World Wonder Ring Stardom
Stardom Cinderella Tournament
April 29, 2019
Korakuen Hall
Tokyo, Japan

Watch: Stardom World

Stardom returns to Korakuen Hall for the annual Cinderella Tournament. All tournament matches are contested with a 10-minute time limit, matches can be won by pinfall submission or over the top rope elimination and in the case of a draw, both competitors are eliminated.  These unique rules make it an unpredictable tournament that anyone can win.

STARS (Saya Iida & Hanan) Def. Queen’s Quest (Leo Onozaki & Hina) & Tokyo Cyber Squad (Ruaka & Rina)

This was originally scheduled to be a battle royal including Mari Apache and Natsumi but neither are arriving in Japan until mid-May.  With no Apache, this match lost it’s veteran to hold things together but it allowed all six girls to be more adventurous.  Considering the fact the match was changed and this was the first time some of these girls were teaming together since the draft they put together a fine, if short, match **

1st Round: AZM Def. Rebel Kel

After the last Stardom show at Korakuen Hall, I criticized Rebel Kel for her match with Utami Hayashishita.  This one was much better as AZM sold Kel’s offense way better and the match layout was much better.  AZM’s high-speed style worked much better against Kel who’s height makes her offense look more powerful.  A good match that changed my opinion on Kel.  **1/2

1st Round: Starlight Kid Def. Natsu Sumire

Natsu’s overly confident character was on full display here.  She didn’t believe for a second that she would be beaten by someone like Starlight Kid and went for a few cocky pins during the match.  In the end, Kid rolled her up to get the flash win and the upset.  **1/4

1st Round: Hazuki Def. Bea Priestley

This was a fun match with some good exchanges between the two.  Both were trying to catch their opponent for a quick win.  The ending was well done as Hazuki got the win by the skin of her teeth which keeps Priestley strong heading into her Red Belt challenge.  Having seen this I kind of want a longer match between these two in the future. **3/4

1st Round: Arisa Hoshiki Def. Saki Kashima

It might be interesting to note that Kashima targeted the right knee of Hoshiki, I wonder if that will come in to play later.  The action in this one was good and Hoshiki got to show off her arsenal of cool moves as she advances to the next round. with a clean win over Kashima  ***

1st Round: Hana Kimura Def. Andras Miyagi

An interesting match going in as Miyagi has been protected since joining Stardom and Kimura recently got her own faction.  I like how we started with the two characters interacting which led to both of them headbanging in the middle of the ring.  Once the action got going this was a good match and the added tension, while they were battling on the apron, helped make this the match of the night so far ***1/4

1st Round: Kagetsu vs Tam Nakano- DRAW

The chemistry between these two was so good.  They have a history from their time together in Oedo Tai and that was apparent from the off when Kagetsu offered to shake Tam’s hand.  What followed was a very respectful affair as they had some very good mat wrestling sequences.  Towards the tail end, they started to throw everything they had at one another but neither woman could get the win.  Nakano went toe to toe with the World Of Stardom champion and might have had her beat before the time was up so this sets her up for a rematch down the road and elevates her in the STARS pecking order while Mayu rehabs her knee injury.  Smart booking to get Kagetsu out early but the match was so good that most people won’t notice ***3/4

1st Round: Natsuko Tora Def. Jungle Kyona

This match was fuelled by hatred and a real grudge between Tora and Kyona.  Ever since JAN’s demise Tora has changed completely and while Kyona originally couldn’t hurt her former friend Tora disrespected her and made it personal.  This match was a continuation of what we have been seeing built up in tag matches on this tour between the two.  Tora getting the win was another surprising result from the first round especially with it being such a clean win.  With her no longer being a faction leader it appears that Kyona has been relegated to the midcard-upper midcard and is putting over the next wave of Stardom stars.  ***1/4

1st Round: Konami Def. Momo Watanabe

This was a sprint. Five minutes of these two beating the hell out of each other with kicks and submissions.  Has any wrestler been helped by the Stardom Draft than Konami?  She went from being Queen’s Quest’s pin eater to a QQ hating badass that is an important part of her faction.  A win over Momo Watanabe, even if it’s over the top rope elimination and not a clean pin/submission, is a big W to have under your belt in Stardom and Konami’s elevation has been one of the best parts of Stardom post-draft.  As for Momo, this won’t hurt her at all, she’s still the top dog of Stardom but any chink in her armor is to be celebrated. ***

2nd Round: Starlight Kid Def. Hazuki

Kid was just one step ahead of Hazuki on this occasion.  She came right out of the blocks to open the match and put Hazuki on the back foot.  Now that she is no longer considered a rookie by Stardom we are seeing Kid pick up more and more of these types of wins as they keep her moving up the card.  Due to the nature of the finish, Hazuki isn’t hurt but Kid looks intelligent.  Super short match but great booking. **

2nd Round: Konami Def. AZM

Another short match but again non stop action.  As someone that grew accustomed to AZM and Konami teaming together so much in QQ it’s a strange sight to see them fighting with such a grudge between the two.  Konami got a defiant victory with her Triangle Lancer, which is 100% successful and moves on to the semi finals.  I’m starting to believe Konami could win the tournament but even if she doesn’t this has helped elevate her higher than she ever was in QQ.  I may be mistaken but I believe AZM got injured during this match and is set to miss time due to Meniscus and lateral ligament damage.  **1/2

2nd Round: Natsuko Tora Def. Hana Kimura

This was more along the lines of a typical stardom match.  Outside brawling and big moves along the finishing stretch.  Tora got the sneaky win over Kimura using Oedo Tai’s sign as a weapon to help with the elimination.  Tora is the last semi-finalist and of the four, three are very surprising.  Konami, Tora and Starlight Kid are all getting a spotlight here and a clear push post-draft. **1/2

Semi Final: Arisa Hoshiki Def. Natsuko Tora

Once again the focus was put on Arisa’s knee so it’s likely we see it worked on in the final.  Hoshiki getting to skip the Quarter Finals means she goes into the final fresh, but with a target on her knee.  **3/4

Semi Final: Konami Def. Starlight Kid

Another quick Konami match.  She has been ruthless with her triangle lancer, as soon as an opportunity presents itself she locks it in and gets the win.  Konami has had quick matches so far so she comes into the final fresher than most and will look to pick apart Arisa’s hurt knee. **1/4

Final: Arisa Hoshiki Def. Konami

When Arisa Hoshiki came back to Stardom she emphasized her kicks and how she felt others had fake kicks.  Konami, being one of the hardest hitters in Stardom, probably wasn’t too happy to hear that.  So this match saw them engage in a battle of kicks for most of the match, both women were intent on taking some skin and did not hold back.  Hoshiki has improved so much since her return and show’s genuine potential to be a big star and she got an emphatic win here.  Konami was built up really well throughout the tournament and got to kick out of some big hits in this one to look strong in defeat.  Hoshiki calling out Momo Watanabe post-match and is in a better position than most to finally dethrone the new ace. ****