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Opinion

Thank you, Io Shirai. What’s next for Stardom?

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News broke out today from Tokyo Sports that Io Shirai has signed a contract with the WWE and is rumored to take part of the second annual Mae Young Classic tournament. Her final date for Stardom is set to take place on June 17th before she departs from Japan to pursue her dream of working for the WWE.

I know a lot of people are not too happy with the idea due to them not fully trusting WWE every time they sign a big name to the company and yeah some haven’t been winners, but there are those that actually do make it. Asuka has been doing pretty well for herself ever since she joined, Kairi Sane won the classic last year and is getting that nice slow build without getting hurt, so, I have confidence in Io making it.

Io Shirai was rumored to join the WWE since 2016 and had a tryout in 2017, but WWE didn’t sign her due to medical issues with her neck and heart that they had to back away for the time being, but WWE was still interested in her. Why wouldn’t they be? She’s considered one of, if not the best female wrestler in the entire world right now. With her dreams of being a WWE superstar being set on hold for the time being, she decided to stay with Stardom where she would become the Wonder of Stardom Champion this time instead of going after the top belt as a way to take a step back and take it easy for a while. Luckily Io would have another chance at a contract with the company and luckily enough, she was able to sign one after dropping the championship to Momo Watanabe on the May 23rd show.

Right now this is the best time for her to leave Stardom since she has won all the titles she could win, broke records with most of them, and needs time for her body to take it easy due to all the damage she’s put herself through over the past eleven years of her career. At only 28 years old, Io has accomplished a lot in her career in Japan and gave us some of the best matches that we would see, not just for females, but some better than the male athletes globally as well. Her style and psychology is some of the best I’ve seen in quite a while.

She just carries herself well and gives it her all in every match you see her in no matter how big or small the crowd is, she’s just a natural in the ring and you can see why a lot of people love Io. I’m gonna support Io with her decision to finally achieve her dream and all I can say to her right now is thank you, Io Shirai. Thank you for everything you have done for Japanese wrestling and just wrestling in general, and I wish her the best in her next chapter.

Now the next question remains, what will be next for Stardom? With Io considered their ace and is now leaving, they’re gonna need someone to fill in that void now, specially with Toni Storm signing a contract too and she’s the current World of Stardom Champion as well, so that leaves a bit of a gap of top talent to see who could be the next ace.

So let’s go down the list and see what they could do now with five possible choices.

5. Momo Watanabe

– The eighteen year old with two years of experience and the current Wonder of Stardom Champion after defeating fellow Queen’s Quest member, Io Shirai, thanks to winning the Cinderella Tournament. Momo has been considered an underrated talent in the years that she started with the company and I do think she was incredibly underrated and overlooked compared to the other various talents they had. While I think of her as an incredibly gifted talent, I don’t think she is ready for the top spot in the company as she is now finally finding her stride, plus her being the Wonder of Stardom Champion right now is a great starting point to see how things will work out for her. Give her a couple of years and then we’ll see where she’s at before climbing to the very top, but don’t count her out for sure.

 

4. Saki Kashima

– Stardom’s first Artist of Stardom Champion and has been apart of the company since 2011 around when it was formed. I don’t know that much about her, but from what I’ve seen from around when she started that she really did have a promising future with the company and would start to wrestle with them until 2013 where she has departed from the company and I honestly do not know the reason for her decision at all as it could’ve been an injure, personal issues, problems with management, but there is no public info I can find out about her and I will keep searching for it since it definitely is a mystery to me and I’m sure to various others.

She returned to the company in March of 2018 and has been on a roll ever since her five year departure with the company and it felt like she hasn’t lost a step in the ring at all as if she never left in the first place. I wouldn’t mind her doing a storyline to prove herself once more like how Katsuyori Shibata did when he left New Japan and returned years later. I would give her about a year to see where she’s at and she can be their next top female in the company for sure if she keeps it up. Definitely someone to keep an eye on.

 

3. Hazuki

– I think she would’ve made a good case to be the next leader of Queen’s Quest and rise up to the ranks to replace Io in the company, but since she has now been drafted to the Oedo Tai unit, it looks like her chances at the top spot has been put on hold right now.

Hazuki right now feels more like a gatekeeper of the company to help elevate people while performing well in the ring at the same time. With her new home with Oedo Tai, I can see her either getting the Wonder of Stardom Championship soon or go for the Goddesses of Stardom Championship if Hana and Kagetsu do drop it eventually since I think her and Hana would actually make a pretty good team since they work well together. While another great talent, I don’t see her taking the top spot right now at this time either, but one day she will and until then, she’s a great gatekeeper.

