Kairi Hojo

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Kairi Sane
Kairi Sane April 2018.jpg
Sane in April 2018
Birth name Kaori Housako (宝迫 香織, Hōsako Kaori)
Born (1988-09-23) September 23, 1988 (age 29)[1][2][3]
Hikari, Yamaguchi, Japan[1][2][3]
Residence Orlando, Florida, U.S.[citation needed]
Alma mater Hosei University[4]
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s) Doku[5]
Kairi Hojo[1]
Kairian[6]
Kairian 3.0[7]
Kairi Sane[8]
Pirates Kaiser[9]
Billed height 155 cm (5 ft 1 in)[1][3][10]
Billed weight 52 kg (115 lb)[1][2][3]
Billed from Yamaguchi, Japan[10]
Trained by Fuka[11]
Debut January 7, 2012[1][2][3]

Kaori Housako (宝迫 香織, Hōsako Kaori, born September 23, 1988)[1][2][12] is a Japanese professional wrestler and actress, currently signed to WWE on the NXT brand under the ring name Kairi Sane (カイリ・セイン, Kairi Sein) where she is the current NXT Women's Champion in her first reign.

Under her previous ring name Kairi Hojo (宝城 カイリ, Hōjō Kairi), she made her professional wrestling debut in January 2012 for the World Wonder Ring Stardom promotion, where, over the next five years, she became a one-time World of Stardom Champion, three-time Goddess of Stardom Champion and a four-time Artist of Stardom Champion, while also winning the 2015 5★Star GP and 2016 Goddesses of Stardom Tag League. Housako left Stardom in June 2017, after signing a three-year deal with WWE. The following September, she won the inaugural Mae Young Classic tournament. She would then go on to win the NXT Women's Championship just under a year later at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn 4.

In 2016, Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter called Hojo and her fellow Stardom workers Io Shirai and Mayu Iwatani "three of the best wrestlers in the world".[13]

Early life[edit]

Housako has an extensive sports background in yachting, competing in intercollegiate and national competitions, while also taking part in world championships with dreams of making it to the Olympics.[2][3][14] After graduating from Hosei University with a bachelor's degree in Japanese literature,[10] Housako began pursuing a career in acting.[4] She also did some theater work and one of her performances, where she performed as a professional wrestling villain, was seen by Fuka, the general manager of the World Wonder Ring Stardom promotion, who invited Housako to one of their events.[14] She quickly fell in love with professional wrestling's aspect of combining acting with sports and decided to become a wrestler herself.[4][14]

Professional wrestling career[edit]

World Wonder Ring Stardom (2011–2017)[edit]

Hojo in March 2013

Housako started training with Stardom in 2011.[15] On November 14, 2011, she passed her "pro test" and graduated as part of Stardom's third class of trainees, alongside Act Yasukawa, Natsumi Showzuki and Yuuri Haruka.[3][16][17] Housako, now working under the ring name "Kairi Hojo", made her debut for Stardom on January 7, 2012, losing to Yuzuki Aikawa.[18] Playing off her yachting background, Hojo was dubbed "Pirate Princess".[19] She quickly became a founding member of the Zenryoku Joshi stable, led by Aikawa.[4][20] In November 2012, Hojo formed a new tag team with Natsumi Showzuki, with the two finishing second in the 2012 Goddesses of Stardom Tag League.[4] Zenryoku Joshi disbanded in January 2013, when Hojo unsuccessfully challenged her stablemate Yuzuki Aikawa for the Wonder of Stardom Championship.[20][21] Hojo won her first title on April 29, 2013, at Ryōgoku Cinderella, where she and Showzuki, billed collectively as "Ho-Show Tennyo", defeated Hailey Hatred and Kyoko Kimura for the Goddess of Stardom Championship.[14][22] Their reign, however, lasted only a month, as they were stripped of the title when Showzuki was sidelined with a cervical spine injury.[23] Showzuki never returned from her injury, instead resigning from Stardom.[14]

