Well, it’s Day 2 of the 5 Star Grand Prix, and it should be interesting how things shake out. Konami pulled off that big upset on Kagetsu, which apparently also injured her neck, so she’s been wearing a brace.
Will Kagetsu need to forfeit the tournament? Does the rookie sensation Utami continue to make headlines? Will Tam finally be more dangerous than adorable?
Okay the last question is more for myself. Tam is adorable, I just would like to see her take it to the next level.
Well let’s find out.
Kimber Lee vs Jungle Kyona
Jungle comes off a loss, but talks about shaking off yesterday in a tournament like this. Kimber keeps it simple and sweet, not really a ton to take from the pre-match promos.
Kyona literally kicks things off after a handshake with a Shotgun Kick into the corner when Kimber’s back is turned. A few strikes, lariats and even a sliding lariat take her to the first near fall of the match. Just when Jungle had all the moment, she’s stopped in her tracks by a succession of Kimber’s High Kicks.
We see Kimber hit the split spot again, into the Splitting Jawbreaker, followed by the Prawn Hold for a 2 count. A small flurry from both women, give Jungle a shot to go to the top rope, but Kimber cuts her off and pulls her off rather unceremoniously.
Kimber then lands about a half dozen kicks, a Scoop Slam and tries to pick up a submission win with the Boston Crab, but Kyona gets to the ropes.They have a stand off moment with Kyona hitting a haymaker and Kimber with a nice Enzuigiri giving her an opening to go to the top.
At this point Kyona gets up, hits an Avalanche Power Slam, followed by a Sliding Lariat for only two. After a little bit from both, Jungle manages to lock her arms around Kimber and land the Hammer Throw Powerbomb, for the victory.
Winner: Kyona via Hammer Throw Powerbomb
Utami Hayashishita vs Natsuko Tora
Utami is pretty humble putting over Natsuko with high praise on her power and ability. Natsuko deems Utami the “Super Rookie”, but says that she will snuff out the rookie’s momentum. I guess we get to see if Utami can do Shinsuke Nakamura proud, with this Super Rookie moniker.
They start off immediately with a test of strength, which it doesn’t look easy, but Utami manages to force back Natsuko. Natsuko turns it around and they start going back and forth with strikes. Again it seems like the senior wrestler gets a small edge here.
The next few exchanges really put over the fact that Natsuko is a little stronger than Utami, but Utami always gets a small flurry to not be too far behind. After a near fall, Natsuko gets up and they start the Shoulder Tackle spot, which ends with Tora taking a small shortcut and projecting herself forward to knock down the rookie.
After a Sleeper Hold doesn’t finish the match, Utami goes for her Argentine Backbreaker, but Tora slips out. But Utami remains in control as she his a Judo Throw and then two STOs. Finally we see Natsuko show a little more fight after back to back Spears, followed by a Rolling Fireman’s Carry Slam into a Frog Splash for 2.
Tora goes for a Scoop Slam, but Utami slips out and sinks in the Sleeper Hold. She kicks Natsuko’s hand away from the ropes, does a Sleeper Hold Takedown and transitions to the Coquina Clutch. Tora passes out and never taps.
Winner: Utami via Coquina Clutch
Rating: ** 3/4
Tam Nakano vs Konami
Pre-match, Konami keeps it simple like last time saying her Triangle Lancer has 100% win rate, where Tam seems solemn. Tam is more disappointed that she lost her first match, but tries to smile through it and remind everyone that Konami was the only one she beat last year. Does Tam just have Konami’s number? Will the Traingle Lancer have 200% win rate? No wait…that’s not how math works…whatever, let’s get on with the match.
Well now, an immediate strike exchange shows each pulling of Spinning Back Kicks, High Kicks and a few punches, but Konami eventually catches Tam coming off the ropes and starts focusing her legs. With the early advantage, Konami goes for two very cocky covers, before Tam hits a Super Kick sending Konami’s teeth into the front row.
