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She'd certainly be a great addition. Hard to imagine WWE actually signing her due to her age, but stranger things have happened I suppose. She's one of my favorite people to watch right now so should be a lot of fun.

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The blocks were announced for the Stardom 5* Grand Prix

Red Block:

︎Kagetsu
︎Jungle Kyona
︎Tam Nakano
︎Konami
︎Natsuko Tora
︎Rachael Ellering
︎Kimber Lee
︎TBA

Blue Block:

︎Mayu Iwatani
︎Saki Kashima
︎Momo Watanabe
︎Hazuki
︎Natsu Sumire
︎Kelly Klein
︎Nicole Savoy
︎Jamie Hayter

Given that the final looks like it's going to be held in Nagoya, I would expect Jungle Kyona to make it out of the Red Block probably pushed by Kagetsu and Rachael Ellering. The Blue Block is more open. Sumire Natsu and Jamie Hayter are the only ones who don't seem to have much of a chance to win. It will be interesting to see what happens with the title match between Kagetsu and Mayu Iwatani on 8/12. Before that match was announce I thought that Iwatani would be the favourite to win.

 

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The GP "fallout"/Grand Champion Carnival is held in Nagoya, that's where Toni got her title shot last year. The actual tournament finals are in Korakuen.

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That makes Jungle winning look more obvious but that probably the best decsion that Stardom could make. 

After losing to Kagetsu today, Mayu Iwatani's booking in this will be interesting. I wonder what the long term plan for her is, if there is any. A couple months ago, I thought they would use the 5*GP to reestablish her as the top star. Now, with her working the 8/8 Marvelous show, maybe she's thinking of going freelance.

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Wait, Ayako Hamada retired from pro-wrestling after a drug sentence ? Wow, that totally flew under the radar, I haven't seen anyone here reporting it. That's pretty sad. 

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Sad indeed, I was loving her work the past couple years. Never heard the details of the situation so not sure how serious it was, but in Japan I gather drug stuff gets serious real fast.

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Watched the match between Konami and Rachel Ellering where Rachel gets in Konami's face post-match. Honestly, both of them were in the wrong. Konami shouldn't have kept trying to kick Ellering in the head after she start protecting her head like she had gotten dinged there. At the same time though, Ellering didn't handle it at all like a professional. She should have waited to get to the back even if she was really upset and not yell at Konami immediately after the finish in front of the fans. The whole thing was a huge sour note on what had been a pretty good match up to that point.

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Standings for the 5*GP going into the final show on 9/24, via Stardom's English twitter:

Spoiler

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While Rossy Ogawa is a popular dunking target for online joshi fans, I think he's done a pretty damn good job booking this tournament so far. Both blocks have multiple women still in contention. In fact, depending on what they will do for tie-breakers and match order on the show itself, potentially 7 of the remaining 8 tournament matches will have a bearing on who makes it to the final. I made up a list of possible scenarios for everyone that I think are still in contention. Assuming that the tie-breaker is the head-to-head match result, and if that is a draw, then either some kind of second tie-breaker or a rematch before the final that night. Of course, if Stardom has some other way to solve tie-breakers then you can chuck all of this but it was fun to figure out anyway.

Blue Stars:

  • Kelly Klein is drive's seat here. If she wins her match against Shimmer champion Nicole Savoy, she goes directly to the final because she has a win over Mayu Iwatani. If she ends up with a draw then she is in trouble as she will then need Mayu, Momo Watanabe, and Hazuki to not win (draw/lose.) Kelly lost both of her matches to Momo and Hazuki.
  • If Mayu wins her match versus Momo, she then needs Kelly to not win and she will go directly to the final. If she goes to a draw with Momo she then needs Kelly to lose. Hazuki is not a threat if Mayu doesn't lose (win/draw) because Mayu won their match.
  • Momo must win her match against Mayu plus needs both Kelly and Hazuki to not win if she's to get to the final. Momo has a win over Kelly but if Hazuki wins then they would need a another tie-breaker because the Momo/Hazuki match was a draw.
  • Hazuki is the long shot here because because even if she does win her match against Oedo Tai teammate Sumire Natsu she still needs Kelly to not win and for there to be a tie-breaker with Momo.

