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Stardom 101: Queen's Quest

Updated: May 19

Ever since I started writing more frequently about wrestling on this blog, I've constantly praised one promotion above all others, Stardom. I've been watching the all-female sister promotion to New Japan Pro Wrestling since the beginning of 2021, and I firmly believe that it is the most consistently excellent wrestling company on the planet right now. From the in-ring action, the fun storylines, and engaging characters, the organization that brought to us such names as Kairi Hojo and Io Shirai has quickly become my favorite show to watch on a weekly basis.


If you go back to my end of year writeup from back in December, four of my top 15 shows of the year came from Stardom, and several of my Superlatives of 2021 were awarded to Stardom wrestlers, namely "favorite female tag team", "favorite female stable", "favorite tournament of the year", "favorite female wrestler (Japan), and "favorite Japanese promotion". So far in 2022, both of my favorite female wrestlers of the month were from Stardom, two of my favorite shows of the month were Stardom held events, and Stardom itself won my favorite promotion of the month twice as well.


So I decided that because I always heap praise on Stardom, I should do all I can, as a fan, to help bring in new fans to this promotion. And because Stardom organizes its roster by separating their wrestlers by faction, as everyone but KAIRI is in one right now, I decided I'd organize these "Stardom 101" roster explainer posts by introducing each faction one at a time.


And what better group to start this series than with my favorite faction going right this second, Queen's Quest. Started by former 2-time World of Stardom Champion, Io Shirai, after she broke up with Mayu Iwatani and Kairi Hojo in the ridiculously powerful "Threedom" faction, QQ has served as Stardom's flagship tweener crew for a few years now. In their five years of existence, members have earned the following accolades:

  • 3 World of Stardom Championships

  • 3 Wonder of Stardom Championships

  • 3 Goddesses of Stardom Championships (Or 2.5 as Bea Priesley's partner, Jaime Hayter, was not a member of QQ)

  • 2 High Speed Championships

  • 5 Artist of Stardom Championships

  • 2 SWA Undisputed World Championships

  • 1 Future of Stardom Championship

  • 1 5STAR Grand Prix Winner

  • 2 Cinderella Tournament Winners

  • 2 Goddesses of Stardom Tag League Winners

Additionally, most of the major members in the faction's history have also earned accolades from Stardom's yearly award show and other major publications outside the promotion, including from Tokyo Sport and The Wrestling Observer. So without further ado let's dive into the six individuals who currently make up Queen's Quest.

 

AZM

"High Speed Bomb Girl"

Photo Credit: Stardom

Birthday - October 1st, 2002, in Tokyo, Japan

Debut - July 6th, 2013 vs. Natsuki Taiyo at "Stardom Season 14 Goddesses In Stars 2013" in Shin-Kiba 1st Ring

Date Joined Faction - February 11th, 2017 at "Stardom New Years Stars 2017" in Shin-Kiba 1st Ring

Titles/Tournaments Won - 2-time High Speed Champion, 3-time Artist of Stardom Co-Champion, 2020 Goddesses of Stardom Tag League Co-Winner (w/ Momo Watanabe)

Rival(s) - Starlight Kid and Momo Watanabe

Long Story Sport Accolade(s) - Favorite Match (February 2022 vs. Starlight Kid), Favorite Female Wrestler (April 2022)


For those of you who are not well-versed in the Joshi scene, it might be pretty shocking to read the above facts pertaining to this wrestler. While many would assume that a person born in 2002 would be just starting their career right now, AZM (pronounced A-Zoom-E) has been wrestling for almost a whole decade, having made her debut back in 2013 when she was just 10-years-old. To put into perspective just how long she's been in the business, she was in the same Stardom graduating class as KAIRI (FKA Kairi Sane in WWE), who was 22 when she started training.


