SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
STARDOM 5STAR GRAND PRIX
SEPTEMBER 6, 2020
SENDAI, JAPAN AT SENDAI PIT
AIRED ON STARDOM WORLD
REPORT BY HARLEY R. PAGEOT, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Rina said she had no interest in her older sister and wanted to beat the red belt champion instead. Iwatani was nervous about being in the opening match for the first time in a long time. She wanted Hanan to have some fanfare but also wanted to pick up the win herself.
(1) STARS (World Of Stardom Champion Mayu Iwatani & Hanan) vs. RINA & HINA
Hina and Iwatani started. Rina jumped the champ from behind and the twins went to work. They put up a spirited fight but Iwatani eventually took control and tagged in their sister. Iwatani ended up making Hina tap to a dragon sleeper.
WINNERS: Stars in 5:35.
(Pageot’s Perspective: Another match seemingly tailor-made to give Hanan a win but instead it’s the champ taking it. Curious.)
-Kyona silently mimicked Iida’s gorilla chest beating. Iida reflected on losing to Kyona the last time they faced and told herself this time would be different.
(2) SAYA IIDA vs. JUNGLE KYONA – BLUE STARS BLOCK
Iida with a series of charging dropkicks. Gorilla slaps in the ropes but Kyona leveled her with one of her own. Backbreaker. Single-leg crab. They traded chops. Kyona wanted a powerbomb but Iida hit a back body drop. Missile dropkick. Northern lights suplex for two. Lariat from Kyona. Body slam. Top rope splash.
WINNER: Jungle Kyona in 6:35.
(Pageot’s Perspective: A fine little match. These two have a long history dating back to Iida joining Kyona’s stable Jungle Assault Nation following her first match in January 2019. Kyona picks up another win and is now in a four-way tie for first in the Blue Stars. Will Iida get any wins? It seems doubtful, especially since she’s only in the tournament as a late replacement for an injured Saki Kashima. Her remaining opponents are Hayashishita, Syuri, Watanabe, and Tora. The outlook is grim.)
-Himeka was unimpressed about having to face Kamitani again. She intended to keep her undefeated streak alive. Kamitani “definitely wanted to win.”
(3) GODDESS OF STARDOM CHAMPION SAYA KAMITANI vs. HIMEKA – RED STARS BLOCK
The bell rang and they looked at each other from across the ring. They circled each other and didn’t lock up until 51 seconds in. Kamitani backed into the ropes and break. Slow amateur wrestling as it quickly became obvious that they were going long on this one. At 10:00 Himeka tried to retake the advantage but Kamitani stomped away at her injured right arm. Samoan drop from Himeka. Single-leg crab as she tried to get some blood flowing to her other arm. Rope break. Back and forth with knee strikes. They traded slaps, then forearms. Kamitani refused to let off with Himeka in the ropes and shoved the referee down when he tried to make her.
Kamitani remained in control for a long stretch. Himeka rolled to ringside for a breather. She started a comeback at 17:30 and locked on the torture rack. Torture rack slam but Kamitani kicked out. Himeka wanted her running powerbomb but her hurt arm prevented her from getting Kamitani up. Kamitani up top for a missile dropkick. Armbar blocked by Himeka. Running shooting star press but Himeka moved and, sure enough, the time ran out.
DECISION: Time limit draw in 20:00.
-Kamitani was grinning like a Cheshire cat over not losing. She got in Himeka’s face so Himeka kicked her in the gut. Kamitani jumped her in the corner and kicked her out of the ring.
(Pageot’s Perspective: An unexpected outcome, yes. Going into this Himeka had the best singles record in Stardom this year and Kamitani the worst. Himeka still has the best (4-0-1 now) while Kamitani climbs over Iida to only be second-worst now (0-6-2). I guess it’s important to challenge the rookies occasionally but I can’t say these two are the two that I have would chosen for a 20-minute draw. I suspect it’s more about giving Himeka an odd-numbered score. She still leads the Red Stars at 7 points but that singular point will likely be the reason she finishes in second or third place in the block instead of first.)
-The next match was scheduled to be tournament action between Momo Watanabe and Syuri but Syuri dropped off the card due to the death of her mother. Rather than rescheduling the bout for a future date, they chose to punish her by declaring it a forfeit and awarding two points to Watanabe.
Watanabe addressed the bye and said she looked forward to a match with Syuri someday. Her new opponent in non-tournament action was the returning Saki Kashima, whom she hates.
(4) MOMO WATANABE vs. SAKI KASHIMA
In the end Kashima pulled the referee to the mat to avoid a rear naked choke from Watanabe. With the ref down Natsuko Tora jumped into the ring and hit Watanabe with a steel chair. He saw the whole thing but stood by while Kashima hit Watanabe another three times. On the fifth chair shot he called for the DQ.
WINNER: Momo Watanabe in 6:45 via disqualification.
