Event: STARDOM 5☆STAR GP 2020 – Day 3
Date: September 5th, 2020
Location: Shin-Kiba 1st RING in Tokyo, Japan
Announced Attendance: 140
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.
We had a bit of a pause in the tournament due to a COVID situation, so going forward the cards will be further condensed to have more tournament matches. Therefore, Day 3 now has six matches, here is the full card:
- Red Block: DEATH Yama-san vs. Tam Nakano
- Red Block: Himeka vs. Starlight Kid
- Blue Block: AZM vs. Jungle Kyona
- Red Block: Giulia vs. Saya Kamitani
- Blue Block: Momo Watanabe vs. Natsuko Tora
- Red Block: Konami vs. Mayu Iwatani
This event was uploaded to Stardom World, so all matches will be reviewed in full. Lets get to it!
DEATH Yama-san vs. Tam Nakano
We begin in the Red Block. Both wrestlers are behind the leader at this point, with Tam Nakano needing a win to catch back up. DEATH was always set to just be a spoiler in this tournament as a silly gimmick isn’t going to with the FIVE STAR, so her goal here is just to ruin Tam’s day and keep her away from the top of the bracket.
DEATH poses to start while Tam poses behind her, but Tam finally kicks DEATH from behind. Armdrag by DEATH but Tam trips her, schoolboy by DEATH but it gets a two count. DEATH throws Tam into the corner but Tam kicks her when she charges in and boots DEATH in the chest. Tam picks up DEATH and goes for a backdrop suplex, but DEATH lands on her feet and thrusts Tam in the chest. Running senton by DEATH, but her cover gets two. DEATH picks up Tam and applies a stretch hold, but Tam gets into the ropes for the break. DEATH picks up Tam gets out of the backdrop suplex attempt. Another throat thrust by DEATH and she goes off the ropes, but Tam finally catches her with a backdrop suplex. Tam goes up top and hits the Destiny Hammer, cover by Tam but it gets a two count. Tam picks up DEATH but DEATH blocks the Tiger Suplex, cradle by DEATH but it gets a two count as the two trade flash pins. DEATH goes off the ropes but Tam kicks her in the head, she goes for a running knee but DEATH avoids it and rolls her up for two. Chaos Theory attempt by DEATH but Tam rolls through it and hits a heel kick. Tiger Suplex Hold by Tam, and she picks up the three count! Tam wins and gets two points in the tournament.
For the first tournament match of the day, it was short and inoffensive. DEATH serves a purpose as she gives the other wrestlers in her block a ‘chill’ match, similar to what Yano does for New Japan in the G1 Climax. You know you aren’t getting a high end match, but it wasn’t bad either, it just existed. An easy two points for Tam as she gets her second win.
Himeka vs. Starlight Kid
We stay in the Red Block, as DDM battles STARS. Like DEATH, Starlight Kid has no chance of winning the tournament but unlike DEATH she is a rising star in the promotion and is going to try her damndest
to put on an entertaining match. This will likely have the traditional Big Wrestler vs. Little Wrestler theme, with Starlight Kid trying to stay a step ahead of Stardom’s latest roster member.
They lock-up to start, Himeka pushes Starlight Kid into the ropes but she gives a clean break. Starlight Kid slaps her, Irish whip attempt by Starlight Kid but Himeka doesn’t budge. Elbows by Starlight Kid and she goes off the ropes, but Himeka knocks her over with a hard shoulderblock. Himeka goes off the ropes, Starlight Kid goes for a crossbody but Himeka catches her. Starlight Kid spins out of it and cradles Himeka for two, Starlight Kid goes off the ropes but Himeka hits a backbreaker. Camel Clutch by Himeka into a chinlock, but Starlight Kid gets into the ropes for the break. Himeka kicks at Starlight Kid and throws her into the corner, Irish whip by Himeka but Starlight Kid ducks her lariat attempt and hits a satellite DDT. Starlight Kid goes up top but Himeka recovers and elbows her, Himeka goes for a powerbomb but Starlight Kid reverses it with a hurricanrana. Tiger Feint Kick by Starlight Kid and she hits a standing moonsault for a two count. Starlight Kid picks up Himeka but Himeka blocks the cross-legged suplex, Starlight Kid goes off the ropes and she delivers a spinning headscissors. Irish whip by Starlight Kid to the corner but Himeka reverses it, Starlight Kid avoids Himeka’s charge in the corner but Himeka knees her in the face.
