Stardom Cinderella Tournament 2016
April 29th, 2016 (airs on SamuraiTV on May 7th)
Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan
It is time for Stardom’s Cinderella Tournament! This is the second year Stardom has run the tournament, with the winner of the tournament being granted one wish (and gets to wear a pretty Cinderella dress). Last year’s winner, Mayu Iwatani, used her wish to challenge Kairi Hojo for the World of Stardom Championship, so the assumption is that the winner will challenge for one of Stardom’s titles. The Cinderella Tournament is a one-night tournament and this year has 16 participants. Every match in the tournament is a singles match with the following stipulations:
- Tournament is Single Elimination
- All matches up to the final have a 10 Minute Time Limit (Finals have a 30 Minute Time Limit)
- If the Time Limit expires, the match is a Draw and both wrestlers are Disqualified
- If both wrestlers are eliminated by Draw, their opponent in the next round gets a Bye
- Wrestlers can win by pinfall, submission, or throwing their opponent over the top rope
Aside from the dark match, the entire event on April 29th will be the tournament, so there will be a maximum of 15 matches (there will likely be less, since at least a match or two will end in a draw which will eliminate both wrestlers). Here are all the matches in order:
- Opening Tag Match: Azumi and Kaori Yoneyama vs. Eimi Nishina and Starlight Kid (winner of this match will be inserted into the tournament)
- Jungle Kyouna vs. Saori Anou
- Hiroyo Matsumoto vs. Kagetsu
- Diosa Atenea vs. Io Shirai
- Kyoko Kimura vs. TBD (winner from opening tag match)
- Hiromi Mimura vs. Mayu Iwatani
- Alpha Female vs. Queen Maya
- Kairi Hojo vs. Momo Watanabe
- Alex Lee vs. Santana Garrett
- Kyouna/Anou vs. Matsumoto/Kagetsu
- Atenea/Shirai vs. Kimura/TBD
- Alpha/Maya vs. Iwatani/Mimura
- Garrett/Lee vs. Hojo/Watanabe
- Kyouna/Anou/Matsumoto/Kagetsu vs. Atenea/Shirai/Kimura/TBD
- Alpha/Maya/Iwatani/Mimura vs. Garrett/Lee/Hojo/Watanabe
Now that we got all the facts out of the way, who is going to win the tournament? Remember, with the time limit and ‘over the top’ elimination, there can be many upsets without the stars of the promotion taking a pin. There are a few different directions that Stardom can go, but here are my odds of each wrestler winning:
Jungle Kyouna (50:1) – Of all the rookies, Kyouna has the best chance of winning. She is the strongest of the three so she will be harder to toss over the top rope, and she is the toughest so she will not be easy to pin. Still, she faces an uphill battle only six months after debuting.
Saori Anou (250:1) – Anou is affiliated with Actress girl’Z, however she has been a constant in Stardom since last fall. She has never had a pinfall of any substance in Stardom, and since she is affiliated with a different promotion she is ranked on the same level as the Stardom rookies even though she has been wrestling longer than they have. Anou isn’t ready for a singles title shot at this stage of her career.
Hiroyo Matsumoto (4:1) – I have Matsumoto as my favorite to win the tournament. She is a highly respected veteran and can beat any wrestler in this tournament under normal settings, let alone with over-the-top-rope rules. She would be a fresh wrestler for the singles title scene in Stardom as she has not challenged for a singles title since 2012. She still has the obstacle of being a Freelancer, but Stardom has put titles on Freelancers in the past so it would not be unheard of for the promotion.
Kagetsu (40:1) – Kagetsu is who I will be rooting for, I don’t think she is going to win but I think it would be a nice surprise. A few things working against her – she is relatively new to the promotion, she doesn’t have any big pinfalls in Stardom, and she is in the heel group. But it would freshen things up and she is a great wrestler, I would have her odds higher but her first round match is an extremely tough one.
Alpha Female (100:1) – I love Alpha Female but this is not her tournament to win, I see her losing via Draw (maybe even in the first round). First, she already had a title shot this year, and Stardom will likely use this tournament to find a new challenger. Secondly, can you see Alpha Female wearing that gaudy dress? I sure as hell can’t.
Queen Maya (50:1) – Even though she hasn’t been in the promotion since last summer, I think she has a better chance than Alpha Female in the battle of monster gaijins even though I don’t see a heel winning. She would be a fresh match-up against one of the champions, and she seems to be more open to wearing a dress than Alpha Female. Still a low probability but it wouldn’t shock me if she made it far or even won.
Hiromi Mimura (200:1) – Mimura is the oldest of the rookies but is definitely ranked below Kyouna, plus she is really small so she can be easily disposed over the top rope. Not going to be her this year.
Mayu Iwatani (8:1) – Of the Threedom, I think she has the best chance to win. I don’t think her winning last year will hurt her, as she as grown a lot in the last year and if she challenged Io Shirai it would open up a few different storylines. Plus she could build herself up into “Ms. Cinderella” if they continue to do this tournament every year.
Alex Lee (325:1) – Unaffiliated wrestler that mostly stays towards the beginning of the cards wrestling against children. Not going to win this tournament.
Santana Garrett (6:1) – I know that Garrett is never around but hear me out. They have to keep her strong since she is the last wrestler to pin Io Shirai in a singles match, plus she does hold a title. If she won the tournament, she could challenge Io Shirai for another championship, and since she has already pinned her in the past it would be a fresh but believable title match. Either way I don’t see Garrett being pinned, if she does lose it will be by Draw or over-the-top-rope elimination.
Kairi Hojo (12:1) – Since Hojo already challenged Shirai this year, the only way I can see her winning if she challenges Garrett instead of Shirai for the Wonder of Stardom. Which wouldn’t be unheard of. But I think of the Threedom team she has the least likely chance of winning, even though the chance is always there as she fits the Cinderella profile and is a fan favorite.
Momo Watanabe (20:1) – I can see this happening on some level, even though I don’t think it is likely. She is only 16 but has had battles against the top wrestlers and held her own. She would work well (like Hojo) with the Cinderella theme and would be a solid defense on one of the smaller shows. Definitely the most likely winner between all the rookies/young wrestlers, remember that Koguma reached the finals last year, it likely will not be two top wrestlers battling at the end of the tournament.
Diosa Atenea (350:1) – She has so much going against her (new wrestler to the promotion, no big wins, part of heel stable) that I can’t see any chance of her winning this. I don’t see her getting past Io Shirai.
Io Shirai (10:1) – Shirai is the ace of the promotion and thus is able to win anything at any time, but winning here wouldn’t make a lot of sense as she is already at the top. The only justifiable reason is if she uses the ‘wish’ to challenge Garrett, but she could do that without the tournament win. These types of tournaments are set up to make it easy to eliminate a top star without them losing face, which is what I expect to happen here.
Kyoko Kimura (15:1) – Of the members of Oedo Tai, Kimura has the best odds of winning. Like Matsumoto, she is a very respected veteran that has been wrestling in the promotion for a long time. She hasn’t had a singles title show since 2013, and since she is retiring this year it would be a nice way for her to go out on top. I still wouldn’t call it likely, but I wouldn’t be shocked if it happened.
TBD (750:1) – This spot opened up due to Lizzy Styles having a family emergency, and it will be determined by the winner in the opening tag match. I assume the winner will be Yoneyama, but either way, a wrestler being inserted into the tournament this late is not going to win it.
If you have any other questions about the tournament, I can be found on Twitter!