The Stardom 5Star Grand Prix has finally reached the end of the road! In our Final day we will not only see the last block matches; but the block winners face off in the main event!
No rest for the weary, so let’s go over how the Red Stars in contention can make it to the Finals.
Who Can Win:
- Mayu Iwatami: needs to win vs Tam on 9/19, Konami & Himeka need to Draw, Mayu has 10 point tie breaker over Himeka
- Tam Nakano: needs to win vs Mayu, Konami win vs Himeka, Tam has 10 point tie breaker over Konami
- Konami: need to win vs Himeka, Mayu win vs Tam, Konami has 10 point tie breaker over Mayu
- Himeka: needs to win vs Konami, 11 points would be a clean win, or; Tam wins vs Mayu and Himeka draws with Konami, Himeka has 10 point tie breaker over Tam
Don’t forget to see how the Blue Stars winner got here as well!
- Saya Kamitani vs Starlight Kid: Kamitani wins via Ki Krusher @6:31 – ** ¼
- Giulia vs Death-Yama: Giulia wins via Glorious Clutch @4:59 – * ½
- Tam Nakano vs Mayu Iwatani: Mayu wins via Two Stage Dragon Suplex @9:21 – *** ½
- Konami vs Himeka: Himeka wins via Running Powerbomb @10:02 – *** ¼
- Finals: Himeka vs Utami Hayashishita: Utami wins via Torture Rack Bomb @10:19 – *** ½
Saya Kamitani vs Starlight Kid
We get an interesting final match up for these two. Both tend to like to be more acrobatic and athletic in their offense, but they are both young. So this will either be really fun, or like watching a bird crash into a slightly bigger bird. Let’s find out!
Saya and Startlight try to tell a story of being fairly equal, but Starlight is a little sloppy in some of her execution. Starlight completely misses her Standing Moonsault, so that makes the dueling kip ups much less effective in my book. I’m glad they were both able to be athletic in the match, but Starlight really wasn’t keeping up.
As much as I’ve been disappointed in Saya during this tournament, she looked to be having fun in this match. She matched Starlight’s athleticism, but used her height and power advantage to contort the smaller wrestler. Starlight’s attempts at offense were a little slow and awkward, but there are two big takeaways! Firstly, Saya didn’t use her Water Wheel Kick…but she did try a Back Flip Kick, which looked slow and didn’t work in the flow of the match. Secondly…I really like the Fisherman’s Driver as her finish. Give me more Ki Krusher!
— We Are Stardom (@we_are_stardom) September 19, 2020
Giulia vs Death-Yama
Now Giulia’s biggest flaws for me are that she usually doesn’t sell well and her technical attempts are usually thwarted by her lack of experience. So I’m very curious to see how she acts in a comedy match.
This was a spam flavored mess, but it was entertaining. Death does her motions to each side of the ring, Giulia taps her on the shoulder and does an upward open hand thrust to the throat (which the camera angle proved it wasn’t close to hitting). But Death sold…well…dead.
Giulia emoted a combination of bemusement, confusion and just a general lack of knowing what she was dealing with, before Death tried to roll her up. Then this brought in a terrible shirt spot. Giulia grabbed her 5Star shirt, tried to put it over Death’s head, Death stopped her, so they put it on the referee. Death then removes her shirt, since she was wearing two just in case this moment arose (of course), and sloppily puts it on Giulia.
Some blind fold antics are eventually stopped when the referee learns how to take off a shirt and then helps Giulia. Giulia however needs to use the shirt herself since she introduced the idea. So she ties it tight over Death’s head, but Death dodges everything. So Giulia takes the shirt off Death with an exclamation most likely in the vein of “The goggles they do nothing”, and the match is over shortly after. Giulia attempts the Glorious Driver, Death slips it, Giulia avoids losing to the Roll Up to hit her La Magistral variation cradle.
Sloppy and clunky, but it was amusing and I was honestly just happy to see Giulia playing with Death. Usually too cool for school, Giulia showed a different side of herself here.
