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Found 174 results

  1. When Stardom announced the line-up for the 5*GP a lot of western joshi fans groused about the no-names, especially the foreign ones. The problem is that you don't know how good no-names are until you actually watch them. I didn't know anything about Courtney Stewart before she was announced but that didn't stop me from watching her great performance here. The match itself starts with some good heeling from Stewart as she attacks Hojo before the bell and steals her mask. After that they go about establishing Stewart's size advantage over Hojo while showing that Hojo can stay competitive with her strikes. To Stewart's credit, she lays in her shots and does her best to hang in there to take Hojo's brutal shots. She ends up costing herself the match as she's unable to focus her offense on either beating Hojo down or taking out her arm, which allows Hojo to just straight up mow her down at the finish. Really well worked, physical match. ****
  2. This is Io Shirai's first match back from having surgery on her tailbone after her SWA title loss to Toni Storm last month. Io controls early on playing the arrogant veteran. Eventually, she leaves herself open allowing Watanabe to work over her lower back. Io's selling is good her as you believe that Momo always has a chance to take back the momentum due to Io's one soft spot. This allows for the finish to have some good back and forth with some good near falls for Watanabe before taking the loss. ***1/2
  3. This Storm's first defense of her newly won SWA title. This starts out with some fun British style exchanges. One thing I like about Storm is that she is subtle with her influences rather than parade around with them like some of her male peers. Shanna manages some success when she can pick up the pace but is never really able to maintain it. Solid, entertaining title match that is a good showcase for what Toni Storm can do. ***1/2
  4. This is just a make shift tag to preview a couple of matchups in the 5*GP. Even though that is the case, all 4 women go really hard here and have a really exciting match. It does pretty good job of previewing Iwatani/Bito, the two of them showed great chemistry here. Watanabe gives a spirited performance here. She takes a fair beating in the early going but makes a nice, fired up comeback at the end. Quite the quality match for something that could have been a throwaway. ***3/4
  5. This is Hojo's first defense of the Wonder of Stardom title that she won back in May. This match is worked differently than Viper's match with Io Shirai for the Red Belt back in February. That match was more of a traditional title match, where as this one has a clear face/heel dynamic. Hojo's over-the-top personality help make the match as her body language really put over Viper's size and sell her offense. Very entertaining match with a great performance from Hojo. ***3/4
  6. This is a rematch of a fun draw that these two had back in June. This one end up a better match by being shorter with some smoother execution and better selling. I was really surprised by how good Chelsea's matwork was. Everything she tried ran together well plus she made sure to work the actual hold to make it worth something. Shanna looked better here mainly because she didn't try anything too elaborate leading to her being sloppy if not flat out blowing spots. One of the more surprisingly really good match that I've seen this year. ***1/2
  7. This is the main event for this house show setting up a rematch for the SWA title between Shirai and Storm. This match gets off to a slow start, although it did enjoy the matwork exchanges between Io and Toni. Once it gets going though, it turns into a nice mix of double teams, cutoffs, and saves. Was actually surprised that Kyona, for a rookie, was able to keep up with everything going on. Super fun main event. ***1/2
  8. This is a tag match building to the Wonder of Stardom title match between Hojo and Viper. Hojo was really good here, especially in emoting and bumping to put over Viper's size. This was the best that Chelsea's looked since coming back from injury. She's had some rough performances on this tour but solid hitting her stuff here. Leah Vaughan has good ring presence she just needs more experience to add some polish to her ring work. In the end, the highlight was the Hojo/Viper interaction that makes you look forward to their title match. ***1/2
  9. This is Bito first time tagging with either Io or Hojo since her return. This is a surprisingly competitive match considering that you have some of Stardom top girls on one side taking on the B-team of the companies heel group, Oedo Tai. Hojo especially, does a really great job of putting over the offense of their opponents to make you believe that they have a chance, even when none of them have any real big offense. Very entertaining in an unexpected way. ***1/2
  10. This is Bito's return match after a 4 year absence. It was surprising to see just how competitive Bito was right from the start. She gets the early advantage on Hojo, staying threatening till the end. She did seem to run low on gas towards the end but the match layout covers for it by keeping the match moderately paced with high-impact strikes. Overall, a surprising strong return match and it will be interesting to see how Bito continues to develop during her return. ***1/2
