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Pantoja’s STARDOM in Osaka Review 4.21.24

April 29, 2024 | Posted by Kevin Pantoja
STARDOM 4-21-24 Image Credit: STARDOM
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Pantoja’s STARDOM in Osaka Review 4.21.24  

STARDOM in Osaka

April 21st, 2024 | EDION Arena in Osaka, Japan | Attendance: 389

With the NHL and NBA Playoffs going on, I haven’t had the time to cover as much wrestling as I’d like. I had to skim a few STARDOM shows but I do want to throw in a review from a show about a week prior to this because it featured something I really liked. Plus, we’re building to All Star Grand Queendom.

BONUS REVIEW: 4/13/24; Kira Messe Numazu in Numazu, Shizuoka

Hanan and Saya Iida vs. meltear

Our New Blood Tag Champions against the reunited Natsupoi and Tam Nakano! Oh how I’ve missed the meltear pre-match dance routine. I liked pretty much every combination in this match but two stood out. First, Natsupoi against Hanan. They’re two of my favorites and Hanan is on a tear in 2024, so seeing them together was great and they delivered with some smooth exchanges. The back and forth was really well done between them. Then, there was Saya going head to head with Tam, which was better than expected. Saya plays the small powerhouse role so well, so even though she’s lower on the card than Tam, she was in control and forced Tam into the underdog role that she excels in. It was kind of a match made in heaven. Of course, Tam isn’t one to back down so she was down to trade forearms and strikes with Saya. The final few minutes were tremendous and it came down to more from Hanan and Natsupoi. The rising star ate a double superkick from meltear and got rolled up by Natsupoi, only to turn it into her own pin. That only got two but she used a rollup right after to score a huge win in 15:45. An excellent tag that was PPV quality on a house show. I’d have ended it with the pin counter instead of adding another pin after though. [****]

Alright, now onto the actual show that will count toward the overall score and such.

Aya Sakura, Sayaka Kurara, Tam Nakano and Yuna Mizumori vs. AZM, Lady C, Miyu Amasaki and Saya Kamitani

Opening match Tam, AZM, and Saya? What a treat. We started with Tam against Saya too, bringing me back to the incredible opening night of the 5STAR Grand Prix last year which unfortunately ended with Saya’s injury. Alas, their interaction didn’t last long and they left the meat of this match to the undercard ladies. That makes sense as it allowed them to shine though it was never going to make for the best outing. They still had some solid back and forth, with AZM and Sayaka standing out with their exchange. Sayaka picked up a few near falls but you know she never actually threatened to beat AZM. When Sayaka got closer than ever, Miyu came in to help her 02line partner and planted Sayaka with a leaping Facebuster. AZM then finished her off with a diving double stomp in 12:10. Solid enough tag that gave 02line a win of sorts ahead of their Goddess of Stardom challenge at the PPV. Post-match, we got a Tam/Saya staredown that intrigued me, even if it was playful. [**½]

Rian vs. Saki Kashima vs. Saya Iida

Non-title action involving our new High Speed Champion. For the most part, this was kind of the typical three-way match you get from this company. It wasn’t taken too seriously, Saki and her personality shined throughout while Saya played the powerhouse she’s known to be. Rian was kind of just there but that’s okay because she’s still very new and young. She’s out there to learn and not everyone can be Yuzuki right off the bat. She did throw some solid dropkicks though. I loved where Rian and Saya did some stuff and had a standoff only for Saki to jump in as if she was part of it. I was surprised at the finish as Rian didn’t eat a pin. Instead, Saya beat Saki with a pinning combination at the 8:26 mark. Decent, inoffensive match. [**]

Ami Sourei, Ranna Yagami and Syuri vs. Hazuki, Koguma and Momo Kohgo

I feel like I haven’t seen Momo Kohgo in a while. The STARS trio obviously has more experience working together and that showed early on with their triple team offense and the easy chemistry they displayed. Being the rookie in the match, Ranna took the fair share of the beating, including eating the big running boots by Hazuki. The playing field was leveled when Ranna’s partners came in, especially Syuri. I feel like she’s gonna find herself back atop the company soon given all the recent departures. In the end, it was Hazuki and Koguma who got to be showcased, hitting a tandem neckbreaker on Ranna for two (the pin was broken up) and then Hazuki added a senton off the top to get the win in 12:58. That was pretty good. Ranna impressed me, Syuri was her usual self, and FWC got a big win. [**¾]

Fukigen Death, Natsuko Tora, Rina and Starlight Kid vs. HANAKO, Mina Shirakawa, Waka Tsukiyama and Xena

Mina Shirakawa has been a busy woman lately. Anyway, this followed the traditional structure of this kind of multi-woman tag. Oedo Tai were the bully heels who used underhanded tactics and were willing to brawl both in and around the ring, while Empress Nexus Venus were the plucky babyface trio. Simple enough and effective. Mina played the face in peril for a bit and we got the hot tag to Xena, which allowed her to display her power. The spinning side slam and some of her other similar signature moves are helping to establish that aspect of her game. She made the tag to Waka, which led to Natsuko running her over and tagging in SLK for more damage. In a tag like this that doesn’t mean much, it lines up that Ruaka was able to score the win, beating HANAKO after a series of splashes off the top. This went 14:23 and was solid but nothing special. [**½]

Hanan, Momo Watanabe and Natsupoi vs. Maika, Mayu Iwatani and Saori Anou

This is a big tag that helps build to two upcoming title matches (Maika/Momo and Hanan/Saori), while Mayu and Natsupoi always make everything better. At the bell, Maika and Momo spilled outside to add fuel to their rivalry, allowing the action to play out with the other four inside. That allowed for a renewal of the Natsupoi/Saori rivalry from last year. I miss them as tag champs but I love how much they love kicking each other’s ass. While most of the Maika/Momo interactions were serious, there was fun to be had when Natsupoi teamed up with Momo and ran off like she had done something wrong. The exchanges between Saori and Hanan here made me excited to watch their title fight (which should be available on Stardom World soon) as Hanan is really coming into her own in 2024 so far. Momo trapped Maika in a submission down the stretch and the champion was on the verge of passing out, proving how much of a threat her challenger is. Maika survived and managed to turn the tables, putting Momo in a submission of her own. Momo survived and the two were wailing on each other as the 20:00 time limit expired. Exactly what you want from one of these tags. Lots of action, no slow parts, and it set up the future matches well. [***¾]

Goddesses of Stardom Championship: Crazy Star [c] vs. Prominence

I appreciate that Crazy Star now has matching gear. The Prominence duo of Hiragi Kurumi and Risa Sera isn’t one that I’ve seen in a while but they were around a lot in early 2023. What allows Kurumi to stand out is her size. She towers over most people and outweighs them as well so she got to be a good bully here and Mei Seira is such a great bumper that it made for a really strong combination. She played a great face in peril which also works to set up the hot tag to Suzu Suzuki, who is a high impact, hard hitting wrestler. That’s just a recipe for success all around. When Suzu came in, she was on fire though that didn’t trigger the closing stretch. Instead, we got several more tags with each team picking up some close calls. Late, Suzu hitting the Tequila Shot on Hiragi came off looking really good and using rolling Germans afterward to secure the win was even better. This went 18:52 and was just a damn good back and forth title match. [***¾]

The final score: review Average
The 411
The show is kind of a lot of nothing early on, though as usual, there’s nothing outwardly bad on it. Then you get those last two matches, which both truly delivered just what I wanted.

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STARDOM, Kevin Pantoja