Event: Stardom 5★Star Grand Prix Day 2
Date: August 27th, 2016
Location: Niigata City East Plaza in Niigata, Japan
Announced Attendance: 255
And we are back with more Stardom! I have a ways to go to catch up to the FIVE STAR GP, so lets see if I can get the whole tournament reviewed by the end of the month. This is a smaller event that took place outside of Tokyo, with a smaller attendance than we are used to seeing from the #1 Joshi promotion. Here are the standings going into the show:
|Blue Nikita 
Kay Lee Ray 
Toni Storm 
Maki Natsumi 
Mayu Iwatani 
Yoko Bito 
|Courtney Stewart 
Kairi Hojo 
Tessa Blanchard 
Jungle Kyouna 
Kris Wolf 
Momo Watanabe 
Like last week, I will only be reviewing the tournament matches. These are the matches we will be watching today:
- Red Block: Jungle Kyouna vs. Kris Wolf
- Blue Block: Natsumi Maki vs. Toni Storm
- Red Block: Courtney Stewart vs. Tessa Blanchard
- Blue Block: Hiromi Mimura vs. Yoko Bito
- Blue Block: Blue Nikita vs. Mayu Iwatani
- Red Block: Io Shirai vs. Momo Watanabe
Let’s get to it.
Jungle Kyouna vs. Kris Wolf
The show begins with the #1 Stardom Rookie vs. the lovable and probably edible Kris Wolf. Both wrestlers are 0-1 in the tournament thus far, and need a win to have a realistic chance of taking the Red Block.
Wolf shoves Kyouna into the corner to start but Kyouna returns the favor and chops Wolf. Kyouna takes Wolf to the mat and applies a front necklock but Wolf gets out of it and the pair trade wristlocks. Wolf gets Kyouna against the ropes but Kyouna moves when Wolf charges in, Wolf falls to the floor but Kyouna quickly goes out to get her. Wolf gets Kyouna’s leg and snaps it over the middle rope, she goes up top and delivers a double ax handle to Kyouna’s leg. Wolf twists Kyouna’s leg in the ropes and then hits a kneedrop onto it, getting a two count cover. Kyouna goes for a scoop slam but her leg gives out on her, but she recovers and hits a shoulderblock. Running body press by Kyouna and she tries to put Wolf in a crab hold, but Wolf keeps rolling out of it. Kyouna picks up Wolf and puts her in a backbreaker, Wolf slides away and she throws Kyouna into the corner. Jumping knee by Wolf followed by a snapmare and a kick to the back, cover by Wolf but it gets two. Wolf goes to the second turnbuckle and hits a diving double kneedrop, but Kyouna trips her and goes for a lariat, Wolf ducks that and she rolls up Kyouna for two. Elbows by Kyouna but Wolf hits a jumping knee, lariat by Kyouna and she covers Wolf for two. Short-range lariats by Kyouna, she gets on the top turnbuckle and she nails a diving body press for the three count! Kyouna wins the match and gets two points in the tournament.
Even though this was only the opening match, I thought it was really good. Kyouna is one of the top rookies in Joshi, she has made great strides in the last year and has a lot of the intangibles that some wrestlers never quite figure out. Wolf has improved a lot this year as well, and it was a smooth and well-structured match. Really solid way to kick things off. Mildly Recommended
Natsumi Maki vs. Toni Storm
I have no idea what to expect from this match. Natsumi is a young wrestler affiliated with Actress girl’Z, she has shown flashes of potential but is still developing. Storm is the SWA Undisputed Women’s Champion going into the match and already has two points in the tournament, with a win here she will set herself up well to reach the Finals.
Natsumi dropkicks Storm as soon as the match starts, but Storm quickly takes control with a kick to the chest. Uppercuts by Storm and she hits a backbreaker, covering Natsumi for two. Elbows by Storm and she hits an uppercut, but Natsumi hits a quick armdrag followed by a dropkick. Kick to the chest by Storm and she covers Natsumi for a two count cover. Storm twists Natsumi’s fingers and hits a hard elbow, but Natsumi fires back with elbows of her own. Inside cradle by Natsumi, she gets on the second turnbuckle and hits a sunset flip for a two count. Swinging leg hook slam by Natsumi with a bridge, but Storm kicks out of that as well. Natsumi goes up to the top turnbuckle but Storm recovers and drops her with a fisherman suplex hold for a two count. Elbows by Natsumi and she sneaks in a backslide for two. German suplex by Storm and she hits a running butt smash in the corner, Air Raid Crash by Storm and she gets the three count! Storm wins the match and now has four points in the tournament.
