STARDOM 5STAR GRAND PRIX DAY 9
AUGUST 27, 2022
WATCH: Stardom World
The last time STARDOM ran Korakuen Hall in this GP it proved to be one of their best shows of the year. This time around, they return to Korakuen with a show that could be just as good, if not better. Giulia vs Starlight Kid, Maika vs Utami Hayashishita, Himeka vs Risa Sera, and Natsupoi vs Suzu Suzuki all have the potential to be in the conversation for the best match of the tournament. Let’s see if this show can live up to the hype!
MAI SAKURAI (6) DEF. UNAGI SAYAKA (2)
This is one of those openers that sets the tone for what’s to come on the rest of the show. The energy was high, the strikes were snug, and they didn’t waste any time. No nonsense stuff to kick off what should be a great show. ***
HAZUKI (14) DEF. HANAN (0)
Two wrestlers at polar opposite ends of the table produced another strong Hanan match. This GP was always going to be a big test for Hanan and she’s passed with flying colors thanks to performances like this. Hazuki winning was never in doubt but Hanan’s comebacks were just good enough to make anyone believe in her. ***1/4
TAM NAKANO (4) DEF. KOGUMA (6)
Clocking in at under six minutes, there isn’t much to say about this one. The tempo was kept up and the near fall exchange at the end was exciting but otherwise, they didn’t do a whole lot. ***1/4
AZM (10) DEF. SAKI (4)
This was the full AZM experience. So far her tournament has been spotlighted by some incredible sprints that truly showcase why she is the best High Speed wrestler in STARDOM. While SAKI had some moments where the pace got a bit too much for her she brought her best to this one. ***1/4
MAYU IWATANI (6) DEF. MINA SHIRAKAWA (4)
Continuing our trend of short matches we have the icon going 5 minutes with Mina Shirakawa. Iwatani is of course, great at wrestling a sprint but Mina was surprisingly game and brought a lot of good to the match. I’m so used to seeing Mayu have a bit of a killer edge against the Cosmic Angels that I was surprised Mina got so much here, even Mayu’s eventual win seemed to come out of nowhere. Interesting stuff. ***1/4
NATSUPOI (6) DEF. SUZU SUZUKI (0)
The action in this was so good that a handful of times they got audible reactions from a crowd that still isn’t allowed to cheer yet. My only wish is that this went a bit longer. They did a lot in 10 minutes, but I feel they weren’t even close to finishing building things up when the match ended. I’m very shocked at the result as I expected Suzu to get her first win of the tournament, but for now, she stays at a mind-blowing 0 points. ***1/2
AMI SOREI (8) DEF. MIRAI(6)
We have a big upset as Sorei beats her tag team partner MIRAI. After a bunch of matches that were all action, it was nice to see these two remain a bit more grounded and focus on their hoss elements. I loved the finish with MIRAI going for her own bit of offense only to be caught by Ami and hit with the finish. Even though MIRAI tried to struggle out, her teammate’s grip was too strong and she held on for the upset win. ***1/2
HIMEKA (8) DEF. RISA SERA (6)
This was a nice follow-up to Sorei vs. MIRAI since it was also much more grounded than many of the matches we’ve seen on this show. Himeka’s power offense meeting Risa Sera’s impactful style was a real treat that highlighted the strengths of both competitors. Like a few matches, this finish came out of the blue to protect Sera. As she was going up top to hit a move she got caught by Himeka, who hit her with the running powerbomb. I like how clever the roster has been with finishes throughout the GP, and this match really drove it home as it was a logical conclusion to the match that also protected Sera. ***1/2
MAIKA (6) DEF. UTAMI HAYASHISHITA (8)
This isn’t the match I expected Maika and Utami to have, nor did I really think they had it in them, but boy did they blow me away here. For two wrestlers who typically lean more towards slow-build wrestling with a lot of solid grappling this match was just constant bomb throwing. They were unloading absolutely everything at one another in a display, unlike anything they’d ever done before.
I expected a Maika win from this one since she’s seen as a rival for Utami, but one who can’t beat her in title matches just yet so has to keep things close by gaining wins in tournament settings. ****1/4
GIULIA (6) DEF. STARLIGHT KID (4)
Giulia and Starlight Kid are at the heart of one of my favorite rivalries in STARDOM. Their beef stems mainly around Giulia despising Kid’s mask and taking any chance she can get to ruin it. That’s an important story point because Giulia rushed Kid during her entrance and immediately tore at her mask to begin this match.
That one simple act allowed this match to from 0-100 before the bell even rang, and the entire match followed suit. It was a very interesting match because for a while, Kid embodied her old self, Giulia sent the heelish confidence and faux-cool Kid packing. In her place was the Starlight Kid we became accustomed to in STARS, although with a few more tricks up her sleeve now.
Giulia winning again is the obvious choice. She is one of the many mountains that Kid will have to climb on her journey to surpass Mayu Iwatani. It will be interesting how Kid eventually does it, and what new traits she will have taken on by then.
If it wasn’t already obvious, I enjoyed this match. The feud between the two is intriguing, and the in-ring action was superb. A fitting main event at Korakuen Hall. ****1/2
Shows like this are impossible to review because every match was good. So good in fact, that I just end up sitting back and enjoying the show instead of trying to be too critical about things. And that says a lot about the quality of this show, STARDOM absolutely spoiled us with this one, I dare anyone to find a show this enjoyable from top-to-bottom from any other promotion in the world. I especially dare them to find one that peaks with two excellent matches the way this did.
My last point is that if you’re still on the fence about watching STARDOM then I implore you to watch this show by any means necessary, if you don’t come away from this show as a fan then STARDOM may not be for you.
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