Stardom Throwback: Debut Series (12/2/11) Review

Credit: Stardom

No, you’re avoiding watching that ROH show! A couple of days after doing the first-ever Stardom show, I’ve come straight back to do number two. If I keep this rate up, I’ll make it through most of World in less time than it takes to watch an hour-long four-way Iron Man match.

Yuka Aikawa defeated Eri Susa

Susa still had her awful school uniform inspired gear, but she was treated less like a joke in this match. There was no laughter from the audience, and while she was there to do the job, you came out the other side feeling like the main difference between the two was Yuzuki’s lethal kicks.

However, it’s worth pointing out that this has been given a trim. It’s about three minutes long on Stardom World, and there is an obvious cut. Cagematch has it as going over seven, so who knows what happened in the rest of that time.

What we saw, though, was a decent wee match with Eri’s fire eventually being quenched by a good old-fashioned boot to the head. Eri and Yuzuki were still ridiculously inexperienced, so the fact they were going out and putting on something competent is worthy of praise.

Verdict: What We Saw Was Good

Haruka and Passion Seven fought to a time-limit draw

It was Takahashi’s turn to put on a mask and have some fun with Haruka.

Once again, I loved this. The sight of Passion Seven grappling with Haruka, selling her arm wringers before rolling into one of her own makes me smile. Even better though are all of Harukas tricks, whether it’s jumping onto Seven’s back or running around her to make her dizzy, she wrestles like a kid. I mean, that’s obvious, she is a kid, but she’s been trained to use that to her advantage rather than acting like a mini adult.

It’s also another perfect example of how to protect someone in a wrestling ring. Much like on the previous show, she doesn’t take a single bump, but Seven still manages to draw the boos of the crowd for the slightest offence. Amusingly, though, it’s Haruka who is coming forward as the time runs out, pushing for the victory only for Passion Seven to be saved by the bell.

I didn’t expect to watch the early Stardom shows and fall for the kid fights, but here we are. Can’t pretend I don’t love ’em.

Verdict: Brilliant

Mika Nagano defeated Mayu Iwatani

Nagano has moved away from the MMA gear she wore on the first show to something with a bit more of that wrestling flash. We also saw her mimic Mayu, copying her run up the turnbuckle into an Arm Drag before having a wee gloat.

Even weirder than Mika drawing from Iwatani was the amount of grappling Mayu was doing. You can tell she’s still trying to find her thing, and it’s evident that it’s not Armbars. She doesn’t have the right intensity when locking it in, and when Nagano showed her how to do it, this was over.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t a great match before that. Mayu and Mika never seemed to click, their interactions coming across as awkward and stilted. A combination of a lack of chemistry and inexperience left this falling a bit flat.

Verdict: Not Great

Nanae Takahashi defeated Arisa Hoshiki

Wow, this might have only been a few weeks after the first show, but Arisa apparently spent those weeks figuring out what she does best. Her kicks only became a feature late into her match with Mayu, but they were central to her game in this one. She opened up by teasing a test of strength only to unleash with a flurry instead, a hint of that smiley killer we know today coming to the fore.

Perhaps being in there with Takahashi helped her come out of her skin, as the veteran seemed to be inviting Arisa to give her everything she could. She took every kick, eating them up and giving just as good back. At one point, Hoshiki let out a scream of anger, pushed to her breaking point by one of her locker-room leaders.

It was all the set-up for a bloody lovely sprint. These two went hard and fast, Arisa getting the opportunity to unleash both barrels before finally succumbing. It was easily the best performance from a Stardom rookie so far as she showed personality, fire and a move-set that got the fans behind her. Takahashi seemed to agree, getting on the mic post-match and firing her up some more before they exchanged slaps and a handshake. Lovely stuff.

Verdict: Hoshiki Steps Up

Natsuki Taiyo and Yoshiko defeated Yoko Bito and Iris

Yoshiko started this match like a wrecking ball, barrelling through both opponents and being a horrible prick. It’s a role that even in her second match she’s already pretty much perfected, pulling Bito’s head back by her nostrils and seemingly relishing the chance to cause pain.

Something you notice on these early shows is that the rookie wrestlers are a lot more comfortable hitting the veterans than they are each other. Hoshiki stepped up her game in the previous match and having complained that Bito’s strikes looked weak on the last show, there was none of that when she was in the ring with Taiyo. It makes sense, these women have probably played a part in training them, and they know what they can get away with while they’re not so sure with their peers.

Despite that, Yoshiko and Bito felt like the main act. They got into a slap-off, the fans already hanging on every blow before Yoshiko grabbed a choke. There is such a clear contrast between the two that they feel like natural enemies, and it turns out that Bito getting the win on the first show did nothing to diminish that. Plus, this was Yoshiko’s chance to get her revenge, that Second Rope Senton that Bito survived before now proving more than enough to get the win.

These four delivered the kind of main event that I associate with Stardom in 2020. From the second the bell went, it was a flurry of motion, bodies flying in and out of the ring. Taiyo was particularly brilliant and having only previously seen her referring, I’m glad to have the chance to see her in full flow. All four brought it, though, already showing that they’ve got a grasp of the frantic style that would become Stardom’s calling card.

Verdict: A Load Of Fun

Overall Show

I need to keep reminding myself that most of the women on these shows were wrestling only their second or third match. When you take that into account, the product they’re putting out is pretty spectacular. Sure, it’s unlikely to blow your mind, but it’s so easy to watch, and every match has something that is at least interesting. This is a watch through that will definitely continue.

Watch Stardom:

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