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STARDOM Goddess of Stardom Tag League Opening Night Review – 10.23.22

2 years ago

STARDOM Goddess of Stardom Tag League Opening Night Review – 10.23.22

STARDOM Goddess of Stardom Tag League Opening Night Review – 10.23.22

By: Trent Breward

One tournament began while another confirmed its final. It was a busy night for STARDOM and at the end of it, two of the company’s biggest ever names stood opposite one another, ready to make history.

The first ever IWGP Women’s Champion will either be Mayu Iwatani or KAIRI. Set to be crowned at the first ever NJPW x STARDOM Historic X-Over event on November 20th, both former World of Stardom Champions had to earn their chance to make history.

The last time Mayu Iwatani and Utami Hayashishita fought in singles action, it was when Mayu lost her Red Belt to the fast rising megastar nearly two years ago. Since then Utami has only continued to unlock her full potential, and she unleashed that on the Icon of STARDOM in their semi-final match.

Utami was in career best form, throwing suplexes and strikes with the kind of crisp precision and strength that punctuated her dominant 400+ day reign as champion. Mayu had to rely on her speed and experience to counter, and the two stars fought to a standstill. They only had 24 hours to prepare for the match but both came ready – with Utami even reading and avoiding the Springboard Poison Rana that Mayu had used to defeated Momo Watanabe the day before in Korakuen Hall

The difference maker on this night were Mayu Iwatani’s Superkicks. As the match neared it’s conclusion, she killed Utami’s momentum three times with a perfectly placed Superkick. Each time it bought her an opening, and after a third one stunned the Queen’s Quest leader it gave Mayu enough of an opening to hit the Running Three. Two Moonsaults later, and it was all over.

KAIRI had a much different mountain to climb. Since returning to STARDOM part time in March, she’s always felt like a world conquering superstar and the dominant force in any match she was in. Even though many people had her penciled in to advance to the final, she found herself having to fight as the underdog against the much bigger and stronger Alpha Female.

The Pirate Princess was bullied for much of the match, as her German foe slammed her into the crowd seating and kept the pace to her liking. KAIRI had been able to use her striking to control matches throughout the year, but this time it barely scratched the surface while Alpha would floor her with a single receipt.

Alpha Female’s undoing was at her own hands. Earlier in the match she removed a part of the corner padding, exposing the steel buckles underneath. As KAIRI began to mount a comeback, Alpha found herself stuck in that very corner and was hit with the Interceptor Spear, throwing her back into the unprotected corner. It left her unable to defend against one of wrestling’s most picturesque and devastating moves – the InSane Elbow.

The stage is now set for STARDOM’s biggest ever match between two of its all time most popular stars. One set sail to conquer the world while the other stayed and led the company to previously unseen heights. Mayu Iwatani vs KAIRI, for the first time since May 2017.

For those not in the hunt for the IWGP Women’s Championship, the Goddess of Stardom Tag League officially began with a bevvy of big matches. Fourteen of the sixteen teams started their campaign and looked to gain the early momentum.

For Giulia and Thekla, there was more at stake than just two points. Opposite them were Meltear, the Goddess of Stardom Tag Team Champions and two wrestlers with which they have a painful history with. Natsupoi’s defection is still a sore point, and Thekla found herself conflicted as she first faced off with her former friend. That feeling soon morphed into anger as she took out months of frustration on Natsupoi. Meanwhile Giulia might have beaten Tam Nakano in the 5 Star GP at the start of the month, but it didn’t quench their heated rivalry that has now spanned years.

It was an emotionally charged match, but in the end the Mafia Bella pairing of Giulia and Thekla were able to harness that anger and overwhelm the champions. It had been five months since Thekla had wrestled, but her arm injury seemed a distant memory as she showed very little ring rust. It is a key early victory, because now even if they don’t win the tournament they at least have a win over the champions. If they want a title match, they have a case they can make. That is if Giulia’s not too busy with her World of Stardom Title match in December.

Earlier in the night Black Desire and Karate Brave fought to a hotly contested fifteen minute draw. Queen of JTO Champion Tomoka Inaba held her own against the experienced team of Starlight Kid and Momo Watanabe, and already her pairing with Syuri seems to be promising. The duo were in sync early, setting the scene with a pre match karate form and demonstrated some new offense, including a double team GTS variant that on any other night would have brought them two points.

