Event: Stardom Cinderella Tournament 2020
Date: March 24th, 2020
Location: Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan
Announced Attendance: 538
It is time to watch the Stardom Cinderella Tournament! This is the sixth 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, Arisa Hoshiki, used her wish to challenge Momo Watanabe for the Wonder 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
Here is the full list of participants:
And here are the first round matches in the order they take place on the show:
All wrestlers in the tournament have a profile on Joshi City, you can click their names to go straight to it. I’m watching Samurai TV’s version of the show, so some matches will likely be clipped.
Momo Watanabe vs. Starlight Kid
We start the tournament with a bang, as the 18 years old Starlight Kid takes on Momo in just their second singles match ever. I think the popularity of Starlight Kid stuck up on Stardom but they seemed to have accepted now that she is one of the better young wrestlers they have and is a bundle of fun to watch. That’s not to say she is going to win here as Momo is one of the top wrestlers in this tournament (and is only 20 years old), but with the rules in the Cinderella tournament, anything can happen.
Starlight Kid charges Momo to start the match and dropkicks her, Irish whip by Starlight Kid but Momo reverses it. They go through a quick exchange, armdrag by Momo but Starlight Kid fires back with an armdrag of her own and dropkicks Momo. Starlight Kid goes off the ropes but Momo drills her with her own dropkick, elbows by Momo but Starlight Kid hits a crossbody off the ropes. Starlight Kid goes off the ropes but Momo avoids the Tiger Feint Kick, tilt-a-whirl headscissors and she delivers the Tiger Feint Kick on the second try. Standing moonsault by Starlight Kid, but it gets a two count cover. Starlight Kid goes for a slam but Momo blocks it, schoolboy by Starlight Kid but Momo catches her crossbody attempt and hits a side slam. Somato by Momo, but it only gets two. Momo goes to the second turnbuckle but Starlight Kid dropkicks her out to the apron, she tries to kick Momo to the floor but Momo hangs on and kicks Starlight Kid over the top rope. Momo goes on top again and hits a diving Somato, but Starlight Kid reverses the cover into one of her own. Momo goes for the B Driver but Starlight Kid reverses it into a sunset flip. Momo reverses the roll-up and the two trade flash pins, Starlight Kid goes for the Ki-chan Bomb but Momo blocks it and hits a B Driver. Head kick by Momo, she picks up Starlight Kid and drops her with a running B Driver for the three count! Momo Watanabe wins and advances in the tournament.
Its hard to recommend a sub-five minute match but this was just about perfect. It had everything you could ask for. It was fast paced and interesting from bell to bell, it smartly teased the ‘over the top’ rules, and Starlight Kid had her hope spots. About as perfectly done as a match can be in the Cinderella Tournament, both of them have a very bright future in Stardom if they stick to it. Recommended
Jungle Kyona vs. Giulia
Next up we have the lovable loser against Stardom’s biggest recent acquisition. Jungle Kyona has her fans but very little in her wrestling career has gone right, as she has never held a singles title in her 4+ year run in a promotion with five singles championships (she is 0-8 in challenges) and seems to be perpetually in the midcard battling for tag belts. She looks to finally break out here against Giulia, who has taken Stardom by storm since joining a few months ago and currently holds the Artist of Stardom Championship with her Donna del Mondo stablemates. This is a real tough draw for Kyona as Giulia has yet to be pinned in Stardom, so it would take a major upset for her to continue in the tournament.
They tie-up to start, Kyona pushes Giulia into the ropes but Giulia escapes. They trade submissions, hard shoulderblock by Kyona and she applies a headscissors. Giulia gets to the ropes for the break, elbows by Kyona and she hits a powerslam. Dropkick to the back by Kyona and she hits a sliding lariat, cover by Kyona but it gets two. Kyona goes off the ropes but Giulia kicks her, Kyona fires back with a lariat but Giulia kicks her again. Giulia applies a standing armbar but Kyona gets into the ropes, boot by Giulia and she goes to the top turnbuckle, hitting a missile dropkick. Cover by Giulia, but it gets two. Giulia picks up Kyona but Kyona elbows her, Giulia elbows her back however and kicks Kyona to the mat. Giulia goes off the ropes but Kyona hits her with a hard elbow, scoop slam by Kyona and she hits a diving body press for two. Kyona gets Giulia around the waist and plants her with a powerbomb, she keeps hold of Giulia and picks her back up, tossing her over her head into the turnbuckles. Lariat by Kyona in the corner, she goes for the Muscle Buster but Giulia gets away. Giulia blocks Kyona’s lariat and hits a series of knees followed by a DDT, cover by Giulia but it gets two. Giulia applies a STF and chokes Kyona with her own arm, she switches the hold to the Stealth Viper and Kyona goes unconscious! Giulia wins the match and advances.
