By: Karen Peterson
Like New Blood 1, NB2 was streamed live for free on Stardom’s YouTube page. The show was presented without any commentary from Tokyo’s New Pier Hall. The full press conference from April 20th is available (without English subtitles).
Much like the previous installment, this show served as a rookie showcase with an invitational format. Participating companies included, DIANA, Just Tap Out, and Gatoh Move as well as freelancers, including Prominence and COLOR’s. Just like last time, this show is fun, lighthearted, helps to introduce new talent, and also provides a special showcase of many of the junior talents who are likely not to be included on the Flashing Champions card at month’s end (unless they add another rumble/battle royal to an already long match card). If you want a cure for those Friday the Thirteenth Blues, this show is a nice pick-me-up! Yes, there is comedy, but it’s exactly what I needed to close out this week!
Just like the Cinderella Tournament or the previous New Blood show, the entire program is Worth a Watch, but honestly, I recommend it if you are someone looking to learn more about not just the future of Stardom, but many of the promotions or the freelance scene within Japan. Ever since Stardom had their All-Star Cinderella show in March 2021, I’ve found myself learning how closely interwoven a significant part of the women’s wrestling scene in Japan is, and I like that Stardom (and other promotions) openly acknowledge their histories, rivalries, and previous meetings because it makes storytelling sense and builds the match minimal preliminary matches ahead of time.
- Singles Match: Gatoh Move vs. Stardom
- Tag Match: Stardom vs. Just Tap Out
- Tag Match: God’s Eye vs. Tsukiyama/Hanazono
- Tag Match: Stardom vs. COLOR’s
- Singles Match: Prominence vs. Stardom
- 6-Woman Tag Match: Cosmic Angels + X versus OedoTai
Singles Match: Yuna Mizumori (Gatoh Move) defeats Lady C (Queen’s Quest) (7:27) with the Super Girl (Tropical☆Yahho Press)!
This was the perfect, fun match to open the show. While Stardom doesn’t typically do many comedy matches, seeing the girls lean in and have fun with it. Yuna is an outstanding comedic foil for Lady C. Lady C had to use Mizumori’s own Tropical Powers against her, by borrowing her seafoam green wig in order to muster the power for her Big Swing. I hope this isn’t the last time we see Yuna in a Stardom ring because she and Lady C seem to just have fun together. They could make an interesting tag if AZM manages to convince Mei Suruga to team up together in a heady QQ/GM tag match!
What’s Next: Lady C will compete in the QQ 5-way to determine the new leader of the unit on Sunday, May 15th. She will compete in a singles match against Himeka at Kenta Kobashi’s Fortune Dream 7 show on June 15th. Neither Lady C nor Yuna Mizumori are currently scheduled for Flashing Champions on May 28th.
Tag Match: Stardom (Hina & Hanan) and Just Tap Out (Aoi & Tomoka Inaba) (15:00) Time Limit Draw
Unlike Hanan’s previous tag with her other sister, Rina, as Oil & Water, she and Hina (QQ) worked far more smoothly together. I am enjoying seeing Aoi and Inaba becoming regular members of the New Blood program, but I do hope that this leads to a bigger program for Aoi and Inaba, or possibly a crossover with the JTO Girls.
What’s Next: Both Aoi and Inaba expressed interest in Hanan’s Future of Stardom Championship. Both are producing a card for Just Tap Out and will compete in the company’s Queen of JTO tournament. Check Dream Slam Weekly tomorrow for details! Hanan defends the Future of Stardom Championship against Ruaka at Flashing Champions on May 28th. Currently, Hina isn’t scheduled for a match at Flashing Champions on May 28th.
Tag Match: God’s Eye (MIRAI & Ami Sorei) defeated Waka Tsukiyama (CA) & Momoka Hanazono (13:00) MIRAI submitted Tsukiyama with the MIRAMARE
Tsukiyama and Hanazono make quite the pair, and it almost feels like too perfect a fit as a tag team. I hope that Momoka will tag with Tsukiyama again in the future, but if she were to ever elect to join Stardom, Momoka could very easily and smoothly slot into Cosmic Angels… after getting assessed by Unagi first.
MIRAI and Ami have the momentum of God’s Eye’s continuing winning streak since their establishment, but this was a match where they could cut loose and have fun as well. While they do tend to have fun with Syuri outside of the ring, when they are in the ring, they tend to be all fighting spirit and laser-focused. They played into Momoka and Waka’s antics, and even though MIRAI finished the match with her hot streak submission MIRAMARE, the match still concluded on a light note.
What’s Next: MIRAI will challenge Saya Kamitani for the Wonder of Stardom Championship on May 28th. Currently, Ami Sorei and Waka Tsukiyama aren’t scheduled for a match at Flashing Champions on May 28th.
