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Pantoja’s Marigold Grand Opening Wars Review 6.11.24

June 19, 2024 | Posted by Kevin Pantoja
Marigold Grand Opening Wars Image Credit: Marigold
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Pantoja’s Marigold Grand Opening Wars Review 6.11.24  

Marigold Grand Opening Wars

June 11th, 2024 | Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan | Attendance: 985

My plan was to review the STARDOM show from 6/11 but the version uploaded on their streaming service has a giant WIRECAST watermark all over it so that isn’t happening.

Komomo Minami vs. MIRAI

Obviously, I’m very familiar with MIRAI but Komomo is totally new to me. Apparently, she’s a homegrown rookie making her debut here. MIRAI might only be 24 but she’s an experienced veteran who was smart to pair with someone so new. I said it on the debut show but there seems to be new energy for MIRAI who feels like she’s more at home than ever as the ultimate hero of sorts for this promotion. This opened with some solid back and forth though MIRAI remained a step ahead as you’d expect. Komomo found herself in trouble but never backed down, throwing shots even when she could barely stand. MIRAI egged her on, daring Komomo to keep fighting. She might’ve bitten off a bit too much because Komomo truly started to bring it, causing MIRAI to step back a bit. In the end, MIRAI beat her with a Sharpshooter but it took 14:01 and I must say, that was an impressive star for Komomo. MIRAI clearly led the way but she followed well and looked really good out there. [***]

Nagisa Nozaki vs. Nao Ishikawa

Nao was very impressive on the first show while Nagisa was in a rough tag match. On that show, it was clear that Nao is a strong babyface who the crowd can root for. That was the case here again and Nagisa was more than happy to play the role of the villain. She talked smack, was aggressive, and showed off some arrogance in her offense. Nagisa was in control for a lot of this until Nao made her comeback, which was filled with fire. Yeah, she screams  popular midcard babyface. The thing that held this back was that Nagisa’s offense was kind of plodding so when she held serve, this wasn’t very good. The finish was kind of weird too as Nagisa just won with a basement dropkick in 8:32. That was a match. That’s about all I can say about it. Inoffensive at least. [**¼]

CHIAKI and Natsumi Showzuki vs. Mai Sakurai and Misa Matsui

Interesting to consider that Natsumi and Misa were teammates on night one but are now on opposing sides. Mai is solid at what she does and CHIAKI was impressive as a heel against MIRAI last time. CHIAKI and Misa started this before Mai entered to do some of her usual gimmick stuff, including the Paradise Lock. SANADA wishes. The standout here was Natsumi. She brought a different level of energy to the action and her exchanges with Misa gave you the feeling there might be a future rivalry coming between them. I’ve seen some talk about this suggest that they’re gonna be two in line for the Flyweight Title (which is supposed to be like the High Speed Title) and I’m all for that. They were the ones going at it at the end and Misa pulled off a somewhat surprising victory with the MARU x MARU Suplex at the 14:09 mark. That was pretty strong when it was Misa and Natsumi in there. They’re two to watch. [***]

Bozilla, Myla Grace and Zayda Steel vs. Chika Goto, Kouki Amarei and Miku Aono

Miku and Bozilla were both impressive on night one and I liked what I saw from Kouki. The other girls were honestly kind of just there so I’m hoping for more from the rest. Bozilla was quickly annoyed at the antics of her goofier partners, shoving them aside and opting to start when they couldn’t figure that part out. I will say, without top stars like Saree, Giulia, and Utami to lead the way, Bozilla was less protected and more exposed here. She still understands what works for her but there were moments when you could clearly tell that she’s still only 20 years old. Kouki and Myla had a significant botch and they never really recovered. Sometimes that happens. I know it’s a multi-woman match but this suffered from a similar problem to the tag on the first show in that it went a bit long for what they could do out there. When Miku beat Steel with the Styles Clash at the 14:04 mark, it felt much closer to 20 minutes or so. Post-match, Bozilla was pissed at Steel for losing another match where they were partners, so she powerbombed here. [**]

After the bell, Miku Aono cut a promo about her interest in the “white belt” (United National Championship). From ringside, MIRAI hopped in to state her interest as well, which led to Bozilla also staking her claim.

Sareee vs. Victoria Yuzuki

On paper, this is exciting. Yuzuki was a standout rookie in STARDOM and Sareee has been excellent anytime I’ve seen her after her NXT run. Yuzuki hopes to be the Ace of Marigold one day, while Sareee has stated that she currently holds that role. Although Yuzuki is unbelievable for her experience level, she still needs a lot of work and that mainly comes with her offense. Her selling is top notch and that worked for this match because a lot of it, like her bout with Nanae, saw her getting her ass kicked. Sareee controlled this like a true ace, forcing Yuzuki to try and muster a comeback but always having an answer. Yuzuki not only sold the moves well but she also did well to show her frustration with how difficult it is to try and beat someone of Sareee’s ability. Down the stretch, Yuzuki indeed made that valiant comeback and it was spirited but she ran right into a uranage that secured the win for Sareee in 13:06. Another strong outing from young Yuzuki and another feather in the cap of Sareee as she looks to establish herself as the top dog in Marigold. [***½]

Post-match, Yuzuki refused a handshake. Sareee was then cut off by Giulia as they shared words to hype their match. Surprisingly, a serious Mai Sakurai was next to issue a challenge to Sareee.

Nanae Takahashi vs. Utami Hayashishita

Utami is a goddamn star. There’s an aura about her that is pretty hard for anyone to match. If you’ve watched these two before, you kind of knew how this would play out. It was a hard hitting fight though it started with a bit more of a feeling out process. Once they progressed to those stiff shots and bigger offensive moves, it picked up in a major way. Nanae is a veteran who typically delivers but this was all about Utami here. She sold her ass off and made it seem like she was in serious trouble throughout. She’s also good enough to know just the right times to throw in her hopes and showcase some power-based offense of her own. The spot where the two were trading seated lariats was pretty cool, especially when they got to their feet and kept it going. I do think parts of this were weird, specifically when Nanae couldn’t do her usual Passion Injection stuff because Utami isn’t someone she can just run over. The closing stretch was good, though the actual finish was a bit abrupt with Utami winning by hitting a spinning Razor’s Edge in 18:56. A very good main event though nothing special. [***½]

And now the reason this was a notable show. Utami celebrated with a short promo until Rossy said that he found an opponent for her for Summer Destiny in July. Cut to the screen where IYO SKY cut a promo and the match is official. It’s Utami’s dream match and you could see her genuine reaction to this happening as apparently she was unaware beforehand. Outstanding.

The final score: review Average
The 411
Not nearly as good as their first show but it did a lot of what it needed to. While we got some good matches in there and a few missed the mark, they set up some stuff for the future and gave us the IYO SKY announcement.

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Marigold, Kevin Pantoja