Stardom: Five Star Grand Prix 2022 Event Report: MIRAI & Risa Sera Stand Tall at 4 Points Each

Some startling upsets leave many to wonder if some tournament favorites will be able to claw their way back from faltering out of the gate.

Photo Courtesy: Stardom

Stardom: Five Star Grand Prix 2022 Event Report: MIRAI & Risa Sera Stand Tall at 4 Points Each

The Five Star Grand Prix 2022 (5★GP) Night Two continued at Ota Ward Gymnasium. Japanese Commentary was led by Haruo Murata with Makoto Ohe with VIP Guests including NJPW’s Yuji Nagata and D4DJ voice actress Yuzuki Watase (Guest Ring Announcer). 

The first two matches on the card were streamed live for free on Stardom’s YouTube Channel, including 5★GP Red Stars match Koguma and Momo Kohgo and the Blue Stars match between Mina Shirakawa and Momo Watanabe. The opening ceremony was also included in the free internet live stream as well. The attendance number was reported at 1,323 guests.  

Spoiler-Free Synopsis – all 5★GP matches will only have the participants’ names and point totals prior to the start of the match for that day. Refer to individual match breakdowns for recommended match notations. Non-tournament matches will have quippy summaries. 

  • Opening Gauntlet Tag Match: Hazuki [2] & Hanan [0] vs. Maika [0] & Mai Sakurai [0] vs. AZM [0] & Miyu Amasaki [N/A] vs. Lady C [N/A] & Hina [N/A] vs. Ruaka [N/A] & Rina [N/A]
  • 5★GP22 Red Stars (1/15): Koguma [0] vs. Momo Kohgo [0]
  • 5★GP22 Blue Stars (1/15): Mina Shirakawa [0] vs. Momo Watanabe [0]
  • 5★GP22 Red Stars (1/15): Risa Sera [2] vs. SAKI [2]
  • Special Tag Match: POIRATES! vs STARS!
  • 5★GP22 Red Stars (1/15): Tam Nakano [0] vs. Himeka [2]
  • 5★GP22 Blue Stars (1/15): Giulia [2] vs. MIRAI [2]
  • 5★GP22 Blue Stars (1/15): Saya Kamitani [0] vs. Starlight Kid [0]
  • 5★GP22 Red Stars (1/15): Syuri [2] vs. Utami Hayashishita [0]

Opening Gauntlet Tag Match (1/10 per match-up): Maika [0] & Mai Sakurai [0] defeated Hazuki [2]/Hanan [0] & AZM [0]/Miyu Amasaki [N/A] & Lady C [N/A]/Hina [N/A] vs. Ruaka [N/A]/Rina [N/A]

I’d like to thank AZM for the Toru Yano-esque “buy my merch shirt” promo during her entrance announcement. 

(2) AZM [0] & Miyu Amasaki defeated (1) Lady C & Hina (0:00) – with AZM pinning Lady C with AzumiSushi
(2) AZM [0] & Miyu Amasaki defeated (3) Ruaka & Rina (0:00) – with AZM pinning Ruaka with AzumiSushi*
(2) AZM [0] & Miyu Amasaki defeated (4) Hazuki [2] & Hanan [0] (0:00) – with Miyu pinning Hanan with the Bridge Pin.
(5) Maika [0] & Mai Sakurai [0]defeated (2) AZM [0] & Miyu Amasaki (0:00) – with Maika pinning Miyu.

Note: Miyu Amasaki can now challenge Hanan for the Future of Stardom Championship. She is currently in the midst of her Super Rising Star singles’ challenge. 

5★GP22 Red Stars Block Points
Maika [0] – Next Match (8/13) vs. Saki Kashima
Mai Sakurai [0] – Next Match (8/7) vs. AZM
AZM [0] – Next Match (8/7) vs. Mai Sakurai

5★GP22 Blue Stars Block Points
Hanan [0] – First Match (8/6) vs. Mayu Iwatani
Hazuki [2] – Next Match (8/6) vs. Starlight Kid

FIVE STAR FASHION CHECK: MATSURI (FESTIVAL) JUSTICE Yuji Nagata in a jinbei (summer, two piece short set akin to a yukata; can be worn by anyone)! Completing the look is a blue mask and uchiwa (non-folding fan). I am surprised he opted for the NewEra slide sandals instead of geta, but I respect the comfort over fashion, especially with how exhausting it can be to wear the wooden sandals for a long period of time. 12/10 – Highly Recommended!

