The biggest Stardom tournament 5 Star Grand Prix is making its return starting on August 8th with the winner will be crowned on September 19th. 16 total wrestlers, 8 wrestlers in two different blocks. Each wrestler will wrestle everyone in their respective block. The 2 winners from each block will wrestle on September 19th, at the Korakuen Hall to crown the 2020 5 Star Grand Prix.
The history of the 5 Star Grand Prix has been great. This will be the 9th year of the Grand Prix. Each winner of the 5 Star Grand Prix has gone on to be successful in Stardom. I’ve included Hana Kimura who passed away this year in that category because she did win last year 5 Star Grand Prix and there was no doubt in anyone’s mind that she was had a great future ahead of her.
The Past winners of the 5 Star Grand Prix
2012 – Yusuki Aikawa
2013 – Nanae Takahashi
2014 – Io Shirai
2015 – Kairi Hojo
2016- Yoko Bito
2017 – Toni Storm
2018 – Mayu Iwatani
2019 – Hana Kimura
This year’s 5 Star Grand Prix is primed to be a very exciting one. You have a mix of veterans of the Grand Prix and first-time participants. There are six first time participants in the year’s Grand Prix (Giulia, Starlight Kid, Saya Kamitani, Himeka, Syuri, and Maika). Joining me in this 5 Star Grand Prix preview is @theexcellenceofprocrastination As we preview each wrestler in the 5 Star Prix. We will evaluate each one chance of winning, choose the winners of each block and ultimately decide who will win the 2020 5 Star Grand Prix.
Mayu Iwatani – 2014 5 Star Grand Prix (6pts), 2015 5 Star Grand Prix (5pts), 2016 5 Star Grand Prix (8pts), 2017 5 Star Grand Prix (10pts), 2018 5 Star Grand Prix Winner (9ts) defeated Utami Hayashishita , 2019 5 Star Grand Prix (8pts).
Dan – @danspursquins
The Ace of Stardom. The Current Red Belt holder. The former 5 star Grand Prix winner. And therefore surely one of the favourites to win the whole thing. If she does win it, people may well ask who would be in a position to challenge her for the title, and it’s a fair question. The answer may lie in the direction of Takumi Iroha who already holds a victory over Mayu in 2020 in what was an absolutely superb contest. Or the challenge could even be laid at the feet of Kairi Hojo, who is strongly rumoured to be returning home to Stardom. Either way, it’s hard to see Iwatani taking too many defeats throughout the competition.
Dametrey – @DametreyRiley
Mayu Iwatani is and should be one of the favorites to win this year 5 Star Grand Prix. There are several reasons why she should be one of the favorites. Experience in is a type of tournament is key. She is the only previous winner of the 5 Star Grand Prix to be in it. Mayu in big matches has been pretty great. Winning this year Grand Prix would just add to the dominance Mayu has shown lately. Mayu should be a big factor in deciding who wins the Red block.
Giulia – First time participant
The unbeaten (*cough* Saki Kashima *cough*) Giulia is arguably the most dominant wrestler in Stardom right now, having won the Cinderella tournament in March 2020 before going on to take the White Belt following a brilliant win over Konami and an absolute war with Tam Nakano. Likely to have a very strong tournament, and I fancy Giulia to beat Mayu on night 1 to set up a future encounter between the two champions, but I think even those who love love love Giulia might find it a bit much if she wins this tournament as well.
No one has been on a bigger roll heading to the 5 Star Grand Prix then Guilia. Since coming to Stardom, she has only been pinned once. Undefeated in singles matches. Guilia just recently won The Vacant White Belt against Tam Nakano. Giulia will continue her winning ways and will have an excellent chance to win the 5 Star in her first appearance. I can see her winning the Red block but I can’t see her winning the 5 Star Grand Prix. If anyone can surprise me it would Giulia.
