STARDOM
CINDERELLA TOURNAMENT 2022 FINAL
APRIL 29, 2022
OTA WARD GYMNASIUM
TOKYO, JAPAN

Stardom has cut the fat off for this PPV with only six matches on the main card. Three of those will complete the Cinderella Tournament which is up in the air as at least three of the four remaining entrants could believably come away with the win. As well as the dramatic tournament climax we will see Himeka finally get her long-awaited World of Stardom Championship match as well as Mei Suruga challenging AZM in a potential show-stealer.

CINDERELLA TOURNAMENT SEMI-FINAL
KOGUMA DEF. HAZUKI

FWC tag team partners Koguma and Hazuki had the kind of high-paced match that excels in the cinderella tournament. Hazuki felt like the strong favorite to win but Stardom has protected Koguma and her flash pins so much that there were a number of edge-of-your-seat near falls. Koguma winning was a massive shock and it was pulled off perfectly by having her turn Hazuki’s signature codebreaker into a roll-up for the win. ***1/2

CINDERELLA TOURNAMENT SEMI-FINAL
MIRAI DEF. NATSUPOI

Our second tournament match of the night had a lot to live up to and it mostly did so. Natsupoi working over MIRAI’s arm was an early tell that MIRAI would be going through and a lot of the elimination teases were pretty standard for the tournament. While this ultimately lacked the excitement that Koguma/Hazuki brought it was well wrestled overall. ***1/4

GAUNTLET TAG
COSMIC ANGELS (TAM NAKANO, UNAGI SAYAKA & MINA SHIRAKAWA) DEF. DONNA DEL MONDO (GIULIA, MAIKA & THEKLA), OEDO TAI (STARLIGHT KID, MOMO WATANABE & RUAKA), OEDO TAI, (FUKIGEN DEATH, RINA & SAKI KASHIMA), STARS (MAYU IWATANI, MOMO KOHGO & SAYA IIDA) & QUEEN’S QUEST (UTAMI HAYASHISHITA, SAYA KAMITANI & LADY C)

Nobody does the “get everyone on the card” tags quite like Stardom. Some of the company’s biggest stars and youngest rookies were all thrown into this gauntlet of trios matches. The action was mostly pretty good although some of the bigger names didn’t do a whole lot in the match. Giulia and Tam Nakano didn’t get the memo that this was an unimportant tag as they were throwing shoot headbutts and taking german suplexes onto the apron like the crazy people they are, and this is why we love them. ***1/4

HIGH SPEED CHAMPIONSHIP
AZM (C) DEF. MEI SURUGA

This was an absolute show-stealer for me. Mei Suruga is someone that I’ve long admired as I genuinely believe there’s nobody in all of pro wrestling quite like her. She got to showcase all of her personality and uniqueness opposite AZM who also drew out Suruga’s exceptional high-speed wrestling talents. The pace of this match was frenetic and the flash pins were very easy to buy into as this is exactly the kind of championship that would change hands via a flash pin. AZM retained, and is two for two on killer PPV defenses in what could go down as her defining run as champion ****1/2

CINDERELLA TOURNAMENT FINAL
MIRAI DEF. KOGUMA

Pretty good back and forth contest here. MIRAI being the clear winner took away from some of the suspense although Koguma’s flash pins are so good I bought into a few. MIRAI winning the entire tournament isn’t something I expected so soon into her Stardom run but it’s far from surprising, while I have my own issues with her tournament win I can’t deny that the crowd is very into her (they even go along with her special clap).

I used to say this about Unagi Sayaka but I feel a need to say it now about MIRAI. Stardom really likes her, you should pay attention to everything she does, and wait for her eventual red or white belt run whether you like it or not. ***3/4

SYURI DEF. HIMEKA

Himeka came out with new gear which told me this was an important match. She proceeded to have a fantastic performance in this match which further solidifies the popular belief that she could be the World or Wonder of Stardom champion in the future. Syuri wrestled her typical match which we’ve seen her do a lot. She does it very well, but for someone that’s seen every big match she’s had in Stardom it isn’t super impressive anymore. Syuri’s reliability definitely allowed Himeka to flourish and showcase her athleticism and power against the more refined and technical champion.

This is one of the first major tests Stardom has given Himeka as a singles wrestler and I must say she passed with flying colors. We’ve already seen her excel in the tag team side of things but this match will go a long way to proving that she has what it takes to hang as a major singles star. ****1/4

Final Thoughts

This show absolutely flew by with only six matches on the main card. All six delivered in some way with at least two standing out as great matches. For the AZM/Mei match and the Syuri/Himeka clash alone this would be a notably good PPV but getting those two on a six-match card is ludicrous and telling of how good Stardom’s high-end stuff can be if they cut down on the number of tags on the undercard.

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