I previewed the match, and now it is my absolute pleasure to review it and give you guys my take on the unique match that Stardom gave us on the 17th. That being the Mayu Iwatani vs Oedo Tai Gauntlet match to try and win back Starlight Kid for STARS. Now, I watched this match once this morning just so I could see what happened, but now, it’s time to really dive into it. It’s the Recapture Match!
You can find my preview here;
Representing Oedo Tai in this recapture match is Konami, Ruaka, Fukigen Death, Saki Kashima and Rina. Obviously, Mayu Iwatani is the lone representative for STARS. Pinfalls, submissions, over the top eliminations, disqualifications, all are ways for Mayu Iwatani to defeat her opponents and vice-versa. Since this is actually a gauntlet match and not a true one versus five handicap recapture match like I thought it would be, Iwatani had a better chance than I gave her to win it and get Kid to return to STARS. Let’s get into it, shall we? Before the recapture match, we get a backstage segment with Mayu Iwatani.
- Mayu: “I can’t afford to lose. I wanna focus on beating these evil guys and win back Kid. Check it out.”
Out first for the recapture match is Oedo Tai. Unfortunately, they are without their leader due to her suffering a serious knee injury earlier this month. So it is five of the remaining six members, Starlight Kid is not scheduled to be involved in the match at all. Once Oedo Tai enters the ring and does their posing, Mayu Iwatani comes out to a really warm reception. The Stardom Icon really does have a lot of fan support and it is nice to see. Plus… I really dig her entrance theme. I wish Stardom would put their themes out there on streaming services… I digress. We get a kind of funny interaction between the referee and Fukigen Death before the recapture match begins, the crowd laughs pretty well.
Up first we have Iwatani against Rina in the first match of the gauntlet. Remember, Iwatani has to defeat each member of Oedo Tai in order to win back SLK. Iwatani starting off fast, going for pins as quickly as she can. She knows that she needs to beat Rina quickly so she can worry about the other four members… However, three attempts don’t do it and Konami trips Mayu up against the ropes, allowing Rina to capitalize. Rina using her Judo skills to slam Mayu down hard a couple of times then gets a near fall from it. On their feet and Mayu gets the better of a striking exchange, but when thrown into the corner, Kashima interferes. This time holding Mayu in place while Rina distracts the referee, allowing Oedo Tai to do one of their gang poses with Iwatani caught between them. Rina is in control, ragdolling Mayu and using her hair to toss her around the ring. Scoop slam into a pin only gets Rina a two. Bridging suplex again nets Rina only two. Mayu comes back with a vicious superkick but Rina counters with a roll-up for two before slamming Mayu face-first into the mat, again only for two. Rina clearly frustrated here and allows Iwatani back into it. Mayu hoists her up and locks in a modified dragon sleeper. Rina taps! Mayu defeats Rina at 3:20, not a bad time for Mayu.
Next for Oedo Tai is Fukigen Death, Mayu’s former teammate. Bell rings and Death stomps Mayu’s foot. Irish whip and Death smoke an imaginary cig, getting a near fall off a chop and eye poke. The ref throws out her fake cig and she goes for a suplex but Mayu counters. The crowd is behind Mayu, as she nails a basement dropkick for two. Mayu going to the top but Rina interferes to no avail. As Fukigen tries to hook in a suplex off the ropes, Mayu slips off behind her and hits a dropkick, forcing Fukigen Death over the top! Death is eliminated at 1:33. Mayu has defeated two of the five! Mayu got lucky there that she was able to eliminate Fukigen Death so quickly.
Saki Kashima in next and she jumps on Mayu, not giving her any time to recover between opponents. Saki gets a few good shots in before locking in an octopus stretch. Iwatani is out and trying to come back but Saki drops her with an armbar. It’s in pretty deep but Mayu makes it to the ropes to break it up. Saki pulls her back and locks the armbar back in, making Mayu have to drag herself further to break it up. But she does manage to do just that. Stomp from Saki before lifting up Iwatani. Irish whip reversal into what looked like a bulldog. Iwatani has Saki and slams her off the turnbuckle before nailing her with a kick to the face. No pin attempt, Mayu pulls Saki up and we get a striking standoff, second of the recapture match. Saki gets the better of Mayu and slams her back using her hair before putting the boots to her. Saki then drops down and chokes Mayu twice before beginning to slap the taste out of her mouth. Just disrespecting the Stardom Icon here. Mayu’s teammates trying to rally her as Saki is firmly in control. We get a shot of Kid watching on ringside, hard to read her expression there. Saki is just toying with Mayu here and that’s not smart against the vet. Slapping her over and over until Mayu knocks Saki down with a vicious slap of her own. Mayu starts to get some momentum, stomping Saki to the mat before slapping her and getting a near fall with a northern lights suplex. Saki turns and distracts the ref, allowing Oedo Tai to interfere and knockdown Mayu. A couple nearer falls from Saki and she is frustrated. Mayu reverses a tiger suplex attempt into a Kishikaisei and picks up the pinfall! Mayu defeats Saki Kashima at 6:26.
