Stardom Shining Summer (3/8/19) Review

Credit: Stardom

I have very little to say in this introduction, so em, been up to much? Stardom’s latest show from Shin-Kiba 1st ring featured Leo Onozaki making her first title challenge, amongst other things, so it was a chance for the impressive rookie to show she has what it takes.

Saya Iida defeated Hina and Rina in a Three Way Battle

Rina was being a cocky little badass and planned on ignoring Iida to beat-up her sister. That led to the two of them locking up and going at it while poor Saya was left on the sidelines. When she forced her way into the action, the sisters suddenly remembered they could just get together to take her out.

Sadly for them, this match continued Iida’s recent story of being a step ahead of her peers. It didn’t matter whether Rina and Hina ignored her or attacked her, she is currently the better wrestler, and that shone through. Saya got the Iidabashi on both of them to pick up the emphatic win and while this had its sloppy moments, it was a fun little opener from the kids.

Verdict: Two And A Half Stars

Starlight Kid and Tam Nakano went to a time limit draw

It’s a real shame that you can see the video length on Stardom World when you click play because that instantly tipped me off that this was probably going to a draw. Then again, I did think it was a weird decision to send Kid out against Tam, someone who you’d expect to beat her, just before her High Speed Title match, so I might have seen it coming anyway.

Despite these two being mates, Nakano was in no mood to hold back, kicking Starlight Kid around the ring and flexing her power advantage. Even when Kid tried to take risks to get into the action, planning a leap to the floor, Tam was there to boot her off the top rope and knee her in the face. Wee Starlight is no pushover, though. Time after time Tam put her down, and time after time she dragged herself back up to keep the fight going. It was a fantastic underdog performance, with the fans firmly in her corner.

In the final minutes, either one of them could have got the win. Kid hit the 180 Frog Splash before Tam tried to remove her head with a kick. They were trading moves, with both women refusing to die. Even having guessed that it was going to a draw, I was hooked, and for the second match on the show, this was fantastic.

Verdict: Four Stars

Oedo Tai (Hazuki, Jamie Hayter and Natsuko Tora) defeated Tokyo Cyber Squad (Bobbi Tyler, Ruaka and Zoe Lucas)

Natsuko has taken to biting people that get kicky with her. It’s an interesting tactic, but it seems to be working as it gave Oedo Tai the advantage over Zoe. They went on to treat her very cruelly in her final match of the tour with Jamie pulling out the Chris Brookes’ wet willy spot at one point.

Even when Zoe got out of the ring, this wasn’t a great afternoon for TCS’s B Squad. Hayter seemed to be taking pleasure in hurting Bobbi, and while Tyler got a bit of a comeback against Hazuki, she seemed a step off the pace, moving around the ring slowly. It was left to Ruaka to impress, having a hot section with Hazuki and continuing her recent good form before taking the pin.

It all added up to something decent, if rather uninspiring. Still, apparently Ruaka vs Hazuki is a match I want to see, and I didn’t see that coming.

Verdict: Three Stars

Oedo Tai (Kagetsu, Andras Miyagi and Natsu Sumire) defeated Queen’s Quest (Momo Watanabe, Bea Priestley and AZM)

Andras’s pre-match promo featured her screaming about having grown to like someone, but she could apparently only show us who in the ring. Has Kagetsu recruited someone else to her mission to steal away AZM? Jesus, Miyagi trying to steal you away would be terrifying.

That certainly seemed to be the case as a pre-match handshake saw Andras hold onto AZM for a little bit longer than necessary. They then started the match together and on more than one occasion Miyagi seemed unwilling to let go of AZM’s hand. Sadly, AZM was resistant to her attempts to establish a connection, so she’ll have to try a bit harder in the future.

Elsewhere, Kagetsu continues to be Priestley’s best opponent, taking a vicious bump off a suplex and going out of her way to make her look great. The same can be said of the Oedo Tai leader and her interactions with AZM who she sold her ass off for. Maybe in the future we should just assume that Kagetsu makes everyone look good?

In the end, poor AZM would fall victim to the group that covets her so strongly, tapping out to Kagetsu. The rest of Oedo Tai then had to hold Andras back from going after her new love. If AZM ever does end up in that faction, she’s going to be the most popular person there.

Verdict: Three And A Quarter Stars

Utami Hayashishita defeated Leo Onozaki to retain the Future Of Stardom Title

The Future of Stardom Title is in a strange place. Utami is the future, but she’s also the present, and it’s hard to imagine any of her fellow rookies beating her. I’ve been impressed with Leo’s recent performances, but no-one thought she was going to win this match.

And the structure of it backed that feeling up. Onozaki wrestled like the underdog, taking big hits from Utami and firing back with a plucky series of roll-ups. Leo was going for the hit and run approach while Utami wrestled like a veteran who wanted to slow things down and dominate the kid standing up to her.

It was an approach that led to some cool near falls as Onozaki threw roll-up after roll-up at Utami, but couldn’t quite get the job done. In the end, though, it felt like the Big Rookie could win whenever she wanted. Leo managed to drag herself across the ring to escape a Boston Crab, but it was a respite rather than a reprieve and seconds later her back was being stretched across Utami’s shoulders before being dropped into the German for the three.

This was an enjoyable match with Onozaki looking valiant in defeat and Utami being established as the badass she is.

Verdict: Three and A Half Stars

Afterwards, Maiki from Just Tap Out (Taka Michinoku’s new promotion) came out to get on the mic and explain that she and Utami are headlining Just Tap Out’s next show at Korakuen (over TAKA vs Sekimoto). She then said that she wanted Utami to put the Future Title on the line. I have never seen Maiki wrestle and have no idea what Stardom and Just Tap Out’s relationship is like, but Utami accepted, and I’m intrigued as to where that is going.

Tokyo Cyber Squad (Hana Kimura, Jungle Kyona and Konami) defeated STARS (Arisa Hoshiki, Mayu Iwatani and Saki Kashima)

Hana managed to miss the pre-match promo while both teams were complaining about the heat. The match itself was a preview for Jungle vs Arisa at Korakuen which I have seen and, well, let’s just say that it made me very happy.

Tokyo Cyber Squad dominated the bulk of this match, taking control after they introduced STARS to the ringside seating and started working over Mayu. I know I spend a lot of time raving about Iwatani, but it’s all true. She’s brilliant, and the way she flopped around for TCS was a load of fun. I also love the way she hits that desperation Superkick, rolling back onto her head as her leg gives out. It always looks awesome.

When we finally got to a proper preview of Jungle vs Arisa, it was everything you’d expect. Jungle’s power vs Arisa’s speed and kicks. Even with Hoshiki having a problem with her boot and kick pads (I couldn’t quite figure out what had gone wrong, but something came off), they provided enough to make you instantly realise this is a must-watch match.

We also got a fantastic battle between Konami and Mayu in the final act which made me want to see that match, as these six did exactly what you’d expect them to, put on a great match. When you get all this talent in the ring together, it’s going to take something going horribly wrong for it not to be good, this was not the day that happened.

Verdict: Three And Three Quarter Stars

Overall Show

A show that started fine and got better as it went along. If you’re in a hurry, Tam vs Kid is the only must-see match, but the final two are definitely worth a watch. Stardom’s next show was in Korakuen (it’s already happened), so we’re straight back to the big leagues. How exciting.

Watch Stardom:

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