SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
STARDOM YOKOHAMA CINDERELLA
OCTOBER 3, 2020
YOKOHAMA, JAPAN AT RADIANT HALL
AIRED ON STARDOM WORLD
REPORT BY HARLEY R. PAGEOT, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Hello readers and apologies for the two-week delay on this report. I had been waiting for Stardom World to make the show available with English subtitles but there is still nothing and I received no response when I reached out to them for a timeframe. As such, here’s my coverage based on the raw Japanese pay-per-view feed and we’ll have to wonder together what was said in the handful of post-match promos that took place. (Unless you speak Japanese, in which case please reach out to email@example.com with some notes.) Regular reports on the Stardom shows that have taken place since October 4 should be up in as timely a manner as I can manage to catch up. Thanks for reading.
(1) AZM vs. STARLIGHT KID – HIGH SPEED CHAMPIONSHIP
Kid hit a high crossbody early on onto AZM and the rest of Queen’s Quest at ringside. She followed with a tiger feint kick and standing moonsault but AZM kicked out. Second rope dropkick from AZM and a suplex. She wanted the armbar but Kid quickly made it to the ropes. Double-stomp avoided by Kid. Lungblower to AZM hanging on the ropes. Twisting splash but AZM kicked out at one. She hit her double-stomp but Kid kicked out at one. Kid countered a suplex into a DDT and both girls were down.
They traded forearms. (That’s one for the night.) AZM with another double-stomp off the second rope but Kid kicked out again. Tilt-a-whirl armbar landed but Kid reached the bottom rope with her foot. AZM springboarded into a codebreaker from Kid. Fishergirl’s suplex but AZM kicked out. AZM saw the Code Red coming and avoided it but took another codebreaker. Kid hit a tiger feint kick to the back and nailed a sunset bomb but AZM was too close to the ropes. Second rope moonsault avoided by AZM. They traded roll-ups. Kid kicked out of the AZM Sushi. Armbar again and a rope break again from Kid. A double-stomp to the left arm of Kid set her up for another armbar and this time she had nowhere to go.
WINNER: AZM in 11:27 to retain the high speed title.
(Pageot’s Perspective: Big show feel, biggest since No People Gate in March. It’s a large arena and the lights are completely out in the crowd with just the ring illuminated. The crowd is already hot with lots of applause and noise and the camerawork seems crisper and more high-definition than usual. These two probably know each other better than anyone on the roster and they delivered on the big stage. Kid still relies too heavily on her four go-to moves and she’ll need to break out of her comfort zone if she wants to rise up through the midcard. AZM’s working hard and it shows. The question, as always, remains who she defends against now as the high speed division only seems to ever feature the same three people and I can’t imagine anyone’s clamoring for AZM vs. Death Yama-san again.)
Our second contest was Hanan taking on a mystery opponent. She was revealed to be former Tokyo Joshi Pro wrestler Mina Shirakawa.
(2) HANAN vs. MINA SHIRAKAWA
Shirakawa hit some basic offense before locking on a surfboard. Hanan came back with an STO and a northern lights suplex. Shirakawa with a Thesz press. Spinning back fist, twisting crossbody, and an implant DDT for the win.
WINNER: Mina Shirakawa in 5:07.
(Pageot’s Perspective: The 16 year-old Hanan actually has more experience than Shirakawa, despite Shirakawa being twice her age. Shirakawa’s only been wrestling for two years and is likely best known for being a professional bikini model in addition to her nascent wrestling career. It’s still weird to me that Kagetsu made a point of publicly bestowing her jumping armbar onto Hanan before retiring yet I don’t think we’ve seen Hanan do it once since returning from her time away.)
Natsu Sumire was out for a tag match, entering alone to her own music rather than Oedo Tai’s. Saya Iida was then out for the opposing team. She had dyed the underside of her hair lime green while keeping the brown on top. Out third was Sumire’s partner, DDT and TJP wrestler Yuna Manase, returning to Stardom for the first time in five and a half years. Manase actually started her career with Stardom in 2014 before leaving in February 2015. Out last was Riho.
(3) RIHO & SAYA IIDA vs. NATSU SUMIRE & YUNA MANASE
Manase shook hands while Sumire looked on. Iida and Riho double-teamed her but she overpowered them. Body slam to Iida. Tag to Sumire, who entered the match with her whip behind her back. While Riho complained to the referee she whipped Iida across the midsection. Sumire choked Iida in the corner with her pelvis before following with the traditional crotch assault. Manase back in. Another body slam to Iida. Clothesline in the corner and a big boot for two. Tag to Riho.
