AZM vs. Ruaka vs. Hanan
The experience of AZM really helped this match compared to last week. Hanan got to show a lot more of her talent with some smooth throws. Ruaka showed her strength, catching AZM’s attempt at a crossbody (though she did drop her a few seconds later). Hanan won after foiling Ruaka’s attempts of stealing the victory after they had agreed to double team AZM. A much better opener than last week. After the match AZM agreed to a future singles match against Hanan.
Tam Nakano vs. Natsuko Tora
This match is Tam Nakano’s first Stardom match and the winner will compete in the 5 Star Grand Prix. This was really, really good considering that both wrestlers are fairly inexperienced. They turned the match into a hard hitting brawl and it created a great atmosphere amongst the crowd. The first few minutes they traded forearms and shoulder tackles before Nakano took control with some great kicks. Tora eventually got back into the match with some strong strikes but Nakano sealed her win with a fantastic roundhouse kick to pin Tora and advance to the 5 Star Grand Prix. I was very impressed with both.
Oedo Tai (Hana Kimura & Kris Wolf) vs. Shiki Shibusawa & Starlight Kid vs. Yoko Bito & Konami vs. Gabby Ortiz & Hiromi Mimura
This was disappointing considering the amount of talent in the match. Shibusawa, Bito & Mimura each copied Kimura’s poses before Kimura was sent to the corner and everyone did their favourite run to the corner move multiple times except Mimura who was twice knocked down. The rest of the match was just standard with lots of body slams and nothing much noteworthy. Nothing was outright bad, the match just never felt like an actual fight and more just Stardom not having anything for these eight to do on the night. Oedo Tai won by stealing the pin after Bito had delivered the B Driver to Ortiz (this was Ortiz’s final match of her tour).
Toni Storm vs Xia Brookside (SWA Championship)
This match wasn’t great but there are at least positive signs that Brookside is improving and is working smoother. The match had a very slow pace and pretty much none of the offence was anything out of the ordinary other than the finish. Toni Storm won with a piledriver and retained the SWA Championship. It will be interesting to see how Xia Brookside improves during the 5 Star Grand Prix where she will have several singles matches against some of the top women wrestlers in the world.
Shanna vs Mari Apache (High-Speed Title)
This was great. The whole match had a nice flow and both wrestlers got a lot of their big moves in. High points included a great crossbody from the top rope to the outside by Shanna and a Michinoku driver and senton bomb for the win by Mari Apache. This was unfortunately Shanna’s final match of her current Stardom tour, hopefully she will be back soon.
Queen’s Quest (Io Shirai, Viper & HZK) vs. Team Jungle (Jungle Kyona, Hiroyo Matsumoto & Kaori Yoneyama) (Artist of Stardom Titles)
A lot of genuine emotion in this match from both the wrestlers and the crowd. Io got a fantastic reception and seemed to feed off it making every movement even better than they usually are. She was not in the ring for long periods of the match but there was a great buzz whenever she was. Everyone else also played their part. Special praise must go to Jungle Kyona who battled on despite receiving a nasty facial injury which i think she received from catching a knee from Viper during a triple crossbody. HZK & Kyona continue to build to a future epic confrontation. Matsumoto and Yoneyama added to the quality of the match with their smooth work. But this was always going to be about Io Shirai and I think everyone who follows Stardom is incredibly thankful to see her still here (though I am very disappointed for her she cannot currently show her immense talent on the biggest global stage). Kyona was pinned after a moonsault by Shirai and Bomb’s Away by HZK. Viper was in tears after the match after winning her first Stardom Championship. While the match itself had no outstanding structure or spots, the heart and emotion form the wrestlers and crowd really elevated it.
Mayu Iwatani vs Kagetsu (World of Stardom Title)
This lived up to the hype and was a great match. Early Mayu missed a dropkick and Oedo Tai dragged her to the outside and beat on her. Kagetsu spat a mouthful of water in Mayu’s face before emptying the rest of the bottle on her. Mayu fought back by dropkicking Kagetsu as she was attempting to springboard, followed by a big crossbody to the outside. Mayu took Kagestu into the crowd and performed a snap suplex onto the hard floor. Kagetsu fought back and hung Mayu from above the stairs before dropping her and then throwing her down the stairs back into the ring. As Kagetsu went to the top rope Mayu hit her with a big frankensteiner follwed by a German suplex, a frop splash and a dragon suplex for a near fall. Hana Kimura interfered with a missile dropkick and Kagetsu hit Mayu with a huge chokeslam. Kagetsu then tried a 450 splash from the top rope but Mayu raised her knees in a great spot. Mayu attempted another dragon suplex but Kagetsu landed on her feet, but after a struggle Mayu finally hit another and got the win. A great match and I look forward to the rematch during the 5 Star Grand Prix.