I’m at it again folks. Charlotte Flair is, in my opinion, the bane of Monday Night Raw’s Women’s division. She’s inserted where she doesn’t need to be and WWE has booked her as the woman to beat, despite her not even being in the top 10 of the company talent wise. Instead of focusing on WWE and who there is better than Flair, I’m taking you to Japan and looking at the Stardom Roster. Here is my list of the thirteen personnel that are currently employed by Stardom that are better than Flair is in the ring. This is strictly a list of women who are better than her in the ring, not on the mic as Flair is actually pretty decent on the mic.. even if she spouts the same crap over and over again. This list will not be in any particular order, since all twelve women are amazing in the ring. No more delays, let’s get into it. Flair. Stardom.
13. Kamitani Saya (上谷沙弥)
We’re starting the list off with a real rookie when it comes to professional wrestling in Saya Kamitani. She’s only got one year of professional experience under her belt. I can hear you all now asking how I can say that she is anywhere near Flair’s level when she’s a total rookie. Well, the proof is how Stardom has booked her thus far. She won the Cinderella Dream Tournament this year and that is a big accomplishment for a rookie. Sure, she came up short in her Wonder of Stardom title match against Tam Nakano, but Saya can more than hold her own against anyone that she is put in the ring against. She’s had phenomenal matches against Utami Hayashishita, Tam Nakano, Syuri, the list goes on and on. Any rookie that doesn’t need carried in a match by veteran talent should be considered a wrestling prodigy, and Saya Kamitani should definitely fall under that category. She is only 24 years old, so she has many years ahead of her to get even better than she already is. I bet most of you didn’t know this, but Saya is a former member of the idol group AKB48. That is pretty freaking cool if you ask me.
12. Maika (マイカ)
Up next we have another really inexperienced Joshi in Maika. Maika’s been wrestling professionally for just over two years and this year she has really come into her own and stepped up her game. She’s had phenomenal matches this year against Syuri and Utami Hayashishita just to name a couple and each time she gets in the ring she is better than she was before. She came up short against Syuri on day 2 of the Stardom 5 Star GP but she made Syuri earn that win. I am very impressed by what I’ve seen of Maika since she joined the Stardom roster and she has plenty of years ahead of her to get even better than she already is. This Judoka is someone everyone should be keeping their eyes on, she will only get better and better. I’m calling it now, she will soon be someone that Stardom can look to to carry one of their top belts, either the Wonder or the World of Stardom Championship. That’s not a prediction, that’s a spoiler folks.
11. Giulia (ジュリア)
The next entrant in this list is Giulia. Sure, Giulia caused a lot of controversy when she left Ice Ribbon for Stardom, but you cannot deny that she is immensely talented and is a top tier competitor. There’s a reason she was given her own stable. She may only have three years of experience but she was trained by Mio Shirai, sister of the best female wrestler on the planet Io Shirai, so you know that Giulia has the skills needed to maintain her position on Stardoms card. She’s only 27, so she is still young and she has a long time to be even better. I don’t know if she will ever be on the level of Io Shirai or Mayu Iwatani, but as long as she keeps growing and learning then maybe one day she can challenge for that spot.
10. Natsupoi (なつぽい)
Our next entrant on this list is the “High Speed Fairy” Natsupoi. Natsupoi just recently returned to Stardom from injury and she looked absolutely incredible in her return match. She’s every bit as athletic as she was before she got hurt and the six year veteran loves to incorporate her gymnastics training into her matches. She’s got the speed, she’s got the look and she is damn impressive in the ring. I’d love to see Charlotte try to pull off some of the things you’ll see Natsupoi do in the ring. She is a former High Speed Champion in Stardom and she won that belt from AZM, who will make an appearance on this list as well. Natsupoi should be on everyone’s radar when talking about the best female wrestlers in the world as she is still very young at 26, so she still has a lot of years left in her and believe you me, there is absolutely no reason why she cannot be ranked in the top 15 or even top 10 in the world even now. She could wrestle circles around the vast majority of the WWE women’s roster and that’s not me just hyping her up. She’s that damn good.
9. Jungle Kyona (ジャングル叫女)
Our next entrant is perhaps the most pure babyface that Stardom has to offer, and that distinction belongs to the one and only Jungle Kyona. Kyona has a massive fanbase and she has earned that following as she’s got the charisma and sweet lord man, she’s got the in ring talent, she can fly, she can do submissions, her psychology is on point, and she can brawl like no other in Stardom. Kyona could easily be in the top 5 performers in the world if she wasn’t dealing with several serious injuries that have kept her out for an extended period. Stardom desperately needs Kyona back and they know it, but they’re giving her all the time she needs to return to top form and that is a good thing for them to do. You don’t want to rush a talent like Kyona back when she isn’t at a hundred percent and risk shortening her career. My only complaint concerning her is that Stardom has yet to let her carry a single’s title and that is a damn shame. As far as pure talent goes, only one person currently on the Stardom roster is better than Kyona is, and that person will be revealed later in this list. Jungle Kyona is the kind of ‘face’ character that companies like WWE and AEW can only dream of having on their rosters and one that either company should be trying to get under contract. Let me be blunt though, if I were Kyona or anyone else in Stardom, I would absolutely stay in Japan until the American companies prove that they trust the Joshi talent to be who they are and stop trying to limit what they do in the ring.
