Over the last few years, the Japanese Joshi wrestlers have caught the attention of many fans because of their compelling storylines and remarkable matches. The all-female wrestling promotion World Wonder Ring Stardom has made some well-known stars such as Hana Kimura and Act Yasukawa in the duration of a bit over a decade since they were formed back in 2010. Currently, Stardom has its hands joined with New Japan Pro-Wrestling often having their matches featured on Wrestle Kingdom as well. With over ten years gone by since its inception, let’s take a look at the current talent the Stardom has to show.
AZM – High Speed Champion
At only 18 years of age, Azumi is already making her name and cementing her place in the future. She started training since she was only twelve years old and with six years of experience under her belt, she has a lot to offer to the wrestling industry. She currently holds the High-Speed Championship which she won in a three-way match against Starlight Kid and the defending champion Riho last year in July. She is a member of Queen’s Quest and is a prominent part of it. AZM can very easily become the star of the future with so many years ahead of her. She recently wrestled at Wrestle Kingdom 15 in a dark match against members of Donna Del Mondo in a winning effort. Let’s see what the future holds for her.
Bea Priestley – Goddess of Stardom Champion
Priestley is not an unheard name for many fans. She made her name in independent wrestling promotions Progress and Defiant Wrestling before making her entry in Stardom. As a member of Oedo Tai in Japan, she gained success and won various championships including the World of Stardom Championship and the Goddess of Stardom Championship with Jamie Hayter but it was unfortunately stripped off of the team due to them being unable to defend the titles because of Covid restrictions. She made her return in the G1 Climax to help her partner Will Ospreay win against Kazuchika Okada in October last year and even accompanied Ospreay to his match against the Rainmaker at Wrestle Kingdom. She regained the Goddess of Stardom Championship in December last year alongside Konami.
Lady C is a recent addition to the roster as she only made her debut in November of last year against Saya Iida. The 26-year-old is yet to make a mark on the wrestling world as there are many decisions ahead of her. She is the only wrestler on the roster to not be a part of any unit but that will soon change as time progresses.
Giulia – Wonder of Stardom Champion
As the leader of Donna del Mondo Giulia has seen some success in her year and a half run so far in Stardom. Last year Giulia won the Stardom Cinderella Tournament and since the winner is given a wish, Giulia decided to challenge Arisa Hoshiki. Giulia later went on to face Tam Nakani whom she defeated for the Wonder of Stardom Championship which she has successfully defended so far. It looks like the White Belt will be staying around Giulia’s waist for a while.
Gokigen is a well-experienced wrestler who has been competing for over twenty years in various promotions over Japan. She currently wrestles all around Japan and even owns YMZ Pro Wrestling but has also made history previously in Stardom and might continue to do so in the upcoming years. She is a member of the Stars unit and a four-time Artist of Stardom Champion and a three-time High Speed Champion.
Hanan is only 16 years old and made her debut in Stardom almost four years ago. Hanan is mostly used in opener matches but she has slowly gained experience and is now settling into the roster well. Here membership in Stars might help boost her wrestling career which she is currently trying to balance with her education. If pushed right, Hanan can transform into a superstar in the future.
This member of the Donna del Mondo is a decent wrestler having made her debut three years ago. Himeka has assumed the role of a destroyer in the Stardom roster making her looks deceiving. The Jumbo Princess fits well in that role and although she has only ever held the Beyond the Sea Championship, she has great potential and undoubtedly will succeed sooner rather than later.
Another young member of the Stardom roster, this Joshi wrestler is only fourteen years old and is very early into her career. Hina doesn’t have many achievements under her belt yet but she has the role of the little sister in the Queen’s Quest which suits her character for now. Her foundation is strong and this will help her in years to come.
Hayter made her mark in the UK Indy Circuit before making her way to Stardom in 2018 as a participant in the 5STAR Grand Prix. After failing to win the tournament she soon joined Oedo Tai. She partnered with Bea Priestley in early 2020 to win the Goddess of Stardom Championship which they were stripped off due to not being able to wrestle in Japan because of Covid travel restrictions. She is still stuck in the UK and won’t be wrestling for Stardom for the foreseeable future because of the Covid situations.
Jungle Kyona epitomizes Japanese wrestling. She is extremely physical and slowly builds her matches before they reach the climax bringing in realism to her craft. She has been wrestling in Stardom for over five years now and has gained a lot of fan support during her time there because of her charismatic character work and exceptional wrestling skills. Kyona being a fan favourite has led to her winning several titles including Artist of Stardom Championship and Goddess of Stardom Championship. However, the World of Stardom Championship seems to escape her. 2021 might be the year she gets her hands finally on the prestigious belt but unfortunately, she has been out of action due to multiple injuries. We can only hope to see her in-ring return soon.