Red Stars:

  • Kagetsu has the easiest route as all she has to do is beat Tam Nakano and she in the finals because she has a win over Rachael Ellering. If she gets a draw, she needs Rachel and Jungle Kyona to not win. If Jungle does win they would need a second tie-breaker because Kagetsu/Jungle went to a draw. Utami Hayashishita is not a threat if Kagetsu gets a win/draw because Kagetsu won their match.
  • If Rachael Ellering wins her match versus Kimber Lee, who beat Rachael in last year's Mae Young Classic, and Kagetsu doesn't win then she goes directly to the final. If she gets a draw, then she needs Kagetsu to lose and Utami to not win. If Utami wins then they will need another tie-breaker because Rachael/Utami went to a draw. Jungle is not a threat if Rachael gets a win/draw because Rachael won their match.
  • Jungle must win her match against her J.A.N. teammate Natsuko Tora while also having Rachael and Kagetsu lose, plus have Utami not win for her to go directly to the final. If either Kagetsu draws or Utami wins then that would require another tie-breaker because Jungle went to a draw with both of them. If Jungle gets a draw she is eliminated because she lost to Rachael
  • Utami must win her match against Konami while Kagetsu and Rachael lose while Jungle doesn't win in order for her to go directly to the final. If Kagetsu draws or Jungle wins then that would need another tie-breaker becasue Utami went to a draw with both of them.
  • If Kagestu gets a draw, Rachael loses, while both Jungle and Utami win, that would create a three way tie at 10 points. It would require more than a simple tie-breaker because no one out of Kagetsu/Jungle/Utami has a win over the anyone else.

 

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This year's Stardom GP was my favorite one. I've seen what I could of all of them except for the 2011 tournament (own 2013 and 2014 in full on DVD) and I believe this is the best one. Most of the matches that looked promising on paper delivered and there were dozens that surprised me. The finals of the tournament have almost routinely been unremarkable (or bad), but the finals this year was masterful.
Top 5 best bouts of the tournament: Utami-Mayu (9/24), Hazuki-Mayu (9/16), Kyona-Utami (9/9), Hazuki-Momo (9/9), Kagetsu-Kyona (9/8)

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I implore everybody to go watch the new Sead show that aired on Samurai TV. It's the opening round of their single's title tournament and every tournament match delivers. Nanae vs Hiroyo might be my joshi MOTY. I just love that it was just hoss fights up and down this show.

 

Also Ayako Hamada did an interview with Mas Lucha tv and it's on Youtube now. She's back in Mexico but didn't talk about the drug arrest. She's hinting towards wrestling again but only in Mexico now. The interview goes around 50 minutes but a lot of luchadores like Ricky Marvin, Lady Shani, Martha Villalobos came throughout the interview to talk and support her. Seemed like it was when a friend comes home from jail bid type of vibe. I wish I knew more Spanish to know more about the interview but Microman Fever on twitter filled in the gaps a lot.

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The Momo Watanabe/Jungle Kyona match from this weekend is getting a lot of hype but this match here is the real joshi MOTY.

Chihiro Hashimoto/Mika Iwata vs. Hiroyo Matsumoto/Sareee - Sendai Girls 2/3/19

 

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8 hours ago, donsem43 said:

According to Tokyo Sports, Triple H met with Sareee while he was in Japan.

I've only seen two matches of hers this year, the one against Satomura and one against Hashimoto and she looked awesome in both. HHH, Regal, and crew have a good eye for talent. I also heard a rumor about her retiring, I really hope that is not true because she can be great for any roster she goes to.

Any recommended matches of hers I should watch?

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The issue with Sareee is that her home promotion, Diana, doesn't have TV nor does it post much stuff online so there isn't as much footage of her matches as you would think. You have to rely on her showing up in other promotions. She has been on pretty much every Sendai Girls show from this year. Here is a few matches of her matches that are online from the last few year:

vs. Leon - 5/13/18 (Diana)

vs. Takumi Iroha - 5/27/18 (Diana)

w/ Nanae Takahashi vs. Arisa Nakajima & Tsukasa Fujimoto - 7/14/17 (SEAdLINNNG)

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Couple of big news items from Stardom this week. First, at their 7/24 show they announced that Riho has signed with them and will debut with them on their 8/10 show. Not sure how this effects her involvement with AEW since I believe she was there on a tryout basis, whether she is just with Stardom or she has a deal similar to Bea Priestley.

Stardom also announced the lineup for this year's 5*GP. The blocks are similar to last year with almost all of the returning entrants ending up in the same blocks.

Blue Stars :

  • Kagetsu
  • Konami
  • Arisa Hoshiki
  • Andras Miyagi
  • Utami Hayashishita
  • Jungle Kyona
  • Tora Natsuko
  • Bea Priestley
  • Jamie Hayter

Red Stars :

  • Mayu Iwatani
  • Momo Watanabe
  • Hana Kimura
  • Hazuki
  • Tam Nakano
  • Saki Kashima
  • Natsu Sumire
  • Kasey Owens
  • Avary

Overall, the whole tournament should be pretty good. A wide open field plus Stardom might be having it's strongest in-ring year in terms of consistent quality is a good recipe to have.

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