World Wonder Ring Stardom

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World Wonder Ring Stardom
Founded September 7, 2010[1]
Style Joshi puroresu
Headquarters Kōtō, Tokyo[2]
Founder(s) Fuka[2]
Nanae Takahashi[2]
Rossy Ogawa[2]
Owner(s) Rossy Ogawa[2]
Website wwr-stardom.com

World Wonder Ring Stardom, often referred to simply as Stardom (スターダム Sutādamu?)[2] is a Japanese joshi puroresu or female professional wrestling promotion, founded in September 2010 by former Hyper Visual Fighting Arsion and JDStar promoter Rossy Ogawa, retired wrestler, model and mixed martial artist Fuka Kakimoto and veteran professional wrestler Nanae Takahashi. Stardom quickly became one of the top joshi puroresu promotions, largely thanks to gravure idol Yuzuki Aikawa becoming the promotion's public face. Much like JDStar, Stardom also places heavy emphasis on the physical attractiveness of its workers,[3] and publishes several modeling photobooks and calendars of its workers per year.[4][5] Stardom's in-ring style takes influence from mixed martial arts with many workers relying on kicks as the main part of their offense.[3]

History[edit]

Chapter One[edit]

Fuka, the General Manager of Stardom

After retiring from professional wrestling on March 29, 2010, Fuka began training Yuzuki Aikawa, a gravure idol signed to Platinum Production, the same modeling agency as her, for a career in professional wrestling.[6] In April, Fuka was approached by Hiroshi "Rossy" Ogawa, the former promoter of JDStar, where she had spent most of her career, about starting a new promotion built around Aikawa.[6] During the following summer, Fuka continued training Aikawa for her upcoming debut and also began training the likes of Arisa Hoshiki, Eri Susa, Kairi Hojo, Mayu Iwatani, Yoko Bito and Yoshiko for Ogawa's new promotion.[6] On September 7, Ogawa held a press conference to announce that his new promotion's name would be World Wonder Ring Stardom.[1] Originally, Ogawa had contemplated naming his promotion Bito (美闘?, "Beauty Battle"), before deciding to go with Stardom. The name Bito was then instead given to one of Fuka's trainees as a ring name.[7] Fuka was appointed the General Manager of the promotion and veteran wrestler Nanae Takahashi the playing manager.[1] In addition to Fuka's trainees, the promotion was also joined by Takahashi's longtime associate Natsuki☆Taiyo and mixed martial artist Mika Nagano, who had a professional wrestling past with the Ice Ribbon promotion.[8] Stardom held its first event on January 23, 2011, in front of a sold out crowd in Tokyo's Shin-Kiba 1st Ring,[9] which was also the location of Stardom's training dojo.[10] Originally, Stardom promoted events in "seasons", with one season lasting, on average, two months.[9][11] During 2011, Stardom was also joined by All Japan Women's Pro-Wrestling (AJW) veteran Miho Wakizawa and longtime freelancer Io Shirai.[8] Out of the large group of models and idols trained by Fuka, the most successful act, apart from Aikawa, was the teenager tag team of Arisa Hoshiki and Mayu Iwatani, known collectively as AMA.[12][13] From the start, Stardom set itself apart from other joshi promotions by rarely allowing its workers to take other independent bookings.[14]

