Stardom Gold Rush 2022 Predictions
Updated: Dec 7, 2022
On Saturday, November 19th, one day before they co-produce the highly anticipated "Historic X-over" event with brother promotion New Japan Pro Wrestling, Stardom will invade the Edion Arena Osaka in Osaka, Japan for their Gold Rush pay-per-view. The evening's card will include two Goddesses of Stardom Tag League contests and a mini-trios competition called the "Moneyball Tournament" before culminating in three matches for Stardom's top singles titles.
So I thought I'd throw my hat into the ring and give my predictions for all nine matches set to take place at this event. If this goes well and I don't look like a total buffoon after the show ends, maybe I'll preview more shows like this in the future.
Pre Show Three Way Tag
Queen's Quest (Lady C & Miyu Amasaki) vs. STARS (Momo Kohgo & Saya Iida) vs. Oedo Tai (Natsuko Tora & Ruaka)
This match seems pretty cut and dry to me. Of the three teams set to clash in this pre-show bout, only Oedo Tai's Natsuko Tora and Ruaka, known collectively as "BMI2000", are also competing in the ongoing Goddesses of Stardom Tag League, where they've already earned wins over top teams like FWC and MaiHime. Because of this, I'd be shocked if Tora and Ruaka don't leave Osaka without the win.
Prediction: BMI2000 (Natsuko Tora and Ruaka)
Was I Right? YES (1-0)
Goddesses of Stardom Tag League
MaiHime (Himeka & Maika) vs. 7Upp (Nanae Takahashi & YUU)
Two goliaths in the Goddess of Stardom Tag League are set to take each other on in a match that could have massive implications by the end of the competition. MaiHime currently sit on four points (two wins, one loss) after three matches, while 7Upp sport three (one win, one draw) after two.
Fans of hard hitting "hoss" matches will love this one. Maika and Himeka are two of the best powerhouses in all of Stardom, and Nanae Takahashi and YUU are similarly fantastic in the same style. The Stardom invaders, however, have the benefit of being a bit of a mysterious element in this Tag League, as neither of them are full-time roster members.
If there's one thing that separates these two, however, it's each duo's experience working together. Maika and Himeka have been tagging regularly for around two years to this point, and they've even been former Goddesses of Stardom Champions, albeit over a year and a half ago. Nanae and YUU, on the other hand, might be more powerful as a raw duo, but they don't quite have the synergy that would put them over the top. So because of that, give my MaiHime to win in around 12 to 13 minutes.
Prediction: MaiHime (Maika & Himeka)
Was I Right? YES (2-0)
Goddesses of Stardom Tag League
Black Desire (Momo Watanabe & Starlight Kid) vs. We Love Tokyo Sports! (Fukigen Death & Saki Kashima)
Following that "hoss" fest, we arrive to what will surely be another intriguing Tag League contest, this time pitting two teams from the same faction. Black Desire and We Love Tokyo Sports! have not had the most success in this year's competition so far, but it's not for the lack of trying.
Black Desire have had a pretty difficult run so far, but to only take one point out of a possible six should be definitely disappointing for both partners, but especially Momo Watanabe, who is one of three women to have won this competition more than once. On the other hand, Fukigen Death and Saki Kashima currently sport two points after they notched a win over the aforementioned Mai Fair Lady.
Obviously, it would be hilarious if Saki Kashima hit her devastating "Kishikaisei" to give her team a massive victory and leaving Momo and SLK to shake their heads once again, but I think sanity will prevail and Black Desire will earn a crucial win and two points.
Prediction: Black Desire (Momo Watanabe & Starlight Kid)
Was I Right? YES (3-0)
Moneyball Tournament Semi Final
STARS (Hazuki, Koguma, & Mayu Iwatani) vs. God's Eye (Ami Sourei, MIRAI, & Tomoka Inaba)
The first of a three-match series, this Moneyball Tournament semi final match will see three of STARS' top talents, Mayu Iwatani, Hazuki, and Koguma, take on three from God's Eye, Tomoka Inaba, Ami Sourei, and MIRAI, in a match where the winner will compete in a Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match later in the show for a cash prize of 10 Million Yen, or around 70 Thousand USD.
