Originally published at STARDOM Triangle Derby Finals
Today’s event emanated from Yoyogi National Stadium Second Gym with Haruo Murata (play-by-play) and Makoto Ohe (color commentary). They were later joined by Utami Hayashishita and Lady C from Queen’s Quest for guest commentary. The venue was packed with 1,919 guests in attendance.
- Opening Match 1: 3-Way Battle for The Future – Worth a Watch
- Opening Match 2: QQ vs. Rebel x Enemy – Worth a Watch
- 6-Woman Tag Match: Club Venus + Moon vs DDM – Worth a Watch
- 10-Woman Tag Match: The Eternal Battle of STARS vs. OedoTai – Worth a Watch
- Triangle Derby Semi-Finals 1: God’s Eye vs. Cosmic Angels – Recommended
- Triangle Derby Semi-Finals 2: 7Upp vs. PROMINENCE – Recommended
- Himeka’s Retirement Road Special Singles Match: Who is the biggest and the baddest? BOTH. – Recommended
- Wonder of STARDOM Championship: Is the Wild Heart truly shatterproof? – Highly Recommended; Match of the Night
- High Speed Championship: Does The Eternal Foe prevent history from being made? – Highly Recommended
- World of STARDOM Championship: Giulia © vs. Maya Yukihi – Highly Recommended
- Triangle Derby Finals: Winner of 7Upp/PROMINENCE vs. Winner of Abarenbo GE/Cosmic Angels – Highly Recommended
Opening matches one and two and the 6-Woman tag were all streamed for free on YouTube.
Opening Match 1: 3-Way Battle: Rina defeated Miyu Amasaki & Hina (5:53) – with Rina pinning Amasaki with a Jackknife Bomb
This opening match highlights Miyu Amasaki who recently celebrated her twentieth birthday (and came of age) and the twins of Rina and Hina who are currently in high school. While Rina and Hina are carving different paths in OedoTai and Queen’s Quest, neither has managed to win the Future of STARDOM Championship in their four-year careers. Later this month, Amasaki will celebrate her first anniversary of her professional debut with STARDOM. She debuted last year at the first NEW BLOOD show in the main event against Utami Hayashishita, and would subsequently join Queen’s Quest.
While this match didn’t have anything at stake, the trio will meet again next week at Korakuen Hall (3/10). This time, the three-way match will be a number one contender’s match for the Future of STARDOM Championship. The winner of that match will face the winner of Ami Sohrei vs. Lady C (also on 3/10) at a later date. They could have easily made this the number one contender’s match instead of running it back again less than a week later.
- Miyu Amasaki will face Saya Iida in the first round of the Cinderella Tournament
- Rina will face Mariah May in the first round of the Cinderella Tournament.
- Hina will face in XX the first round of the Cinderella Tournament in the first round of the Cinderella Tournament
Opening Match 2: Tag Match: Utami Hayashishita & Lady C defeated Ram Kaicho & Maika Ozaki (7:25) – with Hayashishita pinning Ozaki with a German Suplex
With their teammates participating in different matches later on the card, all four competitors close their Triangle Derby in the second opening match. Ram Kaicho and Maika Ozaki competed alongside Maya Yukihi as 3/4s of Rebel x Enemy in the Triangle Derby. While Utami and Lady C team together in QQ, Utami teamed with AZM and Saya Kamitani, while Lady C moonlit with Donna del Mondo tagged with Maika and Himeka.
This was a solid tag match with lots of fab matching gear. The height differential between Lady C and Ram Kaicho is fantastic, but it doesn’t stop Ram from scaling The Human Tower like a koala, felling her with a massive DDT. Also, Utami and Ozaki clashing? Give me more please and thank you.
Utami and Lady C had a busy post-match as they rushed to the back for their comments, freshened up, and then prepared to head out to the commentary booth for the rest of the show.
- Utami Hayashishita will face Nanae Takahashi in the first round of the Cinderella Tournament
- Lady C will face X in the first round of the Cinderella Tournament. Before that, she will challenge Ami Sohrei for the Future of STARDOM Championship at Korakuen Hall (3/10).
