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Stardom 101: Cosmic Angels

Welcome once again to another exciting edition of "Stardom 101", the series where I attempt to introduce new fans to one of the best wrestling companies going today, Stardom. Over the past few weeks, I've been going through the six factions that inhabit the promotion, all the while writing about each wrestler in as much detail as I can. Links for all the previous articles can be found down at the bottom of this page.


One day before I posted my third blog post, which was on God's Eye, reports came down that on the June 5th Stardom show, the freelance collective known as "COLOR's" all joined Cosmic Angels, which not only doubled the faction to eight members, but also made it the largest unit in all of Stardom.


This recent evolution of Cosmic Angels into a supergroup is both fascinating and exciting for a few reasons. One, I think I speak for all the current Stardom fans when I say that it's always nice to see good things happen to Tam Nakano, the leader of Cosmic Angels, as she's one of the most beloved figures in the promotion's history. Two, this could conceivably help the faction find more success in the numerous title races within Stardom, and oddly enough, outside Stardom. Three, this could trigger other factions to add more members from outside the promotion, which is something I'd love to see. And four, who doesn't love a good merger in wrestling?


We will get into how Cosmic Angels began when we get to Tam Nakano a little later on, but for now let's take a look at the titles and tournaments that members of CA have won since they all started in the promotion. Members of Cosmic Angels have won the following:

  • 1 Wonder of Stardom Championship - Tam Nakano (1 time)

  • 3 Artist of Stardom Championships - Mina Shirakawa (1 time), Tam Nakano (3 times), Unagi Sayaka (1 time)

  • 2 Future of Stardom Championships - Mina Shirakawa (1 time), Unagi Sayaka (1 time)

  • 1 Goddesses of Stardom Tag League Co-Winners - Tam Nakano (2019)

  • 1 Future Of Stardom Title Tournament Winner - Mina Shirakawa (2021)

  • 1 Dream Come True Tournament Winner - Tam Nakano (2018)

While the list above isn't nearly as impressive when compared to every other group we've covered, I will mention that some of the reigns above are among the best reigns for said belt. For example, I personally believe that Tam Nakano's run with the Wonder of Stardom Championship is one of, if not the greatest reign in the title's history.


As for the four women who make up the COLOR's crew, they haven't won anything yet in Stardom, but they have achieved some success outside the promotion in other Joshi companies.

  • 1 AWG Championship - Saki (Actwres Girl'z)

  • 1 International Ribbon Tag Team Championship - Hikari Shimizu & SAKI (Ice Ribbon)

  • 1 WAVE Tag Team Championship - Hikari Shimizu & SAKI (Pro Wrestling WAVE)

  • 3 Asia Dream Tag Team Championships - SAKI (Gatoh Move)

  • 1 One Of A Kind Tag League Co-Winner - SAKI (Gatoh Move)

Because of how new this merger between Cosmic Angels and COLOR's is, we're going to be doing something a little different this go around. Instead of talking about these wrestlers in alphabetical order, which we've done this whole time, we're going to begin by discussing the core four members of Cosmic Angels first, and then move on to COLOR's. This way, it doesn't feel like we're cycling back and forth between people who've all but recently been in vastly different factions. While talking about each crew, we will be listing them in alphabetical order.


So without further ado, let's kick off this fourth edition of "Stardom 101". Thank you once again for helping make the other three posts in this series the most successful wrestling articles I've ever written. There's way more where that came from!

 

Mina Shirakawa

"The Powerbomb to Your Heart"

Cosmic Angels Main

Photo Credit - @WrestlingShed on Twitter

Birthday - December 26th, 1987 in Tokyo, Japan

Debut - August 5th, 2018 with Shoko Nakajima vs. Matsumi Mamoru & Reika Saiki at "BBJ Muscle Ring" in Shinagawa Prince Hotel eX

Date Joined Faction - November 14th, 2020 at "Stardom Korakuen New Landscape" in Korakuen Hall

Titles/Tournaments Won - 1-time Artist of Stardom Co-Champion, 1-time Future of Stardom Champion, 2021 Future Of Stardom Title Tournament Winner

Rival(s) - Thekla

Long Story Sport Accolade(s) - N/A


While she might not be the best in-ring wrestler on the roster, Mina Shirakawa could easily make the case as being Stardom's most charismatic member. The Cosmic Angels' second in command is, in my estimation, one of the most magnetic wrestlers in all of Joshi, and is one of the first wrestlers newcomers gravitate to first, as I'd argue that she forms a bridge between the sports entertainment style of wrestling with Joshi. Suffice to say that if you're a WWE or AEW fan, Mina Shirakawa might serve as a helpful landing spot if you hope to get into the promotion.


