STARDOM
5STAR GRAND PRIX DAY 2
JULY 31, 2022
OTA WARD GYMNASIUM
TOKYO, JAPAN

Day 2 will never live up to the unbelievable quality of the 5STARs opening day but STARDOM is back at Ota Ward with a card featuring KAIRI in action, Saya Kamitani vs Starlight Kid, and the latest addition to the rivalry between Utami Hayashishita and Syuri. Let’s get into it!

RED STARS
KOGUMA (2) DEF. MOMO KOHGO (0)

Decent way to open the show with the odd flash of creativity. The finish was relly well done and put over Koguma’s high speed trickery by having her pull off a very quick reversal into her signature roll-up. **3/4

BLUE STARS
MINA SHIRAKAWA (2) DEF. MOMO WATANABE (0)

I was expecting the worst when this match started during Mina’s entrance and was followed up by Oedo Tai shenanigans on the outside, but they overcame that pretty quickly once the action got going. I loved the finish with Momo’s attempt to cheat backfiring and allowing Mina to roll her up for the win. Really enjoyable match ***1/2

RED STARS
RISA SERA (4) DEF. SAKI (2)

The crowd really let this one down. Sera was doing everything she could to make them root for SAKI and they just weren’t responding. SAKI’s brief comebacks weren’t enough to get the crowd behind her, so this ended up feeling like a lifeless Risa Sera exhibition match. ***

KAIRI & NATSUPOI VS MAYU IWATANI & SAYA IIDA

Saya Iida was pit against KAIRI for most of this match and that went about as you’d expect. Iida is quite good and sells everything like death so she worked pretty well with KAIRI, who was happy to give Iida more than enough shine.  I would have liked to see more of KAIRI vs. Mayu or even Mayu vs. Natsupoi than we got, but I can’t be too critical. ***1/2

RED STARS
TAM NAKANO (2) DEF. HIMEKA (2)

They left a lot in the tank for future matches by not really getting close to full tilt in this one. Both women can do better. ***1/2

BLUE STARS
MIRAI (4) DEF. GIULIA (0)

I did not expect that result at all. Beyond the match, there are a few angles to look at here. Giulia, the tournament favorite, has gone 0-2 to start this year’s GP, both losses came against beatable opponents, too so she’s going to have to make that ground up by beating heavy hitters later in the tournament.

MIRAI starts her campaign by beating Mayu Iwatani and Giulia on back-to-back shows. It’s no coincidence that she kicked off her tournament with two major matches at Ota Ward, this was a real statement of intent from STARDOM, a reminder that despite losing to Saya Kamitani, her Cinderella Tournament win was no fluke. MIRAI even sold the win big time after the match to fully get over the importance of this result. MIRAI is inevitable, the main question is how long does STARDOM wait to give her a title.

The match was pretty enjoyable once it got going, but the real focus was the result. ***1/2

BLUE STARS
STARLIGHT KID (2) DEF. SAYA KAMITANI (0)

Another great match from Kid and Saya. Completely different from their last match but just as good from beginning to end. Kid pulling out the Momo Latch was a nice surprise as she doesn’t use it all that much. One thing that does give me pause is Kid cutting an emotional promo about being unable to beat Saya following their white belt match only to get her first win over the Golden Phoenix a few weeks later, that’s definitely something that could’ve been drawn out a bit more. ****1/4

RED STARS
UTAMI HAYASHISHITA (2) DEF. SYURI (2)

Wow. Utami finally defeats Syuri. On attempt number five she gets one over on her rival. The match itself almost doesn’t matter given the huge result but in typical Utami and Syuri fashion, the match was very good. They were always going to have a tough time shaving down their usual match length to 15 minutes and while the opening half of the match was so-so the finishing stretch was typically great between them.

Utami Hayashishita beating Syuri for the first time is a major shift in the title picture that puts a lot of things into question. Is Utami going to challenge post-GP or is she simply going to win the tournament and reclaim her crown a year after losing it? Lot’s of intrigue after this result ****

Final Thoughts

Day 2 kept the good times going with STARDOM’s 5STAR Grand Prix with a bunch of fun matches topped off by the two massive results, and great performances, from the final two matches.  If you’re stuck for time then Kid vs Kamitani and Syuri vs Utami are the two standout matches from the show but the entire show is worth a watch.

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