- Ram Kaicho and Maika Ozaki will likely make their way back to STARDOM again in the future, but definitely keep an out on Dream Slam Monthly for all updates! Ram in particular has become a regular on the NEW BLOOD series. She was also recently seen at NJPW’s All-Star Junior Festival supporting Onryo from Pro-Wrestling Triple Six in his match with SHO against Isami Kodaka (BASARA) & MAO (DDT).
6-Woman Tag Match: Maika, Mai Sakurai & Thekla defeated Mina Shirakawa, Mariah May & Waka Tsukiyama (10:20) – with Sakurai pinning Tsukiyama after a Rolling Guillotine Leg Drop
This was another nice exhibition highlighting everyone’s hard work during the Triangle Derby. Although Tsukiyama’s Lollipop teammates of COLOR’s Yuko Sakurai and Rina Amikura, she filled the Xia Brookeside-sized hole in Club Venus alongside Mina Shirakawa and Mariah May. DDM shuffled the deck as Maika took Giulia’s place in the Baribari Bombers.
As someone who was rather unfamiliar with Mariah May’s wrestling prior to her arrival in STARDOM, I am enjoying her journey and development in Club Venus. It’s also refreshing to see another foreign wrestler to tangle with Thekla… that I am hoping that at some point their pair of them will try to resurrect the SWA Women’s Championship. By now, everyone knows how much I love Thekla and hope that she is given a bigger platform in the coming year, especially as the veteran foreign wrestler at the moment.
I can’t get over how much Mai Sakurai has improved since joining DDM, and keeping in mind that her forever rival is Waka Tsukiyama, I hope that Moon Child looks at the potential for development outside of Cosmic Angels. As much as I want Tsukiyama’s first pin to be Sakurai, I feel that their story will take a different trajectory once we clear the deadline of March 25th. Note: Waka was introduced as the translator for Club Venus… Hmm… This further feeds into my theory that after her last chance match with Tam Nakano on 3/25, Tsukiyama will not only choose to leave Cosmic Angels but align herself with Mina Shirakawa and Club Venus.
Along with wrapping up the Triangle Derby, this match serves as a teaser for the Cinderella Tournament, as nearly everyone is already slated for the brackets, minus Tsukiyama. I want to believe that much like her first win will one day arrive, there is still time for her to make her case for Cinderella as well.
- Mina Shirakawa will face Natsupoi in the first round of the Cinderella Tournament
- Mariah May will face Rina in the first round of the Cinderella Tournament
- Waka Tsukiyama is not currently scheduled to participate in the Cinderella Tournament. This may change based on the result of her tag match with Tam Nakano against Nanae Takahashi & X on March 25th at NEW BLOOD PREMIUM. This is the deadline for her first win in STARDOM or she gets kicked out of COSMIC ANGELS.
- Maika will face Momo Watanabe in the first round of the Cinderella Tournament. She will also be Himeka’s final opponent The Jumbo Princess’ retirement match on April 23rd at Yokohama Arena.
- Mai Sakurai will face Giulia in the first round of the Cinderella Tournament. It is worth noting that she considers Tsukiyama her rival as they join STARDOM and Cosmic Angels around the same time, but it took her choosing Giulia and DDM for her to start flourishing. “We’re walking the same path… I want to keep fighting against you, so don’t give up, even at the very end.” – Backstage Promo
- Thekla will face Koguma in the first round of the Cinderella Tournament
Complete Golden Week Fight Tour Announced!
In the last couple of years, STARDOM makes their annual trek to southwest Japan during the string of consecutive national holidays known as Golden Week. Last year’s Fukuoka Goddess Festival (5/5/2022) saw a Maika challenge Saya Kamitani for the Wonder of STARDOM Championship and Fukuoka Double Crazy (Hazuki & Koguma) reclaim the Goddesses of STARDOM Tag Championships from BLACK DESIRE (Starlight Kid & Momo Watanabe).
Last year, this series saw a week-long return for Konami who in her absence from STARDOM decided she would join up with Syuri and God’s Eye, leaving her OedoTai days behind her.
