Stardom Big Summer (15/7/19) Review

Credit: Stardom

We’ve got two title matches on this show, with both of sets of tag belts being defended. It’s Tokyo Cyber Squad challenging in both cases, but I think it’s safe to say that the main event is the one with real intrigue as Jungle and Konami take on Momo and Utami. I can’t picture a world where that is anything less than great.

Saya Iida defeated Hina

I loved Tam having to sprint down to the ring to keep up with Iida and hold the ropes open for her. She made it, but only just.

The way Stardom light the arena in Nagoya means you can’t see the fans, but they were hot for this opener. They were stamping their feet as Iida crawled to the ropes to escape a Boston Crab and were giving the rookies a lot of support. It added something to what was a pretty straightforward match.

Iida picked up the win with her Iidabashi, which was a nice touch. She uses that move a lot, but with all the bigger names kicking out of it, it’s not got the impact it perhaps should. Using it to put away her peers is the best way to build its aura.

Verdict: Two And A Half Stars

Oedo Tai (Natsuko Tora and Natsu Sumire) defeated Tokyo Cyber Squad (Death Yama-san and Ruaka)

Natsu has a new towel, and she would like it if we all bought the towel. She suggests you get drunk and buy two.

I hope Death Yama-san is corrupting Ruaka. Not in a bad way, just by getting her to listen to Slayer. That’s the best way to corrupt the young. It’s certainly a better way to corrupt them than letting them spend time with Natsu who was at her shithousing best in this match. The whip got a workout before she sacrificed herself to a Tora Spear in an attempt to take out Death. She’s so noble.

Outside of that, this was fairly standard. I do want to say how impressed I’ve been with Ruaka on this run of shows. She’s not a wrestling prodigy, but for a young lass who is finding her feet, she’s coming on leaps and bounds. If Ruaka keeps heading in that direction, she’s going to be great.

Verdict: Two And Three Quarter Stars

Oedo Tai (Andras Miyagi and Jamie Hayter) defeated Queen’s Quest (AZM and Leo Onozaki)

AZM continues to be a joy. Since returning from injury, she’s proven she hasn’t lost an inch, never mind a step. She was great both on the offensive and when she was flopping around for Hayter and Miyagi, making their powerhouse offences look fantastic.

It was Hayter who stood out on the other team, tossing AZM around the ring before seeing off Onozaki with a Neckbreaker across her knee. She’s a genuine talent, and it’s nice to see Stardom giving her a bit of momentum now that she’s got a shiny belt to wave around.

Verdict: Three Stars

Oedo Tai (Kagetsu and Hazuki) defeated STARS (Arisa Hoshiki and Starlight Kid)

Hoshiki means Starlight, making Kid and Arisa a perfectly matched pairing. Coming in, Arisa was aiming for Hazuki ahead of their match while Kagetsu has been stealing Kid’s poses (which I have to admit to missing), so she’s not too happy about that. Kagetsu would then add to that tension by getting in Kid’s face during her introduction. How rude.

That wasn’t the only interaction between the two that got heated, as it seems Young Starlight has done something to draw Kagetsu’s attention. Then again, this is Kagetsu. She could merely be a bit bored and be looking to piss someone off. Either way, it added some spice to their interactions.

It was a spice that Hoshiki and Hazuki don’t need as their time in the ring together is hot enough. If you told me that those two shoot despise each other, I wouldn’t question it for a second as every time they come face to face there is an aggression to matters that feels real. That tension should lead to one hell of a match.

And, you know what, this was a damn good one too. It was four talented wrestlers doing their thing, and with a sprinkle of personal animosity thrown on top, it was easy to get caught up in the action. Starlight would come incredibly close to getting the win, an Oedo Tai misfire setting her up for a Code Red and a great near fall, but a bash with the Oedo Tai board turned the tide, leading to Kagetsu damn near bent her in half with a Boston Crab/Liontamer.

Verdict: Three And Three Quarter Stars

After the match, Hoshiki had to be dragged away from Hazuki before things descended into a brawl between the two. That match is going to be brilliant.

