Updated: Nov 9
Since I started watching the promotion on a regular basis back in early 2021, Stardom has added several wrestlers to their excellent roster. Aside from Miyu Amasaki, all other debutants (as of October 24th, 2022) have arrived from other promotions. For example, MIRAI came from Tokyo Joshi Pro Wrestling, Thekla arrived from Ice Ribbon, and KAIRI set sail from WWE, albeit after beginning her career in Stardom years prior.
With all that being said, I decided I'd have some fun and list seven women whom I'd like to see debut in Stardom over the next year or so. To make this list a bit more interesting, I decided I'd limit myself by incorporating three fundamental rules.
I'm only going to pick one woman per company. If I didn't include this, half this list would feature wrestlers from TJPW.
No "Aces" or top baby faces allowed. So Takumi Iroha from Marvelous, Arisa Nakajima of SEAdLINNNG, and Mei Suruga from Gatoh Move are not allowed.
No tag teams or factions will inhabit one spot. So don't expect tag teams like Luminous or factions like REBEL X ENEMY to appear here.
Let's dive into my Top 7 wrestlers who I'd like to see join Stardom in the future.
7) IYO SKY
Coming From - WWE
Let's start this list with easily my most generic selection, IYO SKY. One third of the Damage CTRL stable and one half of the reigning WWE Women's Tag Team Champions with Dakota Kai, the woman formerly known as Io Shirai has made a pretty big impact since she arrived on the main roster at SummerSlam. While part of me wishes she was utilized more as a singles wrestler right now, as she might be the most talented wrestler on the women's roster, it's nice to see her find success under the new Triple H regime. Before Trips took the reins from old man McMahon in the summer, it was being reported that Shirai was close to leaving WWE and possibly follow her friend KAIRI (formerly Kairi Sane in WWE) back to Stardom.
I'll admit it, the selfish part of my brain that only thinks of dream matches and dream cards would've loved to have seen Shirai return to the promotion where she once dominated as one of it's first aces. Imagine if she was to return to find her hand picked heir, Momo Watanabe, in Oedo Tai, or another one of her proteges, Hazuki, in the same stable as her once greatest adversary Mayu Iwatani, who herself has become the newest ace of Stardom.
Would she retake control of Queen's Quest and go on a crusade against all those who don't "Bow down to the Queens"? Or would she go a totally different way in an effort to prove that she's still the best women's wrestler on the planet? These are the stories that I'd love to see. But with this new regime, we might have to wait a little longer.
Coming From - P.P.P. Tokyo
Going from one extreme in popularity to the other, it's time we talk a little bit about one of the most interesting young talents in all of Joshi, the mammoth Chanyota. Coming from the P.P.P. Tokyo promotion, which I've never watched in my life, it would be perfectly understandable if you've never seen her wrestle until she appeared at Stardom's "New Blood 5" event earlier this month. To be honest, I'm one of those people. The only reason I knew about her beforehand was that you can't go more than five minutes on Joshi Twitter until you see someone hype up her incredible physique.
Now having finally seen her work a full match, I can confidentially say that she would fit right in as another one of those projects Rossy Ogawa likes to take in every so often. Women like Ami Sourei, Mai Sakurai, and Momo Kohgo have proven that the Stardom training system works in that they've all improved greatly over the past year. Chanyota might not look like much right now, but I believe that she could fit right in as that next big prospect.
Given her physique, presence, and physical charisma, Chanyota would immediately bring in some great business. And given how she and Sakurai agreed to tag in future Stardom events, I'm pretty confident that a full move to the promotion is in her future.
Coming From - TJPW
Around this time last year, my favorite mid-carder from Tokyo Joshi Pro Wrestling, Mirai Maiumi, left the promotion to go her own way. After she dabbled in the indie scene for a cup of coffee, she was quickly brought into Stardom where she's found immense success both as the 2022 Cinderella Tournament winner and as someone who can easily beat anyone on the roster, including Giulia and Mayu Iwatani, without most people questioning the decision. Her move from one Joshi giant to the other has proven that Rossy Ogawa is willing to bring in and help prop up anyone, no matter where they come from. So why shouldn't he do the same with MIRAI's former tag team partner from TJPW, the high speed bee Suzume?
On a roster filled mostly with wacky characters, I'd be willing to argue that Suzume is the promotion's most exciting mid-card workhorse, much in the same way MIRAI was before she bowed out. For those of you who don't know, she's a terrific high flyer who can bump better than most in Joshi right now, and recently she's always been counted on as a gatekeeper to up and coming stars.
The benefit of this is that she's usually in a marquee match every few months. Case in point, at TJPW's most recent big event "Wrestle Princess 3", she took on Ryo Mizunami, who could also feature on a future list like this. However the drawback with being caught in the mid-card is that she rarely has opportunities to win in big matches. For instance, she lost the aforementioned match to Mizunami.
Suzume to too talented in the ring to be stuck in mid-card purgatory. While she's found some mild success as the woman you turn to when you need a fun tag team to cheer on before losing an opportunity for the tag straps, I think a move to Stardom would allow her to spread her wings in multiple ways. She could challenge for the High Speed belt. She could team up with her former friend MIRAI and finally win some tag team gold. Or she could even flex her storytelling muscles and start a rivalry with MIRAI, just like how Natsupoi and Tam Nakano did earlier this year.
