Event: Stardom Cinderella Tournament 2019
Date: April 29th, 2019
Location: Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan
It is time for the Stardom Cinderella Tournament! This is the fifth 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, Momo Watanabe, 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 top titles. 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
- If the time limit expires, the match is a Draw and both wrestlers are eliminated from the tournament
- 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 to the floor
The entire tournament takes place on April 29th, 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 is the bracket:
And to make it slightly easier to read, here are all the pairings. You can click on the wrestler’s name under the First Round heading to go to their wrestler profiles on Joshi City.
- Cinderella Tournament Round 2: Hana or Andras vs. Natsuko or Jungle
- Cinderella Tournament Round 2: Arisa or Saki vs. Kagetsu or Tam
- Cinderella Tournament Round 2: Starlight Kid or Natsu vs. Bea or Hazuki
- Cinderella Tournament Round 2: AZM or Rebel Kel vs. Konami or Momo
- Cinderella Tournament Semi Finals: One of Hana/Andras/Natsuko/Jungle vs. One of Arisa/Saki/Kagetsu/Tam
- Cinderella Tournament Semi Finals: One of Starlight Kid/Natsu/Bea/Hazuki vs. One of AZM/Rebel Kel/Konami/Momo
Cinderella Tournament Finals
And now I will try to predict who will win this 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. 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. The odds are mostly numbers I pick at random so don’t take them too seriously, however I did make sure the odds ranked the wrestlers in the order I think they could win. Taking all things into consideration, here are my odds of each wrestler winning, going in the order they are wrestling using the match list on Stardom’s website:
AZM (100:1) – AZM is really close to getting to the level that she can have a shot of winning the tournament, but she isn’t there yet. She doesn’t have an active storyline right now that would hint that she is up next for a major title shot, and since she is under 18 she isn’t ready for a push that would get her to the main title picture. There is a possibility she will get an upset win in the first round (or an upset Draw) but that is her ceiling this year.
Rebel Kel (80:1) – Even though Rebel Kel was formally drafted into a Stardom faction, I still struggle to see her having a long career at this time in Stardom as she still needs more in-ring development to fit in with Stardom’s better wrestlers. She will likely get a win over AZM just based on the age and height difference but I don’t foresee her path going any further than that.
Starlight Kid (50:1) – The wildest of wild cards, Starlight Kid has a lot working against her – particularly her age, her height, and her experience. On the flip side, she was the first wrestler selected in the draft and she gets an easy first round opponent. One year I suspect someone will win that doesn’t challenge for a top title, could Starlight Kid win and go for the High Speed? Its doubtful, but Stardom likes her a lot so I could see her at least making it a round or two before elimination.
Natsu Sumire (250:1) – If I had to pick the least likely wrestler to win, it would be Natsu Sumire. Since joining Stardom she has been mostly treated as a funny gimmick and beater of children, two roles that I agree she is great at, but there’s never been any sign of her getting a push beyond that. The mid-card is her ceiling, she won’t be a serious challenger for a singles title. I fully expect her to lose to Starlight Kid and regardless she isn’t winning the tournament.
Hazuki (16:1) – The first wrestler so far that I think does have a chance of winning, even though it is just even odds. Hazuki has some things working for her as she has really improved in-ring over the last year and is frequently the focus on cards. Working against her is the “Cinderella” look may be a stretch and there are other wrestlers that I just think it makes more sense for. Don’t write her off, but I think 2020 will more likely be her year if she continues to grow.
Bea Priestley (35:1) -On paper Bea would be a good contender to win this, as she is frequently protected in her matches and is overdue for a big title match in Stardom. But since she reached the Finals last year I don’t think she will this year, there are just too many other storylines going on in Stardom right now that don’t directly involve her and I see them going in a different direction. The skill and card placement level are there for Bea, but this doesn’t feel like her year.
