At 28 years old, Kairi Hojo has been considered one of the three best wrestlers (male or female) in the world. Since her debut in 2012 she has been lighting up the rings of World Wonder Ring Stardom in classic matches against the likes of Nixon Newell, Santana Garrett, Mayu Iwantani, lo Shirai, Viper, Deonna Purrazzo, Kagetsu, Jungle Kyona among others.
She is a three time Artist of Stardom champion (with three sets of partners), three time Goddess of Stardom Champion (with two different partners), a one time World of Stardom champion, and the current Wonder of Stardom Champion.
For someone who initially aspired to be an actress, Kairi Hojo has already carved out an impressive and legendary career in both her young life and time spent inside a professional wrestling ring.
Now, per a report from the Wrestling Observer’s Dave Meltzer, Hojo will be bringing her elite abilities and unbridled passion to be the very best to World Wrestling Entertainment.
This is both a major success and signing for the company. They had been actively pursuing Hojo and Stardom’s top star (and ACE) Shirai since last October. Both gave thought to signing but ultimately decided to remain with Stardom which would have been devastated by losing their two best talents.
Five months later and Hojo has come to terms with the top wrestling company in the United States for the next three years.
At the March 5 Stardom event, she and Yoko Bito dropped the Goddess of Stardom Championships to Hiroyo Matsumoto and Jungle Kyona in only their second defense of the titles. Presumably she will drop the Wonder of Stardom by the end of the current tour before headed for the US.
The timing of her deciding to sign with WWE comes at a great time it seems.
When the former Kana signed in 2015 to become Asuka, there were questions on how she would fare competing at the “WWE style” and if the other talents could rise to her level of wrestling.
Right off the bat she had a really solid match against raw rookie Dana Brooke and has since had strong outings and some classics against the likes of Emma, Bayley, Nia Jax, Mickie James, Peyton Royce, Billie Kay, and Nikki Cross.
She took to WWE like a duck in water because she was already accustomed to adjusting to different levels of experience, ability, and style.
Hojo has followed that same career path. As fate would have it, Stardom’s General Manager Fuka watched her performance at a theater where she portrayed a pro wrestling villain and invited her to a Stardom show. She immediately fell in love with the colorful sport and began her training. Like Asuka in NXT, she quickly adapted to the squared circle as if she’d been doing it her whole life. In five short years, she has won numerous awards and accolades for her work.
Now with Asuka seemingly primed to graduate on to WWE’s main roster, Hojo would be the perfect person to fill the big void that would be left behind. She carries herself like a star and wrestles every match as if the entire world is watching. Her style is believable, hard hitting, and gritty which is something the FSU arena appreciates and eats up with satisfaction.
Hojo could have good-great matches against just about anyone currently competing in the NXT Women’s Division. Matches against an Ember Moon, Nikki Cross, Ruby Riot, Kimber Lee, Andrea, down the line would keep things afloat during another rebuilding phase.
Her main roster prospects would be even brighter. She could push a Charlotte, Alexa Bliss, or Becky Lynch to even higher heights than they’ve already established during the Women’s Evolution.
We may look back at the signing of Kairi Hojo as a major turning point for fans of Joshi and the companies that deliver in that area big time. Shirai is reportedly reconsidering taking WWE’s offer while also fielding interest from Lucha Underground (where she and Hojo appeared for one episode of the current season). Others like a Iwantani, Kyona, Bito, etc could eventually capture the company’s attention forcing Stardom to up the ante both in terms of product output and strategies in keeping talent in the fold.
Regardless of the long-term picture, Kairi Hojo is going to give further blood, sweat, and tears on her new journey.
Get ready, WWE Universe.. Gaze up at that night sky and be prepared to be amazed by just one Wonder of Stardom. She is sure to burn bright into your memories.