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Pantoja’s STARDOM 5STAR Grand Prix 2023 Night 18 Review

September 28, 2023 | Posted by Kevin Pantoja
STARDOM 5STAR Grand Prix Night 18 Image Credit: STARDOM
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Pantoja’s STARDOM 5STAR Grand Prix 2023 Night 18 Review  

STARDOM 5STAR Grand Prix 2023 Night 18

September 20th, 2023 | EDION Arena in Osaka, Japan | Attendance: 489

Alright, I’ve had a busy time for a bit so I’ve fallen behind on the tournament. I only have a few days to get these done before the Finals. I also won’t be able to watch the Finals the day of due to some plans but I’ll be sure to cover it once it’s on STARDOM World.

Blue Stars: Maika [7] vs. Mariah May [6]

A win puts Maika in good positioning while one for Mariah May keeps slim hopes alive. Mariah gave Maika fits in the early stages but she ultimately had answers for what the “Foreign Ace” was trying. She used a combination of her experience and her power to put Mariah on her heels but Mariah refused to back down. That’s actually been a lot her tournament. Mariah stepping up and going toe to toe against women with way more experience than her. She really is one of the best stories of 2023 and while I’m happy she’s getting a big opportunity in the States, I would’ve loved to see her stay in STARDOM a bit longer. Anyway, they had some really good back and forth late with Mariah hitting her Slingblade and coming close to winning on her pinning combination. Maika has kind of been on a really good run though and continued it here. Mariah survived a powerbomb but fell to the Michinoku Driver in 8:55. Just some good old fashioned pro wrestling here. [***¼]

Blue Stars: AZM [6] vs. Giulia [9]

It’s nuts that 10/1 is the 10 year anniversary of AZM in wrestling and it’s only her 21st birthday that day. This has all the makings of a special match given their talent. AZM offered a handshake that Giulia was clearly unsure about. She accepted but then pulled AZM into offense to start the match. What followed was 55 seconds of brilliance. A Destroyer, a Backdrop Driver, and several flash pins. Giulia kicked out of the Azumi Sushi only for AZM to roll through into it again and get the pin in under a minute. The best sub-1 minute match ever and a perfect use of the “anything can happen” concept in this kind of tourney. [***]

Red Stars: Syuri [9] vs. Tam Nakano [9]

Two of the company’s top stars and a win for Syuri would almost certainly guarantee her a title opportunity. They’re both also on the shortlist of people who can catch Natsuko Tora. Similar to Tam vs. Mayu, this felt like a clash between two big deals. They were evenly matched throughout but Tam’s plan was to bombard Syuri with offense. From stiff kicks to a dive outside to various submissions, it seemed like she wasn’t going to give Syuri any opening to really get things going. Of course, that’s easier said than done as even with her barrage of offense, Syuri never fell too far behind and could combat her with kicks of her own or some other kind of big move. Down the stretch, it looked like Syuri was taking control, getting a near fall on a running knee. However, that just set the tone for some fantastic back and forth exchanges and close calls on both sides. In the end, Tam was able to win out with the Violet Screwdriver at the 13:20 mark, moving one step closer to possibly winning her block. A phenomenal match between two of the best and another feather in the cap of this great tournament. [****]

The final score: review Very Good
The 411
Oh, look. It’s yet another tremendous show in this tournament. Interesting booking calls and good to great matches as we get set to wrap things up.

article topics :

STARDOM, Kevin Pantoja