Stardom’s second show from Golden Week placed Queen’s Quest in charge of proceedings. STARS set a high bar with their efforts, so can the cops leap over it? Time to find out.
QQ opened the show and didn’t have quite as much to say as STARS. They did read out the card in a similar style and poor Hina was saddled with the three way tag team match where each group had four members. Way to throw the rookie under the bus, Momo! She made it through, eventually, allowing us to get on with the action.
Jungle Kyona won the Blind Sword Fight Tournament
Well, this is a new one. STARS’ show featured the Costume Change Battle Royal and QQ are giving us a Blind Sword Fight Tournament. It’s what it says on the tin, although thankfully the swords were not real. That might have been a bit much. Before each match, the contestants ran the ropes for ten seconds with the number of times they managed equalling the amount they could swing their sword. Oh, and the winner gets a cash prize.
I’ve no idea how to review this? It’s people wearing blindfolds and swinging plastic swords at each other. Don’t get me wrong, it was all the fun, but it’s not exactly open to analysis. I’m not even entirely sure if those involved knew what was going on, but they all seemed to be enjoying themselves. Also, Momo gave one of the most impressive displays of rope running that I’ve ever seen. That lass is a machine.
You know whether you’re going to enjoy this or not. If wrestlers blindfolding themselves and swinging swords around sounds like fun to you, then you’re going to have a lovely time.
Verdict: Lots of giggles
Hanan defeated Rina
I wonder if Hanan is offended that her wee sis is dressing up as Hana rather than her. Kimura is definitely proving a bad influence as pre-match Rina threatened to crush Hanan and flashed the old two-fingered salute while declaring ‘fuck you, QQ’.
Rina’s attitude continued into the match as she refused a handshake before drawing Hanan in for a test of strength and stamping on her foot. She then took the fight to big sis as her transformation into a badass continues. Of course, she was never going to win this match and, despite getting Hana’s Mankijatame on a couple of times, she eventually tapped to an Armbar. However, this mini-Hana act is a lot of fun. She’s been handed something new, and she’s running with it which at her age, is fantastic. It also led to a match that I really enjoyed.
Verdict: Three Stars
Hana Kimura defeated Hina
Hina still seems uncomfortable without her sisters around her. Although her determined attempts to get Hana to shake her hand before the match were fun. Hopefully she eventually finds her way into a character that allows her to spread her wings a bit. She will probably need a bit more than ‘into handshakes’, though.
Kimura heeled it up in this one, taking her time as she beat on the rookie. It was the classic Stardom layout for these matches as she dominated the bulk of it only to have Hina nearly punish her arrogance with a sneaky roll-up. That snapped Kimura out of her showboating, and she ended things seconds later with the Mankijatame. It served as a nice squash for Kimura and a run out for Hina, but there was nothing new about it.
Verdict: Two And A Half Stars
Saya Iida defeated Leo Onozaki
Queen’s Quest packed their shows with youngsters, and I respect that. A big part of that respect comes from the fact that it gave us this match which has been brewing since the break-up of JAN. Iida and Onozaki were regular partners, but now they seem to get more enjoyment out of elbowing each other.
That newfound passion saw them charge across the ring and go straight at it. Saya and Leo worked this as a sprint, showing they were determined to beat on each other until one of them was no longer capable of standing to receive the beating.
It didn’t take long for that to happen as Iida would prove to have too much for Onozaki. When she came charging in Saya caught her in that cool bridging roll-up she does, and Leo had no answer. Not that it seemed to signal the end of the feud, Onozaki was unimpressed at losing and made it very clear as she gave Iida a couple of kicks afterwards.
There wasn’t enough time for this to be a great match, but I enjoyed it all the same. Stardom is giving their rookies stuff to do, and I will always be a fan of that.
Verdict: Three Stars
STARS (Arisa Hoshiki, Tam Nakano, Saki Kashima and Starlight Kid) defeated Tokyo Cyber Squad (Jungle Kyona, Konami, Ruaka and Rebel Kel) and Oedo Tai (Hazuki, Andras Miyagi, Natsuko Tora and Natsu Sumire) in a Three-Way-Dance
Tokyo Cyber Squad spent their pre-match promo planning to get Korean BBQ with Jungle’s prize money from winning the Blind Sword Fight. Everyone else seemed concerned about how many people were in this damn thing.
