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Utami Hayashishita is the Real Damn Deal: STARDOM 5 Star Grand Prix 2018 Day One
Utami Hayashishita is two matches into her STARDOM career (sidenote: I’m only watching and writing as all of the matches go up for each day of the 5*GP and hoping to avoid spoilers on social media – so if this seems out of date, that’s why!) and is quickly becoming a personal favorite. Maybe it’s because we’re both new to STARDOM? Or, maybe it’s because SHE’S A GOD DAMN BEAST and her Torture Rack is unapologetically brutal.
In just her second match in STARDOM, Utami came away with what has to be considered a surprise victory over Tam Nakano in Red Block. Nakano gave all she could against Utami but fell victim to some pretty vulgar displays of power. Maybe if Tam had used the sword from her entrance she would have fared better. Utami doesn’t move or react like a rookie when she’s in the ring. It would seem Utami’s background in judo is lending its way to some quick successes in the ring, especially evidenced by the way she tosses her opponents around the ring and catches them unexpected with slick movements and counter-maneuvers – and pray for anyone who falls victim to her STO. The future looks bright for Utami as she heads into her next match with Natsuko Tora.
Utami! UTAMI! It's night 1 of the 5★STAR GP2018 and the first person in Utami Hayashishita's path is Tam Nakano! And you can see it right now on https://t.co/q8dHnF58vW! pic.twitter.com/ImR1gmcK7O
— We Are Stardom (@we_are_stardom) August 19, 2018
Kagetsu and Konami tore it down in the main event with Konami getting a huge tapout victory over the current World of STARDOM Champion. Both wrestlers shined here and it looked like Kagetsu would bring honor to Oedo Tai as she bullied Konami with kicks before repeatedly pounding her into the mat with a set of three sitout Death Valley Drivers. Konami avoided the 450 splash from the champion, though, and was able to lock her into the Triangle Lancer for the victory. After the match, Konami was quick to remind everybody that she has a 100% winning percentage with the Triangle Lancer and that her opponents should look out for it. After seeing her cinch it in on Kagetsu, there is little doubt that if she’s able to use the hold against Tam Nakano on the second day of action that we’ll see Tam rack up another loss.
Konami vs Kagetsu took like 5 seconds for it to become an awesome match.
I need more of Konami closing shows with her new catchphrase. #KonamiMostPoints pic.twitter.com/8rakwg6pq5
— Matt (@mattsdl) August 21, 2018
Kimber Lee defeated Natsuko Tora in the first match of block action but still hasn’t washed off the stink of a less-than-successful NXT run. I always enjoyed her during her time in CHIKARA but something just isn’t clicking for me at this point. She may turn out to be my YOSHI-HASHI of the 5*GP, just waiting for a breakout moment that turns me into a fan. I have a bit more faith in Kimber Lee fulfilling that hope than I ever had in YOSHI, so I’ll keep my fingers crossed.
Jamie Hayter picked up a win over Natsu Sumire of Oedo Tai with a Falcon Arrow to put another loss in the books for Oedo Tai. This was my first time seeing Hayter wrestle and I really enjoyed her. She’s obviously the Revolution Pro Undisputed British Women’s Champion for a reason and those reasons were on full display here. She’ll next meet Momo Watanabe who put Nicole Savoy away in her first match of the tournament. Savoy is most known to me from her participation in last year’s Mae Young Classic but is most notably the current SHIMMER Champion with a reign nearing 300 days.
Rachael Ellering was able to survive Jungle Kyona and I sadly have to put Ellering in the same category as Kimber Lee right now. I’ve always wanted to like her and have had the opportunity to see her perform at WrestleCircus locally, but something about her offense just doesn’t stick with me. There’s just not as much oomph as with the other women in the tournament which becomes much more clear with such a well-rounded group.
In what was a surprise win for me, Kelly Klein came up with the W against Mayu Iwatani. Klein certainly looked impressive in what was, again, my first time seeing her wrestle. I fully expected Mayu, who is one half of the current Goddess of STARDOM Champions, to redeem herself against Klein for a loss she suffered in Ring of Honor’s Women of Honor tournament. Unfortunately for Mayu, she’ll have to look forward to another time and place to get her win back.
Oedo Tai's 5☆STAR Grand Prix 3 rules:
①Oedo tai will always second for one another's matches.
②Anytime a member has a match, Oedo Tai will dance.
(If they have 3 matches, they will dance 3 times.)
③The penalty of losing is death. pic.twitter.com/KwSGMF8E2j
— We Are Stardom (@we_are_stardom) August 17, 2018
Hazuki is the only member of Oedo Tai who gets to live to see another day as she was victorious over Saki Kashima. Hazuki is just mean. The pre-match banter between the two was light but the match was anything but – Hazuki makes a business out of trying to kick the face off of her opponents and she didn’t hold back in the least. I’m looking forward to seeing her kick many more faces before all is said and done.
It's the 5★STAR Grand Prix 2018 and Hazuki faces Saki Kashima in night one action, on https://t.co/q8dHnF58vW! pic.twitter.com/jPTULm4s3F
— We Are Stardom (@we_are_stardom) August 20, 2018
The August 19 matches haven’t begun to be uploaded to STARDOM World yet, but I’m looking forward to the further adventures of Utami as she faces Natsuko Tora and I think Tam versus Konami could be the show-stealer. Tam is going to be looking for a win to get the tournament back on track for herself and Konami is coming off of a massive achievement by tapping out the World of STARDOM Champion on night one.
If you want a tiny little crash course (it was a crash course for me, too) on the competitors in the 5*GP, I’ve got you covered with my 5*GP Preview. If you aren’t already a subscriber to STARDOM World, GET ON IT! It comes out to something ridiculous like $6.50 a month and has an awesome backlog of shows and matches for you to enjoy while you wait for more 5*GP matches to get online. Want to see newest NXT signee Io Shirai in a death match? THEY’VE GOT THAT.
Now on https://t.co/q8dHnF58vW! The Explosion Death Match from April 1 in Nagoya! Io Shirai & Tam Nakano vs Kagetsu & Natsu Sumire! pic.twitter.com/YicTE6lV1l
— We Are Stardom (@we_are_stardom) April 2, 2018
So get on it, ya big dumb donkey, and start filling your life with professional wrestling you can actually enjoy and care about again. See you next time around with a recap of Day Two!