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Speculation On Momo Watanabe’s Wrestle Kingdom Omission

World Wonder Ring Stardom, the premier women’s promotion in Japan, are set to be featured on New Japan’s Wrestle Kingdom events for the second consecutive year.

As previously reported, the two matches, which will not be broadcast, are set to feature Mayu Iwatani and Tam Nakano against the Donna del Mundo tandem of Giulia and Syrui, as well a six women tag team match between the remaining members of DDM (Himeka, Maika and Natsupoi) against Queen’s Quest (Utami Hayashishita, Saya Kamitani and AZM).

However one notable absentee from Stardom’s Tokyo Dome showcase is Momo Watanabe.

The 20 year old prodigy has been wrestling for Stardom since 2014, scooping almost all of their major titles during her tenure, and is widely considered to be one of their finest in-ring talents.

The fact that Queen’s Quest, the stable of which she is considered leader, is being featured without her has raised multiple questions on her absence.

Respected wrestling journalist Dave Meltzer of the Wrestler Observer Newsletter commented of Watanabe’s predicament in his latest newsletter:

There have been questions asked about Momo Watanabe not being on the show. Stardom made the decision regarding who does the Dome show this year. Watanabe is a very good, even great worker but the feeling right now is she’s No. 4 in her stable and thus didn’t make the cut. The feeling is that other wrestlers have gotten more popular in recent months. As noted here before, Giulia changed her body going to a personal trainer and you can see that after she was able to do so, others followed, and you can see the women up and down the lineup looking for fitness. Watanabe has not been doing the body training sessions and looks the same. It’s kind of sad because she’s a young woman who is clearly in good shape and can go, and across the board at the highest level, body issues are part of the business with men, but far more with women. Since Bushiroad bought the company, the women are training in the ring harder than ever with Milano Collection A.T., and improving at a more rapid rate. Watanabe was thought to be the future big star because of her work, but after Bushiroad bought the company, she’s now viewed as a good worker to have on the card.

Watanabe most recently challenged for the Wonder of Stardom Title on December 20th at the Osaka Dream Cinderella event, falling to stablemate and current champion Utami Hayashishita.

She had previously held the belt for a staggering 358 days before eventually falling to Arisa Hoshiki in May 2019.