5STAR Grand Prix Day 6
August 9, 2023
KBS Hall
Kyoto, Japan

Watch: Stardom World

This was the best 5STAR Grand Prix show since the opening night — no question. Every match in this lineup is a must-watch.

Undercard Thoughts

  • Mina Shirakawa and AZM had fantastic chemistry in their tag team match. They built to their 5STAR Grand Prix match perfectly and people should be excited for it come September 2nd.
  • STARDOM has done an incredible job at getting Megan Bayne over ahead of her World of Stardom Championship match at STARDOM x STARDOM 2023 against Tam Nakano. She feels like an absolute monster who cannot be stopped, creating doubt about whether or not Nakano can actually stop her.

Blue Stars
Momo Watanabe (4) def. Maika (3)

Momo Watanabe is back. So back. And we are all winning because of it.

In her opening night win over MIRAI, Watanabe looked like her former self for the first time in a very long time. It shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise seeing she’s only 24 and can still be one of the best whenever she wants but the Oedo Tai gimmick has forced her to change who she was. But with that pleasant surprise comes anticipation for the rest of the way and when she stepped in there with Maika, it was official — she’s back back.

Maika and Watanabe have always had such great chemistry so it’s not too shocking but this match had a killer pace filled with bombs and more bombs. The spot of the match was when Watanabe went for her baseball bat and swung for the fences (or Maika, whichever you prefer) but Maika managed to catch it and hit a home run herself. It was a LOUD smash too. But as the match came to a close, Watanabe went into that vintage killer mode to put Maika down and out once and for all for the win.

If this version of Watanabe is here to stay, STARDOM just regained one of the best in the world. ***¾

Blue Stars
Giulia (5) def. Mariah May (2)

A star-making performance in this one.

When I interviewed Mariah May at the beginning of the year, she said that a match with Giulia was her dream match in STARDOM. Now not only did we get that match here but it delivered in every single way.

Going to war with Giulia is no easy task for any wrestler. It’s asking a lot to match that level of physicality and violence but it became apparent in the first minute or two of this bout that May was going to do exactly that. She slapped the Donna del Mondo leader across the face and from there, it was on. Giulia hit a brutal slap right back and they just traded for the next couple of minutes to a level that had to open eyes for anyone somehow still doubting what May is capable of.

Giulia and May traded and traded and traded. There was a moment there where May felt like she was going to get the biggest win of her career by defeating the STRONG Women’s Champion but in the end, a Glorious Drive was the close on that part of the dream for May. But it didn’t matter. Not only did May put on the best match of her career in this one but clearly earned Giulia’s respect. That’s two wins even if she didn’t get the points for the tournament.

Essential viewing. ****¼

Red Stars
Syuri (3) vs. Natsupoi (5) ended in a time-limit draw

Natsupoi is doing something special. She’s making everyone believe — Syuri included.

There are levels to this whole pro wrestling thing. Whatever the top level is, that’s where Syuri sits and has for a long time at this point. So stepping in the ring with Syuri is always a challenge and for someone like Natsupoi, it’s an Everest-sized mountain to climb. Yet in this match, where she was attacked, hit hard, and at times pretty much out of it — she survived. And not only did she do that but she showed Syuri that she’s closer and closer to reaching that level of being the strongest.

The relationship between Natsupoi and Syuri was tested in this but by the end, all they could do was embrace and appreciate one another. Natsupoi came back from everything Syuri offered with the final five minutes of this match arguably being the best five minutes of the tournament. Once Natsupoi shocked Syuri with a picture-perfect Spin Kick to the face, she found herself back in the right. She was able to get out of all the submissions that Syuri would get on her. She was able to kick out of all those big bombs that Syuri hit. Natsupoi may have not had an answer for everything but she surely had the will to keep going.

The final two minutes saw Natsupoi hit both the Fairy Blink and Fairystrain for incredibly near falls. She was the one in control when the time finally ran out and that was the moment we should all know that she was on the level she needed to be to make the next step. This match is about a lot more than two points and it’s what makes it all the better.

Natsupoi is one of the best today and sooner rather than later, she’ll be strong enough to get the best of Syuri. A phenomenal match. One of the best in the tournament. ****½

Red Stars
Mayu Iwatani (4) def. Suzu Suzuki (2)

There are few things better than two of the best in the world going in there and having a great main event. That’s what this was.

While living up to the emotions of Syuri-Natsupoi or the violence of Giulia-Mariah May was out of the question, Mayu Iwatani and Suzu Suzuki were able to play up the big main event style that has long set the 5STAR Grand Prix apart from it’s tournament competitors over the last number of years.

This match was a taste of where they could go in a big title match someday — and it was a great one at that. Suzuki came into the match following her first win in the tournament which made it feel as though she was going to knock off a few in a row. Iwatani entered the match with a big focus on Sunday and the defense of her IWGP Women’s Championship. That could have distracted her but she was instead locked in on Suzuki from the very start and never let up. There were times it looked like Suzuki would squeak out a victory but the veteran status of Iwatani had to play into this one as she never truly looked like she was out of it.

Iwatani earned the win when Suzuki tried to roll out of the Two-Step Dragon Suplex before Iwatani was able to muscle her back up to hit it with perfection. Honestly, just watch the match. It’s a case of two top pros going out there and delivering a great main event. It’s what they do.

With Suzuki down to three losses, she’s got to pretty much win out to have a shot at this. That should make for some more greatness like this. ****

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