Single leg crab hold by Himeka but Starlight Kid gets into the ropes, Himeka charges Starlight Kid and knees her in the back. Cover by Himeka, but it gets a two count. Himeka picks up Starlight Kid and gets her on her shoulders, but Starlight Kid quickly slides off and hits an armdrag. Himeka gets on the second turnbuckle but Starlight Kid armdrags her back to the mat, Starlight Kid goes to the top turnbuckle and hits the swivel body press for a two count cover. Starlight Kid picks up Himeka and delivers the cross-legged suplex hold, but Himeka gets a shoulder up. Starlight Kid picks up Himeka and goes off the ropes, but Himeka levels her with a jumping knee. Lariat by Himeka, and she covers Starlight Kid for two. Himeka picks up Starlight Kid and goes for the running powerbomb, but Starlight Kid spins out of it and cradles Himeka for two. Starlight Kid charges Himeka but Himeka hits another lariat, she goes for a cover but Starlight Kid quickly rolls her up for a two count. Himeka picks up Starlight Kid and nails a short-range lariat, crab hold by Himeka but Starlight Kid gets to the ropes. Himeka picks up Starlight Kid and puts her in the Argentine Backbreaker, and Starlight Kid has no choice but to submit! Himeka wins and gets two points in the tournament.
A solid little match. This went exactly as you’d expect it to, with perhaps Starlight Kid getting more offense than I expected which just shows they aren’t booking her as just a feisty underdog but a serious competitor as well. They worked well together and there wasn’t any awkwardness, with both hitting all of their moves well. It felt like it went the right amount of time even though it wasn’t a long match, as the work that Himeka was doing on Starlight Kid’s back was convincing enough that it didn’t need another five minutes. Nothing mind-blowing but entertaining. Mildly Recommended
AZM vs. Jungle Kyona
Moving along, we go over to the Blue Block for some Queen’s Quest vs. Tokyo Cyber Squads action. Jungle doesn’t have any points yet so she’ll definitely need to get something here if she wants to keep up with the top of the pack, while AZM is trying to prove that she is ready to move up the card. Jungle is still the favorite here but AZM has shown she won’t be going down easy in this tournament.
AZM offers a handshake to start but kicks Jungle instead, Irish whip by AZM but Jungle avoids her as they go into a fast exchange. Hard shoulderblock by Jungle and she stomps on AZM, but AZM hits an armdrag followed by a satellite schoolboy for two. AZM picks up Jungle but Jungle drops her with a vertical suplex, Jungle picks up AZM and puts her in a backbreaker. Jungle drops AZM so she is hanging on the top rope, she gets a running start and dropkicks AZM in the back. over by Jungle, but it gets a two count. Jungle applies a single leg crab hold, she lets go after a moment and hits a body press to AZM’s back. Jungle stomps on AZM’s back while AZM tries to get up, AZM fights back with elbows but Jungle elbows her into the corner. Irish whip by Jungle but AZM jumps on the second turnbuckle and hits a missile dropkick. AZM applies a standing armbar before rolling Jungle to the mat and going for a suplex, eventually getting Jungle over for a two count cover.
