SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
STARDOM 5STAR SPECIAL
SEPTEMBER 28, 2020
TOKYO, JAPAN AT KORAKUEN HALL
AIRED ON STARDOM WORLD
REPORT BY HARLEY R. PAGEOT, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Hanan was excited to be in Korakuen. She’d try to keep up with Riho. Riho knew what it was like to balance wrestling with school and offered to help Hanan study later.
(1) RIHO vs. HANAN
Hanan tapped to a crossface.
WINNER: Riho in 5:11.
(Pageot’s Perspective: Hanan still has the best entrance theme in Stardom.)
-Itsuki Hoshino was out next in sweats, looking understandably distraught. She had a written statement prepared, which she read from. She addressed the fact that she was supposed to have her retirement match on this show but it had to be cancelled due to her health. She apologized. “There was a prospect of recovery, but when I learned what the disease was I decided to retire.” Before she debuted she was suffering from an unexplained physical condition and has been in treatment for it. It was difficult to talk about and she didn’t want anyone depending on her. Her physical condition is only going to get worse from here. Her only hope for improving is to step away from wrestling. She officially resigned from Stardom. She felt worthless but whether that’s true depends on her future. Not everyone can be a pro wrestler. She was proud that she could be, even briefly, and will be happier than anyone in the future.
Starom President Rossy Ogawa presented her with an envelope and she bowed to the fans one final time.
(Pageot’s Perspective: I’m not sure what Hoshino’s disease is and I don’t want to pry into her private life to go searching. Obviously this is quite sad for her but she seems to be trying to stay optimistic about her future and that’s all she can do.
Hoshino debuted November 23 of last year. She only wrestled 24 matches total in her career. Her singles record was 1-9-1, the sole win being a victory over Leo Onozaki in February and the draw being a 60-second time limit draw against Kagetsu in Kagetsu’s retirement gauntlet. In tag matches she went 6-7 but nearly all of those victories were thanks to her partner. Again, she only picked up one of those 6 victories and, again, that was after she pinned Leo Onozaki.
On February 16 of this year Saya Kamitani was invited to join Queen’s Quest. Kamitani asked Hoshino to join her but Hoshino refused and pledged Stars instead. Unfortunately, that was never able to go anywhere. On March 8 at No People Gate the rest of Stars were lumberjills for Mayu Iwatani’s match but Hoshino wasn’t with them. She returned on March 24 for what would end up being her last match: a four-way against Natsu Sumire, Hina, and Rina which ended with Sumire pinning Rina. Her retirement was announced on social media this summer. First she was scheduled for a singles match against Saya Iida, but that entire show wound up cancelled among a number of COVID cancellations. Then she was rescheduled to face Tam Nakano on this show for one final match but that too wound up cancelled as we just heard. All the best to Itsuki going forward.)
-Kamitani addressed Priestley betraying Queen’s Quest in January. She’d pin her tonight. Priestley, like the rest of Oedo Tai, doesn’t do promos anymore.
(2) GODDESS OF STARDOM CHAMPION SAYA KAMITANI vs. BEA PRIESTLEY
Priestley hit a bridging back suplex for the pin.
WINNER: Bea Priestley in 9:32.
-Priestley, in broken Japanese, called Kamitani crap and Watanabe crappier.
(Pageot’s Perspective: Apparently she calls that move Plan B. Like the morning-after pill? How scandalous.)
-Himeka said this was her first time teaming with Maika and they were going against two chibis. Maika said it wouldn’t seem like their first time teaming. Kid insisted their speed would make up for their size.
(3) DONNA DEL MONDO (Future Of Stardom & Artist Of Stardom Champion Maika & Himeka) vs. STARS (Starlight Kid & Saya Iida)
Maika pinned Iida with a slam called Enka Otoshi.
WINNERS: Donna Del Mondo in 9:59.
(Pageot’s Perspective: This was originally supposed to be Iwatani & Nakano vs. Giulia & Syuri. No indication why that match was pulled or why none of those four are now on the show. The outcome here was of course predictable as Maika & Himeka have got to be strong favorites to win the Goddesses Of Stardom tag league next month.)
