Cinderella Tournament
April 3, 2022
Tachikawa Stage Garden
Tokyo, Japan

Watch: TBD

Stardom’s annual Cinderella Tournament kicks off Sunday as the promotion continues its rapid pace early on this year. After last weekend’s successful Stardom World Climax, this feels to be the perfect way to follow it up. There will be uncertainty, surprises, and excitement in this one.

Cinderella Tournament: First Round
Himeka vs. Ruaka

The winner of this match will have to face Syuri later on in the night in what will be one of two second-round matchups on the schedule. Himeka and Ruaka face one another with very different paths coming in. Himeka is someone who has been awaiting a singles title match for what feels like forever. She laid down the challenge to Syuri months ago for the SWA World Championship and Wonder of Stardom Championship briefcase but was passed over for Konami. All signs point to her being a real favorite in the tournament this year after making it to the semi-finals last year, meaning Ruaka has a small shot of winning because a determined Himeka could be a real force heading into the Cinderella Tournament. Prediction: Himeka

Cinderella Tournament: First Round
Syuri vs. Ami Sourei

This wasn’t even a match until the press conference on Tuesday. Syuri will take on her bodyguard Ami Sourei in a first-round match. The World of Stardom Champion has been slated for a bye into the second round and was going to face the winner of Himeka vs. Ruaka as fresh as possible. In what turned out to be a proper welcome for Sourei, she entered the tournament and challenged Syuri for the first round. Syuri, as she often does, had no problem taking up the challenge and accepted. It would be one heck of a statement for Sourei to take out the world champion off the bat but betting against Syuri doesn’t sound all that smart. Prediction: Syuri

Cinderella Tournament: First Round
Maika vs. Hanan

Speaking of favorites, Maika obviously fits the mold. She was seconds away from winning the Cinderella Tournament last year before ultimately falling to Saya Kamitani in the finals. This year should be much of the same for Maika in terms of succeeding, though she will have a matchup with Saya Kamitani in the second round later in the night if she is able to beat Hanan. The Future of Stardom Champion is on the brink of really succeeding in Stardom but this doesn’t feel like her time just yet. Prediction: Maika

Cinderella Tournament: First Round
Hazuki vs. Miyu Amasaki

An exciting first-round matchup pits Hazuki against Miyu Amasaki in this one. It was a tough weekend for Hazuki at Stardom World Climax, as she went 0-2, losing the Goddess of Stardom Championship on night one then being defeated by Momo Watanabe on night two. It’s apparent a loss here could seriously hurt her confidence in the long run, especially against a rookie. Amasaki went in the final two of the Cinderella Rumble on Sunday before being pinned by Mei Suruga. She’s shown flashes of early brilliance but not enough to knock off someone like Hazuki here in the first round. Prediction: Hazuki

Cinderella Tournament: First Round
AZM vs. Momo Watanabe

We always get a couple of really compelling matchups in the first round of the Cinderella Tournament and this one certainly lives up to that idea. Former tag team partners turned enemies take each other on as it will be AZM vs. Momo Watanabe here in the first round. Watanabe got the best of AZM earlier this year when she utilized the wrench to knock AZM out, resulting in the High-Speed Champion missing a few weeks of action. Payback remains on the mind of AZM and with the Cinderella Tournament at times favoring the high-speed wrestlers, this could be her time to get it. Watanabe is a former winner of this tournament so she knows what it takes to get to the end. That being said, an upset sounds pretty good for this one. AZM getting one over on Watanabe feels right. Prediction: AZM

Cinderella Tournament: First Round
Giulia vs. Thekla

Giulia vs. Thekla is one of the most intriguing first-round matches for numerous reasons. The first is Giulia having to wrestle her new tag team partner one week after having to go to war with her former partner. Sure, these two probably won’t come to blows like Giulia did with Syuri but it’s interesting nonetheless. The second is Thekla enters the tournament as the SWA World Champion. If Giulia defeats her, it would give her a claim to the belt if she wants it. Ah, the chaos of Giulia never fails to get better. Prediction: Giulia

Cinderella Tournament: First Round
Koguma vs. Fukigen Death

A bear vs. a clown. Wonderful. Koguma gets a shot in the Cinderella Tournament this year and could be an underdog in it to make a sneaky run. After all, it has been an impressive return year for her and she has proven to be one of the best additions to the roster. Fukigen Death does have the power of a roll-up or top rope elimination but bears are stronger than clowns so by default the pick is easy. Prediction: Koguma

Cinderella Tournament: First Round
Saya Iida vs. Rina

Saya Iida has the easiest road to the quarterfinals than any other wrestler in this tournament. Her first-round bout with Rina should be hers to win but as we know with the Cinderella Tournament, nothing is ever for sure. Prediction: Saya Iida

