The annual 5STAR Grand Prix started on Sunday. The opening night took place in the Ota City General Gymnasium with the first Block Matches. The show had an attendance of 1.747 which is another good number for the Bushiroad-owned Promotion.
The main show opened with the Blue Stars Block Match between Hanan and Maika. The Young Lioness is entering her second tournament and surprised Maika with a dropkick when the Empress was doing her pose. They had a little back-and-forth match, with Hanan getting her offense in but never looking like a real threat to Maika here, who finished her off with the Michinoku Driver II out of nowhere in a little under 4 minutes to gain 2 Points.
The show continued with the first superb match with Mariah May making her 5STAR debut against AZM, and they delivered a fantastic sprint and went all out from her opening bell. Mariah has showed out a lot since coming to STARDOM and continues to prove everyone that doubted her wrong. She and AZM had fantastic chemistry in this match and did get the best out of the 7 minutes. May count the La Mistica attempt from AZM into the Happily Ever After, her name for the Tombstone Piledriver, to win the match.
In the first match of the Red Stars Block, Ami Sourei faced Natsuko Tora. This match was short and sweet, with the two instantly brawling to the outside. Tora, who presented a new robe during her entrance, controlled the match. Back in the ring, Ami started a comeback that was cut short when Tora hits her with the mist, hit the DVD, and the Swanton Bomb for the three count.
Natsupoi and Starlight Kid continue their feud in the Red Stars Block. SLK came out with a half mask and short hair. The match was what you can expect from these two, a fast-paced 7-minute sprint that was easy to watch and enjoy. Their chemistry wasn’t off the chart on that day but still great. Natsupoi picked up the win in the end after a long roll-up sequence.
Utami Hayashishita is back from her tour in the United States and ready to take back her throw on the top of STARDOM. She came out with the gear she wore during the World Of Stardom Championship run and with the long hair again. Her first opponent was Mina Shirakawa who has come a long way since Utami last was on the top of STARDOM. They had a massive brawl that was incredibly well-structured. Mina didn’t let Utami build up any momentum throughout the match with her strikes and neck work. Utami was able to win the match through her emotions, and determination with the Baszler Shock, which is her new Finisher Move that Shayna Baszler taught her in the United States.
The Wonder Of Stardom Champion MIRAI kicked off her tournament against Momo Watanabe. This match felt like the Momo, that the fans missed, is finally back at her best. She played a fantastic bully here who kicked the living hell out of MIRAI. The White Belt Champ on the other side played her underdog role really well and had great comeback sequences with her Lariats. The closing stretch was amazing, with Momo hitting all her signatures and the Peach Thunder to beat the White Belt Champ.
The first time ever matches between Syuri and Suzu Suzuki in the Red Stars Block was fantastic! The intensity & brutality was insane. Suzu starts the match with a Tequila Shot and a German Suplex which sends the benchmark for the entire match. Suzu even hit a German off the apron to the floor. They traded suplexes, kicks and everything was silky smooth, they genuinely looked like career rivals who have wrestled each other a ton of times, but that was their first-ever singles match. In a brutal match, Syuri walked out as the winner at the end of one of the best matches in under 15 minutes of the year.
The next amazing match was right after, with Mayu Iwatani facing her stable partner Hazuki. They went all out and delivered another awesome match on this show. The agreement before the match was if Hazuki beats Mayu then she earned herself a shot for the IWGP Women’s Championship and from the first moment on Hazuki showed the determination to defeat Mayu. They created a fantastic and hard-hitting match where Hazuki was close to winning the match several times but Mayu got it under control in the end. Hazuki was able to kick out after the Moonsault and tried to get the victory through a roll-up, but could not avoid that Two-staged Dragon Suplex. Mayu Iwatani was able to win her first opening matches in the 5STAR GP since 2014!
Saori Anou started her 5STAR campaign against Giulia. They have faced each other twice out of STARDOM, with Anou winning both matches, so the former World Of Stardom Champion has something to prove here and showed her most violent form. The match began and both brawl and walk up to the entrance ramp just a few minutes into the match, which is a trope that Giulia uses in most of her major matches. Normally, nothing really happens aside from the typical brawl, but before I could even blink, Anou hit Giulia with a suplex off the stage with both Wrestlers landing in the seats. On their way back to the ring, Giulia revenged herself by throwing Anou into the crowd and hitting her with a Piledriver through the table. Saori suffered a serious cut and bled while trying to get back into the ring. From then on, Giulia controlled and dominated the match and worked on top, but Anou had multiple comebacks with good near falls. In the end, Giulia hits the Glorious Drivers and runs into the pinning attempt, but the time limit expires at the two count. An incredible match ended in a time-limit draw. A must-watch for everyone.
The Main Event was Tam Nakano vs Saya Kamitani in a Red Stars Block match. In the build-up to the 5STAR, this was one of the important matches that got a lot of promo time. Kamitani and Tam are career rivals and faced each other a couple of times for the Wonder Of Stardom Championship. The match started normally with solid limb work, after a few minutes they went up the ramp and Tam Nakano did a Crossbody off the cage. They brawled back until Kamitani climbed up the lighting tower and did a dive, just like Will Ospreay did at Wrestle Kingdom a few years back. The referee checked on Saya and called for the belt and gave Tam Nakano the victory by stoppage. Saya was carried out of the arena on a stretcher with everyone in disbelieve about what just happened
Saya Kamitani suffered a dislocated elbow during this dive. Tokyo Sports talked to Rossy Ogawa about the injury of Kamitani and he said that Saya is undergoing tests today and STARDOM will be able to make an announcement soon. It is likely that she will be out for the rest of the 5STAR.
Tam Nakano cut a promo after the match until the lights went off, when the Lights went back on Megan Bayne made her STARDOM return and attacked the World Of Stardom Champion. The 25-year-old recently came back from a torn ACL and was rumored to sign with All Elite Wrestling before her injury. Her being in STARDOM is a huge get and a fantastic addition to the roster. But she wasn’t alone out there, since Utami Hayashishita was with her and explained that Bayne followed her back from the US. The Red Queen then explained that she wants to challenge for the IWGP Women’s Championship, which Mayu Iwatani accepted.
Next Week’s 5STAR Grand Prix Matches:
Day 2 – July 29
- Blue Stars: Saori Anou vs Mariah May
- Blue Stars: Giulia vs Hanan
- Blue Stars: MIRAI vs Mina Shirakawa
Day 3 – July 30
- Red Stars: Saya Kamitani vs Natsuko Tora
- Red Stars: Suzu Suzuki vs Natsupoi
- Blue Stars: MIRAI vs Hanan
Official 5STAR Grand Prix Standings following Day 1:
RED STARS BLOCK –
2 – Syuri (1-0-0)
2 – Mayu Iwatani (1-0-0)
2 – Natsuko Tora (1-0-0)
2 – Natsupoi (1-0-0)
2 – Tam Nakano (1-0-0)
0 – Starlight Kid (0-1-0)
0 – Suzu Suzuki (0-1-0)
0 – Ami Sourei (0-1-0)
0 – Hazuki (0-1-0)
0 – Saya Kamitani (0-1-0)
BLUE STARS BLOCK –
2 – Mariah May (1-0-0)
2 – Utami Hayashishita (1-0-0)
2 – Momo Watanabe (1-0-0)
2 – Maika (1-0-0)
1 – Saori Anou (0-0-1)
1 – Giulia (0-0-1)
0 – Mina Shirakawa (0-1-0)
0 – MIRAI (0-1-0)
0 – AZM (0-1-0)
0 – Hanan (0-1-0)