By Chris Vetter, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@chrisvetter73)
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Stardom “All Star Grand Queendom”
Streamed on Stardom-world.com/
April 22, 2023 in Yokohama, Japan at Yokohama Arena
This is a huge building and there has to be several thousand people in attendance at Yokohama Arena. Sonny Gutierrez, Chris Charlton provided commentary as the event began; British wrestler Mariah May would join later in the show.
Of course, the draw of this show is Mercedes Mone. I admittedly don’t know Stardom well, so I really appreciate on-screen graphics when a woman tags in, telling me their name, height, weight, and a few other tidbits of info.
1. Mai Sakurai won a Rambo at 26:40. I’ve seen Rambos in New Japan; it is a Royal Rumble-style match where pinfalls can occur as well as being thrown over the top rope to the floor. Maybe 20 to 30 women participated. After winning, Mai spoke on the mic. I admittedly didn’t know many of the women involved here.
2. Momo Watanabe, Saki Kashima, Natsuko Toura, and Ruaka defeated Mariah May, Xena, Jessie Eleban, and Thekla at 10:18. Jessie is a former NXT wrestler, and Mariah May is the beautiful, blonde Brit. The finish came when one woman accidentally hit her teammate with a weapon, leading to a rollup and a pin. Okay action.
Mariah May joined commentary to replace a woman who had her ‘bell rung’ in the Rambo and was taken to an area hospital for a possible concussion. This was truly a last-minute decision.
1. Starlight Kid and Mei Seira defeated Mei Suruga and AZM at 9:48. I have seen Suruga the most of these four, with her appearances on US indies and AEW Dark/Elevation tapings. AZM fought Mercedes Mone recently, but that is the only time I had seen her. Starlight Kid wears a mask. Suruga is in white. Starlight Kid hit a nice Asai Moonsault to the floor at 5:00. AZM has green and violet in her outfit. In the ring, AZM and Suruga hit a team suplex on Seira. Seira got a rollup to pin AZM, which surprised Charlton. Really entertaining fast-paced action.
2. Miyu Amasaki and Utami Hayashishita defeated Fuwachan and Hazuki at 14:15. Utami wore gold and red and seems aloof. Miyu wore green and white. Fuwachan wore bright pink. Hazuki has a soft rainbow outfit. The storyline here is that Fuwachan “isn’t a wrestler, she’s a celebrity,” and she’s put in the work, training with Okada. Fuwachan hit a top-rope crossbody block for a nearfall at 11:00. Utami hit a German Suplex with a bridge to pin Fuwachan. Good match.
3. Maika defeated Himeka at 14:55. This is Himeka’s retirement match, and she wore a white gown that goes to her ankles; she took that off and wrestled in a white and black outfit. Maika has red hair. They fought to the floor early on. Himeka hit a top-rope crossbody block to the floor at 4:30 and the crowd was 100% behind her. Maika hit a Michinoku Driver for a believable nearfall at 11:30. Himeka hit a powerbomb for a believable nearfall. Maika hit two more Michinoku Drivers, while crying, and scoring the pin. Charlton said Maika didn’t want this to end. (Not quite as good as HBK’s “I love you. I’m sorry” to Ric Flair, but along those lines.)
4. Ami Sohrei and Mirai defeated Yuu and Nanae Takahashi via count-out at 12:58. Yuu and Nanae are dressed like gunslinger 1800s-era cowboys. Yuu is heavier than most of this roster (think Piper Niven in size), and she no-sold chops from both opponents early on. Nanae wore neon green and black, while Mirai wore white and blue and Ami wore white and green. Nanae hit a second rope superplex on Mirai for a nearfall at 5:30. Yuu entered and hit a double dropkick and a big senton. Ami tossed Nanae off the ring apron onto the other two at 11:30. They fought briefly on the floor, and Ami and Mirai got back in the ring. As the heels tried to re-enter, they were kicked back to the floor, and the ref counted them out!
5. Kairi (Sane), Saori Anou, and Natsupoi defeated Kurumi Hiragi, Suzu Suzuki, and Risa Sera at 16:56. I don’t know any of these women except Kairi. Sera has blue hair and carried wooden swords, and she wore blue, while her teammates wore red. Kairi and her teammates wore silver/white colors. Sera’s heel team attacked before the bell. Compared to all the tiny women in this match, Kurumi is heavier; by no means fat, but thicker around the middle, and she worked over Kairi early, with the heels working over Kairi the bulk of the match.
Anou and Suzuki traded hard open-hand slaps to the face at 11:00. Sera began hitting opponents with a kendo stick at 15:00; Charlton said the referee has a “long leash in title matches.” Anou and Suzu traded German Suplexes. Anou finally got a jackknife cover to score the pin on Suzu. Good match; I just wish I knew them better.
6. Mina Shirakawa defeated Saya Kamitani at 17:55. Mina wore a multi-color robe similar to what Asuka wears. Saya wore metallic green and gold. Mina applied the Bret Hart-style Figure Four leglock around the ring post early on; Charlton echoed the Hart comparison. Mina focused on the left leg early on. Saya hit a springboard crossbody block to the floor at 5:00. In the ring, Saya hit a spin kick but clutched at her damaged knee. Saya set up for a moonsault but didn’t go for it; Charlton said she was filled with self-doubt.
Mina applied a Figure Four Leglock on the mat at 9:00, and Saya screamed in pain and reached the ropes. Mina hit a DDT for a nearfall. Saya hit a back suplex with a bridge for a believable nearfall at 11:30, then a Star Crusher (Michinoku Driver) for a nearfall. Saya went to the top rope, and she hit a corkscrew moonsault for a believable nearfall. Mina hit a top-rope DDT move, and they were both down at 14:30. Mina hit a dragon screw leg whip, applied a Figure Four Leglock, but Saya reached the ropes; I really thought she was tapping out there. Mina hit a sideslam for the pin. That was really good and really compelling.
