Stardom Review 2/18/17: Queen’s Quest vs. Team Baszler

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Photo: STARDOM

Stardom continued its build toward the 2/23 blow off show with an event held on February 18, 2017.

Once again Tokyo’s  Shinkiba 1st Ring hosted the event.

Five matches were held including a showdown between lo Shirai‘s Queen Quest and Shayna Baszler‘s squad of Deonna Purrazzo and Christi Jaynes. Konami looked to pick up her first major victory of the year against SWA Champion Toni Storm in a key non-title bout. Going in with two straight wins, Kris Wolf teamed up with fellow Odeo Tai member Kagetsu against High Speed Champion Mayu Iwantani and recent stand out Zoe Lucas.

Photo: STARDOM

1st Match: Triple Threat Match: Hiromi Mimura defeated Arisu Nanase and Ruaka in 8:06

A high energy bout that received more time than your typical Stardom opener.  Crowd loved Nanase and Mimura.All three were cautious in the opening moments until Ruaka went after Nanase.  Nanase ducked a lariat only to be dropkicked through the ropes by Mimura.

Ruaka threw Mimura to the floor and dove onto her and Nanase.  Ruaka rolled Nanase back into the ring and connected with a second lariat attempt for a nearfall. Ruaka hoisted Nanase onto her shoulders looking for the Miami Shine but Mimura was there to land a round house kick.  Mimura rolled up Ruaka who kicked out at one.

Ruaka recovered but was soon nailed by a double dropkick.  Nanase rolled up a surprised Mimura for a nearfall.   Nanase hit a nice spinning back elbow on Mimura then got a nearfall on Ruaka with a sunset flip. She went for a second one, Ruaka maintaining balance and sitting down to cradle the legs. She got a two count, Mimura breaking it up with a superkick. Mimura hit a spinning pancake on Nanase and rolled her over for a nearfall.   Mimura followed with a snap DDT for another close nearfall.

Ruaka took down Mimura and Nanase with a double clothesline then delivered running senton splashes to both. She made a pair of covers but each only garnered a two count.Nanase hit a nice Tornado DDT on Ruaka but before she could cover, Mimura sent her flying with a release overhead German suplex.

Mimura trapped Ruaka in a La Magistral cradle for the pinfall.

Photo: STARDOM

2nd Match: SWA Champion Toni Storm pinned Konami in 9:13 – Non Title Match

Very solid match.  The story of Konami’s growing desperation for a victory has been well told and her in-ring work is really beginning to stand out.
There was brief handshake at the beginning; Konami’s determination turned it into an attempt to catch Storm off guard with a short arm clothesline.It backfired as Storm avoided it and landed a stiff uppercut.  She landed a second but a third attempt was countered into a backslide for a Konami nearfall.

Konami sent Storm into the corner, following in with a open palm strike.  She kicked away at Storm until she was down on the mat.  Konami hit a running knee strike to the face for a nearfall.

Konami locked in an arm bar but Storm was able to return to her feet.  Storm used momentum and leverage to execute a beautiful springboard arm drag.  She followed up with a pair of dropkicks and a crossbody for a one count.Storm took Konami into the corner where she rammed her head into the point of her boot.  Storm went for a tornado DDT off the middle rope but Konami turned it into a Northern Light’s suplex for a nearfall.

Konami hit a swinging neckbreaker then a knee drop that connected with the bridge of Storm’s nose.  She applied a chinlock, knee firmly planted in the small of the back.Storm rallied to her feet and hit a Saito Suplex to break free.  She was slow to cover and only got a nearfall. Konami missed a Shining Wizard and ate a big boot to the face.  Storm looked for a piledriver but Konami countered with a backdrop.

Storm managed to land on her feet and avoid an incoming Konami. She sent her through the ropes but Konami stayed on the apron. Konami went for a battering ram but Storm landed knee strike then pulled her back into the ring.  Storm delivered a jumping piledriver for the pinfall.

Photo: STARDOM

3rd Match: Odeo Tai (Kris Wolf & Kagetsu) defeated High Speed Champion Mayu Iwatani and Zoe Lucas in 10:41

A really good bout that effectively set up new challengers for Iwantani.Though the story of the match was Odeo Tai isolating Iwatani, Lucas looked great when she was involved in the action. Wolf and Kagetsu jumped Iwantani and Lucas before the bell rang.  Lucas was sent to the floor as Odeo Tai rained on Iwantani with forearms across the back.

