• tEoP

Stardom 5 Star Grand Prix - Final Round - ALL TO PLAY FOR!

Almost unbelievably, we are already at the final round of matches in Stardom’s prestigious 5 Star Grand Prix, and what a frenetic tournament it has been. The brief re-entry into lockdown for the promotion due to one of the crew contracting Covid-19 was clearly the right thing to do, but so as to not disrupt the rest of their calendar, when Stardom returned, they were forced to fit five rounds of tournament matches into just nine days across three separate venues.

This has made it quite hard to get to grips with the various permutations across the Red and Blue stars blocks, and has also robbed us of a few lengthy bangers as the competitors were understandably keen to not completely burn themselves out.

Regardless of these issues though, it has still been an extremely high quality tournament, and going into the final day of tournament matches both blocks remain hugely exciting and wide open. It is still very unclear who will face off in the final match of the evening between the two block winners, but whoever is involved, it is bound to be a fantastic contest.

Here we look at how each competitor has fared so far, and what they are still able to achieve going into the final day of the 5 Star Grand Prix.

Red Stars Block

Himeka (9 pts)

Remaining Match - Konami

Put simply, if Himeka wins her final match against Konami then no other results will matter and she will win the block, and you wouldn’t put it past her after an explosive tournament debut. Picking up big wins against Tam and stable leader Giulia, the only blots on Himeka’s tournament record have been a defeat to red belt champion Mayu Iwatani, and a potentially crucial time limit draw against Saya Kamitani. Whatever happens on the final night Himeka has put herself firmly in amongst the top contenders in Stardom, but she would be desperately disappointed to fall at the final hurdle.

Konami (8 pts)

Remaining Match - Himeka

A win for Konami against front-runner Himeka would put her on 10 points, but that still might not be enough to clinch victory in the Red Stars block. Konami will be ruing the surprise defeat against Death Yama-San which in turn means that her defeat earlier in the tournament against Tam could be disastrous. If Tam wins her final match, Konami can no longer win the block, and that would be a bitter pill to swallow for the perennial Stardom bridesmaid. Another impressive tournament certainly, including victories over both the red and white belt holders (Mayu and Giulia) and a classic with Himeka beckons. But is it a classic she can win?

Mayu Iwatani (8 pts)

Remaining Match - Tam Nakano

Losing two of her first three matches to Giulia and Konami has put Mayu on the back-foot ever since, and despite being the only person to conquer Himeka so far, she is relying on the results elsewhere to progress. Even if she does navigate the tricky encounter with stable-mate Tam, the only way Mayu can win the block is if Himeka and Konami go to a draw. Not out of the question certainly, but not the position the red belt holder would want to be in. A title match with Syuri is also on the horizon at the post 5 Star GP Cinderella show, but can Mayu go into that with a tournament win also under her belt? The odds don’t look good.

Tam Nakano (8 pts)

Remaining Match - Mayu Iwatani

Having beaten sworn enemy Giulia in her most recent match, Tam may consider that the 5 Star GP has already been a success, something which didn’t look likely after an opening round defeat to Himeka. A surprise defeat to Saya Kamitani means that Tam’s destiny is not in her own hands, but if she beats Mayu on the final night, and Konami beats Himeka, then Tam will go onto the final. Her dance card is already fairly full with a further match against Giulia for the white belt lined up, but that could just be the first step to the glorious triumph of Tam two-belts.

Giulia (6 pts)

Remaining Match - Death Yama-San

Unbeaten in singles competition going into the tournament, and beating Mayu on night one, it all looked set up for Giulia to crush the red stars block. However her run was thrillingly derailed by stable-mate Himeka, before she was also forced to tap out by Konami and then vanquished by old nemesis Tam Nakano. As a result Giulia will just be fighting for pride on the final night, and I suspect she may give Death Yama-San a bit of a pummeling to try and ease that frustration.

Death Yama-San (4 pts)

Remaining Match - Giulia

Having lost her first four matches, it looked like DEATH was going to be the whipping-boy of the red stars block. However her shock win against Konami changed the entire complexion of the tournament, and she was also able to pick up a win against Saya Kamitani, proving that she can still match the kids when needed. Some genuinely entertaining performances, in particular in making Mayu Iwatani read a book whilst putting her in a submission hold, have kept DEATH as a crowd favourite but I fear she may be on a hiding to nothing in her match with an angry Giulia.

Saya Kamitani (3 pts)

Remaining Match - Starlight Kid

It took Tall Saya four matches to pick up her first 5 Star Grand Prix victory, but what a victory that was as she rolled up a shocked looking Tam Nakano. Even before this though Saya had impressed in taking the previously unstoppable Himeka to a time limit draw, and even in defeat Kamitani has shown that she is not far from rising to the top of the Stardom roster. Her match with Starlight Kid on the final night is sure to be an absolute fire-cracker.

Starlight Kid (2 pts)

Remaining Match - Saya Kamitani

SK won her first match against Death Yama-San but goes into the final round on a five match losing streak. Not entirely surprising for the 5 Star GP debutant but she will look to end a tournament which has seen some superb performances in defeat against Mayu and Konami with a win over fellow youngster Kamitani. She already has AZM lined up for a shot at the High Speed Title, so she will certainly want to end on a high.

Blue Stars Block

Utami Hayashishita (9 pts)

Remaining Match - Syuri

It was all going so well for Utami! Four straight wins at the start of the blue stars block seemed to have one half of the tag team champions sailing to victory. But a brutal time-limit draw against faction leader Momo, and a defeat to surprise package Maika in her final two matches mean that Utami could still theoretically win her final match and still not win the block. In any case that final match is against the terrifyingly talented Syuri in what could be the match of the tournament, and that will not be easy to say the least. A tag title match with Saya Kamitani against Himeka and Maika is also hoving in to view, so will Utami take her eyes off the prize at the crucial moment?

Maika (8 pts)

Remaining Matches - Syuri and AZM

Maika has surprised everyone in this tournament picking up wins against Momo Watanabe and Utami as well as against seasoned veteran Jungle Kyona. In many ways she is in pole position going into the final night as if she wins her two matches, she wins the block. However she will first have to overcome stable-mate Syuri in what should be a superb match, and then also needs to pick up a win against fellow youngster AZM. I think most would be very surprised to see Maika win both matches and then go on to win the whole tournament on the same night, but her performances so far mean that she has to be taken very seriously as a contender both now and in the future.

Momo Watanabe (7 pts)

Remaining Match - Jungle Kyona