7. Syuri defeated Chihiro Hashimoto at 16:04. Chihiro has a splash of pink hair, and she wrestles in a purple/pink singlet; she has the size and strength advantage. The on-screen graphic says she’s 88 KG, which is 194 pounds. Syruri wore red. Chihiro hit short-arm clotheslines and was in charge early. She put Syuri in a Luger-style Torture Rack at 5:00. Syuri applied a cross-armbreaker. Syuri suplexed Chihiro off the top rope and kept a cross-armbreaker in place. They fought to the floor, where Syuri hit a tornado DDT at 11:00.
In the ring, Syuri hit a top-rope legdrop and some stiff Yes Kicks to the chest. Chihiro fired back with a standing powerbomb and a German Suplex. They traded slaps to the face and both collapsed. They got up and traded forearm shots. Chihiro hit an overhead suplex. Syuri hit a Lungblower move to the chin, then a modified One-Winged Angel, then a spin kick to the head. Chihiro failed to get to her feet before a 10-count, and the ref stopped the match.
8. Mayu Iwatani defeated Mercedes Mone to win the IWGP Women’s Title at 12:54. Mone wore a Tiger Mask as she strutted to the ring, showing off her title; she took off the mask as she entered the ring. Her hair is a deep blood red with black lines. They immediately traded punches on the mat. Mayu hit a dive through the ropes to the floor, and they brawled on the floor. Mone hit a double kneedrop as Mayu was tied in the ropes at 2:30, with Mayu falling to the floor. In the ring, Merceded hit another springboard knee strike and was in charge.
Mercedes hit the Three Amigos rolling suplexes for a nearfall at 4:00. However, she missed a top-rope kneedrop. Mayu hit a Crucifix Bomb takedown for a nearfall at 6:00, and she clutched on her left arm in pain. Mayu nailed a top-rope frogsplash for a nearfall. However, she missed a top-rope moonsault, and they were both down. Mercedes couldn’t hit her spinning faceplant finisher. Mayu hit a superkick. Mercedes set up for a Widow’s Peak, and she hit her swinging faceplant finisher, but Mayu got her foot on the ropes.
Mercedes hit her Lungblower to the back. Mayu hopped up and hit a Dragon Suplex for a nearfall, then a tombstone piledriver. Mayu hit a moonsault for a nearfall, then a German Suplex for the pin. That was really good, but much, much shorter than I expected. “What a match, what a moment,” said Mariah May.
*Mercedes left. Mayu called her back and said she would want to fight again. Merceded returned and she has a visible bump that has grown above her left eye. Mercedes said a phrase in Japanese, earning a nice applause. She then said, “I love being your CEO.” Mercedes called Mayu “the icon” and told her to take care of the belt. She said something else in Japanese, and they hugged.
9. Tam Nakano defeated Giulia to win the World of Stardom Title at 23:39. Tam wore her tiara. Sonny Gutierrez said “these two cannot stand one another.” They opened with intense mat reversals as the commentators listed off all their prior titles and accomplishments. Giulia nailed a Snow Plow driver at 2:30, and Charlton shouted it could be over already, but Tam quickly rolled to the floor to avoid being pinned. Giulia got a table from under the ring and attemped to put Nakano through it, but Tam fought free, and they got back in the ring at 4:30, with Giulia in control.
They fought on the ring apron, and Giulia gave Tam a snap-mare onto the table on the floor! Tam sold the pain as they fought on the floor and up the entrance ramp. However, Tam hit a reverse DDT on the ramp. Tam ran the length of the ramp and hit a kneestrike to the jaw at 7:30, then a second one. Back in the ring, they fought on the ropes in the corner and hit headbutts until they both collapsed to the floor again; they both got back into the ring just before being counted out at 10:30. Charlton pointed out we have a 30-minute time limit.
They traded open-hand slaps to the face. Tam hit another hard headbutt. Giulia hit a straight punch to the face and got a warning from the ref. Giulia hit a back suplex and a Michinoku Driver for a nearfall. Tam tied her up on the mat in what Sonny called “a Northern Cross,” and Giulia reached the ropes at 15:00. Tam nailed a Tiger Driver for a nearfall, then a running knee to the back of the head, then one to the side of the head, then one to her face. Tam nailed a German Suplex with a bridge for a nearfall at 16:30. Giulia hit another straight punch to the face that dropped Tam, and the crowd booed.
Giulia hit another Snow Plow driver for a nearfall. They fought on the ropes in the corner as the 20:00 warning was given. Tam hit a double-underhook superplex, and they were both down on the mat. Tam hit a Tiger Suplex for a one-count. Giulia countered with a back suplex for a one-count. Giulia hit a Tiger Suplex. Tam hit a Snow Plow driver. Tam nailed a Tiger Suplex for a believable nearfall at 23:00. Tam then nailed a sit-out brainbuster move for the pin. Tremendous match. Bravo.
* Tam got on the mic and called Giulia a “monster” and she has “finally taken this from you.” She called Giulia the worst and her biggest rival ever, and every time they’ve fought, she has put her life on the line. Giulia got on the mic and concluded “bye for now, but not forever,” and she rolled out of the ring and headed to the back.
Final Thoughts: The last two matches really delivered. I was surprised Mercedes Mone lost (I had learned that before I watched the show), and while it was good, I was startled it wrapped up so quickly. The main event was one heck of a brawl and earns best match, ahead of Mone’s match. I really liked the Mina Shirakawa match for third place. While I admittedly don’t know this roster, I enjoyed what I saw.