And it's not like she made a few appearances back in the day and recently restarted her career either. As of writing (5/16/22), AZM has wrestled 473 matches inside a Stardom ring, only Momo Watanabe (492) and Mayu Iwatani (677) have fought more. She started out wrestling three-minute sprints and gradually improved to the point where she was having matches further and further down the card.


On April 15th, 2017, two months after she was accepted into Queen's Quest, AZM earned her first piece of gold when she, Hazuki, and Io Shirai beat Oedo Tai's Kagetsu, Hana Kimura, and La Rosa Negra to win the Artist of Stardom Championships. With that victory, she became the youngest titleholder in Stardom history at the age of 14 years, six months, and 12 days, a record that she still holds today. And while she would only hold the trios' titles for three weeks, that first taste of gold fueled her as she continued her career. As of writing, she's won the AoS titles three times for a combined reign of 111 days.


Following both Hazuki's departure from QQ to join Oedo Tai in the 2018 Stardom Draft, and Io Shirai's subsequent decision to head to WWE in the summer, AZM was expected to step up as one of Queen's Quest leaders. While Io Shirai handed the reigns over to her protege Momo Watanabe, who was just starting what would become a legendary year-long reign with the Wonder of Stardom title, AZM was expected to step up in her own way.


While it took a while for her to achieve success in the "conventional way" (ie: winning a singles title), she did instill herself as a key contributor to the Stardom roster. She helped bring in new Queen's Quest stalwarts including Utami Hayashishita and Saya Kamitani, she and Watanabe became one of the most dangerous tag teams in the promotion as "MOMOAZ", and finally, she began what has since become the longest continuous feud in Stardom with Starlight Kid. Watch for this rivalry to main event a pay-per-view for the World of Stardom Championship one day.


AZM finally earned her first singles title on July 26th, 2020 when she outlasted Starlight Kid and former AEW Women's Champion Riho to earn the latter's High Speed Championship. To briefly describe this title, this is essentially Stardom's answer to a "cruiserweight" or "junior heavyweight" title. While it doesn't have a set weight limit attached to it, belt is meant for high-flying wrestlers. The belt started its life in the now defunct NEO Women's Pro Wrestling promotion back in 2009, and has been won by 16 different women over its lifespan.


So far, AZM is only one of three women to earn the title more than once, with initial winner Natsuki Taiyo and part-time evil space clown/part-time nice lady Kaori Yoneyama being the other two. After AZM's first reign ended at the hands of Natsupoi on Stardom's March 3rd, 2021 show, she was able to take it back on February 23rd, 2022, this time from Starlight Kid. Her combined days as champion current sit at 304 days (as of 5/18/2022), good for sixth all time, and her seven successful defenses place her fourth. On May 28th, 2022, she will look to secure her eighth defense against Thekla.


All in all, AZM is one of my favorite wrestlers right now, not only in Stardom but anywhere on Earth. For longtime fans, she's literally grown up in front of their eyes from one of the youngest rookies in Joshi history to one of the scene's most dependable workhorses. She is destined to be one of the greatest to ever step foot in a Stardom ring if she keeps on going and I for one am looking forward to her red or white belt reign coming in the next few years.

(GIF Credit - @D_Wrestlingifs)

 

Hina

Photo Credit: Stardom

Birthday - December 28th, 2006, in Shimotsuke, Tochigi, Japan

Debut - June 11th, 2017 with Rina vs. Hanan at "Stardom Shining Stars 2017" in Shin-Kiba 1st Ring

Date Joined Faction - April 14th, 2019 at "Stardom Glory Stars: The Stardom Draft 2019" in Shin-Kiba 1st Ring

Titles/Tournaments Won - N/A

Rival(s) - Rina and Hanan


Moving on from one wrestler who started extremely early in life to another, it's time we briefly talk about Queen's Quest's youngest member, Hina. For as long as she's wrested already, there's actually not a ton to say right now. That's not indicative of her ability in the ring as Hina has gradually improved quite a bit over time, but she's still way too young to have really made any impact just yet. Heck, she missed almost eight full months of action in 2021 so that she could focus on her studies and get into a good high school.


