Originally published at STARDOM 12th Anniversary Supreme Fight Event Report
For the first proper cheering show since spring 2020 when the pandemic started, there was no better place to welcome it all back than in Osaka. While the crowds in Tokyo are great, I just love the spice and passion of the heart of Kansai. With Haruo Murata and Makoto Ohe on commentary (and later joined by Mai Sakurai), another solid show to kick off STARDOM’s 12th anniversary year.
- Singles Championship Contract Naniwa (Osaka) Roulette Participants: For the Love of Osaka – Definitely Worth a Watch
- Triangle Derby I League Match: Can CLASSMATES turn things around? – Worth a Watch
- Special Singles Match: Is the Triangle Lancer still 100% effective? – Recommended
- Goddesses of STARDOM Championship: Will lighting strike twice in Osaka for MaiHime? – Recommended
- Wonder of STARDOM Championship: Golden Phoenix vs. Black Peach Grudge Match – Recommended
- World of STARDOM Championship: Willingly Reopening Old Wounds – Highly Recommended
Opening Match: Singles Championship Contract Naniwa (Osaka) Roulette: Saki Kashima defeated Mayu Iwatani, Momo Kogo, Natsuko Tora, Saki Kashima, Mai Sakurai, Thekla, Tam Nakano, Natsupoi, Waka Tsukiyama, Mina Shirakawa, Mariah May, Miyu Amasaki, Yuna Mizumori, Momoka Hanazono, and Billiken Death.
- The fall is scheduled for five minutes; involving 15 people; in gauntlet format.
- Order of entry will be decided by Naniwa Roulette – it’s just Osaka themed.
- Over the Top Rope eliminations are fair play
- In the event of a draw, both competitors will be eliminated.
- Last player remaining wins. The winner selects whichever singles championship they would like to go after.
Mayu Iwatani (1) defeated Waka Tsukiyama (2; via Dragon Suplex in 2:08), Momo Kohgo (3; via submission in 3:07) and Miyu Amasaki (4; via Standing Dragon Sleeper in 2:02) in succession before she was eliminated alongside Tam Nakano (5) in a time limit draw. Mina Shirakawa (6) and Natsupoi (7) wrestled to a draw and were also eliminated.
One of the silly key points in this gauntlet is that people kept conveniently forgetting that over the top rules applying, especially Tam Nakano and Natsupoi. Lucky for them, they had Waka Tsukiyama screaming the rules to remind them, but honestly, with the ultimatum Tam gave Waka at the end of 2022, Tsukiyama should have just let them fall on their own swords.
Mariah May (8) defeated Mai Sakurai (9; via Tombstone Piledriver/pin in 3:31) in her first singles match in Japan before facing Thekla (10) and both were eliminated together going over the top rope together. Natsuko Tora (11) would then face off with Osaka native and local heroine, Momoka Hanazono (12), which went off the rails quickly, also ending in a double elimination over the top rope.
Finally, X would be revealed as Billiken Death (13) against the Pineapple Queen, Yuna Mizumori (14; via pin in 2:21). 1. For those unfamiliar with the legend of Billiken (as played by Kaori Yoneyama; Gokigen-Fukigen Death Yama-San), Billiken is “The God of Things As They Ought to Be,” and they can be found all over the place in Osaka. Rubbing Billiken’s feet is how you wish for good luck, too. This came into crucial play when Billiken eliminated Yuna Mizumori, and the Naniwa Roulette wheel, initially declared her the winner… because her winning was “the way things were meant to be!”
However, Saki Kashima (15), who had yet to make her entry into the match defied fate and “how things were supposed to be,” making sure she had her opportunity to participate in the match. Naturally, the speed and power of the Kishi Kaisei (My Emblem in 2:27) continue, as Kashima defeats Billiken.
Billiken might look familiar to those keeping track of the recent travelings of Club Venus, as Mina Shirakawa and Waka Tsukiyama took Mariah May and Xia Brookside sightseeing when STARDOM was in Osaka around Dream Queendom last year. Billiken is not a Japanese deity, but one that was imported from the United States.
The other fun little tidbit in this match was that in honor of Setsubun (a holiday held annually on February 3rd), the right to challenge certificate was stylized like a futomaki, a thick, uncut sushi roll for good luck. While it happened at the top of February, Setsubun could be compared to Groundhog Day, as a traditional seasonal marker, heralding the coming of Spring. Unlike Groundhog Day, people in Japan throw soybeans to ward off the demons and to welcome good luck and fortune into their homes.
