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Pantoja’s STARDOM All Star Grand Queendom 2024 Review

May 3, 2024 | Posted by Kevin Pantoja
STARDOM All Star Grand Queendom Image Credit: STARDOM
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Pantoja’s STARDOM All Star Grand Queendom 2024 Review  

STARDOM All-Star Grand Queendom

April 27th, 2024 | Yokohama Buntai in Yokohama, Japan | Attendance: 2,735

Last year, All-Star Grand Queendom was the best show of 2023. I don’t expect quite the same level for the 2024 event based on the card but this is an important show that helps set things up for the future with so many recent departures.

For time reasons, I’m skipping the two pre-show matches.

Future of Stardom Championship: Rina [c] vs. Sayaka Kurara

Since winning the title, Rina has kind of been a dominant champion who is coming up on a year with it. Combine that with Sayaka’s inexperience and the challenger was the clear underdog. That was the story of the match and it’s one that typically works well. Rina’s thing recently has been beating the latest group of rookies. Sayaka did her best to keep up, even going toe to toe with Rina in a forearm exchange but it always felt like Rina was a step ahead of her. Sayaka’s Sliced Bread No. 2 spot late looked pretty rough and the closest she came after that was on a flash pin. Rina put her down with the double stomp off the top, which doesn’t look very good either, in 8:57. That was a solid little match even if a few spots missed for me. [**¾]

Ami Sourei, Konami and Syuri vs. HANAKO, Waka Tsukiyama and Xena

It’s still weird seeing Syuri early in the card. As a title holder, Xena is the high girl on her team which isn’t something I expected to see in any PPV tag involving her. I don’t hate it though. The focal point here was Konami as she was making her full-time return to the company, so a lot of this was about re-establishing her and showing that she could still hang. Having only gotten into STARDOM in the last year or two, I don’t know much about her but she looked good out there. Xena’s spinning side slam is becoming one of those spots the fans expect, look forward to, and pop for. It came down to Waka against Konami and Waka surprisingly survived a vicious submission and a German suplex but then took an assisted missile dropkick. Konami pulled her into an arm submission to win in 11:49. A bit long for what it was but it was solid and did what it had to for Konami. [**½]

High Speed Championship: Saki Kashima [c] vs. Fukigen Death vs. Saya Iida vs. Saya Kamitani

Saki winning back the title in what was seemingly a throwaway comedy match was interesting to say the least. Now we’ve got an interesting matchup here with some lower card acts and Saya Kamitani, who was seemingly on the path to the World of Stardom Title last year. For the most part, this was every High Speed multi-woman match you’ve seen, especially if it involved Fukigen Death. She did her usual antics, Saki did her shtick (which I like), Iida brought a power game, and Kamitani did a bit of everything and bumped well. The best actual exchanges of the match came from Saya vs. Saya but in the end, it was Saya Kamitani beating Fukigen Death with a rana at the 6:58 mark. Surprised at the result given the trajectory she was on but we’ll see. The match itself was fine. [**½]

Mina Shirakawa vs. Natsuko Tora

Now we’re getting into the bigger matches. Tora feels like she kind of plays the Bad Luck Fale role. The big, bruising heel who won’t be top champion but is someone the babyfaces have to overcome often. Mina’s matches see her work the leg like she studied Hiroshi Tanahashi tapes. That was the case again here and it made even more sense in the concept of trying to chop down the larger opponent. When it comes to the actual wrestling, this was another fine match. It never got better than that and they relied way too heavily on interference. I understand that Tora is the heel but she’s also a big heel with an advantage so you don’t have to go the House of Torture route and do this lazy style of booking. It led to an Oedo Tai beatdown on Mina until Thekla made her return to seemingly save the day, only to turn and hit Mina with a kendo stick. That gave us a no contest in 9:32 and Thekla as the newest member of Oedo Tai. The match was very bland and overbooked, though I am all for Thekla being back. [*¾]

