Stardom 5★Star GP on 8/28/16 Review

Event: Stardom 5★Star Grand Prix Day 3
Date: August 28th, 2016
Location: Osaka Minato Ward Community Center in Osaka, Japan
Announced Attendance: 315

I am continuing my quest to catch up on Stardom before the finals in a week. Which means I need to focus which isn’t my strong suit. Anyway, we are now onto Day 3, here are the current standings:

Blue Block
Red Block
Toni Storm [4]
Blue Nikita [2]
Kay Lee Ray [2]
Mayu Iwatani [2]
Yoko Bito [2]
Maki Natsumi [0]
Hiromi Mimura [0]
Tessa Blanchard [4]
Courtney Stewart [2]
Io Shirai [2]
Jungle Kyouna [2]
Kairi Hojo [2]
Kris Wolf [0]
Momo Watanabe [0]

Per usual, I will only be reviewing the tournament matches. These are the matches we will be watching today:

  • Red Block: Kris Wolf vs. Momo Watanabe
  • Blue Block: Hiromi Mimura vs. Toni Storm
  • Red Block: Blue Nikita vs. Kay Lee Ray
  • Red Block: Courtney Stewart vs. Kairi Hojo
  • Red Block: Io Shirai vs. Jungle Kyouna
  • Blue Block: Mayu Iwatani vs. Yoko Bito

These matches got a lot more time than the ones yesterday, so hopefully something here will stand out. Any card with Kay Lee Ray, Io, Kairi, and Mayu is bound to have something good.

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Kris Wolf vs. Momo Watanabe

We kick off the show with two wrestlers that aren’t going to win their Block but are rather looking for their first points in the tournament. Kris Wolf was a late entry in the tournament as she filled in for the MIA Ivelisse, while Momo is the youngest wrestler in the tournament at the age of 16. This is actually a pretty normal opener-style match for Stardom, although this time something is on the line as both look to get out of the basement.

stardom8.28-1Momo and Wolf tie-up but break cleanly, they trade wristlocks until Momo rolls Wolf to the mat and applies a grounded front facelock. Momo lets go and stomps on Wolf, but Wolf comes back with a rebound crossbody. Wolf snaps Momo’s leg in the bottom rope and dropkicks it, Wolf puts Momo in the corner and chops Momo in the stomach. Dropkick by Wolf and she stomps Momo into the corner but Momo comes back with a pair of dropkicks. Momo puts Wolf in a Tree of Woe and dropkicks her in the stomach, Momo picks up Wolf but Wolf kicks her in the chest after she bounces off the ropes. Jumping knee by Wolf and she kicks Momo in the back, picking up a two count. Momo and Wolf trade elbows, kick to the chest by Momo but Wolf avoids the Somato. Head kick by Wolf, she goes off the ropes and she knees Momo in the head. Suplex by Wolf, she gets on the second turnbuckle and hits a diving double kneedrop for a two count. Wolf goes all the way up but Momo rolls out of the way this time, missile dropkick by Momo and she hits rolling vertical suplexes for two. Momo goes off the ropes and nails the Somato, picking up the three count cover! Momo Watanabe wins the match and gets two points in the tournament.

A fun opener. Wolf is always entertaining and Momo is continuing to slowly crawl her way up the card. The match was a bit basic, lots of stomps and what not, but the home stretch was spot on. Solid way to start off the show.

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Hiromi Mimura vs. Toni Storm

Poor Hiromi. She is really over-matched in this tournament and her suffering will likely continue as she goes against the SWA Undisputed Women’s Champion. Storm is already leading her Block, and with a win here she will get one step closer to the finals.

Stardom7.28-2Hiromi and Storm start with polite limb work as Storm targets Hiromi’s arm, Storm trips Hiromi and goes off the ropes but Hiromi ducks the big boot and rolls her up for two. An inside cradle by Hiromi gets the same result as does a sunset flip, clearly Hiromi came into the match with a game plan of securing a quick flash pin. But it doesn’t work as Storm boots her hard in the chest, uppercut by Storm and she covers Hiromi for two. Vertical suplex by Storm and she puts Hiromi in the Kondo Clutch, but Hiromi gets into the ropes to force a break. Dropkick by Hiromi and she hits another one, La Magistral by Hiromi but it gets a two count. They go back and forth with pins but none work, Hiromi picks up Storm and she hits a DDT. Hiromi goes off the ropes but Storm headbutts her, running butt smash by Storm and she hits a fisherman suplex hold for two. Reverse Full Nelson by Storm, and Hiromi is forced to submit! Storm gets two points in the tournament.

