Q&A: AEW Champ Hikaru Shida Talks Title Wins, Kenny Omega, Marvel Dreams - Exclusive

AEW Women's World Champion Hikaru Shida was one of the first wrestlers to sign with AEW when it first opened its doors in 2019. From there, she went on to earn her spot in the history books, becoming AEW Women's World Champion twice, only the second woman ever to do so. He first reign came during the COVID-19 pandemic, a time when events happened in empty arenas and the champion never got to wrestle in front of a live crowd. Fast forward to the 200th episode of "AEW Dynamite 200," where, in the main event, Shida defeated Toni Storm to secure her second title reign — and this time there was an audience to cheer when it happened. Now, Shida looks ahead to her greatest challenge: A four way match for the championship, not only in front of a live crowd, but in front of potentially the largest pro wrestling crowd in history: over 80,000 people packed into Wembley Stadium for AEW All In.


In this interview, the champ says she's "so ready" for AEW All InShida discusses her biggest threat in the upcoming title match and division, as well as who has helped her behind the scenes and the division overall.

On Her Gear For All In

Jack Farmer: I'm being joined by none other than the AEW world champ Hikaru Shida. Shida, thank you so much for taking the time to join me today. And to kick things off, I like to ask the hard questions, the big questions. I am a cat dad myself, and so I want to hear all about your wonderful little kitty, and how your cat's helping you, it looks like, do some sewing.


Hikaru Shida: Always she helps. It's crazy. She's laid down on my gear and stand up in front of me.

Do you make your own gear, or do you just sew on the side?

I'm making my gear. Actually, I just finished for Wembley one.

Now I won't make you spill what it is, because I think the surprise is always fun. Is it referencing a video game character or anything like that, though? Any surprises we should expect?

Not this time. Not this time from video characters. But I think it's inspired from my special gear before I wear. And I put the Japanese flags, the red circle, and this is my first time, so I think it's time, and I think finally I deserve to put it [on], so the gear going to be very special for me.


On Wrestling In Front Of Fans

All In, it's coming up. You're going in as the world champion, and it's not just any event, it's the world famous Wembley Stadium in front of 80,000 people or so, give or take a couple. Have you realized yet just how big this moment is? Has it hit you? This is going to be historic.


It's crazy. It's crazy. Especially it goes so fast in this couple months. So actually, when Wembley announced, I was like, "Oh, I hope I could go." But I really didn't imagine I'm champion. But, yeah, of course this is the biggest show in my life, and it's going to be the moment I can't forget in my life. And I feel I'm so ready for the big moment.

I believe it's becoming, it's on track to be, the biggest show of all time. And I think it's just so poetic for you, who, you were the champion when there was no fans, and you really, in a lot of ways, in my opinion, were one of the people that really held up AEW and pro wrestling a lot during that time when there weren't fans, and it must've been so hard. And so it's got to feel good to know that you're going to get to walk out on that stage with 80,000 screaming fans. Again, possibly the biggest thing ever. Is there a little bit of comparison for you, comparing that first run to this run as champion?


Yeah, the first run, to be honest, it was felt like scared because I couldn't hear nothing from fans, and of course I watched social media, but I couldn't hear actual fans' voice, and I didn't know how people think about me as champion and how people think about my reign. But about "Dynamite 200," actually I heard the fans' voice and it was super loud, more than I expected. So finally, I think my whole wrestling career is for the moment. And I realized my second reign, in this reign, most important thing is the fans. So I'm so happy I can stand as champion in front of 80,000 fans. It's kind of crazy, but I'm so happy.

You talk about the fans and how important they are and hearing them again. What was it like the first time you heard them chant, "Holy Shida?"

Yeah, I remember that. I remember that. To be honest, I couldn't catch that the first time. And I believe that match, the partner was Statlander, and she told me, "You hear that? They say, 'Holy Shida'. That's so amazing," she told me. And, "What? They say that?" But, yeah, I love that.

On Her All In Opponents

Well, I think obvious the fans love you, and everyone I've talked to who's a wrestling fan is really excited for your second reign as champion. But I got to confess, Shida, I'm a little worried for you. I'm a little nervous, because you're walking into All In, this giant stage, and you're not just defending your title against somebody, you're defending your title against three other people. And as of this recording, Toni Storm, Saraya, and ... Britt Baker. They're all tough opponents, one-on-one, but now you got to face all of them. What is your confidence level going into this match? Do you feel confident you're going to win, or are you a little nervous?


It's so strange, but I don't feel nervous, and I think I'm so ready about mental, mind, and of course my physical too. I'm so ready and I can bring 120% Shida to Wembley. So I have confidence ... I just try to imagine [holding] the title in the middle of the fans every night. So, yeah, I think I can do it.

Who do you think is going to be the biggest threat at All in to you? Who are you most worried about? ... Who do you think is the biggest threat to your reign at All In?

