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Stardom Co., Ltd.
Kabushiki Gaisha Stardom
株式会社スターダム
WWRS
The logo of World Wonder Ring Stardom
Acronym STARD✪M
Stardom
Trading name World Wonder Ring Stardom
Native name ワールドワンダーリングスターダム
Romanized name Wārudo Wandā Ringu Sutādamu
Type Private
Industry Professional wrestling
Sports entertainment
Streaming media
Founded September 7, 2010
Founder(s) Fuka
Nanae Takahashi
Rossy Ogawa
Owner(s) Bushiroad
Style Joshi puroresu
Headquarters Sumitomo Nakano Sakagami Building, 1-38-1 Chuo, Nakano, Tokyo 164-0011
Area served Worldwide
Key people Takaaki Kidani
(President of Bushiroad)
Katsuhiko Harada
(President and Representative Director)
Rossy Ogawa
(CEO)
Products
Television
Publishing
Music
Merchandise
Streaming network service
Services Licensing
Parent Bushiroad Fight
(Bushiroad)
Sister New Japan Pro-Wrestling
Divisions Stardom World
My Stardom
Website Official Japanese Website
World Wonder Ring Stardom, legal name Kabushiki Gaisha Stardom (株式会社スターダム, Kabushiki Gaisha Sutādamu) and often referred to simply as Stardom (stylized as STARD✪M), is a Japanese joshi puroresu or women's professional wrestling promotion, founded in September 2010 by former Hyper Visual Fighting Arsion and JDStar promoter Rossy Ogawa, retired wrestler, model and mixed martial artist Fuka Kakimoto and veteran professional wrestler Nanae Takahashi. Katsuhiko Harada serves as the President of the promotion since Ocotber 2019, while Rossy Ogawa serves as the promotion's Chief executive officer since September 2010.

Stardom since its inception quickly became the largest joshi puroresu promotion in Japan and the largest women's professional wrestling promotion in the world, largely thanks to gravure idol Yuzuki Aikawa becoming the promotion's public face. Much like JDStar, Stardom also places heavy emphasis on the physical attractiveness of its workers, and publishes several modeling photobooks and calendars of its workers per year. Stardom's in-ring style takes influence from mixed martial arts with many workers relying on kicks as the main part of their offense.

Since October 2019, Stardom has been owned by Japanese card game company Bushiroad, making it a sister promotion to Bushiroad's other promotion New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW) which parlayed its entry to the world of professional wrestling into a best-selling trading card game, King of Pro Wrestling in 2012. Since January 2020, Stardom has produced a thirty-minute weekly TV show, We Are Stardom!!, airing live on BS Nippon and Tokyo MX in Japan, being the Joshi promotion to air a national television program since All Japan Women's Pro Wrestling (AJW) left Fuji TV in 2002.

HistoryEdit

Chapter OneEdit

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

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

Ryōgoku CinderellaEdit

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

Results
# Results Stipulations Times
1 Sumire Yoshino and Yui Yokoo defeated Risa Sera and Rutsuko Yamaguchi Tag team match 6:00
2 Miho Wakizawa defeated Manami Toyota Singles match with special guest ring announcer Nagaharu Imai 10:37
3 Gota Ihashi, Kota Ibushi, Lin Byron and Mayu Iwatani defeated Eri Susa, Hikaru Sato, Makoto and Michael Nakazawa Eight-man tag team match 12:02
4 Meiko Satomura defeated Takumi Iroha Singles match 10:54
5 Dark Angel defeated Act Yasukawa Singles match for the vacant Wonder of Stardom Championship 10:42
6 Natsuki☆Taiyo (c) defeated Yuhi Singles match for the High Speed Championship 12:06
7 Ho-Show Tennyo (Kairi Hojo and Natsumi Showzuki) defeated Kimura Monster-gun (Hailey Hatred and Kyoko Kimura) (c) Tag team match for the Goddess of Stardom Championship 12:30
8 Mika Nagano, Nanae Takahashi and Tsukasa Fujimoto defeated Hiroyo Matsumoto, Kaori Yoneyama and Syuri Six-woman tag team match 14:21
9 Io Shirai defeated Alpha Female (c) Singles match for the World of Stardom Championship 12:54
10 Yoshiko defeated Yuzuki Aikawa Singles match 15:11
  • (c) – refers to the champion(s) heading into the match
  • Videoicon – refers to the video of that match