They sent Iwatani into the ropes and launched her pretty high with a double backdrop.  They followed with a fist drop/middle rope leg drop combination. Lucas got back onto the apron only to be knocked back off by Kagetsu with a running hip attack.  Wolf lifted up Iwatani for an over the shoulder backbreaker, really applying the pressure.

Iwatani managed to slip out and hit a lariat to the back of the head.  She followed with a flipping neckbreaker for a nearfall. Lucas was back on the apron and got a tag in.  She hit a nice springboard spin kick on Wolf and monkey flipped an incoming Kagetsu.   She leapt onto the shoulders of Wolf and leveraged into a victory roll for a nearfall. Iwatani tagged back in and lit up Wolf with several chops.  She bulldogged Wolf into the knee of Lucas, Lucas following up with a spinebuster.

Iwatani cover for a nearfall.  Wolf caught her coming off the ropes with a roaring elbow then sent her into Odeo Tai’s corner.  Kagetsu landed several hard kicks as Wolf choked Iwatani from the apron.

Kagetsu missed a corner splash allowing Iwatani to hit a spinning back fist and make a hot tag to Lucas. Lucas hit a springboard crossbody and caught Wolf off guard with a dropkick that sent her to the floor.  She tossed Kagetsu over the top rope and dove onto both of Odeo Tai.

All four women went at it on the floor.  Wolf sent Iwatani into the ring post which kept her down. Back in the ring Kagetsu ducked a head kick and hit a belly to belly suplex on Lucas for a nearfall.  Kagetsu stretched out Lucas in a bow & arrow, Lucas fighting to her feet. Lucas spun around and threw a head butt that rocked Kagetsu.  She went for the Lucas Landslide but Wolf attacked her from behind.

Wolf pressed Lucas over her head and dropped her right into a kick from Kagetsu. Kagetsu quickly followed with the Ebisu Drop for the pinfall.

Post-Match: As Iwatani checked on Lucas, both Wolf and Kagetsu issued a title challenge to her for the High Speed Championship.The champion accepted both and a three way match was set for the 2/23 show.

Photo: STARDOM

4th Match: Shayna Baszler & Deonna Purrazzo & Christi Jaynes defeated Queen’s Quest (World of Stardom Champion lo Shirai & HZK & AZM) in 13:51

AZM was the new name given to Azumi after being added to the feared faction.

An excellent match that featured some hot exchanges particularly between Baszler and Shirai and Purrazzo and AZM. Baszler wanted to start with Shirai but she backed off and allowed HZK to take on the former MMA star. HZK kept her distance and managed to evade Baszler’s kicks but was soon caught in a tight clinch and battered with knees.  Baszler powered her onto the mat and dropped a knee across the left arm.

Baszler applied an arm bar until HZK got to the ropes. She wouldn’t come out of them so Baszler pressed forward.  The referee stepped in which allowed Shirai to run across the apron and catch Baszler with an elbow strike. HZK dragged Baszler into Quest’s corner and tagged in AZM.  The two worked over Baszler with chops before sending her across the ring.  AZK whipped HZK towards Baszler and she hit a corner splash. AZM followed in but was met with a big boot to the face and a discus lariat.  Baszler tagged in Purrazzo.

Purrazzo hit a pair of clotheslines and a dropkick.  She followed with a face buster for a nearfall.  AZM blocked a suplex with a punch to the gut and front face suplexed Purrazzo across the top rope. AZM hit a nice leg drop to the back of the head for a nearfall.  She trapped Purrazzo in a body scissors and pulled back on her neck.  She let go and hit a backbreaker. Shirai finally tagged in and in a sweet tandem maneuver she knelt down as AZM suplexed Purrazzo onto her knee.

Shirai put Purrazzo in the corner and just threw elbow smash after elbow smash, stopping only to taunt Baszler. She took Purrazzo over with a fireman’s carry followed by a rolling neck snap. Purrazzo finally created space with an enzugiri after Shirai missed a charge in the corner. She rolled to tag in Jaynes as Shirai got to HZK.

Jaynes took HZK over with a  head scissors and got a nearfall with a rolling body cradle.  In a cool sequence as HZK kicked her off she flew into a clothesline on an incoming AZM. Jaynes hit a quick release German Suplex on HZK and a springboard twisting leg drop for a nearfall, AZM returning to make the save.

