Stardom World Climax: Syuri vs. Mayu Iwatani; Tam Nakano Dives Off Balcony

Photo Courtesy: Stardom

Stardom World Climax ~The Top Report: Syuri vs. Mayu Iwatani; Tam Dives Off Balcony

By: Karen Peterson

English Commentary Available! – Stewart Fulton returns to call night two in English. Waka Tsukiyama joins Fulton on English commentary from the fifth match of the show. Natsuko Tora joins Japanese commentary for the show along with Stardom ring announcer & host of Kirameku Marugoto Stardom (the Fighting TV Samurai variety show) hostess, Yurie Kozakai.

On the Road to World Climax Day 2: The Top

  • New Blood 1 <- some info on the Rumble participants from other companies

Syuri Leaves DDM to Establish Own Path

After successfully defending the World of Stardom Championship in last night’s main event against Giulia, Syuri announced an amicable split not just from Giulia via the dissolution of their tag team, ALIKABA, but that she would leave Donna del Mondo all together, to set up her own faction within Stardom. With Ami Miura at her side, Syuri steps away from the convoluted web that Giulia has spun between DDM and Prominence, but how far away will she get before Risa Sera comes after her for the World of Stardom Championship? 

Syuri did not announce the name of her new faction or any additional members to her group, yet depending on how the 8-woman tag plays out later in the night, Syuri’s departure could lead to a splintering of DDM or all collapse of Giulia’s carefully curated power group.

Spoiler-Free Synopsis

  • Future of Stardom Championship – Does Sakurai’s defection to DDM payoff? – Worth a Watch
  • Cinderella Rumble If you don’t like a good rumble, I’m sorry you don’t like fun.  – Worth a Watch
  • Golden Generation Singles Match – Does the New Combat Sports Princess dethrone The Red Queen?! – Highly Recommended
  • Generation of Destiny Singles Match – Will Hazuki be dragged back into the darkness? – Highly Recommended
  • High-Speed Championship – Don’t blink. Blink and you’re dead. They are fast. Faster than you could believe.  – Highly Recommended
  • Pirate Princess Stardom Revival II: To become a pillar, one must tear down a pillar – Highly Recommended
  • Donna del Mondo vs. Prominence II: Can Giulia keep DDM from unraveling?! – Recommended
  • Wonder of Stardom Championship – Will Tam’s obsession with the White Belt be her undoing? – Recommended
  • World of Stardom Championship – Their first singles meeting in two years. Last time Mayu was World of Stardom Champion – Highly Recommended

Future of Stardom Championship – Hanan (STARS)© vs Mai Sakurai (DDM) (6:20) with a Backdrop Hold/Pin

While Mai Sakurai fit nicely into Cosmic Angels, her jump to Donna del Mondo has unlocked her confidence. When she left CA, she cited wanting to be a wrestler and not a dancer, and Sakurai is starting to come into her own as a wrestler. 

I love it when stability comes to a championship and Hanan having a solid run as the Future of Stardom of Champion is precisely what it needed. With her victory over Sakurai, The JK (Joshi Kosei/High School Girl) Fighter She may be seventeen, but she carries herself like a champion, complete with compassion and sportsmanship for every opponent. She and Sakurai shook hands before and after the match, and I feel like this may not be the last time they face each other in singles competition this year. 

Next Challenger: Hina (QQ) returns to challenge her big sister (but refuses the handshake)! 

Hina took time away from wrestling, so she could focus on passing the entrance examination for her top choice high school. Since she passed the examination, she is back in Stardom, so she can continue her wrestling journey. She has grown out her hair and now styles it differently, which will help (me) better differentiate between Hina and her twin Rina. With Hina back, QQ is up to six members!

What’s Next? The 2022 Cinderella Tournament First Round Matches (4/3)

  • Hanan vs. Maika; winner faces Saya Kamitani on 4/17
  • Mai Sakurai vs. Lady C

Fight in the Top 2022 Announced!

The big match on June 26th will bring Stardom back to their home in Aichi Prefecture: the Nagoya International Conference Center! Tam missed her own homecoming last time, so it might be time for the Cutest Idol Wrestler in the Galaxy to shine in the spotlight once more!

Gatoh Move’s Mei Suruga wins The Cinderella Rumble (25:24)

The match was standard rumble rules, beginning with Unagi Sayaka and Mina Shirakawa in a singles match format, with timed entrances after. Eliminations are over the top rope or by pinfall/submission. Unagi and Shirakawa as two of last year’s three finalists were a great way to open the Rumble purely because of the energy. 

The entrances were done in pairs or trios depending on guest companies or factions within Stardom, with the junior wrestler typically entering first. Group entrances: Marvelous > STARS > Just Tap Out > DIANA > Queen’s Quest (QQ) > OedoTai (OET) > Waka Tsukiyama (Cosmic Angels) > Gatoh Move. There wasn’t a specific time limit between entrances.

I did enjoy the Sleeper Hold Train with Momo Kohgo trying to desperately escape Tomoka Inaba’s ankle lock. Update: eliminations are over the top rope (OTTR), pinfall/submission or via Saki Kashima. What I thoroughly enjoyed in this match is that it wasn’t Stardom dominating everyone else. There were plenty of eliminations of big names involving the guest participants. 

Unagi takes third place this year as Suguga & Amasaki double team her both in the ring and once she’s pulled out onto the apron (see below). Suruga uses the Newton Crash to pin Amasaki. How will Sugura capitalize with this win over two Stardom regulars?

Entrant Order with Elimination Order

  1. Unagi Sayaka (Cosmic Angels) – 2021 Winner (Hinamatsuri All-Star Dream Cinderella); eliminated fourteenth (pulled OTTR by Mei Suruga; kicked off the apron by Miyu Amasaki)
  2. Mina Shirakawa (Cosmic Angels) – 2021 Third Place; eliminated eleventh alongside Haruka Umesaki (by Maria & Aoi)
  3. Ai Houzan (Marvelous) – eliminated sixth (by Saki Kashima)
  4. Maria (Marvelous) – eliminated twelfth (by Unagi Sakaya with help from Mei Suruga & Miyu Amasaki)
  5. Momo Kohgo (STARS) – eliminated first (by dogpile group pin)
  6. Saya Iida (STARS) – eliminated tenth alongside Tomoka Inaba (by Aoi and a group pin)
  7. Aoi (Just Tap Out) – eliminated thirteenth (by Unagi Sayaka)
  8. Tomoka Inaba (Just Tap Out) – eliminated tenth alongside Saya Iida (by Aoi and a group pin)
  9. Nanami (DIANA) – eliminated second (by Saya Iida)
  10. Haruka Umesaki (DIANA) – eliminated eleventh alongside Mina Shirakawa (by Maria & Aoi)
  11. Miyu Amasaki (QQ) – finalist; pinned by Mei Suruga
  12. Lady C (QQ) – eliminated fourth (by Yuna Mizumori)
  13. Rina (OET) – eliminated eighth (by Saki Kashima)
  14. Ruaka (OET) – eliminated fifth (Mina Shirakawa; OTTR)
  15. Saki Kashima (OET) – eliminated ninth (by Maria; OTTR)
  16. Waka Tsukiyama (Cosmic Angels) – eliminated third (by Tomoka Inaba; kneebar submission)
  17. Yuna Mizumori (Gatoh Move) – eliminated seventh (Saki Kashima)
  18. Mei Suruga (Gatoh Move) pinned Miyu Amasaki to win

What’s Next? The 2022 Cinderella Tournament First Round Matches (4/3)

  • Unagi Sayaka vs. Hina
  • Mina Shirakawa vs. MIRAI
  • Lady C vs. Mai Sakurai
  • Miyu Amasaki vs. Hazuki
  • Saki Kashima vs. Waka Tsukiyama
  • Ruaka vs. Himeka
  • Saya Iida vs. Rina
  • Momo Kohgo vs. Mayu Iwatani 

Backstage: Haruka Umesaki interrupts Mina Shirakawa’s comments, both citing that they other is responsible for the pair of them being eliminated at the same time. The two will continue their business at Korakuen Hall on April 15th during the Korakuen 60th Birthday Joshi Dream Festival in a tag match. Shirakawa will tag with Unagi Sayaka and Umesaki will tag with MARVELOUS’ Rin Kadokura.