Headscissors to Manase. Tiger feint kick. High crossbody. Manase tried to roll through but it didn’t really work. Double-stomp from Riho. Iida back in for a dropkick and a series of gorilla chops. Manase caught her with a lariat. Tag to Sumire. Running boot. Northern lights suplex. Riho jumped in for a double dropkick. Missile dropkick from Iida to Sumire. Cradle DDT from Sumire to Iida but Riho broke up the pin. Manase took out Riho with a shoulder tackle. Sumire grabbed her whip. Iida avoided it and ducked a boot from Manase that took out Sumire instead. Northern lights suplex from Iida to Sumire for the pin.
WINNERS: Riho & Iida in 8:39.
(Pageot’s Perspective: This was… unnecessary, and I say that being a huge fan of Sumire and Iida and a fan of Riho when she gets to do something meaningful. Unfortunately that term never applies to her time in Stardom.)
The Donna Del Mondo quartet walked out onto the stage to introduce their newest member… Natsupoi. Yet another TJP star, she’s been wrestling since 2015 and got her start with Actwres girl’Z. She joined Stardom in 2016, wrestling pre-death Kaori Yoneyama numerous times, and competed in the 2016 5Star Grand Prix. This was her first time in Stardom in four years. She wore a baseball cap and carried a baton, riding to the ring on Himeka’s shoulders.
(4) DEATH YAMA-SAN vs. NATSUPOI
Natsupoi with some high speed action. She tossed Death across the ring by her hair. Death grabbed her by the nose. They did the spot where Death runs into a series of boots, getting a little bit weaker each time. Throat punch. Back senton. Tilt-a-whirl octopus from Natsupoi. Dropkicks to the head of Death. High crossbody. Death wanted the O’Connor roll but Natsupoi hung onto the ropes. Superkick. Bridging German suplex for the win.
WINNER: Natsupoi in 4:52.
-Natsupoi took a mic and addressed the crowd, closing by indicating that she’ll be pursuing the high speed title.
(Pageot’s Perspective: I don’t follow TJP so I’m not familiar with any of our three guest stars here tonight. Of the three, Natsupoi obviously got the biggest slot and seems the strongest candidate for signing full-time with Stardom. Unlike TCS and Oedo Tai DDM doesn’t seem like the type of faction to have part-time guest wrestlers. That said, it feels really quick to have the group balloon up to a quintet already. They haven’t even been around nine months yet and I still barely know Maika and Syuri’s personalities, or if they have any.)
(5) MOMO WATANABE vs. BEA PRIESTLEY – SWA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
Watanabe tossed Priestley to the floor in the opening moments and went after her with a penalty kick to the spine. Priestley dodged a kick and Watanabe connected with the ring post. Priestley teased throwing Watanabe into the crowd, knowing fully well that she couldn’t due to the pandemic, and instead ran her into the apron. Priestley started to work over Watanabe’s right leg. She chose to play to the crowd, though, and that gave Watanabe an opening to hit a dropkick. She hit a couple more but Priestley quickly regained control and went back to the leg. Watanabe caught her with a judo throw. She set Priestley up top in superplex position but she slipped out. Meteora off the second rope to Priestley. B Driver. Priestley wanted Queen’s Landing but Watanabe escaped and hit a kamigoye. Release German suplex. Anklelock from Priestley. Dragonscrew leg whip. Plan B but Watanabe kicked out. Priestley pulled down her kneepad and hit a knee strike to the back of Watanabe’s head. Queen’s Landing for the clean pin.
WINNER: Bea Priestley in 10:52 to capture the vacant SWA title.
-Priestley took a mic and said she only had one thing to say… Then she said a Japanese word of which I don’t know the meaning.
(Pageot’s Perspective: The devolution of Momo Watanabe continues but at least her new blue and gold gear is stunning. She doesn’t show it but it has to be frustrating to produce as many stellar matches in 2019 as she did only to be brushed aside. I genuinely don’t know what she does next. No championship picture makes sense for her right now but she’s the only one of the top four names in QQ to not be holding gold and appearance is everything.
