KAIRI Set for IWGP Women’s Title Tournament, Receiving First Round Bye

KAIRI (aka Kairi Sane, Kairi Hojo) will compete in the upcoming IWGP Women’s Championship to be crowned the first IWGP Women’s Champion.

KAIRI has been announced as the tournament’s third entrant for the International Bracket by NJPW and Stardom. After receiving a first-round bye, she will compete in the semi-finals.

KAIRI will face the winner of Ava White vs. Alpha Female at the Stardom Tag League event on Sunday, October 23. The tournament winner will then advance to the finals at the NJPW X STARDOM Historic X-Over joint event on Sunday, November 20 in Tokyo, Japan. The winner of the tournament will be crowned the inaugural IWGP Women’s Champion.

The tournament will feature seven competitors. The first round match between Alpha Female and White will take place on Sunday, October 2 at Night 2 of the NJPW Royal Quest event in London, England. The International Bracket will include this. The results of Stardom’s 5 Star Grand Prix will determine the first round participants in the Stardom bracket. They will square off at the Stardom event on Saturday, October 22.

After her WWE contract expired in December 2021, KAIRI returned to Stardom in February of this year. She returned to Japan in July 2020 and worked as a WWE Ambassador there until her contract expired late last year.

For those who missed it, the first look at the IWGP Women’s Title belt can be found by clicking here. The new title was first announced by NJPW and Stardom in late July. The tournament will then begin on Night 2 of Royal Quest II on October 2 in London, with the quarter-finals continuing at Stardom’s event on October 22, and the semi-finals taking place on October 23 at Stardom. The tournament finals will take place on November 20 at NJPW and Stardom’s Historic X-Over joint show in Tokyo. The new IWGP Women’s Champion will then make her first title defence on Wednesday, January 4 at the Tokyo Dome, at Wrestle Kingdom 17.

The IWGP Women’s Title will be defended in Japan and the United States, primarily on NJPW shows but also at top Stardom events. The new title will not replace the existing Stardom titles, which are the World of Stardom Title (the Red Belt) and the Wonder of Stardom Title (the White Belt). NJPW also announced earlier this summer that it will begin featuring Stardom women’s matches on NJPW events in the United States, while focusing on a “gender-less and more integrated” scene in Japan.