Of course, you can't start to talk about Hina without mentioning that she is one of three sisters currently working for Stardom. Her twin sister is Oedo Tai's Rina, whom we'll talk in a couple weeks, and her older sister is the reigning and defending Future of Stardom Champion, Hanan. Over her 27 career singles matches as of writing, Hina has battled Rina 11 times, where she sports a 5-5-1 record against her, and has wrestled Hanan only once in one on one competition, which ended up as a loss for Hina.


Hina first debuted in Stardom in a two-on-one handicap match where she teamed up with Rina against Hanan. After spending around a year and a half wrestling in tag matches with other rookies, she did start to feature in some more "high-profile" matches. Probably the most important thing she did over her first year and a half in the company was when she teamed up with her sisters during the 2019 Trios Tag Team Tournament, only to lose in the first round.


Easily the most important thing to happen to Hina from a character progression perspective was when she was separated from her sisters and drafted to Queen's Quest by Momo Watanabe on April 14th, 2019. This was massive because it started to slowly create an ongoing tension between the QQ's sister and her siblings, especially with Rina who was drafted to Hana Kimura's Tokyo Cyber Squad on the same show.


If there was a second biggest thing to happen to Hina while in Stardom, it had to be when she returned to the promotion on March 27th, 2022 after she finished her high school exams. She walked down to the ring and immediately challenged Hanan to a match for the Future of Stardom title, which she unsuccessfully attained a month later.


On the bright side, Hina is so far having a pretty strong 2022 as of writing. Over 11 matches, Hina is 4-5-2, and while she wasn't listed as a participant for this year's 5STAR Grand Prix, she could still earn one of three available spots in the tournament field if she performs well enough in a mini tournament that is set for June. She'll just have to get past the likes of Lady C, Miyu Amasaki, Mai Sakurai, Momo Kohgo, Rina, Ruaka, Saya Iida, Ami Sourei, and Waka Tsukiyama, which might be too tall of a task if you ask me.


One thing that I will say to Hina's credit is that I think if she keeps at this profession, she could one day become one of the better wrestlers in the promotion. I'm not saying that she'll ever win the World of Stardom Championship, like her older sister Hanan, but I could see her being a workhorse who's capable of having strong matches wherever on any given card. We'll just have to wait and see.

(GIF Credit - @tde_gif)

 

Lady C

"Human Tower"

Photo Credit: Stardom

Birthday - November 17th, 1994, in Chiba, Japan

Debut - November 14th, 2020 vs. Saya Iida at "Stardom Korakuen New Landscape" in Korakuen Hall

Date Joined Faction - January 3rd, 2022 at "Stardom Award 2021" in Belle Salle Takadanobaba

Titles/Tournaments Won - N/A

Rival(s) - Mai Sakurai and Waka Tsukiyama

Long Story Sport Accolade(s) - Female Rookie of the Year (2021 Co-Winner)


Standing at 5 foot 10 inches tall, Lady C currently stands as the tallest pro wrestler currently working in the Joshi scene. After starting her professional life as, of all things, a middle and high school teacher, she decided to start on her road to the squared circle after she went to Korakuen Hall to see a New Japan show. She would eventually make her debut against Saya Iida on November 14th 2020, just three days short of her 26th birthday.


While it typically doesn't take too long for the average Stardom rookie to find some measure of success, Lady C found absolutely none at all for the better part of her first year in the company. In fact, she didn't win a single match at all until more than 10 months into her run. If you were watching in the late part of 2020 into the early to middle part of 2021, you definitely remember this incredible losing streak. But on September 9th, 2021, the ultimate underdog pinned Waka Tsukiyama inside Korakuen Hall in what was her best match to date. The moment was incredibly emotional for Lady C, who was seen visibly crying as her hand was raised in victory.


