Stardom Fight in the Top Report: Six-Woman Tag Cage Match, Tam Nakano vs. Natsupoi

Photo Courtesy: Stardom

Stardom Fight in the Top Report

By: Karen Peterson

Fight in the Top took place in Nagoya! Japanese Commentary featured Katsuya Ichikawa & Makoto Ohe with Giulia joining after her title match. The first match was streamed for free on YouTube before the show shifted purely to the iPPV format. No English commentary was available for this event.

Details on the 2022 Five Star Grand Prix Announced 

During the show today, the complete Five Star Grand Prix (5★GP). After back-to-back nights on opening weekend (July 30-31), the series will have eight  5★GP tour stops in August, a mid-series PPV on 8/21 in Nagoya, 10 5★GP tour stops in September,  and the finals on October 1st at Musashino Forest Sports Plaza. 

The 5★GP Big Match on August 21st will be at the Dolphins’ Arena in Nagoya with the title STARDOM x STARDOM 2022 Midsummer Encounter.

We Know What Kamitani Did Last Summer!! It seems that Halloween is finding its way into the Bushiroad offices a little early this year, as in the lead-up to the 5★GP, a new Kamitani & Rossy Ogawa adventure series has begun. Part 1 started with Kamitani meeting with Ogawa to discuss participation in Stardom in Showcase (7/23; Nagoya), and ended with a NEW masked assailant choking Ogawa and chasing after Kamitani… leaving an unconscious Rossy unattended… In Part II, Kamitani stays with the horror story heroine tropes, awkwardly running, stopping, and thinking she’s safe… in a place with no locking door or exit… only to find the attacker behind her. She runs screaming and finds Rossy staggering down the hallway, the assailant chokes both of them again and walks off…

This could either be Kamitani’s next program possibly involving KAIRI or something entirely unrelated… and possibly the program for Kamitani at Stardom in Showcase. It could be this year’s “X” making sure that Kamitani doesn’t talk before the press conference which will likely take place in early July. We’ll have to follow along and see where this cinematic masterpiece takes us.  

(Also, yes, I know it’s more of a Scream series reference because of the costuming choices in the videos.)

Spoiler-Free Synopsis

  • 3-Way Battle: Tsukiyama’s quest for her first win in Stardom continues  – Worth a Watch
  • Tag Match: Last chance before Purple Star Block Finals – Worth a Watch
  • Singles Match (1/30):  Old friends with a new rivalry – Recommended
  • Artists of Stardom Championships (1/30): Fun and got a lot of people on the card.  – Recommend
  • Singles Cage Match (1/30): Catchcopy – Highly Recommend
  • 6-Woman Tag Cage Match (1/30): Catchcopy – Highly Recommend

3-Way Battle: Ruaka defeated Waka Tsukiyama and Unagi Sayaka (6:01) Ruaka hit Tsukiyama with the Freezer Bomb before pinning her. Unagi was out of the ring and off-camera. 

This match was straightforward, but the issue I have in particular is the beginning where Ruaka just sits on the ropes and tells Unagi and Waka to start fighting without her… and they listen to her. Cosmic Angels outnumber OedoTai two-to-one in this match, but they just do as they’re told, instead of teaming up and at least getting some tag team offense in before attacking one another. 

The match quickly centers around Tsukiyama and her drive to secure that ever-elusive win. I love a good underdog story, but how much more punishment is Waka Tsukiyama going to take before she finally secures her first victory in Stardom? The closer we get to the 5GP, the closer we arrive at Tsukiyama’s anniversary with the company. She arrived in early September, mid-way through the tournament declaring her intention to join. Yet, she hasn’t scored a single victory, even those who have careers similar in length, and who have joined the company after her is getting fast-tracked toward success like Mai Sakurai, MIRAI, and Ami Sourei. 

While the many say the obvious choice for her first win would be Mai Sakurai, who arrived around the same time as Tsukiyama, I truly think if they are going to have her first victory mean something… she needs to beat someone big. I won’t hold my breath for a miracle upset against Starlight Kid at Korauken Hall in a few days, but lately, my heart has been landing on Unagi Sayaka… the gatekeeper who tried to keep her out of Cosmic Angels. Unagi started to leave without her unit mate, but not only went back to get Waka but carried her out on her back, consoling her as they went to the back together.

5★GP Purple Stars Tag Match: STARS (Saya Iida & Momo Kohgo) defeated Queen’s Quest (Lady C & Miyu Amasaki) (8:59) with Iida submitting Lady C

This match showcased the hungry ones scraping and clawing their way toward one of the few remaining berths in the 5★GP, everyone fighting hard and constantly throughout the match to prove they deserve to be in this year’s tournament as much as all the others who have already secured their spot. This was also a showcase for Momo Kohgo, who is challenging AZM at MidSummer Champions for the High Speed Championship. Throughout the last month, the participants in the Purple Stars Qualifiers really have been one of my favorite parts of the June schedule. While only three of the ten will advance, this afforded the others who will sit out this year an opportunity to have some singles matches and also give the newer members who have yet to be in a  5★GP the opportunity to experience what one feels like. 

