Stardom 5★Star GP on 9/3/16 Review

Event: Stardom 5★Star Grand Prix Day 4
Date: September 3rd, 2016
Location: Yokohama Radiant Hall in Kanagawa, Japan
Announced Attendance: 315

I have accepted the fact that I am not going to review all of the FIVE STAR GP events due to time reasons, but I did want to review this one just for the main event if nothing else. Here are the standings going into the event:

Blue Block
Red Block
Toni Storm [6]
Kay Lee Ray [4]
Yoko Bito [3]
Blue Nikita [2]
Mayu Iwatani [2]
Hiromi Mimura [0]
Maki Natsumi [0]
Io Shirai [4]
Kairi Hojo [4]
Tessa Blanchard [4]
Courtney Stewart [2]
Jungle Kyouna [2]
Momo Watanabe [2]
Kris Wolf [0]

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

  • Blue Block: Blue Nikita vs. Hiromi Mimura
  • Red Block: Courtney Stewart vs. Momo Watanabe
  • Red Block: Kris Wolf vs. Tessa Blanchard
  • Blue Block: Natsumi Maki vs. Yoko Bito
  • Blue Block: Kay Lee Ray vs. Toni Storm
  • Red Block: Io Shirai vs. Kairi Hojo

My favorites are all here so this should be fun, although many of the matches are unfortunately quite short.

Blue Nikita vs. Hiromi Mimura

We start with poor Mimura trying to pick up her first win. Blue Nikita has proven to be a force in the tournament however and really needs a win if she wants to win the Block, so it doesn’t look good for our favorite Stardom rookie.

stardom9-3-1Nikita tosses around Hiromi to start the match and kicks her in the stomach, more kicks by Nikita but Hiromi wiggles away and applies a few quick pins. Dropkick by Hiromi and she elbows Nikita against the ropes, but Nikita hits a cartwheel kick and applies a submission hold. Hiromi gets to the ropes to force a break, Nikita stomps on Hiromi but Hiromi rolls her to the mat and applies her cross kneelock. Nikita gets into the ropes, elbows by Hiromi but Nikita knocks her to the mat. La Magistral by Hiromi, she picks up Nikita but Nikita hits a vertical suplex. Death Valley Bomb by Nikita, and she picks up the three count! Blue Nikita wins and gets two points in the tournament.

Hiromi continued her attempt to win matches with quick pins and having no luck with it whatsoever. A pretty basic match, about what you’d expect from an opener but a decent showing by Nikita.

Courtney Stewart vs. Momo Watanabe

This is an interesting pairing. Courtney is the gaijin and generally gaijins mop up the young wrestlers, but she is only 22 years old herself and pretty new to wrestling. In fact they both been wrestling for about two years, making it a pretty fair match. Neither of them are going to win their Blocks, but both have something to prove.

stardom9-3-2Momo attacks first with elbows and a dropkick, Courtney fights back and elbows Momo in the corner before twisting her up in the ropes. Courtney kicks Momo from the apron, cover by Courtney but it gets a two count. Backbreaker by Courtney but Momo elbows her and hits another dropkick. Dropkick by Momo in the corner and she hits a final one, cover by Momo but Courtney kicks out. Elbows by Courtney in the corner by Momo elbows her back, Momo slides away from Courtney but she gets out of the waistlock and throws Momo into the corner. Lariat by Courtney but Momo avoids her charge and hits a series of mid-kicks. Momo gets on the second turnbuckle and hits a missile dropkick, she goes for the Somato but Courtney rolls out of the way. Knee drop by Courtney, she picks up Momo but Momo rolls her up for two. Dropkick by Momo and she kicks Courtney to the mat, Somato by Momo and she gets the three count! Momo Watanabe gets the win and two points.

I have mentioned in the past that Momo looks great against seasoned veterans but a bit lost against people with similar experience as her. While the match was basic it also had a fair amount of iffy transitions and they looked a few times like they weren’t on the same page. Momo has shown a lot of potential but still has a ways to go before she can lead a match, which is understandable as she is still only 16 years old. Safe to skip this match though.

Kris Wolf vs. Tessa Blanchard

During her interview segment, Kris mostly talks about eating meat and then eating Tessa, which is Kris in a nutshell. I love her. Tessa is a bit more serious, as she still has plans to win the tournament. With a win here, Tessa will stay at the top of her Block and in good shape to reach the Finals.

stardom9-3-3Tessa and Kris trade wristlocks to start, Kris gets the better of it and she shoulderblocks Tessa to the mat. Tessa knocks Kris out of the ring, she goes to do a dive but Kris hits her with a chair before she can. Kris keeps the assault up outside the ring and on the apron, she slams Tessa on a chair before hitting the chair into her. Kris rolls Tessa back in and hits mounted elbows, double kneedrop by Kris and she covers Tessa for two. Tessa comes back with a running cutter, elbows by Tessa and she hits a pair of neckbreakers before dropkicking Kris into the corner. Springboard bulldog by Tessa, but Kris gets a shoulder up on the cover. Wolf hits a rebound crossbody to get back on top, she gets up on the turnbuckle and kicks Tessa when she charges in. Suplex by Kris and she goes for a leg submission, but Tessa gets to the ropes before she can lock it on. Tessa drops Kris onto the second turnbuckle and hits a running elbow to the back, inside cradle by Kris but it gets two. Tessa grabs Kris and delivers the Tessa Attack, and she gets the three count! Tessa is the winner and she gets two points in the tournament.