Tam Nakano – 2017 5 Star Grand Prix (2pts), 2018 5 Star Grand Prix (4pts), 2019 5 Star Grand Prix (10pts)
Tam seemed destined to win the White Belt after the retirement of her best frenemy Arisa Hoshiki, but she has repeatedly run into a Giulia shaped wall in recent weeks. First a black eye, then a questionable swimsuit brawl and then the cruel defeat in the final of the White Belt tournament. Nakano often seems on the verge of snapping from her sugary sweet persona, and it will be very interesting to see how she goes in this tournament. I expect her story is in continuing to chase the White Belt, so although she will come close, I’m not sure she’ll quite get across the line.
Tam Nakano is going to an interesting person to watch in this year’s 5 Star Grand Prix. Tam just recently lost her chance to win the White Belt against Giulia. How will this affect her in this tournament? I believe she will do great in this year’s Grand Prix. Last year she came close to winning her block. Tam will get a chance to get revenge on Giulia and that will be something I will be looking forward to watching when they face off. That being said, I think she will have an average shot of winning the Red block.
Konami – 2017 5 Star Grand Prix (2pts), 2018 5 Star Grand Prix (6pts), 2019 5 Star Grand Prix Finalist (11pts)
The runner up in 2019’s 5 Star Grand Prix as well as in the Cinderella tournament in the same year, Konami really needs to take the next step, particularly having recently lost out in the tournament for the White Belt. Her Tokyo Cyber Squad ally Jungle Kyona has taken most of the limelight since the return from lockdown, but Konami has returned looking incredibly focused. Can the tournament specialist finally win a tournament? It’s certainly a possibility.
Konami came so close last year to winning the 5 Star Grand Prix so she will have a lot of motivation to win this year’s Grand Prix. Konami who I believe is as talented as anyone in roster just can’t break through that wall. Comes to close but to only lose at the end. How will this year fear for Konami. She will have a good shot to win the Grand Prix. Konami will have a big mountain to climb win the Red block. I will give her an above-average chance. Unfortunately taking a step back from last year.
Starlight Kid – First time participant
This is Starlight Kid’s debut in the tournament and is a massive step up for her in terms of who she will be facing in one on one competition. Having said that, the view in Stardom appears to be that SK is a future face of the company, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see her pick up a big win or two to continue her development. Look out for what will likely be a particularly high-flying duel when she faces her Stars team leader Mayu Iwatani.
This is huge for Starlight Kid to finally be in the 5 Star Grand Prix. This will be a great experience for her. She is super talented and is definitely one of the futures of Stardom. Her chances of winning the Red block though will be very slim. I do think it will be hard for him to get points in this loaded block but Starlight Kid has the ability to pull off a couple of upsets if the opponent isn’t taking her seriously potentially even costing a major player a chance of winning the Red block.
Saya Kamitani – First time participant
Like Starlight Kid, ‘Tall Saya’ probably benefits from the lack of Gaijin stars, allowing her to also make her 5 Star debut. Also, like Starlight Kid though, Kamitani looks destined for great things. Already a tag-team champion the tournament will give us a chance to see her step up in class in terms of individual opponents. Not this year, but I certainly wouldn’t bet against Saya’s name being on the trophy one day.
Honestly, the exact same thing can be said for Saya that was said for Starlight Kid. This is just great add experience for Saya to be in this year 5 Star Grand Prix. Saya doesn’t have much of a chance to win the block but she does have a chance to pull off a couple of wins, even pull off a major win. Saya has great potential and she will show that against some of the best in this block.
Death Yama-San – 2013 5 Star Grand Prix (4pts), 2014 5 Star Grand Prix (5pts), 2015 5 Star Grand Prix (5pts)
The most experienced wrestler in the field, DEATH is likely to largely provide the chuckles in this block, although a recent win over AZM proves that she’s not to be trifled with (I mean she is called DEATH after all). I think I speak for most people when I say I don’t expect DEATH to win the block, but if she did I would support her wholeheartedly. DEATH!!!!!!!
Death Yama-San is just here for added experience. Even though there is no chance of her winning the block. She will pose a challenge to the opposition. Take her for granted, you could end up with a loss that can cost you dearly at a chance to win the 5 Star Grand Prix. Who doesn’t enjoy seeing Death Yama-San wrestle anyways?