- Aichi (4/29) Nagoya International Conference Center Event Hall
- Hiroshima (4/30) Fukuyama Industrial Exchange Center Big Rose
- Yamaguchi (5/3) Kaikyo Messe Shimonoseki
- Fukuoka Goddess Legend 2023 (5/4) Fukuoka International Center
- Kumamoto (5/5) Kumamoto Castle Hall Civic Hall
- Kagoshima (5/6) Nanei Lease Sakurajima Arena
Along with a return to Fukuoka, STARDOM will drop by Mayu Iwatani’s home prefecture of Yamaguchi. This series will take place after All-Star Grand Queendom (4/23) in Yokohama Arena. There will be a post-Golden Week show, Bonus Track (5/9) in Osaka’s Edion Arena as well.
10-Woman Tag Match: OedoTai (Natsuko Tora, Saki Kashima, Momo Watanabe, Ruaka & Fukigen Death) defeated STARS (Mayu Iwatani, Koguma, Hanan, Saya Iida & Momo Kohgo) (8:20) – with Fukigen Death pinning Kohgo with an O’Connor Roll
While I am a complete fan of the Kuma (Bear) dance that Koguma hypnotizes many of her opponents into, changing it up for Natsuko as Buta (Pig) surprisingly got boos from the crowd and a mention on commentary as “that’s just sort of mean name calling.” Natsuko uncharacteristically hung her head and looked sad and Koguma realized it was hurting her feelings. Naturally, Koguma went to apologize and Natsuko finished playing possum and went immediately after her. I liked that there was retribution for her actions (and I am sure it was in jest).
Now that Triangle Derby is largely over, STARS and OedoTai can resume their regularly scheduled brawling… I mean programming. With the Cinderella Tournament and All-Star Grand Queendom on the way, there isn’t a shortage of championship gold or securing a place in tournament history! Summer will likely herald the return of the Five Star Grand Prix and the autumn colors will bring forth the Goddesses Tag League once more. The question remains how STARS and OedoTai will regroup and or restructure in the coming year to reclaim championships or establish new legacies.
- Natsuko Tora and Ruaka will face one another in the first round of the Cinderella Tournament. They will challenge 7Upp for the Goddesses of STARDOM Championship at Korakuen Hall on 3/10.
- Momo Watanabe will face Maika in the first round of the Cinderella Tournament
- Fukigen Death is not slated for the Cinderella Tournament at this time.
- Saki Kashima (OedoTai) and Momo Kohgo (STARS) will face one another in the first round of the Cinderella Tournament
- Mayu Iwatani will face Saya Kamitani in the first round of the Cinderella Tournament
- Saya Iida will face Miyu Amasaki in the first round of the Cinderella Tournament
- Koguma will face Thekla in the first round of the Cinderella Tournament
- Hanan will face MIRAI in the first round of the Cinderella Tournament
Triangle Derby Semi-Finals 1: God’s Eye (Syuri, Ami Sohrei & MIRAI) defeated Cosmic Angels (Tam Nakano, Natsupoi & SAKI) (11:30) – with Syuri submitting Natsupoi with Byakko (White Tiger)
What I liked about this match was despite the raging popularity of COSMIC ANGELS, especially since the launch of meltear’s EP and how focused things can be on Tam at times, that this match was rather balanced and God’s Eye came out on top. Central to the match was Natsupoi proving that being the smallest one in the fight doesn’t mean that she’s lacking in any sense. Syuri did her most to take not only clip the High-Speed Fairy’s wings but also tried cutting her off at the knees as well.
With the Cinderella Tournament up next, MIRAI as defending tournament winner, I am curious to see how the 2023 tournament will come together this year. The match was great, very hard-hitting, and the correct team won to continue. God’s Eye advances to the Triangle Derby Finals at the end of the event.
- Syuri will face Tomoka Inaba (JTO) in the first round of the Cinderella Tournament
- Ami Sohrei will face Yuna Mizumori in the first round of the Cinderella Tournament. Depending on if she retains over Lady C next week at Korakuen, she may face either Miyu Amasaki, Rina, or Hina as the next challenger.