This match could go either way, if you ask me, but I'm going to go with STARS to win. Not only does this trio feature a more experienced tag team in Hazuki and Koguma, as well as the GOAT herself, Mayu Iwatani, but these three actually reached the final of last year's 10 Million Yen tournament, where they eventually lost in a ladder match to MaiHimePoi, a team that doesn't even exist anymore.
I know this will probably absolutely Mayu as she stated she's become terrified of heights since the now famous STARS vs. Queen's Quest cage match back in June, but she along with Hazuki and Koguma will reach the final.
Prediction: STARS (Hazuki, Koguma, and Mayu Iwatani)
Was I Right? YES (4-0)
Moneyball Tournament Semi Final
Donna Del Mondo (Giulia, Mai Sakurai, & Thekla) vs. Cosmic Angels (Natsupoi, Tam Nakano, & Waka Tsukiyama)
The other semi final match will see Giulia, Mai Sakurai, and Thekla from Donna Del Mondo take on Natsupoi, Tam Nakano, and Waka Tsukiyama from Cosmic Angels. These two factions famously hate each other, and have for about as long as anyone can remember. In fact, two of the wrestlers in this contest, Mai Sakurai and Natsupoi, were once in the other unit. Mai Sakurai was seduced to join DDM back in the Spring, and Natsupoi infamously betrayed Giulia to join Cosmic Angels over the summer.
With all that being said, look for this match to be filled with heat and energy. While there is a substantial cash prize to be won if they reach the finals of this mini tournament, I wouldn't be surprised if these six will focus less on that and more on destroying the other side.
Picking a winner for this contest is pretty cut and dry, if you ask me. While everyone loves Waka Tsukiyama for her never say die attitude, she's yet to win a single match. And unfortunately for all the Waka fans, I don't see her changing that in this match. Donna Del Mondo will win and advance to the finals later in the show.
Prediction: Donna Del Mondo (Giulia, Mai Sakurai, and Thekla)
Was I Right? YES (5-0)
Moneyball Tournament Final (Tables, Ladders, and Chairs)
Based off my predictions for the semi final matches, the finals of the Moneyball Tournament will feature Hazuki, Koguma, and Mayu Iwatani from STARS and Giulia, Mai Sakurai, and Thekla from Donna Del Mondo. These six will compete in one last trios contest where the winner will receive 10 Million Yen. All they have to do is survive Stardom's first ever Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match.
The advantage for this match remains to be seen because we won't know how much wear and tear each wrestler has going into the contest, but as it stands right now, the edge definitively belongs to STARS. Those three women have proven time and time again that they can hang in crazy and hectic matches like this in the past. They famously beat Queen's Quest in the first ever 6-woman steel cage match back in June, and they nearly won a ladder match together last year to win another 10 Million Yen.
This time, I think STARS will edge out a Donna Del Mondo trio that lacks much experience in gimmick matches, let alone in trios matches, and win the jackpot.
Prediction: STARS (Hazuki, Koguma, and Mayu Iwatani)
Was I Right? YES (6-0)
High Speed Championship
AZM (c) vs. Momoka Hanazono
AZM has had one of the best High Speed title reigns in recent memory. She's not only taken on and successfully defended the belt seven times, two less than Mayu Iwatani's record nine from her 501 day reign, but she's done so against a wide variety of different challengers. While she's beaten most of Stardom's defined High Speed division including Natsupoi, Koguma, and Hazuki, she's also survived the likes of Rina, Momo Kohgo, and Mei Suruga as well.
Enter Momoka Hanazono, the10th different woman to attempt to take the belt from AZM. The freelancer has raised her profile quite a bit in 2022, thanks in large part to her strong performances in Stardom's "New Blood" series. While she has yet to earn her first W in Stardom, she has found great success elsewhere, especially in OZ Academy where she's the company's Pioneer Champion.
While I'm not sure if this match will be as incredible as AZM's previous defense against the last Stardom outsider to take her on, Mei Suruga, I am confident that this will be fun. Not only that, but I'm positive that the "High Speed Bomb Girl" will notch another defense under her belt as she continues her race to 300 days with her title.
