Follow TV Tropes


Wrestling / Kanako Urai

Go To
"No one is ready for Asuka!"

Kanako Urai (浦井 佳奈子, Urai Kanako, born September 26, 1981) is a Japanese professional wrestler currently signed to WWE, where she performs under the ring name Asuka, although she's also worked as a gravure idol, video game journalist, entrepreneur, graphic designer and mocap actor.

Originally working as a designer, Urai turned to wrestling when she was inspired by many of the great wrestlers of her time, including the likes of Keiji Mutoh, Akira Maeda and Minoru Suzuki amongst many others. After training with Yuki Ishikawa, she debuted for the all-female promotion AtoZ in June 2004 as Kana, spending nearly two years there before suddenly retiring in March 2006 due to chronic nephritis. A year and a half and a graphic design agency later, however, Kana returned to the ring as a freelancer, working for several joshi puroresu (Japanese women's pro wrestling) promotions as well as Pro Wrestling ZERO1. She eventually found a home with the Passion Red stable and NEO Japan Ladies Pro Wrestling promotion, winning her first professional wrestling title via the NEO Tag Team Championship which she and Nanae Takahashi held for two months in 2009, until she quit the stable at the start of 2010.

In April, she held the first of several Kana Pro self-produced events, and by summer 2010 she began working regularly for SMASH, Yoshihiro Tajiri's follow-up replacement for Fighting Opera HUSTLE. She quickly developed an arrogant, power-hungry character in which she became the top heel first for SMASH, then for joshi puroresu in general, as well as the leader of a stable called Triple Tails in both SMASH and Pro Wrestling Wave, which she joined following the folding NEO at the end of the year. When SMASH folded in 2012 to be replaced by Wrestling New Classic, Kana signed a home promotion contract with WNC, ostensibly ending her days as a freelancer, though this didn't work out in practice — not only did she appear several times for Dramatic Dream Team in addition to her Wave commitments and Kana-Pro events, and she wound up quitting WNC at the end of the year due to late payment issues. During her time in these promotions she became the inaugural and first two-time SMASH Diva Champion, a two-time Wave Tag Team Championnote , and five-time DDT Ironman Heavymetalweight Championnote .

Aside from staying with Wave, Kana continued to find work through other joshi promotions such as JWP Joshi Puroresu, Ice Ribbon, and Reina Joshi Puroresu, as well as her own Kana-Pro and Triple Tails.S shows. She has also made rare appearances for Pro Wrestling NOAH and All Japan Pro Wrestling. She became was a one-time JWP Openweight Champion, one-time Reina World Tag Team Champion with Arisa Nakajima, and one-time Reina World Women's Champion during this time. She has also frequently traveled abroad to the United States to compete for SHIMMER and CHIKARA, often chasing after the SHIMMER Tag Team Championship with LuFisto but never obtaining. In contrast to the majority of her Japanese work, much of her time in America was spent working as a face.

In July 2015, Kana revealed her plans to retire from professional wrestling and try new things after an upcoming Kana-Pro event in September. However, this would be misdirection, as she signed with WWE the following month, later taking on the ring name Asuka when she officially debuted on the NXT developmental brand. At NXT Takeover: Dallas, the first big show of 2016's WrestleMania weekend, she defeated Bayley for the NXT Women's Championship. On NXT, she became the longest-reigning champion within a single run in history.note  The next year would see Asuka move up to the Raw main roster, soon claiming two landmark victories as a Sole Survivor in a Survivor Series elimination match in 2017 and the first-ever winner of the Women's Royal Rumble match in 2018. By the end of 2018, she captured the SmackDown women's title for the first time ever and defended it successfully for 100 days, a reign where she notably became the only person to cleanly defeat Becky Lynch in her "The Man" era (by making her tap out, no less).

After losing the SmackDown title, she moved to the Tag Team division with fellow Japanese wrestler Kairi Sane as the Kabuki Warriors, first debuting with Paige as their manager but later getting rid of her after turning heel. Eventually, they managed to defeat Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross to become the WWE Women's Tag Team Champions and elevate that title higher than any other wrestler had done before, going as far as to secure the main event spot of TLC 2019 in a TLC match against Becky and Charlotte Flair.

In 2020, she won the Women's Money in the Bank briefcase; the next night, it was revealed that inside the case was the Raw Women's Championship, because Becky vacated the title due to pregnancy. This made Asuka the second female WWE Grand Slam Champion and the first woman on the roster to win both the Royal Rumble and Money in the Bank briefcase. After this, she went on to main event RAW for months as she feuded with the remaining three of the "Four Horsewomen" (Bayley, Charlotte Flair, and Sasha Banks). At the end of the year, she won the tag team titles a second time while still holding the RAW Women Championship, making her the fourth-ever female double champion in history, and the first woman ever to win the tag team titles with different partners.

