STARDOM 5 STAR GRAND PRIX [Day One Review]: Red, Bright, and Blue.

RED BLOCK

(Much like NJPW’s G1 Climax reviews, I’ll only be covering the Block matches and not the tags)

AZM vs. Natsu Sumire – Despite being a 5-year pro wrestling vet, the 16-year old AZM (yes, you’re reading that correctly) is having her first 5 Star GP. Here, she faces the “Toru Yano” of STARDOM in Natsu Sumire. But unlike many of the Yano matches from the G1 — even the ** rated matches or worse — there was no comedy from Sumire here, and just straight up wrestling. This led to an overall pretty sloppy opener despite a nice La Mistica submission win from the girl who can’t yet drive (in America). – 2/5

Hana Kimura vs. Tam Nakano – Just me or is Hana basically what would happen if Nicki Minaj started tearing up the WWE Woman’s division? She has the looks that kill and the skills to back it up. It’s almost unfair to the majority of the STARDOM roster that the sexiest girl is also one of the most dangerous; I’ve witnessed Kimura time and time again chuck the promotion’s biggest stars down a stairwell or two. Life’s a bitch. Or a pretty girl with pink hair or can kick your ass. The Tamda Bear was a solid opponent but really had no chance here. Hana Minaj by Hydrangea Sabre Jr. submission kill. – 3/5

Saki Kashima vs. Mayu Iwatani – So this is kinda like 1-2-3 Kid gettin the roll-up win over.. X-Pac. I’m joking. This is a rematch from last year’s 5 Star GP where the eventual winner Mayu took the upset loss to Saki. It happened again. This was a really intense match filled with close-falls and Iwatani sorta look frustrated from the get; she didn’t come off her usual confident self! Saki must have her number (she used to have mine too, but when she found out about Io she thew it out). As for the match, it was a super quick one.. just hovering above 5-minutes and maybe there’ll be another bigtime rematch between the two somewhere down the line. This was fine. – 2.5/5

Hazuki vs. Momo Watanabe – Does anyone sorta see parallels between the New Japan and STARDOM talent? Not that anyone in STARDOM is trying to replicate what’s going on in NJPW, of course, but it’s fun to mix and match. Momo, clearly to me, is the Okada of STARDOM, while Hazuki’s quiet, dangerous demeanor reminds of that Cold Skull from L-I-J. And like SANADA’s upset with over The Rainmaker, the same happened here. And this was nearly as good for the time alloted, with a few OK spots but most of it enjoyable, intense action. Funny that the Japanese crowd — fairly heavy for this match, by the way — had zero reacts to Hazuki’s Codebreaker. Her Tornado DDT wasn’t exactly the crispest either, but her flurry of offense was definitely admirable. In the match, Momo would rely on a series of high kicks, a vicious PK and a well timed Package Piledriver. Her Peach Sunrise would eventually get cradled by Hazuki, however, for yet another upset win! STARDOM isn’t playing around on Day One! – 3.25-3.5/5


BLUE BLOCK

Jamie Hayter vs. Arisa Hoshiki – Arisa has been terribly impressive as of late, winning a string of several exciting White Belt title defenses in a row before taking on Hayter here just a few nights ago. But, gotta get the gaijin over! And going back to my Oedi Tai/L-I-J analogy, now Naito’s crew needs a British Dude (cause Hayter is definitely no Shingo). While Jamie wasn’t my favorite, she did hit a nice series of backbreaking smashes on Arisa, dodged her high impact signature kick and got a curb stomp victory. That’s one way to end a streak. – 2.75-3/5

Bea Priestley vs. Andras Miyagi – The former Sendai Girls performer Andras Miyagi is clearly the “EVIL” of Oedi Tai, and getting a victory over the Red Belt (i.e. World of Stardom) champ would be huge. But nope. Gaijin take this again, as Bea gets the Regalplex win. Bea has always been a very solid performer all over the globe but hasn’t had too many notable performances in Stardom yet, despite being champ. This was whatever. – 2.25/5

Utami Hayashishita vs Jungle Kyona – Now this was good. Really fucking good. Both Utami and Jungle fought like it was a war, destroying each other early with lariats and relentless submission attempts. So awesome. Jungle Kyona is definitely one of my favs in STARDOM and her pacing is great. I loved that Viceland did a spotlight on her in their Wrestlers documentary (along with Mayu Iwatani). Definitely check that out. But check out this match first, especially if you wanna see the first Torture Rack victory since Lex Luger and Hercules Hernandez. *insert smile emoji* – 3.75/5

Konami vs Kagetsu – Oedi Tai’s “Naito” is none other than Kagetsu, an ultra charismatic and super athletic leader of the group. She’s great. Konami is sort of STARDOM’s Tanahashi, an excellent, reliable worker who does many of the simple things so well and sells like a zillion bucks. Hey, if some of these comparisons sound like a reach to you, then understand this is GodHatesGeeks first ever non-WrestleMania Weekend STARDOM review. Yeah, baby! Konami promised her Triangle Lancer on the thunderous Kagetsu and got it for the win, not shortly after getting her ass handed to her for 12-minutes. Right at the bell, Kaggy belts Hideo Kojima’s ex-wife with a dropkick and Michinoku Driver, before missing a Coaster (Muta Moonsault) she’d later hit following several more Michi Drivers — including one from the top rope! Poor Oedi Tai Prime Minister still couldn’t get the win. Sound like someone from the G1? Yup. After a million great counters in the match’s “climax”, Konami hit the Up-Up Down-Down.. Triangle Lancer Cheat Code for the win. Awesome match! – 4/5

Overall = 3/5 Bibles (Red = 2.75/5, Blue = 3.25/5)

Shingo Moody
@travmoody

Red Block was just alright from the jump, with some bright spots and entertaining character work. Their main event was solid. As for the Blue side of things, the strong block led to a good first day of the 5 Star GP, highlighted by two excellent matches to close the show. While A Block seems to have more colorful personas, the B might stand for Best when it comes to the in-ring skill. Excited to review Day Two and beyond!

-Travis Moody

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