Stardom 5STAR Grand Prix Final Round
September 22 2019
We’re in Tokyo, Japan at Korakuen Hall. I’m a bit late to this party because I went to Germany for four days and now I’m two weeks behind on everything.
Avary  vs. Natsu Sumire 
Both of these are already out so we’re just wrestling for fun. Avary has improved dramatically since the start of the tournament, which is the joy of Japanese tours. You learn. Sumire isn’t an especially good opponent for her but it allows her to do more goofy stuff and it comes off ok. Natsu gives up a large percentage of the match to ensure Avary looks strong. I appreciate that. Cradle DDT finishes and Avary finishes the tournament with a decent 8 points. Well done!
Final Rating: **1/2
Tam Nakano  vs. Saki Kashima 
Tam can actually win the Block here depending on results elsewhere. First she was reunited with P-chan and now a chance at the 5STAR. The match is a little awkward. The timing isn’t quite there until they hit a cracking little near falls sequence. Even after that the timing is out and Tam’s strikes are terrible here. Also the one ringside camera hasn’t been white balanced properly and looks wrong. It’s harshing my buzz. My P-chan buzz. Tam hits the Tiger Suplex and that does it. This drifted in and out of being good but spent too long out.
Final Rating: **1/4
Hazuki  vs. Hana Kimura 
Two more potential winners here. Hazuki has had a decent tournament. Hana looked strong at the start but has tailed off a bit.
This is an improvement with Hazuki being incredibly smooth for her age. Hana has to bully her when she can’t out-wrestle her. Only Hazuki is no pushover in that respect either. Hana ends up getting her head dinged off the EAST sign. It’s on the mat where Hana takes over. Catching Hazuki unprepared in holds and almost getting the tap out. Hana is also faster than advertised and dodges Hazuki. Hana plants Hazuki with the package piledriver and that’ll do it. Hana is on 10 points.
Final Rating: ***1/4
Momo Watanabe  vs. Mayu Iwatani 
Momo was relying on Hana and Hazuki to draw. Since Hana won she can’t make the final but Maui can. Momo is here to play spoiler. They do not fucking hang around here. It’s full energy from the start and big bombs. As per usual Mayu takes a kicking, making Momo’s offence look awesome. Momo looks like an absolute badass here as Mayu is willing to take anything. Mayu also stuns me with her rope work. A double springboard dropkick shouldn’t look that easy. She is effortlessly good here and almost makes Momo look substandard because she’s so outstanding. That is until Momo gets into the spirit and hurls herself into a crucifix driver like she wants a broken neck. Not to be outdone Mayu take a release Tiger Suplex bang on the neck. Momo ends up dumping Mayu on her neck against with a pair of wrist clutch suplexes. This was sick! One of my favourite sub ten minutes matches this year.
Final Rating: ****1/4
That result puts Hana Kimura through to the finals.
Andras Miyagi  vs. Natsuko Tora 
This is one of those matches that I should be paid for watching. It’s going to be a certain style and I’ve already seen a lot of them. It does end up hitting a decent rhythm after a shaky start but as soon as I get into it Tora gets the pin. Meh.
Final Rating: *1/4
Arisa Hoshiki  vs. Kagetsu 
I don’t remember Arisa wearing a mask before. It’d be odd if she ended a tour debuting a new look. Kagetsu goes after the leg in order to eliminate all the kicky kicky business. When that isn’t effective she tries to annoy her. They spend a little too long grinding away at holds. For example Arisa has a chinlock on for ages and Kagetsu gets a lot of leglocks. The latter at least makes sense and the crowd bite on it. However instead of going somewhere they just have them go from that to kick duels. I’d rather they just skipped all the rest holds and kicked each other into a double KO in five minutes but that’s me. Instead they do a double KO spot and the time limit expires. This didn’t have enough ideas for 15 minutes, which is quite disappointing considering the participants.
Final Rating: **3/4
Post Match: They look like they’re going to wrestle a match down the line for the white belt. After agreeing to it Avary hops in there and asks for a title match too and Arisa gives her a match but not a title shot because Kagetsu is next in line.
Jamie Hayter  vs. Bea Priestley 
Jamie claims she’s “half assed” the entire tournament and still has ten points. Is it shoot week already? If Jamie wins she’s going to the final. If she loses then Konami goes to the final, super fresh, as she’s already finished and on 11 points. Battle of the gaijins here. Bea has dubbed herself the best of them already. They’re both getting established in Stardom and they clearly want to do a good wrestle here. It results in them overextending a little. A lot of what they do does work though. Jamie’s timing is great here and Bea’s offence is, mostly, well executed.
Bea wins with the Ocean Cyclone and mocks Jamie for not being the best gaijin. However she wants Jamie to tag with her in the tag tournament. Cross-factional tag team is it?
Final Rating: ***1/4
5STAR Grand Prix Final
Konami vs. Hana Kimura
Konami jumps Hana as she’s entering the ring as if being the freshest isn’t enough of an advantage. It’s a back and forth contest, which is appropriate for a tournament final. Hana doesn’t really sell fatigue from her earlier contest.
Both of them go after submissions, suggesting that both are carrying injuries after a lengthy tournament. They both get worked up, which is good to see in a tournament final. The pacing is frantic at times and the moves are impactful. The finish feels a bit flat with Konami just getting trapped in Hana’s submission and that’s it. I’m a bit disappointed they didn’t have a hotter finishing sequence but the match was solid.
Final Rating: ***1/2
A patchy night of wrestling for sure but the Mayu/Momo match was fucking great and three other matches showed up to a decent level. It’s been a fun tournament to watch and I’m glad I saw almost all of it this year.