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STARDOM in February 2023: Your Monthly Recap

1 year ago

STARDOM in February 2023: Your Monthly Recap

STARDOM in February 2023: Your Monthly Recap

Every month Monthly Puroresu will be bringing you a guide to the previous month’s happenings in STARDOM. Whether you’re someone who can only occasionally watch, are looking to get into the promotion and want to know what’s going on, or just been to busy to keep up, we have you covered! This is what happened in STARDOM during the month of February…

Championship matches:

  • Goddess of Stardom Tag Title: Nanae Takahashi & Yuu (c) vs Maika & Himeka – February 4th
  • Wonder of Stardom Title: Saya Kamitani (c) vs Momo Watanabe – February 4th
  • World of Stardom Title: Giulia (c) vs Suzu Suzuki – February 4th
  • IWGP Women’s Title: KAIRI (c) vs Mercedes Moné – February 17th

History was made on February 4th as Saya Kamitani broke the single reign record for most defenses of the Wonder of Stardom Championship, defeating the previous holder of the record in order to reach defense number fourteen. It took surviving all of Oedo Tai and their devious tricks, but Kamitani proved herself willing to do whatever was required in order to reach that historic mark.

The question now is whether she can remain focused after reaching the record, something Saya has had her eyes set on for months now. There are still a couple of benchmarks she can use as inspiration: Yuzuki Aikawa’s 618 days as champion is still over half a year away, and another four defenses would see her overtake the total Io Shirai racked up over her two reigns. Even if those numbers remain out of reach, STARDOM’s Phoenix has more than cemented her name among the all time greats to have held the title.

The journey has just begun for Giulia however, who managed to stave off a hungry Suzu Suzuki in the Supreme Fight main event. It was a more measured battle at first compared to their emotionally charged October match, but it didn’t take long before the two former friends started to throw heavy strikes and high impact slams.

Giulia isn’t done with her past though. She made a point to call out freelancer Maya Yuhiki, currently working in STARDOM for the Triangle Derby as a part of the RebelxEnemy trio. Maya didn’t intend to challenge for the top title during her stop in STARDOM, but Giulia is intent on washing her hands clean of her Ice Ribbon memories. That includes Maya.

If there was any doubt about Mercedes Mone outside of WWE, those questions were definitively answered at NJPW’s Battle in the Valley event. Decked out in special Hana Kimura tribute gear, she became the second IWGP Women’s Champion as she defeated another former WWE superstar in KAIRI. The match felt like a blend of their WWE past and the more hard hitting joshi style, but after nine months out of the ring it doesn’t look like Mercedes has lost a step.

It didn’t take long for the STARDOM roster to take notice, with AZM calling out the new champion and Mina Shirakawa also exchanging words with Moné over Twitter. How busy the Boss’ schedule is remains to be seen, but there will be no shortage of hungry challengers. A win over a former Wrestlemania main eventer will be great feather in the cap, as is the prestige of holding an IWGP Title.

A Jumbo Retirement, a Jumbo Set of Debuts

After five years in wrestling, Himeka announced that she would be wrestling her last match at the April 23 Grand Queendom event, with a retirement ceremony to happen the following month. She cited her reasons as feeling that she had reached as far as she would be capable of in the business, and an eagerness to move on with the next stage of her life while still being physically and mentally healthy.

The announcement came as a shock and will leave a big hole in the roster. Himeka brought a unique blend of size and character to her performances, and was one half of one of the more exciting teams on the roster in MaiHime. While she won’t be wrestling for much longer, Himeka is looking to fill her last couple of months in wrestling with some exciting matchups, including a singles match with Chihiro Hashimoto on March 4 and squaring off with her close friend and tag partner Maika one more time.

The departure will drop the Donna Del Mondo faction down to just four members (after being double the size this time last year). However a recruitment drive has already seemingly started, with Lady C being the first target. Despite currently being a member of Queen’s Quest, Lady C has found herself teaming with DDM members in both the Goddess of Stardom Tag League and the Triangle Derby.

Lady C has shown to be quite close to both Maika and Himeka, even before she made her decision to join Queen’s Quest. Teaming with them in the Triangle Derby seems to have only resurfaced those feelings, and after the February 12 tournament match against the other DDM trio, the faction’s interest in her was made clear.

Lady C didn’t accept the offer, but she didn’t outright decline it either. The interest seems to be mutual, so it may come down to how hard Queen’s Quest fight to keep her. If they’re not careful, Lady C might become Lady D.

Taking Himeka’s place in STARDOM are three new rookies who were introduced to the world at the February 17 Korakuen Hall event. Sakura Ishiguro, Hanako Ueda and Komomo Minami all passed their pro test and are set to debut at the NEW BLOOD Premium event in late March.

Ueda immediately caught the eyes of onlookers, standing at an imposing 181cms tall, eclipsing the current 177cm benchmark set by Lady C as the tallest on the STARDOM roster. She’s also previously wrestled Risa Sera as the parody ‘Risa Fella’, having trained previously with the University Wrestling Federation. Meanwhile Ishiguro showed no fear in requesting the current World of Stardom Champion Giulia be her first opponent.

There are still four more known trainees currently working towards their debut, meaning that STARDOM will have no shortage of new talent looking to leave their mark.

The Triangle Derby Enters its Final Stages

After two months of block action the Triangle Derby has determined its final four. 7Upp and Cosmic Angels advance from the Red Block with 11 and 10 points respectively, while Prominence and Rampage GE both cracked double figures in the Blue Block. Attention now turns to March 4th, where the tournament comes to a close with the final three matches taking place to determine the inaugural winner.

It was heartbreak for Queen’s Quest, whose loss on the final night of block action to Classmates kept them from overtaking Cosmic Angels in the points category. They were heavy favorites to advance but ultimately there was little room for error, with just two blemishes to the record being the limit for a team to advance. The win for Hazuki and her team also gave her the ammunition she needed to challenge Saya Kamitani for the Wonder of Stardom Championship, since the latter wouldn’t be busy with the tournament.

The semi finals are now set. The two strongest outsider teams will square off as the champions Prominence look to even the score against 7Upp, while Tam Nakano tries to lead her Angels past the strong God’s Eye outfit one more time, being the only team to outright defeat Rampage GE during the tournament.

The Triangle Derby finals may be coming to an end in March, but tournament season is far from over. On March 26 the 9th iteration of The Cinderella Tournament begins. A record 36 competitors will take part in the single elimination tournament, all vying for the right to have a wish of their choice granted, as well as be bestowed with the Cinderella dress and trophy. MIRAI will be looking to achieve what only Mayu Iwatani has managed, and that is to win the Cinderella in back to back years.

For a full recap of STARDOM in 2023, previous months can be found here: