At today’s Stardom event at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan, 2018 Cinderella Tournament winner Momo Watanabe defeated Io Shirai to end her second reign as Wonder of Stardom Champion, winning Stardom’s prestigious “white belt” for her first time. The Wonder of Stardom belt is akin to the Intercontinental Championship, just below the “red belt” World of Stardom Championship (currently held by Toni Storm).
Your new Wonder of Stardom champion, Momo Watanabe! pic.twitter.com/1x1gwPigJF
— We Are Stardom (@we_are_stardom) May 23, 2018
Only 18 years old, Watanabe managed to keep the belt in the Queen’s Quest stable, following her challenge to stablemate Shirai after the end of the this year’s Cinderella Tournament. She previously held the Stardom Artist of Stardom Championship (Stardom’s trios belts) alongside Io Shirai and HZK last year.
While Watanabe’s win over such a Stardom icon as Io Shirai could simply be to help elevate the young Momo to the next level in joshi puroresu, many are speculating that the timing could mean that Io Shirai could be getting another look by the WWE, more specifically, as an entrant for this year’s Mae Young Classic II. Shirai was initially on the verge of signing with the WWE just prior to last year’s Mae Young Classic, but during her WWE medical, a neck injury led to the WWE withdrawing their offer. Io Shirai is widely regarded as one of the top women’s wrestlers in the world and is a former 2x World of Stardom Champion, 2x Wonder of Stardom Champion, SWA Undisputed Champion, 6x Artist of Stardom Champion, and Goddess of Stardom Champion (Stardom tag team titles). Earlier this year, reports from the Wrestling Observer Newsletter mentioned that Io Shirai turned down being a part of Ring of Honor‘s Women of Honor tournament earlier this year as she felt it may hinder her chances of signing with the WWE, which apparently remains a goal of hers. Whether the title change is tied to Io Shirai potentially entering MYC2 or not remains to be seen, but the WWE is finalizing this year’s entrants (and alternates) and if it follows a similar pattern as last year, entrants should start being unveiled by the WWE in mid-June, with a taping schedule in late July or early August.