Honorable Mentions

– Jungle Kyona start to move up, but much like Hazuki, she’s just considered a gatekeeper of the company and the jungle gimmick is really something that you can’t take too seriously in the company, so definitely not anytime soon.

– Hana Kimura is another one that could be a possibility, but she’s really not considered a member of the Stardom roster as she actually is a member of Wrestle-1 while they have her freelance at the same time. Definitely not someone I see taking the top spot for quite some time, but can be a big player there despite that.

– We could try with another gaijin within the company since Toni Storm has signed with WWE as well, however aside from her, Viper, and Chardonnay they gaijins that they haven aren’t really that good at all. So they would have to try to get a big name to go with them if they wanna try another one or capitalize on Viper and Chardonnay if they’re serious of staying.

– If we look at the Future of Stardom division, the only one right now that could have a big impact once they’re older are either Starlight Kid or AZM, but way too young right now despite being in the company for quite some time. They’re fine with where they are right now and again we’ll try again once they’re older.

 

2. Kagetsu

– The leader of Oedo Tai and current Goddess of Stardom Champion with Hana Kimura, this could be the time for Kagetsu to step out of the tag division since her unit has plenty of people right now and can focus more of the top spot finally. I definitely get a Naito vibe from her while despite being considered a heel in the company that the fans are connected to her and the group that she leads. In 2008, she started at Sendai Girls in her career before moving over to Stardom full time in 2016 to lead the group that we have right now and evolved into this character with a personality. She is another one I consider to be one of the top wrestlers in that promotion next to Io and Mayu as she combines her character and ability to carry herself over to give people not only a good match, but give it some entertainment into the mix as well.

Despite my praise for Kagetsu, I don’t see her as the ace of the company or her gimmick being taken too seriously to be considered the number one person in the company. I do however believe she could be the next top heel of the company and even have a run with both Wonder and World of Stardom Championships should the occasion come to her, but she would need to step away from the tag division to utilize her to her full potential.

 

1. Mayu Iwatani

– Mayu is in my opinion Stardoms next best talent right next to Io and has been with the company for quite some time now. She is another natural in the ring, loved by the crowd, and someone that has the look of a star. Mayu would defeat Io last year to end her historic reign for the World of Stardom Championship and felt like it was the passing of the torch when Io was rumored to leave at that time. However, her reign was short lived due injuring her elbow during a match against Toni Storm in which she had to drop the belt to her by default without giving us a proper winner. She re turned months later to help build herself back up and would eventually get that match with Toni in April for the championship, but she unfortunately failed to recapture the title, admitting defeat right now, but hasn’t given up yet since she feels like the belt is rightfully hers and wants to win it when she feels like she’s earned it this time around.

There is also confirmation that WWE has signed another star from Stardom and they didn’t reveal who it was at this time, but some rumors have said that it could be Mayu and if that turns out to be true, that’ll make the gap in Stardom bigger since you’re losing your biggest stars and not enough to help fill in that void. I don’t think it is true since her home right now is Stardom and would need to help carry that company around, so she’s definitely my pick if the rumors of her being signed are false.

So who do you think could be the next ace of Stardom? Are the choices I picked have credible cases or did I overlook someone? Please let me know so we can discuss the future of the company with the loss of their biggest star.


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Opinion

King: Plotting The Return Of Randy Orton To WWE

Chris King is back with his look at the best scenario to bring Randy Orton back to WWE, and the perfect opponent for his first big match back.

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Randy Orton 4

Chris King is back with his look at the best scenario to bring Randy Orton back to WWE, and the perfect opponent for his first big match back.

I wanted to bring everyone’s attention to a superstar that’s being overshadowed right now, ‘The Viper’ Randy Orton. After RKBRO lost the Raw Tag Team Championships to The Uso’s, Orton vanished from the company. There was speculation about his serious back injury and, it wasn’t until The Viper’s wife herself posted a candid picture of Orton after successful surgery.

While the focus in WWE right now is either on The Bloodline, Bray Wyatt and Uncle Howdy, or the returning Cody Rhodes, I felt this was a good time to start plotting The Viper’s return to WWE.

Randy Orton’s Return to WWE

On the Raw-After-Mania ‘The American Nightmare’ opens the show after a tough battle over Roman Reigns to win the WWE Championship. Rhodes with tears in his eyes is giving an emotional promo about his family’s legacy, and how much this title means to him. The WWE Universe is chanting “You Deserve It,” and out comes Finn Balor flanked by The Judgement Day.

‘The Prince’ starts by congratulating the new champion for dethroning ‘The Tribal Chief’ but, now he wants his title shot. Rhodes being the resilient hero accepts Balor’s challenge for the main event. The American Nightmare and The Prince are putting on a clinic of a match, delivering multiple finishers but unable to put the other away. Judgement Day starts to interfere when Orton’s music blares throughout the arena. Orton takes out the heels and helps his former protege. Rhodes capitalizes and hits Crossroads for the 1.2.3.