5★GP22 Red Stars (1/15): Koguma [2] defeated Momo Kohgo [0] (6:27) with – Worth a Watch

Although she was an alternate and last-minute substitution for Thekla, Momo Kohgo is having a prime opportunity to speed run the learning process through this baptism under fire in the 5★GP. With a seat under Hazuki’s learning tree and her recent High Speed Championship challenge against AZM, Momo is quickly progressing. I am fairly confident that Hazuki likely slipped her a couple of tips to keep Koguma at bay, including telling Momo to dictate the pacing of the match and force Koguma to work at a slower pace. That being said, the High Speed Genius is equally as dominant at any pace, but she had to work a little harder and more intentionally in choosing her methods of execution.  It was a good opener, one that elevated Momo even in defeat.

5★GP22 Red Stars Block Points
Koguma [2] – Next Match (8/6) vs. Saki Kashima
Momo Kohgo [0] – Next Match (8/11) vs. Himeka

Big Match Announcement: Stardom will have their first ever big event in Hiroshima Goddess Festival (Megami Matsuri) on November 3rd at Hiroshima Sun Plaza. Perhaps by then we could see the local heroine, Konami, make a return (even if it’s a brief one)

5★GP22 Blue Stars (1/15): Mina Shirakawa [0] vs. Momo Watanabe [0] (10:42) with Glamorous Collection Mina – Recommended

I knew the moment that Mina Shirakawa came out first that something was afoot, and when I mean afoot, I mean Momo Watanabe running in from the other side of the stage to kick Mina in the face. Now, I am all for a hearty pre-match attack with a German suplex on the stage, BUT, I am not okay with the referee starting the match and having the bell rung without the competitors being in the ring. I don’t know if it was a fluke, but this certainly wasn’t a falls count anywhere match, so I’m stumped as to why they started the match. Also, the referee started a countout once Momo got into the ring, as Mina was still on the entrance ramp with Tam Nakano stripping off her jacket. 

Momo wouldn’t fight alone as Mina is pitched back out of the ring, Ruaka and Natsuko start ‘helping’ by attacking Mina while she is on the floor. OET did get involved with this match with Natsuko and Rina in particular (by handing Momo the wrench to be used in the ring), but my prevailing question throughout the match was “who’s side is this referee on” because at any point he could have thrown out OET, banned them from ringside and even cause Momo to forfeit. Mina tying up Momo into a roll-up clutch was far, far more satisfying, it just seemed like the OET theatrics are actually losing their impact. It doesn’t get me angry anymore, I just feel desensitized, indifferent, and bored to be perfectly honest. Momo is capable, powerful, and resourceful on her own and the uptick in all the three-ring circus overbooking of her matches is distracting. 

Did I hoot and holler when Mina won? You bet your sweet Sunday brunch pancakes I did. I loved their striking exchange in particular and I think Momo could certainly be a forever rivalry for Mina moving forward, or at least a massive mountain for her to try and scale again in the future. With the victory Mina issued an Artists of Stardom Championship challenge to Momo, citing that she would bring her Pink Kabuki tag partner, Unagi Sayaka and the Kawaildo One, SAKI (COLOR’S). Momo accepts the challenge, but not without taking a cheap shot at Mina, taking back her wrench and kicking Tam for good measure before making her hasty escape.