This actually felt like a normal midcard match as they didn’t really adapt much to the Cinderella Tournament rules. There was no sense of urgency to win in under ten minutes, and neither attempted to toss the other over the top rope. Its interesting though that instead of protecting Kyona in any way, they had her get choked into oblivion. As a Giulia fan, I enjoyed it, but it never felt like Kyona had a chance of winning. The action was pretty solid, nothing really wrong with it, I just wish they had done something that recognized the Cinderella Tournament aspect. Certainly watchable, just hard to recommend as it didn’t really fit into the event and didn’t have that exciting feel you’d hope to see on a show known for lots of short and high energy matches.
AZM vs. Konami
Moving along in the tournament, next is the experienced child wrestler AZM against Kana’s protégé
. AZM and Konami have battled many times over the years but this is only their second singles match, with their first being in last year’s Cinderella Tournament, which was won by Konami. Konami reached the finals last year and is looking to build on that success by winning in 2020. AZM is a long shot to win the tournament due to her age (she is only 17) but there are always a few upsets in the Cinderella Tournament so I wouldn’t count her out of this one.
AZM attacks Konami from behind before the match starts, knocking her off the turnbuckles and out of the ring. The bell rings as AZM dives off the top turnbuckle to the floor onto Konami, before returning to the ring to wait for Konami to recover (AZM went under the bottom rope to then climb up to the top turnbuckle, so she didn’t go “Over The Top” to accidentally eliminate herself). AZM kicks her in the head as Konami gets in the ring, AZM goes to the top turnbuckle and hits a diving footstomp, but Konami kicks out of the cover. Fujiwara Armbar by AZM but Konami rolls through it as the two trade submission attempts. Konami gets into the ropes, AZM goes out to the apron but Konami kicks her as she goes for a swandive move. Konami goes for another kick but AZM grabs her foot and pulls her over the top and onto the apron. AZM quickly gets back in the ring and tries to push Konami off the apron, but Konami applies a hanging armbar over the top rope. She lets go and returns to the ring, dropkick to the head by Konami and she delivers a sliding kick. Fisherman suplex hold by Konami, but AZM kicks out. Konami picks up AZM but AZM blocks the Triangle Lancer attempt and kicks her in the head. Konami kicks AZM back but AZM trips her, AZM goes for a roll-up but Konami blocks it and slaps on the Triangle Lancer. Konami really sinks in the hold and AZM quickly taps out! Konami wins and continues in the tournament.
This match was more like the first one and was really well done. Very short but literal non-stop action, as AZM took it to Konami early and often, trying to win by any method as she took full advantage of the modified rules. This felt like Konami just trying to catch AZM before AZM could sneak out a lucky win, and once she finally caught her the match was over. Somehow AZM comes out looking strong as she loses in under three minutes, which I think says a lot for both of them and how the match was structured. A really fun match that highlights what this tournament should be all about. Recommended
Syuri vs. Jamie Hayter
This is a fun and unique pairing. Syuri just recently became a regular wrestler in Stardom, although she hasn’t signed an exclusive contract she still is taking part in most of their major events. I’ve always wanted Syuri to show up in Stardom, lots of fresh matches for her. One of which is this one, as it is the first time these two have wrestled each other in any capacity. Jamie has been a regular in Stardom since early 2019 and comes into the match as both the SWA Undisputed Champion and one half of the Goddesses of Stardom Champions. Jamie has more titles than Syuri, but Syuri is a high end wrestler that rarely loses.
Syuri gets the first advantage as she strikes Jamie into the corner, running knee by Syuri but Jamie reverses the Irish whip and hits a running elbow. Lariat by Jamie and she hits a neckbreaker, cover by Jamie but it gets two. Snap vertical suplex by Jamie, she elbows Syuri against the ropes and hits a running knee for a two count cover. Jamie charges Syuri but Syuri avoids her strike, kick by Syuri and she applies a cross armbreaker. She switches it to a seated armbar and then into a hammerlock/armbar combination, and Jamie submits! Syuri wins and advances in the tournament.