AZM picks up Jungle, Jungle throws her into the corner but AZM grabs her arm and slams Jungle down to the mat. Double armbar by AZM but Jungle gets a foot on the ropes for the break. AZM goes off the ropes and hits La Mistica, but Jungle rolls out of it. Head kick by AZM, she goes to the top turnbuckle and nails a diving footstomp for a two count. AZM goes off the ropes and goes for a hurricanrana, but Jungle blocks it and puts AZM in a crab hold. AZM struggles and eventually gets to the ropes for the break. Jungle positions AZM and gets on the second turnbuckle, but AZM avoids her dive and goes for the Fujiwara Armbar. Jungle rolls out of it so AZM applies a double armbar instead, but Jungle makes it to the ropes. AZM picks up Jungle and goes for a triple jump move out of the corner, but Jungle catches her with an elbow to the face. Lariat by Jungle and she hits a sliding lariat for a two count cover. Jungle picks up AZM and goes for the Hammer Throw Bomb, but AZM reverses it into a quick pin for two. Swinging Sleeper by Jungle and she keeps the hold applied on the mat, she lets go after a moment and goes up to the top turnbuckle. Diving Body Press by Jungle, and she picks up the three count! Jungle Kyona wins and gets two points.
This felt a little out of focus at times but I still enjoyed it. AZM being good isn’t really a surprise to any regular fans of Stardom but the promotion kept her hidden in the opener and mid-card for a long time so its nice she is finally getting a chance against wrestlers higher than her on the pecking order. It will take some time for her to get respect just from being lower on the card for so long, but she’ll get there. Jungle’s offense is a little all over the place as she was going after mostly AZM’s back before winning with a diving body press, the Hammer Throw Bomb would have made more sense but its still a move worthy of a victory. A little disjointed at times story-wise but the action was smooth, a good match. Mildly Recommended
Giulia vs. Saya Kamitani
We return to the Red Block, and one of the matches I was looking to the most. Which is partially because I am a big fan of Giulia, and also because Saya Kamitani is a fascinating rookie with not a lot of matches under her belt due to the Pandemic. Obviously Giulia is the favorite to win, especially after she lost on Day 2 and needs some points to keep up, but Saya isn’t your average rookie and will put up a fight.
They tie-up to start, Giulia pushes Saya into the ropes but she gives a clean break. Saya gets Giulia into the ropes the next time and hits a series of elbows, dropkick by Saya but Giulia dropkicks her back. Giulia smashes Saya into the corner and knees her in the midsection, she stands on top of Saya for a moment until the referee gets her off. Snapmare by Giulia and she applies an armbar, but Saya gets to the ropes for the break. Saya tries to fight back with elbows but Giulia boots her in the head, running knee by Giulia and she flings Saya to the mat for a quick cover. Scoop slam by Giulia and she works a chinlock, but again Saya gets to the ropes. Elbows but Giulia but Saya elbows her back, Irish whip by Giulia but Saya reverses it and hits a knee in the corner. Giulia smacks Saya to the mat and goes off the ropes, but Saya flips away from her and hits a dropkick. Kip-up by Saya and she hits a jumping knee in the corner followed by a dropkick for two. Sickle Hold by Saya but Giulia muscles out of it and applies a STF.
Saya gets to the ropes for the break, Giulia picks her up but Saya blocks the suplex attempt and kicks Giulia in the face. Scoop slam by Saya and she cover Giulia for a quick two. Saya goes up top but Giulia recovers and grabs her, she goes for the Glorious Driver but Saya reverses it into a cradle for two. Heel Kick by Saya, she picks up Giulia and hits a scoop slam. Saya hangs Giulia on the top rope and goes to the top turnbuckle, hitting a diving double knee for a two count cover. Saya applies a single leg crab hold but Giulia gets to the ropes, Saya goes for the Running Shooting Star Press but Giulia reverses it into a Triangle Choke. Saya rolls around in it but gets a foot on the bottom rope for the break, Giulia picks up Saya but Saya fights back. Saya goes off the ropes but Giulia hits a boot, backdrop suplex by Giulia and she covers Saya for a two count. Giulia picks up Saya and drops her with the Glorious Driver, cover by Giulia and she gets the three count! Giulia is the winner and gets two points in the tournament.
