STARDOM Dream Queendom 2021
December 29th, 2021
Ryogoku Kokugikan, Tokyo, Japan
Fukigen Death vs. Saki Kashima vs. Waka Tsukiyama vs. Lady C vs. Rina - 4.5/10
Ok match. Three of the five women in this match are part of a stable, so obviously this was more of a 3-on-2 handicap match until the Oedo Tai members tried to sneak a roll up on each other, but as soon as they all kicked out on each other, they just got back together, beat up Tsukiyama and C, and at the end, Death pinned C with an O'Connor Roll.
I really don't know why they didn't get anyone else and make it a 3-on-3 match instead.
Future Of Stardom Championship Match
Ruaka (c) vs. Hanan - 4/10
Hanan has new gear! Business on top, Joshi wrestler on bottom. It plays into the fact that she's still a student I guess, she did appear at the press conference wearing her uniform. Ruaka for that matter has gone with the dark Oedo Tai hair and done some slight modifications to her gear too.
Match saw Ruaka dominate for 3/4's of the match and then Hanan made a comeback and won with a bridging backdrop hold.
The match wasn't anything amazing, but it caught me by surprise, I did not expect Hanan to take the title away from Ruaka. If you think about it, it's the right move and it's about time, Hanan has been good for a while now, Sayaka and Shirakawa joined the promotion and just passed over her, so it was good to let Hanan take this step forward. Now do Rina.
Post-match - Hanan celebrated with the rest of STARS, and even Ruaka teared up for her win. Ruaka still pushed her off before leaving the ring.
STARDOM Calendar Announcements - They're coming back to Sumo Hall on March 26 and 27 for World Climax 2022. I'm expecting Dream Cinderella 2022 in Osaka-Jo Hall announcement soon.
Artist Of Stardom Championship Match
Donna del Mondo (Himeka, Maika & Natsupoi) (c) vs. Cosmic Angels (Mai Sakurai, Mina Shirakawa & Unagi Sayaka) - 6.5/10
Cosmic Angels are fully bringing back the Idol dance numbers to Artist title matches. Damn the day Oedo Tai let that go. DDM did their little handkerchief dance too, but it really wasn't as good.
Ok match. DDM were dominant throughout the match. The Angels had a couple of spots to get their stuff in and were good at cutting DDM's momentum, but aside from the last couple of minutes that saw the Angels cut off Maika and allow Sakurai to get some offense, it was all DDM. Finish eventually saw Maika recover, overcome the Angel's triple team work, turn things around on Sakurai, and get the win with a REALLY SCARY top rope Brainbuster and Michinoku Driver II.
The Brainbuster was scary because Maika somewhat delayed it, but when they came down, Sakurai, either as a natural reaction or not being able to control the momentum, folded her knees in and somewhat landed on her shins. A little bit more and she'd probably hyper-extend both her knee ligaments.
High Speed Championship Three Way Match
Starlight Kid (c) vs. Koguma vs. AZM - 8/10
Really really good match, but storyline wise, a totally missed opportunity to give this much and the QQ's vs Oedo Tai feud some serious heat.
This match played out perfectly like a 3-way high speed match, with tons of 3-person spots, a lot of doding and counters and reversals, a lot of pin reversal sequences between the 3 of them until SLK rolled Koguma for the win. However, this should had been a violent high speed brawl between SLK and AZM, with Koguma jumping in and out trying to be included. It's been days since SLK brought in Momo from QQ's, directly turning on AZM, who Momo attacked with a chair, so it was the perfect set up for AZM to target SLK and vice versa, and being that Koguma's involvement in the match was a 'second chance' after being defeated in Osaka, it would also play into neither taking Koguma seriously.
Konami vs. Giulia - 8/10
This is Konami's final match before taking an indefinite time off. This is also Giulia's return match from taking time off to recover. Konami came out wearing her Tokyo Cyber Squad gear, whereas Giulia came out dressed as a badass samurai, but she had a NEVER END flag that everyone signed for Konami for her departure. The End is Konami's catchphrase. These two don't have heat with each other, but they've never been on the same side, and for that matter, Giulia was TCS's biggest opponent before the death of Kimura.
Match saw Konami go for her usual game plan, kicking the hell out of you and working your arm towards the submission; on the other hand, Giulia mostly kept trying to keep up with Konami in a striking battle and falling back to slams to break up Konami's momentum. At one point, Konami locked in Hana Kimura's Hydrangea for a near submission. She also went for Kimura's Tiger Lily, but Giulia reversed it and hit it herself for another near fall. Giulia finally won with the Glorious Driver.
Between Konami's departure and all the Hana tributes, this ended up being way more emotional than I expected.
Post-match - Giulia thanked Konami for all her work in Stardom. Konami thanked Giulia and Stardom. All the Oedo Tai girls seemed emotional, but Konami walked to the back with Giulia. Regardless of what happens in the future, this for sure could be seen as Konami's departure of Oedo Tai and babyface turn.