Golden Generation Singles Match: Utami Hayashishita defeats MIRAI (11:22) submission via Sleeper Hold

With Natsuko Tora on commentary, Utami making sure she drops by to give a proper greeting gave me the chills. It was during Natsuko’s challenge for Utami’s World of Stardom Championship, that she blew out her knee back in July 2021 in the main event of Yokohama Dream Cinderella 2021 in Summer, resulting in a referee stoppage eleven minutes into the match. She required surgery for her torn ACL and has been on the shelf ever since. Near the end of last year, she resumed PR appearances for Stardom and at Queendom, she resumed seconding OedoTai for entrances and big matches. The power move on Utami’s part to offer her rose to a fallen enemy in combat, Natsuko, could be a tease of the potential return opponent for Natsuko when she is cleared to return.

MIRAI very intentionally and systematically targeted the taping on Utami’s neck/shoulders and her left knee. The match was packed full of power moves and submissions, and while normally, I would begrudge it only going for just over eleven minutes, given the two hard-hitting matches they each had less than twenty-four hours prior. MIRAI’s had a strong start in Stardom, with it being noted she’s only been pinned once, with consistent wins since her arrival in January. With her being in the GG Class, I am certain they’re preparing her for big things, and this match with Utami and her one with Iida yesterday is merely the start.

Utami has a knack for matching the style and speed of her opponents and despite her battle damage from the night before, she matches MIRAI, and occasionally found herself fighting for freedom from multiple submissions. This match stayed in the ring and wasn’t frenzied like many other matches that tend to go full throttle. It was simple but effective in its technical focus, which was refreshing. This is a side we haven’t seen in Utami in a long-time, especially against newer members of Stardom. Much like my thoughts yesterday on Iida/MIRAI, the rest of the locker room is lucky that MIRAI/Utami aren’t able to team up because they could obliterate the tag division with their powers combined. 

I hope The Golden Generation Series of singles matches continues throughout this current year (and into the future). The names on that list could make for some interesting matchups and career-defining matches in the future. Once the Japanese commentary is available on Stardom World, I want to go back and hear everything Natsuko had to say on every match, but this one in particular. 

What’s Next? The 2022 Cinderella Tournament First Round Matches (4/3)

  • MIRAI vs. Mina Shirakawa 
  • Utami Hayashishita vs. Tam Nakano

Generation of Destiny Singles Match: Momo Watanabe defeats Hazuki (12:19) with Peach Sunrise

I love over-the-top entrance gowns and big match gear and The Black Peach and The Wild Heart did not disappoint. Momo with a brand new jacket that is a leather jacket and half fur coat and Hazuki with a lavender and gunmetal gray variation of her costume… which makes her look more like Momo’s tag partner than a member of STARS. Not that OedoTai needs more numbers, but with costuming like that, Hazuki looks like she’s ready to go back home to OET instead of being permanently in STARS.

One thing is for certain, Momo and Hazuki know each other very well despite a long time apart from one another. Their match was exceptionally hard-hitting and non-stop action. While OET was out and about, they surprisingly minded their own business, for the most part, allowing Momo and Hazuki to conduct their business accordingly. It makes me wonder if it is because of Hazuki’s previous affiliation with OET, but looking at the current members of the group, only Natsuko Tora and Hazuki have overlapped together prior to Hazuki’s retirement in December 2019. The more likely scenario is that this is tying up some very old loose ends from their time in Queen’s Quest prior to her being drafted to OET in 2018. 

While Hazuki’s slowly taken to being a mainstay of STARS, there are times when she fights that her old OedoTai habits start to show, especially when it comes to scraping her boots across her opponent’s face. I just wonder if the frustration will eventually consume her or if the growth she’s experienced in her time away from the ring will push her to regroup and reflect to come up with a better battle plan for next time. 

I am very curious to see if Momo’s interest in Hazuki stops for the time being now that she’s secured a singles win and took Hazuki’s title, or if The Black Peach has some darker machinations ready to set into motion for the Wild Heart. While they aren’t the same young girls they were together in Queen’s Quest, their respective time in OedoTai has done very different things to each of them. If I were Hazuki, I wouldn’t let this be the end, not be a longshot and especially after that nasty bare knee in the corner. 

What’s Next? The 2022 Cinderella Tournament First Round Matches (4/3)

  • Hazuki vs. Miyu Amasaki 
  • Momo Watanabe vs. AZM

Five Star Grand Prix (5★GP) 2022 Announced!

The annual round-robin tournament returns with a two-day opening event on July 30th & 31st! The 5★GP will kick off at the Ota Ward Gymnasium. The 5★GP Finals was the launching point for my Stardom coverage here at POST Wrestling, so I am excited to begin to close the loop on my first year with the tournament that started it all. 

