For the first time in their history Stardom stepped away from Tokyo and Shinkiba to make their way to Osaka, a city that you could probably call their second home. With a small roster, the chance to go on the road and reach new territories was going to be a pretty essential part of their growth, so let’s see how they did in front of a new audience.
Arisa Hoshiki defeated Eri Susa
We joined the match in progress with Arisa controlling Susa. Despite still being early in Stardom’s history, there has already been a clear hierarchy established, and poor Eri is at the bottom of it. There was a moment in this match where she messed up a DDT, so Arisa pulled her to her feet and slapped her across the face, a self-explanatory message being sent.
Arisa also kicked Susa’s head off to pick up a convincing win in a match that was a bit sloppy in places, but not bad enough (at least in the few minutes we saw) to elicit any real complaints. It’s a delightful surprise how quickly Arisa has taken to wrestling, as she gets better with every show.
Verdict: Grizzled Vet Arisa
Ebessan and Haruka fought to a time-limit draw
Cagematch says this match went to a three-minute draw and yet the version on Stardom World has been trimmed. Why? I’ve no idea where this footage was originally broadcast but was the ten-fifteen seconds they were saving that important? It might make sense with ten-minute long openers featuring inexperienced wrestlers, but I want to see Haruka do her thing!
Anyway, this featured the first-ever man to step foot inside a Stardom ring as Haruka followed up her Hirota matches with another battle against a comedy legend. Ebessan would kick things off by pretending he couldn’t see her because she was so short before crouching down and being kicked in the head for his troubles.
That very much set the tone for the action as Haruka spent most of the bits we got to see wailing on Ebessan. At one point, she pulled out a Rolling Kapo Kick, which was pretty awesome. Unfortunately, that was all we did get to see, as the clipping meant it was kept very short. Still, it was Haruka messing around with a funny adult, that’s always going to get the thumbs up from me.
Verdict: Release The Rest!
Natsuki Taiyo defeated Iris
We’ve got another match that’s been edited down as this just snuck over the three-minute mark on Stardom World. It’s a shame because we’ve only seen Iris in tags or squashes, so it would have been nice to get a good look at her.
Sadly, what we did see was mediocre at best. Iris got a flurry of offence to kick things off, and while it’s not bad, you can tell she’s green and lacks the fluidity that the best luchadors have.
From there, the match basically cuts to the finish. Taiyo kicking Iris out of the air on a Crossbody before hitting a Powerbomb and a Moonsault for the win. It was chopped down to the point where it made this impossible to review, which is especially disappointing as it will be the last we see of Iris. Taiyo raised her hand post-match giving her a farewell before she (presumably) returned to Mexico.
Yoko Bito defeated Mayu Iwatani
If these matches are all going to continue to be three minutes long, I’m not sure whether they’re worth reviewing.
At least this one was a bit more interesting as Bito was giving a commanding win over Mayu. Iwatani got the shit kicked out of her, Bito booting her across the ring and the one flare-up of hope after a stiff slap being quickly extinguished.
It might not have been a great night for Mayu, but it was an improvement for Bito. You can see her getting more comfortable in her skin, leaning into those strikes and looking more at home in the ring. She’s had star power since day one, but now she’s putting the other pieces into the puzzle too.
Verdict: Bito’s Looking Good
Yoshiko and Natsuki Taiyo defeated Nanae Takahashi and Yuzuki Aikawa
Our main event had also got the snip, but it wasn’t quite as drastic as the other matches on the card. We still got to see Yoshiko and Taiyo (pulling double duty) being particularly horrible to Yuzuki. In what I presume was an attempt to both humiliate and hurt, they seemed to decide to focus their offence on her boobs, which is a unique tactic.
Outside of that, this match was a blast. It might have been the editing, but it felt like they never slowed down, and everyone was given their moment in the sun. Nanae vs Yoshiko was particularly brilliant, as the veterans continue to do a fantastic job in anchoring the action. Yoshiko and Aikawa look great, but you get the impression a lot of that is because Nanae and Taiyo make it easy for them to do so.
On top of that, they know exactly when to get out of the way. Yoshiko and Aikawa were given the home stretch to shine, Aikawa getting away a fantastic flurry of kicks before Yoshiko took control and powered her way to victory. She continues to be the big bad running rampant over the roster, and it’s looking like someone is going to have to get tough enough to take her down.
Verdict: Lovely Stuff
While all the edits made this an easy watch, it is also slightly frustrating. I want to see more of these young wrestlers and their development, but what we’re getting is closer to highlight packages. I’m still enjoying it, but I’m looking forward to hitting the stage where we get to see all the action.
Watch Stardom: http://www.stardom-world.com/