I think it's Saraya, because it's her hometown, and actually I never wrestled against her in the ring. So the All In is the first time. So of course I watched her wrestle, but I worry about that. I know Toni Storm, I know Britt Baker well, but I don't know Saraya. So that's the opponent I worry, yeah.


On Cutting Promos

You had mentioned in a previous interview with Denise Salcedo that you wanted the opportunity to cut promos in the middle of the ring with all those fans around you. Do you think there's a chance we'll get to see you do that before All In? I for one, would love to see it.


Oh, yeah, that's a good idea. Yeah, but I always want it ... I really worry about my English, but for now, I learned I don't need to be perfect. So yeah, I always want to be cut promo in the ring.

I think something we've seen lately, too, with guys like the Lucha Brothers, or even in other companies, wrestlers where English is their second language, they'll speak in their language and then say a few words in English, and I think people are totally fine with that, as well. But your English is great, I can understand you perfectly.

Thank you. Thank you.

On Dustin Rhodes, Kenny Omega, Nyla Rose, and Jamie Hayter

I want to ask a little bit about some of the things that happened after "Dynamite 200." You became the champion. I looked at your social media, and on Twitter you've got this great tweet with some pictures of that moment. And one of those moments is you giving a hug to Dustin Rhodes. And I wanted to ask, has he been a part of this journey? And who are some of the people maybe behind the scenes that have helped you and the women's division in general at AEW?


It's definitely Kenny and Dustin. Yeah, Kenny always trust Japanese joshi wrestling ... Kenny is not here, I think I'm not here, and Japanese joshi wrestling is not in AEW. And also he can speak Japanese, too, so he helps me a lot in language, too. And Dustin, he always cheer me up, and he always trained female wrestlers, and I was so happy when I saw him at the backstage. I come back from the stage and he was wait for me. I was so happy.

Yeah, it's a great photo of you guys. Something else I wanted to touch on is maybe some of the other women in the locker room. And again, in this interview you'd mentioned that your favorite opponent is Nyla Rose, and your most proud match was Jamie Hayter. Talk to me a little bit about some of the other opponents in the locker room at AEW and what makes Nyla Rose your favorite and what makes Jamie Hayter's match one of your favorites?


About Nyla Rose, we wrestle each other since I was in Japan, and it was always there's something surprise, because I know she love to surprise people, and she always think something new in her match, and I really love that. And she knows the Japanese style, and your US style, American style, so yeah, I think me and Nyla has some chemistry.

And about Jamie Hayter, it was my first main event for "Dynamite," and I was so nervous, and I felt almost throw up, but it pass. But went to the ring and face to her, I forgot every nervous, and I just felt the joy to wrestle with her. I could concentrate to wrestle ... Like I forgot everything and just concentrate wrestle to her. And that moment was so much fun, and I really enjoyed the match. Of course, it was so hard match, but still I really enjoyed that, and I could felt that during the match, so that was the special moment, yeah.

On What Movie Franchise She'd Like To Be In

I know you're a busy person and so I don't want to take up too much more of your time, but I have a quick personal question. You're an actor.


First and foremost. If you could have any role in Hollywood, whether it be an action hero or an Oscar movie, what's the dream role? Do you want to be in a Marvel movie?


Yes, Marvel movie.

I know you're a Harry Potter fan.

Marvel movie.

Who would you like to play in Marvel?

Okay. I love Benedict Cumberbatch, so I really want to be in "Doctor Strange." I know it sounds so geeky, but sorry, I have to say that. Especially before I go London.

I'd love to see you in "Doctor Strange." That'd be great. Can you do the hand movements that he does?

Yeah. And I did cosplay as Doctor Strange.

So you hear that, Marvel? This is your next casting, Hikaru Shida for "Doctor Strange 3."

Thanking The Fans

Well, again, Shida, I appreciate you taking the time. Before we go though, August 27th, All In, Wembley Stadium. If tickets are still available, people need to get them. I don't know how many more tickets they may have left. But otherwise, obviously they can watch it from home. Any final words? If you were in the ring right now cutting a promo for this match, what would you say?


The most thing I want to tell people is thank you, because in my second reign, my next goal is — I have some goals, but every goal need fans ... Fans the most important thing. So thank you for being with AEW, being with me, and yeah, that's what I want to tell.


Yeah, sorry. Terrible promo.

I always say if it's from the heart and you mean it, it's a great promo, so I appreciate it. Shida, thank you so much for taking the time. Again, everyone makes sure to check out All In, if you can make the trip out there and there's tickets available. Again, I don't know how many tickets could be left. They've already sold a million of them, but get them if you can. Otherwise make sure to check it out streaming wherever you're located. Shida, thank you so much.


Thank you. So much fun. Thank you so much.