This was a short match clipped even shorter. What they showed (about two minutes) was fine, Jamie got in a few spots but she wasn’t much of a threat to Syuri. The special rules never really came into play with what they showed, but not sure if they teased any spots with what was cut. Nothing wrong with it but nothing special either.
Saki Kashima vs. Tam Nakano
A fitting match-up, as these two used to be stablemates until Saki turned on STARS to join Oedo Tai. Its an interesting pairing as both are in about the same place in Stardom, barely in the upper midcard but both without titles and really needing a boost. Saki is still getting into a groove as a heel but is pulling it off pretty well, however Tam’s popularity is among the highest in Stardom. Probably the biggest toss-up in the first round, as there are plenty of reasons for both to win.
Saki avoids locking up with Tam which just infuriates Tam, Tam gets sloppy and Saki knees her to the mat. They finally lock up, Irish whip by Tam but Saki hits a hurricanrana. Tam bridges out of the pin attempt and hits a neckbreaker, snapmare by Tam and she kicks Saki in the back. Tam goes for a PK but Saki catches her leg and hits a dragon screw, Saki chokes Tam into the corner and stomps her down to a seated position. Saki twists on Tam’s leg back in the middle of the ring, but Tam inches to the ropes and makes it there for the break. Back up, Tam slaps Saki but Saki slaps her back, Saki goes off the ropes but Tam bridges down to avoid her strike and rolls up Saki for two. Tam goes off the ropes but Saki avoids her and cradles Tam for two. Saki puts Tam on the ropes and kicks her out to the apron, she tries to knock her off but Tam snaps her neck on the top rope. Tam goes up top and delivers a jumping kick, head kick by Tam and she covers Saki for two. Tam picks up Saki but Saki blocks the suplex attempt, she goes for a flash pin but Tam reverses it for a two count. Running knee by Tam, she picks up Saki and nails the Tiger Suplex Hold for the three count! Tam Nakano advances in the tournament.
Just judging from this match, these two still lack chemistry when against each other. More clunky than you’d expect and they just didn’t feel to be on the same page, which is more noticeable when a match is only five minutes long. At least they teased an “over the top rope” spot, so there is that. Not terrible but definitely skippable.
Natsuko Tora vs. Saya Kamitani
Up next in the tournament is Oedo Tai’s Natsuko Tora against Stardom latest rookie wonder – Saya Kamitani. Saya seems to be on the fast track, not as fast as Utami but she already has passed several wrestlers that started before her in the pecking order. She isn’t ready yet to start winning titles, but she shouldn’t have to wait too much longer to be on the level to be a realistic challenger. Natsuko Tora took over Oedo Tai after Kagetsu and Hazuki left, I’m still not sold on her in her new role but we’ll see how she meshes here against a far less experienced wrestler.
We join this one slightly in progress as Natsuko throws Saya into the corner, Natsuko chokes Saya with her boot and rakes her face over the ropes. Bootscrapes by Natsuko and she hits a running boot to Saya, Natsuko brings Saya to the middle of the ring and kicks her in the head some more. Saya fights back with elbows and goes for a dropkick, but Natsuko avoids it and hits a senton. Camel Clutch by Natsuko but she lets go after a moment, she goes off the ropes but Saya does as well and does a flip before delivering a dropkick. She goes for a slam but Natsuko blocks it, Saya gets Natsuko to the mat and puts her in the Sickle Hold. Crab hold by Saya but Natsuko inches to the ropes to force the break. Saya gets on the second turnbuckle and hits a footstomp to Natsuko’s back, she gets on the turnbuckles again but Natsuko recovers and grabs her. Saya wiggles away and the two trade elbows, Saya goes off the ropes but Natsuko lariats her to the mat for two. Natsuko picks up Saya and slams her in front of the corner, she goes up top and delivers the diving body press for the three count! Natsuko Tora wins and advances in the tournament.
This was better than I was expecting. That’s not to say it was great, but Natsuko didn’t look as out of place as she does sometimes and she led the rookie pretty well. Saya didn’t do a lot of her flashy offense (or it was cut out) which is a shame since she can be exciting to watch, so the focus was on Natsuko’s more plodding offense. The right wrestler won as Natsuko needs to do well in this tournament if she is going to be seen as a leader of her faction, but I wouldn’t call it a high end match.
