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Stardom 101: God's Eye

Updated: Aug 27

Hello and welcome once again to another edition of "Stardom 101", the series where I talk about the women who currently compete for the best wrestling company in the world today, Stardom. Over the past couple of weeks, I've covered Queen's Quest and Donna Del Mondo, two of Stardom's more ingrained factions, but today I'm going to be writing about the wrestlers who make up the newest unit, God's Eye.


Starting back in late-March of this year by reigning World of Stardom champion Syuri, God's Eye has since grown to four members, albeit one is currently away from the promotion. If I was to describe the group, even though it's yet to really capture a firm identity, God's Eye is a unit that exists so that wrestlers can go to be mentored by Syuri, who is not only the current red belt holder, but also one of the most widely respected women's wrestlers in the world today.


If there was another thing that connected these wrestlers, it would be that they all somewhat wrestle a similar style, in that they all hit hard and usually have the most physical matches on any give card. Sure, they can be fun and entertaining like the rest of Stardom's roster, but they thrive in the heat of a match.


While they haven't lasted all that long as a crew, the combined forces of Ami Sourei, Konami, MIRAI, Syuri, and now Tomoka Inaba have succeeded quite a bit in their careers so far. They haven't achieved as much as the other units we've already covered, but in their defense, the members of God's Eye have served a combined eight and a half years for the promotion, which is less time than AZM has spent in Stardom alone. If you want to see what else they've achieved in other promotions, I'd suggest searching their profiles on Cagematch. In total, the members of G.E. have won the following:

  • 1 World of Stardom Championship

  • 3 Goddesses of Stardom Championships

  • 3 Artist of Stardom Championships

  • 1 SWA Undisputed World Championship

  • 1 5STAR Grand Prix Winner

  • 1 Cinderella Tournament Winner

So without further delay, let's take a look at the four members of God's Eye. As we've done with the other two posts I've done so far, I'll be writing about these women in alphabetical order, starting with Ami Sourei, and ending with the newest member, Tomoka Inaba. Thank you as always for helping to make "Stardom 101" easily my most successful venture on this blog, and I hope you enjoy. If you haven't already, definitely consider checking out the other two posts.

 

Ami Sourei

Photo Credit: @nakawankuma on Twitter

Debut - August 14, 2020 vs. noki-A at "AWG Act In Korakuen Hall"

Date Joined Faction - March 26th, 2022 at "Stardom World Climax - Night 1: The Best"

Titles/Tournaments Won - N/A

Rival(s) - Saya Iida

Long Story Sport Accolade(s) - Faction of the Month (May 2022)


Back in March, when it became clear that Syuri was going to leave Donna Del Mondo, the reigning World of Stardom champion announced that a new face would serve as her bodyguard for her then upcoming title defense against Giulia on March 26th. That woman ended up being the first God's Eye member we're going to talk about, Ami Sourei.


Sourei started her professional wrestling career back in mid 2020 over at the Actwres Girl'z promotion, which is the same place where fellow Stardom wrestlers like Himeka and Mai Sakurai got their starts. Sourei made her debut on August 14th against noki-A, a woman with whom she would later team up with for a little while. While she was certainly best known for her work in AWG, the then named "Ami Miura" also wrestled for other promotions around the independent joshi scene, including Sendai Girls, Diana, and most notably WAVE.


Looking at her career before arriving in Stardom, you will probably notice that Ami has a few things in common with Himeka, a wrestler I wrote about in my "Donna Del Mondo" post. Both wrestlers are much taller than the average Joshi competitor, with both standing at 5 feet 7 inches tall, both of them traveled around and made a name for themselves as two of the independent scene's best young powerhouses, although it must be said that Sourei has a more "jack of all trades" style of wrestling than Himeka does, and they each battled many future Stardom wrestlers who were also starting their own careers, particularly in AWG.


Probably the most important moment in Sourei's pre-Stardom career was when she took part in the 2021 Catch of WAVE tournament, during which Sourei wrestled the likes of Momo Kohgo (who's now in Stardom) and Tomoka Inaba (who's in Just Tap Out and also occasionally wrestles for Stardom). She wasn't able to advance far in the tournament, but she definitely earned more buzz after her appearance because many eyes typically descend on WAVE during this yearly competition. Probably the other most important moment of Sourei's early career was when she somehow defeated AWG's then ace Miyuki Takase on December 18th, 2021, which just so happened to be her final match before joining Stardom. (Note: We will also be talking about Takase very soon)


Since joining Stardom, I think it would be fair to say that Sourei hasn't really found herself in many major singles clashes. As of writing, she's been in two straight up singles matches and one three-way, although she has won two of those three. The only singles loss she's had so far was against Syuri in a near 10-minute bout during the first sound of the Cinderella Tournament. Beyond that, she's mostly taken part in multi-woman tag team matches with her God's Eye teammates, as well in some clashes with other rookie level competitors, like the aforementioned Momo Kohgo. She's also developing a budding rivalry with STAR's resident powerhouse, Saya Iida, in recent months.