Moments after she won for the first time, she challenged Ruaka for her Future of Stardom Championship in what would be her first title match. She would end up losing the match at the "Kawasaki Super Wars" show on November 3rd, but her performance in that match helped illustrate just how far she had come as a wrestler in one year.


Known to be a massive fan of the legendary Giant Baba, Lady C has adopted several of the former All Japan founder's signature moves like the Russian Leg Sweep, the Big Boot, and of course the Overhead Chop. Adding those moves to her repertoire have all seemed to help Lady C gain some popularity with the fans, as Baba is one of the most beloved figures in Japanese wrestling history


On January 3rd, 2022, just a couple weeks after Momo Watanabe turned on Queen's Quest to join Oedo Tai, Lady C ran to the ring to rescue AZM, Saya Kamitani, and Utami Hayashishita as they were being overrun by Oedo Tai members. To thank her for her heroic actions, the three QQ wrestlers graciously invited Lady C to join them as their newest teammate. And with tears once again flowing down her face, she accepted the invitation.


Since she's made the move to QQ, Lady C has been seen mostly working multi-woman tag matches as she attempts to cultivate more chemistry with her fellow stablemates. So far 2022 has been her most successful year from a win-loss record standpoint, as she's already won more times this year (four) than she did in 2021 (three). Yet, she has yet to secure any gold for herself as of writing.


Lady C is an interesting wrestler to me because she started her career in Stardom only a month before I started watching the product. So it's especially cool for me to watch her develop into the wrestler she is today. I remember watching her earliest matches and wondering if she had what it took to be in the ring, and I'm happy that she's reached the point where I believe she truly belongs in there. Here's hoping she continues to improve and maybe win a title one day.

(GIF Credit - @tde_gif)

 

Miyu Amasaki

"Super Future Warrior"

Photo Credit: Twitter

Birthday - April 25th, 2002 in Kyoto, Japan

Debut - March 11th, 2022 vs. Utami Hayashishita at "New Blood 1" in Shinagawa Intercity Hall

Date Joined Faction - March 11th, 2022 at "New Blood 1" in Shinagawa Intercity Hall

Titles/Tournaments Won - N/A

Rival(s) - No one so far


On March 11th, 2022, Stardom held an interesting new type of show called "New Blood" where Stardom signed talent would mix it up with young wrestlers from outside promotions like Marvelous, Diana, and Just Tap Out. One day I might introduce some of these wrestlers in a future "Stardom 101", but for now just know that these shows have shined a light on some really interesting prospects who could one day join the promotion.


A few days before this show was underway, for free on YouTube no less, Stardom announced that the main event would see Utami Hayashishita, who will get to later, take on a new dojo graduate named Miyu Amasaki. This news alone had me excited because conventional booking wisdom states that you don't build a show around a match pitting your former dominant world champion against the promotion's newest rookie without having a ton of faith in the debutant.


And for a rookie wrestling her first match in front of over 400 people in the audience and thousands watching from around the world, she did a fantastic job. She actually looked like she belonged in the ring with Utami. And the response from the Stardom fanbase was pretty much unanimous in their praise for the 19-year-old.


One other individual who was pleased with Miyu was Utami herself. After the match, the now official leader of Queen's Quest formally invited the "Super Future Warrior" to join her faction. Miyu gladly accepted and became the sixth, and most recent addition to the crew.


On May 13th, Stardom's faith in Miyu shined once again as it was announced that she will team up with Utami to take on Tam Nakano and KAIRI (FKA Kairi Sane in WWE) on May 28th at Stardom's "Flashing Champions" event. Not only will this be Miyu's most important match in her extremely short career, but it will also mark KAIRI's return to in-ring competition after she had to take some time off to nurse a ruptured ear drum.


Time will tell how high Miyu's ceiling proves to be, but I for one am extremely excited to see how far she will go both as a member of Queen's Quest, and as a member of Stardom.

