Saturday, October 1, 2022. For many, it will be remembered as a normal old day. For STARDOM fans, it can now be remembered as a day when destiny was finally reached. If you have been following along, the 5STAR Grand Prix — STARDOM’s signature tournament — concluded on this very day with 157 matches being completed. The tournament itself stood above the rest in pro wrestling in terms of its quality but also the stories that were told throughout. No story, however, was bigger than the one of Giulia’s, and that’s where we’re going today. Giulia has won the 5STAR Grand Prix, but not without pain, doubt, and putting it all on the line.
Beginning at the debut for Giulia in STARDOM isn’t needed here. Nor is starting at the moment her head was shaved at the hands of Tam Nakano after losing the Wonder of Stardom Championship in the main event of All Star Dream Cinderella (we’ll get to this later). Discussing how her 5STAR Grand Prix began with two straight losses may be important but for Giulia, no story is better told by her than her two matches on Saturday, October 1, 2022. Those two matches told you the story of Giulia. Her ups, her downs, her passion, and her love for all this. In one night, she took the journey to perfection as she reached her destiny once and for all.
Giulia vs. Suzu Suzuki: 15-Minutes of Anger, Sadness, and Love
Cody Rhodes tweeted after his WrestleMania return the simple statement of “wrestling is a love story.” You don’t have to like “The American Nightmare” to agree with that sentiment because ultimately it is at its best. A love story full of every emotion is what can be the best kind of match. That’s what brings us to Giulia’s first match of the night against Suzu Suzuki. Not only would they both enter the match with a chance to go to the 5STAR Grand Prix Finals, but they entered with far more on their mind. It’s been known from the beginning of this story between the two that they were sisters. Connected at the hip during their time at Ice Ribbon. And then, well, Giulia left for STARDOM, leaving a young Suzu Suzuki and their friendship behind for bigger dreams.
Those dreams drove a stake between those two and it all came down to this. We’ve seen them interact in two matches prior to this. The all-out war between Donna del Mondo and Prominence which Giulia’s side won and then the tag team Hardcore Match at STARDOM in SHOWCASE Vol. 1, which Suzu Suzuki won. They had one apiece but those matches were nothing compared to this. It’s almost as though moving on to the finals was on their minds. The emotion poured out of them before the bell even rang. Giulia walked down to the ring with tears in her eyes and by the time they stared across from one another, they were both crying. When you can feel the emotions and importance of a match before they make a move, the wrestlers have already done their job.
The first night we ever saw Suzu Suzuki in STARDOM featured those same tears as she got in the face of Giulia. We didn’t feel the same when it came to the Donna del Mondo leader at the time. Things change, of course, and Giulia has faced a lot of ups and downs since then and at the end of the day, there’s still love there.
For 15-minutes, these two women hit each other with everything in the tank. Slaps, forearms, suplexes, straight punches to the face, two (2) headbutts… whatever you can think of! When Giulia hit the Glorious Driver, it felt as though it was the end of Suzuki and their feud as we knew it but the former ICExInfinity Champion managed to kick out. The same happened when Suzuki hit her Locomotive German Suplex to Giulia, spiking her on the back of her head twice. Nothing would stand in the way of Giulia and destiny. After that, all Suzuki could do was throw her hands at Giulia out of rage, feeling the anger, sadness, and eventually love that these two have shared. When the bell rang for the 15-minute time limit, it didn’t feel like the end for these two but a new beginning.
Again — wrestling is a love story. Despite going into the match full of sadness, anger, and rage, the scene you remember most from these two was them embracing when the 15 minutes were up. It was beauty, it was grace, and it was everything pro wrestling should be.
And now Giulia had to change her focus to the 5STAR Grand Prix Finals.
Giulia vs. Tam Nakano: A Full Circle Journey is Completed
Sometimes wrestling is perfect. It is rare but it happens. Some recent examples include Kofi Kingston beating Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania for the WWE Championship and CM Punk returning to professional wrestling in a sold-out United Center. Now we can add the 2022 5STAR Grand Prix Finals to that equation. The moment the blocks were revealed by STARDOM, nothing made more sense than Tam Nakano and Giulia going head-to-head one more time. It was perfect because Giulia was sent on her downward spiral from the top when she lost the Wonder of Stardom Championship to Nakano. Since then. it’s all been about the climb back to the top. There have been countless roadblocks, distractions, and an injury that has left Giulia asking herself what will it take to get back to the top of the mountain. Defeating Tam Nakano. That’s how.
The entrance Giulia made to the ring may very well be the greatest in STARDOM’s history. Coming down from the sky with fire around her and a goddess-like aura to her, this felt like it was her time. She was banged up, struggling to walk down to the ring, but also containing the confidence that has brought her to the dance. Nakano followed suit and once they stood across the ring from each other, nothing felt as important. Once the match got going, it was a lot of what you’d expect but turned up to another level. It has the same feeling as their All Star Dream Cinderella main event and matched that emotion.
A complaint of predictability was gone. Anyone could win this. Nakano has made it her goal to chase the World of Stardom Championship and Giulia, as we know, has been waiting to get back to that title since Syuri defeated her at Stardom World Climax — sending her world crashing down all over again in a different fashion. Nakano was the one who took Natsupoi from Donna del Mondo. Giulia was the one who made Natsupoi pay for leaving in this tournament before Nakano got in her face with frustration and anger. They set the stage the best they could.
There’s no reason to list off move by move, moment by moment. That’s what watching the match is for. But the closing stretch is what made this match reach perfection. Nakano drove Giulia through the ring with her own move, the Glorious Driver, just for Giulia to kick out at one. The Donna del Mondo leader replicated this mindset by planting Nakano with her version of the Violet Screwdriver and again, the will to win drove Nakano to survive at just a one count.
The finish of the match is what made this match full circle. Giulia hit the Glorious Driver, a move she could not beat Tam Nakano with when it was her main finisher back in their last singles match. Nakano kicked out, barely, but kicked out. Not wasting a moment, Giulia finished Nakano off with the Northern Lights Bomb, a move she added to her repertoire as she grew back into who she was last year. The move that helped her get back on her feet. It was perfect.
Giulia was back where she has always belonged. She did it by going through the tournament she couldn’t finish a year ago. She did it by fighting the woman who was like family to her. And she did it by defeating the person responsible for sending her to rock bottom.
In one night, Giulia showcased her entire road as a wrestler. Every obstacle, every decision, every feeling in two matches. That’s all she needed and we, as fans, felt every single bit of that.
Full circle. Destiny. Perfection.
That’s the story of Giulia and her road to this moment. To be crowned the 2022 5STAR Grand Prix winner.