But with all that being said, I think that there are some big things planned for Sourei in the future. She's still getting used to the Stardom style, but there have been glimpses of her potential brilliance in my opinion. While it's hard to track where her career might go (ie: titles, tournament wins, etc), I think she's in a good place right now within the ranks of God's Eye, and someone to watch.


GIF Credit: @tde_gif on Twitter

 

MIRAI

"Tohoko Strong Soul"

Photo Credit: Stardom

Debut - May 3rd, 2019 with YUMI vs. Nodoka Tenma and Yuki Aino at "TJPW Yes! Wonderland 2019"

Date Joined Faction - April 3rd, 2022 at "Stardom Cinderella Tournament 2022 Night 1"

Titles/Tournaments Won - 2022 Cinderella Tournament Winner

Rival(s) - Practically all of Donna Del Mondo

Long Story Sport Accolade(s) - Faction of the Month (May 2022)


Back in August of 2021, the Joshi community learned that one of Tokyo Joshi Pro Wrestling's best up-and-coming wrestlers, Mirai Maiumi, would be leaving the promotion to search for new opportunities elsewhere. While Maiumi had found a little bit of success, particularly in her tag team with Suzume in "BeeStar", many of us thought that her talent was not being utilized to its highest degree.


As someone who's favorite style of wrestling is that "strong style" striking form you mostly see on New Japan shows, MIRAI's in-ring ability has always impressed me. Even when she was toiling away against some of the undercard talent over at TJPW, it was obvious to me that this young wrestler was destined to be one of the best Joshi in her generation if used properly. If I would compare her to a more established wrestler, I think it would be someone like Satoshi Kojima, mainly because her offense revolves around her lariats, which always look devastating and powerful.


Backing up a little bit, MIRAI started her career with TJPW back in 2019 after competing in Judo for much of her childhood. From the start, she mostly worked in a lot of multi-woman matches. As TJPW doesn't do factions all that often, MIRAI had to find other ways to standout. Initially she was able to do this thanks to her sheer size and raw strength. She wasn't as tall as someone like Sakisama, but she was probably the promotion's best powerhouse at that time. As her career in TJPW progressed, she was able to improve her in-ring ability to the point where you could argue that she was the second or third best wrestler in the company, behind only those who were competing for the top title, which might I add is something MIRAI never even got close to challenging for during her run.


So Maiumi's departure from TJPW in August 2021 was somewhat exciting for many of us fans because quite frankly, her ceiling in that promotion was clearly only so high. While MIRAI was and still is a tremendous in-ring competitor, she's always been a little dry and definitely not someone who has the over the top personality that the powers that be in TJPW look for in a top star.


Months later in late 2021, three women clad in horrifying masks started to attack wrestlers on Stardom shows. One of these women was revealed to be Giulia, who would later announce that the two other assailants were going to unveil themselves on January 3rd, 2022 and become the newest members of Donna Del Mondo. And low and behold, when they unmasked on that very day, MIRAI showed herself to be one of said members, while the other ended up being Thekla.


MIRAI's time in Donna Del Mondo was brief, but it was impactful. After spending her first several shows once again toiling in multi-woman tag matches, albeit this time within a faction, she started to take part in some pretty intriguing singles clashes pretty regularly as well. She took Unagi Sayaka to a 15-minute time limit on January 16th. She was selected to take on new Stardom rookie Miyu Amasaki in the latter's second career singles match. And she challenged Utami Hayashishita to a match as well in March.


But if you ask me, MIRAI has had four critical moments that has made her decision to move to Stardom the correct one.

  1. First, she was the first wrestler to challenge Syuri for the World of Stardom Championship, and fought her in a 27-minute epic of a main event during the show that I called my favorite from January.

  2. Second, she decided to leave Donna Del Mondo to follow Syuri as she felt a closer connection to her than to anyone in DDM.

  3. Third, she joined wrestlers like Mayu Iwatani and Toni Storm when she won the Cinderella Tournament. On the road to winning, MIRAI defeated Mina Shirakawa, Saki Kashima, Natsupoi, and Koguma.

  4. And fourth, she competed in a thrilling match against Saya Kamitani for the Wonder of Stardom title during the "Flashing Champions" event in May. That match specifically is a must-watch, if you ask me.

