STARDOM’s Kawasaki Super Wars Report: Utami Hayashishita vs. Hazuki
By: Karen Peterson
Super Early Start for Super Wars
In Japan, November 3rd is Culture Day, a national holiday designated for celebrating traditional culture, the fine arts, and academics. While there are many celebrations throughout the country, Stardom’s contribution to Culture Day emanated from the Kawasaki City Todoroki Arena with Kawasaki Super Wars. With it being a day off, there was a 330PM start time in Japan, making for a rather late night or early morning depending on where on the globe you watched from outside of the eastern hemisphere.
The dark match between Cosmic Angels’ Mai Sakurai and Waka Tsukiyama started at 3 AM JST as part of the pre-show.
No English Commentary Available… HOWEVER…
Although there was no English commentary available for this PPV, Stardom did something rather incredible. I genuinely cannot remember ever seeing Miki Motoi in the lead commentator’s seat, driving play-by-play throughout the show. I hope Stardom continues not only having Motoi on future commentary panels but gives her more opportunities to lead the team from the play-by-play seat. She was joined on commentary by color commentary regular, Makoto Ohe, and one-half of the 21st Goddesses of Stardom Tag Team Champions, Giulia, who is still on the injured list until year’s end was the special guest commentator.
Motoi stated that it was only her second time as the lead commentator and that she was a bit nervous, but I think she did wonderfully and one can only improve with more opportunities. There is something wonderfully different about women calling women’s wrestling, especially in Japan where the industry and the commentary booths are over overrun with men. Yes, I said it. Give me more women calling women’s wrestling ALL AROUND THE WORLD.
Konami Still Out of Action
Earlier in October, Konami was hospitalized for acute enteritis, leading to her high stakes match against Syuri at Osaka Dream Cinderella to be fought by proxy, with fellow OedoTai member, Saki Kashima taking her place. Konami remained unannounced for the 11th Annual Goddesses of Stardom Tag League, but there was an expected return timetable by the end of October, with a return match scheduled for 10.30, which was later canceled. While I love watching Konami wrestle, I am relieved the company is giving her all the time necessary to take care of her medical situation.
- Mai Sakura (CA) vs. Waka Tsukiyama (CA) – They’re both improving & the nerves are slowly vanishing.
- Ruaka © Future (OET) vs. Lady C (Undeclared) – Quick, to the point, and reasonably clean.
- Red Goddess Tag League Match: “We Love Tokyo Sports!” (OET) vs. “Oil & Water” (Sibling Tag) – Is blood really thicker than water? The ONLY Goddess League Match on the Card.
- Triple Threat Match: Maika (DDM) vs. Saya Kamitani (QQ) vs. Mina Shirakawa (CA) – Never underestimate any opponent in a multiperson situation.
- Goddess Tag League Special Non-League Match: (DDM) vs. (STARS) – This combination never disappoints. Should have been a League Match – Recommended
- Starlight Kid © High-Speed (OET) vs. Momo Watanabe (QQ) – How salty is Momo? Let’s find out! – Recommended
- Syuri © SWA/World Certificate (DDM) vs. AZM (QQ) – You want a Super War? You’ve got it. – Highly Recommended
- Semi-Main Event: Tam Nakano © Wonder (CA) vs. Unagi Sayaka (CA) – If you like Cosmic Angels in fighting, well you’ll have over twenty minutes of it.
- Main Event: Utami Hayashishita © World (QQ) vs. Hazuki (Undeclared) – The Champ arrives with receipts, but who leaves humbled? – Highly Recommended
Cosmic Angels Dark Match: Mai Sakura defeats Waka Tsukiyama – (6:23)
This is their second meeting. While they are still the most recent to join the company. They previously met in a singles match at the finals of the 5★GP finals. Their continued improvement and increased confidence in the ring definitely showed as both kept the match clean. Sakurai pinned Tsukiyama after an elbow drop, followed by a Face Buster.
After the match, a mysterious, costumed figure ran into the ring with a sledgehammer and wearing a jumpsuit, wig & mask. Their identity was not revealed in the ring. I really disliked this because it suddenly felt very much like a WWE segment, and I didn’t think it was necessary. Whomever it is, they were of a seemingly taller build.
While the currently injured Natsuko Tora would be an easy one to direct the blame, the culprit moved more like Mayu Iwatani, Saya Kamitani or Unagi Sayaka!! Giulia was scheduled to be on guest commentary, but she didn’t arrive until the second half of the show. I saw Kairi (currently Sane) and Arisa Hoshiki’s names thrown around on Twitter as possible suspects as well. It could be someone entirely new altogether, so we’ll have to see when this individual resurfaces again.
