STARDOM American Dream 2: Maika vs. Megan Bayne

Maika defended her World of STARDOM Championship against her Divine Kingdom tag partner Megan Bayne. (c) STARDOM

STARDOM American Dream 2 in The Keystone State

  • Venue: 2300 Arena, Philadelphia, PA
  • English Commentary: Veda Scott & Tom Lawlor
  • Featuring: Tak (NJPW STRONG Ring Announcer) & Referee Taito Nakabayashi (NJPW STRONG)
  • Run-Time: under 2 hours

For the first time since 2019, STARDOM had its first stand-alone show in the United States. 

Note: When the show opened, the entrance music overpowered the commentary, but it was remedied by the start of the opening match. 

High Speed Championship: Saki Kashima defeated Mei Seira (c) Ram Kaichow (5:00) – Kashima pinned Seira

This was a nice opener, though it relied too heavily on Ram Kaichow and her undead magic. Opening the show not only with a championship defense but a title change is a great way to kick off the show. Considering other High Speed matches, this was one of the slower ones in recent memory. It could have easily been a singles match between Kashima and Seira and would have felt a little more authentic to the STARDOM lineage. Natsupoi would have been an exceptional addition as a former High Speed champion.

6-Woman Tag Match: Momo Watanabe, Starlight Kid & Stephanie Vaquer defeated AZM, Saya Kamitani & Camron Branae (10:00) – Vaquer pinned Branae

When Stardom came to the USA in 2019, both Starlight Kid and AZM were still in high school, so seeing them finally participate in the company’s first proper show in the United States since 2019 in something really special. Also, former Queen’s Quest leader, Momo Watanabe going up against AZM and Kamitani is always a great time. Vaquer and Branae had good showings as well, both blending in rather seamlessly. Vacquer could easily fit in with OedoTai in particular.

After the match, AZM stepped up to Vaquer but was promptly thrown down in a corner before Nakabayashi separated them and Branae helped AZM out of the ring.

What’s Next

  • AZM will challenge Stephanie Vaquer at NJPW’s Windy City Riot for the NJPW STRONG Women’s Championship. Previously, AZM challenged Mercedes Moné for the IWGP Women’s Championship in a three-way match also including Hazuki last year at Sakura Genesis 2023.

Tag Match: Willow Nightingale & SAKI defeated Syuri & Konami (10:00) – Nightingale pinned Konami after Babe with the Power Bomb 

This was a great showcase for all four wrestlers, especially with Syuri and Konami hitting all of their greatest hits in God’s Eye. While the pace of this match was slower it was more focused on power and submissions. Nightingale as a former NJPW STRONG Women’s Champion and SAKI from her connections to Cosmic Angels provided nice foils for the long-time friends of Syuri and Konami.

6-Woman Tag Match: Mayu Iwatani, Tam Nakano & Momo Kohgo defeated Mina Shirakawa, Mariah May & Xia Brookside (12:00) – with Nakano pinning Brookside after Twilight Dream

There was a bit of pre-Cosmic Angels nostalgia seeing Tam team alongside STARS’ Mayu Iwatani and Momo Kohgo. When Tam set off on her own to establish Cosmic Angels, Mina Shirakawa was at her side, and would later give Nakano a taste of her own medicine, when she broke Club Venus off CA later on. Joining Shirakawa were the original first two members of CV in May and Brookside, making this long-awaited reunion feel rather special (including May in her CV-era gear). 

Along with Shirakawa, both Iwatani and Kohgo were featured on NJPW STRONG programming in recent years with Rumble on 44th Street and the inaugural STRONG Women’s Championship Tournament. This match was a solid feature of some of the top stars in STARDOM and some of the history of the foreign talent with the company. While May now works in AEW and Xia is in TNA, both have partnered with NJPW in recent years to allow for some great matches.

AEW Women’s World Champion Toni Storm – one of the few foreign women to hold the World of STARDOM Championship as well as win both the Cinderella Tournament and the 5STAR Grand Prix – made a post-match appearance. Though in character her promo was exceptionally emotional. 