Becky Lynch, who never again thought of any opponent as being at her level after becoming The Man, admitted Asuka was the only wrestler she needed to fight out of personal desire. And that's not a light statement; Asuka is considered to be pretty much the Final Boss of the whole WWE women's division. Many wrestlers (from Ember Moon to Natalya to Charlotte Flair) have stated that working with Asuka was one of, if not the highest point of their careers. Her career even transcends any female division, with plenty of male wrestlers like Tajiri, Kenny Omega, Triple H, and Rusev calling her one of the greatest overall wrestlers of all time. Weekly Puroresu magazine has featured her on their cover plenty of times, and famed journalist Dave Meltzer called her one of the best overall wrestlers in WWE today. Hell, she even got the respect of none other than Minoru Suzuki himself.

Not to be confused with musician Moon Kana.

Oh, and she also has a YouTube channel.

"These tropes are the future":

  • 10-Minute Retirement: Announced she was retiring from pro wrestling in September to try something else, was on NXT in October. A 21 day retirement.
  • Aborted Arc:
    • During the build up of Asuka's streak once she made the main roster, she suddenly added the cross-armbar as a finisher. The implication was that they were setting her up as a rival for the soon-to-debut Ronda Rousey. This arc got as far as Asuka winning the Women's Rumble and then refusing to show respect to Ronda when she walked outnote . And that was as far as the Asuka/Rousey angle went. Asuka's streak was broken by Charlotte Flair and she went to Smackdown, Rousey went to Raw, and the closest the two ever came to crossing paths again was Ronda screwing Becky and Charlotte out of a Smackdown Women's Championship ladder match in which Asuka just happened to be the third competitor and thus able to capitalize.
    • Her feud with Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville for the Smackdown women's title was also this. Mandy actually managed to get a match against her in FastLane 2019, however the whole feud was aborted once Charlotte Flair took the title from Asuka on a Smackdown show in order to have the Flair as champion for the WrestleMania 35 main event. Later it was revealed in a documentary that the planned match for WrestleMania 35 was gonna be Sonya vs Asuka for the title.
  • The Ace: The first female Royal Rumble winner, the second female Grand Slam Champion (after Bayley) ,and is highly respected by the fans and her colleagues. And that's just in WWE. Miro (formerly WWE's Rusev) has on his YouTube channel called her the best wrestler in the world, between women and men.
  • Action Girl: Even more than most women wrestlers, she's willing to fight men and to even book herself against them when the opportunity presents itself. Becomes Dark Action Girl when arrogance drives her heel.
  • Anti-Hero: Asuka's face persona on the main roster is more or less that of an unstoppable force of nature with no qualms about plowing through anyone, heel or face. Despite this, she has been shown on numerous occasions to be a supremely honorable woman, showing nothing but pure respect to anyone who can give her a good fight.
  • Anti-Villain: Asuka's heel persona in the main roster is presented as the middle ground between full-fledged heroes like Becky Lynch and complete monsters like Shayna Baszler. Never insults the fans and is appreciative of hers, is full of spirit to never give up, and is very protective of her little sister Kairi; yet she's ruthless, disrespectful in the mic to her opponents, and willing to cheat if necessary.
  • Arch-Enemy:
    • Syuri Kondo was this in SMASH and other promotions, especially after KANA's heel turn.
    • Team Disingenuous (Emma and Dana Brooke) at the star of her NXT run, and Ember Moon towards the end, becoming the closest to breaking Asuka's undefeated streak.
    • Asuka seems to be destined to always cross paths with Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch. In one way or another all three have helped each other to reach the very top of their careers.
  • Arrogant Kung-Fu Girl:
  • Ass Kicks You: Uses a hip attack as part of her moveset. In the past it's been called Billiken and even been known to finish off seated opponents.
  • Author Appeal: She was a big fan of the Japanese U-system and everything related to shoot-style, and it shows: her kickpads are similar to those used in Satoru Sayama's Shooto, while most of her moveset is modelled after Nobuhiko Takada's (down to using the headkick, the armbar and the crossface chickenwing as finishing moves).
  • Badass Adorable: While in WWE as a face she would always smile, dance, play, and get excited quickly in interviews. Even as a heel she has a tendency to act very childish and innocent with a very cute voice when introducing herself. But if you get into a ring with her, you'll be lucky if you survive 5 minutes. Also extends to real life, where she has a reputation of being one of the greatest female workers in the world, but also loves to squee on her YouTube channel about food, video games (especially anything Kirby), and her own merchandise.
  • Badass Boast: Asuka's WWE entrance theme is a long, wonderfully poetic, and exceedingly epic one of these.
    From far and wide and lightyears away
