5STAR Grand Prix 2023 – Day 18 on September 18
Natsupoi vs. Ami Sourei in a 5STAR Red Stars Block Tournament Match
Sourei hasn’t had it easy in the tournament, losing her past three block matches to Mayu Iwatani, Tam Nakano, and Suzu Suzuki and being eliminated from the tournament early. Natsupoi is still in contention, but is just one loss or draw away from being eliminated as well. Ami now is in the role of the spoiler for the third time and has once again the chance to eliminate another wrestler and is trying her best to do it.
Ami ran right at Natsupoi, but the Goddess of Stardom Champion saw it coming and forced Sourei into a high-speed sequence that she was able to dominate and outsmart the God’s Eye member. Not paying attention for one second was enough, however, for Sourei to counter and gain control over the match. The powerhouse destroyed Natsupoi with chops and body tackles until the High Speed Fairy countered a bodyslam. The match was open with both countering each other’s moves and fighting for control of the match, but it was Ami who made the deciding counter by reversing the armbar of Poi into the Blue Thunder Bomb, before hitting the ‘Like A Thunderbolt’ for the three count, thus eliminating Natsupoi from the 5STAR
Result: Ami Sourei (3-5-0) defeats Natsupoi (4-3-1) via pinfall to gain two points.
Momo Watanabe vs. Mina Shirakawa in a 5STAR Blue Stars Block Tournament Match
The former Wonder of Stardom Champion takes on the current Champion’s next challenger. The loser of this match is automatically eliminated from the tournament, while the winner is one step closer to advancing to the final.
Watanabe attacked Shirakawa during her entrance with her baseball bat and threw her at the ring post, which busted open the leader of Club Venus. The beatdown continued, and Momo destroyed her in the ring from the very beginning. The Black Peach’s dominance seemed unstoppable until a Northern Lights Suplex on the outside gave The Venus an opening. When Watanabe came back into the ring, Shirakawa attacked her instantly with a dropkick and a hanging swinging neckbreaker. The dominance from the Oedo Tai member started to fade, and thus, she attempted to bend the rules, but Shirakawa had her well scouted and was able to counter.. The finishing stretch was incredible, with both hitting their big moves, which created close near falls. A bloody Shirakawa wins in an intense match after Ruaka accidentally hits Watanabe on the head with the box, and Mina rolls her up. With that, Momo Watanabe is eliminated from the 5STAR, while Shirakawa’s dream continues for now.
Result: Mina Shirakawa (4-3-0) defeats Momo Watanabe (4-4-0) via pinfall in a 5STAR Blue Stars Block Tournament Match to gain two points.
5STAR Grand Prix 2023 – Day 19 on September 20
MIRAI vs. Utami Hayashishita in a 5STAR Blue Stars Block Tournament Match
Hayashishita unfortunately wasn’t cleared to compete here due to a neck injury, and so she forfeited her match against MIRAI, with it yet to be announced whether she will be ready to face Giulia on the 30th. With that, MIRAI receives all 2 points and is now at 10 points with a record of 5-3-0. The match between the Wonder Of Stardom Champion and the Red Queen of Stardom was one of the most anticipated matches of the tournament thanks to the pair’s developing rivalry that started at World Climax last year, so Utami not being able to wrestle here was disappointing.
Result: MIRAI (5-3-0) defeats Utami Hayashishita (4-3-0) via forfeit in a 5STAR Blue Stars Block Tournament Match to gain two points.
Mariah May vs. Maika in a 5STAR Blue Stars Block Tournament Match
The Empress of Stardom, who is coming off a hometown victory against AZM, is facing off with the Fighting Princess. Both are fighting on the verge of elimination here, so a victory is a must, especially for May, who would be eliminated with a loss. This is a first-time-ever match, with May and Maika only having faced each other in tag or trios action up to this point.
The match started off with May in control over the Donna Del Mondo member, going for the Power Bombshell just two minutes in. Maika saw it coming and countered it with a lariat to the outside, and from then on, it was her match to lose. She dominated the Club Venus member, and even when she lost control, it didn’t take her long to regain it once again.
Result: Maika (4-2-1) defeats Mariah May (3-5-0) via pinfall in a 5STAR Blue Stars Block Tournament Match to gain two points.
AZM vs. Giulia in a 5STAR Blue Stars Block Tournament Match
For the Bomb Girl, the tournament is already over, but she still wants to spoil the tournament for everyone else, while Giulia needs a win here to fulfill her dream of being a two-time 5STAR Grand Prix Winner.
