The Tam Nakano/Giulia Rivalry – How Did It Come To This?

In the main event of Stardom’s huge Nippon Budokan show, “All Star Dream Cinderella”, Tam Nakano finally picked up the first singles title of her career by defeating Giulia for the Wonder of Stardom Championship.

However, unfortunately for Giulia it wasn’t just a case of losing her title but losing her hair as well.

The stipulation was created by Giulia as the final nail in the coffin for their feud, that had been going for close to a year at this point. But just how did a rivalry that started by a distasteful bikini brawl end up as such a huge moment in joshi history?

Well, at first it was one sided, with Tam being angry at Giulia from afar. Giulia had her sights set on then Wonder of Stardom champion Arisa Hoshiki, who was Tam’s close friend in the promotion, since Giulia had won the 2020 Cinderella Tournament and wanted her wish to be a shot at the white belt.

Fast forward one lockdown later and the Wonder of Stardom Championship had been vacated after Arisa Hoshiki suddenly retired in May 2020 due to injury and a tournament to crown a new champion was created.

The finals were set for Tam and Giulia to have their first singles encounter.

Although it was just a normal match at first, the true start of the feud can be linked to Giulia interrupting Tam during Stardom’s annual bikini photoshoot just days before their white belt match where Giulia had some less than savoury things to say before a brawl ensued, which ended up going viral.

On the 26th of July, only nine months after defecting from Ice Ribbon to rival company Stardom, a moment perhaps worthy of its own piece, Giulia won her first singles championship by becoming the 14th Wonder of Stardom champion.

This wouldn’t end their feud however, in fact it only caused it to become more heated. Tam felt she had to honour her former tag partner Arisa by winning the championship and she would do that, even if it meant fighting until the bitter end.

They wouldn’t have another singles match until Stardom’s annual 5STAR tournament, where Tam picked up a victory over Giulia and brought their singles record against each other to one a piece. This, in turn, presented an opportunity for Tam to request another match.

On October 3rd, Giulia defended her title for the first time against Tam Nakano. Leading up to the match, there was still a lot of petty back and forth between the two, each trying to get into the other’s head. Mind games would not be enough for Tam on this occasion and she lost to Giulia in under 20 minutes.

Even though Giulia went on to defend the Championship against her teammates Syuri and Himeka, as well as rivals Konami and Natsuko Tora, the rivalry with Tam continued – which Giulia continued to grow enraged by.

Every interaction they had during tag matches started to become more viscous, regularly fighting even after the bell had rung, to the point where they had to be forcefully separated from each other.

As the shows went on, Giulia adopted a more heelish persona, becoming someone who didn’t care about who she angered in or outside the ring as long as it brought attention to the product. It’s safe to say that this unorthodox yet honest approach worked as she found herself fighting Tam once again but this time in the main event of joshi puro’s return to the Nippon Budokan.

A rivalry as ingrained as this deserved a stipulation that could only put it to rest for good. The idol wrestler Tam Nakano didn’t have a Hair vs Hair match in mind though her request was just as crazy..

Tam, who happens to be a pyrotechnics expert (no, really), suggested the stipulation be an Exploding Deathmatch, a match type that Tam absolutely adores after taking part in multiple matches herself.

Although she didn’t make her decision immediately, Giulia had the idea of a Hair vs Hair match.

The ultimate stipulation.

Like a lot of women, Tam puts a lot of care, effort and money into maintaining her hair and for Giulia to demand her hair be on the line, just to ruin her idol wrestling career, was the biggest act of disrespect from the champion.

Fast forward to the big day and Stardom opened the match by showcasing a promo package hyping up the match, as well as featuring joshi icon Chigusa Nagayo losing her hair to Dump Matsumoto all the way back in 1985, a moment which reduced women in crowd to hysterical tears as the widely popular Chigusa had her head shaved.

There was a lot to live up to in comparison to the other Hair vs Hair matches in joshi history but with two of Stardom’s biggest stars at the helm, it came as no surprise when the match delivered on all fronts.

The match couldn’t be contained inside the ring, Giulia sent Tam into barricade after trying to take her out, hitting her with a piledriver through a table but the resilient Tam fought on.

While she played by the rules, Tam wasn’t beneath stealing Giulia’s Glorious Driver or going against her in a nasty slapping exchange.

Multiple times throughout the match it looked like Giulia was going to get the victory then, shockingly, Tam hit her with a Falcon Arrow right onto her head for the decisive three count.

Marking the first ever singles Championship of Tam’s career but more importantly, a new found respect that both of the women had for each other after a long and grueling feud.

Giulia originally asked Tam to cut her hair, handing her the razor as she admitted defeat but Tam, similar to the other girls around ringside, found herself in tears and refused to cut her hair. Tam did attempt to stop the barber from cutting Giulia’s hair but being the fighter she is, sat through it.

While only briefly on top of Stardom’s mountain, Giulia has vowed to start back at square one, taking the opening position for the next stardom show to put the rebirth of her image into full effect. And with Tam as the new champion, there will be plenty of speculation as to where she goes from here.

These two might be on a level of mutual respect for now but with Stardom having a relatively small talent pool, only time will tell when these two meet again.