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  1. Grimmas

    Mayu Iwatani

    Makai Club #1 said: "Mayu Iwatani is one of the modern Joshi wrestlers that can really hold a candle to some of the older names. What may hold her back is the lack of powerful or innovative offence that you'd get from an Aja Kong or Manami Toyota but her selling and bumping is at a high level. Her small frame and uncanny ability to get slammed on her neck and survive make her a terrific underdog who can garner crowd sympathy, who can turn that into heat for a big comeback at the end of the match. I'd almost compare her to Rey Mysterio in how perfect she is for that role. You can't imagine her as a heel because she is so rootable. Mayu has had plenty of great matches against a lot of different opponents ranging from Meiko Satomura, Takumi Iroha and the Io Shirai series, of course. Plus Mayu is a really good tag team wrestler as well as being a strong singles wrestler. While they are usually short term teams, Mayu had great success with Io Shirai in Thunder Rock, Arisa Hoshiki and Saki Kashima (who isn't very good). And if being able to make small card trios matches worth watching is your thing, Mayu is the one for that also. " Matches Recommended: Vs Io Shirai - Stardom Year End Climax 2016 22/12/2016 Vs Takumi Iroha 2020 (Both the 08/02/2020 & 18/10/2020 matches) Vs Momo Watanabe - Stardom True Fight 23/10/2018
  2. This is the rematch of the close title match that these two had in May. The big difference here is that Io turned on her Thunder Rock partner Mayu and switched the competitive teacher/student rivalry into something more bitter. I really liked the approach that both took out of the gate. Iwatani tries to be the aggressor by trying to hit some big offense early. Io takes a more methodical approach, looking to try take Mayu down to grind on her in an effort to slow her down. Io's leg work was really good but unfortunately Iwatani was very selective on how she sold it. This does eventually turn into a bombfest, with Io always seeming to be either just smart or just tough enough to keep Iwatani from finishing her off. The finishing sequence was spectacular but I felt that some of the transitions during it were weak which lessen the effect of the moves being hit. Not quite the MOTYC that their May match was but still a great spectacle on its own. ****
  3. This is for Watanabe's Wonder of Stardom title and the match that Iwatani asked for after winning the 5* Grand Prix the previous match. This is pretty much a slugfest from beginning to end. These two lay into each other while mixing in some big spots. Not quite the great match that you would expect between these two but very enjoyable none the less. ***3/4
  4. 5STAR Grand Prix 2018 Finals: Mayu Iwatani vs. Utami Hayashishita This was a star-making performance for Utami in her first ever Korakuen main event. The dismissive veteran versus the cool super-rookie dynamic was played well. Mayu does a splendid job bumping (as usual) for Utami's power-based offense when the tide turns and her comebacks were well obtained. Excellent match to cap off a great tournament. ****1/2
  5. This is for Mayu's and Saki's Goddesses of Stardom tag titles as they take on their STARS teammates Tam and Kid. The match was pretty entertaining as they cut a quick pace while maintaining a nice flow throughout the match. There's no big flashy double teams but they do make their moves count and sell everything fairly well. A nicely worked tag match that you shouldn't skip even though it's in the middle of the 5* GP. ***3/4
  6. This was a big match in the Blue Stars block with the winner being in control of her own fate going into the final day. Hazuki is just nasty in this match, jumping Iwatani at the start then viciously going after her arm. Iwatani stays in the match by hitting just enough big shots while still selling her arm, eventually catching Hazuki with a dragon suplex for the win. Short, but quick and action packed. ***3/4
  7. This is for Mayu and Saki's Goddesses of Stardom tag titles as they take on the new ass-kicking duo of Momo and Konami. Wow, do those two beat the ever-living crap out of Saki in the early going. Ever since she became a contracted wrestler with Stardom, Konami has just become a much more vicious wrestler and it's so fun to watch. Mayu had one of her best performances in a while as she got a good working over to from the challengers as well and put it over with strong selling even while she was on offense. The quick rollup finish here worked because during the finishing run Saki kept getting good counters on Momo which setup her getting the pin. Still, this seemed like a tease to the inevitable Momo/Konami tag title run which should be awesome. ****
