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STARDOM 9TH ANNIVERSARY IN OSAKA
JANUARY 26, 2020
OSAKA, JAPAN AT EDION ARENA
AIRED ON STARDOM WORLD
REPORT BY HARLEY R. PAGEOT, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Hoshino pointed out that she was going up against two members of Queen’s Quest. She’d do her best to grab the win. Onozaki wanted to cooperate with AZM to win. AZM commented on the overabundance of three-ways in Stardom. She felt her experience would be the difference-maker.
(1) ARTIST OF STARDOM CHAMPION AZM vs. LEO ONOZAKI vs. ITSUKI HOSHINO
QQ hit stereo back elbows on Hoshino and both covered her while the referee counted two. AZM hit Onozaki with a dropkick moments later and used Hoshino to double-team her stablemate. AZM continued to effortlessly outwrestle both opponents and put away Hoshino with the top rope double-stomp.
WINNER: AZM in 6:05.
(Pageot’s Perspective: Never any doubt about who was winning but this may have been the best Hoshino has looked since debuting.)
-Death chanted. Kid reminded us that she lost to Leyla Hirsch in her first tournament match and needed to win here.
(2) STARLIGHT KID vs. DEATH YAMA-SAN – HIGH SPEED GRAND PRIX
Kid with a high crossbody and a fisherwoman’s suplex. Death avoided the twisting splash, though, and hit a back senton of her own. Kid avoided the O’Connor roll. Death avoided the code red. O’Connor roll for the win.
WINNER: Death Yama-san in 3:02.
(Pageot’s Perspective: With only two matches left Kid will have to defeat both AZM and Zoey Skye if she wants to make it to the finals. Where has our high speed champion been hiding? Riho hasn’t been on the past couple Stardom shows but it also feels like ages since she’s done anything significant in AEW.)
High Speed tournament rankings:
Leyla Hirsch – 4
AZM – 2
Death Yama-san – 2
Starlight Kid – 0
Zoey Skye – 0
-Priestley was proud to represent Oedo Tai but also said it’s a sad day as Kagetsu says goodbye to Stardom. Skye spoke for what was the first time ever, I believe, and simply said she was confident in them. Nakano hugged Kamitani. Is Kamitani finally, officially a member of Stars? They had a choreographed dance routine for their entrance but Kamitani still received the Stardom logo, not the Stars logo, on her on-screen intro.
(3) OEDO TAI (Goddess Of Stardom Champion Bea Priestley & Zoey Skye) vs. STARS (Tam Nakano & Saya Kamitani)
Kamitani and Skye started. Priestley quickly tagged in and took over. The heels isolated the rookie until Nakano made the hot tag. Nakano and Priestley traded kicks. Kamitani tagged back in and fell to Priestley again. Running knee strike for what could have been three but Priestley pulled Kamitani up to break the pin and hit a v-trigger to end things on her terms.
WINNERS: Oedo Tai in 8:14.
(Pageot’s Perspective: Just another undercard match. Priestley picks up the win in her first outing as Oedo Tai and seems much more comfortable playing the heel. I’m not sure why they keep putting Kamitani and Hoshino in tag matches with Stars but won’t officially identify them as members of Stars.)
-Giulia said their opponents today were the champion and the gorilla. Also her tag team with Maika begins. Maika assured us they’re in sync. Hoshiki hugged Iida. Iida asked her to hit her to fire her up. Hoshiki gave her a love tap.
(4) STARS (Wonder Of Stardom Champion Arisa Hoshiki & Saya Iida) vs. DONNA DEL MONDO (Giulia & Maika)
Iida and Maika started. The heels of course isolated Iida. Hoshiki tagged in but Giulia grounded her with her methodical offense. Giulia pinned Iida with the glorious buster.
WINNERS: Donna Del Mondo in 11:16.
(Pageot’s Perspective: A boring Giulia match? Why I never.)
-Sumire hyped what great shape her partners were in. Kagetsu walked through the frame and grinned silently. Kimura said the only thing different about Kashima is her short hair.
