UPDATE May 5, 2019: STARDOM World has launched a new version of their online service. I’ve tried signing up for the new service but when I submit my email address, I just never receive the confirmation. Not in my spam, not in my trash – nowhere! If I do ever receive that confirmation, though, I’ll try and post an updated version of this.
There are a ton of ways to watch pro-wrestling these days, and I’ve covered them in the past. Leading up to and after this year’s WrestleMania, I was in a pretty steady downturn in my interest in wrestling. I had been a subscriber to NJPW World in the past and used a Chromecast to stream it to my TV, but my Chromecast crapped out a couple years back and I didn’t have an easy way to watch NJPW on my TV anymore. I’m not someone who likes to sit around watching things on my computer, so without an easy way to watch things like a normal person I let my subscription lapse and stayed out of the loop for a couple of years.
With WWE killing my love of wrestling, I knew I needed to look around for some alternatives to lift me out of my funk. After doing some quick research, I found out that NJPW now had an app on the Amazon Firestick – so I threw my money at directly at Amazon and had one of those suckers delivered. I’ve since ordered a second so I can have access to all of these wonderful streaming things in multiple rooms in the house. I’d recommend it if you’re into watching any or all of this stuff.
Along with NJPW World having an app on the Firestick, the device also offers something that Apple TV doesn’t – the option to use a web browser. Because of that ability, I now also have subscriptions to a handful of services with websites but no dedicated apps including STARDOM World, Pro Wrestling EVE, and Sendai Girls.
STARDOM was the second promotion I started paying for after re-upping my NJPW World subscription. It’s a promotion I’d always heard of and only tangentially knew about, mostly just knowing some names and watching a few matches here and there. Once NJPW’s G1 wrapped up, STARDOM kicked off their own round-robin tournament – the 5 Star Grand Prix. This seemed like the perfect time to get into a new promotion. Not only will I get to see a ton of matches where the outcomes all matter in a points-based tournament, but I’ll get to see the top names in STARDOM over the course of several weeks. Win-win!
The tournament has since wrapped up and I’m a STARDOM World subscriber for the long haul. We’re traveling to Tokyo in a couple of months for Wrestle Kingdom and are hoping to check out a STARDOM show while we’re there (and hopefully a DDT show, too). For now, though, I wanted to share some tips on how to use STARDOM World and what to expect from it. It’s a bit different from any of the other streaming services out there and some aspects of it really bummed me out at first, but I’ve actually grown to like those features – I’ll explain why in the sections below.
So, you want to watch some of the best women’s wrestling on the planet from the comfort of your own home? Let’s do this!
Get your Google Translate ready! Signing up for sites like this and NJPW World can always be a little confusing because the text and buttons don’t always translate exactly, but we’ll walk through it here to help you out.
Once you hit stardom-world.com, you’ll see a row of buttons at the bottom of the screen. Thankfully, these are displayed in both English and Japanese so you can easily smash that “Sign Up” button to get going.
The first thing you’ll see is a basic form with your base fields. The email address you use is what you’ll use to log in. I don’t actually know what the Nickname field is used for, because in my few months of having the service I don’t think I’ve had to use my nickname for anything. I always log in with my email address and password. As a bonus, you get a sample video of animals doing animal things so you can make sure your browser supports the player. I’ve never had a problem playing any videos regardless of the browser. Below that is the standard user agreement which you need to accept before signing up.
Passwords don’t seem to allow special symbols or characters, so while you obviously want a secure password you’ll get bounced back if you use something with a character like a *, /, or ( in it.
On the next screen, you’ll get a confirmation of the information you entered on the previous screen. Make sure everything here is correct and then hit “Sign Up” to continue on.
Finally, you’ll get a confirmation screen that your registration has processed. Clicking the “Top” button takes you back to the homepage of STARDOM World with a listing shows/videos to view.
But, you can’t login just yet! You’ll need to check your email and click the link to finalize your registration. There’s a pretty good chance this will wind up in your spam, so check there if you don’t see it in a few minutes. It’s generally very fast.