    Cast from the shadows that light my way
    Fallen idols scream yesterday
    Your kings and your queens hit the ground like rain
    From far and wide and lightyears away
    The one force of nature they call by name
    I come from tomorrow to take back today
    I am the future!
  • Badass Longcoat: Her entrance attire is an immensely long open kimono, which billows out behind her as she makes her way to the ring.
  • Bash Brothers: With Kairi Sane as the Kabuki Warriors. Not only they work perfectly in synch while wrestling but also have no doubt when it comes to protect each other, whether is by taking finishers for the other or helping each other instead of going for the win. One would say this heartwarming sister-like bond (they actually call each other sisters in promos) would make them a perfectly face team if it wasn't because they like to screw everyone else by cheating.
  • Being Good Sucks: The reason why she and Kairi turned heel in the first place was because they lost all the time for abiding by the rules.
  • Berserk Button:
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Asuka will ask for handshakes and show opponents respect, but if you try to take advantage of that she'll be happy to make you pay for it.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: She's one of The Dreaded women in WWE despite being a known Cloudcuckoolander.
  • Big Bad:
    • Has been this in SMASH, Reina, and JWP.
    • Managed to become one for Becky Lynch of all people. After becoming the only person to beat Becky via submission (and so far the only one who beat her clean since becoming The Man). Becky didn't mind at first and let it go once she won the Rumble that same night. However, as Asuka went more and more to the dark side, the shadow of her never being able to beat Asuka before appeared again and forced her to doubt her own skills as a wrestler. Asuka, very conscious about this, had nothing better to do so she decided she wanted to destroy Becky's career by proving her right. After this, Becky never stopped refering Asuka as the ultimate obstacle she needed to surpass. Asuka of course milked this to the last drop, even going so far as to have her dragon Kairi Sane wrestle Lynch while she sitted on top of a corner watching them fight from above for her amusement.
  • Big Eater: Much of her vlog depicts her cooking and eating rather sumptuous meals.
  • Big Sister Instinct: God help you if you try to harm Kairi.
  • Blood Knight: As she claims on her Twitter account, she doesn't care about wins or loses. She just want her opponents to bring a fight that is up to her high level. That's the only way she'll ever be satisfied with her Art. Oh and she will mercilessly crush anyone who can't.
  • Boyish Short Hair: From her Royal Rumble 2023 return and on, in addition to once again taking on most of her old gimmick, Asuka readopted the short, rough hairstyle she always wore as Kana, this time pairing it with her signature blue-and-pink bicolor hair dye.
  • Bring It: On more than one occasion, when Asuka has had beef with multiple women, she's requested a match to let off steam. The authority figure asks who Asuka wants to face, and she responds "Both/all of them!"
  • Broken Win/Loss Streak: Mercedes Martinez handed Kana in SHIMMER. Her undefeated streak in WWE was broken (cleanly) by Charlotte Flair at WrestleMania 34.
  • Bullying a Dragon: On her self promoted shows she tends to pick fights with much larger wrestlers. Sometimes these challenges are plausible on paper, such as goofy DDT junior heavyweights like Munenori Sawa, sometimes she sets her sights on mixed martial arts champions nearly a hundred pounds heavier than her, such as Minoru Suzuki of Pancrase, but it rarely ends well for Kana.
  • Catchphrase:
    • "Nobody is ready for Asuka!"
    • "EZ-PZ"
    • "WE DON'T CARE!"
  • Chef of Iron: In her YouTube channel KanaChanTV, she cook a Japanese food Shio Chanko Nabe and Pork Miso Soup.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Her flailing style of dancing and tendency to cut loud hammy promos in very stilted English or full-on Japanese makes her come off as a bit of a goofball. It's not uncommon for her antics to get very visible "WTF" looks from prospective opponents, and as such you could argue she does this intentionally to throw competititors off their game.
  • Cool Mask: She wears Noh masks in her entrances, and they're all amazingly designed.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: As Reina's kayfabe "consultant" and later "general producer", where she often used her power to screw over her enemies and put herself and her friends in higher positions on the roster, eventually winning both the Reina World Tag Team and World Women's Championships in part because of this.
  • Cute and Psycho: She acts cutely outside the ring, but in the ring she becomes totally crazy and sadistic, and has also been tyrannically power-mad at times.
  • Dancing Is Serious Business: Not long after beating Becky and Charlotte in WWE, Asuka got very confident and started incorporating dancing as a way to mock opponents. Whether she was facing dangerous opponents, interfering on other people's matches, or even in the middle of her own matches, there was always time for dancing. This stayed with her after she turned face again because fans love it.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: After turning face again in 2020, she kept her black costume and green painted tears.
