Ring Announcer: Fuka
Five Minute Iron Man Tag Match
Rina & Ruaka vs Hina & Hanan
(referee: Barb Sasaki)
Result: the match ends in a 1-1 draw
Fall 1: Hanan pins Rina after an STO
Fall 2: Ruaka pins Hina with a bridging fisherman suplex
This was a pretty fun little opener. Rina seemed a little overzealous, at one point kicking Hina while Ruaka had her in a Lion Tamer and breaking her partner’s hold. Ruaka also showed some personality, thinking about tagging Rina but deciding not to. I like that you can start to see the girls’ personalities emerging in these opening matches.
Hetzza vs Starlight Kid
(referee: Barb Sasaki)
Result: Starlight Kid wins via pinfall after a standing moonsault
This was pretty good. Hetzza and Starlight Kid kept the pace high. They seemed to trade moves for a while until Hetzza starting getting some (briefly) sustained offense. The finish was okay. I liked the move, but the three count didn’t feel completely convincing considering what came just prior to it.
Gabby Ortiz & Shanna vs AZM & HZK
(referee: Barb Sasaki)
Result: Shanna pins AZM after a Dragon Slayer (lifting side double underhook facebuster)
Good match. This was Gabby Ortiz’s Korakuen Hall debut and only her eighth professional match, and she got beat up a lot. Except for a brief period when she started the match, she got beat up whenever she was in the ring. AZM and HZK kind of had their way with her, but Ortiz managed to survive and Shanna was able to help keep things on an even level when she needed to. AZM and HZK might have been overconfident, but they were fun to watch. HZK even mocked Kairi Hojo by doing her salute and diving elbow drop at one point during the match.
Rebel & Natsuko Tora & Kaori Yoneyama (Artist of Stardom Champ) vs Hiromi Mimura & Konami & Yoko Bito
(referee: Daichi Murayama)
Result: Yoko Bito pins Natsuko Tora after a B Driver
Good match. I’m continually impressed with Yoneyama, but the focus of this match was definitely on Yoko Bito. This was her first match in about three months, so her opponents all wanted to beat her while her teammates wanted to win for her. Team Jungle (plus Rebel) attacked first, before the bell. Bito was isolated for a while, but momentum shifted a few times in the match. I liked the back and forth, and I liked the focus on Bito. Though it’s probably not the best strategy to focus your attack on the biggest of your opponents, it made the match feel like it was Bito’s.
As a side note, both Bito and Tora were looked at by the ringside doctor immediately after the match. In a post-match interview, Bito said that she broke her tooth. She said it happened when Natsuko Tora hit her with a diving senton towards the end of the match. They don’t really draw attention to it during the match, but you can see Tora’s left elbow is bloodied after that moment, and the referee checks on Bito when it happened.
Goddess of Stardom Title Match
Oedo Tai (Hana Kimura & Kagetsu) vs Team Jungle (Jungle Kyona (Goddess of Stardom Champ, Artist of Stardom Champ) & Hiroyo Matsumoto (Goddess of Stardom Champ, Artist of Stardom Champ, Oz Academy Openweight Champ, Sendai Girls World Champ))
(referee: Barb Sasaki; title match official: Rossy Ogawa)
Result: Kagetsu pins Jungle Kyona after an Oedo Coaster (diving 450 splash), Oedo Tai becomes the new Goddess of Stardom Champs
Very good match. Matsumoto was definitely the powerhouse in this match, but Oedo Tai had great teamwork and managed to keep Kyona in the ring and isolated a lot of the time. It turned into a battle for survival from Kyona which made you want to pull for her even more. I really like both of these teams. They both are really great tandems that work extremely well together within their teams and against the other team. I’d be happy if they had a rematch of this.
Kagetsu gets on the mic after the match to celebrate her return and her win. Kimura mocks Kyona and tells her she did great. Kyona gets on the mic and says that Team Jungle isn’t finished. Oedo Tai will regret this win.
After Kyona and and Matsumoto leave, Kagetsu says that this is te new Oedo Tai. They don’t care who wins tonight’s World of Stardom match, Oedo Tai is going to vandalize Stardom.
World of Stardom Title Match
Mayu Iwatani (Wonder of Stardom Champ) vs Io Shirai (World of Stardom Champ)
(referee: Daichi Murayama; title match official: Rossy Ogawa)
Result: Mayu Iwatani wins via pinfall with a bridging dragon suplex and becomes the new World of Stardom Champ
Great match! This match had great momentum to it. The two started out by feeling each other out a little and trading some holds. After a while the holds and moves got stronger, and the match eventually made it to the outside. Shirai took Iwatani through the crowd, but she paid for it when Iwatani dove from one of the entrances onto Shirai. That seemed like a big turning point in the match. Shirai had been mostly in control, but Iwatani started to really turn things around from there.
Iwatani repeatedly went for moves that focused on Shirai’s head and neck. The damage mounted up considerably with the ringside medic being called over at one point late in the match to check to see if Shirai could continue. The later portions of the match were slower than the earlier segments, but this was because both women were hurting and exhausted. These segments were punctuated with sustained bursts of offense which kept the action coming in waves that got stronger and stronger.
This match had great action and great emotion. Iwatani has a very expressive way about her and you could see the emotions in her face, whether it was fear while being repeatedly lifted into suplexes by Shirai, surprise that Shirai wouldn’t stay down, pain from what she was enduring, or elation when things started going her way. I really loved this match.
After the match, Iwatani says this was her fifth time to challenge for the red belt, and she finally won. Io Shirai is strong, but Iwatani won and will do her best to defend the red and white belts.
Shirai can’t believe she lost. She was completely ready for her match with Iwatani, but she still lost. Shirai did everything she could to protect the World of Stardom title, and she tells Iwatani that she has to protect it now. Shirai says she has to go take care of some things, but she’ll be back and will start her climb back to the top.
Shirai then takes the red belt and puts it around Iwatani’s waist. She has a little trouble which makes Iwatani laugh. After she finally secures the belt, Shirai jokingly tells Iwatani that she’s too skinny. Shirai then leaves the ring and allows Iwatani to celebrate her victory.
This was a very good show. The two title matches alone make this show a must-watch, but the previous matches were all good as well. There was a lot going on here. A couple of returns, a Korakuen Hall debut, a couple of title changes, and an overall feeling that this was an important show. I was lucky enough to be in attendance at this show (you can clearly see me just to the (camera) right of Iwatani when she dives from the structure in the crowd). It was exciting to be there, and I’m glad that the show is still great even on a repeated viewing.
Match of the Night
Mayu Iwatani vs Io Shirai
This will probably be in contention for Stardom match of the year.
Official Results (Japanese): http://wwr-stardom.com/?result=2017%E5%B9%B46%E6%9C%8821%E6%97%A5%E3%80%80galaxy-stars2017