Stardom delayed events for the tournament due to the ongoing Coronavirus issue in Japan and finally started the tournament back up on the 28th of August. There were a total of seven matches for the Grand Prix over the 28th and 29th, so instead of reviewing the entire show, I am going to catch you guys up on the GP matches and the major happenings from over the weekend. Without further ado, let’s get back into the awesomeness that is Stardom and the 5 Star Grand Prix!
Natsupoi vs Fukigen Death
We’re kicking off the catch-up with Fukigen Death (Desu) against the High-Speed Fairy Natsupoi (Poi). Poi with the funniest moment of the tournament so far when she used a squirt gun to put out Desu’s imaginary cigarette. Poi is so athletic and quick that it’s amazing really and Desu is.. well, she’s Desu. She’s basically a comedy act but she does it better than anyone in WWE. As with all of Desu’s matches thus far in the tournament, this one was over quick and that’s a damn shame. But Poi does have a match against Starlight Kid on the 29th, so it makes sense not to risk her getting injured before the title defence. Natsupoi wins in a quick but fun match.
Natsupoi – 5 points
Fukigen Death – 0 points
Konami vs Ruaka
We’ve got two Oedo Tai members going at it next in Konami and Ruaka. Two very.. different styles here. Konami is your striker and grappler while Ruaka is more akin to a brawler. She’s not gonna wow you with anything she does and she hasn’t quite learned how to use her size to her advantage. Honestly wasn’t expecting a whole lot out of this match and nothing really had the wow factor. That said, it was a solid match with some decent back and forth before Konami locked in the Triangle Lancer for the submission win. Solid and decent match, nothing special.
Konami – 4 points
Ruaka – 0 points
Maika vs Unagi Sayaka
We’ve got Maika, who has seriously outperformed expectations thus far in the tournament against the current Future of Stardom Champion, Unagi Sayaka. It’s worth noting that Maika has a lot of tape on her neck and upper back, she’s had it for most of the tournament, but it doesn’t seem to be hampering her at all. Unagi is also sporting some of the tape on her right shoulder. It seems that a lot of the women are getting taped up lately… Hope they’re all not working through serious injuries. Maika uses her strength to her advantage, taking control early and using a more grounded set of tactics, which is her style.
The powerhouse is more than a match for most of the women on the roster at this point. That said, Unagi is showing that she’s more than capable of meeting Maika in a strength battle. She’s definitely improved her game in the technical aspects and it’s showing in her body of work. I didn’t see where it happened, but Maika got her lip busted open and the entire left side of her jaw and lower face was covered in blood. This was actually a really fun and hard-hitting match, each woman throwing everything they had at each other for our entertainment and damn it was just that. That entertaining match ended up going to a time-limit draw, our first of the tournament I may add, and even saw the women brawling after the match until their teammates broke them apart. Great match and one that every fan of Stardom or women’s wrestling should check out.
Maika – 7 points
Unagi Sayaka – 5 points
That win puts Maika in the lead for the Blue Stars bracket.
Mina Shirakawa vs Starlight Kid
Two of my current favourites in Stardom are going head-to-head in this one. The beautiful and ever-improving Mina Shirakawa against the Luchadora, the incomparable Starlight Kid. SLK has a massive speed and aerial ability advantage over Mina, who should try to keep SLK grounded and not let her use her speed advantage. Not gonna lie, I’m kind of impressed at how good Mina looked in this match. Though credit has to be given to SLK because she can make anything and anyone look amazing. For only being 20 years old, SLK looks better than most of the women who’ve been wrestling for WWE. You can tell too that SLK has learned a lot from Mayu Iwatani in the art of selling for her opponents.
This match was nowhere near as hard-hitting as the last match but it was highly entertaining for different reasons. A much faster pace, more near falls, this match had it all and it was made better by the two women in the ring. You couldn’t ask for more than what you got with these two. They absolutely put on a show that had the crowd applauding everything that happened in that ring. Starlight Kid picked the hard-fought victory with a Black Tiger Driver and proceeded to do what she’s done to all her opponents recently, mask them and make the neck slice while they’re recovering. She even shoved Tam Nakano out of the ring before doing it. SLK’s dark and aggressive side is really something else and I don’t think I’ll ever tire of it.
Starlight Kid – 7 points
Mina Shirakawa – 4 points
Starlight Kid keeps her stranglehold on the top of the Red Stars block with that win. Our final GP Match of 8/28 is…
Mayu Iwatani vs Himeka
The Icon of Stardom, Mayu Iwatani, faces off against a returning Himeka, who has been out dealing with injuries for a while and this is her first match in the tournament. Very early we saw Himeka show that she has a bit of a strength advantage as she muscled Mayu around a bit. There was definitely some rust from Himeka, which is likely why they put her in there against Mayu in her first match of the GP. They put on a pretty long, back and forth battle that saw a lot of strikes and grappling.
Of course, we saw Mayu selling the shit out of everything that Himeka threw at her too, you know typical Mayu Iwatani stuff. I know Stardom is known for a lot of back and forth action, and the trading of strikes in nearly every match, but these two had me on the edge of my seat. It seemed like each woman could end the match at a moments notice with any big move they hit. Mayu Iwatani hit a couple of nice superkicks, and you have to admit that she has one of the best looking ones in the business. Mayu Iwatani picked up a hard-earned win with a Jackknife Pin and claimed another two points.
Mayu Iwatani – 6 points
Himeka – 0 Point
We’re gonna keep the train rolling and move straight into the 29/08/21 show which aired on YouTube so most people will likely know the results already. I’m not covering the whole show, just the GP matches and the major happenings from the show, and there were a couple of BIG things that happened.