Oedo Tai entered first. As TCS made their entrance Tora and Kashima attacked Saya Kamitani at ringside (who was there to second the match). Sumire posed for the cameras.
(5) TOKYO CYBER SQUAD (Hana Kimura, Konami, & Leyla Hirsch) vs. OEDO TAI (Natsuko Tora, Natsu Sumire, & Saki Kashima)
Oedo Tai immediately took their opponents into the crowd and threw them into the fans’ chairs. (Some things never change.) They strung Konami up in the ropes and posed for photos with the OT placard. TCS managed to isolate Kashima. Sumire tagged in and hit a crotch assault on both Kimura and Konami at the same time. Tora in next and she and Kimura threw hands. Everything broke down with everyone jumping in and out. Hirsch tagged in but Sumire hit her with the placard behind the ref’s back. Cradle DDT from Sumire. Top rope leg drop from Tora.
WINNERS: Oedo Tai in 12:58.
(Pageot’s Perspective: A fine bit of action but a textbook “get everyone on the card” match. The new Oedo Tai is coming together nicely.)
-Hayter was confident she’d win here since she and Bea Priestley already won the tag titles one week ago. She promised to defend the SWA title regularly, unlike Hayashishita (who last defended the title in July). Hayashishita blamed Hayter for Priestley turning on Queen’s Quest and joining Oedo Tai. She wanted to retain the title here and bring her back to QQ.
(6) ARTIST OF STARDOM & FUTURE OF STARDOM CHAMPION UTAMI HAYASHISHITA vs. GODDESS OF STARDOM CHAMPION JAMIE HAYTER – SWA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
Slow feeling out process. Hayter put Hayashishita down with a shoulder tackle but Hayashishita put her down with a dropkick. Hayer with two rolling suplexes. Lots of “Jamie” yells from the crowd as she worked over the champion. Hayashishita with a back suplex. A loud “Let’s go Jamie” chant swelled at 10:00, aided in part by Tora and Sumire at ringside. Boston crab from Hayter. Rope break. Running version of Project Ciampa (can’t recall the technical name right now) from Hayashishita. Hayashishita got her up for a torture rack but Hayter slipped out. Backbreaker from Hayter. Neckbreaker. Lariat. Clothesline to the back of the head. Ushigoroshi for the clean win.
WINNER: Jamie Hayter in 15:31 to capture the SWA title.
(Pageot’s Perspective: The crowd siding with the gaijin wrestler over the heavily-pushed Hayashishita was the most surprising part to me. Ogawa has made it very clear that he sees Hayashishita as one of the top four names in Stardom over the next few years. The title change makes me happy if only because I don’t have to type out three different championships during every Hayashishita match description now. I assume she’ll forfeit the Future title at some point but I don’t know what the time limit on that one is. She hardly seems like a rookie anymore and Kamitani seems destined to defend that belt against people like Iida, Onozaki, Hoshino, and Hanan. Hayashishita will very likely hold the white belt by the end of 2020.)
-Kyona reminded us that she and Watanabe used to team together a long time ago. She told Watanabe not to slip up. Watanabe didn’t want any of Hana Kimura’s influence to bleed over to this duo. Kagetsu and Iwatani had matching sparkly blue gear with their dogs on their sleeves. Iwatani said this will be the first and last time they team together after wanting to for years. Kagetsu was positively giddy.
Kyona entered first, accompanied by Kimura who was dressed in sweats. Four men with bouquets of flowers were already in the ring. Konami was also at ringside. Watanabe was out second. Iwatani and Kagetsu entered together to Iwatani’s music. They both wore masks which were half Iwatani’s red and half black for Oedo Tai. Hoshiki, Nakano, Kid, and Iida held the ropes open for them. Each woman got a bouquet and they posed for a photo with the unidentified men. Handshakes between all four opponents before the bell.