Priestley & Jamie Hayter were stripped of the tag titles on July 20 due to their inability to travel to Japan. At the time there was no mention of the SWA title, which was also held by Hayter. On the September 19 show Priestley challenged Watanabe to face her in a singles match for the SWA title, which left us scratching our heads at the time, wondering what she was talking about. Between then and here this match was made official and it was implied that Hayter was stripped of the title at some point between March 24 and September 19. If you’re unfamiliar with the SWA title, it stands for Stardom World Association and the gimmick is that it can only be defended against women from other countries. That means that literally everybody on the roster is eligible to contend for it now against England’s Priestley.)
Oedo Tai were out as a duo for the faction dissolution match. Saki Kashima carried a steel chair to the ring while Natsuko Tora carried a folding table over one shoulder like a beast. Rina, Ruaka, and Death Yama-san walked out first in black TCS shirts and crouched down among the smoke machine fog before Jungle Kyona and Konami walked out behind them in their white gear. Both women appeared to be on the verge of tears already so it was pretty clear who was winning. As soon as Kyona stepped through the ropes and into the ring Tora pounced on her.
(6) TOKYO CYBER SQUAD (Jungle Kyona & Konami) vs. OEDO TAI (Natsuko Tora & Saki Kashima) – NO RULES; LOSING FACTION MUST DISBAND
Konami and Kashima fought to the floor. Kyona cracked her prop rifle across Tora’s head. They exchanged clubbing blows while Kyona struggled to get her coat off. They traded forearms. (That’s two for the night.) There was a tower of chairs already stacked in one corner of the ring that Oedo presumably set up while TCS were making their entrance. Kyona looked to whip Tora into it but she was able to stop short. Kyona also nearly crashed into it but avoided it. Konami returned and Tora speared both women at the same time. The impact knocked over the tower so Kashima set it back up. Tora whipped Kyona into the structure. Tora with a chair to the gut of Kyona. Kashima with a bulldog onto the chair. Back senton from Tora. Kashima wrapped the chair around Kona’s torso but Konami returned. Both faces were put down and Tora hit a back senton onto a chair laid across both of them. Kashima officially tagged out to Tora for the first time so this was not a tornado tag match.
Tora chucked Kyona by the hair. Face wash. Kashima piled up a stack of chairs. Oedo looked to double suplex Kyona onto the pile but she reversed and suplexed both of them at the same time. Tag to Konami. Cloverleaf-style submission to Kashima. Kashima with a headscissors. Tora with a cannonball in the corner. Samoan drop. Kashima slid her chain to her. Tora laid it down. Konami with a German suplex to Tora, the back of her neck landing across the chain. Kyona put Tora down with a series of shoulder blocks. All of TCS hit the ring to run a train on the Oedo duo in the corner. Diving splash from Kyona to Tora for two. Clothesline from Tora. She wrapped the chain around Kyona’s neck and began choking her out. Konami made the save.
Ascension from Tora to Kyona but she kicked out. Bea Priestley showed up and helped Kashima set up the folding table in the ring. Tora lay Kyona across the table and went up top. Rina grabbed her leg to try to stop her. Priestley and Kashima kicked the rookie off the apron but it gave Kyona enough time to recover. She cleared the interlopers and pulled Tora off the top. Konami hit Tora with a missile dropkick into a powerbomb from Kyona. Death and Konami put the table into the placement they wanted. Kyona throw Tora onto the table and climbed onto it. Kyona with a piledriver to Tora through the table! Kashima broke up the pin attempt by hurling a chair at Kyona from the apron.
Kashima went after Kyona with the chair. Double-stomp onto the chair onto Kyona. More chair shots to the back of Kyona. Konami grabbed a chair of her own and they both swung at each other but Kashima got the better of it. Konami picked up the chair again and bashed Kyona over the head. Kashima pinned Kyona with a Revival.
WINNERS: Oedo Tai in 13:07. Tokyo Cyber Squad is dead.
-Konami immediately grabbed a microphone and condescended to Kyona, presumably pledging her allegiance to Oedo Tai. Tora also spoke.
(Pageot’s Perspective: Why would Konami willingly get beat up for 13 minutes just to sucker Kyona in?
