It's safe to say that Stardom has been very stop-start in the last few months. The hopefully (really really really hopefully) soon to be behind us pandemic has caused havoc with the Stardom scheduling, most notably with the recent Cinderella Tournament which ended up spanning over three months.
Despite this, we go into the second half of 2021 with the promotion looking very strong. The conclusion to that Cinderella Tournament was excellent, and of course the main event of that show on 12th June really put Stardom on the map (more on that later).
So it seems a good time to restart the Stardom Power Rankings to take a look at who is making waves and who is waving frantically, desperate for attention, in 2021 so far.
What more can be said about Utami Hayashashita in 2021? She is now five defences into what is becoming an incredibly impressive Red Belt reign, and despite a poor record in tag/multi-man matches, her 7/1/1 record in singles matches this year merely underlines how strong she currently is. The two blemishes on that record come courtesy of Syuri, and you do feel that Utami will need to put that right at some point this year, but for now she stands atop the Stardom roster with a sense of tangible invincibility.
And on top of that? Well she was one half of the highest ranked Stardom match ever (5.5 stars) if you are one for taking a certain Mr Meltzer's ratings seriously. Even if you aren't a subscriber to what Big Uncle Dave has to say, this was still a match that got everyone in the wrestling industry talking, and rightly so.
Other than a further match with Syuri, it is now hard to see who can take the Red belt off Utami, and it certainly wouldn't be a surprise to see her carry the title into November, which would give her a full 365 days as World of Stardom Champion. Quite simply, she is one of the best in the business right now.
The other half of that epic war with Utami, Syuri deserves just a much recognition as the Red Belt holder for her work in 2021. Her record, both in terms of multi-man and singles matches is in fact better than Utami's, and of course holds both a win and a double KO against the number 1 on this list. As if that wasn't enough she continues to hold the SWA title (she has already made four defences) and is one half of the Goddess of Stardom Champions with Giulia (two defences to date).
Yet still that Red Belt eludes Syuri and ultimately that is what denies her top spot on this list. Surely though she will get another pop at Utami in the not-too-distant future, and I don't think I'm alone in saying that I am very much looking forward to that. Until then, I'd be very worried for anyone coming up against Syuri. She is in impressively devastating form.
Tam only has one defence of her brutally won Wonder of Stardom Championship, although it was a hell of a defence against Natsupoi back in April. Since then she has largely been busy curating the Cosmic Angels stable, guiding Unagi and Mina Shirakawa to the Future of Stardom tournament final whilst also holding the Artist of Stardom belts with the duo.
But now, with the Cinderella Tournament over, Tam will be forced to defend that White Belt as she will have to face tournament winner, and the only loss on Tam's singles record in 2021, Saya Kamitani. It is an intriguing clash of styles and one that I hope the two are able to play with for a while before we get that blow-off match. Having fought so hard to win the White Belt, it would be heartbreaking for Tam if she lost it so soon into her reign....but it's hard to bet against her when she has had such a superb 2021 so far.
Giulia is still wearing the scars, both mentally and in terms of her hair, of losing the White Belt to the aforementioned Tam Nakano. That has not, however, stopped Giulia from exuding dominance in Stardom. Her singles record continues to be fearsome, and I don't think it would surprise anyone to see Giulia step-up to face Utami before the year is out.
In addition, Giulia holds the Goddess of Stardom belts with Syuri and is the leader of easily the most dominant faction in Stardom in Donna Del Mondo (currently holding three of the titles in Stardom between them). Can Giulia add the Red Belt to that collection where her stablemate Syuri failed? It will certainly be exhilarating to watch it play out.
The winner of the 2021 Cinderella Tournament, Saya Kamitani is having an extraordinary 2021 for one still so new to the world of wrestling. Even before the tournament win Saya had been elevated into the Red Belt frame, and although she lost that contest with Utami, it was a sign of Kamitani's trajectory.
But being crowned as Stardom's Cinderella pushes her even further into the upper echelons of the promotion, and in beating Tam Nakano on the way to that trophy, she has shown that she has what it takes to hold one of the singles belts in Stardom. Will be a bit too early for Saya this year? The smart money says yes, but the smart money also wouldn't have been on her to win the Cinderella Tournament, so watch this space.
In a schedule that sees plenty of multi-man matches in which anyone can get pinned, Natsupoi's record in her last 10 matches of eight wins, one draw and only one loss is pretty astonishing. Add to that an equally impressive singles record and two impressive defences of her High Speed title, and it's not hard to see why Poi is so high up this list.
More challenges to her High Speed belt will surely follow in 2021, but Natsupoi will also have one eye on adding further belts to her collection. Her narrow defeat to Tam Nakano will have given her a thirst for those top belts, and you also feel a tag title is in her future before too long....if she can wrestle it off her fellow members of Donna Del Mondo.
Himeka and Maika are almost neck and neck in terms of their position within Stardom right now, and the Jumbo Princess just edges out her DDM team-mate by virtue of a slightly better win/loss record.
That said, Himeka will be getting tired of being the 'nearly woman' in Stardom (she went out of the Cinderella Tournament in the semi-finals) and will surely be looking forward to the Five Star Grand Prix when she will once again look to exert her dominance.
Maika actually went one step further than Himeka in the Cinderella Tournament, losing to Saya Kamitani in the final. Despite that loss though, Maika has continued to have a very strong 2021, with only losses to Kamitani and Utami on her singles record.
The question for Maika now is what is her next step? She's already tasted trios and tag-team gold, and is also a previous Future of Stardom champion. Surely now it is time to be knocking on the door of those singles belts, and whoever comes out on top between Kamitani and Tam will likely have a match with Maika on their horizon.
Poor Mayu Iwatani. Six months ago she was holding the Red Belt and topping lists like this with relative ease. Since being toppled by Utami though, things have certainly gone off the rails. Her singles record continues to be strong, with her win over Yoshiko a particular highlight, but outside of that things have not been going well.
Betrayed by Ruaka before losing the now Fukigen Death to Oedo Tai, the Cinderella Tournament show saw the ultimate low point for Mayu when Starlight Kid was also forced to join the bad guys. The war between Stars and Oedo Tai now simply feels like a war between Mayu and Oedo Tai, and at the moment she is losing. But she is still Mayu Iwatani dammit and the 'Ace' of Stardom continues to be one of the most influential Josh wrestlers around today.
Everyone's favourite hard-luck story, Momo Watanabe is actually in very good form in Stardom. Whilst her singles victories recently have largely against juniors/those lower down the card, she is still picking up a number of wins.
Whether that can be converted to another tilt at one of the big-two titles is unclear, and Momo's fans will be desperate to see potential converted into top billing soon. With the Five Star Grand Prix on the horizon, Momo may well be one to look out for, although this writer said exactly the same thing last year so what do I know?!