Aja Kong and Kaoru Ito vs. meltear

The idea of this special tag was to pit two legends against a team of top names as Tam Nakano and Natsupoi make up for the most notable “name” team left in the company. What worked here was the clash of styles. The veterans are a no-nonsense group of stiff strikers while meltear was down to use their speed and not take things too seriously, even taunting their opposition. These four also made sure the size difference came into play as a lot of stuff meltear usually does failed because they couldn’t overpower Aja and Kaoru. That forced meltear to get both serious and creative. For example, when Tam’s plancha didn’t know down their opponents, Natsupoi immediately followed with one of her own to get enough weight for it to be effective. Ito moved kind of slowly but Aja looked really good out there. In the end, Natsupoi took a diving double stomp from Ito and Aja beat Tam (interesting) with a back elbow from the top in 16:59. The best match of the night so far and better than I expected. The styles meshed well for a well-told story. [***¼]

Goddesses of Stardom Championship: Crazy Star [c] vs. 02line vs. FWC vs. YoungOED

For those unaware these are the teams: Crazy Star is Suzu Suzuki and Mei Seira, 02line is AZM and Miyu Amasaki, FWC is Hazuki and Koguma, and YoungOED is Starlight Kid and Ruaka. As always, I have to commend STARDOM for allowing four legal women at a time in a match like this. Two legal in a multi-team match like this is just illogical. This opened with Mei, AZM, SLK, and Koguma, meaning high speed action and that’s always entertaining when they’re involved. I then liked the change of pace as Suzu became legal and threw stiffer shots. The commentary track for this match had some terrible echo issues that made it unbearable. Thankfully, the action more than made up for it as all four teams came up with creative ways to get everyone involved. There were some great exchanges here, including the usual renewal of AZM/SLK. Oedo Tai brought a weapon into play late (which SLK totally whiffed on when hitting AZM) and SLK accidentally hit Ruaka with it, allowing Mei to roll her up and retain in 11:17. Just a super fun match. There wasn’t much in the way of storylines coming in, just four teams having a blast and putting on an energetic, entertaining bout. [****]

The real drama came after the bell. Crazy Star’s post-match promo involved FWC interrupting, I believe to set up a future title match. After they left, Ruaka shoved SLK to the mat and beat on her with the weapon. Other members of Oedo Tai hit the ring to join in, officially kicking her out of the stable and turning her face. Surprisingly, it was Tam Nakano who made the save. Starlight Kid in Cosmic Angels? I like the sound of that. With so many people leaving STARDOM, now is the time to elevate her and AZM to the next level.

IWGP Women’s Championship: Mayu Iwatani [c] vs. Sareee

Watching Sareee in the tag with Natsupoi in March showed me a great wrestler, which I did NOT get while she was in NXT. I’ve heard a lot of hype for this one so it’s my most anticipated match on the card. These two have a history, shown in the video package. Right from the start, it felt like Sareee had the upper hand. She took things to the mat when she wanted to, she threw Mayu around into chairs outside, and she controlled the pace. She slowed it down, she sped it up, she dictated everything and Mayu had to play catch up. That’s not to say this was one-sided because Mayu was doing her thing as well, throwing some stiff kicks and giving it back as good as she got at points. Mayu did look to be in trouble but responded with a Dragon Suplex on the apron and a tope suicida, turning the tide. However, the true thing that took this match to the next level was a slap from Sareee that felt disrespectful. It led to Mayu responding with big shots and upped the ante in terms of animosity and intensity. They started dropping each other on their heads with a barrage of suplexes that would rival almost any match you’ve ever seen. The same goes for the late headbutts, especially since it felt like Mayu was throwing them with more aggression than I typically see from her. In the end, Mayu had to unload the clip, hitting multiple suplexes, a moonsault, and the Two Step Dragon Suplex to finally win in 20:26. A spectacular match that lived up to the hype, didn’t overstay its welcome, and told a great story that anyone could understand. Sareee has delivered in spades in the two matches I’ve seen from her this year. Meanwhile, Mayu is on the shortlist of people who have a legitimate claim to the best in the world.  [****¾]

Again, big post-match news here. After some respect was shown between competitors, Tsukasa Fujimoto came out to confront Mayu. I don’t know about her but she is apparently the ace over in Ice Ribbon. Surprisingly, she didn’t challenge Mayu to a singles match. Instead, she wants to team with her retiring partner Arisa Nakajima against Mayu and a partner of her choosing.

