Momo Watanabe – A Queen’s Quest
Sixteenth-century English poet Edmund Spenser wrote in his Epic poem “The Faerie Queen” the following line: “For there is nothing lost, that may be found if sought.” The quest. The journey. The mission. It is a simple metaphor for our lives, shrunk, and encapsulated within a story. The story of Momo Watanabe; an unassuming Gen Z standout, represents at this current moment the breakdown of the simple metaphor.
For Watanabe, like many young people, has yet to reach her apex. Today’s Joshi Spotlight takes a look at the story of Momo Watanabe and the Queen of Queen’s Quest.
Momo Watanabe was born on March 22nd, 2000. She began to train within the World Wonder Ring Stardom system in early 2014. On November 16th, 2014, a mere four months before her fifteenth birthday, she had her first match against Takumi Iroha in a losing effort.
Momo lost to the likes of Kris Wolf, Reo Hazuki, and Io Shirai before picking up her first win. A singles victory over Yuna Manase on February 22nd, 2015. She would, unfortunately, end 2015 with more losses than wins. Being soundly defeated by wrestlers such as Heidi Lovelace, Nikki Storm. Thunder Rosa, Mayu Iwatani, Act Yasukawa. Jungle Kyona, and Kellie Skater.
As with other Joshi wrestlers, Momo Watanabe would not catch her stride until she found a successful partner or stablemate. In 2016, Momo Watanabe forged an alliance with Jungle Kyona. They formed JKGReeeeN. The duo would have their longest and most competitive matches against STARDOM talents. Kairi Hojo, Io Shirai, and Mayu Iwatani are just some. She eventually and unsuccessfully challenged for the vacant Artist of Stardom championship against Shirai and Iwatani. By the end of the year, frustration began to settle in. Momo Watanabe turned on Jungle Kyona to join Shirai’s stable “Queen’s Quest”.
If there was any doubt about Watanabe’s choice to turn on Kyona, it was crushed on January 7th. Watanabe, HZN, and Shirai defeated Kagetsu, Kyoko Kimura, and Viper for the Artist of Stardom Championship. The taste of victory would not last long. Watanabe suffered an injury that forced the championship to be vacated. Momo would return on November 4th, where she would be defeated by Kris Wolf following interference from Odeo-Tai.
Odeo-Tai would be a splinter in the side of Queen’s Quest. That was until Queens Quest defeated Odeo-Tai in a gauntlet match at the STARDOM 7th Anniversary show. Watanabe was building momentum within Queen’s Quest. Following a defeat of her fellow stablemates Io Shirai and AZM, Momo Watanabe was granted a title shot against her stablemate and mentor Shirai at “Queens Fes” 2018.
“Momo is the future of STARDOM, but she’s not getting my White belt.”
That line given by Shirai before her match against Watanabe could be read as the experienced Shirai giving her stablemate the proverbial rub. Shirai did not at this time suffer fools lightly in her presence. So one would expect a genuine show of support for her fellow queen. There is trepidation in her voice which is not recognized as the crack in her porcelain smile. That was until May 28th, three months after her first chance. Watanabe would not miss a second time.
Three days after defeating Io Shirai in a tag match, just like in February, Watanabe answers Shirai’s challenge. After having her previously injured leg tested in their first encounter, Watanabe proved that she had the fortitude to stand her ground for Queen’s Quest should Shirai leave. Indeed, Shirai would be gone from the promotion the next month. And Queens Quest would have the Wonder of Stardom Champion as their leader.
Watanabe would first defend her belt against Jungle Kyona. The wrestler Watanabe abandoned for the tutelage of Shirai. And would prove to her former tag partner that it was no mistake to do so.
Momo Watanabe would go on to defend her belt against Deonna Purrazzo, Hakuzi. Kagetsu (double KO), Mayu Iwatani. She would eventually pick up another reign as Goddess of Stardom champion. Alongside fellow teammate Utami Hayashishita against Jungle Kyona and Natsuko Tora. Jungle Kyona would eventually once again come knocking at Watanabe’s door. This time, the world would be watching on March 3rd, 2019.
By the time Momo Watanabe lost the Wonder of Stardom Championship, she had defended it a record 13 times. Holding it for a record 358 days. And won it at a record age of 18 years old. Following her loss of the title to Arisa Hoshiki, Watanabe would focus on tag team action. Holding onto her tag belt with Utami Hayashishita until the Tokyo Cyber Squad (Jungle Kyona and Konami) defeated them for the belts in the middle of July 2019.
During this time, fellow Queen’s Quest stablemate Bea Priestley managed to win the World of Stardom Title. While Watanabe would test the skills of her fellow stablemate in a singles championship match.
After her unsuccessful challenge, Momo Watanabe moved onto the 5STAR Grand Prix 2019. But was denied entry into the finals by Hana Kimura. Looking to recover, Watanabe would team with AZM to try and take the Red Block of the Goddesses of Stardom Tag League. They too would also fail to make the finals. The consolation prize would be winning the Artist of Stardom Title with AZM and Utami Hayashishita. Though this reign would not last long into 2020.
Part III: The Turmoil
Momo Watanabe’s 2020 year has been bittersweet. While not winning any championships herself, Queens Quest is strong as a unit within the STARDOM landscape. Though Watanabe was narrowly edged out of the finals of the 5STAR Grand Prix by Jungle Kyona, her stablemate Utami Hayashishita won the whole thing. Indeed, speaking of Hayashishita, she is one half of the Goddess of Stardom Champions.
So this brings us to the present day. Momo having recently come off a loss to her fellow stablemates. What does this tell us about Momo Watanabe? What has all of this culminated in? It means that Momo’s story is yet to be finished. A queen never finishes her quest so quickly. If Watanabe is a fair and just queen, then she will revel in the strength and prosperity of her queendom. There will be a time for the queen to regain her crown. But for the moment, the queen lives.
Long live the queen.