Konami – Goddess of Stardom Champion
With a martial arts background to back her wrestling career, Konami has already made her name in the wrestling industry at the age of twenty-four. Konami has had a very eventful run in Stardom so far, being occupied in the main storylines more often than not. Konami currently holds the Goddess of Stardom Championship alongside Jungle Kyona whom she turned on a few months later to join the Oedo Tai Unit. Konami soon joined forces with Priestley to win back the Goddess of Stardom Championship. Inside the ring, her work is outstanding with an extremely methodical moveset. Many have associated her with The Empress of Tomorrow dubbing her “the next Asuka”. The future looks bright for Konami.
Maika’s wrestling is very impressive for someone who made their debut only over a year ago. In just a span of almost twenty months, Maika has mastered some difficult wrestling moves such as the cross-arm breaker and superplex-into-vertical suplex. It is unbelievable how much she has polished her in-ring work in such a short span. So far Maika hasn’t had any notable achievements during her career in Stardom but that can be subject to change very soon.
Iwatani is considered by many to be the best female wrestler in the world right now and rightfully so. She has been wrestling in Stardom for ten years now and has gained a lot of experience in that time. The former two time World of Stardom champion has perfected her craft in the ring drawing in fans from around the world. She had a great 2020 is listed as the most underrated wrestler in many Wrestling Year-end awards. Her matches match the likes of those which make wrestling journalists around the world spam the shift and 8 keys. She has wrestled twice in the Tokyo Dome at Wrestle Kingdom 14 and 15 wowing large audiences. Her underdog character has gained her a lot of fan support and everyone is left wanting to see her get another big win in her career.
Mina Shirakawa – Artist of Stardom Champion
Even though Shirakawa is thirty-three years old, her wrestling career started only two years ago. Therefore, she is a bit inexperienced but still quite entertaining. As a part of the Cosmic Angels, she won the Artist of Stardom Championship alongside Tam Nakano and Unagi Sayaka. However, Shirakawa suffered a broken nose in December of last year, thus is currently on the shelf. We can expect her to make her in-ring return soon.
Watanabe made her wrestling debut at fourteen years of age back in 2014 and has been wrestling for Stardom ever since. Watanbe had a good first three years as a wrestler until she made her return from injury in 2017 when she really started getting the attention she deserved. From there on she had a memorable rivalry with Io Shirai in 2018 which resulted in her becoming the youngest ever Wonder of Stardom Champion at the age of 18. Watanabe held the title for three hundred and fifty-eight days before losing to Arisa Hoshiki. Watanabe has been known to put on five-star classics and she has a position saved for her in the main event picture.
The twenty-five-year-old Donna del Mondo member has a long way to go before she can cement her place in the main event picture. She is early in her career so we can expect some changes to be made to her wrestling and her character. Nonetheless, she has a great connection with the audience and got bigger before her return to Stardom. Even though her in-ring work isn’t the best, her agility often surprises the match and the flashy moves give the desired pace to a rather slow match. During her career, she has had some notable matches against the likes of Hana Kimura and Riho.
Natsuko Tora is a wrestler that isn’t popular amongst the fans. During her four year run in Stardom, she has not had any notable moments which make her special. Her wrestling is not bad, it’s just that her booking and her character has made her a bit stale. After Oedo Tai lost some of its reputed members, the remaining wrestlers were left with a lot of responsibility on their shoulders and it has left Natsuko struggling. Her in-ring work is decent but nothing she has done so far has stuck out as unique or exceptional. She won the Artist of Stardom champion in November last year along with Priestley and Kashima but soon dropped it to Cosmic Angels. We can only hope for things to get better for the two-time Artist of Stardom Champion since there’s room for improvement.
Arguably the biggest name in Stardom, Riho made her name in AEW by becoming the first-ever AEW Women’s Championship. However, Riho was stuck outside the U.S due to travel restrictions and took a break from AEW. In the meanwhile, Riho had previously signed with Stardom in July 2019 where she continued to wrestle. Riho soon won the High-Speed Championship in her debut match in August of 2019. She held onto the belt for a while before dropping the belt in July next year to AZM. Riho has great charisma in Stardom and can put on a four-star match in her sleep. She is an extremely talented wrestler.
At only fourteen years of age, Rina has a lot to learn but fans have already begun to like her in her position. Fans even call her “Mini Hana” because she resembles her sister and idol “Hana Kimura” who unfortunately passed away last year. Rina has also inherited Hana’s ring attire. Rina has been showered with love by the wrestling industry and she has also expressed her wishes to continue the legacy of her sister. Rina made her debut over two years ago and is already a part of Oedo Tai.
