STARDOM Gold Rush 2023 (November 18) ⁓ Preview & Predictions


STARDOM’s annual major Osaka show in the fall is happening on November 18th in the EDION Arena with eight matches, including two Championship bouts and the return of the Moneyball TLC Match Tournament. The show has been plagued with injuries left and right, with the biggest one being the World of Stardom Championship match between Tam Nakano and the 5STAR Winner Suzu Suzuki being postponed after Nakano’s knee injury during her match against Natsuko Tora, but also Mayu Iwatani and others are missing the show due to injuries. STARDOM still was able to put on a good-looking card with eight matches.

Pre-Show Time Difference Battle Royal:
Miyu Amasaki vs. Lady C vs. Yuna Mizumori vs. Maika vs. Mina Shirakawa vs. Megan Bayne vs. Billiken Death

The opening match is a Battle Royal with everyone on the roster that is currently healthy, and that isn’t scheduled for a bigger match on this show. The biggest names involved are the Goddess Tag League Winners Maika & Megan Bayne and the former Wonder of Stardom Champion Mina Shirakawa. In addition, Billiken Death, Yoneyama’s Osaka Gimmick, is making an appearance in this Battle Royal. The match itself will be a fun & harmless match that will likely be focused on silly multi-woman spots.

Prediction: Megan Bayne

Moneyball Tournament Match One: First-Round
STARS (Hanan, Hazuki & Saya Iida) vs. God’s Eye (Ami Sourei & Konami) & HANAKO

The Moneyball Tournament is making its return with four stables fighting for prize money in a one-night tournament. The four factions involved this year will be STARS, Oedo Tai, God’s Eye, and Donna del Mondo. The tournament is split into two first-round matches with the winners facing off in the main event in a Tables, Ladders & Chairs match.

In the first match of the one-night tournament, STARS is facing off against God’s Eye. The STARS line-up got changed after Mayu Iwatani’s injury, with Saya Iida taking her place next to her tag team partner Hanan & her teacher Hazuki. They are taking on the returning Konami together with Ami Sourei and HANAKO, who is replacing the injured Saki Kashima. This will be a fun match to open the tournament. Seeing Konami in a STARDOM ring is always great, and her mixing it up with the STARS trio will be great to watch. It’s tough to predict a winner in this match since it would be surprising to see HANAKO picking up the win in a ladder match just six months into her career, whilst the absence of both Iwatani and Koguma has weakened the STARS initial lineup significantly.

Prediction: Hanan, Hazuki & Saya Iida

Moneyball Tournament Match Two: First-Round
Donna del Mondo (Giulia, Thekla & Mai Sakurai) vs. Oedo Tai (Natsuko Tora, Ruaka & Momo Watanabe)

In the second first-round match, the finalist of last year’s Moneyball Tournament and the current Artist Of Stardom Champions Donna del Mondo are trying to once again reach the final by facing the Oedo Tai trio of Natsuko Tora, Ruaka, and Momo Watanabe. After getting left out of the Goddess Tag League, this could be Ruaka’s match to shine again together with Tora & Watanabe, who barely missed out on advancing in the Tag Tournament. Their opponents have not lost a trios match together in months, and are dominant as Champions, they want to show in this tournament why they are the rightful Artist Of Stardom Champions.

The match will be fun. All six doing the typical stuff, with the winners saving their bodies for the TLC match later in the show. Normally, Oedo Tai always walks into unit tournaments as the favorite in recent memory, but this time it’s not the case. The Artist Champions losing in the first round would be a huge upset.

Prediction: Giulia, Thekla & Mai Sakurai

Suzu Suzuki vs. AZM vs. Starlight Kid

After a foot injury suffered at the Dream Tag Festival, Starlight Kid is returning to action after six weeks in a three-way match against her rival AZM and Suzu Suzuki. The 5STAR 2023 Winner was originally scheduled to be in the main event for the World Of Stardom Championship, but due to Nakano’s injury, she will need to wait at least another two weeks to get her Championship match at the Red Belt.

The match can be expected to be great with all the eyes being on the condition of SLK’s ankle and her performance, the interest has been high in this match-up. All three will work a fast-paced style here, with many great counter sequences, and close near falls. AZM has been looking great since coming back from her injury and will shock her two opponents with her speed & fantastic countergame. Suzuki needs to win the match to continue her momentum going into the World of Stardom Championship match. Her pinning Starlight Kid could not only lead to a revenge arc on SLK’s side down the line but also continue the downward spiral that started shortly before the 5STAR GP.

