Stardom 5STAR Grand Prix (8/9/19) Review

Credit: Stardom

I told you that my very complicated maths said I’d be all caught up on the 5STAR before the next show. Sure, I am struggling to keep a handle on how many points everyone has and the number of matches they’ve wrestled, but ask me to figure out how much wrestling I can cram into a period and there are no issues at all. Anyway, on with the show!

Riho defeated Leo Onozaki

Utami’s injury forced some changes to these cards and provided Leo with a chance to strut her stuff against Riho. Weirdly, this was Riho’s first singles match since coming into Stardom as she won the title in a three-way. 

Both women looked good for it too, having a fun little sprint that showcased them nicely. Onozaki showed a bit of fire as she tried to take Riho down, but ultimately the more experienced wrestler had too much for her, hitting a pair of Double Stomps for the three.

While there was nothing unmissable about this, it went under five minutes, so you might as well give it a watch.

Verdict: Two And Three Quarter Stars

Queen’s Quest (Momo Watanabe, Bea Priestley and Hina) defeated Tokyo Cyber Squad (Konami, Rina and Saya Kamitani)

Kamitani is still hopefully offering up a handshake before each match and rarely gets one back in turn. I admire her optimism although her decision to start the match by baiting Momo into a striking exchange showed she has a streak of wilful stupidity too (in the nicest possible way).

As Kamitani has had a few more matches, this seems like a perfect time to check in with her. When she was on the offensive, she looked good, it’s her selling and psychology that still needs work. There was a moment where she was waiting for Bea to attack her in the corner and was stood straight, bracing herself for the impact rather than selling the move that put her there. That’s a small thing, though, and probably comes as much from nerves as it does ability.

Outside of that, this was a pretty standard match-up. Everyone looked solid, but they didn’t have much time, and the only other point of interest was that Kamitani didn’t take the fall. That was left to Rina as after a series of flash pins with her sister she eventually ended up with her shoulders pinned to the mat for the three.

Verdict: Two And A Half Stars

Oedo Tai (Jamie Hayter, Natsu Sumire and Natsuko Tora) defeated STARS (Tam Nakano, Starlight Kid and Saya Iida)

Natsu still has P-sama! That poor panda has been kept in captivity for too long. The cameraman also made the mistake of telling Natsu to hurry Oedo Tai’s pre-match promo up, so we got to find out what Jamie had for breakfast.

Oedo Tai’s silly mood continued into the match as they were having a dance to warm-up. Natsu then goaded Tam in by using P as bait before hitting her repeatedly with her fluffy friend and then tying him to her face before hitting the Bronco Buster. I’m pretty sure that counts as some form of animal/Tam abuse.

Outside of the comedy, this was another straightforward Stardom tag match, packed with action and an easy watch. Iida had an impressive run out with Hayter and got an agonisingly close near fall off the Iidabashi with only Natsu and her whip proving capable of stopping it. Unfortunately for STARS, that would be the turning point as not long after a Falcon Arrow Backbreaker sealed the win and meant Oedo Tai kept P for yet another day.

Verdict: Three Stars

Red Stars: Avary (1-3) defeated Saki Kashima (2-2)

Avary claimed pre-match to have a plan to end her losing streak, but that plan looked a bit like all her other matches, she just hit a DDT at the end. I mean, it worked, but I’m not sure it can exactly be described as a masterstroke.

Sadly, this wasn’t great. Saki and Avary never seemed to get on the same page and everything was a bit clunky and out of sync. There was a Kashima Rana that nearly went badly wrong (although ended up merely looking ugly) and a lot of the action felt slightly off. While it wasn’t a total disaster, it wasn’t good either. Oh well, at least Avary managed to get herself on the board.

Verdict: Two And A Quarter Stars

Red Stars: AZM (3-3) defeated Hana Kimura (3-2)

Hana was pissed off that AZM referred to the other wrestlers in her block as ‘old hags’ and wanted to teach the youngster a thing or two. She spent the opening of this match bullying AZM as she no-sold her Dropkicks, stepped out of the way when she leapt from the top rope to the floor and then dragged her up the stairs to boot her back down them.

However, as we saw against Momo, the more you hit AZM, the more fired up she seems to get. She refused to take no for an answer and even as Hana shrugged off a lot of her offence, she kept coming back. That would prove to be a smart move as for the second time in this tournament Hana’s weakness would turn out to be flash pins, and AZM’s version of the Hazukistral got the win.

After the match AZM grabbed the mic and reinforced that she was collecting Grandmas on this tour (for the record Hana is 22 and AZM 16, so they all make me feel old) and has three more to go. She’s having a fantastic tournament, and this was another entertaining performance to add to her portfolio.