- MIRAI will face Hanan in the first round of the Cinderella Tournament
- Tam Nakano will face Himeka in the first round of the Cinderella Tournament. She also will tag with Waka Tsukiyama on 3/25 against Nanae Takahashi/X to determine Tsukiyama’s future in Cosmic Angels.
- Natsupoi will face Mina Shirakawa in the first round of the Cinderella Tournament. She will also have a singles match on 3/10 as part of Himeka’s Retirement Road series. She will also tag with Tam twice as part of the Retirement Road, against MaiHime (3/11) and Giulia/Himeka (3/19).
- SAKI recently lost the COLOR’S Championship to fellow stablemate, Rina Amikura. However, she’ll be keeping busy with multiple dates across Japan in the future. She is not scheduled for the Cinderella Tournament at this time.
Triangle Derby Semi-Finals 2: PROMINENCE (Risa Sera, Suzu Suzuki & Kurumi Hiiragi) defeated 7Upp (Nanae Takahashi, Yuu & Yuna Mizumori) (10:31) – with Suzuki pinning Mizumori with Grand Maestro de Tequila.
With 7Upp already having a Goddesses of STARDOM tag defense on the docket, I didn’t feel that they were going to also win the Triangle Derby, and as PROMINENCE are the Artists of STARDOM Champions(and have as of yet to defend their championships) definitely stood with a lot more to lose. This match was wildly chaotic, and much harder hitting than I had expected. I think the combination of power fighters and hardcore wrestlers brought out the best in one another, and in the end, PROMINENCE secured the win to advance to the finals.
At the center of the match are Suzu Suzuki and surprisingly, Yuna Mizumori. I was happy to see Mizumori get a lot more offense and honestly make her look like a credible contender instead of the fail-safe to protect 7Upp as the designated fall gal for the team.
After the match, Suzu proposes upped stakes for the Triangle Derby Finals against Abarenbo GE by suggesting making it also a Artists of STARDOM Championship defense! Without hesitation, God’s Eye welcomes the idea if PROMINENCE is game for it, and it’s decided right there and then that the finals will be for all the beans: the Derby Win AND the Artist’s belts!
- PROMINENCE (Risa Sera, Suzu Suzuki & Kurumi Hiiragi) are not currently scheduled for the Cinderella Tournament. The group’s 12th hardcore show will take place on March 18th at ShinKiba 1st Ring.
- Nanae Takahashi and Yuu (7Upp) will defend the Goddesses of STARDOM Championships against BMI 2000 (Natsuko Tora and Ruaka) at Korakuen Hall on March 10th. Yuu is also Pro-Wrestling EVE’s International Champion, but it is currently uncertain if she will defend the championship at their Women Behaving Badly iPPV on International Women’s Day (3/8).
- Yuna Mizumori will face Ami Sohrei in the first round of the Cinderella Tournament.
Himeka’s Retirement Road Special Singles Match: Chihiro Hashimoto (Sendai Girls) defeated Himeka (8:52) – via submission (Ankle Lock)
After defeating MIRAI, Chihiro Hashimoto informed Syuri that she wanted to have another appetizer before they meet in singles competition. This coincided with Himeka later announcing her retirement last month, naming Hashimoto as someone she wanted to fight in her Retirement Road. I love seeing big strong women squaring off in a no-nonsense, straight-up fight. There was no shortage of hard hits, but it was Hashimoto who had Himeka’s number and ankle throughout the match. Typically, Hashimoto goes for the Albright Suplex, but for some reason in this match, she insisted on working and staying on Himeka’s ankle.
Stars above that powerbomb that Hashimoto gave Himeka felt like she was throwing her through the floor and into the center of the Earth. Even though the match was less than ten minutes, Hashimoto told Himeka that she could retire without any worry because she proved just how strong she truly was. While the match was the second course in Hashimoto’s Gyun Menu, the main course finally arrived. Syuri approached Hashimoto in demand for a singles match after Himeka’s departure. Having previously felled MIRAI and now Himeka, Chihiro agrees to keep her promise to face Syuri one-on-one at STARDOM’s biggest show of 2023 so far: All-Star Grand Queendom. They wanted a big stage… well… they certainly have it now.