Himeka – First time participant
The most unknown quantity in the whole tournament (for me at least). Himeka has only been part of Stardom for a matter of weeks, arriving as the fourth member of Donna Del Mundo and has looked incredibly strong ever since that debut. Nicknamed ‘Jumbo’ her power is impressive and watching her throw around Starlight Kid like a doll is likely to be highly entertaining. An intriguing battle with her DDM leader Giulia also beckons.
The newest member of the Stardom roster will most definitely be a problem for the rest of the wrestlers in her block. She can absolutely win the block and win the 5 Star Grand Prix. The Ultimate Wild Card of the Red block. She has looked great in the few matches she has been in. I say she does every well and will be a huge factor on deciding who wins the Red block.
Momo Watanabe – 2016 5 Star Grand Prix (8pts), 2018 5 Star Grand Prix (8pts), 2019 5 Star Grand Prix (10pts)
Once seemingly guaranteed to be a Red Belt holder, 2019 was an odd year for Momo, seemingly falling down the pecking order even within her own faction having finally lost the White Belt to Arisa. Since the return of Stardom shows post-lockdown however, Momo has looked in impressive form as she seeks to re-establish both herself and Queens Quest. Amazingly she has never finished higher than third in her block in the 5 Star Grand Prix, but I think it would be very surprising if she doesn’t beat that record this year.
If there is anyone who should be the overall favorite to win the 5 Star Grand Prix, I would say it’s The Queen Peach Momo Watanabe. She is serious eyes for the Red Belt and wants nothing then to complete the 3 steps she needs to become Red Belt champion. Win the Blue block which won’t be easy, then win the finals to become the next contender for the Red Belt. Lastly what she wants more then anything beat Mayu Iwatani to become Red Belt champion. It’s going to be hard to deny Momo this year. Excellent chance to win this year’s Grand Prix.
Utami Hayashitshita – 2018 5 Star Grand Prix finalist (10pts), 2019 5 Star Grand Prix (6pts)
One of my personal favourites in Stardom, it feels like a matter of time until Utami goes through the gears and starts racking up singles accolades. I was actually disappointed she wasn’t in the running for the White Belt recently, but the reasoning for that became clear when she claimed the tag belts with Saya Kamitani. That win probably means Utami’s immediate future lies in the tag division, but she will pick up a hefty amount of points in this block, and the Queens Quest rumble with Momo should be epic.
Utami knows how to win a block and almost won the 5 Star Grand Prix in her very first try. Last year she was one a roll again and was looking to win her block again before she had to pull out due to injury. Utami having success in the 5 Star makes her one of the favorites to win the block. This block is interesting for Utami because her two biggest rivals (Jungle Kyona and Maika is in the same block) and also two of her stablemates (Momo and AZM in also in the same block). She will have a great chance of winning the Blue block.
Jungle Kyona – 2016 5 Star Grand Prix (4pts), 2017 5 Star Grand Prix (6pts), 2018 5 Star Grand Prix (8pts), 2019 5 Star Grand Prix (6pts)
The Tetsuya Naito of Stardom. It seems Jungle Kyona is destined not to be given the spotlight that her avid followers so desperately crave for her. The question remains, is Jungle being repeatedly kept from the Red Belt so that when it finally happens it will be an even greater moment? Or will she be the permanent Stardom bridesmaid. The recent defeat to Mayu in Jungle’s hometown following her emotional return after Hana Kimura’s death would arguably have been the time to give everyone what they want. But they didn’t…and I’m not sure if they ever will.
Jungle Kyona’s confidence has to be on the low right now. Losing her Red Belt match to Mayu and also losing alongside Konami against Utami and Saya for the Goddess of Stardom titles. If there is a perfect resilient wrestler to come back from all of this and win the 5 Star Grand Prix. It would be Jungle Kyona. Jungle Kyona will have a chance to bounce back and win the 5 Star Grand Prix. She is capable of doing it too. If she does get it done, she will get that rematch with Mayu for the Red Belt.