STARS (Mayu Iwatani, Tam Nakano and Saki Kashima) defeated Tokyo Cyber Squad (Hana Kimura, Bobbi Tyler and Zoe Lucas) to retain the Artist of Stardom Titles

‘Zobbi’ had to lead Hana into view for their promo because she’s still enjoying wearing her silly glasses which she can’t actually see out of. For those that have forgotten, Tokyo Cyber Squad earned this title shot because they lost a match and then did a goofy dance, at least I think that was the story. It wasn’t one of Stardom’s best, so let’s leave it at that.

For all their silliness outside the ring, it didn’t take TCS long to assert their authority on this match. They attacked during Mayu’s introduction and were soon doing their usual polite job of introducing STARS to the ringside seating.

What followed was your typical Artist match, heavy on the action and light on the storytelling. Lucas was the weak link, but she’s not horrible, and there were enough talented bodies in there to hide her downsides. On the flipside, Hana and Mayu were the standouts as their in-ring segment shone above the others. I’m also a huge fan of Mayu and Tam’s chemistry as a team, as they always bring it when they’re in the ring together.

The finish would see all three members of STARS leap from the top rope to the floor, taking out TCS and leaving Bobbi to be isolated. A flurry of kicks followed by a Mayu Moonsault served as proof that all the dancing in the world can’t guarantee you a title.

Verdict: Three And Three Quarter Stars

Tokyo Cyber Squad (Jungle Kyona and Konami) defeated Queen’s Quest (Momo Watanabe and Utami Hayashishita)to win the Goddesses of Stardom Titles

Jungle Kyona was coming home to Nagoya where she has had a rough time in the past. Twice she’s challenged for the Wonder of Stardom Title (most recently against Momo in a match of the year contender), and twice she’s fallen short. She’s also failed to win the SWA Title there and lost the Artist belts on home turf. However, she has twice won the Goddesses, and with it being Konami’s birthday, it was only fitting that she would do so once more.

They gave this a big match presentation too, starting the entrances in the back and having a bunch of people present Jungle with enough flowers to start a shop (pretty sure I’ve made that joke before, but it’s an easy one). That’s a small touch, but it’s a cool one as it puts the tag titles on a pedestal with the big singles belts.

I don’t care what you think about the wrestling in this match, but you can’t deny that it was an incredible display of endurance. For twenty minutes these four women worked at a hellacious pace, beating the shit out of each other, with barely a second to stop and breath. There were no rest holds or extended heat sequences. It was a flurry of action, constantly one-upping what had come before.

The wrestling was also fucking awesome. There wasn’t a weak link in that ring, and it showed. You got hoss battles between Jungle and Utami followed by Konami and Momo trying to cave each other’s chests in with kicks before things broke down into frantic exchanges of moves as they built action on top of more action, pushing themselves as far as they could. There were even some callbacks to that stunning Jungle vs Momo clash.

Everyone was brilliant, but a shoutout to Jungle and Utami. Utami has been quiet since returning from injury, slowly bringing herself back up to speed, but she was back to full power in this. Standing toe to toe with Kyona, slapping each other across the face and refusing to go down. Talking of Kyona, she was a woman possessed, somehow finding the energy to drag herself up and go again. People talk about Tomohiro Ishii as the most-underrated wrestler on the planet, but the fact no-one talks about Jungle tells you what the real answer to that question is.

It was Jungle who would get the win, sending Momo to the outside before hitting an incredible Powerbomb on Utami, holding her for an age before hoisting her up and bringing her crashing down. This was a stunning match and, on top of that, the right team came out on top. I loved it.

Verdict: Four And A Quarter Stars

Jungle got a few seconds to celebrate her victory, revelling in winning the belts in her hometown. That was until Andras and Kagetsu appeared, making the challenge for Korakuen Hall. With Kyona and Miyagi having issues recently, that will be heated, with Kagetsu and Konami standing aside to let them face-off.

When they buggered off, Jungle told the crowd it was Konami’s birthday before calling the rest of Tokyo Cyber Squad into the ring. She then talked about TCS washing away the bad feelings and closed out the show with a ‘yes sir!’

Overall Show

What a fantastic show. From the STARS vs Oedo Tai tag match onwards, this was unmissable, but everything that came before that was a good watch too, and it culminated in one of my favourite tag matches of the year. It’s a G1 month, so most people aren’t looking for more wrestling to watch, but if you are, please check this out.

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