  11. This is the final of a one night tournament to crown the first Stardom World Alliance champion. This starts off with some good back and forth matwork with Storm eventually taking over with some power offense. She does work a bit like Emma in that she doesn't do anything really flashy but everything hits well and looks good. One aspect of Io's work that doesn't get talked about is how deceptively simple her work, that's not something that you wouldn't associate with a joshi high-flyer. Overall, a really good main event. ***3/4
  12. Stardom and Sendai Girls renew their rivalry with this tag main event. While Iwata sticks out as the obvious job girl here, I was really impressed with her. She does a great job of selling her beatdown while still managing to get her own shots in plus a few rollups for nearfalls. It's business as usual for the three. While it's not NJ/WAR, Stardom/Senjo still manages to capture that heated interpromotional rivalry that's been missing in Japan for awhile. ****
  13. This is the first title defense of the new Stardom World Alliance Championship. It was created during Stardom's tour of Europe back in May with the gimmick that it has to be defended between two wrestlers from different countries, in this case, Japan (Shirai) and Portugal (Shanna). I really like Shanna here. I've seen her a few times on the indys and she was always really solid, if unspectacular. She does have a couple of rough moments, but I liked how she picked up the intensity as the match went on. Io is basically what you would expect from Io Shirai at this point. With Stardom World you really get to see just how consistent she is from show to show. A solid, entertaining title match. ***3/4
  14. donsem43

    Stardom streaming service

    Thought I would start a thread for Stardom since they are starting their own streaming service via YouTube. It just started today and for now they are having a free 2-week trial with a monthly subscription of $4.99 U.S. The only possible downside is they probably won't be using broadcast footage of their bigger shows. Their own footage, up to this point, has just been one cameraman at ringside. While that works well when the action is in the ring, it gets a bit troublesome when the action goes outside at some of the smaller buildings. I'll be happy if they can add a hard camera like they had for the U.S. tour they did last fall. That is a minor complaint, it's awesome to see this especially with a Japanese promotion that's doing pretty well in-ring right now. Match results for past shows and line-ups for upcoming shows can be found here.
  15. It's Chelsea Diamond's first match back in Stardom in 2016, as well as Haruka Kato's last match for a while, continuing the sad trend of Stardom retirements and semiretirements. Haruka acts like a face with the prematch handshakes, but Hiroyo shrugs them off. The match starts with her and Kairi, who have a singles match coming up. Hiroyo establishes her physical dominance, but Kairi is able to keep up with everything and they have a superhero staredown before they tag out to Chelsea and Haruka. There's continued taunting from Hiroyo throughout the match, and Kairi goes out of her way to pay it off by attacking Hiroyo. A double elbow drop from Candy Crush leads into bit of a comedy spot as Chelsea is hugging Kairi while Kairi wants to get back to the match. Kairi turns it up a notch and starts giving Haruka some really stiff forearms and chops. Haruka is able to dodge the running elbow, which hits Chelsea (who is inexplicably at that corner), and tags in Hiroyo. They once again establish Hiroyo's strength advantage, as the spear attempt is countered with an Argentine backbreaker drop. Chelsea isn't the great hot tag in the business. Kairi gets back in and continues the stiffness with Haruka, but Hiroyo breaks up the pin attempt and hits Candy Crush with a double belly-to-back suplex. Candy Crush goes outside to take a breather, but Hiroyo continues the Haruka punishment and throws her over the ropes on top of them. It doesn't end, as Hiroyo repeatedly throws Haruka on top of Kairi back inside the ring. A crossbody off the top gets 2 for Haruka. Kairi continues the stiff offense until Hiroyo comes to break it up. Haruka gets a flash pin attempt and armbar, with Hiroyo preventing Chelsea from saving her, and Kairi eventually reaches the ropes. Kairi hits a bridging belly-to-belly, which is broken up by Hiroyo. Kairi is frustrated and sets up the diving elbow drop, but Hiroyo rushes the corner to attack her. That ends with a tree-of-woe double footstomp, Haruka gets another flash pin attempt and goes for a suplex, but Kairi counters and finally hits the diving elbow drop for the win. This is setting up a singles match between Kairi and Hiroyo, which should be pretty good if they have the chemistry they showed in this match. Chelsea still has a really limited range, and works best when selling a beatdown and getting a few hope spots in.