What I do like about the  5★GP is that the block matches are spread out over two months, and not never tour stop has only league matches, so these girls will still be able to have some participation in the tour. Also with New Blood 3 on July 8th, they’ll also get one final guaranteed opportunity to show out before the tournament starts at the end of July. 

Singles Match: Himeka defeated Mina Shirakawa (10:05) 

Perhaps my bias toward Shirakawa and Himeka shines right through because this match was one of my favorites. At the press conference, I learned that when they were both starting out, they consulted with one another about their desires to get into professional wrestling. The running story this time around for them is that Himeka is out to prove that she’s not only outgrown Shirakawa but surpassed her. Throughout the series of matches leading up to this show, Mina’s been tying towels around her head showing how serious she is about defeating Himeka, that looks be damned, she’ll do whatever it takes to not only show everyone how serious she is about proving that she is not just a gravure idol, but a wrestler. 

Himeka and Mina are two of the journeywomen of the current generation of Stardom. They are constantly pushing hard, but ultimately wind up elevating those around them. While they’ve both held tag gold as Artists of Stardom– Himeka as a Goddesses of Stardom Tag Champs with Maika– neither has had their chance at a singles championship reign. They’ve challenged. Himeka challenged Giulia for the Wonder of Stardom and Syuri for the World of Stardom and came up empty-handed both times. Mina challenged Tam for the Wonder of Stardom, and who could ever forget her amazing split personality, The Bloody Angel. 

Their match is full of back and forth, with Himeka showing her darker side and Mina plucking together all her courage. Mina targets Himeka’s knee throughout the match, which makes The Jumbo Princess work hard to get creative as many of her usual moves like her running powerbomb are rendered useless. While Himeka wraps Mina up in her own pin finisher: Glamorous Collection Mina, Shirakawa doesn’t look weak in defeat. If anything, she proved to the 2020 5★GP Finalist, that she deserves to be just as much in a Stardom ring as anyone else. Although Himeka offered her hand afterward, Mina slapped it away defiantly. Himeka tried a second time, this time Shirakawa returned it, but quickly pushed her away afterward. There is a possibility of them revisiting this match at a later date, and I can’t wait for it to happen. 

Fight Spirit at MAX Mina Shirakawa is my hero. 

Artists of Stardom 3-Way Elimination Championship (1/30): OedoTai © (Saki Kashima, Starlight Kid & Momo Watanabe) defeated DDM (Giulia, Maika & Mai Sakurai) and God’s Eye (Syuri, MIRAI & Ami Sourei)  (23:00) via Submission (Numero Uno)

This was purely a fun showcase match for everyone. Personally, I loved the constant movement and the fluid balance between all the teams. Honestly, I didn’t expect OET to lose because I feel like the current plan is that Stardom is trying to get multiple trios tied for the record and at some point, they’ll crown a trio that will finally shatter the record that Cosmic Angels and MaiHimePoi currently hold. Part of me hopes that this will lead to a three-team stand-off OR a draft where three members from each of the three teams are forced together into a strong triumvirate.

Normally, I would be hard-pressed to think this match needed over twenty minutes, however, with only six matches on the card, it made sense, especially with how short the first half of the card was. While the core of the showcase was on OedoTai, Sourei, Kashima, and Sakurai, in particular, shined particularly bright in this match. With MidSummer Champions on the horizon, this match was to avoid the Wonder and World Contenders (SLK and Watanabe) from looking weak, but overall, this match protected everyone. Double eliminations, more OTTR eliminations, and even a rare reunion as Guilia and Syuri worked together against a common enemy. 

With SLK battling against Giulia and Syuri on the apron, I cannot help but feel that they teeing up the Black Tiger up for something special in the future. SLK elected to sacrifice herself by taking The World of Stardom Champion and the one who recruited Syuri into Stardom down with her had gravity. Also give me more of MAIKA-MIRAI-MOMO. So much more. Did anyone else catch Maika hitting Giulia with a shoulder tackle or is it that there are too many women wearing red and black to make sure? 😉

The addition of the overhead camera helped in this match in particular, but moving forward, I hope this is a production option that Stardom elects to use. I am sure it isn’t necessarily the cheapest option, but I found present Stardom more akin to some of the men’s promotions as equals, with a reduced male gaze. Kashima closed out the match with double Kishikaiseis to successfully defend OET’s Artist’s belts. 

