Stardom 5STAR Grand Prix N3
August 25, 2019
We’re in Osaka at the Osaka World Pavilion. I have skipped the day show, which means missing out on Arisa’s match but getting closer to the conclusion of the tournament before it’s completely irrelevant.
AZM  vs. Tam Nakano 
Tam’s pre-match promo involves calling herself an insect and suggesting AZM might get an A in biology (or something) if she catches her. She’s…something. Nakano being such an oddball, and a fan of death matches, makes her easy to support. They try to replicate the AZM/Mayu match with high speed near misses and counters but they don’t have the same chemistry so it doesn’t quite click as well. I’m blaming Tam for this because it’s her offence that’s a touch off. They gel better as the match continues but it never reaches the highs of Mayu/AZM. Tam has her second issue with a bridge in this tournament, managing to dump AZM so high on a German suplex that her shoulders aren’t down, and has to shuffle into an actual pin for the win. This had flashes of excellence but not the chemistry required to go higher.
Final Rating: ***
Hana Kimura  vs. Saki Kashima 
Hana is in full dickhead mode and she jumps Saki before she’s in the ring but gets caught in a roll up and loses her perfect record! Saki gleefully goes to the timekeeper and gloats about it lasting 8 seconds. This gets her a second beating, which she thoroughly deserves. Bean sprout with the upset.
Final Rating: NR
Jamie Hayter  vs. Natsuko Tora 
Another Oedo Tai collides match.
I can’t say I’ve enjoyed any of them to date. This one is about two friends trying to out-sneak each other. When they stop fucking around and Tora starts hitting spears the match improves. Jamie picks up another win here, her third in a row from the start and her second win over an Oedo Tai teammate. Like the Miyagi match this wasn’t very good but improved after a bad start.
Final Rating: *3/4
Natsu Sumire  vs. Mayu Iwatani 
Sumire is hot after losing her first match and takes it out on poor Mayu. It’s a solid match with Sumire being largely the aggressor but meeting Mayu’s incredible range of offence and struggling to survive it all. She picks up the stunning upset win with an actual wrestling hold, rolling up Stardom’s best and pinning her shoulders to the mat for the three. Sumire looks extremely thrilled with her victory and celebrates for ages, getting a lengthy promo and incurring the wrath of Saki Kashima because she lifted her finisher. Sumire references the Bea Priestley incident with the Ocean Cyclone and claims you don’t have to ask for permission to steal someone’s moves.
Final Rating: **1/2
Konami  vs. Utami Hayashishita 
This is a wee bit sluggish to get going and their mat work is slow going. However as soon as it becomes a battle of martial arts disciplines with Utami’s judo squaring off against Konami’s kickboxing it shows real promise. The mat work improves as they get adjusted to each other and it ends up being a very solid match. Utami, perhaps due to a rib, continually lands dropkicks on Konami’s right buttock. It’s an oddly specific series of attacks that becomes more noticeable as the match progresses. Konami sells the lower back but literally every strike lands on that ass cheek. As a measure of revenge Konami stiffs the hell out of Utami and submits her with an armbar. This was a really good match once it got going.
Final Rating: ***1/2
Jungle Kyona  vs. Bea Priestley 
Bea has improved a great deal while working for Stardom and I can’t argue with the character she’s developed as “top gaijin”. I know there are people out there who don’t like her but she is capable at this level and will generate interest in whoever beats her. In my opinion anyway. She certainly generates a ton of support for Kyona here. Or as much as you’ll get from 250 people who are here to see Stardom. They build a nice competitive match that has tidy back and forth moments. Bea’s strikes aren’t quite as on point here as they have been but Jungle’s are near perfect. There’s a lot of effort from both at attempting to steal the show, which should definitely be the aim of every main event. Kyona wins but not definitively. She powerbombs Bea on the apron and leaves her on the floor to get counted out. Solid match with a decent finish that sees the champ avoid a pin.
Final Rating: ***1/4
Post Match: Jungle asks Rina who she thinks will win the tournament and when she says Hana she gets a beatdown from Konami and Jungle. Best team in the biz!
Not the best of nights for pro-wrestling action. Three decent matches and everything else is a pass. The concern for any Japanese tournament is that when it hits the road the quality declines. As if all the bumpkins outside of Tokyo don’t know good wrestling anyway so fuck ‘em. Just give them the house shows. You need to get to Korakuen to see the good shit. Mostly forgettable evening.