During the summer of 2011, Stardom introduced its first two championships, the World of Stardom and the Wonder of Stardom Championships, the top and secondary titles of the promotion, respectively.[11][15] In October, Stardom started the first Goddesses of Stardom tag team tournament, which culminated on November 27 in the crowning of the first Goddesses of Stardom Champions.[16] Stardom holds most of its events in Shin-Kiba 1st Ring, but during its first year also held two events in Korakuen Hall, commonly used by joshi puroresu promotions for their bigger events.[11] Stardom's headquarters were originally located in Katsushika, Tokyo, but in December 2012 they were moved to Kōtō, Tokyo.[17][18] On August 5, 2012, Stardom announced it was going to run Tokyo's Ryōgoku Kokugikan on April 29, 2013, becoming the first joshi promotion since Ladies Legend Pro-Wrestling (LLPW) on February 12, 2007, to hold an event in the arena with a capacity of 13,000.[19][20] The following December, Stardom's arguably biggest star, Yuzuki Aikawa, announced that she would be retiring from professional wrestling at the Ryōgoku Kokugikan show.[21][22][23] During the final event of 2012 on December 24, Stardom announced the creation of the promotion's fifth active title, the Artist of Stardom Championship, a title for six-woman tag teams.[24]

Ryōgoku Cinderella[edit]

Ryōgoku Cinderella was the biggest event in the history of World Wonder Ring Stardom, taking place April 29, 2013.[25] It was the first joshi event held in Tokyo's Ryōgoku Kokugikan in six years.[19] The card, which was revealed on April 2, 2013, featured four of Stardom's five titles on the line and was headlined by the retirement match of Yuzuki Aikawa. Outside participants in the event included Lin Byron, Makoto and Syuri from Wrestling New Classic (WNC), freelancer Manami Toyota, Meiko Satomura from Sendai Girls' Pro Wrestling, Risa Sera, Rutsuko Yamaguchi and Tsukasa Fujimoto from Ice Ribbon and male wrestlers Gota Ihashi, Hikaru Sato, Kota Ibushi and Michael Nakazawa from Dramatic Dream Team (DDT).[26][27] Also taking part in the event was former AJW ring announcer Nagaharu Imai, who died from gastric cancer just three months later on July 29.[28][29] According to Stardom, the event was attended by 5,500 fans.[30][31][32][33][34] A special movie edition of the event, featuring backstage material, was premiered at a theater in Ichikawa, Chiba and released on DVD on September 28.[35][36]

Results
No. Results[31][32][33] Stipulations Times[30]
1 Sumire Yoshino and Yui Yokoo defeated Risa Sera and Rutsuko Yamaguchi Tag team match 06:00
2 Miho Wakizawa defeated Manami Toyota Singles match with special guest ring announcer Nagaharu Imai 10:37
3 Gota Ihashi, Kota Ibushi, Lin Byron and Mayu Iwatani defeated Eri Susa, Hikaru Sato, Makoto and Michael Nakazawa Eight-person tag team match 12:02
4 Meiko Satomura defeated Takumi Iroha Singles match 10:54
5 Dark Angel defeated Act Yasukawa Singles match for the vacant Wonder of Stardom Championship 10:42
6 Natsuki☆Taiyo (c) defeated Yuhi Singles match for the High Speed Championship 12:06
7 Ho-Show Tennyo (Kairi Hojo and Natsumi Showzuki) defeated Kimura Monster-gun (Hailey Hatred and Kyoko Kimura) (c) Tag team match for the Goddesses of Stardom Championship 12:30
8 Mika Nagano, Nanae Takahashi and Tsukasa Fujimoto defeated Hiroyo Matsumoto, Kaori Yoneyama and Syuri Six-woman tag team match 14:21
9 Io Shirai defeated Alpha Female (c) Singles match for the World of Stardom Championship 12:54
10 Yoshiko defeated Yuzuki Aikawa Singles match 15:11
  • (c) – refers to the champion(s) heading into the match

Chapter Two[edit]