- Saki Kashima issued her challenge to AZM for the High-Speed Championship. She will continue in the Triangle Derby with Natsuko Tora and Momo Watanabe as Gold Ship.
- Just about everyone will continue in the Triangle Derby with the respective teams. Billiken will resume wandering around Osaka.
Triangle Derby I League Match: CLASSMATES (Hazuki, Koguma & Saya Iida)  defeated Unique Glare (Starlight Kid, Haruka Umesaki & Ruaka)  (9:03) – Koguma pinning Starlight Kid with a schoolboy
This was a solid trios match and the only tournament match on the entire card. After the chaos that ensued in the Naniwa Roulette gauntlet, this match was considerably more standard STARDOM fare. It was a truncated greatest-hits album for everyone on both teams, and since it IS the Triangle Derby, it’s worth a watch. I wish it had a greater feature on the card, but given the weight of the championship matches the start-studded opener, it was in a tough place. I liked it, but there wasn’t anything particularly out of the ordinary in it.
Both teams will continue in the Triangle Derby, which ends on March 4th.
6-Woman Tag Match: God’s Eye (Syuri, Ami Sohrei & Konami) defeated Queen’s Quest (Utami Hayashishita, AZM & Lady C) (11:25) with Konami submitting Lady C with the Triangle Lancer
Much like the match preceding it, this was another case of a ring full of talent, everyone doing what they do best, but nothing particularly shocking or out of the ordinary. Simply great wrestling. Syuri and Konami’s dueling triangle chokes using the ropes, in particular, is always one of my favorite place markers in their matches together.
This was a nice non-trios tournament breather, but still allowed fans a chance to see their favorites, including the local favorite in Konami. I always love it when Konami returns to STARDOM, much like KAIRI, her appearances always feel special because since her departure, they are sporadic and largely when STARDOM comes to western Japan. Would I love to see her in God’s Eye more frequently? Sure, but since it’s health-related, I’ll be happy with whatever she can manage.
- Konami: Who knows when our favorite submission sniper will visit STARDOM again, but if we base it on her appearance patterns, perhaps next time STARDOM rolls through Hiroshima (her hometown) and heads over to Kyushu (Fukuoka).
- Syuri & Ami Sohrei will continue in the Triangle Derby with MIRAI representing God’s Eye as Arenbo GE.
- AZM & Utami Hayashishita will continue in the Triangle Derby with Saya Kamitani representing Queen’s Quest. AZM may have a future defense against Saki Kashima, but she will face Starlight Kid first on 3/4 to defend her championship. Should AZM defeat SLK, she’ll be the first person to surpass Mayu Iwatani’s High Speed defense record at 9 (where she is currently tied). Iwatani set the record in 2016, and AZM tied it last month.
- Lady C will continue in the Triangle Derby with MaiHime (DDM’s Maika & Himeka).
Special Singles Match: Chihiro Hashimoto (Sendai Girls) defeated MIRAI (GE) (15:18) with an Albright suplex
What I love about this match is that there was a little bit of history besides MIRAI cutting in line ahead of Syuri. MIRAI and Hashimoto met in a tag match at the 60th Anniversary of Korakuen Hall at the Joshi Dream Festival last April. The story isn’t complicated. Honestly, it’s quite simple, and I love it. I don’t remember if it was mentioned, but Miyagi (Sendai Girls Dojo) and Iwate (MIRAI) are both situated in northern Honshu (the main island of Japan). These prefectures were two of the ones impacted by the Great Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami on March 11, 2011, so it felt to me that this was also a battle of pride and hope for the people of those areas.
MIRAI showed the world why she is the New Combat Sports Princess and Hashimoto reminded the world why she is one of the most dominant pure wrestlers in the world. If you love technical wrestling and a good, old power fighter throwdown, this is one you’ll definitely want to dig into. While Hashimoto defeated MIRAI, she did so by further elevating MIRAI’s rapidly rising star.
While Syuri keeps reminding ‘Big Hash’ that’ she’s got next, Chihiro insists on ‘one more appetizer before the main course’ and that their dining reservation needs to be saved for a big venue. *hint hint wink wink*
- Chichiro Hashimoto may have one more STARDOM challenger prior to her match with Syuri and her caveat for facing the former World of STARDOM champion is “at the next BIG event,” so Hashimoto and Syuri could be on the bingo card for ALL-STAR GRAND QUEENDOM in April, if not sooner.
