STARDOM 5★STAR Grand Prix 2021, 9.16

STARDOM 5★STAR Grand Prix 2021, 9.16STARDOM 5★STAR Grand Prix 2021, 9.16

From September 16, 2021

Hanan vs. Lady C - 5.5/10

This was fun, C is taller than Hanan, who isn't all that much more experienced, so in a way, the match felt more like seeing two women at similar levels go at it and not just a top level squash. They played around with C going after Hanan's head with chops, which I thought was a cool thing that C should make part of her repertoire. Hanan won with the Hanan Special, which is that weird Fallaway Scoop Slam into a bridging pin.

Starlight Kid vs. Waka Tsukiyama - 7/10

This was Tsukiyama's 3rd match in her tryout series. Similar to what I was saying about Hanan and Lady C, this felt more like a match between similar wrestlers, even if this was also a big discrepancy of experience. While SLK was still the dominant one, I did feel like Tsukiyama looked more competitive against her, like when Tsukiyama locked in her motorcycle submission thing, it looked more credible than her previous matches, and that's saying something because Nakano and Shirakawa are not exactly giants.

For that matter, I also enjoyed SLK beating the shit out of Tsukiyama, she put weight on those moves and Tsukiyama took it. SLK ended up winning with a great running double knee and a Texas Cloverleaf.

Himeka vs. Mai Sakurai - 5.5/10

Similar to Tsukiyama, this was Sakurai's 7th Stardom Challenge match, I haven't looked at the upcoming cards, but this could be the final one. As I mentioned in my previous review, I'm not sold on Sakurai, to me she kinda fails the Stardom Challenge, but I do understand that I shouldn't judge her just by those matches alone, I think she's someone that needs to work on her gear, her personality, and like I said, give me promos!

The match was ok, nothing special really. Himeka ran over her with the energy of a day off, Sakurai had some hope spots, and ended losing to a sliding Lariat. I think Sakurai's run against women like Hayashishita, Himeka, or Giulia was a bit more damaging to her than having challenges like Shirakawa or SLK, who can probably work a pace that can benefit her. It seems more sink or swim, but she was thrown into the shark tank for it.

5STAR Grand Prix 2021 Red Block Match
Saki Kashima [2] vs. Natsupoi [7] - 6.5/10

I enjoyed this pair up a lot, they've only had one other singles match between the two back in 2020 and that's it, so I don't feel as bad for missing out on this pair up. Kashima is not exactly a high speed wrestler, but she can keep up when necessary, and most importantly, she is really good at cutting off Natsupoi, slowing her down, and being a great heel as she works over Poi. After a while, Natsupoi made a comeback, went back and forth with near falls, and ended up winning with a rolling Magistral, which they played out as a bit of an upset because of how the match had gone.

5STAR Grand Prix 2021 Red Block Match
Momo Watanabe [10] vs. Mina Shirakawa [4] - 7/10

This was really good, way better than I anticipated to be honest. Momo came in all gatekeeper intense and Shirakawa met her right there in the middle. Shirakawa has been flirting with strong style, and a match with Momo is just the best place to lean in. Shirakawa worked on Momo's leg all match, mostly with submissions, while it was Momo that kept to striking. As the match went on, they went more for bigger moves until Momo caught Shirakawa with a sick looking Peach Thunder for the win.

5STAR Grand Prix 2021 Blue Block Match
AZM [2] vs. Saya Kamitani [9] - 8.5/10

I think there is an argument that the main event or the Konami vs Hayashishita match were better matches, but this was my favorite match of the night. I just freaking love AZM's energy inside the ring. This was a battle between Queen's Quest members, so similar to AZM vs Hayashishita, this saw both men just go all out against each other to show who was the better of the two.

This was fast paced and far more aerial than both women's matches with Hayashishita, the other QQ's member in the group. The initial pacing of this match gave me big vibes of Ricochet vs Ospreay in NJPW, this match did get more methodical as it went on though. AZM worked the arm, setting up for La Mistica, while Kamitani mostly worked the upper body since most of her big attacks are top rope splashes. At the end, it came down to AZM trying to take one from Kamitani's book and use a Frankensteiner for the win, but Kamitani knows the move well and was able to reverse it into a roll of her own for the win.

5STAR Grand Prix 2021 Blue Block Match
Takumi Iroha [7] vs. Unagi Sayaka [5] - 6/10

This was painting out to be a really long squash match, but I guess Sayaka's hope spots were long enough to balance out the match, and at the end, the story of Sayaka having heart and never giving up is what make her matches what they are. At the end, Iroha hit a standing powerbomb and a Liger Bomb to finally keep Sayaka down for a count of 3. Not the strongest Sayaka as an underdog performance, but the last couple of minutes with her kicking out of everything Iroha threw at her is what really helps her, especially getting up after the match is done.

5STAR Grand Prix 2021 Red Block Match
Mayu Iwatani [6] vs. Koguma [4] - 7.5/10

This was a really good high speed match, but the finish brought it down. I had praised the execution of some of the other double countouts in the tournament, but this one felt more like an excuse to not pin either, than an actual tool to manage points or storyline mechanism. In some other matches, we saw Kamitani sacrifice losing one point so that she didn't walk away with zero, we saw SLK screw Natsupoi from her point too; however, what Koguma and Mayu did had nothing behind it, there's no reason why Koguma really needed to eliminate Mayu like that, they both could had made it to the ring and kept wrestling, it's not like Mayu was dominating like Iroha did to Kamitani.

I did enjoy what we got from the match, it was paced as a high speed match and it was mostly back and forth.

5STAR Grand Prix 2021 Blue Block Match
Konami [8] vs. Utami Hayashishita [7] - 8.5/10

Match started with Konami and Oedo Tai attacking Hayashishita during the entrances, which gave Konami a clear target in Hayashishita's arm. Back in the ring, Hayashishita was able to regain some control, but with Konami going after her arm, she was never able to take flight and go all out like she normally would. They kinda continued the match going with Konami working Hayashishita's arm, while Hayashishita beat down Konami more and more, reaching the point she was ready to finish her off, but Konami was still able to use the momentum of the Argentinean backbreaker to roll up Hayashishita into a small package and get the win.

I can see Konami getting a title shot at Hayashishita IF Syuri doesn't take the title.

5STAR Grand Prix 2021 Blue Block Match
Syuri [7] vs. Tam Nakano [8] - 8.5/10

This was a match that I was really curious to watch when they announced the blocks. We know that Syuri and Hayashishita had one of the greatest matches in the promotions' history, so I was curious to see if the other champion could manage a similar intensity with Syuri too.

The match was a Tam match, but she got waay more offense in from early on, she was still taking all the damage as usual before she build the comeback, but she was getting more and more big spots in-between Syuri's offense. I did get the impression that they wanted to build to a high level, back and forth, natural rivalry, that Tam wanted to work a Syuri style, and Syuri wanted to try out more things on the top rope and apron. What I did find interesting was that by the time Syuri hit Ryuen for the win, she was more in control than she ever was with Hayashishita, and Tam was most definitely done. It's a harsh reminder that the White Belt and the Red Belt are not always on the same level.

Great match nonetheless.


In paper, this was a really long show, but most of the matches were short, and considering how many good matches we had in this show, I can't but place it towards the upper echelon of GP shows this year.

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