Stardom 5 Star Grand Prix 2019 Primer

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5 Star Grand Prix
Photo: Stardom

What is The 5 Star Grand Prix

Stardom’s 5 Star Grand Prix is Stardom’s traditional round-robin tournament, a staple of most Japanese companies e.g. NJPW’s G1 Climax, AJPW’s Champions Carnival.  The eighteen competitors are broken down into 2 blocks the Red Stars and Blue Stars with the usual rules applying of 2 points for a win, 1 for a draw and 0 for a loss.  The tournament opens on August 17th and runs through late September.

Red Stars

Mayu Iwatani

Photo: ROH

Title History: Artist Of Stardom (x5), ROH Women Of Honor, High Speed, Goddesses Of Stardom (x2), Wonder Of Stardom (x2), World Of Stardom.

The icon of Stardom and last year’s winner Mayu Iwatani always goes in as a big favorite.  She has hotly-anticipated matches with Momo Watanabe and Hana Kimura to look forward to as well as matches against fellow stablemates Tam Nakano and Saki Kashima.  It’s not likely she wins back to back tournaments but nothing is ever beyond the Icon Of Stardom.

Momo Watanabe

Photo: Stardom

Title History: Artist Of Stardom, Goddesses Of Stardom, Wonder Of Stardom.

The new ace of Stardom Momo Watanabe is coming off a record-breaking run as Wonder Of Stardom Champion and ready to take her place on top of Stardom as the World Of Stardom Champion.  Our choice for the winner she should have little trouble beating most of the block but should have great matches with Hazuki and Mayu.

Hana Kimura

5 Star GP
Photo: @chiyusho

Title History: Artist Of Stardom (x2), Goddesses Of Stardom, JWP Junior, Princess Of Pro Wrestling (Pure-J)

The leader of Tokyo Cyber Squad Kimura is one of the most enigmatic performers out there.  Shes aloof yet focused and she has a constant desire to win.  Ever since committing full time to Stardom she’s become a bigger deal but they don’t seem intent on pushing her like they are with Konami and Jungle Kyona so her winning isn’t likely.

Hazuki

Hazuki

Title History: Artist Of Stardom (x4), High Speed.

The Assault Commandor of Oedo Tai is coming off of a six month run as High-Speed champion where she finally got the push her talents deserved.  Despite this, she has been a losing title challenger for both the World Of Stardom and Wonder Of Stardom title’s this year so her ceiling is firmly in the upper midcard so she may finish high in the block but it’s unlikely she wins.  Her matches with Watanabe and Iwatani are sure to be fantastic as Iwatani was once a mainstay of the high-speed division.

Tam Nakano

Photo: Stardom World

Title History: Artist Of Stardom (x2).

Tam Nakano just recently had the match of her career against Arisa Hoshiki in a Wonder Of Stardom title match.  That match legitimized Nakano and made her look like a serious threat.  She will have to face Mayu Iwatani in this tournament in a match that could be emotional for Nakano but her winning 5 Star GP is unlikely

Saki Kashima

Saki Kashima (Photo: Stardom)

Title History: Artist Of Stardom (x3), Goddesses Of Stardom.

Kashima is someone that Stardom often pairs with younger wrestlers as she is a very solid performer that can get the most out of them.  In a tournament like this, she’ll help the likes of Avary and Kasey Owens but shouldn’t have too many great matches.  Although her and Natsu Sumire getting to go at it again fills me with joy.

Natsu Sumire

5 Star Grand Prix
Photo: Stardom

Title History: Artist Of Stardom (Current)

In a way she is the Toru Yano of 5 Star GP Natsu has found her niche in Stardom as a character-oriented comedy wrestler.  Wrestling her isn’t as physically intense as Momo Watanabe it’ll still be entertaining.  She also gets to continue her epic feud with Saki Kashima so all eyes on that one

Kasey Owens

Title History: ICW Women’s (x3), Queen Of Southside, British Empire Women’s, TNT Women’s (Current)

Kasey Owens is back in Japan for the first time since 2016 when she teamed with twin sister Leah to take part in the Goddesses Of Stardom tag league.  It’s tough to judge how Owens will fair in 5 Star given how long it’s been since we’ve seen her in Stardom but she’ll be at least in the middle of the pack and presents a fresh matchup for everyone in the block

Due to VISA issues, Kasey Owens has been replaced in the tournament by AZM

Avary

Avary
Photo: John Handle Photography/ NAW

Title History: NAW Women’s

Out of Australia Avary is a rising name in Oceania’s talented women’s scene.  She is attempting to fuse the old style of “diva” wrestling with modern women’s wrestling.  One would think this will help her settle into Stardom who try to incorporate a similar hybrid.  She’s a younger gaijin who might finish bottom of the block but it’ll be interesting to see how she does.