Waka Tsukiyama (CA) joins Stewart Fulton in the Ryogoku Kokugikan (Sumo Hall) Broadcast Booth for the remainder of the show.

High-Speed Championship: AZM © (QQ) vs. Koguma (STARS) vs. Natsupoi (DDM) (8:10) via Azumizushi on Natsupoi

The key to the High-Speed Championship isn’t just a quick moment, but fast thinking in the heat of battle. When the High-Speed Fairy, High-Speed Genius, and The High-Speed Bomb Girl (Daughter) get together, it’s guaranteed to require complete focus or you’ll blink and miss something. 

They attempted the Human Knot team builder they tried at the press conference, but unfortunately, they weren’t successful this time around. Koguma managed to tie AZM and Natsupoi in the ropes for a Double Bear Pose photo op before kicking them both free. AZM quickly repays the favor, luring Natsupoi and Koguma to the corner, and blessing them with a double stomp/elbow combination for their troubles. There were plenty of fantastic and creative dual pins and reversals. In the end, Natsupoi was able to remove Koguma from the equation, but AZM managed to outclass her in the end. 

Natsupoi and Koguma exit together as PoiGuma?! Not an official tag team, but they did pose together before Natsupoi pushed Koguma off. 

Full disclosure, from the moment they announced this match as a three-way match, with Koguma added, I was prepared for Koguma to be the one to be pinned in this match. With Natsupoi having just challenged Kamitani for the White Belt, I hadn’t expected her to be the one to be knocked back a few steps in defeat tonight. What I want for all three of them, more than anything is to not be permanently pigeonholed in the High-Speed Division because of having “High Speed” as part of their monikers. Their speed is an asset, so it shouldn’t become a glass ceiling they can’t shatter. 

What’s Next? The 2022 Cinderella Tournament First Round Matches (4/3)

  • AZM vs. Momo Watanabe
  • Koguma vs. Fukigen Death
  • Natsupoi vs. Starlight Kid

Next High-Speed Challenger: Cinderella Rumble Winner, Mei Suruga, challenges AZM after the match 

“(Mei),  you beat me to it!! You were the one I really wanted to face in a singles match!!” – AZM to Mei Suruga (post-match, in-ring promo)

Pirate Princess Stardom Revival II: KAIRI vs. Starlight Kid (17:51) via Insane Elbow/Pin

I will openly admit that when I watched the show I delay, I skipped forward to this match first. I wanted to make sure I enjoyed it without any spoilers, and honestly, I just love KAIRI and Starlight Kid so much that I didn’t want to wait. 

The clip of an emotional SLK wishing KAIRI well at her last match and her OedoTai transformation in her absence really struck me. Like SLK’s battle to finally overcome the mountain that is Mayu Iwatani, KAIRI is very much a similar figure to SLK (even though in her current iteration she wouldn’t want to admit that). Like Mayu, KAIRI is one of the pillars of Stardom, and if SLK is to carve her own name and solidify herself amongst the next bath of pillars, she’ll need to do some renovations at the current pantheon. 

Much like Kid’s singles matches against Mayu, she is determined to prove to KAIRI that she isn’t the plucky teenager she was when The Pirate Princess left for the United States. Personally, what KAIRI proved to the world during her time in the US is that you don’t have the be the largest or tallest to be the best in the world and petite doesn’t equal underdog. For younger wrestlers like SLK, she sets the bar exceptionally high but also represents the possibility of attaining great heights. 

OedoTai does get their hands dirty in this match, but just enough not to detract from the match. KAIRI  

Despite all of SLK’s best efforts, the damage KAIRI inflicted with multiple Cutlasses (spinning back fists) and Anchors, slowly chipped away at Kid’s offense. The Pirate Princess would sink the Dark Tiger’s ship with an Insane Elbow, sending her straight to the depths of the ocean. After the match, SLK reluctantly shakes KAIRI’s hand, and KAIRI (staying true to herself) pulls Kid in for a tight hug. Much like her Threedom sister, Mayu, KAIRI is thinking of the future of Stardom and I am certain that Kid is one of the names floating at the top of that list.

In her backstage promo, Kid openly accepts her defeat, but lays out her plans for the future, starting with a proclamation that she will win the Cinderella Tournament. 