Wonder of Stardom Championship: Saori Anou [c] vs. Hanan

Another match that I was high on coming in. Saori is very good and though her title reign hasn’t blown me away, Hanan is someone who has been on fire in 2024 (even going back to the Grand Prix last year) and this is her biggest opportunity. She earned this shot by winning the Cinderella Tournament. There’s a simple story to tell here and they did it well. Saori is the established top star while Hanan is the hungry up and comer. She had to prove that she could hang with the champion and Saori had a good time trying to stop her. She basically dared Hanan to step up. Hanan came out with fire but the veteran Saori weathered the storm and once she got going, it was a test to see if Hanan had a response. She had one, rallying with some big moves that the crowd ate up. She’s very easy to root for and feels like a top babyface of the future. I will say that the pacing of this was a bit off for me. Saori singles matches often feel like New Japan’s stuff where it starts very slow before picking up, which I understand but the issue is that the early stuff just isn’t interesting. You can do slow and interesting. As stated though, Hanan fighting back made it worthwhile as you just want to see her get a big win. Those final five minutes were breathtaking as Saori going into killer mode against the resilient Hanan is something that just works. Hanan came close with a few suplexes before Saori beat her with a bridging backslide in 21:24. A hell of a match that was only held back by some pacing issues. Otherwise, it’s just great stuff that gave Saori her best singles match since the Grand Prix and Hanan’s best and biggest outing to date. [****¼]

Post-match, they teased Saori vs. Natsupoi for the white belt, which is what I’m dying for. I need that Natsupoi singles title run. However, Ami Sourei came to spoil the fun and seemingly lay down her own challenge. That sounds a lot less fun.

World of Stardom Championship 2 Out of 3 Falls Match: Maika [c] vs. Momo Watanabe

Momo is a name I heard a ton about before I started watching but she’s mostly been an upper midcard act who cheats a lot since I got into this company. That has changed a bit recently and now she has a big opportunity. The stipulation here is that the first match is normal, the second fall is hardcore, and the third is Last Woman Standing. My issue starts there as those last two stipulations are too similar to me. The opening fall was my favorite, with some really good back and forth. It’s the best I’ve seen Momo look in the ring and had me intrigued for the rest of this. Momo took that first fall after 14:14 and then we got into the hardcore fall. This is where things started to fall apart a bit. It just wasn’t very interesting and I actually think this is a case where interference would’ve helped. That section of the match needed something to spice it up or change things and it didn’t get that. Instead, it sort of dragged as you were kind of just waiting around for Maika to tie it, which she finally did after 26:51. Not having Oedo Tai run in made no sense since that’s what they’re so known for. They did manage to make the final fall different from the second but it was kind of just a finisher spam and that is something I don’t usually like. Maika won out as Momo couldn’t get up from the finisher barrage, ending this in 35:05. This was far from bad and actually pretty good overall but it did not need the stipulations and did not have any business going 35 minutes. I haven’t loved the Maika reign and there are several people I’d rather see in the top spot. [***¼]

The final score: review Good
The 411
This is a strange show to fully gauge though it could be indicative of STARDOM’s future. We got some fantastic stuff like Mayu/Saree, Hanan/Saori, and the Goddesses of Stardom Title match. There were some odd booking decisions in there, some lackluster matches early, and a main event that disappointed. As a whole though, it’s an enjoyable show with some legitimately high highs and notable storyline advancements.

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STARDOM, Kevin Pantoja