The former Legacy members are celebrating and embracing with a hug as Rhodes goes to raise his newly-won title. In the blink of an eye, The Viper strikes and takes out Rhodes with an RKO Outta Nowhere! The champion is knocked out as Orton hoists the title above his head while trash-talking his now rival. Orton violently throws Rhodes out of the ring and delivers a nasty-looking draping DDT onto the floor.

The Build–And Culmination–of Randy Orton vs. Cody Rhodes

Orton stares giving 2009 vibes as Rhodes’ head raises, so The Viper runs and delivers a punt kick. WWE officials come out and break things up and the champion is stretchered out of the arena. The show closes with Orton grinning over the destruction he has caused to his former protege. Over the next few months, Orton and Rhodes enter into an extremely personal rivalry over the coveted prize. We finally make it to SummerSlam where both men agree to raise the stakes and do war inside HELL IN A CELL!!!!

This is how I would book The Viper’s return to WWE. If you feel like this should be written differently, I’d love to hear your thoughts!


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Opinion

AJ’s Phenomenal Opinion: Bray Wyatt

So everyone loves Bray’s return right? Right? Well the McDonald’s Sprite spicy opinions of AJ…may feel differently.

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Well, just because my work schedule changed, doesn’t mean I’m not going to drop some opinions of mine, of which, I haven’t done too bad with. I got Three out of Five for my returns right a few months back and this is going to be about the last entry on that previous list. I knew for a fact that Bray Wyatt would return to the WWE in some way shape or form and time for some… controversy.

As my favorite ratings winner of 83 Weeks once said, Controversy Creates Cash and boy HOWDY… Do I have something to get off my chest here so sit back, order some Chairshot Merch and lets get on with Adam’s… Rants for a bit.

Initial Thoughts

Bray coming in and making a return to the WWE was an inevitability. Death, Taxes and I guess WWE Returns are always guaranteed anymore and maybe we could get some new creativity with a supernatural gimmick. Bray has always had that supernatural to him ever since he had the Wyatt Family in Erik Rowan, the late Luke Harper and in the end, Braun Strowman. The Wyatt’s had a control like no other and were beloved for a moment in the WWE.

Bray did a lot to make sure things were in motion but for some reason any massive feud he had, he failed. Following a bunch of injuries to the rest of his family and even releases later on, he seemed to at least get some traction going for him. WWE Champion, somehow got Randy Orton with him, Universal Championships and got those big match wins that eluded him in the Wyatt Family beginnings. Let me also say this as well, I actually liked the Firefly Funhouse Match with Cena as a “This is Your Life” match of sorts. I was tickled and entertained… Then much like Bray in character, something changed.

Dark and Terrible Lurk with Fiends

We had a lot to figure out during the Pandemic. Like A WHOLE HELL OF A LOT. Through it all though, WWE figured it out but the person that helped these types of ideas, soured them drastically. Lets go back to the WWE Championship run in 2017. Randy Orton won the Royal Rumble that year and he wouldn’t betray Bray, right? Well he does and Mania for the two is set, Orton against Wyatt for the WWE Championship and it was… terrible. Random images of maggots and decay (Not the IMPACT Stable) popping up into the ring as the match goes on and Randy still wins. Through head game attempts, Bray comes up short in the big match moment. That’s odd but maybe it will be a bigger pictu– and Jinder Mahal wins the Championship. Okay.

Wyatt returns as this Mister Rogers character and has a darkness inside of him with The Fiend. Now we had this amazing theory or maybe that’s what happened but the story was, anyone The Fiend fought, they revert back to their best selves. The Miz returned to be the A Lister, the guy who grabs a microphone that you love to hate. Finn Balor doesn’t have the Demon Gimmick anymore because after his loss, he’s the Prince again. The cocky guy that walks around because he is the best, he gives no care in the world. Seth Rollins, who he took the WWE Universal Championship from, went from a dorky sweetheart back to the asshole taking every opportunity that he could get because he’s that much of a weasel and when he lost… He lost to Goldberg. The one guy that has been the same since 1997. Drums, Pyro Bath, Spear, Jackhammer, “Who’s Next?” and during that time, he sucked at points. One of those Rollins matches was in a Hell In A Cell match, the red cage with the red lighting. Match ending with a Stoppage from the referee… INSIDE OF A HELL IN A CELL (I think Sean Waltman said it best… Why did the match stop? It’s supposed to be Hell?) and it’s one of the rare times that I agreed with wrestling’s favorite Uncle… That was Negative Stars for a match.