Verdict: Three And A Half Stars

Blue Stars: Jungle Kyona (3-2) defeated Kagetsu (2-3)

Kagetsu came into this one with a plan, instantly reversing a Jungle Lariat into an Armbar and going for an all-out assault on the arm afterwards. She’s been working a grappling heavy style this tournament, and it’s been producing interesting matches. It wasn’t until Jungle managed to dodge a kick on the outside, Kagetsu’s foot smashing into the post, that the momentum turned in her favour. She followed up with the Hammer Throw Powerbomb onto the apron, and suddenly this contest was a lot more even.

That led to an awesome closing stretch where these two smashed lumps out of each other. Even a slight botch when Jungle couldn’t get Kagetsu up for the Hammer Throw Powerbomb straight away played to their advantage, Jungle dropping to her knees in a half Ganso Bomb before standing back up and hitting it properly. It was a move that made it all the more impressive when Kagetsu kicked out.

Even with that kick out, the end was near for Kagetsu, and while she tried to pull out the mist, Kyona would duck it before hitting a Kinniku Buster for the three. This was an awesome match with two great wrestlers hitting huge moves until one of them couldn’t get up. Even Kagetsu seemed to realise that, shaking Jungle’s hand after the bell rung in a rare moment of respect.

Verdict: Four Stars

Red Stars: Hazuki (3-2) defeated Mayu Iwatani (3-3)

Having had a nice return to her High Speed roots against AZM, Iwatani seemed to go into this one expecting something similar. Hazuki humoured her for a few seconds before disabusing her of that notion by kicking her in the face; few things slow you down quicker than that.

And I know I rave about it all the time, but Mayu’s bumping in this match was fantastic. She can contort her body in ways that make every move look like it has damn near killed her. Combine it with a willingness to throw herself about, and you’ve got the perfect combination. Just watch the way she flops through the ropes and down to the floor after Hazuki’s booted her in the face, you believe she’s damn near dead.

Despite that, she still nearly went on to get the win, taking her beating and hitting Hazuki with a Crucifix Bomb followed by a Frog Splash. Unfortunately, when she went up for the Moonsault, Hazuki was ready. Rolling out of the way she slipped into Hazukistral and Mayu once again lost to a flash pin. That’s becoming a theme of her tournament, isn’t it?

These two had fantastic chemistry, working a lovely combination of high-speed wrestling and vicious kicks. We don’t really need it after her title matches with Kagetsu and Arisa, but it’s further proof that Hazuki is more than ready to be considered one of the top wrestlers in this promotion, and I hope Stardom realise that sooner rather than later.

Verdict: Four Stars

Blue Stars: Arisa Hoshiki (3-3) defeated Andras Miyagi (2-3)

Andras’s transformation into a technical master started in her match with Kagetsu and continued here. She kicked things off by grappling with Arisa, using her superior size to keep her on the mat. It was only when Hoshiki started getting kicky that this moved off the ground and into more obviously violent territory.

And Andras never seemed to figure out how to deal with those kicks. She ate a lot of them, roaring defiance in Arisa’s face as she did so, but that didn’t so much prevent them as leave her open to more. It was a brave if slightly stupid tactic as she seemed to be aiming for that one big move that would turn the match in her favour.

She never got it, and it would leave this match feeling slightly disjointed. They never seemed to find their groove or settle into a story, so while it was entertaining enough, there wasn’t much to get your teeth into. Arisa did once again win with a move that she wouldn’t normally use as a finisher (her kick from the top rope), so I continue to remain a fan of that even if the match was only alright.

Verdict: Three And A Quarter Stars

Overall Show

Once again, if I have made any mistakes with people’s scoring, please let me know. Everyone having wrestled a different amount of times is tripping me up, and I’m shit at maths at the best of times.

Either way, I’m going to attempt to figure out who can still win this thing. The Blue Stars is simple as everyone is on six points apart from Natsuko who is on two with three matches left. She can mathematically still win, but in reality, it’s impossible.

Red Stars is a bit more complicated as we once again have a logjam on six points just with a few more underneath them. Kashima has four with four matches left so is still in contention while Avary is on two with four left, so while she could technically still win, she’d probably need a lot of draws. Similarly, Natsu is on two with three matches left, so I’m going to say she’s done.

I think that’s all right? If it’s not, well, you can tell me, but as I’ve made clear, me no maths good. Whether it’s right or total bollocks, this was a fantastic show with some brilliant matches, and I’m all caught up. Yay!

Top Three 5STAR Grand Prix Matches So Far

  1. Jungle Kyona vs Utami Hayashishita (17/8/19) – Four And A Quarter Stars
  2. Arisa Hoshiki vs Utami Hayashishita (18/8/19) – Four And A Quarter Stars
  3. Tam Nakano vs Mayu Iwatani (7/9/19) – Four And A Quarter Stars

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