Hana Kimura: A Rising Star Gone Too Soon

Saturday morning, the wrestling world mourns the sudden and tragic death of Hana Kimura. It’s hard to describe just how special this young woman was and just how bright her future appeared to be. In just four years, she had a career filled with highlights but she was just getting started.

2020 has been a challenging year. People are suffering all over the world due to the outbreak of COVID-19. Still, this is a lost that hits particularly hard.

Kimura made her first appearance in a ring at the age of eight when she won the notorious DDT Ironman Heavyweight Championship in August of 2005. At the same event, she lost the title to her mother, Kyoko Kimura.

11 years later, the second-generation Japanese wrestler made her official debut with Wrestle-1. In September, she won her first single’s title when she defeated Yako Fujigasaki for the vacant JWP Junior Championship. However, her big break came when she joined STARDOM.

Hana Kimura
Photo credit: STARDOM

In 2016, she helped Kyoko and Kagetsu dethrone Threedom to become the new Artist of Stardom Champions. Kimura had only been with the Joshi promotion for a few months. So, a win over three established stars in Io Shirai, Mayu Iwatani, and Kairi Sane was huge.

It was the start of a successful run with the company and it laid the groundwork for the most popular iteration of Oedo Tai a year later.

Unfortunately, the trio’s time as champions was cut short due to injury but Kimura eventually became an official member of the unit. After her mother retired in 2017, Hana teamed with Kagetsu to win the Goddess of Stardom Championship. The two enjoyed the second-longest consecutive reign as champions with 347 days.

Under Kagetsu’s leadership, Oedo Tai became fan favorites. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say they were responsible for a lot of the promotion’s success over the last three years. Hana came into her own at this time and became an integral part of the unit as Kagetsu’s right hand.

Hana Kimura
Photo credit: STARDOM

Hana Kimura already had the in-ring ability but she really grew as a character in 2018. Oedo Tai eventually lost the titles to Iwatani and Saki Kashima in June. A few months later, Kimura turned on her stablemates and attacked Kagetsu. This led to their No DQ Match at Stardom True Fight 2018.

The best was yet to come as Himura blossomed into the vibrant and innovative character we knew today when she signed with STARDOM full time in 2019. In April, she became the leader of the International Army and renamed it “Tokyo Cyber Squad.”

It was a new chapter as the leader of her own unit and no longer a member of the one her mother started. She was clearly on the verge of becoming the next big star. Earlier that year, Kimura competed in a dark match at ROH/NJPW G1 Supercard at Madison Square Garden.

The cross-promotional show was the first major non-WWE wrestling event to take place at the world-famous arena in about 60 years.

Over the summer, Tokyo Cyber Squad won the Artist of Stardom Championship, making Kimura a two-time champion. Later, she picked up her biggest win as a single’s competitor as the 2019 5STAR Grand Prix winner.

In October, Kimura had an excellent match with Bea Priestley for the World of Stardom Championship. She was unable to capture the title but 2019 was still possibly the best year of her career.

At the beginning of 2020, Hana Kimura made history alongside Arisa Hoshiki, Mayu Iwatani, and Giulia as the first women to compete on a Wrestle Kingdom card. It’s an accomplishment that will stand the test of time and it proved that STARDOM saw her as one of their top stars.

In Kimura’s last appearance with the company, she fought Iwatani to a draw in the first round of this year’s Cinderella Tournament.

It’s so sad that we won’t get to see where the 22-year-old star was heading. It’s not hard to believe that she was on the cusp of a run with either the “white” or “red belt.” There certainly were plans for a major feud with Giulia.

Judging by all of the love she received last night, Kimura made a huge impact on professional wrestling as both a friend and a performer. Even if you’ve never seen her wrestle, chances are you’ve seen a gif or a clip of her online.

Hana Kimura just had this magnetic look and presence. She was charismatic, creative, and pure. So, it was easy for fans to gravitate to her. There was something so expressive and eye-catching about the way she threw herself into a dropkick. She will be missed.

There has been plenty of speculation around the cause of her death and rumors of cyberbullying. So, it seems fitting to end this with her catchphrase.

Everyone is different. Everyone is special. That’s Tokyo Cyber Squad. Yes sir.

We here at Bell to Belles would like to take this time to offer our deepest condolences to Kyoko Kimura and the rest of Hana’s family and friends.

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