Stardom's roster at the promotion's third anniversary event in April 2014

Following Ryōgoku Cinderella, Stardom started what it referred to as "Chapter Two"; the post-Aikawa era.[37] The promotion attempted to fill the void left by Aikawa by giving a push to the new idol tag team of Kairi Hojo and Natsumi Showzuki, known collectively as Ho-Show Tennyo.[26][38] This plan was quickly foiled by Showzuki suffering a cervical spine injury in May 2013, which led to her quitting Stardom the following July.[39][40] Though she had already made some appearances for Stardom in 2012,[41] during 2013 Canadian wrestler Dark Angel became a regular part of the promotion's roster, holding the Wonder of Stardom Championship during the year.[37][42] Other foreigners joining the promotion included German wrestler Alpha Female, who held the World of Stardom Championship early in the year and the Artist of Stardom Championship later in the year.[42][43] On June 2, 2013, Stardom held its first event in Korakuen Hall following Aikawa's retirement, which was attended by 935 fans,[37][44][45] down from 1,250 for the previous event at the venue and the second lowest number of attendees ever drawn to the venue by the promotion.[43][46][47] Attendance also dropped in Shin-Kiba 1st Ring following Aikawa's departure from the promotion.[37][43] Stardom's August 17 event at Korakuen Hall was attended by 860 fans, the promotion's lowest attendance ever at the venue.[37][48] The promotion, however, finished 2013 on a high note, when their year-end event on December 29, headlined by an interpromotional title vs. title match between World of Stardom Champion Io Shirai and JWP Openweight Champion Arisa Nakajima, drew 1,450 fans to Korakuen Hall.[42][49][50] Meanwhile, Stardom continued trying to find a replacement for Yuzuki Aikawa and in late 2013 introduced gravure idol Yuuna Suzuki, who was billed as the "second Yuzupon" and made her debut for the promotion on January 12, 2014, under the ring name Yuna Manase.[51][52][53] She, however, resigned from the promotion just a year later, following a string of injuries.[54][55][56] On January 26, Natsuki☆Taiyo announced she would be retiring from professional wrestling on June 1.[57][58] Her retirement match drew 1,415 fans to Korakuen Hall.[59][60]

Chapter Three[edit]

Stardom's third chapter started on August 10, 2014, when Yoshiko, one of the promotion's original trainees, defeated Io Shirai for the World of Stardom Championship, ending her fifteen-month reign.[61] On September 23, 2014, Stardom established an American branch of the promotion with Melissa appointed as its president. Also announced was a contract with American internet streaming site ClickWrestle.[62] Stardom also announced that the promotion would celebrate its fourth anniversary in 2015 by running monthly shows in Korakuen Hall, becoming the first women's wrestling promotion in ten years to do so.[63] On November 3, another of one Stardom's veterans, Miho Wakizawa, announced she would be retiring from professional wrestling on December 23.[64][65] On December 17, Stardom announced that the promotion was moving its dojo from Shin-Kiba 1st Ring to Minato, Tokyo to a facility they now shared with DDT and Pro Wrestling Zero1.[10]

On February 22, 2015, Stardom's event in Korakuen Hall ended in controversy, when the main event, where Yoshiko defended the World of Stardom Championship against Act Yasukawa, had to be ended prematurely. The match reportedly saw Yoshiko shooting on Yasukawa, legitimately beating her to the point that the match had to be stopped. Following the match, Yasukawa, with a bloody and badly swollen face, was rushed to a Tokyo hospital,[66][67] where she was diagnosed with fractured cheek, nasal and orbital bones, which would require surgery.[68][69] Yasukawa had just two months earlier returned from a long injury break brought on by thyroid issues, during which she had also underwent cataract surgery.[66] Stardom's president Rossy Ogawa publicly apologized for the incident and called an emergency meeting for February 23 with General Manager Fuka and top wrestlers Nanae Takahashi, Io Shirai and Kyoko Kimura to discuss the situation.[70][71] The following day, Ogawa also had a meeting with an apologetic Yoshiko.[72] On February 25, Stardom held a press conference with Yoshiko, Ogawa, Fuka, Takahashi and Kimura, where Yoshiko publicly apologized for her actions, before being stripped of the World of Stardom Championship and suspended indefinitely. Ogawa, Fuka and Takahashi also announced they were taking a 30% paycut for the next three months. Finally, Stardom banned face punches from the promotion with a disqualification taking place on the first offense, announced that a ringside doctor would be assigned for all future events and named Kairi Hojo intermediary between the wrestlers and management in order to bring the two sides closer.[73][74][75] The incident received mainstream attention in Japan and became known as Seisan Matchi (凄惨マッチ?, "Ghastly Match").[76][77] Yasukawa eventually returned to the ring on September 23, 2015.[78][79]

