After two months of competition, Stardom’s iconic 5Star Grand Prix wrapped up this past weekend in Musashino. The card featured both the semi-finals and the final match that determined the company’s prestige winner. This year, after a brutal uphill climb, Donna del Mondo’s leader Giulia is crown the 5Star GP winner.

For the uninitiated, the 5Star Grand Prix is one of Stardom’s most highly anticipated annual events, drawing crowds of viewers each year. The tournament is performed round-robin style over a two-month period, pitting Stardom’s top talent head-to-head in relentless competition. Each wrestler gains points per win, which accumulate over the course of the tournament and ultimately determine the final matchup. The winner of the finals scores an opportunity to challenge for the World of Stardom Championship.

According to many, Giulia’s story is nearly three years in the making, and this past weekend showcased her growth and adaptability. Earlier in the night, she barely squeezed past Suzu Suzuki in an emotional semi-finals match that ended in a draw. This propelled her to the finals to face longtime rival Tam Nakano.

Tam brought Giulia to one of her lowest points in her career, stopping her progress totally. Giulia, the reigning Wonder of Stardom Champion (White Belt), fought on March 4, 2021, to honor Stardom’s 10th anniversary. If the stakes weren’t high enough, the loser would leave without the White Belt and her hair.

Nakano scored the victory over Giulia that day, and in an emotional scene, the new champion watched her sworn enemy’s hair shaved away, the pieces fluttering down in the center of the ring they had given their souls to. Giulia returned with a buzzcut and sunglasses the following shows, assuming a rawer look. Then, as time passed, Donna del Mondo’s rising conflict came to a head, and Syuri broke from the faction to form God’s Eye. Natsupoi left DDM for Cosmic Angels. It seemed as though there was nowhere for Giulia to go— except up. And climb she did.

Nakano and Giulia’s match last weekend had the same passion, emotion, savagery, and grace as always. Giulia won, standing with the award as confetti fell around her.

The 5Star GP leaves potential for more, including a conflict between Hazuki and Momo Watanabe after the latter’s “upset” win. Mayu Iwatani and Starlight Kid’s story, and Natsuko Tora’s declaration threatening Utami Hayashishita. Times will change, and the planets will realign.

The present, however, is Giulia’s time, and she faces another battle in the form of World of Stardom Champion Syuri. The match will take place at the Stardom Dream Queendom event on December 29, 2022.

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