Hikaru Shida has discussed the differences between the American and joshi styles in a recent interview for Sports Illustrated.
Shida debuted in 2008 for Ice Ribbon, one of the leading joshi promotions along with Stardom and TJPW. Founded by fellow AEW star Emi Sakura, Shida was a success for the promotion and won the International Ribbon Tag Team Championship on four separate occasions. She also had a single reign with the ICE Cross Infinity Championship (then known as the ICE×60 Championship).
As one of the producers of the Japan side of the recent AEW Women’s World Championship Eliminator Tournament, Shida clearly takes pride in her origins. Though her own success is considerable, the champion has stated that her goal is to see her fellow joshi talent succeed:
‘I’ve always felt that Japanese joshi are the best in the world, so introducing them to everyone is very meaningful for me. It’s kind of a way to brag about my home. I also want Japanese wrestlers to know they can reach the top of the world if they work hard. It’s not a fantasy. This is one of the biggest things I have done as champion, and I’m proud of it.’
Success for joshi stars in AEW has been common since the company’s launch. The inaugural Women’s World Champion was Riho, and Shida is now set to face off against Ryo Mizunami at AEW Revolution. Hikaru Shida, after competing for AEW for almost two years, has had time to appreciate the differences between the American and joshi styles of wrestling. During the interview with SI, she praised the character work of American wrestlers, particularly its integration with in-ring action:
‘The thing that surprised me most when I wrestled in the U.S. for the first time is that American wrestlers know how to show their characters so well,” Shida says. “They apply it naturally to their wrestling. On the other hand, I think Japanese joshi style has more martial arts taste. Hard hits and disciplined skills. But the differences have been decreasing gradually.’
Now AEW’s longest reigning champion, Shida will look to continue her reign of dominance. Should she be victorious against Ryo Mizunami at Revolution, Shida will take one step closer to being AEW’s first year-long champion.
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