Updated: May 4
This weekend, Stardom will attempt to do the extraordinary when they hold their first ever All Star Grand Queendom show inside the famed Yokohama Arena in Yokohama, Japan. This event will include 11 matches and feature not only the best talents within Stardom, but around the Joshi scene and beyond.
It cannot be understated how massive this show is going to be, not only for the fastest growing promotion in Japan, but women's wrestling in general. This event will mark the first time a wrestling card that includes only women will fill an arena as large as the Yokohama Arena in a generation, and will also be one of the rare times where English commentary will be made available, meaning this show could serve as the perfect introduction for potential fans around the world.
So because of this show's significance, I felt it would be malpractice for me, a massive Stardom fan and writer, to not write a preview for a show that could end up being a turning point for the promotion moving forward.
With that being said, I don't want to muddy this preview up with full predictions on each match or we'd be here forever. So, here are some of my quick predictions before we get to the main event.
While none of us have any idea who will appear in the Yokohama Battle Royale beyond Momoe Nakanishi, I believe Ram Kaicho will compete and win the match. If not her, give me Mai Sakurai. (1-0)
I've got Miyu Amasaki and former World of Stardom Champion Utami Hayashishita beating part-time wrestler Fuwa-chan and Hazuki in what should be another fun showcase for the popular Japanese YouTuber. (2-0)
This next match could go either way, but I have Club Venus' Jessie, Mariah May, and Xena, along with Donna Del Mondo's Thekla, to beat Oedo Tai's Momo Watanabe, Natsuko Tora, Ruaka, and Saki Kashima. Club Venus could definitely use the momentum after they fully separated from Cosmic Angels this past week. (2--1)
Another close match will feature AZM and Mei Suruga, my dream team, taking on Starlight Kid and Mei Seira, a woman who I vividly remember watching wrestle a couple years ago as Mei Hoshizuki. I'm super stoked to see her in a ring again, but I believe AZM and Mei Suruga will come out victorious. (2-2)
And finally in a battle between two absolute phenoms, Chihiro Hashimoto and Syuri, I almost took the upset. But I think Syuri could definitely take the big win. That is unless Hashimoto decides to stick around, which would be awesome. (3-2)
Without further ado, let's dive into the six matches I've decided to spotlight in this preview for Stardom's All Star Grand Queendom!
Himeka's Retirement Match
Himeka vs. Maika
I'm not gonna lie, I'm a little bit disappointed that this match is currently rumored to happen fifth from the bottom, in between the high-speed tag team showcase and the Goddesses of Stardom Championship match we'll talk about momentarily. Not only will this be the first singles match pitting best friends and tag team partners, Himeka and Maika, since their hard-hitting banger from the 2022 5STAR Grand Prix, but it will also serve as Himeka's final match of her Stardom career.
I'm genuinely not emotionality prepared for this match. Not only is Himeka one of my favorite wrestlers on the Stardom roster and has been since the start of 2021, but her tag team with Maika has been one of my favorites in the wrestling scene. For those of you who've followed this blog over the past year, you'll know that I even named MaiHime as my personal pick to win the Goddesses of Stardom Tag League. I always felt that MaiHime was due a long run with the Black Star belts, as their lone reign from 2021 lasted a mere 49 days, good for the third briefest run in the title's history. Sadly, however, this duo's legacy will exist only in the hearts and minds of those who enjoyed watching these two brilliant hosses battle against the likes of FWC, Alto Livello KABALIWAN, and other incredible duos.
Nevertheless, let's get into this match.
As is tradition in pro wrestling, I whole-heartedly believe that Himeka will conclude her entertaining career on her back, thus honoring both her best friend and the business of pro wrestling all together. And while there are many matches on this card that could win match of the night honors, I wouldn't be surprised if MaiHime's final ride ends up right at the top of my list come the end of the night. And with a tear in my eye, it will be time to bid farewell to the Jumbo Princess.
I was RIGHT (4-2)
Goddesses of Stardom Championship
7Upp (Nanae Takahashi & Yuu) (c) vs. The New Eras (Ami Sourei & MIRAI)
If you're a fan of hard hitting hoss tag team action, then this match should definitely be on your radar. This contest will see Nanae Takahashi and Yuu of 7Upp attempt to defend their Goddesses of Stardom Championships for the third time against Ami Sourei and MIRAI of The New Eras.
Some fans might not be too enthused to have a pair of part-time freelancers hold the Goddesses of the Stardom belts right now, but I think that 7Upp have held the titles with a great deal of pride. Takahashi is Stardom royalty, as she was arguably the first or second ace in the company's history, depending on who you ask. And Yuu is a widely respected, uber talented competitor in her own right, albeit it should be said that if she had to win the tag belts in Stardom, part of me would've loved her to win along with her main tag partner, Chihiro Hashimoto.
On the other side of the ring, you have The New Eras, made up of reigning and defending Future of Stardom champion, Ami Sourei, who did the impossible a few months ago when she took the belt from it's greatest champ, Hanan, and MIRAI, who became the second Stardom wrestler in history to win the Cinderella Tournament earlier this month. We haven't learned which title she has decided to go for, as the Cinderella Tournament winner receives a free shot at any belt, but why can't she go into that future match without some old already around her waist?