Tag Match: COLOR’s (Yuko Sakurai & Rina Amikura) defeated STARS (Saya Iida & Momo Kohgo) (11:03) with Amikura pinning Kohgo after a Diving Senton
Girls Pro-Wrestling Unit (GPU) COLOR’s are quickly making waves in Stardom, and having an enjoyable time doing it. This was another match that seemed like it was over in the blink of an eye, but it was also nice to see Saya Iida have some fun as well. There are some colorful antics from Amikura and Sakurai, and Iida and Kohgo get some good offense. While this match had zero stakes, it was a great way to introduce COLOR’s to a wider audience as they’re another name buzzing through the independent scene since their departure from ActWres last year.
After the match, Tam addresses SAKI and the other members of COLOR’s. Previously, at the Finals of the Cinderella Tournament, COLOR’s introduced themselves to Cosmic Angels after they won the trios tag gauntlet match. Tam proposes at match for June 5th (at Korakuen Hall), with whichever team losing being required to join the other unit. Girls Pro-wrestling Unit COLOR’s prides themselves on being freelancers, so it is VERY likely this match will end in a draw or things will get very interesting, especially of Cosmic Angels were to lose. Amikura has another booking that day, so it’ll be Tam, Mina & Unagi versus SAKI, Yuko Sakurai and Hikari Shimizu.
6月5日後楽園ホール大会でコズエン vs COLOR’S、負けた方は勝った方のユニットに入門する！
— スターダム✪STARDOM (@wwr_stardom) May 13, 2022
What’s Next: COLOR’s will hold COLOR’s☆Festival, their next solo show on Sunday, May 15th, and now a showdown with Cosmic Angels Currently, Saya Iida and Momo Kohgo aren’t scheduled for a match at Flashing Champions on May 28th.
Singles Match: Suzu Suzuki (Prominence) defeated Mai Sakurai (Donna del Mondo) (12:56) with a German Suplex Hold
Giulia’s former roommate versus her new protege is a very interesting twist for Suzu Suzuki’s revenge tour. I love that Mai’s journey in DDM is helping her gain confidence, but I quickly realized this match was less about showcasing her growth and more about Suzu’s vengeance toward Giulia within the first few minutes as Suzu practically makes a beeline for Giulia, who is seconding Mai in the blue corner. While they do resume their one on one matchup, and it was quite good, I just felt that after that initial attack on Giulia, this match was quickly turning away from its intent: to showcase new talent or those with shorter careers… and moving toward the build-up for Prominence’s involvement on the Flashing Champions show in a few weeks… and I hated being right.
Suzu attacks Giulia. Likely setting up their inevitable singles match in the future, but also this softens Giulia up prior to her Goddesses challenge with Mai at Flashing Champions. Risa Sera attacks Syuri. Now, I know. I KNOW. I am very well aware that Syuri will defend her World of Stardom Championship against Risa Sera on May 28th. However, I genuinely felt like it was unfair to both Mai and Suzu for their match to be used as a vehicle to promote the main event of a show neither of them are currently included on. Prominence has been busy elsewhere in the last month working other dates. It just felt rather unfair to Mai, in particular, just ahead of her championship match at Flashing Champions. Giulia would carry Mai out on her back after the post-match promos were completed.
Death Match Waka?! After Giulia diffuses the situation, Cosmic Angels’ Waka Tsukiyama enters the ring, asking Giulia for the microphone. She issues a challenge to Suzu Suzuki to find some tag partners from within Prominence for May 28th, as she, Mina Shirakawa, and Unagi Sayaka are challenging her to a fight.
What’s Next: Mai will tag with Giulia and challenge for the Goddesses of Stardom Tag Team Championships against Fukuoka Double Crazy (Hazuki & Koguma) on May 28th at Flashing Champions. Waiting for the official announcement from Stardom as to who Suzu will team with against Cosmic Angels on May 28tth.
6-Woman Tag Match: Cosmic Angels (Mina Shirakawa, Unagi Sayaka & Haruka Umesaki) defeats OedoTai (Ruaka, Rina & Starlight Kid) (14:36) Shirakawa using the Glamorous Driver MINA on Rina
Even with their continued frictions as Pink Kabuki cannot seem to get enough of Haruka Umesaki, they had a fun main event with Young OED (Starlight Kid, Ruaka, and Rina). I love that in the lead-up to this particular match, Unagi and Shirakawa have battled with Umesaki in several locations, including the Korakuen 60th Anniversary Joshi Dream Festival, and challenging for the WWW DIANA Tag Titles, both of which concluded in time limit draws. Refusing to accept defeat, they convinced a frustrated and reluctant Umesaki to join them as “X” for NB2.
