STARDOM
5STAR GRAND PRIX DAY 11
September 3, 2022
TAKAMATSU, JAPAN

Watch: STARDOM WORLD

Red Stars Block
Mai Sakurai (8) def. Himeka (10)

Mai Sakurai beat Himeka. I’m not sure how much more you need to read to realize how crazy that is when you consider how great Himeka’s run in the 5STAR has been so far this year. The win for Sakurai is massive as she was able to roll up “The Jumbo Princess” and pin her Donna del Mondo stablemate. The best part of this whole match is Giulia and Maika laughing at Himeka after the match because of course they did. It was pretty physical all things considered. **½

Blue Stars Block
Starlight Kid (6) def. Ami Sourei (8)

It’s crazy to think that heading into this match, Starlight Kid felt like the underdog. While she may be smaller in stature, Kid is one of the top stars in STARDOM but no one has shown they need to be taken more seriously than Ami Sourei. Her tournament has featured multiple upset wins — most recently over MIRAI, Momo Watanabe, and Hazuki on the Sunday show — and just her establishing herself as a player for God’s Eye and STARDOM. So Kid did play the underdog role here and while she hit Sourei with everything she had, it took a Momo Latch pin to earn her the win.

Overall, the match was pretty good but nothing you need to go out of your way to see. **¾

Red Stars Block
Saki Kashima (6) def. Tam Nakano (6)

Revival. Win. Repeat. That’s the Saki Kashima way. Don’t ever forget it! **½

Blue Stars Block
Giulia (10) def. Mina Shirakawa (4)

The best way to describe this match was underwhelming. Seeing that Shirakawa turns it up during the 5STAR Grand Prix and Giulia had the weekend she had last year (along with a great tournament), I had some higher hopes than usual when seeing these two in the lineup. Most of the match felt as though they were in a Figure Four Leglock and when they weren’t, the action never met what I hoped. The good news is that Giulia has found her stride and may not lose ever again. The bad is this fell short of being what it could have been. It’s still probably the best of the night to this point. **¾

Red Stars Block
Maika (10) def. Syuri (6)

One of the most highly anticipated matches of the second half arrived as Syuri and Maika would go one-on-one for the first time since their incredible battle in last year’s 5STAR Grand Prix. That was the match where Syuri nearly kicked Maika’s head off before nearly snapping her head with a Ryuen for the win. It was vicious and a match worth looking forward to heading into this year’s tournament. First and foremost, it never got to the level of that match and is one of the few times I’ve been left asking for some more time for these two to keep going back and forth. And even though I walked out of the match feeling that way, I still think it’s worth noting that this was still a really good fight.

The key parts of this were how incredible Maika ended up looking in the win. The closing stretch by her displayed Syuri weakened, battered, and pretty much everything else she’s never been in her STARDOM career. Maika took care of business with her Michinoku Driver II followed by her spinning version of the move to win and pin the World of Stardom Champion. Not only is this a major win for Maika but one that puts her right in the conversation for a potential title match if and when she wants it. It could be that match where we reach the levels of their 5STAR battle a year ago. ***½

Blue Stars Block
Saya Kamitani (10) def. Mayu Iwatani (8)

Can a match be really good but still underwhelming? That might have been for the theme of this show overall as it had the lineup to deliver but certainly didn’t reach the potential it had with this match being the number one reason why. Saya Kamitani and Mayu Iwatani have the chemistry to have a special match. That was teased enough in this for me to know. But just as they started to really kick into gear, it ended. Brutal honestly. Kamitani has been unstoppable in this tournament as she remains the only wrestler in the tournament with one loss. Incredible work from “The Golden Phoenix.” All I wanted from this match was for them to get to that next level because we could be discussing a “match of the tournament” if they did that. Instead, we are left with really good instead of great or phenomenal. Sigh. ***½

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