  16. It's Kris Wolf's return after a few months absence. This is established as a comedy match from the beginning, as Kris Wolf acts traumatized when the ref inspects her tail. There's a pre-match hand-tail shake between the two competitors. They work the usual opening armwrench exchange, which Kris ends by biting Kid's arm. Oedo Tai distracts the ref and Kris bites the ear of Starlight Kid's tiger mask. This is probably the comedic peak of the match. There's a nice bit of continuity later as Kris traps Starlight Kid's head with a hold and pulls on the part of the mask she bit. They have a lot of counters and reversals, including a transition from a giant swing into a Boston crab that is reversed into a pin attempt by Kid. I don't understand some of the psychology of Kris breaking up her own pin attempts. Kris hits the double knee off the ropes, but Kid gets a Fighting Spirit kickout, but the comeback is short as Kris gets a small package for the win. This match reminded me that we need more minis and comedy matches in wrestling. I'd rather watch this stuff than WWE preshow matches.
  17. It's the debut of another gaijin in Stardom, this time Shanna from Portugal. She's going up against the rookie Hiromi Mimura, who has recently had some good outings in tag matches. Hiromi brings the chops at the beginning of the match, with little effect to Shanna. Shanna throws Hiromi into the opposite corner, which leads to an awkward looking dropkick from Hiromi and a poor wind-up punch from Shanna. In the middle of the match it looks like Shanna is just moving from point A to point B to set up for the next spot. Shanna looks a lot better when she's on offense near the end. She milks the crowd a lot longer than most wrestlers do in Stardom, but she gets a decent reaction so I can't blame her. A nice looking top-rope splash, leading to a kickout, followed by a variant of the facebuster I can't name for the pin. She's getting a Stardom World Alliance title shot against Io Shirai on 6/4, so we'll see how she looks against a more seasoned opponent.
  18. This match is actually fairly similar to the Hojo/Iwata match earlier in the card except that it "Champion vs. Rising Star" so it's a bit more advanced. Satomura dominates the early going by simply overpowering Iwatani with matwork and strikes. Mayu tries to stick and move to counter but it only takes one stiff shot from Meiko to regain control. Iwatani does eventually manage to get a nice run on offense but she ends up making the same mistake that Hojo did in July by trying to trade strikes with Satomura and that's just a fight that Mayu isn't going to win. Meiko puts an exclamation point by hitting a nasty DVD then putting Iwatani to sleep. ***3/4
  19. While this is pretty much a veteran vs. rookie match, there's enough fire and stiffness to make this stand out on its own. This starts out with the typical vet beating down of the rookie with Hojo controlling things. Iwata is finally able to get on offense when she avoids a charging Hojo and follows up by slamming Kairi on the floor. She then focuses on Hojo back, even breaking out a really nice looking Regal Stretch. Eventually though, Hojo just has enough of this and just starts drilling Iwata with strikes topping off with the absolute nastiest spinning backfist that you will ever see catching Iwata right on the nose. Mika tries making one last comeback but gets jacked up by a running forearm from Hojo and another spinning backfist that splats blood from Iwata's broken nose onto her cheek. That's a visual that I won't be forgetting for awhile. Quite the rite of passage for a rookie. ***3/4
  20. Well, if this is the last match of Sarah Stock's career, then this is a pretty good way to go out. Starts out with a really fast exchange sequence with both women all over the place but Dark Angel ends up taking over after yanking Io off the top turn buckle then powerbombing her on the apron. She follows that up with a bunch of cool submission that focus on Io's back with Shirai putting it over with some really good selling. The finish is a nice change as they focus on escaping/countering each other's finishers rather than going the usual near fall route. ****1/4