The match was a one-minute sprint that began with a Canadian Destroyer by AZM after she countered the Backdrop Driver by Giulia just 5 seconds into the match. Giulia countered the La Mistica into the Backdrop Driver, hit the Glorious Driver, but AZM reversed the pinning fall into the Azumi Sushi for the three count in 58 seconds. She took away two important points from Giulia and got the upset victory over the NJPW STRONG Women’s Champion. AZM is now at 8 points, while Giulia is at 9P and still in contention on the final night.
After the match, Ami Sourei challenged Giulia to an NJPW STRONG Women’s Champion to a title match, which will happen on the October 1st Korakuen Hall show.
Result: AZM (4-4-0) defeats Giulia (4-3-1) via pinfall in a 5STAR Blue Stars Block Tournament Match to gain two points.
Syuri vs. Tam Nakano in a 5STAR Red Stars Block Tournament Match
The main event is between the current World of Stardom Champion against the former World of Stardom Champion, and it can’t get much bigger in a tournament than this. Nakano has never beaten the former UFC Fighter in singles competition, but she needs to do so here to stay alive in the 5STAR.
From the beginning, both wrestlers had equal amounts of offence. Syuri kicked Nakano’s back multiple times successfully to a loud reaction from the Osaka crowd while Nakano hit the cross body to the outside. Back in the ring, Syuri and Nakano were having a striking and kicking exchange that led to Syuri locking in the armbar submission, but Nakano was able to fight out of it. The God’s Eye leader managed to gain control over this match from there on, but it didn’t take long for the World of Stardom Champion to counter and get her offence in. The finishing stretch was incredible, with Nakano overcoming Syuri’s offence and finally defeating Syuri with five Violet Shootings, multiple kicks, and the Violent Screwdriver. Overall, this was one of the best matches of the entire tournament, with a well-paced build-up and a grand ending.
Even after the loss, the God’s Eye leader is technically still in the race for the Red Stars Block, but with Starlight Kid and Ami Sourei coming up for her, every match is a must-win.
Result: Tam Nakano (5-2-1) defeats Syuri (4-2-1) via pinfall in a 5STAR Red Stars Block Tournament Match to gain two points.
5STAR Grand Prix 2023 – Day 20 on September 23
Maika vs. Mina Shirakawa in a 5STAR Blue Stars Block Tournament Match
The last Blue Stars Block match was between the Empress and the Venus of Stardom, and it had huge implications. The loser of this match would be eliminated and have no chance to advance to the final of the tournament. With the high stakes implied, the intensity was off the charts from the beginning.
Mina went right to the leg of Maika, which continued over the match and made it tough for the Empress to hit her power moves. Maika would be able to power through at times but would instantly grab her right leg. Shirakawa was able to lock in submissions, but Maika’s dream to fight to win the 5STAR was too big, and she overcame all the pain to save herself to a time-limit draw and gain a valuable point. With that, neither is eliminated from the 5STAR, and both still have a chance to qualify for the final.
Result: Maika (4-2-2) and Mina Shirakawa (4-3-1) fought to a time limit draw in a 5STAR Blue Stars Block Tournament Match and both gained one point.
Hazuki vs. Suzu Suzuki in a 5STAR Red Stars Block Tournament Match
In the main event, Hazuki and Suzu Suzuki are facing each other in the Red Stars Block, and the stakes couldn’t be higher here, with the loser being eliminated. Both wrestlers know this coming into the match, and it makes this one of the most important tournament matches to date.
The match started on a high level and ended on it. The pace these two had in this match was electrifying and just proved why they are two of the best in the company. Hazuki and Suzu countered nearly every move of each other while trying to get their offence in. They worked a stiff match, with devastating forearms that led to a dramatic finishing phase. Suzu was able to kick out of the Hazukistral and countered the Pump Kick into the Locomotion German Suplex for the three count and two important points. With that result, Hazuki is eliminated from the 5STAR.
Result: Suzu Suzuki (5-3-0) defeats Hazuki (4-4-0) via pinfall in a 5STAR Red Stars Block Tournament Match to gain two points.