My favorite match of the night so far, mostly because I adore Kris but it was a well structured match. Kris was only going to win with some shenanigans, so her using the chairs made sense, but once they got back into the ring it was the better wrestler that got the win. Tessa winning was necessary so that she didn’t fall behind in the Blocks, and since Kris was a late entry she didn’t really need a win. Although I hope she gets some points sometime. Fun match.  Mildly Recommended

Natsumi Maki vs. Yoko Bito

Natsumi is in the same boat as Hiromi Mimura – not expected to get any wins but still looking to make an impression. Yoko is starting to lag behind Toni Storm and really needs a win here to catch back up, if she is going to reclaim her spot towards the top of the card she needs to do well in the tournament. Natsumi is mostly here to do something cute, which I am sure she will.

stardom9-3-4Natsumi gets the early advantage with elbows but Yoko fires back and the two trade blows. Natsumi and Yoko trade elbows, Natsumi does a cartwheel and armdrags Yoko to the mat. She does another cartwheel and rolls up Yoko, she goes for a few other quick pins but Yoko kicks out each time. Yoko has had enough and throws down Natsumi by her hair, scoop slam by Yoko and she delivers a second one. Natsumi goes for a crossbody but Yoko catches her, Natsumi dropkicks Yoko into the corner and she hits a swinging slam with a bridge for a two count. Natsumi slaps Yoko and hits a scoop slam, she goes up top and she hits a diving crossbody for another two. Yoko delivers a jumping high kick and kicks Natsumi repeatedly in the back, Doll-B by Yoko and she picks up the three count! Yoko Bito wins the match and gets two points in the tournament.

Even though it was short I think they accomplished what they were going for. Yoko Bito got the win she needed and won pretty easily, but Natsumi got her moves in too and looked good in the process as she didn’t mess up anything. Not all of Yoko’s high kicks hit flush, I guess she was taking it easy on the youngster, but in the end it didn’t really matter too much. Simple and a little rough around the edges, but not bad.

Kay Lee Ray vs. Toni Storm

Guess what, its Kay Lee Ray time! My favorite part of the day. Toni Storm is the leader of the Blue Block and with a win here would really set her up to reach the Finals. Kay Lee Ray on the other hand has fallen behind, she would fall down to third place if she loses to Storm. Kay Lee Ray and Storm are both very familar each other and have wrestled many times in their career in the European circuit. So I have high hopes that they will deliver here.

stardom9-3-5After some introductory limb work, Storm applies a headscissors but Kay Lee Ray does a handstand to get out of it. Shoulderblock by Kay Lee Ray but Storm trips her and rolls her up for two. Yoshi Tonic by Storm, but Kay Lee Ray gets a shoulder up and both wrestlers are back on their feet. Big kick by Storm and she uppercuts Kay Lee Ray, Storm throws Kay Lee Ray into the corner but Kay Lee Ray jumps on the second turnbuckle and hits a missile dropkick. Storm goes for a Backstabber but Kay Lee Ray hangs onto the ropes to block it, kicks by Kay Lee Ray and she covers Storm for two. Kay Lee Ray chops Storm in the corner, float over DDT and she puts Storm in a grounded front necklock. Storm muscles out of it and hits a vertical suplex, Storm knocks Kay Lee Ray into the corner but Kay Lee Ray avoids her charge and goes up top. Storm hits her before she can jump off, they trade reversals until Storm rolls up Kay Lee Ray for a two count. Both wrestlers go for headbutts, and they knock each other out in the process. Kay Lee Ray and Storm trade elbows, release German by Storm and she hits a running knee in the corner. Fisherman suplex by Storm, but Kay Lee Ray kicks out of the cover. Storm picks up Kay Lee Ray but Kay Lee Ray hits a front suplex, Northern Lights Suplex by Kay Lee Ray but Storm rolls through it and hits a DDT for two. Back up, kicks by Kay Lee Ray and she hits a Gory Special for a two count. Kay Lee Ray goes up top but Storm rolls out of the ring, so Kay Lee Ray jumps out onto Storm on the floor. Kay Lee Ray rolls Storm back in but Storm immediately dives onto her with a tope suicida. Both wrestlers are slow to recover, they get up on the apron, Storm goes for a piledriver but Kay Lee Ray gets out of it. High kick by Kay Lee Ray, she charges Storm but Storm pushes her away and nails a piledriver onto the apron! Storm drags Kay Lee Ray up and rolls her into the ring, she hits another piledriver but the time expires! The match is a Draw and both wrestlers get one point.