All in all, MIRAI's story in Stardom so far is that she's quickly shed the idea that her stock as a wrestler has a ceiling. In a very short period of time, she's already found herself in more main events in half a year than she had during her entire TJPW run, and she's proven that she can hang with the best of them. I'm definitely predisposed to enjoying MIRAI as she wrestles the exact style I enjoy the most, but I objectively believe that she's quickly blossomed into one of the top workers in Stardom in 2022. Watch out for her to win a major singles title in the next few years.


GIF Credit: @tde_gif on Twitter

 

Syuri

"Karate Girl"

Photo Credit: Stardom

Debut - October 26th, 2008 with HG and RG vs. Monster C, Onigumo, & Piranha Monster at "HUSTLE Hustle Tour 2008 Night 8"

Date Joined Faction - March 26th, 2022 at "Stardom World Climax - Night 1: The Best"

Titles/Tournaments Won - 1-time World of Stardom Champion, 1-time Goddesses of Stardom Co-Champion, 1-time Artist of Stardom Co-Champion, 1-time SWA Undisputed World Champion, 2021 5STAR Grand Prix Winner

Rival(s) - Giulia, Utami Hayashishita, Mayu Iwatani

Long Story Sport Accolade(s) - Female Wrestler of the Year (2021, Japan), Female Tag Team of the Year (2021), Female Match of the Year (2021), Female Feud of the Year (2021), Faction of the Month (March & May 2022)


If you go by the accolades that I've given out since I started writing about this sport on my blog, Syuri has been my favorite wrestler not only in Stardom, but perhaps in the world. I think it would be fair to say that many of you reading this were probably made aware of Stardom thanks to Syuri's incredible run of matches against the likes of Momo Watanabe and Utami Hayashishita from the second half of 2021. To me, someone who is also relatively new to Stardom, this wrestler is as much responsible for my fandom in the promotion than anyone else on the roster, except for maybe Mayu Iwatani.


Syuri might be synonymous with Stardom now, but it might be surprising to know that she's only been a full-time member of the roster for about two and a half years. Like many wrestlers we've already talked about over the past couple weeks, Syuri spent many years honing her craft in just about every relevant Joshi promotion before making the move to Rossy Ogawa's company. The leader of God's Eye has previously worked for promotions like Ice Ribbon, WAVE, SEAdLINNNG, OZ Academy, Actwres Girl'z, Marvelous, DDT, GLEAT, and Just Tap Out. She's also competed in real kickboxing and MMA fights, culminating in her taking part in four fights for the UFC.


If you ask me, Syuri's pre-Stardom career, while really solid on it's own, is made more interesting because of her association with two other Joshi wrestlers who are way more famous than she is, AEW's Hikaru Shida and WWE's Asuka. Syuri's connection with Shida is actually really easy to qualify as these two worked as a notable tag team in the mid-2010s. Over their run, Shida and Syuri won the Sendai Girls Tag Team Championships, the OZ Academy World Tag Team Championships, and the REINA World Tag Team Championships. Even though I don't know much about these reigns right now, I can only assume that they all featured some really strong title defenses considering the level of talent of some of their opponents.


On the other end, we have Syuri's association with Asuka, who was then known as Kana. According to some who were paying attention to Joshi wrestling back in the early 2010s, Syuri and Kana were in some wars back in the day. If you go on YouTube right now and search for matches between these two, you'll find a treasure trove, especially from the SMASH promotion. These two seemed so attached to the hip, in fact, that when Kana left to join WWE in 2015, Syuri took on Kana's protege, Konami, as I mentioned before in Konami's section.


Moving swiftly on to her run in Stardom so far, Syuri finally joined the promotion on January 19th, 2020 as the third member of Giulia's new stable "Donna Del Mondo". As one of the independent scene's most respected wrestlers, her presence in the group helped make DDM less of a pure heel unit, as it was perceived by most fans at the time, to way more of a tweener group, which has more or less stayed like that ever since.


Syuri firmly planted herself as the number two under Giulia as well as the emotional counterweight to the leader as well. She was in a lot of ways the heart of the group in its early run. Syuri's place in DDM helped that group launch itself into some of the top storylines Stardom was running at the time, most notably the one between DDM and Tokyo Cyber Squad. I already mentioned this in my Donna Del Mondo write-up, but Giulia's clashes with Hana Kimura are required viewing.


