Stardom 5STAR Grand Prix N2
August 18, 2019
We’re in Tokyo, Japan for N2 of the GP in Shin-Kiba 1st Ring. As with N1 I’m skipping over the tags.
Avary  vs. Momo Watanabe 
Avary is Australian and on her first Stardom tour. This is her first tournament match. Momo was blanked on N1 so both ladies are after their first points. Avary is four years in, which is around the time when if you’re going to get good, you’re getting good. She could be forgiven for not being at a higher level due to her background being Australian indies only. She has a good look and she’s very athletic, and especially capable on the mat, but there are holes in her game that are quite startling. Momo wins here to get off the mark. Match was fine but Avary will need a little work to compete at the highest level in Stardom.
Final Rating; **1/2
Hana Kimura  vs. Natsu Sumire 
Hana buries Natsu calling her a comedy wrestler with no technique in the pre-show comments. Well…I see no lie there.
Natsu is pretty mad at the suggestion and spends the bulk of the match beating the shit out of Hana. She looks good in the process and if she showed this kind of fire more often she’d have a better reputation. The cocky, confident Kimura ends up taking a lot of abuse before getting the Octopus Stretch into the arm/leg bar hold and submitting Sumire. Natsu showed great fire here and really took the match to Hana, which created a strong dynamic before the comeback finish.
Final Rating: ***
Jamie Hayter  vs. Andras Miyagi 
Oedo Tai teammates clash here. This is very sluggish compared to the other matches and the pacing is glacial. I don’t know what the plan was here but Miyagi bosses it for five boring minutes. Then, out of nowhere, Jamie hits a reversed Tombstone and the Ushikoroshi for the win. This was very dull and I’m sure both wrestlers are disappointed with how this panned out.
Final Rating: *
Natsuko Tora  vs Kagetsu 
Oedo Tai collide again here. Hopefully it’s better than the last match. It’s Tora’s first match and Kagetsu lost her opener so both wrestlers are aiming to get their first points. They brawl around outside a lot to the point where the ref carries on counting after their back in the ring because he’s so adjusted to them being outside.
Tora takes a page out of Kagetsu’s book and tries to kill her. As with the last two matches it’s all heat from the ‘heel’ until Kagetsu hits poison mist, which is illegal btw ref, and hits a DVD for the win and her first points. This was flaming hot garbage and I hated every minute of it.
Final Rating: DUD
AZM  vs. Mayu Iwatani 
Mayu has a lot of respect for AZM and she’s clearly a star in the making if she stays healthy. Iwatani wants to show off her speed so they do fast stuff and it fucking rules. The opening sequence is better than anything else on the show with how crisp, clean and quick everything is. It does feel a tad exhibition-esque but that’s the point. It shows parity where you didn’t realise it existed. Then Mayu takes over by showing her experience and variety. Mat work and strikes as well as her speed. She can match AZM at her best and bring something different too. AZM comes close to winning with an armbar and it’s a great showing from her all over. The match is five minutes long but it’s all golden and one of the best five minute matches you’ll ever see. The near falls sequence where everything feels like a finish rather than a “sequence” is amazing. Mayu eventually gets the pin after a manic 35-45 seconds of roll ups and this fucking ruled all. Watch this now.
Final Rating: ****
Hazuki  vs. Tam Nakano 
Hazuki is the Speed champ so Tam’s pre-match promo involves saying how slow she is. Despite Tam’s slowness claims this match is very fast paced, trying to challenge the previous one even. The pacing slows a little so they can leather each other with forearms. Both showing that Kings Road style. It’s a really good, tight match where there’s no wasted motion and they don’t fuck around. Sprints are an art form and having a banging match in five minutes is downright hard but this is two in a row for Stardom. Hazuki gets her head kicked off on the roundhouse and Tam finishes with a Tiger Suplex. Which I think was supposed to be bridging, ending up being released but since Hazuki fell in pin position Tam just scooted along and grabbed a waistlock on the pin and it was fine.
Final Rating: ***1/2
Konami  vs. Bea Priestley 
I hate Queen’s Quest. I’ve never wanted a stable to lose a ‘forced to disband’ match in my life. I can only hope this happens before the year is out. This starts out a bit lively with Bea kicking Konami in the face during the second sequence. Konami has the misfortune of slipping on the ropes during a key moment and the match struggles a little after that. They bring it back with strikes and Bea again murders Konami, this time with a backdrop driver. Konami is getting Fucked Up in this one. Bea also gives her a double stomp between the shoulder blades. Something similar to that basically ended Paige’s career. It’s not an ideal place to be struck. Konami dying so that Bea Priestley can look good is certainly a thing. Ocean Cyclone finishes and Bea goes 2-0 in the tournament. She should definitely buy Konami a pint for making her look like the fucking Queen here. Three good matches in a row.
Final Rating: ***1/4
Utami Hayashishita  vs. Arisa Hoshiki 
These two feel indicative of the new generation of Stardom talent. They’ve both worked a lot of main events despite their inexperience and the company is clearly keen to push them as stars. Utami is a good all-rounder while Arisa is a phenomenal striker. Worryingly Arisa has heavy tape on her neck. That’s not an ideal injury to bring into a month long tournament. The match is well balanced with both guys getting spells of dominance and big spots. Arisa feels like the underdog, in spite of her possession of the White Belt, and her flying knee comeback is fucking amazing.
Arisa Hoshiki is the best striker in wrestling pic.twitter.com/VPQ0bHGUaI
— Arn (@ArnoldFurious) September 22, 2019
The match is just rock solid pro-wrestling all the way through. It feels really epic too, as it runs over ten minutes and everything else has been so short by comparison. Utami murders Arisa with the Rack Slam for the win.
Final Rating: ***3/4
I was not enjoying this show until the last four matches hit and it was banger after banger. Excellent top end here. Thumbs up!