Well Day 3 of the Grand Prix is broken up between an afternoon and evening show. So for the first time this tournament, the blocks have a different number of matches.
This is very curious, but it could have something to do with the international talent’s availability. I didn’t really look into it, but similar unbalanced blocks happened during the Champion Carnival, because of freelancers.
Three women have to work double duty, so it should be interesting how this effects the rest of the tournament.
Natsuko Tora vs Konami
So Natsuko points out that her afternoon show kicks off the day and her evening match is the main event, so Day 3 starts and ends with Natsuko. Konami makes mention of her Triangle Lancer win percentage being 100%, but with Tam countering it last time…again, math is weird people.
This match starts off painfully bad. A few bad forearm shots against the ropes from Natsuko then lead to her charging, but getting low bridged. However the trip over the top rope is so slow, I’ve seen disgruntled cats flop over something with more gusto. Then Tora goes for a shoulder tackle through the middle ropes, but Konami isn’t close enough to make it look decent. It looks like she rushed to the next spot and Konami half executes a sloppy Twisting Neckbreaker.
Things do recover a little after the first minute or so of sloppiness. However, it’s also just Konami beating on Natsuko. Stiff kicks, a hesitation Dropkick to her head while Tora is seated, and it’s not until Natsuko follows her into the ropes with a leg lift, that starts to bring Tora a little offense. We then see Tora pull off a few power moves followed by a Spear and then a Shining Wizard for separate 2 counts. She then hits a Forward Roll Fireman’s Carry Slam as she goes up to the top rope for a big body splash, but only for 2 again.
Natsuko bounces off the ropes, and yeah…this doesn’t go smoothly. Konami catches her with a DDT and then rolls through for a Front Necklock, but it’s not pretty. Konami pulls Natsuko to the middle while holding a Sleeper Hold, wraps her legs around for the Coquina Clutch, but Natsuko eventually powers back to her feet and drops back to break the hold.
Konami flips out of a suplex, gets the Front Necklock back in, before wrestling Natusko to the ground and putting on the Triangle Lancer for the submission victory. It wasn’t pretty, it wasn’t really good, but our little cheat code picks up 2 points.
Winner: Konami via Triangle Lancer
Tam Nakano vs Jungle Kyona
Now we all know I have a Tam bias, but her opening promo was very subdued. She seems to want to prove she’s gotten better and to make a statement after JAN refused to join STARS during the draft and went independent. Kyona on the other hand is her usual energetic and fun self, with a small dig that the result will be the same as last year (Kyona beat Tam last year). So this seems to have some personal feelings involved.
Well Tam wanted to prove something right out the gates, and tries to exchange shoulder tackles with Kyona, to no avail. Sadly for Tam, this would lead to a long period of Kyona dominating. A number of Should Tackles, Sliding Lariat, Dropkicks and general strikes just leave Tam kicking out of multiple pin attempts. Things continue to look bad for Tam as Kyona drives her into the corner, but a few weak Forearm shots prove Tam still has some fight.
Kyona shrugs them off and tries to send her into the ropes, but Tam reverses and lands a Flying High Kick, for her first real offense all match. The women trade corner maneuvers as Tam hits a Double Knee, Kyona then follows her back for a Splash, Tam follows Kyona back for a Single Knee and Kyona gets a small edge after following in with a Lariat. Kyona goes to whip Tam into the corner, but Tam reverses with a crisp Step Up Enzuigiri. Tam lands her Cartwheel Knees and gets a 2 count.
More back and forth from both women, until Tam catches Kyona with a full extension Standing Side Kick, sending Kyona to the outside. Tam doesn’t waste the opportunity and goes to the top rope for a Crossbody into the seconds on the outside, but hitting Kyona fully across the shoulders. Tam rolls in Kyona, hits a beautiful Spinning Crescent Kick, but Kyona grabs the bottom rope to break the count. Tam’s reaction was fantastic as she looked furious.
Tam goes to the top rope again, Kyona cuts her off and seems to attempt an Avalanche Scoop Slam, but Tam fights her off. Tam grazes Kyona with an Axe Kick, and continues to attempt a high risk move. Kyona charges a couple times as Tam kicks her away, but Kyona eventually catches Tam’s foot and pulls her off the ropes, crashing to the mat. Kyona goes for her Hammer Throw Powerbomb, Tam slips out and then the counters begin. Tam catches Kyona with a High Kick, goes for a Running Knee, but Kyona catches the knee, attempts a Sitout Powerbomb, but Tam slips out again, misses the Buzzsaw Kick, but hits and Back Side Kick, for only 2 again.
Tam tries to grab Kyona for a German Suplex, but Kyona fights it off until Tam keeps wrist control and pulls off a Rainmaker German Suplex Hold (shuddup, that’s what I’m calling it), for only two though. Tam goes for the Running Knee again, but misses, Kyona Sliding Lariats Tam’s back, which is important because Tam has been favoring her back most of the match. Taking advantage of that. Kyona puts Tam in a Canadian Backbreaker, but Tam doesn’t quit. Kyona spins it into a normal Backbreaker across the knee, and Tam’s face tells the whole story. Kyona goes for the pinfall, but Tam kicks out at 2.
Kyona immediately goes to the Half Boston Crab, but Tam gets to the ropes. Very quickly Jungle goes to the top rope and hits a Body Splash across Tam’s back, drags her to the middle of the ring and sinks in a Scorpion Deathlock (aka Sasori-Gatame, aka Sharpshooter). Tam tries to hold out, but eventually taps cause her back can’t take it anymore.
