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Wrestling / Sumie Sakai

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After defeating Kelly Klein to become the inaugural ROH Women of Honor Champion, ROH Supercard of Honor XII, Lakefront Arena, New Orleans, LA, April 7, 2018

Sumie Sakai (born November 24, 1971) is a Japanese judoka, Professional Wrestler and Mixed Martial Artist known in the U.S. for her work in Ring of Honor and CHIKARA. She debuted in 1997 for Yoshimoto Ladies Pro Wrestling and has worked all over the world.

Along with being the inaugural ROH Women of Honor Champion, she is a former Jd' Junior Champion, a JD Queen Of The Ring, a former 4x TWF World Women's Tag Team Championnote , the first-ever WORLD-1 Women's Champion, a former WORLD-1 Tag Team Champion with Roxie Cotton, a former PWU Unified Women's Champion, a former WEW Tag Team Championnote  and is the PCW ULTRA Women's Champion.

"Smashmouth Tropes":

  • A Day In The Lime Light: A day and a night. YABUSAKA promoted two shows named after themselves in 2004.
  • Action Girl: She's a professional wrestler and occasional mixed martial artist, and in wrestling almost always works as a face.
  • Always Someone Better: Megumi Yabushita, a fine pro wrestler, had this in Nanae Takahashi. Yabushita continued to have this when she recruited Sumie Sakai as her partner as Takahashi partnered with Momoe Nakanishi. Sumie Sakai did win the AJW Tag Team Titles...with Yuko Kosugi...after Takahashi and Nakanishi vacated the belts to pursue the more prestigious WWWA Tag Titles, which they won twice. That said, it was Sakai and Yabushita who were usually treated as the better team in Yoshimoto Ladies Pro Wrestling Jd'. Zenjo was simply the bigger company with the bigger audience.
  • Asian Rudeness: Usually when Sakai is in the 50 States she strives to be humble, kind, gracious, dutiful, clean and charitable. But sometimes she just can't help pulling a few practical jokes, and sometimes she's just a drinking, spitting, scratching, hair pulling, offensive gesturing pain in the ass who loudly proclaims herself "nice".
  • Badass Adorable: She doesn't bring her exotica and garbage wrestling to ROH, leaving only this. There is still very little she cannot do and her enthusiasm makes her so cute. Just how much her act is cleaned up varies, though, as she's also been known to engage in very not adorable small joint manipulation and even chomp on them.
  • Breaking the Glass Ceiling: She and Roxie Cotton were the only women to ever hold the WORLD-1 Tag Team Titles.
  • The Bus Came Back: After being rejected at Do Or Die 5 she wouldn't show up in ROH again for nine years until the 2014 Summer Heat Tour. In 2015 she'd find her second foothold in when WOH was rebranded as its own division and fan support when live crowd of West Warwick Rhode Island gave Taeler Hendrix a hero's welcome but then turned against her in favor Sakai.
  • Cast Speciation: In-Universe she tones back her exotica and garbage tendencies in ROH out of respect for Alexis Laree. Beyond that ROH already had a more daring exotico Power Stable in the Christopher Street Connection and a garbage wrestler Tag Team turned Power Trio turn Power Stable in the Carnage Crew.
  • Cool Mask: Subverted. Whether or not you thought the mask was cool, becoming the "Tokyo Terror" did not make Sakai any more effective in the Pro Wrestling Syndicate.
  • Davita Versus Goliath: Inverted in her match with Awesome Kong at PWF Beach Street Bash, August 22, 2009.
  • Distaff Counterpart: In the US her heel work is an exaggerated take on Triple H, specifically early D-Generation X Trips. It's exaggerated because Sakai usually has to do it all herself without a Chyna and Shawn Michaels to play off of.
  • Divergent Character Evolution: She and Megumi Yabushita started out fairly similar, but where Yabushita doubled down on her shooter roots all the way to Shooto itself, Sakai picked up on tumbling, high flying, death match and suggestive humiliating tactics. While Sakai did eventually take up MMA, Yabushita did so before hand and also took up shoot boxing and competitive submission grappling. They remained a fairly formidable team in spite of the differing approaches and both enjoyed fairly long careers.
  • Eloquent in My Native Tongue: During a 2018 interview Sakai was asked to look back on her US career from the previous decade, and described her English as a "two year old's".
  • Face/Heel Double-Turn
    • At ChickFight V Sakai started the tradition of fans turning on previous champion MsChif, as they found her response to Sakai's tactics to be disproportionate.
