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[2015-05-17-Stardom] Kairi Hojo vs Mayu Iwatani

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Great showing for two women working their first main event singles match. I really like how both of them focus on a specific body part in an attempt to neutralize a major part of her opponent's offense. Iwatani goes after Hojo's arm to take away her elbow based offense. Hojo counters by going after Iwatani's abdomen to prevent her from hitting her dragon suplex, which legit KO her in a tag title match earlier in the month. With the way that both women work the selling into the match, it turns into a story of who is willing to work through the pain to hit her finisher first. Iwatani wins that battle but ends up landing too close to the ropes with Hojo rolling outside to recover. Hojo hits her top rope elbow drop but is too hurt to cover. They run through a bunch of desperation rollups but Hojo ended that with a couple of nasty back elbows to setup another top rope elbow for the win. ****1/4


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This was an excellent performance by both women. This was the first long singles match I've seen Iwatani in against a top-flight opponent since I started watching Stardom. Everything she did looked really crisp.


Hojo has lots of natural charisma and a certain theatricality to her that I think would work really well in the WWE. I like that when Hojo does waste time mugging, it comes back to bite her in the behind--for example, when Iwatani was outside the ring and crawled under the ring while Hojo was too busy theatrically marching over to the opposite corner to get a running start for some kind of dive to keep track of Iwatani's position.


Lots of good selling in this match. The vulnerability of Hojo's elbow is shaping up to be the story of her World title run. I liked that Hojo had to really fight to land her signature spots. At the conclusion of the match, Iwatani showed great fire when she got her second wind before Hojo finished her off for good.


My only complaint is with a couple of spots where one wrestler was left standing in the ring waiting for the opponent to jump off the top rope for a flying strike--one can look a bit foolish just waiting around to get hit.


That minor quibble aside, this was probably the signature defence of Hojo's 2015 World title reign. A very fine match. Really outstanding when one considers that both wrestlers had only been wrestling for a COMBINED 7 years at this point. It's easy to forget how relatively inexperienced these wrestlers were (and still are) when you watch them work a match this good.

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