Stardom Cinderella Tournament 2017 Preview
April 30th, 2017 (airs on Samurai TV on May 7th)
Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan
It is time for Stardom’s Cinderella Tournament! This is the third 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 Io Shirai for the World of Stardom Championship, so the assumption is that the winner will challenge for one of Stardom’s titles. Mayu Iwatani actually won in 2015 as well, so she is looking here to go for the three-peat. The Cinderella Tournament is a one-night tournament and 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
The entire tournament takes place on April 30th, so there will be a maximum of 15 matches in one night (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:
- Cinderella Tournament Round 1: Toni Storm vs. Rebel
- Cinderella Tournament Round 1: Tessa Blanchard vs. Kris Wolf
- Cinderella Tournament Round 1: Kairi Hojo vs. Hiromi Mimura
- Cinderella Tournament Round 1: Jungle Kyona vs. HZK
- Cinderella Tournament Round 1: Mayu Iwatani vs. Hetzza
- Cinderella Tournament Round 1: Kagetsu vs. Konami
- Cinderella Tournament Round 1: La Rosa Negra vs. Jessicka Havok
- Cinderella Tournament Round 1: Hana Kimura vs. Io Shirai
- Cinderella Tournament Round 2: Winner of Storm/Rebel vs. Winner of Blanchard/Wolf
- Cinderella Tournament Round 2: Winner of Hojo/Mimura vs. Winner of Kyona/HZK
- Cinderella Tournament Round 2: Winner of Iwatani/Hetzza vs. Winner of Kagetsu/Konami
- Cinderella Tournament Round 2: Winner of La Rosa Negra/Havok vs. Winner of Kimura/Shirai
- Cinderella Tournament Semi Finals: One of Storm/Rebel/Blanchard/Wolf vs. One of Hojo/Mimura/Kyona/HZK
- Cinderella Tournament Semi Finals: One of Iwatani/Hetzza/Kagetsu/Konami vs. One of La Rosa Negra/Havok/Kimura/Shirai
Cinderella Tournament Finals
And now I will try to predict who will win this very unpredictable tournament. For the sake of coming up with “odds,” 16:1 will be the base since mathematically, that is everyone’s odds of winning the tournament. So any wrestler I think has a “better than average” chance of winning will be below that, and any wrestler I think has a “worse than average” chance will be higher. Sometimes much, much higher. Taking all things into consideration, here are my odds of each wrestler winning, in the order that they are wrestling on the show:
Toni Storm (4:1) – I have Toni as my favorite, although I am not overly confident on it. Toni has been really tough to beat in Stardom and has not challenged for the White or Red belt since she joined the promotion, so winning the tournament would finally get her a much deserved title shot. Plus, she is the last wrestler to pin Io Shirai in a title match so she has a built-in storyline. The only thing working against her is that thus far we don’t know if Stardom would have a Gaijin win the tournament, since the past two years they haven’t even had one reach the semifinals.
Rebel (750:1) – Since it is Rebel’s first tour in Japan, and isn’t really a highly sought after Freelancer, there is virtually no chance that she is winning this tournament. In fact I have her at the lowest odds of anyone, there is just no way, she is at best the #4 Gaijin in this tournament so even if they went in that direction, it wouldn’t be her.
Tessa Blanchard (25:1) – While Tessa has gotten a decent push in Stardom in the past, reaching the final of the FIVE STAR GP last year, since returning they haven’t really established her as a high end threat and winning this tournament would be a stretch. It isn’t impossible, since at least some path has been laid in that direction, but I just don’t see it as likely.
Kris Wolf (250:1) – As much as I love Kris Wolf, this isn’t her tournament to win. She already has the High Speed Championship and that is still pretty much her level in the promotion, her challenging for the White or Red belt would be too much. She couldn’t even beat Kaori Yoneyama a few weeks ago. Maybe next year she’ll be built up enough to go for it, but not this year.