-The full Tokyo Cyber Squad quintet were together for the first time in two and a half months. Kyona said they have to break up if they lose here but that won’t happen. This is the day TCS restarts.
On-screen graphics billed this as a Captain’s Fall match. The match can only end in one of two ways: 1) Kyona or Sumire lose, or 2) Konami & Death or Tora & Kashima both lose. It also appeared to be tornado tag rules.
(Pageot’s Perspective: None of this was mentioned ahead of time in the build to the match. The only thing previously advertised was TCS vs. Oedo Tai with TCS forced to disband if they lose. Oedo Tai electing Sumire as the captain for their team instead of Tora, the actual leader of the stable, is odd. I suspect it’s solely so that Tora use a weapon later and get disqualified without losing the match.)
(4) TOKYO CYBER SQUAD (Jungle Kyona, Konami, & Death Yama-san w/Ruaka & Rina) vs. OEDO TAI (Saki Kashima, Natsuko Tora, & Natsu Sumire w/Bea Priestley) – CAPTAIN’S FALL MATCH
TCS were able to clear the others and go for a quick pinfall on Sumire but Tora made the save. She and Kyona battled while Sumire went after Konami. Tora hit Kyona’s leg with a folding chair at ringside. Oedo Tai immediately went to work on her right leg. Tora tried to Irish whip Kyona but her leg gave out and she collapsed. Sumire helped double-team. Kyona suplexed them both at the same time. Konami hit the ring and took it to Kashima. Death tagged in and dropped a back senton on her. Sumire hit a cheap shot and they double-bulldogged her. Top rope double-stomp from Kashima but Death kicked out. Backslide but Kashima kicked out. Kashima wanted a Revival but Death reversed it into a pin.
Saki Kashima was eliminated at 5:44. If either Sumire or Tora lose, TCS win.
Tora jumped Death but Konami joined in. Tora speared them both. Death wanted an O’Connor roll but Tora avoided it. Kashima tripped Death as she ran the ropes. Ascension and Tora pinned Death.
Death Yama-san was eliminated at 6:35. If any of the other four wrestlers lose, the match is over.
Tora and Konami traded strikes. Kyona returned and dropped Tora with a lariat for a two-count. Sumire and Tora left Kyona lying. Top rope frog-splash from Tora but Konami prevented a pin. Dragon sleeper from Sumire to Konami. Northern lights suplex for two. Double underhook DDT. Konami unloaded with kicks on both opponents. Rear naked choke to Tora, into a suplex. Arm submission but Sumire broke it up. Kyona tried to help but Kashima held her for a boot from Sumire. Kyona fought off a northern lights attempt and a cradle DDT attempt. A hard forearm dropped Sumire but she grabbed Kyona with a cradle for two.
Kashima distracted the ref and Sumire whipped Kyona. Cradle DDT for a near-fall. Sumire shoved Konami into the ref and he fell backwards and lost consciousness. Tora appeared with her chain wrapped around her fist. She charged, Kyona ducked, and Sumire took the clothesline. Konami got rid of Tora. Kyona hit her hammerthrow powerbomb to Sumire. Priestley kicked Kyona at the referee’s count of two. She then pulled the referee into the corner. Tora punched Konami with her chain. She then wrapped it around Kyona’s throat and hanged her over the top rope. The bell rang for the disqualification.
WINNERS: Tokyo Cyber Squad in 12:30.
-Ruaka and the ref fought to free Kyona. Tora tossed Konami into the corner. Kyona stood with Tora’s chain and the TCS music stopped playing. “TCS won,” she said. Applause from the crowd. “But it’s not convincing enough that I beat you!” She was sick of the weapons and disqualifications. There was only one way to settle this. October 3 in Yokohama. No rules. Kyona vs. Tora. Whoever loses must disband their unit.
Kyona grabbed her by the hair and clubbed her while the rest of the factions sought to separate them. Oedo Tai bounced and Kyona screamed for Tora to get back there. When she didn’t, Kyona limped off after them to the back.