10th Anniversary Tag Team Match
Mayu Iwatani & Takumi Iroha vs. Oedo Tai (Hazuki & Momo Watanabe) - 7.5/10
There's little story behind this match (not counting the 10 years these two pairs have I guess), but it's more of a dream team match, finally getting Iroha and Iwatani to tag together, after they've been saying they wanted to. Hazuki and Momo have a past together, prior to either woman's run with Oedo Tai, before Momo's title reign, but that story wasn't all that present here either.
The action was really good, but given Momo's current heel turn storyline, she wasn't the ass kicker that would had made the match better. Momo was dodgy, sneaky, and towards the end straight up left Hazuki to die, meaning that we didn't get the Momo vs Iroha match-up that we wanted to see, we got them in the ring together, but it wasn't the same. Iwatani got the pin on Hazuki with a moonsault after Iroha finished her, after Momo left her to fight alone.
Post-match - Iwatani, HZK, and Iroha all had some nice words about Stardom, each other, antagonized Momo, and walked to the back together. I really wouldn't mind if they build Iwatani and Iroha as a tag team and give them a reign with the tag titles.
Wonder Of Stardom Championship Match
Tam Nakano (c) vs. Saya Kamitani - 9/10
I kinda feel bad for this match, in a way, I even feel bad for Nakano. She had a fantastic reign with the White Belt, not only her hair vs hair match with Giulia was one of the best matches of the year, but then she went in and defended the title in really good matches. Nakano unfortunately wasn't able to kickstart such a strong feud as Hayashishita and Syuri did, and towards the end of her reign, Nakano just kept defending (and carrying) against her Cosmic Angel mates in good matches with zero heat, and then a challenge out of nowhere by Kamitani to end it all.
While their experience level at this point is far apart, these two had similar roads to Stardom. They're both former Idols-turned-wrestlers. In addition, which didn't play much into this match, these two are supposed to tag team at Wrestle Kingdom, so I don't particularly expect them to get all violent on each other.
The match was awesome, I thought it was going to suffer from only having a couple of weeks of build and not having any pre-existing things to overcome, but at the end, given that the next match is ALL about the story coming in, this one freshly delivered a straight match between two women on top of their game.
The match worked to both women's styles, but I did feel that as it went on, Nakano tried to step into Kamitani's pace and that ended up being her downfall. Kamitani is aerial, and Nakano has proven to be quite dangerous when she flies, but as soon as Nakano deprioritized her striking approach, Kamitani gained momentum that ended with a beautiful Phoenix Splash for the win.
Post-match - Nakano, like a super babyface champion, strapped Kamitani with the belt. Sayaka jumped in and challenged Kamitani as her first opponent. Kamitani accepted, and I'm guessing this will be the main event of the first show of 2022.
World Of Stardom Championship / SWA Undisputed World Women's Championship No Time Limit Match
Syuri (c) vs. Utami Hayashishita (c) - 9.5/10
As expected, this was awesome, and even if it was written on the stars at this point, it wasn't a foregone conclusion that Syuri was taking the title, there was still a small doubt in everyone's mind that she was walking out with the titles. But logic ruled and Syuri indeed won the title in a little over the 30 minute mark, which had been the usual time limit for all Stardom title matches.
The story of the match was that Syuri had come in with a perfect battle plan, but Hayashishita wasn't the champion for 409 days because her opponents didn't have battle plans, she's still strong as hell and good enough to capitalize on any opening to stop your momentum and break you down. The first minutes saw Syuri have a slight advantage and get some offense, escape and counter, but like I mentioned, Hayashishita caught her with a surprise powerbomb from the apron, stopped her momentum, and quickly started to turn the match around, once Hayashishita hit the Emerald Flowsion on the apron, you knew things have gone bad for Syuri.
Now hurting, Syuri had to change her attack plan and rely on her submission work. She went after Hayashishita's leg and destroyed it, it wasn't going to stop Hayashishita, but it sure as hell slowed her down, to the point that when Hayashishita finally hit the big BT Bomb, Hayashishita wasn't able to capitalize quickly and get the win. This was arguably the spot that mean the downfall of Hayashishita.
With no more plan to go with, only thing Syuri had left was heart and she came back with kicks, Germans, and a series of backfists until she was able to hit her new Syu-sekai, meaning "Syuri World", that is kinda like a One Winged Angel, but more into a slam than a driver. Syuri pinned Hayashishita to become the 14th World Of Stardom Champion.
Post-match - Syuri and Hayashishita had a little moment. Syuri dedicated the win to her mother, thanked Hayashishita, celebrated with DDM outside, hugged Konami who had been on commentary, and finally closed out the show.
What a fantastic end to STARDOM's year, without a doubt the best year they've had in their history. Sometimes you see what certain companies achieve when they finally get some money, and I don't think that I've ever seen a company improve so much from one year to the other as STARDOM did this year, and they did it during the pandemic that people keep using as an excuse for their lack of quality, they did it after losing two of their biggest stars last year, losing their whole foreign roster, and only running weekend shows.
This was STARDOM's biggest show and it delivered. It didn't feel like the festival that All-Star Dream Cinderella did, but in terms of finalizing months of storylines, this was the show that finally gave us the end of the year long chase of Syuri, the end of Nakano and Hayashishita's reigns, and an overall structuring of where everyone stands as we enter 2022.
STARDOM, Tokyo Joshi Pro Wrestling, SHINE, etc.
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