SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
STARDOM NEW LANDSCAPE
NOVEMBER 14, 2020
TOKYO, JAPAN AT KORAKUEN HALL
AIRED ON STARDOM WORLD
REPORT BY HARLEY R. PAGEOT, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Our opening contest was the debut of new Stardom rookie Lady C. Iida said the new woman is the tallest person in Stardom now while she remains the shortest. Lady also has a bit of an attitude. Lady said she’d use her height to her advantage.
Lady C stands roughly 5’9”. Her gear was comprised of black and white boots with orange trim that went above her knee, black short shorts, a white bra-type top, and black/white/orange ribbons around her arms and wrists. She’s thin and trim and stood on the second and third turnbuckles for her introduction to really sell her height even more.
(1) SAYA IIDA vs. LADY C – DEBUT MATCH
Collar and elbow tie-up. Iida powered Lady into the ropes. Lady asked for a test of strength. Iida glared at her for mocking her height and slapped on a side headlock. Iida dropkicked her to the mat. Camel clutch. Forearm from Lady, which Iida brushed off. Shoulder blocks exchanged. Lady managed to take Iida down. Body slam for the first two-count of her career. Single-leg crab from Iida. Big boot from Lady. Chokeslam. Iida unloaded with chops to Lady in the corner. Back elbow. Boston crab. Rope break from Lady. Iida went right back into the crab and she tapped.
WINNER: Saya Iida in 7:23.
(Pageot’s Perspective: The average height for Japanese women, per a 2007 report, was 5’1 ½” so 5’9” is considerably tall by comparison. Even Japanese men only tend to average around 5’8”. Her height is obviously going to be her largest selling point and they’re giving her the standard big man move set as we saw with the big boot and chokeslam. She didn’t get to show off much beyond that but her gear is fantastic and, at the age of 25, she’s older than our most recent rookies, Itsuki Hoshino, Saya Kamitani, and Saya Iida, who are all 23. She seems destined to join Queen’s Quest but with rumors circulating that Riho may be signing full-time with Stardom and new people seeming to pop up once a month I’d have to think they’ll need to expand back to a five or possibly even six-stable roster in 2021.)
-Hina said the other team had that little turd with the black lipstick (her twin sister) and she was going to crush her. Oedo Tai don’t record promos.
(2) OEDO TAI (Konami & Rina) vs. RIHO & HINA
The twins started. Hina got the advantage until Konami tripped her running the ropes. Rina tossed her around by the hair and tagged Konami. Kicks to Hina but she managed to tag Riho. Riho took out Konami with a dropkick and looked for a crossface. Roll-through into a double stomp and a tag back out to Hina. Konami immediately took over and tagged Rina. More manhandling of her sister by Rina. Stereo dropkicks from the faces to Oedo Tai. Tiger feint kick from Riho. Double-teaming from the heels to Hina. Northern lights suplex from Rina for the pin.
WINNERS: Oedo Tai in 7:36.
(Pageot’s Perspective: Rina’s mall goth look is starting to grow on me. It actually feels like a totally logical gimmick for a tween girl. Hina’s still too undefined, just a nondescript rookie in QQ gear.)
-The twins’ older sister, Hanan, was with Ruaka for a handicap match. She thought they’d win. Himeka said she’d kick the crap out of these two punks.
(3) HIMEKA vs. STARS (Hanan & Ruaka)
Himeka wouldn’t shake hands so they jumped her in the corner and put the boots to her. No tags required for this one. She knocked Ruaka to the floor and worked over Hanan with body slams. Lion-tamer. She tossed Hanan by the hair but Ruaka returned and they ran a dropkick train on her in the corner. Ruaka tried taking her down with shoulder tackles but Himeka shrugged them off. Himeka caught a crossbody attempt from Hanan but Ruaka booted them both to the mat. Double-team suplex from the babyfaces. Double clothesline from Himeka. She managed to get both girls over her shoulders for a stacked torture rack. Hanan tapped.