I'm willing to accept that 7Upp will leave the Yokohama Arena as the Goddesses of Stardom champions, but I can't help but hope that The New Eras come out on top. With MaiHime folding as a tag team because Himeka is retiring, I would love to see booker Rossy Ogawa pull the trigger and create a new top tier tag team in their place. Sourei and MIRAI might not be at the tippy top of the card right now, but they are believable as a top tandem act based on their imposing size and strength alone.
With that being said, part of me is a bit worried that if they were to lose the titles, nothing is really keeping Takahashi and Yuu in Stardom, at least until the 5STAR and Tag League later in the year, but what better time would it be for an act like 7Upp to kickstart a little break than on the biggest show of the year?
Honestly the more I think about it, the more I truly believe that a win for The New Eras is the choice I would make if I had the power to do so.
Prediction: The New Eras (Ami Sourei & MIRAI)
I was RIGHT (5-2)
Artist of Stardom Championship
Prominence (Hiragi Kurumi, Risa Sera, & Suzu Suzuki) (c) vs. REstart (KAIRI, Natsupoi, & Saori Anou)
Going from one outsider act that currently holds gold in Stardom to another, Prominence will look to continue their awesome run with the Artist of Stardom belts at All Star Grand Queendom in a match against a newly minted trio that has completely peaked my interest. Of course, I'm referring to KAIRI, Natsupoi, and Saoru Anou, who are known collectively as "REstart."
Hiragi Kurumi, Risa Sera, and Suzu Suzuki may not have had too many matches as the reigning Artist of Stardom champions since they beat Momo Watanabe, Saki Kashima, and Starlight Kid for them at Dream Queendom 2 in December, but each of their defenses so far have been against quality opponents. They first defeated Ami Sourei, MIRAI, and Syuri on March 4th in a match that served as both a title defense and the finals of the inaugural Triangle Derby. And then on April 2nd, they edged out the uber trio from Queen's Quest, made up of group leader Utami Hayashishita, Wonder of Stardom champion Saya Kamitani, and High Speed champ AZM. So it's safe to say that no trio intimidates this death match trio.
With that being said, Prominence's next challengers, REstart, features two women with lengthy histories with the title. Cosmic Angels' new second in command Natsupoi was at one time a part of the best AoS title holding team in Stardom's history, that being MaiHimePoi. She along with Himeka and Maika held the straps for a whopping 237 days, during which they set the new record for most successful defenses at seven. Suffice to say, Poi knows what it takes to get it done in this division, but she isn't even the most dangerous of the three.
That title would go to KAIRI, who is not only one of the most well-known women's wrestlers on the planet, but is also one of the most decorated wrestlers in Stardom's history. She is a four-time Artist of Stardom champion, and while none of her reigns were as spectacular as Poi's, she does hold the distinction of holding said belts with a combined eight different partners over her reigns so far. Easily her most notable reign with the titles was her third reign in 2016 when she held the belts with Io Shirai and Mayu Iwatani. For long-time Stardom fans, you'll know that the "Threedom" faction was easily the most dominant force Stardom has ever seen as there was a time during their run where they held each belt Stardom had.
Natsupoi and KAIRI will be joined in their attempt for the belts by the newest member of the Cosmic Angels, Saori Anou. The freelancer is the latest top Joshi star to join the Stardom associates roster, having previously held gold in places like OZ Academy, Actwres girl'z, and Ice Ribbon, where she recently reigned as their world champion. Like other recent arrivals Maya Yukihi, Ram Kaicho, and Maika Ozaki, Anou has a lengthy history competing against the Prominence members, so she will be a good matchup against the champs.
This is a tough call to make because I've enjoyed Prominence's reign with the trios belts, but I think that if Stardom wants to make REstart a thing moving forward, they should take the titles. With that being said, I hope that if Prominence does lose, they don't then leave Stardom for an extended period. They've been a massive success in the promotion as far as I'm concerned, and I don't want their run to end anytime soon.
Prediction: REstart (KAIRI, Natsupoi, & Saori Anou)
I was RIGHT (6-2)
IWGP Women's Championship
Mercedes Mone (c) vs. Mayu Iwatani
Mercedes Mone's renaissance in Japan has been brief, but it's been tremendously fun to watch so far. Not only has her in-ring work been terrific, especially in her recent three-way clash against AZM and Hazuki at New Japan's "Sakura Genesis" show, but her character work has been some of the best of her entire career, perhaps even better than when she was in NXT. And if all of that wasn't good enough, Mercedes looks like she's having a blast so far.
With all that being said, Mone has never faced a force of nature quite like Mayu Iwatani. The Icon of Stardom is quite simply the perfect wrestler. She can wrestle on the ground, she's got crisp striking, and she might be the best flyer in women's wrestling. Above all else, however, she lacks whatever evolutionary DNA strand that codes self-preservation. She's able to undergo massive amounts of damage all to somehow stand up and keep fighting, much in the way Michael Myers used to in the "Halloween" movies.
