This past Monday, New Zealand’s Toni Storm continued her year of dominance in 2017 by winning Stardom‘s prestigious 5 Star Grand Prix Tournament in Japan – their equivalent of NJPW‘s G1 Climax tournament – by defeating last year’s winner, Yoko Bito, in the finals. In doing so, Storm becomes the first gaijin (or foreigner) to win the tournament since it’s inception in 2012.
Not only was she the first gaijin to win the 5 Star Grand Prix this year, she was the first to win Stardom’s Cinderella tournament (a one day elimination tournament) this year, when she knocked off the Maya Iwatani in the finals – Iwatani won both of the previous years tournaments after it was started in 2015. Storm made further history as the only person to win both the Cinderella and 5 Star Grand Prix in the same year.
These two Stardom accomplishments continue to pad an impressive 2017 run for Toni Storm, who was crowned the inaugural PROGRESS Women’s Champion this past May as well as an impressive showing in the WWE’s inaugural Mae Young Classic, which just wrapped up a few weeks back. Storm made the final four, before losing to eventual winner, Kairi Sane (former Stardom Superstar Kairi Hojo). Storm previously competed in a WWE ring over WrestleMania weekend as part of the PROGRESS Showcase at WrestleMania AXXESS. She is also the current defending SWA Undisputed Women’s Champion in Stardom as well.
While Toni Storm has not signed a deal with the WWE as of yet, she was flown into the Mae Young Classic Finals by the WWE, and WWE has shown great interest in adding her to the growing NXT women’s division. It’s probably a case of when rather than if we’ll see Toni Storm in a WWE ring again.
Past Winners of Stardom 5 Star Grand Prix Tournament
- 2012 – Yuzuki Aikawa def. Kyoko Kimura
- 2013 – Nanae Takahashi def. Alpha Female (Jazzy Gabert)
- 2014 – Io Shirai def. Yoshiko
- 2015 – Kairi Hojo (Kairi Sane) def. Hudson Envy
- 2016 – Yoko Bito def. Tessa Blanchard
- 2017 – Toni Storm def. Yoko Bito
Past Winners of Stardom Cinderella Tournament
- 2015 – Mayu Iwatani def. Koguma
- 2016 – Maya Iwatani def. Hiroyo Matsumoto
- 2017 – Toni Storm def. Maya Iwatani