Chapter TwoEdit

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

Chapter Three and FourEdit

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

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

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

On February 17, Stardom announced a new collaboration project with Beginning Actress Girl'Z called "StaArt", which combines professional wrestling with actress and tarento activities. That same month, Stardom launched Stardom World, a worldwide paid streaming service through YouTube. The service was later moved to its own website. In April, Io Shirai, Kairi Hojo, and Mayu Iwatani represented Stardom in the United States, working events for Lucha Underground and Vendetta Pro Wrestling. On April 29, 2016, Yoko Bito announced she was returning to professional wrestling and Stardom. Her first match in four years took place on June 16. In May, Stardom wrestlers took part in a European tour, during which the promotion introduced a new title, the Stardom World Association (SWA) World Championship. On October 2, Stardom officially announced the signing of New Zealander Toni Storm. That same month, Stardom was granted temporary control over the NWA Western States Tag Team Championship by Vendetta Pro Wrestling, on behalf of the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA), while the reigning champions, The Twisted Sisterz (Holidead and Thunder Rosa), were touring the promotion. In February 2017, Stardom partnered with American promotion Ring of Honor (ROH) for a tryout camp in search of wrestlers for ROH's Women of Honor division, who could also earn a tour of Japan with Stardom. On April 30, Stardom announced it would be holding a show in Taiwan on October 21, 2017. Shortly afterwards it was reported that two of Stardom's top wrestlers, Io Shirai and Kairi Hojo, had both accepted contract offers from WWE and would be departing the company. Shirai, however, ended up staying in Stardom due to WWE rescinding their contract offer following a medical examination (Despite this, WWE would reverse this decision one year later and hired Shirai who departed from Stardom as planned). On November 1, Kagetsu and Tam Nakano, who had worked for Stardom as freelancers, officially joined the promotion. On February 18, 2018, Stardom announced the creation of the promotion's seventh active title, the Future of Stardom Championship, the title is meant for wrestlers with less than two years of experience in professional wrestling or under the age of 20. On March 25, 2019, it was later reported Hana Kimura, who had worked for the promotion as part of Wrestle-1, announced that was she officially signed full-time with promotion. On May 4, 2019, British wrestler Bea Priestley announced that she was joining the promotion full-time despite being already signed to American promotion All Elite Wrestling (AEW). On August 8, 2019, it was introduced a new collaboration between the promotion and Fire Pro Wrestling World, a video game developed by Spike Chunsoft with DLC featuring wrestlers from the promotion and was released on August 21.

Bushiroad ownershipEdit

On October 14, 2019, Giulia announced that she had signed with the promotion one day prior to leaving Ice Ribbon. Three days later, Stardom was purchased by Bushiroad's subsidiary Kix Road, who renamed itself to Bushiroad Fight Co, Ltd. as part of the acquisition, making it a sister promotion of New Japan Pro-Wrestling, while also being announced that the promotion would use its main name Stardom instead of the World Wonder Ring Stardom and Rossy Ogawa would remain as the promotion's Chief executive officer. Bushiroad's founder Takaaki Kidani had been interested in buying the promotion since February 2019 and began negotiations for the acquisition of the promotion since April, due to WWE's increased popularity of women's wrestling in North America. WWE also attempt to purchase Stardom as part of its plan to expand to the Japanese market in July, but Ogawa ended refusing WWE's offer and ended up accepting Bushiroad's offer instead with the deal being completed in August, with Bushiroad taking over the operations on December 1.

