Chihiro Hashimoto & Mayu Iwatani vs. Meiko Satomura & Io Shirai – Stardom (03/09/2017)

JML: In the press leading up to this, Io said she was teaming with Meiko Satomura to create the “Yokozuna” joshi pro wres with this tag team. These two along with Chihiro and Mayu in this match gave off the feeling to the viewer that you are watching 4 of the best wrestlers in the world and it was a cool moment that the present Joshi MVP (Io) started the match with a future MVP (Chihiro).  All 4 have history with one another but the last time Chihiro and Io faced each other was in the Gauntlet elimination match between Stardom and Sendai Girls where Hashimoto dominated but Io ended up eliminating her. Chihiro was really good in this match as she brought the amateur wrestling and the German suplexes that made her the best rookie in 2016 not named Matt Riddle. Mayu took a beating in this match and I wouldn’t blame her for retiring from taking the punishment from the team of Meiko and Io. She, like Hiromi, took the pin as Meiko gave her a Death Valley Driver followed by Io’s Moonsault to end a great match. It’s a match that people need to see as it will pop up on MOTYC lists, but it didn’t hit the level of an all-time great match. If they had more time, it could’ve reached that but it’s also Io’s Anniversary Show and not the end to a feud. (****1/4)

Hiromi Mimura, Jungle Kyona & Aoi Kizuki vs. Kairi Hojo, Yoko Bito & Konami – Stardom (03/09/2017)

JML: This match had the flair of Lucha trios match, as there are things in this match that will make you tilt your head such as Jungle Kyona using screaming to stop Konami from attacking her, or Kairi having Hiromi run the ropes like she’s Ryota Hama to tire herself. For one thing, Aoi held her own in this match even though she’s not a great wrestler. I wouldn’t be surprised if she came back to Stardom as a regular to combat the potential losses. She did the best she could when she was in the match as she went toe to toe with Kairi at one moment which could lead to a match down the road. With Hiromi, her only job her was to be the whipping girl for the Konami/BY-Ho team and that’s what happened as she took the pin with Hojo hitting the Diving Elbow Drop. The post match was emotional for Yoko Bito because of her upcoming surgery on her hand but she was in tears hugging Hojo as she had to know of the news that broke hours before the show happened. (**1/4)

Toni Storm vs. Hiroyo Matsumoto – Stardom (03/09/2017)

JML: Going into this, you had to figure that there would be some political ramifications in this match as Toni is the SWA Undisputed Champion. Depending on which night, the SWA Title is the 2nd or 3rd most important title in Stardom and Toni is one of the last few to get a clean pinfall against Io Shirai. Hiroyo Matsumoto is the OZ Academy Openweight Champion and is being kept strong whether she is in Mayumi Ozaki’s promotion. As expected, this match went to a 15-minute draw with good back and forth action. Storm is developing a thing where she handshakes with opponents in the middle of the match. She did with Viper in her last SWA defense when they were both bridging and she did it here with Hiroyo. The crowd laughs at this but it takes the steam out of the match for a bit. There was a part of the match where they almost botched a maneuver on the outside but they improvised right on the spot which shows how good both are compared to if this happened in a WWE women’s match. Extra points to Storm because she is so young. Just as this was about to get really good, the time limit was up. (**3/4)

Midnight Angel & Minoru Suzuki vs. Black Midnight Devil & KAI – Stardom (03/09/2017)

JML: Nothing against the Stardom World version of the show, but I had to watch the SamuraiTV version also to see Suzuki come out to his “Kaze Ni Nare” theme as Stardom World had to dub the music for rights purposes. It was good to see Suzuki get the crowd up for this match during his famous Kaze Ni Nare entrance cause the Stardom crowd hasn’t really been alive since December’s Year End Climax show. At first, you got the feeling this would be a complete comedy match because of Yoneyama and Shirai being in masks but this was not the case. There were moments like Suzuki taking photos of Devil opening her legs trying to act sexy and KAI yelling “MASAMI” as he kept joking that Black Midnight Devil was Devil Masami. But this match was actually a good tag match when they didn’t do comedy. Angel and Devil did some good Lucha style armdrags while Suzuki and KAI brought some intense forearm battles. Angel won with a splash off the top of Suzuki’s shoulders while he had a KAI in a sleeper hold. (**1/2)

Kris Wolf vs HZK vs. Kagestu – Stardom (03/09/2017)

JML: This match stuck to the formula of these Oedo Tai 3 way matches as glorified handicap matches. It’s been a running gag for almost the last couple of months that Kris Wolf and Kagestu have completely ripped off the Jimmy’z rubberband spot including it backfiring on one of them. Not to say they’re are not funny, but people will automatically think of Dragon Gate. One scary spot in the match was when Wolf threw a damn big briefcase at HZK’s face when she was pinning Kagestu to break it up. Kris Wolf won the three way in the same way she won the High Speed Championship from Mayu Iwatani. These 3 ways are entertaining but it’s time to use Kagetsu in a bigger role which happened when Kagestu faced Io for the World of Stardom Title. (**)

AZM vs. Natsuko Tora – Stardom (03/09/2017)

JML: AZM has been improving ever since she joined Queen’s Quest and showed it here, as her and Tora were wrestling at a level better than most of the opening rookie matches.  Tora isn’t bad herself, as she has been mixing it up more with veterans in the past couple of shows. However, they definitely had a miscommunication when AZM was coming off the rope late in the match where AZM might have been going for La Mistica (a move she had been practicing with Io in the SamuraiTV documentary about the Queen’s Quest leader) but to AZM’s credit, she rolled her up for the pin. Pretty good for her as she thought on her feet. (**)

Kairi Hojo vs. Jungle Kyona – Stardom (02/23/2017)

Parm:

What worked:

  • Both ladies offense looked brutal.
  • Kyona and Hojo kept a strong intensity throughout.
  • Both sold each other’s offense well.
  • Great diving crossbody to the outside from Hojo that didn’t look like she nearly died for once!
  • Great suspense built leading up to a bodyslam off the top rope
  • Good pacing throughout the match.
  • Good near-falls.

What didn’t work:

  • Minor nitpick: Hojo did a backhand that clearly missed Kyona, and Kyona sold it like it completely dazed her.
  • Tree of woe corner stomp spot is always annoying.

Verdict & Result: I loved this. Kyona looked like a monster, Hojo looked like a strong champ, and the match had great pacing. Kairi Hojo retains with a Diving Elbow Drop on Kyona in 17:51.

Trask: This was for Kairi Hojo’s Wonder of Stardom Championship. This could have main evented any arena on the planet. The two did an exceptional job of creating escalation, while pacing the match close to an epic. Both refused to stay down and provided a multitude of great wrestling moments, including Jungle grabbing Hojo’s leg to prevent her from dropping that sweet elbow. It was a joy to watch unfold, and at times near “cover your eyes!” violent. This is the best ‘Jungle Kyona’, Jungle Kyona could be. The best performance of her career. A great match that’s my favorite joshi match of the year up to this viewing point. Hojo won after a diving elbow drop.