“Remember, Ladies. The Forbidden Door is always open…” – Toni Storm

“So, I am going to knock it down!” – Mina Shirakawa

World of STARDOM Championship: Maika (c) defeated Megan Bayne (15:00) – Hammerlock Michinoku Driver II/Pin

After winning the 2023 Goddesses of STARDOM Tag League as Divine Kingdom, Maika, and Megan Bayne continued working together as the focus Donna del Mondo started shifting in multiple directions. From the time she arrived in STARDOM, Megan stood out largely due to her power and height, and throughout her time in Japan, she consistently improved. With the dissolution of DDM at the beginning of this year, Bayne continued her alignment with Maika as the new World of STARDOM Champion and established a new group with Mina Shirakawa as Express Nexus Venus (E Nexus V).

Maika has the challenge of leading STARDOM in their new year with names she worked with to make a name for herself, especially Giulia in DDM and against Utami Hayashishita. However, STARDOM is in good hands with her as one of their lead talents moving forward. Maika defeating her tag partner Bayne with not one but two Michinoku Driver IIs truly served up a proper World of STARDOM Championship experience.

Divine Kingdom celebrates in the ring together after their match. However, their festivities were cut short with Momo Watanabe making her way out to the ring with her bat in hand. 

“The next challenger is ME. This belt always eludes me, so there is no running away from me.” – Momo Watanabe. 

Watanabe prepared for a cheap shot with the bat, but Bayne stepped in, shielding Maika and stopping The Black Peach in her tracks. Maika closed out the show, confessing to everyone that it was her first time in the United States, but led the crowd with a “We Are STARDOM!” Chant.

Overall Thoughts

Although STARDOM did not bring their entire roster over for this show, as well as recently parted ways with notable talents in Giulia, Utami Hayashishita, MIRAI, Mai Sakurai, and Yuzuki, there was clear thought as to who they invited to supplement the card with. Between the Club Venus nostalgia with May and Brookside and the connection between NJPW STRONG with Nightingale and Vaquer, this is a solid representation of the evolving tapestry of the new era of STARDOM. Despite missing notable names like OedoTai Leader Natsuko Tora, Wonder of STARDOM Champion Saori Anou, and wildly popular wrestlers like Natsupoi and Ami Sohrei, the show was a great introductory event, especially for those new to joshi. 

NJPW of America did a great job working with STARDOM to bring this show to a sold-out 2300 Arena and internationally via TrillerTV. 

STARDOM during Mania Week

  • GCW vs. The World (11:59PM*) – JCW World Championship: Masha Slamovich (c) vs. Syuri (STARDOM)
  • ROH Supercard of Honor (4/5) – STARDOM 6-Woman Showcase: Maika, Mina Shirakawa & Mei Seira vs. Saya Kamitani, Tam Nakano & AZM 
  • Spark Joshi Trailblaze 2024 (4/7) 
    • 3-Way Match: Kyoko Inoue vs. AZM vs. Dani Mo
    • Tag Match: Aja Kong & Tam Nakano vs. Mina Shinkawa & Janai Kai
    • Spark Joshi Tryout Tag: Team Mayu Iwatani vs. Tam Konami
    • Special Singles Match: Starlight Kid vs. X (Mystery Opponent)

STARDOM’s Next Big Event

STARDOM ALL STAR GRAND QUEENDOM (4/27) Yokohama BUNTAI – Event Review will be available at POST!

  • World of STARDOM Championship: Maika (c) vs. Momo Watanabe
  • Wonder of STARDOM Championship: Saori Anou (c) vs. Hanan (2024 Cinderella Tournament Winner)*
  • IWGP Women’s Championship: Mayu Iwatani (c) vs. Sareee

Want more STARDOM or Joshi Curious? Check out Dream Slam Monthly for all the great going ons in Japan and around the world!

About Karen Peterson 112 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.