Utami Hayashishita vs. Maika
This isn’t the first time these two have met, and it likely won’t be the last. These two first faced off in January, when Maika challenged for Utami’s Future of Stardom Championship, and they faced off again the next month when Maika’s Donna del Mondo took the trio titles away from Utami’s Queen’s Quest. Like Utami, Maika is still early in her career as she debuted just a year ago, officially she is a member of JUST TAP OUT but she pops into Stardom pretty regularly. Hopefully this is the start of a generational feud between these two, if Maika continues to be a regular in the promotion (or eventually join it).
We join this one in progress as Maika is in control, Maika goes off the ropes and kicks Utami in the arm. Maika picks up Utami but Utami drops her with a dropkick, she picks up Maika and hits a scoop slam. Utami applies a crab hold but Maika gets to the ropes for the break, stomps to the back by Utami but Maika rolls her to the mat and applies a double armbar. Utami gets to the ropes to get Maika to release the hold, armdrag by Maika and she monkey flips Utami to the mat. Utami fires back with a couple tosses, she charges Maika in the corner and hits a back elbow. Maika returns with a big boot and the two trade elbows until Maika hits a side slam, STO by Maika and she covers Utami for two. Maika goes for the cross armbreaker and gets it locked in, but Utami quickly gets to the ropes for the break. Maika picks up Utami but Utami armdrags her to the mat and puts Maika in a sleeper hold. Maika almost goes to sleep but gets to the ropes first, Utami picks up Maika and plants her with a German suplex hold for two. Utami drags Maika to her feet and puts her on the top rope, but Maika elbows her off. She lands on the apron but she elbows Utami when she charges in and returns to the ring. Maika clubs on Utami but the bell rings as time as expired. The match is a Draw and both wrestlers are eliminated from the tournament.
I wish they had shown more of this as I really liked what I saw. This is the best I have seen from Maika, of course she is still early in her career but here her strikes all looked on point and her submissions were well-timed. Utami looked great too, as they have already started developing some chemistry. Its hard to give a high recommendation to a match clipped in half, but still very well done and entertaining. Mildly Recommended
Mayu Iwatani vs. Hana Kimura
To end the first round, the long time rivals Mayu and Hana face off. Since Hana started wrestling in Stardom back in 2017, these two have always been in opposite factions and have battled many times. Mayu has won the Cinderella Tournament twice before, but not since 2016 so she is looking to win the tiara once again. Hana Kimura has never made it far in the Cinderella Tournament and is looking to change that this year, first by defeating her eternal foe Mayu Iwatani.
Hana asks for a handshake to start but shockingly its a ruse as she smacks Mayu. She goes for a package piledriver but Mayu gets out of it, running boot by Hana but Mayu kicks her in the gut when she goes off the ropes. They trade elbows until Hana hits a front dropkick, Octopus Hold by Hana but Mayu quickly gets out of it and kicks Hana in the back. Armdrag by Mayu and she applies a stretch hold, she lets go after a moment and dropkicks Hana into the ropes. She goes off the ropes again but this time Hana catches her and tries to powerbomb her out of the ring. Mayu manages to land on the apron, Hana tries to kick Mayu down to the floor but Mayu hangs on. Mayu pulls Hana out to the apron with her, they both try to knock the other off the apron but neither falls to the floor. Hana rolls back into the ring, Mayu goes up top but Hana grabs her before she can jump off.
Hana joins Mayu but Mayu slides back to the mat, she goes for the Running Three but Hana gets away. Hana goes for a suplex but Mayu reverses it into a guillotine choke, but Hana muscles back to her feet and hits the suplex for a two count. Hana goes off the ropes and boots Mayu in the head, heel drop by Hana and she covers Mayu for two. Hana picks up Mayu and applies the Ground Manjikatame, but Mayu gets to the ropes for the break. Hana charges Mayu but Mayu avoids her boot and kicks Hana in the face. Mayu hits a German suplex hold, but Hana gets a shoulder up. Mayu goes up top and delivers a Frog Splash, but again Hana kicks out. Mayu goes to the top turnbuckle but Hana recovers and joins her, she tries to apply the armbreaker but she loses her balance and tumbles out of the ring, taking Mayu with her. The referee declares they both hit the floor at the same time, and the match is a Draw. Both wrestlers are eliminated from the tournament.
