Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Photos – The Kairi Hojo Story

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Photos - The Kairi Hojo Story - Kairi Hojo

Kaori Housako (宝迫 香織 Hōsako Kaori, born September 23, 1988) is a Japanese professional wrestler and actress, currently signed to WWE on the NXT brand under the ring name Kairi Sane (カイリ・セイン Kairi Sein).

Photos - The Kairi Hojo Story - Kairi Hojo

Under her previous ring name Kairi Hojo (宝城 カイリ Hōjō Kairi), she made her professional wrestling debut in January 2012 for the World Wonder Ring Stardom promotion, where, over the next five years, she became a one-time World of Stardom Champion, three-time Goddess of Stardom Champion and a four-time Artist of Stardom Champion, while also winning the 2015 5★Star GP and 2016 Goddesses of Stardom Tag League.

Photos - The Kairi Hojo Story - Kairi Hojo

Housako left Stardom in June 2017, after signing a three-year deal with WWE. The following September, she won the inaugural Mae Young Classic tournament.

Photos - The Kairi Hojo Story - Kairi Hojo

Housako has an extensive sports background in yachting, competing in intercollegiate and national competitions, while also taking part in world championships with dreams of making it to the Olympics.

Photos - The Kairi Hojo Story - Kairi Hojo

After graduating from Hosei University with a bachelor’s degree in Japanese literature,  Housako began pursuing a career in acting.

Photos - The Kairi Hojo Story - Kairi Hojo

Housako started training with Stardom in 2011. On November 14, 2011, she passed her “pro test” and graduated as part of Stardom’s third class of trainees, alongside Act Yasukawa, Natsumi Showzuki and Yuuri Haruka.

Photos - The Kairi Hojo Story - Kairi Hojo

Housako, now working under the ring name “Kairi Hojo”, made her debut for Stardom on January 7, 2012, losing to Yuzuki Aikawa. Playing off her yachting background, Hojo was dubbed “Pirate Princess”.

Photos - The Kairi Hojo Story - Kairi Hojo

In October 2016, Housako was contacted and offered a WWE contract, starting the following year. Reportedly, Housako had stated that she was interested in going to WWE, but had not made a final decision yet.

Photos - The Kairi Hojo Story - Kairi Hojo

There were also questions over whether she could pass the company’s physical examination due to her two concussions during the past two years.

Photos - The Kairi Hojo Story - Kairi Hojo

In March 2017, Housako signed a three-year contract with WWE, reportedly for $60,000 per year, which was less than she was making in Japan.

Photos - The Kairi Hojo Story - Kairi Hojo

On June 30, a video at a WWE house show in Tokyo, introduced Housako as “Kairi Sane” to WWE’s developmental division, NXT, while also announcing her participation in the upcoming Mae Young Classic tournament.

Photos - The Kairi Hojo Story - Kairi Hojo

On July 13, she defeated Tessa Blanchard in the tournament’s first round in her WWE debut match. The following day, Sane first defeated Bianca Belair in the second round, then Dakota Kai in quarterfinals and finally Toni Storm in the semifinals to advance to the finals of the tournament.

Photos - The Kairi Hojo Story - Kairi Hojo

In September, Sane was announced as the first competitor in the fatal four–way match for the vacant NXT Women’s Championship. Shortly after, she made her television debut on NXT, where she defeated Aliyah.

Photos - The Kairi Hojo Story - Kairi Hojo

Housako has a sister, who is three years older than her. She is an ambassador to her hometown of Hikari, Yamaguchi.

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