Yuzuki Aikawa was born 16th May 1983 in Nijhama, Ehime, Japan. Before becoming a professional wrestler Aikawa was a model appearing in everything from men’s magazines to films earning her the title of “The Gravure Queen of the Next Generation”. She is the first-ever winner of the Stardom 5STAR Grand Prix.
Life Before Pro-Wrestling
In 2003 Yuzuki Aikawa would begin her modeling career mainly in men’s magazines eventually becoming the official model for Nippon Television after winning the Nittelegenic competition and voicing the character Yuzu in the video game Yakuza in 2005. She has released four albums including one with Hitomi Aizawa as the duo Ooparts called Himitsu, no Bomber, and another as part of the idol group Bakunyu Sentai Pai Ranger, they also released a film.
Her modeling, acting, and singing career spanned the course of a decade, including commercials for PlayStation 3, music videos, and television dramas. While WWE toured Japan in July 2013, Aikawa hosted for the J Sports channel, also appearing on WWE.com.
Yuzuki Aikawa: The Face of Stardom
In 2010 she would transition into professional wrestling, after beginning her training that May under Fuka Kakimoto and Nosawa Rongai, becoming the public face of the newly established STARDOM aka World Wonder Ring Stardom quickly becoming the inaugural Wonder of Stardom and Goddess of Stardom champion.
In order to get to this point Aikawa would train in classical ballet and taekwondo in her youth before taking an interest in professional wrestling after watching All Japan Pro Wrestling’s 2008 Champion Carnival tournament. On 7th September at a press conference, she would announce joining the roster of Stardom while Nanae Takahashi would accept her challenge of a match at Yuzupon Matsuri, a self-produced show by Aikawa herself.
On 31st October 2010, she would face Nanea Takahashi in the main event being pinned in her first outing and sporting a swollen left eye, Takahashi would proclaim that Aikawa was a true professional wrestler after paying her dues.
On 23rd January 2011 she would make her STARDOM debut at the promotions first ever event teaming with Natsuki☆Taiyo to face Iris and Nanea Takahashi, starting a rivalry that would span the next year, Takahashi would pin Aikawa for the win. Aikawa’s second Yuzupon Matsuri show would take place that February, where she would defeat veteran Yumiko Hotta in the main event, making this her first career win.
Her winning ways would continue later that month defeating Eri Susa before debuting a new character at the end of April, a masked character which was a female take on the highly popular Tiger Mask persona, Yuzupon Mask wrestling a nine-year-old girl called Haruka to a time limit draw and then putting on the third Yuzupon Matsuri show that May.
That June Yuzuki Aikawa teamed up with Yoko Bito forming the tag team BY Hou meaning BY Cannon which was inspired by the tag team formed by Antonio Inoki and Giant Baba. Aikawa, alongside Bito, would finally defeat Takahashi, who had teamed up with a young Mayu Iwatani, in a tag team match. By the end of that month BY Hou would become the top tag team in STARDOM after defeating Natsuki☆Taiyo and Yoshiko.
Yuzuki Aikawa would become the inaugural Wonder of Stardom champion, defeating Yoshiko on 24th July, after her big win she would join the TKG48 stable in DDT Pro-Wrestling, competing in their Ironman Heavymetalweight Championship battle royal which took place the same day, being eliminated by Emi Sakura. BY Hou would finally be defeated on 14th August by Aikawa’s rival Nanae Takahashi and a debuting Io Shirai who would go on to challenge for the Wonder of Stardom Championship on 25th September, Aikawa would be successful in her first title defense, but she had another prize on her mind.
That October BY Hou would enter the Goddess of STARDOM tag league tournament, ending on four points after a defeat to Natsuki☆Taiyo and Yoshiko, causing the two teams to be on the same points. In a rematch Yuzuki Aikawa and Yoko Bito would come out victorious, being crowned the inaugural Goddess of Stardom Champions, this would also make Aikawa the premotions first ever double champion.
On 3rd November Aikawa would mark her first year in pro-wrestling with the fifth Yuzupon Matsuri show teaming with Syuri only to be defeated by the team of Hiroyo Matsumoto and Nanae Takahashi. Yuzuki Aikawa would end the year being named the Joshi Wrestler of the Year by Tokyo Sport magazine, making a second title defense of her Wonder of Stardom Championship and being named STARDOM’s MVP of 2011.
Aikawa would start her year by main eventing Bull Nakano’s retirement show, taking part in a non-title double champion vs double champion match, and defeating the ICEx60 and International Ribbon Tag Team Champion Hikaru Shida. That February Aikawa and Bito would join forces with Kairi Hojo and Saki Kashima to form the Zenryoku Joshi stable while rival Io Shirai would form the Planet stable with Arisa Hoshiki, Mayu Iwatani, and Natsumi Showzuki, with a rivalry intensifying between the two teams.