Next Week’s 5STAR Grand Prix Matches:
Day 22 – September 30
- Red Stars: Mayu Iwatani vs Starlight Kid
- Red Stars: Syuri vs Ami Sourei
- 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
- 5STAR GP 2023 Final: Winner Blue Stars Block vs Winner Red Stars Block
Official 5STAR Grand Prix Standings following Day 21:
RED STARS BLOCK –
12 – Natsuko Tora (6-2-0)
11 – Syuri (5-2-1)
11 – Tam Nakano (5-2-1)
10 – Suzu Suzuki (5-3-0)
9 – Natsupoi (4-3-1) (OUT)
9 – Mayu Iwatani (4-3-1) (OUT)
8 – Hazuki (4-4-0) (OUT)
6 – Ami Sourei (3-5-0) (OUT)
4 – Starlight Kid (2-6-0) (OUT)
0 – Saya Kamitani (0-8-0) (OUT)
BLUE STARS BLOCK –
10 – MIRAI (5-3-0)
10 – Maika (4-2-2)
9 – Mina Shirakawa (4-3-1)
9 – Giulia (4-3-1) (OUT)
8 – Saori Anou (3-3-2) (OUT)
8 – Utami Hayashishita (4-4-0) (OUT)
8 – Momo Watanabe (4-4-0) (OUT)
8 – AZM (4-4-0) (OUT)
6 – Mariah May (3-5-0) (OUT)
4 – Hanan (2-6-0) (OUT)
Scenarios for the final night of the 5STAR Tournament
Scenarios for the Blue Stars Block:
Maika wins the Blue Stars Block if:
— She wins against MIRAI
MIRAI wins the Blue Stars Block if:
— She wins against Maika
— Draws against Maika AND Mina draws/loses against Anou AND Giulia wins against Utami
Mina wins the Blue Stars Block if:
— Mina wins against Anou AND Maika & MIRAI draw against each other
Scenarios for the Red Stars Block:
Natsuko Tora wins Red Stars Block if:
–Tora wins against or draws with Hazuki
Tam Nakano wins Red Stars Block if:
–Tam wins against Natsupoi AND Tora loses to Hazuki
Syuri wins Red Stars if:
— Syuri wins against Ami Sourei AND Tam loses/draws with Natsupoi AND Tora loses to Hazuki
Suzu Suzuki wins Red Stars Block if:
— Tora loses to Hazuki AND Syuri loses or draws with Ami Sourei AND Tam Nakano loses/draws with Natsupoi
At the beginning of this month, Sukeban posted a cryptic anime trailer that caught the eyes of many Joshi Wrestling fans from all over the world. On the 21st, they had their debut show in the Capitale in New York City, with the fledgling promotion selling out in two hours. It was the first look at the promotion that reminds fans of a mix between Lucha Underground and the 1980s Girl Gangs, with some of the best Joshi Independent wrestlers being in the focus under different names and gimmicks than we know them by in Japan.
Sukeban premiered with a live stream on the promotions TikTok channel with an average of around 850 viewers, which can be seen as a success, although the quality was inconsistent. The show featured five matches, including the main event which was a Sukeban World Title Eliminator Match between Ichigo Sayaka (Unagi Sayaka) and Countess Saori (Saori Anou) with the winner having a chance to be the first-ever Sukeban World Champion.
Cherry Bomb Girls (Crush Yuu, Supersonic, Riko Blondie) defeated The Vandals (Atomic Banshee, Otaku-chan, BINGO)
The show opened with the entrance of The Vandals, which came out to “Bad Reputation” by Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, while The Cherry Bomb Girls used “Cherry Bomb” by The Runaways as their theme song, which fits perfectly. The first bout in a Sukeban ring delivered great high-speed action between Supersonic, who is competing in their first official match in 9 years, and Otaku-chan. Both have been involved in several matches against each other in Japan and continue their rivalry now in the United States. The biggest changes were BINGO and Riko Blondie, who both had totally different personalities. Crush Yuu and Atomic Banshee were presented as the faction leaders and got the most spotlight in this match, with Banshee doing comedy spots and Yuu just destroying everyone that came into her way.
The match was filled with comedy spots, especially BINGO, who had some pantomime fun together with Crush Yuu, or Atomic Banshee throwing invisible ninja stars. Crush Yuu picked up the victory by pinning Otaku-chan after a Splash in a fun match that had its rough spots, but was a good indicator of what to expect from the rest of the show.
Konami (Unaffiliated) defeated Saki Bimi (Harajuku Stars) vs. Queen Takase (Dangerous Liaisons)
Just a day before the event took place, Sukeban announced on their social media accounts that an “X” would be in this match. Fans were speculating who it could be, but not many had Konami on their list. She came out in, for her, an untypical blue blouse and blue bloomers. Her opponents were Queen Takase from Dangerous Liaisons and Saki Bimi from Harajuku Stars.
