This week’s Fightful Joshi Journal features a breakdown of the STARDOM 5STAR Grand Prix Finals and a look at the card for Wrestle Princess III.
Giulia Beats Tam Nakano For 5STAR Crown and More from the Final Night
After 20 days of tournament action, the 5STAR Grand Prix finally came to an end this past Saturday with the 21st and final day of action. STARDOM put together one of the best tournaments of the year and their history with what can only be described as one of the best shows in the promotion’s history finishing it off.
It was Giulia who defeated rival Tam Nakano in the finals to win the tournament for the first time in her career. Earlier in the night, she went to a 15-minute draw with Suzu Suzuki on one of the emotional matches you’ll see which really spoke to the kind of night it was for the Donna del Mondo leader.
The predictable choice can be the right and best choice, which Giulia absolutely was. She rose to the occasion time and time again throughout, telling stories through her matches and making fans leave this tournament with a number of memories, many of them violent, of what she accomplished. The matches she had on the final night with Suzu Suzuki and Tam Nakano told two very different stories but ones that really define who Giulia has become as a wrestler. The raw emotion we saw in her match with Suzuki was amplified even more when Giulia stood across the ring from Nakano, who is the woman who sent her to rock bottom a year and a half ago.
Every single moment this past Saturday had Giulia feeling like the biggest star in professional wrestling and for good reason. She's been destined for the World of Stardom Championship and will get her shot against Syuri at Stardom Dream Queendom on Dec. 29.
But Giulia wasn't the only story of the 5STAR Grand Prix this year. Not even close. There are a lot of different ways to look at this tournament with the stories that have developed over time, the ones that were highlighted especially throughout, and those that were made apparent on the final night of action.
It's best to start with Hazuki, who watched the tournament slip away after starting off 7-0. She would then lose four straight heading into the final night but still had a shot when she faced her rival, Momo Watanabe. Watanabe, for all her early struggles in the 5STAR, put it all together in her final three matches which spelled trouble for Hazuki. Back-to-back wins over Giulia and Mayu Iwatani left Watanabe as maybe the wrestler with the most major momentum. "The Wild Heart" of STARDOM had hit the Brainbuster on Watanabe to get the win but it was Oedo Tai who pulled the referee out to force the match to continue. From there, Watanabe went to work and put an end to the dreams of Hazuki via Peach Thunder. Both of these women had excellent tournaments with Watanabe's being the most underrated among the 26 competitors.
Elsewhere on the card saw the continuation of Mayu Iwatani and Starlight Kid's fantastic story, AZM get upset in less than a minute by Saki Kashima, and Syuri watch a chance at a second-straight year in the final disappear as Risa Sera was able to beat her in the final block match of the night.
One of the other major moments of the show came after Utami Hayashishita was eliminated by Koguma as the leader of Oedo Tai, Natsuko Tora, made her return and planted Hayashishita with a gnarly Death Valley Driver. She quickly put Hayashishita on notice with intentions of payback on her mind after she suffered her devastating injury a year ago in their World of Stardom Championship match. Since then, the match between these two has been made official for the upcoming Nov. 3 PPV in Hiroshima.
The final thoughts on the 5STAR Grand Prix Finals are simple: go out of your way to watch it.
This show could not have delivered any more than it did. From top to bottom, the card featured exciting match after exciting match even if there were the stakes as there were in other matches. The crowning of Giulia is a moment three years in the making and her getting to sit there and take it all in as the winner was wonderful to see. Seeing her have those Hana Kimura-inspired braids with the crown, much like Hana had in 2019, was a special moment for fans who have been following along. The road was a bumpy one for Giulia to get here but this one tournament and this one night was the perfect way to close this chapter. Now it is all about her and the Wonder of Stardom Championship.
A perfect story to tell.
TJPW Wrestle Princess III Card (10/9/22)
This Sunday, TJPW presents its biggest show of the year as it is time for Wrestle Princess III. Below is the entire card for the show including Shoko Nakajima defending her Princess of Princess Championship in the main event against Yuka Sakazaki.
- Moka Miyamoto & Juria Nagano vs Arisu Endo & Kaya Toribami
- Mahiro Kiryu, Yuki Kamifuku & Haruna Neko vs Yoshiko Hasegawa, Nao Kakuta & Yuna Manase
- 121000000 (Maki Itoh & Miyu Yamashita) vs Riho & Hikari Noa
- Suzume vs Ryo Mizunami
- Mizuki vs Hyper Misao
- Aja Kong, Raku & Pom Harajuku vs Max The Impaler, Rika Tatsumi & Yuki Aino
- International Princess Champion: Alex Windsor (c) vs Miu Watanabe
- Princess Tag Team Championship: Yuki Arai & Saki Akai (c) vs The Uprising (Rhia O’Reilly & Nightshade)
- Princess of Princess Championship: Shoko Nakajima (c) vs Yuka Sakazaki
Matches Worth Checking Out (10/5/22)
- Hazuki vs. Momo Watanabe
- Mayu Iwatani vs. Starlight Kid
- Giulia vs. Suzu Suzuki
- Maika. vs. Himeka
- Syuri vs. Risa Sera
- Tam Nakano vs. Giulia
Other notable Joshi results from the weekend:
Sendai Girls Keep Burning! (10/1/22)
- Riko Kaiju def. Yurika Oka
- ASUKA & Saori Anou def. Manami & Ryo Mizunami
- DASH Chisako def. Maria
- Chihiro Hashimoto & Yuu def. Mika Iwata & Rin Kadokura