Tam puts together some offense, Corner Dropkick, Cutter and a Cartwheel Double Knee for a near fall. Konami catches Tam and rolls through into an Ankle Lock, before Tam manages to get some space. Tam misses a top rope move and seems to jam her knee. Konami catches the next kick attempt into a Dragon Screw Leg Whip and then a Knee Bar.
A few strike combinations and a Fisherman’s Suplex Hold gives Konami a 2 count. Konami goes for the Triangle Lancer, but as she’s transitioning, Tam turns it into a cradle pin, and picks up her first win of this year’s tournament!
See what happens when you take Tam lightly? She kick your ass.
Winner: Tam via Cradle Reversal
Rating: *** 1/4
Kagetsu vs Rachael Ellering
Not sure how much of a work or shoot Kagetsu’s neck injury is, but she came out to her music and not the Oedo Tai music. So no dancing, just Kagetsu looking like Stardom Shredder. Hopefully Rachael’s lack of jet lag makes this a better outing than her last.
Arm Ringers, Hammerlocks, Take Overs and then a Crucifix pin attempt for Rachael is how the opening starts. The match stays very grounded until Rachael locks in a head lock to prey on the injured neck of Kagetsu, Kagetsu turns it into a Backdrop Suplex Hold to force a little more movement and space. A big shoulder tackle sends Kagetsu crashing to the outside, where all the seconds check on Kagetsu and apply cold spray to her neck. Kagetsu tries to sneak in a fast kick to give the illusion she was milking it, so it’s still hard to tell if her neck is really injured or not.
Rachael sinks in a Cravat pretty deep before hitting a Sliding Shotgun Kick for 2. Ellering then starts toying with Kagetsu, which is a little odd since Kagetsu is the well known heel here. Rachael kicks the injured neck and even stands on her neck, going for a lazy cover for 2.
Kagetsu catches Rachael coming off the ropes into a sloppy Samoan Drop, and follows her outside with a Suicide Dive. Rolling her back in, a Missile Dropkick and back to back Hip Attacks in the corner give Kagetsu a pin attempt, but Ellering kicks out at 1.
After a few strikes, a Discus Forearm and Popup Spinebuster give Rachael another 2 count. A quick strike blitz and Michinoku Driver give Kagetsu a near fall. She goes up for her 450 Splash, but Ellering cuts her off and hits an Avalanche Falcon Arrow, but favors her back so she can’t make the cover.
Pump Kick, Forearm Smash and a Twisting Leg Drop, again only keep Kagetsu down for 2. Rachael goes for the Fallaway Powerbomb, Kagetsu slips away, sneaks in two Rollup attempts before Ellering manages a Dragon Sleeper. Kagetsu gets to the ropes to break the submission, when Rachael tries to grab her to follow up, Kagetsu knocks down the referee and spits water in Ellering’s face. Michinoku Driver into 450 Splash give the Prime Minister a win.
Winner: Kagetsu via 450
Rating: *** 3/4
Red Stars Standings:
Utami Hayashishita 2-0 (4 Points)
Tam Nakano 1-1 (2 Points)
Konami 1-1 (2 Points)
Kimber Lee 1-1 (2 Points)
Rachael Ellering 1-1 (2 Points)
Jungle Kyona 1-1 (2 Points)
Kagetsu 1-1 (2 Points)
Natsuko Tora 0-2 (0 Points)
Well Kagetsu closed the show, and it was actually kind of amusing. The announcer cut off her promo to talk about buying the prediction guides, cause I’m assuming if you predict the winners you get something. So, Kagetsu changed her tone and parroted the sentiment like a sales woman causing the crowd to laugh. They then have a little Oedo Tai meeting, Kagetsu throws a Cup of Noodles at Natsuko Tora and says she’ll beat her in the time it takes to cook one (3 minutes).
Good show, more consistency in quality and the playfulness at the end fit perfectly into the Oedo Tai wheelhouse.