5STAR GRAND PRIX DAY 17
SEPTEMBER 18, 2023
WATCH: STARDOM WORLD
We are in Mayu Iwatani’s hometown for one of the last GP shows of the tournament. The Icon of STARDOM doesn’t have a tournament match, instead getting a special tag match with Hazuki against AZM and Utami Hayashishita. Beyond that, this is a one-match card that Momo Watanabe vs Mina Shirakawa will have to carry to glory.
UNDERCARD RESULTS & THOUGHTS
- Mariah May & Waka Tsukiyama def. Starlight Kid & Ruaka
- Hanan & Koguma def. MIRAI & Saki Kashima
- Maika & Megan Bayne def. Saya Iida & HANAKO
- Suzu Suzuki & Mei Seira def. Tam Nakano & Yuna Mizumori
- Mayu Iwatani & Hazuki draw with AZM & Utami Hayashishita
In Iwatani’s hometown, she got a special tag as four of STARDOM’s premiere wrestlers went at it. They obviously didn’t go full tilt but there was just enough good stuff to make it a standout match. Even more standout was it being Hayashishita’s last match before her injury took her out of commission and some eagle-eyed viewers have noted that she was visibly hurting towards the tail end of the match.
AMI SOREI (6) DEF. NATSUPOI (9)
Fine match that could have been worse. Sorei keeps up her strong starts in matches before settling into some decent enough work on top and well Natsupoi is Natsupoi you’ve been informed of her talents for the past two months so this was ok but nothing special. The defeat eliminated Natsupoi from the tournament and it feels like a bit of a damp way for her to go out after having such a great tournament but it does set her up for a big win over Tam Nakano on the GP final day. ***1/4
MINA SHIRAKAWA (8) DEF. MOMO WATANABE (9)
This was a great win for Mina Shirakawa and could be a defining match of her tournament. Momo Watanabe attacked during the entrance and got the upper hand early, even causing Shirakawa to have a blood forehead. From there they told the simplest story possible with Watanabe channelling her best form and beating down a defiant Shirakawa who had to show heart to fight back and get back into the match.
What took the match over the top was Mina’s stablemate Waka Tsukiyama being a vocal cheerleader for her leader and willing her to victory. This was a big Shirakawa win as she had to show the kind of heart that earned her the Wonder of Stardom Championship and it was a real reminder of how great she is as a babyface.
Following her post-match promo, I’m wholeheartedly rooting for the Club Venus founder to win the 5STAR Grand Prix. She’s easily one of the best babyface promos in all of Joshi (and probably Japan) which paired up well with this match where she fought through some blood to beat a former faction leader and wonder champ. ****
As I said, this was a one-match card and thankfully that match delivered. Watanabe vs Shirakawa was a great match that heat up Shirakawa heading into the final stretch of the GP with her emerging as a possible dark horse to win the whole thing following Utami Hayashishita’s injury.
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