After clicking that link, you’ll wind up on the first page of the payment process. 750 yen is about $6.50 USD right now, so you’re paying a very small amount of money for a lot of wrestling.
Clicking “Next” on this page will reload the page and present you with a field to fill in your credit card number.
With your information in place, you can hit “Confirmation” to take you to a final confirmation page. Here, you’ll want to review your information and then click “Settlement” if all is good.
After this, you should be good to go! Be aware that not all credit or debit cards will work if you’re in the US. For some reason. my bank debit card failed but my regular credit card did not. It wasn’t that my bank declined the payment, it just seems as though the service provider couldn’t work with the card/that particular bank.
Now that you’re in, you can jump back to stardom-world.com/home and check out the videos available to you! They’re nice enough to put the latest uploads into the “New Videos” section so you don’t have to go hunting around.
So, you’ve signed up. Now the only thing left to do is watch! You can watch right from the browser on your laptop, but what if you want to do it another way?
How To Watch
One of the biggest things holding me back from subscribing to a bunch of different wrestling streaming services was the severe lack of apps available. In our house, we had a couple of smart TVs as well as an Apple TV and PS4. Unfortunately, there aren’t a ton of options for easy streaming with those options alone. You can get Powerbomb.tv on an Apple TV as well as Roku which is fantastic, but it wasn’t until I learned that NJPW World had an app on the Amazon Firestick that I decided to pick one of those up, too.
This opened a whole new world as far as streaming wrestling content is concerned. Not only could I now use NJPW’s official app so I could wake up at 3 am and comfortably watch live shows, but the Firestick also offers another feature you don’t get with Apple TV – web browsers. You can choose either Firefox or Silk and use your browser to do all of the normal things you would do on a computer.
This is fantastic because for services like STARDOM World, Sendai Girls, and Pro Wrestling EVE it means that I don’t have to worry about casting from one device to another or hooking my laptop up to my TV with an HDMI cable. As long as you don’t mind using your remote to key in the URL and your login information, you’ll be good to go. I favor the Silk browser over Firefox just because it’s seemed more stable for me, and it’s just as good as having an actual app available to you. Of course, you can bookmark your pages as well so you can have easy access if you triple-down on streaming services like I wound up doing.
Now that you know what you’re going to use to watch STARDOM, how do the shows actually make their way to you?
Before I signed up for STARDOM World, the main issue I had with how I heard the service worked was that it uploaded matches one at a time as individual videos rather than uploading an entire show at once. This seemed like such a hassle to me, especially as someone who was coming from services like NJPW World and Powerbomb.tv who offer not only live streams but archives upon archives of full shows.
Once I got into it, though, I really turned around on this entire idea of single-match uploads. Generally, once a show happens the matches will begin to show up a day or two later. Most of the time the matches go up two at a time until all of the matches are available. I had blogged along with the G1 Climax this year and while I loved watching every part of the tournament, at times it was exhausting knowing that I had another long show to watch and write-up. Especially when there are several shows a week, it’s not always easy to carve out the time to watch them all when they run 2-3 hours a piece.
With the way STARDOM does things, though, if I’m writing along with a series as I did with the 5 Star Grand Prix, I’m at most going to be watching two or three matches at a time. Another bonus? With the 5*GP, matches have a 15-minute time limit which means even if a set of matches all went the limit you’d still come in under an hour. I found this to be a much more enjoyable experience than having to sit down to watch a full show, or several full shows, over the course of a week.
There are some other things to know about the way STARDOM does things, too. The thing that may stick out the most is that none of the shows have any commentary of any kind. I thought this would be a hurdle as well because even though I don’t speak Japanese I’ve always found the excitement and energy of NJPW’s Japanese commentary team to be infectious. More than that, I just figured it would feel weird to watch wrestling without a commentary track at all.
