Stardom 5 ★ STAR GP 2015 #7
A Review by Kevin Wilson

Date: September 13th, 2015
Location: Shin-Kiba 1st Ring in Tokyo, Japan
Announced Attendance: 295

The FIVE STAR GP for Stardom continues! We are jumping ahead in the tournament quite a bit as unfortunately the other events were not televised. This is the final day of the Block matches, so two of the matches here will determine which wrestlers reach the finals. Here are the tournament standings heading into the show:

Blue Stars Red Stars
Queen Maya [7]
Starfire [5]

Kairi Hojo [5]
Chelsea [4]
Haruka Kato [0]
Io Shirai [7]
Hudson Envy [6]
Kaori Yoneyama [5]
Mayu Iwatani [5]
La Rosa Negra [2]
Kris Wolf [0]

Today's matches:

- Alex Lee vs. Momo Watanabe vs. Starfire
- Red Stars: Chelsea vs. KAORU
- Blue Stars: La Rosa Negra vs. Mayu Iwatani
- Red Stars: Kairi Hojo vs. Queen Maya
- Blue Stars: Hudson Envy vs. Io Shirai

Since this is the last day of Block matches, the last two matches on the event will determine which wrestlers reach the Finals. If Hojo wins, she ties Maya and also wins the tie-breaker for beating Maya head to head. But if Maya wins or the match is a draw, Queen Maya wins the Blue Stars. Envy is in a similar situation, if she wins she will go onto the Finals, but if Shirai wins or the match is a draw, it will be Shirai that moves on.

Alex Lee vs. Momo Watanabe vs. Starfire

It is not uncommon for Stardom to begin their shows with either a kid's match or a silly short three-way match. This is the latter, although seeing Starfire in this role is interesting as she doesn't usually get involved in it. She'll probably kill someone to make herself feel better. Alex Lee is used by Stardom quite a bit, she was in WWE developmental as Leah West but she never got called up to WWE before being released in late 2011. Watanabe is still a kid having debuted last year, and Starfire is Stardom High Speed Champion coming into the match. So she is about three levels above Lee and Watanabe which is why I am assuming she will be controlling this one.

Starfire is double teamed to start until Lee kicks Watanabe by accident. They all take turns striking each other until Lee hits a lariat on both of them. Watanabe and Starfire team together to attack Lee in the corner repeatedly, Starfire covers Lee but Watanabe breaks it up. Watanabe dropkicks Starfire in the corner, she puts Starfire in the tree of woe and she hits another dropkick for a two count. Lee returns and boots Starfire, Lee kicks Watanabe in the chest and hits a high kick. Suplex by Lee, she covers Watanabe but Watanabe gets a shoulder up. Lee gets on the second turnbuckle and hits a missile dropkick, but Starfire gets back into the ring and they dropkick Lee out of the ring. Starfire targets Watanabe but Watanabe dropkick Starfire in the knee. Another dropkick by Watanabe and she hits rolling vertical suplexes for a two count. Watanabe goes for the Somato but Starfire rolls out of the way and hits rolling backdrop suplexes. Double underhook piledriver by Starfire, and she gets the three count! Starfire is your winner.

This was about what you'd expect, pretty pedestrian. Starfire's double underhook piledriver looks killer but beyond that nothing really memorable happened at all. Just a standard Stardom opener.

Chelsea vs. KAORU

This match is part of the FIVE STAR GP. Both wrestlers are out of the running to reach the finals, but there is still honor to fight for. These two are opposites, as KAORU has been wrestling for longer than Chelsea has been alive. KAORU as usual brings her wooden board down to the ring with her, just in case she needs it, while Chelsea didn't bring anything besides her smile. This may not end well for young Chelsea.

New outfit for Chelsea, for those that keep track of wrestler's attire. KAORU promptly kicks Chelsea out of the ring to start the match and attacks her around the ring and into the stands. KAORU finally brings Chelsea back into the ring and applies a stretch hold before choking Chelsea in the ropes. KAORU's assault on young Chelsea continues for several minutes, including biting Chelsea, until Chelsea hits a crossbody to gain the advantage. Chelsea slaps KAORU in a stretch hold but KAORU gets to the ropes to force a break. Irish whip by Chelsea but KAORU kicks her as she charges in before hitting a big boot. Vertical suplex by KAORU but Chelsea hits a pair of ax handles followed by a heel drop to get a two count cover. Chelsea re-applies her submission hold but KAORU gets to the ropes again, Chelsea goes off the ropes and hits a crossbody for a two count. KAORU gets her wooden board and whacks Chelsea in the head with it before hitting her again and suplexing Chelsea onto the board. The referee won't count the cover since she cheated so much, KAORU tries to drop the board onto Chelsea but Chelsea moves. Chelsea kicks KAORU in the stomach and nails a scissors kick, but KAORU kicks out of the cover. Chelsea goes up top and goes for the diving crossbody, but KAORU dropkicks her on the way down. Michinoku Driver by KAORU, she goes to the top turnbuckle and nails a beautiful Valkyrie Splash for the three count! KAORU is your winner and gets two now meaningless points in the tournament.