Cinderella Tournament: First Round
Lady C vs. Mai Sakurai

Lady C vs. Mai Sakurai is a battle between two of Stardom’s more inexperienced wrestlers so who knows which way it’ll go. Both have been improving but this is a true coin flip. Prediction: Mai Sakurai

Cinderella Tournament: First Round
Utami Hayashishita vs. Tam Nakano

The premier encounter of the first round will see Utami Hayashishita face Tam Nakano. The last time these two when head-to-head was on the final day of the 5 STAR Grand Prix tournament. Nakano walked away with the victory, signaling she could do the same here. Back then, it was World of Stardom Champion vs. Wonder of Stardom Champion so while this match doesn’t have the same exact ring to it, there’s no doubt that whoever wins this one can make a deep run to potentially win it all. Nakano was eliminated in the first round of last year’s tournament by Saya Kamitani while Hayashishita was eliminated by Syuri. Interesting, seeing those two women are the ones they’d lose their titles to down the line. Anyhow, this should be the best match of the night. Prediction: Utami Hayashishita

Cinderella Tournament: First Round
Mina Shirakawa vs. MIRAI

MIRAI suffered the second-biggest loss of her Stardom career at Stardom World Climax ~ The Top ~ when she lost to Utami Hayashishita in a convincing fashion. Unfortunately for Mina Shirakawa, that means we could see the most determined MIRAI yet. Shirakawa could potentially use MIRAI’s pent-up frustration to defeat her but it would be stunning to see her fall so early. MIRAI may not be a favorite but there’s no doubt she has the chance to make a real run here. Prediction: MIRAI

Cinderella Tournament: First Round
Waka Tsukiyama vs. Saki Kashima

Could Waka Tsukiyama earn the first-ever win of her career? Maybe? Probably not. Saki Kashima is the queen of upsets for a reason and while beating Tsukiyama would be the opposite of an upset, a second-round match between Kashima and Mayu Iwatani feels like destiny. Prediction: Saki Kashima

Cinderella Tournament: First Round
Mayu Iwatani vs. Momo Kohgo

Momo Kohgo has a tall task as she takes on her fearless STARS leader Mayu Iwatani in the first round. Kohgo is going to have to believe in herself more than ever before with the hopes Hazuki’s teachings have given her the tools to pull off the biggest upset of the tournament. Iwatani just lost her World of Stardom Championship match to Syuri and could be coming into the match with an injured knee. If that’s the case, Kohgo has a shot but not a great one against “The Icon.” Prediction: Mayu Iwatani

Cinderella Tournament: First Round
Unagi Sayaka vs. Hina

People seem to have forgotten how far Unagi Sayaka got in this tournament last year. Well to remind everyone, it was the semi-finals as she lost to Maika. Taking on the returning Hina, she might actually have the easiest opening round match due to Hina’s inactivity. She hasn’t competed in a match since August, so rust is incredibly likely for the 15-year-0ld. This will be an Unagi Sayaka win. Prediction: Unagi Sayaka

Cinderella Tournament: First Round
Natsupoi vs. Starlight Kid

High-speed greatness will grace us in one of the final matches of the first round. Natsupoi and Starlight Kid have had four singles matches over the last year and change. The record between them is 1-1-2, meaning a draw could be in their future once again. The truth is that Kid feels like one of the legitimate favorites to win the Cinderella Tournament this year but she will have one of the toughest roads to get there. Kid is coming off a loss to KAIRI at Stardom World Climax, so it will be interesting to see how she responds to what might be the highest-profile match of her career. Will it be won by Fairy Blink or the Wrath of the Black Tiger? Maybe neither but this match should be one of, if not the best matches from this show. Prediction: Starlight Kid

Cinderella Tournament: Second Round
Syuri or Ami Sourei vs. Himeka or Ruaka

Before Syuri had a match scheduled for the first round, it almost felt impossible to pick against her in the second due to how fresh she would have been. Now with Syuri set to face Sourei in the first, anything feels possible here. It’d be nice for an upset to happen since Himeka seems destined for a big match sooner than later but it would be CRAZY to be against Syuri right now. Prediction: Syuri

Cinderella Tournament: Second Round
Saya Kamitani vs. Maika or Hanan

In what could be the main event of the evening, a rematch from last year’s finals feels like a guarantee. Saya Kamitani and Maika are already rivals with deep history so it’d only feel right for them to face off here. “The Golden Phoenix” had one of the most remarkable back-to-back outings in Stardom history when she defeated Utami Hayashishita and Tam Nakano on back-to-back nights to walk away with the Wonder of Stardom Championship. The winner of this tournament will have their eye on Kamitani and her title but if she can win it, she won’t have to worry. This is the match where a big upset feels to be happening. Maika knows how to get the best of Kamitani and despite wrestling earlier in the night, she will figure out a way to do so again here. Prediction: Maika

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