5STAR GRAND PRIX 2021 – NIGHT 8
AUGUST 29, 2021
TOKYO BELLE SALLE SHIODOME
Stardom made the last-minute decision to live stream this show which features a High Speed Championship match between Starlight Kid and Natsupoi as well as Takumi Iroha wrestling her first match of this 5STAR Grand Prix campaign. The card looks like a good one so let’s hope Stardom can deliver here.
AZM DEF. HANAN
Two of the future stars of Stardom collided in this excellent opener. AZM used her high speed skills and technical prowess to combat Hanan’s judo background really well. Hanan, as always, looked fantastic and wrestles with the poise and talent of someone far beyond her years. AZM getting the win was the obvious choice but the performances made both women look great. ***1/2
MAI SAKURAI STARDOM CHALLENGE MATCH 2
MOMO WATANABE DEF. MAI SAKURAI
Sakurai again showed a lot of babyface fire in the face of an insurmountable challenge. Momo Watanabe is one of Stardom’s best and she had a fun time beating on Sakurai and dominating her with strikes. This was possibly Sakurai’s best match yet in Stardom and it’s no surprise that it comes with Watanabe. ***
RED STARS: FUKIGEN DEATH (2) DEF. HIMEKA (0)
This was a quick match with a fairly surprising finish. Himeka going 0-2 to start the GP is not something I expected but anyone on this roster can get rolled up by Death and it doesn’t hurt them at all. **1/2
FUTURE OF STARDOM CHAMPIONSHIP
UNAGI SAYAKA (c) DEF. RINA
My biggest takeaway from this match is that Rina gets it. And Rina should be a major star in the future. At 14 years old she is already a good wrestler, with confidence, an understanding of her gimmick, and has already learned how to project her charisma in a way that few wrestlers can. In my humble opinion, she looked like a better in-ring wrestler than Sayaka in this match and came away as the star of the show, in part due to her getting a really good new theme.
Sayaka was always going to retain as she is going to hold this title for a while but Rina still had a star-making performance. ***
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MAYU IWATANI DEF. LADY C
As far as random non-tournament matches go this was enjoyable. Lady C had quite possibly her best showing yet in this match, the little things like the way she was running the ropes and delivering her boots was perfect. Iwatani was her usual self and provided a really good opponent for Lady C who works well with smaller more athletic wrestlers. ***1/4
Post Match: Hazuki made her surprise return to Stardom roughly 18 months after her retirement from pro wrestling. Hazuki confronted Iwatani and lamented the fact that outsiders have surpassed a lot of Stardom’s own talents. This is a massive return for Stardom as Hazuki was primed for a top spot when she suddenly retired in December of 2019 declaring that she hated Stardom in the process, now she is back at a time when Stardom’s roster is better than it has been in some time. Where she eventually slots in faction-wise and card placement-wise will be fascinating to see.
TAKUMI IROHA (2) DEF. MAIKA (7)
This was mostly a tune-up win for Takumi Iroha and presented her as a big deal from the very start. I loved the booking here because Takumi Iroha hasn’t been seen in Stardom since last year thanks to her long injury layoff but she immediately came in and beat Maika to establish herself to their audience as a real threat. Maika doesn’t lose much because she’s leading the block and has obvious wear and tear from her matches in the tournament, especially since she went 20 minutes the day before this match.
All in all, this was a very clever way to kick off Iroha’s tournament even if it didn’t deliver the amazing match that these two could have. ***3/4
HIGH SPEED CHAMPIONSHIP
STARLIGHT KID DEF. NATSUPOI (c)
As a long-time Stardom fan, I enjoyed the storytelling of this match. Kid challenged for this title specifically a number of times during her time in STARS but failed on every occasion, it became something she was known for. When she made her move to Oedo Tai her motivation was that she needed to embark on her won path to finally surpass STARS’ leader Mayu Iwatani, on her first time challenging for this title as a member of Oedo Tai she finally captures it to give some justification for her heel turn.
This match was fantastic to boot. Kid and Natsupoi have been two of Stardom’s best performers all year and they reached their highest gear during this match and delivered one of the best High Speed Championship matches in some time. This really elevated both wrestlers and made for a top-tier coronation for Kid. ****1/4
This was an excellent show for Stardom to air for free on YouTube. They elevated Starlight Kid in her coronation as High Speed Champion, had the huge moment of Hazuki returning, and showcased two of their future stars in the opener. Between the quality of the show and the massive announcements, they made this was a show that really kickstarted Stardom’s momentum after the COVID enforced break cancelled a number of shows.