Top 5 Women’s Wrestlers of 2021
2021 has been a wild year for pro wrestling fans. We witnessed many great feuds, classic matches, shocking returns, and amazing title reigns from various promotions across the globe. 2021 has some special moments for women’s wrestling like the first 5-star women’s match(WON) after 25 years, first time 2 Black women main eventing Wrestlemania, etc. Here is my list of top 5 female wrestlers of the year 2021. The criteria I used are match quality, consistency, growth, title run, popularity among the fan base of their respective companies.
5. Dr. Britt Baker DMD (All Elite Wrestling)
2021 witnessed the rise of the doctor. She defeated Thunder Rosa at Beach Break. She was a part of the first-ever women’s main event in Dynamite, an unsanctioned lights-out match against Rosa. Despite the loss, it was a star-making performance for Baker.
Baker rose through the ranks of the AEW women’s division with her good win-loss record and finally earned herself an opportunity to face the AEW Women’s champion Hikaru Shida. She tapped out Shida at Double or Nothing pay per view to win the title. She has defended the title successfully against Nyla Rose, Red Velvet, Kris Statlander, and Tay Conti.
Her improving in-ring work and charisma made her one of the most over wrestlers in the roster. So 2021 is indeed a breakout year for Britt and she ends the year as the AEW Women’s champion.
4. Tam Nakano (World Wonder Ring Stardom)
2021 had been a blessed year for the leader of the Cosmic Angels stable. A 9-month long intense feud with Giulia culminated in a hair vs hair match for the Wonder of Stardom Championship at Stardom 10th Anniversary Hinamatsuri All-Star Dream Cinderella on March 3, 2021. In a match filled with in-ring action and lots of emotions, Tam emerged as the winner. She had fantastic defences against Natsupoi, Saya Kamitani, Starlight Kid, Mayu Iwatani and her stablemates Mina Shirakawa and Unagi Sayaka. She lost the title on 29th December at Stardom Dream Queendom pay-per-view against Saya Kamitani, which was Saya’s second attempt.
In addition to the Wonder of Stardom Championship, she held the Artist of Stardom Championship (Trios title) with her Cosmic Angels stablemates Mina and Unagi. They held the title for 291 days and are the longest-reigning champions.
Tam Nakano has been amazing in the ring, she has insane charisma and she’s a person who can tell a story simply with her facial expressions. Excited to see what’s next for her.
3. Bianca Belair (World Wrestling Entertainment)
Another person who experienced a breakout in 2021 was the EST herself. Bianca won the Royal Rumble match entering third. She is the second African-American superstar, after The Rock, to win the Royal Rumble match. She was a part of the historic Wrestlemania main event against the then Smackdown Women’s Champion Sasha Banks. This was the first time the WWE’s flagship event was headlined by two Black women. She emerged victoriously and held the title for 132 days. She successfully defended her title against Bayley inside Hell in a Cell. At Survivor Series, she made history by becoming the first person to overcome a four-on-one handicap to win the Interbrand five-on-five elimination match.
Within a short period itself, she was a part of lots of historic moments and was ranked no.1 in Pro Wrestling Illustrated (PWI) Women’s 150.
2. Syuri (World Wonder Ring Stardom)
When 2021 began, Syuri might have been less popular than her comrades in the Donna Del Mondo stable also involving Giulia, Maika, Himeka, and Natsupoi. But by the end of the year, she has definitely become everyone’s favorite. She climbed to the top and has established herself as the best in-ring performer in the sport right now. A veteran in kickboxing and mixed martial arts, Syuri also had a short 3-year spell in the UFC. She uses combinations of strikes and submissions along with her wrestling move-set, which makes her one of the most outstanding wrestlers in the business today and she consistently provided bangers throughout 2021. She has been the SWA World Champion throughout the year and has made 8 successful defenses. Syuri, along with Giulia, combinedly known as Alto Livello Kabaliwan (ALK) won the Goddess of Stardom Championship (Tag-team title) from their stablemates Maika and Himeka on April 4 and has made 4 successful defenses. ALK was ranked 5th in the Pro Wrestling Illustrated (PWI) Tag Team 50.
Syuri grabbed the attention of fans around the world when her match for the World of Stardom Championship against the champion Utami Hayashishita was rated 5.5 stars by Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter. It was the first time Meltzer rated a women’s match 5 stars since Manami Toyota vs Akira Hokuto in 1995. The match was a classic with Syuri desperately wanting the world title to honor her late mother but for that, she had to overcome the resilient Utami. The match ended in a draw and Syuri, who failed in her quest, had to leave the arena in tears.
But that wasn’t the end of the story for her. She exhibited top-class performances throughout the 5 star Grand Prix tournament which also included a 20-minute draw with Utami. Syuri won the tournament by defeating Momo Watanabe in the finals and got her chance for redemption on Utami again. The match took place on December 29 at the Dream Queendom pay-per-view with a no time limit stipulation and also the SWA title on the line. In another masterpiece of a match, Syuri was finally triumphant. She won the World championship and was able to pay tribute to her late mother. She ends 2021 as Syuri-3-Belts.
1. Utami Hayashishita (World Wonder Ring Stardom)
Throughout her career, one thing which a group of fans have criticized her is that she is getting pushed because she belongs to a celebrity family. But time and time again, she has proven them wrong. Utami Hayashishita is a star, not because of her father’s fame. She earned her way to the top. She dethroned Mayu Iwatani on November 15, 2020, for the World of Stardom Championship. That was the biggest stepping stone in the career of the young prodigy who won multiple titles (Goddess, SWA, Artist, Future) since debuting in 2018.
She boasts successful title defenses against Natsuko Tora, Maika, Hazuki, Takumi Iroha, and her Queen’s Quest stable mates Saya Kamitani and Momo Watanabe (currently in Oedo Tai). These matches were consistently outstanding, except for the match against Tora (the match was stopped early because of Tora injuring her ACL). She was most notable for her monumental rivalry against Syuri (mentioned above), to whom she dropped the title on December 29. Both their title matches were Match of the Year contenders.
Utami was awarded the Tokyo Sports Women’s Wrestling Grand Prize of 2021. She was ranked no.2 in Pro Wrestling Illustrated (PWI) Women’s 150. Syuri will be a cut above her in-ring performance, but the title on her waist gives Utami the edge and is the reason why she’s the first on my list. She simply ruled 2021 like a queen. She’s only 23 years old and is already one of the best on the planet. This is just the beginning of the “Red Queen”.
Deonna Purrazo (Impact Wrestling)
Miyu Yamashita (Tokyo Joshi Pro Wrestling)