Shortly after the incident, multiple Stardom wrestlers were sidelined with injuries, including top veteran wrestlers Nanae Takahashi and Kyoko Kimura,[80][81] leading to a situation in May, where three of the promotion's five championships had simultaneously been declared vacant.[80] On May 12, Stardom suffered another major blow, when one of the promotion's top wrestlers, founding members and trainers, Nanae Takahashi, announced in an interview with Tokyo Sports that she was leaving the promotion effective immediately. She had reportedly had a falling out with the promotion's management regarding Yoshiko's punishment following her incident with Yasukawa.[82] The resignation was confirmed in a press conference the following day by Takahashi and Rossy Ogawa.[83][84] On May 31, Rossy Ogawa announced that Yoshiko would not be returning from her suspension, but had instead decided to retire from professional wrestling.[85][86] Her retirement ceremony took place on June 14.[87][88] In September 2015, veteran wrestler Madusa was appointed the commissioner of Stardom.[89][90] In October 2015, Stardom held two shows in Los Angeles County, California.[91][92] On December 1, Act Yasukawa announced she would retire from professional wrestling on December 23.[93][94] Yasukawa's eyesight had not fully recovered from the incident with Yoshiko, leading to her doctor advising her to quit wrestling.[95] Yoshiko meanwhile returned to professional wrestling on January 11, 2016, now associated with Nanae Takahashi's new Seadlinnng promotion.[96]

Roster[edit]

Wrestlers[edit]

Ring name Real name Notes
Azumi Unknown
Chelsea Unknown Inactive
Evie Crowley, ChereeCheree Crowley Artist of Stardom Champion
Freelancer
Hiromi Mimura Hiromi Mimura
Hiroyo Matsumoto Matsumoto, HiroyoHiroyo Matsumoto Artist of Stardom Champion
S Ovation
Io Shirai Odate, MasamiMasami Odate World of Stardom Champion
Goddesses of Stardom Champion
Jungle Kyona Kyōna Yano
Kairi Hojo Kaori Housako
Kellie Skater Keating, CalleeCallee Keating Artist of Stardom Champion
Freelancer
Kris Wolf Kina Asok Inactive
Kyoko Kimura Kimura, KyokoKyoko Kimura Freelancer
Mayu Iwatani Mayu Iwatani High Speed Champion
Goddesses of Stardom Champion
Momo Watanabe Momo Watanabe
Santana Garrett Garrett, SantanaSantana Garrett Wonder of Stardom Champion
Starlight Kid Unknown

Staff[edit]

Name Notes
Barb Sasaki (Sena Sasaki) Referee
Fuka (Fuka Kakimoto) General Manager and ring announcer
Kyohei Wada Referee
Madusa (Debrah Miceli) Commissioner
Melissa (Melissa Anderson) Stardom USA president
Rossy Ogawa (Hiroshi Ogawa) President

Alumni[edit]