Personally, I would love their match to be a UWF Rules match as Syuri’s had UWF rules match in STARDOM against Konami, and Saki Kashima and Chihiro have had several LIDET UWF matches in GLEAT… and neither has lost.
- Himeka will face Tam Nakano in the first round of the Cinderella Tournament. Her remaining number of matches in STARDOM is quickly dwindling. She’ll face Maika in her retirement match at All-Star Grand Queendom (4/23). Her retirement ceremony: Last Jumbo Princess will be held at Korakuen Hall on May 14th.
- Chihiro Hashimoto will finally clash with Syuri at All-Star Grand Queendom (4/23). If you aren’t watching Sendai Girls or just about everything else “Big Hash” is doing, I think you’ll want to start.
Wonder of STARDOM Championship: Saya Kamitani © defeated Hazuki (22:48) – via Star Crusher/pin combo; Kamitani’s 15th successful, consecutive defense.
WHEW! WHEW! THIS MATCH. There are times when I feel the match length, especially in Kamitani’s matches, but this wasn’t one of them. The pacing was frantic, almost desperate, especially for Hazuki in her fifth attempt. Her previous attempt at the Wonder of STARDOM Championship was against then-champion Arisa Hoshiki (7/24/2019) prior to her departure from the company later that year. Other previous attempts include Momo Watanabe (7/16/2018), Io Shirai (12/24/2017), and Kairi Hojo (12/9/2016).
Once Kamitani cleared Momo Watanabe for the longest consecutive reign, suddenly the conversation shifted to who will be the one to finally smash the breaks on the Golden Phoenix. Of course, since her return, Hazuki has been on the fringe of the conversation for the Wonder of STARDOM championship, largely because of her number of attempts at the belt paired with her exceptional fighting style. There were multiple times in the match when I was prepared to throw my entire prediction list for 2023 into the bin because I was preparing myself for Hazuki to completely upset Saya Kamitani.
The match was one of my favorites of the night, but more than that, one of my favorite matches of Kamitani’s all together. Throughout the match, Hazuki was hot on her heels, and after the third Star Crusher, I genuinely wondered what else Kamitani could throw at Hazuki to not only slow her down but stop her in her tracks. Of course, she brought out the Firebird Splash, but it still wasn’t the Phoenix Splash. This match left me breathless, largely because of the dynamic between the two, and Hazuki’s placement as one of the trainers in STARS. They set the bar exceptionally high, but this is easily in the conversation for the match of the night.
Any complaint I could have about this match, namely Kamitani continuing her runaway hot streak with the white belt, it would be the distinct lack of Phoenix Splash to secure her wins… and it would seem that I am not the only one with this bone to pick…Earlier this year, Kamitani made a promise, citing she wanted to face Mina Shirakawa once more after she was settled back after returning from injury. The challenge for the Golden Phoenix was to hold onto the white belt to make the promise a reality. With her win over Hazuki, Kamitani calls out Shirakawa once more; setting the match for 4/23 in Yokohama.
🔻PPV for fans from overseashttps://t.co/oggToFzytf pic.twitter.com/7uQpat68I6
— スターダム✪STARDOM (@wwr_stardom) March 4, 2023
“You know, this invitation is rather late. While I appreciate you offering up such a grand stage for our match, do you have any idea how frustrating everything has been since Hiroshima? Watching you continue to defend the belt with one glaring exception: you haven’t been using the Phoenix Splash, the move you took me out with. Stop chickening out on the Phoenix Splash! I’m ready to break everything of yours: your chin, your teeth… your heart. You best be prepared.” – Mina Shirakawa
“You’re going to break my heart? I’d like to see you try. Just so you know, The Golden Phoenix is complete back.” – Saya Kamitani
- Saya Kamitani will face Mayu Iwatani in the first round of the Cinderella Tournament. Mina Shirakawa will make her second challenge for the white belt (against Kamitani) at All-Star Grand Queendom (4/23). Prior to Kamitani, The Venus Chanmina also challenged Tam Nakano for the white belt, with her Bloody Angel persona.
- Hazuki will face AZM in the first round of the Cinderella Tournament. Also, while she’s challenged for the white belt unsuccessfully five times, she isn’t giving up on her dream that one day she will win the belt. If Hazuki can be this patient and not give up, we should do the same.