“I want to become the Goddess of Victory in Cosmic Angels! I want to be the Venus of Cosmic Angels!!” – Mina Shirakawa

5★GP22 Blue Stars Block Points
Mina Shirakawa [2] – Next Match (8/7) vs. Saya Iida
Momo Watanabe [0] – Next Match (8/11) vs. Starlight Kid

5★GP22 Red Stars (1/15): Risa Sera [2] defeated SAKI [2] (8:13) with Rasha Hassami – Recommended

The leaders of two of the most popular independent freelance groups clashed, coming into the match with two points a piece. Sera and the rest of Prominence left Ice Ribbon in 2021 to go freelance, and when ActWres started dissolving some of their groups, SAKI and GPU COLOR’s struck out on their own. They both debuted in 2012, and have only crossed paths eight times since 2015, sometimes in opposite corners, but also as partners. 

Risa and SAKI were evenly matched and I would love to see where their journey together goes moving forward both inside Stardom, but also in the rapidly growing freelance realm. This match moved quickly and was fought very cleanly, especially given Risa’s penchant for using a kendo stick and other hardcore tactics. I would like to think that she took Syuri’s advice about not needing to lean onto all of that because she has all the tools she needs on her own. I loved that after the match Risa extended her hand in respect to SAKI, and it was SAKI who swatted it away defiantly. I hope this means we’ll see more of their journey as the leaders of their respective groups, whether that is in a Stardom ring, or elsewhere like in NOMAD’s Freelance Summit. 

5★GP22 Red Stars Block Points
SAKI [2] – Next Match (8/11) vs. Koguma
Risa Sera [4] – Next Match (8/11) vs. Utami Hayashishita

Commentary Update! Maika has entered the commentary booth starting with the special tag match and openly admits that she’s very nervous to be doing commentary.

Special Tag Match: POIRATES (KAIRI [N/A] & Natsupoi [0]) defeated STARS (Mayu Iwatani [0] & Saya Iida [0]) (13:49) with a Diving Elbow Drop/pin – Highly Recommended

It is a reunion six years in the making. Much like NANAKAIRI setting sail again yesterday, the new voyage of the POIRATES further weaves KAIRI’s past into Stardom’s present. When Natsupoi stepped forward as Tam Nakano’s first challenger for the Wonder of Stardom Championship at Yokohama Dream Cinderella (4/4/21), she wore a very special set of gear. The very familiar magenta and white gear once belonged to then Kairi Hojo, a wrestler who had a profound impact on then Natsumi Maki’s future. The sentimentality of Natsupoi wearing a keepsake handed down to her from a former Wonder of Stardom Champion in her first challenge attempt against Tam would become the threads that tied Tam and Natsupoi’s journey together. Tam tagged with KAIRI as White Knights, after which her intense series with Natsupoi led to the High Speed Fairy throwing away the safe haven that was Donna del Mondo, to join Cosmic Angels. 

I have wondered from the moment this match was announced if Natuspoi would bring back this gear or reveal an entirely new look for this tag with KAIRI, but she went with the deep cut and resurrected her most precious treasure to wear alongside her hero fulfilling their pinky promise to tag together again one day. Even better, KAIRI provided the upgrade and update to the POIRATES ensemble, by bringing out an equally outlandish and gorgeous tricorn hat with lace and feathers, so they could match even more. Big Match KAIRI elevated Big Match POI. 

Saya Iida coaxed KAIRI into a flex-off, leaning hard on the fact that KAIRI runs her own personal training gym in her off time. KAIRI obliged, but it would be Iida who secured the win after KAIRI backed off the second round of posing.  Their chop exchange, holy cannoli… it was so good. KAIRI applied a little pirate rules by interrupting the back and forth with a foot stomp, and Iiya responded with an eye poke for good measure. Might be time for the Pirate Princess to bring back the eye patch.

This was a great match all around, especially with the brief interaction between Mayu and KAIRI, but the crux of KAIRI’s participation in the match centered around fulfilling her promise to Natsupoi and putting Saya Iida over so very, very much. I love that Iida locked in the Nagata Lock with Blue Justice on commentary and made a point to push all of her out of her face so everyone could see her eyes roll back as she deepened the hold. The melee had some great back and forth and ended with Natsupoi giving Iiya a Fairial Gift followed by KAIRI sending Iida to the depths of the seven seas with the Insane Elbow. Great match. Very happy and feel good. Definitely one I would re-watch when I am having a bad day for the emotional layers. 