Shirakawa started her pro wrestling career back in the middle of 2018 working for a pair of companies, Actwres girl'Z and the incredibly named "Best Body Japan Pro Wrestling". While she never really achieved a whole lot in AWG, Mina did become the first woman to win the BBW Women's Championship, which is the women's title sanctioned by Best Body, and held the title for 109 days. She would soon make her home at Tokyo Joshi Pro Wrestling, the same company that also gave us Natsupoi and MIRAI, where she would make regular appearances for a little less than two years. While she didn't earn any gold in TJPW, she was trusted in big matches, and she also took part in some contests over at DDT, which is the brother promotion to TJPW.


Truth be told, Mina's run in TJPW wasn't all that interesting as she was lost in the shuffle most of the time, and she didn't really stick out all too much. Luckily, soon after she wrestled her final match for the promotion in September 2020, she finally made her debut in Stardom. A little over a week after she made her debut in early October 2020, Shirakawa was invited to team up with Tam Nakano for that year's Goddesses of Stardom Tag League, which she accepted. The duo wouldn't find much success during this tournament, but the two felt an instant connection so they decided they'd continue to tag under their new name, "Cosmic Angels", as a subgroup of the STARS faction.


Following the subsequent inclusion of Unagi Sayaka into the Cosmic Angels crew in November, the trio defeated Oedo Tai to win the Artist of Stardom trios titles on December 16th, 2020. A few days later, the three members of Cosmic Angels defected from STARS to become their own independent faction. Mina, Tam, and Unagi held the Artist of Stardom straps for a record 291 days during which they successfully defended the belts seven times. During this reign, Mina also won a tournament to crown a new Future of Stardom Champion after the previous title holder, Saya Iida vacated the belt due to injury. Unfortunately, "Mina Two Belts" didn't last too long as she lost the Future of Stardom title to Unagi Sayaka not long after she won it.


Over the past year or so, Shirakawa has done a lot to show her worth within the company. She notched three victories during this most recent 5STAR Grand Prix. She challenged, albeit unsuccessfully, for Tam Nakano's Wonder of Stardom Championship, during which she introduced a new unhinged aspect to her character. Mina and Unagi then challenged for Hazuki and Koguma's Goddesses of Stardom tag titles in an underrated match. And she's put her self front and center in a few budding rivalries with some of Stardom's adjacent partners, namely the Prominence faction, COLOR's, and Haruka Umesaki. To me, seeing her as one of the gatekeepers, alongside the far more outspoken Unagi Sayaka, has been a highlight in 2022.


All in all, Mina Shirakawa has done quite a bit since she first arrived in Stardom a couple years ago. And while she's probably not destined to win any major title in the promotion, I believe that her spot as a mentor/gatekeeper figure within the company has given her many opportunities to shine.

GIF Credit: @tde_gif on Twitter

 

Tam Nakano

"Kagayaku Sutadamu Dorimu"

Cosmic Angels Main

Photo Credit - @tmtmtmx on Twitter

Birthday - March 22nd, 1988 in Aichi, Japan

Debut - July 18th, 2016 vs. Saori Anou at "AgZ Act 8" in Shin-Kiba 1st RING

Date Joined Faction - November 14th, 2020 at "Stardom Korakuen New Landscape" in Korakuen Hall

Titles/Tournaments Won - 1-time Wonder of Stardom Champion, 3-time Artist of Stardom Co-Champion, 2019 Goddesses Of Stardom Tag League Co-Winner, 2018 Dream Come True Tournament Winner

Rival(s) - Giulia, Mayu Iwatani, Syuri, Saya Kamitani, etc.

Long Story Sport Accolade(s) - N/A


While there are a few wrestlers in Stardom who I would count as being "my favorite", I don't think any of them have the ability to commit to her character and the ongoing storyline better than Tam Nakano. This woman, while diminutive in stature, is gargantuan when it comes to wrestling ability and connecting with the crowd. It's fair to say that while Mayu Iwatani, Syuri, and Utami Hayashishita certainly helped in making Stardom my number one promotion to watch, Tam Nakano might be the most important figure in my fandom thanks to her work in 2021.