Tam Nakano vs Mayu Iwatani
There’s a lot of love between these two. Neither will let that get in the way, so this should be a fun match of respect with a desire to win.
So an early flurry of pin attempts got a little clunky when Mayu couldn’t pull off the Bridging Cradle, and she even went to the ropes embarrassed after Tam kicked out. They recovered well with some strikes and Tam hitting the mark with the Spinning Crane Kick. Lots of back and forth between both, with Tam’s best chance at winning being locomotion German Suplexes, that she tried to transition into a Tiger Suplex, but Mayu fought it off.
Mayu eventually gets the advantage, Tam tries to rally back, but the Two Stage Dragon Sleeper weakened the cutest in the universe, as Mayu transitions to the suplex, and wins in short order after that. So now, Mayu needs Konami to Draw with Himeka, so Mayu can move on to the Finals.
Konami vs Himeka
This was a solid contrast of styles. Himeka tried to bull over Konami with her height and power advantage, but Konami found openings with quick strikes, mat wrestling and just solid fundamentals
Konami was working on an arm, but never really got an opportunity to look for the Triangle Lancer or the Triangle Kimura. Himeka’s power kept Konami searching, and even though she found a Cross Armbreaker, it wasn’t nearly enough, especially when Himeka had a few submissions to utilize her size advantage.
A Foot Stomp from the top rope onto Himeka’s arm, a few good kicks and a Fujiwara Armbar, didn’t quite do enough to cripple the power of the Jumbo Princess. So she manages to defeat Konami with a Running Powerbomb!
— We Are Stardom (@we_are_stardom) September 19, 2020
Gotta wonder how much damage Konami really did to that arm, and how Himeka will fair in the Finals.
Finals: Himeka vs Utami Hayashishita
Utami is a bad draw for Himeka. Big Rookie against Jumbo Princess, so Himeka’s usual size and power advantage are nullified here. Utami may be coming off an exhausting time limit draw, but no one attacks a body part like Konami in Stardom. So Himeka down a little bit of power, might be exactly the edge Utami needs.
Himeka starts off quickly and knocks Utami down, trying to end things quickly with a Half Crab, but Utami crawls to the ropes. Every shoulder tackle, Himeka made sure to lead with her good arm, so it was very much a case of Himeka looking for a big knock out strike to take advantage of an exhausted Utami.
They exchange Lariats, Utami hits a Judo throw, they fight over Torture Racks, and it’s a very close tug of war between the two powerful women. There are a few spots of desperate strike exchanges as they crawl toward one another. Himeka does manage to hit her Torture Rack into Inverted Michinoku Driver, but Utami kicks out at 2. Possibly due to Himeka not have her full power at her disposal, or just Utami’s will to continue on.
Utami searching for a way to stay in and get herself a small break sinks in Sleeper/Rear Naked Hold variations a few times. This saps Himeka’s breath and strength, giving Utami the time she needed to fire back up, hit consecutive High Angle Backdrop Drivers and then finish Himeka with a Torture Rack Bomb.
Overall Score: 7.25/10
The strong finish helped this show be more than a Finals weighted score. Tam and Mayu have pretty good chemistry, Himeka shows a lot of promise for being as new as she is and the Finals was a good way to give Utami a chance at running with the ball. She got hurt last year and graduated from the Stardom Dojo right before the tournament, so she was a true rookie (and made it to the Finals that year as well). So it’s nice to see the Big Rookie finally get a big accolade to jump start things for her.
All in all, this was a very fun 5Star Grand Prix; with more good than bad. If I had to pick the stand out match of Red Stars I would say:
Tam Nakano vs Giulia @ 9.13 in Fukuoka
Granted, Utami winning also means this is like the third year in a row that Mathew’s block has won. We’re gonna have to start playing Rock, Paper, Scissors or something to decide blocks next year instead of just flipping sides. *grumbles incoherently*