    • A one night example in ROH, when Cherry Bomb's injury resulted in Veda Scott, whom Sakai defeated when returning to the promotion, getting a rematch with Sakai. Scott was much more respectful and a much better sport the second time around, and actually got cheered when Sakai wasn't...Sakai went back to being a face later and treated Scott, who otherwise went back to a heel, as a Worthy Opponent.
  • Finishing Move: The Smashmouth(a rolling cutter). She used a splash while competing in the Super lightweight and Sky High divisions of Neo and ARSION. A Banzai drop in Women's Extreme Wrestling. Sometimes a fisherman's buster(a finisher of former partner Yuko Kosugi) or fisherman's neck breaker.
  • Friendly Enemy: Sakai is fairly nice to and very encouraging of Mayu Iwatani, in spite of the fact Sakai associated with Iwatani's sworn enemies Oedo~tai for the purpose of overcoming the alliance Io Shirai and Iwatani had made with Kairi Hojo.
  • Garbage Wrestler: She's a Yoshihiro Tajiri and Sabu Fangirl whose favorite style is death match wrestling and was very comfortable in IWA Japan while it was still a garbage promotion. She also did many Fuyuki Army dates while it was cross promoting with the Trope Namer FMW.
  • Genki Girl: Very energetic in the ring, even more in her promos.
  • Gimmick Matches
    • Closed out 2000 with a no rope chain, ladder, chair and table death match loss to Fang Suzuki.
    • Sakai and Hiroyo Muto needed two falls count anywhere weapons death matches to get the TWF tag team titles from Fang Suzuki and The Bloody, with the second match being an iron man death match that needed to go to sudden death!
    • The last wrestler eliminated in Jd's 2001 LSD2H(Long Strong Distance 2 Hours: best described as an iron man gauntlet match). Fang Suzuki and Takako Inoue were the last two left when time was up. Sakai also unsuccessfully tried to regain the Queen Of The Ring and AWF title belts from The Bloody in a LSD1H (a regular iron man match).
    • In 2002 Sakai and Fang Suzuki tied in a four woman cage match also involving KAZUKI and Sachie Abe where both the Queen Of The Ring and AWF title belts were on the line.
  • Good Counterpart: To La Rosa Negra in the Pro Wrestling Syndicate's Bombshells division. Both "petite" turn buckle climbers not too good with English who constantly provided fanservice. The difference is how they interacted with top faces The Backseat Girls. Sakai helped them, Annie Social being an old friend. La Rosa, well the commissioner deliberately pitted La Rosa against Missy Sampson so... La Rosa did turn face when she decided The Backseat Girls were better than Strength In Numbers, but not before forming a tag team to defeat Social and Sakai with Grandma Butcher.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: On the receiving end of it at Fighting Spirit Wrestling Immortals Holiday IV when she performed a rolling pin combination on La Rosa Negra, only to get hit in the back of the head by Kimber Lee, who had been sent out of the opposite corner by a frankensteiner from Sammy Pickles. She later returned the favor by throwing La Rosa out of the ring on Lee and Pickles.
  • Heel–Face Turn: A proxy example in World Wonder Ring ST★RDOM, where Sakai was associated with Oedo~tai, but was primarily there to represent Women Of Honor and therefore loyal to Kyoko Kimura rather than the group as such. When Kyoko's daughter Hana turned face, took over the International Army and turned it into Tokyo Cyber Squad, Sumie just defaulted to helping that group when Oedo~tai inevitably attack it.
  • I Know Karate
    • Prior to pro wrestling Sakai was a judoka, and initially she tagged with fellow former judoka Megumi Yabushita, who had convinced Sakai to switch sports. So when Sakai wasn't touching people inappropriately or hitting them with foreign objects she'd usually be using momentum throws and grounded chokes.
    • In between her ROH stints she achieved her dream of becoming a mixed martial artist and brought what she learned from the experience back with her.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: During her match with Alere Little Feather at WORLD-1's August 6, 2005 event, she got pushed out of the ring and grabbed an unattended drink at the bar.
  • Idiot From Osaka: She's resided in Yokkaichi, Suzuka and Kanazawa, but has often been presented as a dimwitted inhabitant of Osaka. This strangely was at its peak during her "Punetang" run in USA WEW, but after her deportation and return it was downplayed to Sakai "merely" not knowing English. She was about the only wrestler not to join Amy Lee's uprising against SoCal Val simply because Sakai didn't know it was happening and just slapped Val around because everyone else was doing it, still wrestling on Val's behalf when asked.