I think if given a chance, Suzume could be another breakout star no matter where she wrestles. And if not in TJPW, where I hope it does happen, then why not in Stardom?
Coming From - Just Tap Out
The Just Tap Out promotion might have only recently celebrated their three-year anniversary, but they've already helped craft a few promising young prospects, both male and female. From KANON, who's made terrific strides in DDT, to Maika, who's become one of Stardom's most talented competitors, JTO should be proud of their efforts so far.
One of JTO's most unique young talents is Aoi, who's found a great deal of success in 2022. Not only has she showcased her brand across multiple different stages in Japan, but she's been in some great matches as well. She's thrived mostly as a tag team competitor, namely with her main rival and friend Tomoka Inaba, but she also helped write another memorable chapter in what was Hanan's legendary run with the Future of Stardom title at "New Blood 4".
With Inaba now a full-fledged member of the God's Eye stable, I think it would be appropriate if the other top woman on the JTO roster found herself a faction as well. If you ask me, I'd love to see her link up with Mayu Iwatani and STARS as I think she would thrive most as a baby face while with the likes of Koguma, Hazuki, and Momo Kohgo. In regard to what we could see from Aoi in Stardom, I think a run with the Future of Stardom belt after Ami Sourei has a strong run would be fun to see. Aside from that, I think she'd thrive most in a tag team with someone like Hanan or even Mayu Iwatani herself.
Then perhaps after a few years, you could slowly create a life-long friendly rivalry between Aoi and Tomoka Inaba, which could culminate in matches for either of the top belts in the future. Luckily with her incredible charisma, I think the sky's the limit for JTO's most enigmatic competitor.
3) Jamie Hayter
Coming From - AEW
A former Goddesses of Stardom Champion, Jamie Hayter has seen her stock rise ever so slightly over the past year as Britt Baker's reliable bodyguard. However, after AEW bungled what could've been a really exciting babyface turn a few months ago, I feel like she's stagnated a bit. Added with the fact that the AEW women's division continues to be underwhelming, I think that a move to Stardom would be a fun change of pace.
Hayter could return to Stardom as a believable challenger for any belt, but namely the World of Stardom Championship. After the pandemic hit, Hayter spent most of her time getting stronger and improving her already impressive offense. If you were to drop the new and improved Jamie Hayter into this new Stardom roster, I think she would thrive as a singles or tag team wrestler.
She could slot into just about any faction not called Cosmic Angels. If you want her to be a heel, keep her in Oedo Tai. If you want to cash in on her newly improved physique, put her in Donna Del Mondo, where she could also straddle the line between heel and face. And if you want to purely showcase her incredibly impactful offense, put her in Queen's Quest. She would fit right in with Utami Hayashishita's unit.
2) Haruka Umesaki
Coming From - Diana
Another standout of the "New Blood" series Stardom's been putting on this year, Haruka Umesaki is as close to a sure thing on this list as she's proven to fit right into the roster better than anyone on this list, save for IYO SKY. She is one of only a few non-Stardom signees to have appeared on all five NB events thus far, and her most recent outing as the demented "KARMA" character was a big hit for the Stardom fan base.
She started her NB run as a basic babyface, but she quickly morphed into Oedo Tai's friend from the outside, which given the history of OT as a stable is pretty hilarious. She seems tight with Starlight Kid, Rina, and Ruaka in particular, as she's teamed with them mostly, and she's shown a mean streak in her that she has rarely displayed in her work outside those events.
Outside of Stardom, she's perhaps most well known as one half of one of the best independent tag teams in all of Joshi, Luminous, with her friend Miyuki Takase. While I'm not allowing myself to include tag teams in a certain spot, think of Takase as an honorable mention for this list, as her work is also terrific.
Unlike most on this list, I don't see Umesaki as a Rossy Ogawa project at all. Umesaki is a terrific grappler who is able to pull off working as an underdog babyface and a despicable and slightly mystical heel. I don't mind which Umesaki comes into Stardom first, but I hope if she does get signed, we get to see both sides of the coin.
1) Mio Momono
Coming From - Marvelous
I'll admit it. The real reason I decided to do this list in the first place was so that I could talk about one of my favorite pro wrestlers on the planet today, Mio Momono. Not long after I first watched her wrestle in 2021, I made it my purpose as a wrestling fan to find a way to introduce her to as many other fans as I could. Momono was one of three to be named my most underrated wrestler of last year, and her match at the Hana Kimura Tribute event was one of my favorite multi-woman tags last year.
While she lost a lot of time after suffering a severe back injury last year, she returned to action in June and has reestablished herself as one of the premier wrestlers not only in Japan, but on the planet. In fact, she wrestled in only her second match in the United States earlier this month against Queen Animata.
If she was to join Stardom, Momono would thrive in practically any role. Most fans would probably put her in the high speed division as she's got the frame and athleticism to match the likes of AZM and Starlight Kid, but I could easily buy her as a genuine challenger for the Wonder of Stardom Championship, and even the World of Stardom Title down the line. She's proven to me that she's more than capable of working terrific matches with much larger opponents, so a match pitting her with the likes of Utami Hayashishita, Maika, or MIRAI would be captivating to watch, especially for a top prize.
Featured Image Credit - @Knankles on Twitter
Contact me at either AndrewSoS@protonmail.com or @SoSBaseball on Twitter if you want to collaborate!