While they didn’t really go away from the formula here, it was still a good match. I just wish they had done a bit more to differentiate it from just about every other veteran vs. rookie match that has ever taken place. Giulia controlled the action, stopped a few Saya comebacks, finally Saya got her comeback and hit some big moves, then Giulia catches her and wins. It doesn’t make the match a bad watch, and Giulia gave Saya quite a bit of offense, it just doesn’t make it special. My only structure-related complaint is the random crab hold by Saya which meant nothing and wasn’t necessary, otherwise the action itself was well done and both hit their moves well. A solid match with two good wrestlers, but we may have to wait a bit to see these two in a legitimately competitive match. Mildly Recommended
Momo Watanabe vs. Natsuko Tora
Back to Blue, as the True Heart of Stardom battles the leader of Oedo Tai. Momo is a bit on the back-burner right now as she isn’t in one of the featured feuds in Stardom, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that she is still well protected and her time will come once again. Just only room at the top for so many wrestlers. Natsuko Tora is still figuring out the “monster heel” gimmick with limited positive results, so we’ll see if Momo can help her find her inner evil in a more productive way.
Natsuko attacks Momo on the ramp before she even makes it to the ring so we are off to a good start, she brings Momo to the ring and tosses her in so that the match can officially start. Natsuko beats Momo with her own mask before throwing her down by the hair, bootscrapes by Natsuko but Momo catches her with a dropkick. Stomps by Momo but she is tripped from the floor by it looks like Saki Kashima, Momo falls out of the ring and Natsuko goes after her. Natsuko gets a chair and throws it at Momo, she eventually slides Momo back in and hits a few more bootscrapes followed by the running boot. Natsuko throws Momo into the corner and hits a running back elbow, cannonball by Natsuko and she covers Momo for two. Natsuko picks up Momo and throws her back into the corner, but Momo avoids her charge and delivers a dropkick. Natsuko falls into a seated position and Momo hits another dropkick, kicks to the chest by Momo and she hits a vertical suplex for two. More kicks by Momo but Natsuko catches one and hits an elbow, Momo elbows her back and the two trade blows. Backfist by Natsuko and she hits a lariat, cover by Natsuko but it gets two.
Scoop slam by Natsuko, she gets on the top turnbuckle and delivers a diving body press for another two count. Swinging Side Slam by Natsuko, but that gets a two count as well. Natsuko drags up Momo but Momo gets away and kicks her, she goes off the ropes but Natsuko pulls the referee in front of her and Momo knocks him over by mistake. Momo slams Natsuko to the mat anyway and hits the Somato, the recovered referee makes the count but it only gets two. Momo goes to the top turnbuckle and nails the Diving Somato, but Natsuko barely gets a shoulder up. Momo goes for the Tequila Sunrise but Natsuko blocks it, she applies the crossface chickenwing but Natsuko gets to the ropes for the break. Momo goes off the ropes but Natsuko has gotten her chain and hits Momo with it, she ties the chain around Momo’s neck and throws Momo over the top rope so she can hang her from it. The referee of course is being distracted during this, Natsuko eventually lets go and covers Momo for the three count! Natsuko Tora wins and gets two points.
I can see why this match got a mixed reaction online. They finally did what I’ve been talking about, have Natsuko actually succeed with her cheating to get a win, but they did it in a stupid way. The referee bump earlier in the match was pointless since Momo stayed in control, and when they really needed the referee to be unconscious he instead was standing five feet away and pretending not to see Natsuko trying to kill Momo. Its a fine line as some weapon usage is allowed in Stardom, and some things like the green mist aren’t punished, but this went beyond that and it wasn’t believable that the referee wasn’t aware. Its still a step in the right direction, I just hope they improve the execution as its a tricky situation to get just right.