Future of Stardom Championship – Ruaka © (OET) defeats Lady C (Undeclared) – (4:42)
After Ruaka (and OedoTai collectively) relieved Unagi Sayaka of the Future of Stardom at the 10th Anniversary Grand Final Osaka Dream Cinderella, Lady C immediately stepped up to challenge as she was at ringside, working as a second.
Their match was on the shorter side, but a good first defense for Ruaka. While she played used a couple of heel tactics as eye rakes and hair pulls, she didn’t use her signature suitcase or have anyone else get involved in the match. She fought alone, which I always appreciate when a heel is defending their championship. Lady C gave a valiant effort, but Ruaka quickly put all 177 centimeters of Lady C down after a Freeze Bomb followed by a pin.
Sakura Mai interrupts Ruaka’s promo asking to be the next challenger. Tsukiyama also comes out and asks the same.
“I really want to wrestle Hanan at Ryogoku (Stardom Dream Queendom on 12.29), but I’ve got some free time before then…” – Ruaka.
Ruaka seemed very nonplussed that her first challengers after Lady C are the two people she specifically accused Unagi Sayaka of padding her Future of Stardom victory record with. However, telling both of them from the get-go that neither of them is facing her at Ryogoku (because she wants to face a strong opponent) was quite a nice touch. Limited availability of those who meet the requirements to challenge for the Future of Stardom Championship, means Ruaka may not have a choice but to fight the shallow pool of newer talents in order to build her defense streak as champion.
Red Goddess Tag League Match: “We Love Tokyo Sports!” (Saki Kashima/Fukigen Death; OET) defeats “Oil & Water” Hanan (STARS) & Rina (OET) – (5:44)
This is the only Goddess Tag League Match on the entire card. Makes me wish there could have been at least one league match for each block. Poor Hanan was the odd girl out, and Rina spent the majority of their tag league match beating up her own partner (and sister) with the other members of OedoTai. I liked the referee taking away 14-year old Rina’s imaginary cigarette, so one needs to be over 20 to enjoy such luxuries in Stardom.
Kashima pins Hanan with My Emblem. Rina celebrates and leaves with OedoTai instead of checking on her tag league partner. Their league records move to We Love Tokyo Sports! (2-1) and Oil & Water (0-3).
I genuinely wish there were more league matches on this card instead of title defenses since this event is the midway point through the series. With the addition of Osaka Super Wars in December prior to Ryogokyu, there was an additional show to pack with singles championship matches.
Triple Threat Match: Mina Shirakawa (CA) defeats Saya Kamitani (QQ) & Maika (DDM) – (7:38)
Clearly, both Maika and Kamitani were looking past Shirakawa as an opponent in the matchup because even at the beginning, they coolly shook hands with one another, intentionally leaving Shirakawa out. Maika and Mina worked together to put Saya in a Romero Special, but their alliance was short-lived.
Of the three, some may say that Mina is the weakest, but she works her magic and helps the unusually stoic Maika and the always fired up Saya K let loose and have some fun. Shirakawa is one to always keep an eye out for during a multiperson match because she often becomes the one who comes out on top. She nailed Kamitani with the Implant DDT and pinned her.
Maika started helping Kamitani out of the ringside area before Saya pushed Maika away. The two started fighting their way to the backstage area.
Stardom Video Advert
The December events (Osaka Super Wars and Ryogoku Stardom Dream Queendom) are briefly highlighted before the announcement of their first big show in 2022. On January 29th, 2022 at The Aichi Dolphins Arena, Nagoya Supreme Fight 1/29/2022 will be held in honor of the start of their 11th Anniversary.
Goddess Tag League Special Non-League Match: Himeka/Natsupoi (DDM) draw against Mayu Iwatani & Koguma (STARS) – (15:00)
Koguma really took Natsupoi to task reminding her that while Poi might be the High-Speed Fairy, she became the High-Speed Genius long before her. The four have an incredible combination of power, technique, and speed, so the match quickly gains momentum. The match went to a 15-minute time limit draw with Mayu and Himeka fighting up until the bell. Himeka kicked Koguma, knocking her and Muyo over after the hand raise.
Had Hazuki not been entwined in the main event, this could have easily been another opportunity for a Goddess Tag League Match. It just feels like a missed opportunity to generate more buzz for the tag league itself. This is one of my frustrations when there are big events during a series like a tag league. The centerpiece should be the tag league and the official matches, not the championship defenses because it feels like certain halves of each tag team are more protected than others.
