Star Gazing is our new series which will add to our already growing coverage of World Wonder Ring Stardom (Also known simply as Stardom) and the Joshi scene where we will get you up to speed with members of the Stardom roster. Today we will be focusing on the Big Rookie, Utami Hayashishita.
Well known for having one of the best rookie years in wrestling history, Utami Hayashishita is a 20-year-old Joshi Star from Kagoshima, Japan. Uta recently celebrated her first wrestling anniversary on August 12th, a fact that is hard to believe about such a skilled power wrestler. So, let’s take a look at what made the “Big Rookie” a true Supernova in the world of Joshi Wrestling.
Utami Hayashishita Before The Ring
Utami Hayashishita, born on September 14th, 1998, was the sixth child of what would become a 12-person family. This led to her family having their own recurring reality show in Japan from 2006 to 2013. The immensely popular show was Japan’s first time seeing Utami, but it certainly wasn’t the last.
Utami was first introduced to wrestling when she went to Yoshihiro Tajiri’s homecoming show with her family. Amazed by the atmosphere and intensity, Uta became obsessed with the sport and had a great desire to do what she saw the athletes do within the ring. This came as a surprise to her family, but not in the way you may think; The physicality wasn’t the issue, as Utami had been a Judoka from a young age, rather Utami suffered from severe social anxiety that she dealt with from a young age. As she grew older this anxiety started to lessen, and in March 2018, Utami took a major step towards her dream by approaching Stardom to start training in their dojo.
Throughout Spring and into the Summer of 2018, Utami trained nonstop for over five hours every day. During this time Utami started to design her first set of gear in her minimal free-time in anticipation for her first match. After consistent hard work in her training, Utami successfully passed her pro-test on July 5th, 2018, and was set to make her debut a month later.
Despite being someone who idolized rudos like Tetsuya Naito and Yoshihiro Tajiri, Utami was well aware of the fact that she was not a heel by nature. Raised in a respectful family, Uta was not accustomed to being rude or impolite. So, by the time of her debut on August 12th, 2018, Utami chose a sort of middle road. With the promise to become the top power wrestler in Stardom, Uta challenged the current top power wrestler Jungle Kyona. After various insults to her senior, Utami fought the established star to a time limit draw, shocking many viewers. Due to her amazing performance in her debut match, Utami was allowed entry into the 2018 5 STAR Grand Prix.
The opportunity to compete in arguably the biggest Joshi Wrestling tournament in Japan was not lost on the Big Rookie, who went all out in all of her matches. She once again shocked the world when she was able to win the Blue Stars block with 10 points, suffering only one loss against current World of Stardom Champion, Kagetsu. With a 4-1-2 record, Utami entered the finals with heaps of momentum, only to lose to Stardom Icon Mayu Iwatani. Despite ultimately losing the tournament, her impressive showing proved to the world that her early success was no fluke, but rather a sign of things to come.
The Red Queen
Now, throughout her time in the 5*, Utami was known as a lone wolf among the 4 factions in Stardom. She would team up with different factions when necessary but was not yet affiliated to any of them exclusively. This continued into the 2018 Goddesses Of Stardom Tag League, where she teamed up with Queen’s Quest member and leader, Momo Watanabe. While QQ was 100% ready to accept the rookie with open arms, Utami resisted, stating after every successful match that she was still not apart of QQ. After winning the Tag League with a block record of 4-1 and a finals win over Queen’s Quest members Bea Priestley and Chardonnay, Utami needed to make a decision.
Winning Tag League meant a Goddesses of Stardom Tag Team Championship match for the new team of Momo and Utami. So, on November 23rd, 2018, just over 3 months after her debut, Utami gained her first championship belt pinning none other than Jungle Kyona. After the match, Utami said the infamous words that would go on to fuel her newborn feud with Jungle Kyona: “Please be my stepping stone again.” Along with this declaration of war on Kyona, Utami would go on to be officially inducted into Queen’s Quest by their 16-year-old Commander, AZM.
Utami continued to dominate into the end of 2018, winning the 2018 Rookie Of Stardom Gauntlet Match by outlasting fellow rookies Hina, Rina, and Natsumi. She did, however, fall on the losing side of an attempt at the Artists of Stardom Championships against members of STARS, teaming up with Momo and newfound stablemate Konami. This loss would soon be won back when she and Momo successfully defended their tag team championships against STARS members Mayu Iwatani and Saki Kashima to close out the year 2019.
Going into 2019, Utami Hayashishita was riding on a metric ton of momentum. The Big Rookie was named Rookie of the Year by Tokyo Sports, as well as being named runner-up for the same category by the Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Utami, however, was determined not to let 2018 be her best year. Stating her intention to capture as many belts as possible on the first show of 2019, It didn’t take her long to make well on her promises. In fact, no more than 24-hours after this vow, Utami captured the Future of Stardom Championship from champion Starlight Kid, becoming a double champion a mere five months into her career.
Utami wasn’t finished though, as she challenged fellow Queen’s Quest member Viper to a match for both the SWA World Championship and Pro-Wrestling EVE International Championship at the upcoming Korakuen Hall show. As a prelude to their match, both women worked alongside Bea Priestley to win a one-day Trios Tag Tournament, adding yet another accomplishment to Utami’s already impressive resume. Then, on January 14th at Stardom’s 8th Anniversary Show, the unthinkable happened; Utami won both championships from Viper and walked out of Korakuen Hall a quadruple champion.
