The best time for a Joshi fan is coming up as the 2023 STARDOM 5STAR Grand Prix will begin July 23rd with a major show with the finals being on September 30th in Yokohama Budokan, where one woman will earn an opportunity at any Championship they choose, which in the recent times have been the World Of Stardom Championship, at the annual Stardom Queendom show in December. This year’s line-up is the most stacked tournament you will see in Pro Wrestling, with 20 of the best female wrestlers in the world that are facing each other in a two-block format.
This is your perfect introduction to the 5STAR GP 2023 as we will have the schedule, blocks, and predictions for this year’s tournament. Let’s not waste more time and jump into this year’s 5STAR Grand Prix.
Always a question of a round-robin tournament is what are the rules? In the 5STAR, they are really simple and easy to understand.
- Win: 2 Points
- Draw (Count out, Time Limit Draw, Double DQ): 1 Point
- Loss: 0 Points
The matches have a 15-minute time limit, which is less compared to the G1 and other tournaments in G1. It forces the Wrestlers to have quicker matches at a faster pace. It also means that a couple of matches will end up in a draw. The goal is for a Wrestler to have the most points at the end of the Block Stage with the Block winner advancing to the final. In case two wrestlers finish the block stage with the same points, the tiebreaker will be the result of the match between both wrestlers.
5STAR Grand Prix Blocks
RED STARS Block
5STAR 2022 Record: 5-6-1
4th appearance, the first since 2020
5STAR 2022 Record: –
5STAR 2022 Record: 7-5-0
5STAR 2022 Record: 6-6-0
Starlight Kid – New Blood Tag Team Champion
5STAR 2022 Record: 7-5-0
5STAR 2022 Record: 7-4-1
4th appearance, Winner 2021
5STAR 2022 Record: 7-5-0
5STAR 2022 Record: 6-4-2
Mayu Iwatani – IWGP Women’s Champion
10th appearance, Winner 2018
5STAR 2022 Record: 7-4-1
Tam Nakano – World Of Stardom Champion
5STAR 2022 Record: 8-4-0
BLUE STARS Block
5STAR 2022 Record: 2-10
Mariah May – Goddess of Stardom Champion
1st appearance in the 5STAR
First international Wrestler to compete in the 5STAR since 2019
5STAR 2022 Record: 7-5-0
Mina Shirakawa – Goddess of Stardom Champion
5STAR 2022 Record: 5-7-0
5STAR 2022 Record: 6-6-0
MIRAI – Wonder Of Stardom Champion
1st appearance in the 5STAR
5STAR 2022 Record: 7-4-1
6th appearance, Winner 2020
5STAR 2022 Record: 7-5-0
Giulia – Artist Of Stardom & NJPW STRONG Women’s Champion
4th appearance, Winner 2022
5STAR 2022 Record: 7-3-2
5STAR Grand Prix Schedule
Day 1 – July 23
- Red Stars: Mayu Iwatani vs Hazuki
- Red Stars: Syuri vs Suzu Suzuki
- Red Stars: Tam Nakano vs Saya Kamitani
- Red Stars: Natsupoi vs Starlight Kid
- Red Stars: Natsuko Tora vs Ami Sourei
- Blue Stars: Giulia vs Saori Anou
- Blue Stars: Utami Hayashishita vs Mina Shirakawa
- Blue Stars: MIRAI vs Momo Watanabe
- Blue Stars: AZM vs Mariah May
- Blue Stars: Hanan vs Maika
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
Day 4 – August 5
- Red Stars: Suzu Suzuki vs Starlight Kid
- Blue Stars: Maika vs Saori Anou
- Blue Stars: MIRAI vs AZM
Day 5 – August 6
- Red Stars: Tam Nakano vs Hazuki
- Red Stars: Natsuko Tora vs Syuri
- Blue Stars: AZM vs Saori Anou
- Blue Stars: Mina Shirakawa vs Hanan
Day 6 – August 8
- Red Stars: Mayu Iwatani vs Suzu Suzuki
- Red Stars: Syuri vs Natsupoi
- Blue Stars: Maika vs Momo Watanabe