For some reason, it feels like since Giulia got sidelined the entire Goddess Tag League got thrust to the backburner of their own tour series. As I write this part, I realized that I hadn’t heard Guest Commentator, Giulia, the entire time during the broadcast. This makes me wonder if she could now be a potential suspect in the sledgehammer attack on Cosmic Angels.
Giulia joined commentary for the second half of the show, starting with the High-Speed Championship Match.
High-Speed Championship Match Starlight Kid © (OET) defeats* Momo Watanabe (QQ) via Double Count Out (11:50)
Try as she may, from the moment their match was announced, SLK could not pay Momo enough money to convince her to involve the High-Speed Championship in their match. Having previously beaten Watanabe in both the Cinderella Tournament and the 5★GP, Starlight Kid found their match-up boring when it had absolutely no stakes. At Korakuen on October 17th, the Black Tiger decided to try one last time after their Goddess Tag League match went to a time limit draw. She provoked Momo in the only way that would guarantee a reaction: questioning Watanabe’s position as leader of Queen’s Quest when fellow QQ member Utami Hayashishita was the one who has held the World of Stardom Championship since last year.
“Not only will I beat you, but when I do, I’m going to immediately vacate the title!!” were the words Momo spat at SLK, finally, falling into the champion’s trap.
Usually, Momo dyes her underlayers of hair her signature royal blue, but for this match, she opted for more of an indigo-borderline-SLK Purple. It isn’t very common for Momo to give her opponents even the slightest homage in her costume detail, so I really liked it.
Momo came into the match with her pride hurt after SLK’s insinuation that she was not only afraid of her and the High-Speed class of matches, but that her own position as leader of QQ was questionable at best. Giulia praised Watanabe’s wrestling acumen and ring psychology, something she doesn’t frequently dole out. For someone who really didn’t want anything to do with the High-Speed Championship, Momo pulled out all the stops to fight SLK, including turning up her own pacing to match that of Kid. The 2021 5★GP Finalist proves why she is one of the best and most trusted in the company as she spend a third of the match fighting off OedoTai.
SLK threw a bag of salt at Momo, calling her salty and continuing Bea Priestley’s tradition of really upsetting Momo using that phrase (suggesting she’s THE WORST). Watanabe just completely snaps, manhandling SLK and attempting to rip her mask off. The referee starts the count down, but they keep fighting, with OedoTai swarming the pair as they fought on the ramp.
“THIS. THIS IS THE MOMO WATANABE I WANTED TO FIGHT!!” – Starlight Kid
SLK revels in her victory, citing that her juniors in QQ have surpassed her, and yet while she is the leader, they aren’t at ringside backing her. If Momo were to join OedoTai, she’d always have backups nearby. It looks like SLK got what she wanted out of Momo because now Watanabe’s focus is now off the red belt and her crosshairs are locked onto the Sky Tiger Shrouded in Darkness
Koguma challenges SLK, and she is welcomed enthusiastically as Kid’s current purpose is to defeat all the former High-Speed Champions. As she walked up the ramp, SLK declares her new side project is going to be not just dragging Momo into the Darkness with her, but into OedoTai!
Syuri © SWA/World Certificate (DDM) defeats AZM (QQ) – (13:22)
Aside from Konami, AZM is the only other blemish on Syuri’s outstanding 2021 5★GP record.
At the press conference, AZM stated that she wanted to become someone Syuri would acknowledge as an equal and rival, and she walked into this match more focused than I can ever remember seeing her. Her styling her hair in braids like Syuri typically wears was a subtle touch.
“Syuri’s is so well-rounded that her matches with AZM are always great to watch.” – Giulia
Syuri taps out AZM with The Byakko (White Tiger) submission for her seventh successful SWA defense and to retain her contract. AZM is always very collected, especially when she loses, but this time her cool facade cracked a little, especially when Syuri thanked her after the match. I can’t say I can remember seeing AZM cry, but after this match, she’s well on her way to achieving her goal of being considered in the tier of top rivals for Syuri.
Syuri still wants her match with Konami, but she wants to wait until Konami is prepared to return. She issues a one-week acceptance window for Konami to decide if she will be able to return by November 27th for Tokyo Super Wars, so they can have their long-awaited rematch. However, she was interrupted by Himeka (2020 5★GP Finalist).
“While you’re sitting here patiently and kindly waiting for someone on the shelf to return, there are plenty of other challengers waiting nearby.” – Himeka
Is Syuri still on track to challenge at Ryogoku Stardom Dream Queendom on 12/29? You’re damn right she is. Did AZM losing the match diminish her power? Not in the least!
