STARDOM
Stardom 5 STAR Grand Prix Opening Round Day 1
JULY 31, 2021
YOKOHAMA BUDOKAN
YOKOHAMA, KANAGAWA, JAPAN

Watch: N/A

Special Tag Team Match
AZM, Hina, Hanan, & Lady C vs. Oedo Tai (Saki Kashima, Konami, Fukigen Death, & Ruaka)

It’s always interesting when wrestlers from other factions have to come together and that’s what will be happening in the opening match of the night. The only bout that is not a part of the Stardom 5 STAR Grand Prix is this one. Five competitors of the tournament, however, will be competing. AZM will be the lone 5 STAR competitor on her team as she teams with Queen’s Quest stablemate Hina, STARS’s Hanan, and Lady C. They will do their best to come together to face Oedo Tai, whose four members of this match will all be a part of the GP as well. It’s not going to be difficult to figure this one out—Oedo Tai should have an easy time getting the win and some momentum. Prediction: Oedo Tai

5 STAR GP: Red Stars Block
Mina Shirakawa vs. Fukigen Death

The opening bout in the Stardom 5 STAR Grand Prix will be from the Red Stars Block as Mina Shirakawa takes on Fukigen Death. Shirakawa has had an interesting month as her win of the Future of Stardom Championship at Yokohama Dream Cinderella 2021 In Summer was a major moment for her but she would lose it two weeks later to Cosmic Angels stablemate, Unagi Sayaka. Down on her luck a bit, it seems more than necessary for her to open the tournament with a win. On the other side is Fukigen Death, who is the substitute for the injured Oedo Tai leader, Natsuko Tora. Death should be able to get a win or two here in the tournament via roll-up but likely will not have too much success. This could be one of those wins. Prediction: Mina Shirakawa

5 STAR GP: Red Stars Block
Natsupoi vs. Koguma

High-speed greatness will be on hand for night one of the 5 STAR. The reigning High-Speed Champion Natsupoi will return to Stardom for the first time since Tokyo Dream Cinderella to dazzle the world as she faces off with the “High-Speed Genius,” Koguma. Maybe the most interesting part of this match is that this will be the first-ever encounter between these two women. Natsupoi has worked her way back thankfully because, before her injury, she was on pace to be one of the true MVPs of Stardom this year. Her performances have continued to be impressive and being able to face Koguma on Day 1 should prove to be the perfect match to show that she’s ready. But let’s not forget about Koguma. Since returning to Stardom, she has been a bright spot for every single show, becoming a major part of the roster as STARS’ No. 2.

Not only should this match be a lot of fun for high-speed fans but if Koguma is able to pull off the victory, it could mean that Koguma is next in line for a High-Speed Championship opportunity. Prediction: Koguma

5 STAR GP: Red Stars Block
Giulia vs. Starlight Kid

Now, this is where the excitement really begins to pick up on Day 1. Giulia and Starlight Kid have an immense amount of disdain for each other. It has shown every match they’ve been in this year, including a Wonder of Stardom Championship match that is one of the best in Stardom all year. That hatred has not changed and it likely will not be for this one. For many (including myself), Giulia is the favorite heading into this year’s 5 STAR Grand Prix. Everything in the world seems to be aligning for the Donna del Mondo leader to win the tournament and go on face Utami Hayashishita for the World of Stardom Championship. That being said, Starlight Kid is in an interesting position as well.

Kid has removed herself from all relations with Mayu Iwatani in hopes of someday being on the same level as her. A wishful ask but one that is totally believable. She’s shown very quickly that since joining Oedo Tai that she can be the future star that many hoped she can. Her title challenge against Tam Nakano was the best display of her newfound aggressiveness and intensity, bringing to Nakano all match long and showing that she’s nearing Wonder of Stardom Championship levels of greatness. This first match with Giulia should be something that has Kid driven nearly as much as getting to the same footing as Iwatani. These two are going to do everything in their power to destroy each other and may forget that there’s even a tournament at stake. Prediction: Giulia

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5 STAR GP: Blue Stars Block
Tam Nakano vs. Unagi Sayaka

