AEW WOMEN’S WORLD TITLE MATCH: Hikaru Shida (c) vs. Women’s World Title Eliminator Tournament Winner Ryo Mizunami
Two hundred eighty-eight days; that is how long Hikaru Shida has carried the AEW Women’s World Championship with her. So not only is she the longest reigning champion in that division, outstripping Riho’s run by over 150 days, but Shida is also the longest reigning title holder in the history of All Elite Wrestling with only Jon Moxley’s 277 day World Title run coming near this historic title reign.
Still, those are not the only impressive numbers that Shida has in her record books. The reigning Women’s champion has not tasted a defeat since June 10th, an amazing 270 days, and that bout was in tag team competition. In singles action, be it one-on-one or in a multi-woman situation, when Hikaru Shida enters into REVOLUTION 2021, she will not have lost since January 1st of 2020. That is 432 days without losing, once again just nudging out the 421 days Jon Moxley officially went without tasting defeat in singles competition (523 if we included the Unsanctioned Bout with Joey Janela at FYTER FEST 2019).
By any measure of success, Hikaru Shida stands as one of the greatest wrestlers to compete in All Elite Wrestling and on Sunday night, in her sixth title defense, she is once again faced with a quite familiar foe!
The history of Hikaru Shida and Ryo Mizunami dates back to 2010 when they first encountered one another on opposite sides of a tag team match. Despite having quite a few encounters in the years after that, their first one-on-one bout on record did not come until five years later when Shida defeated Ryo. That first battle on June 21, 2015 would also mark the lone time in their four singles bout that actually resulted in a winner. Two years later, plus one day, the two women would meet for a second head-to-head clash that would ultimately results in a time limit draw after twenty minutes. They scenario would repeat itself two more times, both in 2019, leaving Shida with the only decisive decision in their clashes.
On occasion, such as their mutual first appearances for AEW at DOUBLE OR NOTHING 2019, the two competitors have competed as teammates, but more often than not, Shida and Mizunami have stood in opposition with Ryo most frequently getting the upper hand. It may feel as if that was another life though as, in the seventeen months since their last encounter, a tag team bout that Hikaru won, the AEW champion has grown into one of single best wrestlers competing today. The record discussed above stands as testament to that fact but, to paraphrase a classic line from a classic song, you can run on for a long time but sooner or later someone’s going to cut you down.
That person may indeed be Ryo as she comes into REVOLUTION 2021 having won four straight tournament matches against four varying opponents. She has coped with power, speed, experience, strength, technique, and came out victorious. Maki Ito, Aja Kong, Yuka Sakazaki, and Nyla Rose; that is quite a murderers’ row of opponents just to get to this opportunity at ending the reign of the most dominant woman All Elite Wrestling has scene to date.
When the proverbial smoke has cleared, and one woman’s hand is raised in victory with the championship belt in her possession, fans will have experienced history. Be it the crowning of a new champion coming at the expense of the longest reign in AEW’s history coming to an end, or the celebration of a championship retained and continuing on towards that 300 day mark.