5STAR Grand Prix Day 18
September 23, 2022
Korakuen Hall
Tokyo, Japan

Watch: PPV

Blue Stars Block
Suzu Suzuki (10) def. Hanan (0)

Suzu Suzuki and Hanan started this show off and they made sure to do so with a bang. Two of the best young talents in wrestling had no problems going in there to face each other for the first time because they had instant chemistry. There were some really good near falls that made you think Hanan was getting her first win of the tournament but unfortunately it was not the case as Suzuki would finish her off with a German Suplex. As far as tournament openers go, this might be the best yet. ***¼

Blue Stars Block
Natsupoi (12) def. Saya Iida (4)

Natsupoi is a true treasure to STARDOM and one day her time will come as a top champion. She’s already eliminated from contention in this tournament but that has not slowed her down. The same can be said for Saya Iida, who has continuously given solid performances despite being at the bottom of the Blue Stars Block. These two were in and out with their match but they made it entertaining enough that you would walk away wanting more. That’s a good thing to want. Fun bout. ***

Red Stars Block
SAKI (10) def. Momo Kohgo (2)

As per usual, this was a SAKI-style match where it was throwing bombs off the rip and ending quickly. I will take the time to recognize the growth Momo Kohgo has shown in this tournament, however, as she has done nothing but show a little more each match. She’s not among the best of the best by any stretch but it’s clear she is getting better which is great to see. **¾

Red Stars Block
Koguma (12) def. AZM (14)

The worst match on the show. A shame because we all know what these two can do when they go one-on-one. We’ve seen it. But this? This was another match where Koguma went fully comedic and ran around the arena instead of wrestling with the wonderful high-speed style that she brings to the table. It’s hard to watch because AZM is such a special wrestler but she has to play to these scenarios far too often. A letdown and a shame between two wrestlers who could have had the dark horse match of the night instead of the worst. **

Red Stars Block
Saki Kashima (10) def. Risa Sera (13)

Death. Taxes. Saki Kashima getting beat up for an entire match before hitting the Revival for the win. All the guarantees in life as Kashima did it once again. Risa Sera actually had a really good showing in beating up Kashima but in the end, it just didn’t matter. Hard not to laugh every time it happens because Kashima is just so good at this spoiler stuff. **½

Blue Stars Block
Starlight Kid (12) def. MIRAI (13)

If there’s anything to take away from this tournament, it’s the fact that these two have used the 5STAR Grand Prix to get even better than they were before. Starlight Kid specifically has become a complete player with her game, adding a technical side with her utilization of the Numero Dos and the destruction of her opponent’s legs. The development MIRAI has shown has also been huge as she has gone from someone seemingly miscast to a fiery babyface who can get anyone and everyone into one of her matches when she has eyes on victory. This match really highlights both of those as Kid worked MIRAI and did her best to limit the God’s Eye star, but there was no stopping MIRAI from firing up and getting back into the fight.

Kid was able to get a huge win over Cinderella MIRAI after using the Numero Dos, a Moonsault, and finally the Star Suplex Hold. Not only has SLK reentered herself into the conversation for the Blue Stars Block but has enough momentum where it would not surprise anyone if she did. Very good match between these two who have a bright future against each other. ***¾

Blue Stars Block
Mina Shirakawa (8) def. Saya Kamitani (13)

Mina Shirakawa had the match of her career here. No question. The tournament for Shirakawa has been an interesting one because as any STARDOM fan knows by now, Shirakawa brings up her game during the 5STAR Grand Prix. This has been the most noticeable switch, seeing as how her year up until the tournament has been a real letdown. But getting in there with Saya Kamitani, Shirakawa knew it was time to put up her best to not only win the match but leave people talking as we walked away from the live Korakuen Hall show. The action in this match was exciting but none more than the final minutes where Shirakawa outclassed the Wonder of Stardom Champion before dropping her right down on the back of her head with the Glamorous Driver MINA.

