STARDOM The way to the major league 2020
Event Date: February 8, 2020 (11:30 JST)
matches published individually on Stardom World
Ring Announcer: Yurie Kozakai (0 – 3, 5), Yoritaka Ando (4)
Itsuki Hoshino vs Leo Onozaki
(referee: Barb Sasaki)
Result: Itsuki Hoshino wins via pinfall with La Magistral
This was a fine opener (technically it was a dark match). Hoshino started strong, and even though Onozaki mounted a quick comeback, Hoshino kept pushing her attack. Onozaki hit harder and started to dominate, but Hoshino tried to outsmart her. This was a strong and important performance for Hoshino.
Tam Nakano heads to the ring where she introduces a video announcing the second wave of Stardom wrestlers who will be featured as DLC for Fire Pro Wrestling World. The new wrestlers added to the game will be Tam Nakano, Saki Kashima, Saya Iida, Bea Priestley, AZM, Natsuko Tora, Natsu Sumire, Konami, DEATH Yama-san, Saya Kamitani, and Giulia.
Back in the ring, Tam Nakano introduces all of the new Fire Pro World Wrestlers, and they all head to the ring. Everyone poses.
Tag Team Gauntlet
Rina & Hina vs Starlight Kid & Tam Nakano vs Saya Iida & Saya Kamitani vs Zoey Skye & Jamie Hayter (SWA & Goddess Champ) vs Leyla Hirsch & DEATH Yama-san
(referee: Barb Sasaki)
Result: Leyla Hirsch & DEATH Yama-san win
1. Starlight Kid pins Hina with a twisting splash (3:29)
2. Saya Kamitani pins Starlight Kid after a running shooting star press (3:26)
3. Jamie Hayter pins Saya Iida after an ushigaroshi (2:38)
4. Leyla Hirsch pins Zoey Skye after a double-jump moonsault (1:45)
Total Match Time: 11:18
This was fun. The earlier match-ups were probably more entertaining, and they were definitely longer. By the time the final two teams came out, it seemed pretty clear what the pattern of pinfalls was going to be. Plus, the shorter times between pinfalls kind of diminished the tension of who would move on to the next opponent. Still, this was a quick match with a lot of stuff going on. I was kinf od surprised by the second fall, so that was probably my favorite in the match.
Artist of Stardom Number One Contender Match
Natsu Sumire & Saki Kashima & Natsuko Tora vs Konami & Jungle Kyona & Hana Kimura
(referee: Barb Sasaki)
Result: Saki Kashima pins Konami with Revival
Very good match. Hana Kimura was laughing at the idea of fighting Saki Kashima as the match started (as well as before the match and during the pre-match comments), and that kind of set up Tokyo Cyber Squad is the bad guys in the match. At east in my eyes it did. I mean, whenever someone takes an opponent that lightly, I kind of want to see the person lose. So yeah, even though I love Hana Kimura, I kind of wanted her to lose tonight. Also, Oedo Tai debuted new music and a new look tonight, so they needed the win.
The match itself was very good. Kashima started against Kimura, and as Kimura kept laughing, Kashima started to gain control. Her control was short-lived though, because Tokyo Cyber Squad worked well as a team early in the match. TCS dominated for a while, but Oedo Tai mounted a comeback. The match went back and forth, the the finish ended up being a sequence between Kashima and Konami. I really enjoyed this, and I think it can lea to a lot of really exciting things.
Artist of Stardom Title Match
Maika & Syuri & Giulia vs AZM (Artist Champ) & Utami Hayashishita (Artist & Future Champ) & Momo Watanabe (Artist Champ)
(referee: Barb Sasaki; title match official: Rossy Ogawa)
Result: Giulia pins AZM after the Glorious Buster, Donna del Mondo becomes the new Artist of Stardom champs
Great match. It was really interesting to see what match-ups they went went with. Maika started against Hayashishita, Syuri matched up with Watanabe, and Giulia matched with AZM. Everyone interacted throughout the match, but these pairings were more or less stuck to for large portions of the match. I think all of those could be really good singles matches.
