Stardom Throwback: Grow Up Stars (29/5/11) Review

Credit: Stardom

With wrestling slowly coming back to life, the Throwback reviews have gone on the backburner, but I don’t intend to leave them alone entirely. Plus, I’m inching nearer to Stardom hitting an exciting period, so I need to get to that!

Hiroyo Matsumoto defeated Eri Susa

In her second Stardom appearance, although the first took place under a mask, Matsumoto became the latest outsider to face the restrained wrath of Eri Susa. In other words, she was out there giving the rookie a bit of a kicking.

Despite being on the receiving end of most of the offence, there is no doubt that Susa is improving. I’m sure I’ve said it before, but she’s got a scrappy fire to her, which makes it easy to forgive the fact she isn’t technically perfect. It’s fun to watch her grab her moments, which proves to be more than enough for me.

Sadly, underdog passion isn’t always enough. Susa had her flashes, a Tornado DDT out of the corner getting a two, but Matsumoto was too big and too strong. The youngster’s offence didn’t make a dent, and while she fought defiantly to the end, she was snapped in half over Matsumoto’s knee for the three.

Verdict: Susa Appreciation

Haruka and Yoko Bito fought to a time-limit draw

Everyone is a heel when they wrestle Haruka and Bito seemed to relish the chance to show her evil side. She grabbed the youngster by the nose, pulling her head back and twisting her around to show the entire crowd.

It was a moment of evil that would come back to bite her. My favourite thing about these matches is that the adult is out there to play the big goon being outsmarted by heroic Haruka. It’s incredibly selfless and the kind of thing that would have sections of the wrestling world frothing with rage.

Haruka seems to be getting closer to picking up a win too, once again getting a two count as the bell rang for the draw. Afterwards, she and Bito celebrated together, and I continue to love everything about this kid’s run in Stardom.

Verdict: Haruka Ichiban

Yuzuki Aikawa defeated Mayu Iwatani

There was a moment early on where these two seemed to forget what they were supposed to do next. It’s that rare second where you’re reminded just how inexperienced this roster is, but they bounced back, finding their groove against instantly.

The groove in this one was Mayu trying to take out Aikawa’s legs, twisting on them and doing some brutal looking stomps and Dropkicks. She probably did a better job in attacking than Yuzuki did in selling as they were shrugged off a bit too easily.

There was another mistake towards the end, Mayu slipping as she attempted to run up the ropes, but she does that today, and she’s one of the best wrestlers on the planet, so getting worried about that is silly. Outside of those moments, this was her most-rounded performance so far and felt like a huge leap forward for her.

Sadly, it wasn’t enough to get her the win as Aikawa kicked her head off, but we can’t give Mayu everything, can we?

Verdict: Mayu’s Getting It!

Mika Nagano defeated Arisa Hoshiki

Mika Nagano’s matches are so different from everyone else’s in Stardom at this time. She plays off her technical skill, building them like competitive fights where she’s avoiding the vicious kicks of Arisa to try and bring her to the ground.

It was a goal she would prove successful in, a brutal German Suplex doing enough damage for her to lock on an Armbar for the submission. It was a great finish for a short match that I loved. It was messy at times, the two not quite clicking, but in a way that made it feel like a fight. They played their roles brilliantly, and the fact we don’t have much Nagano left makes me sad.

Verdict: Fight!

Natsuki Taiyo and Yoshiko defeated Nanae Takahashi and Yoko Bito

I think by now we’ve established that if you anchor a Stardom main event with the pairing of Nanae and Natsuki, it’s going to be pretty great. They push these matches to become wild, free-wheeling rides where everyone wrestles at a million miles an hour. By this point, Yoko and Yoshiko are pretty good, but they could be two cardboard cut-outs, and they’d be dragged along gleefully in the veteran’s wake.

Yoko and Yoshiko did get a chance to turn the heat up on the rivalry that’s been bubbling since day one. They appear to have grown comfortable with each other, delivering stiff kicks and going all out. There were moments where it felt like they were on the verge of ditching all pretence at wrestling to claw at each other, which is perfect for the kind of feud they’re building.

Natsuki and Bito had a fierce exchange towards the end, Bito at one point collapsing as Taiyo headed towards the ropes, leading the veteran to hoist her up for a Powerbomb in response. They would also have an incredibly painful-looking mistake when Taiyo’s attempt to Arm Drag Bito off the top-rope somehow saw her come down on Natsuki’s back.

Still, that was just one moment, and this was a great wild match, the kind Stardom has already turned into their signature. I’d quite happily watch a million of them.

Verdict: Lovely Stuff

Overall Show

I think having a break from these Stardom Throwbacks did me good. There is no denying that these early shows are a bit repetitive, they’re working with a small roster the majority of which are rookies, so having a few weeks off allowed me to appreciate them a bit more. Throw in the likes of Mayu stepping up a level, and this was a good one!

Watch Stardom:

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