and it makes sense for her to win it here. Riho said she fought Kid when she first won the belt (in a three-way also involving Death) but they became friends and partners after. Even still, Kid always had her sights set on the title.
(5) RIHO vs. STARLIGHT KID vs. AZM – HIGH SPEED CHAMPIONSHIP
Lots of temporary team-ups against the third person as people flew and flipped everywhere. AZM took out both women and caught Riho with a ground abdominal stretch. Rope break. Riho tried for a tiger feint kick but AZM caught her in the ropes. Kid hit one of her own to Riho. Standing moonsault from Kid to both opponents. Kicks and knees left everyone down. They all kipped up at the referee’s count of 9. More back and forth from all three parties. AZM caught Kid with the AZM Sushi for the pin.
WINNER: AZM in 7:10 to capture the high speed title.
-AZM said she finally won the title but she’s still not satisified. She’s looking for other belts too.
(Pageot’s Perspective: AZM finally wins the title she’s been chasing for years but doesn’t pin the champion, ensuring that it’s just a little less meaningful than it should be and a little compromised. Is this the end of Riho in Stardom? They never bothered assigning her to a faction and they very much never utilized her to her full potential. I’m hard-pressed to remember any matches she had that weren’t tag matches or for the high speed title. Considering she was AEW Champion for many months simultaneously, the fact that she wasn’t main eventing or in the mix with the top stars was baffling. If she’s not in the 5Star Grand Prix then that has be to confirmation that her tenure here is over.)
-Kyona said they can’t lose. Konami said she would take everything in her path. (They were very lifeless and unenthused.) Hayashishita acknowledged her and Watanabe losing the tag titles to Kyonami previously. Kamitani also declared herself the future of Stardom.
(6) QUEEN’S QUEST (Utami Hayashishita & Saya Kamitani) vs. TOKYO CYBER SQUAD (Jungle Kyona & Konami) – GODDESS OF STARDOM CHAMPIONSHIP
Kyona and Kamitani started. At 10:00 TCS hit their missile dropkick + powerbomb combo on Hayashishita for a two-count. Kyona wanted a gutwrench but Hayashishita fought it. Konami tagged in and hit a German suplex and buzzsaw kick. Triangle lancer but Kamitani immediately jumped in to break it up. Air Raid Crash from Hayashishita. Running shooting star press from Kamitani. Deadlift German suplex from Hayashishita but Konami rolled out of the pin. Torture rack bomb but Kyona made the save. Kamitani ducked and Kyona clotheslined Konami. Magic Killer from QQ to Konami. Torture rack into a bridging German and Hayashishita pinned Konami.
WINNERS: Queen’s Quest in 14:28 to capture the tag titles.
-Hayashishita said they both debuted not too long ago and maybe have a lot of maturing to do but they’re going to grow together as the tag champions. Maika and Himeka showed up. Maika said it’s too bad they have to take the belts right away. Himeka said they both officially signed with Stardom today. They’re not outsiders anymore and have a right to claim Stardom’s future. Kamitani screamed that she’s the future of Stardom. (Apparently nobody wants to claim to be the present of Stardom.)
(Pageot’s Perspective: The outcome was as expected. Before Priestley & Hayter were stripped of the titles for being unable to come to Japan Hayashitani were the only duo in Stardom even talking about wanting the belts. Kyonami were only put in this match because they were the last champions prior to Hayter & Priestley. Kamitani now holds her first gold in Stardom leaving the roster members who have never held a championship at Himeka, Saya Iida, Hanan, Hina, Rina, Ruaka, and Itsuki Hoshino.)
-Nakano said she would fight her hardest, carrying the responsibility of this dream. Believe in her. Giulia said the day has finally come. They would find out which one is the strongest. She will destroy Nakano.
(7) ARTIST OF STARDOM CHAMPION GIULIA vs. TAM NAKANO – WONDER OF STARDOM CHAMPIONSHIP
The bell rang and they stared at each other, neither woman budging for their corner. The referee encouraged them to lock up but they slowly paced the ring, looking at each other instead. They thought about locking up but shook it off. They finally locked up 1:26 into the match. Giulia forced Nakano into the ropes, broke, but slapped her on the head. Nakano visibly told herself not to let her get to her. They locked up again. Nakano powered her to the mat. They traded forearms. Nakano ducked and nailed Giulia with a neckbreaker. Body slam. Nakano went to work with a series of kicks. Penalty kick to the spine. More targeting of Giulia’s right leg. Indian deathlock! Giulia escaped to ringside but Nakano took her out with a high crossbody. Bridging German to Giulia at ringside. Giulia whipped Nakano into the guardrail and connected with a big boot. Glorious Driver to Nakano at ringside. Somehow Nakano rolled into the ring three seconds later to prevent being counted out.
