The rumors have been proven to be true. It was a month ago that reports began to come out that Kairi Sane‘s time with the WWE could be up and she would be returning to Japan to be with her husband. And while there is no certainty as to whether she will be retiring from in-ring competition or not, her relationship with the WWE is said to be a good one. All week long following last Monday’s Raw episode, a number of WWE talents have been sharing photos and memories they had with the talented Kairi Sane. Following this week’s episode of Raw, Sane confirmed that she is leaving the company.
My time in the NXT & WWE locker rooms was incredible. Everyone was kind, funny, & talented, so every day was full of happiness. Also, I was saved by the supportive staff behind the scenes. I will forever love & respect all these professionals I had the pleasure of working with.🍀
— KAIRI SANE (@KairiSaneWWE) July 28, 2020
I was able to accomplish so much in the last three years, but it wasn’t because of my ability or my strength. It was because of all of the constant, warm support from the fans. I am so thankful I could meet you all.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart,
Kairi Sane☺️⚓️ pic.twitter.com/BaH2UBi9wn
— KAIRI SANE (@KairiSaneWWE) July 28, 2020
Kairi had a huge amount of accolades, including multiple title reigns and a first-ever occurrence. As Sane prepares for the next part of her life and career, we felt it would be good to go down memory lane and remember her time in the WWE when she signed in 2017. This is a true moment to say #ThankYouKairi.
First-Ever Mae Young Classic Winner
In 2017, it was announced that WWE would hold the first-ever Mae Young Classic event. An all women’s tournament with some of the best wrestlers in the world competing to prove they were the best. This happened to be the perfect spotlight for Kairi Sane, who was a major signing for the WWE as she moved on from Stardom in Japan to try something new. And in this tournament, she made it clear she was the future of NXT as she defeated the who’s who of women’s wrestling in 2020. In her debut WWE match, she defeated Tessa Blanchard in the first round. After that, she went on to defeat Bianca Belair, Dakota Kai, and Toni Storm to get to the finals.
It was in the finals where she faced her greatest rival as a member of the WWE in Shayna Baszler. She defeated Baszler in the finals to be the first-ever Mae Young Classic winner and earned an opportunity down the line at the NXT Women’s Championship. The way she came onto the scene, she became an instant favorite in Full Sail and was one of the faces of NXT in the long run.
Becoming NXT Women’s Champion And Defending At Evolution
At NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn 4 almost one year after she won the tournament, Kairi Sane accomplished her destiny by once again defeating Shayna Baszler. This time for the NXT Women’s Championship. It was her crowning moment, one that many expected and one that brought an incredible moment to the Brooklyn crowd and Full Sail faithful when she returned with her treasure.
Win or lose, it was a special moment for Kairi Sane on Oct. 28, 2018. Not only did she get to participate at the first-ever all women’s PPV, Evolution, but she also defended the NXT Women’s Championship. And while it was a losing effort, it was a moment etched in history forever. Her lone NXT Women’s Championship reign ended at 71 days.
Main Roster Debut In The Kabuki Warriors
As her time in NXT came to an end in 2019, Kairi Sane was on her way up to the main roster for the first time in her career. And instead of debuting as a solo act, she instead debuted alongside Asuka as they were introduced by Paige as The Kabuki Warriors. The team instantly became a favorite of WWE fans, but their time wasn’t off to an easy start as they struggled to get TV time and needed to find an edge to find success.
WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions
And it was an edge they did find, as they turned their backs on Paige and guided themselves to the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships through poison mist and a more rough and tough attitude. They defeated Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross at the Hell in a Cell PPV to finally take their spot at the top of the women’s tag team division. Kairi and Asuka would successfully defend the titles numerous times as well on NXT and even in the main event of TLC: Tables, Ladders, and Chairs in a TLC match against Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair. Their reign would be a record-long one, as they held the tag team championships for 171 days which remains the longest reign since their introduction in 2019.
Her WrestleMania Moment
When it comes to goals in your career, many say appearing at WrestleMania on the biggest stage possible is one of them when you are a professional wrestler. 2020 turned out to be a little more unique, as WrestleMania 36 took place from the Performance Center due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But either way, it was still WrestleMania and the WWE did their best to deliver. Kairi Sane and Asuka opened up Night 1 of the two-night event to defend their WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships. It proved to be a special night, as Kairi Sane had her WrestleMania moment (despite losing), and delivered on a promise that she had made to her late friend. It felt as though that was all she needed to achieve in her career before she could get to this point of possibly hanging up the boots and going home.
— KAIRI SANE (@KairiSaneWWE) April 4, 2020
One Final Match — A Victory Over SmackDown Women’s Champion Bayley
Last week on Monday Night Raw, Kairi Sane had her final match against the SmackDown Women’s Champion, Bayley. And in that match, she managed to walk away with the shocking victory. Shocking not because of how good Sane is, but shocking because of the hot streak that Bayley had been on prior. When many watched, they expected that was it for Sane when it came to in-ring, and while we do not know what is next for her in her career, we do know that if she calls it quits, it wasn’t a bad win to have as your final match.
Ahoy — Goodbye To The Pirate Princess
“The Pirate Princess” jumped into the heart of so many in her time with the WWE. For those who knew her as Kairi Hojo, they knew what she could bring to the table in terms of being one of the purest wrestlers around and one of the best in-ring combatants in the world. If this is it, we say ahoy to Kairi Sane and we hope that her retirement treats her well. Considering how incredible her eight-year career has been, she can retire happily. Thank you for the memories, the matches, and the greatness that you exemplified each and every week. You will be missed in the world of WWE and if this is it, in the world of professional wrestling.
More From LWOPW
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. WWE fan? You can check out an almost unlimited array of WWE content on the WWE Network. Also feel free to subscribe to Stardom World to see more of Kairi’s career