Preview: Stardom In Showcase Vol.1 (07/23/2022)

Stardom in Showcase Vol.1 -Tower & Power tag graphic
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Since it was announced at Stardom Flashing Champions this past May, Stardom In Showcase Vol.1 has been a big question mark for many fans. As time passed, more questions than answers were presented, and now that we have a complete seven-match card, it still feels like a genuinely unpredictable event with less than a week to go before the show. Depicted as “A new piece of the Stardom Multiverse” by the Official English Twitter Page, the show features seven gimmick matches, zero singles matches, and an unspecified Grim Reaper taking part in the main event match. For those looking for some variety within the top women’s wrestling promotion in Japan, Stardom In Showcase Vol.1 could be the perfect show for you. Let’s get into how we got here and what to expect from the most bizarre Stardom show of the year.

STARDOM In Showcase Vol.1 Full Card

  • Nagoya Rumble Match: Mayu Iwatani vs. Hazuki vs. Saki Kashima vs. Hanan vs. Momo Kohgo vs. Waka Tsukiyama vs. Miyu Amasaki vs. Hina vs. Rina vs. Ruaka vs. X vs. X vs. X
  • Power & Tower Rule Three Way Tag Team Match: Maika & Himeka vs. Utami Hayashishita & Lady C vs. Ami Sourei & Saya Iida
  • Cosmic Rules Match: Mina Shirakawa & Natsupoi vs. Unagi Sayaka & SAKI
  • I Quit Match: Syuri & MIRAI vs. Akane Fujita & Kurumi Hiiragi (PROMINENCE)
  • Hardcore Match: Giulia & Mai Sakurai vs. Suzu Suzuki & Risa Sera (PROMINENCE)
  • Falls Count Anywhere Match: Tam Nakano vs. Koguma vs. AZM vs. Momo Watanabe
  • Three Way Coffin Match: Starlight Kid vs. Grim Reaper vs. Saya Kamitani

Update

Natsupoi, Waka Tsukiyama, Utami Hayashishita, Akane Fujita,  and one of the 3 Xs are no longer on this show causing some card changes:

  • I Quit Match: Syuri vs Kurumi Hiiragi (MIRAI is now in the Nagoya Rumble)
  • Cosmic Rules Match: Unagi Sayaka vs Mina Shirakawa vs SAKI
  • Tower & Power Tag: Maika & Himeka vs Saya Iida & Ami Sorei (Lady C is now in the Nagoya Rumble

Cosmic Fan Service Leads to a Cosmic Rules Match

Following a Social Media video depicting the Pink Kabuki duo of Unagi Sayaka & Mina Shirakawa arguing and eventually brawling in their bikinis, the two have drafted their own Cosmic Angels members to compete alongside them in a Cosmic Rules match. Now, I bet you’re wondering: What exactly is a Cosmic Rules match? Well, nobody knows for sure. Given Unagi’s reputation for her bizarre match stipulations and the strange circumstances in which the feud came about, this match could be a comedic classic OR the strangest and most over-the-top Stardom match in history. 

While this show is considered a separate entity from the usual Stardom shows, the teams in this match are interesting, to say the least. SAKI, who joined Cosmic Angels alongside her COLORS cohorts just a couple of months back, has only met one detractor in Stardom’s Assessor, Unagi Sayaka. Alternatively, Mina Shirakawa and Natsupoi have a long history as rivals. While Natsupoi’s recent entrance into the Cosmic Angels faction has seemingly been a smooth one, if anyone is going to experience growing pains with her newest teammate, it’ll be Mina Shirakawa. Am I just overthinking all of this? Will Cosmic Rules take the spotlight away from any character dynamics in it? Probably, but we must tune in on Saturday to find out!

Prominence Finally Bring Their Hardcore Style to Stardom

In complete contrast to whatever the Cosmic Rules match will present, Prominence will make their presence known at Stardom In Showcase Vol.1 with two big-time tag team matches that should cater to their specialties. The God’s Eye duo of MIRAI and Syuri were taken out backstage by the returning Kurumi Hiiragi at the most recent NEW BLOOD 3, with Syuri being choked out while giving a post-match interview. So, with Akane Fujita by her side, Kurumi will get her shot at God’s Chosen Ones in an I Quit Match that will present a type of brutality that Prominence is accustomed to. The only problem is that Syuri and MIRAI are both incredibly well-versed submission specialists. If God’s Eye can overcome the onslaught Prominence is sure to bring, the stipulation will likely be in their favor by the end of the match.

Following that match is a long-awaited Hardcore Match between Suzu Suzuki and Giulia, along with their chosen tag team partners of Risa Sera and Mai Sakurai. This will presumably be the final meeting between the former friends ahead of their 5STAR Grand Prix Block Final Match on October 1st. Prominence’s advantage in hardcore matches will be on full display here, though it is unclear whether or not Suzu Suzuki’s shoulder injury, one she suffered on her way to becoming the 18th Regina De WAVE Champion this past weekend, will play any role in this match. As of this writing, Suzu is still set to participate in this match, but wrestling in a hardcore match while nursing a hurt shoulder could spell disaster for Prominence’s Golden Girl heading into the 5STAR Grand Prix.

Can the High-Speed Stalwarts Create More Chaos in the Semi-Main Event?

Stardom In Showcase Vol.1 keeps rolling into the final two matches with a bang as AZM and Koguma will meet in yet another hectic multi-woman match in Nagoya, following up on their critically-acclaimed 3-on-3 Cage Match at the end of June. Along with them this time will be Tam Nakano, who elected to take part in Koguma and AZM’s brand of bedlam, and Momo Watanabe, who dropped her riceball and got very upset about it. This Falls Count Anywhere match will be a first-ever for Stardom, though AZM and Koguma do have a history of taking action far outside of the ring in their matches, most notably in a recent threeway battle that also included Unagi Sayaka on June 4th. The match notoriously ended in a triple countout due to all three women abandoning the ring and fighting all the way up to the arena’s balcony. Based on their experience and inherent love for special match types, the ruleset in this match heavily favors the High-Speed Specialists. Knowing both The Bear and The QQ Commander, this match could end up anywhere in the city of Nagoya by the time the bell rings.

The Only Thing To Fear Is Death Itself

Finally, in the Main Event of the show, the Grim Reaper will make their debut(?) in Stardom as they battle against Saya Kamitani & Starlight Kid in a Triple Threat Coffin Match, a match type that has only occurred one other time in recorded history. Now, much like some previous matches on the card, this bout has a lot of variables that have yet to be clarified heading into the show; The most notable of these variables are, of course, the identity of the Grim Reaper. The Reaper attacked Saya Kamitani, Starlight Kid, and Rossy Ogawa (twice) in backstage segments, and from those alone, it feels nearly impossible that the costume will be able to stay on for the duration of the match. However, the thought of a wrestler struggling through a Coffin Match in an elaborate Grim Reaper Suit seems so ridiculous that it might just happen given the nature of this event. Is this match a way of introducing someone from the outside into the Stardom ring, or is this genuinely just a bizarre match made solely for a bizarre wrestling show? Only time will tell.

Stay tuned to the Last Word on Pro Wrestling for more on this and other stories from around the world of wrestling as they develop. You can always count on LWOPW to be on top of the major news in the wrestling world, as well as to provide you with analysis, previews, videos, interviews, and editorials on the wrestling world. If you want to see more from Stardom, you can check out their subscription service Stardom World for all your wonderous Joshi needs.