  • Darker and Edgier: A visual change to go along with a metaphorical one. Following their heel turn to secure the Women's Tag Team Championship, Asuka and Kairi traded out their characteristic colorful gear for all-black ring attire. For Asuka, this would eventually include a ripped black tee, evoking some serious pastel goth aesthetic. Taken even further with her Royal Rumble 2023 return. She comes back with darker hair, a new menacing mask, a Dark Reprise of her theme and menacing Monster Clown face paint.
  • Defeating the Undefeatable:
    • With her winning streak on NXT (longer than Goldberg's famous streak in WCW), beating her was treated as this. Except that it never happened; nearly a year and a half later, she relinquished the title due to injury and headed for Raw.
    • She actually did this by managing to make Becky Lynch tap out clean when her "The Man" monster push was in full effect. A year later the tables turned around and she became this for Becky.
    • Asuka ended Bianca Belair's reign as Raw Women's Championship at Night of Champions 2023. Prior to this, Bianca Belair has been unstoppable for two years since winning the SmackDown Women's Championship at WrestleMania 37 with the only person to defeat her being Becky Lynch and even that requires a cheap shot. After avenging her defeat at the next Mania, she goes on to carry the Raw Women's Championship for a whole year, surpassing Becky's first reign.
  • Determinator: When WWE told their wrestlers that they didn't have to go to work during the COVID-19 Quarantine, they found themselves short of staff. Asuka was among the ones who decided to keep wrestling and boy she did. During the weeks before Wrestlemania 36, she went to appear in both shows RAW and Smackdown regularly in matches, interferences, interviews and even as guest commentator. She even filmed matches for Main Event, the third WWE show. Of course she worked Wrestlemania 36 and was there to wrestle in the RAW post-mania the next daynote .
    • This eventually evolved into a whole year where Vince's ready-made response to any mishap involving shortage of personnel, was "Send Asuka out there". With some RAW shows having up to three segments involving Asuka and some PPVs having her wrestle more than once. Maybe the most extreme example of this was the Clash of Champions PPV where Asuka was initially booked in a match that unfortunately was set to happen in the pre show. But due to an unexpected break happening around those days, not only Asuka's match was moved back to the main card but she also had to go out and wrestle a second time against Bayley for the title to cover for an unfortunate Nikki Cross.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: During one Raw match with Nia Jax, Asuka managed to injure the former's leg enough to render her unable to continue.
  • Distaff Counterpart:
    • To Hideo Itami, both entering NXT as well-known Japanese wrestlers known for their stiff strikes and introduced in their debut by William Regal under their original ring names/first names so they could personally reveal their new WWE names.
    • To Brock Lesnar, as the beastly uber-dominant athlete who represents something different to the usual sports-entertainment fare of WWE and seems utterly brutal and unbeatable as a result, and who it is a horrible idea to taunt or provoke. Her cutesy demeanor and bugeisha look is the only aspect of her that seems like it may defy this trope…except it actually enhances the distaff part.
    • In Japan she was this to Minoru Suzuki, the dangerously stiff worker who also happens to be a freelancer and eventually a Power Stable leader looking to take over Japanese wrestling. One of her stables was even initially called Kana-gun, clearly modeled after Suzuki-gun.
    • There have been some comparisons to Shinsuke Nakamura as well, for the same reasons as Itami, aside from the ring name since Nakamura got to keep his name. Reached new levels when she eagerly greeted Nakamura when he arrived at the WWE Performance Center for the first time, and later ascended when both she and Nakamura won their respective Royal Rumble matches in 2018.
  • The Dreaded: Has become this in NXT, due to everything about her being simultaneously alluring and terrifying. People were surprised when Bayley actually gave her a fight in their NXT Women's Championship title match at Takeover: Dallas.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Trained at the Battlarts Dojo before she made her wrestling debut in Major Girls Fighting AtoZ.
  • Easily Forgiven: Averted in Japan. Her anti-joshi manifesto continued to be used as a storyline sore point between her and many joshi wrestlers for years in several promotions, and her rivalry with Syuri has always been evident whenever they've interacted. Even when acting as allies, KANA and Syuri's relationship remained uneasy and the longer they had to work together the more inevitable a turn became.
  • Extremity Extremist: She's notorious even in the harsh world of joshi wrestling for her stiff kicks and strikes.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: The one thing you could always admire from evil Asuka is that she loved LOVED Kairi.