What’s Next for KAIRI – awaiting formal match date with Saya Kamitani © Wonder.

5★GP22 Blue Stars Block Points

  • Natsupoi [0] – First Match (8/6) vs. MIRAI
  • Mayu Iwatani [0] – Next Match (8/6) vs. Hanan
  • Saya Iida [0] – Next Match (8/7) vs. Mina Shirakawa

5★GP22 Red Stars (1/15): Tam Nakano [0] defeated Himeka [2] (11:50) with Twilight Dream – Recommended

One of the biggest concerns when it comes to Tam’s singles matches is the match length. I think in the past I was so conditioned to her lengthy Wonder of Stardom Championship matches that I worried that the time limit would be a bigger opponent for her than The Jumbo Princess, Himeka. This match was very technically sound, hard-hitting and what I loved cerebral. Each competitor targeted the limbs and joints the other required for the majority of their moves with Tam targeting Himeka’s arms and shoulders and Himeka returning the favor by going after her knees and back. 

This was a great opening match for Tam, and gave me hope that she’ll continue to work harder to make quicker work of her opponents in the future. After the battle Himeka had with Utami yesterday, I expected Himeka to walk in a little more battered than she did. Even if she did have some residual wear and tear from yesterday’s match it didn’t show at the start. However, once both started actively attacking the essential joints and limbs, I could start to see that Himeka hadn’t 100% recovered from her incredible match with Utami the night before, and from a storytelling perspective, I hadn’t expected to either. 

Although Tam had the advantage of working the opening tag gauntlet the night before, she certainly didn’t walk into the match and completely dominate Himeka. Himeka fought hard, and their match was surprisingly and refreshingly short. I need more matches from Tam where she truncates everything into under fifteen minutes because sometimes the storytelling gets a little too long, and I hate nodding off before the finish of anyone’s matches. Very solid, Tam catches up to the 2-point club. 

5★GP22 Red Stars Block Points
Tam Nakano [2] – Next Match (8/11) vs. AZM
Himeka [2] – Next Match (8/7) vs. Koguma

5★GP22 Blue Stars (1/15): MIRAI [2] defeated Giulia [2] (12:10) via pinfall – Highly Recommended

Giulia found a diamond in the rough with MIRAI, but it’s Syuri tutelage that has rapidly polished her into the sparkling Cinderella Diamond Slipper in the Golden Age. What I didn’t expect from MIRAI was to continue her polite aggression. The New Battle Arts Princess didn’t waste any time or energy when it came to this match with Giulia. Everything she did was exceptionally calculated and intentional, and I think even Giulia was surprised with MIRAI’s evolution in the last few months alone. Many of Giulia’s usual specials didn’t even seem to phase MIRAI and she seemingly had a rapid solution for every challenge that the Dangerous Beauty had for her. 

What I love is for the first time in a long time, Giulia feels vulnerable. She came into Stardom like a house on fire, brightly burning her way to the top in 2019, had an amazing 2020, and after a minor setback in 2021, seemed to be regaining her footing in 2022. However, Giulia may have discovered a potential forever rival with MIRAI. Unlike her matches with QQ or CA, Giulia didn’t have most of her usual showboating or the platonic “hit your friends the hardest” energy that she has with DDM, there was something almost trepidation in how she approached MIRAI, which I find fascinating. There weren’t too many over-the-top crazy spots which are key landmarks in a Giulia match, but instead, a far heavier submission and technical approach from both with a really liked. At the end, it would be MIRAI thanking Giulia for her match, and Giulia seemingly admitting that MIRAI completely got the drop on her. 

I didn’t think Giulia would let MIRAI get a win without a fight, and even throwing a significant part of her arsenal at her, we didn’t see a glorious driver. Not, I did think I would see a Five Star with Giulia decidedly at the bottom at 0-2, especially after having to drop out last year due to her neck injury, but much like Tetsuya Naito, she could be one who stumbles out of the gate and finds her footing and comes back strong in the second half. I shortlisted her to at least reach the finals, especially after last year, but I could be wrong. I usually am when it comes to predictions. 