- Blue Stars: Giulia vs Mariah May
Day 7 – August 10
- Red Stars: Mayu Iwatani vs Natsupoi
- Red Stars: Saya Kamitani vs Ami Sourei
- Red Stars: Natsuko Tora vs Suzu Suzuki
Day 8 – August 12
- Blue Stars: Utami Hayashishita vs Saori Anou
- Blue Stars: Giulia vs Mina Shirakawa
- Blue Stars: AZM vs Hanan
STARDOM x STARDOM – August 13
- Red Stars: Natsuko Tora vs Starlight Kid
Day 9 – August 15
- Red Stars: Tam Nakano vs Mayu Iwatani
- Red Stars: Saya Kamitani vs Natsupoi
- Red Stars: Syuri vs Hazuki
- Blue Stars: Momo Watanabe vs Saori Anou
- Blue Stars: Utami Hayashishita vs AZM
- Blue Stars: Mina Shirakawa vs Mariah May
Day 10 – August 20
- Red Stars: Mayu Iwatani vs Natsuko Tora
- Red Stars: Hazuki vs Ami Sourei
Day 11 – August 26
- Red Stars: Saya Kamitani vs Starlight Kid
- Red Stars: Tam Nakano vs Natsuko Tora
- Blue Stars: Giulia vs MIRAI
- Blue Stars: Utami Hayashishita vs Maika
Day 12 – August 27
- Red Stars: Ami Sourei vs Starlight Kid
- Red Stars: Natsupoi vs Natsuko Tora
- Blue Stars: Hanan vs Saori Anou
- Blue Stars: Momo Watanabe vs Mariah May
Day 13 – September 2
- Red Stars: Ami Sourei vs Mayu Iwatani
- Blue Stars: Giulia vs Momo Watanabe
- Blue Stars: Mariah May vs Utami Hayashishita
- Blue Stars: Mina Shirakawa vs AZM
Day 14 – September 3
- Red Stars: Tam Nakano vs Starlight Kid
- Red Stars: Saya Kamitani vs Hazuki
- Red Stars: Syuri vs Mayu Iwatani
- Blue Stars: Momo Watanabe vs Utami Hayashishita
Day 15 – September 9
- Red Stars: Tam Nakano vs Suzu Suzuki
- Red Stars: Saya Kamitani vs Syuri
- Red Stars: Starlight Kid vs Hazuki
- Blue Stars: MIRAI vs Saori Anou
- Blue Stars: Giulia vs Maika
Day 16 – September 16
- Red Stars: Ami Sourei vs Tam Nakano
- Red Stars: Natsupoi vs Hazuki
- Blue Stars: AZM vs Maika
Day 17 – September 17
- Red Stars: Suzu Suzuki vs Ami Sourei
- Blue Stars: MIRAI vs Mariah May
- Blue Stars: Hanan vs Momo Watanabe
Day 18 – September 18
- Red Stars: Natsupoi vs Ami Sourei
- Blue Stars: Mina Shirakawa vs Momo Watanabe
Day 19 – September 20
- Red Stars: Syuri vs Tam Nakanao
- Blue Stars: MIRAI vs Utami Hayashishita
- Blue Stars: Giulia vs AZM
- Blue Stars: Maika vs Mariah May
Day 20 – September 23
- Red Stars: Hazuki vs Suzu Suzuki
- Red Stars: Saya Kamitani vs Mayu Iwatani
- Blue Stars: Mina Shirakawa vs Maika
Day 21 – September 24
- Red Stars: Syuri vs Starlight Kid
- Blue Stars: Hanan vs Utami Hayashishita
Day 22 – September 30
- Red Stars: Mayu Iwatani vs Starlight Kid
- Red Stars: Syuri vs Ami Sourei
- Red Stars: Suzu Suzuki vs Saya Kamitani
- Red Stars: Natsupoi vs Tam Nakano
- Red Stars: Natsuko Tora vs Hazuki
- Blue Stars: Giulia vs Utami Hayashishita
- Blue Stars: Saori Anou vs Mina Shirakawa
- Blue Stars: AZM vs Momo Watanabe
- Blue Stars: Hanan vs Mariah May
- Blue Stars: MIRAI vs Maika
5STAR Grand Prix 2023: Favorites & DarkHorses
The Red Queen of STARDOM is trying to be the first-ever 2x 5STAR Winner, with her goal being back to the top where she belongs. Utami didn’t have it easy since losing the World Of Stardom Championship at Queendom 2021 because since then she lost multiple White and Red Belt title matches, with the most recent being against her arch-rival Syuri in November of the last year. With a Grand Prix win, she would be instantly elevated to the top spot again and could be the one to dethrone Tam Nakano and win her second World Of Stardom Championship.