(GIF Credit - @D_Wrestlingifs)

 

Saya Kamitani

"Golden Phoenix"

Photo Credit: Stardom

Birthday - November 28th, 1996 in Kanagawa, Japan

Debut - August 10th, 2019 vs. Momo Watanabe at "Stardom X Stardom 2019" in Korakuen Hall

Date Joined Faction - February 16th, 2020 at "Stardom New Years Stars 2020" in Shin-Kiba Hall

Titles/Tournaments Won - Wonder of Stardom Champion, Goddesses of Stardom Co-Champion, 2021 Cinderella Tournament Winner

Rival(s) - Maika and Tam Nakano


Of all the wrestlers currently flying the flag for Queen's Quest, the one who's got the most interesting background might be the "Golden Phoenix", Saya Kamitani. Before the reigning Wonder of Stardom Champion started training for her wrestling career, she worked as a backup dancer for pop groups and even passed a test to become a member of AKB48, which is one of the major "idol" music groups in Japan. Some other Joshi who have dabbled in music include Maki Itoh and Reika Sakai from Tokyo Joshi Pro Wrestling, and Chigusa Nagayo and Lioness Asuka, the two women who made up the most legendary tag team in Joshi history, the Crush Gals.


It was because of this work experience that Kamitani was signed to "Stardom Idols", which was a short-lived promotion within Stardom where Tam Nakano would attempt to produce shows tht focused on wrestlers who also worked as idols, as well as old deathmatch guys from FMW like Onita. But after Stardom Idols was ended not soon after it started, Kamitani was invited to train at Stardom's dojo to become a full-fledged wrestler. After working behind the scenes for several months, Kamitani graduated from the training academy and made her debut on August 10th, 2019 against Momo Watanabe, who had only recently come off her legendary reign as Wonder of Stardom Champion.


As she was bouncing around the undercard both as a singles wrestler and in a tag team called 3838 Tag with Saya Iida in her early career, Kamitani started to showcase an unusual amount of agility, high-flying acumen, and daredevil attitude. Suffice to say, she started to do some crazy stuff in the ring like doing shooting star presses, Hurricanranas, and dives to the outside of the ring. This new development would continue to accelerate to the point where she was able to hit incredible moves like the Spanish Fly, Canadian Destroyer, and perhaps most impressively, the Phoenix Splash, which she uses as her super finisher. While I can't confirm this, she might be the only woman I've ever seen hit the move.


A few months after she won Stardom's Rookie of the Year Tournament, word started to swirl about which faction she would eventually join. That question was soon answered on February 16th, 2020 when she accepted an invitation to join Queen's Quest moments after losing to Utami Hayashishita in a match for the Future of Stardom Championship. Not too long after that show, Stardom had to take a break from shows after the COVID-19 pandemic began in March.


When Stardom returned from their forced break, Kamitani started to team up regularly with Hayashishita in a tag team within Queen's Quest later called "AphroditE". Not long after they started to pair up, the duo actually defeated Tokyo Cyber Squad's Konami and Jungle Kyona to win the Goddesses of Stardom Championships. This would be the first title Kamitani had ever earned during her career, and the second time any Queen's Quest pair won those belts.


Her tag team championship win was followed immediately with the start to the 2020 5STAR Grand Prix. And while she didn't win her group, she did earn victories against Tam Nakano and Starlight Kid and also took the group's eventual winner, Himeka, to a 20-minute time limit draw.


Kamitani followed up her strong 2020 with an even better 2021. She had her first, and so far only, match for the World of Stardom Championship at Stardom's March 3rd show against Hayashishita, which she lost. She beat Tam Nakano, Starlight Kid, Himeka, and Maika to become the 7th winner of the Cinderella Tournament, and used that win to challenge Nakano for the Wonder of Stardom Championship on July 4th, 2021. While Nakano would come out on top, as she was just starting what ended up being the best white belt reign in history (in my opinion), Kamitani further solidified her standing as one of Stardom's top stars on the rise.