As I assumed, these two have great chemistry and the time really flew by. Lots of tight reversals with big strikes and suplexes mixed in, not to mention the killer apron spot. Kay Lee Ray is one of the best woman wrestlers in the world as far as I can tell, she mixes in her offense well and is convincing at selling Storm’s offense. The only knock on the match was the end, if Storm knew that time was ending she shouldn’t have gone for another piledriver, she should have been trying to quickly pin Kay Lee Ray before it was too late. Besides that, a great match, I really enjoyed it.  Recommended

Io Shirai vs. Kairi Hojo

Big Match Io! Shirai and Hojo are two of the Three Daughters of Stardom but rarely have a singles match – this is only their 5th singles match ever. On top of that, even though Io Shirai is the Ace of Stardom, it was Kairi Hojo that won the FIVE STAR GP last year so it is Io that has a lot to prove here. Io and Kairi won’t hold anything back to get those two points, as a loss here would seriously damage that wrestler’s chance of winning the tournament.

Io gets the first advantage with elbows but Kairi hits a headscissors and rolls up Io for two. They trade quick pin attempts with no luck, Kairi chops Io into the corner but Io retires fire and chops Kairi against the ropes. Io stomps down Kairi in the corner, she slides out to the apron and kicks Kairi in the head. Io goes for a swandive move but Kairi hits her mid-jump and hits a diving footstomp while Io is hanging over the top rope. Kairi hits a Sliding D to Io’s back, which sends Io out of the ring. Shoulder tackles by Kairi as she continuously knocks Io into the apron, Kairi then gets on the apron and hits a footstomp onto Io’s chest. Back in the ring, Kairi its a shoulder tackle to Io’s back before going up top, but Io dropkicks her as she jumps off. Io goes for a Tiger Feint Kick but Kairi avoids it, Kairi charges Io but Io moves and Kairi is left hanging over the second rope. Io gets on the apron and grabs Kairi, she gets her around the waist and piledrives her off the apron to the floor! Jesus, Kairi landed right on the back of the head.

stardom9-3-6She gets tended to with the magic healing spray while Io gets back in the ring to wait for her, assuming she can make the count. Kairi manages to get back in the ring, double knee by Io in the corner and she dropkicks Kairi in the head for a two count. Scoop slam by Io, she goes up top but Kairi fires up and joins Io. Kairi chops down Io so she is hanging with her back to the ring, Kairi elbows Io and Io falls down to the floor. Kairi gets up on the top turnbuckle and dives out onto Io, hitting a splash plancha. Back in the ring, elbows by Kairi and she hits the spinning backfist. Kairi goes up top but Io catches her arm when she goes for the diving elbow drop and applies a cross armbreaker. Kairi gets a foot on the ropes to force a break, punches by Io and she hits the package German for a two count. Io picks up Kairi and goes for the double underhook facebuster, but Kairi lands on her feet. Io blocks the Sliding D and applies La Magistral into a bridging pin, but Kairi kicks out. Kick to the head by Io, she goes for another one but Kairi catches her leg and applies Ikari. Io gets to the ropes for the break, palm thrust by Io but Kairi hits a spinning chop. Alabama Slam by Kairi, she goes up top and she nails a diving elbow drop to Io’s back. She goes up top and hits a second one, Kairi re-applies the Ikari and Io is forced to submit! Kairi Hojo wins the match and gets two points in the tournament.

First, I have to say that I have been watching wrestling for 25 years and I am not sure I’ve seen a wrestler piledrive another wrestler off the apron without having something to break the fall before hitting the floor. So that was quite a moment, but even without that it was a great match. Like the last match, these two have fantastic chemistry and were very smooth with their reversals. It was also logical, as Hojo targeted Io’s back throughout the match and then won the match with a submission hold that hurts the back. Simple, but logical and intelligent. A great and memorable match, a must-see.  Highly Recommended

Final Thoughts


The first four matches had some fun moments, but the matches were too short (5 to 7 minutes) to get particularly excited about. The last two matches were both great though, as both pitted two wrestlers against each other that already had chemistry and they told a logical and well structured story. Kay Lee Ray and Storm continue to be two of the better gaijin pick-ups this year, as both have very tight offense that kept their 15 minute match entertaining from bell to bell. In the main event, while I don’t know what Kairi and Io were thinking doing that piledriver spot (Kairi would miss the rest of the tournament due to a concussion), it was still a very high level match. Some of the undercard is iffy but definitely watch the last two matches, both are top notch.