Event: STARDOM 5☆STAR GP 2020 – Day 2
Date: August 9th, 2020
Location: Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan
Announced Attendance: 402
The 5★STAR GP is an annual round robin tournament in Stardom with two blocks, and in 2020 each block has eight wrestlers. So its a long tournament as it runs from August 8th to September 19th. Here are the standings going into the show:
The rules are pretty simple. This year, there is a 20 minute time limit for each match, which is an increase from the usual 15 minutes so hopefully we will see less Draws. The point system is easy enough to remember: a win is worth two points, a Draw is worth one point for both wrestlers, and of course the loser gets no points. Tie-breakers to win the Block can get weird but if the tie is just between two wrestlers, the wrestler that won the Head to Head match moves on. If more than two wrestlers tie (or if the two wrestlers tied went to a draw) there will probably be a wacky tie-breaker match.
To visit each wrestler’s profile on Joshi City, you can click on their name above to go straight to it. To make my life slightly easier, I will only be reviewing the tournament matches on each show.
Day 2 has an almost full slate of matches, here is the full card:
- Blue Block: Maika vs. Saya Iida
- Red Block: Mayu Iwatani vs. Starlight Kid
- Blue Block: AZM vs. Momo Watanabe
- Red Block: Konami vs. Tam Nakano
- Blue Block: Natsuko Tora vs. Utami Hayashishita
- Blue Block: Jungle Kyona vs. Syuri
- Red Block: Giulia vs. Himeka
I am watching the version uploaded to Stardom World, for better or worse, so all matches will be reviewed in full. Lets get to it!
Maika vs. Saya Iida
Maika comes into the match with two points in the Blue Block while Iida has zero. Even though their experience level is similar, Maika already has two titles while Iida has no wins of note, so to say their careers are on different paths would be an understatement. Not surprising to see Iida in the opener on this pretty stacked card, expectations are pretty low for this one.
Both wrestlers try to knock the other over to start with neither having any luck, they trade pushes and elbows until finally Maika knocks over Saya with a hard shoulderblock. Maika picks up Saya and hits a scoop slam, another slam by Maika and she stomps on Saya. Maika stands on Saya’s back before flinging her around the ring with tosses, STO by Maika and she covers Saya for two. Maika puts Saya in a Mexican Surfboard while Jushin Liger approves from the stands, she lets go after a moment and stomps Saya into the corner. Irish whip by Maika but Saya ducks the lariat and connects with a dropkick. Scoop slam by Saya and she stomps on Maika, chops by Saya in the corner and she chops Maika some more in the middle of the ring. A double chop sends Maika to the mat, she goes off the ropes and hits a back elbow for a two count cover. Mounted elbows by Saya and she covers Maika again, but Maika pushes her off. Saya picks up Maika but Maika gets away and elbows her in the midsection, they trade shoulderblocks until Maika knocks Saya down. Saya immediately gets back up and returns the favor, scoop slam by Saya and she goes up top, hitting a missile dropkick for two. Northern Lights Suplex by Saya, but that gets a two count as well. Maika gets Saya’s back and applies a sleeper, she swings Saya around and delivers a side slam for a two count. Maika picks up Saya and drops her with a Cross Arm Buster (cross-arm STO), cover by Maika and she gets the three count! Maika wins and now has four points in the tournament.
For an opener, this was decent enough. Maika has really improved her skills since first participating in Stardom, she is still a little clunky at times but its already vastly better and she looks a lot more comfortable than she did before. Saya is just an eternal JTTS but she held her own here, making Maika look good while getting in a few spots so it wasn’t a squash. For a shorter tournament match with a clear winner, a good match to kick off the tournament matches for the day.
Mayu Iwatani vs. Starlight Kid
Coming into the match, Starlight Kid is actually ahead in the Red Block with two points while Mayu has none, so Mayu is looking to get back on track. Even though she won’t win the tournament, I think this will be a huge tournament for Starlight Kid as she gets a run of singles matches against the top wrestlers in the promotion to show why she belongs. Which I am pretty excited to watch. Mayu is of course The Icon and her chances of ending Day 2 with no points is slim, but I have high hopes for this match as they are two of the more entertaining wrestlers in the promotion.
