The Wonder of Stardom Championship has been one of the top two belts of Stardom but for the most part, it has been considered the secondary belt just below the World of Stardom Champion. Nonetheless, it’s still quite prestigious and it is a privilege that all Joshi wrestlers strive and work all their careers to achieve. Introduced on June 26, 2011, the same day as the World of Stardom Championship, the Wonder of Stardom Championship is also known as the “White Belt”. Let’s dive into the history of this Championship. The first match that was contested over the Wonder of Stardom Championship took place at the Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, on July 24 2011, between Yuzuki Aikawa and Yoshiko. Heading into the match, Aikawa was still a very fresh wrestler and had just a few wins in Stardom but she had started gaining momentum. Yuzuki Aikawa defeated Yoshiko to become the first-ever Wonder of Stardom Champion.
Aikawa’s reign is arguably the most historic run in the history of Wonder of Stardom Championship. She went on to become one of the strongest and protected wrestlers on their roster and had eight successful defences with the belt defeating wrestlers like Yoko Bito and Arisa Hoshiki. She held the White Belt for six-hundred and eighteen days which is more than any other wrestler in the ten-year history of the title. Aikawa announced in December of 2012 that she was going to retire since it had become hard for her physically to wrestle. She was thirty-nine at the time. Aikawa had to vacate the Wonder of Stardom Championship on April 2, 2013.
A new champion had to be found and thus soon a match was set between Act Yasukawa and Dark Angel who had just months before the match joined Stardom. The match took place at Ryogoku Cinderella’s Champion Fiesta which saw Dark Angel defeat Yasukawa to win the vacant title and become the second-ever White Belt holder. Dark Angel was an interesting option to hold the White Belt because she was one of the first Gaijin champions in Stardom and is one of two Gaijins to hold the Wonder of Stardom championship in its history. Although not as historic as her predecessor’s, Dark Angel’s run with the White Belt was quite decent and she perfectly slotted into the role of the second-belt holder. She held the belt for a hundred and eighty-nine days with three successful title defences. At Season 14; Goddesses in Stars Tag 4, on November 4, 2013, Dark Angel lost the White Belt to the woman whom she had beaten to win the belt in the first place: Act Yasukawa.
For Yasukawa, winning the White Belt at the time was a star-making moment since she had a tough 2013 prior to this. She earlier lost the title shot against Dark Angel, and she had a weak showing in the 5 Star Grand Prix ending up with a total of only two points. When she won the belt it was a glorious moment as she had outdone a wrestler whom she struggled to beat before. She was able to successfully defend the White Belt for a good four times over a reign of two-hundred and thirty-four days. However, her reign came to a very unfortunate end. Yasukawa suffered from Grave’s disease and one of the complications caused by this was her having thyroid deterioration. She had to vacate the title thus ending her reign.
Soon a four-woman tournament was held to determine the new Wonder of Stardom Champion after it had a rocky first three years. The women selected were Kairi Hojo, Miho Wakizawa, Takumi Iroha and Mayu Iwatani. Miho Wakizawa and Iwatani advanced to the finals and on July 27, 2014, Mayu Iwatani defeated Wakizawa to win the Wonder of Stardom Championship. This was also the first title change in the history of the White Belt that took place outside of Tokyo (Nagoya). Even though Iwatani is currently one of the best wrestlers in the Land of the Rising Sun, she had to start picking pace somewhere and this was that moment for her. Iwatani got a chance to prove that she had the potential to be one of the best in the world. After defeating Wakizawa another time while defending her title, Iwatani didn’t get a chance to have another defence until January 18, 2015, after one hundred and seventy-five days since she won the belt, and that is when she dropped the title to the former champion; Act Yasukawa.
Yasukawa returned to the ring from surgery in December of 2014 and just a month later she went to reclaim what she had never lost. She defeated Iwatani at the Stardom 4th Anniversary Show in Tokyo in a fourteen-minute match. In doing so, Yasukawa became the first wrestler to hold the White Belt more than once starting her second run as champion. However, her second run was also cursed much like her first one. On February 22, 2015, Stardom’s most controversial event occurred when during a match between Yasukawa and the reigning World of Stardom Champion Yoshiko, the champion went off-script. Yoshiko legitimately beat up Yasukawa resulting in damaged facial bones and a damaged retina. Yasukawa had to retire because of these injuries and had to, once again, vacate the Wonder of Stardom Championship on May 1, 2015.