  • Immigrant Patriotism: She sought entry to the USA because she liked what she saw from Sabu and Kurt Angle. Learning pro wrestling in the US was nowhere near as respected as it was in Japan, she dedicated her career to making USA pro wrestling more respected, starting with teaching the wrestlers to respect themselves. Also, she's prone to wearing the flag on her...everything. Even when she doesn't she often has red-white-blue variant of any gear she wears.
  • Joisey: While in the US she tends to stay in Philadelphia, but often has the gimmick of an erratic, violent cannibal from an undisclosed part of New Jersey.
  • Kiss of Distraction: At Son of the International Invasion of International Invaders- First Stage, September 16, 2005, she defeated Allison Danger, who was an exotica herself once, by kissing her and rolling her up for the pin. Unlike Danger, Sakai is immune to such exotica tactics, as Taeler Hendrix learned the hard way in ROH.
  • Loser Leaves Town: "Punetang" lost a loser gets deported match to Mercedes Martinez in Women's Extreme. Sumie Sakai came back to the US soon, though didn't return to WEW for a couple of years.
  • Lovely Angels: Sakai as the springing happy go lucky rookie with the powerful Jungle Jack veteran Cooga. "Petite" Sakai with Tom Boy Big Eater Hiroyo Muto. The distinctly but still practical dresser Sakai with the glamorous Yuko Kosugi(Sakai did spiff up her entrance gear while with her though). The overly friendly Sakai with the overly hostile Annie Social.
  • Master-Apprentice Chain: Received training from Bison Kimura, who received training from Jaguar Yokota. And given Sakai was prominent in Jd'\JDStar, which existed to promote Yokota, it would have been stranger not to bring anything up.
  • Never Mess with Granny: She's 47 and still wrestling all over the world.
  • Odd Friendship: Sakai was a martial artist social worker recruited by another who needed a tag team partner. Annie Social was a mental patient dubbed criminally insane who was picked up by another criminally insane woman Shane Hardcore, who used pro wrestling as a means to "legally" wreak havoc. Shane wanted a partner to help maximize the damage. Hell's Bells seemed like YABUSAKA's evil counterpart, but perhaps because Shane and Megumi were absent, Sumie and Annie became good friends in WEW. It seems Sakai was a good influence on Social, who became more social after years with only Shane as a friend, but while it's hard to say Sakai picked any new bad habits from Social she did learn to more effectively insult English speakers.
  • Parts Unknown: She wrestles out of Jersey, Shore, Japan!
  • Power Stable: With Hiromi Yagi, Ariya, Hiroyo Muto, Kyusei Ninja Ranmaru, Chitose Yamamoto, Chiaki Nishi, Haruka Matsuo and Emi Tomimatsu in 2001 as "Team Jd'", defending the promotion's honor against The Bloody's "Super Terrors" power stable, which for a time even had Sakai's usual partner Yabushita(she'd rejoin Sakai in 2002)!
  • Power Trio
    • Sachie Abe from those very same Super Terrors defended the TWF Tag belts alongside Sakai and Megumi Yabushita in February of 2002, although they dismissed Abe after defeating her and her chosen partner KAZUKI before the month was over.
    • The Michinoku Rangers as Ranger Yellow alongside Red and Blue in Michinoku Pro Wrestling. They broke up and unmasked following their disappointing performance in the 2003 Trios League but CZW inexplicably resurrected the gimmick the next year for her, without her teammates or anyone else in any way associated with Michinoku Pro, for inexplicable matches against Dustin Lee(she apparently had and won) and Eddie Edwards(she definitely lost) before having Sakai without the mask against her established rival Mercedes Martinez.
  • She-Fu: Sakai tends to have a very acrobatic offense and even mere approach, especially outside of garbage matches and especially when working face.
  • Signature Move: From a judoka many uranage variations are no surprise. Also the German suplex, especially during her early years, and the saito suplex. Took to a moonsault, missile drop kick and Huracánrana in the lucharesu fed Michinoku Pro and luchadora frequented ARSION. Also, a hair pulling variant of La de a Caballo, especially if Sakai's not working face.
  • Stalker Without A Crush: She pursued Luna Vachon to IWA Puerto Rico because it would give her the first chance to wrestle in what was technically the USA. This was before she thought to ask if professional wrestling was done in the fifty states, so she stopped there.