I liked that both wrestlers had a plan going into the match, with Hiromi knowing the only real chance she had was quick a flash pin of sorts while Storm was just wearing Hiromi down with power moves. A short match and nothing too special, but well structured anyway since the winner was never really in doubt, Hiromi did all she could.

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Blue Nikita vs. Kay Lee Ray

When I was wavering on whether or not to get Stardom World for the month, remembering that Kay Lee Ray was in the tournament convinced me to get it. I love her. Nikita has looked good so far this tournament too, working a ‘heel veteran’ type gimmick that is effective since no one else in the tournament is really doing that. Both wrestlers have two points going into the match, so a victory by either would put them back towards the top.

stardom7.28-3They tie-up to start, until Nikita throws Kay Lee Ray into the corner and stomps her down to the mat. Kay Lee Ray slides away and goes up top, but Nikita avoids her dive. Kay Lee Ray lands on her feet and hits a quick hurricanrana, but Nikita comes back with a knee to the stomach. Kay Lee Ray blocks the next knee but Nikita hits a scoop slam, knee drop by Nikita and she covers Kay Lee Ray for two. Jumping knee by Nikita in the corner but Kay Lee Ray avoids her next dive and hits a modified Yoshi Tonic. Kay Lee Ray chops Nikita into the corner, she goes for a rebound bulldog but Nikita catches her and hits a fallaway slam. Nikita slaps Kay Lee Ray in the back and hits a backbreaker, Kay Lee Ray fights back with kicks to the leg and she rolls Nikita to the mat before kicking her in the chest. Kay Lee Ray picks up Nikita but Nikita slaps her and hits a step-up reverse hurricanrana. Nikita rolls Kay Lee Ray back to the middle of the ring and covers her, but Kay Lee Ray kicks out. Nikita chokes Kay Lee Ray against the bottom rope and hits a snap vertical suplex, she goes off the ropes and boots Kay Lee Ray in the head, but Kay Lee Ray avoids one of her boots and hits a headbutt. Satellite rotation into a grounded front necklock by Kay Lee Ray, but Nikita muscles out of it and slams Kay Lee Ray to the mat. Back up, Kay Lee Ray kicks Nikita in the head but Nikita jumps out of the ring as she charges her. Kay Lee Ray is undeterred and dives out onto Nikita twice with tope suicidas, she goes for a third but Nikita blocks it and slams Kay Lee Ray onto the apron. Running boots by Nikita and she hits a sliding kick, but Kay Lee Ray gets a shoulder up. Nikita picks up Kay Lee Ray, Kay Lee Ray slides away but Nikita hits a leg trap slam for two. Nikita waits for Kay Lee Ray to get up and goes for a kick, Kay Lee Ray catches her leg but Nikita gets away from her and hits an uppercut. Kay Lee Ray blocks it and hits a modified Gory Bomb, she goes up to the top turnbuckle and nails a Swanton Bomb or the three count! Kay Lee Ray wins the match and gets two points in the tournament.

These two had great chemistry, I had to look it up but they just faced off last month in a title match while wrestling in RQW so they do have some experience together. A very back in forth match, lots of reversals and changes in momentum, as they were comfortable doing more than just a standard midcard match. Not everything worked perfectly, Nikita trying to catch Kay Lee Ray on a tope suicida was probably a bit overly ambitious, but they covered for it well and overall the match was pretty smooth. Kay Lee Ray continues to impress but Nikita is solid as well, a good match between the two, just wish it was a bit longer as it clocked in under ten minutes.  Mildly Recommended

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Courtney Stewart vs. Kairi Hojo

The classic heelish gaijin vs. fan favorite native match, a staple in Japan for over 60 years. Courtney is only 22 and is still relatively early in her career, while Hojo is 27 and a four year veteran. Both wrestlers come into the match with two points, and neither can afford a loss if they want to win the block.

