The “chase” in professional wrestling is one that has created some of the greatest stories, feuds, and moments that the profession has to offer. While all of these are great, it is the wrestlers who are on the chase for gold that become even greater because of it. The number of those who have chased the championship to become better and grow as performers is endless when looking at it. Daniel Bryan, Kenny Omega, Becky Lynch, and Tetsuya Naito to name a few who have entered the chase for world titles and became massive stars in doing so. It’s an aspect of pro wrestling that never fails to excite audiences and create a bigger star in the process. Currently, in the world of wrestling, Syuri and her “chase” to be World of Stardom Champion is one of the best stories going.
A lot of the time in the chase for a title, the one who is on the road to becoming champion has been seen as an underdog, held by the system (specifically WWE), or just coming up short in their efforts to do so. The latter is where we discuss Syuri, as she has been so close but has yet to break through and win the championship despite having the opportunities. Every single time has only pushed her to be better and better as she continues her emotional road to the top of Stardom.
Syuri Falters in Championship Matches Despite Legendary Efforts
Syuri arrived in Stardom as a member of Donna del Mondo in 2020. Since then, she has always been seen as one of the true elite wrestlers in the promotion. Her spot on the card has never wavered as she continuously shows why she’s one of the best in the world right now. The former UFC fighter climbed the ranks immediately while making it known to the world that her one determination in Stardom is to win the World of Stardom Championship. As time has gone on, that determination has become an addiction. She has managed to get two World of Stardom Championship matches since joining.
The first came on Oct. 3, 2020, when she faced reigning champion, Mayu Iwatani, for the title at Yokohama Cinderella. With just over one minute to go in the match, Iwatani managed to successfully defend her championship and the dreams of Syuri were halted despite the amazing effort. In the meantime, Utami Hayashishita had just won the 5 STAR Grand Prix and would be next to get her match against Iwatani. This is where Hayashishita ultimately won the gold, setting up for the biggest match in Stardom history seven months later.
After going to a time limit draw on the final day of the 2020 5 STAR Grand Prix with each other, Hayashishita was deemed the winner of the tournament and left Syuri looking for answers. She still got her title match, but that time limit did nothing to help the confidence heading into the big match. Fast forward to the 2021 Cinderella Tournament. Syuri made it a mission of hers to win it and challenge Hayashishita for the gold after the champion denied her initial challenge—stating that she was going to have to pull out a win in Stardom’s second-biggest tournament. However, the brackets would break down to these two facing one another in the second round. This would be Syuri’s chance to get her match by showing Hayashishita that she can finally beat her.
Via over-the-top rope, Syuri managed to defeat Hayashishita in singles action for the first time and essentially guarantee herself the second World of Stardom Championship match in her career. The stage was then set—the main event of Tokyo Dream Cinderella with the World of Stardom Championship on the line.
Despite being the reigning SWA Champion and one-half of the Goddesses of Stardom Champions with Giulia, nothing has mattered to her more than the World of Stardom Championship. This was her chance to finally get over the mountain that she has long tried to scale and get past. As we know now, these two fought with everything they had and in the end, no one had enough to win the match. Syuri and Hayashishita wrestled to a 43:19 double KO finish. Extraordinary efforts were not enough for Syuri, who has been disheartened since the loss.
In her first comments following the match, Syuri discussed how she was supposed to be seen as the “strongest woman in the world” but could not win in either of her opportunities for the World of Stardom Championship.
“I was called the strongest woman in the world, but I lost to Mayu Iwatani in a match for the belt on Oct. 3 last year, and drew with Utami Hayashishita on June 12 this year,” Syuri wrote.
She continued later in the written passage explaining that no matter these shortcomings, Syuri will one day hold the red belt.
“I was even jealous of the people who were in the spotlight. I hated myself for that. I had to get it right, I thought. I joined Stardom to win the big belt, and now I’m here in the most popular and shining women’s wrestling. I want to shine. I want to be the best in wrestling, I want to wear a big belt, I want to show my mother who passed away last year what I can do. I also want to show my mother, who passed away last year, what I’m capable of. They gave me a lot of power. When I was entering the venue on June 12, I could see the expressions on the faces of each and every person on the side of the aisle…”
There’s a reason, that in spite of coming up short twice, that her destiny remains winning the World of Stardom Championship.
Determination Driving Syuri to Be Stardom’s Best Right Now
“And of course I haven’t forgotten about the red belt,” Syuri said. “I will definitely pursue it and get to wear it around my waist, so keep your eyes on me.”
Immediately after the successful defense of the SWA Championship against Konami at All Star Dream Cinderella, the determination of Syuri was on display that she was never settling and will not until that is around her waist. And this all brings us to today. There is no one hitting on all cylinders in the squared circle like Syuri is right now. Not a single talent in Stardom and maybe no one in all of wrestling for that matter. She may not be the champion right now but Syuri knows the only way to reach the top of the mountain is to keep pushing forward and getting better. She has become as dominant as ever and shows every single outing that there is no one on her level right now besides, maybe, Utami Hayashishita.
The question at hand is simple—can this new determination and dominance bring Syuri to her ultimate destination in professional wrestling? The 5 STAR has given us the best sense that yes, this can be a reality.