(Pageot’s Perspective: Sigh. Positives first. I’m glad Ruaka was back to provide the full TCS lineup and I like the Captain’s Fall gimmick. Negatives. Kyona barely factored into the match and her leg injury wasn’t enough of a focal point as it should have been. All the shenanigans are getting quite tiresome, which is the point, but also makes for flat endings and hurts the referee’s credibility. A six-woman tag with multiple eliminations required to win ending via DQ is a farce as well. And we’re dragging out the death of TCS one more show. Now Oedo Tai hasn’t exactly had the most importance since Kagetsu retired either so it is fairly plausible that they could disband but, other than Priestley joining DDM, I don’t know what they would do with the other three. And, like their male equivalent in Bullet Club, it seems like Oedo Tai will never die. No, this just feels like another excuse to milk Kyona’s fanbase for all the sympathy she can garner while offering nothing in return. TCS disbanding next week wouldn’t pack half the emotional resonance that the end of JAN did last year, especially since it’s doubtful they’d even mention Hana Kimura in the process, the founder of TCS and the true emotional lynchpin to any TCS breakup story.)
-Marvelous That’s Women Pro Wrestling star Takumi Iroha was back for her second Stardom show of the year. (She beat Mayu Iwatani in a singles match back on February 8.) She was joined by fellow Marvelous wrestlers Rin Kadokura and Mei Hoshizuki. Hoshizuki was confident she had the high speed capabilities to hang with AZM. Kadokura said it was her first time back in Stardom in a while. (She and Iroha faced Kyona & Tora in October 2017.) Iroha was interested in the World Of Stardom title but had Watanabe in her path first. Watanabe said this match came about because of a challenge from QQ.
(5) QUEEN’S QUEST (Goddess Of Stardom Champion Utami Hayashishita, High Speed Champion AZM, & Momo Watanabe) vs. TEAM MARVELOUS (Takumi Iroha, Rin Kadokura, & Mei Hoshizuki)
Hayashishita and Kadokura started with some powerful strikes. Tags to AZM and Hoshizuki for some teenage high speed action. Watanabe in as QQ looked to isolate Hoshizuki. Iroha tagged in for the first time just before the 5:00 mark. Hayashishita and Kadokura wound up taking us back to the start as they went at it. Iroha tagged herself in at 10:00.
Iroha stomped away at Watanabe. They traded kicks. Big powerbomb from Iroha. She called for a Running Three but Watanabe dropped her with a B Driver instead. Watanabe hit her running knees, then again from off the top rope, but Hoshizuki broke up the pin. AZM tagged in for a leg lariat. QQ triple-teamed Iroha and AZM locked on an armbar at 15:00.
Hoshizuki broke things up. Spinning heel kick from Iroha to AZM. Top rope senton. Cyclone kick. Hoshizuki tagged in and hit 8 running dropkicks in a row on AZM. After some back and forth AZM called the rest of QQ to hit a three-way dropkick on Hoshizuki. Top rope double-stomp from AZM but Iroha broke up the pin. The high speed girls traded roll-ups, which caused Watanabe to kick AZM in the head by accident. Hoshizuki had the pin but Hayashishita stopped the count. Kadokura popped AZM up into a superkick from Iroha. Jackknife pin from Hoshizuki but AZM kicked out. Hayashishita clotheslind Hoshizuki into a backslide from AZM but she kept rolling and reversed the backslide into a pin on AZM.
WINNERS: Marvelous in 20:36.
-Iroha said the fans may have expected Hoshizuki to lose but she won! (No, we pretty obviously expected the guests from another promotion to win.) Iroha acknowledged that Watanabe got stronger. She implied she wanted a singles match someday. She turned her attention to Hayashishita and noted that she’s first in line to face the winner of next week’s Iwatani vs. Syuri red belt match due to her winning the 5Star Grand Prix. Iroha asked that, should Iwatani retain, she be allowed to challenge for the red belt first. She promised to herself back in the spring that she would face Iwatani for the belt. Hayashishita understood. Once she faces Iwatani she’s winning the belt so Iroha would have to go first in order for her match to happen. She agreed to sit back and face either Iwatani, Syuri, or Iroha for the belt sometime down the line (presumably at the 10th anniversary show in January.)