Utami Hayashishita: Goddesses of Stardom Tag Team champion, SWA champion, Pro Wrestling Eve International champion and Future of Stardom champion. pic.twitter.com/sNA2R8WPLG
— We Are Stardom (@we_are_stardom) January 14, 2019
After her consecutive title victories, Utami Hayashishita went unpinned and unsubmitted for the first four months of 2019. During this time, Utami defended the Future Belt three times, the SWA/EVE International Belts three times, and added three more victories to her and Momo’s reign as tag team champs. This is when, unexpectedly, Momo decided to challenge her tag team partner, putting her Wonder Of Stardom on the line at Stardom American Dream in the Big Apple. Here, Utami would suffer her first pinfall loss in upwards of 6 months. This match would also be her last before taking time off due to a hand injury.
Utami was medically unable to compete from April to June 2019. During this time, Stardom held a faction draft to shake up the roster’s allegiances. The draft assured that Utami would remain in Queen’s Quest upon her return alongside her fellow tag team champion.
As June rolled around, the gold-bearing super rookie was nearing her return to the ring. With a title challenge from Oedo Tai members Hazuki and Natsuko Tora to fuel her, Utami made her in-ring return. On June 6th, Utami returned with a win against her newfound stablemate, Leo Onozaki. Though it was merely an exhibition match against an inferior opponent, this match displayed that Uta was back at 110%. The quadruple champ was ready for any and all of her future challengers.
Due to her absence, Utami repeatedly put her titles on the line to make up for the lost time. After a successful title defense over Oedo Tai, Momo & Utami were soon challenged by two teams from a new faction: Tokyo Cyber Squad, ran by 2nd generation star Hana Kimura, had their eyes on tag gold. The first two to challenge Momo & Utami were Bobbi Tyler and Kimura herself, who fell to the reigning champions. This marked the Queen’s Quest duo’s sixth successful title defense, the 2nd highest in history. This also set up the 2nd TCS challenge for July 15th in Nagoya, where Utami’s former stablemate Konami and longtime rival Jungle Kyona would challenge for the coveted Goddesses of Stardom Championships.
Cracks in the Armour
With her sixth successful tag title defense in the books, Utami looked to defend the other belts in her possession. So, at the end of June, Uta took her first-ever trip to England to wrestler on Pro-Wrestling EVE’s Wrestle Queendom 2 to defend the Pro-Wrestling EVE International Championship against NXT UK wrestler Nina Samuels and recurring Stardom gaijin Jamie Hayter. To the surprise of many, Hayter was able to overcome both women, pinning Utami before defeating Samuels for the win. This, however, was not the end of Utami’s championship woes in the summer of 2019.
From earlier today in Nagoya! The Goddesses of Stardom tag team belts are on the line as Utami Hayashishita & Momo Watanabe defend against Konami & Jungle Kyona, and it's on https://t.co/q8dHnF58vW now! pic.twitter.com/s0pzKimM55
— We Are Stardom (@we_are_stardom) July 15, 2019
The loss of one of her four belts was quite a hit to the girl with golden armor, but Uta was set to right this wrong immediately. Returning to her home country of Japan, Utami got ready to defend her tag titles against TCS. With both her former friend and her bitter rival standing across the ring from her, Utami & Momo were unable to claim the 7th victory as tag team champions. Utami fell to rival Jungle Kyona in Kyona’s hometown, marking the first time Utami has ever been pinned by her foe; Kyona used Utami as a stepping stone back to the tag team championships that she once held so dear.
Five Stars Out of Five
Coming off of her loss against KyoNami, Utami was able to find an assemblage of revenge by defeating TCS member Zoe Lucas in an SWA title defense. Just a few days later Utami was challenged again, but this time the belt wasn’t hers; Fellow Queen’s Quest member and World of Stardom Champion Bea Priestley wanted to put her belt on the line against the Big Rookie at Korakuen Hall. Utami gladly accepted her chance to win the biggest prize in Stardom, and so the match was set. Only two days before her one year anniversary, Utami challenged Priestley in a match that felt like it was her destiny to win… Only, it wasn’t. Utami failed to claim the Red Belt from Bea Priestley, falling to the Queen’s Landing after 14 minutes of action and becoming the fourth name on Bea’s defense list.
Now Utami Hayashishita looks onwards to her upcoming participation in the 2019 5 STAR Grand Prix. Being a heavy favorite to win the tournament, Uta is determined to make it to the finals for the second year in a row. Starting off the tournament against her arch-rival Jungle Kyona, Utami’s intensity is sure to be at an all-time high as soon as she hears the first bell. It is also easy to assume that, if she does win the tournament, Uta will want to claim the higher tier championships to add to her collection.
Stay tuned to the Last Word on Pro Wrestling for more on this and other stories from around the world of wrestling, as they develop. You can always count on LWOPW to be on top of the major news in the wrestling world, as well as to provide you with analysis, previews, videos, interviews, and editorials on the wrestling world. And subscribe to Stardom World to see more of Utami Hayashishita