Of course, Kamitani would end up defeating Nakano to become the next Wonder of Stardom Champion at Stardom's "Dream Queendom" show on December 29th, 2021, and as of writing the "Golden Phoenix" is still in the middle of her reign with the belt. So far, she's successfully defended her title against Unagi Sayaka, Natsupoi, Hayashishita, Nakano, and Maika, and on May 28th, 2022, she will attempt to secure her sixth defense with the white belt as she takes on this year's Cinderella Tournament, MIRAI.


Saya Kamitani is not only an integral member of Queen's Quest, but of Stardom itself. Not only does her in-ring style help separate her from the rest of the roster, but it shows what the future of Joshi could look like in the future. In the past, women like Manami Toyota, Chapparita ASARI, Akira Hokuto, and Io Shirai helped push the boundaries of what Joshi wrestling looked like inside the ropes, and I believe that Kamitani could do the same, if she hasn't done so already.

(GIF Credit - @PuroresuFlow)

 

Utami Hayashishita

Photo Credit: Stardom

Birthday - September 14th, 1998 in Amami, Kagoshima, Japan

Debut - August 12th, 2018 vs. Jungle Kyona at "Stardom X Stardom 2018: Kagetsu 10th Anniversary Show" in Korakuen Hall

Date Joined Faction - November 23rd, 2018 at "Stardom Best Of Goddesses" in Korakuen Hall

Titles/Tournaments Won - World of Stardom Champion, 2-time Goddesses of Stardom Co-Champion, Artist of Stardom Co-Champion, SWA Undisputed World Champion, Future of Stardom Champion, 2018 Goddesses Of Stardom Tag League Co-Winner, 2019 Trios Tag Team Tournament Co-Winner, 2020 5STAR Grand Prix Winner

Rival(s) - Momo Watanabe and Syuri

Long Story Sport Accolade(s) - Female Match of the Year (2021), Female Feud of the Year (2021)


On May 15th, 2022, every member of Queen's Quest (except for rookie Miyu Amasaki) took part in a 5-woman elimination match to officially name a new leader of the group after Momo Watanabe's infamous betrayal back in December. The winner of that clash ended up being this woman, Utami Hayashishita. Readers who've given my Best of 2021 post from New Year's Eye a look will note that Utami was one of my favorite wrestlers in the world in 2021 as she earned selections as one half of the best female match of the year as well as the best female feud, both against Syuri.


For long-time Stardom viewers, Utami's progression to the top echelon of women's wrestling was not just unsurprising but expected. QQ's leader was already a successful athlete when she began her wrestling journey at 19 years of age as she was a black belt in Judo, and after attending a wrestling event in person, she decided to start training under former World of Stardom Champion Kagetsu in Tokyo. She made her Stardom debut on August 12th, 2018 against Jungle Kyona, and unlike in most situations where debutants lose their first contest, Utami fought the former multiple-time champion to a 15-minute draw.


Only a few months after starting her career and earning singles victories against Tam Nakano, Konami, and Jaime Hayter in that year's 5STAR Grand Prix, Utami started teaming up regularly with Momo Watanabe, who had only just become the second leader of Queen's Quest a few months previous. After the pair, later named "Royal Peach Tea", found success during the 2018 Goddesses of Stardom Tag League, AZM, officially welcomed Utami into Queen's Quest.


Winning titles and tournaments seemed to come easy for Utami almost immediately as over her first 365 days as a wrestler she won the aforementioned Goddesses of Stardom Tag League, the Goddesses of Stardom Championships with Momo Watanabe, a one-day Trios Tag Team Tournament with Bea Priestley and Viper, the Future of Stardom Championship, a belt that she held for a record 409 Days, and the SWA Undisputed World Championship. This woman was drenched in gold, and her standing in Stardom was instantly made.