What makes that assertion even more incredible is that Tam Nakano has only been actively wrestling for around six years. After spending her life working in numerous other disciplines, namely in dance, Nakano started her pro wrestling career over in Actwres girl'Z, making her debut in a singles match against the great Saori Anou. She would go on to work for many other companies in 2016-17, including in of all places DDT, All Japan, and FMW.


Nakano made a pretty large splash upon starting up in Stardom in fall 2017, as her debut in the promotion saw her take on, and subsequently defeat, Natsuko Tora to earn a spot in that year's 5STAR Grand Prix. And while she could only beat Konami to gain two points, her presence was felt. Additionally around that time, she would join the Kagetsu led "Oedo Tai" faction, which was slowly gaining momentum on its way to becoming the best unit in Stardom history.


Shockingly, Nakano's legendary run with Oedo Tai (which we'll dive into in full at some point in the future), was cut short after only four months, as she was forced to leave the faction on January 21st, 2018 after she took the losing fall in a gauntlet match where the loser had to depart whichever unit they were a part of. This angle was the first of many where Nakano could not only flex her strong in-ring ability, but also her peerless storytelling.


Nakano would follow her work in Oedo Tai with an equally lauded run as one of the founding members of the STARS faction, which was founded by Mayu Iwatani as the uber babyface crew of Stardom. The unit was mostly made up of some of Stardom's youngest wrestlers, so Nakano was counted on as a mentor figure, along with Iwatani. This union would last for a little more than two and a half years, during which Nakano would win the Artist of Stardom title on two occasions.


It would be malpractice for me to not include a note about Nakano's love/hate frenemy relationship with Arisa Hoshiki, who had rejoined Stardom in late 2018 and teamed up with her friend Mayu Iwatani in STARS. Hoshiki's inclusion into the unit flipped a switch in Nakano, who started having some tremendously physical wars around that time in her effort to not lose her esteemed spot within STARS. If you want to watch Nakano at her apex while in Iwatani's faction, check out her clash with Hoshiki from June 16th, 2019. Additionally, Nakano and Hoshiki proved to be a really strong tag team, as they defeated Bea Priestley and Jaime Hayter to win the 2019 Goddesses of Stardom Tag League.


Following many things that I can't get into right now lest this section get too long, cracks started to form with Nakano and the rest of STARS in late 2020. Instead of selecting another member of STARS, Nakano selected outsider Mina Shirakawa to be her partner for that year's Goddesses of Stardom Tag League. She was unable to choose Mayu Iwatani, as she had already selected Starlight Kid, and she couldn't work with Hoshiki again, as she had retired earlier that year. While the duo was unable to find much success in the Tag League, Shirakawa was added to the STARS faction in late October, and Nakano christened their tag team name as "Cosmic Angels".


On December 16th, 2020, Nakano, Shirakawa, and the newest member of Cosmic Angels, Unagi Sayaka, defeated Oedo Tai to win the Artist of Stardom titles, the third reign for Nakano. Four days later, on December 20th, 2020, Nakano announced right in Mayu Iwatani's face that she along with Shirakawa and Sayaka would be leaving STARS, thus making Cosmic Angels a fully independent faction, and that she and Iwatani would be rivals.


As all of this was going on, Nakano also became embroiled in a massive rivalry with Donna Del Mondo's leader, Giulia, which culminated in a hair vs. hair match for Giulia's Wonder of Stardom Championship on March 3rd, 2021. This match is as responsible for me becoming the Stardom fanatic I am today and is a must-watch for anyone who wants to see women's wrestling at it's finest.


Nakano won this match, and earned the Wonder of Stardom belt, which she held for 301 days and successfully defended six times. I personally think her reign with the White Belt is one of the best reigns in the title's history, thanks to her great clashes with Natsupoi, Saya Kamitani, and Mayu Iwatani. Additionally, her storyline while holding the title was also refreshing and fascinating to watch live. I won't ruin what that storyline was, just in case you want to watch it for yourself, and also because I plan on writing more about this reign down the road.