Kairi Hojo (30:1) – If Kairi is going to WWE in the next couple months this should be lower, but… it is Stardom, anything can happen. If she is going in June, for example, she’d still have time to challenge Io and give us one final great match before she left. Or she could end up not going at all, who knows. I lowered her odds due to the uncertainty of it all, but as the #2 wrestler in the promotion she can’t be completely written off.
Hiromi Mimura (400:1) – Hiromi is the lowest ranked contracted Stardom wrestler in the tournament, so she isn’t going to win. I only didn’t give her worse odds because I can see a scenario that she may beat Kairi, if Kairi is indeed leaving soon she may want to do something to put over her friend before she does. But Hiromi is midcard comedy and cuteness, not a challenger for a major title.
Jungle Kyona (15:1) – In a normal world, Kyona should be the favorite to win, but Stardom isn’t a normal place. Kyona is the perfect combination of youth and success to get the push, but she did recently challenge for Kairi’s championship so it may be too soon for her to get another title shot. I give her better than average odds of winning, but just barely, I don’t think its her year quite yet.
HZK (50:1) – The only reason I think HZK could win is she could challenge Kairi for her title, win it, and Queen’s Quest could continue their domination. But really, HZK is more on the High Speed Championship level right now and isn’t quite ready for the next level. I think she’ll do well in the tournament to show her growth, but fall short.
Mayu Iwatani (8:1) – I have Mayu with the best odds of any native wrestler, as storyline-wise it makes sense. She hasn’t had a title shot in awhile and currently doesn’t have much of a storyline, outside of some attempts by Hana to get her to join Oedo Tai. I am not sure if winning the last two years helps her or hurts her, she can cement herself as Ms. Cinderella but it wouldn’t feel like very creative booking. No one in the tournament needs a story and a title shot more than Mayu, so I do think there is a decent chance she walks away with it again.
Hetzza (500:1) – Hetzza is still really green, and the chances of her even getting out of the first round are really slim. If she showed superstar potential I could see them giving her a run, but she hasn’t, so she isn’t doing well in the tournament.
Kagetsu (200:1) – I have her odds this bad not based on skill, but since she announced a hiatus after this show it wouldn’t make a lot of sense for her to win it. Unless its all storyline and she is going to win to keep the ‘wish’ hostage, I don’t see it happening.
Konami (20:1) – Konami is a hard one to figure out. She has had some success in Stardom, but not really against the top stars. She’s had better luck in the midcard however and has been fairly well protected there, so I could see her winning and having a great match again with either Kairi or Io. I probably have her odds too good since I am a bit biased towards her, but she is a young talented wrestler and Stardom could make worse choices than giving Konami the crown.
La Rosa Negra (500:1) – There isn’t any scenario that La Rosa Negra wins this, as she is low on the Gaijin totem pole and doesn’t have the necessary skills to have a great 20+ minute match with Kairi or Io anyway. She is just filler here to get the tournament up to 16 participants.
Jessicka Havok (10:1) – I can see several scenarios where Havok wins this. First, it would be a radical change from past years and set up every future tournament with an “anyone can win” vibe. Also, we all assume Havok is going after Io at some point anyway, but since nothing has been announced, a win would give her that match. On top of that, due to her size she will be hard to toss over the top rope, and promotions like having “monsters” win anything with “over the top” rules. The only thing working against her is that this is her first tour with the promotion, and it may be too big of a jump for someone that is so new to the audience.
Hana Kimura (100:1) – My brain says there is no way that Hana is sniffing the finals, but my heart says otherwise. The only advantage she has is popularity and that being a “princess” would fit her character, but really she is still too inexperienced to be getting a title shot. I’d love it, but not very likely. Combine that with a really tough first round draw as I don’t see Io going out this early, and her chances go down even more.
Io Shirai (12:1) – You’d think that Io would have no chance of winning, between her already having the major title and the rumors of her leaving, and those are both solid points. The counter argument is that it is Io, the Ace of Stardom and Best in the World. So you can’t ever completely write her off, she wins too much to just assume she’ll lose, however it wouldn’t make a lot of sense for her to walk away with the tournament here.
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