On June 23, 2013, Hojo teamed with Kaori Yoneyama and Yuhi to defeat Christina Von Eerie, Hailey Hatred and Kyoko Kimura for the vacant Artist of Stardom Championship.[24] They lost the title to Kimura, Alpha Female and The Female Predator "Amazon" on November 4.[25] In May 2014, Hojo made her Mexican debut by representing Stardom in the DragonMania 9 and Lucha Fan Fest 8 events.[26][27][28] In August, Stardom's roster was split in half as part of a storyline rivalry between older wrestlers born in the Shōwa period and younger wrestlers born in the Heisei period. Hojo, having been born in the Shōwa period, aligned herself with the likes of Nanae Takahashi and Miho Wakizawa.[29] On August 10, Hojo regained the Goddess of Stardom Championship, when she and Takahashi defeated Alpha Female and Kyoko Kimura.[30] After an eight-month reign, she was again stripped of the title, when Takahashi was sidelined with an ankle injury.[31]

In February 2015, following an incident between Act Yasukawa and Yoshiko, Hojo was named an intermediary between the wrestlers and management in order to bring the two sides closer.[32][33] Following the incident, Stardom's top title, the World of Stardom Championship, was declared vacant with a tournament scheduled to determine the new champion. On March 29, Hojo defeated first Kyoko Kimura and then Io Shirai to win the World of Stardom Championship for the first time.[34][35] After a four-month reign, she lost the title to Meiko Satomura on July 26.[36][37] Hojo bounced back by winning Stardom's top singles tournament, the 5★Star GP, by defeating Hudson Envy in the finals on September 23.[38] At the end of the year, Hojo was named Stardom's MVP of 2015.[39] In January 2016, Hojo came together with former rivals Io Shirai and Mayu Iwatani to form a new stable.[40] On February 28, 2016, the three, now billed collectively as "Threedom" (a combination of the words "Three" and "Stardom"), defeated Evie, Hiroyo Matsumoto and Kellie Skater to win the Artist of Stardom Championship.[41] In April, Hojo, along with Iwatani and Shirai, traveled to the United States to take part in events held by Lucha Underground and Vendetta Pro Wrestling.[42] On May 15, Hojo won another title, when she defeated Santana Garrett for the Wonder of Stardom Championship, winning the title in her fourth attempt.[43] On August 8, Hojo debuted for the Inoki Genome Federation (IGF), defeating Jungle Kyona at an event in Shanghai.[15] On September 3, Hojo defeated Io Shirai to take over the leadership of the Red Stars block in the 2016 5★Star GP. However, during the match, she suffered a concussion, which forced her to pull out of her remaining tournament.[44][45][46] On October 2, Threedom lost the Artist of Stardom Championship to Hana Kimura, Kagetsu and Kyoko Kimura in their third defense.[47][48]

On November 11, Hojo and Yoko Bito defeated Io Shirai and Mayu Iwatani in the finals to win the 2016 Goddesses of Stardom Tag League. Following the match, Shirai turned on Iwatani and disbanded Threedom.[49][50] On December 22, Hojo and Bito defeated Kagetsu and Kyoko Kimura to become the new Goddess of Stardom Champions.[51][52] They lost the title to Hiroyo Matsumoto and Jungle Kyona in their second defense on March 5, 2017.[53][54] Also in March, it was reported that Hojo had told Stardom's office that she was leaving the promotion for WWE the following month.[55] On March 20, Hojo unsuccessfully challenged Io Shirai for the World of Stardom Championship.[56][57] On May 6, Hojo, Hiromi Mimura and Konami defeated AZM, HZK and Io Shirai to win the Artist of Stardom Championship.[58] Following the match, Hojo confirmed her impending departure from Stardom, without specifically mentioning WWE.[59][60] Hojo had contemplated retirement due to her age and injuries, but decided to go wrestle overseas after consulting Bull Nakano.[61] The following day, Threedom reunited for one final match together, defeating Hiromi Mimura, HZK and Jungle Kyona in a six-woman tag team match.[62][63] Hojo's one-year reign as the Wonder of Stardom Champion ended on May 14, when she lost the title to Mayu Iwatani in her ninth title defense, falling one defense short of tying Santana Garrett's record for most defenses.[64][65] Hojo wrestled her final matches for Stardom on June 4. After Hojo, Mimura and Konami lost the Artist of Stardom Championship back to AZM, HZK and Shirai in their second defense, Hojo wrestled an unadvertised ten-match one-minute time limit series against members of the Stardom roster that ended in three wins, six draws and one loss.[66][67]

