This event was streamed on Stardom’s YouTube in its entirety for free. The date coincided with the remembrance day for Great Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami (March 11, 2011). There was no English Commentary available at the time of broadcast.
Miyu Matsuda is Miyu Amasaki
On the weekend just prior to Cinderella Dream Journey in Nagaoka, nineteen-year-old, Miyu Matsuda completed her professional qualification exam, to become an official rookie with Stardom. When she introduced herself at Korakuen Hall and requested that Utami Hayashishita be her opponent in her debut match, not only did Rossy Ogawa add the match to the card, but informed Matsuda that it would be the headlining match at New Blood 1.
この度、NEW BLOOD1 品川大会にてデビューすることが決まりました。
— 天咲 光由 (@miyu_stardom) March 1, 2022
At the New Blood 1 Press Conference, Rossy would go on to announce Miyu’s formal ring name as “Miyu Amasaki.”
Saya Iida Cleared For Return
While Iida had been doing PR work for Stardom and seconding her STARS stablemates in matches, it wasn’t until the New Blood 1 Press Conference we finally received the answer to the question that had eluded us for months: “Yes, but when… WHEN is Saya wrestling again?!” Iida tore both her ACL and LCL in 2021, resulting in her vacating the Future of Stardom Championship and missing nearly a year of in-ring action. The former Future of Stardom Champion announced her return at New Blood 1, teaming with current Future Champion and STARS teammate, Hanan.
MIRAI’s Tohoku Fighting Spirit
When the Great Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami happened on March 11, 2011, MIRAI was eleven years old. Hailing from Iwate Prefecture, her home is a coastal city on the Pacific Ocean, and one of the areas devastated by the events of 3.11.11. Over a decade later, MIRAI is prepared to show the world that she isn’t just the future of the industry, but her pride as someone Tohoku Strong as a survivor.
Unlike Stardom’s standard monthly SFS, I am going to simply earmark the entire show as “Worth a Watch.” This collaborative invitational format is a great entry-level vantage point to see the variety of independent promotions included in this project like Gatoh Move, Marvelous, Diana, and Just Tap Out. Go into the show with tempered expectations and the understanding that you are looking at the future of the women’s wrestling industry in Japan. Most of the participants are under 25 or have less than four years of wrestling experience. While Stardom mainstays like Starlight Kid, Saya Kamitani, and Utami Hayashishita are featured, their role as the veterans is to help showcase the next generation of joshi wrestlers, both within their own company and those who will eventually make the industry in the future.
Each match is scheduled for a single fall with a fifteen-minute time limit. The six-match card ran just under two and a half hours, without any additional surprises. Participants from other promotions are designated below. All-Stardom matches include unit designators when necessary. While some music is muted due to copyright regulations, others were not. I did like that Mr. Ando (the ring announcer) made a point to specifically indicate which matches were Stardom versus X.
- Single’s Match: Stardom vs. Gatoh Move – Is the Secret Sensei’s training working?
- Tag Match: Stardom vs. Marvelous – Maria returns with revenge on her mind.
- Stardom Tag Match: Queen’s Quest vs. Donna del Mondo – Everyone battles to be the company’s future.
- Tag Match: Stardom vs. Just Tap Out – Saya Iida Return Match after 339 days away. Welcome back!!
- Tag Match: Stardom vs. Diana – How much have SLK & Umesaki changed in the last year?
- Main Event: Stardom Debut Match – 19 y/o Miyu Amasaki arrives
Singles Match: Momo Kohgo defeats Sayaka (7:45)
Momo’s visible improvement starts showing through since Hazuki and her Secret Sensei took over her training. While I am unfamiliar with Sayaka (and Gatoh Move as a whole), she had a good match with Momo. Their match was lighthearted but competitive, and Sayaka really pushed Momo to get creative.
There was a moment of sportsmanship before Sayaka took a playful swipe at Momo before rolling out of the ring. With the upcoming end of her third year as a professional, I wonder if Stardom is going to have Momo challenge again for the Future of Stardom championship after Stardom World Climax.
Tag Match: Maria & Ai Houzan (Marvelous) defeat Unagi Sayaka & Waka Tsukiyama (9:49)
We’ve seen Maria in a Stardom ring before, and what I’ve seen of her, I really liked. Without Takumi Iroha or Rin Kadokura at her side, Maria has confidence I haven’t seen before in a Stardom ring. I really think she’ll be the one to have Unagi’s number in the Cinderella Rumble on March 27th.
