World Wonder Ring Stardom
5 Star Grand Prix Day 1
August 17, 2019
Shinkiba 1st Ring

Watch: Stardom World

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. The G1 Climax is over and Bad Luck Fale is nothing more than a repressed memory as we head into Stardom’s 5 Star Grand Prix. This year’s tournament is loaded with talent in both blocks that should make for some great matches along the way.

Avary Def. Natsuko Tora, Rina & Ruaka

This was my first time seeing Avary so I watched this mostly just to get a feel for her. While the match was short she looked good. I don’t think she’s going to blow anyone away during 5 Star but if she continues to come back to Stardom for further tours she could develop into a good wrestler **

Red Stars: AZM Def. Natsu Sumire

Pretty sloppy match as AZM seemed to be 2 steps ahead of Sumire for most of it. These two have had some fun comedy matches in the past as they’re two of Stardom’s strongest characters but they threw that aside in this match and focused solely on the in-ring work. AZM winning was a nice surprise but the match itself wasn’t great**

Red Stars: Hana Kimura Def. Tam Nakano

Tam really brought the energy to this one. While Kimura was her usual self it was Tam that had fire behind her forearms and brought some urgency to the match. As someone that doesn’t like Hana too much in-ring, this was easily the weakest match so far but Tam performed well. **

Red Stars: Saki Kashima Def. Mayu Iwatani

These two made the right choice for the pace of the match. It was smack bang in the middle of an 11-match card so they went for a quick 5-minute sprint with Kashima trying to get the upset win over Mayu for the second year in a row. Kashima did get the win with the same move after an enjoyable, if forgettable, sprint **1/2

Blue Stars: Jamie Hayter Def. Arisa Hoshiki

Jamie Hayter is such a perfect fit for Oedo Tai. She’s so good at being annoying enough that seeing her head get kicked in by Hoshiki is satisfying but you don’t hate her and want to skip the match. I’m glad they’re putting Hoshiki in different kinds of matches during the tournament to protect her big match formula. Another good match that won’t really make any MOTY lists but was entertaining ***

Blue Stars: Bea Priestley vs Andras Miyagi

A decent back and forth affair that managed to stand out from the other matches on the card thanks to Andras’ power moves. Not much to say this was fairly forgettable especially on such a big card **1/2

Blue Stars: Utami Hayashishita Def. Jungle Kyona

These two are destined to do this forever. Despite the fact Kyona finally got one over on Hayashishita during a tag match recently she still has yet to beat Utami in a singles match and the gap between the two continues to grow. The story of this match was perfect Utami destroyed the back of Kyona and made her pass out in the Torture Rack submission, neither one has properly lost to the other but Hayashishita can laud this W over Kyona for the near future. While that adds another beat to this feud it meant the match quality wasn’t as high as it could have been. ***

Red Stars: Hazuki Def. Momo Watanabe

Intense right from the word go this was a back and forth match with Hazuki paying a cocky POS to perfection. Similar to the Priestley match this saw Watanabe sell for the early part of the match before making her comeback and kicking the match into top gear. Hazuki’s time in the High Speed division came into play when she countered the Peach Sunset into a La Mistica for the win. ***1/2

Blue Stars: Konami Def. Kagetsu

The match one should expect from a student of Kana facing a student of Meiko Satomura. When not trying to submit the other they were standing and trading kicks in an attempt to knock their opponent out. In the end, Kagetsu’s arrogance cost her it looked like she had the match won only for her to break the pin in an attempt to add insult to injury. Within a minute she was tapping to the Triangle Lancer. Konami gets a big win and continues to show her upward progression since joining TCS with a win over the former World Of Stardom Champion. ****

Final Thoughts

Stardom 5 Star Grand Prix Night 1 was a success in my books. With nine block matches, it had the potential to drag but they paced the earlier matches really well with only one match on the entire show going over 10 minutes. If you’re worried about wrestling overload post-G1 then this tournament is the perfect bite-sized wrestling fix.