5STAR GRAND PRIX DAY THREE
AUGUST 6, 2022
The 5STAR Grand Prix trucks along with day three, a show headlined by Saya Kamitani vs. Momo Watanabe, a rematch of Kamitani’s debut match almost three years ago, and a highly anticipated clash between Hazuki and Starlight Kid.
KOGUMA (4) DEF. SAKI KASHIMA (0)
Solid enough opener when the two focused on their high-speed prowess. Otherwise, there wasn’t much to write home about in this one. ***
MAYU IWATANI (2) DEF. HANAN (0)
There was a lot to like in this one. Mayu tried to give Hanan a lot, and she was largely impressed in the biggest match of her career. Mayu wasn’t taking it easy on her STARS counterpart though and definitely gave her a trial by fire anytime she took control of the match. If not for some very sloppy parts this would be a standout match, but the storytelling and effort was enough to make up for the sloppiness. ***1/4
NATSUPOI (2) DEF. MIRAI (4)
This is one of those matches that never even attempted to maximize its minutes. MIRAI and Poi just had a standard outing and cut it short at the 11-minute mark with the flash finish. I would’ve liked them to get down to business just a bit quicker because the second half of the match was quite enjoyable before it ended but the first half was mostly dull. ***1/4
HAZUKI (4) DEF. STARLIGHT KID (2)
A lot of good action in this once it got going after Kid dominated early on. This certainly would’ve been a much better match to see unfold unspoiled as some of the pinning combos down the stretch were really good, but since these shows air on a delay, I knew Hazuki was winning, which held it back a bit. Hazuki is surprisingly off to a hot star in this GP, will she end up in contention for the tournament by the final day I wonder. ***1/2
SAYA KAMITANI (2) DEF. MOMO WATANABE (0)
Very good match to cap off the show. Neither Saya nor Momo went even close to 100%, as they shouldn’t, but they were able to put together a very enjoyable match here. This is a match that should be a big PPV singles match someday, at which point we’ll see the best of what they can do, but for now we got a very nice teaser and a look at how far Saya has come in the three years since she debuted against Watanabe.
I didn’t expect Watanabe to start her GP going 0-2 but that’ll be something to keep an eye on if she keeps on losing in the tournament, especially coming off her stellar World title match with Syuri. ***3/4
Now that the Ota Ward shows are behind us, the GP will lull a bit until the next live show, but Day three was a good one. Every GP match was solid to very good and the Utami/AZM vs. Syuri/Ami tag was strong and hinted that an Utami/Syuri title match may be coming soon. Most of this GP will be hurt by the inability to watch live, and that especially affects matches like Hazuki vs Kid, but the talent should be able to overcome that with how high the effort levels have been so far.
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