The 2024 Cinderella Tournament is just days away, and the field is wide open. But the question is simple: Who should win the STARDOM tournament and write their name in the history books this year?

The decision was made to transform this year’s tournament following the exit of Rossy Ogawa from the company. Instead of putting nearly everybody in the tournament, the office of STARDOM decided to change things up. Only one former Wonder of Stardom Champion will compete in this tournament while multiple title holders, former World and Wonder of Stardom Champions, and others are held out completely.

STARDOM has set the field with 24 wrestlers, including eight first-round byes. The five-day tournament event will have the first round on Saturday at the Yokohama Budokan, followed by the second round on Sunday at Korakuen Hall and Himeji on the 16th. Finally, the quarterfinals will be decided in Maibara on the 17th before the finals on Wednesday, March 20th.

The 2024 Cinderella Tournament is wide open once again this year, much like last year, and that’s what makes it all the more exciting. The new format just adds to that. With the tournament beginning in a few days, there’s only a handful of wrestlers who feel like they can win the whole thing this year — or should win.

Who Should Win the 2024 Cinderella Tournament?

AZM

AZM

Cinderella Tournament Record: 2-4-1
Best Run in Tournament: 2019 Quarterfinals

It’s time. AZM has been working to get into the position of a potential main eventer for STARDOM and this is the year that she finally challenges for the Wonder of Stardom Championship. She’s watched Starlight Kid challenge for the White Belt and Suzu Suzuki challenge for the World of Stardom Championship in the past year — while she’s only been fighting for that High-Speed Title and the STRONG Women’s Championship. Now is the time and winning the Cinderella Tournament would be her shot to catch up with her peers.

For anyone who has questioned her ability to step into the big main event, all you need to see is that match with Giulia last year to know she’s beyond ready. AZM is uberly talented and has been for years. But getting her chance to shine up until now has always been met with “well, she’s still young” or “she’s the high-speed ace.” Watching those around her get the opportunities makes that first point null and void — especially since she celebrated her 10th anniversary this past summer. And she’s passed along that ace title of the high-speed division to Mei Seira. It is AZM’s time, finally.

AZM is in the ideal spot to shine and show the world what this new world of STARDOM looks like. After being eliminated by Hazuki in back-to-back years, AZM is looking for revenge and could get it against her in the finals. Considering how this bracket lines up, there’s a real chance that can happen.

If STARDOM wants to make a statement with this Cinderella Tournament, a win by the “High-Speed Bomb Girl” might be the answer.

Hanan

Hanan

Cinderella Tournament Record: 0-3
Best Run in Tournament: First Round Elimination (3x)

H-A-N-A-N. After her start to the year, Hanan has quickly become undeniable and an MVP for STARDOM in 2024. It’d only be fitting for her to win the tournament as a result.

For anyone paying attention, Hanan has been a main character for STARDOM in their first two months. She’s been coming so close to winning matches but coming up just short. It happened in the Wonder of Stardom Title Battle Royal at the first Korakuen Hall show in January when she lost to Starlight Kid in the final two. It happened again in the one-night tag team tournament when she fell to AphroditE in the finals alongside Mayu Iwatani. And there’s a continued push of her wanting to finally have her moment.

Now, her road won’t be easy. If she beats HANAKO in the first round, which should be expected, then she will have to face MIRAI in the second round. The same MIRAI that 9-0 in the Cinderella Tournament, winning the tournament the last two years — including a win over Hanan in the first round of the 2023 tournament. If she can be the one to finally beat MIRAI in this tournament, then this really will feel like her year.

Hanan has been seen as the future ace of STARDOM for years. This tournament is her first chance to truly prove why. Her road is tough and if it was easier, she’d be my only choice to win this thing. But even with the tough road, it’s time to believe in Hanan if you’re the fans or STARDOM.

Hazuki

Hazuki

Cinderella Tournament Record: 5-3-2
Best Run in Tournament: 2022 Semifinals

Enough is enough — it has to be Hazuki’s time one of these days and that very well can be this year.

Two years ago, it really did feel like Hazuki’s year to win the Cinderella Tournament. Instead, she suffered a loss to Koguma in the semifinals and the reality of her winning the Cinderella Tournament was starting to disappear. Last year, she challenged Saya Kamitani for the Wonder of Stardom Championship right before the tournament — giving her no shot of winning. Now that we head into this year’s tournament, there’s a real chance for Hazuki to finally win.

The first reason is that she and Saori Anou have already teased a Wonder of Stardom Championship match. Nothing has come from that since then, but Anou has teased that she has someone in mind for a challenge and will await the results of the Cinderella to make it happen. It sure does feel like it’ll be Hazuki and that’s something everyone needs to say.

STARDOM had a hectic year in 2023 — for better or worse. But one of the brightest parts was Hazuki show after show after show. No matter if it was a house show in a random town or one of the biggest shows of the year. Hazuki always delivers and it’s time she has her moment.

STARDOM has great options to win the 2024 Cinderella Tournament but none may be better than the “Wild Heart’ herself.

You can check out the opening weekend of the 2024 Cinderella Tournament on pay-per-view. Stay tuned to STARDOM’s English account on X for the PPV details.

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