Eliminations by Time

(17:46) SLK eliminated herself along with Syuri & Giulia – Over the Top Rope (OTTR) Rule

(20:35) Watanabe eliminated Maika & MIRAI – OTTR

(20:45) Sakurai eliminated Watanabe – OTTR

(22:22) Kashima pinned Sakurai – Kishikaisei

(23:00) Kashima pinned Sourei – Kishikaisei

OedoTai is successful in their first defense as Artists Champions. Next Challengers: TBD

Singles Cage Match (1/30): Tam Nakano defeats Natsupoi (25:05) with Violet Screwdriver, followed by a Sleeper hold and cage escape

When Natsupoi challenged Tam for the Wonder of Stardom Championship, she wore a very special costume, one gifted to her by Kairi (then Hojo prior to Sane and KAIRI). Although she lost in her pursuit of the white belt (April 2, 2021). As they prepared to set up the cage for the remainder of the card, they show highlights of this math and extended interviews with Natsupoi and Tam. Honestly, knowing the impact of KAIRI on Natsupoi’s career, I was surprised that Nakano tagged with KAIRI before Natsupoi did. 

“I hate you… but now I have a new goal… to completely knock you from your pedestal.” – Natsupoi (to Tam Post-match April 4, 2021)

Afterward, Natsupoi addressed the media, slapping the anchor emblazoned on her knee pad, the symbol of a namesake intertwined not only with Stardom but the Wonder of Stardom Championship: Kairi Hojo (KAIRI). “This isn’t the end, but merely the beginning…” were her final comments to the leader of Cosmic Angels. 

Unlike any cage match I’ve ever seen, the rule for this match required someone to get a three count BEFORE attempting to escape the cage, and the only way out was over the top as padlocks were added to both of the doors. This match was nothing short of hard-hitting and unlike anything like I am used to seeing in Stardom. Natsupoi had a quick start, but Tam quickly started dictating the pace of the match. Much like her Wonder of Stardom run, I didn’t expect the match to be any less than twenty minutes, but given the format, it really didn’t need to go as long as it did when there was a second cage match immediately on the card. 

They fought all over the ring and even exchanged glazing blows while atop the cage wall. Tam and Natsupoi were outstanding and unforgiving throughout the match. In the middle, Natsupoi kicked up the pace a little and added her own high-speed flavor to the mix with some rolling pin combinations, but it would be Tam who leveled her with a massive VioleNt Screwdriver before pinning her and starting the final climb of the match. Refusing to accept defeat, Natsupoi, grabbed onto her, but Tam transitioned into a hanging sleeper hold. Natsupoi fought hard, but found herself dangling perilously above the ring before Tam let go… and the referee caught Natsupoi before she crumpled onto the mat.

Tam escaped, but no sooner did she do so and get declared the winner, she grabbed the keys and ran back to the red corner door… even though the blue corner was much closer. I don’t know what it is about Tan crying when she wins that really confuses me. Perhaps it was a relief, much like the time she defeated Giulia for the Wonder of Stardom Championship! I am curious to know what their second meeting in a couple of days at Korakuen Hal will result in, but I am hoping that it Natsupoi gets the win back to make the series 1-1.

“We don’t have to fight again? Are you ****ing kidding me? I don’t how long it takes and how many times I need to fight you, but I will keep fighting until the day comes when I defeat you!!!” – Natsupoi (to Tam post-match in-ring promo)

What’s Next: The second match of their two-part series will be the main event at Korakuen Hall on June 28th. 

6-Woman Tag Cage Match: STARS (Mayu Iwatani, Hazuki * Koguma) defeated Queen’s Quest (Utami Hayashishita, Saya Kamitani & AZM) (24:36) with Koguma taking a massive crossbody dive to the outside off the TOP OF THE CAGE!!! BOW DOWN TO THE KOGUMAAAAAAA!!

Going back to the ten million yen trios gauntlet ladder match last year, many people were talking about Mayu’s insane moonsault off the ladder, but not nearly enough were talking about Koguma’s massive crossbody press off the ladder and outside of the ring. Living up to her FC (Fukuoka Double Crazy) namesake, it would be Koguma who would propose the cage match between STARS and Queen’s Quest. 

Closing the show, Koguma suggests that she, Mayu & Hazuki should challenge OedoTai for the Artists of Stardom Championship next. Iwatani & Hazuki heartily agree.

Unlike the previous cage match, where the participants had to pin before attempting to escape, this one didn’t have that requirement, with all three members of the team needing to escape from the cage instead. 

Mayu escaped first after a boost up from Hazuki & Koguma. Shortly followed by a terrified Saya, openly admitting how much she didn’t want to do the match. Utami soon entered the High Speed Realm with AZM at her side, but Hazuki and Koguma brought the fire that helped them win both the Goddess Tag League and the tag belts twice in the last year. 

