As you have already read in my first edition of “Remembering Hana Kimura,” I took an opportunity to honor her by remembering and reliving her special 5STAR Grand Prix run in 2019. This time, we remember one of the best matches in her career. There was something about her chemistry with Giulia from the beginning that felt special. Like it was going to be “the” rivalry in Stardom for years to come. These two showed a disdain for each other that only opponents that had the same goal could have. The goal was to be at the top of Stardom. Kimura was clearly on the rise coming off her 5STAR victory and was taking a spot as one of the main “pillars” in Stardom. But when the outsider, Giulia, came in, it felt as though she was trying to take Kimura’s potential spot at the top.
These two women would have one singles match that displayed how great of opponents they were. At the Stardom Year End Climax 2019, it was Hana Kimura versus Giulia. A match that was worthy of championship gold and likely to be for that same gold when they met someday down the line. But this match was everything. Physical, emotional, personal. There was a story to be had, a vendetta between the two to show who was the best of the best and the next face of Stardom. It turned out to be a magical and brilliant 15-minute draw that left them wanting more when the match concluded. In this article, we relive the match itself and why it was one of Kimura and Giulia’s best in either career, as well as why it was another sign of greatness by the late, great Hana Kimura.
Hana Kimura vs. Giulia — Stardom Year End Climax 2019
As soon as this match begins, these two are off to war. Forearm after forearm in the middle of the ring with neither woman holding back but determined to hurt their rival no matter what. It was almost wrong to call this a match. What this was for both of them was a fight. These traveled all around the arena trying to destroy one another. For the first five minutes after forearming each other in the skull until they went numb, Giulia used chairs, tables, and anything she could get her hands on to send the message to Kimura.
However, that was the best trait Kimura had as a wrestler — she could take that fight and give it all back, and then some. Giulia would do this sprint from one side of the arena back to the ring with either a big boot or clothesline expected to hit Kimura, but Hana swatted her with a chair like she was a fly. Everything from this point on seemed stiffer, more intent to injure the other with eyes on being recognized as the better one of the two. Kimura was hitting these stiff kicks to the face to Giulia, resulting in Giulia going with the slaps to fight back. They would grab each other by the throat before just a sick exchange of headbutts that would send them both down to the mat.
The crowd was feeding off their energy, getting louder and louder as they awaited what could be next in this match between these two rivals. As they began to stir and get their composure, it was as though nothing happened to either woman prior. They were back to their feet and right back at it again exchanging massive big boots back and forth. Giulia would get the upper hand as she would lock in her own version of the Octopus Stretch, nearly identical to the Hydrangea finish that Kimura utilizes. Kimura would fight to the bottom rope, forcing a break and beginning to anger Giulia more and more as she could not find the final move to get her the win.
As Kimura attempted to get to her feet, the arena cheered “Hana! Hana! Hana!” to try and help her get the adrenaline back to finish this off. Giulia would go for her finish but Kimura managed to reverse it into the Hydrangea, locking it in for the first time in the center of the ring. She’d try and manipulate the hold in a way that would disallow Giulia from making it to the rope, but ultimately it had to be broken. Kimura stayed on the attack, hitting this massive missile dropkick from the top rope to send Giulia tumbling to the mat again. It looked like it was time for the Tiger Lily Package Piledriver that she had beaten numerous opponents with, but Giulia managed to escape and roll her up for a two count.
Giulia would come out of nowhere to hit her Glorious Buster, but Kimura instantly turned it into a roll-up for a two count of her own. The crowd was in the palm of their hand with so much uncertainty as to who would walk out of this one, knowing that the clock was nearing the time limit. Kimura would hit another massive headbutt before locking on the Hydrangea yet again, but Giulia managed to get to the rope once more. Giulia came back again, this time hitting the Glorious Driver but Kimura would get her foot on the rope to force the break before the three count. Giulia would lock on the STF before turning it into her Bianca submission, but the final bell rang and the match was officially a draw.
This match, from beginning to end, had fans on their feet. It’s a match that if you go back and watch time and time again, you get a different sense of appreciation for it. It’s one that truly captures who Hana Kimura was as a performer. Talented? Yes. But even more so valiant and wrestled every match with her heart on her sleeve. That’s what connected her to so many people around the world.
As we remember Hana Kimura more and more every passing day, we remember what she brought to the world as a pro wrestler, an entertainer, and most importantly as a human being.
Everyone is different. Everyone is special. Rest in peace, Hana Kimura.
More from LWOS Pro Wrestling
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