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Q&A with Saki Akai

2 years ago

Q&A with Saki Akai

Joshi Star Saki Akai Gives Us a Glimpse Into Her Mind Ahead of CyberFight Festival 2022

By Ciarán Hayward

It’s hard to believe model turned pro wrestler Saki Akai has been in the game for nearly a decade, anchoring the Joshi division of Dramatic Dream Team (DDT). Her French aristocratic alter ego, Sakisama, remains uber popular with fans both domestically and abroad, allowing Akai yet another outlet to demonstrate her beauty and power within the squared circle. She’s wrestled across Japan in STARDOM, OZ Academy and SEAdLINNNG in addition to going over to sister promotion Tokyo Joshi Pro Wrestling (TJPW). At Wrestle Princess I she was even featured in perhaps the most innovative match in recent memory, versus Hyper Misao. The stipulation? Push a button mid-match, and the rules of it change entirely!

Her skill and ingenuity combined with an open-minded approach to pushing pro wrestling’s boundaries makes Saki Akai a timeless wrestler, performing in one of the most unique promotions in the world. Read what the amazing Saki Akai of DDT Pro has to say in our exclusive interview below.

Monthly Puroresu: What brought you to the dance in the first place – what attracted you to pro wrestling?

Saki Akai: In Japan, the chance to watch wrestling and the number of wrestling fans has been on the decline. I only got to know about wrestling when I became an adult.
[So I thought], ‘how can I get more people to learn about such a fun and exciting thing?’ I got scouted by [CyberFight President] Sanshiro Takagi to get more people to watch DDT and wrestling.

Monthly Puroresu: Competing with men is a frequent challenge in DDT, unique in Japan – in that for so many years, women and men were separated into different promotions. This goes way back to Rikidozan. How do you outwork men, outsmart them, and propel yourself to victory?

Saki Akai: Ever since I became a wrestler this has been the environment I’ve been training, so it doesn’t feel strange to me. I’m usually taller in most cases but I cannot outpower them in most cases. I’d have to find other ways of outmanoeuvring them. If you liken their offense to a club, my offense is more akin towards either a needle/nail or a whip. As a Woman, I have the guts and perseverance as a that the men don’t have and I carry that as weapons into the ring.

Monthly Puroresu: Tokyo Sports rookie of the year Yuki Arai – a popular idol in Japan – made heads turn as one half of your recent tag-team. What advice did you share with Arai, could we see the team together more frequently?

Saki Akai: She’s (Arai) so used to performing in front of large crowd so I had nothing to worry about. I was afraid she might be worried about the attention that’s gravitating to her but she’s mentally strong so there’s no worries there either. But, I’m sure going forward there’ll be some struggles she’ll have to face and how to produce herself going forward as a wrestler. She’ll definitely has lots to think about, so I’d hope she will come to me if she ever needs any advice. And… Yes, I do want to tag with her again!


Monthly Puroresu: What’s different about the energy surrounding the CyberFight Festival shows?

Saki Akai: Having 4 promotions together in a big show just shows how strong Japanese wrestling festivals are! Everyone wants to prove their promotion is the best. There’s lots of fans too so it must be tough to appeal to every single one of them! If it’s a versus match I’m sure we’re on edge, the girls will be glamorous, and there’ll be intense fights and enjoyable bouts there’s something for everyone to appreciate!

Monthly Puroresu: What’s your goal when on a bigger stage like CyberFight Festival ?

Saki Akai:  I’ll do my best to work on my appeal with such a huge crowd watching! However, whether it’s a normal show or a big match my emotions going in doesn’t change much. To see how I am viewed from the furthest seat in the arena, I usually go and take a seat before the show starts to get an image.

Monthly Puroresu: Do you feel like you still have something to prove to critics who doubted your ability in the ring?

Saki Akai: Absolutely not. My fight is against society, so the critics can say whatever they want. I’ll keep working on how to best appeal to a new audience, so I absolutely do not care what they say! They enjoy talking about what’s good and bad about wrestling so, you do you.

Monthly Puroresu: What’s the best piece of advice your father (pro boxer Hidekazu Akai) has given you?

Saki Akai: Enjoy the Adrenaline rush.

Monthly Puroresu: For some time you’re the only joshi working for DDT, but recently we’ve seen Maya Yukihi. Have they talked about having more female competitors in DDT, and who would you like to added to the roster?

Saki Akai: Rina Yamashita, Yoshiko, Takumi Iroha, Saori Anou, Yosuke Santa Maria… There’s so many people I’d love to go against in the ring!

Monthly Puroresu: Who is the better tag partner, Chris Brookes or Mei Saint Michel?

Saki Akai: Both!

Monthly Puroresu: You and Maya Yukihi had a fantastic match earlier this year, a bout that really allowed you to show you at your best. When can we expect a rematch?

Saki Akai: Our meeting was akin to fate so when the stars align again, I’m sure another single match will happen. Our current score is 1 win and 1 loss, so I see no reason not to.

Monthly Puroresu: What’s the key for DDT and TJPW to further expand their fanbases outside of Japan?

Saki Akai: Whether they are being globally disseminated or not… The ease of understanding. I think its very vital that the overseas fans understand the meaning of the matches, even if they don’t understand the language.

Monthly Puroresu: With Takeshita/Yuka/Miyu/Maki on excursion sporadically in the U.S. and the DDT/TJPW relationship announced with AEW, do you have any ambitions to work internationally?

Saki Akai: I’d be glad to carry DDT on my back and wrestle anywhere! But…I’ll get lost very easily so I’m scared!