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A 5 STAR Beginning for the Ages
If you are not aware, Stardom’s biggest tournament of the year is going on right now. The 5 STAR Grand Prix is a proving ground of sorts in the promotion as those who are able to run through it and win are able to come out of the other side a perennial main eventer and have a title shot for whatever championship they choose. Over the past few years, the winner has picked the World of Stardom Championship. Of course, this is how Hayashishita became champion. It’s a tournament where wrestlers need to mix dominance and pace to get themselves to the end in one piece. Though finishing the tournament in one piece has been deemed impossible this year for the Blue Stars Block as Syuri has chosen violence and nothing less. Through three matches, she has shown that the mentality is there to win more than ever.
Syuri is understandably one of the favorites in the tournament and as she said in her message after walking away without the red belt in her match with Hayashishita, she really is seen as the “strongest woman in the world.” Everything she does has all eyes on her. The blessing? She has made it an effort to show why she is the proving ground in Stardom more than anyone right now which has led to an insane three matches out the gate for the SWA Champion.
Her opening night would pit her against Cinderella Tournament winner Saya Kamitani. The story here was interesting for those who may not have fully connected it. These two had been fresh off a tag team championship match, but a lot more goes into it than that. Kamitani is the tag team partner of Hayashishita, instantly making this a match where Syuri felt she had to win. Then add in the fact that Kamitani, not Syuri, won the Cinderella Tournament that the latter felt was destined to win and you understand as to why this match went the way that it did. From the opening bell, these two went clubbing. Nothing, and I mean nothing, stood between Syuri and that first win. Kamitani did her best to square up and hit back with everything she had but the overwhelming offense of Syuri never gave Kamitani a chance. A Ryuen nearly destroying the neck of Kamitani spelled the end and was the proving ground for Syuri having a tournament for the ages.
Her next matchup was with Maika. Seeing that this was the same woman that Syuri has the audacity to call “my Maika,” it is haunting as to how this match went. Nothing was held back by Syuri on her Donna del Mondo stablemate as she made it her mission to destroy. Seeing that Maika did what Syuri could not and pinned Utami Hayashishita on night one of the event, it felt that had something to do with it. Maika fought back valiantly though, leading to these two having an exchange of headbutts that would make anyone quiver in pain and fear. There came a sequence in the match where Syuri decided enough was enough, hitting a punt kick on Maika which looked as though it knocked her out cold. It would be followed up by the scariest, most painful-looking Ryuen ever hit for Syuri to get her second win of the tournament. A war that showed no matter the herculean efforts of her opponent, it’s going to be tough to take her down.
Chasing gold always has its speed bumps and her match with AZM, much like in the 5 STAR last year, showed that a serious bump was here. It was more of the same for a lot of this match, but AZM came out swinging and showing that she is one of few that has the number of Syuri. Every time Syuri got something going offensively, AZM came back with offense of her own. A diving double foot stomp out to the floor by AZM gave a feel that for the first time, this may not be Syuri’s to win. The match saw a finish when AZM hit a delayed Canadian Destroyer, following it up with Azumi Sushi for the stunning victory. Syuri, in many ways, put on another phenomenal performance but the momentum came to a screeching halt with this one.
No other matches have happened yet for Syuri, but there has to be a feeling that her next couple of opponents will be who pays for that loss. It could be reminiscent of when Hana Kimura lost to Saki Kashima and AZM in the 5 STAR two years ago. She only used that to push herself to the next level as a competitor. Seeing that we can all be in agreement that Syuri has already been at that level, her next step could result in the most powerful form of Syuri as she gets back on track in her chase for the red belt.
Will Syuri Ever Become World of Stardom Champion?
Two attempts and two shortcomings. A still very undecided tournament with some of the best talent in the world up for grabs. The signs as to how or when Syuri gets another World of Stardom Championship match are cloudy. She could win the 5 STAR Grand Prix and solidify that spot but we have yet to see how she bounces back from the loss to AZM. She also still has heavy hitters to face in Tam Nakano, Takumi Iroha on the final day, and a highly-anticipated rematch with Utami Hayashishita that all could destroy her road back to a red belt shot. This all being said, the answer to Syuri ever becoming World of Stardom Champion is a simple one: Yes.
Syuri’s destiny in professional wrestling is to become the World of Stardom Champion. And the beauty of any chase is the moment that they accomplish that goal of winning the gold. It’s not going to happen in seconds, days, and maybe even months. But the day will come that Syuri is able to capture the one title she craves. She’s undeniable in that aspect. Anyone who has doubts clearly isn’t paying attention to what she has been doing in recent months. Everything she does is to win that championship and she will go through anyone to achieve that. There is a reality where her tag team partner Giulia wins that title before her. If anyone thinks that it would be pure happiness shown from Syuri to Giulia for the win, they are wrong.
As we saw in the Maika match, no one can get between her and that belt no matter the relationship. That’s what makes this chase so special from others in wrestling right now. Syuri isn’t down on her luck but elevating her game to a newer, unheard-of level every single time. Syuri should be the one to defeat Utami Hayashishita due to the story these two have and the amount of disdain they continue to share. That aspect may not be what is ahead for Syuri in her story, but what is ahead in the World of Stardom Championship.
She has become one of wrestling’s best and will not stop until she can paint the World of Stardom Championship in her own vermillion color.