Turns out, this isn’t a major issue for me either. While I do see how a commentary team could help, especially with the quieter Japanese crowds, I don’t think that not having commentary really takes away from anything. If nothing else, it just means you’ll hear every kick, chop, and forearm strike even more clearly because nobody will be talking over them.
The Language Barrier
If you don’t speak Japanese, there’s always the question of whether or not you’ll be able to fully follow along the storylines from show to show. With NJPW (my base frame of reference for Japanese streaming wrestling, as I’m sure you’ve noticed) the storylines are often simple enough that you don’t need to understand the language to know why a rivalry exists. A lot of the time it boils down to someone having a title and someone else wants that title, and even in the case of more nuanced stories you can still piece things together if you’re paying attention.
With STARDOM, though, they go a step further. While there isn’t any commentary on the shows, pre-match promos are always translated – and there are pre-match promos before every match. They tend to be short and to the point (unless Oedo Tai really gets on a roll) and help fill in the gaps you would otherwise be scouring the internet to fill by way of fan translations on message boards or Twitter.
Dialogue within matches isn’t always subtitled, but if it warrants then you’ll be lucky enough to have those, too, as seen in a recent Natsu Sumire/AZM match:
Jeez, I don’t think I was prepared for how vicious things got between @azumikan1411 and @SMR_sptmber_luv in Yokohama #stardom #stardomworld #wrestling #joshi #womenswrestling #5stargrandprix pic.twitter.com/sSbhL327g4
— Ganso Bomb (@GansoBombDotCom) September 3, 2018
In-ring promos and the customary end-of-show promo are also subtitled, so there isn’t much that you’ll miss if you don’t speak the language! I’d say that STARDOM does a better job than NJPW at making their Japanese content accessible to foreigners. While NJPW does offer English commentary on most shows and does subtitle post-match interviews once they eventually pop up on YouTube, they don’t offer anything in the way of subtitling in-ring promos or video packages available on NJPW World. STARDOM World gives you everything you need to follow along in one place which is a huge, huge bonus and makes it super easy for a foreigner unfamiliar with the language to get right into the thick of things.
This one is going to be tricky if you’re an avid Twitter user and want to actively stay up to date on all things STARDOM. STARDOM has both Japanese and English Twitter accounts, and if you’re following the English account you’ll want to avoid looking at your timeline during live shows. They do a great job at getting results out on Twitter – during events, tweets are hitting in real-time letting you know who won and how for every match on the card.
They also tend to tweet photos from individual matches, but these hit Twitter sometime after the results are tweeted. You’ll still want to avoid these, though, as they’ll usually include spoilers in the way of photos of the winners celebrating.
This wouldn’t be so much of an issue if STARDOM World offered live-streaming of events, but they, unfortunately, do not. If you’re someone like me who wants to try and avoid spoilers at all costs, it can be excruciating trying to avoid having the result of a show’s main event given away before you get a chance to watch it. Since shows are uploaded a match or two at a time, it can be three to five days before the main event is online depending on the speed at which matches are uploaded.
I’d say you have two options here – either don’t follow STARDOM on Twitter at all (which stinks), browse your timeline in lists so you can easily separate STARDOM out of your field of vision, or just try and avoid focusing on any tweet from STARDOM as you’re swiping through. I tend to fall into the camp of swiping through my regular timeline and avoiding reading the text of a tweet when I see that it’s coming from the STARDOM English account. Your mileage may vary!
There you have it! Once you’re through what can sometimes be a confusing signup process since Google doesn’t always translate from Japanese in the most reliable way, it’s pretty easy to hop right into STARDOM and become a dedicated viewer. I absolutely love how much content they provide with subtitles because it gives me such an easy insight into the wrestlers, their motivations and goals, and what to expect in the future without having to scour Twitter or Reddit for translations. It’s great that everything is all tied into one place – I don’t have to go to YouTube to find translated promos or additional information; STARDOM World gives you everything you need to follow along in one place.
I hope this guide has helped you a bit and gives you the extra push you need to signup for STARDOM World! I’ve been more than happy with my decision to do so and for the price point you can’t really get much better.