Prediction: Suzu Suzuki

Mixed Martial Arts UWF Rules:
Syuri vs. Scandinavian Hurricane (Aliss Ink)

After her dominant victory over Mina Shirakawa, Syuri challenged anyone from around the world to step up and face her in a UWF Rules match, and the Scandinavian Hurrican accepted the challenge. She is known under the name “Aliss Ink” in the European wrestling scene wrestling in wXw in Germany and she held the wXw Women’s Championship recently. The black belt in jiu-jitsu and karate has a wrestling style that is focused on martial arts, which fits perfectly for a UWF Rules match, which is a match that can only be won by KO, Submission, referee stoppage, or expending the points of your opponent via takedowns and rope breaks, so perfect for a style Ink & Syuri have.

The quality of UWF Matches is all about who is wrestling them. The ones Syuri had, were great matches, but weak UWF Matches, and the match against Ink won’t be different. Ink has been wrestling for five years, and has shown her qualities, but never on a stage like this. She will match well with the former World of Stardom Champion, and build up a competent match. The winner should be obvious, Syuri is defeating Ink here and likely gets a challenge for Queendom from either a former/current MMA Fighter or Ronda Rousey (sigh).

Prediction: Syuri

High-Speed Championship
Mei Seira (c) vs Momoka Hanazono

A major STARDOM show in Osaka without Momoka Hanazono is impossible, she will challenge Mei Seira for the High-Speed Championship. To many Joshi Fans, she is known as the “bubble girl” who is really fun on the outside but hides an incredible wrestler inside of her, that she will show in this match. The talented Hanazono has never faced off with the current Champion Mei Seira, who has been fantastic this year, with her impressive performances as a singles and tag wrestler.

Mei Seira recently won the High-Speed Championship from Saki Kashima, and Hanazono will be her first defense. Just like her other High-Speed Title challenges, Momoka will mix her bubbly funny style with her passionate in-ring work that will create the perfect first challenger for Seira. This could end up being the show stealer of the night, with both just going all-out for around 12 minutes straight before Seira picks up the win, and walks into Queendom as the High-Speed Champion

Prediction: Mei Seira

Wonder Of Stardom Championship
MIRAI (c) vs Saori Anou

In the biggest match of the show, MIRAI is defending her Wonder of Stardom Championship against one-half of the reigning Goddess Of Stardom Champions Saori Anou in a much-anticipated match.

After already defeating MIRAI in the 5STAR GP, Anou tries to win her first singles Championship in her STARDOM career and crown herself a double Champion, but the current Wonder Of Stardom Champion wants to prevent that and defend her title successfully for the third time. During the Goddess Tag League, Anou & MIRAI had several preview matches, which MIRAI was able to decide for herself twice, so she is going with momentum into the White Belt Match.

This match is the one to look forward to on the PPV. Both wrestlers are having a fantastic year, and seemingly can’t miss recently, and it won’t be different here. Anou & MIRAI have shown, that they had great chemistry in their 5STAR Match in the Korakuen Hall, and proved it again during the preview tags. Similar to their 5STAR match, this will be built around Anou countering MIRAI’s Lariats, with her impressive agility, and rolling-up MIRAI for close falls. While an Anou title win wouldn’t come totally out of the blue, MIRAI is retaining here and continues her dominant run as Wonder Of Stardom Champion heading into Queendom in December.

Prediction: MIRAI

Moneyball Tournament Finals
Winner of Match One vs. Winner of Match Two in a Tables, Ladders, and Chairs Match

In presumably the main event of the show, the two winning trios of the first-round matches will face off in the finals of the Moneyball Tournament. As noted previously, the final will be decided in a Tables, Ladders, and Chairs Match, with the winning team grabbing the Moneyball that can be raised and lowered by large buttons in the corners of the ring that are accompanied by a loud siren. Last year, the match had the fantastic botch, that Hazuki accidentally destroyed the low-hanging Moneyball with a dropkick.

Last year the match was fun with great spots, and in this scenario between Donna del Mondo & STARS, it wouldn’t be much different. Considering the line-up of STARS, The Bari Bari Bombers are the favorites to grab the Moneyball and win the money, which would be followed up with a tremendous promo by Mai Sakurai to end the show.

Prediction: Giulia, Thekla & Mai Sakurai

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