Starlight Kid attacks Mayu right off the start as they go into a fast exchange, takedown by Mayu and she puts Starlight Kid in a submission hold. Back up, Mayu works the headlock but Starlight Kid gets out of it and the two return to their feet. Scoop slam by Mayu and she puts Starlight Kid in a stretch hold, she lets go and snapmares Starlight Kid before kicking her in the back. More kicks by Mayu and she puts Starlight Kid in a crab hold, but Starlight Kid gets into the ropes for the break. Mayu picks up Starlight Kid and hits a scoop slam, Mayu puts Starlight Kid in the ropes and kicks her in the back. cover by Mayu but it gets two. Mayu applies a Camel Clutch but lets go to stomp on Starlight Kid. Irish whip by Mayu but Starlight Kid rebounds off the ropes with a crossbody, she goes for a standing moonsault but Mayu moves out of the way. Tiger Feint Kick by Starlight Kid and this time she hits the standing moonsault, Starlight Kid picks up Mayu but Mayu blocks the cross-legged suplex. Hard elbow by Mayu but Starlight Kid fires back and the two trade blows. Starlight Kid goes off the ropes but Mayu kicks her in the stomach, head kick by Mayu and she goes up top, hitting a footstomp to Starlight Kid’s back.
Mayu charges Starlight Kid but Starlight Kid moves, Starlight Kid rolls Mayu to the mat but Mayu avoids her dropkick and applies a crab hold. Starlight Kid gets to the ropes for the break, Mayu goes off the ropes and dropkicks Starlight Kid in the chest. Mayu goes up top but Starlight Kid avoids her doublestomp attempt and hits a jumping lariat. Starlight Kid grabs Mayu, they struggle for position before Starlight Kid hits a dropkick. Starlight Kid charges Mayu but Mayu drops her onto the apron, Starlight Kid grabs Mayu and DDTs her into the apron. Starlight Kid goes up top and connects with a diving crossbody, she slides Mayu back in and delivers the cross-legged suplex hold for two. Starlight Kid goes to the second turnbuckle and hits a tornado DDT, she quickly goes to the second turnbuckle again and hits a moonsault for two. Starlight Kid picks up Mayu but Mayu blocks the Ki-chan Bomb and slams Starlight Kid to the mat. Mayu goes up top and hits a moonsault to Starlight Kid’s back, she goes for the Two Stage Dragon Suplex but Starlight Kid blocks it and cradles Mayu for two. Back up, Starlight Kid gets Mayu’s back but Mayu shakes her off and hits a superkick, German suplex by Mayu and she puts Starlight Kid in the Child Crusher (modified Dragon Sleeper) for the quick tap-out victory! Mayu Iwatani wins and now has two points in the tournament.
This match started clunky, which is unfortunate in a match that isn’t that long, but once they got going it was really good. The fast pace exchange had a slip-up, then Mayu’s “submission hold, release hold to stomp on Starlight Kid, submission hold” offense wasn’t overly exciting. But after about five minutes they kicked into another gear and Mayu started doing her neck bumps and all was right with the world. Starlight Kid is a legitimate star and can hold her own with anyone, but for a tournament match I’d have been fine if they cut out the first few minutes and just had a fire eight to ten minute match. Still good quality and a good showing by both, but not without its flaws. Mildly Recommended
AZM vs. Momo Watanabe
In Blue Block action, AZM comes into the match with two points while Momo has zero. Like the last match, Momo was expected to be one of the leaders of the block so she can’t really afford to lose her first two matches. But tournaments are unpredictable but anything can happen, as AZM has been coming on strong since Stardom’s return and is looking to assert herself as a legitimate top tier wrestler.
