AUGUST 28, 2022
Hamamatsu, JAPAN


Blue Stars Block
MIRAI (8) def. Hanan (0)

If you’ve been watching this entire tournament as I have, you’ve learned a lot about these two wrestlers. MIRAI has decided to completely “ball out” and have one of the strongest overall tournaments this far with matches against Suzu Suzuki and Mayu Iwatani being her main highlights to this point. You also know that Hanan, despite always being the first or second match on the card, has shown great improvement in her matches and continues to put on solid work despite coming up short each and every time. That was no different here. There was never a question as to whether or not MIRAI would win but Hanan put in a great effort — one of her best — despite the loss. MIRAI won via her Miramare submission. ***

Blue Stars Block
Saya Iida (2) def. Momo Watanabe (6)

Build a match around the killer heel that is Momo Watanabe and the winless underdog Saya Iida. The majority of the time you will just look at the match and say “oh this should be pretty good” and think nothing else of it. That’s what I did. And while this won’t be remembered as the match of the night, let alone the match of the tournament, it will be remembered as what may be the biggest upset. Saya Iida was in survival mode from start to finish trying to figure out how she could get out of the onslaught that was Watanabe’s attack.

There was blood in the mouth of Iida as she was trying to escape the Chickenwing, showing this was a battle that Watanabe had dominated. Before suffering Peach Thunder, Iida rolled up Watanabe to steal the win and potentially end any hopes Watanabe had of going back to the final. Another solid tournament match with a STARS underdog giving an inspiring performance. ***

Red Stars Block
Tam Nakano (6) def. Mai Sakurai (6)

There’s zero doubt in my mind that this is the best singles match in Mai Sakurai’s career. They played up the fact that Sakurai left Cosmic Angels for Donna del Mondo (a theme for this show) and Tam Nakano let her have it. Slaps, forearms, kicks, a knee, everything. But let’s give some credit where credit is due. Sakurai was a fighter from start to finish. The headbutt she gave Nakano will also be ringing in my head for the next couple of days as the thump left me grimacing. The match wasn’t long but it was effective and much like Nakano’s first two matches, this delivered. A great job Nakano to lead the story and a better job by Sakurai to live up to it. ***½

Red Stars Block
Himeka (10) def. Saki Kashima (4)

This match was as advertised. Played up the potential spoiler of Saki Kashima beating Himeka but in the end “The Jumbo Princess” took care of business. **¼

Red Stars Block
Maika (8) def. AZM (10)

Without going completely high-speed, these two mixed their styles well to pack in some great offense and create an overall exciting match that didn’t go all that long. AZM controlled the offense for the majority before Maika began to utilize her power to throw off the High-Speed Champion. That’s something we’ve seen from AZM in this tournament — if you don’t slow her down, you have no chance. After all, she came into this match as the Red Stars Block leader. But the game changed when Maika hit her Discus Lariat, turning AZM inside out before finishing her with the Michinoku Driver II. A fun match that, with more time, could reach another level of quality. ***¼

Red Stars Block
Koguma (8) def. Syuri (6)

Syuri has now been spoiled twice. While her loss to Utami Hayashishita was a hard-fought match with plenty of history behind it, her last two losses were simply her getting caught. Saki Kashima managed to shock the world (and herself) when she pinned Syuri but this time around, it seemed Koguma had her plan all along and was able to carry it out. If you can avoid the kicks and offense of Syuri in the early going, you often can find yourself in a good spot to compete. Koguma didn’t have much offense but was able to use the Kuma Roll to get the pin. One of Koguma’s better matches of the tournament. ***

Blue Stars Block
Saya Kamitani (8) def. Hazuki (14)

What happens when the 5STAR Grand Prix MVP wrestles STARDOM’s 2022 MVP? Greatness. That’s what. Delivering one of the best matches of the 5STAR thus far, these two turned it up a notch to the point you’d think they’d have been feuding for years. If you follow me or have been paying attention to anything I’ve said, I had all the confidence in the world this would be Hazuki’s tournament — win or lose. Every outing she’s had has at the very least been really good and the top matches of the tournament have had her name attached to them. I still stand that Hazuki vs. Giulia is the match of the tournament so far but this isn’t far behind.

As stated, you would have thought they were feuding for years. The physicality in their offense and goal to take the heads off of one another would not be missed by me. I almost forgot this was a tournament match because it felt as though the Wonder of Stardom Championship was on the line. Hazuki slapped the taste out of the mouth of Kamitani not once but three times. Kamitani answered on a number of occasions though with some devastating bicycle kicks (Hazuki did the same) and her brilliant offense towards the end. But I can’t forget about the headbutt that Hazuki gave Kamitani. My goodness. “The Golden Phoenix” got the final laugh in the end as she hit two Star Crushers and a 450 Splash to win the match but man… these two are far from done.

If Hazuki won, she’d have a claim to the Wonder of Stardom Championship. Unfortunately, that was not the case but whenever we get a title match between these two it’ll be just as great if not better. Bravo to these two. At least a top-five match of the tournament for my money. At least. ****½

Blue Stars Block
Giulia (8) def. Natsupoi (6)

It was a squash. A perfectly done squash. After beating Starlight Kid the day before, Giulia had Natsupoi in her sights and receipts that needed to be paid. Natsupoi really did try her best to combat the anger and dominance of Giulia in this match but nothing worked. The Donna del Mondo leader cracked Natsupoi with a brutal club to the side of the head before dropping her with the Glorious Driver for the victory. Watch this match because it is the match Giulia officially returned to her Wonder of Stardom Champion form and found all of her swagger. She’s on a mission and this is once again her tournament. ****

Blue Stars Block
Mayu Iwatani (8) def. Ami Sourei (8)

STARDOM fans have been loving the output of Ami Sourei in this tournament but I’ve been the one waiting for something to really wow me. Her Fire Thunder Driver is one of the best in the business but I’ve been waiting for that match and I may have found it here. Mayu Iwatani can play essentially any role you need her to. An underdog, a dominating presence, and frankly just the best in the world. So she entered this match actually feeling like the underdog due to Sourei most recently beating MIRAI and Momo Watanabe to put her name on the map as a serious threat. And if she beat Iwatani? Then everyone would be talking. But Iwatani weathered the storm, fighting off the attacks of God’s Eye’s top bodyguard to survive for the two points.

This was a really good match and a fine main event for another home run of a show by STARDOM. ***½

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