I hate to say that I have no tears left to shed for Kyona. This wasn’t as original as the JAN breakup last year and this didn’t have the real world tragedy of her promo following Hana Kimura’s death. Kyona emotes like no one else on the roster but she’s just been turned into this suffering figure now. There are no consistent moments of triumph or joy. She just gets kicked around and spit on and tossed in the gutter over and over until it doesn’t even elicit a response anymore. It should be terribly sad that TCS is over, that it ended this way, just months after TCS founder Kimura took her own life and Kyona is rumored to have been the one who found her body. Instead it’s just a dull “of course.”
Where do the members go from here? I’d almost prefer that Kyona just give into all this frustration and go join Oedo Tai too but she’ll likely end up in Stars as a replacement for Arisa Hoshiki. Ruaka will join her there to replace Itsuki Hoshino. Rina will probably join her sister in QQ. As for Death? Her character as is doesn’t make sense in any of the four factions. If Kaori Yoneyama is willing to undergo a gimmick change again she could possibly join QQ as a mentor to the twins. Or Stars as the fun aunt to Ruaka and Hanan. That would put 8 people in Stars, though, which is too many considering Oedo and DDM have 5 and QQ would have 6 in my scenario.)
(7) QUEEN’S QUEST (Utami Hayashishita & Saya Kamitani) vs. DONNA DEL MONDO (Artist Of Stardom & Future Of Stardom Champion Maika & Himeka) – GODDESS OF STARDOM CHAMPIONSHIP
Maika and Hayashishita started. Kamitani jumped in and they double-teamed Maika. Kamitani officially tagged in, which allowed DDM to take control. Himeka worked over Kamitani. DDM had isolated Hayashishita as we hit 10:00. Himeka picked up both of the babyfaces for a torture rack. She then put Hayashishita in a single-leg crab. Himeka and Hayashishita traded clotheslines, each going down only to pop back up.
Kamitani made the tag and shoved Maika off the apron. Crossbody to Himeka. Missile dropkick. DDM quickly took charge again. Himeka hit a top rope senton to Kamitani for a two-count. Torture rack slam but Hayashishita broke up the pin. She wanted her running powerbomb but Hayashishita again interfered. Maika had enough and kicked her to the floor. She tagged in and whipped Kamitani around by the wrist. They traded forearms. (That’s three for the night.) Maika hit a Rock Bottom. Kamitani with a guillotine choke at 20:00.
Maika powered her up and over with a suplex. Single-leg crab from Kamitani. Rope break. Superplex from Maika. Hayashishita broke up the pin again and DDM again got pissed about her coming in illegally and tossed her to the floor. Running shooting star press from Kamitani blocked with a spinebuster from Maika. STO and the referee counted three. Then Hayashishita slid into the ring and touched them with her hand on four, which counted as breaking up the pin apparently. Spinning heel kick from Kamitani to Maika. Running shooting star press but Maika kicked out. Michinoku driver from Kamitani to Maika. (Maika used to work for Taka Michinoku.) Magic Killer from QQ to Maika. Twisting 450 from Kamitani to Maika’s ankles for the pin.
WINNERS: Queen’s Quest in 22:33 to retain the tag titles.
(Pageot’s Perspective: I probably like DDM less than about anybody else watching Stardom and this match did a hell of a job of making me root for them. Go figure. DDM dominated the majority of the match and did so without any underhanded tactics. They tagged regularly and blocked and countered the champions’ offense when they needed to. They had the match won fair and square multiple times only for Hayashishita to jump in illegally and break up the pin. I know that’s pretty much always allowed in Stardom tag matches but it really felt like overkill here. Then Maika clearly got a three-count only for the referee to fudge it for QQ, and then Kamitani hits Maika with the signature move of the manager of Maika’s old promotion. So insulting. DDM were robbed.)
(8) ARTIST OF STARDOM CHAMPION GIULIA vs. TAM NAKANO – WONDER OF STARDOM CHAMPIONSHIP
Giulia had new black gear with the colors of the Italian flag mixed into the legs. They charged at each other and immediately began trading forearms. (That’s four for the night.) Giulia went up top but Nakano battered her and she fell to the floor. High crossbody from Nakano. Dragon sleeper to Giulia in the ropes until the referee made her let go. Nakano wanted a German superplex but Giulia hung on. She managed to lock Nakano in Stealth Viper while Nakano stood on the middle ropes instead. Sunset bomb to Nakano. German suplex to Giulia from the second turnbuckle. They traded elbows from a kneeling position. Giulia set Nakano on the top rope and teased a Glorious Driver from the second rope but she just flipped her and slammed Nakano onto her back instead. Spin kick from Nakano.
