KAIRI became the inaugural IWGP Women’s Champion at the STARDOM x NJPW Historic X-Over event, turning back the challenge of Mayu Iwatani. According to a report from the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, this was not the initial plan for the title or the champion.
Iwatani was penciled in as the first champion, as STARDOM reportedly have a big push planned for her in 2023. Iwatani is known as the STARDOM Icon, and that nickname would have been at the heart of her push – it’s the title of a movie about her life that will be released in Japan in the second half of 2023.
Mayu Iwatani asked to renegotiate her deal, however. Being champion would have meant more bookings in the U.S. The two sides were unable to come to an agreement, though Iwatani remains under contract. It was then that the decision was made to go with KAIRI instead.