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STARDOM 5 Star Grand Prix: Night 9 Review

2 years ago

STARDOM 5 Star Grand Prix: Night 9 Review

STARDOM 5 Star Grand Prix: Night 9 Review

By Trent Breward

Starlight Kid has fast become one of STARDOM’s most valuable wrestlers. However she won’t truly succeed until she can overcome her demons. Kid’s old mentor Mayu Iwatani waits for her on the final night of the tournament, and Giulia continues to be one step ahead.

The Donna Del Mondo leader didn’t wait for the bell to ring to get into it, throwing Starlight Kid off of the apron and immediately rushing to tear her mask off.

Giulia had managed to de-mask the young star a year ago in their Wonder of Stardom Championship match. This time she only managed to wreck it. The right eyehole of Starlight Kid’s mask was ripped to three times it’s usual size at the hands of a resurgent Giulia who was looking to continue her run after a worrying 0-2 start to the tournament.

Oedo Tai and Donna Del Mondo both got involved at ringside, testing the patience of senior referee Daichi Murayama. Once the action found its home in the ring, the intensity remained. This was not a showcase of catch-as-catch-can wrestling. Starlight Kid and Giulia were insistent on every move either hurting or humiliating their opponent. In the end, Giulia once more got the better of her young rival.

Their war started well before the main event. When all the faction leaders were in the ring to entrants in the IWGP Women’s Championship tournament, Starlight Kid struck the first blow and all of Oedo Tai pounced. If it wasn’t for the sudden and shocking appearance of NOMADs freelancer Rina Yamashita who knows if Giulia would have even been able to make their match.

Yamashita quickly sent Oedo Tai scurrying, and now she and Giulia will be teaming up to face Momo Watanabe and Ruaka in a hardcore match. How well this new partnership can exist will be interesting to say the least. There are lot of lingering words unsaid between the two, which is apparent in their demeanor both in and out of the ring. 2022 has seen Giulia’s past steadily come back to haunt her, but perhaps this time it can be here for support.

It was a big night for Donna Del Mondo beyond just its leader, with the group going four for four. Mai Sakurai survived a particularly aggressive showing from Unagi Sayaka, who clearly holds some lingering bitterness from Sakurai’s betrayal of the Cosmic Angels. Himeka drew Risa Sera into a power battle that led to her catching the Prominence leader with a Running Powerbomb, and Maika managed a big win over her key rival Utami Hayashishita, putting her up 4-3 in their singles battles including three straight wins over the Red Queen in 5 Star GP matches.

Mayu Iwatani has had a quiet tournament so far for someone of her stature, but the second half of her tournament is a murderers row of contenders. She could have been forgiven for looking past Mina Shirakawa, but it nearly cost her two valuable points inside Korakuen Hall.

Mina came in as prepared as ever, countering every signature move Iwatani tried and bringing a physicality the Icon of Stardom wasn’t ready for. It was only Mayu’s resilience that saved her, enduring the Implant DDT (the fourth DDT she had taken) and managing to catch her opponent off guard in a pinfall counter. Mina Shirakawa seems to save her very best for the 5 Star Grand Prix and it showed in this match, but it wasn’t quite enough.

Suzu Suzuki continues her rough start to the tournament, dropping to 0-3 after a particularly heartbreaking loss to Natsupoi. She dominated the majority of the match with her vicious striking, but her cockiness got the better of her. A lapse in concentration allowed Natsupoi to not only get back into the match but turn the pace up to suit her style. Suzu’s frustration boiled over, delivering a headbutt after the bell, but after a successful Catch the Wave tournament it seems the prodigy has been brought down a peg.

Both 5 Star Grand Prix events at Korakuen Hall in August have been must watch affairs, drawing not only a packed house but an excited one. Fans are more than ready for the cheering restrictions to be lifted, and the in ring action has been begging for that kind of energy. The tournament is now well and truly kicking into a high gear, and there’s another month’s worth of action still to come!

Full Match Results:

  • Red Stars Block: Mai Sakurai (6) def. Unagi Sayaka (2)
  • Blue Stars Block: Hazuki (14) def. Hanan (0)
  • Red Stars Block: Tam Nakano (4) def. Koguma (6)
  • Red Stars Block: AZM (10) def. SAKI (4)
  • Blue Stars Block: Mayu Iwatani (6) def. Mina Shirakawa (4)
  • Blue Stars Block: Natsupoi (6) def. Suzu Suzuki (0)
  • Blue Stars Block: Ami Sourei (8) def. MIRAI (6)
  • Red Stars Block: Himeka (8) def. Risa Sera (6)
  • Red Stars Block: Maika (6) def. Utami Hayashishita (8)
  • Blue Stars Block: Giulia (6) def. Starlight Kid (4)

Rapid Fire Takeaways:

  • A few nights prior at NEW BLOOD Starlight Kid mocked MIRAI with her own variation on the triple clap she uses to get fan. Giulia was clearly paying attention, because she spent much of the match mocking Starlight Kid with that same taunt.
  • Risa Sera’s flourishing regal entrance theme cutting immediately into Himeka’s dance tune might be the most beautifully awkward audio transition we’ve heard. Praise has to be given to Risa too for managing to essentially deadlift the Jumbo Princess from a high angle Boston Crab into a Buckle Bomb. She might have lost the power battle to Himeka, but she certainly showcased her strength.
  • Syuri’s one weakness is apparently drawing lots. She was the one person to miss out when a random draw determined which four wrestlers would appear at Wrestle Kingdom, and once again her bad luck meant God’s Eye would not be represented in the IWGP Women’s Championship tournament.
  • Alpha Female is set to make her first appearance for STARDOM since 2016 as one of three international entries in the IWGP Women’s Championship tournament. The second ever World of Stardom Champion is set for a first round match against Rev Prov’s Ava White during NJPW’s Royal Quest Tour. The rest of the entrants are undecided – with the Stardom side of the tournament relying on 5 Star GP results and the third foreign entry currently remaining a mystery.
  • A 5 match winning streak has now put AZM on top of the Red Stars block with 10 points. She turns 20 on October 1st, the night of the Final. If she can keep this up, she might be able to give herself the best possible birthday present
  • We are going to see the return of High Speed Hazuki! AZM has requested both her and Fukigen Death in a three-way match for her next defense. Hazuki accepted, though she would prefer it to be a one on one match. Perhaps she has bad memories of this trio, as it was in a match with Fukigen (working as Death Yama-San at the time) and AZM where her High Speed reign came to an end in 2019.

5 Star Grand Prix Standings (As of Night 9)

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

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