Jaynes and HZK connected with a clothesline at the same time.  Both rolled to their corners and it came down to Baszler and Shirai. The crowd roared as they met mid-ring wildly throwing forearms and chops.  Baszler went for a spinning back kick but Shirai caught the leg and snapped it downward.  She grapevine it to the mat and locked in a heel hook.

Baszler fought her off and went for a takedown but ate a DDT for a nearfall. Shirai slammed Baszler and went for her trademark Moonsault press but Baszler moved out of the way. Baszler laid into Shirai with hammer fists and went for a rear naked choke on the ground.  Shirai blocked it and kicked Baszler in the face.The two exchanged blows once again.  Baszler caught Shirai with a spinning back fist as she loaded up for a lariat.  Seeing her championship rival stunned, Baszler immediately locked in a sleeper choke.

Shirai tried to hang on but quickly went limp.  A stunned crowd watched on as the referee called for the bell giving Baszler’s team the stoppage victory.This was a huge win as very few had ever gotten such a decisive victory of any kind against Stardom’s ACE.

Photo: STARDOM

Main Event: Jungle Kyona & Hiroyo Matsumoto & Kaori Yoneyami defeated Wonder of Stardom Champion Kairi Hojo & Yoko Bito & Natsuko Tora in 15:05

Another excellent match, very similarly paced to the previous show’s main event in terms of being hard hitting and all action. Hojo got the jump on Kyona as the two would meet on 2/23 for the Wonder Championship.  She flung her across the ring by her hair then drove her into the corner with a shotgun dropkick.

She bent Kyona across her knee as Bito came off with a knee drop.  Tora finished the sequence with a top rope senton splash for a nearfall. Kyona ducked a clothesline and landed a Thesz Press with rapid fire punches.  She tagged in Matsumoto then delivered an inverted atomic drop.  Matsumoto landed a neckbreaker for a one count.

Matsumoto sent Tora into the corner and followed in with a forearm smash.  She tagged in Yoneyama and they hit a unique combination, another I’d never seen before:  A superplex into a powerbomb.  Had Bito not made the save, it very well could have ended there.

Yoneyama went for a rolling cradle but did so too close to Hojo who prevented the move with a chop to the throat.  Hojo tagged in and stomped on her downed opponent before dropping an elbow for a nearfall. Hojo wore Yoneyama down with a reverse bear hug; when Yoneyama began to stir, she stood up and delivered an overhead release German suplex.  She followed up with a sling blade for another nearfall.

Bito got the tag; she and Hojo delivered a Hart Attack on Yoneyama.  Yoneyama was worked over for several minutes by Bito until she answered a chop with one right to the face. It appeared she busted Bito’s nose open. She made the hot tag to Kyona who dished out bicycle kicks to Bito and Tora.  Hojo stood on the apron fuming.   Kyona hit a TKO on Bito for a nearfall.

Bito avoided a running boot and speared Kyona.  That’s when the action broke down. Bito caught Matsumoto coming off the top rope with a boot and delivered the B-Driver. Yoneyama was in next and delivered a Code Red to Bito. Tora leveled Matsumoto with a lariat.  Kyona delivered a Hammer Throw Powerbomb to Tora.

Bito tagged in Hojo and she went right for Kyona. Kyona  missed a bicycle kick and Hojo landed a sick sounding head butt.  She followed with a twisting Fisherman’s suplex for a nearfall. Hojo slammed Kyona and went up top; She came off with her patented diving elbow but Kyona got the knees up.  Kyona landed the bicycle kick followed by the Hammer Throw Powerbomb for the pinfall.

Final Thoughts:

Big thumbs up for this show. The final two matches alone established Baszler and Kyona as legitimate threats to Shirai and Hojo respectively.  Each of them have been spared parity booking that tends to water down title programs in other companies.Though she’s been losing a lot, Konami has benefited from always having a spirited showing.  She’s very much like Tomoaki Honma and Tomohiro Ishii in New Japan where eventually she’s going to hit pay dirt and the crowd will explode. I continue to enjoy the dominant force they’ve developed Kris Wolf into being. She has all the tools to go very far in the company.

What to watch:  if you’re strapped for time, a HIGH recommendation for the last two bouts of the show.

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