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Pantoja’s STARDOM in Kyoto Review 3.24.24

April 3, 2024 | Posted by Kevin Pantoja
STARDOM 3-24-24 Image Credit: STARDOM
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Pantoja’s STARDOM in Kyoto Review 3.24.24  

STARDOM in Kyoto

March 24th, 2024 | KBS Hall in Kyoto, Japan | Attendance: 511

NOTE: For anyone following all of my reviews, my WrestleMania Series is still ongoing. It’s something I’m doing in my free time though so reviews from 2024 (like this one) take precedence. Also, I’m up to the Manias that are like, 7 hours long so it takes a while.

There hasn’t been a “major” show since the Cinderella Tournament Finals but this felt worth checking out thanks to a New Blood Tag Title match, an intriguing Utami Hayashishita singles match, and a really cool multi-woman tag that brings old DDM members back together.

Aya Sakura vs. Yuna Mizumori

This is some good old fashioned undercard wrestling. It was kept relatively simple with some solid back and forth action. While the wrestling itself didn’t stand out, I did get the same vibes here that I do from Young Lion bouts in New Japan in that it had some passion. You could see they were going pretty hard for a little opener. Aya isn’t someone who I’ve seen a lot of but she did well enough here and brought a lot of energy. There isn’t much else to say other than that Yuna won with an Electric Chair Drop in 7:08. Largely fine with some fire to give it a mild boost. [**¼]

Mayu Iwatani and Yuzuki vs. Rina and Starlight Kid

Yuzuki is fresh off a great showing against her idol and now she teams with her. The Oedo Tai duo attacked before the bell, getting the jump on the faces and putting the focus on Yuzuki as you’d expect. She got isolated and played a good face in peril while preparing to set up the hot tag to Mayu. Even when Mayu came in though, she didn’t really dominate and a lot of the action was left to Yuzuki. That makes sense because you want to give her a chance to shine while Mayu kind of gets a night off. Mayu knocked SLK to the outside s Yuzuki reeled off some judo throws on Rina. Those two exchanges near falls until Rina put her down with her Gory Bomb finisher in 7:10. An improvement over the opener with some good action from everyone involved. [**¾]

AZM, Lady C and Saya Kamitani vs. Momo Watanabe, Natsuko Tora and Ruaka

For the most part, this was your standard Oedo Tai undercard tag. Things started a bit messy before it spilled outside and the heels did their dastardly tricks. From there, they used the numbers game to keep someone isolated as best they can. When it was Lady C or Ruaka in there, this struggled a bit but Momo and especially AZM and Saya were the standouts here. Just when it looked like Queen’s Quest was gaining serious momentum, SLK and other Oedo Tai members interfered, all hitting Saya with signature moves. That led to Momo hitting her finisher to surprisingly pin Saya at the 9:49 mark. Very surprised by that result as I expected Lady C or Ruaka to take the fall. Intrigued to see if it leads anywhere. This was fine on its own though. [**½]

Crazy Star vs. Hazuki and Koguma vs. Mina Shirakawa and Xena

Okay, now things are getting interesting. I’m a sucker for these three-way tags and we’ve got some fun duos involved. The three legal wrestlers at a time always adds some enjoyment to these matches and that was the case here. You expect greatness from the usual suspects around here so it’s nice to see someone step up and surprise you. That was the case with Xena in this match. This felt like one of her better performances as she played well off of everyone else and did a good job of utilizing her power. Mei and Mina had a very good exchange, made even better by Hazuki getting involved. There was even a spot where Mei and Hazuki worked together against Mina before they went at it themselves. And they had one of the best matches of the year so I’m down for more Mei vs. Hazuki. A bit later, Xena busted out her sweet spinning sidewalk slam but despite her performance, it was Xena who ate the pin after getting hit with the Tequila Shot in 11:34. The step up in quality this show needed. Just a really fun, fast paced tag and just my kind of match. [***½]

Ami Sourei, Ranna Yagami, Saki Kashima, Saori Anou, Sayaka Kurara & Tam Nakano vs. Giulia, Maika, MIRAI, Natsupoi & Syuri

The DDM Reunion! They take on a contingent from various stables. This match was kind of broken down in sections. First, the early stages of this were lighthearted and featured some comedy bits that the crowd seemed to appreciate. Then, right around the time we got MIRAI and Saori Anou renewing their rivalry, things picked up in terms of intensity. It felt more like a match with stakes than a tag meant to be a farewell to a stable that broke up a few months ago. Then the final section saw some more goofy fun with a dance routine of sorts. Basically this wasn’t a match for everyone because it didn’t fit any traditional structure and was kind of all over the place. It also wasn’t meant to be taken too seriously either, so it’s a tough one to judge or review. Giulia brought the “fighting spirit” to this for her spots late and if you’re not a fan of that style, you’ll want to turn away. I’m okay with it for the most part and I thought it worked here. The finish saw Sayaka get hit with a barrage of DDM offense capped by a Natsupoi twisting splash off the top in 22:25. Just a good time. [***½]


Miyu Amasaki vs. Utami Hayashishita

Kind of an interesting match to have in this spot. Utami is a big star who is reportedly on her way out of the company and Miyu is still a very green work in progress. You get flashes of good stuff from Miyu from time to time and recently, she’s been a bit better than in the back half of 2023. This was along those lines and one of her best singles performances to date. You knew she had no chance to win this so this was all about showcasing her stuff, which she did well. The most important things were that Miyu didn’t look out of place out there and that she kept this clean and mostly free of botches, which she can be prone to. Of course, Utami blocked her biggest shots and prevented her finisher attempt before winning with a German Suplex in 10:52. Like I said, a strong outing for Miyu in a good, competitive match with a top star. [***¼]

New Blood Tag Team Championship: Hanan and Saya Iida [c] vs. HANAKO and Waka Tsukiyama

The last time we got one of these title matches, it was fantastic. Like that match, this was not a pairing you’d expect something great from but they overdelivered. HANAKO and Waka proved to be a fun duo who played well off each other. Waka got to take a bit of a beating as the underdog she’s so good at playing but the real story here was HANAKO. She’s still very green and reminds me a lot of Hikuleo in that there’s a lot of size there but it isn’t being used to its fullest potential. HANAKO changed that here as she looked like a beast at points and used that size to overwhelm the champions individually. However, this is indeed still a team effort. When the champions worked together, they held serve and they had to combine to take down HANAKO late. The ending itself actually saw Hanan dropkick KANAKO into a Diamond Dust by Saya, who pounced and followed with a dragon sleeper that ended this in 13:49. Yet another good match on this show and an impressive outing for HANAKO while adding another feather in the cap for Hanan, who is on a roll. [***½]

The final score: review Good
The 411
Though not a major show for STARDOM, this was a good way to spend a few hours. There’s nothing bad on the card (typically the case for the company) and there are several matches that were very good. Plus, there’s the cool DDM reunion to have a good time with.

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STARDOM, Kevin Pantoja