Barring an injury that forced her to sit out for almost two full months from April to June 2019, Utami's first full year as a pro wrestler couldn't have gone much better. She had proven to be perhaps the most physically dominant wrestler on the entire roster, and had earned more gold than some wrestlers get in five years, let alone one. As her career has gone on, she's only improved in the ring and draped more gold over her shoulder.


Skipping a little bit in the future, Utami was handed the greatest boost to her career in August and September 2020 when she outlasted the likes of Syuri, Momo Watanabe, AZM, Jungle Kyona, Maika, Saya Iida, and Natsuko Tora, to win her block and earn a spot in the finals against Himeka in the 2020 5STAR Grand Prix. She won that match and instantly became the number one contender for the World of Stardom title, held at the time by Mayu Iwatani, who was in the middle of a dominant year-long reign on top. But on November 15th, 2020, Utami somehow defeated the "Icon of Stardom" to become the 13th World of Stardom Champion.


Utami then had, in my opinion, the most significant World of Stardom title reign in history. To many, including myself, she was the first red belt champ we ever saw on a regular basis because her run with the belt coincided with the rise of Stardom in 2021. It got to the point where wrestling news websites couldn't help but notice that something special was going on.


During her 409-day reign as World of Stardom Champion, Utami successfully defended her title nine times. From a statistical perspective, no one since Io Shirai in the mid-2010s had had a more dominant title reign. She held off the likes of Momo Watanabe, Saya Kamitani, Takumi Iroha, and Maika. She defeated Bea Priestley in what was her final match in Stardom. She edged out Hazuki, who had just returned to wrestling after being retired for almost two years. And of course, she survived Syuri during my favorite match of 2021. That match was the only one Utami didn't outright win, as both competitors knocked each other out after 43 minutes of hard-hitting bliss.


Utami ended up losing her red belt to Syuri in their second clash on December 29th, 2021, in what was another tremendous match. And since she's been free of her world title, the 23-year-old has been allowed to slow it down a little bit. So far in 2022, she's feuded with Momo Watanabe and Oedo Tai, she fought Miyu Amasaki in the main event of Stardom's first "New Blood" event and subsequently recruited her to Queen's Quest, she was eliminated in the opening round of the Cinderella Tournament alongside Tam Nakano after their match eclipsed the 10-minute time limit. And of course, she introduced the Stardom fan base to "Utami Nakano" which if nothing else has allowed her to showcase another facet to her personality. It's since started a domino effect where every wrestler has attempted to copy the leader of Cosmic Angels' leader for no discernible reason except to make Nakano mad.


While she's yet to announce her intent to challenge Syuri for her World of Stardom Championship in what will most certainly be the most anticipated world title match of the year in all of Japan, she has taken the past few months to heal the massive wounds within Queen's Quest that formed in the wake of Momo Watanabe's evil actions from December 18th, 2021. I already mentioned that she recruited new super rookie Miyu Amasaki in March, but she also agreed to allow Lady C in the group back in January. She has shown herself to be deeply invested in the future of QQ, and that's why I agree with the decision to make her the new leader of the group.


In her relatively short time in pro wrestling, Utami Hayashishita has proven herself to be a prodigy. Aside from winning the High Speed title, which she's not eligible to fight for, the Cinderella Tournament, and the Wonder of Stardom title, QQ's Red Queen has pretty much done it all. She's already had a legendary world title reign. She's already earned accolades for her stunning matches. And now she's the leader of one of the tentpole companies of Stardom. Here's hoping she doesn't get complacent so that we may one day see her cross those last few things off her list while also helping to mentor the next generation of rookies.

(GIF Credit - @KVR216)

 

Former Members of Queen's Quest


Bea Priestley - (4/15/2018 - 1/19/2020) Won both the World of Stardom and Goddesses of Stardom championships as a member of Queen's Quest. After leaving QQ, she spent over a year with heel faction Oedo Tai until she made her final Stardom appearance in April 2021. Since then, she's joined WWE's NXT UK brand, where she wrestles under the name "Blair Davenport".


