Stardom vs. Tokyo Joshi Pro Wrestling: A Dream Card From Japan

Several weeks ago now, Starlight Kid, Stardom, went on public record and said that she wished that Tokyo Joshi Pro Wrestling could have participated in the New Blood show and hopes that they can in the future. Her desire to compete against the women in Tokyo Joshi Pro gave me an idea.

What kind of matches could we see if TJPW and Stardom had a joint show together? I know that Rossy seemed open to the idea, however, he expressed a desire that it be held in a neutral way with a neutral promotor. With that in mind, I decided that I would go ahead and put together some dream matches between the two promotions!

Promoter For Stardom Vs Tokyo Joshi Pro Wrestling: Kyoko Kimura

R.02bed03beb719d08fcb81eea7f6f9bf5
Kyoko Kimura with her late daughter Hana Kimura

Now, who would I choose to promote such a show? Well, the answer is none other than Kyoko Kimura. Kyoko produced and promoted two highly successful shows in remembrance of her late daughter Hana, which I highly encourage you all to check out on FiteTV. With how successful both shows were, I would love to see Kyoko produce and promote a potential dream showdown between Stardom and TJPW.

With our promotor chosen, let’s get into the fun part, shall we? Here we go folks, my dream matches for a potential Stardom vs Tokyo Joshi Pro show!

Giulia vs Marika Kobashi

Giulia vs Marika

Giulia definitely has the “IT Factor”. Her presence is powerful. So much so, that her in-ring ability is a little underwhelming when you put that up against everything else she commands. She is a major force within the Stardom universe & any time she’s in a program, it always feels like a huge deal. Her title run with the White Belt made that championship feel like the most important title in the company & she defended it well throughout her run. Her year-long program with Tam was magnificent. Even in the height of COVID when shows were shut down, Giulia & Tam continued their feud over social media, with the best part coming when Giulia mocked Tam’s “spacey” demeanor in her Twitter videos.

While Marika is not necessarily the best in-ring worker, she is definitely one of the most fun performers in TJPW. She did take an extended absence from wrestling and that time away may have hampered her development. The fact that she has returned tells me she loves her profession and is serious about pro-wrestling. Which is nice, particularly with so many Joshi retiring so early. I think the best part about her is her gal gimmick, she looks amazing, has a great-looking leg drop, and is one of the few to make the repeated chops actually look good as well.

I picked Giulia to take on Marika Kobashi because I felt that she would bring out the best in Marika. Yes, Marika has two years more experience than Giulia, but Giulia is a much better performer than Marika is.

AZM vs Yuki Kamifuku

AZM vs Kamifuku

Azumi, or AZM, is the longest-tenured member of the unit Queen’s Quest and has been wrestling since she was eleven years old! She’s widely considered to be a prodigy in the Joshi world, with her matches against Starlight Kid being some of the best matches in Stardom. Perhaps the most intriguing part of this is that she is still 19 years old with a long career ahead of her.

Yuki Kamifuku is a former International Princess Champion and 10 years the senior of AZM. Kamifuku is really tall for a Joshi wrestler and makes great use of her incredible physique in almost all her moves; the majority of which look amazing. Maybe not the best pure wrestle; but I like so much else about her. Her gimmick is pretty cool, no doubt coming from her time growing up in the USA.

A match between these two would be a lot of fun for me, personally. What Kamifuku lacks in the ring, Azumi can more than make up for it and she could carry the match if she needed to. I don’t think Yuki really needs carrying per say, but of the entire Stardom roster, AZM would be the best match for her.

Mayu Iwatani vs Raku

Mayu vs Raku

Mayu Iwatani was one of the first wrestlers of whom I became a huge fan. She was, by all accounts, the least promising rookie from Stardom’s original class, yet after 11 years, she is the only one left in the company. Not only that, but she has been the ace for years. Over the last two or so years, she has surpassed Io Shirai as the best wrestler in the history of the promotion. Tomohiro Ishii is the only active wrestler that I would say is a better seller. There are very few who have taken crazier bumps for otherwise routine spots. It’s difficult to think of a more natural babyface.

It is so refreshing to have an ace of a puro fed like Mayu Iwatani. In the sea of stoic good match wrestlers “Stardom Icon” stands out so much. Goofy airhead and brave fighter at the same time, Mayu feels more like a shonen protagonist than your typical puro ace. She is a very versatile performer and can be effective on any spot on a card. Grumpy veteran, ace champion, tag team specialist, vulnerable babyface, or a mean dickhead who enjoys hurting people that left or betrayed her a little too much – Iwatani plays every role perfectly.