Since losing her title to Saya Kamitani on December 29th, 2021, Tam has been keeping busy building up the Cosmic Angels stable, as well as starting up what I can only hope becomes a more regular partnership with KAIRI, the former Kairi Sane for all you WWE fans, who returned to Stardom earlier this year. To me, she appears to be one of the top favorites to win this year's 5STAR Grand Prix, as she's also recently kickstarted a rivalry with Syuri, the current World of Stardom Champion. Regardless of what she does in the future, Tam Nakano has secured herself as one of the greatest wrestlers Stardom has ever had.

GIF Credit: @tde_gif on Twitter

 

Unagi Sayaka

Cosmic Angels Main

Photo Credit - @kidchyron on Twitter

Birthday - September 2nd, 1989 in Osaka, Japan

Debut - January 4th, 2019 with Yuki Kamifuku vs. Saki Akai and YUMI at "TJPW Tokyo Joshi Pro '19" in Korakuen Hall

Date Joined Faction - November 14th, 2020 at "Stardom Korakuen New Landscape" in Korakuen Hall

Titles/Tournaments Won - 1-time Artist of Stardom Co-Champion, 1-time Future of Stardom Champion

Rival(s) - Anyone who's joining Stardom

Long Story Sport Accolade(s) - N/A


Perhaps the oddest member of Cosmic Angels, Unagi Sayaka has vastly improved in the ring since she made her debut in Stardom back in late 2020. She's gone from being an adequate hand who would never win anything herself, to someone who's become a genuine title winning caliber competitor in a pretty short period of time. And this has been so fun to witness, because while it's taken time for her work in the ring to get to where it is today, she's always been able to connect with the fans.


The Eel Woman, as I like to call her, got her start in wrestling just three years ago when she teamed up with Yuki Kamifuku to take on Saki Akai and YUMI on TJPW's massive January 4th show in 2019. Just like with Mina Shirakawa, Unagi didn't find much success in the promotion, however she did spend her time wisely there. As she progressed in 2019 and 2020, Sayaka gained more and more experience working with wrestlers who've all succeeded in crafting recognizable gimmicks, like Maki Itoh and Hyper Misao.


Nevertheless, Unagi decided to try something completely different, and on November 11th, 2021 she made her debut for Stardom as the newest member of the Cosmic Angels subgroup within STARS. As mentioned earlier, she along with the other Cosmic Angels would win the Artist of Stardom trios titles in December, and they would leave STARS to become an independent faction soon after.


2021 was a seismic period for Sayaka, as she started the year taking part in a famous Japanese wrestling tradition, the trial match series. A trial match series is a set of singles contests a newer wrestler will take part in so that he or she can prove that they belong, both to the roster and to the fans. During her series, Sayaka took on the cunning Giulia, and speedster AZM, the iconic Mayu Iwatani, the powerhouse Himeka, the technical wizard Konami, the dastardly Bea Priestley, and the all-around dangerous Syuri, and she lost every single match. However, this series made Sayaka an instant fan favorite, as she showed guts and passion, and never gave up.


Suffice to say that the series worked perfectly, and Sayaka became one of the most popular wrestlers in Stardom. And this popularity rise came at the perfect time, because she then started to win matches. She reached the semifinals of the 2021 Cinderella Tournament after she beat Oedo Tai's leader Natsuko Tora and Syuri on the way. She, along with Mina and Tam, successfully defended the Artist of Stardom belts seven times, which is tied for the most ever. And she defeated Mina Shirakawa to win the Future of Stardom belt, a title she would successfully defend three times before losing it to Ruaka after 84 days.


Perhaps more importantly, she also became the de facto gatekeeper of Stardom, which is to say that she's usually the first person to challenge a new Stardom wrestler when they make their debut. So far, she's done this to Mai Sakurai, Waka Tsukiyama, MIRAI, Momo Kohgo, and for some hilarious reason, the returning KAIRI. It's recently come to the point where she'll try to do the same to wrestlers on shows that aren't even run by Stardom, like when she challenged Yuna Manase at a Ganbare Pro show. To me, these segments where Unagi interrupts a debutant's first promo are genuinely funny, even if I have no idea what she's saying.