Konami vs. Mayu Iwatani
The Red Block gets the coveted main event spot, as Konami of Tokyo Cyber Squad takes on Mayu Iwatani from STARS. Konami and Mayu are both four points behind the leader, so a win here is important if they are going to gain some ground. This is only the second ever singles match between the two, with Mayu being victorious in early 2019 when she defended the ROH Women of Honor Championship (remember those days?) against Konami. But that was a long time ago, and Konami now gets a chance to get some revenge as well as two points in the tournament.
They start the match carefully as they trade holds, Mayu gets Konami to the mat first but Konami muscles away from her and applies a side headlock. Mayu gets out of it and goes for a sleeper hold but Konami has none of that and she gets Mayu’s back. She works a headlock as they return to their feet but Mayu reverses it, Irish whip by Konami but Mayu avoids her kicks. Irish whip by Mayu from the corner, reversed, Konami goes for the Triangle Lancer but Mayu is too close to the ropes and gets a foot on them for the break. Mayu rolls out of the ring to recover but returns after a moment, but Konami strikes her as she gets on the apron and hits a DDT through the ropes. Konami applies a headscissors and slams Mayu’s head into the mat repeatedly, but Mayu rolls into the ropes for the break. Mayu tries to fight back but Konami stomps her down, Mayu catches Konami with a Sling Blade but is too hurt to capitalize. Kick by Konami but Mayu delivers a superkick, Mayu goes off the ropes and dropkicks Konami hard in the chest. Konami falls out of the ring, Mayu goes to the top turnbuckle and dives down onto Konami with a crossbody.
Mayu slides Konami back in and goes to the top turnbuckle again, delivering a missile dropkick. Mayu sets up Konami in the corner to go for the Running Three, but Konami squirms away. Dodonpa by Mayu, but it gets a two count. Mayu goes up top and hits the diving body press, but Konami gets a shoulder up on the cover. Mayu goes up again but Konami avoids the moonsault, Buzzsaw Kick by Konami and she hits a release German for two. Konami picks up Mayu and goes for the Triangle Lancer but Mayu slides away and hits a Dragon Suplex Hold for two. She goes for another one but Konami gets away and puts Mayu in the Triangle Lancer. Mayu gets a foot on the ropes to force the break. Konami gets on the second turnbuckle and hits a footstomp to Mayu’s arm, she then goes all the way up but Mayu recovers and joins her. Konami slides between her legs and kicks Mayu in the head, Konami puts Mayu in a chokehold while hanging from the turnbuckle until the referee gets her to let go. Konami goes up top and hits a missile dropkick to the back of Mayu’s head, getting a two count. Konami picks up Mayu and applies a guillotine choke, but again Mayu gets to the ropes. Sleeper Suplex by Konami and she delivers a Buzzsaw Kick, picking up another two count. Mayu tries to get up but Konami quickly puts her in a modified Triangle Lancer, and Mayu taps out! Konami wins and gets two points in the tournament.
This was an entertaining match between two quality wrestlers. Mayu is so good at making all offense look painful, its really hard to dislike any big match she is in as she hooks you in to anything she is doing. She is one of the best sympathetic wrestlers on the scene. Konami’s kicks and suplexes were all on point and her focus on the arm was good, and then she won with an armlock which is even better as all her hard work wasn’t just wasted offense. I do wish Mayu had a bit longer of a run on offense though as she wrestled the match as the underdog and then tapped out even though she’s at the top of the food chain. Not that I mind her losing but normally she’s incredibly hard to beat so a longer end-stretch would have made the match feel more complete. Still though, a really good match between two really good wrestlers and a fitting main event. Recommended
While this event was missing a banger, or even a particularly high end match, it was an easy watch from start to finish. All of the tournament matches were at least ‘good’, even if most did not do anything special to really set themselves apart. Stardom has such a good roster now that they could sleepwalk through a decent show. The main event was the best match but not by much, as it was missing something to get it to the MOTYC level. Overall a solid show, casual fans can probably skip it since there will be better events during the tournament but Stardom regulars will find something to enjoy.