Raku is a wrestler who is absolutely perfect for the role that she plays in the promotion that she works in, even if she wouldn’t do all that well in most other promotions, Joshi or otherwise. She has a perfect blend of endearing babyface sympathy and goofy absurdity that is unlike anyone else in wrestling. Could she stand to improve in the ring’ Of course, and I think it’s likely that she’ll continue to do so. But for now, she’s memorable, entertaining, and easy to cheer for, and that’s all I really want out of my wrestling. Most of her moves are great, fun to watch and she executes them to perfection, her slingblade is the best in the game and I adore how she names her moveset after trains. She didn’t strike me as someone who was into wrestling at first, but in the last year she’s won me over and she’s quickly become one of my favorites in TJPW.

Can you think of anyone in Stardom who could get a better match out of Raku than Mayu Iwatani? I sure as shit can’t. Mayu Iwatani is the GOAT of Stardom, she’s done and won it all, quite literally. No matter who she is in the ring against, Mayu Iwatani can do more for that person’s career in one match than anyone not named Io Shirai or Aja Kong. Raku could be one of the best in TJPW someday, but she needs that one big match to really put her over. Mayu Iwatani could and should be that match.

Natsupoi vs Pom Harajuku

Poi vs Pom

Natsupoi is an exceptional in-ring performer, this should not even be disputed. Only a few can do what she is capable of. She’s one of my favorite wrestlers for a good reason. She’s probably the most athletic wrestler in Joshi wrestling. She shows it off a lot, even when unnecessary. But that’s not a bad thing. That’s what wrestling is about sometimes, showing off. The problem we have here is that due to her athleticism, her mat wrestling is pretty average but she is improving in that area. I could never do what she does so I can’t take anything away from her. She clearly is an expert and knows what she’s doing. She’s winning those matches. The company had good faith in her to let her carry the High Speed belt for so long. She also has a great personality, character, and good social media presence.

Pom Harajuku is hard to rate as her in-ring ability is deliberately performed to make her look weak/silly which I actually think requires a lot of skill. Watch her long enough though and you will see some cool moves and she is fun to watch. Harajuku fashion is also pretty cool so I really like her gimmick. I like her shin kicks; kicks to the shin definitely hurt so it is an effective offense at least, and she often finds new ways to get them in. Pom is a fun wrestler to watch. She’s got a very unique look. She’s entertaining, especially in multi-woman matches.

Okay, this one might be a bit of a reach for a ‘dream match’ but I really want to see what Pom would do against someone as skilled and fast as Natsupoi is. I love Pom and I find her really entertaining, but there’s just something truly special about Natsupoi. She’s one of the most consistently fun performers in Stardom and I think she could bring out the best in Pom.

Saya Kamitani vs Hikari Noa

Saya vs Hikari

2022 has been the year everyone has waited for with Saya. Her white belt reign has been fantastic and should, when over, be one of the best. All the flaws she had a year ago are gone and there is never any more concern as to whether she will step up to the plate when put in a prominent position. And considering she is STILL not even 3 years in, she is still only going to get better.

Her matches work perfectly. There is no overuse of moves and unnecessary drama. The beginnings of her matches aren’t boring, then her moves deliver the effect of being important and impactful, and she can 100% pull out something dramatic when the situation is right. I mean, she performs against Unagi and MIRAI as well as Utami and Tam, and literally every time (except, maybe, that last Maika match) she steals the show. Considering how different her opponents are I think she is some kind of a genius. If she won’t slow down and continues to evolve depending on her career situation and status I think she might become one of the greatest Joshi’s of all time.

Hikari Noa has a unique look and character. The way she moves and presents herself really shows that she loves the sport and that she takes this seriously. Despite her young age and her short stint in the business she already knows her way around the ring and puts on some great performances. She’s a bright young talent and I’m confident that she will not only become a huge name in Joshi but in women’s wrestling all over the world. She is a very good wrestler with a great personality and most important of all it never gets boring with her she is very versatile. You can put her in serious championship matches (her reign as International Princess Champion is one of the best in that belts history) just as well as you can put her in comedy matches or even hardcore matches. She had an explosion death match involving Atsushi Onita and didn’t feel misplaced in that match at all. That alone speaks volumes!

When dreaming up this article, this match was one of the top three that immediately came to mind. Neither woman is really a true veteran in the Joshi world but both do things in the ring that would make for one hell of an exciting match. I don’t even care who would win it, I just want to see it happen.