AZM offers a handshake however its a ruse as she goes for a small package instead but Momo blocks it, AZM throws Momo to the mat anyway and goes off the ropes, hitting a springboard armdrag. AZM applies a double armbar but Momo gets to the ropes, AZM dropkicks Momo in the corner but Momo dropkicks her back. Momo kicks AZM in the corner and stomps on her, Momo throws down AZM by the hair a few times and stomps her some more. Scoop slam by Momo and she covers AZM for two. Momo applies a crab hold but she lets go after a moment, footstomp to AZM’s back by Momo and she kicks her in the back as well. Cover by Momo but AZM quickly kicks out. Momo elbows AZM but AZM elbows her back, Irish whip by Momo but AZM blocks it and applies a satellite armbar. AZM goes for a suplex but Momo blocks it, hurricanrana by AZM and Momo slides out of the ring. AZM goes to the apron and kicks Momo in the chest, Momo tries to get back into the ring but AZM drives her head into the mat as she goes. AZM goes up top and hits a diving footstomp, Fujiwara Armbar by AZM but Momo gets to the ropes. AZM goes off the ropes and goes for a headscissors, but Momo catches her and goes for the B Driver. AZM gets out of that, they trade head kick attempts but both miss. AZM rebounds out of the corner but Momo kicks her in the head, Somato by Momo and she holds it for two. Momo applies a crossface chickenwing but AZM gets a toe on the ropes, Momo kicks AZM and nails the Diving Somato, but AZM barely kicks out. Momo grabs AZM but AZM gets away and applies a double armbar, but Momo gets out of it. La Mistica by AZM and she applies a seated armbar, but Momo gets to the ropes for the break. AZM gets Momo’s back and applies a Victory Roll for two, Momo promptly kicks AZM in the head but AZM blocks the Tequila Sunrise. AZM goes for a cross armbreaker but Momo rolls thought it and kicks her, Momo applies the crossface chickenwing and AZM taps out! Momo Watanabe wins the match and has two points in the tournament.
This is more what I’d want/expect from a short tournament match. In this setting, we know most of the matches aren’t going to be very long so they may as well pack in as much action as they can. That doesn’t mean they have to go ‘high speed’ the entire time but them not wasting a lot of effort on moves that mean nothing is appreciated. I loved all the reversals and blocking of their signature moves, as it shows how comfortable and familar they are with each other as both had to work hard to do much of anything of substance. It made the ‘big’ moves feel bigger when there was a struggle to do them and they weren’t just trading bombs back and forth. Even though Momo won, AZM put up a fight and didn’t come across as the lesser wrestler, even though she is only 17 which bodes well for her future. Overall an entertaining midcard match that shows why both are so highly thought of by the Stardom fan base. Recommended
Konami vs. Tam Nakano
Moving along in the tournament, next is the Red Block as Tokyo Cyber Squad’s Konami takes on Tam Nakano from STARS. Even though they have both been in the promotion together for years, this is only their third career singles match, with the other two both also coming in the FIVE STAR GP. An argument can be made for either winning as they are on a very similar level, although with Tam not having any points yet she needs a win here so that she doesn’t fall further behind. Should be a fun match.
They trade holds to start, snapmare by Konami and she kicks Tam in the back. She goes for a PK but Tam catches her leg and returns to her feet, hitting a cutter. Running knee by Tam while Konami is against the ropes, Konami flops down to the floor and Tam goes to the top turnbuckle, but Konami moves when Tam dives off and Tam lands on the other wrestlers hanging around at ringside. Konami gets on the apron and kicks Tam in the chest, she picks up Tam and throws her into the guardrail. Konami drags Tam to the apron and puts her in a headscissors, she lets go after a moment and slides Tam back into the ring. Konami picks up Tam, snapmare and she puts Tam in a headscissors. Sleeper by Konami but Tam gets into the ropes for the break, Konami picks up Tam but Tam hits her with an elbow. Konami elbows her back and stomps on her midsection, she throws Tam into the corner and throws her into the other corner, but Tam avoids her charge. Tam goes off the ropes but Konami kicks her in the chest, cover by Konami but Tam bridges out of it and hits a neckbreaker. Tam throws Konami into the corner and hits a running elbow, diving crossbody by Tam and she covers Konami for two.