Himeka vs Fukigen Desu (Death)
We’ve got a battle of the winless in this one as Himeka, who returned in a losing effort against Mayu Iwatani, faces off against Fukigen Death. If this match is anything like the rest of Desu’s matches, it won’t last very long.. You have to give it to Kaori Yoneyama, who plays Death, she is really excelling at her comedic gimmick and she seems to be having fun with it. I hate clowns, personally, but I love Fukigen. She also has one of the best Old School’s I have ever seen. I once saw her go the entire way around the ring on the top rope. It was impressive as hell. Fukigen does get the win after a pretty quick, and funny, match with a roll-up reversal. Definitely a surprise that she won this match, but Himeka will get her win back. I know she will.
Fukigen Desu – 2 points
Himeka – 0 points
Our last Grand Prix match for the two days is…
Maika vs Takumi Iroha
Making her Grand Prix debut is Takumi Iroha, representing the Marvelous promotion, and she has a tough opponent as she faces Maika. If you’ve never seen Iroha in the ring before, let me tell you that she is an absolute beast in the ring. She will do the job for anyone and she is as selfless as they come in the ring, but she can be absolutely brutal and can put on some hard-hitting, highly entertaining matches. Maika is no slouch in the ring and can outpower nearly everyone on the Stardom roster, but Iroha seemed to be on a whole other level for this match. It was absolute insanity how good she looked and how dominant she was against someone like Maika.
Don’t get me wrong, Maika had her moments in this match and she put up the best fight that she could, but Iroha outclassed her on so many levels. Given the discrepancy of time in control, this was a fantastic match and one of the best matches of the tournament so far. Everyone should watch the show from the 29th, just for this match alone. The rest of the card is so good, but this match was top notch. Only one match on the entire card was better. Iroha picked up the win with the Running Three.
Takumi Iroha – 2 points
Maika – 7 points
Now… We have the BIG things I mentioned earlier. The first comes from the High-Speed Championship Match, which I’ll review first.
High-Speed Championship Match: Natsupoi vs Starlight Kid
The High-Speed Fairy has her work cut out for her in this match, for her title, against Starlight Kid. Kid has been on an absolute roll since joining Oedo Tai and embracing her darker side. They faced each other in the Grand Prix, going to a double count-out, and that match was insane. It was almost just as good as every SLK and AZM match I’ve ever seen. What you get with these two women in the ring is a fast-paced, high flying, action-packed match that if you blink, you’re going to miss something big.
This was, without a doubt, the best match of the night and one of the best matches Stardom has put on this year. It really was. Natsupoi has been an incredible champion and had some phenomenal matches against the fastest that Stardom has to offer, but SLK was not to be denied this evening. This match had everything you could ask for and so much more. I think the only match this year that was -better- than this one was Utami Hayashishita vs Syuri, and that is by a slim margin. It was that freaking good.
We almost got a double count-out again, and so many near falls that I lost count. Natsupoi and Starlight Kid always impress and amaze me each time they are in the ring together, their chemistry is off the scale. At the end of the evening, it was Starlight Kid who, after seven failed attempts, finally won her first High-Speed Championship on her eighth try. It was a highly impressive win with so many huge and fun spots throughout the match. I cannot recommend this match highly enough to everyone who is a fan of women’s wrestling. Congratulations Starlight Kid, you earned it and you deserve it. I mean hell, look at how happy she is!
Now what could be even better than that? Well, let me tell you.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the queen has returned.
That’s right folks! Hazuki, who retired on December 24, 2019, surprised the world by jumping into the ring after Mayu Iwatani had defeated Lady C. Mayu Iwatani gave her a death glare the entire time, which just made this segment so much more interesting for me. I’ll transcribe what was said between the two here so you can see for yourself.
HZK: “Mayu-san, Stardom fans, long time no see. It’s me Hazuki! I’m really bummed that instead of homegrown talent, the ones taking over are from outside promotions. How’d it get like this? Mayu-san, do you regret it?”
Mayu: “Hazuki, I’ll just say… long time no see. But the last time you were in this ring, you were complaining about Stardom. So now you’re back in this ring. Are you here to complain some more? Did you leave something behind in this ring? Why are you here today? I’m not fully on board with you coming back, but if you do, you’d better be prepared for anything. I have a lot I could say, but I wanna hear what’s on your mind.”
HZK: “Yeah, people will talk about my retirement, but it’s on you to decide to accept me or not. I’ll live with it. I’m in this ring today because I’m going to light a fuse under Stardom. Anybody back there that’s tired of the status quo around here, I’ll be waiting for you to step forward. I’ll see you around.”
She left the ring after a rather brief encounter with Mayu, and it sure as hell seems like she is returning full time. I am super excited to see what comes from Hazuki returning to Stardom and I can actually keep hope alive that maybe, one day, Kagetsu will also come out of retirement and return to Stardom. That’s all for me for now folks! Keep your eyes peeled, there is much more Stardom and the 5 Star GP to come!
Current 5★STAR GP Red Stars standings:
7 points Starlight Kid
6 points Mayu Iwatani
5 points Natsupoi
4 points Giulia
4 points Mina Shirakawa
2 points Koguma
2 points Momo Watanabe
2 points Saki Kashima
2 points Fukigen Death
0 points Himeka
Current 5★STAR GP Blue Stars standings:
7 points Maika
6 points Tam Nakano
5 points Unagi Sayaka
4 points Konami
4 points Utami Hayashishita
4 points Saya Kamitani
4 points Syuri
2 points Azumi
2 points Takumi Iroha
0 points Ruaka