8. Tam Nakano (中野 たむ)
The current Wonder of Stardom Champion is next on our list, the “Stardom Dream” Tam Nakano. Tam is a former idol dancer but transitioned into professional wrestling back in 2016. She’s got absolutely lethal kicks, I swear watching this diminutive pixie delivering a spinning head kick to someone larger than her is nothing short of impressive. She’s the founding leader of the Cosmic Angels unit and she has led her young and inexperienced stablemates to success. Hell, her protege Unagi Sayaka just beat her in the Grand Prix in what was an extremely competitive match. You look at Tam and think that she’s just a pretty face, but underneath that cute exterior is a lethal striker and technical wizard that continues to improve in the ring every time she enters it. She’s not as proficient as someone like Konami on the mat but she is getting there. She’s got all the tools she needs to stay at the top of the Stardom card for as long as she desires to be there, which she says should only be a few more years. Enjoy watching Miss Nakano while you can folks.
7. Utami Hayashishita (林下詩美)
Up next we have the reigning World of Stardom Champion, the Red Queen, Utami Hayashishita. The two year professional is already at the top of the Stardom card and she has proved that she deserves it by constantly working to improve herself since her debut. She won the 5 Star GP back in 2020 and used that win to dethrone Mayu Iwatani for the title in a match that absolutely made Utami’s career. Since then she’s had a match of the year contender against Syuri that was a five star match if I’ve ever seen one. Everyone should watch that match, it’s the kind of match that WWE and other American companies absolutely dream about their women being able to have. I bet they would absolutely salivate if they had anyone on their roster who could put on the type of performance that Utami and Syuri did. I cannot express how much that encounter proved just how good a woman’s wrestling match can be if they are given adequate time in the ring. Stardom put their faith in Utami and Syuri and both women gave everything they had and then some. If you’ve never seen their epic encounter, do yourself a favor and find it. That match makes any that Charlotte Flair has been in look absolutely terrible by comparison.
6. Konami (竹本 小波)
Our next entrant is one of my absolute favorite performers under the Stardom banner. She is the Submission Sniper and the reason why the Tokyo Cyber Squad unit no longer exists (Rest in Peace Hana Kimura), she is Konami. Since turning on the TCS and Jungle Kyona to join Oedo Tai, Konami has become one of the best heels that Stardom has to offer. She’s got a background in martial arts and uses those skills in combination with her submission skills to be an absolutely lethal competitor in the ring. She’s so much better than most people give her credit for, even on the mic. She doesn’t want to win, she doesn’t need to win, she wants to sew chaos every chance she gets and I absolutely love that about her. Not to mention she has a really killer look that I love. Oh, she even has her own pet clown, I am not even kidding. She comes to the ring with Fukigen Desu attached to a dog collar and chain, so yes she has a pet clown. I don’t think Oedo Tai would be where it is right now if it weren’t for the effort that Konami has put into the unit. She is someone you can put in the ring with anyone and she will make them look like a twenty year veteran. She’s got all the talent in the world to be in the top 10 consideration and she deserves to be talked about more than she is.
5. Starlight Kid (スターライト・キッド)
My current favorite performer in Stardom is next on our list today, and she is the high-flying luchadora, the enmascarada, the first woman to wear her mask full time in Stardom, Starlight Kid. I absolutely adore Kid. She’s the current High Speed Champion and she’s only gotten better as each year has passed. Since being forced to join Oedo Tai earlier this year, she’s brought out this attitude and confidence that she never seemed to have before and that’s made her so much more entertaining than she already was. Not that her lucha-libre skills and wrestling proficiency weren’t already top notch but now that her charisma has seemingly gone through the roof, she’s solidified herself as a performer that should be on everyone’s radar. Of course, being a part of Oedo Tai means she uses underhanded tactics now that she really never used before but another reason why I think this move was good for her is that she’s developing this killer instinct, she really goes for the throat so to speak and is becoming relentless against her opponents. She’s another truly small performer, standing at a mere 4’11” so most of the women she faces are taller than her. She doesn’t let that size disadvantage dissuade her, instead she puts even more of herself into the match and does her absolute best no matter the circumstances. I cannot tell you just how much I love watching Starlight Kid perform. She really is that damn good and she is always getting better, just like her eternal rival who happens to be next on our list.
