Stardom’s recent Oedo Tai vs. Queen’s Quest “Loser leaves the unit” match isn’t a legendary match that is going to go down in time as one of the great team battles in pro wrestling history. And I won’t pretend that, either. It was a match that very clearly had some issues, but it’s a match that is important for Stardom.
Because it gives them a chance to undo some things.
I don’t hide the fact that I’m not big on modern Oedo Tai. Ever since Kagetsu came back and everyone started dancing, I’ve become less interested. And while GIFfers love the team (and at times it feels like the team was made for a western audience), it’s a far cry from the same Oedo Tai we had as recently as nine months ago.
The addition of Tam Nakano to Oedo Tai was the point where the team officially stopped being vicious heels and turned into a gang of lightheared villains from a children’s anime. And while they were started to trend that way before Tam joined them, she certainly added to the new persona.
The addition of Tam was the starting point for the new Oedo Tai. An Oedo Tai who are basically babyfaces. They’re goofy. They dance. They laugh a lot. They’re great friends. And they have an adorable panda puppet for Tam to carry around. But they’d still cheat, brawl outside the ring, and interfere in each other’s matches. And it never really felt like they had a clear vision as to where the team was going.
The addition of Sumire Natsu was much welcomed, as it gave Hana Kimura and Tam Nakano a reason to show some uneasiness with the rest of the group. But Hana never felt like a serious threat to pick up and leave–her and Kagetsu are the tag champs, and it doesn’t look likely that’ll change any time soon–and Tam was out injured for a few months. The Tam/Sumire tension could have been great, but there was no payoff, as they just made up all of a sudden, and now Tam is out of the group.
Tam getting removed from Oedo Tai is great for a few reasons:
- She was the most “cutesy” member of Oedo Tai. If there are any plans for the team to revert to being more “vicious heel”, removing Tam was the only real option.
- Provided she joins the Stardom Army–and not Queen’s Quest–she’s going to be number two in that group, behind Mayu Iwatani (possibly number 3, depending on where Team Jungle falls in the organization). Tam is going to get pushed to the moon.
- It also gives Tam a chance to find her footing in Stardom. It’s easy to forget she hasn’t been with the company for too long–she joined late last summer and signed even later than that. And most of that run, she’d been the pseudo-manager of Oedo Tai. The crowd loves Tam, but she’s still somewhat unknown, on a large scale.
Now, all that said, I really enjoyed the match as a whole. Certain matchups were subpar (Wolf/AZM was nothing, Sumire vs. Io Shirai wasn’t anything to write home about, and HZK vs. Hana Kimura had a weird finish where HZK intentionally eliminated herself to take out Hana and I don’t get it). That said, Kagetsu vs. Io and Kagetsu vs. Viper were both fantastic (especially the Viper match). Kagetsu is as good as anyone, between the ropes.