(7) KAGETSU & WORLD OF STARDOM CHAMPION MAYU IWATANI vs. JKGREEEN (Artist Of Stardom Champion Momo Watanabe & Jungle Kyona)
Iwatani and Watanabe started. Tora tripped Watanabe as she ran the ropes and Kagetsu tagged in. Kagetsu lifted Iwatani to kick Watanabe but she pushed back and forced Kagetsu to give Iwatani a back body drop. Kyona and Watanabe put Kagetsu down with stereo shoulder tackles. Dropkick + splash combo to Kagetsu in the corner. Kyona and Watanabe traded forearms. Iwatani hit a kick to the spine as Watanabe ran the ropes. Springboard arm drag from Iwatani to both opponents. Stereo dropkicks from Iwatani and Kagetsu followed by stereo suicide dives at 5:00.
Kagetsu strung up Watanabe in the ropes and put an exercise band in her mouth. Iwatani walked into the crowd with the other end and let go. It whipped back and hit Watanabe in the face. “Holy shit” chant from the crowd. They redid the spot again with Kagetsu running into the crowd. Another successful strike to Watanabe. Iwatani with a two-count on Watanabe but she came back with a series of dropkicks and a suplex for two of her own. Double knees from Watanabe. Tag to Kyona. Kyona held Iwatani up for Watanabe to hit a meteora to the back of the head. Tag to Kagetsu. She hit a series of kicks to Kyona who powered through them and back to her feet at 10:00.
Kyona and Kagetsu threw hands. A hard forearm put Kagetsu down. Body slam. Kyona went up top but Iwatani grabbed her foot. Kagetsu with a superplex. Kyona popped right back up and hit a powerslam. Kagetsu popped right back up and hit a split-leg dropkick. “Kagetsu” chant from the crowd. Kicks to the head of Kyona. Ebisu drop. Kimura lock. Rope break from Kyona. Kagetsu went up top but Watanabe cut her off. Kyona turned it into a tower of doom. Top rope splash from Kyona to Kagetsu but she kicked out. Sit-out powerbomb. The crowd was electric. Kyona wanted another but Iwatani stopped it with a superkick. Stereo German suplexes from Iwatani and Kagetsu to their opponents. Kagetsu went up top, Kyona followed, but Iwatani pulled her off and hit a crucifix powerbomb at 15:00.
Iwatani with a splash to Kyona, jumping off of Kagetsu’s shoulders, who was seated on the top rope. Top rope splash from Kagetsu. Death valley driver. Watanabe with the save. Roundhouse kick from Watanabe to Kagetsu. Kagetsu and Kyona were both left laying in the middle of the ring. Kagetsu with a flurry of kicks. Kyona with an uppercut. They both collapsed again. Ripcord clothesline from Kyona ducked by Kagetsu. Green mist ducked by Kyona. Tandem flapjack from Watanabe and Kyona to Iwatani. Diving clothesline from Kyona to Kagetsu. Gutwrench by Kyona into the hammer throw powerbomb on Kagetsu for a very close near-fall. Kyona sat her on the top turnbuckle and pulled her off into a muscle buster for the pin.
WINNERS: JKGReeeN in 19:17.
(Pageot’s Perspective: Fantastic match. Everyone was clearly having a ton of fun. I’m actually surprised at how little tandem work we saw from Kagetsu and Iwatani. These three were obviously chosen by Kagetsu because of her sincere adoration and respect for them. Giving that final victory to Kyona is a huge endorsement as well and an indication that Kagetsu believes Kyona should be one of the top main event stars here even if Ogawa doesn’t. Kagetsu has been such a class act and so dedicated to professional wrestling. If she truly is retiring from in-ring competition next month, one can only hope she’ll find a backstage role somewhere. She’s far too good at wrestling to not be a trainer or booker.)
