Stardom Throwback: Grow Up Stars (12/6/11) Review

Credit: Stardom

Present-day Stardom may have returned, but that doesn’t mean we’re leaving the past behind. In 2011, Stardom is getting close to the period where lots of exciting stuff is going to occur, so why would we stop now?

Yoshiko defeated Eri Susa

With Eri Susa coming off a run of matches against outsiders, this was her chance to show what she’d learnt. Stardom’s big bad was standing in Susa’s way, though, and I was very intrigued as to how this would go down.

What we got was surprisingly back and forth. Yes, Yoshiko was the dominant force, opening the match by holding Susa at bay with one hand, but Eri had her moments. That plucky underdog spirit that I’ve fallen for shone through as she rained Dropkicks down on Yoshiko and tried to take out the leg.

Susa was defiant to the end too, earning an enthusiastic reaction for kicking out of a Military Press, Senton combination. Sadly, it was merely delaying the inevitable, but I continue to see something in young Susa. The fact that Stardom was letting her have a competitive match with Yoshiko suggests they hadn’t written her off either.

Verdict: The Kids Getting There

Haruka and Cherry fought to a time-limit draw

Cherry is a joshi mainstay having worked in pretty much every promotion worth mentioning over the last sixteen years. With that in mind, she had no worries going out there and heeling it up against wee Haruka, luring her in for a handshake and then striking.

She’s also the kind of opponent that Haruka shines against. Cherry showed the perfect combination of bastardy, and comic chops, happy to both be booed and humiliated. It allowed Haruka to shine, the sympathy being rained down on her as she battled back against this woman who towers over her, tormenting the poor quine.

Of course, we know how this ends by now as the time ran out. You also, if you’ve read my other Stardom Throwback, probably know that I loved it. There is a strong argument to be made that Haruka is one of my favourite wrestlers ever. She’s yet to disappoint me, and I have faith that she never will.

Verdict: Trust In Haruka

Natsuki Taiyo defeated Arisa Hoshiki

First off, all the love to Arisa Hoshiki. She’s been going through a tough time, which is no surprise as a young woman who has had her career ripped away. When that’s combined with the death of Hana and what appears to be consistent online abuse, it’s clear she’s been struggling. Hopefully the addition of a bunny and a puppy will make life brighter.

It’s hard to segue from that into blabbing about an old match, but this was fantastic. Taiyo and Hoshiki had fantastic chemistry, smoothly slipping between intricate sequences. In fact, my biggest complaint about the early going was that it was too smooth, as it lacked the gritty feel of a fight. However, as complaints go, you’re doing this too well is a pretty minor one.

Plus, towards the end, we did get more of a fight, Arisa booting Taiyo from the top to the floor. It went the route most Hoshiki matches go, Natsuki trying to avoid those kicks and Arisa looking to remove heads. In the end, the veteran had one too many tricks up her sleeve, but like Mayu’s performance on the last show, this felt like a big step forward for young Arisa.

Verdict: We Love Arisa

Yoko Bito and Yuzuki Aikawa defeated Nanae Takahashi and Mayu Iwatani

There was an amusing moment pre-match where Nanae tried to fire Mayu up before Mayu returned the favour by slapping the veteran repeatedly across the face. Then, job done, they both turned and climbed through the ropes to the apron.

That would end up being a prescient moment as the goal in this one was to establish Yuzuki and Yoko as a team. The two of them settled straight into a rhythm as they proved to share a mutual love of kicking shite out of people. If you’re the kind of person who enjoys getting shitfaced, I’d highly recommend watching this match and taking a drink for every stiff kick. It will do the job.

You might be expecting it to have been Mayu who took the bulk of that kicking, and while she undoubtedly was in this match to take the fall, it was surprising how equal opportunities Bito and Aikawa were. By working together, they were able to chop Nanae down to size, and this was probably the most offence two of the rookies have had on a veteran so far.

In the end, Nanae and Mayu’s inability to get on the same page would be the killer, a Nanae Dropkick leaving Mayu to the mercy of their opponents. To be fair to her, Mayu had Dropkicked her earlier in the match, so it was squaring things up. Either way, it set up their defeat and put a satisfying full stop on the end of a very enjoyable match.

Verdict: Bonding!

Overall Show

That was a solid show with a great main event pushed along by a strong narrative. It was also our final outing with just the original roster as the next one has a new rookie debut. Who is it? Well, if you want to find out, it’s not difficult, but I’ll keep it a surprise just in case. It will be a familiar face for modern Stardom fans, though.

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