Hazuki and AZM climbed to the top nimbly and fought before Hazuki shook AZM off. Before escaping the cage, Hazuki would take a bold crossbody dive into the ring, wiping out AZM and Utami before scrambling up the cage wall, over the top, and out. Utami would be next, much to Koguma’s chagrin as the tried holding onto her. 

One of the most entertaining parts of this match was Giulia’s commentary. She fretted and screamed throughout the match, worrying “like a granny” every time someone could start climbing the cage or prepare to jump. AZM and Koguma would climb the top together and proceed to play rock-paper-scissors to determine which one needed to scoot closer to close the gap. When they got close enough, they added the look away which resulted in some slaps before both agreed to climb back into the ring. They proceeded to do what they both do best and have a mini-High Speed match, trying to tire one another out. AZM scaled the cage, and delivered a massive double foot stomp to her own detriment, as she clutched her knees afterward. 

Koguma climbed up to the top and thought about jumping in, but instead turned slowly and took an unbelievable crossbody dive off the top of the cage to a mob of seconds at ringside. Ami Sourei gave her a reassuring pat on the head as STARS are declared the winners. After the match STARS declared they wanted to challenge for the Artists of Stardom Championship. 

Upcoming Appearances: Check Dream Slam Weekly for results and info on appearances outside of Stardom events!

What’s Next: Korakuen Hall (6/28) – The final two participants from the Purple Stars Blocks will qualify for the 5SGP. Ami Sourei has already advanced. 

  • Purple Stars A-Block: Momo Kohgo [2] vs. Rina [4]
  • Purple Stars B-Block: Saya Iida [3] vs. Hina [3]
  • Purple Stars B-Block: Mai Sakurai [2] vs. Ruaka [4] 
  • Future of Stardom Championship: Hanan © (STARS) vs. Tomoka Inaba (Just Tap Out)
  • Singles Match: Starlight Kid vs. Waka Tsukiyama
  • Captain’s Fall 4-Way Unit Battle: God’s Eye (Syuri, MIRAI & Ami Sorei) vs. OET (Momo Watanabe, Saki Kashima & Fukigen Death) vs. DDM (Giulia, Maika & Himeka) vs. STARS (Mayu Iwatani, Hazuki & Koguma)
  • 8-Woman Tag Match: Queen’s Quest (Utami Hayashishita, Saya Kamitani, AZM & Lady C) vs. Comic x COLOR’s (Mina Shirakawa & Unagi Sayaka and SAKI and Hikari Shimizu)
  • Main Event: Match 2-of-2: Tam Nakano vs. Natsupoi

Summer 2022 Big Match Schedule

New Blood 3 (7/8) Match Card – full results & short analysis will be in the 7/9 edition of Dream Slam Weekly

  • Single Match: Ami Sorei (GE) vs. Nanami (Marvelous)
  • Single Match: Mai Sakurai (DDM) vs. YuuRi (GanbarePro)
  • 6-Woman Match: STARS (Saya Iida, Hanan & Momo KOhgo) vs. Just Tap Out (Tomoko Inaba, Aoi & Misa Kagura)
  • Single Match: Miyu Amasaki (QQ) vs. Giulia (DDM)
  • 8-Woman Tag Match: Cosmic COLOR’s (Mina Shirakawa, Unagi Sakaya, Yuki Sakurai & Rina Amikura) vs. Young OED (Starlight Kid, Ruaka & Rina) and Haruna Umesaki (DIANA)
  • Singe Match: MIRAI (GE) vs. Suzu Suzuki (Prominence)
  • Single Match: Waka Tsukiyama (CA) vs. Ram Kaichou (Triple 6)

MidSummer Champions 2022 (7/9) Match Cardfull event report will be available on the evening of 7/9 

  • Singles Match: Lady C (QQ) vs Hina (QQ)
  • Single Match: Hanan © Future vs. Waka Tsukiyama
  • Tag Match: Queen’s Quest (Utami Hayashishita & Miyu Amasaki) vs. God’s Eye (MIRAI & Ami Sorei).
  • 8-Woman Tag Match: STARS (Mayu Iwatani, Hazuki & Koguma ©, Saya Iida)vs. OET (Saki Kashima, Fukigen Death, Ruaka, & Rina)
  • 12-Woman Elimination Match: Cosmic x COLOR’s (Tam Nakano, Mina Shirakawa, Unagi Sayaka, and SAKI, Yuko Sakurai & Hikari Shimizu) vs. Donna del Mondo (Giulia, Maika, Himeka, Natsupoi, Thekla & Mai Sakurai)
  • High Speed Championship (1/30): AZM © vs. Momo Kohgo
  • Wonder of Stardom Championship (1/30): Saya Kamtani © (QQ) vs. Starlight Kid (OET)
  • World of Stardom Championship (1/30): Syuri © (GE) vs. Momo Watanabe (OET)
About Karen Peterson 41 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.