Tsukiyama’s improved considerably and having a match where she isn’t the most junior or most likely to lose made her interactions with Ai Houzan particularly interesting. Maria and Unagi both, give Tsukiyama and Houzan space to breathe and focus on their exchange without dominating the spotlight. While it would be Maria tapping out Tsukiyama in the end, Waka didn’t look the least bit weak in defeat because good golly that submission, Mariannu!!
Tag Match: Lady C & Saya Kamitani (Queen’s Quest) ©Wonder versus MIRAI & Mai Sakurai (Donna del Mondo) ends in a 15-Minute Time Limit Draw
The only caveat of this match was that it could take place on practically any other Stardom show as it was an all-Stardom match-up. Sakurai is more aggressive since joining DDM and Lady C is finally settling into the in-between vibe of Queen’s Quest. One of the things I had hoped for Kamitani in this match was for her to help guide Lacy C a bit more, instead of her requisite plancha outside of the ring and her phoenix splash. The closing run between herself and MIRAI in particular, had them in the center of the ring, while Lacy C and Sakurai were fighting in the darkness outside.
With MIRAI poised to take on the loser of Kamitani v. Hayashishita on the day following their Wonder of Stardom match on Marth 26th, it felt more like a match preview for Kamitani and MIRAI at times. Granted like many other participants on the program, Kamitani has only been wrestling since 2019. As one of the top champions, it slightly detracted from the opportunity to truly highlight the much more junior Lady C and Sakurai. It just felt a bit like a tell that Kamitani will likely retain over Utami, and MIRAI will start her chase of the white belt (like many others).
“It’s been eleven years since the (Great Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami). It’s because of the events of that day, that I would come to discover pro-wrestling. The energy and power I learned from that experience, I hope to share with everyone. Although I couldn’t win today, I will always get back up when I am knocked down. Next time I face you, Kamitani, I’ll show you my true fighting spirit and the meaning of Tohoku Strong.” – MIRAI (post-match in-ring comments)
Tag Match: Hanan ©Future & Saya Iida defeats Tomoka Inaba & Aoi (Just Tap Out) (12:11)
I loved Aoi’s hip-hop dance routine entrance, and at first glance, Inaba could be cut from the same cloth as her JTO predecessor, Maika. Since Hanan’s new costume debut and becoming Future of Stardom champion, she’s really started to come into her own. I did well up a little seeing Saya Iida back… complete with a new costume, new hair, and outstanding physical conditioning! Some of the ringside photography of this match actually captured her triumphant return better than the live stream cameras.
“It’s been 339 days since I last stood before you like this. I am FINALLY back!! I can honestly say that the journey back was not a fun one. It’s been exceptionally frustrating. However, now that I am back where I belong in this Stardom ring, my soul’s about to explode! Also, (to Inaba & Aoi) Just Tap Out… I hope we can work together in the future… even better…I look forward to our next inter-promotional battle.” – Saya Iida (post-match in-ring promo)
This match made me genuinely curious to know a lot more about JTO because even with short professional careers, the level of talent that is being cultivated by TAKA Michinoku’s team is quite interesting. While this match was intended to be a homecoming for Iida, she and Hanan really helped Aoi and Inaba show people the potential of the women’s division within JTO.
Tag Match: Starlight Kid & Ruaka defeat Haruka Umesaki & Nanami (Diana) (13:16)
In the press conference, SLK mentioned that her match ought to be the one to close the show, so imagine her surprise when her tag match would be the semi-main event instead. Ruaka spends a large part of the match working with Nanami, whose orange and blue gear is very reminiscent of Hanan’s before her Dream Queendom makeover.
Umesaki and SLK last met in a singles match over a year and a half ago at one of the first Women’s Pro-Wrestling Assemble shows, back when Kid was in STARS and both have grown considerably since then. I would be very curious to see them in a singles match-up again sometime soon. Kid does an amazing job showcasing the much quieter Nanami’s skills, especially when it comes to the tackles, allowing for a couple of close calls. Ruaka and OedoTai are surprisingly light on the shenanigans in this match, which made it rather enjoyable. I think I’ve been conditioned to expect overinflated, three-ring circus-style matches at times when it comes to OedoTai, that the lack of interference really pushed Ruaka and SLK to work in a heel-style, with a strangely familiar babyface approach.