Ruaka is only sixteen years old right now and is proof of how much young talent Stardom has to offer. She made her debut four years ago and is currently the best ‘young’ wrestler of the promotion. Her hard bump-taking increases the realism of the match and makes it look as if she’s actually fighting with her opponent. For a hot second, you even forget that these two wrestlers don’t actually want to hurt each other and it’s a performance. Obviously, she isn’t the best, but she’s improving at a very fast rate so fans should keep an eye on her.
The Oedo Tai member has been criticized in the past for her sloppy wrestling, however, fans have seen an improvement in her in-ring work. Nonetheless, Saki Kashima is a big deal on the roster. She has formerly held the Artist of Stardom Championship and the Goddesses of Stardom Championship alongside her fellow Oedo Tai members. She has had wins over Hana Kimura and Jungle Kyona. She does not have a title around her waist as of now but that status could soon change. Even though she has been wrestling since 2011, she hasn’t achieved that level of stardom that most of her peers have. Her character needs improvement because it does not have any distinctive feature. Although she has the potential to be the best, her current position says otherwise. Saki could be more than an upper mid-carder if she was given some room to work on her character.
Saya Iida – Future of Stardom Champion
After making her debut in 2019, Iida was awarded the Future of Stardom Championship just two years later. Given that the twenty-three-year-old Joshi wrestler has only had a couple of years worth of experience, she is decent in the ring. Moreover, she has more strength than one might assume given her size. She can deliver her signature scoop slam even to the biggest of her opponents. However, she is a bit green right now and can bring up her game. There is a lot of space for her to take up in the upper midcard when the time is right.
Kamitani made her wrestling career debut for Stardom in 2019 as she before was a dancer for Stardom. Soon she climbed the ranks and after a few matches against big names such as Watanabe, she went on to win the Rookie of the year award. It was not long before she found herself challenging for and winning the Goddess of Stardom Championship alongside fellow Queen’s Quest members. However, they dropped the title to Oedo Tai members. She is a natural babyface and might need to change factions because Queen’s Quest has done some questionable things in the recent past.
Starlight Kid is one of the most over wrestlers of the promotion and the only wrestler who has been given the honour to wear a mask at all times. Surprisingly, during her five-year tenure at Stardom, Starlight Kid has only won the Future of Stardom Championship but it can be assured that she will be winning a whole lot of titles in the future. She has been so close to the High-Speed Championship, recently taking part in a three-way against AMZ and Riho in July of last year in a losing effort. You can’t help but fully support such an organic babyface. Her special connection with the fans indicated that she will be having a very successful future in or even outside of Stardom.
Before making her debut in Stardom, Natsu wrestled for Pro Wrestling Wave where she wrestled notable stars like Asuka. In 2017, she made her Stardom debut joining Oedo Tai. A few months later, she won the Artist of Stardom Championship. However, Natsu’s attempts at other championships were unsuccessful. Natsu has worked as a freelancer and many argue that it held her back. However, her spot is very clear in the roster, and that’s in the midcard. It is safe to say that she would work best in that position and that is where she needs to be for now at least.
Syuri – SWA World Champion
Syuri made her first Stardom appearance back in 2013 which was a pleasant surprise for many fans. During her wrestling run as a freelancer, she made quite a name for herself. She also pursued Mixed Martial Arts and even competed in UFC. In 2020, the thirty-one-year-old experienced Joshi wrestler, former mixed martial artist and kickboxer returned to Stardom. Syuri went on to challenge Mayu Iwatani for the World of Stardom Championship but she lost. However, her championship pursuits didn’t stop there. She challenged and defeated Bea Priestley for the SWA World Championship and had a time-limit draw title v title match against Giulia. Her Stardom run is adored by fans and her experience in shoot combat has allowed her to bring greater credibility to her moveset.
Tam Nakano – Artist of Stardom Champion
The current Artist of Stardom champion made her debut in Stardom in mid-2017 and signed later that year. Having only four years of experience at the age of thirty-one, Tam Yakano looks more experienced than some wrestlers that might have twenty or thirty years under their belt. She just understands how wrestling works. She was a part of Stars and Oedo Tai which allowed her to excel. However, she seems to have found her spot in Cosmic Angels with whom she won the Artist of Stardom Championship. Her matches have been critically acclaimed and her work rate is uncommon with so little experience in the wrestling world. She can tell a very engaging story with her matches and that is a true art. It is quite rare nowadays in wrestling.
Unagi Sayaka – Artist of Stardom Champion
The other third of the Cosmic Angels saw the same success as Nakano. She recently won the Artist of Stardom