Beyond challenging new signees, 2022 has been kind of quiet for Sayaka so far. She can be seen mostly working alongside Mina Shirakawa, and rest of Cosmic Angels, but I think my favorite thing she's been doing has been her work during Stardom's "New Blood" events. These shows are held to promote wrestlers who compete in smaller Joshi companies like Marvelous and Diana, and Unagi has taken part in both of them so far. Stardom is set to hold "New Blood 3" on July 8th, 2022, where she'll be teaming up with her fellow Cosmic Angels Mia Shirakawa, Rina Amikura, and Yuko Sakurai to take on Oedo Tai's Starlight Kid, Ruaka, and Rina, who are teaming up with Haruka Umesaki.


While Unagi Sayaka isn't in any major title hunt right now, I think her work over the past year and. a half has given a strong foundation within Stardom. To me, she's one of those wrestlers who could never win any title again and still be taken seriously, as she's formed a strong relationship with the fanbase. With that being said, I'd love to see her with the Wonder of Stardom belt one day, as I think her charisma alone would make that reign memorable.

GIF Credit: @tde_gif on Twitter

 

Waka Tsukiyama

Cosmic Angels Main

Photo Credit - Stardom

Birthday - January 26th, 1992 in New York City, New York, USA

Debut - September 6th, 2020 with Ayumi Hayashi vs. SAKI and Sakuran Bonita at "AWG Color's" in Tokyo Art Center White Studio

Date Joined Faction - September 28th, 2021 at a press conference preceding the "Stardom 10th Anniversary Grand Final Osaka Dream Cinderella" show

Titles/Tournaments Won - N/A

Rival(s) - Mai Sakurai, Winning

Long Story Sport Accolade(s) - N/A


Around mid to late 2021, several Joshi talent outside of Stardom all elected to leave their promotions at about the same time. Some women I remember doing this included Mirai Maiumi from TJPW, Mei Hoshizuki and Kohaku from Marvelous, and this competitor, Waka Tsukiyama, from Actres girl'Z. In the grand scheme of things, I'll be honest that Waka was at the bottom of my list when it came to who I believed would work well if she moved to Stardom, but in retrospect, I'm glad she has. While she's clearly not at the level of practically everyone else is in the ring, there's little doubt that she has carved her own niche as the ultimate underdog. You see, Waka has never once won a singles match in her entire career, dating back to her days before Stardom.


As she is the ultimate loser/underdog of Stardom, I think it's important that we shift from her accolades, to which she has none, to how she's been developing over the past 10 months. First off, Waka has become a much better in-ring worker in her short run so far. She's started to look more confident in the ring, and has even pulled out some impressive offense moves, including the one in the gif below. While she's clearly not at the level of any of the way more successful talents on the roster, she's been able to put out some impressive performances, especially with the younger talents.


Secondly, Waka has absolutely nailed the presentation of her character. Before every Cosmic Angels match, the members do a synchronized dance. This is unfortunate for Waka as she is a terrible dancer. So instead of successfully catching on with her teammates, she'll fling her arms around in an attempt to look like she's trying.


And finally, Waka's hunt for her first victory has truly captured the imagination of many Stardom fans, both in Japan and online. You can't go one day without reading a comment online where someone is cheering on Waka to finally notch a victory, whether that's in a match with any of the rookies, Prominence's Suzu Suzuki, or of course, Mai Sakurai, with whom she has a pretty hot rivalry.


Waka's rivalry with Sakurai stems from Sakurai's departure from Cosmic Angels back in February. Since joining Donna Del Mondo, Waka's former friend has constantly put down and bullied Waka, making every one of their clashes a must-watch event. Here's hoping Waka can finally shut up Sakurai in the future.


And that's about it. Waka is a work in progress at this time, but she's certainly improved immensely over her tenure in Stardom. While I don't see her ever touching any of the major titles in the promotion, I could absolutely see her race to win number one culminating in a big moment, not just for her, but for the Stardom fanbase.

GIF Credit: @tde_gif on Twitter

 

Hikari Shimizu

Cosmic Angels/COLOR'S

Photo Credit: Reddit

Birthday - April 23rd, 1993 in Uwajima, Ehime, Japan

Debut - March 5th, 2017 vs. Tam Nakano at "AgZ Act 16" in Shin-Kiba 1st RING

Date Joined Faction - June 5th, 2022 at "Stardom" in Korakuen Hall

Titles/Tournaments Won - N/A

Rival(s) - N/A

Long Story Sport Accolade(s) - N/A


Moving on to the first member of the COLOR's segment of Cosmic Angels, let's talk a little bit about my personal favorite member, Hikari Shimizu. The thing that'll instantly become clear when you watch Shimizu wrestle is that she's one of the best kickers in the Joshi scene. She might be the most creative kicker in Stardom today, aside from maybe Mayu Iwatani, and that goes a long way in making her one of my favorites, both in and out of Stardom.


