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Every Wrestler in the Like A Dragon Games

5 months ago Monthly Puroresu | SEGA

Monthly Puroresu | SEGA

Every Wrestler in the Like A Dragon Games

By: James Carlin

The Like A Dragon franchise is a unique game series that has been around since 2005, with its most recent entries using the “Like A Dragon” name that the Japanese versions originally used, having previously gone under the name “Yakuza” from 2005 to 2020. The games stand out for their fun gameplay and often eccentric and over-the-top portrayal of underground criminal organisations within Japan, seamlessly switching from comedic dialogue to a heavily emotional cutscene in an instant.

It embraces Japanese pop-culture around every corner, and in recent entries have included references to, and prominently features, professional wrestlers.

With Infinite Wealth‘s release right around the corner, it’s time to look back at all the wrestling stars that have made an appearance throughout the franchise, starting from the first game in 2005.

Yakuza (2005)

In the first Yakuza game, Kiryu can find a Club Shine hostess named Yuzu, hidden under the ramen shop at the underground casino. This is Yuzuki Aikawa, aka Yuzupon, who at the time was one of the most recognisable gravure stars in the country.

Her appearance on this list is the most unique as she wouldn’t become a professional wrestler until five years after the game had released, training under Fuuka and Nanae Takahashi before making her pro-wrestling debut in STARDOM, then becoming the first Wonder of Stardom champion by the end of 2011. She would retire in April 2013 at Ryogoku Sumo Hall, attracting a reported number of 5,000 fans to see her final match.

Yakuza 6: The Song of Life (2016)

Whilst Yuzuki Aikawa’s cameo in the first game was an interesting retrospective appearance having become a wrestler later in life, Yakuza 6 has a wide abundance of people who were active wrestlers at the time of release.

Another joshi puroresu (women’s wrestler) star that makes an appearance as a hostess in the games is Saki Akai from DDT Pro-Wrestling; she can be found in Club Shine. She retired last year, wrestling her last match at DDT Ultimate Party on November 12th, 2023. She has gone viral many times online thanks to her French aristocratic alter ego Sakisama of NEO Biishiki-gun.

Her portrayal in Yakuza 6 is close to her real life counterpart, even going as far as to include her background as a professional wrestler and “fighting against a huge foreigner“, and you get to do karaoke with her as a date if you level her hostess level enough.

Besides Saki Akai, Yakuza 6 features a lot of wrestlers from New Japan Pro-Wrestling that appeared thanks to a partnership with SEGA.

The game features a group named “The Six Lunatics” who run the Kamurocho branch of the street gang JUSTIS.  The group consists of entirely of NJPW talents. Kazuchika Okada, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Satoshi Kojima, Toru Yano, Hiroyoshi Tenzan and Tetsuya Naito are all apart of this group, and they can be found throughout the game as part of the clan creator side activity.

New Japan Pro-Wrestling additionally has more of its roster members featured within the clan creator minigame. Katsuyori Shibata, Yuji Nagata, BUSHI, EVIL, KUSHIDA and Tomohiro Ishii, Super Strong Machine, Captain New Japan are featured as deployable units.

Yakuza Kiwami 2 (2017)

Having been in development around the same time as Yakuza 6, a few of the previously mentioned names return but as people that you can fight in the underground Coliseum. TenCozy, Yano, Okada and Tanahashi all reappear here.

The coliseum also features some names exclusive to Kiwami 2. These names are encountered as part of the main story when you first unlock Majima Construction and Kiwami 2’s own clan creator.

Keiji Muto, Tatsumi Fujinami, Riki Choshu, Genichiro Tenryu and Masahiro Chono all appear in Kiwami 2 and are also found in the Coliseum as opponents that you have a chance of facing off against, as well as being featured as usable units in the Clan Creator.

Not only this, but one of the main story characters, The Florist, who appears throughout the series, is voiced by Yoshiaki Fujiwara.

Keiji Muto and Riki Choshu in Yakuza Kiwami 2. c/o SEGA

Like A Dragon: Ishin! (2021)

The remake of the 2014 Ishin! arrived, and it came with the news that former IWGP Heavyweight Champion and current All Elite Wrestling performer Kenny Omega would be a part of the game.

Unlike most wrestlers previously seen in the games, he acts similar to the likes of Shibata, KUSHIDA and Nagata – available as a special trooper card usable within the game.

Kenny Omega in Like A Dragon: Ishin! c/o SEGA

For now, these are all of the appearances made by professional wrestlers in the Like A Dragon games, but with the abundant love of the sport from developers Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio there’s no doubt that more wrestlers will feature in the future.

One wrestler who has spoken about wanting to be part of the series is STARDOM’s Ami Sohrei, whose interview with Monthly Puroresu can be read below:

Q&A with Ami Sohrei, on joining STARDOM, the New Eras and more

Written by:

Initially hired for social media management and Joshi coverage, I lead the coverage of joshi between May 2023 and March 2024, and worked behind the scenes in multiple roles since August 2022 that allowed Monthly Puroresu to smoothly operate.