World Wonder Ring Stardom seems to be one of most deft promotions at navigating the political alliances of the wrestling world. Stardom was mentioned by name during the 2018 Mae Young Classic, their wrestlers have performed and held titles for ROH‘s Women of Honor, and Bea Priestly won their top title, the World of Stardom Championship, after signing with All Elite Wrestling.
This week, however, it turned out that all these relationships couldn’t peacefully coexist when WWE reportedly pulled the plug on a match between Priestly and NXT UK Women’s Champion Toni Storm.
Storm, a former World of Stardom Champion herself, was allowed by WWE to return to the joshi promotion for a while and has been wrestling there since March. She was scheduled to have a title match against Priestly on May 16. When Stardom tweeted that the match would “not take place due to circumstances beyond our control,” many speculating fans immediately guessed this was because it was a WWE vs. AEW match and possibly also because Storm would be booked to lose. According to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, these hunches, at least the ones about nixing of the match due to its inter-promotional nature, were correct.
This is hardly the first time wrestling booking has been affected by promotional alliances and companies wanting to make their talent look stronger than those of other companies. Last year, Impact Wrestling Tag Team Champions LAX were pulled from EVOLVE shows because they were set to face NXT‘s Street Profits, to whom Impact would not allow them to lose. This February in RevPro, a match between Open the Dream Gate Champion Pac (Dragon Gate, AEW) and NEVER Openweight Champion Will Ospreay (NJPW) was allowed to happen but ended with a screwy time limit draw. These are far from the only examples of this type of thing happening in recent years, but with inter-promotional competition heightened in North America recently, it’ll be interesting to see if they start happening more frequently.