Match Point: Giulia vs Tam Nakano — Stardom All Star Dream Cinderella (3/3/21)

Giulia Tam Nakano All Star

Match Point is an on-going series at Last Word on Pro Wrestling, where we look at intriguing matchups in indie wrestling and beyond. They may be dream matches, first-time matchups, or hotly anticipated rematches. In this edition, we will look at the upcoming match between Wonder of Stardom Champion Giulia, and Tam Nakano in their hair vs. hair match at Stardom’s All Star Dream Cinderella.

This upcoming Wednesday is one of Stardom’s biggest shows in history — if not the biggest. The main event will see year-long rivals Giulia and Tam Nakano face off for the fourth time within the past year. The Wonder of Stardom Championship will be on the line, but that’s not all. This stipulation has been a rarity throughout the history of Joshi, adding a massive implication for both competitors as you not only lose the title with a loss but your hair as well. Before jumping into the competitors and the road they took to get here, let’s paint an understanding of the history of hair vs. hair in Joshi.

The History Of Hair vs. Hair In Joshi

Nanae Takahashi Arisa Nakajima
Credit: SEAdLINNNG

Hair vs. hair matches has been a part of Joshi wrestling for decades now. Many times. They are difficult moments for whoever walks out the other side as the loser. But when it comes to hair vs. hair in Joshi, it carries what some may call a more serious meaning. Losing your hair is no easy task, and many times it can be the ultimate sacrifice to get the championship or revenge that you crave.  This stipulation has been a feature of major feuds dating back to the 80s with Chigusa Nagayo vs Dump Matsumoto. The most recent came in 2019 in SEAdLINNNG when Nanae Takahashi faced Arisa Nakajima for the Beyond The Sea Championship. It was Takahashi who walked out the loser of that one.

It’s a moment of embarrassment having to accept your failures while seeing your hair disappear from the top of your head. But it means that this is a feud worthy of not only main eventing, but worthy of the harshest of results. Giulia and Nakano have gone at each other for nearly a year and with so much on the line, it feels only right they both make the ultimate sacrifice to walk out as Wonder of Stardom Champion. To Nakano, she has nothing to lose any longer. That’s why she is willing to lose her hair. For Giulia, it shows her uber confidence heading into the biggest event in Stardom history. And that’s why this is indeed the main event of the evening.

The Final Boss Champion: Giulia

Giulia
Credit: Stardom

Since the moment Giulia stepped into Stardom and left Ice Ribbon in the dust, she has been dominant. As of this writing, she is 20-3-3 in singles matches since her debut. Easily among the best in Stardom and professional wrestling. She has been in a spot of prowess and has thrived in it. Giulia won the Cinderella tournament in 2020 before COVID-19 hit, but when they returned from the layoff, her eyes were set on the Wonder of Stardom Championship. Despite winning the Cinderella tournament, she was forced to enter the Wonder of Stardom Championship tournament due to Arisa Hoshiki giving up her championship as she was forced to retire. It was there she met Tam Nakano for the first time in the finals. Their rivalry had already grown massively to the point of hatred. By referee’s decision, Giulia was the champion and grabbed her first singles title in Stardom.

Even as champion, she suffered her first singles loss in the 5STAR Grand Prix to her Donna del Mondo groupmate, Himeka, and a second loss to Konami. In her second to last match of the tournament, she faced Nakano for a second time. It was there that Nakano got the win in the 10-minute sprint that completely opposed what their first match was. This furthered their story together, setting up for a third match, this time the Wonder of Stardom Championship was on the line. Giulia’s first defense of the title was a successful one, as she put Nakano down and out yet again when it mattered the most. It seemed their story was over and it was time for the leader of Donna del Mondo to continue building her championship legacy.

In the coming months, Giulia would continue to solidify who she was as a competitor with successful title defenses over Himeka, Konami, Natsuko Tora, and most recently Starlight Kid. Her only blemish in the title defenses was the 30-minute draw with Syuri at Osaka Dream Cinderella in December. Giulia’s defense against Kid, however, was one where cracks began to be shown in her confidence. Of course, it kicked off with the champion showing her uber confidence and taking every strike like it was nothing. But as the match went on, Kid showed a fight and Giulia’s confidence quickly became fear that she may not even reach All Star Dream Cinderella with her championship. This led to her ripping at the mask of Kid and disrespecting her. It was desperation more than anything, but it was enough for her to walk out as the winner.

