Stardom Cinderella Tournament review (4.30.18)

Stardom Cinderella Tournament review (4.30.18)

Stardom Cinderella Tournament 2018

 

April 30 2018

 

We’re in Tokyo, Japan at Korakuen Hall. Just under 1000 in attendance for the yearly Cinderella tournament. The one where the winner gets to dress up. I’ve not seen one of these before so I’m excited to see how they manage to do a 16 woman tournament in a two hour TV block. 14 matches! We’re in WCW 2000 PPV territory.

 

CinderOedo

We kick off with a recap of the recent faction changes. Kagetsu looking fantastically happy with the acquiring of HZK from Queen’s Quest while both Hana Kimura and Natsu Sumire think she’s gone nuts.

CinderQQ

We also get a look at the new Queen’s Quest, featuring Bea Priestley. Will Ospreay was totally marking out for this on Twitter. My missus is in Queen’s Quest! The third group was Stars (the ‘Stardom’ faction headed up by Mayu Iwatani).

CIndergroup

 

Momo Watanabe vs. Konami

Each match has a ten minute time limit so we can get through everything. Momo is having a very strong year considering her inexperience. Her kicks in this are tidy. She puts Konami away with a diving double knees in under four minutes. Good match but very rushed.

Final Rating: **1/2

 

Saki Kashima vs. Candy Floss

Kashima was retired for five years but came back a few months ago. Candy is from the UK and Progress fans will be familiar with her work. She’s still very green but has a unique look, which seems to have gotten over in Japan. With Kashima’s rust and Candy’s inexperience this match is very patchy. Even the spots that are good are good because they look dangerous. The finish is a less than perfectly executed Unprettier. You can probably skip what little of this aired.

Final Rating: *1/2

 

Bea Priestley vs. Martina the Session Moth

It becomes quickly evident how Martina is getting over in Japan as her full entrance is shown then we clip ahead to the match halfway in.

CinderMartina

Here she is, setting back women’s wrestling another five years.

Bea kills her with that double curb stomp and we’re done. This was heavily clipped to Martina’s antics and not much more.

Final Rating: NR

 

Brandi Rhodes vs. Natsu Sumire

Brandi is making her Stardom debut here and doing so with a broken collarbone that she doesn’t know about*.

Cindebrandi

Brandi is clearly not familiar with Sumire because she trusts her on a handshake. Brandi, it would be fair to say, is very inexperienced and is carrying an injury so this isn’t good. Brandi works way too soft and Sumire can’t carry the action. Brandi wins by blocking a roll up but she looked so inexperienced. She’s had about 25 matches, which is not enough to be working at this level.

Final Rating: *

 

*I’m not 100% on when the injury occurred as Cody tweeted out that she wrestled four times in Japan, two of which were with a broken clavicle.

 

Hana Kimura vs. Hazuki

Hazuki was HZK until her move to Oedo Tai. The group is having definite issues. Kagetsu was ringside booing Sumire in the last match and here Hazuki is out to beat the shit out of Hana.

CindeHZK

Poor Hana takes an absolute thrashing and Hazuki dominates. And then…

I’m reminded during this match that over the top rope counts as a loss and Hana takes a spill over the top for Hazuki to beat her team mate and advance. Cracking little match but under five minutes.

Final Rating: **3/4

Cindeshake

Post Match: Hana takes the high ground and takes the handshake. Kagetsu is particularly thrilled and everyone is happy. Hana is softening up to the new team!

 

Mayu Iwatani vs. Tam Nakano

Another unit clash here with Tam taking on her Stars boss Mayu. The one who rescued Tam after she was ejected from Oedo Tai after being pinned in a ‘loser leaves the faction’ match. That was great storytelling and they’re still riding that high. Tam decides to take it to Mayu and that makes for an interesting little storyline. Pissed off, aggressive Tam is a potential megastar because I know she’s also capable of being adorable. Tam has great strategy too, going after Mayu’s bad arm and not letting up.

Mayu takes a lot of abuse but once she’s had enough she fires up and beats Tam with the dragon suplex. I like the idea of Tam slowly getting more and more against her superior Mayu until she eventually gets a win. I could quite happily watch this for the next ten years.

Final Rating: ***1/4

 

Io Shirai vs. Chardonnay

Chardonnay, a Brit, is in Queen’s Quest. They tease her throwing Io over the top in a big upset and her size advantage, in particular her long legs, come into play. Chardonnay acquits herself well. She looks tough, feisty and her power stuff looks effective. She also takes some hellacious spots off Io, including a missile dropkick to the knee. Io abuses the knee until a Texas Cloverleaf finishes. This was a tremendous five minute sprint.

Final Rating: ***

 

Jungle Kyona vs. Kagetsu

This is probably the closest of all the first round matches so it’s no wonder it ‘main events’ the first round. Oedo Tai have already dressed Kagetsu up as the Cinderella winner so confidence is high.

