When it comes to the women’s division of All Elite Wrestling, the hits keep coming. Recently, it was announced that AEW signed the international star known as Hikaru Shida. To say that this news was met with positive reception would be an understatement. Given the fact that Shida built a strong reputation for herself, not only in her home country of Japan but abroad, this should come as no surprise.
How did Shida develop this reputation, though? Perhaps more interestingly, how did she become involved in wrestling in the first place? In this week’s talent preview, we will detail Shida’s path leading up to her eventual signing with AEW.
Before she pursued professional wrestling as a career, Shida was an actress. She was what’s known in Japan as an “idol,” which is essentially a multifaceted young performer across musical, theatrical, and other such productions. As an idol, she was involved in numerous productions before she landed an intriguing movie role in 2008. She starred in “Three Count,” a wrestling-focused movie she had to undergo legitimate wrestling training for. Following the completion of “Three Count,” Shida decided to become involved in wrestling, joining the Japanese promotion known as Ice Ribbon.
Shida joined Ice Ribbon in July of 2008, spending her first few months losing to numerous wrestlers. Though she was able to win a few multi-person tag team matches and a singles bout, by and large, she spent the year losing. It wasn’t until March, in 2009, that she started to pick up victories on a more consistent basis. It was during this time that she was involved in a program with Makoto, who debuted for Ice Ribbon two years before Shida did. The following November, at New Ice Ribbon #135, Shida won a 16-man battle royal in the main event. In December, Shida took part in the Super Ice Cup 1 Tournament, with the ICEx60 Championship up for grabs. Shida would defeat rival Makoto in the first round before being defeated by Tsukasa Fujimoto in the semifinals.
2010 saw Shida continue to work for Ice Ribbon, not to mention make appearances for NEO Ladies, a current inactive promotion that was based out of Yokohama. Late into 2010, Shida pursued the International Ribbon Tag Team Championship, teaming with various competitors to do so. In December, though, her perseverance paid off. She teamed with Fujimoto, who defeated Shida in the Super Ice Cup 1 Tournament one year earlier, to win the championship. Shida challenged NWA Women’s Pacific & NEO Champion Yoshiko Tamura a few days later but would emerge unsuccessful.
Shida, along with Fujimoto, would successfully defend the International Ribbon Tag Team Championship heading into 2011. They faced off with talents such as Hikari Minami and Riho during this time, too. Shida and Fujimoto appeared at KAIENTAI DOJO, the Chiba-based promotion owned by TAKA Michinoku, in March to successfully challenge Makoto and Bambi. However, less than one week later, they would drop the International Ribbon Tag Team Championship to Ray and Emi Sakura. Nonetheless, Shida’s popularity continued to grow, as evidenced by Iron Ribbon fans voting for her to face Syuri, who worked with the Tokyo-based SMASH at the time. Shida defeated Syuri in singles competition, but this faceoff would lead to them becoming a tandem. Not only did they team in Iron Ribbon, but SMASH as well. Shida challenged IW-19 Champion Chii Tomiya but was unsuccessful in this singles venture.
Shida’s loss to Tomiya wouldn’t end her singles goals, though, as her attention turned to ICEx60 Champion Fujimoto in November. At RibbonMania 11, which took place the following month, Shida defeated her rival to become ICEx60 Champion. Shida would eventually close out 2011 by, alongside Maki Narumiya, defeating Sakura and Tsukushi for the International Ribbon Tag Team Championship.
Though the new International Ribbon Tag Team Champions would drop the straps in February of 2012, Shida’s solo success as ICEx60 Champion continued. Along the way, she made numerous appearances for REINA, a Japanese wrestling promotion based out of Hamacho, Chiba. In REINA, Shida faced off against the likes of Neko Nitta, Yumiko Hotta, and Dorami Nagano. In June, Shida and Fujimoto won the vacant REINA X World Tag Team Championship in a tournament. She took on a feud with Kana, currently known in WWE as Asuka, who she was friends with. She also teamed with fellow AEW women’s wrestler Aja Kong. In September, Shida would lose the ICEx60 Championship to Mio Shirai, though Shida ended her record reign at 273 days. By the end of November, Shida would be without tag team gold as well.