WINNER: Himeka in 4:26.
(Pageot’s Perspective: Handicap matches are quite rare in Stardom but they clearly saw a need to rehabilitate Himeka a bit after losing clean to Giulia for the white belt. Squashing two rookies is as good of an opportunity as anything and the fact that we never see matches like this helped it stand out in a good way over a typical three-way.)
-Kid said Iwatani was not happy about Dream H teaming with a mystery partner and Nakano trying to bring somebody new into Stars without asking permission. Iwatani denied this but Kid admitted that they didn’t know what it all means. Dream H were excited about having a third person in their group. Nakano stared at Shirakawa’s chest the entire time. Shirakawa said she trusts her. They shook hands.
Nakano and Shirakawa entered alone. Once in the ring the ring announcer introduced their partner… former Tokyo Joshi Pro wrestler Unagi Sayaka. They did a Charlie’s Angels-esque three-way pose in the middle of the ring.
(Pageot’s Perspective: Formerly Unagi Himawari in TJP, the 31 year-old only debuted January 2019 and has never wrestled a single match for anyone other than TJP. Unagi and Shirakawa teamed together once in TJP but wrestled against each other more often than not. With DDM’s Natsupoi also coming from TJP that makes three wrestlers who have come over from that promotion in the past month and a half. I don’t follow TJP enough to know if their roster is really depleted now or what the politics are like regarding whether these acquisitions are raids on Stardom’s part or just the effects of free agents looking to head to the WWE of Japan.)
(4) STARS: MK☆SISTERS & GOKIGEN DEATH (World Of Stardom Champion Mayu Iwatani, Starlight Kid, & Gokigen Death) vs. STARS: DREAM H (Tam Nakano, Mina Shirakawa, & Unagi Sayaka)
Sayaka and Death started. Sayaka wasn’t interested in clowning around and stomped her to the mat. She did a handstand out of a headscissor and her team triple-teamed Death. The others jumped in to triple-team Sayaka. Tag to Kid. Camel clutch. Tag to Iwatani. She kicked the new recruit in the spine and gave her a hair toss. Kid back in. Body slam from Sayaka. Leg drop. Sayaka finally tagged out at 5:20 to Shirakawa. She came in a house of fire and dropped Kid with a gutbuster. Surfboard but Iwatani came in illegally to break it up and took some heelish cheap shots at Nakano on the apron too. Kid with a slingblade and tiger feint kick. Standing moonsault for two. Tag to Iwatani. She came in aggressively but Shirakawa managed to catch her with a Russian leg sweep.
Nakano tagged in for the first time at 8:10. She unloaded on her leader with kicks. Slingblade from Iwatani. They traded forearms. Iwatani kicked her dismissively and landed a superkick as Nakano ran the ropes. Death back in to clear house. Back body drop from Nakano. Kid in illegally for a straitjacket lungblower. Iwatani followed up with a double-stomp. Back senton from Death but Nakano kicked out. Bridging German to Death but Kid broke up the pin. Sayaka disposed of her with a spinebuster. Shirakawa connected with a spinning back fist to Iwatani. Her new friends lifted Nakano and flipped her over the ropes onto their opponents at ringside. Three-way scorpion kick to Death. Tiger suplex from Nakano to Death for the pin.
WINNERS: Dream H in 12:32.
-Iwatani and Nakano exchanged words before Iwatani’s threesome left. Nakano branded her trio The Cosmic Angels. Shirakawa said they were heading on a space trip to grab big dreams. She’ll be our cabin attendant. Sayaka said she’d do her best to get to the top. “We and you, together we’re all… delicious!” Nakano closed with a chef’s kiss.
