The 5STAR Special in Hiroshima is kind of stacked, despite Saya Kamitani vs Hazuki being off to due Kamitani’s injury. Some injuries have caused a shuffle of the undercard but honestly that made it better as we have a really interesting tag opener instead of a trios match with a clear loser. From there we get straight into the heat of tournament action and title matches so there’s absolutely no room to breathe with this one.


I had a good time with this, and really that’s all we can ask of an opener. This went pretty seamlessly from a fun Mina/Maika opening to Rose Gold trying, and failing, to deal with Megan Bayne being a brick shithouse. Out of everyone on the roster Mina and May have been the best at working opposite Bayne’s monstrous presence and I’m at the point where I would like a Shirakawa vs Bayne match on PPV. May taking the defeat for her team is interesting as she’s normally protected in tags but she got tossed and beat like everyone else here. ***1/4


This felt like a condensed version of the title match they had for Hayashishita’s V1 as World of STARDOM champ. With limited time available to them they didn’t fully explore the potential that they have but this was a pretty good match. Utami showing a little bit more urgency was nice as she’s usually so composed but Watanabe turned on QQ and that wound may never heal. Speaking of heels, Watanabe was such a pr*ck when she had control it was a joy to see, she’s been mixing in the great moves with strong character work so well in this tournament we’re really getting to see the best version of what she can be in Oedo Tai. ***3/4


There are times where Starlight Kid faces wrestlers from her past and we see the antagonist heel take a back seat, Former stablemate Nakano is one such opponent, when it comes to her we see Kid act more like the MK Sister who once stood side by side with Mayu Iwatani. I really don’t know if she does it on purpose and it’s an intentional reminder that the Oedo Tai thing is largely all an act as she finds her own path back to Iwatani or if it’s just a coincidence but I sure find it interesting.

The best thing about Kid not playing the heel role is she can be at her best in a match like this and fight from underneath against an onslaught from Nakano. Nakano strips away a lot of the emotional stuff when it comes to tournament matches so in a contest like this she’s focused on the action, which Kid is all to happy to work with as a former High Speed Champion. ***3/4


I’m running out of ways to tell you about how great these tournament matches are. Just look at the two wrestlers and you should be sold on this one. Syuri and Iwatani have become natural rivals just due to their proximity at the very top of the card, there’s an argument to be made that they’re still 1A and 1B as the pinnacle of the company so any match between them is a big deal.

After a tit-for-tat match that further clarified how even these two competitors are it was one fatal error from Iwatani that cost her the match. Missing her signature moonsault turned the tide in Syuri’s favour just long enough for the God’s Eye leader to come away with an important win to keep herself in contention for the block win.

Syuri made some belt motions after the match indicating she may challenge for the IWGP Women’s Championship but who knows if she’ll ever get a match as there’s been at least five Iwatani defense teases that never get paid off (someone remind Gedo that he’s supposed to be using this belt). ****1/4


I’m coming to the realization that AZM absolutely spoiled us with her High Speed run because Saki hasn’t been able to hit the heights AZM did just yet. This was better than the Koguma outing but still feels a lot more basic than the kinds of matches we were getting for this title. ***1/4


I knew I was going to like this one right from the start and all four lived up to my expectations. Suzuki and Seira were trying to get the jump on the champs and use their energy to catch them off guard but they allowed time for the champions to grow into the match and they never looked back. This was frantic tag team action that keeps up the trend of really strong tag title defences.

Anou and Poi went right from having excellent trios matches as ReSTART to having excellent tag matches together. Natsupoi’s ability to fit in with just about anyone she teams with is unnatural, she looked perfect with Himeka away back in DDM, she was perfect as part of meltear, and now shes perfect next to Anou. If they want to keep these two atop the division for an extended period then I can’t complain because there’s few teams that feel as big as this one. ****1/4


I just want to say before anything else that I question the optics of the Wonder title getting overlooked for the NJPW Strong belt for the main event spot. The Strong belt was made for a brand that runs every 2 to 3 months because they panicked and realised Mercedes Mone was sticking around after dropping the IWGP Women’s title to Iwatani. It may be held by Giulia but that title has no real prestige or meaning to STARDOM’s audience so it going last here feels more like a slight against MIRAI than a big win for the Strong belt.

Konami was *the moment* from the second she walked out for her entrance. Her new looks is fantastic and she came off like a pretty big deal. If they’d decided to give the belt then and there I wouldn’t have complained all that much. The match was pretty firmly built around her as she got all the room in the world to work over MIRAI’s arm and dominate the match. Her ring work was probably the best it’s ever been as she’s found a pretty good mix of her God’s Eye realism and the sadistic edge she showed in Oedo Tai.

MIRAI has always worked best when fighting from underneath so she put in a pretty strong showing as the underdog and had some really explosive offence when it was time to fire up. I do have a small issue with her just using her bad arm for multiple lariats towards the finish but I guess it can be attributed to fighting through the pain, and the lariats were pretty sick so who am I to complain?

Great reintroduction to Konami who genuinely looks like she could make a full-time comeback today if she wanted to. I’d be interested to see how she fits in to the current roster as GE is already pretty stacked and the title pictures are all very crowded but she’s more than capable of being a solid presence in the upper card. ***3/4


This was a good match but nothing spectacular. It was like a lite version of the Giulia big matches we saw earlier this year when she was World of STARDOM champ. The whole “we wrestled in Ice Ribbon together” thing carried the weight of the match as it let them get right down to the hard-hitting stuff without needing to build things up. I also have to credit Sera and Giulia for doing one of the better table breaks I’ve seen recently they were not holding back at all.

Giulia beating Sera feels like the closing of the book on the previous chapter of Giulia’s career. With Prominence kicking about the ghosts of Ice Ribbon were still haunting her but now she’s faced and beaten Suzuki and Sera, while also going to a draw with Maya Yukihi. Short of Tsukasa Fujimoto showing up she’s basically faced every notable figure from her stint with Ice Ribbon. That sense of closure carried into the post-match where she promised to look after Suzu Suzuki, who we knew mainly as the second in command to Sera in Prominence. With Sera defeated and Suzuki warming up to a DDM invitation it seems like Giulia’s war on the Ribbon has come to a close. ***1/2


Stop me if you’ve heard this before but, another great show from STARDOM. Even though the show ended with a tamer effort from Giulia and Sera it had the great GP matches back to back and the Goddess of STARDOM defense to make it worth seeing. I would say even the opener is worth watching just to see Rose Gold play off Megan Bayne better than anyone on the roster but if you’re looking for just the hits then Syuri/Iwatani and AnouPoi/SuzuMei are the big hits.

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