Blue Stars 

Kagetsu

Kagetsu
Photo: Stardom

Title History: Artist Of Stardom (x2, Current), Goddesses Of Stardom (x2), Oz Academy Tag Team (x2), JWP Junior, Princess Of Pro Wrestling, World Of Stardom

Former World Of Stardom Champion Kagetsu is one of Stardom’s biggest stars and a consistent threat to win titles and tournaments like this one.  She’s just coming off a run as World Of Stardom champion and with Stardom pushing new talent like Arisa Hoshiki and using Kagetsu to put people over it’s unlikely she wins but being a losing finalist is a possibility.  A first-time clash with Hoshiki as well as rematches with Konami, Bea Priestley, and clashes with fellow Oedo Tai members Andras Miyagi and Jamie Hayter mean this will be an eventful tournament for Stardom’s Prime Minister

Konami

5 Star Grand Prix
Photo: WWR Stardom

Title History: Artist Of Stardom (x2), Goddesses Of Stardom (Current)

Ever since becoming a member of Tokyo Cyber Squad, and committing to Stardom exclusively, Konami has been pushed further than she ever was while in Queen’s Quest.  She’s won two titles this year including recently taking down the QQ superteam of Utami Hayashishita and Momo Watanabe to win the Goddesses titles.  Is a potential finalist and will be one of the tournament’s MVPs with her matches against Kyona, Hoshiki and Kagetsu guaranteed to be great

Arisa Hoshiki

Photo: Joshi City

Title History: Wonder Of Stardom (Current)

The Shining Star of Stardom has been on the receiving end of a push ever since committing to Stardom full time.  Within days she had won Cinderella Tournament and proceeded to end Momo Watanabe’s historic Wonder Of Stardom title run.  Another potential finalist from the Blue Stars block it isn’t impossible to believe Hoshiki could win but it would feel like too much too soon.  Having only re-debuted last November Hoshiki has a host of fresh singles matches awaiting her in this tournament, a showdown with Kagetsu being the best on paper, but she should deliver magic with Konami and Kyona too.

Andras Miyagi

5 Star Grand Prix
Photo: WWR Stardom

Title History: Sendai Girls Tag Team (x2), Artist Of Stardom (Current)

Since making the jump from Sendai Girls earlier in the year Andras has emerged as one of Stardom’s most protected roster members.  She’s often featured in tag team matches so has a whole host of fresh matches awaiting in this tournament including a clash with stablemate Kagetsu, a powerhouse battle with Jungle Kyona and a match with another stablemate Natsuko Tora.  She isn’t likely to win and in a stacked block she may end up finishing in the bottom half of the block but the matches should be fun.

Utami Hayashishita

Utami Hayashishita (Photo: Stardom)

Title History: EVE International, Goddesses Of Stardom, SWA Undisputed World Women’s (Current), Future Of Stardom (Current)

Stardom’s Big rookie made her days before last year’s tournament and made it to the final’s making it clear from day one that she would be on the receiving end of a mega push.  Her push has slowed down recently in Stardom but you can’t put it past them to have her win the tournament.  Her and Kyona will continue their grudge in this tournament in their first singles match in a year.

Jungle Kyona

Photo: Stardom

Title History: Artist Of Stardom (x3), Goddesses Of Stardom (x3, Current)

Jungle Kyona has a renewed sense of purpose as a member of TCS and has managed to exorcise some of her demons coming into this tournament by finally pinning Utami Hayahshishita.  She is almost akin to a Hirooki Goto in that she can have a good match with anyone and has the fans respect but never seems to win the big matches so a middle of the pack finish isn’t out of the equation for Kyona.  She does have two big grudge matches awaiting her in this block as she will renew her rivalry with Hayashishita and former partner Natsuko Tora and her match with current partner Konami should be very good.

Natsuko Tora

5 Star Grand Prix
Photo: WWR Stardom

Title History: Artist Of Stardom, Goddesses Of Stardom

Fans were excited when Tora joined Oedo Tai in the faction draft but the former tag champ has become a pin eater for the faction and has gone from being a top performer for J.A.N to someone with little direction or momentum.  She’ll pick up one or two surprise wins and seeing her and Kyona go at it will be great but don’t be surprised if she finishes last in the block.

Bea Priestley

5 Star Grand Prix

Title History: Defiant Women’s (x2), WOS Women’s, Fight Forever Women’s, World Of Stardom (Current)

The current World Of Stardom champion hasn’t exactly been setting the world alight since winning the Red Belt in what was a bit of a surprising result. She’s since beaten Konami and Momo Watanabe to continue establishing herself as a main event player.  She faces the issue of a lack of fresh matches in this block as she has faced Kagetsu, Konami, and Utami in singles competition recently.  She doesn’t lose much but she isn’t likely to win 5 Star as champion.

Jamie Hayter

Jamie Hayter
Photo: Back Body Drop

Title History: RevPro Undisputed British Women’s, EVE International (Current)

Oedo Tai’s Jamie Hayter will have a tough time in this stacked block.  She has a big win over Utami Hayashishita under her belt but in a block with so many of Stardom’s top players she is almost certain to finish in the bottom half of the block.  She will face three stablemates in this block in three matches that should be fun.

Stay tuned to the Last Word on Pro Wrestling for more on this and other stories from around the world of wrestling, as they develop. You can always count on LWOPW to be on top of the major news in the wrestling world, as well as to provide you with analysis, previews, videos, interviews, and editorials on the wrestling world.  And make sure to subscribe to Stardom World to see Stardom’s 5 Star Grand Prix.

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