stardom7.28-4Courtney attacks Kairi before the match starts, as the picture above implies, and also steals her mask. This wasn’t appreciated by Kairi as she elbows Courtney into the corner but Courtney fires back with a hard shoulderblock. Both wrestlers miss dropkicks and they return to their feet, Courtney asks for a Test of Strength but Kairi punches her in the stomach instead. Chops by Kairi and she goes for a crossbody, but Courtney catches her and hits a backbreaker. Courtney starts on Kairi’s arm and attacks it while it is twisted in the ropes, Courtney brings Kairi out of the ring and kicks her repeatedly in the chest. Courtney slides Kairi back in and slams her to the mat before hitting a jumping footstomp for a two count. More kicks to the chest by Courtney and she goes for a fisherman suplex, but Kairi gets out of it and the pair trade elbows. Kairi goes off the ropes and levels Courtney with a spear, Octopus Hold by Kairi but Courtney gets into the ropes to force a break. Running shoulder tackle by Kairi in the corner and she hits the Sliding D, she gets on the top turnbuckle and delivers a diving forearm strike for a two count cover. Courtney avoids the Sliding D and hits a jumping knee, cover by Courtney but Kairi kicks out. Courtney goes for a cross armbreaker but Kairi gets into the ropes, fisherman suplex hold by Courtney but it gets a two count. Back up, spinning chop by Kairi and she goes for the Alabama Slam, but Courtney elbows out of it. High kicks by Courtney but Kairi blocks the half nelson suplex and puts Courtney in the Stretch Muffler. She can’t really lock it in since Courtney is so tall so she applies the Ikari instead, but Courtney is too close to the ropes and forces the break. Short range Sliding D by Kairi, she goes up top and she nails a diving elbow drop for the three count! Kairi Hojo wins and gets two points in the tournament.

I thought this was a step down from the last match but still pretty decent. The main issue is that it didn’t feel nearly as cohesive, Courtney targeted the arm for a bit but then stopped, she controled the action but Kairi won pretty easily with a couple moves to end the match after not really weakening Courtney up to any significant degree. Th action was good though, a little clunky at times but no miscommunications or anything like that. An easy watch but nothing memorable.

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Io Shirai vs. Jungle Kyouna

We continue on in the tournament, with Stardom Ace Io Shirai facing off against the top rookie in Jungle Kyouna. This is a big tournament for Kyouna… not because she has any chance of winning, but getting singles matches against the top stars in Stardom is rare so it gives her a chance to show off a bit. There is no bigger wrestler than Io, and if I know Kyouna she is going to step it up to show she deserves to be in the title picture for the promotion.

stardom7.28-5Kyouna pushes Io against the ropes to start, she goes to do a clean break but lariats Io over the top rope instead and then dives out onto her with a crossbody. Io blocks the slam on the floor and sends Kyouna into the ring post, Io gets on the apron and hits an Asai Moonsault down onto the rookie. Her leg hits hard on a chair so she is just as hurt as Kyouna is, but they use the magic spray on Io’s shin which helps her slowly recover. Io clubs on Kyouna, perhaps harder than usual due to the failed catch, and she slides Kyouna back into the ring. Io kicks Kyouna into the corner and dropkicks her, kneedrop by Io and she covers Kyouna for two. Io puts Kyouna in a crossface, she releases her after a moment and elbows Kyouna against the ropes. Hard slap by Io and she hits a running elbow in the corner, Kyouna returns fire with her own elbow and she hits a shoulderblock. Kyouna gets Io on her shoulders to apply a backbreaker, she dumps the champion onto the top rope and hits a body avalanche to her back for a two count cover. Kyouna tries to Irish whip Io but Io collapses while holding her back, Kyouna goes for a lariat but Io catches her arm and applies an armtrap crossface. Kyouna gets into the ropes to force a break, Tiger Feint Kick by Io and she goes up top, hitting a missile dropkick. Io goes towards the turnbuckles but Kyouna grabs her leg, Io kicks her away and gets on the second turnbuckle but Kyouna hits her from behind and joins her. Avalanche powerslam by Kyouna, and she covers Io for a two count. Scoop slam by Kyouna, she goes up top and she delivers a diving body press, but Io rolls through it and holds down Kyouna for a two. Back up they trade strikes, big lariat by Kyouna and she gets a two count cover. Io ducks a lariat and hits the tombstone piledriver, but she is too hurt to capitalize. She slowly gets up and hits a running double knee in the corner, she picks up Kyouna but Kyouna blocks the double underhook facebuster. Io lands on her feet when Kyouna goes for a back bodydrop, and Shirai hits a German suplex hold for two. Buzzsaw Kick by Shirai, she picks up Kyouna and nails the package German for the three count! Io Shirai wins and gets two points.