While she remains the dominant competitor she is, those 20 minutes going head-to-head may have leaked some cracks in the game that Nakano can use to her advantage. But with the hair on the line and her being in the head of the Cosmic Angels after her destruction of Unagi Sayaka, Giulia has no fear. She will step into the main event at All Star Dream Cinderella as the Wonder of Stardom Champion and it’s difficult to bet against her and her continuous final boss mentality. She will do anything in her power to shave the head of her greatest rival.

The Never Say Die Challenger: Tam Nakano

Tam Nakano
Credit: Stardom

Tam Nakano will never say die. She didn’t when she was kicked out of Oedo Tai, she didn’t when she failed to take the Wonder of Stardom Championship from her enemy turned friend Arisa Hoshiki, and she hasn’t yet despite coming up short two times to Giulia in championship matches. She instead grew from it every single time and now finds herself in the main event of the biggest show in Stardom history facing her rival one last time with her hair on the line.

The past year has been surely something for Nakano. When the COVID-19 break was over she was without her DREAM SHINE partner and friend Hoshiki. The fact that her promise to take that title away from Hoshiki didn’t put her down but pushed her forward when she entered the tournament for the vacant championship. And in the end, she came up just short but made another promise. She was without air as it came to an end via the referee’s decision, but promised Giulia she was not done. Nakano made the glowing testament that she would follow her into the end of the universe to take the white belt away from her. A promise that lives on.

As her star grew, she competed in the 5STAR Grand Prix and tied for the fourth-most points in either block, picking up wins over Konami, Death Yama-san, Starlight Kid, and most importantly for her, Giulia. That win was really the spark to push her forward. She knew she could defeat Giulia and carried the confidence into their title match. It was a failure, again, for Nakano. Clearly, something wasn’t clicking for Nakano just yet to win her first singles championship. Something holding her back. This is where her Cosmic Angels group comes into play.

Slowly but surely, Nakano created a sub-group inside of the STARS unit she was a part of that was led by Mayu Iwatani. The Cosmic Angels consisted of Nakano as the leader with Mina Shirakawa and Unagi Sayaka under the learning tree and by her side. They gained steam almost immediately, winning the Artists of Stardom Championships. As the group grew more and more, she knew it was time for her to move on her own. The Cosmic Angels became their own entity as Nakano left Iwatani and STARS in the dust, the same group that was there for her following all those failures in the past. But this was exactly what Nakano needed. A confidence injection that she can do this on her own.

Drawing closer to the main event of All Star Dream Cinderella, Nakano is hitting on all cylinders and is willing to do anything to win that championship. There’s a good chance March 3 finally becomes her time.

Friendship, Loss, Photoshoots, And War: A Year-Long Build to the Main Event of the Biggest Show in Stardom History

Giulia Tam Nakano
Credit: Stardom

Giulia and Tam Nakano will fight until the end of time. At least that is what it feels like. Every single match they have had has become more intense, more physical, and more personal. They are each other’s rivals because both of them lost their own rivals due to different reasons. Nakano was already getting furious with Giulia because she was going to try and take the white belt from her friend, meaning that she could not. But when they returned from the COVID-19 layoff, she had her shot at stopping it herself. They have come a long way in this feud from fighting during a swimsuit photo shoot. These two are going to main event the biggest show in Stardom history and it carries all the history with it. This wasn’t the route anyone expected, but its the final destination in their year-long war with each other. Taking the rightful place of the main event at All Star Dream Cinderella.

Wrestling can be magical in that way. The road is never-ending, the stories are forever changing, and these two getting to this point is the definition of that. That road we speak of has been incredibly bumpy, heart-breaking, and overall devastating at times, but these two have created magic. On March 3, they will try to do it one last time in one of the most serious matches wrestling has seen in years.

One woman will walk out as the champion while the other will walk out humiliated with their hair completely gone and the rivalry will end. It does not get grander than that in professional wrestling.

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