Shimizu has wrestled for multiple companies during her five-year career, including in Pure-J and Pro Wrestling WAVE, but she's easily most synonymous with her work in a promotion you've all are becoming sick of reading, Actwres girl'Z. In fact, it was at AWG where Shimizu started her career in a match against none of than Tam Nakano on March 16th, 2017. Following her loss to Nakano, Shimizu actually won her second match, a three-way with Nao Kakuta and Teruko Kagawa, on March 26th. Following several months where she continued to hone her craft, she earned the opportunity to take part in a tournament to crown the first AWG champion. Unfortunately, she would lose in the first round to Himeka Arita, who currently wrestles for Stardom as Himeka.


If you ask me, probably the most important thing to happen in Shimizu's career was when she started tagging with SAKI more regularly in late 2020. The duo now known "galazyPunch!" found success pretty quickly, as the duo reached the semifinals of a tournament AWG held to crown the promotion's inaugural tag team championships, only to lose to the eventual winners "SPiCEAP". However, they would go on to earn some gold in 2021, when they won the WAVE Tag Team Titles, which they held for 175 days while notching strong defenses against the likes of Sakura Hirota and Yuki Miyazaki, and Nagisa Nozaki and Takumi Iroha. This run with the belts helped establish Hikari as a more respected threat, just as her tag team partner had already achieved.


When Actress girl'Z announced that they would be shuttering their wrestling promotion, which has seemingly been overturned since, Shimizu joined her tag team partner, SAKI, as well as two other AWG wrestlers Rina Amikura and Yuko Sakurai in a newly created freelance faction called COLOR's. The goal of this faction was to continue the legacy of the brand with the same name that ran events under the AWG banner. This meant that they would attempt to bring the same energy and excitement that was found on those shows. Since officially forming in 2022, COLOR's have ran three events, all of which I haven't been able to watch yet.


While she's doing some work in Stardom now with Cosmic Angels, Shimizu is also taking time to work for a number of other promotions, most notably in WAVE and Ice Ribbon. She and SAKI defeated the mother and daughter pairing of Hamuko and Ibuki Hoshi for Ice Ribbon's "International Ribbon Tag Team" titles on March 27th. They then defended said belts against Tsukasa Fujimoto and Kaho Matsushita in a strong match, before losing the belts in their next defense on May 4th.


Additionally, she had perhaps the best first round match during Ice Ribbon's world title tournament, where she lost to Saori Anou, and she was also named as one of the participants of the "Catch the WAVE" tournament over at Pro Wrestling WAVE. This is probably the most famous annual Joshi tournament outside of Stardom or TJPW, so being a part of it is a big deal. In her three matches so far, I'd say her strongest effort was against Nagisa Nozaki on night one.


As a fan of Shimizu's work for the past year, I'm truly happy to see her flourish on ever growing stages across Japan. I think that her continued presence in Stardom will not only make her a better in-ring wrestler, but perhaps even one of the company's more popular figures, if she is eventually signed full-time. In short, I'm looking forward to what the future holds for her.

GIF Credit: @tde_gif on Twitter

 

Rina Amikura

Cosmic Angels/COLOR'S

Photo Credit: @nakawankuma on Twitter

Birthday - January 20th, 1995 in Japan

Debut - May 13th, 2018 vs. Kakeru Sekiguchi at "AgZ Act 30" in KFC Hall

Date Joined Faction - June 5th, 2022 at "Stardom" in Korakuen Hall (NOTE: Not totally official)

Titles/Tournaments Won - N/A

Rival(s) - N/A

Long Story Sport Accolade(s) - N/A


Rina Amikura is an interesting inclusion to this blog as she's actually not yet appeared as an official Cosmic Angels member as of writing. She was added to the group, even in her absence, as Mina Shirakawa did introduce her along with the other COLOR's members, so while many websites appear to say that only three women were added to CA, the translation found on the show itself indicates that Rina is with the faction, unless Shirakawa was mistaken.


