Thank You, Arisa

Arisa Hoshiki Wins Cinderella Tournament - Last Word on Pro Wrestling
I’m going to miss her. Credit: Stardom

Yesterday it was announced that Arisa Hoshiki, the current Wonder of Stardom champion, has been forced to retire because of injuries. It was news that was both a surprise and not. She had been a notable absence from the last two Stardom shows while the lack of information about what was keeping her out suggested it wasn’t a mere knock. However, even if a part of me was scared this was coming, it didn’t stop it being gutting.

Because as anyone who has read my Stardom reviews will know, Arisa was one of my favourites. The kind of wrestlers who I didn’t just enjoy watching in the ring, but whom I wanted to succeed. I connected with her, falling for a person who could kick your head off while grinning from ear to ear, violence wrapped up in a package of joy.

It was the Tam story, though. That was the one that hooked me. That simple, beautiful tale of two people who so wanted and needed to be friends, but just couldn’t figure it out. Tam’s jealously causing her to lash out, unable to accept that Arisa and that big old smile wasn’t someone out to hurt her, but someone who genuinely wanted the best for her. I wept when they wrestled towards the end of last year, finally getting across the messages they couldn’t say through the simple act of hitting each other really hard. It’s something that will stay with me for a long time.

And it sucks that this is how it ends. Every wrestler forced to retire by injury is a small tragedy, but to have to do it at a time when you can’t walk out to that ring and have your moment, receiving the love of the fans, that doesn’t feel fair. I hope that Stardom realises that. I hope they find a way to give her that moment, to let the wrestlers and the fans say goodbye and let her know how good she was.

Now, as with every retirement, we can only hope that Arisa gets the chance to heal up. That whatever she wants to do next, whether that be her band or something else, gives her everything she deserves in life. She’s somehow still only twenty-four despite having had two wrestling careers, so she has a chance to go and have as many more lives as she wants. Fingers crossed that she will look back on this one with a smile on her face because she put more than one on mine.

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