A fun match, as you’d expect these two have great chemistry. They don’t seem to mind actually kicking each other in the head as snugly as possible, which is a plus, and they both were wrestling with a sense of urgency which is important with the ten minute time limit. The double elimination is a bit of a cop out but they did a good job with it and it didn’t look like the most fun tumble so it didn’t come across as too silly. A pretty solid way to end the first round. Mildly Recommended
Onto Round 2! Due to the Draws in the last two matches, there are only three Round 2 matches, which are:
Lets get to it!
Momo Watanabe vs. Giulia
In the first round, Momo made quick work of Starlight Kid and Giulia defeated Jungle Kyona, leading us to this match. Donna del Mondo and Queen’s Quest have already had their issues, and their clash continues here as they both go for the Cinderella dress.
Giulia quickly boots Momo as the match starts, Momo kicks her back and the two trade strikes. Giulia goes for the Glorious Buster but Momo slides away, missile dropkick out of the corner by Momo and she connects with another dropkick. A third dropkick by Momo while Giulia is down in the corner, vertical suplex by Momo and she covers Giulia for two. Momo goes for the crossface chickenwing but Giulia blocks it, Momo gets Giulia on her back and hits the B Driver, but it only gets two. Momo charges Giulia but Giulia holds down the top rope and Momo ends up on the apron. Giulia tries to knock off Momo but goes over the top and lands on the apron herself, and the two trade elbows. High kick by Momo and she goes for the B Driver, but Giulia gets out of it and kicks Momo in the head. Giulia then grabs Momo and plants her with the Glorious Driver on the apron, causing Momo to flop down to the floor! Giulia wins by Over The Top and advances in the tournament.
By design, this was just a really condensed version of a match these two would have with more time. They went straight from strikes to signature move attempts to apron hilarity in four minutes, without much downtime between. Even though Giulia won by Over The Top, it was still an emphatic victory as she dropped Momo with one of her finishers in the process so that it didn’t seem fluky. Overall, not a bad match but it wasn’t as fun as some of the other short matches we’ve seen on the card.
Konami vs. Syuri
These two have quite the history. Konami was trained by Kana in 2014 and 2015, but when Kana left for WWE, her training was taken over by Syuri in REINA. They didn’t stay in REINA for long however and by 2016 both had gone their separate ways, with this being the first time they have faced off since January of 2017. Now in Stardom, Konami is a solid midcarder while Syuri is new to the promotion. Not sure if these two maintained their chemistry from many years ago, so we’ll see how they pair up.
They circle each other to start as they begin cautiously, they trade holds but eventually reach a stalemate. Konami kicks Syuri in the leg but Syuri catches one and pushes her to the mat, Syuri applies a side headlock but Konami struggles back to her feet. Konami applies a side headlock of her own but Syuri gets out of it, both go for kicks until Syuri sends Konami to the mat with a kick to the chest. Syuri picks up Konami but Konami kicks her in the leg, they trade kicks with Konami eventually knocking Syuri off her feet. Sliding kick by Konami, she picks up Syuri and puts her in a Fujiwara Armbar. Konami goes for the cross armbreaker but Syuri blocks it, Konami goes for the Triangle Lancer and gets it locked in, but Syuri gets a foot on the ropes to force the break. Konami picks up Syuri and goes for it again, but Syuri spins out of it and kicks Konami in the head. Syuri puts Konami in the Scorpion Deathlock, and Konami has no choice but to submit! Syuri wins and advances in the tournament.
All this match did is show me that these two could have a great match in a normal situation. Sadly this was not a normal situation as it felt like they were going at their normal pace as if it was a fifteen minute match before suddenly ending it with a random hold. Konami wasn’t really hurt bad enough to think she’d lose to the Scorpion Deathlock, which isn’t even one of Syuri’s primary submissions so it just felt quickly planned. Their exchanges on their feet were solid, it was just not structured very well and overall disappointing due to that.
Tam Nakano vs. Natsuko Tora
This match was labeled as part of the Semi-Finals which is somewhat true but a bit confusing since it is also a Round 2 match. The reason is that since there was no fourth match in Round 2 because of the two Draws, the winner of this match goes straight to the Finals. So the match takes place in Round 2, but also acts as the Semi-Final match as well. Stardom continues keeping stablemates apart, as here we have Oedo Tai vs. STARS. Even though they are on opposite sides, this is only their third ever singles match, and their first since 2018. These two are on a similar level in Stardom, so its anyone’s match to win.