4. Azumi/AZM (あずみ)
The 18 year old prodigy and eternal rival of Starlight Kid is next on our list today. She’s the “High Speed Bomb Girl” Azumi, or AZM if you are used to her shortened name. I call her a prodigy because she’s been wrestling since she was eleven years old and even at that young age she had a knack for the sport that so few actually possess. She’s a sensational talent. She’s always exuded charisma and top quality, humorous promos even as a rookie, but she has developed into such a great, fast paced, technically gifted performer. It is actually scary to think how good she can become at just 18 years of age. One of her few weaknesses was developing a presence, which her rival Starlight Kid had, but she has gained a lot of confidence in that regard, and is growing in star power. She feels like a very seasoned veteran, and yet, she’s still a teenager. And she’s very very good in multiple areas. Almost scary to think how much she could progress in the years to come. Though she’s light & small, her stuff does not look exceptionally weak. She is not afraid to lay things in & do her best to make everything look legit. Her personality also shines through. So often you see younger girls play the babyface role, but AZM is stellar when she lays on her bitchy side & works the heel role. She has a great scowl & probably my favorite thing she does to insult her foes is when she’ll refer to them as “grandmas”. This young woman is without a doubt in the top 5 for the best female wrestlers in the world, and one day soon she may just become the absolute best talent in the world.
3. Momo Watanabe (渡辺桃)
Easily in consideration for the best female wrestler in the world, but for me the true number three, is the incomparable Momo Watanabe. I have to say that if the likes of Io Shirai and Mayu Iwatani weren’t active wrestlers then there is no doubt that Momo Watanabe would be the absolute best in the world. She’s the total package and she’s still only 21 years old! God it feels like she’s been in Stardom forever so it’s easy to forget just how young she really is. Momo’s a six year veteran and I would call her a true rival for Mayu Iwatani as the two seem to bring out the best in each other. Their matches are so fun to watch, they really are. I have one concern about Momo and that is she seems to work through a lot of injuries, as evidence by how much medical tape and bandages she frequently wears during her matches. I noticed during her most recent match against Iwatani that her back seems to be pretty heavily taped up. Even if she is working through injuries, she doesn’t let them affect her performance in the ring. She’s still top tier even when hurt, and she has so much time ahead of her in her career. Can you imagine just how good she’ll be when she’s nearing thirty? I can and the future is bright for Momo. I could see her becoming a top star for any American company if she ever had interest in coming over.
2. Syuri (近藤 朱里)
The 12-year veteran Syuri is next on the list today. By the way, it’s pronounced Shuri, not Syuri. Like Konami, Syuri is a martial artist who uses a more technical style, but I would argue that she is even more proficient with her strikes than Konami is. Hell, she had a forty-five-minute war with Utami Hayashishita a few months ago that should be considered match of the year, if not match of the decade. It was that good and her star has risen considerably since that match happened. Syuri has proven time and time again that she should be at the very top of the Stardom roster and she is well on her way to being that woman who carries the company on her shoulders. Off to a great start in this year’s Grand Prix, if she wins the tournament then she will earn herself a rematch with Utami Hayashishita. I would absolutely love to witness another forty-five-minute war between the two of them, but before that, they will have to face each other in the tournament. I think that soon enough, Syuri will be holding the World of Stardom title and everyone will be chasing her to try and wrest it from her grasp. The question is, who on the Stardom roster can actually do so? That’s a tough question to answer and only time will tell.
1. Mayu Iwatani (岩谷 麻優)
My top pick today for this list is the Stardom Icon and the woman whom Io Shirai names as her greatest rival and that is none other than Mayu Iwatani. It’s a toss-up between Io and Mayu for who the best women’s wrestler in the world is right now and I can see the argument for either one. Mayu is absolutely masterful at the art of selling for her opponents, making even the most mundane looking technique seem brutal. Mayu Iwatani is the Icon of Stardom and she always pushes herself to go to new lengths to put on a show. This is particularly evident when facing off with other greats such as Kagetsu, Takumi Iroha, Jungle Kyona or Momo Watanabe. She has a natural charisma much needed in Stardom today, and bumps like something crazy. Mayu was with Stardom from the beginning, has been a rallying point through some dark times, and has been central to helping the organization achieve greatness. She can strike really well, her superkicks are the best superkicks in the world and her selling is mind-blowing with a lot of neck bumps that seem to be done pretty safely as she never gets injured. Her ability to take bumps and sell cannot be understated. She takes absolutely brutal spots in almost every match and somehow never seems to get seriously injured. A lesser mentioned facet of her technique for me is the look she gets on her face when she gets serious. I’m not bull shitting you here, her facial expressions are top notch and when she’s serious she looks like a total serial killer. She can hold the crowd in the palm of her hand, and she’s eternally likable. This is evident by just how easily she can get the crowd to laugh, cheer or even chant along with her. She also has the smoothest arm drags on the planet and there is no debate in that. If you ever get to see the matches between her and Io Shirai, do yourself the favor and watch them. You’ll be treated to greatness that WWE only wishes Charlotte Flair could bring to the table.