5★GP22 Blue Stars Block Points
Giulia [0] – Next Match (8/14) vs. Hanan
MIRAI [4] – Next Match (8/6) vs. Natsupoi

5★GP22 Blue Stars (1/15): Starlight Kid [0] defeated Saya Kamitani [0] (9:45) with The Momo Clutch – Highly Recommended

After their much longer singles matches and Starlight Kid seemingly being unable to scale the wall that is Saya Kamitani and the Wonder of Stardom Championship, I was surprised to see how quickly and relatively cleanly this match happened. Much like Tam’s Wonder matches, Saya’s have also started to go the unnecessarily long route at times, so I was curious to see how she would fare with the 15-minute cap and what she would be able to accomplish in that time frame. With SLK in the driver’s seat for parts of the match, her high speed flair and pacing certainly helped Kamitani find a good tempo and get in a lot of reversals. A. LOT. OF. REVERSALS. It was almost a blink and you miss it sort of fast. What I love is that SLK kept Kamitani from doing the Phoenix Splash, pushing her to tire herself out quickly with the Star Crusher. 

The biggest story in this one isn’t that SLK secured another shot at the Wonder of Stardom Championship, against Kamitani (of which she will likely have to wait until she sees if KAIRI is able to pump the brakes on Kamitani’s march to leaving Hojo and Yuzuki Aikawa in her taillights), but of SLK discovering someone who also stands in her way in the same vein that Mayu Iwatani does. However, now that SLK has secured a win, she isn’t going to be satisfied until she does something significant, so either SLK is winning the Five Star or the White Belt by year’s end, or 2023 is her year to win everything. 

5★GP22 Blue Stars Block Points
Saya Kamitani [0] – Next Match (8/6) vs. Momo Watanabe
Starlight Kid [2] – Next Match (8/6) vs. Hazuki

5★GP22 Red Stars (1/15): Utami Hayashishita [0] defeated Syuri [2] (14:56) with a Highjack Bomb/Pin – Highly Recommended

The Rivalry in Red has returned, this time around with Syuri as the World of Stardom Champion and Utami as the challenger. Much like their previous meetings, I feel like Syuri and Utami have the uncanny ability to simply pick up right where they left off. Their fight forever match simply had the pause button pressed since their last meeting. There isn’t anything that I haven’t said about Utami and Syuri that I haven’t said before. They never disappoint. Was this match akin to their 2021 +Five Star (non-Grand Prix) Match? No, but it was still very good. They are arguably two of the best and most balanced wrestlers in the world, but it was nice to see them go down to the literal last four seconds of the match before Utami squeaked out the win. 

The only change I would make is having Utami ditch the tape-in hair extensions because she works way too hard and they were becoming a nuisance throughout the match. Note, Syuri crying after the match is how a champion should be crying: bitter tears of frustration that would make the most delicious salty margarita because the match up was so dang close and so wickedly brutal. 

“With this victory, I can assure you Utami Hayashishita is BACK!” – Utami Hayashishita

5★GP22 Red Stars Block Points
Utami Hayashishita [2] – Next Match (8/7) vs. Unagi Sayaka
Syuri [2] – Next Match (8/11) vs. Unagi Sayaka

NOTE: Poor Unagi has Utami and Syuri within four days of each other plus Saki Kashima on the 14th. She’s going to need a vacation.

5★GP22 Red Stars Block Points

  1. Saki Kashima [0] – First Match (8/6) vs. Koguma
  2. Risa Sera [4] – Next Match (8/11) vs. Utami Hayashishita
  3. Koguma [2] – Next Match (8/6) vs. Saki Kashima
  4. Utami Hayashishita [2] – Next Match (8/7) vs. Unagi Sayaka
  5. Himeka [2] – Next Match (8/7) vs. Koguma
  6. Mai Sakurai [2] – Next Match (8/7) vs. AZM
  7. Syuri [2] – Next Match (8/11) vs. Unagi Sayaka
  8. SAKI [2] – Next Match (8/11) vs. Koguma
  9. Tam Nakano [2] – Next Match (8/11) vs. AZM
  10. Momo Kohgo [0] – Next Match (8/11) vs. Himeka
  11. AZM [0] – Next Match (8/7) vs. Mai Sakurai
  12. Unagi Sayaka [0] – Next Match (8/7) vs. Utami Hayashishita
  13. Maika [0] – Next Match (8/13) vs. Saki Kashima