(Pageot’s Perspective: I’m on board. After the past year and a half that Nakano has had she deserves some happiness for once and she found it on her own terms. Imagine Iwatani and Kid turning heel and a Stars civil war with the group fracturing in half. It will never happen in a million years but the way Iwatani carried herself in this match she really came across as vindictive and looking to punish her teammates for inviting someone to join without asking her first. To do this to Nakano, who’s spent years trying to be Iwatani’s best friend, only to be passed over in preference to Arisa Hoshiki and Starlight Kid and even Hanan it feels like sometimes… Let’s just say it’s not an entirely healthy relationship that Iwatani and Nakano have. So Nakano found herself a new crush in Shirakawa and, hey, her new friend already had a friend of her own too. Now Iwatani’s going to get pissy that Nakano’d rather hang out with them than follow her around like a lost puppy begging for a shred of affection whenever Iwatani deigns to notice her?
Allow me to fantasy book a civil war with Iwatani, Kid, Hanan, Iida, and Death on one side and Nakano, Shirakawa, Sayaka, and Ruaka on the other. Team Iwatani gets the upper hand on a number of occasions until Jungle Kyona returns from injury to lead Nakano’s group. Nakano’s group secure the trios titles and try to get Nakano the white belt while backing Kyona in her quest for the red belt.)
-Giulia thought Priestley being back with Oedo Tai had boosted them. It wouldn’t matter, though, because DDM are the strongest. Syuri told Priestley that she sucks. Maika said the Artist title was the first belt of her career and nobody was taking it from her.
(5) DONNA DEL MONDO (Wonder Of Stardom Champion Giulia, Future Of Stardom Champion Maika, & Syuri) vs. OEDO TAI (SWA World Champion Bea Priestley, Natsuko Tora, & Saki Kashima) – ARTIST OF STARDOM CHAMPIONSHIP
Syuri and Priestley started. Syuri had the challenger scrambling to the ropes for a submission break within seconds. Back to their feet and she did it again. A cheap shot from Kashima let Oedo Tai take control. Kashima tagged in and hit Syuri with some boots. Syuri immediately came back and DDM triple-teamed Kashima. Tag to Giulia as they worked over Kashima. Tag to Maika. Kashima caught her with a headscissors and tagged in Tora for the first time at 4:30. Facewash. Priestley ran Maika into the guardrail and roughed her up on the floor. Priestley tagged in and Oedo began to isolate Maika. Of course the second Kashima tagged in they lost the momentum. Tag to Giulia who effortlessly disposed of all three opponents.
At 10:00 Kashima squirmed out of a Glorious Driver attempt and Tora tripped Giulia. Tora tagged in but Syuri helped Giulia double-team her. Maika and Tora traded clotheslines. Tora took her down with a spear. Samoan drop. Tora went up top but Maika caught her with a superplex. Tags to Priestley and Syuri as we reset the match. Once again Syuri came out on top until the rest of Oedo interfered. Northern lights suplex from Priestley at 15:00.
Kicks from Syuri, suplexes from Priestley. DDM came in to triple-team Priestley. German suplex from Syuri. Running knee. Cross arm breaker but Kashima grabbed the referee and Tora broke a chair over Syuri’s head. Superkicks from Priestley but Syuri kicked out. Kamigoye but Giulia broke up the pin. Queen’s Landing for the win.
WINNERS: Oedo Tai in 18:27 to capture the trios titles.
-Priestley took the blue belt, Tora the pink, and Kashima the orange. Tora boasted that they were smarter and stronger. DDM are a thing of the past. Priestley told them each that they suck but Momo Watanabe sucks the most. Syuri cut off Oedo’s music. It’s her and Priestley for the SWA title tomorrow and they’ll find out who really sucks.
(Pageot’s Perspective: A genuinely surprising result for me. DDM have been pushed as nearly-invincible this year whereas Tora and Kashima have been portrayed as jokes all summer and fall. Hell, both of them have worse singles records than Rina. DDM also only defended the titles successfully twice. That said, the Artist titles do tend to get passed around pretty frequently. Oedo will probably hold them through the winter before dropping them to The Cosmic Angels at the 10th Anniversary Show. This also leaves Syuri without gold but she and Himeka are owed a shot at the tag titles due to a win over AphroditE in the tag league so everything adds up evenly there.)