  • Evil Counterpart: Kana and the Shirai sisters' Triple Tails turned out to be this to Syuri's Apple Tale dance group.
  • Evil Is Hammy: Asuka's No Indoor Voice is highlighted following her 2019 Heel turn.
  • Facial Markings: A trademark of Asuka's WWE appearance is a horizontal black line painted across her face, just under her eyes and across the bridge of her nose. It's meant to resemble the similar black lines drawn on the noh mask she often wears in her entrance.
  • Fanservice Model: Apart of her wrestling career, Kana is also known in Japan as a gravure model.
  • Fiery Redhead: Her hair has consistently been some shade of neon red throughout the course of her career and she is highly aggressive and notoriously stiff in the ring.
  • Finishing Move: Kana lock (crossface chickenwing), Kanagon (grounded dragon sleeper)... biliken (diving hip attack). In NXT the Asuka lock remains and she also tends to knock opponents out with head kicks.
  • Flanderization: Was set back in her bookings for a couple of years as well as mostly stuck in the character of an arrogant power-hungry schemer in Japan for over half a decade thanks to the Weekly Pro-Wrestling Worked Shoot manifesto about the problem with joshi wrestling, a move which was intended to get her heat with the fans but only confused them and instead got her heat with the other wrestlers and promoters.
  • Gamer Chick: In Japan, she had a side job as a game journalist, and she sometimes has video gaming content on her Youtube channel.
  • Genki Girl: Can give off that impression a lot of the time, as demonstrated in her NXT debut segment, when she was excitedly jumping around and yelling "DREAM COME TRUE" in adorably broken English. However, when her smile is directed at an enemy, it becomes clear how dangerous she is. Just ask Emma and Dana Brooke what her smile told them when they slapped her that night.
  • Gratuitous Japanese: As a face in WWE she usually spoke English, except when she got sufficiently angry to start screaming in Japanese. After her heel turn, she now speaks only in Japanese with some few English phrases tossed in the middle so her opponents (and the audience) know she's insulting them.
  • Green and Mean: She capped off her second Face–Heel Turn at WWE by spraying Nikki Cross in the face with faux-poisonous green mist, a long-standing traditional heel tactic in Japanese wrestling. For much of her run since then, she has come to the ring with green face paint that resembles green liquid pouring from her eyes and mouth.
  • Grin of Audacity: When you see her wide, toothy smile, it's usually the precursor to a rapid-fire No-Holds-Barred Beatdown.
  • Heel–Face Turn: She's broke her character after Becky Lynch announced her pregnancy and vacant her RAW Women's Champion to Asuka.
  • The Hero: Of WWE's post-WrestleMania 36 Women's Division, with Drew McIntyre carrying the torch for the men. With face of the company Becky Lynch away on indeterminate maternity leave, Asuka was given the RAW Women's Championship and the mantle of top babyface, reportedly, in reward for her absurd work ethic, and subsequently became the center of numerous high-profile storylines.
  • History Repeats: Her first SmackDown and Raw Women's Championships were both won from Becky Lynch in a special type of Ladder Match.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: If you check It's All About Me below, any Japanese company that let Kana in was basically this in kayfabe. However, the top runner here has to be Yoshihiro Tajiri. Not only didn't Tajiri fire her from SMASH the minute she singlehandedly made her name a dirty word in joshi, he allowed her to align with the Shirai sisters within his company's shores. Then, when SMASH was replaced by WNC, he let her join despite Triple Tails almost running him out of town in the former. Luckily she didn't get very far as a heel, as Mio Shirai soon turned on her for disrespecting her friend, and ended up working together with Tajiri and Mikey Whipwreck often until the company started going under.
  • I Have Many Names: Kana, Ramen Woman, Tomoe Gozen, Asuka.
  • Insistent Terminology: Do not call the Empress "queen".
  • I Know Karate: Trained in shoot style wrestling at the Battlarts Dojo and also trained in a bit of sambo with Yasuhiro Tanaka.
  • I Shall Taunt You: She occasionally makes it a point to mock her opponents by mimicking parts of their entrances both during and after her matches.
  • It's All About Me / Small Name, Big Ego: As SMASH's Big Bad, she gave herself the nickname of "Sekai no Kana", literally calling herself world-famous; tried to run Yoshihiro Tajiri out of the business and take over the company alongside her main partners in Triple Tails, the Sexy Purple Thunder Sisters; and even pissed off the entire joshi community by writing a manifesto for the Weekly Pro-Wrestling magazine in which she claimed joshi was full of wrestlers had no personality, bad attitudes, and unrealistic wrestling styles, something many joshi wrestlers felt she had absolutely no business doing. Corrupt manipulative power scheming has largely been her character in Japan ever since.
  • Kabuki Theatre: Invoked with Asuka, with her tag team of "The Kabuki Warriors" with Kairi Sane. She has used some theatrical mannerism since her time in Joshi Puroresu as Kana.
