STARDOM Year-End Climax 2016
By Big Red Machine
From December 22, 2016
We start off with... a Christmas-themed dance number. Not how I was expecting my first foray into STARDOM to begin.
ARISU NANASE vs. RUAKA vs. AZUMI - 4/10
Good, standard, three-way story. It was decent for the time it got (or at least what we saw, as part of it was clipped), but it was long enough for me to be impressed that these three were able to do the things they were able to do despite all being younger than sixteen.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT - fine, I think? I will admit to not being familiar with STARDOM's stories so maybe I missed something here, but this is what I think happened. Arisu, who also got the victory in this match, flaunted her victory medal from the Rookie of STARDOM tournament. This angered Azumi, who yelled at her. Ruaka then attacked Azumi, and then brought out the returning Starlight Kid, who hit Azumi with a Standing Moonsault. Assuming that Arisu, Ruaka, and Starlight Kid are suppose dot be heels, this was fine. Otherwise, it was kind of backwards.
HIROMI MIMURA vs. KONAMI - 4.75/10
Konami won a relatively short but solid technical match in which she worked over Konami's knee and won with the Calf Killer. She cut a promo after the match.
JUNGLE KYONA & NATSUKO TORA vs. KAORI YONEYAMA & SAORI ANOU vs. ODEO TAI (Kris Wolf & Hana Kimura) - 4.5/10
Stuff happened. Then Hana Kimura got tagged in and the match paused for several minutes so there could be a sexy gyrations contest. Eventually Anou and Kyona got jealous of the fans cheering for Hana and attacked her. We then entered the action portion of the match and things were entertainingly chaotic.
NWA WESTERN STATES TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH:
Twisted Sisters (Holidead & Thunder Rosa)(c) (w/Odeo Tai) vs. Queen's Quest (HZK & Momo Watanabe) - 5.5/10
Queen's Quest jump the bell on Twisted Sisters. The match was fine.
GODDESSES OF STARDOM TITLE MATCH:
Odeo Tai (Kyoko Kimura & Kagetsu)(c) (w/Odeo Tai) vs. Kairi Hojo & Yoko Bito - 7/10
I guess there are no DQs in this one, because they were allowed to brawl all over the place, Kagetsu used a weapon right in front of the referee, and all Odeo Tai did their big pose at one point, with every member of the stable somehow putting their hands or feet on Kairi, including Kris Wolf choking her- all right in front of the referee- and there was no DQ. The match was great, but would have been substantially improved if the referee hadn't seen 99% of the heels' cheating.
WORLD OF STARDOM TITLE MATCH:
Io Shirai(c) vs. Mayu Iwatani - 8/10
This was basically a slower-paced spotfest. It was awesome and creative and very dramatic at times, but it lacked any real flow or narrative and the selling was not very good (especially Iwatani). It's one of those matches that you could chop up and rearrange the pieces so that all of the spots happen in a different order, and you pretty much wouldn't be able to tell. It was awesome, but not the classic it seems to get so much praise for being.
This was an entertaining show for it's under two hour run-time. Dedicating most of the show to the two big matches was definitely the right call. At the same time, though, I'd like for more than two of the matches to get enough time to be worth seeing. STARDOM has their own network so I assume that any time-constraints on total length of the show are self-imposed, and I think the product would be helped by lifting them. Otherwise I think they're doomed to become a "just check out the big matches" promotion rather than one people put major effort into following.