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Pantoja’s STARDOM 5STAR Grand Prix 2023 Night 15 Review

September 19, 2023 | Posted by Kevin Pantoja
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Pantoja’s STARDOM 5STAR Grand Prix 2023 Night 15 Review  

STARDOM 5STAR Grand Prix 2023 Night 15

September 16th, 2023 | Fukuoka Island-City Forum in Higashi Ward, Fukuoka | Attendance: 495

I was in the process of watching/reviewing the Dream Tag Festival but the Grand Prix is more pressing so I’m taking care of this beforehand.

We’re getting down to the nitty gritty of the tournament. Tora still leads the Red Stars but Suzuki, Syuri, Hazuki, and Tam all have a shot to finish ahead of her if I’m right. On the Blue Stars, it’s still very tight with a bunch of people alive.

Red Stars: Ami Sourei [4] vs. Tam Nakano [7]

Upsets happen in these tournaments but this feels like a case where Ami has no real shot. I can’t see her beating the top champion. Ami did come out pretty hot and her Torture Rack spot on the apron looked pretty good. From there she kind of held serve for a while and it was more interesting than a lot of Ami stuff. I think a big part of that was Tam’s selling. It was as if Tam came in expecting a cake walk only to have her back targeted and it put her on the defensive. That made her an unexpected underdog and it worked because Tam is just so good in that role. Her fighting from beneath is great TV. Tam did the rally you knew she had in her, which included some of her quality German suplexes. Ami kicked out of a move at one but she never really threatened again as Tam reeled off some kicks before winning with a Tiger Suplex in 10:02. A good match that would’ve been better if Ami’s offense was more interesting. [***¼]

Red Stars: Hazuki [6] vs. Natsupoi [9]

One of my most anticipated matches of the Grand Prix as these are two of my favorites. From the start, they were out to deliver, going right after one another with hard strikes and stiff kicks. I don’t think anyone in wrestling bumps/sells better on kicks than Natsupoi. Hazuki WRECKED her with some boots on the ropes and Natsupoi responded shortly after with a great dropkick there. They traded strikes that were even until Hazuki went off and just LAID into the back of the head of a limp Natsupoi. That’s the kind of violence I want to see. Natsupoi then dropped Hazuki on her head with some vicious Germans. The close calls late were great from Hazuki’s submission to the flash pin attempts the crowd believed either woman could win at any moment. I do wish this was at Korakuen or somewhere with a bigger crowd because they would’ve been LOUD. This audience was still good but more would’ve helped. In the end, Natsupoi took too much damage and couldn’t counter a Brainbuster, losing in 12:29. You put someone with great looking offense against one of the world’s best sellers and it’s going to work. Hazuki and Natsupoi went all out in a match filled with action and yet another that I loved in an outstanding tournament. [****¼]

Blue Stars: AZM [6] vs. Maika [5]

While the majority of this block is still in play, whoever loses here will have a tough hill to climb. On paper, this is an interesting styles clash. AZM works incredibly fast and her quickness is the focal point of her matches while Maika is a powerhouse who has been on a great run this year. They played into that, with AZM using a combination of her speed and technical skills to try and wear down her larger opponent. A lot of that included her applying an armbar from time to time. Maika was able to stop her momentum with a power move whenever she’d really get going. It would be something simple like a lariat or fallaway slam but it was effective, especially against AZM’s small size. The final stretch was pretty strong and Maika won with a Michinoku Driver in a brisk 8:43. One of the better sub-10 minute matches of the year. [***¾]

The final score: review Very Good
The 411
This tournament continues to roll on. A good opener, a fantastic second match, and a main event that was just shy of being great. Plus, three matches makes for an easy watch.

article topics :

STARDOM, Kevin Pantoja