Tam gets Konami’s back but Konami gets away, sleeper by Konami but Tam spins out of it and elbows Konami. Tam and Konami trade elbows and then kicks, Konami goes off the ropes but Tam connects with a running elbow. Konami hits a running knee before both wrestlers kick the other in the head, sending them to the mat. Konami recovers first and applies a guillotine but Tam inches to the ropes and makes it for the break. Konami charges Tam and delivers a sliding kick, dropkick by Konami and she covers Tam for two. Konami goes for the Triangle Lancer but Tam blocks it, cradling Konami for a two count. Konami goes for a kick but Tam blocks it and hits a backdrop suplex. Tam goes up top but Konami recovers and joins her, and she DDTs Tam down to the mat. Head kick by Konami, she picks up Tam and goes for the Triangle Lancer, but Tam rolls though it. Kick to the chest by Konami but Tam connects with a spinning heel kick, another heel kick by Tam and she hits a superkick. Konami blocks the next one and re-applies the sleeper, but Tam drops back to get break the hold. Spinning heel kick by Tam and she hits a Tiger Suplex Hold, picking up the three count! Tam Nakano wins and gets two points in the tournament.
A weird little match. It felt like they wrestled the first nine minutes as if they were having a 20 minute match, then cut out the end run to go right to the finish. Konami was the clear dominate wrestler in this match and all the way up to the end she seemed to have the match in control. Its not that the tiger suplex hold isn’t a well respected move by Tam but usually there is a bit more of a lead up to it getting the win. The ending just felt very sudden considering the structure up to that point, I wish they had gone a few more minutes to better tell the story. That being said, the action was very solid as Konami is a technically sound wrestler and Tam is easily carried, so for a midcard match on the show I still think it delivered. Ten minute matches are hard for many wrestlers to do and tell their entire tale, it can be a tough adjustment and these two didn’t quite pull it off even though the effort and output was there to put on a memorable match. Mildly Recommended
Natsuko Tora vs. Utami Hayashishita
Jumping back to Blue Block. Utami comes into the match with two points while Natsuko has zero, a trend that may continue. While Natsuko is the leader of Oedo Tai, she hasn’t had a lot of luck since taking over the faction, with nary a big win to her name. Utami is one of the rising stars of the promotion and her stock continues to go up, making her the favorite to take the win in this match.
Natsuko attacks Utami as she gets in the ring, before she can even get her rope or mask off, throwing her into the corner. Natsuko stomps on Utami’s mask and throws it out of the ring, she picks up Utami and tosses her out of the ring as well. Natsuko follows her out and throws Utami into the guardrail, but when she tries again it is reversed by Utami and Natsuko goes into the steel. Utami slides Natsuko back in the ring, scoop slam by Utami and she puts Natsuko in a camel clutch. She lets go after a moment and stomps on Natsuko, but Natsuko pulls her down by the hair. She goes for a senton but Utami moves, Utami charges Natsuko but Natsuko slides out of the way and hits a cannonball in the corner for a two count. Natsuko picks up Utami but Utami slides away, lariat by Natsuko but Utami stays up and lariats her back. Utami gets Natsuko’s back and drops her with a German suplex, but Natsuko gets back to her feet and hits a German suplex of her own. Another German suplex by Utami, and both wrestlers are down on the mat. Utami is up first and hits a Samoan Drop, but Natsuko kicks out of the cover. Utami applies a sleeper and takes Natsuko to the mat, but Natsuko gets to the ropes to force the break. Utami applies an Argentine Backbreaker but Natsuko gets out of it, Utami charges her but Natsuko pushes the referee in front of her and Utami hits the referee by mistake.
Natsuko and Utami exit the ring but Natsuko gets her chain and hits Utami with it. She then gets a stack of chairs, placing them on Utami’s chest before going up onto the apron. Diving senton by Natsuko onto the chairs, she slowly recovers and gets back in the ring while Utami rolls around in pain on the floor. The referee has regained his senses and starts the count, but Utami barely makes it back in the ring. Natsuko gets her chain and tries to slam Utami onto it, but Utami gets her back and German suplexes Natsuko onto the chain. Lariat by Natsuko, and she covers Utami for two. Swinging Side Slam by Natsuko, but that gets a two count as well. Natsuko slams Utami in front of the corner, she goes up top and delivers the diving body press, but Utami barely gets a shoulder up. Natsuko gets her chain and goes up top, but Utami recovers and joins her. Natsuko bops Utami with the chain and starts choking her with it while still sitting on the top turnbuckle. Utami elbows out of it and gets Natsuko on her shoulders, but Natsuko rakes her in the eyes and slides out to the apron, still holding the chain she chokes Utami over the top rope, the referee gets her free but Natsuko keeps choking Utami anyway. During this the referee calls for the bell, as Natsuko is DQed! Utami wins and now has four points in the tournament.