They traded slaps from a kneeling position at 10:00. Bridging German suplex to Giulia. Another. Rings Of Saturn from Giulia. Nakano struggled and eventually made the rope break. Giulia lifted her to her feet. Nakano hit her with a headbutt and they both went down again. Falcon arrow from Giulia. Running boot. Spin kick from Nakano. They traded kicks. Glorious Driver but Nakano kicked out at one. Another one put the challenger away.
WINNER: Giulia in 17:25 to retain the white belt.
-Giulia took a mic and reveled in still being the champ. She and Nakano exchanged words.
(Pageot’s Perspective: A fine match, if repetitive. It felt like they spent a third of the match both on their back, selling exhaustion. To then follow that with Nakano kicking out of Giulia’s finisher on one is silly. Nakano’s storyline for the past year and a half has been her obsession with the white belt. First she was determined to take it from Arisa Hoshiki, then it became about her winning the white belt for Hoshiki, after she was forced into a sudden retirement due to injury. Going into the last white belt match with Giulia for the vacant title it felt like things were at a fever pitch and Nakano would become completely unhinged if she lost. Then she lost and nothing happened and they announced a rematch right away. Now she’s lost again and I assume nothing will happen again. She’ll probably just enter the tag league, win a couple, lose a couple, and go back to kicking rocks. As for Giulia, it’s not clear who her next challenger will be but Konami and Himeka are owed title shots due to victories over her in the Grand Prix.)
(9) MAYU IWATANI vs. ARTIST OF STARDOM CHAMPION SYURI – WORLD OF STARDOM CHAMPIONASHIP
Syuri’s lower back was taped up. Amateur mat wrestling to start. They both went for simultaneous kicks and connected with each other’s legs. Iwatani went down but Syuri shook it off. Iwatani was sent to the floor. Syuri ran the apron with a knee strike. Kneebar to Iwatani, into a single-leg crab. Rope break. Some basic strikes, then back to the kneebar. Another rope break from Iwatani. Syuri with a series of kicks.
Syuri remained firmly in control at 10:00. Suplex. Back to the kneebar. Another rope break. Syuri stomped on Iwatani’s legs. She wanted a German suplex from the apron to the floor but Iwatani of course prevented it. Iwatani hit Syuri with a German on the apron instead. Suicide dive from the champ. Back in the ring she hit a missile dropkick but Syuri kicked out. Another dropkick sent Syuri back to the floor. Iwatani wanted a high crossbody but Syuri cut her off. After a tussle she hit a Frankensteiner on Syuri and followed with a frog-splash. Syuri kicked out and avoided a moonsault that left both women down. From a kneeling position they traded forearms. (That’s five for the night, or 56% of the matches using that spot.) Codebreaker from Syuri. Roundhouse kick.
At 20:00 Iwatani rolled to the floor for a breather. When she returned Syuri unloaded with more kicks. Crucifix bomb from Iwatani. Another. Top rope moonsault but Syuri kicked out. Roundhouse kick from Syuri. Bridging German from Iwatani. Dragon suplex but Syuri kicked out again.
Stretch muffler from Syuri at 25:00. Gutbuster. Running knee strike. Another. Iwatani hit a tombstone out of nowhere. Another top rope moonsault landed but Syuri kicked out again. Four superkicks from Iwatani in succession. Enziguiri. Dragon suplex for the win.
WINNER: Mayu Iwatani in 28:58 to retain the red belt.
-Iwatani and Syuri both spoke on the mic.
(Pageot’s Perspective: Pretty basic, nothing extraordinary. The brief segment with Iwatani on offense was the most dynamic part of the match as Syuri’s move set is limited to kicks and submissions. Syuri just never rose above challenger of the month status and never seemed like a legitimate threat to the title, especially with Takumi Iroha and Utami Hayashishita both already putting their tickets in for matches with Iwatani. Iroha gets her shot first, presumably sometime this fall, with Hayashishita probably challenging Iwatani for the gold at the 10th anniversary show in January. Tomorrow we have a show in Nagoya, then one week from tonight is the start of the annual Goddesses Of Stardom tag league. That will carry us through November.)