In another first-time-ever match, Tam Nakano will face off with Cosmic Angels stablemate Unagi Sayaka. These two have been teaming a lot as of late while Shirakawa performs as a singles competitor which is interesting as that could be a potential look at the tag team tournament down the line. That being said, Sayaka should be welcoming Nakano as a first opponent. Seeing that the rest of Stardom seems to have ill feelings towards the Future of Stardom Champion, Nakano could take it easy on Sayaka. This is the first Blue Stars Block match of the tournament and it’s likely that despite a great showing by Sayaka, the Wonder of Stardom Champion walks out with her first win of the 5 STAR Grand Prix this year. Prediction: Tam Nakano

5 STAR GP: Blue Stars Block
Syuri vs. Saya Kamitani

It will be a tough day to be Saya Kamitani on Saturday. The reigning Cinderella Tournament winner will be looking to do something that only Toni Storm has ever done and that’s winning both the Cinderella Tournament and 5 STAR Grand Prix in the same calendar year. A tall task in the Blue Stars Block, but one that Kamitani certainly could accomplish seeing that her growth only has seen her get better and better. That being said, she has the toughest challenge of Day 1. Current SWA Champion and one-half of the Goddesses of Stardom Champions, Syuri, has been on a different level from everyone in Stardom over the last few months. Not only has her determination become clear as day in winning the World of Stardom Championship, but she will not stop until she accomplishes that feat.

Every match that she has been in as of late shows a new side to Syuri. While she’s still willing to have fun and entertain crowds, once the bell rings, it’s all over for her opponent. Kamitani will have to do her best to combat that on Day 1 and we’re not too sure she has what it takes to do so. Syuri not only could win this thing but with the current stretch she is on, she could have an all-time tournament performance from beginning to end. Prediction: Syuri

5 STAR GP: Red Stars Block
Mayu Iwatani vs. Momo Watanabe

There isn’t a match on this card or maybe in the tournament that will be better than when Mayu Iwatani faces off with Momo Watanabe. Stardom’s two most consistent wrestlers will go head-to-head on Day 1 in a massive matchup. Mayu Iwatani has refound her confidence recently after defeating all of Oedo Tai in a 1 vs. 5 gauntlet match and despite Starlight Kid turning her down to return to STARS, Iwatani is more than ready for this tournament. She has said in interviews that before she retires, she wants to hold the Wonder and World of Stardom Championships once again. After losing the World of Stardom Championship to last year’s winner in Utami Hayashishita, this is the best time for her to get that payback and win the title back. Starting off with a win over Watanabe would be the perfect launching point.

Momo Watanabe. What’s there to say about the most dominant Wonder of Stardom Champion of all time? The past 365 days haven’t necessarily been hers as she has not held gold or anything but she’s also shown that she is still great and can heat up at a moment’s notice. Over the last month, that’s what we have been seeing as Watanabe has the attitude back that had her hold the Wonder of Stardom Championship for 358 days. The Queen’s Quest leader has no time for anybody else and only has winning on her mind and just in time. A win over Iwatani is essential for Watanabe in the early stage as the confidence will only soar through the roof and make her nearly unstoppable as we move forward. These two and Giulia are the favorites to walk out of this as the winners. Prediction: Momo Watanabe

5 STAR GP: Blue Stars Block
Utami Hayashishita vs. Maika

The main event of Day 1 will pit the reigning World of Stardom Champion and last year’s Stardom 5 STAR Grand Prix winner Utami Hayashishita against Donna del Mondo’s Maika. Hayashishita and Maika have a history as they faced off at the Stardom 10th Anniversary show with the World of Stardom Championship on the line. Hayashishita managed to successfully defend, but many agree that it was this match that established Maika as a future world champion while helping the champion kick off her reign in great style. It’s going to be interesting to see who, if anyone, can stop Hayashishita from winning this and picking her own challenger. While it’s a tradition that the champion doesn’t win a tournament like this, there’s only ever been one Utami Hayashishita. You never know.

Maika style, as I said in my Blue Stars Block preview, has been running wild on Stardom as of late and it would be wrong to count her out of this match. She’s not only shown incredible improvement since she stepped into Stardom but feels like the perfect darkhorse choice to win the entire 5 STAR Grand Prix this year. If she beats Hayashishita on night one in the main event, this could be Maika’s time. Prediction: Utami Hayashishita