  8. This is Io Shirai's last match in Stardom before leaving to go to the WWE. This match is a bit hard to judge since while they work in some fun, lighthearted spots into the middle of the match that is mostly serious and competitive. When they are being serious no one lets up at all. Each one of them work really stiff. Io and Mayu do work in some old Thunder Rock spots in the finishing run. Overall, the match is a mixed bag but is still incredibly entertaining. ***3/4
  9. This is a rematch of the World of Stardom title match that ended when Iwatani hurt her arm only a few minutes into the match. They play off of that in the early going as Toni does some nice, Bret Hart style, subtle heel work. First, she tricked Iwatani then ended up going after her arm anyway . The middle part of the match did a nice job of leading up to the finish although I though the finish itself didn't have as nice flow to it. In the end, it is nice that they were able to have a great match after the awkward situation in their first one. ****
  10. This is Iwatani's return match after injuring her arm and losing the World of Stardom title. Iwatani looked great here, not showing any signs of ring rust at all or any limitations with her arm. This was also a strong performance from the always inconsistent Ellering, complete opposite of her disappointing performance against Io Shirai. The match had a nice simple story of Iwatani having to overcome Ellering's work on her injured arm. Great stuff. ****
  11. World of Stardom Championship: Io Shirai © vs. Mayu Iwatani This was a great match, but never reached that next level due to Io's selective selling of the neck. There are moments where she collapses due to her bad neck, followed by moments where she's jumping around, throwing German suplexes without so much as wincing. I thought it made the match less compelling, and Mayu's big moment didn't feel as grand because of it. But, there is a lot to be enjoyed here, like Mayu's tombstone! I hope she adopts it in tribute to Io. ***1/2
  12. I didn't know what to expect here as these two had a very good draw last year but their title match in July was a dud. Surprisingly, Bito was a standout here. She worked at a near BattlArts level here, just drilling Iwatani with her strikes and stretching her out with her submission. It forced Iwatani to have to go big on offense to have a chance and she manages to steal the win with a reverse rana. Best match of the 5*GP after three nights. ***3/4
  13. World of Stardom Championship: Mayu Iwatani © vs. Kagetsu Mayu and Kagetsu had a great High Speed match last year, but this was horrendous. It wasn't connecting with me, and by the end of it I stopped caring. The action was dull, the pacing felt very off, and of course they have to shoehorn a stairwell spot in every single Stardom Korakuen main event. This was no good! bad
  14. Wonder of Stardom Championship: Mayu Iwatani © vs. Yoko Bito Mayu's a great bully, always enjoy her workover segments. She was stomping Bito's head and hitting these nasty kicks. I thought this was an improvement over the Stardom x Stardom match. They kept things tight and focused. ***1/2
  15. This is Watanabe's the first single's title challenge and main event of her career so the match is really a showcase for where she is at as a worker at this point. Momo gets off to an aggressive start as she attacks Iwatani during the intro and manages to get a nearfall off while Mayu is still wrapped up in streamers. Iwatani plays the role of arrogant veteran which actually allows them to build up Watanabe for a potential upset as anytime Mayu takes Momo a bit too lightly she pays for it. In fact, during the stretch run they manage to pull off some really convincing nearfalls that get the crowd to buy in. Watanabe lacks that home run finisher though so she can't put Iwatani away, which allows Mayu to comeback and get the win after a nasty dragon suplex. ****
  16. 5★STAR GP Red Stars Block: Kagetsu vs. Mayu Iwatani Kagetsu tries to murder Mayu by pushing the entrance gate on top of her. Mayu's neck ends up sandwiched between the structure and a guardrail, it looked horrific. This was good, these two obviously have amazing chemistry and they put on a fresh installment to their feud. ***3/4