They face off and grab each other’s hair to start, both wrestlers go off the ropes in an attempt to knock each other over but neither has success. Natsuko pulls down Tam by the hair and hits a trio of running sentons, she tries to throw Tam over the top rope but Tam gets away. They trade elbows, Tam elbows Natsuko into the corner and Irish whips her, but Natsuko reverses it. Tam kicks Natsuko as she charges in and applies a dragon sleeper while sitting on the top turnbuckle, but Saki Kashima hits her from the apron. Natsuko joins Tam but Tam headbutts her off, she goes for a diving knee but Natsuko moves. Tam avoids Natsuko’s lariat and hits a cutter, Tam charges Natsuko but Natsuko moves and lariats Tam over the top rope to the apron. Natsuko goes for a spear but Tam moves out of the way, with Natsuko getting caught up between the second and third ropes. Tam kicks Natsuko out to the apron and delivers a German suplex, Natsuko falls down to the floor but she is not eliminated as she did not go over the top rope. Natsuko rolls back into the ring and lariats Tam off the apron to the floor, picking up the win! Natsuko Tora wins via Over The Top, advancing to the Finals.
I’ve been thinking about how I feel about the end of the match and I decided I don’t like it. Its somewhat creative for the Cinderella Tournament, with Tam not realizing Natsuko had not gone over the top and thus wasn’t eliminated, but it annoyed me that Natsuko basically didn’t sell a German suplex on the apron which should be a killer spot. They should have just had Tam push Natsuko off the apron, as then it would have made more sense that she quickly recovered. Beyond that, the match was ok but obviously short. A unique ending so maybe memorable, but I didn’t love the execution of it.
We move on the third round of the tournament, the Semi Finals! As explained above, Natsuko Tora goes straight to the Finals as the other matches in her bracket went to a Draw, so she gets a Bye. Here is the lone legitimate Semi Final match:
- Cinderella Tournament 2020 Semi Final: Giulia vs. Syuri
Giulia vs. Syuri
The winner of this match will be the only wrestler to have to compete four matches tonight due to Natsuko Tora’s bye into the finals. For the first time tonight we have two stablemates against each other, as the leader of Donna del Mondo faces off against Syuri. Neither will be taking it easy however as all friendships are off when the tiara is on the line.
They shake hands before the match but Syuri kicks Giulia in the stomach, Syuri works a headlock but Giulia gets out of it. Shoulderblock by Syuri but Giulia gets back up and elbows her as the two trade blows. Big boot by Giulia but Syuri avoids the next one, waistlock by Syuri but Giulia reverses it and hits a backdrop suplex. Giulia picks up Syuri and throws her into the corner, running boot by Giulia and she hits a neckbreaker. Cover by Giulia, but it gets two. Giulia goes for a suplex but Syuri blocks it and knees Giulia into the corner, running knee by Syuri and she hits a double underhook suplex. Syuri goes for a cross armbreaker and gets it locked on, but Giulia gets a foot on the ropes for the break. Syuri picks up Giulia and throws her into the corner, but Giulia avoids her charge. Syuri gets on the second turnbuckle and applies a hanging armbar, she lets go after a moment while sliding out to the apron and holds down the rope when Giulia charges her. Giulia ends up on the apron with Syuri, Giulia goes for the Glorious Driver again but Syuri blocks it and attempts to suplex Giulia off the apron. Giulia won’t let go of the ropes so Syuri gives up, high kick by Syuri but Giulia boots her off the apron down to the floor! Giulia wins and advances to the Finals!
Besides this match having two of my favorite wrestlers in Stardom in it, there wasn’t a lot going on here. The way they got onto the apron was a bit convoluted as Syuri had no real reason to jump out to it in the first place, since swandive moves aren’t really her thing. The callback to how Giulia won her last match was nice though, and they kept the pace up as you’d expect from a four minute match. This was more about getting to the right conclusion as quickly as possible, good for what it was but not incredibly creative.
Time for the Cinderella Tournament 2020 Finals!