To say this match exceeded my expectations would be a wild understatement. KAORU was masterful in getting probably the best singles match of Chelsea's I have seen. I don't want to over hype it as it was still an eight minute one-sided match but it was entertaining which as a fan is all I ask for. KAORU controlling things made sense as she is the seasoned veteran, but Chelsea got in her hope spots and nearfalls so it wasn't a squash. KAORU hitting the Valkyrie Splash perfectly was nice also, for a 46 year old she hasn't lost a step in the high flying department. A really well done match overall. Mildly Recommended

La Rosa Negra vs. Mayu Iwatani

This match is part of the FIVE STAR GP. Like the last match, neither of these two can win their blocks, but they will battle it out anyway. La Rosa Negra is participating in her first Stardom tour, and we still don't know if it will be a one-and-done or if she will become a regular like how Starfire did after debuting in last year's tournament. Iwatani of course is the young Stardom star looking to one day unseat Shirai as the ace of the promotion.

Iwatani really loves streamers, if you see her on the street and throw some at her she will probably twirl around in them while giggling. They start with trading holds and quick pins with neither having much luck, until Negra hits Iwatani with a series of elbow drops. Irish whip by Negra but Iwatani hits a jumping elbow strike, Iwatani goes off the ropes but Negra avoids the dropkick. Iwatani lands on the apron, Negra picks her up from inside the ring and twists her in the ropes. Dropkick by Negra, she slams Iwatani into the corner and schoolboys Iwatani for two. Iwatani kicks Negra but Negra gives her an airplane spin before ramming her into the turnbuckles. Bronco Buster by Negra and she gives Iwatani some butt thrusts. Negra applies a submission hold and she rolls Iwatani into a pin attempt for a two count. Negra chokes Iwatani in the corner, Irish whip by Negra but Iwatani rebounds out of the corner with a dropkick. Iwatani stomps and chops Negra in the corner and nails a dropkick, diving footstomp by Iwatani and she covers Negra for a two count. Iwatani goes to the top turnbuckle but Negra joins her, Iwatani knocks Negra back to the mat and she hits a missile dropkick. Both wrestlers get back up, crucifix slam by Iwatani but it gets a two count. Iwatani goes for the dragon suplex but Negra blocks it and hits a rebound elbow strike out of the corner. Hurricanrana by Iwatani, she goes for a piledriver but Negra gets out of it and hits a powerslam. Negra goes up top and she nails the Rose Splash, picking up the three count! Negra wins the match and gets two points in the tournament.

I had some issues getting into this match but I can't pinpoint exactly why. Negra was in control for the bulk of it but her offense just didn't suck me in, nothing looked overly impactful and there was no sense that her offense was leading to something. It was just random moves without a lot of excitement. It picked up some but it was too little too late, even though I did enjoy Iwatani's spunkiness. Just average overall.

Kairi Hojo vs. Queen Maya

This match is part of the FIVE STAR GP. As I mentioned above, the scenario here is that Mayu is ahead in the block by two points. If Hojo wins, then she ties Maya in points but wins the tie-breaker, so she'd go onto the finals. If Maya wins or it is a draw/double countout, then Maya will win the block. Hojo started the tournament slow but came on strong after that, which helped her get into position to win. Maya has been dominating the entire time, with only one loss. This is the classic 'lovable babyface vs. monster heel' that has been in wrestling since the beginning of time, let's see how it works out.

Hojo tries to use her speed to start but it doesn't really work, as Maya catches her when she goes for a crossbody and slams Hojo to the mat. Maya clubs on Hojo, Hojo escapes and runs around to avoids Maya but Maya blocks the spear and clubs on her some more. Maya chokes Hojo with her boot and hits a lariat in the corner, argentine backbreaker by Maya but Hojo elbows out of it. Hojo goes for a schoolboy with no luck, she goes off the ropes but Maya catches her with a Black Hole Slam for a two count. Giant Swing by Maya, she gets Hojo up and goes for a powerbomb but Hojo wiggles away and elbows Maya in the back of the leg. Neckbreaker by Hojo and she starts working on Maya's leg. Chops by Hojo and she hits a spear in the corner followed by a hard sliding elbow. Hojo goes up top but Maya boots her in the face when she jumps off. Maya pulls on Hojo's arm and throws her into the corner, choking Hojo with her boot. Maya puts Hojo on the top turnbuckle and joins her, but Hojo elbows her into tree of woe. Hojo jumps off the top turnbuckle and hits a dropkick, spear by Hojo and she picks up a two count. Hojo goes off the ropes but Maya levels her with a lariat for a two count cover. Maya goes to the second turnbuckle and goes for a reverse splash, but Hojo rolls out of the way. Hojo gets on the second turnbuckle herself and hits a diving elbow drop, but Maya kicks out. Hojo goes to the top turnbuckle this time to do another one, but Maya gets up and bops her. Maya pulls Hojo off and hits a chokeslam, but Hojo rolls out of the ring before she can be covered. Maya goes out after her and puts Hojo on the entrance ramp, she goes for a chokeslam but Hojo gets away. Big boot by Maya, she starts walking back to the ring but Hojo grabs her from behind by the ankles. Maya kicks at Hojo but Hojo goes off the ropes and hits a spear. Hojo crawls back to the ring, Maya gets up but Hojo avoids the big boot and rolls back in just as the referee reaches the 20 count. Hojo wins the match by countout and wins the Blue Stars block!