As a member of DDM, Syuri won four titles. First, she along with Giulia and Maika won the Artist of Stardom Championships against Queen's Quest. They held the trios belts for most of 2020 before losing the straps to Oedo Tai. Around that time, Syuri defeated Bea Priestly to take the SWA Undisputed World Championship, which she would hold for 419 days before vacating it to focus on another title we'll mention in a bit. The third title Syuri won was the Goddesses of Stardom tag belts, which she and Giulia took from Maika and Himeka at Stardom's 4/4/21 show. Giulia and Syuri would later christen themselves as "Alto Livello Kabaliwan", which was a name that celebrated both Giulia's Italian familial connection. and Syuri's Filipino heritage, and they would famously run rough shot on Stardom's tag team division for nine months before losing the titles to Hazuki and Koguma of FWC.


"ALK" was named my personal favorite female tag team of the year in 2021, but it wasn't the only accolade Syuri also received from this blog. She also won awards as one half of my favorite female match of the year, my favorite female rivalry of the year, and was also crowned my favorite female wrestler of 2021 from Japan (Bianca Belair won for North America). Much of why I gave her these awards came from the second half of 2021, when Syuri basically became the best bout machine in women's wrestling.


Starting from her now legendary 43 minute epic against Utami Hayashishita for the World of Stardom Championship on June 12th, 2021, to right now, Syuri has quite simply been on a string of matches that almost one one in the sport can replicate. She's had the following classics, all of which I can't recommend enough (Note: the number beside the event name indicates my match rating.

  1. July 30th, 2021 vs. Saya Kamitani (5STAR Grand Prix Night 1, 9/10)

  2. August 1st, 2021 vs. Maika (5STAR Grand Prix Night 2, 8/10)

  3. August 7th, 2021 vs. AZM (5STAR Grand Prix Night 3, 8/10)

  4. September 25th, 2021 vs. Takumi Iroha (5STAR Grand Prix Night 17, 9/10)

  5. September 25th, 2021 vs. Momo Watanabe (5STAR Grand Prix Night 17, 10/10) - This was a Match of the Year Finalist for 2021. And yes, it did happen on the same day that Syuri fought Iroha.

  6. November 3rd, 2021 vs. AZM (Kawasaki Super Wars, 8/10)

  7. November 27th, 2021 vs. Konami (Tokyo Super Wars, 9/10)

  8. December 29th, 2021 vs. Utami Hayashishita (Dream Queendom, 10/10) - This was when Syuri won the World of Stardom Championship and was another Match of the Year finalist for 2021

  9. January 29th, 2022 vs. MIRAI (Nagoya Supreme Fight, 9/10)

  10. March 26th, 2022 vs. Giulia (World Climax Night 1, 9/10)

  11. March 27th, 2022 vs. Mayu Iwatani (World Climax Night 2, 9/10)

  12. April 29th, 2022 vs. Himeka (Cinderella Tournament Final, 9/10)

  13. May 23rd, 2022.vs. ASUKA/VENY (Hana Kimura Memorial "Bagus", 9/10) - This match took place at a show not held by Stardom and can be found on FITE.

  14. May 28th, 2022 vs. Risa Sera (Flashing Champions, 8/10)

Just look at the sheer amount of different styles of wrestler up there. Syuri's had bangers against high speed wrestlers like AZM, powerhouses like Maika and Utami, high-flyers like Saya Kamitani, technicians like Konami, and "big match" farmers like Takumi Iroha. Scores like these also indicate that Syuri, even as the world champion of Stardom, is more than willing to be a giving participant in a match. This is proven with her first defense against newcomer MIRAI as well as her non-title clash with freelancer ASUKA, who's not even wrestled once for Stardom. It's no wonder that Syuri is one of the most highly respected figures in Joshi, and it's why she wholeheartedly deserves the megastar treatment that receiving her own stable allows.


I can go on and on about why I find Syuri to be such a mesmerizing talent. While her world title reign is not long enough just yet, I can see her having one of the most brilliant reigns as red belt champ when it's all said and done. If that happens, I promise all of you now that I will gladly write blog posts about each and every one of her title matches, because this is a talent who deserves this kind of study. If you get nothing else from reading this mammoth blog post, it's this. If you're going to watch Stardom for one reason and one reason only, please do it so you can behold the incredible talent of Syuri. Because we might be witnessing the work of one of the greatest to ever do it.


Thank you again for reading. I'll see you next time when we dig into another unit that helps make Stardom the brilliant promotion it is today.


