5☆STAR GP 2020 – Day 2
August 9, 2020
Korakuen Hall
Toyko, Japan

Watch: Stardom-World

Standings & Scores for 5☆STAR GP 2020 Pick’Em:

After an excellent show to open the tournament, we’re back in Korakuen for night 2 with seven tournament matches. Some of Stardom’s biggest names will be looking for their first points, including Momo Watanabe and Mayu Iwatani, but the big story is if anyone can slow down Donna del Mondo, who went undefeated on night 1. Other than themselves, that is, as the main event sees faction mates collide as Giulia takes on Himeka.

Saya Kamitani & Hina def. DEATH Yama-san & Rina

The opening match saw the two 5☆STAR GP 2020 participants not working tournament matches, Saya Kamitani and DEATH Yama-san, on opposite sites of a tag as they partnered with Hina and Rina. This featured fine work from the young ones, lots of DEATH shenanigans, and the usual impressive showing from Saya, who scored the pin on Rina with the running shooting star press. Your average Stardom opener. **1/2

Blue Stars Block
Maika (4) def. Saya Iida (0)

A fun hoss fight that saw Donna del Mondo remain undefeated in block matches. After opening with dueling shoulder blocks and strike exchanges, Maika took control with slams and judo throws, leading to a shout out to a Japanese legend watching from the stands and a Romero special on Saya. Saya fought back with machine gun chops in the corner and the center of the ring, along with some slams of her own and vicious ground and pound. A northern lights suplex almost earned Saya the victory, before Maika used a rear-naked choke, an STO, and a crossed arm STO for the 2 points.  ***1/4

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Red Stars Block
Mayu Iwatani (2) def. Starlight Kid (2)

This was excellent. Mayu made it clear that she wasn’t going to go easy on her faction mate tonight, and the way the Starlight Kid ran right at her leader once the bell sounded showed no punches would be pulled. An almost immediate small botch by Mayu was quickly forgotten as she set about punishing Kid early. This was not going to be a one-sided affair however, as they swiftly started a back and forth battle that would last the rest of the match. Mayu may have taken Starlight Kid’s head off with a few kicks, but she gave her a ton, making her look like a credible threat that could score the huge upset. The crowd was fire as these two killed each other, with Mayu catching Kid in a modified dragon sleeper for the tap out victory. I feel bad for whoever has to follow this. ****

Blue Stars Block
Momo Watanabe (2) def. AZM (2)

I shouldn’t have felt bad though, because it was Momo and AZM in the following match. Another inter-factional battle, this one between Queen’s Quest members, this kept the crowd hot and if given a few more minutes, may have surpassed Mayu/Kid. AZM used the opening handshake to attempt to gain an advantage, which instead, after a fast back and forth, led to a control period for Momo. Once AZM broke free, it became a battle between AZM’s submissions and Momo’s strikes, until Momo flipped the script and caught AZM in a chicken wing crossface for the submission. A great sprint, with the faction mates sharing a well-deserved bow at the end. ***3/4

Red Stars Block
Tam Nakano (2) def. Konami (2)

After two straight matches between faction mates, we get some good old fashioned animosity with a match between Stars and Tokyo Cyber Squad. Konami threatened to kick in Tam’s cute face!  The horror! Another submissions versus strikes battle, they continued the run of great matches as the Cutest in the Universe picked up her first points of the year with a dragon suplex. ***1/2

Blue Stars Block
Utami Hayashishita (4) def. Natsuko Tora (0)

Starting off, this had all the makings of another great match. The work was good, the crowd was involved, and Natsuko’s senton to the floor onto three chairs stacked on top of Utami was insane. Then, after Utami beat the 20-count into the ring, they lost me. During the 20-count, Natsuko brought the chain into the ring. The referee apparently did not care. Perhaps he didn’t see it. Then Tora pushes the ref to the corner, grabs the back of his head and slams his face into the padding, to distract him so she can slam Utami onto the chain. When this doesn’t work, Natsuko just climbs to the top rope openly holding the chain, which she uses to hit Utami in the head before wrapping it around her neck. Before she can strangle her, Utami hoists Natsuko into a torture rack, at which point it seems that the referee finally begins to scold Tora for the chain she is holding wrapped around her opponent’s neck. Natsuko responds by attempting to feed the chain to Utami, before escaping over the top rope and finally succeeding at strangling Utami, at which point the referee remembers this is not a no disqualification match and DQs Natsuko. As ridiculous as it was, I can’t take away from the effort, and the German Natsuko took on the chain made me legitimately wince. ***

Blue Stars Block
Syuri (4) def. Jungle Kyona (0)

Poor Jungle Kyona. Incredibly popular with western fans and legitimately one of the best workers in Joshi, she seems forever destined to be called on whenever Stardom needs a great worker to eat a fall. Never the bride, always the bridesmaid? Be it for the red belt, the white belt, the Cinderella tournament or the 5☆STAR GP 2020, there seems no situation Stardom can book that Jungle can win. Here she falls victim to the buzzsaw that is Donna del Mondo, submitting to Syuri in a bit over 13 minutes. A good match that I never was invested in, as I couldn’t see Donna del Mondo picking up their first loss until the main event. ***

Red Stars Block
Himeka (4) def. Giulia (2)

I loved the booking. I loved the pre-match promos. I loved everything post-match, from the promo Himeka cut to the members of Donna del Mondo posing to end the show, with Giulia holding her neck a bit off to the side. The match itself was about 5 minutes too long and exposed an issue Stardom has with their mega push of Giulia. While she has improved a huge amount since her debut, she is still a work in progress. When working Tam, Mayu or Momo she can more than hold her own and put on a great match, but she still needs that veteran hand to move a match from good to great. I understand why this was the main event. For Giulia’s first singles loss, it needed to occupy that slot. But after some of the great work on this show, it was almost anti-climatic. ***1/4

Final Thoughts

A really good show that could have been great, that unfortunately seemed to lose momentum as it went on. The three matches starting with Mayu/Starlight are must watch, as is Himeka’s post-match promo. The complete show clocks in at 2:13 on Stardom World, and with even the “disappointing” matches hitting 3 stars, there is no reason not to watch the whole show, especially if you miss hearing a crowd that is hot for an event. After the first two nights, I am definitely looking forward to the rest of the 5☆STAR GP 2020.