For this match, the pairings worked well to repeatedly build up tension that would be released with a tag or with double and triple teams (which increased in frequency as the match went on). The teams seemed evenly matched for the most part, though a trip out to the floor seemed to give DOnna del Mondo and edge that they never really relinquished. I think this was definitely a strong statement from Stardom’s newest unit.
Wonder of Stardom Title Match
Bea Priestley (Goddess Champ) vs Arisa Hoshiki (Wonder Champ)
(referee: Daichi Murayama; title match official: Rossy Ogawa)
Result: Arisa Hoshiki wins via pinfall after Shining Impact
Great match. Priestley seemed to take Hoshiki somewhat lightly at first, and that was a big mistake. Perhaps Priestley was overconfident because of her recent Goddess title win and Hayter’s recent SWA title win, but confidence like that can only carry you so far. Priestley is bigger and stronger than Hoshiki, and that served the challenger well for a while, but Hoshiki’s speed combined with her kicks and knees can be overwhelming. Hoshiki also seems to get immense joy from punishing an opponent. Hoshiki almost always has a smile on her face, and the smile she had while she was stretching Priestley was one of my favorite things about this title match. Hoshiki gradually built up to hitting more and more knee strikes and kicks, and even though Priestley hit a few rough-looking strikes of her own, the sheer number and great precision of Hoshiki’s strikes began to take a toll. I enjoyed this match.
Takumi Iroha vs Mayu Iwatani (World Champ)
(referee: Daichi Murayama)
Result: Takumi Iroha wins via pinfall after Running Three
Great match! This was originally schedule to be a World of Stardom title match with Iwatani defending against Sareee, but the match had to be changed due to illness. Takumi Iroha was announced as Sareee’s replacement the day before this match, though Iroha would not be getting a title shot. That didn’t seem to matter to Iroha though, and she fought like she had something to prove.
Iroha started her career in Stardom in 2013 before signing with the Marvelous promotion in 2015, and it was pretty cool seeing Iroha’s Marvelous peers at ringside during this match. It felt a bit like an invasion. Iwatani fought hard for the pride of Stardom, but Iroha was supremely confident, and she used her strength to repeatedly beat the World of Stardom champion down. Iwatani struggled to deal with Iroha’s attack, but Iwatani’s heart and perseverance proved to be a major factor in this fight. Even though this match wasn’t for the title, it still felt important. I liked it very much.
After the match, Iwatani thanks Iroha for the fight. Iwatani then invites Iroha to challenge her for the World of Stardom title. Iroha expresses her happiness for being able to fight Iwatani for the first time in two years. They discuss the Running Three move that Iroha used in the match, and Iwatani says she’ll get stronger before their next fight so she can do it too. Iroha looks forward to the challenge.
As Iroha and Iwatani are about to shake hands, Saki Kashima leads Oedo Tai into the ring for an attack on Iwatani. Iroha moves to the side as members of Stars try to break up the beating. Oedo Tai clears most of the Stars members from the ring, and they surround Iwatani. Kashima wants to know when Iwatani is going to face her in a singles match, so she suggests that they fight at the next Korakuen Hall show. Iwatani says she isn’t interested in Kashima at all, but Kashima says she won’t stop until she gets the match. Kashima and Oedo Tai attack Iwatani again, but Iroha helps Stars defend Iwatani. Oedo Tai grudgingly leaves the ring.
Iwatani thanks Iroha for her help. Iwatani says Iroha is a great partner and a great rival. She looks forward to the next time they fight, even if it’s in tag matches. Iwatani then hands the mic to Iroha so she can close the show.
It seemed a little strange having another Korakuen Hall show so close to the previous one, but the show itself was still very good. There were fewer matches and less buildup than usual, but the action was strong overall, especially starting from the first trios match of the night.
I’m happy with the results of the title matches, and I was really happy to see Itsuki Hoshino get a win in the dark match. So yeah, everything was good tonight.
Match of the Night
Takumi Iroha vs Mayu Iwatani
The matches got better as the night went on, so it’s no surprise that the main event was the best bout of the night. It was more one-sided than I expected, but that surprising element helped make the match exciting and memorable.