On one hand, this is probably the best way that they can use Natsuko. Weapons, violence, and cheating is the only method one will buy Natsuko as standing a chance, and she is pretty convincing at it. On the hand, she did all this cheating and bashed Utami with various weapons – but she still lost. That’s the Natsuko Tora Story – cheats a lot, uses lots of weapons, still manages to lose. She needs to take an excursion to Oz Academy and learn from Mayumi Ozaki on how to use those tactics to actually get victories. But it was pretty entertaining, one of the better Natsuko matches I’ve seen in awhile as they used the time well and some of the spots did look hurt-y. Utami hit her moves well but really this was more a match for Natsuko, as she keeps ramping up the pain. A really solid match, we’ll see if as the tournament progresses if Natsuko learns to turn her tactics into wins. Recommended
Jungle Kyona vs. Syuri
We stay in the Blue Block, as we get a special first-time singles match-up. Syuri comes in with two points already while Jungle Kyona has none, so while it is a long tournament it would be tough for any wrestler to win after going 0-2. Syuri though is notoriously difficult to defeat, so Kyona may have to think outside the box if she wants to pick up any points here.
They start the match slow as they jockey for position on the mat, but they reach a stalemate and return to their feet. Waistlock by Kyona but Syuri reverses it into a wristlock, they trade holds while standing until Syuri armdrags Kyona to the mat. Kyona gets out of it as they get back up, elbows Kyona but Syuri kicks her back. Hard shoulderblocks by Kyona and she hits a body press for two. Kyona throws Syuri into the corner but Syuri kicks her when she charges in and applies an armbar over the top rope. She lets go after a moment and stays in control, running knee by Syuri in the corner and she hits a second one for a two count. Syuri goes for a cross armbreaker but Kyona blocks it and gets into the ropes for the break. Syuri picks up Kyona and hits a half hatch suplex, stomps by Syuri but Kyona catches her with a fallaway slam. Kyona gets Syuri on her shoulder and drops her hanging on on the top rope, dropkick by Kyona to Syuri’s back and she covers her for two. Kyona picks up Syuri and they trade elbows, kicks to the chest by Syuri but Kyona catches one and elbows her in the leg.
Syuri fires back with a cross armbreaker takedown, she switches it to a seated armbar but Kyona gets out of it. Kick by Syuri but Kyona elbows her hard in the chest, release German by Syuri but Kyona returns with a lariat. Kyona goes for a suplex but Syuri reverses it into a guillotine choke. Kyona muscles out of it and connects with the vertical suplex, she picks up Syuri and hits a scoop slam. Kyona goes up top and hits a diving body press to Syuri’s back, she picks up Syuri and hits a dragon screw leg whip. Kyona applies a Scorpion Deathlock but Syuri crawls to the ropes and makes it for the break. Dropkick by Kyona and she hits a lariat in the corner, she puts Syuri on the top turnbuckle and goes for the Kinniku Buster but Syuri slides around and puts her in a sleeper instead. Syuri knees Kyona and puts her in in a cross armbreaker, she switches it to the seated armbar, but Kyona gets to the ropes. Syuri goes off the ropes but Kyona catches her with a sit-down powerbomb for two. Kyona goes for the Hammerthrow Bomb but Syuri blocks it, high kick by Syuri and she hits a double knee gutbuster for two. Syuri applies a cross armbreaker but switches it to the Suzaku this time, and Kyona has no choice but to submit! Syuri wins and now has four points in the tournament.