Utami Hayashishita vs Shoko Nakajima

Utami vs Shoko

It genuinely boggles my mind that Utami has only been wrestling for a little over 3 years. She’s already supreme talent in the ring and she has that quality that pushes her into the top echelon not only in Stardom but in Joshi. She was definitely worthy of taking the belt of Mayu Iwatani and her push is clearly warranted; despite being unpopular with some. She really delivers the big matches and has an incredible presence. Her move-set is as amazing as it is massive and her biggest finisher is one the best ever.

I love her current look (it was pretty average before) the black and red color scheme is striking and her entrance coat is particularly badass. She is so fantastically built (physically) and looks really imposing and, although she is not oozing charisma, she has a great no-nonsense/calm persona that really works well for her (she is not boring at all like some say). The Riho stuff is great as well. I do not know much about her reality TV origins but I think the main reason for her growing stardom is her work in the Stardom ring; not being the daughter of some famous Japanese guy. She is a legit badass and is continuing to improve day in and day out.

Shoko Nakajima is one of those polarizing figures in TJPW. Either you love her or you hate her. Her gimmick “147cm Big Kaiju” is so funny, I love her attire and her suicide dive is one of the best, she really can fly. She has a good moveset, but maybe the finisher (Northern Light Suplex) is not so good as a finisher and I like the move and the way she does it and even she used a double version to beat Miyu Yamashita for the Princess of Princess Championship, but for her size maybe is not the best move.

I feel a bit sad with her match in AEW, cause it really looks like they put her and Riho as the weakest in the match just because they were smaller, and didn’t let them show how hard they can hit. Anyway, Shoko is fun to watch and I really enjoy every time I have the opportunity to watch a match of the “Big Kaiju”

I could have easily picked Syuri to face Shoko, having a champion vs champion match, but I decided against it because I have a much more intriguing match for Syuri. I do think that Shoko and Utami would put on one hell of a match and it’s one of the bigger matches that we could see in a Stardom/TJPW show.

Hazuki vs Sakisama

HZK vs Sakisama

Hazuki is freaking awesome and I am so glad she came back! I personally see her ringwork as just below that of Stardom’s best and she is not necessarily the most charismatic person but she is one of my (many) favorites for sure! Ever since returning at Hana Matane and then coming back full-time to Stardom, Hazuki has proven that she is one of the most consistent talents on the roster. She has got some exciting high-flying moves but is not confined only to those. She can work the match anywhere in the ring, her work with STARS has been phenomenal and I hold hope that someday there is a run with the Red and/or White belts for the Wild Heart of Stardom.

Saki Akai, or Sakisama, is amazingly solid when considering character work but is very hit and miss in matches. Sometimes she’s relatively solid (mostly in tag settings alongside Eruption in DDT or her varying tag partners in Biishiki-gun) but other times she’s either completely eh or downright not very good. Her lanky height means that she’s believable in being a tangible threat against most of her opponents, though you do need to suspend your belief slightly when she’s landing kicks that are definitely not hitting anything. I’m not the biggest fan of the comedy stuff but she’s a reliable hand that usually can provide good matches as long as the right pieces are in place. Definitely, more of a character-oriented wrestler than a workrate one, if that makes sense.

Now, I chose these two because they have very similar ratings on Cagematch and also because Hazuki can get a good match out of a wet paper bag. Hazuki is the best option outside of Mayu Iwatani in getting a great match out of Sakisama and it’s just one that I want to see.

Black Desire (Starlight Kid & Momo Watanabe) vs Magical Sugar Rabbits (Yuka Sakazaki & Mizuki)

SLK MSR

Black Desire is a really new team in Stardom but are quickly finding their footing. They’ve held the Goddess titles and work insanely well together. Momo Watanabe and Starlight Kid had one of the best rivalries at the end of 2021 but then Momo shocked the world and joined Oedo Tai, stabbing Queen’s Quest in the back. Since then, Momo and SLK have won the Goddess titles and, with Saki Kashima, won the Artist of Stardom titles as well. They are one of the best tag teams in Stardom right now and, while not on the level of the MK Sisters (Mayu Iwatani and SLK), their chemistry continues to improve and they will only get better and better the longer they team up.

The chemistry between Yuka and Mizuki as tag partners is absolutely insane. They understand each other, not saying a word. Their tag work is on an unreachable level, TJPW’s current tags, like Hakuchumu, Bakuretsu Sisters, NEO Biishiki-gun or 121000000 are try to reach that level, but Rabbits are still on the run and become better with every match. MagiRabbi are on a dominant run currently and each time they go up against I think would be a great pick to take the titles off them, but even when they inevitably retain, I can’t be mad because they’re just so good.

Honest to God truth, I only made this a tag match because I thought I needed one for the article. But it includes four women that I wanted to see in single matches so the match choice makes perfect sense. I would die happy to see Yuka Sakazaki and Starlight Kid in a match together and when you add Momo Watanabe and Mizuki into the mix? It’s just a heavenly match waiting to happen.