CindeKagetsu

Seeing Kagetsu try to be a girly girl is funny stuff. She oversells and tries to cover her unmentionable areas. It’s weird to see Kagetsu wrestle completely out of character and then break character to go back to being her. Kyona is up to challenge no matter what it is. She’s still miffed about the draft incident when Oedo Tai stated they had no interest in the Team Jungle women. Jungle survives repeated heel antics from the floor, powerbombs Kagetsu on the apron and her Cinderella dream is over!

Final Rating: ***

 

Quarter Finals

 

Hazuki vs. Bea Priestley

Oedo Tai do their full dancing entrance in masks and Martina is involved. It’s pretty well choreographed.

CindeTai

All of Oedo Tai are brought together by support for Hazuki, who is their sole representative in the Quarter Finals. Bea, rather surprisingly, takes Hazuki to school on the mat and uses her size advantage to out wrestle her.

And stamp on her poor little face. Oedo Tai cheat at length, including a full fledged ring invasion at one point. Hazuki should win but a full on brawl erupts in the ring.

CinderBea2.gif

Double Curb Stomp finishes and Oedo Tai are DONE! All out in the Quarters. Bea was kicking ass and taking names here. It was a violent sprint.

Final Rating: **3/4

 

Saki Kashima vs. Mayu Iwatani

Kashima was an early pick for Stars by Mayu and they show parity in the early going with near falls. Kashima looks better here than at any other point since her comeback. It’s all on Mayu who’s prepared to show ass to make her opponent look good. Kashima tortures Mayu and goes after that arm injury. Mayu has been stretched by her mates in this tournament.

CindeMayu

Look at this beautiful pin from Mayu. Awesome bridge and weight distribution. Dragon suplex puts away another plucky Stars challenge to Mayu. She’s overcome arm problems to dispatch two aggressive youngsters. Could that prove her undoing in the semis?

Final Rating: ***

 

Io Shirai vs. Brandi Rhodes

This is JIP, which makes me worry how bad the Brandi stuff must have been that was cut. In terms of match-ups this is like having AJ Styles vs. Riddick Moss. If Riddick had only wrestled 20 matches. Given her total inexperience Brandi does some things very well…and other things very badly. She’s not lacking in confidence and Cody has taught her a few things.

CindeBrandi2

I’ve only seen a couple of Brandi Rhodes matches but this is easily the best. Largely because Io Shirai is incapable of wrestling a bad match. Io puts her away with the moonsault. A mixed bag of stuff from Brandi. Io now faces Mayu Iwatani in the semi-final.

Final Rating: **1/4

 

Jungle Kyona vs. Momo Watanabe

This is again the closest bout in the round. They do a lot of parity stuff like Jungle blocking Momo’s kicks. Momo is a contender for ‘break out star’ of 2018. She’s looked so strong and has shown such improvements in such a short time. She’s still a kid but those double knees and kicks are sick. They work especially well against a sympathetic veteran like Kyona, who looks as if she’s being murdered. Kyona eats the Axe Guillotine Driver on the apron and Momo kicks her off for the win. It does make it look like a fluke that she won but Momo is into the semis.

Final Rating: ***1/4

 

Semi-Finals

Mayu Iwatani vs. Io Shirai

This is clearly a ‘dream final’ scenario. Io goes right after Mayu’s injured arm and Tam Nakano is there for emotional support. You started this Tam! Io brutalises Mayu, who has clearly had the rougher night at the office. Mayu is dead until last gasp kickouts and Io continues to pile on the abuse. The only way Io is losing is if she forgets the rules and she almost hits a pescado, which would have given Mayu the win. Mayu does mount a comeback, hitting moves off the top, before Io goes right back to the arm. Io can’t quite find the killer blow though and the ten minute time limit counts against her. They slightly fuck the finish with the bell ringing before Mayu has hit the Dragon Suplex, rather than afterwards. Otherwise a belting ten minutes of professional wrestling.

CindeIo

Final Rating: ***1/2

 

This draw means the other semi-final is now the final!

 

2018 Cinderella Tournament Final

Bea Priestley vs. Momo Watanabe

This is certainly not the final I would have picked pre-tournament. Momo is a rapidly rising star and Stardom are clearly quite taken with Bea. As there’s no firm favourite Bea establishes early dominance and bullies Momo, allowing Watanabe to fire up and make a comeback. It’s a hard hitting match up. They both go after big finishing moves throughout, with both worn down after an evening of matches…albeit short ones. Bea whiffs on the Cheeky Nandos but otherwise almost everything lands. It’s a clear notch below the Io/Mayu match but the aim isn’t to out-do that in terms of quality but rather to establish some new stars. Something Stardom needs. Bea goes after the arm but Momo delivers more stinging violence with her kicks, which are very effective. Half nelson suplex finishes Bea off and Momo is the Cinderella winner in 7 mins.

Final Rating: **1/2

 

CindeMomo

Aww.

CindeCinde

Momo literally graduated from high school this year. Seeing as winning the Cinderella tournament means you get your wish granted her wish should be for a bitching graduation party. Or a match with Io Shirai.

CindeIoMomo

 

Summary:

Obviously there’s nothing blow-away amazing on here because everything was capped at ten minutes. However there are a few rollicking sprints. Io/Mayu, Mayu/Tam and Momo/Kyona in particular. Mild recommendation.

 

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