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Io Shirai vs. Momo Watanabe (Stardom, 5/28/18)

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#1 Maciej

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Posted 03 June 2018 - 08:28 PM

Momo has steadily been growing into a big role and has already had a very good title match with Io this year, so doing this again so quickly feels like it might be a little rushed. That said, Momo did just win the Cinderella tournament and did a lot to really establish her B Driver, so it is just a little more realistic thinking she might win than it was in February. Momo comes out aggressive yet again, and Io regains the upper hand yet again, really laying her strikes in. Theres a really cool moment where Momo goes for the B Driver on the apron (which was very useful in the Cinderella tournament) and Io crawls out of it to a sort of upside down full nelson with her legs (there’s likely a lucha name for this, rite?). Io outwitting her younger opponents is a wrinkle they go to less in these matches than her just being the best athlete, so I liked this wrinkle.


I don’t think there’s a huge specific turning point in this match, and I am generally a fan of big obvious turning points, but between Io’s selling and the timing of Momo’s big moves you just eventually enter a zone where it suddenly, oh shit, it’s starting to become realistic that she might win this. The running B Driver where Io just barely tucks her head back in is bonkers, and I really like the reversal of Io’s big power bomb into a Meteora. The ending is a great ending to this kind of match, too: a young wrestler finding a way to make one of her big moves slightly bigger.


Momo's only 18; that's wild.

#2 SmartMark15

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Posted 03 June 2018 - 09:08 PM

This was fantastic. I really enjoyed their title match from February so this was just a wonderful upgrade. About halfway through the match, they go into big, big bombs especially after the struggle on the apron. The story moves from Ace Io Shirai bossing it up in the ring to Momo Watanabe just battering Io with big move after big move. Those B Drivers look absolutely brutal and the running one with Io just protecting herself at the end was nuts. I bit on so many of the false finishes here which really helped to up the intensity and tension for the final stretch. Just great action and a lovely coronation moment.



#3 donsem43

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Posted 03 June 2018 - 11:55 PM

This was one hell of a way for Io to end a five year run on top for Stardom. The fact that she works the match like its a typical title defense in the early going sets up her demise later on. She makes the incorrect assumption that her typical offense will put Momo away once again except this time Momo is more than prepared. Not only does she survive some nasty shots from Io early on, during the finishing run Momo seems to know exactly what Io is going to do as she's able to avoid or counter it. On the flip side, since Momo doesn't quite have a defined set so Io doesn't quite now what to expect or when to expect it. Plus, Momo stays so aggressive on her she doesn't get the chance to take the time to figure it out. The finish plays off this perfect, Io thinks she has Momo's Tequila Sunrise suplex blocked but Momo kicks her arm into position to hit a Sky Blue suplex to put Io away. The student outwits the teacher in a terrific match. ****1/2

#4 aguakun



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Posted 04 June 2018 - 12:19 PM

Wonder of Stardom Championship: Io Shirai © vs. Momo Watanabe
This is a match that perfectly represents the epic main event style only found in Stardom. Io's performance was mesmerizing, when she wasn't savagely beating the shit out of Momo, she was making the challenger's offense look like death. Massive moment for Momo. ****1/2

#5 JAC

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Posted 04 June 2018 - 12:51 PM

Can someone fix the date on this match? It should be May 23, not May 28.


Every wrestler getting put over should be so lucky as to have Io being the one to do the honours for her. I thought this match was excellent--I'd put it a half notch below Io's matches with Iwatani and Satomura (and the January 2016 Hojo match that I probably love more than anyone else). Otherwise, as good or better than anything else Stardom is capable of putting out.


Momo brought her very best to this match, taking Io's big offence and dishing out a beating. They really found their rhythm in the second half of the match, as Momo found ways to overcome Io's offence and broke out successively bigger moves as she tried to unseat the champ. Her win feels like it cam a little too soon, but with Io's departure, it's not like they could have waited. Given the circumstances, they pulled this off nicely.


I'm excited to see if Momo can project more confidence and intensity to match her new stature as champion. Perhaps some of Io's swagger will rub off on her. She'll need to carry herself like a star going forward as she moves up to the top of the card.

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