Stardom Cinderella Tournament 2019 (4.29.19) review

Stardom Cinderella Tournament 2019 (4.29.19) review

Stardom Cinderella Tournament 2019

 

April 29 2019

 

We’re in Korakuen Hall, Tokyo. I am purely watching this because I saw a video of Toni Storm doing a Minoru Suzuki impression? Yes.

 

Star3tournament

 

AZM vs. Rebel Kel

Oh no, this is one of those shows with the obnoxious Israeli fan in attendance. I’ve always maintained that I’d take any crowd noise over silence but I was wrong. Respect other cultures people. They do good work here with the size difference. Kel is a foot taller. Her kicks in this look devastating because of her physical advantages. AZM pulls a rana into a pin out of her ass and advances. Interesting that Kel had 95% of the match before losing to a fluke pin.

Final Rating: **1/2

 

Starlight Kid vs. Natsu Sumire

Is Starlight Kid the wrestler who smiles the most? It seems to be her natural state. Sumire seems to care less about winning this match and more about humiliating Starlight Kid, which is fairly standard for her. As with the opener the smaller athlete scores the roll up pin. This felt like far less of a fluke.

Star3Starlight

Final Rating: **

 

Hazuki vs. Bea Priestley

This is an intriguing first round match as Bea is on the verge of a main event with Kagetsu but Hazuki is also super protected as High Speed champion and one of the promotions top stars. Hazuki looks a lot sharper and there’s a strong case for her being the most useful wrestler in the promotion behind Mayu Iwatani. Bea on the other hand is trying hard but a lot of her trademark moves are not crisp enough. Bea goes after the Ocean Cyclone but Hazuki counters and Bea falls over the top. The ring announcer decides to announce Bea as the winner, although that’s not true.

Final Rating: **1/4

 

Saki Kashima vs. Arisa Hoshiki

The battle of Mayu’s Mates takes place in round one. Kashima was the first to be brought back for the Stars group but Hoshiki is the better wrestler. It boggles the mind that Hoshiki had this six year break from wrestling, came back and wrestled about 20-30 times and was suddenly among the best workers in the promotion. There are a lot of things in his approach that scream Mayu. You can see they’ve worked on her. Her movement around the ring and her selling in particular feel Iwatani influenced. Saki spends most of the match working the leg and it’s a minor quibble but this goes nowhere. Arisa comes back with a great running knee, on the bad leg, and a twisting splash finishes. All the while that dumb gaijin deciding to chant support for Saki. The match is finishing dummy! Can’t you read the signs?

Final Rating: **3/4

 

Hana Kimura vs. Andras Miyagi

I love that Hana’s full entrance plays while most of these wrestlers get no entrance at all.

Star3Hana

Hana gets in Miyagi’s head early and lives there rent free. You’d think Miyagi would be a hard character to freak out but Hana keeps it simple. They struggle with some timing issues but it’s a very entertaining match and I’d like to see Hana vs. Miyagi with both taking it more seriously. They end up brawling on the apron and Hana dropkicks Andras off for the win.

Final Rating: **1/2

 

Tam Nakano vs. Kagetsu

Star3Tam

This is another intriguing match up as Tam isn’t really getting pushed but she has an aura about her. Meanwhile Kagetsu is the World of Stardom champion but her upcoming defence is Bea Priestley. Tam has a good showing, pushing Kagetsu throughout and defiantly refusing to tap out to an anklelock. The structure of the match makes me wonder how long they’ll continue booking Tam as a gutsy underdog. My favourite part of this match is Mayu Iwatani standing ring side cheering Tam on and protesting the cadence of the counts in her favour. Tam looks like she’s got it won but the ten minute time limit expires. Tam looks quite happy about that because she out-did the champ and there’s a look of pleasure on Kagestsu’s face. Stardom missed the boat on a big title match here in my opinion.

Star3Tam2

Final Rating: ***1/4

 

Jungle Kyona vs. Natsuko Tora

Former JAN teammates now facing off in new factions. This is only two weeks after their final match together in JAN. The wounds are still fresh. Tora seemed to jump at the chance to be in Oedo Tai too. Poor Kyona must feel like Tora betrayed her. Tora is a total bitch in this match too. It gets Kyona nicely wound up but she holds back on her attacks because she’s fundamentally a nice person. Which is what this match really lacks; some genuine hatred. It’s just too soon for Jungle. She’s not feeling it yet. Tora is able to steamroll her because of that and the Kanagawa Jam finishes. I want Jungle to get annoyed at her inability to hold JAN together and Tora’s decisions since. This needed more fire.

