Can Stardom work in North America?

For many years there has been a company that has been the unsung proving ground for both AEW and WWE. That company is Stardom. For years, Stardom has been such an amazing product for women’s wrestling not just in Japan for worldwide. Throughout its history, Stardom has seen numerous women come through their doors from all across the globe and have become mainstays in companies in North America. There has been more chatter about Stardom lately with the addition of Mercedes Moné, formerly Sasha Banks of WWE, and the fact that New Japan Pro Wrestling has teamed with Stardom on some events but that is just scratching the surface.

World Wonder Ring Stardom, commonly known as Stardom, was first established in late 2010 with its first official event taking place on January 23, 2011. The promotion came to be when Rossy Ogawa, All Japan Women co-producer, approached Fuka Kakimoto, a former mixed martial artist, about creating a company with Fuka’s student Yukuzi Aikawa as the top star. By August of 2011, Stardom had their version of the popular G1 tournament named The Five Star Grand Prix and it would become a staple of the promotion with the first winner being Yukuzi Aikawa. In that first year, wrestlers such as Io Shirai (Iyo Sky) and Kana (Asuka) were some of the more popular stars of Stardom. But that was just the beginning of it of the name recognition coming from Stardom.

Throughout the following years, there would be many wrestlers that we know in major companies that come from Stardom. Some notable names that have come from Stardom and have been focal points in AEW and WWE are Hikaru Shida, Toni Storm, Bea Priestley (Blair Davenport), KAIRI, Jamie Hayter, Ruby Soho, Piper Niven, and many more. Even with all the names from Stardom that are in conversations with the “big two promotions” in North America, how come Stardom isn’t discussed more? It may be due to how much wrestling is already on our television screens or it may be because people do not know where they can find Stardom. You can add another streaming service to your collection by downloading Stardom World or you can catch up with some highlights from Stardom’s official YouTube page. But what if you wanted to watch it on television like you can with WWE, AEW, and Impact Wrestling?

As it stands right now, there is no television deal for Stardom, though Rossy Ogawa and Bushiroad (new owners of Stardom and NJPW) have been discussing the possibilities of a television deal in Japan. Why stop at Japan though? Stardom should try to expand into North American television because a televised wrestling company focusing solely on female talent would probably succeed in the current climate of professional wrestling. With the lack of predominant women’s involvement in AEW and WWE, a good move for Stardom would be to find a way to get on to North American television screens. Fans have been clamoring for “more women’s wrestling” for the past few years, so why not try and capitalize on that demand?

By no means am I a Stardom historian, if you want to learn more then you should check out someone with extensive Stardom knowledge then you should check out Alex and Kayla of Church of Joshi. I do know that Stardom has fantastic wrestling weekly and should have a bigger platform to display it. Much like NJPW, Stardom is a niche part of the wrestling world but unlike NJPW, Stardom does not get a chance to really shine with events like Forbidden Door in AEW. The more eyes that can get on Stardom the better. That being said, check out the Stardom Youtube page and find a few matches you like. I recommend watching any of Guilia, AKM, Momo Watanabe, or any Club Venus matches if you want to try and get into Stardom. Stardom coming to North American viewers could be precisely what is needed to get other wrestling companies the kick in the pants needed to put women’s wrestling front and center of their companies.