High-Speed Championship: AZM © defeated Starlight Kid (17:05) – via submission Numero Uno
In the category of Fight Forever, The High-Speed Bomb Girl and the Sky Tiger Shrouded in Darkness are one of my absolute favorites in recent years. I wound go as far as to place them alongside Utami/Syuri and Kairi Hojo/Io Shirai in my list of favorite STARDOM rivalries. It blows my mind that both of them are under 21 years old. They’ve both had a long journey with the High-Speed Championship, even challenging for it when champions like HZK (Hazuki) and Mary Apache held the belt.
Like their previous meetings, I would encourage people to go out of their way to watch this match as I know if I were to try and describe it all, the words simply would not be enough. They revisited all of their benchmarks for high speed and high flying as well as striking and submissions. Much like Kamitani/Hazuki before them, this match was so evenly balanced that I genuinely thought either could have walked out as the champion. I truly wanted AZM to finally shatter Mayu’s record with the belt, but throughout the match, I kept thinking ‘what would happen if SLK derailed it…’ Starlight Kid might be a heel, but she also knows when to share the spotlight with others. Some might say “if you’ve seen one AZM/SLK match you’ve seen them all,” but this one had a very tender and slightly bittersweet end to… only because we now have no idea when their rivalry will resume.
With her tenth successful, consecutive defense, AZM had dethroned Mayu Iwatani as the longest-reigning High-Speed Champion. In the press conference and now after the match Starlight Kid has decided to leave the High-Speed Championship behind her. However, AZM made her pinky promise that their journey together as forever rivals continues. Over the last three years in particular, both SLK and AZM have circulated around the High-Speed belt, trading wins and losses as well as mixing it up with Natsupoi, Thekla, Koguma, and even Fukigen Death. However, it may be time for them to graduate from the High Speed, and turn their sights onto other singles gold starting with the Wonder of STARDOM Championship. Before either advance to the World of STARDOM realm, I feel like they have their own personal mountains to scale.
I would definitely mark both AZM and SLK as ones to watch in 2023, especially with the Cinderella Tournament and the Five Star later this year. I have a feeling that whichever one gets to the white best first, will be the catalyst of their next chapter together.
- AZM will face Hazuki in the first round of the Cinderella Tournament. At the press conference, she also addressed IWGP Women’s Champion, Mercedes Moné’s,“love call” from Wrestle Kingdom 17, asking NJPW to make the match a reality. Their potential match has not yet been made official. It is also possible that AZM will defend the High-Speed Championship against Ms. Kishikaisei herself, Saki Kashima, in the future as well.
- Starlight Kid will face Haruka Umesaki (DIANA) in the first round of the Cinderella Tournament. With the loss to AZM, SLK has announced that she’s closed the chapter of their forever rivalry… over the High-Speed Championship. She did promise to open a new chapter with AZM once The High-Speed Bomb Girl is ready.
World of STARDOM Championship: Giulia © vs. Maya Yukihi (17:57) – Double Count Out! Champion retains on the second defense
Much like the arrival of PROMINENCE in January 2022, the arrival of Mayu Yukihi in STARDOM opened up another long-closed chapter in Giulia’s Ice Ribbon era. I hadn’t realized how deep and rough those waters ran until the very moment when Giulia ripped the belt from Rossy’s hands and jump Maya prior to the start of the match. Much like her long-awaited singles match against Suzu Suzuki last year in the Five Star, for the long-term Ice Ribbon fans, this match-up ripped open a lot of old wounds.
I’ll be the first to admit that I hadn’t a clue about how far back Giulia and Maya’s history together went, but I could tell from the first strike, that everything they’ve held onto over the years would not be resolved in one night. Much like her previous defense against Suzu, Giulia would spend a substantial part of the match fighting outside the ring, as she and Maya took turns launching one another into the audience, fighting around the ring, and using just about every part of the ringside arena as weapons in this non-hardcore match. This brawling free-for-all set a violent table or two for two, as each took turns driving the other through some furniture before both were ultimately counted out.