It certainly had an impact on the structure of the match. There was far too much going on for this to be anything other than a clusterfuck. We got brief hints of stories as Saki vs Natsu and Kyona vs Tora continued, but it was barely a sprinkling over the chaos of the action.
However, that doesn’t mean it wasn’t entertaining. Great wrestling this was not, but it was a thrill ride, and you were never bored. These twelve women worked at a million miles an hour, and that made for an enjoyable spectacle even if it lacked in other departments.
Verdict: Three And A Quarter Stars
Toni Storm and Momo Watanabe wrestled to a time limit draw
A Momo singles match is always a treat, and while I have my issues with Toni (as detailed in my review of the previous Stardom show), she’s a damn good dance partner for the young Ace.
And even though it wasn’t the main event, they wrestled it like it was. Toni and Momo were aiming for epic, and they got close to hitting it. Starting slow, as the match went on their various strengths came to the fore. Toni had a power advantage, but it was one that could be negated by Watanabe’s incredible kicks. It left these two women even, neither able to retain an advantage.
As they went on, there was even a moment where they played into my expectations of a Toni Storm match. After seemingly being knocked out, Storm popped up to hit Strong Zero, and I sighed, assuming Super Toni had done it again. Then, Momo kicked out and not long after got her revenge, dropping Storm on the apron with a B Driver. It gave her the advantage going into the final act, but she failed to put Toni away and the time ran out.
Truthfully, it should have been obvious where this was going. WWE isn’t letting Toni travel out to Japan to get beaten by Momo Watanabe, and Stardom isn’t feeding their champion to Storm. A draw was always on the cards, and yet somehow it didn’t click with me until right near the end. I guess I was being slow today. Still, it let me buy into the action, and that is no bad thing.
Watanabe is having one hell of a year, and while this wasn’t up with her best work, it was still damn good. She can have a great match with anyone, so putting her in there with someone good, is always going to be a recipe for success. That has to go down as a tick in the right box for the QQ booking.
Verdict: Three And Three Quarter Stars
Bea Priestley defeated Kagetsu to win the World of Stardom Title
Bea Priestley had new gear/entrance attire, and I’m putting it down as an upgrade. She’s also now a champion and boy, do I have some thoughts about that.
Most of those thoughts were put into physical form through this match. Priestley has come a long way since I first saw her, she is a much better wrestler than she was and I by no means think she’s terrible. I’m just not sure if she’s great. She’s been aiming to present herself as a badass recently, and I can’t get past the feeling that it’s someone acting the role rather than being it. It doesn’t help that while she has some good-looking offence, a lot of it does look utter shite. The Cheeky Nandos Kick that set-up the finish of this match came nowhere near to Kagetsu’s head and took away from the Japanese Ocean Cyclone Suplex that got the three.
It probably didn’t help that she was in there with Kagetsu, who is great. The difference between her offence and Bea’s was put into stark relief as all the best parts of this match came when she was in control. Kagetsu worked hard to put Priestley over, and she deserves a lot of credit as Bea kicked out of the 450 and had the match built around her rather than the now former champ. Unfortunately, Kagetsu can’t turn off her charisma, and it somewhat overshadowed her opponent.
That left us with a match that struggled to get up to the level of Stardom’s best. It was decent, but it never grabbed me. There didn’t seem to be a coherent narrative, as we saw Kagetsu go after Bea’s arm only for that to become irrelevant soon after as Priestley stopped selling it. The story was that Priestley was the better woman and while that can be fine, it didn’t feel like enough of a war to bring to an end a lengthy title reign.
Still, I should make it clear that I’m not writing Priestley off. She is a strong wrestler who could see this title be the making of her. As much as I love Kagetsu, it was time for a change, and Bea is that. Now it’s up to her to make the red belt her own.
Verdict: Three And A Half Stars
Bea’s post-match promo saw her declare her intention to move to Japan and become a full-time roster member for Stardom. They presented her with a tracksuit to signal that before Momo said that she would one day like to challenge Bea for the Red Belt. Finally, we went to Bea cutting a backstage promo which helped cement my feeling of her playing the badass rather than being one. I still ain’t buying it.
You give Queen’s Quest the book and they put one of their own over in the main event. Typical. Jokes aside, this was an alright show. I didn’t enjoy it as much as the STARS produce, but I liked the focus on the rookies while the final two matches were both noteworthy. I’m going for a 7/10 on my totally arbitrary booking rating scale. That puts them in second place out of, well, two. Let’s see if they hold onto it.
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