Whether you want to admit it or not, July 23rd and the 5 Star Grand Prix is coming upon us faster than we would like. You all know how excited I am for the best tournament in wrestling and Stardom has given us the match-ups for Day One. There are only 20 participants this year, as you all would have seen in my block previews, so on Day one we are getting ten matches and the whole field is participating. Something cooler, we get a couple of rivalry matches right off the bat! No matter who you pick to win the tournament this year we all know that it’s gonna be amazing.
For the first day preview, I am going to present the matches in order of how excited I am for the match. Obviously we don’t know the exact order for the card just yet so I figured excitement level would be a great way to do this. I’ll give you my excitement level in Stars and I’ll even try to predict the winners. Something to remember about my predictions, they are my feelings. A Win in any way earns 2 points, Draws in any way earn 1 point and losses of any kind are 0 points. My excitement level will be between zero and five ★’s so let’s dive right on into it!
Red Block: Natsupoi vs Starlight Kid ★★★★★
We’re kicking it off with one of the best rivalries in the Red Block and a match-up that I will never get tired of seeing, Natsupoi versus Starlight Kid. These two High Speed masters will give us a fast paced masterclass of what High Speed is all about.
Honestly shocked that we are getting this right off the bat but we all know it won’t last the entire time limit. Knowing Poi and SLK, the match won’t make it to the ten minute mark. If you want my opinion, I’ll be shocked if either woman picks up the victory here. I can see the match going to a draw and both women picking up a single point for their efforts.
Prediction: Double Count Out or a Draw in some way. SLK – 1, Natsupoi – 1
Red Block: Mayu Iwatani vs Hazuki ★★★★★
The second of my three five star excitement matches is Mayu Iwatani taking on Hazuki. Both women are absolutely insane in the ring. Mayu is the Icon of Stardom, the GOAT, there’s nothing in the company that she hasn’t done. Sure, it’s been a few years since she was a World or Wonder of Stardom Champion, but the current IWGP Women’s Champ is always a tough out for anyone in Stardom.
Hazuki has never won this tournament, despite coming damn close last year only to be edged out by Tam Nakano. I know that I picked Hazuki to win the Red Block this year and I stand by that pic, but you can never ever count Mayu Iwatani out. This is another match that I predict going to a draw.
Prediction: Time-Limit Draw. Mayu – 1, Hazuki – 1
Red Block: Tam Nakano vs. Saya Kamitani ★★★★★
There’s something special that always happens when these two step into the ring together. Tam Nakano and Saya Kamitani always bring out the absolute best in each other and have a long-standing rivalry that really came to be over the Wonder of Stardom title.
Tam Nakano, the current World of Stardom Champion, comes into this year hoping to once again win the Red Block. She has a damn good chance of it, but she has to get through Saya Kamitani, Hazuki, SLK, Mayu Iwatani and so many more. She could defeat them all but the odds are never on a champions side in this tournament. The potential for the match of the tournament is here, watch it and love it.
Prediction: Saya Kamitani picks up the victory. Saya – 2, Tam – 0
Blue Block: MIRAI vs Momo Watanabe ★★★★
Cinderella tournament winner and current Wonder of Stardom Champion opens the tournament up with one of her biggest challenges in Momo Watanabe. Momo, a former runner-up in this tournament, comes in hoping to repeat her success from 2021 and win the Blue Block.
I believe the winner of this match is likely to win the entire block. Both Mirai and Momo will give it their all and put on one hell of a match. Like with Tam Nakano, champions don’t really have an advantage in this tournament. I won’t be surprised if Momo cheats or gets Oedo Tai involved, but MIRAI does have God’s Eye at her back who will even the odds. You’ll all love this one, like I will.
Prediction: Momo Watanabe wins. Momo – 2, MIRAI – 0
Red Block: Syuri vs Suzu Suzuki ★★★★
This is gonna be the hardest hitting match of night one as Syrui takes on the Violent Prodigy known as Suzu Suzuki. This will be Suzu’s second tournament, shocking me with her stellar performance last year and pushing everyone in her block to the limit. Syuri, a former winner of the GP, looks to become a two time winner but she has some really stiff competition this year.
