Former NXT Women’s Champion and WWE Women’s Tag Team Champion Kairi Sane is currently going by simply KAIRI and has been back in Stardom. She decided to leave WWE in July 2020 and made her way back to the ring in March 2022 at World Climax.
Talking recently with Entame Next (translation via Reddit user DamieN62), KAIRI opened up about her decision to leave WWE. After moving back to Japan she continued to be an ambassador for the company up until her return to Stardom.
“When I left Japan in 2017, I promised my fans that I would go on a long journey, but that I would come back grown up. I told that to President Rossy Ogawa (now Executive Producer). In the first place, my goal was to learn first-class professional wrestling, and I didn’t really intend to live permanently in the US. I thought about retiring from wrestling. This is a personal story, but I lost my best friend to illness. I made a vow at her graveside and promised to make it happen: I was going to participate in WrestleMania. I wanted to make it happen for sure. Thanks to that, I was able to compete in three WrestleManias, had a title match with Asuka as Kabuki Warriors, became a champion in both NXT and WWE, and even received an award for the NXT overall competitor of the year,” she said.
She continues, “After I moved to the U.S., my personal life was secondary to my professional life, and I was flying around and competing four times a week without a break, but then the pandemic hit, and I suddenly had time to myself. Then I took the time to do some introspection. I thought, ‘Where am I going to go from here? I had a sense of accomplishment that I had fulfilled my promise to my best friend and that I had done everything I could in my three years with WWE, and after several consultations with WWE, I decided to leave.”
On her reasoning for returning to Stardom she says, “After I returned to Japan, I had not been watching professional wrestling with much enthusiasm. But when I went to Stardom’s Budokan last year, the feeling of “I want to fight with everyone someday” came up from my heart. However, even if I were to return, it would be the first time in about two years that I would be in the ring. The pacing of the matches and the rules were different from those in WWE, and I wasn’t sure if I would be able to adapt quickly.
However, I had been training in the gym even when I was not competing, so I was in good physical condition. Another aspect of my decision to return was that I was confident in my three years of learning and experiencing wrestling in WWE. I am proud of the fact that I once protected Stardom during a period of stagnation as a player president, and I am proud of the fact that I was at the forefront of WWE women’s wrestling during its reform period, and I am proud of the fact that I have overcome both of these challenges.”
KAIRI’s last match with Stardom was in a tag team bout with Tam Nakano. They defeated Queen’s Quest (Miyu Amasaki & Utami Hayashishita) at Flashing Champions on May 28.