(Pageot’s Perspective: A total nothing match. Oedo Tai have never felt less important. At this point Ogawa should be setting all his pride aside and begging Kagetsu and Hazuki to come back.)
-Kid was excited to wrestle her friend. Nakano said she wasn’t going easy on her just because they’re both Stars.
(5) TAM NAKANO vs. STARLIGHT KID – RED STARS BLOCK
Tiger suplex for the win.
WINNER: Tam Nakano in 6:58.
(Pageot’s Perspective: This was very much a Starlight Kid match. She has her choreographed routine and she doesn’t seem too comfortable straying from the formula. Both women feel like they’re treading water right now, in the same place on the card that they were this time one year ago and unlikely to make much movement with the DDM foursoume leapfrogging over them in the hierarchy.)
-Maika said she wouldn’t let anyone stop her momentum.
(6) FUTURE OF STARDOM & ARTIST OF STARDOM CHAMPION MAIKA vs. NATSUKO TORA – BLUE STARS BLOCK
As Maika posed on the ropes Tora knocked her off and to the floor. Maika whipped into the ring post. Tora with a steel chair to the back. In the ring Tora remained in control but an angry Maika started to fire up. Tora got a two-count off a top rope frog-splash. Kashima distracted the ref so that Tora could grab her chain. Tora clubbed Maika in the head with the chain, then choked her while sitting on the top rope. Maika powered out and yanked Tora to the mat. Hiptoss, monkey flip, STO. Tora gouged the eyes. Spinebuster from Maika. Armbar. Rope break by Tora. Clothesline with the chain. Ascension and Tora actually wins.
WINNER: Natsuko Tora in 7:03.
(Pageot’s Perspective: Tons of shenanigans but another win for Tora. The story now is that the Blue Stars block has a six-way tie for first place with only AZM and Iida trailing behind.)
-Konami said she suffered a lot of damage in yesterday’s match against Iwatani. She vowed to set the pace here. Giulia said she’s beaten Konami before (in the white belt tournament) and would do so again.
(7) WONDER OF STARDOM & ARTIST OF STARDOM CHAMPION GIULIA vs. KONAMI – RED STARS BLOCK
At 10:00 Giulia wanted a superplex. After some resistance from Konami she hit it. Giulia Driver avoided. Konami rolled into a triangle armlock and Giulia immediately tapped.
WINNER: Konami in 11:26.
(Pageot’s Perspective: The bloom is off the rose.)
-AZM said Hayashishita had won twice in a row. She was pretty sure it was her third match last year where she took her first loss and vowed it would happen again. Hayashishita just wanted to have a good match and win.
(8) GODDESS OF STARDOM CHAMPION UTAMI HAYASHISHITA vs. HIGH SPEED CHAMPION AZM – BLUE STARS BLOCK
AZM looked for an immediate roll-up out of the gate. She landed a dropkick but so did Hayashishita, who began to dominate. Camel clutch. They traded forearms. AZM sent Hayashishita to ringside with a hurricanrana. There was a pause with AZM pacing in the ring as the referee and the rest of QQ checked on Hayashishita as if they were concerned she was injured. She returned to the ring and AZM hit a top rope double-stomp. Armbar. Rope break. A tilt-a-whirl attempt from AZM was turned into a sidewalk slam from Hayashishita. Rings Of Saturn from AZM. Another rope break. Missile dropkick from Hayashishita. A couple roll-ups from AZM. Tilt-a-whirl armbar. Another rope break. A weak torture rack slam from Hayashishita. Rear naked choke but AZM made it to the ropes. Air raid crash from Hayashishita but AZM kicked out. Torture rack into a bridging German suplex for the pin.
WINNER: Utami Hayashishita in 12:02.
-Hayashishita celebrated going three for three so far in the tournament. She said they’re coming back to Sendai on November 15. Queen’s Quest closed the show.
(Pageot’s Perspective: Decent match. Whenever stable mates clash it’s usually pretty reliable because they know each other and their move sets so well. I don’t think anyone thought AZM would win but this may have been the first singles main event of her career so that’s an accomplishment in its own right. Believe it or not the 2020 Grand Prix is half-over already. Next weekend features two shows on Saturday and one on Sunday, then it all concludes on the 19th. I will concede that it is still very up in the air who will win all this and who will be in the finals. They’re making Konami and Hayashishita look like contenders but they did last year as well. It still feels like it will probably just be Giulia vs. Syuri but we will certainly see.)
Red Stars standings after night 4:
Himeka – 7
Konami – 6
Tam Nakano – 6
Giulia – 4
Mayu Iwatani – 2
Starlight Kid – 2
Saya Kamitani – 1
Death Yama-san – 0
Blue Stars standings after night 4:
Utami Hayashishita – 6
Jungle Kyona – 4
Maika – 4
Syuri – 4
Natsuko Tora – 4
Momo Watanabe – 4
AZM – 2
Saya Iida – 0