Preview: STARDOM Cinderella Tournament Final 2022 (4/29/22)

Cinderella Tournament 2022 Final - Syuri vs Himeka Match graphic
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After a month of build-up, the finale of Stardom’s 2022 Cinderella Tournament will commence on April 29. The field of 31 has fallen to four, with Hazuki, Koguma, Natsupoi & MIRAI still vying for the crown. Elsewhere on the card are three championship matches, all of which have the potential to be reign-defining matches for Hanan, AZM, & Syuri, respectively. After last year’s Cinderella Tournament Final went down as one of the best wrestling events of the year, can the Cinderella Tournament 2022 climax garner similar or even more acclamation? Let’s go over the card and find out.

STARDOM Cinderella Tournament Final 2022 Full Match Card

  • PRE-SHOW: Ami Sourei vs. Mai Sakurai vs. Waka Tsukiyama
  • Future of Stardom Championship: Hanan (c) vs. Hina
  • Cinderella Tournament Semi-Finals Match: MIRAI vs. Natsupoi
  • Cinderella Tournament Semi-Finals Match: Koguma vs. Hazuki
  • Gauntlet Match: Giulia, Maika & Thekla vs. Tam Nakano, Mina Shirakawa & Unagi Sayaka vs. Utami Hayashishita, Saya Kamitani & Lady C vs. Momo Watanabe, Starlight Kid & Ruaka vs. Mayu Iwatani, Saya Iida & Momo Kohgo vs. Saki Kashima, Rina & Fukigen Death
  • High-Speed Championship Match: AZM (c) vs. Mei Suruga
  • Cinderella Tournament Final: Winner of Koguma/Hazuki vs. Winner of MIRAI/Natsupoi
  • World of Stardom Championship: Syuri (c) vs Himeka

Reunion of Destiny Part 2

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In one of two Semi-Final matchups in this year’s Cinderella Tournament, we will see yet another clash of FWC partners Koguma & Hazuki in singles action. This will be the 2nd time since their respective returns to the ring that the duo will wrestle each other, the first of which being Hazuki’s grand return to the ring back in October 2021. Hazuki won the match when they met at that Osaka show last year, but since then, FWC has become a near-unstoppable force in the tag team division, growing both wrestlers immensely and allowing them to reach such heights in this year’s Cinderella. A lot has changed for both wrestlers in the past 6-months, and while Hazuki still walks into this match the favorite, a Koguma upset here is far from impossible. Can Koguma redeem her loss to Hazuki from last fall, or will Hazuki find herself in her first-ever Cinderella Tournament Finals?

Natsupoi Looks to Continue a Miracle Run in the Cinderella Tournament Against Mirai

If we’re all being honest, one of the biggest surprises on this show is DDM’s high-speed fairy Natsupoi being a part of the Final Four in the Cinderella Tournament. Natsupoi has arguably had the most difficult tournament bracket up to this point, defeating two heavy tournament favorites in Starlight Kid and Unagi Sayaka (as well as luckily dodging both Maika & Saya Kamitani due to a draw). It will only get harder from here for the former High-Speed Champion as she must now face MIRAI in the Semis. Former DDM teammates with a past dating even further back to their brief time together in the TJPW ring, this first-time singles match is sure to be a nail-biter. Natsupoi will try her best to keep her impressive string of victories going into the final day of the tournament, but MIRAI is more than capable of overwhelming her former teammate with strength, intensity, and spirit. 

AZM & Mei Suruga’s High-Speed Wager Match

In the sole inter-promotional matchup of the night, AZM will defend her High-Speed Championship for the second time in her second reign against Gatoh Move/ChocoPro’s Mei Suruga. After winning the Cinderella Rumble at last month’s Stardom World Climax: The Top event, the Big Apple challenged AZM to a match for the High-Speed Belt. Rather than just being an interesting title match with minimal precedent, the stakes were raised for this match at the show’s press conference, where AZM and Mei agreed to team up together if AZM walks away with her title reign intact. Alternatively, if Mei wins the championship at the Cinderella Finals show, AZM must make her journey to Ichigaya Chocolate Square and compete on Mei’s home turf. Neither wrestler seemed particularly against the forfeit they must face for losing; AZM even said she’d gladly compete in Ichigaya if the chance presented itself. Regardless, this fresh match for the High-Speed Title will present plenty of avenues for both wrestlers after the match takes place and will likely be a great showcase for both wrestlers in a vacuum as well.

Will Vermillion World Crumble to the Ground?

In what will likely be the main event of the evening, Syuri defends her World of Stardom Championship for the fourth time against the imposing Himeka after months of anticipation. After being unable to follow through on her challenge to Syuri for the SWA Title last fall, Himeka will finally get her opportunity at Syuri, but this time for an even grander prize and in a more ruthless environment. After seceding from Donna Del Mondo just last month to create God’s Eye, Himeka’s desire to usurp her stablemate turned into a desire to destroy everything Syuri and her championship reign represent. This match is Himeka’s first time challenging for the World of Stardom Championship and only her 2nd singles Championship match in the company period, so she enters this match as unpredictable as someone of her caliber can. While Syuri is projected to win this match, it is clear that Himeka is willing to stop at nothing to prove that projection wrong and stand atop the Stardom mountain.

Who Will Win the Cinderella Tournament 2022?

While the match itself will likely not close the show, perhaps the biggest question of the night is who will wear the crown and be named the Cinderella Tournament Winner in 2022. Amongst the four semi-finalists, the clear standout to this writer is still Hazuki. An original favorite to win the tournament, Hazuki hasn’t challenged for a singles championship since last November, while each of her contemporaries has challenged for and lost against a current champion within the last three months. She is due a championship match soon, and with her long-term focus on the White Belt paired with her under-the-radar house show feud with Syuri since late last year, Hazuki has multiple paths if she wins the Cinderella Tournament. Opposing her will likely be MIRAI, who would be making it to the finals in her first-ever appearance in the Cinderella Tournament, but whose singles match experience is ultimately lacking in comparison to her adversary.

Despite that being where my projection currently stands, this tournament is still anybody’s game; We could see the opposite if Hazuki is unable to make it to the Finals of the tournament. In the event that Koguma defeats Hazuki in the semi-finals, she would likely battle her High-Speed Rival Natsupoi in the Cinderella Final. A Koguma/Natsupoi Final would be as incredible as it is unlikely; The pair has had some of the best duels both on PPV and at so-called “House Shows” in multi-person matchups throughout this year. Koguma has made it to the Finals of this tournament in her only past Cinderella Tournament appearance. Will Koguma become the first Bear in history to win the whole thing?

Stay tuned to the Last Word on Pro Wrestling for more on this and other stories from around the world of wrestling as they develop. You can always count on LWOPW to be on top of the major news in the wrestling world, as well as to provide you with analysis, previews, videos, interviews, and editorials on the wrestling world. If you want to see more from Stardom, you can check out their subscription service Stardom World for all your wonderous Joshi needs.