For those of you who are not familiar with this promotion, World Wonder Ring Stardom Wrestling is a Joshi promotion that was founded on September 7th, 2010. (Although, It’s first show took place in January of 2011). It was founded by former ARISON promoter Rossy Ogawa who happens to own the promotion, Joshi legend Nanae Takahashi & retired Joshi competitor Fuka Kakimoto who served as the on-screen general manager, ring announcer & trainer. With it’s use of popular idols, offense geared towards martial arts and insanely talented workers, Stardom quickly became the most popular Joshi company in the world, even going as far as competing in Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo.
In Stardom, there are plenty of key players today and up & coming rookies with bright futures. But who are these women? And why should you be interested in seeing these talents? Are they just pretty faces or can they go? I will introduce all of you to the talent, stables and talent to look out for.
You can’t start off this list without the queen herself and in my opinion, the best female talent in the world today, The Ace of Stardom, Io Shirai. Io Shirai was my main reason in finding out about Stardom due to the fact that I was a huge fan of Triple Tails, which was a stable that consisted of Io, her sister Mio Shirai & Kana(Who is known to WWE fans as Asuka). Io came to Stardom in 2012 and since then has racked up a very impressive list of outstanding performances against the likes of Mayu Iwatani, Kairi Hojo(Now known as Kairi Sane), Meiko Satomura, Toni Storm, Arisa Nakajima, Yoko Bito, Kagetsu, Cheerleader Melissa, Kay Lee Ray & plenty of other talents. In addition, Io is the first ever Stardom Grand Slam Champion, winning every available accolade that Stardom has to offer as well as becoming the first female to win the best female wrestler award from Tokyo Sports for three consecutive years.
Io Shirai turned on her Thunder Rock partner Mayu Iwatani during the finals of the Goddesses of Stardom Tag League. She allowed Iwatani to take the loss against B.Y. Ho(Yoko Bito & Kairi Hojo) and revealed the returning HZK to be her new partner. The following show, Io Shirai & HZK took on Mayu Iwatani & Momo Watanabe. Momo turned on Mayu during the match and allowed HZK to pin her for the win. The group became known as Queen’s Quest and would quickly capture the Artist Of Stardom Champions(Trios Tag Championships). Along the way, Io has also recruited AZM & Viper(Piper Niven from the Mae Young Classic) to join the group. Currently, Queens Quest holds the Artist Of Stardom Championships for the 4th time with Io, HZK & Viper as champions. Io is the reigning Wonder Of Stardom Championship in her second reign.
Upon the creation of Queen’s Quest, the group displays more of a dark and serious side than the other groups. They’re also very arrogant and feel like they’re above the competition in Stardom, mainly Io in particular.
Toni is the top gaijin in Stardom. Most of you may recognize Toni Storm from WWE’s Mae Young Classic, so you know that I’m not exaggerating when I talk about how good she is. She debuted for Stardom during their European tour. During that tour she competed in the tournament to crown the first SWA World Champion in Stardom. It’s a title that was created from Stardom’s alliances with other international wrestling companies, with the rule being that wrestlers from the champion’s countries cannot challenge for the championship. She made it to the finals but was defeated by Io Shirai. Two months later, Storm defeated Shirai for the title and has held the title over 565+ days. Since winning the title, Storm has defended her title in multiple companies across the globe.
Her success in Stardom doesn’t stop there. In 2017, Toni Storm arguably had the best year in the company. In April, Storm won the Cinderella Tournament defeating Mayu Iwatani in the finals. As a reward, she gets one wish fulfilled so naturally her wish was to challenge Io Shirai for the World Of Stardom Championship. At Stardom Gold, Storm & Shirai went to a 30 minute time limit draw, one of Stardom’s best bouts of the year. The next time those two would do battle, it was at the 5 Star Grand Prix which is Stardom’s equivalent to the G1 Climax. Shirai & Storm went to a 15 minute draw this time, however Storm moved on to win Block A. She defeated Yoko Bito to win the tournament, thus becoming the first competitor to win both tournaments in the same year.
5 days later, she would successfully defend her SWA World Championship against Mandy Leon. The next night, she faced Mayu Iwatani for the World Of Stardom title. During the match, Mayu dislocated her elbow attempting to dropkick Storm against the ropes and the match was stopped. The title was awarded to Storm who became the second gaijin to hold Stardom’s top title since fellow Mae Young Classic participant Alpha Female. In addition to holding two top titles in Stardom, she is the current, first and only Progress Women’s Champion with 258+ days as champion and the current & second wXw Women’s Champion. It’s safe to say that Toni is on fire right now.
The Icon of Stardom and leader of the Stardom Army, Mayu Iwatani. She was trained by the founders of Stardom, Fuka Kakimoto & Nanae Takahashi & competed at the very first Stardom event, which happens to be her debut. When it comes to Stardom underdogs, I would name Mayu as the Kobashi of the roster due to how her rise into super-stardom(No pun intended) came to be and how resilient she is. She is up there with Io Shirai as not only one of the best talents in Stardom, but the world. She went from being known as the weakest link of the Stardom rookies to one of the most accomplished competitors, including becoming the first & second ever Cinderella Tournament winner, which is quite fitting in a way for her. Following the retirement of her AMA tag partner, Arisa Hoshiki, she would quickly begin teaming with Io Shirai as Thunder Rock. In 2015, they would defeat Chelsea & Kairi Hojo to win the Goddess of Stardom Championships with 10 successful defenses. Mayu would also capture Stardom’s High Speed Championship in October, defeating Rosa Negra.
Eventually, Mayu, Io & Kairi Hojo became known as the unit Threedom & defeated the Hyper Destroyers(Evie who is now known as Dakota Kai, Hiroyo Matsumoto & Kellie Skater) for the Artist of Stardom Championships. Threedom were inseparable until issues between Io & Mayu started to surface leading to Io’s betrayal and the birth of Queen’s Quest. Tension started fresh after Mayu’s second Cinderella Tournament win, which lead her to unsuccessfully challenge Io for the World Of Stardom Championship. Mayu & Io went on to lose both the Goddess of Stardom Titles & Artist of Stardom Titles(With Kairi) to Oedo Tai. Mayu challenged Io for the World of Stardom Championship at the Year End Climax, which won Stardom’s match of the year, however Mayu once again failed to put away Io.