At one point in time, Sane was one of the brightest stars in WWE’s women’s division. She held the NXT Women’s Championship, and she also won the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship with Asuka. But near the end of her time with the company, she returned to Japan to serve as an ambassador until her contract expired and she later returned to STARDOM in March 2022.
In an interview with Entame Next (translation via Reddit user DamieN62), KAIRI opened up about her decision to exit WWE. She noted that she did everything she would during her time there, and she opted to move on after she had “several consultations” with the company.
“When I left Japan in 2017, I promised my fans that I would go on a long journey, but that I would come back grown up. I told that to President Rossy Ogawa (now Executive Producer). In the first place, my goal was to learn first-class professional wrestling, and I didn’t really intend to live permanently in the US. I thought about retiring from wrestling. This is a personal story, but I lost my best friend to illness. I made a vow at her graveside and promised to make it happen: I was going to participate in WrestleMania. I wanted to make it happen for sure. Thanks to that, I was able to compete in three WrestleManias, had a title match with Asuka as Kabuki Warriors, became a champion in both NXT and WWE, and even received an award for the NXT overall competitor of the year,” she said.
“After I moved to the U.S., my personal life was secondary to my professional life, and I was flying around and competing four times a week without a break, but then the pandemic hit, and I suddenly had time to myself. Then I took the time to do some introspection. I thought, ‘Where am I going to go from here? I had a sense of accomplishment that I had fulfilled my promise to my best friend and that I had done everything I could in my three years with WWE, and after several consultations with WWE, I decided to leave.”
Sane, who was previously one of STARDOM’s top stars, eventualy returned to the promotion, where she is a four-time Artist of Stardom Champion and a three-time Goddess of Stardom Champion. When discussing this move, she stated that she was still in good shape, though she hadn’t wrestled since July 2020 before her return. Sane noted that she wanted to face the talent on the company’s roster, which has changed a lot since her previous un.
“After I returned to Japan, I had not been watching professional wrestling with much enthusiasm. But when I went to Stardom’s Budokan last year, the feeling of “I want to fight with everyone someday” came up from my heart. However, even if I were to return, it would be the first time in about two years that I would be in the ring. The pacing of the matches and the rules were different from those in WWE, and I wasn’t sure if I would be able to adapt quickly. However, I had been training in the gym even when I was not competing, so I was in good physical condition. Another aspect of my decision to return was that I was confident in my three years of learning and experiencing wrestling in WWE. I am proud of the fact that I once protected Stardom during a period of stagnation as a player president, and I am proud of the fact that I was at the forefront of WWE women’s wrestling during its reform period, and I am proud of the fact that I have overcome both of these challenges.”