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Stardom Triangle Derby 2023: My Favorites

About a month after Stardom completed their 12th annual Goddesses of Stardom Tag League, the promotion has kick started their 13th year in operation with a completely new tournament. Dubbed the "Triangle Derby", this competition will see 14 top tier trios fight to earn a shot at the Artist of Stardom Championships, which are currently held by Hiragi Kurumi, Risa Sera, and Suzu Suzuki of Prominence.


In this blog, I'm going to talk about five teams, all of which I think have a real chance to win the first ever Triangle Derby. I will also include the full blocks down below. These picks will be listed in alphabetical order.

 

Abarenbo GE

Ami Sourei, MIRAI, Syuri
Blue Triangle
Pictured from left to right: Ami Sourei, Syuri, & MIRAI (@syuri_wv3s)

God's Eye's main trio lost a lot of momentum on December 29th, 2022 at Dream Queendom 2. Ami Sourei and MIRAI lost a three-way tag team match where the winning team would become the number one contenders for the Goddesses of Stardom Championships, and Syuri lost her World of Stardom Championship to Giulia after she held on to the belt for a full year. While all of that bad news might sink a lesser team, I don't see that happening to these three.


Look for "Abarenbo GE" to come into the Triangle Derby with a renewed sense of purpose and aggression. They've got a lot to prove going into 2023; can Syuri rebound from her heartbreaking loss to Giulia and will Ami Sourei and MIRAI be able to grow as a tag team? Luckily, I think they will have what it takes to do very well in this competition as they've got a lot of experience working with one another, and they're all individually tremendous athletes in the ring.


It won't be an easy road to this trio, however, as they'll have to contend against teams that feature within them some of the best tag teams in Stardom including FWC and MaiHime, but it stands to reason that the best teams don't fold in the face of strong competition. So if they're able to succeed against the best of the best, then there's little that can stop them.

 

MaiHime with C

Himeka, Lady C, Maika
Blue Triangle
Pictured from left to right: Lady C, Maika, & Himeka (Stardom)

Whenever there's a multi-woman competition that features Maika and Himeka teaming together, then you'd bet I'm always going to feature them on my favorites list. Not only are they my favorite tag team in all of Stardom, they're also one of the most successful. The former one-time Goddesses of Stardom Champions have always been one of the toughest teams to take out ever since they first linked up, so I couldn't see that change this go around.


Himeka and Maika won't be going it alone, of course, and in a surprise move they'll be teaming up with Queen's Quest member Lady C. This will make "MaiHime Plus C" the only squad in the Triangle Derby to feature wrestlers from two different factions, as Maika and Himeka are in Donna Del Mondo. This might give the three a bit of a disadvantage, but I actually think this won't factor too much in how they fair.


That's because Lady C has a pretty good relationship with these two. Before she joined QQ in early 2022, she teamed up quite often with Himeka as the awesomely named tag team "Sky Trees", so if they can reestablish that report, then they should do just fine. Along with Abarenbo GE, this team is one of the most physically imposing, and while Lady C hasn't had a ton of success in her career, her teammates certainly have. And that might be enough to push them far in this competition.

 

Power Passion Pineapple

Nanae Takahashi, Yuna Mizumori, Yuu
Red Triangle
Pictured from left to right: Yuna Mizumori, Nanae Takahashi, & Yuu (Stardom)

Fresh off winning both the Goddesses of Stardom Tag League and the Goddesses of Stardom Championships in late 2022, Nanae Takahashi and Yuu from the NEO Stardom Army are in a prime spot to take over another division in Stardom and win the first ever Triangle Derby. These two have ran through all their competition over the past couple months, notching victories over top tandems like FWC, Aphrodite, and meltear, so they'll be a tough out for sure.


Making things even more imposing for any team that's going to take them on is that Takahashi and Yuu found a terrific third partner to complete their trio, former Gatoh Move mainstay Yuna Mizumori. The 33-year-old hasn't wrestled too often in Stardom yet, having only made her debut for the promotion last year, but the freelancer has thoroughly proven that she can find success wherever she ends up wrestling.


But if there's one thing that can push Power Passion Pineapple over the top, it's that they have the perfect leader in Nanae Takahashi. Not only has she been wrestling longer than most wrestlers on the Stardom roster have been alive, but she's literally done it all. She was the first ever World of Stardom Champion. She's a three-time Goddesses of Stardom Champion. She's one of four women to have won the Tag League more than once. And she's brought in two fantastic partners to aid in her journey to take over Stardom just a little bit more.