GIF Credit: @tde_gif on Twitter

 

Tomoka Inaba

Photo Credit: @Aquelemister on Twitter

Debut - July 8th, 2019 with Giulia and Kaori Yoneyama vs. Koharu Hinata, rhythm, and Saori Anou at "JTO Hajime"

Date Joined Faction - August 26th, 2022 at "Stardom New Blood 4"

Titles/Tournaments Won - 2-time Queen of JTO Champion, 1-time Sendai Girls Junior Champion, 2022 JTO Girls Tournament Winner

Rival(s) - N/A


One of the most exciting young strikers in the Joshi independent scene, Just Tap Out's Tomoka Inaba joined God's Eye during the "New Blood 4" show on August 26th, 2022 after she ran to the ring to rescue the rest of the faction from Oedo Tai members. To many who watch Joshi, she is one of the most promising up-and-comers around right now given how much success she's already achieved.


Inaba started her pro wrestling journey back in mid-2019 and has spent most of her time so far with the "Just Tap Out" promotion. Trained by the legendary TAKA Michinoku, the famed innovator of the modern version of the Michinoku Driver, Inaba utilized her extensive knowledge of martial arts as a strong base for her move set and character work. For instance, she'll come out before her matches and perform some "kata", or a martial arts form, and she'll utilize strong strikes and grapples to subdue her opponents. Think of her as being similar to Miyu Yamashita in TJPW, just without a killer head kick right now.


While she would regularly lose singles matches early on to more established talent, Inaba would largely dominate her fellow rookies early on in her career. JTO was a pretty new company at the time, and Inaba was perceived pretty early on as one of the promotion's most promising trainees. Perhaps the only other JTO rookie who was at her level was Maika, who has since become of the young cornerstones of Stardom today. In fact as of writing, the two have wrestled in two singles matches, with each having a win a piece.


Inaba is currently the only woman to ever win the Queen of JTO championship twice, and also won the second annual JTO Girls Tournament in 2022 after defeating her career rival and good friend, Aoi, in the finals. JTO does championships a little bit differently, as they adhere to a ratings system with which the number of rated man and woman are designated the "king" and "queen" of JTO.


Outside of JTO, Inaba has also been crowned the Sendai Girls Junior Champion, a belt previously held by former Stardom guests Mei Hoshizuki and Millie McKenzie, and she won the 2021 edition of Pro Wrestling WAVE's "Catch the WAVE Young Block Oh! Oh!" Tournament after beating some notable wrestlers including her God's Eye teammate Ami Sourei. Additionally, she's also found success in the GLEAT promotion, as well as in Stardom itself.


Most people who might not watch much Joshi outside of Stardom have luckily already seen some of Inaba's best work of her career. She's been a staple of the "New Blood" series of shows Stardom has run in 2022, along with her fellow JTO teammates Aoi and Misa Kagura, and she gave Hanan her best defense of the Future of Stardom belt on June 28th. Seriously, if you want to see both Inaba and Hanan at their best, watch this match. So seeing her find a more permanent spot within Stardom definitely bodes well for her future with the company.


I know that I occasionally can be overly optimistic about pretty much all the wrestlers within Stardom, but it's easy in this case considering how talented Inaba is already. In the past year or so, Stardom has brought in two different kinds of wrestlers; ones like MIRAI and Thekla who are already talented and just need seasoning, and ones like Mai Sakurai and Ami Sourei who have had to raise their game in order to keep pace with the rest of the roster, which I think they have. Inaba's skill puts her in the first camp. She might not be the best on the ground right now, but her striking ability almost negates that as a potential issue. She's a very different kind of wrestler, one that is rarely seen in the promotion today, and I for one am excited to see her continue to improve under Syuri's tutelage.


GIF Credit: @tde_gif on Twitter

 

Former Member of God's Eye


Konami - (5/1/2002 - 5/7/2022) Five months after she wrestled her final match at "Dream Queendom" so that she could leave and recover from multiple nagging injuries, Konami surprised the Stardom fan base when she announced that she would temporarily return during Japan's "Golden Week" in May, 2022. But instead of returning to complete with Oedo Tai, the group she was last a part of, she instead elected to join her former mentor, Syuri, and the rest of God's Eye as their fourth member. Over Golden Week, she took part in five matches, all of which she won, and then gracefully bowed out once again to continue her recovery.

 

Past Stardom 101 Posts:

Queen's Quest

Donna Del Mondo


BEST SURE TO COME BACK NEXT WEEK WHEN WE'LL COVER THE LARGEST GROUP IN STARDOM, COSMIC ANGELS


ALSO, I'M STARTING TO FORMULATE ANOTHER SERIES WHERE I'LL GO OVER EVERY MATCH THAT TOGETHER CRAFTED MY PERSONAL FAVORITE TITLE REIGN IN HISTORY, KAZUCHIKA OKADA'S 720 DAY RUN AS IWGP HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP FROM 2016 TO 2018. A RUN THAT FEATURED MY FAVORITE MATCH OF ALL TIME!

 

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 - @pw_jto_T 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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