AZM – 2019 5 Star Grand Prix (8pts)
The new High Speed Champion has already had a brilliant 2020 having long been considered a future champion. Insanely talented for one so young, only injury or the lure of foreign shores seem able to stop AZM winning this tournament at some stage. It says so much for the 17 year-old that she doesn’t look out of place when in the ring with anyone and everyone on the roster, and it would be great to see her pick up some big wins.
AZM was a late entry last season to the 5 Star Grand Prix and she did quite well. She pulled off some major upsets. AZM will look to do the same this year and pull off some major victories. AZM is also a big part of the future in Stardom and later down the line, she will be a factor to win a block. But this year it’s all bout improving on what she did last year.
Natsuko Tora – 2018 5 Star Grand Prix (4pts), 2019 5 Star Grand Prix (4pts)
Natsuko has gone from relative obscurity to de-facto leader of Oedo Tai in a very short space of time, and in doing so has become Stardom’s resident brawling expert. Having recently pummeled both Tam Nakano and Konami in various unpleasant ways, expect to see more of the same during this tournament. It’s highly unlikely that she’ll win the tournament, but she’s sure as hell going to hurt some people on the way.
Natsuko Tora has a lot of gain in this tournament. She has to prove herself to be a top player in Stardom. It will be hard for her to win the Blue Block, but there is a lot of chances to pick up some huge wins. I really want to see how she does in this year’s Grand Prix. Will it be more of the same as the two Grand Prix’s she was in before when she struggles. Or will she take that next step and be a player on who decides on wins the Blue block.
Saki Kashima – 2012 5 Star Grand Prix (3pts), 2018 5 Star Grand Prix (4pts), 2019 5 Star Grand Prix (6pts)
Boooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!! Saki’s heel turn last year was one of my highlights of Stardom in 2019, and the way she has transformed from sweet as pie pin-up to dark and moody goth-child has been brilliant. The in-ring work hasn’t quite gone hand in hand with this transformation however and looking at the rest of the block it’s hard to see where Saki is going to pick up many wins. Having said that, the match with Natsuko should make for interesting viewing, and regardless of the results, Saki is sure to be entertaining one way or another.
Saki is a vet and no one should take her lightly but she seems like someone who is just stuck in the same spot in Oedo Tai as she was in Stars. I don’t see her winning the Blue block but she can pull off some wins also against opponents who are favorites to win the block.
Syuri – First time participant
The most experienced, and for many the most talented member of Donna Del Mundo, we are still to really see Syuri at her best in singles competition. Her run to the semi-final of the Cinderella Tournament shows she is highly thought of however, and I’d be very surprised if she’s not in the running for block-winner as we get to the end of the tournament. The fact that she’s already got a match with Mayu booked at some point during the Grand Prix suggests she won’t be winning here, but christ that will be a hell of a match when it does happen.
Out of all of the first time participants, I would have given Syuri the best shot to win the 5 Star Grand Prix if she wasn’t facing Mayu soon for the Red Belt. Syuri is amazing and is a threat to win every match. She is definitely will be one of my favorites to watch in this 5 Star Grand Prix. I expect Syuri to finish at the top of the Blue block and will have a major impact on who wins the Blue block.
Maika – First time participant
Recently crowned the Future of Stardom Champion, and also one third of the current Artist of Stardom Champions, Maika is another recent import to the promotion who seems destined for great things. I suspect her role in this block may be to eat quite a few defeats, but it will stand her in good stead for the years ahead. Her match with AZM in particular will be a tantalising glimpse into the potential future of Stardom.
I am very high on Maika. I think she will have a great impact in Stardom. She already carries two titles in her short time. 1/3 of the Artist of Stardom champion and Future of Stardom champion. As far as this year’s Grand Prix. She is going against some major players that are more experienced and far along than her. The key will her is just getting better and picking up some big wins. She is more than capable of it.
