It’s the calm before the storm here in the world of Joshi as this upcoming weekend marks the beginning of Golden Week, where essentially every promotion you can think of will be running a notable show with title matches galore and moments guaranteed. There are a number of directions to go in this week’s Joshi Guide, but let’s start with some praise for the troublemakers of Stardom.
Oedo Tai was in as much need as any to find an identity that went further than constant run-ins and distractions, which often time made their matches unwatchable and not all that fun. They had been far removed from the often exciting and interesting group that Oedo Tai was when Kagetsu was steering the ship with Hazuki alongside her. The group wasn’t going to be the same without them (obviously), but it became straight-up boring for over a year. It all started to change in the summer of 2021 when Oedo Tai defeated STARS, forcing Starlight Kid to switch over to the group. In due time, Kid went from the mega-babyface underdog to one of the best overall wrestlers in Joshi. The change was so dramatic that nearly no one could have imagined how great she’d become in such a short amount of time. But there was still something missing for Oedo Tai to become a group that felt resurrected.
Still struggling to find complete success outside of Kid and continuing their heel tactics, it was flipped completely upside down when Momo Watanabe joined the group and turned on Queen’s Quest. Since the switch, Watanabe has become a main event caliber heel who changed her style to be more methodical but even more vicious. With her viciousness has completed Oedo Tai’s overall transformation. While Natsuko Tora is still the leader (for now), Oedo Tai has taken shape under the guidance of Watanabe and Kid to be one of the best things going in Stardom. The heel tactics and attempts to cheat still exist but they’re not nearly as detrimental but more so add to the overall delivery each and every night they’re out there doing their thing.
Whenever Watanabe and Kid want to take over Stardom, it will be theirs. “The Black Peach” has long been viewed as a future World of Stardom Champion and understandably so. But in her presentation, she’s never felt more ready. The sky is the limit for her just as much as it is for Starlight Kid That’s how great they are together and at the head of this fully resurrected Oedo Tai.
Stardom’s Cinderella Tournament Final airs live this coming Friday on PPV as Syuri defends the World of Stardom Championship against Himeka and Hazuki, Natsupoi, Koguma, and MIRAI battle to be the 2022 Cinderella winner.
Other places around the Joshi world get a bit more emotional. Ice Ribbon is nearing the end of an era this next Wednesday as Tsukushi Haruka, the ICExInfinity Champion, will officially retire following their Yokohama Budokan show and Tsukasa Fujimoto will take an extended leave from Ice Ribbon due to her recent marriage. The promotion will shift their focus to the future with the use of talented freelancers filling in the major gaps these two will leave in their departure. However, the world did get one more match between The Dropkickers, Tsukushi and Tsukasa, as they went one-on-one Sunday at Rifu Ribbon. It wasn’t a title match nor has it aired yet, but the fact Joshi fans can see these two amazing pro wrestlers face off one last time is fantastic. After their two top-tier battles in 2021, one in which Haruka captured the ICExInfinity Championship, you can’t help but think this one was special as well in its own special way.
Keep an eye out for next week’s Weekly Joshi Guide as it will be filled with highlights from the weekend and a look at Golden Week, highlighted by Ice Ribbon’s Yokohama Budokan show, Stardom’s Fukuoka PPV, and the return of Konami.