Later that month Aikawa would make her third successful title defense of the Wonder of Stardom Championship following it up that March with her first successful defense, alongside tag team partner Bito, of the Goddess of Stardom Championship. In April Aikawa would make her debut for Pro Wrestling Zero 1 defeating Yuhi, who would later join Stardom herself aligning with the Zenryoku Joshi stable and establishing a friendship with Aikawa. On 27th May Aikawa and Bito successfully defended their Goddess of Stardom championship.
After their match was postponed due to a hip injury in May, Aikawa and Yoko Bito would finally face off for the Wonder of Stardom Championship that august, this would mark the fourth successful defense of the title for Aikawa. On 18th August Aikawa would take part in two matches during DDT’s 15th-anniversary event at the Nippon Budokan, the first was in a battle royal for the Ironman Heavymetalweight Championship where she was eliminated by Yoshiaki Fujiwara.
In her second match of the night, she would take part in a Handicap Rumble, teaming with Sanshiro Takagi to take on Minoru Suzuki. Over the next month, Aikawa would take part in Stardom’s 5★Star GP 2012 making it all the way to the finals, after winning her block, to face Kyoko Kimura, on 30th September Aikawa would be crowned the first ever 5★Star GP champion.
At the start of October Aikawa and Bito would be stripped of the Goddess of Stardom Championship, due to Bito suffering a cervical hernia, this injury would result in her retirement from professional wrestling. But this wouldn’t keep Aikawa down for long as she would defend her Championship against Act Yasukawa, retaining the title, but this wasn’t enough for her as she entered the 2012 Goddesses of Stardom Tag League with stable mate Yuhi wanting to win back the titles she had never lost.
Unfortunately, they would lose their final match in the tournament resulting in them being unable to qualify for the finals and a chance at the Goddess of Stardom Championship. By the end of the year Aikawa would become the first wrestler in Tokyo Sports history to win the Joshi Puroresu Grand Prize two years in a row. With this huge success also came a huge announcement.
Aikawa and Her Journey to Retirement
On 18th December 2012, Yuzuki Aikawa would announce her intention to retire from professional wrestling on 29th April 2013, which was the date of Stardom’s big event in Ryōgoku Kokugikan. Later that month she would use her title opportunity, that she earned from winning the 5★Star GP to challenge for the World of Stardom Championship against old foe Nanae Takahashi, but she would be unsuccessful in this quest. Stablemate Kairi Hojo would challenge Aikawa for her Wonder of Stardom Championship, the match would be made official on 11th January 2013 taking place three days later, this would be the farewell match for the Zenryoku Joshi faction.
Aikawa and Hojo would battle it out in a phenomenal match, but Hojo was no match for the champion, who would retain the title for a sixth time. On 19th January Aikawa would wrestle her last billed match with STARDOM, it would soon be clear that this was not the case, teaming with Hirouo Matsumoto and Kairi Hojo to defeat Eri Susa, Miho Wakizawa and Nanae Takahashi.
Yuzuki Aikawa would start her retirement tour by appearing at DDT Pro-Wrestling in a mixed tag match that January, teaming with Sanshiro Takagi to defeat Yoshiko and Danshoku Dino. That March she would take part in a rematch which included the participants of the previous match along with two more teams, Jaiko Ishikawa and Kota Ibushi, and Michael Nakazawa and Miho Wakizawa in a 53-minute four-way DDT street wrestling match at an amusement park.
During her tour she would successfully defend her Wonder of Stardom Championship two more times against Natsumi Showzuki and Act Yasukawa, relinquishing the championship in a press conference on 2nd April 2013, she would never be defeated for either of her titles during her time in STARDOM. Her last match at Korakuen Hall would be in a losing effort against legendary joshi wrestler Meiko Satomura.
Her last two appearances for Stardom would take place in April, where she would first take part in a special gauntlet match losing in the last bout to Yuhi, she would then take part in the Stardom Mask Fiesta donning her mask for one final time as Yuzupon Mask. She would team with Iotica, a masked Io Shirai and Mil Máscaras in a six-person main event. On 29th April Aikawa would wrestle her retirement match, being defeated by Yoshiko in the main event of Ryōgoku Cinderella.
Life After Wrestling
After her retirement from professional wrestling, she would return to Stardom, as her Yuzupon Mask character, referring a match at Stardom Mask Fiesta on 26th April 2014. During this time, she would find love, marrying her partner of two years on 7th September 2017. After being out of the ring for almost 8 years, Aikawa would make her in ring return during the Stardom All Star Rumble, she would be eliminated by Unagi Sayaka of COSMIC ANGELS, who would go on to win the match, at Stardom All Star Dream Cinderella on 3rd March 2021.
[originally published on December 28, 2021, Sports Obssesive]
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