 

Queen's Quest

AZM, Saya Kamitani, Utami Hayashishita
Red Triangle
Pictured from left to right: AZM, Utami Hayashishita, & Saya Kamitani (Stardom)

This inaugural Triangle Derby has a ton of talented teams, but none of them are drenched in as much gold right now than the main Queen's Quest trio, which is made up of High Speed Champion, AZM, Wonder of Stardom Champion, Saya Kamitani, and former World of Stardom Champion, Utami Hayashishita. While they have to wrestle the matches, of course, I don't think there's a more potentially dominant team in this tournament that this one.


The one thing that decrease this trio's chances of winning it all, however, is that because they are so successful right now, no team will want to take it easy against them. Even teams that find themselves out of contention early will still feel the need to give it their all, as a win over any of these three, but specifically the current title holders, could give them a future title shot. For instance, if Thekla from the Bari Bari Bombers pins AZM, she'll be in line for a High Speed Title match.


But knowing Queen's Quest, they already know that they have a target on their back, because they always have a target on their back. I mean, these three have combined to win not just every single championship Stardom has to offer, but they've also won every major tournament as well. So I have no doubt that these three have what it takes to be the first trio to win the Triangle Derby.

 

Rebel X Enemy

Maika Ozaki, Maya Yukihi, Ram Kaicho
Blue Triangle
Pictured from left to right: Ram Kaicho, Maya Yukihi, & Maika Ozaki (@MATSURICON666)

The final team I want to talk about today is another outsider squad. Rebel X Enemy is actually a four-woman faction that works primarily in the Independent Joshi scene. The crew that is set to compete in this year's Triangle Derby will feature Ram Kaicho, Maika Ozaki, and perhaps most exciting of all, Maya Yukihi.


Starting with Kaicho, the diminutive veteran has appeared a few times in Stardom over the past year, specifically in both the "New Blood" and "Stardom in Showcase" series. Since making her Stardom debut, she's actually had quite a bit of success. Over the seven matches she took part in last year, she finished with four victories, including one with one of her teammates here, Maika Ozaki.


Ozaki comes into this competition with limited exposure to a Stardom crowd as well. In fact, before this tournament began, she had only taken part in one match inside a Stardom ring, which was that aforementioned victory along with Kaicho. The 31-year-old has been one of the best wrestlers outside of Stardom for a few years now, especially in tag team wrestling. Over her career, she's won tag titles four times across three different promotions, in fact she currently holds one half of the 666 Locomotive Class Championships along with her main tag team partner, the great Maya Yukihi.


Fans who might only watch Stardom might not know much about Maya Yukihi, but for those who have ventured out of Stardom and into the Joshi Independent scene will know exactly how special she is. The eight-year vet has been one of the best talents in all of Japan, let alone in Joshi for quite a while now. She's a former OZ Academy Openweight Champion, a former Triangle Ribbon Champion, and perhaps most impressively, she's a former two-time ICExInfinity Champion. Interestingly enough, her second run as champ ended when she lost it to one-third of the current Artist of Stardom Champions, Suzu Suzuki. Suffice to say, I'm super excited to see Yukihi perform in a Stardom ring.


With all that being said, this crew has displayed through their past successes that they are more than qualified and able to win this tournament and perhaps even beat Prominence to win the belts themselves.

 

Red Triangle

  • H&M – Hanan, Mayu Iwatani, & Momo Kohgo

  • Queen’s Quest – AZM, Saya Kamitani, & Utami Hayashishita

  • Cosmic Angels – Natsupoi, SAKI, & Tam Nakano

  • Bari Bari Bombers – Giulia, Mai Sakurai, & Thekla

  • Unique Glare – Haruka Umesaki, Ruaka, & Starlight Kid

  • Power Passion Pineapple – Nanae Takahashi, Yuna Mizumori, & Yuu

  • Club Venus – Mariah May, Mina Shirakawa, & Xia Brookside

Blue Triangle

  • Abarenbo GE – Ami Sourei, MIRAI, & Syuri

  • Classmates – Hazuki, Koguma & Saya Iida

  • MaiHime with C – Himeka, Lady C, & Maika

  • Lollipop – Rina Amikura, Waka Tsukiyama, Yuko Sakurai

  • Prominence – Hiragi Kurumi, Risa Sera, & Suzu Suzuki

  • Oedo Tai – Momo Watanabe, Natsuko Tora, & Saki Kashima

  • Rebel x Enemy – Maika Ozaki, Maya Yukihi, & Ram Kaicho

 

BONUS MATCH: Maya Yukihi vs. Suzu Suzuki for the ICExInifinity Championship (Ice Ribbon, 8/9/2020)

 

Special thanks to WhoScored, Transfermarkt, Baseball Reference, Baseball Savant, Fangraphs, Cagematch, and 1.02.JP for helping make me a more well-informed fan.


Featured Image Credit - Stardom





Contact me at either AndrewSoS@protonmail.com or @SoSBaseball on Twitter if you want to collaborate!

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