Semi-Main Event: Tam Nakano © Wonder (CA) defeats Unagi Sayaka (CA) – (21:31)
Unagi pinned Tam in the 5★GP, so this was her Get Out of Jail Free card for losing the Future of Stardom Championship to Ruaka at ODC in October. When Maika pinned Tam during their Blue Goddess League Match, it was Unagi who picked up the mic first, demanding to know why Tam chose to team with Mina Shirakawa over her. Nakano & Shirakawa teamed in 2020 for the 10th Annual Goddesses of Stardom Tag League as Dream H, so there really was no reason for them not to reunite as a tag pair much like the defending tag league champions, MOMOAZ (QQ). Tam exerted her role as leader, reminding Unagi that there are other members in CA besides the two of them. Standing behind her decision to pair with Mina and reminding Unagi not to get too ahead of herself (with less than a year in the company), really established her as the unit leader.
I think my biggest frustration with this match-up is knowing Tam’s journey to defeat Giulia for the championship, including losing to Giulia in the finals for the vacated championship, the five-month gap between their rematch, and Tam winning the belt at All-Star Dream Cinderella in a Hair-versus-Hair Main Event match. Her defenses include a Cinderella Tournament winner in Saya Kamitani, a white-hot star on the rise with Starlight, and a 30-minute time limit draw with Mayu Iwatani. Also, since 2017 when Io Shirai held the Wonder title, no champion has had less than six consecutive, successful defenses: Shirai (10), Watanabe Momo (13), Hoshiki Arisa (10), and Giulia (6). If Unagi was a Super Rookie like Utami was, I might have found it a little more of an even match-up.
Unagi has continued to improve in the last year, but pinning Tam once in the 5★GP doesn’t mean she’s automatically prepared to shoulder one of the top titles with one of the deepest histories. Five minutes could have been shaved off the match, but I think it went as long as it did largely to the referee’s concern over Tam’s neck. Unagi’s modified Magic Killer that she did to Tam not only from the ring apron to the arena floor, but from the top rope into the ring, really made The Kabukimono look aggressive, but also made me increasingly concerned for Tam’s neck.
Nakano got a little payback by busting Unagi’s lip open, but I wish Tam had been more consistently dominant throughout the match. I know she is trying to build Unagi up as a credible challenger, but when looking at her series with Giulia and her rivalry with Mayu, Tam should be a greater threat as the leader of a unit.
Tam pins Unagi with the Twilight Dream. I was genuinely concerned they were going to try and draw this match out closer to the time limit when it really didn’t need it. If you’re a big Cosmic Angels fan, this might be more your speed. Afterward, Tam thanked Unagi for joining CA and tasks her with getting stronger. I really hope this serves as a reality check for Unagi, that the Wonder of Stardom isn’t a fluff title. It’s the workhorse title, and often harder to get your hands on than the World title at times.
“From the time I joined Stardom last year, I stood at your side, kept my promise, and got stronger. (in English) I want to be the next challenger for this white belt!… No one’s watched your journey to the white belt as closely as I have.” – Mina Shirakawa challenging Tam Nakano
Main Event: Utami Hayashishita © World (QQ) defeats Hazuki (Undeclared) – (25:24)
At the press conference prior to the series, Utami did not mince words about Hazuki’s hasty retirement and her choice of words upon her departure. Closing in the one-year mark as World champion, she also reminded Hazuki that while she was away, Stardom kept growing, evolving, and moving forward without her. Like her press conference with Koguma prior to her formal return, Hazuki acknowledged her misbehavior and her drive to help push Stardom further as a Stardom original. Not taking Utami lightly, Hazuki approached the match, determined to change the champion’s mind about her and her return.
During her rookie year, it was Hazuki who helped train Utami, so it is incredible to see how much she’s evolved since her super rookie year. Her power is equally matched with her confidence and Utami manhandles Hazuki all over the ring with plenty of power moves and devastating air raid crashes, with the one on the apron being particularly gnarly (in a good way). The match is hard-hitting and plays to both of their strengths. Hazuki doesn’t scrimp on her numerous sentons and tope suicidas either! Closer to the end of the match, the close 2.999999999 counts begin, and I genuinely thought Hazuki was about to throw a massive wrench into the plans for Syuri’s long journey back to Utami and the World of Stardom Championship.
Utami destroys Hazuki with High Jack Bomb for the pin and wins. The biggest takeaway for Hazuki is while they are keeping her humble with constant reminders of how she initially left the company in 2019, the opponents they are pairing her with are ones who were there to see her before she left, and now the adult she’s grown into upon her return. Hazuki is apologetic and optimistic, but still strong in defeat.
