Beginning on July 31, Stardom’s 5 STAR Grand Prix officially begins with what could be one of its biggest and most important years ever. The beauty of this round-robin tournament is that it gives the incredible talent a chance to show what they’re capable of removed from their factions and can fully embrace who they are as competitors. Stardom is looking to have its most successful 5 STAR yet this year.
As Stardom’s most popular time of the year arrives, we will continue to preview the tournament by breaking it down via block. The Red Stars Block has already been previewed, which you can check out here, as we detailed who has the best chance to walk out as the winner of the block, who could play spoiler, and so much more.
Now let’s dive into the Blue Stars Block—a group that very well could be seen as the most talented block in the history of Stardom.
STARDOM 5 STAR GRAND PRIX BLUE STARS BLOCK COMPETITOR PREVIEWS
The World of Stardom Champion happens to also be the defending 5 STAR Grand Prix winner. Utami Hayashishita knows what this tournament can do for a career and rather than allowing someone to do to her what she did to Mayu Iwatani last year by winning this tournament, it only seems right that Hayashishita goes all out to defend her crown and get to pick her next opponent instead. That being said, the champion never wins these things but it’s always intriguing to see how they are stopped from doing so. The rematch with Syuri will be the most interesting match throughout the entire tournament as these two had one of the best matches of the year. What do they do with a 20-minute time limit and a tournament on the line instead?
Then there are the matchups with former challengers Saya Kamitani and Maika. Hayashishita and Kamitani of course from AphroditE, but as we have seen, they can put on an excellent match as they did at All Star Dream Cinderella. Hayashishita’s matchup with Maika is an enticing one as well seeing that Maika has improved significantly since her title match earlier this year. Maybe this is the time she gets the best of the champion. However, despite all these matches, the one that has everyone wondering how it will go will be between Hayashishita and Marvelous’ Takumi Iroha. For the first time in a long time, Hayashishita could be going in as the underdog there and this could be where she suffers one of her few losses (if any). It’ll be an interesting tournament for the champion.
Tam Nakano is in the same spot as Utami Hayashishita as it’s likely she will not be winning this tournament as the reigning Wonder of Stardom Champion. That being said, she is the most interesting name to watch due to how her year has been going. Nakano has become one of the best storytellers in all of wrestling, putting on emotional title match after emotional title match on her way to solidifying herself as one of the best. The question here is this: Will she be able to do this in a tournament?
Nine matches with not every single one having as much meaning as the other, but matches with the likes of Hayashishita and Syuri plus a rematch with Saya Kamitani make us believe that in terms of work rate and “Match of the Year” contenders, Nakano could put together a special tournament. What’s most interesting is trying to guess who she could lose to which will be how she sets up the next couple of defenses of her championship. Konami or Maika are among our favorites to pull off a win against Nakano, setting us up for a great title defense down the line.
Win or lose, Nakano is going to show everyone yet again that 2021 is her year with what should be a great overall showing.
Syuri very well could be the favorite in the Blue Stars Block as her incredible year continues to get better and better every single time we see her. As one-half of the Goddesses of Stardom Champions and the reigning SWA Champion, Syuri has been the most dominant competitor in Stardom outside of Hayashishita and Nakano. Every outing she has further shows how great she is as a competitor, making you believe that despite the draw with Hayashishita, she could be on her way to securing the World of Stardom Championship rematch that the world knows she wants. It’s been her number one focus since joining the promotion and will continue to be until she can accomplish her goals. But can she run the gauntlet of the best block possibly in the history of Stardom to get that chance again?
Well for those who are clamoring for it, the rematch between Syuri and Hayashishita will be taking place in this tournament. If she’s able to defeat her fierce rival, it almost feels as though this could be her block to win and tournament as well. Matchups with Tam Nakano and Takumi Iroha carry a lot of intrigue as well. Both of these matches will be first-time-ever singles matches for Syuri, giving a major question mark as to how she will perform. Seeing that the final day of the entire tournament will see her and Iroha lock horns for the first time, we feel confident in saying that is the match that decides this block. Syuri has to be the favorite right now heading into the 5 STAR.
“The Golden Phoenix” is fresh off one tournament so why not another? Saya Kamitani has had a star-making year to this point despite not winning any championship gold, continuously showing that she is going to be one of Stardom’s elite for years to come. Kamitani’s ability to do moves that no one else can in the entire promotion is what makes her the true wildcard of the tournament. While it’s unlikely that Kamitani goes on to win this after winning the Cinderella Tournament earlier this year, we do believe that she will still have some major wins to bolster the resume and have her finish at the top of the block. Expect a huge upset win by Kamitani that should jolt the 5 STAR Grand Prix as a whole.
