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Japan: Stardom 5 ★STAR GP – Review of Day 3 & 4 | Red & Blue Block

So, Stardom hasn’t done a full 5★STAR GP specific show since Day 2 of the tournament began. Instead of doing play by plays for all the matches, we need to catch up on all of the standings and how the matches have gone thus far. One thing to note before I begin, Takumi Iroha hasn’t had a single match for the tournament up to now, and her first match won’t be until August 29. So keep that in mind folks!

5★STAR GP Syuri vs AZM (Azumi)

This match occurred on August 7 and saw the young prodigy AZM upset the tournament favorite on the blue side in Syuri to pick up her first points of the tournament. Something that surprised me in this match was the way in which Syuri was able to match AZM’s speed at pivotal points of the match. They were much more even there than I figured they would be. After all, AZM is a former High Speed Champion and is used to being much faster than most of her opponents. I did love how AZM tried frustrating Syuri by sliding in and out of the ring, but Syuri made her eat apron for that one. AZM is a cocky little shit and I love it. Once Syuri stopped trying to play to AZM’s speed game, she really dominated the youngster and put on a good performance. There was even a point where Syuri used AZM’s own roll-up finisher, Azumi Sushi, and almost pinned the youngster. Azumi hit a sick Canadian Destroyer into an Azumi Sushi for the upset victory after a great match. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a bad AZM match actually..

AZM – 2 points | Syuri – 4 points


Up next we’ve got…

5★STAR GP Tam Nakano vs Ruaka

We’ve got 17-year-old Ruaka against the ‘leader’ of the Cosmic Angels in Tam Nakano in this match. Tam can put a good match against even the worst opponents so let’s see what the Stardom Dream can do in this one. Tam’s really been selling an arm injury thus far in the tournament and Ruaka focuses most of her offense, especially early on, on the right arm. Tam’s even got the right arm taped up, really driving home that she is working injured. Luckily for Tam, she’s got lethal kicks and can supplement her strikes with those instead of throwing right-handed strikes. Ruaka actually got a lot of offense in during this match, and the majority of it was clean, which surprised the hell out of me. She did use the ring post on the injured arm, but really didn’t get much dirtier than that. Sure, Oedo Tai interfered, as they always do, but it was minimal at best. Tam picked up the win after a hard fought, very physical match that saw Ruaka dominate the majority of it. Good win for Tam.

Nakano Tam – 4 points | Ruaka – 0 points


Coming up next is…

5★STAR GP Giulia vs Saki Kashima

We’ve got Donna del Mondo’s Giulia, the favorite to win it all in the red block, against the young Saki Kashima, repping Oedo Tai. Last time we saw Saki for the GP, she got beat by Starlight Kid, and Giulia lost to Mayu Iwatani. Who rebounds? Let’s see. Most people wouldn’t believe it but Saki is a 10 year veteran, debuting when she was eighteen years old. She’s a lot better in the ring than people generally give her credit for, but she’s really not as good as Giulia is. Lucky for her, Giulia is able to work with her to make an entertaining match, one where either woman could have won at any moment. Of course since she is part of Oedo Tai, Saki has to bend the rules every chance she gets, which makes total sense for the character she is playing. I’m actually surprised that Saki controlled nearly the entirety of the first half of the match, which just shows how good Giulia is at working with lesser opponents. Giulia had the strength advantage, and used it every chance she had but Saki Kashima used her speed and veteran instincts to her advantage in the match. Which served her well as she hit a surprise roll-upThispinned the favorite of the tournament, getting her first point tournament favourites Kashima won here, but maybe they’re trying to paint Giulia as more of an underdog than we all believe she is.

Kashima Saki – 2 points | Giulia – 2 points


Coming off the heels of that match we’ve got…

5★STAR GP Utami Hayashishita vs Unagi Sayaka

We’ve got a good one here in Utami Hayashishita against Unagi Sayaka. Utami, having recently celebrated her third year as a professional wrestler, is looking good thus far in the tournament, whereas her opponent Unagi has surprised some by pulling out two straight wins. I have a new appreciation for Unagi Sayaka, she’s shown a lot of growth in the last few matches I’ve watched her perform in and she is doing really well in there. She’s grown a lot since her Stardom debut so this is a good test for her. Utami, unsurprisingly, spent the majority of the match on the offensive, controlling the match and imposing her will on Unagi. The moments where Unagi did get some offense in were some nice spots that really played to her underdog status of the match. I ask how can you not love both of these women? They give it their all each time they’re in the ring and are always improving. Unagi’s got some crisp leg drops too, they’re probably the cleanest and best looking leg drops I’ve seen in wrestling in quite some time. Utami Hayashishita picked up the win with a bridging German Suplex after a good match. Unagi tried her best but the Red Queen held her throne, stopping the winning streak.

Hayashishita Utami – 4 points | Sayaka Unagi – 4 points


We’re heading to 8/8 next and starting things off with…

5★STAR GP Maika vs Ruaka

We’re kicking 8/8 off with Ruaka facing off against Maika, the young Oedo Tai member getting another veteran to face off against, and one that can match her strength and won’t be injured coming into the match. I did not expect Ruaka to go after Maika before the bell rang, let alone go after the ring announcer, but she did. She even attacked some of Maika’s Donna del Mondo teammates outside the ring before using her case to get the upper hand. She must have learned her lesson against Tam Nakano and is going as dirty as she can to try and win this one. Ruaka really used every dirty trick in the book in this one but Maika always found a way to counter and get some momentum going for her side, especially when she hit a Michinoku Driver 2 for the win. Solid hoss fight, if a bit short.

