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Pantoja’s Stardom Triangle Derby I In Osaka Review 1.15.23

January 21, 2023 | Posted by Kevin Pantoja
STARDOM Triangle Derby I Day Six Image Credit: STARDOM
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Pantoja’s Stardom Triangle Derby I In Osaka Review 1.15.23  

Stardom Triangle Derby I in Osaka

January 15th, 2023 | EDION Arena in Osaka, Japan | Attendance: 454 

It’s time for another Triangle Derby show in Osaka. This time, we have seven matches and five are part of the tournament.

Koguma vs. MIRAI vs. Yuna Mizumori

Interesting to start with a three-way dance. The fact that this opened with a three-way tie-up was different and I liked that. You don’t see that often. You could tell this wasn’t going to be taken all that seriously with comedy spots, lots of taunting, and general fun being had. Koguma was clearly out to have a good time while MIRAI took the serious route and Mizumori kind of landed somewhere in between, which made for a good dynamic throughout. Of course, as this neared its conclusion, there was a bit more offense from both sides. In fact, the MIRAI/Mizumori exchanges were really good. Koguma placed the pineapple helmet over MIRAI’s face and rolled up Mizumori to win in 7:40. A lighthearted little opener. [**½]

Ami Sourei and Syuri vs. Hazuki and Saya Iida vs. Natsupoi and Tam Nakano

Oh, baby, it’s meltear time! I love that all three teams get a legal participant. There were some pre-match shenanigans that were quite fun as you got the sense this would be another lighthearted affair. Even with that, we still got stuff like Syuri kicking the shit out of Natsupoi, whose split-legged sell of each was pretty fantastic. Like the previous bout, things picked up in terms of action and seriousness as this went on. The back and forth between Tam and Hazuki stole the show as they traded shots with fire usually reserved for main events. Lots of great action in the closing minutes before Tam put down Iida with a gorgeous Tiger Suplex in 10:53. That was a hell of a match that blended the comedy with the serious stuff really well. [***¼]

AZM, Saya Kamitani and Utami Hayashishita [1] vs. Rina Amikura, Waka Tsukiyama and Yuko Sakurai [0]

I know it’s still early but it’s wild that the Hayashishita/Kamitani/AZM team only has a single point. AZM started this so you just know the pace was quick from the get-go. Her opposition took it to her though, overwhelming her with tandem offense. The Queen’s Quest star power might be huge here but the other team wasn’t backing down. I continue to be impressed by Tsukiyama, who had some really good exchanges with AZM. Sakurai had some awkward moments though that didn’t quite click the way I wanted. Tsukiyama also delivered down the stretch against Kamitani, including nearly winning with an inside cradle after the 10-minute mark. Alas, she couldn’t pull it off and Kamitani beat her with a sitout Brainbuster in 11:39. I liked this a lot. [***¼]

Haruka Umesaki, Ruaku and Starlight Kid [2] vs. Maika Ozaki, Maya Yukihi and Ram Kaichow [2]

Yukihi has impressed so far and I’m excited to see them go up against someone like Starlight Kid, who I’ve really come to appreciate. I got what I wanted right at the start as they went at it. It was indeed the quality exchange I was hoping for. I think the match suffered a bit when it wasn’t them but a lot of the teamwork spots by each trio came off well. Umesaki got isolated but it was never a face-in-peril kind of thing. In fact, both teams felt like heels (I’m still not totally clear on who is a face and who is a heel so maybe they’re both rule-breaking teams). It allowed for a unique feeling to this match since it didn’t follow a traditional formula. Kaichow took a shot from a weapon (I think it was a chair) that teased a finish but she was saved by her teammates. Kaichow threw powder in the ref’s eyes, which gave us a DQ finish in 10:55. That was moving along nicely until that lame finish. [***¼]

Hanan, Mayu Iwatani and Momo Khogo [0] vs. Himeka, Lady C and Maika [2]

Iwatani, who is always a treat to see, came out with a baseball cap and even threw a pitch into the crowd. Hanan and Himeka were kind of just there in this match. They weren’t bad by any means but the focus was on two other pairings. First, the back-and-forth between Iwatani and Maika was probably the best part of this match. They had some great counters, hard-hitting moves, and it had more intensity than anything else. There was also a quality exchange from Lady C and Momo, which kind of took up the bulk of the match. It’s fun to see Momo go toe-to-toe with a bigger opponent. After their battle, Momo got sandwiched by clotheslines, ate a big boot, and fell to a Blue Thunder Bomb after 11:34. The best match of the show so far and I want to see more from the pairings that stood out here. [***½]

Hiragi Kurumi, Risa Sera, and Suzu Suzuki [4] vs. Mariah May, Mina Shirakawa and Xia Brookside [4]

The Artist of Stardom Champions against the new stable, Club Venus. I popped for Xia choosing to start because she’s “strong” only to quickly get thrown around quickly. That happened with pretty much anyone she fought and when she got trapped in a modified Boston Crab, her teammates ran in only to also get thrown aside. It felt like an early case of one team being on a different level. The tide turned a bit when Mina became the legal competitor. I will say that May and Brookside are looking more comfortable with each passing match. I appreciated them busting out tandem moves ahead of the New Blood tournament they’re part of. The sunset flip bomb to the outside spot was a good idea, especially with May kicking away Suzuki and Kurumi, but the move itself didn’t come off well. In the end, Sera bested May after a Michinoku Driver and diving double knees in 11:47. I sound like a broken record but this was another good match. [***¼]

Giulia, Mai Sakurai and Thekla [2] vs. Momo Watanabe, Natsuko Tora and Saki Kashima [4]

I am all for some Giulia vs. Momo interactions. Unfortunately, it seems like Stardom wasn’t interested in giving us that. They only had a handful of interactions which was a shame because the stuff involving everyone else wasn’t all that interesting. Thekla handled a lot of this match and seemed to have little to no chemistry with Tora. Kashima fared better in there but a lot of this just didn’t click with me. The finish saw Thekla lose to a diving senton off the top in 12:25. I didn’t write a ton here because to be honest, it was pretty bland and disappointing. [**½]

Post-match, Suzu Suzuki came out to confront Giulia and diss her for losing again. They meet on 2/4.

The final score: review Average
The 411
So far, Stardom has been remarkably consistent in delivering quality shows and matches. This was another case of that for the most part but the lackluster main event brings it down a bit.

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STARDOM, Kevin Pantoja