There wasn’t really any doubt with who was winning this match, as Maki isn’t at the level yet to beat a champion in Stardom. She got in her moves though so it was far from a squash match, and the two worked together well. Not overly suspenseful but nothing wrong with it.
Courtney Stewart vs. Tessa Blanchard
Our first gaijin vs. gaijin match of the tournament! This is both Stewart and Blanchard’s first tour with Stardom, so they have pressure on them to put on a good show for a new audience. Both are still relatively early in their careers and have never met before today, so it will be interesting to see how they mesh.
After a quick handshake they go straight to wristlocks, Courtney works a headlock and she hits a hard shoulderblock. Dropkick by Courtney but Tessa ducks a high kick and delivers an elbow. They push each other before trading strikes, knee by Tessa but Courtney knees her back. Cutter by Tessa, and she covers Courtney for a two count. Sliding elbow to the back by Tessa, she gets on the apron but Courtney hits a shoulder tackle through the ropes. Kicks to the chest by Courtney and she hits a rope hanging DDT, picking up a two count cover. Modified dragon sleeper by Courtney but Tessa gets out of it and elbows Courtney in the back. DDT by Tessa, and she covers Courtney for two. High kick by Courtney, she picks up Tessa but Tessa blocks the half nelson suplex. Tessa goes off the ropes a hits a body scissors slam, she goes off the ropes and hits a sliding kick. Rebound bulldog by Tessa, and she picks up the three count! Tessa Blanchard wins and gets two more points in the tournament.
While I don’t think this match gave either enough time to make a strong impression, neither looked bad which sometimes in a midcard match on a small show is all you can ask for. They had pretty good chemistry, nothing looked too off, and they hit their bigger moves well. Courtney went down a little easier than I’d expect since they have similar experience levels, but that was likely more related to the size of the event. Pretty average but not offensive.
Hiromi Mimura vs. Yoko Bito
This is Hiromi’s first match in the tournament, while Bito is looking to come back as she is 0-1. Bito just returned to Stardom in June after four years off, while Hiromi is the oldest rookie in Stardom. Hiromi has not come along as quickly as Jungle Kyouna and has no big wins on her record, if she could somehow defeat Bito it would do a lot to further her career.
Hiromi runs up to Bito and rolls her up as the match starts, she does it a few more times but she can only get a two count. Bito pushes her off and asks for a Test of Strength, Hiromi elbows her but Bito elbows her back. Bito wins the elbow battle and shrugs off Hiromi’s dropkick, she throws Hiromi into the corner and delivers a series of kicks. Hiromi avoids her running kick and attacks Bito’s leg in the ropes, rolling leglock by Hiromi but Bito gets into the ropes to force a break. Hiromi goes off the ropes but Bito kicks her, schoolboy by Hiromi but it gets a two count. Hiromi waits for Bito to get up and gets on the second turnbuckle, but Bito hits her but Hiromi gets on her back with a sleeper. Bito rams Hiromi into the corner to shake her off, vertical suplex by Bito and she covers Hiromi for a two count. Bito kicks Hiromi in the back, she picks her up and nails a high kick. B-Driver by Bito, and she picks up the three count! Yoko Bito wins and gets two points in the tournament.
Hiromi didn’t have much of a chance here, since Bito is still freshly returned they are going to keep her protected against a lowly rookie. Hiromi did try anyway and hit all the moves she had, it just wasn’t enough. Just a standard little midcard match, nothing special.
Blue Nikita vs. Mayu Iwatani
Coming into the match, Blue Nikita has two points while Iwatani has yet to get any, so a win by Blue Nikita would give her a good lead on the popular young Stardom wrestler. Blue Nikita is a German wrestler in her first tour with Stardom, however she is a 16 year veteran and has had a lot of success in her career so if anything she is the favorite going in.