It wasn’t all smooth sailing for Karate Brave though. Starlight Kid had assaulted Inaba’s knee with a steel chair early in the match, and the legally questionable tactic nearly paid off. Inaba’s deadly kicks were noticeably hampered at times, and the new vulnerability was targeted with the Numero Dos submission from Kid. It was a dangerous position for Inaba, who was trapped and unable to reach the ropes. If Syuri had not been able to escape Momo Watanabe’s clutches and break up the hold it might have been a very different result.

Full Match Results:

  • Momo Kohgo def. Waka Tsukiyama and Rina (Dark Match)
  • Saya Kamitani & Hina def. Hazuki & Fuwa-chan (Dark match. Not this will not be available on STARDOM World)
  • Red Goddess Block: We Love Tokyo Sports (Saki Kashima & Fukigen Death) (2) def. Mai Fair Lady (Mai Sakurai & Lady C) (0)
  • Blue Goddess Block: KaWild Venus (Mina Shirakawa & SAKI) (2) def. BMI2000 (Natsuko Tora & Ruaka) via disqualification
  • Blue Goddess Block: 02line (AZM & Miyu Amasaki) (2) def. wing*gori (Hanan & Saya Iida) (0)
  • Red Goddess Block: Karate Brave (Syuri & Tomoka Inaba) (1) vs. Black Desire (Momo Watanabe & Starlight Kid) (1) went to a time limit draw
  • Blue Goddess Block: MaiHime (Maika & Himeka) (2) def. The New Era (MIRAI & Ami Sourei) (0)
  • Red Goddess Block: Mafia Bella (Giulia & Thekla) (2) def. meltear (Tam Nakano & Natsupoi) (0)
  • Blue Goddess Block: 7Upp (Nanae Takahashi & Yuu) (2) def. FWC (Hazuki & Koguma) (0)
  • IWGP Women’s Championship Semifinal: KAIRI def. Alpha Female
  • IWGP Women’s Championship Semifinal: Mayu Iwatani def. Utami Hayashishita

Rapid Fire Takeaways:

  • It’s a small thing, but it’s always nice to see teams introduce special matching gear, especially for a tournament. Mafia Bella, BMI2000 and MaiHime all debuted new team looks for the tournament, while Meltear had a new entrance song and routine to mark the occasion.
  • Thekla wasn’t the only person to return from an injury tonight. Natsuko Tora has been out for over a year due to an ACL injury, but she made her in ring return tonight against KaWild Venus. The schedule wasn’t kind, pitting her against a Mina Shirakawa who has developed a variety of moves to punish the leg. Tora and Ruaka got themselves disqualified, but it was an encouraging first match back for the leader of Oedo Tai.
  • Alpha Female might have came up short, but it wasn’t all bad news for the Neo Stardom Army, with Nanae Takahashi and Yuu winning a big match last year’s tournament winners: FWC. It was an exciting affair, punctuated by Yuu military pressing Hazuki over her head and sending her flying out of the ring.
  • In a match-up between two of the physically strongest teams in the competition, MaiHime and New Eras went blow to blow and body to body in a punishing affair. MIRAI and Ami Sourei had perhaps their best match yet as a team, but they ultimately came up short against former champions Maika and Himeka.
  • STARDOM sure do love tournaments! They’re kicking off 2023 with the Triangle Derby, a fourteen team trios tournament that will start January 3 and run through to the first week of March. With over 40 people competing, there are sure to be some surprises in store!

Goddess of Stardom Tag League Standings:

2 – We Love Tokyo Sports (Saki Kashima & Fukigen Death)
2 – Mafia Bella (Giulia & Thekla)
1 – Karate Brave (Syuri & Tomoka Inaba)
1 – Black Desire (Momo Watanabe & Starlight Kid)
0 – Peach Rock (Mayu Iwatani & Momo Kohgo)
0 – meltear (Tam Nakano & Natsupoi)
0 – AphroditE (Utami Hayashishita & Saya Kamitani)
0 – Mai Fair Lady (Mai Sakurai & Lady C)

2 – 02line (AZM & Miyu Amasaki)
2 – KaWild Venus( Mina Shirakawa & SAKI)
2 – 7Upp (Nanae & Yuu)
0 – The New Era (MIRAI & Ami Sourei)
0 – wing*gori (Hanan & Saya Iida)
0 – FWC (Hazuki & Koguma)
0 – MaiHime (Maika & Himeka)
0 – BMI2000 (Natsuko Tora & Ruaka)