Similar to the opening match, it was fun, with good spots and character work from all three wrestlers, especially Queen Takase, who leaned into her gimmick, taking breaks on the outside and getting treated as a Queen by the fans. Konami was the one here leading the charge on the work rate side by beating the hell out of Saki Bimi. She was able to pick up the victory here with a Sunset Flip pin.
Both Saki Bimi and Queen Takase held open the ropes for Konami and offered her to join their groups, and Konami accepted the invitation to join Queen Takase and Dangerous Liaisons by attacking Saki Bimi. Maya Mamushi ran out to make the save for Saki’s rescue, while Takase and Konami escaped.
Stray Cat (Unaffiliated) defeated Midnight Player (The Vandals)
Under different names and in a different place, Stray Cat and Midnight Player are rivals that faced each other for years, so them squaring off on the debut show of Sukeban guarantees chemistry.
The match itself was a highlight of the show, with both playing the hits of their matches in Japan and delivering a heated affair, with Stray Cat having a stand-out performance. She kicks the living hell out of Midnight Player and defeats her with the One Hit Kill. After the match, Midnight Player offered Stray Cat a Vandals tee, but the cat walked off without revealing her answer.
Dangerous Liaisons (Commander Nakajima & Lady Antoinette) defeated Harajuku Stars (Maya Mamushi & Babyface)
Dangerous Liaisons are the villains in the new promotion, and their entrances and aura just showed it. Commander Nakajima and Lady Antoinette came out to “Mother” by Danzig while carrying a chain with them. The Harajuku Stars duo wore sailor uniforms and got the crowd instantly behind them during their entrance
The roles were shown instantly after Nakajima and Antoinette started to cheat and beat up Babyface and Maya Mamushi. Commander Arisa, who put on a fantastic performance in the tag team match, was my highlight of the show. She looked like a star out there, destroying Babyface and Maya in this match. The Harajuku Stars members were great underdogs who tried their best to fight back, but the Dangerous Liaisons several times cheated several times to get the upper hand again and were able to win the match when Nakajima pinned Babyface with the Cutie Special, while Lady Antoinette choked out Maya.
Ichigo Sayaka (Harajuku Stars) defeated Countess Saori (Dangerous Liaisons) in a Sukeban World Championship Eliminator Match
Before the main event, Bull Nakano came out and revealed not only revealing the new Sukeban World Championship but also that she is The Commissioner of Sukeban, which is a great addition to the already fantastic line-up,
In the main event, Ichigo Sayaka and Countess Saori are facing each other with the winner of the main event qualifies to wrestle for the Sukeban World Championship at the next show, so the stakes were high between Saori and Sayaka. They had a fun match with Countess Saori dominating the Harajuku Stars member and beating her up until Sayaka made her return. The finish seemed to be botched after Sayaka got a victory roll pin and the bell rang, but it was quickly called off, which led to the two continuing wrestling for another minute until Sayaka rolled Saori up again with the victory roll pin for the three count.
After the match, the stable partner of Anou Commander Nakajima came out and confronted Sayaka. Bull Nakano announced that the main event of the next show is Nakajima against Sayaka for the Sukeban World Championship. Ichigo Sayaka leaked on Twitter that the next show will likely happen in December in Miami. An official announcement is still missing.
The production was well done for a pilot episode with a multi-camera show with a nice lightning of the show that gave the feeling of the Shin Kiba venue in Tokyo. There was a clear plan behind the production. The problem was that the TikTok live stream buffered every 90 seconds, which made the enjoyment of the show tougher.
The characters were all introduced well by the matches. The fans got a good view of how every character acts and who is high in the pecking order. Overall, a solid show that was easy to watch with a run time of 1 1/2 hours. Good for a pilot episode, but there needs to be more to get me hooked in the long term.
In the main event of the show, Millie McKenzie defends her Sendai Girls World Championship for the first time against Mika Iwata. Iwata has trouble finishing the job in big matches, including a huge loss against VENY, whom Millie won the Championship from in a huge upset at the latest Korakuen Hall show.
The match itself was good. It kicked off with Millie in control, working on the legs of Iwata. The challenger fought back with kicks, but Millie blocked and countered to continue her work on the already damaged leg, locking in multiple submissions, but Iwata was able to fight through the pain. Millie threw everything at Mika that she had, but the fighting spirit of the Champion was undeniable. She was able to overcome all the offense and defeat McKenzie to win the Championship.
Mika Iwata was finally able to fulfill her destiny and become the new Sendai Girls World Champion. After years of suffering, she has finally done it.