Hearing Giulia’s hyped commentary for both Utami and Hazuki makes me want to see her wrestle both of them once she is able to do so in singles competition. However, I am sure they will be keeping them all apart as long as possible because there will be guaranteed fireworks between all of them.
“Hazuki, while you were gone, big changes happened and this is the current status of Stardom.” – Utami
While I respect Hazuki’s decision to honor her past while moving forward into the present with her old gear and makeup, I do hope at some point she changes her costume a bit, slowly shedding her past, but honoring it as she moves forward in other ways. I don’t want the entire first year of her return to be an apology gauntlet to all of her peers who she upset when she burned the bridge between Stardom and herself in 2019.
“Utami, you’ve become outstanding in my time away. I thought I could easily beat you, but you showed me your true strength.” – Hazuki
At the conclusion of Osaka Dream Cinderella, Maika was the other party to challenge Utami for the World of Stardom Championship, but conceded to the recently returned Hazuki, agreeing to take the winner of Utami/Hazuki at Tokyo Super Wars. Having successfully defended, Utami called out Maika, who joined her in the ring. They agree to their match, but Maika also has a backup plan. Provided Tam successfully defends against Shirakawa, Maika pinned Tam on the opening night of Goddess Tag League.
Overall, this was a rather solid Road to Queendom milestone show. My only caveat (as mentioned several times) is that I wished there was a greater focus on celebrating Goddess Tag League. Many of these matchups could have simmered just a tad longer with the remaining tag league days, with many of these achieving a rolling boil in a few weeks.
Potential Tokyo Super Wars Updates
Stay tuned for future announcements from Stardom and likely a press conference after the conclusion of Goddess Tag League. Based on the challenges issued during the show, several matches could be on the horizon for the second installment in the Chojo Taisen (Super Wars) series:
- Future of Stardom Championshpionship: Ruaka © vs. Mai Sakurai and/or Waka Tsukiyama
- High-Speed Championship: Starlight Kid © vs. Koguma
- Goddesses of Stardom Tag Team Championship Match vs. Goddesses Tag League Winners – This would depend on if DDM can freebird the tag titles in lieu of surrendering them as Giulia’s projected return window is the end of December. Unless this match is pushed to Ryogoku Stardom Dream Queendom, so Giulia could likely defend/participate.
- SWA/World Contract: Syuri © vs. Konami (or possibly Himeka; if Konami isn’t cleared/doesn’t respond during the availability window in time)
- Wonder of Stardom: Tam Nakano © vs. Mina Shirakawa
- World of Stardom: Utami Hayashishita © vs. Maika
- Giulia – In a recent interview with Tokyo Sports, she said the earlier the doctor is s likely to clear her is near the end of December. Confirmed this at the end of the broadcast in her closing remarks. Her target return date is Ryogoku Stardom Dream Queendom (2021.12.29)
- Konami – No update; Possibly by Tokyo Super Wars if healed up in time. After the show, Konami took to Twitter to thank Syuri for proposing their match, citing she will do her best to get cleared in time to properly respond and to make the match a reality.
- Saya Iida – No update
- Natsuko Tora – No update; Recently did a PR appearance
- Goddesses of Stardom Tag League Finals – November 14th at Korakuen Hall; Winners will likely challenge at Tokyo Super Wars (2021.11.27)
- Ryogoku Stardom Dream Queendom (2021.12.29)
- Wrestle Kingdom 16 Participation (2022.01/04-05 & 08)? No Update. If added, it will be last-minute after the conclusion of Dream Queendom and likely pre-show exhibition matches.
- Nagoya Supreme Fight (2022.01.29) – First big event announced for January 2022
Event Series: CHOJO TAISEN! SUPER WARS 2021
Live PPV Details for future events are currently TBA. Follow @We_Are_Stardom and @WWR_Stardom for details and announcements.
TOKYO SUPER WARS
- Time Date: Saturday, November 27, 2021, at 4 PM Japan Local Time (2 AM ET)
- Location: Yoyogi Second Gymnasium (National Sports Complex; Shibuya Ward Tokyo)
OSAKA SUPER WARS
- Time Date: Saturday, December 18, 2021, at 330 PM Japan Local Time (130 AM ET)
- Location: Edion Main Arena (Osaka)
December 2021 Event: Ryogoku Stardom Dream Cinderella
- Time Date: 2021.12.29 (Time TBA)
- Location: Ryogoku Sumo Hall (Sumida Ward Tokyo)
January 2022 Events: Nagoya Supreme Fight!
- Time Date: 2022.01.29 (Time TBA)
- Location: Dolphins Arena (Aichi Prefecture)