Arisa Hoshiki (14:1) – Arisa is to me the most intriguing wrestler in this tournament. She checks a lot of the boxes – she is a good wrestler, will soon be able to concentrate on wrestling full time, is overdue for a big title match, and is attractive (yes. that matters for a Cinderella Tournament). But the issue with Arisa is she hasn’t really been put over on the events as a threat, she has always been Mayu’s lackey that has good matches but isn’t usually the focus. Could they use this to jump-start to Arisa being a feared singles wrestler? Its possible, but there hasn’t been a lot of foreshadowing in that direction so I’d still be a bit surprised if she took home the tiara.
Saki Kashima (70:1) – Everyone was excited when Saki returned to Stardom last year, but I think the return of Arisa really took the wind out of her sails and she has not found her place in the promotion. She isn’t anywhere close to being ready to main event Korakuen, as she has mostly just been a faction wrestler for the last six months. I don’t foresee her even getting out of the first round, and her chances of winning are pretty slim.
Hana Kimura (2:1) – The favorite to win the tournament. Allow me to list the reasons – faction leader ready for a bigger push, young, talented, popular, newly signed, and attractive. The only reason I could see her not winning is by shenanigans, some faction-related issue causing her to lose which would set her down a different path. A heel-ish native has never won the tournament as usually it goes to a happy babyface, but I don’t see that as a blockade for her. While in a tournament like this there are no sure things, if I had to bet on someone it would be Hana.
Andras Miyagi (25:1) – Another interesting wrestler in the tournament. Andras Miyagi has the skill and push level to win the tournament for sure. The main reason I don’t see her winning is simply a “character” one as she doesn’t scream “Cinderella.” That doesn’t mean she can’t win, it would just break from tradition. She also recently had a shot at Momo and wouldn’t challenge Kagetsu, another mark against her. She may upset someone or even reach the finals, but I don’t think she’ll win.
Tam Nakano (10:1) – Tam is a lot of fans’ favorite to win the tournament. She hasn’t had a lot of championship success outside of the Trios title up to this point but has generally had a prominent role on their shows to keep her over. She has had a few big matches so it wouldn’t be totally out of left field, and Tam is overdue for a real push. Another thing working for her is she has the Cinderella “look” and is popular – I wouldn’t put her with the best odds but she’s definitely one to consider winning it all.
Kagetsu (20:1) – Kagetsu comes into the tournament one of the top champions already in Stardom, lessening her chances of winning. She also doesn’t really fit the mold for who Stardom typically has winning these, as I can’t see Kagetsu putting on a pretty blue dress. It would be cool to have someone win that refuses to be a “Cinderella” and Kagetsu would be a good pick to do that, but until it happens I consider it unlikely. Kagetsu will likely go far but lose via over the top rope or DQ along the way.
Jungle Kyona (45:1) – Poor Jungle Kyona. So much heartbreak for her recently. Losing her faction. Losing her friends. Being passed over by everybody. Add one more reason for sadness for Kyona – she may win a round or two but she isn’t winning this tournament.
Natsuko Tora (150:1) – Even with a new “attitude,” its still too early for Natsuko. I think she has a decent chance at upsetting Jungle Kyona to continue their feud but she’ll lose soon after. Really I think a Draw between them is likely as it would get Kyona out of the tournament while keeping her strong. Virtually no chance for Natsuko here, she’s at least a year away from being in a big singles title match at Korakuen.
Momo Watanabe (12:1) – Momo is the Ace of Stardom and the defending Cinderella Tournament winner, meaning you can’t write her off. However, she does already have one of the top titles in the promotion. She could win and challenge Kagetsu as they have faced off before title vs. title, so I’m not taking her off the board, but typically Stardom doesn’t have a current top champion win this tournament. I still have to give her better than even odds since she is so dominant, but she isn’t my top pick.
Konami (40:1) – Finally, we have Konami. Konami has done virtually nothing in Stardom in the last year. She had some midcard title challenges, but she lost them all. In Queen’s Quest she was overshadowed by Momo and Utami, never finding her place. Now that she is with Tokyo Cyber Squad maybe a push is coming, but its too soon for her now and they won’t start the push with a Cinderella Tournament win. I hope and expect Konami has a good showing, but she has a ways to go before she is ready to wear the Cinderella dress.