Red Block Predictions
Everything in this block depends on the plans for Mayu Iwatani. If she is going to stamp her authority on the whole promotion then it would make a lot of sense for her to win whilst holding the Red Belt, and move on to those potentially enthralling clashes with either Iroha or Hojo. But my feeling is that this isn’t the way Stardom want to go, and they will therefore need someone else to win the tournament to present that challenge to the champion. Giulia seems to have her dance-card full with the White Belt and I think Tam Nakano may me more likely to have a full-on breakdown than to win the block.
So I see another block win in Konami’s future and I also think she will be the stand-out performer in the block from a match quality perspective. It’s hard to see her having a dull match with anyone, and those matches with Mayu, Tam and Giulia, in particular, should be absolutely incredible.
Yeah, this right here is a hard one to pick. The Red block can go a lot of ways. You have the best in Stardom Mayu Iwatani who knows what I takes to win the 5 Star. Giulia is on an unbelievable roll right now just coming off a White Belt title win along with retaining the Artist of Stardom titles with DDM. Konami almost won it last year. I wouldn’t count her out at all. But I’m going with a surprise. I think Himeka wins the Red block. My reason is that i see something big in her. She has all the tools to be the main event player. She has gotten the attention of the some of top wrestlers in Stardom already like Utami. Himeka will win the Red block defeating Konami on the last day to advance to the 5 Star Grand Prix Finals.
Blue Block Predictions
The masses will want Jungle Kyona to win the block. I personally would love Utami to top the group. Natsuko is probably fairly keen for Natsuko to win. But for me this block looks to be all about Momo Watanabe.
Free from the distractions of the White Belt and Bea Priestley’s usurpation of her leadership of Queen’s Quest (and ultimate traitorous switch to Oedo Tai) it looks like now is the time for Momo.
She will have to overcome what is likely to be at least a four way push for the top spot with Utami, Jungle and Syuri, but my money (which I don’t really have any of) is on Momo.
I’m just going to be blunt on this one. I got money on Momo Watanabe winning this. I’ve been on this train for a while now. I think Momo is the next ACE and it all starts with winning the Blue block. Now it won’t be easy with Utami in the block. She almost won her first time, she is pretty good and definitely has a shot to win the Blue block. Syuri is another one who could stop Momo from winning. She is an elite talent, very dangerous. Jungle Kyona is the only other one who can stop Momo from winning the Blue block. Kyona is hell-bent on winning the Red Belt and she is capable of beating anybody. At the end of the day, I’m all in on Momo beating Jungle Kyona on the last day in a winner takes all to advance in the 5 Star Grand Prix finals.
5 Star Grand Prix Winner Prediction
Even as I write this I lack confidence in Konami v Momo being the final of this year’s 5 Star Grand Prix, but one thing I can say is that if that is the final, it will be an absolute banger of a match.
It would be cruel for Konami to lose a third tournament final in two years, but equally after a tricky 2019, it would seem unwise to keep Momo from the top of the tree for too much longer.
My prediction is predicated on the belief that Stardom will soon want to transition the Red Belt from Mayu Iwatani, therefore the winner of this tournament is set for that honour. With that in mind, and knowing that I’ll have been wrong long before we even get to the final, my prediction is for Momo Watanabe to win the 5 Star Grand Prix and to go on and claim the Red Belt from Mayu.
And just so that people don’t look back at this in years to come and see that I got everything wrong, I’ll say this. The whole tournament will be awesome.
In the finals I got Himeka winning the Red Block going against Momo Watanabe winning the Blue block. Now Himeka being in the Finals is a surprise to some because of how new she is to Stardom. Make no mistake if she is in the finals it isn’t by luck. It is a hard gauntlet to get through in the Red Block. Himeka is certainly good enough to be in this position. But as good as Himeka is, I got her losing to the winner of the Blue block Momo Watanabe. It’s no surprise by now reading this article how I feel about Momo. It’s her time and she knows it. Momo wants Mayu for the Red Belt. Winning the Grand Prix will make that happen. So I have Momo winning 2020 5 Star Grand Prix and I’m 100% confident about my pick.