Heading into the final show before the finals, Mayu Iwatani and Hazuki were slated to face off to see who would grab first place in Blue Stars Block. With the two wrestlers involved, I don’t think it’s too surprising to let you know that I think I just watched several attempted murders in Osaka. Hazuki started hard with a vicious dropkick to the back as Mayu prepared before focusing on Mayu’s left arm. This is the arm Mayu injured in her World of STARDOM Title defense against Toni Storm which forced her to forfeit as she took a spot on the injured reserve. Mayu’s screams of pain were blood-curdling as Hazuki smashed her arm into the apron, ring post, and basically anything else that she could find. After pounding Mayu on the arena floor, Hazuki landed a disgusting stomp on the bent arm of Mayu which has made me cringe every time I’ve watched it.

Hazuki was really in top form here. As someone who just started watching STARDOM with the 5*GP, it’s easy to pick each wrestler out and find their strengths – with Hazuki, I’m pretty sure her strengths are everything? I’m struggling to remember if I’ve seen her had a bad match at all since the tournament started.

After sustaining punishment for most of the match, Mayu was finally able to fight her way back after dodging a double-foot stomp from the top rope. Getting back at Hazuki for her brutal kicks earlier in the match, Mayu clocked her in the head with a high kick before dropkicking her against the bottom rope to send her to the floor where she followed up with a cross body block from the top rope.

With Hazuki reeling after a crucifix bomb, Mayu was able to hold onto control long enough to pick up the win via Dragon Suplex and rack up 2 more points in the block. This puts Mayu in the lead with 8 points heading into the final with Momo and Hazuki trailing at 7. If you’re, for whatever reason, skipping around matches be sure to check this one out. It may be one of my favorites of the tournament so far.

One of the most disappointing matches of the entire tournament for me was Utami and Rachael Ellering. I don’t come to expect much of anything from Ellering as I just can’t get into her work, but Utami has been on fire the entire 5*GP. Unfortunately, Ellering was able to suck all of the fun out of an Utami match and I found myself drifting away as this match went on. It seemed like Ellering was in control for so much of the match and it was all so slow and plodding. The match wound up running to a time-limit draw netting both women a single point as they head into the finals.

In Blue Stars action, Natsu Sumire battled Kelly Klein in a decent match. Klein is much more enjoyable, to me, as a promo than as a wrestler. She comes off really well in her pre-match promos but, as with several of the foreigners, just doesn’t excite me in the ring. In Sumire’s pre-match promo, she tells a story about buying “Bust Up” to increase her breast size and will keep everyone informed of her progress in pre-match promos. She’s such a fucking weirdo.

Sumire is still rocking the QQ flag and AZM’s mask, so we’ll have to see if she makes it out of the entire 5*GP with her treasures. Klein refuses to shake hands at first but finally succumbs, then squeezes Sumire’s hand so hard that she recoils in pain. Sumire tried pulling out all of the stops here including the cat-o-nine-tails and the Oedo Tai sign, but Klein survived it all to grab 2 more points with a Death Valley Driver. Bonus points to Klein for hitting a really nice Northern Lights Suplex in this one.

In the last remaining block match of the show, Kimber Lee pinned Tam Nakano to earn 2 more points. Neither woman is in contention to win the block at all, so this match was just about pride. Again, I just can’t buy Kimber whether it’s in promos or in the ring. Her pre-match promos all come off way too rehearsed and while I think the point is to try and make her seem like someone who has passion and fighting spirit, it all just comes off as trying too hard. Tam keeps her comments simple by saying that Kimber uses HER backspin kick and she won’t find herself defeated by it.

Tam, you were wrong. A kick to the head and swanton bomb from Kimber was all she wrote for this one, though there was some good action along the way. Most notably for me was Tam catching Kimber on the ropes earlier in the match and bringing her back to the canvas with Iconoclasm. Always a fan of that move after seeing CIMA use it years and years ago despite it not necessarily always looking like it does the most amount of damage.

Nicole Savoy and Jamie Hayter continued their teaming ways to put away Starlight Kid and Saki Kashima. This match was a little sloppy at times with Savoy and Hayter showing some real rhythm as a team with quick tags as they handled their opponents. Savoy came through with the tap-out victory on Kid with a Rings of Saturn submission.

Kagetsu took on Shiki Shibusawa and made it known in her pre-match promo that she was completely insulted by having to face someone who she considers a joke of an opponent. She tells Shiki that she looks like a potato, which, okay? Kagetsu promises to eat potato sticks and then win the match continuing the Kagetsu Food Tour throughout the 5*GP.

Before the match, Kagetsu feeds Hazuki’s toy dog a potato stick which was nice of her. As the match begins, Kagetsu tells Shiki that she won’t do anything until she eats her last potato stick prompting Shiki to pepper her with a bunch of dropkicks to grab a quick two count. Shiki kept Kagetsu on the ropes for the most part with Kagetsu being caught off guard from the get-go. In the end, though, Kagetsu caught Shiki with a single head kick to put her away. Super fun and short match that told a story. After the match, Kagetsu pulled Shiki up by the hair and shoved her into the corner.

JAN and Queen’s Quest went to war in a trios match with Jungle Kyona, Natsuko Tora, and Leo Onozaki taking on Konami, Momo Watanabe, and AZM. AZM started off by demanding the biggest member of JAN start the match, causing Kyona and Natsuko to leave the ring for Leo to kick things off.

After quickly disposing of the rookie, Natsuko demanded “the cutest one” to which JAN responded by both Kyona and Natsuko entering the ring. To clarify, AZM proclaimed that she wanted the “fat one” to which both women exited. Finally, AZM called out “the pink one” and Natsuko, in her bright pink gear, started off the match.

After some initial comedy, Momo went to work on Leo with some assists from her QQ teammates. They really look like they have fun dismantling people in the ring and it’s as great as it is unnerving. Leo struggled against Momo and was able to connect with a couple of elbows to lead to her most important offensive move of the match – tagging in Natsuko Tora.

QQ wouldn’t let JAN stay in control too long, though, as Momo would begin to dominate Kyona coming close to pinning her. Momo tagged Konami into the match and the pair attempted a double suplex on the JAN leader, but she was able to reverse and suplex both of her opponents in response.

Again, though, QQ took control as Konami worked Kyona over with kicks, submissions, and suplexes until a failed attempt at the Triangle Lancer led to Kyona tagging Leo in once again. Despite a vicious spear from Natsuko on AZM, Leo couldn’t get the three count. Her fatigue left her open to a triple dropkick from QQ before AZM finally grabbed the win with a double-springboard cross body block.

Overall, a pretty fun show heading into the Karakuen Hall finals! Fingers crossed I’ll get to see a show there, whether it be STARDOM, NJPW, or DDT when I’m in Japan for Wrestle Kingdom.

With this one in the books, let’s check the standings heaidng into the final show on 9/24!

Red Stars Block

  • Kagetsu: 9
  • Rachael Ellering: 9
  • Jungle Kyona: 8
  • Utami Hayashishita: 8
  • Konami: 6
  • Kimber Lee: 4
  • Tam Nakano: 2
  • Natsuko Tora: 2

Blue Stars Block

  • Mayu Iwatani: 8
  • Kelly Klein: 8
  • Momo Watanabe: 7
  • Hazuki: 7
  • Nicole Savoy: 6
  • Jamie Hayter: 4
  • Saki Kashima: 4
  • Natsu Sumire: 4

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