Headlined by the World of Stardom Title match between Tam Nakano and Megan Bane, Stardom x Stardom 2023 has a lot of title matches and otherwise fun ones to watch. The burning question of the show was could Tam Nakano conquer the foreigner behemoth that came for her title?
So I know it’s late and the results have long been on the internet, but life happens and I will give you my review of the show. Starting now!
World of Stardom Title: Tam Nakano (c) def. Megan Bane
Without a doubt, Megan Bane is Tam Nakano’s most dangerous opponent to date. She has the size, the strength and the will to do what she wants with nearly any opponent in Stardom. This Amazonian woman has proven in her matches so far that she would be a tough out for Nakano. The fact that she has manhandled Nakano at every chance she’s gotten leading up to the match really jeopardises Tam’s title. The burning question entering this contest was how would the Cosmic Angel be able to top the Colossal Invader.
Facts are facts, Megan Bane dominated Tam Nakano in this match. It didn’t seem to matter what Tam tried, Bane was able to shrug it off or reverse it. The brief bits of offence that Tam was able to have were just snuffed out almost instantly. It took Tam pushing Bane into the ring post for her to finally get some momentum and control in the match. I can’t say that I’m shocked, but the fact that Tam’s martial arts training wasn’t phasing Bane at all says a lot about the challenger.
Tam Nakano came into the match as the underdog, kicked out of a massive F-5 and persevered through a challenger that brutalized her. In an impressive show of strength, Tam hit a massive tiger suplex and managed to neutralize Bane long enough to pick up the pinfall. If you can watch this match and not fall in love with Tam Nakano, something is seriously wrong with you. Tam is the champion in Stardom that we need and deserve.
IWGP Women’s Championship: Mayu Iwatani (c) def. Utami Hayashishita
Mayu Iwatani defending her championship against Utami Hayashishita feels like a full-circle moment for me, especially since Utami ended Mayu’s latest World of Stardom title reign. These two always tear the building down when in the ring together, it never fails. They are, without a doubt, two of the best in Stardom right now. I also feel like Utami has gotten even more dangerous ever since she toured the US and trained with so many different people during her time there. No matter how dangerous she becomes though, Mayu Iwatani is the GOAT for a reason and people will do well to never doubt that.
While this match started slower than I expected, once it picked up it really picked up. These two threw nearly everything in their arsenal at each other and it was better for it. With Utami’s strength and Mayu’s insane selling ability, everything looked more brutal than it probably was. That’s why I love these two and want them to face off as often as possible. Even with two minor misqueues, the match was phenomenal.
Big Match Mayu showed up and made Utami look like an even bigger star than she already is. Honestly, I don’t really know what else I can say about this match to tell you just how awesome it was. Just watch Mayu hit a Poison-rana for the victory and tell me that I’m wrong. Go watch this amazing match folks, it is well worth it.
NJPW STRONG Women’s Championship: Giulia (c) def. Yuu
Giulia and Yuu square off for the NJPW Strong Championship and this one was set up by Oedo Tai, which I find funny as hell. Tora, Watanabe and SLK attacked Giulia and declared that Yuu would challenge for the belt. I couldn’t think of a tougher test for Giulia at this stage as Yuu is a powerhouse and a dangerous out for her. Giulia gives up size and strength to her foe and has to really be careful as to how to combat this threat to her title.
Watching Giulia get manhandled by Yuu was rather surprising to me as I never expected her to get worked over like she did. For her part though, all great champions find a way and that’s exactly what Giulia did. When she was able to have control, she tried a variety of different submission holds to ground Yuu and tried to take the strength out of things.
This was a long, hard-fought match and it was exactly what I expected from these two greats. Shocking though that Giulia managed to make Yuu tap out to pick up the win. Hell of a match folks, Giulia is a freaking star. She also got challenged to head to America to defend her title, which she accepted. You have to watch that four-way match for IMPACT folks, it was so cool.
Goddess of Stardom Championship: REStart def. Rose Gold (c)
Mina Shirakawa and Mariah May (Rose Gold) came into this defence of their titles against the strong pairing of Saori Anou and Natsupoi (REStart) extremely confident. I don’t blame them really. Shirakawa is a scrappy and highly improved wrestler teaming with the slowly improving Mariah May. I know that people out there love Mariah May, I get it, but to me, she is just another foreigner trying to earn her stripes in a Stardom ring. Emphasis on trying. She has decent matches but otherwise, I just don’t see what people like about her as I feel her opponents do the bulk of the work to try and make her look good. I digress though.
REStart is one of the best tandems in Stardom right now. They work perfectly together and know each other so well. That comfort with each other is what allowed them to take the fight to Mariah and Mina. Yes, the champions had their moments but ultimately it was for naught as Poi pinned May to capture the titles. Pretty fun match all in all and maybe a surprising finish for most, but we have new champions! Congrats REStart and good luck in your title reign.
High-Speed Championship: Saki Kashima (c) def. Koguma
With a champion like Saki Kashima, the High-Speed Championship feels a bit more fun than it has since SLK held the belt. She nominates her own challengers and showcases just how much she has grown since joining God’s Eye. That said, she still has her cowardly streak and I think it just fits her perfectly. She came into this match against Koguma as the underdog and understandably so. Koguma is the High-Speed Genius after all and is a tough out in this realm.
The fact is that Koguma pretty much dominated this short match. She took control early on and kept it throughout the match. Honestly, this is pretty standard fair for most Kashima matches. She gets dominated and has some offensive flourishes here and there but still somehow finds a way to hit the Kishikaisei and pick up the victory. Which is exactly what she did here. Koguma was going for the finish and Saki hit that killer roll-up out of nowhere for the surprise pinfall. I’m not afraid to say it folks, the Kishikaisei is the most lethal pinning maneuver in wrestling right now.
The Rest of Stardom X Stardom
Before the myriad of title matches, there was a tag team gauntlet match that saw Suzu Suzuki and Mei Sera survive and pick up the win. Some of the notable teams in the match were the likes of 02Line (AZM and Miyu Amaski), Hanan and Rina, Rina and Momo Watanabe, MIRAI and Ami Sourei, and Hazuki and Saya Iida. Suzuki and Sera would later challenge REStart for the Goddess titles.
In the lone 5-star Grand Prix match, Starlight Kid managed to defeat Natsuko Tora in a hard-fought match. Tora challenged Kid to show her growth and prove her own strength and Kid did just that. I have to say that she gave Tora the toughest fight in her tournament run so far and handed her her second loss. I’m disappointed with Kid’s results so far but this win was deserved and needed. Good luck with the rest of the tournament Kid.
That’s it for today folks. Have a good one and I’ll see you all later.