Now, normally, I would have been irked by a double count-out, especially in a World of STARDOM match, but my gut told me that with this being the semi-main event of the show, they were definitely saving some for a rematch later down the line. I also got the feeling that they wanted to showcase the title without it eclipsing the main event, which was the culmination of two months of trios tournament play.
With the set up for multiple matches for All-Star Grand Queendom throughout the show, my gut told me that regardless of the outcome, Giulia’s next challenger would likely make an appearance to set the match before the Cinderella tournament. Just two years to the day from their hair versus hair match for the Wonder of STARDOM Championship at All-Star Dream Cinderella, Tam would be the one to stride past a tired and grumpy Giulia to make her way to the ring.
🔻PPV for fans overseashttps://t.co/oggToFz0DH pic.twitter.com/7oWAFeo4hg
— スターダム✪STARDOM (@wwr_stardom) March 4, 2023
“Giulia, wasn’t it you who said that I was essential to you? For me, you are just as crucial. If we’re going to start talking about STARDOM’s biggest stage yet at Yokohama arena… When it comes to it, Giulia, isn’t Tam Nakano the only challenger you should be considering? Put the red belt on the line… because you’re the one I want to fight for it.” – Tam Nakano
“…Oh we’re going to do this again? You (Tam Nakano) and me? Last time I checked, aren’t you supposed to be watching over Waka Tsukiyama…” – Giulia
“I’m not yet finished with that, but on top of that, I want the World of STARDOM Championship. I’ll put up anything you want: My hair? Money? My name? I’ll put ANYTHING on the line. If it’s a chance to fight you I’ll do just about anything, even become your slave.” – Tam
“Are you not simply satisfied with going after just the red belt? It’s more than enough honestly. It’ll be my pleasure to send you straight back to Hell… AGAIN! Arrivederci… See yaaaaaaaaa!!!!” – Giulia
- Giulia will face Mai Sakurai in the first round of the Cinderella Tournament. Later this month, she will also be the debut opponent of Sakura Ishiguro at NEW BLOOD PREMIUM. Tam Nakano has already stepped forward as her challenger for the red belt at All-Star Grand Queendom (4/23). While Tam is willing to bet something of equal value, Giulia is convinced fighting for the belt is the greatest reward without any added stakes needed.
- Maya Yukihi will continue as a tour de force over the independent scene. As a member of the NOMAD’s Event Committee (alongside Natsu Sumire, Rina Yamashita, and Miyuki Takase), their third show will be on April 14th in Shinjuku FACE. When her path crosses with Giulia’s once more, prepare for fireworks!
Triangle Derby Finals & Artists of STARDOM Championship: PROMINENCE (Risa Sera, Suzu Suzuki & Kurumi Hiiragi) defeated Abarenbo GE (Syuri, Ami Sohrei & MIRAI) (14:47) – with Suzu pinning MIRAI with a German Suplex
As this was PROMINENCE’s first defense of Artists’ of STARDOM championships since defeating OedoTai back at Dream Queendom II in December, the added stipulation on top of becoming the tournament winners, suddenly made God’s Eye’s likelihood of winning the tournament rapidly shrink. Pair that with the great 2022 that both Risa Sera and Suzu Suzuki had within STARDOM, including entries into the 2022 Five Star Grand Prix as well as each challenging for the World of STARDOM Championship, and it seemed from the start that PROMINENCE was going to win the inaugural Triangle Derby.
The match itself was a real knock-down fight, especially when Risa Sera tried her best to sneak a chair into the ring while Suzu and Kurumi occupied the referee. With the combination of talent and power in the ring, of all the potential combinations for the finals, I liked this one of PROMINENCE and God’s Eye the best. Of course, Syuri, MIRAI and Ami Sohrei had no shortage of power and technical ability in the match, so seeing them fight so hard throughout the match and the tournament as a whole to see them lose was a bit heartbreaking. Compared to the shenanigans in Giulia’s match, there was far less hardcore snuck into the match.