“I know you aren’t satisfied with a pin over Nanami… I’ll be waiting for you whether it’s here in Stardom or over in Diana.” – Haruka Umesaki (post-match in-ring promo)
“Maybe if you get a bit stronger. Then we’ll see…” – Starlight Kid (in response)
I say it every time, but turning Kid heel yielded the best possible outcome for her career at this stage, and Stardom has really leaned into her popularity and unique character. On top of her upcoming singles match against KAIRI on March 27th, SLK will also be in the main event of the Joshi Dream Festival on April 15th as part of the Korakuen Hall 60th Birthday Celebration along with Mayumi Ozaki, Maya Yukihi, Nagisa Nozaki, Takumi Iroha and SAKI.
Main Event: Utami Hayashishita (Queen’s Quest) defeats Miyu Amasaki (Undeclared) (11:52)
Former World of Stardom Champion, Utami Hayashishita, entered first as the challenger. From the moment Amasaki stepped out onto the ramp, I had a gut feeling and a good one at that. I can’t place my finger on it, but her gear and styling had a rather familiar look. Typically, Utami reserves those pre-match handshakes for opponents she deems worthy, so it was rather endearing that she didn’t turn down Miyu’s offer. Watching Utami work in a more calculated, controlled style was very fun to watch. Even though she had bits and pieces of her usual hard-hitting, powerfighter-style, she really made Miyu fight hard through the basics instead of running circles around the debuting star.
Miyu has some interesting moves and her DDT is particularly devastating, with a bit more fine-tuning and more experience in the ring in front of an audience, I think her confidence will continue to flourish. Instead of her usual Argentine Backbreaker or BT Bomb, Utami selects a simple German Suplex to finish out the match, pinning Amasaki for three. With a handshake and a hug, Utami appeals to the crowd for a larger round of applause before taking up the microphone.
“If you were to join Queen’s Quest, I believe you’ll not only have a lot of fun, but you’ll achieve your goals, Miyu. How about we do our best together in QQ?” – Utami (post-match in-ring promo)
“Even before my debut match was decided, all I’ve thought about was joining Queen’s Quest. I gladly accept your invitation, Utami.” – Miyu (in response)
The moment Miyu stepped out if she wasn’t joining QQ, someone took her to the wrong gear maker! The group has a very distinct style, despite each member having their own unique spin. After the raucous, seemingly endless battle with OedoTai, it’s great to see some happy returns coming to The Queens. With Miyu’s acceptance of the invitation to join QQ, their ranks finally grew to six members. For the last six months, Hina (Rina’s twin sister) had been focusing on studying hard to pass the high school entrance examination for her top choice school. Shortly before the event, it was announced that Hina passed the test, and would hopefully be able to balance both school and wrestling moving forward.
Welcome to Stardom, Miyu Amasaki! pic.twitter.com/BqiqnWhLHu
— We Are Stardom (@we_are_stardom) March 11, 2022
The show closed with “New Blood One!’’ instead of the usual “WE ARE STARDOM!”
Aside from Amasaki’s debut match and the return of Iida, New Blood 1 also provided a platform for several independent companies to showcase their rookies alongside Stardom talent. Many of the participants on this show will also be included in the Cinderella Rumble match on night two of the Stardom World Climax (March 27th). Inaba & Aoi (JTO), Umesaki & Nanami (Diana), Maria & Houzan (Marvelous) will be included alongside Gatoh Move’s Mei Suruga and Yuna Mizumori as guest participants.
This show doesn’t particularly impact the road to Stardom World Climax at the end of the month, aside from Amasaki electing to join Queen’s Quest, further growing their numbers. Maria could be the one to watch out for, especially if you’re named Unagi Sayaka, during the Cinderella Rumble. MIRAI and Iida are two others I would definitely start taking a closer look at as well. What New Blood 1 did accomplish is putting the spotlight on the younger and newer talent, who sometimes get eclipsed in the shadows of more veteran and wildly popular talent.
It is my hope that since this was entitled New Blood 1, there will be subsequent crossover shows to keep this rookie showcase going. In the last year, we’ve experienced Marvelous’ Takumi Iroha in the Five Star Grand Prix as well as Rin Kakokura tagging with Mayu Iwatani in the Goddesses Tag League. With Stardom boasting its largest Cinderella Tournament to date in April, I wonder who else might cross the company lines and show up in the three-day event throughout the month. With the upcoming Korakuen Hall 60th Birthday Celebration and the continued working partnership between many women’s promotions via Women’s Pro-Wrestling Assemble, I feel there will be more opportunities like this for inter-promotional events which open doors to new fans curious about the Japanese women’s wrestling industry.
Stardom’s World Climax will take place at Ryogoku Kokugikan on Saturday, March 26th, and Sunday, March 27th.