Young OED stalked in what could be best described as girl gang long jackets (much like Tanahashi & Yano’s “Hiroshi and Toru” Bebop Tag League Costumes from last winter). If you’ve never seen the film Shimotsuma Monogatari (2004; International Title: Kamikaze Girls starring Kyoko Fukuda and Anna Tsuchiya), I’d recommend chasing it up as it’s a more comedic approach to biker/girl gang as well as other subcultures in Japan. The Chinese characters on the back of the Young OED jacket could be loosely translated as “Infinite World” or “An Endless World.”
The match is fast-paced, busy, and the perfect way to end a fun show. While there are plenty of antics, it’s a rather balanced match, full of the usual OedoTai antics, but also plenty of offense from Cosmic Angels. I was pleasantly surprised that the Mina Shirakawa was the one to close New Blood 2 with her Glamorous Driver MINA on Rina. This also keeps the door propped open for a potential return for Umesaki. What was ironic was that even in victory, Pink Kabuki (Shirakawa and Unagi) were trying to pawn off Umesaki to Starlight Kid, so they could have another go at Haruka. I don’t know if it’ll ever happen, but it would mean either Haruka embracing the darkness or SLK being dragged back (albeit temporarily) into the light. I would love to see them fight again soon.
What’s Next: SLK will challenge for the Artists of Stardom Championship with Kashima and Watanabe at Flashing Champions (May 28th). Pending an official announcement from Stardom’s office, Mina and Unagi will be joining Waka in a trios match against Suzu Suzuki and two yet-to-be-named members of Prominence. Not quite sure when Haruka Umesaki may return, but she could easily be a welcomed entry in the Five Star Grand Prix later in the summer.
Updated Flashing Champion’s Match Announcements (for May 28th; Ota Ward Gymnasium)
On May 9th, Stardom announced several additional title matches* for Flashing Champions, to reflect the outcomes of the remainder of their Golden Fight Week tour.
- Special Tag Match: Queen’s Quest (Utami Hayashishita & Miyu Amasaki) vs. Tam Nakano (Cosmic Angels) & KAIRI
- Future of Stardom Championship: Hanan (STARS) © vs. Ruaka (OET)
- Artists of Stardom Championships (1/30): Donna del Mondo (Maika, Himeka, & Natsupoi) vs. OedoTai (Saki Kashima, Starlight Kid & Momo Watanabe)
- #SWA World Championship (1/30): Mayu Iwatani (STARS; Japan) vs. Fukigen Death (OedoTai; Space Alien)
- #High Speed Championship (1/30): AZM © (Queen’s Quest) vs. Thekla (DDM)
- #Goddesses of Stardom Championship (1/30): Fukuoka Double Crazy © (FWC; Hazuki/Koguma) vs. Donna del Mondo (Giulia & Mai Sakurai)
- Wonder of Stardom Championship (1/30): Saya Kamitani © (Queen’s Quest) vs. MIRAI (God’s Eye)
- World of Stardom Championship (1/30): Syuri © (God’s Eye) vs. Risa Sera (Prominence)
The interesting twist on the SWA defense is that Fukigen’s nationality is being classified as “space alien” for purposes of challenging Mayu since the caveat of the SWA is that it must be individuals of opposing nationalities. Previously, Syuri defended it, by embracing her dual Japanese/Filipina heritage.
The Triumph of Miyu Amasaki Series
During New Blood 2, a video of EP Rossy Ogawa and Miyu Amasaki played, where Rossy announced that Miyu would be participating on the Flashing Champions card in a tag match with fellow Queen’s Quest member Utami Hayashishita. Her opponents would be revealed as Cosmic Angels’ leader, Tam Nakano, and a returning KAIRI!
“…although I’ll be tagging with Utami Hayashishita and KAIRI will be pairing with Tam Nakano, I did get to practice with KAIRI a couple of times, so I hope to show her how I’ve grown since then.” – Amasaki (in the video)
Again, for the most part, this show did what it set out to, which was showcase newer talent. While the Cosmic Angels vs. COLOR’s promo had a natural continuity from a previous show, The Sera-Syuri-Giulia-Suzu-Waka build could have been done at the Korakuen Hall show this Sunday and carried through the remaining other shows in Nagano and Yamanashi, unless it was absolutely unavoidable. It just felt out of place on a rather fun show that is supposed to be about those not always in the spotlight. I know that Prominence is another group that works with many other companies concurrently, so perhaps their schedules didn’t match up for the remaining shows leading to the 28th, so perhaps it couldn’t have been avoided. I did like the close of the show, where Shirakawa called out everyone, so they could close the show together, much like they did the first time. I hope sometime between now and the finals of the Five Star Grand Prix on October 1st they prepare the next installment of New Blood (or aim for shortly after).