Sorry to say it but I think Suzu is going to be too much for Syuri this time around. Suzu isn’t afraid to risk her body to take out her opponent and with one of the sickest finishers in Stardom, Suzu Suzuki is going to start this tournament off on the right foot.
Prediction: Suzu Suzuki is victorious. Suzu – 2, Syuri – 0
Blue Block: Maika vs. Hanan ★★★
One of the rising favorites in Stardom, Maika, takes on a young woman who is really coming into her own in Hanan. Hanan is the only one of the Stardom sisters to make into the 5 Star this year and she had to earn her way in through a battle royale.
Historically, Hanan hasn’t had the best results in this tournament. She’s never cleared ten points to my knowledge and she really wants to prove herself this year. The problems for her lay in her block as she has to get through AZM, Giulia and Maika, to name a few. The powerhouse that is Maika is going to push Hanan to her limit and honestly I don’t think that Hanan picks this one up. She might shock us, but I don’t see it happening.
Prediction: Maika wins. Maika – 2, Hanan – 0
Blue Block: Giulia vs. Saori Anou ★★★
Last years winner, Giulia, opens up the tournament against Saori Anou and while this should be a great match, I’m not all that excited for it. Saori just had a killer strap match against friend and rival Natsupoi to send her into this tournament on a bit of a high.
Giulia, while having lost her World of Stardom title early in her reign, comes in as a clear favorite in the Blue Block. She doesn’t have to contend against the likes of SLK or Iwatani this year so she has a good chance to repeat, I just don’t see it happening. Anou will put up a hell of a fight but this one will likely end in a draw or Giulia win. I just don’t see Anou getting a victory here.
Prediction: Giulia victory. Giulia – 2, Saori Anou – 0
Blue Block: Utami Hayashishita vs. Mina Shirakawa ★★
Now, I love both Utami and Mina but this match really doesn’t excite me too much. Utami has been one of the most dominant women in Stardom for a couple years now and she always seems to bring out a great match in her opponents.
Shirakawa comes into her matches putting up her best fight and effort but rarely gets the results she hopes to see. I won’t deny that Mina is one of Stardom’s most improved wrestlers over the last few years but her luck is always bordering on horrendous. She wins a title, loses it immediately. Does she put up a fight? Yes. Does she get decent results in tournaments? Yes. She doesn’t win this one though as Utami puts her down.
Prediction: Utami Hayashishita wins. Utami – 2, Mina – 0
Red Block: Ami Sourei vs Natsuko Tora ★★
The ever dangerous leader of Oedo Tai, Natsuko Tora, opens the tournament up against Ami Sourei of God’s Eye. This rivalry between Units has become something recent after Tora kicked Saki Kashima out of Oedo Tai and has had her beaten down at every chance, only for Saki to turn to God’s Eye for protection. While this match isn’t personal between the two, yet, the match could be the start of real problems between God’s Eye and Oedo Tai.
I think Tora lucked out that she doesn’t have to contend with MIRAI in her block but she does have to contend with Syuri later and that will be epic. This one though, I can see it going to a draw or ending with a Tora win, just to further light a fire under Syuri for their inevitable clash.
Prediction: Natsuko Tora is the victor. Tora – 2, Sourei – 0
Blue Block: AZM vs. Mariah May ★
I hate to give an AZM match one star for excitement, but this match won’t be that good in my opinion. Mariah May has done nothing to impress me since she joined Stardom and Club Venus, despite holding the Goddess title with Mina Shirakawa. By contrast, AZM is always exciting even when she is clearly the better competitor.
The 20 year old is going to give Mariah May a lesson in Joshi High Speed wrestling and Mariah is going to fall apart because of it. AZM is too fast and too skilled for May to compete here. Sorry for all you Mariah May fans, she isn’t winning the tournament or this match. I’ll be shocked if she wins any matches this year.
Prediction: AZM schools Mariah May and wins. AZM – 2, May – 0
There you have it folks. Remember, the 2023 5★STAR GRAND PRIX officially begins on July 23rd. I hope you’re looking forward to it as much as I am. Later folks!