What makes her the top favorite of this tournament is the happenings in the last couple of months. Utami’s frustration peaked with her loss in a Tag Team Match to Maika in May of this year, and since then, tensions have risen between her and Saya Kamitani, as well as the rest of Queen’s Quest. These ended with the Steel Cage Match in June against Oedo Tai, where all of QQ got back on the same page again. To figure out her success as a Singles Wrestler again, Utami decided to take part in a little excursion in the United States, with her facing three of the best GCW has to offer. She has been undefeated there and will go back to Japan with a lot of momentum and all eyes on her. This year could finally be the time when Utami reaches the top of the mountain again where everybody sees her, and the 5STAR Win would be the perfect start for it.
Prediction: Top Favorite
The Golden Phoenix will compete in her 4th 5STAR, coming really close to advancing to the final in the last two tournaments after drawing with Ami in 2021 and losing to Unagi Sayaka in 2021. This year could be the year where Kamitani makes it into the final with her potentially fighting her Tag Team Partner Utami Hayashishita. The former Wonder Of Stardom Championship needs to make the next step, and the 5STAR win would be perfect for her.
Kamitani has a long history with the World Of Stardom Champion being her long-term rival and mentor Tam Nakano. Both battled over the Wonder Of Stardom Championship a couple of times, and it’s only a matter of time until they continue their rivalry for the Red Belt, and the End year show would be the biggest stage for it.
The question stays if Kamitani is ready for the next step after just losing the Wonder Of Stardom Championship, but it’s only a matter of time until the Golden Phoenix wins the Red Belt and this road could start with the 5STAR GP.
Prediction: High chance to win
The Empress didn’t have it easy in the first half of the year, with her Tag Team Partner Himeka retiring and the expected success not being there, with her going out in the first round of the Cinderella Tournament. Her winning the 5STAR would catapult her into the spot everyone expects her to be in for years now.
Since Himeka’s retirement, Maika has been more in the focus of different stories, with the last example being the Generation Struggle where she suffered her first pinfall loss in over 230 days when Giulia rolled her up. The Giulia Match on September 9th could change the entire landscape of STARDOM, with her potentially leaving DDM to join forces with Mei Seira and Suzu Suzuki. The last step to the top is what Maika has been missing in her last Red or White Belt challenges, and the 5STAR victory would elevate her to the top. What makes her less of a favorite than Utami or Saya is that she has no past with Tam Nakano and facing her for the World Of Stardom Championship at the year-end show wouldn’t be a typical Stardom move.
There is clearly a plan to push the Red Diamond of DDM, with the 5STAR being the start of a promising future for Maika.
Prediction: If Utami isn’t advancing, then Maika will be in the 5STAR Final
After making STARDOM her home base, Suzu hasn’t really been in the focus of the product as much, as we thought, and hasn’t done that much since. This could change with her second participation in the 5STAR Grand Prix, where amazing things are waiting for her. Suzu will be in the run for the Tournament MVP with the incredible output that she has in tournament situations. Successful wise will be interesting to see. She will be in contention to win her Block, with her facing the Saya Kamitani on the last day of the tournament. Suzu has been starting beef with the Top Stars since arriving in STARDOM and was the reason why the Generation Struggle started in the first place. She was eyeing Tam Nakano’s Championship in the last couple of weeks on several occasions and seems to be challenging soon.
It wouldn’t be shocking if the prodigy is taking over STARDOM by storm and holds up the 5STAR trophy on September 30th to face Nakano at the year-end show.
The 5STAR is one of the few accolades that Tam Nakano hasn’t won this year and with the year the Leader of the Cosmic Angels has been having, it’s impossible not to count her in as one of the Dark Horses to win it all. Until a few weeks ago, Tam held both the White and Red Belt at the same time, which only Mayu Iwatani had done before her. This year seems to be the year of Tam Nakano and likely the last year she will be on the top of the promotion, so her winning the 5STAR and choosing her opponent for Queendom would fit perfectly into her year.
At the same time, her being the Champion does count her out of being a top favorite since she has a target on her back and everyone in her Block will do everything to win the match to secure a future Championship Match for the Red Belt. It will be interesting to see who defeats Tam in her block and gets a title shot before Queendom.
The Icon Of Stardom is always a dark horse to win it all. Not only because she is Mayu, but also because it would make sense that Mayu is the one making history to be the first-ever 2x 5STAR Winner.