I don’t think Io was just selling on the leg injury, but luckily she was able to shake it off and finish the match without any issue. This was great, as I figured it would be, as Io is one of the most entertaining wrestlers in the world while Kyouna already has so many of the intangibles in just her first year. The match was perfectly fluid and well paced, no miscues or awkward pauses, they were just full go. Kyouna had some convincing nearfalls as she hit all her big moves, while Io led her to one of the best performances of her young career. A high end non-title match for Stardom, Kyouna has a really bright future in wrestling if she continues improving at her current pace.  Recommended

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Mayu Iwatani vs. Yoko Bito

This match is even bigger than it looks, as not only is it a tournament match but it is their first singles match in over five years, when they were rookies. A lot has changed since then, as Iwatani went on to be one of the top wrestlers in the promotion while Bito took off four years from wrestling. Bito and Iwatani both have two points going into the match with no losses, a win here would get them closer to Toni Storm, the current Block leader.

Mayu and Yoko go right at it trading elbow strikes, they go to trips and quick covers but after a moment they return to their feet. Yoko throws Mayo into the corner but Mayu avoids her charge and hits a dropkick, cover by Mayu but it gets two. Imagine Yoko Bito losing via an early match dropkick. High kick by Yoko and Iwatani flops out of the ring to regroup and get some magic spray, but she returns before the referee’s count gets to 20. Yoko kicks Mayu repeatedly in the corner and throws down Mayu by her hair before kicking her some more. Yoko sets up Mayu in the ropes and kicks her in the chest from the apron, back in the ring Yoko covers her but it gets a two. Yoko goes off the ropes but Iwatani dropkicks her, Yoko knees Mayu in return and applies the Cobra Twist. Yoko kicks Mayu in the head and applies a single leg crab hold, but Mayu slowly crawls to the ropes and forces a break. Yoko picks up Mayu and applies a sleeper, but Mayu quickly gets a foot onto the ropes.

stardom7.28-6Yoko goes for a suplex by Mayu blocks it, Yoko hits it anyway and she covers Mayu for a two count. Yoko goes for the high kick but Mayu ducks it and kicks Yoko in the head, Mayu goes up to the top turnbuckle but Yoko joins her and hits a superplex. Yoko picks up Mayu but Mayu sneaks in a sunset flip for two, Yoko goes off the ropes but Mayu kicks her in the stomach and hits the Sling Blade. Fujiwara Armbar by Mayu but she releases the hold and dropkicks Yoko while she is against the ropes. Yoko falls out of the ring but Mayu goes up to the top turnbuckle and dives out onto her with a plancha suicida. Mayu slides Yoko back in, she goes up top and hits the missile dropkick. She goes up again and hits the diving footstomp, cover by Mayu but Yoko gets a shoulder up. Mayu picks up Yoko and goes for the dragon suplex, but Yoko elbows out of it. German suplex by Mayu but Yoko gets back up and boots her in the face. Both wrestlers slowly get back up and trade elbows, they both go for kicks until Yoko delivers with the high kick. German suplex hold by Yoko, but it only gets a two count. Yoko picks up Mayu, Mayu gets her back but Yoko gets out of it and nails the B-Driver, but they are too close to the ropes and Mayu is able to reach out and grab the bottom one. The bell thing rings, as time has expired. The match is a Draw and both wrestlers get one point.

Not quite on the same level as the previous match, but still really good. The early portion of the match was a bit slow and meandering, even with a known time limit neither seemed to be in any rush, but the match really picked up about halfway through. There were a few timing issues, which isn’t surprising considering they don’t have a ton of experience against each other, but nothing too bad aside from the awkward ‘missed kick’ exchange towards the end. Yoko came out of the match looking stronger but just barely, and they did a good job giving both some nearfalls to make it suspenseful. Not perfect but lots of hard stiff shots and the last five minutes was entertaining, overall worth watching.  Mildly Recommended