Was I Right? YES (7-0)
Wonder of Stardom Championship
Saya Kamitani (c) vs. KAIRI
Similar to her fellow Queen's Quest teammate, Saya Kamitani will also make it to the Edion Arena Osaka on the 19th looking to continue her equally impressive reign with the Wonder of Stardom Championship. The "Golden Phoenix" first won the White Belt way back at the Stardom Dream Queendom event last December, and on November 3rd, she became the fourth woman to notch 10 successful defenses after she beat Mina Shirakawa in what ended up being a brutal contest.
Of those 10 defenses, Kamitani has beaten some big stars like Natsupoi, Utami Hayashishita, Tam Nakano, Maika, and Starlight Kid. However, while all those opponents are all terrific and worthy of a chance for the strap, none of them stack up to the competitor set to challenge Kamitani on the 19th.
There are few words that can adequate describe just how special KAIRI has been during her Stardom career. Since she made her debut in 2011, KAIRI, formerly known both as Kairi Hojo and Kairi Sane, has done just about everything in the promotion. She's a former World of Stardom Champion, Goddesses of Stardom Champion, and Artist of Stardom Champion. She won the 5STAR Grand Prix back in 2015, and she won the Goddesses of Stardom Tag League in 2014 and 2016. She was even a part of the fabled "Threedom" quasi-faction along with Mayu Iwatani and Io Shirai.
But above everything else, KAIRI's greatest legacy in Stardom is that she's one of the greatest Wonder of Stardom champions in that belt's storied history. The "Pirate Princess" held the title one time, from May 15th, 2016 to May 14th, 2017, and during that year, she fended off Stardom royalty like Viper, Hazuki, Jungle Kyona, and Hana Kimura before eventually losing to Mayu Iwatani. For many, KAIRI's reign truly put the Wonder of Stardom belt on the map, not just as a worthy belt to challenge for, but as a title that today lives at or near the same level of importance as the World of Stardom strap.
With KAIRI celebrating her 10th anniversary in wrestling this year, the story is crystal clear for me, KAIRI is destined to win her beloved Wonder of Stardom belt. And while that means that Saya Kamitani's reign will end, I think that she's done just about everything she can do with the title.
Was I Right? NO (7-1)
World of Stardom Championship
Syuri (c) vs. Utami Hayashishita
Capping off this incredible event, the reigning and defending World of Stardom Champion, Syuri, will take on one of her greatest adversaries, the former World of Stardom Champion, Utami Hayashishita, in a match that carries an incredible legacy.
Since September 19th, 2020, these two Stardom titans have fought in six singles clashes. Over that span, Syuri has two wins, one draw, and three losses against the leader of Queen's Quest. In World of Stardom Title matches, however, these two are deadlocked at one win a piece. Not only that, but both title clashes they've had, first on June 12th, 2021 and second on December 29th, 2021, are on the shortlist for greatest matches of the 21st century, regardless of gender.
While Syuri has nothing more to prove as Stardom's top champion, as I'd put her run with the Red Belt right toward the top of greatest reigns with the strap in the promotion's history, there is but one white whale remaining for her to slay, and that is to beat Utami Hayashishita while holding the World of Stardom Championship. The only other time these two wrestled while Syuri was champ was on July 31st, during the 5STAR Grand Prix. Not only could Syuri not defeat Utami, but somehow, she lost, which all but guaranteed this matchup in the process. If Syuri wants to stake her claim as the greatest champion in Stardom's history, she'll need to win this. And luckily for her, I think she will. Not just because I think Syuri deserves it, but because there's one person who should beat her more than even Utami.
But that conversation is for another day.
Was I Right? YES (8-1)
Special thanks to WhoScored, Transfermarkt, Baseball Reference, Baseball Savant, Fangraphs, Cagematch, and 1.02.JP for helping make me a more well-informed fan.
All images come from Stardom
Contact me at either AndrewSoS@protonmail.com or @SoSBaseball on Twitter if you want to collaborate!