  • Sure, Let's Go with That: During the match where she defeated Kelly Klein to become the inaugural Women of Honor Champion, she hit a move that commentators Ian Riccaboni and Colt Cabana called a "Schoolgirl Powerbomb," since they'd never seen anyone do that before.
  • Tag Team: YABUSAKA, with Megumi Yabushita
  • Teeth Clenched Team Work: No one did very well in Jd' NGK Heel and Babyface Tag Wonder League. No team scored enough points to win the round robin, but Sakai and Fang Suzuki were one of the most functional, for what it's worth.
  • The Rival
    • Jd's first Queen Of The Ring Champion and most famous Garbage Wrestler The Bloody is Sakai's prime rival, The Bloody's Shade Breakers tag partner Fang Suzuki a little behind her. Naomi Kato started in Zenjo but got lost in the shuffle, so she descended upon Jd' with a literally bloody vengeance, and after four encounters with her YABUSAKA realized she wasn't going away on her own. Of the two of them Sakai had the most to prove against her. After realizing she wasn't leaving at all, Sakai and Yabushita tried tagging with The Bloody instead at the start of 2001 but still found themselves at odds with her more often than not and abandoned the idea of working with her in 2002. Sakai's rivalry with The Bloody in partcular extended into NEO Women's Pro-Wrestling twice.
    • As The Bloody's attention turned away from the Zenjo legends and gaijin luchadoras, Yuki "Drake" Morimatsu, aka Ryuna was her partner when she went after the likes of YABUSAKA. A product of the FMW dojo who had seemingly disappeared five years prior, Morimatsu was also on an unprovoked warpath against Jd'. They also had altercations in Fuyuki Army and inspired Sakai into an Enemy Mine alliance with Jaguar Yokota and Cooga as Morimatsu alligned with Lioness Asuka
    • Kyusei Ninja Ranmaru was a frequent but relatively nonthreatening challenger to Sakai during various title reigns in Jd', until Ranmaru rose in prominence while teaming with Sakai and the rest of Team Jd' against the Super Terrors. After that saga Ranmaru became especially focused on the TWF tag team titles, finally finding a winning combination against YABUSAKA with AKINO. After failing to win the NECW North American women's title belt from Sakai in Tokyo, Ranmaru followed Sakai to the US and wrestled her all over the country for three years, well after Sakai was no longer involved with NECW, until they teamed up for Chikara's Tag World Grand Prix 2006. Then they split up and went back at each other after losing to The Kings of Wrestling in the second round.
    • The NECW North American Women's Title was Mercedes Martinez's first championship belt in pro wrestling, and Sakai taking it to Japan after winning it from her was an offense Martinez never really forgave. The two were also set up to compete in Kiryoku Pro but worked together when representing it in Chikara. In NECW they did briefly form an alliance against Nikki Roxx and Violet Flame, but after Roxx and Flame were defeated they joined Sakai against Martinez. They fought over the women's title belt of Pro Wrestling Unplugged with each holding the belt once and Martinez had to turn back a challenge from Sakai in NYCW. After Martinez declared EVOLVE wasn't just for men, Sakai took it as an invitation.
  • Time to Unlock More True Potential: After training with Bison Kimura and Lioness Asuka in the Jd' Dojo, Sakai sought out further training with Jaguar Yokota, Killer Kowalski, Slyck Wagner Brown, Steve Bradley and Daniel Gracie.
  • Tournament Arc: Other than the won for the Women of Honor Championship
    • On March 8, 1998, she and Momoe Nakanishi defeated Kanako Motoya & Yuko Kosugi to win a one-night tag tournament in Jd'.
    • Her usual partner Megumi Yabushita was not involved with that one and no Tag Team Title belts were (immediately) on the line. In an October tournament for the TWF belts however, Sakai teamed with Cooga, defeating Yabushita and Hiromi Yagi before the finals where they went on to beat The Bloody and Ryuna for the belts.
    • She was part of the two day Jaguar League in February of 2000 for a shot at the TWF World Women's Title held by Lioness Asuka, but despite winning Sakai was out of the ring for four months with a broken leg in tag team match with Yabushita against her other partners Hiroyo Muto and Yuko Kosugi.
    • On May 24, 2014, she defeated La Rosa Negra to win Valkyrie I: International Joshi Grand Prix.