A potential Double Title match against Tam Nakano with the IWGP Women’s and World Of Stardom Championship being on the line would be a huge business move that has been teased countless times since the IWGP Belt has been introduced. Tam and Mayu go way back, with Tam once being a part of STARS until she left the faction at the end of 2020 to form the Cosmic Angels. They have faced each other in one major singles match since in the Osaka Jo-Hall when they had a 30-minute time limit draw, so the potential for a rubber match at Queendom is there.
It wouldn’t be shocking if Mayu survives her Block and advances to the final. The hardest challenge will be defeating Starlight Kid on the last day since SLK has been trying to defeat Mayu for years and has never pulled it off. This year, the Sky Tiger is better than ever and could finally steal points from Mayu.
Three Potential 5STAR Finals
Utami Hayashishita vs Saya Kamitani
Singles Record: 3-0-1 for Utami Hayashishita
The final between the two AphroditE Tag Team Partners seems to be the destination right now. This goes back to May when Utami got pinned by her rival Maika. From then on, Utami and Saya started to have more and more miscommunications that peaked during the Steel Cage Match between Queen’s Quest and Oedo Tai, where Utami and Saya made peace again and saved QQ.
With that in mind, a potential final maybe has less heat than it would have a month ago, but it now would be more of a friendly battle with Utami coming fresh from her tour in the United States while Kamitani has been on the STARDOM North Tour trying to fully fix Queen’s Quest and get them back on track with the other Members, which hasn’t really worked yet considering their bad record on the tour. It would also be the next step in their rivalry, with them fighting for the World and Wonder Of Stardom Title and now the 5STAR GP Trophy being on the line.
Kamitani and Utami facing each other in the final would be the logical choice after the story between Utami, Kamitani, and QQ.
Maika vs Suzu Suzuki
Singles Record: 0-0-0
After the second Generation Struggle Match, Maika and Suzu promised to face each other in the 5STAR final. Interestingly, enough, Maika and Suzuki have been teaming up a couple of times this year and have been teasing forming a permanent trio together with Mei Seira.
This would be an interesting match-up considering the has been nearly unbeatable this year with her only loss coming short to Giulia in the Generation Struggle while Suzu made STARDOM her home base just three months ago after leaving Prominence. It would be a first-ever singles match with both only facing each other in Tag Matches, where they both showed fantastic chemistry.
While both Wrestlers already are high on the card, both are just waiting for the one final push to reach Main Event status and be considered one of the top names in the Promotion. This final would elevate one to that level, with the winner writing her name in history as a 5STAR Winner and challenging Tam Nakano at the year-end big show.
Utami Hayashishita vs Natsuko Tora
Singles Record: 4-0-0 for Utami Hayashishita
On paper, this doesn’t look like a potential 5STAR Final, especially with Tora’s standing as a Singles Wrestler, but this is a possibility that is worth mentioning.
The story between Natsuko Tora and Utami Hayashishita started on July 4th, 2021 when Tora challenged Utami for the World Of Stardom Championship. Just 11 minutes into the match, the leader of Oedo Tai tore her ACL and the ref ended the match right on the spot. Utami promised that she will keep the Red Belt until Natsuko is back, so that Tora gets another shot for the Title, but the Champ couldn’t keep her promise and she lost the title to Syuri in December of the same year.
Natsuko Tora came back on the final night of the 5STAR in the following year and attacked Utami after her match, which kicked off their rivalry that peaked with the Steel Cage Match last month. Them not being in the same Block is a shocker and the reason could be something bigger, which a potential final between the two Leaders would be.
Tora needs some credibility as a Leader of Oedo Tai after the recent losses, and a 5STAR final against her rival would be a great way to establish her even while she loses the match.
Five Important Matches In The Block Stage
Utami Hayashishita vs Mina Shirakawa – July 23
Singles Record: 1-0-0 for Utami Hayashishita
This will be the return match of the Red Queen after her excursion in America with her wrestling in Ring Of Honor and Game Changer Wrestling, and it’s against one-half of the Goddesses Of Stardom Champions Mina Shirakawa.
This could be the start of the run of Utami’s second 5STAR win, with all eyes being on her after her fantastic performance in the Oedo Tai Steel Cage Match and her matches in the US. Mina Shirakawa on the other side has a ton to prove as a Singles Wrestler after dropping the Wonder Of Stardom Championship after 34 days, which is the shortest reign in the history of the title. This will be her first Singles Match since dropping the White Belt, and her potentially defeating the top favorite to win the 5STAR in the first match would be huge.
The match itself will deliver, considering two of the best in the company are facing off with two points on the line. This is the most I’m looking forward to the most on the first day!