- MIRAI will continue in the Triangle Derby with Syuri and Ami Sohrei. She will also enter the Cinderella Tournament next month as the previous tournament winner.
Goddesses of STARDOM Championship: 7Upp (Nanae Takahashi/Yuu) © defeated MaiHime (Maika & Himeka) (18:54) – with Takahashi pinning Himeka after One Second EX
When MaiHime won the number one contenders’ match at Dream Queendom, I was really optimistic that they were finally getting back to where they were as a tag team, especially after seeing them defeat 7Upp in Osaka at GOLD RUSH back in November. However, when I saw Himeka at the STARDOM awards in sneakers and a relatively heavy knee brace, I was honestly wondering why they were going on with this match.
It also immediately made me realize that no matter how much I wanted MaiHime to win because they’ve certainly earned it after the 2022 they both had, if Himeka needs time to nurture that knee (since it looks like she doesn’t have any time off). I did enjoy this match more than their Osaka Gold Rush match, so I was a little sad that the outcome was more of what I expected rather than what I had hoped for.
I don’t know how long 7Upp are planning on being a part of STARDOM or if they are moving toward a more permanent place or if they’re simply in a longer-term veterans-in-residence presence to help elevate talent. If that is the case, they genuinely don’t need the Goddess belts. Fighting them IS the honor.
- 7Upp will continue the Triangle Derby with Yuna Mizumori as 7Uppp. No date has been set yet, but BMI 2000 (Natsuko Tora and Ruaka) will be the next challengers.
- MaiHime will continue in the Triangle Derby with Lady C.
Wonder of STARDOM Championship: Saya Kamitani © defeated Momo Watanabe (16:38) – via Firebird Splash/pin
For someone who has no interest in any championship aside from the World of STARDOM Championship, Momo Watanabe found herself thrust into the match that could ultimately wipe out her record with the White Belt. While KAIRI’s name is the one that has been consistently synonymous with the Wonder of STARDOM Championship, it was Momo’s run with the belt between 2018-2019 after defeating a departing Io Shirai that set the bar to what felt like an unattainable height. Though Momo insisted that the Wonder was part of her ‘dark history,’ she still signed the contract and showed up in Osaka for the match, despite -you know- NOT caring about any of it.
Their match was great, but I felt like they have had better matches against one another in the past. I definitely could have done without the table spots, especially when Kamitani tried the double foot stomp from the top turnbuckle, and the table tipped over instead of breaking. I guess it was better than the usual OedoTai/Black Peach shenanigans, but I prefer it to the use of concealed hardware or anything that mimics/duplicates what I see with House of Torture in New Japan.
Kamitani defeated Watanabe, becoming the highest consecutive successful defense of the Wonder of STARDOM Championship. However, she is continuing to avoid use of the Phoenix Splash, opting for the Firebird Splash instead. I am wondering if she’s permanently removing it from her arsenal, or if she’s saving it for something special, like either her eventual rematch against Mina Shirakawa (which was the last time she used it) or when the time comes for her to make her ascent from the Wonder of STARDOM into the World of STARDOM chase.
- Saya Kamitani will continue in the Triangle Derby with AZM and Umtami Hayashishita representing Queen’s Quest. Her next challenger has yet to be named, but she has previously named Shirakawa as someone she would like to face. Makes me wonder if STARDOM will wait until after the Cinderella Tournament for that match up, or if it’ll happen sooner rather than later now that Watanabe’s record belongs to Kamitani.
- Momo Watanabe will continue in the Triangle Derby with Natsuko Tora and Saki Kashima.
World of STARDOM Championship: Giulia © defeated Suzu Suzuki (PROMINENCE) (25:04) – via Northern Lights Bomb/pin; This was Giulia’s first defense.
It’s been just over a year since PROMINENCE arrived in STARDOM ready to serve up a five-course meal of revenge for Giulia. I wondered when Suzu would crop up in Giulia’s long line of challengers, but I didn’t expect her to be the top batter. Just over four months passed since their match on the final day of the 2022 Five Star Grand Prix, so I was hoping for a little more time before we revisited this match.
New Year. New Champ. New Look AND New MUSIC?! The power of the Red Belt has taken over Giulia, and I am here for her “2023: New Year, New Me” approach as World Champion. I didn’t think it was possible for Giulia to feel like more of a star, but hot dog, she unlocked a new level. The new entrance music will take some getting used to as it’s softer than her previous track.