During the beginning of 2013, a tournament was held to decide a new ICEx60 Champion after Maki Narumiya went down with an injury. Shida finished at the top of Block A, only to lose in the semifinals to Miyako Matsumoto. In the Tokyo-based OZ Academy, Shida not only faced off against but teamed with Kong, their alliance leading them toward Oz Academy Tag Team Title gold. In April, the aforementioned duo defeated Hiroyo Matsumoto and Tomoka Nakagawa to win the title in question. Shida would also win the International Ribbon and REINA World Tag Team Championships alongside Fujimoto but would relinquish the REINA World Tag Team Championship shortly after. At Pro Wrestling WAVE’s Catch the WAVE 2013 Final, Shida teamed with Yumi Ohka to win the WAVE Tag Team Championship; this resulted in Shida holding three different tag team titles, across different promotions, at the same time.
Shida headed into 2014 with a shocking announcement: effectively March 30, she would no longer be working for Ice Ribbon. As one half of the reigning International Ribbon Tag Team Champions, she had her final match for the promotion on that date. Shida wrestled a singles match against Fujimoto, her co-champion, who she was defeated by in a nearly 19-minute match. The two would relinquish the International Ribbon Tag Team Championship after the match, ending their reign at 309 days. After being with Ice Ribbon since 2008, Shida was a free agent.
Shida made her way to SHIMMER, based out of Illinois, in April. It was here that she worked with such talents as Evie, Kimber Lee, and Athena, the latter of whom would go on to become Ember Moon in WWE. Shida returned to Pro Wrestling WAVE in May for its Catch the Wave tournament. She would go on to win the tournament in July. In August, Shida defeated Ohka for the Regina Di WAVE Championship. In October, Shida made her way to Revolution Championship Wrestling, in Barcelona, Spain, to become the RCW Women’s Champion. She would end 2014 as a double champion.
2015 had a rocky start for Shida, as she lost the RCW Women’s and Regina Di WAVE Championships within mere days of each other in February. Shida quickly rebounded, in tag team action, as she teamed with Syuri to defeat Arisa Nakajima and Kana for the REINA World Tag Team Championship in March. In June, they would drop the straps to Makoto and Rina Yamashita. During the summer, Shida led the Shiri Gamikyo stable to combat Syuri’s Narcissist-gun stable. This feud would carry out until the end of the year. In September of 2016, Shida and Syuri would join forces, defeating Tsubasa Kuragaki and Kaori Yoneyama to win the OZ Academy Tag Team Championship. In November, the team of Shida and Syuri won the Sendai Girls Tag Team Championship by defeating KAORU and DASH Chisako.
In 2017, Shida would sign with Makai, a company that combines theater, rock music, and pro wrestling in a unique package. In June, Shida and Syuri lost the OZ Academy Tag Team Championship to Kaho Kobayashi and AKINO, collectively known as MISSION K4. The following month, Shida and Syuri dropped the Sendai Girls Tag Team Championship to Chisako and Cassandra Miyagi. She would continue to wrestle throughout various promotions, OZ Academy, Pro Wrestling WAVE, and SHIMMER included, the rest of the year.
In June of 2018, Shida would win singles gold again by defeating Yoshiko for the OZ Academy Openweight Championship. She would successfully defend the championship in question during the year, not only against former tag team partner Kong in August but Kakeru Sekiguchi in December. In 2019, Shida continued to successfully hold the OZ Academy Openweight Championship until just recently, losing it to Mayumi Ozaki after 315 days. The most interesting news that arose in 2019, regarding Shida, came from the budding wrestling promotion known as All Elite Wrestling.
Earlier month, AEW announced the signing of Shida. The news was broken in a tweet by the organization in question, welcoming to her team. As a freelancer, with involvement in various promotions, fans wondered what this meant for her outside endeavors. In a blog post, Shida stated that work with Makai would continue. Furthermore, she would return to Japan once a month, which is in line with AEW’s openness regarding talents’ projects. Rest assured: Shida is officially All Elite.
When Shida broke into the idol scene at a young age, few, if anyone, expected that she would become one of the most popular wrestlers to emerge from Japan. Over time, though, she has proven herself as a top talent. From her early days in Ice Ribbon to her days of dominance in OZ Academy, not to mention her body of work spanning several promotions, it’s apparent that Shida will become a major player in AEW’s women’s division. Whether she’s tangling with familiar foes like Kong or fresh talents like Britt Baker and Penelope Ford, all eyes will be on this Japanese ace.
Previous AEW Talent Previews: