5STAR Grand Prix Day 14
September 12, 2023
Korakuen Hall
Tokyo, Japan

Watch: Stardom World

Undercard Thoughts

  • If there’s anything to take out of the 5STAR Grand Prix undercards, it’s the great tag team we’ve witnessed between Megan Bayne and Mei Seira. The foreign “Goddess-like” character perfectly matches the high-speed oddball that Seira has quickly shown us to be. Their match against Mariah May and Waka Tsukiyama was as fun an undercard match as we’ve had on a STARDOM show this year.
  • Syuri and Natsupoi are a perfect match. They only mixed it up for two minutes or so in the tag match but it was electric when they did. Run it back in a big match, please.

Blue Stars
Saori Anou (8) def. MIRAI (6)

Saori Anou and MIRAI have a potential match-of-the-year contender in them somewhere down the line. This wasn’t it as this was just the appetizer.

Often times when we get these big 5STAR Grand Prix matches, the excitement is understandably there as many of the matches deliver, if not overdeliver. But then there’s sometimes where matches feature champions and you know if someone beats them, they’re going to face each other again with the gold on the line. To me, that’s exactly what this match was. Anou and MIRAI gave us a taste of what they can do in the ring against one another but saved a lot for what will hopefully be a Wonder of Stardom Championship match down the line.

The first two-thirds of this match was pretty ordinary stuff. Some good work overall, back-and-forth between the two. But the final stretch is where we got to a championship-type atmosphere as they traded Suplexes, forearms, and near falls to the glee of the fans in Korakuen Hall.

Anou would get her victory in her beautiful Rollover Bridge pin that she’s showcased a number of times now, shocking MIRAI and earning herself the biggest win of her run.

This has been an all-star showing for Anou from start to finish. With just one more match left, she has shown not only that she belongs but needs to stick around for the long haul. ***¾

Red Stars
Hazuki (6) def. Starlight Kid (4)

A wild brawl through Korakuen Hall that Io Shirai would be proud of.

The match started with a bang as Starlight Kid was already beating up Hazuki around the arena before she could even attempt to make an entrance. They’d fight up the stairs, down the stairs, ringside, in the chairs, and so on. Once they got back into the ring, the match was pretty normal with Hazuki trying to overcome the prematch onslaught by the desperate Starlight Kid who has nothing to lose at this point.

That’s the beauty of the Hazukistral. Hazuki would hit her signature flash pin on Kid to steal the victory and keep her 5STAR Grand Prix hopes alive in a match that looked like she’d see her hopes ended by Oedo Tai for a second straight year.

I do believe one important note to take from this match is the performance of Starlight Kid. It isn’t her best match by any means but it’s a showing she really needed. There was an energy and fight to her that I feel she’s been missing for much of 2023. She has been, in many ways, a shell of what she was for a year and a half as a member of Oedo Tai.

Either way, this match was good fun for the crowd in attendance and ended up being a solid outing for both but nothing special. ***¼

Red Stars
Suzu Suzuki (6) def. Tam Nakano (7)

There is no wrestler in the world who is 21 years old and better than Suzu Suzuki. That’s a fact.

And you don’t have to look much further than this. In the historic Korakuen Hall, Suzuki went face-to-face with the World of Stardom Champion Tam Nakano and felt like she, not Nakano, was the woman in control from start to finish.

The more I watch Suzu Suzuki, the more in awe I am of how good she is for her age. And she’s been this good for a number of years now. When STARDOM managed to bring her in full-time, it was the accomplishment of all accomplishments for the company because it was the equivalent of adding a future ace to your roster full of superstars. It was a ca n’t-miss and it’s paying off now. Suzuki vs. Nakano was an important one. Not only due to it being part of the Generational Struggle series but because Suzuki was looking for a signature victory like this since officially joining the company.

Where these two were willing to go in the match is a testament to how great they are when they’re at the top of their games.

This bump is all you need to see to know how locked into destroying each other they were:

Suzuki was willing to do anything and everything to Nakano to get the win and that’s exactly what she did. It was very rare that Nakano ever felt like the one in control. If anything, it was 50-50 at best for the world champion — and that’s stretching it. Nakano hit her with anything she could including fighting through some devastating German Suplexes, slaps, and forearms. It was never enough to keep Suzuki down. She would not stay down.

By the end of this match, it was apparent that these two wrestlers had locked in their second-best matches, respectively, in the tournament. Suzuki pinning Nakano clean following her Double German Suplexes means that she should have a World of Stardom Championship match coming to her in the future — whether she wins the 5STAR Grand Prix or not.

Suzu Suzuki and Tam Nakano, take a bow. One of the top tournament matches thus far. ****¼

Blue Stars
Giulia (9) def. Maika (5)

If you’re paying close enough attention to what is going on in this Generational Struggle, then you can see some interesting similarities happening.

Following what would end up mostly being a dominant win for Suzu Suzuki, Maika had the chance to follow up and do the same against Giulia. This match carries far more history and story to it, but still, the possibility remained.

And for much of the match, it looked like it was almost an identical performance out of Maika like we saw from Suzuki. She was dominating Giulia, taking the majority of the match and looking like she was going to be calling herself the winner by the end of the night. But unlike Suzuki, she wasn’t able to finish off Giulia in the end and that only plays more and more to the story between Maika and Suzu Suzuki.

To the match — it was a heavyweight-style collision of a main event between the Donna del Mondo duo. These two were going from the opening bell and the only times it slowed down was when Giulia tried anything and everything to get the upperhand. So much of Maika’s offense are these powerful feats, so any time Giulia could keep Maika grounded, she did. One of the best moments of the match was when Maika hit a Superplex, following those up with two more Suplexes for a unique version of the Three Amigos we’ve seen many times elsewhere. It was that sequence that was replayed later when Giulia hit a Butterfly Suplex off the top rope before following it up with a Northern Lights Bomb for the win.

Maika had it. She had the win in her pocket but just could never get the Michinoku Driver II to seal it. For now, Giulia moves forward as the one who is still the top dog of DDM. Sooner rather than later though, Maika is going to have to make a decision of how she wants to go from being Giulia’s second to being her equal. With Suzuki coming out to join Maika and challenge for the Artist of Stardom Championship, we seem to be more and more on our way. Until then, we have this great main event to enjoy. ****

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