AZM told Hoshizuki she wants to face her in a singles match for the high speed title. Hoshizuki said people tell her she’s a lot like AZM. She’s okay with challenging but she’d rather team with AZM. AZM said they’d let their bosses decide.
(Pageot’s Perspective: I don’t follow Marvelous at all so I was interested to see their three and what a different promotion had to offer. Iroha definitely came across as a big deal, partly because she pinned Iwatani clean in her last appearance but also due to the way she carries herself. Her style was the most unique of the three and she definitely offered some things I haven’t seen any Stardom women do before. I’m a fan. The other two have good looks and seem fun but didn’t really get a chance to show much of substance. It seems like AZM & Hoshizuki might just be the first entrants in this year’s tag league.)
-Giulia sarcastically said she’d be so lonely after October 3 when she’s finally done with Nakano and can move on. Syuri said she’d make Stardom more exciting by winning the red belt that day. Nakano said there were only six days left in Giulia’s shortest title reign ever. Iwatani was afraid of Syuri’s kicks and feeling anxious.
(6) STARS (World Of Stardom Champion Mayu Iwatani & Tam Nakano) vs. ARTIST OF STARDOM CHAMPIONS DONNA DEL MONDO (Wonder Of Stardom Champion Giulia & Syuri)
Iwatani and Syuri started. Nakano and Giulia tagged in and were even back and forth. By 10:00 Giulia had control over Iwatani. The heels double-teamed the champ. Frequent tags as they continued to isolate her. Syuri kicked Nakano off the apron. Nakano finally made the tag and unloaded on Syuri but Giulia quickly took charge again. They traded forearms. DDT by Giulia. Falcon arrow. Nakano with a spinning heel kick. She hit Giulia with a flurry of slaps. Giulia with a headbutt. Nakano hit a release German suplex but Giulia no-sold. She dropped Nakano with one of her own at 20:00.
Giulia went up top but Nakano met her and they fought in the corner. Iwatani got involved for their codebreaker + German suplex combo. Stereo high crossbodies onto DDM at ringside. Iwatani took out Starlight Kid in the process. Nakano with a running knee to Giulia but Syuri broke up the pin. Nakano went up top but Giulia met her this time and they fought in the corner again. Syuri got involved this time for a tower of doom spot that baffling meant she powerbombed her own partner. Syuri and Iwatani kicked each other and all four women were down as we approached 25:00.
More kicks from the Iwatani and Syuri. Figure four from Syuri but Nakano broke it up. Running knee strike from Syuri. Scorpion deathlock. Rope break. Slingblade from Iwatani. Bridging German from Syuri. Crucifix bomb from Iwatani. More kicks. Syuri kicked out at one. Bridging German from Iwatani. She called for the moonsault but only grazed Syuri with her arms. Buzzsaw kick from Syuri. Iwatani kicked out. Running knee strike. The champ kicked out again. Giulia kept Nakano at ringside so she couldn’t interfere. Gutbuster from Syuri. Buzzsaw kick. Nakano broke it up. Syuri wanted a third but Iwatani ducked. Pedigree from Syuri and the bell rang.
DECISION: Time limit draw in 30:00.
-Iwatani and Syuri continued to throw forearms from their knees until they were pulled back by their seconds. Giulia took a microphone. She asked if Stars were good with a draw. She acknowledged it’s lousy booking and suggested their two title matches on October 3 both have no time limit. Nakano refused to endorse any idea suggested by Giulia but agreed. They implied this would be the end of their feud one way or another. Iwatani asked Syuri to kick her some more and said no time limit would be fun. Syuri promised to kick her a lot. Stars left and DDM closed the show because of course.
(Pageot’s Perspective: It feels like there have been way more no contests and time limit draws this year than usual. Coupled with Oedo Tai getting disqualified all the time and it’s really getting redundant. Anyway, the match was alright. Far too much no-selling for my tastes, especially in the final moments of a half hour match. People should be exhausted, not kicking out at one and still quick enough on the reflexes to be dodging moves. And, hey, you know that moment where two wrestlers who can’t stand each other face off mid-ring and go back and forth, hitting each other with forearms, both refusing to go down? It was a fun moment once, but when you play it on every single show it loses its charm. Write a new song.)