This match was probably what it needed to be but man was it rough to watch. I've said before, Maya plays her role well as she is huge but long matches like this don't suit her, it was a cluster. For every move that looked good, like the slams or the chokeslam, there is something that isn't hit well or just looks awkward. The ending was lame even by count out standards, it was too obvious what they were going for as Maya had several chances to get back in the ring but didn't. This was done just to get the points to line up right but it wasn't a good match.

Hudson Envy vs. Io Shirai

This match is part of the FIVE STAR GP. Going into the match, Shirai leads the Red Stars but only by one point, so a Envy win gets her the block automatically. Course, Shirai only needs a draw or a win to reach the finals, so she still has the advantage.

Shirai attacks Envy before the match even starts with a swandive elbow smash, setting the tone for the match. She kicks Envy out of the ring and attacks her on the floor, but Envy regains the advantage and slides Shirai back in the ring. Stomps by Envy but Shirai ducks the lariat and hits a dropkick. Envy falls out of the ring, Shirai goes for an Asai Moonsault but Envy sees it coming and pulls Shirai down before she can jump. They battle around the ring again and into the crowd (hard to see due to bad lighting and one hard cam), with Envy getting back in first. Shirai slowly follows, Envy picks up Shirai and puts her head over the second rope before hitting a neckbreaker. Envy twists Shirai in the ring post before they get back in, with Envy kneeing Shirai repeatedly. Envy elbows Shirai into the corner, Irish whip but Shirai moves when Envy charges in and kicks her back. Shirai goes up top and delivers a missile dropkick, but Envy stays in control. Envy goes off the ropes but Shirai throws her to the mat and applies an armtrap crossface. Envy struggles but eventually makes it to the ropes, tiger feint kick by Shirai and she hits the swandive dropkick. Envy falls out of the ring, Shirai gets on the top turnbuckle and dives out onto Envy with a moonsault. Back in the ring, Shirai applies a double underhook but Envy elbows out of it. They trade blows until Envy hits a Backstabber, Envy goes off the ropes but Shirai hits a hurricanrana for a two count. Back kick by Shirai and she dropkicks Envy in the head, cover by Shirai but it gets two. Shirai goes up top but Envy smacks her and goes up as well. They trade elbows while on the top turnbuckle, Envy gets Shirai on her shoulders and she hits an avalanche Samoan Drop. German suplex hold by Envy, but Shirai gets a shoulder up. Envy picks up Shirai but Shirai picks up Envy and hits an Air Raid Crash for two. Double underhook facebuster by Shirai, she goes up top but Envy hits her from behind and hits a powerbomb. Envy picks up Shirai, Shirai goes for a tombstone but Envy reverses it into a tombstone of her own. Big lariat by Envy, she drags Shirai to her feet and nails the Tiger Driver. She then quickly hits a powerbomb, cover by Envy and she gets the three count! Envy gets two points and wins the Red Stars block!

This was a strong match between two great wrestlers, what hurt it was the camera and the amount of outside the ring action. I am assuming Envy did something heinous to Shirai outside the ring but I'll never know because it was so far off camera. But everything in the ring I could see was lots of fun, both were crisp with execution and much of the offense looked quite painful. Love Envy's neckbreaker in the ropes and tiger driver, even though on the Stardom scale Shirai outranks her, it was definitely not a fluke win. Good way to end the show. Recommended

Final Thoughts:

Five match events are always a hard sell, as it just isn't a lot of wrestling. The total in-ring time for the entire show was around an hour, which is very low. Of the five only two are really worth watching, with KAORU/Chelsea being more of a 'fun veteran/rookie match' than something you need to go out of your way to see. Envy vs. Shirai was borderline fantastic but was hurt by the hard cam setup, since that made us miss probably a good 10 to 15 percentage of the action. A skippable show overall, certainly some solid wrestling here and there but just not enough to recommend.

Grade: D+

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event reviewed on 9/21/15