With Sasha Banks, Charlotte, and Becky Lynch graduating to the main roster, and Bayley likely not far behind, much has been made of the fact that the NXT Woman’s Division is looking a little thin on talent, or at least the kind that can put on show-stealing matches. That’s not to say that the remaining women on the NXT roster won’t one day be just as good as the 4 Horsewomen, but it’s going to take time, and wrestling fans are kind of impatient about this sort of thing. Fear not, WWE has already taken steps to address the problem, fleshing out the roster with some new signings. The biggest one, which was just announced, is Kanako Urai, also known as Kana, who has been considered one of the best female Japanese wrestlers in the world over the past decade. But if you haven’t had time to follow Kana’s work in Japan, you may be wondering just what makes her so interesting. Well, here’s some information about WWE’s newest female Superstar that might help you get to know what to expect when she debuts in NXT in the near future.
5. She’s Sponsored By Microsoft
No, really. Outside of the ring, Kana has written many articles for Microsoft’s XBox Magazine, and as part of her work there, she was officially sponsored by the software giant, even occasionally wearing an XBox logo on her ring gear. But that’s not all that Kana has done in her spare time. She also is an accomplished graphics designer with a degree from Osaka University of Arts Junior College, and has designed graphics for several games that were released on the Nintendo DS, as well as some mobile apps. She also owns a hair salon in Japan, and she was also an accomplished athlete prior to getting into wrestling, competing in badminton and figure skating. Don’t laugh, those are really difficult sports. Also, don’t laugh at Kana, because…well, we’ll get to that.
4. She’s Obsessed With American Culture
Kana has said many times in interviews that she loves many aspects of American pop culture. Her interests include (unsurprisingly given her ties to Microsoft) video games, particularly Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto. Okay, nearly everyone likes those games, but that’s beside the point. Kana also enjoys movies, and most importantly, some of the greatest bands in history, including Aerosmith, KISS, and Guns ‘n’ Roses. In fact, after officially signing with WWE, she told a Sporting News interview that one of the reasons she was thrilled to be coming to WWE was an increased opportunity to go see live concerts of her favorite groups. She’s also been known to use the themes to popular anime series as her entrance music, because just like most Americans, she’s also obsessed with anime.
3. She Ran Her Own Wrestling Promotion In Japan
Kana’s wrestling career has spanned over a decade at this point, although she was briefly forced away from the ring due to a medical condition. After several years of wrestling in both Japan and North America, Kana began running her own wrestling events in 2010, under the banner of Kana Pro. She ran several shows over the next five years, while also wrestling, right up until she announced she was taking a hiatus from pro wrestling in July 2015. The popular rumour at the time was that she was pregnant, but obviously that was not the case. That hiatus only lasted a few weeks, as she attended the NXT Takeover Brooklyn show and Kana officially signed with WWE and was assigned to NXT shortly afterwards.
2. She’s Regularly Wrestled Men…And Won
In the late 2000’s, Kana wrestled for Smash, a promotion run by former ECW and WWE Superstar Tajiri, under the name “World Famous Kana”. During her time in Smash, she cut an infamous promo where she claimed that all female wrestlers in Japan had no personality and bad attitudes and wrestled in an unrealistic manner. At this time she also began wrestling against the opposite sex, even facing Tajiri himself in a one-on-one match. She lost, but she did team with two other women to defeat a team comprised of Tajiri and two other male wrestlers. When Smash folded and Tajiri announced a second promotion, called Wrestling New Classic, Kana became part of that organization and continued to wrestle against both men and women, including at one point WWE Superstar Finlay. This time, she would team with Tajiri in a series of six-person inter-gender tag matches, including a brutal Barbed Wire Board Deathmatch.
1. She Hits Really, Really Hard
This is actually the most important thing you should know about Kana. We could try and describe her wrestling style, which is a combination of stiff kicks and punches combined with brutal submissions, but it’s a lot more fun to show you exactly why nobody should ever want to mess with Kana.
Here she is in a match with current NXT Assistant Trainer and one of the best wrestlers on the planet, Sara Del Rey.
Here she is delivering a spinning back fist that would make an MMA fighter proud (and also nervous). Kana’s the one on the right.
And here she is just kicking somebody really hard in the face, because she can.
Yikes, that looked like it hurt. And if that weren’t enough to convince you of Kana’s wrestling skills, here’s a match she had in 2011 that is considered one of her best matches and a perfect example of Japanese strong style wrestling.
If I were an NXT or WWE Diva right now, I’d be getting ready for one of the toughest opponents ever to hit North American woman’s wrestling. Kana is coming, and it looks like she’s planning to be here for a while.