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donsem43

[2016-12-22-Stardom] Io Shirai vs Mayu Iwatani

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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. ****

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One of my favourite matches of the year. I preferred this to the May match because everything here is so intense, there's not quite hatred between the two but there's a lot of anger. The match opens with Io offering Mayu a handshake, which Mayu considers insincere after Io's refusing a handshake in their tag match previous to this and just being a total dick to her for months. So Mayu gives her a good hard smack in the face and attempts a rapid fire suplex but Io powers out and wins a strike exchange. Mayu then attempts a hurricanrana only for Io to land in a handstand position and flip onto her feet like it's easy and just has this super-cocky smirk on her face mocking Mayu like "Can't touch this, fool." Sets the scene for the match excellently.

 

The psychology of the match is Io is way above Mayu's level in every way. In the previous trios match they were in there's this spot where Mayu throws like 4 different strikes at her and not a single one connects as Io just does these Matrix like dodges, gives a smirk and smacks Mayu down. Mayu's a quiet and shy character but there's this bottled up rage inside her building from every time these past months Io has patronised, demeaned and just straight out humiliated her. Is that rage going to be enough to defeat Io?

 

Mayu attacks Io with more ferocity than ever including some sick suplexes, but Io still has an answer to most of her new found violent edge. Io gets increasingly angry too as the match goes on, that this mere mortal dare challenge her like this. Io's anger is self-righteous and disdainful whereas Mayu's is a justified reaction to being bullied. But the answer to the question is no. Io's just too good. Mayu's biggest attempt to win the match a dragon suplex off the top rope just ends with Io backflipping onto her feet and delivering rolling dead-lift German suplexes and her fantastic moonsault. Mayu kicks out AT 1! What an awesome fighting-spirit spot, not no-selling but where you still feel the wrestler is badly hurt but is running on pure adrenaline/emotion, and like most fighting-spirit bursts it's just a last act of defiance against the inevitable. Mayu attempts a tombstone but Io reverses it into one of her own. Hits her with a moonsault and stands on her belly in disdain and screams something before hitting a second moonsault to put an end to Mayu's little fairy tale. 1 2 3.

 

There are a few minor flaws in the ring-work I do see Donsem's point with the transitions, but they're not that much of an issue to me and the story-telling is 5 stars worthy. ****3/4 and the best Stardom match I've seen to date.

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Shirai was the cocky champion who constantly belittled Iwatani leading up to the match. So, Iwatani had a real chip on her shoulder and started off with a great deal of fire. But Shirai casually grabbed her knee and began to assault it while strutting around. But she grew complacent, opening the door for Iwatani to blitz her neck with high impact moves. She was forced to take Iwatani more seriously from then on and finally breached her resistance with a huge string of high impact moves. Iwatani pushed Shirai to the limit, but her quest was ultimately a failure since she failed to capture the title and Shirai refused to be humbled. One of the best women’s matches of the 2010s. ****3/8

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This was excellent. Io Shirai is newly turned heel and is uber arrogant towards the one she turned on. But Mayu sees that as an opportunity and unleashes a totally blitz of dangerous and forceful offence. Io mounts a comeback though and eventually goes through a barrage of suplexes. Mayu is a brilliant seller in the way she rag dolls herself on them too. She also has an uncanny ability to milk every nearfall for all its worth. Mayu has never been so close to the title but it was just out of her reach still. Brilliant match. ****1/2

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