Though it’s been a little more than ten years since the very first time Toni Storm and Hikaru Shida stepped into the ring with one another, that fight from the REINA promotion is their lone fight away from All Elite Wrestling and a tag team one won by Storm and her partner.
It would be nine years before Storm and Shida saw each other inside the squared circle again, only now they were working as partners on DARK: ELEVATION #74, teaming with Willow Nightingale as their third to top Emi Sakura, Marina Shafir, and former AEW Women’s World Champion Nyla Rose. The two women would actually team up several more times in 2022, actually proving quite successful both as a team and a trio, but the AEW Women’s World Championship would enter the picture.
At ALL OUT 2022, with the title having been vacated as a result of Thunder Rosa’s injury, Toni Storm bested Dr. Britt Baker D.M.D, Jamie Hayter, and Shida to win her first title, acquired by pinning Hayter, and since she was not the woman pinned, lining up Shida for a title fight of her own. That first singles bout between the women would go down on TITLE TUESDAY 2022, and end with Toni Storm still the reigning champion.
The two women would go their separate ways, reconnecting in May 2023, but unlike Shida who had stayed true to the side of angels, Toni Storm had aligned herself with Ruby Soho and Saraya to form The Outcasts. The alliance-turned-rivalry would blossom into a Women’s World Championship match at the 200th episode of DYNAMITE and that fight would end with “The Shining Samurai” becoming a 2-Time World Champion. Sadly it was a short-lived title reign as Saraya would bring it to an end just 25 days later at ALL IN: LONDON, though not by pinning Shida, but rather by putting down Toni Storm to claim the victory. That pinfall on Toni would prove a breaking point for Storm’s role in The Outcasts as she began to spiral out into the woman we see now, and the Women’s World Champion defeating Toni at GRAND SLAM 2023 completely broke the camel’s back.
The Women’s World Championship would end up back in Shida’s possession after TITLE TUESDAY 2023, making her the first 3-Time champ in the division, but as for Toni Storm, a week prior to Shida’s win at DYNAMITE: 2023 ANNIVERSARY, we all witnessed Toni spiral out on RJ City before making her “Timeless” declaration.
Now lost in this “Timeless” Hollywood starlet delusion, Toni has declared this year’s FULL GEAR event as her “Hollywood Homecoming” and “Quest for the Gold”, heaping a great deal of the blame for her woes on Shida’s lap despite it being The Outcasts, Toni’s former friends, who caused much of that misfortune. As for Shida, while Toni has been experiencing this break from reality, she has posted three successful title defenses against Ruby Soho, Willow Nightingale, and that unforgettable Fright Night Fight with Abadon on COLLISION. Meanwhile Storm has not been inside the ring since an October 7th victory over Kiera Hogan, which means she may be well-rested and healed up from any nagging issues, but heading into FULL GEAR 2023 is she ready for a fight, especially the type of fight Hikaru Shida will undoubtedly bring?
The defending Women’s World Champion does not want this third reign to end as abruptly as the second, and thus she will throw every bit of her arsenal at “Timeless” Toni Storm to insure this go-round isn’t a repeat of the second. While she may hold the spot as longest-reigning Women’s World Champion of all-time at 372 days, so too does Shida hold the position for shortest with that 25 days reign, and if Toni beats her on Saturday night, she’ll also have the second shortest time with the title as well. That’s not the history Shida intends to make…