“The World Renowned KAIRI is synonymous with the White Belt. In the world of women’s open weight wrestling, KAIRI is the standard, and I intend to change all of that. I will become the one more associated with the (Wonder of Stardom Championship) over KAIRI… ” 

– Starlight Kid (backstage comments)

What’s Next? The 2022 Cinderella Tournament First Round Matches (4/3)

  • Starlight Kid vs. Natsupoi
  • KAIRI – not participating in 2022 Cinderella Tournament; not currently announced for participation on future shows yet.

Donna del Mondo vs. Prominence II: Donna del Mondo (Giulia, Maika, Himeka & Thekla) defeats Prominence (Risa Sera, Suzu Suzuki, Akane Fujita & Mochi Miyagi w/ Kurumi Hiragi) (16:03) Giulia pins Mochi Miyagi

Prominence enters with all five members. While Kurumi has yet to wrestle in a Stardom ring since their arrival, she is always nearby making her a wild card in this match. DDM sifted out Fujita, Zera, and Miyagi by jumping the bell, leaving Giulia to start against Suzu. The one thing I dislike about such a large venue is that when fighting happens outside the ring in multiple places, I feel like I miss a lot of the action, especially when there is one camera view.

What I’ve experienced of Thekla since her joining Stardom is that she is usually the mood maker. She has fun and keeps the atmosphere light, but after her loss to Suzu yesterday, she’s serious ad almost disturbingly focused. I think competing against her old colleagues brought back memories she tried to forget with her new start in Stardom, or she was still beating herself up after dropping the loss against Suzu yesterday. Thekla may owe Suzu Suzuki an SWA Championship opportunity after her loss yesterday, but nothing official has been announced by Stardom yet. 

At the center of this story, is the war Suzu wants to wage on Giulia– seeking reparations for secretly leaving Ice Ribbon and abandoning her in the process. While there is no shortage of aggression between DDM and Prominence, Giulia stood there and allowed Suzu to take out her frustrations about the entire situation on her. I don’t know if Giulia felt she deserved the punishment or if she was waiting for Suzu to wear herself out in a flurry of elbows. The 8-Woman match quickly became a singles for Giulia & Suzu as everyone else was tied up outside of the red corner.

I did like that Prominence focused the bulk of their energy and frustration squarely on Giulia and Thekla, who they view as traitors. It feeds well into their collective history both during their time in Ice Ribbon and the subsequent shock waves that affected everyone with Giulia’s departure. As MaiHime ran interference, I was reminded how much I miss watching them tag together. I do enjoy them with Natsupoi as MaiHimePoi, but I feel like their Goddesses Tag run last year got cut short when they lost to Giulia/Syuri as ALIKABA.

Giulia closes the book on Mochi Miyagi with a Northern Lights Bomb. DDM worked seamlessly to shut down Prominence. 

“When the time is right, you and I will fight one another again.” – Giulia (to Suzu Suzuki; in-ring post-match)

“I said I came here to crush here, and until that happens, I’m not going anywhere!” – Suzu Suzuki (in response)

Giulia vs. Prominence will continue until both sides are satisfied, but I am curious to know how much of DDM will remain alongside, fighting Giulia’s battle for her. MaiHime seems to be sticking around DDM for the time being, after taking an interest in the tag combination of Fujita/Sera. I love The Women of the World, Donna del Mondo, but I hope Giulia doesn’t sacrifice her team in order to secure the victory. 

While on English Commentary, the subject of Syuri and Ami Miura came up, and Waka mentions she and Miura were friends in ActWres GirlZ. I’m trying not to read too much into it, but if Waka doesn’t start seeing results, could she possibly pull a Mai Sakurai and jump ship from Cosmic Angels to see if Syuri and Ami could help set her on the right course?

What’s Next? The 2022 Cinderella Tournament First Round Matches (4/3)

  • Giulia vs. Thekla
  • Maika vs. Hanan; winner gets Kamitani in Round 2 (4/17)
  • Himeka vs. Ruaka; winner gets Syuri in Round 2 (4/17)

Backstage: Giulia & Thekla express interest in Black Desire’s newly won Goddesses of Stardom Championship

What’s Next for Prominence? In their backstage comments, Prominence makes it clear that although they lost today, Giulia didn’t defeat them on her own and that DDM has really captured their interest. Risa Sera seems to have lost some interest in Syuri now that she’s left DDM, and seems to be turning toward Maika instead. 