Giulia with a guillotine choke at 10:00. Neckbreaker. Nakano bridged out of a pinning attempt. Back body drop from Nakano. Nakano went up top but Giulia sprang to her feet and cut her off. Superplex from Giulia but Nakano no-sold it. Release German from Giulia and a shotgun dropkick. Nakano grabbed the rope to prevent a three-count. They traded kicks, Nakano targeting Giulia’s leg and Giulia targeting Nakano’s head. They hit simultaneous kicks to the head and both went down.
They traded shoulder tackles at 15:00. Leglock from Nakano. Rope break. Nakano with a top rope knee strike. Giulia with a draping neckbreaker. Side slam. Nakano with a German suplex to Giulia standing on the second rope. Both women were down again.
They traded forearms at 20:00. They grabbed each other by the hair. Nakano with a headbutt. Giulia with an octopus. Nakano slammed her to the mat but Giulia reapplied the hold. They traded roll-ups. Back suplexes from Giulia. Big boot off of the second rope. Glorious Driver but Nakano kicked out. She fired up with some knee strikes.
Nakano hit a running knee strike at 25:00. Another from off the top rope. Tiger suplex! Giulia kicked out. More kicks battered Giulia but she wouldn’t go down. Falcon arrow from Giulia. Nakano rolled through for a two-count. Giulia with an armbar, into a kimura. Nakano squirmed towards the ropes. Giulia transitioned into a ground octopus. Nakano was immobile but refused to quit. The fans clapped for her. The referee called for the bell, though she never submitted.
WINNER: Giulia in 28:27 to capture the white belt.
-The rest of Stars, a staff medic, and even the rest of DDM checked on Nakano who appeared to be unconscious. Stardom president Rossy Ogawa handed the white belt to Giulia. Everyone else exited except for the two wrestlers in the match.
Giulia lay on her back with a microphone. She told Nakano she messed up her right leg but she still got the white belt. She said she finally understands Nakano. Nakano was conscious by this point and propped up against the bottom rope. Giulia thinks Nakano without a belt is interesting. Nakano said she lost today but she’ll chase Giulia to the end of the universe to take it from her. “Any time,” Giulia said. Nakano left.
Giulia declared that she’ll take on anyone. The rest of DDM joined her and put the white belt on for her. She pointed out that she and Maika are double champs now, Syuri is gunning for the red belt, and Maika & Himeka are going for the tag titles. (Syuri is also owed an SWA title match after defeating Jamie Hayter in the Cinderella tournament.) DDM are collecting all the belts. It’s just a matter of time. They are the future of Stardom. Arrivederci.
(Pageot’s Perspective: Giulia truly is the joshi Randy Orton. This match was quite good if just shy of the high white belt standards Watanabe and Hoshiki set last year during their reigns. They did their best to plant some seeds of doubt over the past couple weeks that Nakano might gain the feel-good victory for her fallen partner but anyone following Stardom for longer than a month knew Giulia was winning. My only hope is that this leads to some significant character development for Nakano. For a year and a half she has been obsessed with capturing the white belt. First from her enemy-turned-partner-turned-friend Arisa Hoshiki and then in honor of Hoshiki after a career-ending injury brought her title reign to an abrupt end. If she continues to just twiddle her thumbs in the upper midcard while talking about how she’s going to one day take the belt from Giulia, it’s pointless. She either needs a new goal or to be completely broken from this and heading in a completely different direction like leaving Stars and joining TCS or Oedo Tai.
Speaking of Hoshiki, it’s very disappointing that she wasn’t here to present the title or be ringside for the match. When Hana Kimura died Stardom stated that they were holding off on running a memorial show until they could do something proper. Now with all the conflict between the company and Hana’s mother Kyoko it’s unlikely that anything will ever happen there. But Hoshiki’s retirement doesn’t need to be forgotten about and cast aside. She never got a proper final match. The least they can do is give her a proper send-off and let her say goodbye to her friends and fans. Unfortunately, as we saw with Hazuki, Kagetsu, and Leo Onozaki in the past year, the new Stardom has little room for sentiment. If you don’t fit into their plans anymore, it’s onto the trash heap with you. They’ve got enough shiny new toys to occupy their time.
Our next show is the start of the 2020 5Star Grand Prix on August 8 back in Korakuen Hall. The participants had not been announced as of the time of this show.)
Championship tally going into August:
Donna Del Mondo – white belt, trios titles, Future title
Queen’s Quest – tag titles, high speed title
Stars – red belt
Oedo Tai – SWA title
Tokyo Cyber Squad – nothing