  • Large Ham: About the time she made her main roster Face–Heel Turn with Kairi, Asuka went from being quiet and intense, largely letting her reputation do the talking for her, to being so absurdly bombastic that a typical promo would make her sound like a shounen anime villain.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Can move through strikes and submissions at a frightening speed.
  • Manifesto-Making Malcontent: In 2010, she published a "manifesto" about the state of joshi that annoyed a lot of that community. The late Stuart Allan, co-founder of the website, commented: "The actual suggestions were all sensible, but the issue wasn't as much with the suggestions as the Japanese mentality at this 'rookie' wrestler with a reputation for being overly stiff in the ring telling all the joshi veterans and promoters what they needed to do to fix the entire scene." This was actually intentional, though she was hoping it would get her heat with the fans who respected and admired the joshi veterans and promoters she was calling out rather than said veterans and promoters themselves.
  • Meaningful Rename:
    • She changed her name from KANA to Asuka in NXT, named for Lioness Asuka, one of the most popular and important female wrestlers in Japanese wrestling history.
    • There's also the fact the name Asuka has a traditional meaning of tomorrow which fits her theme as "The Empress of Tomorrow". Furthermore, The Kanji for "Ka" that she uses is brought specifically from her old wrestling name KANA, making the meaning of her WWE ringname be "The Kana of tomorrow".
  • Monster Clown:
    • She was always known for black Facial Markings but ended up becoming a full on clown during the time she led Kana-gun/Piero-gun.
    • Somewhat brought back after her WWE heel turn. She usually uses the emoji clown to refer herself but now with green paint coming from her eyes instead. Also she has compared herself to The Joker while feuding with Becky Lynch.
  • Morality Pet: As the veteran half of the Kabuki Warriors, Asuka is a ruthless, trash-talking scrapper who is very willing to cheat her way to victory with a well-placed poison mist. She also has an unbending sisterly bond with her tag team partner Kairi Sane, who she always protects where she can and consoles after losses.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Once modeled a trilogy of gravure DVDs called Manifest, as well as a fourth with Mio Shirai called Sadistic Tails. Then there was that match with Lin Bairon
  • No Indoor Voice: Following her 2019 Heel turn, Asuka SHOUTS IN EVERY SINGLE PROMO SHE HAS!
  • Not Cheating Unless You Get Caught: How she got away with using the green mist to win.
  • Older Hero Versus Younger Villain: Against Yumi Ohka in WAVE, although that wasn't a point Kana intended to make, as she's not that much younger. Kana just couldn't help running her mouth after Misaki Ohata attributed Ohka's losses to her age. It was a point Kana intended to make during The Triple Tails' campaigns against Tajiri and the other "old men".
    • Also against Alexa Bliss during WrestleMania Season 2018. Despite Bliss being a full decade younger than Asuka, the veteran in this case was teased as Bliss' absolute most insurmountable challenge yet.
    • She also wrestle against Nia Jax in NXT and Main Roster.
    • Against Carmella at Money in the Bank (2018) and Extreme Rules (2018).
    • Her Face runs in WWE in general, as she joined the company already in her mid-thirties. In fact she's 7 months older than Natalya, WWE's most tenured woman on the roster by that point (and still is as of 2023)note 
  • Older Than They Look: Urai is 40 years old as of 2021, but still looks, acts, and wrestles like someone closer to 25 in spite of being right on the edge of what many wrestlers would consider retirement age.
  • One-Steve Limit: One of her WAVE Targets was a rookie debuting in 2015 going only by the name Asuka. This caused confusion when WAVE's Asuka came out as transgender in December 2017.
  • Otaku: She's a fan of AKIRA, Berserk, and Dragon Ball Z.
  • Phrase Catcher: "Asuka's gonna kill you!" Yep, the "gonna kill you" thing handed down from Taz to Samoa Joe to every badass that pops up on NXT, and she's now part of that cycle.
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: Asuka stands at all of 5'3". This did nothing to stop her from hitting the 6'3", 240-pound Nia Jax with a Lesnar-style German Suplex.
  • Power Stable:
    • Passion Red in NEO Japan Ladies Pro Wrestling.
    • Triple Tails in SMASH, Kana-Pro, Pro Wrestling Wave, etc.
    • Kana-gun, later named Piero-gun, in Reina Joshi Puroresu.
  • Power Trio: The founding members of Triple Tails were KANA and the Sexy Purple Thunder Sisters, Mio and Io Shirai. The founders became White Tails when divisions between the wider group formed.
  • The Promise: Asuka made a promise to a broken Kairi (who just lost her chance to enter the Mit B match) that she would win the Money in the Bank briefcase for the both of them. Fastforward to the match, Asuka managed to survive the match long enough to reach the rooftop and face Nia Jax, the one who defeated Kairi and took her spot. Through determination and her desire to fulfill her promise, Asuka managed to defeat Nia and win the match. And then they discovered that what was actually in the briefcase was not a mere title shot, but the Women's Championship itself. Kairi was beyond happy and organized a party celebration a week later.