Following Bushiroad's acquisition, all members of the Stardom roster signed full-time contracts with the promotion. Bushiroad also established a plan for an increased focus on production and advertising to build the popularity of the promotion and increase their female fanbase, while also airing a TV show on BS Nippon and Tokyo MX starting in January 2020, with the BS Nippon show being a 30-minute show on Thursdays, becoming the second Joshi promotion to air a weekly national television show since All Japan Women's Pro Wrestling (AJW) left Fuji TV in 2002. Afterwards, Takaaki Kidani expected to quintuple Stardom's profits in five years similar to the growth of NJPW between 2012 and 2018. The 2019 edition of the Cinderella tournament was scheduled to be the first big event after the acquisition, as well plans to held Stardom's 10th Anniversary Show in January 2021 at the Ryōgoku Kokugikan.

On December 24, Hazuki made her retirement against her Odeo Tai stablemate Natsuko Tora, making her final appearance for the promotion. The following day, it was announced that Stardom would have an exhibition match at NJPW's Wrestle Kingdom 14 with Arisa Hoshiki and Mayu Iwatani facing Giulia and Hana Kimura on January 4th, where Iwatani and Hoshiki were victorious, as part of Bushiroad's acquisition of Stardom and due to Stardom being broadcasted on TV Asahi's rival network Nippon TV the match would later be a dark match. On December 26, Kagetsu announced her retirement, making her final appearance for the promotion on January 26, 2020.

On February 18, Stardom announced that they were canceling shows from February 19 to March 14, due to the 2019-20 coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Their March 8 show in Korakuen Hall would later be called No People Gate due to the event being held without any spectators in attendance and would instead broadcast the event live on their YouTube channel. Additional events were canceled throughout April and May, meaning Stardom’s Ota Ward Gym show and the unit-produced shows held during Golden Week in early May would no longer be taking place. On June 16, after Stardom personnel underwent antibody testing, Stardom announced that the promotion would start to held shows on June 21 and allow fans into the arena, starting with the STARDOM is again, but only with a third of the venue's normal capacity, after the Japanese Government lifted some restrictions on many regions in Japan.

RosterEdit

STARS
Queen’s Quest
Oedo Tai
Tokyo Cyber Squad
Donna del Mondo

BroadcastersEdit

Domestic:

  • Tokyo MX (2020–present, currently broadcasting weekly highlights show We are STARDOM!! and live specials)
  • Nippon Television (2020–present, currently broadcasting weekly episodes of We are STARDOM!! matches)
  • Nico Nico Douga (2010-2015, streaming untelevised spot-shows and interviews)
  • Fighting TV Samurai (2010–present, currently broadcasting live specials, retrospective shows and magazine shows)

Worldwide:

  • Stardom World (streaming service, broadcasting most Stardom shows live, as well as on-demand classic and documentary content)

ChampionshipsEdit

Championship Current champion(s) Reign Date won Days held Location
World of Stardom Championship IwataniWStardom Mayu Iwatani 2 November 4, 2019 280+ Tokyo
Wonder of Stardom Championship GiuliaWonderofstardom Giulia 1 July 26, 2020 15+ Tokyo
Goddess of Stardom Championship UtamiSayaGoddess Queen's Quest
(Utami Hayashishita and Saya Kamitani)
1 July 26, 2020 15+
Artist of Stardom Championship DonnadelArrist Donna del Mondo
(Giulia, Maika and Syuri Kondo)
1 February 8, 2020 184+
High Speed Championship AZMHighSpeed AZM 1 July 26, 2020 15+
SWA World Championship HayterSWA Jamie Hayter 1 January 26, 2020 197+ Osaka
Future of Stardom Championship Maikafutureofstardom Maika 1 July 17, 2020 24+ Tokyo

EventsEdit

Marquee eventsEdit

Collaborated eventsEdit

Annual tournamentsEdit

Tournament Last winner(s) Last held Created Notes
5★Star Grand Prix Hana Kimura September 22, 2019 2012 Stardom's biggest annual tournament, Round-robin tournament with a head-to-head final match.
Goddesses of Stardom Tag League Arisa Hoshiki and Tam Nakano November 15, 2019 2011 Stardom's annual tag team round-robin tournament.
Cinderella Tournament Giulia March 24, 2020 2015 One-day single-elimination tournament, where the winner gets a wish fulfilled.
Rookie of Stardom Saya Kamitani December 8, 2019 2011 A tournament held by Stardom for younger wrestlers.
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