Ring name Real name Notes
Act Yasukawa
Act Ranger
Yasukawa, YukaYuka Yasukawa Retired on December 23, 2015.[97]
Arisa Hoshiki Unknown Retired on June 24, 2012.[98]
Eri Susa
Kokuko
Eriko Susa Resigned on December 1, 2013.[99]
Haruka Haruka Kumagai Went inactive following August 14, 2011.[98]
Iris Unknown Returned to native Mexico in April 2011.[9]
Koguma
Kogutan
Unknown Terminated on September 15, 2015.[100]
Maaya Unknown Went inactive in 2014.[101]
Mami Houjyou Mami Houjyou Trainee, quit before the promotion's inaugural event.[1]
Miho Wakizawa
Busu
Miho Wakizawa Retired on December 23, 2014.[102]
Mika Nagano Nagano, MikaMika Nagano Retired on February 6, 2014.[98]
Nanae Takahashi
Passion Seven
Takahashi, NanaeNanae Takahashi Resigned on May 12, 2015.[82]
Natsuki☆Taiyo
Passion 2 Gou
Passion Nakki
Mizushima, NatsumiNatsumi Mizushima Retired on June 1, 2014.[103]
Natsumi Showzuki
Konatsu
Natsumi Tokoda Resigned on July 31, 2013, after suffering a cervical spine injury.[39]
"Remei" Asuka Unknown Resigned on January 31, 2015.[104]
Reo Hazuki Unknown Went inactive in August 2015.[105]
Saki Kashima Saki Kashima Went inactive on February 9, 2013, with "poor health".[98]
Sumire Yoshino
Masked Manpuku
Kaori Okumura Fired on July 31, 2013.[39]
Takumi Iroha
Kendo Takumi
Airi Takubo Transferred to Marvelous on February 22, 2015.[106]
Yoko Bito Yoko Arai Retired on September 30, 2012, after suffering a cervical hernia.[98]
Yoshiko
Kintora
World of Tiger
Yoshiko Hirano Retired on May 31, 2015.[85]
Yuhi
Sunset☆JK
Unknown Zero1 Norainu Dojo representative. Wrestled final Stardom match before her retirement on March 16, 2014.[107]
Yui Yokoo
Marrabenta Machel Rubicon
Unknown Retired on March 31, 2014, after suffering a knee injury.[99]
Yuna Manase Yuuna Suzuki Resigned on March 8, 2015.[54]
Yuuri Haruka Haruka Kato Retired on December 31, 2012, after suffering an orbital floor fracture. Returned in October 2013 with Wrestling New Classic.[18]
Yuzuki Aikawa
Yuzupon Mask
Yuzuki Aikawa Retired on April 29, 2013.[98]

Guests[edit]

Championships[edit]

Championship Current champion(s) Date won Previous champion(s)
World of Stardom Championship Io Shirai December 23, 2015 Meiko Satomura
Wonder of Stardom Championship Santana Garrett November 23, 2015 Io Shirai
Goddesses of Stardom Championship Thunder Rock
(Io Shirai and Mayu Iwatani)
May 6, 2015 Nanakairi
(Kairi Hojo and Nanae Takahashi)
Artist of Stardom Championship Team Hyper Destroyers
(Evie, Hiroyo Matsumoto and Kellie Skater)
December 6, 2015 Candy Crush
(Chelsea, Kairi Hojo and Koguma)
High Speed Championship Mayu Iwatani October 11, 2015 Rosa Negra

Annual tournaments[edit]

Tournament Last winner(s) Last held Notes
5★Star Grand Prix Kairi Hojo September 23, 2015 Round-robin tournament with a head-to-head final match.[41][62][108][109]
Cinderella Tournament Mayu Iwatani April 23, 2015 One-day single-elimination tournament, where the winner gets a wish fulfilled.[110][111]
Goddesses of Stardom Tag League/Tournament Thunder Rock
(Io Shirai and Mayu Iwatani)
November 8, 2015 Tag team tournament held in a round-robin format in 2011, 2012 and 2014,[16][24][112] and in a single-elimination format in 2013 and 2015.[113][114]
Rookie of Stardom Jungle Kyona December 6, 2015 A tournament held at the end of the year and contested between wrestlers who made their debuts during the year. Has been held in various formats; in 2011, 2012 and 2015 as a single-elimination tournament,[16][24][115] in 2013 as one singles match,[42] and in 2014 as a three-way tomoe-sen match.[116]

References[edit]

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