Phew! April was a bit hectic in the world of Stardom wasn't it?
We've had an entire tournament, culminating in a new star being crowned as Stardom's Cinderella. We've had five title matches, and the implementation of a new stable in God's Eye. We've even seen hints and discussions that Stardom may at some stage become embroiled in all of the Forbidden Door excitement, setting dream-match predictions and gatekeeping tutting in motion equally across the Joshi fanbase.
But at the end of it all, who remains on top of our much-vaunted (possibly) power-rankings. For these rankings we use the stats that are available at Stardom 2022.xlsx (including win percentages, pinfall statistics, details of singles and title matches and even details on who has Main Evented the most) together with our eyes, ears and sometimes brains to see who we think is the 'head of the table' of a promotion that is actually good.
The all-powerful Syuri is now up to four successful defences of her World of Stardom Championship and is already looking an excellent bet to get to six months as holder of the Red Belt. In April she experienced a very minor blip with a singles draw against Himeka in the Cinderella Tournament, but she underlined her superiority by destroying the Jumbo Princess when they met for the title later in the month. Syuri even found time to walk away from Donna Del Mondo to set up her own faction God's Eye, and did the seemingly impossible by bringing Konami back to Stardom (albeit briefly). So yeah....Syuri is number 1....and we pretty much all have to agree with that right now.
April was a relatively quiet month for Saya Kamitani, with no defence of her Wonder of Stardom Championship, and a very short stint in trying to defend her Cinderella Tournament trophy (where she was eliminated in round two after a draw with Maika). Like Syuri, Saya will have an opportunity to 'avenge' that draw with a match in May against Maika, and if she does win that she'll be looking like a very very strong champion indeed.
If you manage to catapult someone as incredibly insignificant as Disco Inferno into the IWC conversation then you must be doing something right, and that's exactly what AZM did at the end of April. Her High Speed Championship match with Mei Suruga was rightly praised internationally and in my humble opinion was the best High Speed match we've seen for quite some time in Stardom. Quite apart from this, AZM now has won of the best win-percentages on the roster and has gained proportionally more pins than anyone else in 2022. She also put some of her issues with Momo Watanabe to rest with an impressive win in the Cinderella Tournament at the start of the month. All in all....pretty impressive.
Few, if any, would have had MIRAI down as the winner of this year's Cinderella Tournament (go to Stardom Cinderella Tournament 2022 - Preview (prowrestlingmusings.com) to see how wrong I got it) but at the end of it all few can argue she didn't deserve it. MIRAI swept to victory with wins over Mina Shirakawa and Saki Kashima, a hugely fun defeat of Natsupoi and a gruelling triumph in the final over Koguma. As has become tradition, MIRAI will use her trophy to have a pop at the Wonder of Stardom Championship, and whoever will be holding the White Belt when that challenge comes around will be pretty concerned about the newest member of God's Eye.
By the time you read this, Maika may already be looking far too low down our standings. She has a real chance of defeating Saya Kamitani for the White Belt, and if she did it would be just reward for someone who continues to have an excellent 2022. Her win percentage is second only to Himeka, and strange gauntlet matches notwithstanding, she remained unbeaten in April. She would be a very popular winner of the Wonder of Stardom title....but also a very deserving one.
Momo was presumably furious to lose her first round Cinderella Tournament match to AZM, but an impressive performance in defending her Goddesses of Stardom Championship with Starlight Kid (against Thekla and Giulia) will have eased that anger slightly. Momo has the best win percentage within Oedo Tai and feels like the stable's best bet for targeting the top belts in 2022. In the meantime, defending those tag-belts will just have to do for Momo.
As with her tag-team partner, Starlight Kid quite surprisingly crashed out in the first round of the Cinderella Tournament. But that win over Giulia and Thekla showed there were not too many damaging effects of that loss and SLK continues to pester and impress in equal measure across the card. Together with Syuri and Giulia, SLK has main evented the most shows so far in 2022 and only sits behind Momo due to a slightly worse win percentage. If the Forbidden Door does open for Stardom, Starlight Kid would be fairly high up the list of those I'd want to see walk through.
Himeka still has the best win percentage of anyone in Stardom this year, yet April can only have felt like a disappointment for the Jumbo Princess. Her defeat to Syuri seemed to suggest Himeka is still not quite ready to beat the best of the best, and it feels like she will have to climb the mountain again before getting another shot. That said, if she keeps winning at the rate she has generally in 2022, it may be a relatively rapid ascent.
So near but yet so far for Koguma. Defeating Fukigen Death, Saya IIda and most impressively Giulia on her way to the semi-final of the Cinderella Tournament, she then outsmarted tag-team partner Hazuki in what was a pulsating match. Sadly for the bear-lover, the final against MIRAI was one step too far, but the run to the final must have given her a huge jolt of confidence and it will be very interesting to see how high Koguma can fly for the rest of the year.
Ultimately Natsupoi will have been disappointed to lose out in the semi-finals of the Cinderella Tournament, but her wins on the way against Starlight Kid and Unagi Sayaka should not be ignored. April also saw a successful retention of the Artist of Stardom Championships for Poi, Maika and Himeka (albeit by time-limit draw), but she must now reflect on what to do with 2022 going forwards. Another pop at the High Speed Championship? Yes please.