This was just a really solid, well worked match. It didn’t have that big WOW moment but they used their time really well that kept the action moving without ever feeling like they were rushing. Kyona looked strong in defeat, which is kinda her thing, as she fought out of several Syuri submissions and was just one Hammerthrow Bomb away from picking up the possible win. Syuri’s strikes and submissions were all on point and came out of it looking beatable, but damn hard to beat which I think is a good sweet spot for her. Not a spectacular match or a MOTYC, but smart and entertaining from bell to bell. Recommended
Giulia vs. Himeka
For the Red Block main event, we get Donna del Mondo vs. Donna del Mondo! This is obviously a first time singles match, since they are in the same faction and Himeka just showed up in the promotion a couple months ago. Giulia has been virtually unbeatable in Stardom, and has yet to be defeated in a singles match. But Himeka is hungry to show her worth in her new promotion, and she certainly isn’t going to just roll over for the leader of her faction.
After a brief feeling out process, Giulia tries to get Himeka’s back but Himeka shrugs her off and goes for a backdrop suplex. Giulia lands on her feet, Himeka goes for a lariat but Giulia ducks it, leading them to a stalemate. Giulia works a side headlock but Himeka tosses her to the mat to get out of it, Irish whip by Himeka but Giulia reverses it. Himeka doublestomps on Giulia’s back when she pancakes and throws her hard into the corner before hitting a lariat. Crab hold by Himeka but Giulia gets to the ropes, Himeka twists up Giulia in the ropes and charges her, hitting a lariat. Himeka tries to dump Giulia out of the ring but Giulia won’t let her, but another lariat finally sends her crashing down to the floor. Himeka goes out after her and goes for a slam, but Giulia wiggles away and the two trade strikes. They return to the ring before the count so they can keep elbowing each other, boot by Giulia and she dropkicks Himeka in the knee. Giulia applies a STF but Himeka gets into the ropes for the break, Giulia goes to the top turnbuckle but Himeka elbows her before she can jump off. Himeka grabs Giulia but Giulia gets out of the powerbomb attempt, neckbreaker by Giulia out of the corner and she goes to the top turnbuckle, hitting a missile dropkick.
Giulia picks up Himeka and goes for a suplex, but Himeka elbows out of it and hits a Samoan Drop. Himeka goes off the ropes but Giulia boots her in the head, knee by Himeka but Giulia hits another running boot. Giulia goes off the ropes but Himeka levels her with a lariat, leaving both wrestlers down on the mat. They slowly get up and start trading elbows again, with Himeka winning the battle. Himeka gets Giulia on her shoulders in an Argentine Backbreaker, but Giulia slides off and puts Himeka in the STF. Himeka gets to the ropes for the break, Giulia goes off the far ropes and boots Himeka in the head. Giulia goes for a backdrop suplex but Himeka blocks it, she hits Himeka and tries again, and this time is able to drop her. Michinoku Driver by Giulia, but her cover only gets two. Giulia sets up Himeka for the Glorious Driver but Himeka hiptosses out of it, running knee by Himeka and she covers Giulia for a two count. Giulia gets up but Himeka greets her with a lariat, another lariat by Himeka and she covers Giulia for two. Argentine Backbreaker by Himeka and she slams Giulia to the front for another two count. Himeka picks up Giulia and nails the running powerbomb, cover by Himeka and she gets the three count! Himeka wins and now has four points in the tournament.
I knew the result before watching the match but I am still surprised by the execution. This was just a Himeka match, she had her way with Giulia for much of it and just beat her into the ground at the end without a hope spot in sight. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but Giulia had yet been pinned in such a definitive way since joining Stardom so they are definitely making a statement with their plans for Himeka. I enjoyed all the strike battles and they have good chemistry, its no secret that Giulia is one of my favorite Joshi wrestlers so I was going to enjoy this either way but Himeka more than held her own. An entertaining main event on the top of a really solid card by Stardom, I still would have it a touch below MOTYC level but Himeka came out of it looking like a beast which will only help her down the road. Recommended
If you want to watch an event that is really solid from top to bottom, this is the show for you. Six of the seven matches I’d recommend on some level, and even the one I didn’t was an above-average match as there were no stinkers here. While there wasn’t a legit MOTYC, there is a lot to love here with the younger/newer wrestlers (Starlight Kid, AZM, and Himeka) really stepping up. If you are a ‘complete show’ person like me rather than a cherry picker, you don’t want to miss this one.