Wonder of Stardom Championship Saya Kamitani © (QQ) defeats Tam Nakano (CA) (23:10) via reversal to a pin.

Having only defeated Tam back in December, I didn’t think they were going to revisit Kamitani/Tam again this quickly, especially when there are so many new contenders on the horizon for Saya & the White Belt. Tam unveils a new entrance gown for her next chapter in chasing the Wonder of Stardom Championship again. Even though Saya defended three times since then (Unagi, Natsupoi & Utami), for some reason, Tam coming back around to the front of the line this soon, just felt too soon for me. 

Tam had a great run with White Belt, so why isn’t she clawing over bodies to the front of the line to fight Syuri for the World of Stardom Championship? She was supposed to be the third competitor with Giulia and Mayu for one of those two slots, which she missed due to illness. It makes me wonder if she hadn’t been ill if this match would have been Mayu slotted in with her taking one of the two World challenges instead. 

After a nasty Frankensteiner off the turnbuckle onto the apron and to the floor, Tam decided to drag Kamitani toward one of the exits and proceeded to jump from the top of it. I always enjoy a nice balcony jump that leads to a scramble back to the ring to avoid a count-out, but also… this is how people get banned from buildings, Tam.

Full disclosure, while Tam is one of the best foils for Kamitani, pushing her to the limit for the Wonder of Stardom of Championship, this was their second meeting since December when Saya beat Tam. It just felt too soon for Tam to have another shot in such a short period of time, especially when there is a pool of fresh matchups waiting for Kamitani in the wings. I know they wanted to give Tam a marquee match, but had they waited until Nagoya in June, she and (likely) Kamitani could have main evented the show in her home prefecture of Aichi. Unless the plan is for Tam to challenge for the World of Stardom Championship by then… 

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed this match. It was good and Tam is a reliable partner for Kamitani, especially when it comes to drawing out the aggression from Saya. I just want Saya to build her legacy with the White Belt on her own with a diverse lineage of challengers. I don’t want Tam and her drive to become synonymous with the Wonder championship to become the crutch that props Kamitani’s reign up. I want The Golden Phoenix to carve out a unique history as Champion, so I am hoping this is Tam’s last challenge while Kamitani is champion, and she can make the white belt her own.  

This makes for Kamitani’s Fourth Successful Defense. Tam and Saya hug one another after the match before Tam exits. No new challenger arrives to declare they’ve got next. 

“I genuinely thought I was going to lose this championship, so I was terrified!” – Saya Kamitani (in-ring post-match promo)

What’s Next? The 2022 Cinderella Tournament First Round Matches (4/3)

  • Tam Nakano vs. Utami Hayashishita
  • Saya Kamitani (Second Seed; First Round Bye); faces the winner of Maika/Hanan on 4/17

World of Stardom Championship – Syuri © defeats Mayu Iwatani (STARS) – (28:57) with Byakko (White Tiger)

Nanae Takahashi (The inaugural World of Stardom Champion) joins Rossy Ogawa in the ring for the pre-match photo. This was a nice touch for this special main event. Both Syuri and Mayu arrived with new gear for this auspicious occasion. With Syuri determined to stomp The Icon firmly into the foundation of The Vermillion (Red) World, Mayu is looking to achieve the impossible– to be the first three-time World of Stardom Champion. 

Unlike most of their matches, both Syuri and Mayu took their time in this particular match, neither wanting to make an error.  When Syuri challenged Mayu for the World of Stardom Championship in October 2020, their match went for nearly 29 minutes. At that time Syuri was unsuccessful. Since then, they hadn’t met in singles competition until tonight. During the previous two 5 Star Grand Prix’s, they had been in separate blocks. I don’t know if that was intentional or not, but it certainly made this rematch worth the wait, especially with the tables turned. 

This match was very calculated, with both competitors proving the depths of their wheelhouses by throwing literally everything they had at the other. From high spots to strikes to submissions to power moves, if you love a match that is very well-rounded, you will love the balance of this match. I never thought I would see a washing machine-style spin-cycle Byakko, and Syuri lifted Mayu up with ease. Even with her kneepad down, exposing her heavily taped knee, Mayu climbs the turnbuckle twice to deliver two moonsaults before trying to hoist Syuri into a Dragon Suplex. 