In the post-match promo, Suzu was a little disappointed that the pole meant to hoist the triangle-shaped Derby flag was missing! “I thought I saw it around here earlier…” However, seeing the support of the STARDOM fans, including celebrating PROMINENCE’s win felt like an exceptionally big deal. While some might have expected the hardcore unit to get booed out of the building, they rallied the building in a LET’S GO PROMINENCE cheer before the confetti rained down to close the show.
- PROMINENCE (Risa Sera, Suzu Suzuki & Kurumi Hiiragi) were approached by Queen’s Quest (Utami Hayashishita, Saya Kamitani and AZM) backstage during the post-match interview. QQ issued the challenge to be the next contenders. While both sides agreed to the match, Rossy (off camera) said the time/date will be announced at a later date, but the agreement stands.
- God’s Eye (Syuri, MIRAI & Ami Sohrei) will all participate in the Cinderella Tournament.
UPDATED: NEW BLOOD PREMIUM (3/25) Yokohama Budokan; will move to PPV format
- Miyu Amasaki’s Supernova Series Three of Five: Miyu Amasaki vs. Syuri
- Special Tag Match: Waka Tsukiyama & Tam Nakano vs. Nanae Takahashi & X
- Sakura Ishiguro’s Debut Match: Sakura Ishiguro vs. Giulia
- Komo Minami’s Debut Match: Opponent TBA
- Hanako Ueda’s Debut Match: Opponent TBA
- Additional matches to be announced at later dates
February 17 Korakuen Hall
◆Before the show, we introduced 3 new rookies that recently passed their Pro Test.
Komo Minami, Fukuoka, 153cm
Hanako Ueda, Kyoto, 181cm
Sakura Ishiguro, Hyogo, 158cm
They will all make their pro debut on March 25 at New Blood Premium! pic.twitter.com/7t1aNovGAp
— We Are Stardom (@we_are_stardom) February 18, 2023
Next Series: Cinderella Tournament 2023 (3/26) Yokohama Budokan; largest field to date with 36 participants; all first round matches have 10-minute time limits; Keep an eye out for my full event report!
First Round Matches
- Utami Hayashishita vs. Nanae Takahashi
- Maika vs. Momo Watanabe
- Giulia vs. Mai Sakurai
- AZM vs. Hazuki
- Mariah May vs. Rina
- Syuri vs. Tomoka Inaba
- Momo Kohgo vs. Saki Kashima
- Saya Kamitani vs. Mayu Iwatani
- Lady C vs. X
- Starlight Kid vs. Haruka Umesaki (DIANA)
- Ami Sohrei vs. Yuna Mizumori
- Tam Nakano vs. Himeka
- Natsuko Tora vs. Ruaka
- MIRAI vs. Hanan
- Saya Iida vs. Miyu Amasaki
- Natsupoi vs. Mina Shirakawa
- Koguma vs. Thekla
- Hina vs. XX
COMING SOON! All-Star Grand Queendom (4/23) Yokohama Arena; Full card TBA; Keep an eye out for my full event report!
- HIMEKA FINAL: Retirement Match: Himeka vs. Maika
- *NEW* Special Singles Match: Syuri vs. Chihiro Hashimoto (Sendai Girls)
- *NEW* Wonder of STARDOM: Saya Kamitani © vs. Mina Shirakawa
- *NEW* World of STARDOM: Giulia © vs. Tam Nakano
- NEW BLOOD Premium (3/25) Yokohama Budokan
2023 Cinderella Tournament (3/26) Yokohama Budokan
- Cinderella Tournament 2023 Second Round (4/1) Tochigi
- Cinderella Tournament 2023 Third Round & Semi-Finals (4/2) Korakuen Hall
- Cinderella Tournament Finals* (4/15) Yokohama Budokan
- ALL-STAR GRAND QUEENDOM (4/23) Yokohama Arena
- Fukuoka Goddess Legend (5/4) – Golden Week Tour 2023
*I would like to apologize for an error in the listing of the Cinderella Tournament dates, as the Finals are on 4/15 and not 4/2 as previously written.
I’ll be back later this month with the event report for the opening of the 2023 Cinderella Tournament as we as a couple of other NJPW reports! For all your joshi coverage, keep an eye out for the March installment of Dream Slam Monthly at month’s end!