Maika style is in full swing ladies and gentlemen! The Donna del Mondo member enters the tournament in a unique situation this year. As someone who has only continued to improve every single outing and be one of the more dominant performers in the company over the past year, this is a tough draw for her. Maika goes hand-in-hand with Konami in this tournament as a talent worthy to make it to the finals but stuffed into a block that simply may not allow it. Middle of the pack sounds right for her but a major win over either Syuri or Tam Nakano is something to look out for. If she can at least defeat Nakano, a Wonder of Stardom Championship match could be in her future. That’s a win in itself.
Over the past month, Konami has gone to 15-minute time limit draws with both Utami Hayashishita and Tam Nakano. To double down on that impressiveness, Konami has not been pinned or submitted in singles action since March at All Star Dream Cinderella against Syuri. With Natsuko Tora out with injury, Konami has taken the reigns as their mouthpiece and default leader, but before that injury, she had shown that this was no fluke heading into this tournament. No, we do not expect Konami to get through her nine matches without being pinned, but it would be silly to count her out this year. Seeing that she is only two years removed from winning her block in the 5 STAR Grand Prix, getting to the finals before losing to eventual winner Hana Kimura, it would be wrong to do anything but expect a decent showing at minimum.
Konami is going to get a big win or two in this tournament and should leave it with more eyes on her than before as a serious competitor moving forward.
AZM has had some impressive 5 STAR’s in her career to this point. The unfortunate fact of the matter here is that she enters a Blue Stars Block that has too many options to have much hope in her running the show here. That being said, AZM should be able to capture her usual spoiler role this year as the sole high-speed wrestler of the block. With her Azumi Sushi roll-up pin always being an option, she could shock a lot of people by pinning the likes of a Nakano, Syuri, or even either of her stablemates. If Takumi Iroha is going to lose more than one match in this tournament, AZM feels to be the one who could pull that off as well with her high-speed ability.
This isn’t going to be a huge tournament in terms of wins and contending for AZM but could be as the spoiler and delivering some excellent performances.
After a semi-final showing in the Cinderella Tournament, what does Unagi Sayaka have up her sleeve for the 5 STAR Grand Prix? Unfortunately, probably not nearly the same success. The over-the-top-rope rule was a useful one for Sayaka in the first tournament of the year but now this will be tough as she enters the most talented block of the tournament as one of the least likely to win. That’s not to say that Sayaka can’t steal a win somewhere in this tournament, but this is going to be a lot like her Seven Match Series from earlier this year. Sayaka is going to have a tough go with a lot of her opponents and should finish neck and neck at the bottom with Ruaka. At least Tam Nakano might be nice to her!
Ruaka will enter the first 5 STAR Grand Prix of her career and it’s very likely she doesn’t have much success, but that could be due to her own doing. As of late, Ruaka has been an absolute menace, passing up what seem to be clear wins to instead get disqualified by smashing her opponent in the head with this special blue crate that she has been carrying around. Not only do we expect this a lot for the Oedo Tai rising star, but she should have some solid performances throughout. She’s going to finish last in all of this which won’t affect her as long as she is inflicting pain on her opponents.
When Stardom announced that there was an X from another promotion, the dream scenarios began to fill people’s heads as to who it could be. Rin Kadokura of Marvelous felt to be the obvious choice as she has been competing in Stardom recently and has a good relationship with Mayu Iwatani. But this was not the case. Instead, it was revealed (thanks Saya) that Marvelous’ returning ace Takumi Iroha would be the one to fill the spot in this tournament. Once the announcement was made, proposed brackets by people were instantly shaken up or even shattered as the addition of Iroha changes everything in this block.
Seeing that in 2020 she defeated then-World of Stardom Champion Iwatani in the middle of the ring, there’s certainly a chance she could make it to the final in the Blue Stars Block. Iroha is one of the best in the world and for good reason. Her mixture of strikes, speed, and power sets her up as one of the most complete wrestlers there are. As we prepare for the tournament, it will be interesting to see how the knee of Iroha holds up. Seeing that she is fresher than everyone in her block, we’re confident to say that at the very least she will be in the top three of the Blue Stars Block. And to get even more excited, so many of these first-time matchups will be highlights of the tournament.
Iroha can not only come right in a win this but do not be shocked if she pins a champion in the process. She’s going to have a special run.
STARDOM 5 STAR GRAND PRIX BLUE STARS BLOCK PREDICTIONS
Unlike the Red Stars Block predictions, we believe this block is a bit more open than just three potential winners. For us, it will come down to Syuri, Utami Hayashishita, Konami, Maika, and Takumi Iroha. The final day battle between Syuri and Iroha makes us lean more towards that than anything else in the entire block, however, as to who will win this. That will be the match where the winner is crowned for the Blue Stars Block. And if we are right, they will go on to face overall favorite Giulia in the finals. Major names galore in this block which makes calling a winner one of the toughest predictions anyone will have in wrestling this year, but hopefully this breakdown helped you as well.
Our final prediction for the Blue Stars Block winner is Syuri. The roll that she is on seems too good to be stopped by anyone besides her tag team partner at this stage.
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