Giulia vs. Natsuko Tora
Cinderella Tournament 2020 Finals
Considering recent developments, not a shocking pair to see even if it wasn’t most people’s first pick as both wrestlers were ready for a push. Giulia still hasn’t been pinned since joining Stardom and her run has continued in this tournament, as she got through Jungle Kyona, Momo Watanabe, and Syuri in under 20 minutes combined. Natsuko Tora only had two matches but easily defeated Saya Kamitani and Tam Nakano to get here with just ten minutes of in-ring time. Wearing a dress certainly fits Giulia’s character more than Natsuko Tora, but anything can happen. Note that this match does not have a time limit, so unless something really strange happens, there must be a winner.
Natsuko attacks Giulia from behind before the match starts and knocks her out of the ring, she follows her out and tosses Giulia around the ringside area. She takes her up into the bleachers and slams her head into a column a few times, they return to ringside and Natsuko throws her into a row of chairs. Natsuko finally rolls Giulia back into the ring and returns herself with a chain, she drops the chain on the mat and scoop slams Giulia onto it. The referee gets rid of the chain, Natsuko throws to throw Giulia into the corner but Giulia reverses it and hits a hanging neckbreaker. Giulia gets on the second turnbuckle and hits a missile dropkick, cover by Giulia but it gets two. The chain returns as Giulia has it now, she goes to hit Natsuko with it but changes her mind and throws it on the mat. Natsuko picks it up but tosses it aside as well as the two decide to trade elbows instead. Natsuko elbows Giulia into the corner, the referee tries to stop her but Natsuko throws him down. He tries again but this time Giulia pushes him down and elbows Natsuko repeatedly, he has learned his lesson and is now just watching as Giulia stomps Natsuko to the mat. He finally tries to intervene again but gets shoved away for his trouble, Giulia brings Natsuko back to the middle of the ring but Natsuko blocks the suplex attempt. Big boot by Giulia but Natsuko follows with a running elbow, another boot by Giulia but Natsuko levels her with a spear.
Both wrestlers slowly get up and trade elbows, knee by Giulia and she hits a DDT. Cover by Giulia, but it gets a two count. STF by Giulia but Natsuko crawls to the ropes and forces the break. Natsuko gets the chain as she gets up and lariats Giulia with it, she picks up Giulia and goes for a side slam but Giulia blocks it and applies a standing armbar. Natsuko gets out of it by falling back onto Giulia, she goes up top but Giulia rolls out of the way of her body press and boots her in the back of the head. Giulia picks up Natsuko but Natsuko blocks the Glorious Buster, Giulia goes off the ropes but Natsuko catches her with a swinging side slam for two. Natsuko goes up top and nails the diving body press, she picks up Giulia and slams her in front of the corner before going up top again. Diving Leg Drop by Natsuko, she covers Giulia but Giulia barely kicks out. Natsuko picks up Giulia and smacks her around but Giulia fires up and returns fire. Samoan Driver by Giulia, but it only gets two. Giulia picks up Natsuko and drops her with a Glorious Driver, but Natsuko barely gets a shoulder up on the cover. Natsuko tries to sneak in a flash pin but it only gets a two count, Giulia goes off the ropes and boots Natsuko in the face. Giulia puts Natsuko in a Stealth Viper, and Natsuko taps out! Giulia wins the match and the Cinderella Tournament!
For a match on the shorter side, I think these two delivered. Natsuko doesn’t always click with me but this is the best version of her, just no-nonsense and focusing on big strikes (and cheating when necessary) and being tough. The outside-the-ring portion was short enough that it didn’t detract from the match, and the action was pretty even. The pacing felt right and I am glad it ended when it did as if they tried to stretch it five more minutes they probably would have lost their way as Natsuko is still limited. I also think Giulia was the right person to win, it gives her the further push she needs and Natsuko looked good in defeat. A solid way to end the Cinderella Tournament, which overall I’d consider a success this year. Recommended
The Cinderella Tournament has a unique format, and always leads to a lot of really short matches. Sometimes the short matches work, other times they don’t. This year, I think generally the matches delivered as many of the shorter matches were fast paced and well thought out to get as much out of the short time as they could. The Finals was solid as well, with Natsuko Tora having what may be my favorite singles match of hers to date as everything seemed to click. As long as fans go in with the right expectations, the Stardom Cinderella Tournament in 2020 was pretty great and if you are a fan of one-day tournaments it is definitely worth watching.