  • Psycho Lesbian:
    • Towards Lin Bairon in SMASH. At one point prior to a match between the two, she suggested that the loser should remove her top and bare her breasts. The match wound up incorporating some heavily suggestive moments, and after Kana knocked Bairon out and beat her she fondled her and actually started to strip her, until Bairon suddenly came to and scurried away before the top could be removed.
    • Also towards Arisa Nakajima by the end of 2013 on forward. She'd already had a friendship with Arisa, who actually got her into JWP early in the year, only for their friendship to turn into an explosive rivalry a few months later which culminated in Kana beating her for the JWP Openweight Championship. Towards the end of the year, after Arisa went through a losing streak, a brooding period, and a shoulder dislocation, Kana suddenly began professing her love for Arisa and even went so far as to give Nakajima a free shot at the Overweight title, and despite Arisa beating her in said match she earnestly got the two thrown back together as a team in numerous promotions afterwards.
    • It's pretty understated in her WWE career to date, but on one occasion she gently brushed Emma's face with the back of her hand with that look on her face. Emma was understandably skeeved out.
  • Red Baron: "World Famous", "Skull Reaper", "The Empress of Tomorrow".
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: The laid back, calculating blue to the excitable, reckless LuFisto's red.
  • Screaming Warrior: Just about all of Asuka's in-ring dialogue is this.
  • Screw the Rules, I Make Them!:
    • Convinced REINA to strip Ariya and Makoto of the World Tag Team Titles then paid Syuri to turn on Lin Byron so that she and Arisa Nakajima could take the belts unopposed.
    • After beating Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair at TLC 2019, she had nothing else to prove to them so the only way she would agree to one more match with Becky was if she put her title on the line.
  • She's Back: In the aftermath of her stunning Wrestlemania defeat at the hands of Charlotte Flair, Asuka swapped brands and promptly went right back to doing what she does best: absolutely flattening the entire roster.
  • Shout-Out: Her name of "Asuka" in WWE is a tribute to Lioness Asuka.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: Told Nia Jax at their contract signing...
    Asuka: You. Talk. Too much.
  • The Silent Bob: She almost never speaks on camera when working outside the Japanese market, preferring to communicate by means of gestures and terrifying facial expressions. She started cutting more English promos after she became NXT women's champion, probably to prepare her for the main roster, where she'll likely be requested to talk more often. On the main roster she has gone between the occasional English promo and promos that switch between Japanese and English. After her heel turn, now she speaks almost exclusively in Japanese not caring if the fans understand or not.
  • Skimpy Villains Sensible Heroes: Downplayed, in that Kana's ring gear tends to be less sensible than Syuri's but Kana has almost always used some form of war paint, which only got more and more exaggerated until the point she was a clown, so she wasn't tying to be "sexier" than Syuri so much as Syuri's a legit shooter with a lot less flair for dramatics. Even with The Triple Tails, who are meant to be sexier than Apple Tale, Apple Tale only serve as cheerleaders for Syuri during matches and are likely to run if someone attacks them. They are more sidekicks who are being mocked rather than heroes opposing villains in this context.
  • Slasher Smile: If Asuka is smiling in your direction, it's bad news. The smile alone produced an Oh, Crap! reaction from Dana Brooke and Emma during her debut, and whenever her opponents strike a particular nerve with her in a match, her smiling is usually a sign of a comeback and bad things for her opponent. Best summed up at the NXT announce table during Asuka's entrance at TakeOver: Dallas.
    Corey Graves: As beautiful as it is, Tom, that is one of the most terrifying smiles you will ever see in your life. It's a precursor to a throwdown.
    • He smile has gotten even worse after reverting to her Monster Clown gimmick. She would occasionally just smile while "poison mist" would leak out her mouth.
  • Spell My Name with an S: WWE misspelled her name as "Kanna" when spotting her in the crowd at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn.
  • Villainous Friendship: With Kairi Sane. The Kabuki Warriors are a well-oiled machine who cheer for each other, come to each other's rescue and serve as each other's hype women.
  • Tag Team:
    • Within Triple Tails there was Kanayu with Ayumi Kurihara.
    • At WWE, she was convinced by Paige to form The Kabuki Warriors with Kairi Sane. Notable for taking some poorly introduced and managed titles from the C-show Main Event to the actual main event of a PPV (TLC 2019).
    • In the Mixed-Match Challenge she teamed with The Miz. It was an odd pairing since Asuka was a face and Miz was a heel.
