Popular World Wonder Ring Stardom wrestler Hazuki has announced her retirement from pro wrestling and she will compete in her final match on December 24. She is 22. The young star was the bright spark of Stardom’s NEO High-Speed division, taking the title in April of this year and putting together a five defence run.

Reo Hazuki began her career in 2014 passing her audition for the Stardom Dojo. Trained by Fuka, part-owner of Stardom, she joined the Dojo in a period of flux, with former President Nanae Takahashi leaving in May of 2015. Io Shirai became the Dojo leader and the change in the atmosphere developed a purple patch of talent for Stardom.

In November of 2016, she changed her name to HZK and won the Rookie of Stardom Championship and then he development began. Joining Shirai’s stable of Queen’s Quest, she would be a 4-time Artist of Stardom Champion with Shirai and various partners, Momo Watanabe, AZM and Viper.

She would leave Queen’s Quest in April of 2018 as part of the Annual Stardom draft, and join Oedo Tai, her name would become Hazuki and she would enjoy success as a singles wrestler for the first time. Her charisma, in-ring skill and her toughness have garnered her quite a following, especially with the hugely popular heel stable Oedo Tai.

She will be sadly missed, especially by Stardom’s Merch Machine. She joined the company just before its lowest moment, as the Act Yasukawa incident that nearly cost them all their momentum and did cost the company two of its main eventers. With the departure of Toni Storm, Viper, Io Shirai and Kairi Hojo (Sane), it enabled the company to refocus on its younger stars and Hazuki was a major part of filling that void. With Stardom World, the company has shown impressive international growth and set an example for the wider Joshi community. Hazuki’s retirement was being mourned by Western fans over the weekend.

Joshi Puroresu is incredibly hard on its athletes, and “early” retirements like this are common. We should not speculate about her choice, however being a Joshi is the most intense experience in pro wrestling, and it has quite a few early retirees either through injury, burn out or just the need to live a “normal” life. Hazuki has shone brightly for 5 years and we salute you.

All pics courtesy of  World Wonder Ring Stardom and Hazuki