Hana Kimura

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Credit: Stardom

Hana Kimura was extraordinary. I’ve thought a lot about how to describe her, but it’s the word I keep coming back to. She walked into a room, and she owned it, more charisma in one defiantly raised middle finger than most have in their entire bodies. I was lucky enough to see her live in Shinkiba 1st Ring and the Tokyo Dome, two buildings that couldn’t be more different, but she dominated both. At the age of 22, Hana looked like someone who could do whatever she wanted, whether that be a long career in wrestling or the joshi classic of an early retirement and another life. That’s what should have happened.

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Stardom Cinderella Tournament (24/3/20)

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Hey Covid-19, fuck you. Stardom had a pretty dress on the line, and they were gonna run the Cinderella Tournament whether you liked it or not. Although judging by the fact Korakuen was near-empty, the Japanese public wasn’t quite ready to return, and with what’s happened since, it’s probably the last time we’ll see this for a while. Oh well, that’s all the more reason to enjoy it now.

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Stardom No People Gate (8/3/20) Review

Insert joke about Stardom drawing an awful crowd for their latest Korkauen here. For yes, with coronavirus still causing chaos, Stardom chose to hold their monthly trip to the Hall without any fans. It’s not all bad news, though, as they also streamed it for free on YouTube, making it the rare Stardom show that can be watched straight away and has commentary, with a whole load of familiar faces (including Jushin Liger) popping up throughout the show. If we’re lucky, it might even become a regular thing. Anyway, on with the wrestling!

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Stardom New Year Stars (16/2/20) Review

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The great betrayer. Credit: Stardom

Just a few months after her debut, Saya Kamitani has earned her first singles main event, taking on Utami for the Future Of Stardom Title. Sadly, as one wrestler stepped up, another stepped away, with this show marking Leo Onozaki’s retirement. So, let’s celebrate her career and toast to Kamitani’s future with a good old-fashioned review. I’m sure it’s the present they both wanted.

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Stardom The Way To Major League (8/2/20) Review

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So damn cool. Credit: Stardom

Stardom’s second Korakuen of the year was supposed to be headlined by the dream match of Mayu Iwatani vs Sareee. Unfortunately, Sareee got ill, which led to her having to pull out at the last minute. Now we can only cross our fingers and hope they find a way to reschedule before Sareee ruins her career by moving to Tampa. Still, Stardom did a great job of leaping into action and finding a suitable replacement in the form of Takumi Iroha of Marvelous. Could it live up to the expectations placed on that original match? Time to find out.

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Stardom 9th Anniversary In Osaka (26/1/20) Review

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Time to say goodbye. Credit: Stardom

Gosh, this came around quickly, didn’t it? It’s time for Kagetsu’s final Stardom match. While she’s doing a wee retirement tour around various joshi companies before facing off with her trainer Meiko Satomura one more time, it already feels like things are coming to an end. She certainly couldn’t have picked a better trio of wrestlers to say goodbye with, that’s for sure, as she and Mayu go up against Jungle and Momo in one hell of a main event. I could try and tease the idea of whether it delivered or not, but I suspect you know the answer.

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Stardom 9th Anniversary Show (19/1/20) Review

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Our champion. Credit: Stardom

On their 9th birthday Stardom did something they’d never done before and packed Korkauen Hall right up to the balcony. That famous old venue was bursting at the seams, and it was a beautiful sight. Yes, you can point to the advertising power of Bushiroad, but a card headlined by Mayu vs Momo is one of the biggest Stardom can deliver, and it had the crowd it deserved. Now, it was down to the wrestlers to impress.

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Stardom New Year Stars (3/1/20) Review

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Friendships mended. Credit: Stardom

A quick note before I get started, I am going to be cutting down on the number of shows I review this year. I’ll still be doing a decent amount, but I want to write about some other things, and it’s hard to do that when you’re trying to keep up to date on multiple promotions. With companies like Stardom, I’ll pick and choose the exciting or noteworthy events while I wouldn’t expect in-depth reviews of every New Japan tournament (cheerio, Tag League). It’s a small change, but one I thought was worth mentioning.

Anyway, today I am going to have a look at Stardom’s second show of the year, which ended on an angle that saw them give the hornet’s nest a boot before 2020 had properly woken up.

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NJPW Wrestle Kingdom (4/1/20) Review

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Credit: NJPW

With Tokyo Joshi finished, it was time to go to the second most important show of the day. January 4th at the Tokyo Dome is a New Japan tradition, and even if they were running two dates there this year, there was something extra special about the first. Watching Wrestle Kingdom a few years ago got me into Japanese wrestling and, well, have a look around this site if you want to know how important that was to me. So, let’s find out what New Japan gave me on my first trip to their biggest show of the year.

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