Mayu Iwatani vs Tam Nakano – August 15th
Singles Record: 3-0-2 for Mayu Iwatani
Mayu and Tam haven’t wrestled each other in a Singles Match since their Wonder Of Stardom Match in the Osaka Jo-Hall that went to a 30-Minute Time Limit Draw. Their 5STAR Match also marks the first Singles Match between a current World Of Stardom Champion and then IWGP Women’s Champion.
The former Stable Partners also have a personal past with each other since Tam Nakano betrayed Mayu Iwatani to form Cosmic Angels together with Mina Shirakawa and Unagi Sayaka. The current World Of Stardom Champion wanted to surpass the Icon Of Stardom and since leaving STARS Tam has been successful, but there’s one thing she has never achieved and that was beating Iwatani in a Singles Match.
While she was never able to beat Iwatani, she came closer in every match, with their last two matches ending in a draw. The result of this match will be similar, but it will likely lead to a Championship match later in the year.
Utami Hayashishita vs Momo Watanabe – September 3
Singles Record: 2-1-1 for Momo Watanabe
It was a big shock when Momo Watanabe betrayed Queen’s Quest to join Oedo Tai at the end of 2021. A major match between Utami and Momo was expected for 2022, but it never happened due to multiple circumstances that made the story ice-cold. The only match happened on a random house show that ended in a 15-minute time-limit draw. Now a year later, we will finally get the huge match between the former and the current Leader of Queen’s Quest.
While Momo is not one of the favorites to win the 5STAR Grand Prix this year, she’s always dangerous and could beat everyone at any moment. Her defeating Utami could change the entire Block and ultimately also prove that her choice to leave Queen’s Quest was the right decision. Momo needs a big win after her being sidelined from the singles scene for over a year and needs a stand-out match on PPV against Utami Hayashishita.
Giulia vs Maika – September 9
Singles Record: 1-0-0 for Maika
Their only singles match yet happened in the Cinderella Tournament in 2021 where Maika defeated Giulia and bloodied her to advance. Their second match between the two top Wrestlers in Donna del Mondo will have far more implications than just being a typical Tournament Match.
This is the final match of the third Generation Struggle Battle in the Main Event of the Korakuen Hall. With Giulia just winning the second Generation Struggle Battle by pinning Maika makes a victory of the Empress more realistic, which could have serious implications not only in the 5STAR but also in DDM. Maika has been paired up with Mei Seira and Suzu Suzuki lately, and they have been teased to be a permanent trio, so Maika vs Giulia ending up in a Naito/SANADA angle would be a possible scenario.
The match quality itself won’t disappoint as well, with Giulia and Maika knowing each other more than nearly any other pairing in this 5STAR, and with the potential split between the two after the match, it makes this match must-watch.
Utami Hayashishita vs Giulia – September 30
Singles Record: 0-0-0
A rare first-time-ever match-up in the 5STAR and a match-up STARDOM has saved for years now to do the match on the final night of the tournament. The winner of the 2020 5STAR GP against the defending 5STAR Champion. Utami vs Giulia is considered to be a dream match by STARDOM Fans and a match fans have been waiting for years
On top of that, it seems to be the deciding match in the Blue Stars Block, with likely the winner advancing to the final of the tournament. Utami is the favorite this year with her being in the focus during the build-up to the Grand Prix, but no one ever should count out Giulia. The current STRONG Women’s Champion lost the Red Belt Championship at the biggest STARDOM Show of the year against the current Champion Tam Nakano. Giulia potentially winning this match and advancing to the final always is a possibility.
This match seems to be a set-up for a future major Championship match between the two biggest stars the promotion has. This is a must-watch match, with the aura elevating the match before it even happened. This will be special.
How To Watch The 5STAR
STARDOM has its own streaming service called Stardom World which costs ¥920 or $6.60. Unlike the G1 Climax, it’s not possible to watch every 5STAR show live on Stardom World, since it’s a VOD service. Usually, every match will be up after two to three days after the show happened. Important: The payment occurs on the first of every month, regardless of when .you signed up. So, it’s recommended to sign up on August 1st to not be forced to pay twice
On Top of that, STARDOM has monthly PPVs that will be available on PIA, with the official English Stardom Twitter account sharing the PPV link a few days before the show. The first day on July 23rd, September 3rd with Momo Watanabe vs Utami Hayashishita, and the finals that are on September 30th are live. The PPVs will be available to watch on Stardom World after four days.