The fear for Mayu Iwatani’s health and safety truly makes this match. That lady has such a skinny frame that any of the big bumps Takumi Iroha drops her on come across particularly vicious. In general, this was a fantastic offensive performance from Iroha. She’s coming in as a last minute replacement for Sareee who fell ill and had to miss her World of Stardom Championship shot against Iwatani. So both Iroha and Iwatani come in motivated to put on something that will dispel the disappointment of the missed opportunity.
After some decent exchanges to open up, Iroha goes after Iwatani’s bandaged up shoulder. She works it over with holds, against the ropes, even rams it against the ringpost. It’s a very good targeted attack that Mayu sells incredibly well, making her come across very sympathetic. Even through her first comeback, which includes a great dive over the ringpost to the floor, Iwatani sells the arm pretty well though that does take a backseat as the match progresses.
The finishing stretch focuses much more on big bombs as both ladies try to set up the Running Three which is a crucifix powerbomb passed down to both women by joshi legend Chigusa Nagayo. In the run up to this match, STARDOM posted photos to their social media showing Nagayo teaching the Running Three to Iwatani. During the pre-match promos, Iroha mentions having to train under Nagayo for two to three years before being passed down the Running Three so there’s a meaningful amount of spirited competition surrounding the move.
Both ladies throw bombs here but mostly, Iroha has the advantage. She absolutely eats Iwatani up alive in this match. Multiple big suplexes, including a superplex off the top, followed up with powerbombs that just flatten Iwatani. Mayu tries to sneak in a comeback with some well timed roll ups but Iroha’s just on another level on this night. She nails all her strikes with precision and her power moves are devastating. When Iroha finally nails the Running Three, it spells the end for Iwatani in a great match that escalated perfectly as it went along.
I don’t really get to follow STARDOM too much but of what I’d seen, this was the best I’d seen since the Mayu-Momo sprint that ended the 5 Star Grand Prix. Awesome match and I look forward to the rematch that they’re setting up. It definitely felt like they had a bit more too give and I can only imagine what that’ll look like when it comes.