To see her evolution today is remarkable. A veteran of the ring since 2013, Yuka Sakazaki initially attended school with the intention of pursuing comedy as a career. Her athleticism combined for her passion comedy seemed like a perfect blend as part of the DDT Pro promotion. However, while she may be a member of the DDT roster it is Tokyo Joshi Pro where she first began her career.
As part of TJP, Yuka Sakazaki was a member of a stable led by Hiroshi Fukuda. Her debut was alongside Nakajima Shoko and Ura Erika as part of a six-women tag team match. On June 4th, 2016 she has challenged Yuu for the Tokyo Princess of Princess title at the TJP At this Time, Get Excited In Shinjuku at the Shinjuku FACE event space in Tokyo, Japan. After twenty minutes, Sakazaki defeated Yuu to capture the championship. By defeating Yuu, Sakazaki had dubbed herself the Tokyo Princess of Princess Champion. She held the title for nearly three months losing it to Reika Saiki in her first title defense.
Her time in Tokyo Joshi Pro Wrestling saw her capture the Tokyo Princess of Princess Championship twice. She also captured the TJP Princess Tag Team Championship on two separate occasions. The first was alongside Shoko Nakajima and the second was with Mizuki.
Shoko Nakajima and Yuka Sakazaki have had a long and storied relationship in the ring with one another.
Whether it be in Japan or in America as part of the CHIKARA promotion. Both women have either teamed with one another or faced one another in one-way shape or form. This was never more evident than this past November (2019) when Sakazaki defeated Nakajima for the Princess of Princess Title.
Another person who Sakazaki has had a longstanding relationship with has been longtime tag team partner Mizuki. From Sakazaki’s win over Mizuki in the Tokyo Princess Cup 2017 semi-final to their tag team championship reign together, the two women have a history with one another. It is that trust for one another that will often bring out the best in each other. As the Magical Sugar Rabbits, Mizuki and Sakazaki held the Princess Tag Team Championship for nearly 300 days.
Part of the appeal with Sakazaki is her wild and amusing antics. So while she was establishing herself in TJP, Sakazaki began to plant her seeds in Dramatic Dream Team (DDT) in 2014. Her first year with the company only saw her compete twice for them. What is interesting to note is that her first match in the promotion was as part of a dark tag team match. In both multi-women tag team matches, Sakazaki was winless. The following year, Sakazaki competed in nearly six times as many matches as the year before.
Despite her match total with DDT slightly dropped the following year she was involved in several multi-person matches.
Each match brings with it new and different talent to work with. It is these new opportunities that help to elevate the value of Sakazaki. By her own admission, Yuka Sakazaki has dubbed herself as a ‘magical girl’ This magic reveals itself in her energy and humor. Her comedic sense has often amazed audiences with her incredible ability. That same ability has garnered criticism as well. For those that embrace her throw caution to the wind style, there are those that call it reckless and senseless. Things were about to change for Sakazaki.
On May 25th, 2019 Yuka Sakazaki was set to compete for All Elite Wrestling at their inaugural event Double or Nothing. This wouldn’t be the first time Sakazaki would compete in North America as she had previously fought in CHIKARA in 2018 as part of the King of Trios tournament. She lost in the tournament semi-finals as part of a six-person tag team match alongside regular partner Nakajima.
She debuted for the promotion as part of a six-woman tag team match alongside legendary Joshi talent Emi Sakura and Aja Kong. The following month she was part of AEW’s Fyter Fest event where she lost a triple threat matchup with Nyla Rose and Riho. Despite not being victorious on both occasions it was an opportunity for North American audiences to become familiar with this remarkable talent. Since the beginning of 2020, Sakazaki has competed on three separate occasions for AEW. She faced Dr. Britt Baker, lost in a fatal-four way match up and lost in a tag team match alongside countrywomen Riho.
While she has evolved as a performer throughout the years, it is the transition to North American audiences that will need to become more familiar with her.
At a time when things in our world are often taken incredibly serious, Sakazaki is a breath of fresh air. By offering a different mindset to the competition. It is evident that her connection to the Lucha Libre style is reflected in her arsenal. Her pleasant and happy nature is the anthesis of the face regardless of the country.
Sakazaki’s connection to Anime and Manga are equally reflected in anything she demonstrates on screen. Whether she is making comparisons to characters or being involved in having a flan fed to her blindfolded, Sakazaki is simply out there to have fun. With AEW closing in on its first full year of operation it will be interesting to see how Yuka Sakazaki is woven into developing storylines. While any familiarity with Sakura, Riho or Hikaru Shida is likely to benefit a start to feuds it likely won’t be the do all and end all for her. Her most natural fit is as a face.
That fun and charming character could either work for her or work against her. Fans may not be receptive to that persona and instinctively turn her heel. Regardless of the decision that AEW may have for her as part of the promotion, the magical girl will likely have her sights set on the AEW Women’s Championship regardless of who is holding the title. Much like the new opportunities that were presented to her when she joined DDT, the same could be said about her now as part of All Elite Wrestling.