SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
STARDOM 5STAR GRAND PRIX
SEPTEMBER 12, 2020
FUKUOKA, JAPAN AT NISHITETSU HALL
AIRED ON STARDOM WORLD
REPORT BY HARLEY R. PAGEOT, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Hanan said this was her first time ever wrestling in Fukuoka and first time facing Watanabe. Watanabe said she was out of her element being in the opening match. She hated that it wasn’t a Grand Prix match and wanted to get it over with.
(1) MOMO WATANABE vs. HANAN
Hanan tapped to a crossface chicken wing.
WINNER: Momo Watanabe in 6:57.
(Pageot’s Perspective: Another win for noted Bob Backlund stan Momo Watanabe.)
-Third match Death. Himeka said she had three matches left and hadn’t lost yet. She vowed to win every match from here to the end.
(2) HIMEKA vs. DEATH YAMA-SAN – RED STARS BLOCK
Death actually tapped to an Argentine backbreaker.
WINNER: Himeka in 4:31.
(Pageot’s Perspective: So instead of Death playing the fun Toru Yano spoiler role she’s tapping out in less than five minutes. A disappointing decision and one that’s helped contribute to this being one of the more predictable and boring Grand Prixs in history. With this victory Death and Starlight Kid have been eliminated from the tournament and Kamitani would need to win her last four matches to remain in contention.)
-Hayashishita said she and Iida had a good Future Of Stardom title match once but this one would be better. Iida said she would definitely win.
(3) GODDESS OF STARDOM CHAMPION UTAMI HAYASHISHITA vs. SAYA IIDA – BLUE STARS BLOCK
Air raid crash for the win.
WINNER: Utami Hayashishita in 5:54.
(Pageot’s Perspective: Hayashishita has really been hammering home the air raid crash as her new finisher, presumably because Himeka has been gifted the torture rack. With this victory both Iida and Tora have been eliminated from the tournament.)
-Riho was back for the first time since July and the first time since dropping the high speed title in a three-way where she wasn’t pinned. She confirmed that she hadn’t wrestled in a month and a half but thought she’d be okay. Konami said she’s never been good at four-ways. They were in Maika’s hometown so she said she couldn’t let anyone see her lose.
(4) FUTURE OF STARDOM & ARTIST OF STARDOM CHAMPION MAIKA vs. KONAMI vs. SAKI KASHIMA vs. RIHO
Kashima wanted a crucifix pin on Maika but she kicked out. Lariat from Maika. Sazanka for the clean pin.
WINNER: Maika in 6:28.
(Pageot’s Perspective: The embarrassing spiral of Oedo Tai continues; the non-stop cavalcade of wins for DDM continues. The role of Riho in Stardom remains baffling. There must be a litany of red tape backstage that dictates her involvement because she never gets used in any sort of meaningful position. Riho has had 32 matches in Stardom. She’s won 5 singles matches. The other 27 were all tag matches or multi-woman matches like this where she didn’t factor into the finish.)
-Kamitani said she would definitely win! Nakano said if you don’t live in the present, you can’t grasp the future.
(5) GODDESS OF STARDOM CHAMPION SAYA KAMITANI vs. TAM NAKANO – RED STARS BLOCK
Nakano connected with a back body drop and a running knee strike. She went to lift Kamitani to her feet but the rookie caught her with a surprise inside cradle.
WINNER: Saya Kamitani in 11:06.
-Nakano was flummoxed about losing. Kamitani sold it as a huge victory for her.
(Pageot’s Perspective: Nakano was on a roll in the GP and this was Kamitani’s first singles win in 2020 so yes, it was a big win. Iida, Hanan, and Ruaka are now the only roster members with no victories in 2020. I missed melancholy, spiritual Nakano. Cutest in the universe is an accurate gimmick but kind of reductive.)
-Kyona said her goals remain the same: crush Tora before she can crush Tokyo Cyber Squad.
(6) NATSUKO TORA vs. JUNGLE KYONA – BLUE STARS BLOCK
Tora choked Kyona with her chain while Kashima distracted the ref. Kyona was hanged over the top rope but the referee got away from Kashima and called for the bell.