  21. If i usually complain about gaijin who seem like a bad fit in Stardom, La Rosa Negra appears, at least in this match, to be an exception to the rule. Iwatani wrestles a fast-paced, athletic style, but Rosa is able to keep up quite nicely. Plenty of nice sequences in this match before Iwatani uses the dragon suplex to take the High Speed Championship. Even the post-match is entertaining, as the trophy accompanying the belt starts to fall apart on poor Mayu. Rosa gets in on the act, trying to give some of the broken off pieces back to Mayu while raising her hand. Rosa was a credible opponent for Iwatani and a fun personality in the ring. I hope they invite her back. I was underwhelmed by the first Iwatani match I ever watched. Everything of hers that I've watched has been really good. This match ups the excitement from the previous match between Yakusawa and Hojo and ups the ante for the main event of the evening between Dark Angel and Io Shirai.
  22. This was my first real look at Yakusawa. I'm sad she's retired. She doesn't have the athleticism of Threedom, but her offence is credible looking, her timing is excellent and she's got loads of in-ring charisma. She makes for a decent change of pace from the other top natives. Hojo was her usual excellent self in this match. I thought Yakusawa looked pretty good here; her swinging front facelock looked really nasty. Unfortunately, Yakusawa was only to have a little over two months left as an in-ring competitor after this match. Hojo wins with the flying elbow drop.
  23. This was a really great follow-up to the previous month's match. Survival alone will not be good enough; Hojo needs a win to prove herself after barely surviving the last time these to met. Even against a dangerous and vastly more experienced opponent, Hojo tries to wrestle like an ace, going toe-to-toe with Satomura. Notwithstanding a bad right arm that's been her Achilles' heel since winning the title, Hojo gives it her all and, at one point, is a single flying elbow away from successfully defending the Red Belt. But Satomura is like a force of nature. Hojo tries to weather the storm, but Satomura beats her down until she can't kick out anymore. Hojo put on a great and fearless performance in this match, looking incredibly tough and full of heart in a losing effort. Satomura is her usual self. One of the great spots in the match comes when the two of them are fighting in the stands at Korakuen. Hojo goes for her running spear by Satomura outright blocks it as if she were the Immovable Object. Yet Hojo doesn't give up, and comes back to hit a flying elbow smash off of the balcony over the stairwell. Kudos to Hojo for showing growth in the loss. I anticipate the day when Hojo finally manages to defeat Satomura-that will be a match worth watching. As for this match, it was a great performance all around. Check it out!
  24. This is the final to Stardom's Cinderella tournament, which is a one-night tourny where the matches have a 10 minute time-limit plus the option of winning via throwing your opponent over the top rope. This gets heated right off the bat as after Hiroyo gets knocked to the outside, Iwatani takes too long to follow up allowing Hiroyo to hurl a chair at her. She then quickly follows up by powerbombing her on the apron. The match turns into a bunch of bomb-throwing but they never forget to put over everything with their selling. I really wish that they hadn't gone with the battle royal style finish, even though it was well worked, since that was the only time that the teased that type of finish. ****
  25. This is a match for Stardom's six-women titles pitting Threedom (Io, Iwatani, Hojo) versus the Rookies (Watanabe, Kyona, Mimura.) The thing about this match that I liked the most was how the Rookies were able to earn their offense throughout the match. Usually in this type of setting, veteran(s) vs. rookies, they get their openings for offense through the arrogance of the vets. Even during the finish, it never feels like Threedom just flip the switch and put the Rookies away instantly. It comes off as them having earned their win. ***1/2