Winner: Kyona via Sasori-Gatame
Rating: **** 1/4
Konami vs Jungle Kyona
Match starts off with Konami trying a Hammerlock to control Kyona, but both end up trading a few moves before Konami gets an early edge when the Buzzsaw Kick finds its home and sends Kyona to the outside. Konami sees Kyona is a little dazed and lands a Running Knee Strike on the apron, sending Kyona sprawling further onto the outside. Konami collects Kyona, tries to send her into the ring post but that gets reversed.
Kyona lands a few open hand chops, before missing the third one and giving Konami an opening. Konami works over her arm for a while, before then peppering in about a dozen kicks between Kyona’s shoulder blades. It’s not until Konami gets a little cocky and starts slapping Kyona’s face disrespectfully, that Kyona fires up and we get the Fighting Spirit strike exchange.
It’s not until Kyona hits a Shoulder Tackle sending Konami backwards into the corner, that someone gains a distinct advantage. Corner Splash, Front Dropkick and Sliding Lariat put all the momentum in Jungle’s favor. Kyona goes for another Sliding Lariat, but Konami catches her beautifully into a Fujiwara Armbar, then transitions to a Cross Armbreaker, then a Guillotine and as Kyona tries to fight out, Konami moves to her back for the Sleeper Hold. Just when she looks like she’s gonna fade, Kyona rams Konami into the corner to break the hold.
Every time Kyona goes for a lariat, Konami catches her into different arm bar variations. Kyona catches Konami in a submission of her own, the Canadian Backbreaker, but this time when Konami doesn’t quit she just dumps her on her face and gets a 2 count. Kyona misses a top rope splash, and Konami tries the Triangle Lancer, but can’t get it, as Kyona hits the Hammer Throw Powerbomb for the victory and current lead in Red Stars.
Winner: Kyona via Hammer Throw Powerbomb
Rating: *** 1/2
Natsuko Tora vs Kagetsu
Kagetsu holds strong to her promise of winning in 3 minutes, going as far as to say if she doesn’t she’ll let Natsuko win. I doubt that, but hey, you never know with Oedo Tai.
Kagetsu hands out Cup of Noodles, and even has Hazuki pour hot water in a couple and they start a 3 minute timer. Amusingly though, Natsuko is purposely not wrestling. She sits down in the corner and sticks out her tongue, forcing Kagetsu to make the referee give her a 5 count to get up. Then Natsuko holds the ropes to waste more time, Kagetsu eventually wrestles her down and goes up for her 450 Splash, but Natsuko rolls to the middle of the ring and waits. Yelling at Kagetsu something to the effect of ” Okay, get me” and even the referee is like ” jump off, come on”, so Kagetsu gets mad and stomps Natsuko. We then get a spot of Natsuko ducking under Kagetsu’s lariats and just making faces on the other end.
So even if comedy is subjective and not always a good fit for a tournament, the fact that Kagetsu made this 3 minute rule and Natsuko outsmarted the Prime Minister of Oedo Tai, makes it enjoyable. As the 3 minutes expires, Natsuko thinks she’s won, Kagetsu shakes her head and tries to roll her up. THE HEEL LIED! NO WAY!
Regardless, the match actually picks up and Natsuko puts up a hell of a fight. She has Kagetsu down and on the receiving end for a few minutes. Even hitting her Forward Roll Fireman’s Carry Slam, middle rope Frog Splash and her top rope Body Splash, but only for two. After fighting out of a Scoop Slam, Kagetsu catches Natsuko with a desperation Roundhouse Kick as both women drop.
A few more kicks turn into a display of anger and power from Kagetsu. Samoan Drop for 2, Brainbuster for 2, Michinoku Driver also only for 2. Natsuko catches Kagetsu with a Backslide, into a Jacknife cover and then rolls it into a Triangle Arm Bar, but the Prime Minister gets to the ropes. Kagetsu counters Natsuko’s offense with a …Shouten Kai? Hirooki Goto would be proud.
Back to back Chokeslams, a Michinoku Driver and her Oedo Coaster (the afore mentioned 450 Splash), finally gives Kagetsu the win.
Winner: Kagetsu via Oedo Coaster
Rating: *** 1/2
Red Stars Standings:
Jungle Kyona 3-1 (6 Points)
Utami Hayashishita 2-0 (4 Points)
Konami 2-2 (4 Points)
Kagetsu 2-1 (4 Points)
Tam Nakano 1-2 (2 Points)
Kimber Lee 1-1 (2 Points)
Rachael Ellering 1-1 (2 Points)
Natsuko Tora 0-4 (0 Points)
Well this was different for tournament coverage, but Stardom does afternoon and evening shows quite often, so I guess it’s to be expected. Either way, Kagetsu closed the show and explained why she kept going after the 3 minutes. She said that because President Ogawa is in Mexico, she never got clearance for a special rule. So even though she wanted it to be a 3 minute rule, no one approved it. Then she continued to say that even if Natsuko won the 3 minutes, she won the normal match, so it was a Draw at best. BUT again, sadly, no President Ogawa to approve the Draw, so just deal with it.
So this split show did have the worst match of the block so far, but aside from that, it was actually a pretty high level day. Tam was the MVP of Day 3, because her match, her selling and everything about that was just tremendous. Hopefully, Tam can get a couple more wins, since she’s really been impressive given that just a few months ago Io was insulting her.
Tam is the best – Tam number 1 *clap clap*