WINNER: Jungle Kyona in 8:50 via disqualification.
-Kyona was unimpressed. “What was that?!” She didn’t accept. This is what Tora’s become since the end of Jungle Assault Nation? Tora spoke for the first time in ages. She was tired of Kyona always playing the tragic heroine. Everyone’s tired of it. She promised a big surprise from Oedo Tai on the 28th.
(Pageot’s Perspective: They seem to go back and forth on whether or not Tora cares about winning matches but it makes sense here. She’s already lost any shot of winning the GP so her main goal now is to force TCS to disband. Injuring Kyona ahead of their tag match on the 28th furthers that. Kyona only has two GP matches left against Maika and Watanabe. She has to win both of those and Hayashishita has to lose to Watanabe, Maika, and Syuri if Kyona wants to win the Blue Stars block. The former seems likely but the latter leaves me less than confident.)
-Kid admitted a win over the white belt would build her confidence. Giulia complained about all three of the weekend matches being against the Stars goody two shoes. She hates good two shoes!
(7) WONDER OF STARDOM & ARTIST OF STARDOM CHAMPION GIULIA vs. STARLIGHT KID – RED STARS BLOCK
Code red blocked by Giulia. Straitjacket submission into a Saito suplex. Bianca submission and Kid tapped.
WINNER: Giulia in 9:27.
(Pageot’s Perspective: Giulia needs to win her last two matches and Himeka needs to lose her last two in order for Giulia to take the block. Fortunately for the DDM leader her remaining two are against Nakano and Death, which looks like a cake walk on paper.)
-Fourth match Death. Iwatani didn’t know what city they were in.
(8) WORLD OF STARDOM CHAMPION MAYU IWATANI vs. DEATH YAMA-SAN – RED STARS BLOCK
Death read an excerpt from Iwatani’s new autobiography before missing a back senton. Iwatani hit a top rope moonsault with book in hand and pinned her while laughing the whole time.
WINNER: Mayu Iwatani in 4:13.
(Pageot’s Perspective: There’s that Toru Yano magic we’ve been missing.)
-AZM was nervous. She’s been wrestling seven years but she doesn’t get to face a veteran like Syuri all that often. Syuri addressed her mother dying seven days earlier. She still wasn’t able to sort out her feelings but she’d strengthen them one match at a time.
(9) ARTIST OF STARDOM CHAMPION SYURI vs. HIGH SPEED CHAMPION AZM – BLUE STARS BLOCK
High speed action to start. Syuri wound up taking over early on. AZM came back and hit a top rope double-stomp but the trios champ kicked out. Tilt-a-whirl armbar from AZM. Rope break. Cross arm breaker from Syuri. Rope break. Bridging German suplex but the teen kicked out. They traded flash pins and an AZM Sushi caught the veteran.
WINNER: AZM in 9:34.
-AZM declared it was no fluke. Look for bigger wins and more championships for her. She closed the show.
(Pageot’s Perspective: It’s very debatable whether Syuri should have been back in the ring only a week after losing a parent and a couple days removed from the funeral. I guess the only positive that we can really focus on is that they didn’t ignore it or gloss over it. She addressed it head-on and one could explain in kayfabe that this weight over her is the reason she lost here. On a different day she would have handily beat AZM in ten minutes. Unfortunately for AZM the big win was not enough. With only two matches left the best she could hope for is a tie with Hayashishita but, having lost to her previously, she would lose that tie-breaker. AZM has been eliminated from the tournament.)
Red Stars standings after show 5:
Himeka – 9
Giulia – 6
Konami – 6
Tam Nakano – 6
Mayu Iwatani – 4
Saya Kamitani – 3
Starlight Kid – 2
Death Yama-san – 0
Blue Stars standings after show 5:
Utami Hayashishita – 8
Jungle Kyona – 6
Maika – 4
Syuri – 4
Momo Watanabe – 4
AZM – 4
Natsuko Tora – 4
Saya Iida – 0