After Goldberg, he didn’t have a commanding presence. He recruited Alexa Bliss who was already over whether she was a Heel or Face and made everything so unbelievably… boring. Alexa had to carry that idiotic demon gimmick and doll, not having anything really supernatural. Just some wrestling and Brock Lesnar cleaning up everything faster than a Chop Shop in main events and segments. He tried to return and make his grand return, beating the Universal Champion Braun Strowman at Summerslam just to falter a literal week later to Roman Reigns, who proceeded to never look back from that win. Bray gets fired after and no more supernatural ideas. Undertaker isn’t around really and retires, Kane is a mayor. Paul Bearer is no longer with us and everything is just… normal.

Wyatt’s Six (Reasons I Tune Out)

In 2022, Vince retires seemingly from everything and Triple H is at the helm, could he bring balance to everything? He makes a bunch of returns that people love seeing. Johnny Gargano, Dakota Kai, Tegan Nox, Bronson Reed, Dexter Lumus just to name a few and of course, the big one that everyone wanted. Bray Wyatt.

Bray makes this heartfelt return and everything seems great. We get him as him, he makes this weird build to a Wyatt 6, assuming we think it’s the Firefly Funhouse and he’s just talking, building. Alright well who is going to be these six figures because they are more than just puppets this time around. A masked man named Uncle Howdy that people think is Vincent Marseglia or maybe a bearded Bo Dallas who is Bray’s real life brother and he……… pops in and out to confuse people. Okay… (1)

Alexa might return to the 6 because of all the segments and gets darker and a heel. Alright that is perfectly fine but, WHY IS VINCENT DALLAS HERE AGAIN TO JUST INTERFERE WITH RANDOM THINGS? Okay… fine. (2) Alexa has a Women’s Championship match against Bianca Belair, that will make sense of thi– it’s a clean finish… Why is it clean? No Howdy, No Wyatt just a random VHS tape like I’m watching The Ring about her being dark after the match. Okay…… (3)

Oh Wyatt finally gets a feud for his return. I almost forgot about that! Who will be this first victim? LA Knight.

…Okay…… (4)

Maybe this will be good. They are both great on the microphone, maybe Bray has new moves that he can do and I know all too well how good LA Knight is, I have been an Eli Drake/Shaun Ricker fan for years. This could be a great match that they have, they announced it for the Royal Rumble so it’s going to be big and it’s a… Pitch Black Match presented by Mountain Dew.

O…okay…… (5)

The Royal Rumble is upon us, the Men’s Rumble starts the show and we all have adrenaline in our soul for it and now is this weird Pitch Black Match and it’s not a cinematic match. It’s in the ring, No Count Outs and No Disqualifications. LA Knight comes out in his iconic Yellow Attire and Wyatt is talking… with a mask on. The lights turn off and the ropes are glowing a neon greenish-yellow… with an announce table spot that… has Nickelodeon Slime inside of it when they break it? Okay fine… I knew the match was going to be dumb and gimmicky from the Mountain Dew Sponsorship. Bray wins, yay. LA Knight comes back with a Kendo Stick and… we get invulnerable Bray again… they don’t hurt. Lets go to this crash pad and Bo Marseglia shows up from somewhere and just elbow drops him from maybe fifteen to twenty feet with pyro and the Firefly Funhouse Puppets appear at the top, to watch a fire… And there is number six…

Actual Thoughts on Current Bray Wyatt, Post Rumble

I absolutely hate it.


This was awful. You build whatever insignificant thought process of the Wyatt 6 has going for it when Uncle Howdy does the best Cap’n Shane O elbow drop for a hellfire effect. At least the pyro was better than the AEW Explosion Match I guess…

Regardless, how does LA Knight come out of all of this moving forward? He lost an idiotic gimmick match and looks presumed dead. This just makes me think that whoever in whatever interview said Bray Wyatt is a creative mastermind needs to put whatever they have down before we hear about their T.O.D. posted somewhere. This Pitch Black Match is somehow worse than that Rollins Hell in a Cell Match and that takes talent. At least a good amount of alcohol lulled that from my brain but this made me remember that and enjoy the thought of that match happening with its finish. The best way I can picture how this was pitched was Burnt Dogshit, wrapped in a Kerosine Blanket with… sorry had to look at what I wrote, not putting that on websites but… people saw a Creative Quesadilla and when we got the actual product, it gave Salmonella poisoning and E Coli at the same time.

I really don’t want to see another Bray Wyatt match… again. Whoever gave him creative, take it away immediately. As much steam as Bray Wyatt gets in promos or possible matches in the past, the only steaming he gets at the end, is steaming piles of shit. You can say, he’s getting paid millions where I’m a little troll on the internet with typing power and I really don’t care but to me, Triple H… you finally got your first failing grade with something in your leadership role in WWE.


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