Joshi Watch: Saki Akai

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Saki Akai
Photo: @ddtpro

Saki Akai makes for an interesting case study of Joshi pro wrestling, also a case of how someone can improve given the chance and time. With a height at around five foot nine inches, she stands above many of her female opponents, and around the same size of some of her male opponents. As you can tell this makes her a fairly unique performer.

She debuted in 2011 for the Ice Ribbon promotion for an exhibition match alongside Hikaru Shida, this match ended in a draw and she wouldn’t be seen in a ring for years after. This would also mark her only appearance for the Ice Ribbon promotion.

In 2013 she would debut for DDT at their largest yearly show Peter Pan there she teamed with Cherry and Masa Takanashi, two people who trained her in the DDT Dojo to defeat Hikaru Shida, Yoshiko, and Hiroshi Fukuda. And would fight in tag matches for the rest of the year. It wouldn’t be until 2014 that she got her first taste of singles action as part of the original group of Tokyo Joshi Pro Wrestling (TJPW) wrestlers. It was also during that time Saki Akai would begin her travels through other major Joshi Promotions. In 2014 her most notable appearance outside of DDT would be against Yoshiko in a failed challenge for the World of Stardom title.

2015 was a big year for Akai as she captured her first gold, The DDT ironman Heavymetal weight title. This title she would go on to hold 17 times during the course of her career and for a long time that seemed to be her ceiling. She was getting popular, but there wasn’t much to get her farther. Her luck elsewhere was another story as in TJPW she was getting consistent wins and forming a stable. Through this, another talent of hers would soon show through, her ability to near shape-shift.

People have done different faces but having the fans still in on it many times during the history of the wrestling industry. An argument could be made Saki Akai has done it the best, between Sukeban Saki to Saki these feel like total transformations, and with a background in acting, she completely changes her demeanor to the point where she is unrecognizable.

Saki Akai (left) As Her Alter Ego Sakisama
Photo: @thunderrosa22

This acting background also proved her to be an asset for DDT. As there was a contest in 2016 to determine who would play the hostesses in the Yakuza 6 entry of the series. Of which Saki Akai was one of the winners. This game was already getting buzz in the wrestling circles due to their inclusion of New Japan Pro Wrestling superstars. So she inadvertently took on an ambassador roll with this newfound fame.

By 2019 Saki Akai had built up a bit of a rivalry with SEAdLINNNG’s Yoshiko, over the years they had fought each other multiple times. But in between the Yoshiko’s World of Stardom defense and their Peter Pan match Saki Akai had built up a devastating hold that no one had been able to kick out of. The Quetzalquotal, which is an abdominal stretch driver. During their brutal match, the Quetzalquotal was able to be hit, but Yoshiko’s hand was too close to the ropes, leading to Akai’s eventual loss.

Later in that year a series of seven matches to test Akai were announced. During that time she faced some of the toughest and most skilled Joshi wrestlers of the current day. Some important to her some just pure tests of skill. Names like Rina Yamashita, Saori Anou, and Tsukasa Fujimoto among others were all put in front of her. She managed a tied record at three wins three losses before her final opponent was revealed the former KO-D Openweight champion in Meiko Satomura, in the first-ever all-female main event of a DDT show.

While this was all going on at the beginning of the year, Eruption began to form between her, Kazusada Higuchi, and Yukio Sakaguchi. The three are a dominant force as a unit and are the current six-man tag champions, not having taken a fall as a unit despite having their own stumbling blocks along the way to that goal.

Overall Saki Akai is a bit of an interesting case, someone who was floundering in the DDT roster found what they were good at and capitalized on it. Turning themselves into a member of the roster that the company would feel strange without.

SAKI/SU YUNG vs ASUKA/MAKOTO

Sakaguchi/Akai vs Okuda/Yamashita

Check out past Joshi Watches and discover more stars from Japan!

Stay tuned to the Last Word on Pro Wrestling for more on this and other stories from around the world of wrestling, as they develop. You can always count on LWOPW to be on top of the major news in the wrestling world, as well as to provide you with analysis, previews, videos, interviews, and editorials on the wrestling world.  Subscribe to WRESTLE UNIVERSE to see all of Akai’s work.

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