-Kyona said she won Kagetsu’s last Stardom match! She thanked her for choosing to fight them. She’s really thankful to Kagetsu. She won’t waste this win. She’ll carry on the momentum. “Sincerely, thank you.” Kyona said she’s never had a singles match against Iwatani and she wants it. Iwatani said she can’t answer right now because she’s already defending against Sareee on February 9 in Korakuen Hall. If she retains there, she can ask her again. Iwatani thanked Kagetsu for supporting Stardom and herself. She didn’t want to talk too much because she knew she’d cry. They’ve always been enemies but Kagetsu has always been her favorite. Thanks to her she always felt that pro wrestling was fun. She will continue to lead Stardom and told her to enjoy her time off.
Kagetsu said this was the first time in her career she’s found a defeat refreshing. She told Kyona and Watanabe they know exactly why she chose them for this match. It’s gotten tough at the top in Stardom this past year and a big part of that is because they two are fighting so hard to take those spots. They’ve led Stardom more than anyone else. That’s why she wanted them to shine bright today. She cautioned them to not waste today and implied that they need to fight hard to ensure all the new hires (Giulia, Riho, Syuri, etc.) don’t steal their spots.
The TCS trio of Kyona, Kimura, and Konami presented Kagetsu with a bouquet of flowers.
Queen’s Quest (Watanabe, Hayashishita, AZM, and Onozaki) presented her with her own black QQ mask.
Stars (Iwatani, Hoshiki, Nakano, Kid, and Iida) presented a bouquet of flowers. Kagetsu tusseled Iida’s hair. Iwatani presented Kagetsu with a silver and black Stardom mask. Nakano brought out Producer P. She said he wanted to go with Kagetsu into retirement.
The Donna Del Mondo duo of Giulia and Maika came out and gave Kagetsu another bouquet. She and Giulia shook hands and exchanged words off-mic.
Oedo Tai (Tora, Sumire, Kashima, Priestley, and Hayter) gave Kagetsu the Oedo Tai placard. They said it was too heavy to carry around anymore.
Stardom president Rossy Ogawa handed Kagetsu an envelope.
Kagetsu said her retirement match is February 24 in this arena. She’d be happy if the fans could come. She had two announcements. That match will officially be against Meiko Satomura. And second, the final Stardom wrestler she’d like on that bill is AZM. She asked her to please be a part of the show. AZM nodded at ringside. She said she’s been with Stardom about three years. There was a time when she really hated women’s wrestling and wanted to quit. Io Shirai helped to change her mind. It was a turning point to stand with Stardom and she’s really grateful. She didn’t raise the children of Stardom; she was brought up by them. Oedo Tai supported her without saying anything. Iwatani’s boost gave her the confidence that she could retire without Stardom falling apart. She’s confident Iwatani will make Stardom even more amazing. She asked the entire roster to join her to close the show.
(Pageot’s Perspective: I started watching Stardom casually at the beginning of 2018 and full-time in January 2019. I suppose I will always associate Kagetsu with the red belt for that reason alone. She was the top champion and the main eventer when I found this company. The charismatic heel who was so funny and entertaining you couldn’t hate her. The woman who could put on a great match with anyone from the tiny Iida to the huge Goya Kong, from the novices to the experienced veterans. It’s clear how much she loves professional wrestling and that she’s one of those people who just wants to see the industry as a whole get stronger and better and more diverse. More than with Hazuki it seems like her decision to leave Stardom was genuine. Maybe it was a response to the Bushiroad acquisition and all the new people being hired. Maybe she’s smart enough to know that she’d be unlikely to hold the red belt again and that all the new hires will be the ones getting the attention and the big matches. That seems to be why she personally put over Kyona and Watanabe so strong here. She, like many of the people who watched Stardom last year, saw how great they are and how they deserve to be in the spotlight but could easily be in danger of being thrust aside for the shiny new toys instead. This main event, like booking AZM and Saya Iida for her retirement show, was her last gift to those that she sees something in, to try to help them succeed in her absence. The retirement of the Oedo Tai placard and Producer P are also landmark moments but fitting. It will be a new Oedo Tai going forward and a new Stardom. Where we go from here is unknown.)