As the veteran and former two-time World of Stardom Champion, Mayu really made Syuri work to prove to herself and The Stardom World that the new champion is here to stay. Syuri would wrangle Mayu into Byakko (White Tiger) forcing her into submission and cementing her reign. Nanae Takahashi would return to the ring to return The World of Stardom Championship to Syuri. On top of retaining her championship, Syuri won a year’s worth of cleaning supplies from LEC, the event’s sponsor.

“I defended (the World of Stardom Championship) on back-to-back nights (in less than 24 hours), and to tell you the truth, I over the moon, but I am also falling apart at the moment.” – Syuri (in-ring, post-match)

This is Syuri’s third successful defense. Having toppled the top three in Stardom who reigned over Stardom for the last few years: Utami, Giulia, and now Mayu, it’s now Syuri’s world and we’re just all living it. I just wonder who is going to step up to try and make a name for themselves next.

Syuri would be interrupted by KAIRI and Saya Kamitani making a choo-choo train out to the ring to join her to close the show.  The trio has a bit of comedic fun when KAIRI prompts Syuri to say the usual catchphrase to close the show. The problem is that Syuri, up until now, has said the DDM version, not the usual STARS version of the closing mic, which is why KAIRI and Saya fall over in disbelief! Since the fans cannot vocally cheer along, they prompt everyone to make the Stardom “S” hand gesture. It’s also been over two years since Kamitani has to do this since she left for Queen’s Quest in February 2020, which also has a different closing catchphrase. 

It would only be after they finished, and KAIRI raised their hands up, that Saya realized… she had put her own belt on upside down. KAIRI-sempai came to her rescue. Without knowing when The Pirate Princess will return to Stardom next, this was a nice way to close the show, with her supporting and acknowledging the champions. At first, I thought she would be challenging either Kamitani (as it was teased after her return press conference) or she would just cut to the chase and shake up Syuri with a challenge, but this was the best possible way to close the show. As I mentioned yesterday, this is the role I wanted her return to entail: the elevation of the members who built up Stardom in her absence, while throwing her entire support behind her old home.

In her backstage comments, Syuri announced that she will reveal her new stable in April. No specific date. No name yet. No suggestion of new members. Just a sly ‘keep an eye out because of IT. IS. HAPPENING.’

What’s Next? The 2022 Cinderella Tournament First Round Matches (4/3)

  • Mayu Iwatani vs. Miyu Amasaki
  • Syuri (First Seed; First Round Bye); faces the winner of Himeka/Ruaka on 4/17

Medical Update on Natsuko Tora – She’s been showing up at the bigger shows as of late, but still not official clearance and return date yet. Once the archive is available, I will see if she mentioned anything on Japanese commentary to the like.

Hazuki’s Secret Sensei – Not revealed

Big Match Schedule (Spring/Summer 2022) – Big Matches* (likely to have an iPPV) are designated with an asterisk

April: Cinderella Tournament 2022

  • Opening Night* (2022.04.03) Tachikawa Stage Garden (Tokyo)
  • Mid-Tournament Stage (2022.04.17) Korakuen Hall
  • Finals* (2022.04.29) Ota Ward Gymnasium

May: Fukuoka Goddess Festival 2022

    • 2022 Golden Week Fight Tour Complete Schedule (in video above)
    • Venue: Fukuoka International Center (2022.05.05)
    • Press Conference: TBA 
    • Ticketing/iPPV Details: TBA

May: Flashing Champions 2022

  • Venue: Ota Ward Gymnasium (2022.05.28)
  • Press Conference: TBA 
  • Ticketing/iPPV Details: TBA

June: Fight in the Top 2022 *NEW*

  • Venue: Nagoya International Conference Center (2022.06.26)
  • Press Conference: TBA 
  • Ticketing/iPPV Details: TBA

July: Five Star Grand Prix (5★GP) 2022  *NEW* 

  • Complete Schedule including Finals TBA
  • Venue: Ota Ward Gymnasium (2022.07.30-31)
  • Press Conference: TBA 
  • Ticketing/iPPV Details: TBA

Follow @We_Are_Stardom and @WWR_Stardom for all official Stardom updates! Press conferences are streamed live (with an archive) at Stardom Official on YouTube.

About Karen Peterson 40 Articles
Occasionally drops by wrestling podcasts, but remains rather elusive. Joined the Japanese wrestling fan scene in summer 2017, and continues to work on bridging the language gap between fans. Outside of wrestling, she’s a dog mom, perpetual Japanese learner, and when conditions permit, world traveler. Never skips dessert.