In a match where I genuinely expected Giulia to drag out a table, surprisingly she left the furniture alone after it was previously employed in Kamitani’s match. However, Suzu decided to do a little redecorating around the venue, launching Giulia into two different sections of fans. Much like getting used to cheering vocally again, the STARDOM fans are going to have to get used to boogie-ing out of the way as quickly as possible. Unlike some venues which use folding chairs, Osaka had solid frame ones, which simply tipped over, so it looked more like the chairs were replacing the seconds in catching Giulia.
They had a brawl like I expected, but it didn’t feel as desperate or heartbroken as their Five Star match last year. The build-up to their singles match in last year’s Five Star Grand Prix was emotionally charged with bitter memories and unfinished business, this one felt more like a giant stride toward healing the residual wounds between Giulia and Suzu. Their post-match this time around focused on their mutual understanding and their desire to continue pushing further to make names for themselves within the industry.
Suzu even confessed that now that she’s faced the World of STARDOM Champion, she’s got a taste of the red belt and has a new goal: to one day be a World of STARDOM Champion (preferably via finally defeating Giulia for it).
- Giulia will continue in the Triangle Derby with Mai Sakurai and Thekla representing DMM as the Baribari Bombers. No new challengers stepped forward after the match.
- Suzu Suzuki will continue in the Triangle Derby with Risa Sera and Kurumi Hiiragi representing PROMINENCE and as the current Artists of STARDOM Champions (along with all of her commitments outside of STARDOM.)
STARDOM in SHOWCASE (2/26) Kobe International Exhibition Hall; Full Card TBA
- UWF Rules Match: Syuri vs. Saki Kashima
- What Will Happen to COSMIC ANGELS?! Captain’s Fall Match: Tam Nakano (Captain), Natsupoi & SAKI vs. Waka Tsukiyama (Captain), Mina Shirakawa & Mariah May
- Super Strong STARDOM Machines vs. The Masked Grim Reapers! 6-Person Match: 3S Machine, 3S Giant Machine & 3S X Machine vs. Reapers A-B-and-C
- Kansai-Style Falls Count Anywhere Match: AZM vs. Momoka Hanazono vs. X vs. XX
- Women’s Wrestling Best Body Contest (Best of 3): Saya Iida vs. Chanyota (PPP Tokyo)
Triangle Derby I Finals (3/4) Yoyogi National Stadium Second Gym
RED Triangles Standings (as of 2/4/23)
- 7Upp 
- Club Venus 
- Queen’s Quest 
- UNIQUE GLARE 
- COSMIC ANGELS 
- Baribari Bombers 
- H&M’s 
BLUE Triangles Standings (as of 2/4/23)
- Abarenbo GE 
- PROMINENCE 
- Gold ship 
- Rebel & Enemy 
- MaiHime w/C 
- CLASSMATES 
- Lollipop 
Cinderella Tournament 2023 (3/26) Yokohama Budokan- largest field to date with 36 participants
- Queen’s Quest: Utami Hayashishita, AZM, Saya Kamitani, Lady C, Hina, Miyu Amasaki
- STARS: Mayu Iwatani, Hazuki, Koguma, Momo Kohgo, Saya Iida, Hanan
- Cosmic Angels/Club Venus: Tam Nakano, Natsupoi, Mina Shirakawa, Mariah May
- Donna del Mondo: Giulia, Maika, Himeka, Thekla & Mai Sakurai,
- Oedo Tai: Natsuko Tora, Momo Watanabe, Ruaka, Rina, Starlight Kid, Saki Kashima
- God’s Eye: Syuri, Ami Sohrei, MIRAI & Tomoka Inaba
- Freelance Guests: Haruka Umesaki (DIANA), Nanae Takahashi, Yuna Mizumori
The remaining two participants will be announced at a later date. Waka Tsukiyama has yet to be announced. *Xia Brookside is back in England for visa-related paperwork. Unsure if she is participating)
Big Match Schedule
- STARDOM in SHOWCASE vol. 4 (2/26) – Kobe International Exhibition Hall
- Triangle Derby Finals (3/4) – Yoyogi National Stadium Gymnasium 2
- NEW BLOOD Premium (3/25) – Yokohama Budoukan
- Cinderella Tournament 2023 (3/26) – Yokohama Budoukan
- ALL-STAR GRAND QUEENDOM 2023 (4/23) – Yokohama Arena
- Fukuoka Goddess Legend (5/4) – Golden Week
Dream Slam Monthly will come out on Saturday, February 25th with updated Triangle Derby coverage and updates for future STARDOM shows and details all over the women’s wrestling scene!