Final Rating: **3/4

 

Konami vs. Momo Watanabe

This is another tricky first round match with Momo as champion for a year since dethroning Io Shirai and Konami a potential challenger for any belt. This is pretty basic until Konami ducks on a charge and sends Momo to the floor. She’s out in the first round. That ‘over the top rope’ stipulation used again to eliminate a high card talent.

Final Rating: **

 

Quarter Finals:

 

Starlight Kid vs. Hazuki

Starlight Kid is surely in line for a High Speed title shot and they certainly live up to that belt’s name here. They bomb through the match at 100mph and Hazuki gets beaten attempting a springboard and is shoved to the floor. Match was less than 90 seconds!

Final Rating: **1/2

 

AZM vs. Konami

AZM refuses a handshake. “Fuck you Azumi”. They set about having another fast-paced match and AZM is super energized here, gunning for a quick pin. It’s harsh on Konami who only wrestled two matches ago. AZM gets caught in the Triangle Lancer though and Konami advances.

Final Rating: **1/4

 

Hana Kimura vs. Natsuko Tora

Star3Tora

Hana has to deal with the new attitude Tora here. She’s certainly embraced the Oedo Tai way. Hana isn’t pure as driven snow though and she used to be in Oedo Tai so none of this is a surprise to her. I like how she ties her hair up because she means business.

Star3Hana2

Both bring a lot of personality to the match and Hana goes out of her way to torture Tora with submission attempts. She seems to take Tora’s change in attitude more personally than Jungle did! Tora manages to position Hana on the apron and barge her to the floor to win.

Final Rating: ***

 

There are only three QF’s due to Nakano/Kagetsu being a draw. So Arisa Hoshiki gets a bye.

 

Semi Finals:

 

Natsuko Tora vs. Arisa Hoshiki

Arisa has had a break to rest her injured leg but is still selling it. Sort of. The occasional rub of a shin in between springboards and running the ropes. I’m not totally convinced. It does manage to position Arisa as the underdog against someone who just worked another grueling match though. I’m really disappointed in how it plays out. Tora misses off the ropes and Hoshiki goes up to hit the twisting splash and that’s it. I appreciate the fatigue selling in this but Hoshiki hasn’t wrestled that much on this show.

Final Rating: **

 

Starlight Kid vs. Konami

This is almost as fast-paced as Starlight Kid’s last match. She goes after Konami looking for a quick cheeky pin to get her fresh into the finals. Starlight comes very close to winning multiple times but gets caught in the Triangle Lancer and has to tap. That’s been a theme in this tournament; that hold finishes every time.

Final Rating: **1/2

 

2019 Cinderella Tournament Final

Arisa Hoshiki vs. Konami

This is very kicky. Both wrestlers are heavily into kicking as a form of offence. Arisa’s inexperience is in evidence here as she’s not quite sure how, or when, to sell and her fatigue stuff is super patchy. She does have that quality about her that makes her look like a star, which is something that Saki Kashima doesn’t have, for example. Konami tries to direct her although she applies the Stretch Muffler to the wrong leg. Unless she’s aiming to take out both legs then she’s on the right leg. Or the left leg, should I say. Konami goes after that Triangle Lancer too, thus wrecking Hoshiki’s arm. Jesus, it’s a massacre. Hoshiki is too close to the ropes to tap but everyone else tapped out immediately. Konami survives two twisting splashes but the Brazilian Kick finishes and Arisa wins the tournament. This was a mini-epic, clocking in just over ten minutes but pretty much ruling.

Final Rating: ***1/2

 

 

Star3Arisa

Toni Storm presents Arisa with her crown and she calls out Momo Watanabe.

 

Summary:

Cinderella isn’t going to be a show that gives you a bunch of ****+ matches. It’s a show that gives you some nice storyline arcs and new wrestlers to care about. I thought Arisa Hoshiki did really well in spite of her inexperience. I look forward to her match with Momo. I thought Tora, Konami, Hazuki and Starlight Kid looked good here also. Stardom will take time to heal from the wounds of losing some big top line names in recent years but the building blocks are there and I’m invested.

Leave a reply