Amikura started her career in May 2018 over at Actwres girl'Z, but she really didn't get going at a more consistent level until late October 2019. After spending most of her time exclusively working at AWG, she would finally branch out and work around Japan, first in WAVE, but later in Diana and Gatoh Move. It was at the latter promotion where I finally got my first look at what she could do. On four shows, all of which can be watched on YouTube for free, Amikura displayed her unmistakable charisma as she sang her theme song on her very first appearance for the promotion, her ability to work well with all kinds of opponents from the wickedly talented Mei Suruga, to a more up-and-coming talent like Sayaka, and of course, her unconditional love for mayonnaise.


If you ask me, Rina Amikura's most interesting run, until she finally does start to more regularly appear for Stardom, is actually her work she's doing right now in Ice Ribbon. As of writing, she's currently working in a newly minted trio called "KISSmeT Princess", a faction where all three members are acting like princesses for some reason. All of this is played for laughs, and perfectly fits the vibe that Ice Ribbon is going for as they commence their latest roster rebuild. It's unclear right now how Rina's specific ties with Ice Ribbon will effect her potential at Stardom, as the two promotions here absolutely hate each other, but we do know based on Mina's rollcall I mentioned earlier, that she's currently with Cosmic Angels.


Unfortunately there's not much else more to say. I personally don't see Amikura work all that often to give her a judgement, but from what I've seen so far, her charisma is probably high enough that she should at least be given a chance in Stardom. Her wrestling ability is also pretty good, but it might not serve her so well while working for a roster as strong as Stardom's is right now. Suffice to say, don't be surprised if she becomes the pin eater in the same way Waka Tsukiyama is for the core Cosmic Angels squad moving forward.

GIF Credit: @tde_gif on Twitter

 

SAKI

"Battle Girl Of Love & Justice"

Cosmic Angels/COLOR's

Photo Credit: Stardom

Birthday - February 12th, 1988 in Kisarazu, Chiba, Japan

Debut - December 29th, 2012 with MIZUKI vs. Shinobu Kandori and Takako Inoue at a LLPW-X show in Akasaka BLITZ

Date Joined Faction - June 5th, 2022 at "Stardom" in Korakuen Hall

Titles/Tournaments Won - N/A

Rival(s) - N/A

Long Story Sport Accolade(s) - N/A


Continuing on, let's talk about the leader of the COLOR's coalition, SAKI. The 34-year-old is in the middle of her 10th year of her career, and has found much success around the scene during that time. She's the only member of the COLOR's crew to have won a singles title as of writing, and has also earned five tag team reigns across the Joshi scene.


SAKI started her career working for the "Ladies Legend Pro Wrestling-X" promotion, and has subsequently worked for multiple companies around Japan, including in Gatoh Move, Pro Wrestling WAVE, Ice Ribbon, Marvelous, SEAdLINNNG, REINA, Pure-J, and Actwres girl'Z, among many others. She's even competed in some co-ed wrestling feds like Wrestle-1, DDT, and FREEDOMS. Because of all of her experiences working for multiple promotions, she's become proficient in most styles of wrestling from the more comedic style found in DDT and Gatoh Move to the deathmatch style found in FREEDOMS.


From 2014 to 2019, SAKI spent most of her time wrestling for the Gatoh Move promotion, where she won the Asia Dream Tag Team Championships once with TJPW's Mizuki and twice with Yuna Mizumori. As of writing, she's the only wrestler to have held these titles three times, and her final reign with Mizumori currently sits as the third longest reign at 364 days. And while she wrestles all over the place today, she still finds time to show up at Gatoh Move from time to time.


Around the start of the pandemic in 2020, SAKI elected to spend more time over at Actwres girl'Z, and on April 4th, 2021, she defeated Miyuki Takase to become the fourth, and as of writing final, AWG Champion. After she spent 270 days as champion, and defending the belt against the likes of Misa Matsui, Hikari Shimizu, and Miku Aono, SAKI vacated the title December 30th, 2021 when AWG ceased operations.