Chardonnay - (4/15/2018 - 6/30/2019) Since leaving Queen's Quest, and Stardom altogether, Chardonnay has all but retired from pro wrestling.


HZK - (11/11/2016 - 4/15/2018) Was one of the founding members of Queen's Quest alongside Io Shirai and Momo Watanabe. During her time with the faction, she won the Artist of Stardom Championship on four different occasions. She left the group she helped found during the 2018 Stardom Draft to join Oedo Tai where she had her name changed to "Hazuki". After retiring on December 24th, 2019 under controversial circumstances we still don't fully comprehend, she returned to Stardom on August 29th, 2021, and joined super babyface faction STARS, where she's found much success as a tag team competitor under the tutelage of the "Icon of Stardom", Mayu Iwatani.


Io Shirai - (11/11/2016 - 6/17/2018) Served as Queen's Quest first leader after starting the faction with HZK and Momo Watanabe. Not only was she the top star in the faction, she was also the face of Stardom as a whole. During her QQ run, she won six championships including both the World of Stardom and Wonder of Stardom belts. She left QQ not to join another faction, but because she had signed a deal with WWE, where she has since found wonderful success on its NXT brand. Her run on the former "black and yellow" brand culminated in her having a 304-day reign as NXT Women's Champion. During her reign on top, she defended the belt against many excellent wrestlers including fellow Stardom alumni Tegan Nox (Nixon Newell), Dakota Kai (Evie), and Toni Storm. One day we'll talk about some of the most famous alumni of Stardom, and she'll surely talked about again as the story of Stardom cannot be told without the "Genius of the Sky".


Konami - (4/15/2018 - 4/14/2019) For a wrestler who would find great success as one of Stardom's best technicians, Konami's run in QQ served to build up the former protege of Kana (Asuka in WWE). She ended up leaving QQ to join Hana Kimura's "Tokyo Cyber Squad" faction in April 2019, where she found more success as she was a way more visible member of a faction. Unfortunately, following Hana Kimura's tragic death, TCS would come to an end when Konami turned on Jungle Kyona to join Oedo Tai. On December 29th, 2021, she wrestled her last match as a Stardom regular so that she could heal up from multiple injuries, but she did return during Golden Week in early May, 2022 to team up with her mentor Syuri in the newly created God's Eye faction. We will talk more in-depth about her when we get to Syuri's new crew down the road.


Leo Onozaki - (4/14/2019 - 2/16/2020) Following her stint in Queen's Quest, Onozaki left Stardom and retired from pro wrestling.


Momo Watanabe - (11/20/2016 - 12/18/2021) While she did not join HZK and Io Shirai on the exact day Queen's Quest began, Watanabe did turn what was only a tag team at the time into a fully fledged faction. When Io Shirai left for WWE, she was handpicked to serve as QQ's second leader, a title that she graciously held from June 18th, 2018 to December 18th, 2021. Momo won multiple titles while with QQ, including the Wonder of Stardom and Goddesses of Stardom titles. She left Queen's Quest in the worst way possible in December 2021, when she turned on her stablemates to join Oedo Tai in one of the most evil and sadistic moments in Stardom history. She is still with Oedo Tai as of writing, and we will get to her very, very soon.


Viper - (7/30/2017 - 6/30/2019) While a member of Queen's Quest, Viper defeated Toni Storm to win the SWA Undisputed World Championship, which she subsequently held for 292 days. Since leaving Stardom in 2019, she's moved on to WWE, where's she wrestled for their NXT and NXT UK brands, as well as on Monday Night Raw, where she currently wrestles under the name "Doudrop".

 

BEST SURE TO COME BACK NEXT WEEK WHEN WE'LL COVER THE CURRENT DAY LINEUP OF DONNA DEL MONDO

 

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 - Stardom


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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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