The WWE’s “Divas Revolution” got a major shot in the arm this week with the latest signing of Japanese sensation Kana.
The impressive female competitor will report to the Performance Center before she begins her journey in the rings of NXT.
Kana, real name Kanako Urai, has spent more than a decade making a name for herself not only in the Orient, but around the world. The 33-year-old is expected to bring a new level of physicality to the sports entertainment juggernaut. WWE approached Kana earlier this year. She says things have progressed very smoothly to where we are today.
“In the end, it was not a difficult decision to make,” Kana said.
“As a competitor, you always want to perform on the biggest stage, and there is no bigger stage than WWE. I was looking for a new challenge, and when the opportunity presented itself. I jumped at it.”
Social media was abuzz when Kana appeared on camera with WWE Hall of Famers Ric Flair and Sgt. Slaughter at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn. We come to find out now her appearance during SummerSlam weekend wasn’t random and more than a one-shot deal.
“It was so exciting,” Kana said.
“I wanted to jump in the ring with them! The energy in the building was absolutely amazing, and it was an experience I will never forget.”
Among the matches soaked in live was the incredible NXT women’s title match between Bayley and Sasha Banks.
“I witnessed Bayley win the women’s championship and that is a goal of mine, so I definitely want to face off against her,” Kana said.
“I have also followed Charlotte, and would love to compete with her. As a competitor, you always want to face the best, and that’s what I plan on doing.”
Kana’s resume speaks for itself, winning gold pretty much everywhere she has been. However, WWE is uncharted waters, unlike anywhere she has been. It’s been more than 20 years since the last real Japanese female grappler made a splash in the company, and that was Bull Nakano. Look even further and you could maybe include the Jumping Bomb Angels to the short list in the 1980s. They found success as women’s tag team champions. Kana has the potential to surpass their success.
“I have tremendous amount of respect for those who came to WWE before me,” she said.
“As far as breaking new ground, I don’t think too much about it. I am just focused on being the best I can be in order to take advantage of this great opportunity in front of me.”
Kana has competed in the United States before during her stint with Shimmer, a promotion that includes alum Paige and Becky Lynch. Kana is excited to work alongside NXT coach Sara Amato, who was a past opponent of hers.
“It definitely helps to know I will be training under someone I am familiar and comfortable with,” she said.
“In this business, you never stop learning, and I can’t wait to get to Orlando and train with Sara and the rest of the incredible coaching staff.”
Adjusting to living in the United States full-time can take time. Kana says she learned a lot from former WWE superstar Yoshihiro Tajiri. The two worked together in promotions like Smash and Wrestling New Classic. However, Kana will have other help in easing her transition.
“Once I get to Orlando, I will have a great support system,” she said.
“I am sure I will be asking a lot of questions to Hideo [Itami] and Matt Bloom, both of which I have known from my days in Japan.”
It also doesn’t hurt Kana is already a fan of American entertainment. Perhaps, we could see some of these influences injected into her persona.
“I love American rock music, and some of my favorite bands are Kiss, Aerosmith and Kansas,” she said.
“I have already checked their touring schedules and would love to see them perform live! I can’t wait to get to Orlando and start this new chapter in my life…. The reception from the Japanese fans and WWE Universe has been overwhelming. I have never been more excited in my life.”
Paul Levesque, WWE executive vice president of talent, creative and live events, commented on the announcement.
’We are very excited to have Kana join the NXT roster,” he said in a release.
“Her exciting in-ring style will make an immediate impact on the already impressive NXT women’s division.”
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Photos Courtesy: WWE