Maika – 4 points | Ruaka – 0 points


Let’s keep the train rolling with…

5★STAR GP Mina Shirakawa vs Saki Kashima

We’ve got the lovely Mina Shirakawa against the ten year veteran Saki Kashima for this next match on 8/8. Should be pretty good considering how much Mina has improved in the ring since her Stardom debut. Of course, Mina made the mistake on insisting on a handshake from Kashima, and ate the turnbuckle for her troubles. Saki did a good job of riling up Mina and making her make mistakes, which was smart by the veteran. She even used a chair at one point for a face plant of Mina, but it didn’t keep the former model down. They really had Saki carry the bulk of the match on offense, which surprised me a bit given that Mina is pretty good in the ring, but it probably served the less experienced Mina well by letting Saki carry the match. I saw Saki hit AJ Lee’s old move, the Black Widow, on Mina but couldn’t finish the match with it. The ending saw Mina hit a surprise roll-up after getting dominated for the entirety of the match and catch Saki sleeping, picking up the pin and two more points.

Shirakawa Mina – 4 points | Kashima Saki – 2 points


We keep rolling along with…

5★STAR GP Natsupoi vs Starlight Kid

We’ve got two of the fastest and best young performers in Stardom against each other in this match as Natsupoi takes on Starlight Kid. This is kind of a preview for a future match between the two as it was confirmed that later this month, Natsupoi will defend the High-Speed Championship against Starlight Kid. This confuses me since they said at the press conference that if Koguma beat Natsupoi, which she did, that she was next in line for the title shot. Whatever, they’ll do what they wanna do. I’ll just enjoy the hell out of this match, and the rematch, and be thankful. This match started exactly as I hoped, and thought, that it would with two of the fastest women in Stardom trying to get the upper hand while pulling out incredibly athletic moves to counter each other. Seeing these two in the ring together is a total treat every time, and I can’t stress that enough. It’s even better now with Kid embracing her dark side and changing her approach to matches, it’s nothing like the old Poi vs Kid matches from before Kid joined Oedo Tai. Kid’s more confident and cocky and it suits her well. There is a lot of back and forth in this match and the women are going a million miles an hour, it’s so much fun to watch but if you blink you’ll miss something. Without a doubt in my mind, this was the best match of the tournament thus far. Of course, the best match thus far has to end on a double count-out draw as the referee counts to twenty while the women fight outside. Kid attacks Poi after the match and chokes her with the microphone chord before getting on said mic and telling Poi that she is going to beat her for the title and that she let her off easy today. Great match, the rematch will be even better.

Starlight Kid – 3 points | Natsupoi – 3 points


Our last match for part one of the catch up is…

5★STAR GP Tam Nakano vs Saya Kamitani

Poor Saya hasn’t gotten a win yet in this tournament, de winning the Cinderella tournament earlier this year. Not for a lack of trying, but the wrestling gods have not looked favourably on her thus far. Let’s see if she can earn her first points against the tough as nails Tam Nakano. Tam’s right arm is heavily taped up in this match, selling the beatings that she’s taken thus far in the tournament. I don’t see Saya using dirty tricks as Ruaka did, but I don’t see her not taking advantage of the injury in some way. Very even match in the early going, and as I thought Saya does work on the injured arm. She’s just not as underhanded about it as Ruaka was. Tam is selling it like a champ too, she really sounds and looks like she is in pain every time that arm is used or Saya hits a move on it. Tam does mount some effective offence, using her speed and her legs in lieu of her arms to do the strikes. I’m honestly amazed she goes for suplexes and holds with that injury. She even tries throwing strikes with it to no avail. Of course, as soon as Tam gets some momentum, Saya goes right for the arm and takes it back. Very well-paced match and surprisingly, Saya controlled most of it. Both of these women are deceptively agile, it’s amazing to see how good they are together in the ring. There was a moment here where Saya hit a sick reverse frankensteiner on Tam and absolutely spiked her. Hell, she spiked herself too and I thought both women were out for a moment. Despite having to sell the arm injury, this match was really competitive and each woman carried their fair bit of the match evenly. Not as good as Natsupoi vs Starlight Kid, but this was a damn good match that is one of the better ones of the tournament. The end saw Saya Kamitani pick up her first win of the tournament with a spike ‘Rana’ for the pinfall. Great match from both women and I cannot wait to see more between them.

Kamitani Saya – 2 points | Nakano Tam – 4 points


Current 5★STAR GP Red Stars standings:

  • Mina Shirakawa 4 points
  • Starlight Kid 3 points
  • Natsupoi 3 points
  • Momo Watanabe 2 points
  • Giulia 2 points
  • Koguma 2 points
  • Mayu Iwatani 2 points
  • Saki Kashima 2 points
  • Fukigen ★ 0 points
  • Himeka 0 points

Current 5★STAR GP Blue Stars standings:

  • Syuri 4 points
  • Maika 4 points
  • Tamu Nakano 4 points
  • Utami Hayashishita 4 points
  • Unagi Sayaka 4 points
  • AZM 2 points
  • Saya Kamitani 2 points
  • Konami 0 points
  • Ruaka 0 points
  • Takumi Iroha 0 points
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