Saturday, November 26th was a big day for many— finishing up the last of the holiday leftovers, feeling the brunt of Black Friday shopping, and, just like any other holiday season, being stuffed into exploding coffins.


Perhaps the latter is not on most people’s agendas, however, such is the case for Stardom’s best, who spent the afternoon at Stardom in Showcase 3. Since the tagline for the events is “anything can happen,” they primarily focus on matches with gimmicks outside of singles competition. The event was a star-studded lineup of impressive feats, including a “judo rules” match and a shampoo scramble.

The pre-show began with Nanae Takahashi and Yuu (7Upp) claiming victory over Hanan and Saya Iida (wing⭑gori) in a Goddess of Stardom Tag League matchup. Then, several factions clashed as Ram Kaicho, AZM of Queen’s Quest, Starlight Kid of Oedo Tai, and Koguma of STARS battled in a four-way bout, each wearing jerseys of various football jerseys on a stage akin to that of the FIFA World Cup. Koguma was victorious, taking all of the other competitor’s jerseys as trophies of her victory.

 

The “shampoo scramble” was sponsored by the ZEST salon, and the four-way winner would receive a free haircut. Despite being pitted against Wonder of Stardom Champion Saya Kamitani (Queen’s Quest), Momo Kohgo (STARS), and Himeka (Donna del Mondo), Lady C (Queen’s Quest) was victorious.

 

Various wrestlers involved in the “judo rules” match all had history and inspiration from the martial arts practice. It was a three-on-three tag team match featuring Mayu Iwatani (STARS), Hanan (STARS), and Maika (Donna del Mondo) against Mirai (God’s Eye), Hina, and Utami Hayashishita (Queen’s Quest). In this case, the former team was successful.
Natsuko Tora and Saki Kashima faced Hazuki and Sumire Natsu in her return for a No Holds Barred tag team match. Unfortunately, other members of Oedo Tai and STARS began battling in the ring, leading to a no-contest ruling for the bout. Sumire shocked many post-match when she attacked Hazuki and claimed she was going to infiltrate Stardom as a freelancer.

 

Unagi Sayaka returned with her old COsmic Angel’s teammates and Goddess of Stardom Champions Tam Nakano and Natsupoi (aka meltear) to go head to head with Risa Sera, Suzu Suzuki, and Hiragi Kurumi of Prominence. The match was contested as a Six-Woman Hardcore Tag Team Match in which the latter cruised to victory. Prominence then took the opportunity to challenge Artist of Stardom Champions Saki Kashima, Momo Watanabe, and Starlight Kid of Oedo Tai for their trio’s belts. The champion team accepted, scheduling their battle for December 29, 2022.

Then at last came the highly anticipated exploding coffin match. One mystery masked reaper joined Nanae Takahashi and Yuu of Neo Stardom Army to face Donna Del Mondo’s Giulia, Thekla, and Mai Sakurai. The reaper has been terrorizing Stardom’s roster for months now, with no rhyme, reason, or solid identity, particularly Stardom’s CEO Rossy Ogawa. In the end, despite fighting tooth and nail against fate, DDM were the victims of the coffin, along with Ogawa. Unfortunately, the reaper’s reign of terror will not be ending any time soon, as the Neo Stardom Army adopted them into their ranks, but their identity remains a mystery.

 

Overall, the showcase was well-received and progressed Stardom’s intense, faction-driven rivalries and storylines. It’s refreshing to see gimmick matches portrayed on an equally important stage and truly accentuates the versatility of the stars branching out into unique scenarios and competition. It’s exciting to see where Stardom is at, but even more so to see where they are going to go.

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