They tie-up to start, Iwatani gets Nikita in the corner and she gives a clean break, but Nikita pushes her to the mat. Nikita clubs Iwatani and stomps her down in the corner, elbows by Nikita but Iwatani elbows her back and hits a headscissors. Dropkick by Iwatani, she picks up Nikita but Nikita elbows her in the head and chops Iwatani against the ropes. Knee by Nikita and she hits another one before kicking Iwatani in the back. After twisting up Iwatani on the mat, Nikita picks her up but Iwatani slides away and elbows Nikita in the back. Triple jump split-legged armdrag by Iwatani and she delivers the Sling Blade for a two count cover. Iwatani gets on the second turnbuckle but Nikita smacks her and brings her back to the mat with a Northern Lights Suplex. Nikita kicks Iwatani in the ropes and hits a heel drop, she hops out to the floor so she can kick Iwatani while her head is hanging over the second rope. Back in, Nikita goes for a cocky cover but Iwatani reverses it into a victory roll, hurricanrana by Iwatani and she rolls through it so she can kick Nikita in the head. Diving footstomp by Iwatani and she covers Nikita for a two count. Iwatani picks up Nikita but Nikita blocks the dragon suplex, she goes for it again but Nikita escapes with a low blow. Running boot to the head by Nikita and she hits two more, she picks up Iwatani but Iwatani reverses the Death Valley Bomb into a Victory Roll for the three count! Iwatani wins and gets two points in the tournament.
An entertaining match with the first surprise of the evening, as the less experienced Iwatani snuck out with a victory. It wasn’t a long match but it felt like they got enough time to do what they were going for, and the cocky gaijin vs. fan favorite native is a proven formula that works. Iwatani’s offensive spurts were fun and Nikita did a good job controlling the action. Nothing mind-blowing but solid all the way around. Mildly Recommended
Io Shirai vs. Momo Watanabe
We have reached the main event of the evening! Another mismatch, as has been a bit of a theme on this show, as they got the lopsided (on paper) matches out of the way on the smaller event. Momo has recently turned it up a notch as she started using an upgraded version of her finisher and got a new outfit, but she is still only 16 years old and two years into her career. Io of course is the undisputed Ace of Stardom and one of the top wrestlers in the world, so it won’t be easy for Momo to pick up her first points of the tournament.
Momo immediately attacks with a dropkick, more dropkicks by Momo and she covers the champion for a one count. Io avoids the next dropkick but Momo rolls her up for two, stomps by Momo and she goes to kick Io in the back, but Io catches her leg and hits a palm thrust. Scoop slam by Io and she hits a double knee followed by a standing moonsault, Io puts Momo in the camel clutch before releasing it and stomping on Momo. Io taunts the youngster but Momo dropkicks her, Io charges Momo but she gets stuck in the ropes. Kicks by Momo, she gets up on the second turnbuckle but Io hits her and tosses her to the mat. Io goes up top but Momo dropkicks the ropes to shake her off, vertical suplex by Momo and she covers Io for a two count. Momo goes off the ropes but Io gets up and elbows her, Tiger Feint Kick by Io and she hits a swandive missile dropkick. Momo falls out to the floor, Io goes out to the apron and hits an Asai Moonsault down onto Momo. Io picks up Momo and slides her back in, cover by Io but it gets a two count. Io goes for a German suplex but Momo reverses it with a Victory Roll, kick to the chest by Momo and she covers Io for two. Momo gets on the second turnbuckle and hits a missile dropkick, she goes all the way up the next time and hits the avalanche Somato, but Io barely kicks out of the cover. Momo goes off the ropes but Io avoids the next Somato and dropkicks Momo in the head. German suplex hold by Io, but it gets two. Io picks up Momo and throws her into the corner, dropkick by Io and she hits a running double knee. Io picks up Momo and hits the double underhook facebuster, Io goes up to the top turnbuckle and she nails the moonsault for the three count! Io Shirai is the winner and gets two points in the tournament.
Even on a small show, Io always delivers. Momo is at that stage of her career where she can have really good matches against seasoned veterans but struggles in matches with people with her experience level – she is led very well but can have issues when she is on her own. I have no issue with Io kicking out of Momo’s new elevated finisher, since Momo is still a kid and Io is the champion, it would have worked against anyone else. I just wish it was longer so they had more time to show what they can do together, since its rare for Momo to get a singles match against a top veteran. A really solid small show main event, Io was her usual self and Momo was able to keep up, fun match. Mildly Recommended
Since this was one of the smallest events on the tour, none of the bigger pairings were present and all of the matches were short (none went over ten minutes). Only one of the results could be considered a surprise (and really we can’t be that surprised that Iwatani won), with the rest going as expected. More an event for the Stardom fans that can’t miss a single show than for the casual fan, decent action throughout but nothing must-see as there was total only about 40 minutes of in-ring tournament action.