SAKI then started the COLOR's crew toward the end of 2021 along with the three other members listed in this section, and together they've spent 2022 wrestling all over the scene. SAKI and Hikari Shimizu have done some work together as the aforementioned galaxyPunch! tag team and she's also been found working in other contests over in Tokyo Joshi Pro Wrestling, SEAdLINNNG, and Pro Wrestling WAVE, where she's currently competing in this year's "Catch the Wave" tournament.


Additionally, she's become a mainstay on the freelancer scene, as she's co-run events under the COLOR's banner, as well as on the first ever "NOMADS" event. Suffice to say that her inclusion into Stardom's ranks recently isn't the only thing SAKI is in the middle of right now.


It's unclear how she'll be utilized in Stardom, but given her high acumen in a number of styles, I wouldn't be surprised if she was allowed to challenge for some titles during her stay in the company. I don't see her ever winning a belt in the promotion until she's signed, but she certainly has the ability and knowhow to be a top star in Stardom if she elects to stay here long term.

GIF Credit: @tde_gif on Twitter

 

Yuko Sakurai

Cosmic Angels/COLOR's

Photo Credit: @nakawankuma on Twitter

Birthday - August 28th, 1991 in Ehime, Japan

Debut - November 15th, 2018 vs. Yumiko Hotta, Ayumi Hayashi, and Misa Matsui at "AgZ Actwres girl'Z In Korakuen" in Korakuen Hall

Date Joined Faction - June 5th, 2022 at "Stardom" in Korakuen Hall

Titles/Tournaments Won - N/A

Rival(s) - N/A

Long Story Sport Accolade(s) - N/A


We're going to finish our Cosmic Angels introductory course with a brief look at Yuko Sakurai. Sakurai could be compared to Waka Tsukiyama, as her role as of writing is to take the losing pin in multi-woman matches. Aside from that, Sakurai has had a pretty interesting run, albeit a short one, so far.


Sakurai started her career back in late 2018 for the often mentioned Actwres girl'Z promotion. During her career with AWG and other Joshi promotions, she took part in many matches against some of the scene's best, and even sported some surprising victories against some notable opponents like Ami Sourei, Sakura Hirota, Nao Ishikawa, and Yappy.


When Actwres girl'Z announced that they would be leaving the pro wrestling business, Yuko joined Hikari Shimizu, Rina Amikura, and SAKI to start the COLOR's freelance faction and they would model their business strategy in a similar way Prominence has done since their creation around a month prior. Instead of coming together to champion a style of wrestling, however, COLOR's would attempt to replicate the feel of a classic Actwres girl'Z event, filled with go vibes and dancing along with the usual wrestling action.


Since she made her final appearance for AWG in December, 2021, during which she wrestled Momo Kohgo to a five minute draw, she has bounced around the scene working for companies like Ice Ribbon, Gatoh Move, and WAVE, and has also taken part in shows put on by the COLOR's faction.


She, along with her fellow COLOR's teammates, first made an appearance for Stardom on the April 29th event, and immediately confronted Cosmic Angels. As we now know, this rivalry concluded on June 5th when the COLOR's crew lost a match against the Cosmic Angels and became incorporated into the group. We will see how the COLOR's side of CA will be utilized, as they have not been signed to Stardom as of writing, but their inclusion has made CA the largest faction in the promotion.


All in all, there's not a whole lot to say about Yuko right now, but given how busy she is with COLOR's, Ice Ribbon, WAVE, and now Stardom, I'm optimistic that this increased workload could help her progress as an in-ring talent. Let's see where she's at in a few months.

GIF Credit: @tde_gif on Twitter

 

Former Member of Cosmic Angels


Mai Sakurai - (8/13/2021 - 2/12/2022) - Left Cosmic Angels to join Donna Del Mondo so that she could focus more on wrestling and less on dancing. She has since found way more success, and even challenged for the Goddesses of Stardom titles with Giulia at the "Flashing Champions" show on May 28th. She is currently in an emotional feud with Waka Tsukiyama, with whom she use to team.

 

BEST SURE TO COME BACK NEXT WEEK WHEN WE'LL COVER STARS!

 

Special thanks to WhoScored, Transfermarkt, Baseball Reference, Baseball Savant, Fangraphs, Cagematch, and 1.02.JP for helping make me a more well-informed fan.


Featured Image Credit - @kas2_star on Twitter


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Contact me at AndrewSoS@protonmail.com if you'd like to write for Long Story Sport or if you have any general requests, questions, or comments.

 

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