Syuri vs Miyu Yamashita

Syuri vs Miyu 1

Syuri is one of the very best wrestlers in the world. I never would have said that before she joined Stardom: while a few others praised her work years ago, I always saw her as just good, with great but unpolished striking and grappling. I am confident that as late as 2014 she wasn’t near the level that she is at now. Whether her shoot boxing and MMA career improved her ability, whether she got better regardless, or whether I simply misjudged her ability, she is the perfect wrestler for post-2020 wrestling, an era where more and more fans are partial to technical grappling, nasty striking, and convincing expression. Syuri is a top tier ass kicker and fiery babyface matched by few today. While her character can be a little bland, she has INSANE physical charisma, matched only by my choice for her opponent.

Miyu Yamashita is The Ace of Tokyo Joshi Pro Wrestling. She is so good and very lethal with her legs that they are basically lethal weapons at this point. I don’t remember when it took place but I saw a clip of her doing a very mean spinning back kick to Mirai Maiumi and it had looked and sounded like she took her head off. Everything she does in the ring is great and just looks good this why she is undisputedly the ace of TJPW, an absolute badass in the ring. She’s far and away from the best performer in TJPW and one of the best current female workers in the whole world, probably top 5, if not that, definitely top 10. The Skull Kick is an insane move and it looks better every time.

This match should be your main event or co-main and there isn’t even a doubt why it should be. You have two women with martial arts backgrounds who would beat the absolute shit out of each other. That’s not even mentioning how they look to take your damned head off with their kicks. I want to see this match, the world -needs- to see this match. A match between Syuri and Miyu Yamashita would easily win the match of the year anywhere in the world, mark my words.

Tam Nakano vs Maki Itoh

Tam vs Maki

Tam Nakano is something special. While there are wrestlers I think are better in the ring I don’t think there is anyone I believe more than Tam Nakano. She just has this natural talent to make you believe she can and will do whatever she sets her mind to, no matter how many times she gets knocked down. When it comes to sheer emotion and expression in the ring, there are very few wrestlers in the world who can match Tam. It’s something that gets me to feel appreciated enough when appraising a wrestler’s in-ring work. Matches that might otherwise be forgettable become compelling when it involves a wrestler as expressive as Tam. She gives it her all to make the audience care about what she’s doing, whether it’s in the ring, in press conferences, or even on Twitter. Moreso than anyone else on the Stardom roster, Tam has an amazing grasp of character work and storytelling.

It often feels like she is fighting against the rather sterile and formulaic storytelling of post-Bushiroad Stardom. Looking back at her early career, it’s incredible how her character and performances have evolved. From fresh-faced idol to going along with the delinquents, to Mayu fangirl and to fully embracing herself and forming the Cosmic Angels. Her climb to the top of Stardom feels complete, with her growth as a performer being matched by the growth of her kayfabe character. If it weren’t for Arisa leaving in the middle of her white belt run and the feud with Mayu being dropped for god knows what reason, Tam’s story in Stardom would be complete. Easily one of the best babyface runs I’ve ever seen.

Maki Ito is great, actually. Definitely character-driven, but a wrestler who is always engaging in every match she’s part of, whether it be singles, tags, serious, comedy, intergender, etc. She’s also someone who has improved leaps and bounds since her debut, and that doesn’t look like it’ll stop anytime soon. The cutest wrestler in the world. Not just that, but she can kick ass as well. Maki Itoh is a very easy underdog to root for – and yet she hardly carries herself like an underdog. It’s that kind of infectious personality that makes her so endearing.

One of the knocks on her used to be her in-ring skills, but she has improved leaps and bounds and is now one of the very best in Tokyo Joshi Pro. Also, she has one of the highest ceilings of all Joshi when it comes to international crossover appeal. “I think many look at Ito and right her off as just a “character” and not a worker. But she’s actually grown quite a bit in the ring the last few years. Yes, she’s not the greatest even in TJPW but she is very good at what she does. And at the end of the day, she gets fans into her matches which is the real goal of wrestling.

Did you honestly expect that a Tam Nakano vs Maki Itoh match wouldn’t be on a Stardom vs TJPW Dream Match card? Come the hell on people. You have the Cutest Wrestler in the Cosmos vs the Cutest Wrestler in the world battling over who is truly the absolute Cutest Wrestler in the Universe. I have wanted to see this match for years and I absolutely -must- see this match before either woman calls it a career. If there is a god up there, he (or she) must set this match into motion.

Leave a Reply

Powered by WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: