5STAR Grand Prix Day 18
September 20, 2023
Edion Osaka Arena No. 2
Osaka, Japan

Watch: Stardom World

Blue Stars
Maika (9) def. Mariah May (6)

Sometimes all you look for this late in the 5STAR Grand Prix is a solid pro wrestling match. That’s what we got here.

Maika needed the win to keep moving towards the finals with a shot at this thing. Mariah May needed a win to have any chance at seeing a shot later on in this thing. Sadly for her, this marked her official elimination but she didn’t go down without a fight.

What has been noticeable with Maika in this tournament is that many of her wins have been really strong and convincing. Her major win thus far was against Utami Hayashishita. Otherwise, she’s won the matches that she’s expected to win and lost the matches you may expect as well. So to really make a case for that block win, she had to keep rolling against the people she needs to beat and that was seen here.

For much of this match, Maika had the answers. She was rarely phased by the “Foreign Ace.” Credit to May though as she kept fighting back time and time again. May gave it her best in the closing minutes as she nearly stole one with her signature flash pin, but Maika avoided being spoiled and kicked out. Eventually, “The Empress” would call game on May, hitting the Michinoku Driver II for the W.

Earlier in the GP, perhaps this could have been an eye-opener. But this late and how banged up they’re likely feeling, we’ll take a solid, strong wrestling match. That’s all it needed to be and it’s exactly what it was. ***ΒΌ

Blue Stars
AZM (8) def. Giulia (9)

55 seconds. Compliments to the chef (shoutout my guy Dylan). It could not have been done better. ***Β½

Red Stars
Tam Nakano (11) def. Syuri (9)

Tam Nakano and Syuri is one of the most underrated combinations STARDOM has and for the third straight year, they showed why.

The 2023 5STAR Grand Prix has been littered with excellent matches, especially in the first month. As we’ve gotten to the final quarter, we’ve been in slowdown mode as we await one of the best shows of the year that is the 5STAR Grand Prix Final. But before we get there, Tam Nakano and Syuri made sure to give us one more for good measure.

Nakano’s best matches are when she’s wrestling someone else’s, filling that style with the things she does best and that’s more often than not what she does when facing Syuri. Taking down the God’s Eye leader is never an easy task — Nakano would know. Heading into this match, Nakano was 0-3 against the former World of Stardom Champion, including two straight losses in this very tournament. She wouldn’t allow that to continue.

Offense was the name of the game for Nakano, trying to keep Syuri on her heels from start to finish. She’d hit her with everything she had whether they were head kicks, Violet Shoot knee strikes, or any big move she could think of. But as often happens with Syuri, it doesn’t go so easy. These two were going 50-50 down to the wire before Nakano reversed the Ryuen into a picture-perfect Tiger Suplex for a near fall.

The tides were turned from there, as she’d hit five Violet Shoot knees to Syuri. That’d look to be enough before Syuri kicked out at one. Nakano would stunt the Syuri surge with an assortment of kicks, including a punt that Syuri often hits on her opponents. One Violet Screwdriver later and the match was over with Nakano reigning supreme.

For a match this late in the tournament, a week before the 5STAR Grand Prix, this is about as good as it’s going to get. Nakano’s perseverance in a match like this is why so many fans adore her. And really, it’s why she was able to become World of Stardom Champion — something few would have believed a number of years ago. Taking down Syuri is another feather in the cap for her in what has been an incredible year.

With her locked into 11 points, more history could now be on the way as she has as good a shot as any to win the 5STAR Grand Prix. We’ll have to wait and see. Great match. ****

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