If Iwatani is able to unlock her undead state, I don't know if Mone has the ability to outlast what comes after that. I don't know if she'd survive any one of Mayu's devilish finishing maneuvers she saves for major title matches like this. She could use her Moonsault, that wicked Standing Dragon Sleeper, or even her Two Stage Dragon Suplex to bankrupt The CEO and win the IWGP Women's Championship.
I'm not so sure that will happen, to be honest, but I hope it does! One argument I could see in regards to Mone winning is that she could fly over to Toronto and challenge Jamie Hayter to a dream match at Forbidden Door 2. But with that said, as someone who's planning on going to that show, I'd like to see Mayu in that spot. And moreover, I'd like to see the Icon of Stardom and my favorite women's wrestler of all time hold another top belt in this industry. If she was to win, she would hold the distinction of being the only woman to have held the top title in Stardom, New Japan, and Ring of Honor.
Nevertheless, no matter who wins, I'm sure this will be an incredible clash and a potential match of the night!
Prediction: Mayu Iwatani
I was RIGHT (7-2)
Wonder of Stardom Championship
Saya Kamitani (c) vs. Mina Shirakawa
By the time this match happens, Saya Kamitani will have been the reigning and defending Wonder of Stardom Champion for a whopping 480 days. Over the past year plus, Kamitani has defended the belt against some tough competition including Natsupoi, Utami Hayashishita, Tam Nakano, KAIRI, and most recently Hazuki, on her way to both elevating her own status in the promotion as well as the White Belt itself. Her reign is already the second longest in history, and recently eclipsed Momo Watanabe's reign in 2018-19 for most successful defenses, with 15.
That being said, I think that Kamitani will be in for her toughest defense to date since her match with KAIRI back in November because there is something almost undeniable about Mina Shirakawa's race back to this rematch. Many of you will remember that the last time Mina challenged Saya for the belt, she was pulverized in the end by a misplaced Phoenix Splash which saw her faced rearranged not unlike a Picasso painting.
Since then, Shirakawa has completely updated everything about herself. She's changed her look, became more visible as a leader with the creation of the Club Venus sub-faction, and most recently, she and Club Venus, along with Waka Tsukiyama, left C.A. to begin their new path as a new independent unit. Suffice to say, she's ready to stake her claim as a new top name in Stardom if she is able to defeat the most dominant White Belt champion of all time.
And I think that she will be successful. Much like how Tam Nakano was successful in her first title attempt after she split Cosmic Angels away from STARS, I think Mina Shirakawa will also be able to win in her first try since doing the same for Club Venus. This will also free Kamitani for her potential future challenge for the World of Stardom Championship down the road.
Prediction: Mina Shirakawa
I was RIGHT (8-2)
World of Stardom Championship
Giulia (c) vs. Tam Nakano
Much of why Giulia's red belt reign has been as good as it is so far is because there's been a running theme with her matches. She first won the Red Belt back at Dream Queendom 2 in December after she beat her former best friend and tag team partner Syuri. She then successfully defended her belt against two women, both whom had beef with her thanks to events that didn't even happen in Stardom; first Suzu Suzuki and later Maya Yukihi. If you haven't already, check out both of those matches, as they're both terrific, especially Giulia's first defense against wrestling's most violent protege Suzu Suzuki. It certainly pays to have so many enemies when you're at the top of the food chain.
So it shouldn't be any surprise that Giulia's next defense, will be against her greatest career rival, Tam Nakano. It would take way too long for me to adequately explain the entire history of this beef, as it's been one of the most well defined rivalries in all of wrestling for over three years now, but suffice to say that Stardom's inner story cannot be written without sparing several pages on Giulia vs. Tam.
These two have had so many legendary matches and moments. From their classic bout from March of 2021 which saw Tam Nakano become the Wonder of Stardom and Giulia the recipient of a buzzcut to their intense multi-woman elimination tag match from last summer, which ended when Natsupoi turned on Giulia to join Nakano and Cosmic Angels. And while most of the key story notes so far have seen Nakano come out on top in some form or fashion, Giulia has continued to find success.
With that being said, however, both competitors come into this event at vastly different trajectories. Giulia comes into Yokohama Arena with a healthy faction, albeit Himeka's retirement will lower their membership to just four, but also with a lot of her own momentum thanks to her recent title defenses. Nakano, on the other hand, shows up to All Star Grand Queendom having just experienced the worst exodus from Cosmic Angels in it's history after both Mina Shirakawa and Waka Tsukiyama left to make Club Venus an officially separate faction, just as Nakano did to Mayu Iwatani and STARS three years ago.
I think that because there's a lot of drama going on in Nakano's own house, that could severely affect her focus and ability when she battles Giulia for the greatest prize in women's wrestling. And because of that, I think that Giulia will be the lone wrestler to retain her title and Nakano will be forced to try again in the future.
Nevertheless, I think this match will rule.
I was WRONG (8-3)
Featured Image Credit - Monthlypuroresu.com
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