On Friday at STARDOM’s 2022 Strategy Meeting, it was announced that STARDOM and New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) will be introducing an IWGP Women’s Championship with the inaugural champion being crowned at the NJPW x STARDOM joint show on November 20 at Ariake Arena.
The details are clear. The IWGP Women’s Championship will be defended on NJPW shows the majority of the time with it also being defended at big STARDOM shows as well. The goal in mind is to have a champion who will defend the belt in both Japan and the United States moving forward. The World of Stardom Championship and Wonder of Stardom Championship remains the major title of STARDOM for all their shows.
So now the question becomes a simple one: Who will be the first IWGP Women’s Champion? Here are the best options.
IWGP Women’s Championship: Contenders To Be The Inaugural Champion
The question may very well stop and stop at Mayu Iwatani. “The Icon” has been the epitome of STARDOM and what the promotion stands for her entire career. She is not only STARDOM’s greatest of all time but someone who has done everything to make STARDOM a special place to be. She’s been there since the start and has watched STARDOM go from a small Joshi company with a chance to now becoming the promotion leading the Joshi resurgence. As the reigning SWA World Champion, no one has a better claim than Iwatani. Add in all of the points I made prior and it’s difficult to disagree. The IWGP Women’s Championship is going to be defended on NJPW shows. You need to trust someone who embodies what STARDOM is while also fitting the mold as the inaugural champion.
There are a lot of options for this but Iwatani has done it all. Adding one final accolade to be STARDOM’s Ultimate Champion feels fitting. Iwatani has put her blood, sweat, and tears into STARDOM year in and year out. If the SWA World Championship is going out of style then, at the very least, give her a shot to at least fight for the belt. “The Icon” deserves the world and should be able to travel it as the first-ever champion. “IWGP Women’s Champion, Mayu Iwatani” has a nice ring to it.
Utami Hayashishita has had a quiet 2022. With the 5STAR Grand Prix coming up, certainly, that’s all about to change. But when thinking of the IWGP Women’s Championship, the belt almost is made for “The Red Queen.” After all, the comparison of Hayashishita to Kazuchika Okada is brought up time and time again after the way she reigned as the World of Stardom Champion in 2021. She’s been waiting for an opportunity to reach that level of greatness again since losing that title. There’s no doubt in anyone’s mind who the top star in STARDOM. It’s Utami Hayashishita. She has shown interest in spreading the greatness of STARDOM and women’s pro wrestling around the world for a while now. Winning the IWGP Women’s Championship and representing STARDOM in NJPW feels like a perfect match.
It’d also be another accolade for Hayashishita to add to her long list of them.
Giulia is the favorite to win the 5STAR Grand Prix and go on to challenge for the World of Stardom Championship. That’s a fact. But thinking she shouldn’t at least be in the conversation to become the inaugural IWGP Women’s Champion is crazy talk. The Donna del Mondo leader has been primed as a megastar since the moment she walked into STARDOM from Ice Ribbon. Giulia has had an aura that only gets bigger and better every time she makes an appearance. The Wonder of Stardom Championship has long been out of her grasp and if she’s unable to win the 5STAR Grand Prix this year, there’s no doubt she will want to try and win the IWGP Women’s Championship.
There are few wrestlers like Giulia in the world, let alone STARDOM. She’s as big a star as can be and if she were to win the IWGP Women’s Championship? Her star would only continue to rise from megastar to superstar. She is everything you’d want as the inaugural champion.
No one (sorry, Mayu) has more fans worldwide in STARDOM than KAIRI. The former NXT Women’s Champion made a name for herself as the fan-favorite “Pirate Princess” during her days in WWE and left wrestling fans missing her when it looked like she’d be hanging up the boots calling it a career. Thankfully for literally anyone who enjoys pro wrestling, that was not the case as KAIRI returned to STARDOM earlier this year and has not looked back. KAIRI has her sights on Saya Kamitani and the Wonder of Stardom Championship right now but there’s no word of when that match will be. And even if it does happen, there’s still as good a chance as any that KAIRI could be considered to be in this match.
“The Pirate Princess” still has all the tools to be champion once more. Having the name KAIRI attached to the IWGP Women’s Championship is something that no one should overlook. KAIRI carries a certain amount of weight on her shoulders that no others can. Every match she has nowadays has all eyes on it. So if you are going to have the champion crowned in the main event of the first-ever NJPW x STARDOM show, then crown the most well-known wrestler potentially in either promotion, let alone STARDOM. KAIRI has a chance to make some more history in her career.
Perhaps the name that few are considering is none other than Tam Nakano. The Cosmic Angels leaders has become one of the main faces of STARDOM over the last few years and continues to be at the forefront of all marketing campaigns and the product itself. Nakano has said in the past that she has plans to retire in the coming year or two but it’s tough to deny that she is fitting of the IWGP Women’s Championship. If you want to make the title as special as can be then you can go with the most unique option, which very well be Nakano. Her in-ring makeup of storytelling and violence is what has made fans fall in love with her time and time again.
Nakano has hinted in the past that bringing the Cosmic Angels and spreading STARDOM throughout the world is something she’d like to do and this championship gives her the opportunity to do so.
If Nakano isn’t winning, having her in the match to crown the first winner makes just as much sense. An important aspect to this title shouldn’t be forgotten — the match to crown the first champion is as important as whoever is the first champion. Nakano has proved time and time again she’s ready to steal the show and November 20 could be her time to do it once again. There are options to become the first IWGP Women’s Champion and Nakano is as good a choice as any to take on the mantle.
No matter who wins the title, it’s sure to be the right choice. History will be made on November 20 at the NJPW x STARDOM joint show as the first-ever IWGP Women’s Champion will be crowned.
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