WWE[edit]

Signing and Mae Young Classic (2016–2017)[edit]

In October 2016, Housako was contacted and offered a WWE contract, starting the following year. Reportedly, Housako had stated that she was interested in going to WWE, but had not made a final decision yet. There were also questions over whether she could pass the company's physical examination due to her two concussions during the past two years.[68] In March 2017, Housako signed a three-year contract with WWE,[55] reportedly for $60,000 per year, which was less than she was making in Japan.[69]

On June 30, a video at a WWE house show in Tokyo, introduced Housako as "Kairi Sane" to WWE's developmental division, NXT, while also announcing her participation in the upcoming Mae Young Classic tournament.[70][71] On July 13, she defeated Tessa Blanchard in the tournament's first round in her WWE debut match.[72] The following day, Sane first defeated Bianca Belair in the second round, then Dakota Kai in quarterfinals and finally Toni Storm in the semifinals to advance to the finals of the tournament.[73] Reportedly, Sane suffered both a concussion and a neck injury during the tapings.[74] On September 12, Sane defeated Shayna Baszler in the tournament finals and thereby earned a shot at the vacant NXT Women's Championship at the next NXT TakeOver show.[75][76]

NXT (2017–present)[edit]

Sane making her entrance in April 2018

In September, Sane was announced as the first competitor in the fatal four–way match for the vacant NXT Women's Championship.[77] Shortly after, she made her television debut on NXT, where she defeated Aliyah.[78] In November, at NXT TakeOver: WarGames, Sane was unsuccessful in winning the NXT Women's Championship, as the fatal four–way match was won by Ember Moon.[79]

On January 28, 2018, at the Royal Rumble, in her first main roster appearance, Sane participated in the first women's Royal Rumble match, where she entered at number 6, lasting around 5 minutes before being eliminated by Dana Brooke.[80] A few months later, she also participated in the first WrestleMania Women's Battle Royal at WrestleMania 34, alongside other NXT superstars, but was eliminated from the match by Sasha Banks.[81] Shortly after, Sane started a feud with Lacey Evans as the two exchanged victories and attacked each other throughout the next few weeks.[82][83][84][85][86] Eventually, Sane was able to defeat Evans on the June 6 episode of NXT, in a final match between the two, to end their feud.[87]

In July, after she defeated Candice LeRae and Nikki Cross in a triple–threat match to become the number one contender,[88] Sane reignited her rivalry with Shayna Baszler, as the two exchanged victories in the Mae Young Classic Finals and at NXT[89] and faced off in a final bout at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn IV where Sane was able to defeat Bazsler to win the NXT Women's Championship for the first time in her career.[90][91][92][93][94]

Personal life[edit]

Housako has a sister, who is three years older than her.[95] She is an ambassador to her hometown of Hikari, Yamaguchi.[12]

Acting career[edit]

Filmography[edit]

  • 2012: Sūpu~Umarekawari no Monogatari~ (スープ~生まれ変わりの物語~)[2]

Television[edit]

  • 2011: Zenigata Kintarō (銭形金太郎)[2]
  • 2012: Waratte Iitomo! (マッスルビーナス)[2]
  • 2012: Gachigase (ガチガセ)[2]
  • 2013: Sekai Fushigi Hakken (世界ふしぎ発見)[2]
  • 2014: Nakai Masahiro no Mininaru Toshokan (中居正広のミになる図書館)[2]
  • Naruhodo! Haisukūru (なるほど!ハイスクール)[2]

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

References[edit]

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