-AZM said they would carry on their momentum from winning the tag league to win the tag titles here. Kamitani said this was their third time facing their QQ stable mates. Hayashishita promised they’d be the last ones standing.
(6) APHRODITE (Utami Hayashishita & Saya Kamitani) vs. MOMOAZ (High Speed Champion AZM & Momo Watanabe) – GODDESS OF STARDOM CHAMPIONSHIP
Hayashishita and Watanabe started. Back and forth. Kamitani and AZM in. The champions began to isolate AZM with quick tags. Things broke down with all four women in the ring. Watanabe tagged in and it was Kamitani’s turn to be isolated. Quick tags from the challengers now as both teams drew from the same Queen’s Quest playbook. Kamitani screeched as she threw some forearms but AZM remained in control until Hayashishita came in illegally to double-team. Hayashishita tagged in and took out both opponents. Springboard crossbody from AZM. Another tag. Hayashishita and Watanabe traded elbow shots.
Tag to Kamitani at 10:00. More even back and forth action with neither team gaining any prolonged upper hand. AZM went up top despite being the illegal woman and Hayashishita pushed her off and to the floor for it. Kamitani hit a spinning heel kick on Watanabe. She screeched some more as she put on a single-leg crab. A crossbody to Watanabe left them both down. Hayashishita and AZM back in. Ground abdominal stretch from AZM at 15:00.
Rope break from Hayashishita. Double-stomp from AZM. Kamitani and Watanabe jumped in and all four women wound up down on the mat. AZM and Hayashishita traded forearms. Dropkick and running knees from Watanabe but she wasn’t the legal woman. Another double-stomp from AZM but Hayashishita kicked out. Leg lariat back into the ground abdominal stretch. AZM tied her up but Kamitani broke it up. Double-team flapjack from the challengers to dispose of Kamitani. Double-stomp + facebuster combo from the challengers to Hayashishita. Tilt-a-whirl armbar from AZM to Hayashishita at 20:00.
Rope break from Hayashishita. Rear naked choke to AZM. AZM Sushi but Hayashishita kicked out. Kryptonite Crunch from Hayashishita to AZM but she kicked out. Magic Killer. Bridging German suplex from Hayashishita to AZM for the pin.
WINNERS: AphroditE in 23:06 to retain the tag titles.
-Hayashishita declared that they beat the tag league winners and successfully defended the titles for a second time. She ran down each of their matches on tomorrow’s show.
(Pageot’s Perspective: I did not care for this one at all. With all four women being teammates and friends in Queen’s Quest they went with the story of them being evenly matched but it made for an uneventful contest. The first 15 minutes was just people tagging in and out every 40 seconds and the match resetting each time with nobody selling anything for longer than a minute. The last 8 were better but they made the bizarre decision to have all the drama be built around whether AZM would make Hayashishita submit or whether she’d be able to pin Hayashishita. Considering Hayashishita is challenging for the top title in the promotion literally tomorrow nobody in their right mind could have actually believed that AZM was going to tap her out here. Had it been Kamitani in that spot, okay, those near-falls I could have bought into. Maybe it’s for the best, though, as Kamitani has quickly become one of my least favorite people in the promotion. Her constant screeching is incredibly grating, her eyes bugging out all the time is cartoonish, and her moves show too much light for her to be in such a high position on the card.
Syuri & Himeka are the next challengers in line for the tag titles but Hayashishita’s red belt match comes first. She’s obviously going to win the title eventually but she certainly doesn’t feel poised to be the top name in Stardom this time tomorrow considering she could barely put away perennial midcarder AZM here. Also the fact that her title match was rushed onto a mid-November show rather than holding off for the Year-End Climax or 10th Anniversary. We’ll see.)