At Stardom’s Gold May event on May 17, 2020, Io Shirai and Nikki Storm went head to head to fight for the vacant White Belt. The two went the distance and fought eighteen minutes until Io Shirai came out as the victor. At the time Shirai was also holding the Goddess of Stardom title so she was two-belt-Shirai. Shirai had an eventful run having seven successful defences and lasting for almost two hundred days as the Wonder of Stardom Champion. By this point, the White Belt had started gaining a lot of respect in the eyes of wrestlers around the world.
However, Shirai’s run ended when an inter-promotional title vs title match took place on November 23, 2015. Santana Garret put her NWA Women’s Championship on the line against Io Shirai’s Wonder of Stardom Championship. This was Shirai’s chance to hold three belts at once but Santana Garret defeated Shirai to retain the NWA Women’s Championship and win the Wonder of Stardom Championship. The match took place in Fukuoka. However, it became extremely difficult for Garret as she was travelling worldwide mostly from America to Japan back and forth and had to defend both of the titles. Nonetheless, in the span of one-hundred and seventy-four days, Garret defended the Wonder of Stardom Championship nine times. The belt by this time had started getting some major exposure. However, the woman who was able to take the Wonder of Stardom Championship off Garret and back permanently to Japan was Kairi Hojo who won it from Garret on May 15, 2016, starting the true glory days of the White Belt. Kairi elevated the belt to new heights because she was a former World of Stardom Champion gunning for the Wonder of Stardom Championship. Kairi defended the belt regularly with eight successful defences during her year-long reign.
Obviously, it made perfect sense for the belt to be transferred to an equally remarkable competitor and thus on May 14, 2017, Mayu Iwatani defeated Kairi Hojo to start her second run as the Wonder of Stardom Champion. This title reign is equally outstanding as Iwatani’s first one because of the prestige that the White Belt had gained by this point. Although this reign isn’t as long as the first one, Iwatani did accomplish an outstanding feat as she beat Io Shirai for her World of Stardom Championship on August 21, 2017. She was holding two of the top belts in her promotion. She was on the moon at that time. Her Wonder of Stardom Championship reign lasted till September 23, 2017. At this stage in time, Stardom made a very clever decision and had Yoko Bito defeat Iwatani for the Wonder of Stardom while Iwatani remained the World of Stardom Champion. Bito’s reign was very short-lived lasting only fifty-seven days but she deserved to win the White Belt after her contributions to the company for the last few years. With two defences during that period, Bito dropped the title on November 19, 2017.
Io Shirai won the title for the second time from Yoko Bito and ushered in a new era of the White Belt because a few months into her reign, the World of Stardom Champion, Toni Storm wasn’t seen in Japan with her belt and so slowly the Wonder of Stardom championship started getting more and more prestige and for a hot second, the White Belt, the Wonder of Stardom Championship unofficially surpassed the World of Stardom Championship and became the true top belt of Stardom. Even though the hierarchy was reset, later on, this was definitely a highlight in the history of the Stardom Championship.
Shirai also deserves a lot of credit for it as she defended it successfully ten times, making it the main belt, the belt that people had their eyes on. After one-hundred and eighty-five days, Shirai lost the title. It was Momo Watanabe who took the belt off Shirai and started one of the best runs in the history of Wonder of Stardom championships. She had the more successful defences more than any other wrestler who has held the White Belt. She defeated the likes of Hazuki and Saki Kashima in her run and even went on to score 9 points in the 5STAR Grand Prix 2018 in Block A. Watanabe even defeated the former two-time Wonder of Stardom Championship Io Shira during this run. She dropped the belt after three-hundred and fifty-eight days.
On April 29, 2019, the Cinderella tournament was conducted which Arisa Hoshiki won after defeating Konami in the finals. Hoshiki challenged for Momo Watanabe’s Wonder of Stardom Championship and on May 16, 2019, Arisa Hoshiki won the White Belt from Momo Watanabe. Although Hoshiki was only twenty-four years old when she won the Wonder of Stardom Championship, she was still quite experienced and it was a good decision to put the title on her. She defended the White Belt successfully ten times over a span of three hundred and seventy days. However, she had to retire from professional wrestling due to head and neck related injuries thus vacating the Wonder of Stardom Championship.
At the Cinderella Summer Show in Tokyo, Giulia and Tam Nakano faced each other for the vacant Wonder of Stardom Championship in the finals of Wonder of Stardom Title Tournament. Giulia won the match and the White Belt as well on July 26, 2020. After a hundred and ninety-three days and five successful title defences, Giulia is still the Wonder of Stardom Champion to this day.