  17. 5★STAR GP Red Stars Block: Hana Kimura vs. Mayu Iwatani Mayu has been wearing a more revealing attire lately, so this became something of a 'sexy battle', and Hana nailed it with her character work. The boob-targeting is classic Stardom. There's also an octopus hold that looked especially painful thanks to Mayu's lankiness. These two have amazing chemistry. ***
  18. Wonder of Stardom Championship: Mayu Iwatani © vs. Viper This was good. An obvious filler match, from the moment it was announced, but good. Mayu puts on a great performance as she fights hard for her big comeback; she's getting cut off and ragdolled before she rallies for her second wind, and Viper bumps like crazy. ***3/4
  19. World of Stardom Championship: Mayu Iwatani © vs. Yoko Bito I wanted to like this more, but there was just too much awkwardness, and during key, tide-turning spots too. They were trading heavy strikes; Mayu's legwork and the way Bito sold it was great. It had an intense feel, but the big moments they built to would have been so much more effective if they weren't so sloppy in execution. Bito just seemed off her game. ***
  20. Wonder of Stardom Championship: Mayu Iwatani © vs. Hana Kimura This starts off lighthearted with Hana's sexy dance spot, but then she starts to work over the legs, until she decides to single out the leg wrapped in blue with one of the best ankle locks I have ever seen; Mayu is caught when she tries for a superkick and she is frantically trying to escape the hold, and her lankiness makes it look extremely painful. This was an intense and focused match with brilliant selling. Hana was throwing surly boots to the head. Mayu takes a diving dropkick like a car crash, and her comebacks feel like genuine struggle. Great work... up until Kagetsu comes in and the match ends on a DQ. Ah well. ***1/2
  21. This is for Hojo's Wonder of Stardom title. Wow, there are a lot of streamers thrown during the intros. Probably the most for a non-retirement match that I've seen in a while. The match itself gets off to a rough start, quite a few awkward moments along with a forced crowd brawl that they only do so that Hojo can do a diving elbow off the back entrance. Things get much better when they start doing more focused body part work with Iwatani getting her back worked over and Hojo with her arm. In fact, the finish is great with Mayu trying to hit her finisher with a bad back. A solid last big title match for Hojo in Stardom. ***1/2
  22. Cinderella Tournament 2017 Final: Mayu Iwatani vs. Toni Storm This didn't quite reach the hype levels of some of the previous matches with the crowd, and I probably wouldn't have liked this as much as I did if Toni was facing anyone else. Mayu was built to take these moves; her selling was superb, limbs flailing like spaghetti, and her facial expressions are great too. Storm was an absolute superwoman here and adsorbed everything that was thrown at her. It'll take another Blue Nikita to stop this Kiwi of Steel. ***3/4
  23. Io Shirai & Mayu Iwatani vs. Nanae Takahashi & Miho Wakizawa Thunder Rock vs. Kiss no Sekai! This was a prelude match to Io/Nanae in November so there's significant heat building between the two, they work so well together; fast and furious action with great counters and cut-offs. I love what these two do in this match. To hell with Satomura, Nanae is Io's greatest opponent. Mayu is wearing her goofy pants, she's a different wrestler compared to now, less kicks and more pin-combinations. She takes a particularly nasty spot when Io is superplexed on top of her. Wakizawa was on fire! I miss her. ***3/4 Edit: Woops. Date should be 10/6/2013.
  24. Hana Kimura vs. Mayu Iwatani Hana Kimura works the crowd like an old school luchador when she's in 'heel mode'. They hang on her every movement, howling when she so much as fixes her hair or adjusts her belt; entranced. I can't think of any modern joshi who can captivate an audience like Hana Kimura. Her body gyrates, crowd goes berserk. They are hungry like the wolf in the Texy Avery cartoons. Hungry for Hana-chan. The match itself was very simple in structure yet the crowd was so into it. These two will be amazing as a unit if Mayu ends up joining Oedo Tai, which is subtly alluded to in the 'semi-shoot' post-match promo. ***1/2
  25. This was just a total blast from start to finish. Loved the pre-match stuff w/ Io getting a big video package showcasing her evolution as a wrestler, and then the big streamer treatment she got. The match didn't tell an elite story or anything - but it was just so goddamn fun to watch. All women looked great w/ their great looking offense + Io & Mayu did some great selling as well. An absolute blast. ****
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