5 STAR GRAND PRIX 2021 – DAY 13
SEPTEMBER 16, 2021
Watch: Stardom World
Stardom returns to Korakuen Hall for an impromptu show filled with previously canceled 5STAR Grand Prix matches. This show has the potential to be one of the best of the tournament if the top matches deliver.
HANAN DEF. LADY C
Very solid stuff in this opening match. Hanan is really, really good for her age and when she transitions to wrestling full time she will be pushed hard. Lady C is still doing the work in these openers and is honestly ready to move up to a more important position on the card to test herself. **1/2
WAKA TSUKIYAMA TRIAL SERIES
STARLIGHT KID DEF. WAKA TSUKIYAMA
Starlight Kid was really good in this match she dominated almost from start to finish and was aggressive and arrogant throughout. Kid’s performance made it easy to root for Waka who is already good at emoting and drawing you into her comebacks which made for a fun match this time. For the story they were telling I think the match was stretched out a bit more than it needed and I wouldn’t have complained if Kid just put Tsukiyama away in 5 minutes but I understand the goal is to get Waka reps right now and longer matches are better for her development. **3/4
MAI SAKURAI TRIAL SERIES
HIMEKA DEF. MAI SAKURAI
I did not expect this match to deliver to this level but wow these two were great together. Himeka was happy to just tee off with Sakurai and beat her down with stiff forearms and lariats and allowed Sakurai to fire back with equally stiff forearms that made a really nice sound on impact. In hindsight, it should come as no surprise that two former Actwres talents had a good match together. ***
NATSUPOI (9) DEF. SAKI KASHIMA (2)
This was half Kashima heat segment and half high speed goodness. When they embraced the high speed style this was really fun but when such a short match has a 2-minute heat segment it puts a ceiling on how good it can be. It seemed like Poi and Kashima were on a collision course earlier this year before both missed time so it’s nice they got to pay that off here with Natsupoi getting the expected win. ***
MOMO WATANABE (10) DEF. MINA SHIRAKAWA (4)
Watanabe and Shirakawa have been feuding throughout the year and they used this match to showcase Shirakawa’s growth. Shirakawa was handily put away when these two wrestled previously, this time around she posed something of a threat to Watanabe, forcing her to pull out her recently debuted Peach Thunder (formerly referred to as the Peach Bomb) finisher. Watanabe still won as she’s still above Shirakawa but the day is going to come when Shirakawa closes the gap. ***1/2
SAYA KAMITANI (11) DEF. AZM (2)
There was some really good highly athletic action in this one although the end product did feel a bit rushed. If given the time to pace themselves in a high-profile match I have no doubts these two could deliver something great. Kamitani winning makes a lot of sense as she’s positioned above AZM in QQ. ***
TAKUMI IROHA (9) DEF. UNAGI SAYAKA (5)
It felt like Iroha was going through the motions in this match and Sayaka was happy to go along for the ride. The last few minutes of the match were pretty good with Sayaka firing up and showing a lot of resistance in the face of Iroha’s onslaught. That wasn’t enough to make this match essential viewing however as Iroha ran through Sayaka with her focus clearly turned to some upcoming GP matches. ***1/4
MAYU IWATANI (7) VS KOGUMA (5) – DRAW
I enjoyed this even if I think they have a better match in them. There were some big bombs and athleticism aplenty which you’d expect from Mayu and Koguma but the time constraint limited how good they could be, because they really didn’t wrestle to the time they were given and instead just wrestled a normal match that cut off after the count out.
A draw is a fair result since Koguma has been kept somewhat strong since her return to Stardom and it was too early to sensibly have her beat or lose to Mayu without making her feel second rate. ***1/2
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KONAMI (10) DEF. UTAMI HAYASHISHITA (7)
The way this was worked tells me that we’ll see this match again soon, likely for the World of Stardom Championship. Konami getting the roll-up win after some help from Oedo Tai throughout the match is a simple way to get her a win over the world champion without hurting Utami, it also leaves things open for a rematch as Hayashishita wasn’t properly pinned or submit. ***1/4
SYURI (9) DEF. TAM NAKANO (7)
What a fantastic main event and a runaway match of the night. Following the standard opening grappling these two went in for the kill with stiff strikes, big moves, and lots of kicks to the face courtesy of Syuri. This was passionate and intense, with both women displaying a need to hurt their opponent (in kayfabe of course) to wear them down and get the win. After a show full of matches that felt to me like people were going through the motions this match came crashing out of the gate and provided the energy that the rest of the show was lacking.
Syuri winning opens up some interesting options down the line. Both Syuri and Nakano are double champions so losing to Syuri doesn’t hurt Nakano at all but should Syuri want to fight for the Wonder of Stardom Championship there’s no guarantee Nakano would walk away with the title. ****1/4
I think I’m suffering from some tournament fatigue, we’re 13 shows deep into this tournament and I am ready for it to be over for a number of reasons. That probably led to some of my ratings for matches being a bit lower than usual, especially for wrestlers I usually really like, but it also felt like some of the talent weren’t going at 100% which didn’t help. The main event really put the rest of the show to shame as the energy and intensity on display in that match was a level above pretty much everything else on the card.