It was the win of her career, the match of her career, and an emotional moment to witness. Kamitani was great, but Shirakawa was the star of this match. ****

Blue Stars Block
Momo Watanabe (8) def. Giulia (13)

There’s no match that I’ve been more excited to see than Momo Watanabe vs. Giulia. These two were set to finally face off a year ago on the final day of the 5STAR Grand Prix but as history has it, Giulia’s injury removed her from the tournament and made sure the match would not come true. So over a year later of waiting, they finally squared off. They started it as wild as you could imagine by grabbing the corner mats and smashing each other with them but after all that, it was on to show how great these two can be against one another.

Giulia is at her best when the violence is turned up to 10 as is Watanabe, so once they got back in the ring, it certainly was. They’d trade forearms, kicks to the face, and big-time bomb-like maneuvers from start to finish. Watanabe was able to utilize her wrench to success, hitting Giulia with a head kick and then a punt back to back before hitting not one but three Peach Sunrises to defeat Giulia.

What these two told us in their match is that they can give us something great in their sleep but when a title is ultimately on the line, “match of the year” is immediately in the equation. A lot was saved for their inevitable title match down the road and I cannot wait. Until then, this was still fantastic pro wrestling that highlights how great Giulia’s tournament has been and why Momo Watanabe might be at her very best right now. ****¼

Blue Stars Block
Mayu Iwatani (13) def. Hazuki (14)

Talk about another match we’ve been waiting over a year for. When Hazuki walked back into STARDOM, it was Mayu Iwatani who she went face-to-face with and seemingly challenged but the match never ended up happening. Of course since then they have helped bring STARS back to glory which has been wonderful, but these two were destined to fight, and that they did. I cannot stress enough how two STARS members wrestling always leads to some of the most entertaining matches of the tournament, which this was. Iwatani has quietly had another fantastic GP, giving us some of the best matches of her year against MIRAI, Giulia, and now Hazuki. As often with Hazuki matches, the pace of this match didn’t give you a chance to breathe. It was fast, physical, and electric.

They playfully did the same moves to one another as one of the big moments was Mayu going for the Suicide Dive but crashing and burning. By the time she got up, she was getting hit by a dive by Hazuki instead. Nothing, however, beat the finish of this match on the whole card. Iwatani, looking into Hazuki’s face as she got to her knees, would nail her with a kick to the side of the skull and hit a picture-perfect Moonsault for the win. These two are special wrestlers and put on one of my personal favorites from the tournament. ****¼

Red Stars Block
Syuri (14) def. Tam Nakano (14)

The best match of the night came in the main event. We shouldn’t really be surprised, either. Syuri and Tam Nakano have had some of the best chemistry in wrestling. Look back to their 5STAR Grand Prix match from a year ago. That was class. Look back at their World of Stardom Championship match from right before this year’s tournament. That was also class. So there was no doubt this would be the same. Nakano is at her absolute best when her main goal heading into a match is to win by any means necessary. It’s the easiest story to tell and often the best. So when she is going all out to try and get a win over Syuri that she has been hunting for, you can’t help but be locked onto the match from the opening bell to the moment the three is counted, or in this case, someone passes out.

Syuri is a magician. There might be no one as consistent as her in pro wrestling. No matter the scenario, she has managed to never really let the viewer down in terms of match quality but almost always raises it to the next level. But Nakano, if you love her or hate her, always makes sure to give it her all which she did here. The best near fall of the night came when Nakano hit her signature Violet Screwdriver, dropping the World of Stardom Champion directly on her head. Felt like it was over. I thought it was over. But the champion survived. Soon after, Syuri would force Nakano to pass out and win the match, completing what was one of the best matches of the 5STAR Grand Prix.

I could personally watch these two wrestle forever. They have some of the best chemistry in wrestling as this was the perfect finish to another banner show for STARDOM. If anyone calls this the best 5STAR show of the tournament, it’d be hard to argue. ****½