5★GP22 Blue Stars Block Points

  1. Hanan [0] – First Match (8/6) vs. Mayu Iwatani
  2. Natsupoi [0] – First Match (8/6) vs. MIRAI
  3. Suzu Suzuki [0] – First Match Scheduled for (8/13)
  4. MIRAI [4] – Next Match (8/6) vs. Natsupoi
  5. Hazuki [2] – Next Match (8/6) vs. Starlight Kid
  6. Starlight Kid [2] – Next Match (8/6) vs. Hazuki
  7. Ami Sohrei [2] – Next Match (8/7) vs. Natsupoi
  8. Mina Shirakawa [0] – Next Match (8/7) vs. Saya Iida
  9. Mayu Iwatani [0] – Next Match (8/6) vs. Hanan
  10. Saya Kamitani [0] – Next Match (8/6) vs. Momo Watanabe 
  11. Saya Iida [0] – Next Match (8/7) vs. Mina Shirakawa
  12. Giulia [0] – Next Match (8/14) vs. Hanan
  13. Momo Watanabe [0] – Next Match (8/11) vs. Starlight Kid

Next 2022 5★GP22: Niigata (8/6) Match Card  – Results in Dream Slam Weekly (8/13/22); Match card order TBA; Points totals are listed by end of the previous week (7/30-31)

  • 5★GP22 Red Stars (1/15): Koguma [2] vs. Saki Kashima [0]
  • 5★GP22 Blue Stars (1/15): Mayu Iwatani [0] vs. Hanan [0]
  • 5★GP22 Blue Stars (1/15): Hazuki [2] vs. Starlight Kid [2]
  • 5★GP22 Blue Stars (1/15): Natsupoi [0] vs. MIRAI [4]
  • 5★GP22 Blue  Stars (1/15): Saya Kamitani [0] vs. Momo Watanabe [0]
  • Possible undercard tag matches to be added later. Card subject to change.

2022 5★GP22 Week 2 Results – Match listings for 8/7 & 8/11 will be in the 8/6 volume of Dream Slam Weekly and results available in the 8/13 volume of Dream Slam Weekly for Niigata (8/6), Nagano (8/7) & Korakuen Hall (8/11)

Remaining August 2022 5★GP22 Schedule – Results in Dream Slam Weekly

  • Shimane (8/13) Saki Kashima’s Homecoming
  • Okayama (8/14)
  • Osaka (8/20)
  • Korakuen Hall (8/27)
  • Shizuoka (8/28)

September 2022 5★GP22 Schedule  – Results in Dream Slam Weekly

  • Kagawa (9/3)
  • Hiroshima (9/4)
  • Yokohama Budokan (9/11)
  • Korakuen Hall (9/12)
  • Osaka (9/17-18)
  • Nagoya (9/19)
  • Korakuen Hall (9/23)
  • Tokyo Bell Salle Hall (9/24-25)

Stardom 2022 Calendar

  • New Blood 4 (8/26)  – Results in Dream Slam Weekly
  • STARDOM x STARDOM MidSummer Encounters (8/21) – Non-5SGP PPV; Hamamatsu, Shizuoka – Results in 8/27 Dream Slam Weekly
  • Five Star Grand Prix 2022 Finals (10/1) – Musashino Forest Sports Center
  • Hiroshima Goddess Festival (11/3) – Hiroshima Sun Plaza
  • Historic X-Over: NJPW x STARDOM (11/20) – Ariake Arena
About Karen Peterson 47 Articles
Occasionally drops by wrestling podcasts, but remains rather elusive. Joined the Japanese wrestling fan scene in summer 2017, and continues to work on bridging the language gap between fans. Outside of wrestling, she’s a dog mom, perpetual Japanese learner, and when conditions permit, world traveler. Never skips dessert.