Like Saki before her, Konami doesn’t give Mayu Iwatani any time to recover and hits a missile dropkick right off the bat. The Submission Sniper is not giving her a chance. Release german suplexes into a bridging attempt gets Konami two. She locks in a vicious looking choke and drags Mayu to the middle of the ring, nearly choking Mayu out before she is able to make it to the ropes. Konami up and uses the choke to suplex Mayu into a near fall. Konami working the arm but Mayu counters briefly with a superkick. Konami back in with forearms to the face, bringing Mayu to her knees. This doesn’t last long as Mayu counters again and hits several strikes of her own to Konami. Mayu gassed and can’t really follow up allows Konami to hit a strike but Mayu gets a near fall off a german suplex that looks like she accidentally released Konami instead of holding her. Mayu up but Oedo Tai tries to interfere again, her stablemates to the rescue! Mayu hits a beautiful frog splash for two, then a vicious head kick before going to the ropes again. Moonsault! Ruaka throws her briefcase in and breaks up the pinfall. Konami locks in an armbar on the ropes, dangerously close to getting eliminated… Mayu with a head kick… Ruaka interferes again. Mayu sees it coming though and pushes Ruaka into Konami, who had gone over the top and was still on the apron. Konami is eliminated at 5:12! Iwatani has defeated four members of Oedo Tai.
Ruaka is already in the ring as the last recapture match starts. Using her size advantage early but Mayu trips her and hits a standing moonsault for two. Mayu is battered and exhausted, slow to rise to her feet. But when she does, Ruaka hits her with her forearms and takes control. This is brief as Mayu hits her with two nice kicks to the face and lifts her for a suplex attempt. This allows Ruaka to regain control and use her size to her advantage. Northern Lights suplex pin attempt nets Ruaka two. Mayu hits a nice roll-up attempt but doesn’t get the pin. A couple of stiff kicks to the head again only get Mayu two. Mayu up and hits another moonsault but Rina pulls the ref out of the ring. This allows Oedo Tai to interfere again and use their weapons and numbers to do some damage. Ruaka takes advantage and hits a big splash off the ropes but no ref to count the pin. Oedo Tai ganging up on Mayu more and using their weapons to pose. But the ref is back in the ring and sees it, calling for the bell! Ruaka is disqualified! I can’t believe I’m saying this but Mayu Iwatani has done it! At 4:31, she defeats Ruaka and wins the gauntlet recapture match!
Mayu is exhausted and Kid looks on in disbelief, it seems anyway. Mayu gets on the mic and addresses the crowd and Kid.
- Mayu: “I didn’t ask for all of this… I didn’t ask for all of this, but I won. Kid, do you want to stay with these guys always cheating and using weapons? Please tell me clearly.”
Kid enters the ring and grabs the mic. Hard to read her face due to the mask but she hesitates for a moment before addressing Mayu.
- Kid: “Mayu-san, my answer is….” Kid suddenly grabs Iwatani’s hair and yanks her head back. Iwatani has a devastated look on her face as Kid continues. “Mayu Iwatani, I’m gonna stand against you and surpass you! It’s been a month since I was forced to go to Oedo Tai, and what have you done? Even if I were to come back, I don’t want to be Starlight Kid, Mayu’s companion. When I’m on equal footing with you, maybe you can stand next to me. That’s why I want to build a name for myself with Oedo Tai and become stronger! I’m going to become Mayu Iwatani’s biggest rival! This is my answer!”
Mayu can’t believe what she heard. The look on her face says it all. She looked at Kid not as a companion, but as a sister so this really hurts her. She takes the mic..
- Mayu: “Do you remember what I said at Korakuen? Kid, you might be my enemy… But I’ll always be waiting for you. We can fight as enemies, and rivals, but we can always come back together. Until we meet again.”
Konami comes in to rub salt into the wound, a big shit-eating grin on her face.
Konami “Hey, Mayu Iwatani, your mind and your body have been shattered. It’s time to give up on Kid. Mayu Iwatani… no, STARS… The End!”
Mayu Iwatani put up a hell of a fight and won the recapture match, but Starlight Kid has accepted Oedo Tai and wants to grow stronger with them. I did not see this outcome coming, truthfully. I didn’t think Iwatani would win the match, but she did. What we got at the end though is what I thought would happen all along. It is way too early to pull the plug on the dark Kid story and her choosing to remain in Oedo Tai just makes all sorts of sense. I thought the rules meant that Kid would have to rejoin STARS if Mayu won, but apparently, I was wrong and she could decide whether to rejoin Mayu or remain in Oedo Tai.
All in all, this recapture match was exactly what it needed to be. Mayu Iwatani showed why she is the best in the world with an exhausting performance against five women who are damn good in the ring. They may not be on her level skill-wise, but she made them all look amazing in the ring and that’s what Mayu does best. She sells, she works her ass off and she is head and shoulders above the vast majority of the women on the Stardom roster. Hell, she’s better than damn near every woman’s wrestler on the planet. The bit at the end with Kid getting aggressive with her and Mayu selling her exhaustion and disappointment really made me feel for her. Here was someone Mayu looked at like a sister, basically telling Mayu that she is sick of being a sidekick and she wants to surpass Mayu Iwatani. I loved this from Kid though. She is already damn good in the ring, but Mayu Iwatani is the measuring stick for Women’s Wrestling and I do believe Kid is one of the few who could surpass her someday. Starlight Kid’s stock is on the rise and I cannot wait to see how this new rivalry with Mayu pans out for her. This feud will benefit Kid in the long run and should establish her as a new star for Stardom. Not that she isn’t already, but it should cement that status for her.
Thanks for coming along with me for this match-up folks! Hope to bring you more Stardom and Joshi coverage in the near future!