WORLD WONDER RING STARDOM
STARDOM CINDERELLA TOURNAMENT 2021 2ND ROUND – QUARTERFINALS
MAY 14, 2021
KORAKUEN HALL
TOKYO, JAPAN

Watch: Stardom-World 

COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on Stardom’s well-laid plans and caused an extension to the Cinderella Tournament which was due to finish at the end of April at Korakuen Hall.  Instead, we have this Korakuen hall event dedicated to getting us to the Semi-finals of the tournament which will take place at a later date.  Not only do we have Cinderella action on this show we also have the start of a tournament to crown a new Future of Stardom champion so this promises to be an eventful show.

FUTURE OF STARDOM TOURNAMENT
MINA SHIRAKAWA DEF. RUAKA

This was an exciting opener that really showcased the growth of Ruaka.  Following her heel turn, it felt like she was thrown into the deep end and struggle dot adjust but recently she’s found her niche by adding some much-needed grit to her matches.  Shirakawa, as always, was more than happy to trade forearms and kept the energy high throughout.  Shirakawa winning is a surprising result as I had pegged Ruaka as a favorite to be the next champion but Shirakawa advancing isn’t the worst thing ever. ***

NATSUPOI DEF. LADY C, HANAN, & TAM NAKANO

A hectic four-way match that served as a placeholder for Poi and Nakano to continue their feud ahead of their Artist Of Stardom title clash in Nagoya.  Clocking in at five minutes this was another mercifully short match that didn’t really need any more time than it got.  Natsupoi winning with a roll-up variant is very typical of the High Speed Champion but was a nice reminder of her being able to win from out of nowhere .**3/4

OEDO TAI (FUKIGEN DEATH, NATSUKO TORA & KONAMI) DEF. QUEEN’S QUEST (HINA, AZM & MOMO WATANABE)

A fine tag team match hat followed the usual Oedo Tai formula but was confined to 5 minutes.  Oedo Tai, as always, attacked before the bell which is just a standard part of their matches now.  In their short bursts of offense, QQ was a well-oiled machine as always before a chair shot and roll-up scored the win for Death. **1/2

CINDERELLA TOURNAMENT 2ND ROUND
SAYA KAMITANI DEF. STARLIGHT KID

This was a very scrappy match that felt like a real struggle.  From the fiery forearms to the dazzling athleticism to the scrimmage to get the win late-on this was a very good match.  Saya Kamitani advancing to the semi-final was the predictable result as she’s my favorite to win the whole tournament but there were some close moments that had me believing Kid could win.  ***1/4

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CINDERELLA TOURNAMENT ROUND 2
MAIKA DEF. GIULIA

Maika pulled off the “upset” win over Giulia here.  Upset is in air quotes as I predict Maika going to the finals of the tournament to renew her feud with Saya Kamitani and her eliminating Giulia was a necessary evil.  The match itself was solid but Maika is a wrestler that typically needs longer matches to hit her peak which put  hard ceiling on how good this could be.  They also dangerously messed up the finish and are lucky that the only thing that came from it was Giulia getting a bloody forehead.  Bonus points added in for the post-match staredown with a bloody Giulia and triumphant Maika. **3/4

CINDERELLA TOURNAMENT ROUND 2
SYURI DEF. UTAMI HAYASHISHITA

These two left a lot in the tank for their inevitable World Of Stardom title match but this was still a really good match.  I had this one pegged for a draw so the win for Syuri is surprising but gives her further claim to her title match when she eventually gets it.  We knew this already but Syuri and Utami work really well together and their title match might hit Joshi MOTY levels based on this teaser. ***1/2

CINDERELLA TOURNAMENT QUARTERFINAL
HIMEKA DEF. MAYU IWATANI

Himeka and Mayu did their best despite this match being used to set up an angle.  Himeka was her usual powerful self and Iwtaani was working really well as the underdog trying to make the most of every moment of weaknesses.  Unfortunately, we had Oedo Tai interfere twice to kill the flow of the match and inevitably helped Himeka win.  I can deal with the Oedo Tai stuff when it’s confined to Oedo Tai matches but when they interfere in other people’s matches it gets under my skin much more.  Really good work from Iwatani and Himeka but the Oedo Tai stuff soured me on it. ***

Post Match: Oedo Tai attacks STARS and Natsuko Tora promises to break their necks.  A wrestler with a Starlight Kid mask runs out to fend off Oedo Tai and is revealed to be the returning Koguma, making her fist Stardom appearance in six years.  Mayu Iwatani has been promising to deliver a bomb that would help turn the tide in the war with Oedo Tai and it seems that former Arist and High Speed Champion Koguma is that bomb.  If Koguma can knock off the ring rust she’ll be a great addition to a STARS faction that has been wrecked by injuries.

CINDERELLA TOURNAMENT QUARTERFINAL
UNAGI SAYAKA DEF SYURI

While I understand the story they tried to tell here the performance of both women wasn’t up to the task.  Syuri can play the dominant role very well and has done in the past but here she seemed to be holding back.  Sayaka showed a lot of fire but throwing nice forearms will only get you so far in the main event and she needs to expand her repertoire and add in some exciting offense if she’s going to be featured high up the card.  Sayaka winning is another upset on this card that was somewhat predictable as Syuri is the next world title challenger and doesn’t need to be tied up in this tournament, its still a big win for Sayaka but a better match would have made the moment feel bigger. ***

FINAL THOUGHTS

This show ultimately fell flat with me.  What should have been another step in the elevation of Unagi Sayaka felt underwhelming and the STARS/Oedo Tai feud has me praying they get Mayu Iwatani the heck away from that feud as soon as possible so she can go back to having good matches and interesting stories.  With that said I’m excited to see where the Syuri vs Utami Hayashishita feud goes from here and anticipate a great match from those two when it happens, presumably at the rescheduled Tokyo Dream Cinderella event.