  • Technicolor Toxin: Her cutesy demeanor, colorful hair, and extravagant kimono and ring attire make her appear as a cross between a geisha and a gravure idol, the latter her occasional trade, but in the ring she's just as dangerous as any Badass Normal woman you'll see in an anime. Corey Graves once compared her to a poison dart frog — small, brightly colored, and lethally dangerous — though really, he could've mentioned any number of real-life natural creatures who use this as a form of bait or self-defense. As a face, she only turns the venom on those who turn it on her first, putting the toxicity on a level of Beware the Nice Ones or Good is Not Nice. As a heel, she outright tends towards Light Is Not Good.
  • Tournament Arc
    • Became SMASH's first Diva Champion when she gained her first victory over Serena Deeb during the tournament finals of SMASH 21.
    • Kanayu beat Uematsu*Ran to win the 2011 WAVE Dual Shock and became the promotion's first exclusive Tag Team Champions (the TLW belts were shared with JWP).
  • Trope Codifier: The most popular and successful joshi in WWE history. There are a few who are more popular in the wider wrestling world, such as Bull Nakano, but none had been close to as successful or popular in WWE itself as Asuka.
  • Underwear of Power: While this is the normal for wrestlers, she is one of the few to deliberately wear a pair of underwear over top of her trunks or have the design on the trunks replicate the look.
  • Ur-Example: Won the first women's Royal Rumble. She is also the first to win the Royal Rumble, Money in the Bank and become a Grand Slam Champion as well.
  • Use Your Head: Before her WWE debut, she would often exchange series of headbutts with her opponents. She does it less often, but women like Nikki Cross and Becky Lynch fell victim to such attacks.
  • White Mask of Doom: Her entrance has her wearing a noh mask.
  • Wardrobe Malfunction: Has managed to avoid these over the course of her career, which is amazing consider her attires, but ultimately fell victim to this trope on the Feb 19, 2018 edition of Monday Night Raw, when her top came loose and exposed a good part of her left breast.
  • The Worf Effect:
    • Immediately did this to both Sara Del Rey and Cheerleader Melissa in SHIMMMER. Melissa got hers back with gusto. Sara didn't, but beat her most of the time when they wrestled elsewhere.
    • She was on the receiving end of this in some occasions after debuting in the WWE Main Roster. The most infamous one was her two defeats against Carmella who had just won the Smack Down Women's championship and needed a big win to establish herself as champion, so she ended up beating Asuka twice. Asuka was also used as a sacrifice to build Shayna Baszler credibility on her road to face Becky Lynch at WrestleMania 36.
  • Worked Shoot: The "how to save joshi wrestling" manifesto she wrote in the early goings of her SMASH heel run. Trouble is, it backfired by pissing off her peers instead of the fans.
  • Worthy Opponent:
    • In her WWE NXT run Ember Moon is one of the few people she treats as an equal. They had history prior to WWE as Kana and Athena, Ember came the closest to beating her, and injured her to the point of her having to relinquish the title. When the two met at the Royal Rumble 2018 Asuka was delighted.
    • She also respects Bayley who was the first person to give her challenge both in NXT and RAW.
    • In the months between Asuka's Royal Rumble victory and WrestleMania 34, Charlotte Flair became indisputably the greatest foe in Asuka's WWE career, with their feud ending on Charlotte beating Asuka's streak. Despite the weight of such a crushing loss, Asuka - audibly and visibly struggling through tears - still congratulated Charlotte after their show-stealing match and graciously reciprocated when Charlotte locked her in a tight hug.
      • This, however, changed when Charlotte turned heel and started disrespecting her and her legacy while making fun of her crushing defeat during the build-up to their (and Becky) TLC match for the title. Asuka now thinks she got lucky.
    • On the note of the above, Becky Lynch herself - the woman whose title Asuka would come to take at TLC - filled this spot after Charlotte's Face–Heel Turn in late 2018. In the leadup to their match at Royal Rumble 2019, Becky congratulated Asuka on her title victory... and then proceeded to goad her into once more becoming the Wrestling Monster she used to be. All of this culminated in the two of them taking each other to their absolute tooth-and-nail limit at the Rumble, a match during which Asuka would be forced to use every move in her arsenal, her finisher, Becky's finisher, and finally a brutal modified Asuka Lock to finally put The Man away.
  • You Go, Girl!: If a Japanese promotion includes both sexes, she's willing and able to fight with the men. Just ask Tajiri, who she terrorized in SMASH. Or Minoru Suzuki, who she actually booked herself to take an ass-kicking from in one of her Kana-Pro events. Even in WWE she has been shown practicing her strikes on a male striking coach who happens to be a retired mixed martial artist.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: The Kabuki Warriors turned on Paige with a mist to the face a couple of weeks after turning heel.

Alternative Title(s): Kana, Asuka