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STARDOM 5 Star Grand Prix: Day 14 Review

2 years ago

STARDOM 5 Star Grand Prix: Day 14 Review

STARDOM 5 Star Grand Prix: Day 14 Review

By Trent Breward

Tam Nakano has been enjoying success in both the 5 Star Grand Prix and as one half of the Goddess of Stardom Tag Champions alongside Natsupoi. That doesn’t mean everything in Cosmic Angels has been smooth sailing however.

Unagi Sayaka has been watching from the sidelines and struggling of late, and it was clear something had to give. With only two points to show for her hard work this tournament, emotions were running high as she stepped into the ring opposite her Cosmic Angels leader.

At times the match resembled the seven match trial series Unagi endured through the start of 2021, when the strongest in the company took turns demolishing her and testing her resolve. Here too Tam was methodical, choosing her attacks carefully to try and provoke a fiery response that would help Unagi break free of what was seemingly holding her back.

Unagi answered the call several times, showing the kind of determination that has become a staple of her underdog nature. But ultimately Tam Nakano is the stronger wrestler and has her own ambitions to win the tournament. A delayed Violet Screwdriver ended the match with crushing finality, and afterwards the two shared a long and heartfelt embrace in the middle of the ring – enough that Tam’s entrance music reached its runtime and had to restart.

A year ago Unagi shocked Tam by beating her in the 5 Star Grand Prix, arguably the biggest win in her career. Lightning would not strike twice this time in Korakuen Hall, but it would seem that the true meaning of this match stretched far beyond just a simple win or a loss. Unagi’s heart was healed just a little through their war, and her resolve as a part of the Cosmic Angels seems to have returned. With a clearer heart she may still be able to turn around her misfortunes and earn a few wins before the tournament comes to a close.

In the main event was a match Suzu Suzuki dubbed ‘Icon vs Icon’, as the two faces of Prominence and Stardom went head to head for the very first time.

For Mayu, this was essentially make or break. A loss wouldn’t have outright eliminated her from the Finals, but it might as well have. Suzu meanwhile needed to keep her momentum going after claiming her first points of the tournament one night prior if she would have any hope of surviving.

With such high stakes both wrestlers started in high gear, with the young prodigy trying to batter Iwatani to a pulp while the veteran and former Grand Prix winner kept the pace up and her opponent guessing. Ultimately it was Mayu’s resilience that proved the key. As Suzu Suzuki looked to end the match with a series of chained German Suplexes, Iwatani managed to endure the first and counter the second into a rollup. It wasn’t pretty, but as her opponent thrashed about the referee counted to three.

Suzu Suzuki was insistent that she had gotten her shoulder up in time, but the result had been decided and on a second look the referee’s decision was right. Once more she was left to wonder what went wrong, and lost her cool after the match as Mayu pushed her luck and held up three fingers to her face.

Now on 11 points, the only former Grand Prix winner in the Blue Block is still in the hunt. Her journey to the Finals though isn’t easy; with Hazuki, Momo Watanabe and Starlight Kid all waiting for her, and she can barely afford even a single loss. Suzu would also be eliminated from contention with just one more loss, and she still has seven matches to wrestle. The glimmer of hope is that the second half of her tournament is far easier than the first half. That and win lose or draw Suzu will finally be able to get her hands on Giulia come October 1st.

It could have been far worse for both Mayu and Suzu if it wasn’t for Saya Iida scoring one of the biggest shock wins of the tournament against Hazuki. The Little Giant handed the Blue Block leader just her third loss in the Grand Prix. She survived one Iidabashi flash pin, but before she could recollect herself Iida trapped her in another, and this time there was no escape.

It was only Saya Iida’s second win in the tournament, but she’s made them count – having beaten former Wonder of Stardom Champion Momo Watanabe as well. It’s an important step forward as she is yet to regain the momentum she had prior to the ACL injury that put Iida out for around a year. Now she can at least know in her heart that on the right day she can defeat some of the top names in the company. Now it’s just a matter of doing so more consistently.

For Hazuki, she has come back down to earth after an electric 7-0 start to the tournament. There’s only two more matches for her to improve her record, and they’re against Mayu Iwatani and Momo Watanabe. It’s very possible she ends her tournament on an 0-5 drought and essentially choke away a huge opportunity. If that’s the case, this loss to someone she’s been mentoring will haunt her as the one that truly got away.

Full Match Results:

  • Fukigen Death & Rina def. Lady C & Hina
  • Blue Stars Block: Natsupoi (10) def. Hanan (0)
  • Blue Stars Block: Mina Shirakawa (6) def. Ami Sourei (10)
  • Red Stars Block: SAKI (6) def. Saki Kashima (6)
  • Blue Stars Block: Saya Iida (4) def. Hazuki (14)
  • Red Stars Block: Utami Hayashishita (10) def. Mai Sakurai (8)
  • Red Stars Block: Syuri (10) def. Momo Kohgo (2)
  • Red Stars Block: Risa Sera (10) def. AZM (12)
  • Red Stars Block: Tam Nakano (10) def. Unagi Sayaka (2)
  • Blue Stars Block: Mayu Iwatani (11) def. Suzu Suzuki (2)

Rapid Fire Takeaways:

  • Mina Shirakawa has been growing her submission game since before the 5 Star Grand Prix began, but it finally came to fruition when she submitted Ami Sourei with the Figure Four Leg Lock after a sustained focus of attack on her leg. Mina has shown an ability to control matches with this tactic in the past and if she can convert it to more submission victories she’ll become a deceptively dangerous opponent. The crowd also responded very positively to the submission win.
  • Mai Sakurai has quietly put together a nice tournament, and further solidified her growth since joining Donna Del Mondo. She’s still a ways away from being a major singles threat, but to compare where she was when she first left Cosmic Angels shows just how far she has come.
  • Mai also learned that you should never play with Utami’s heart. The offer of a rose clearly won over the Red Queen, but her cheap shot led to that rose being slapped across her face after the match.
  • A clinical display by Syuri as expected. Momo Kohgo’s done well considering she was a callup who was not really ‘ready’ for this kind of challenge, but she was never going to make Syuri sweat. It hasn’t been as commanding a tournament from the champ compared to last year, but it’s easy to sleep on just how consistently good she’s been.

5 Star Grand Prix Standings

12 – AZM
12 – Himeka
10 – Maika
10 – Utami Hayashishita
10 – Tam Nakano
10 – Risa Sera
10 – Syuri
8 – Koguma
8 – Mai Sakurai
6 – Saki Kashima
6 – SAKI
2 – Unagi Sayaka
2 – Momo Kohgo

14 – Hazuki
12 – Saya Kamitani
11 – Giulia
11 – Mayu Iwatani
10 – Ami Sourei
10 – MIRAI
10 – Natsupoi
6 – Momo Watanabe
6 – Starlight Kid
6 – Mina Shirakawa
4 – Saya Iida
2 – Suzu Suzuki
0 – Hanan