Over the last few months, Ryo Mizunami proved just how good she really is.
Her performances in AEW have impressed many, even if some ended in defeat. Without a doubt, she is a valuable addition to any women’s division.
But who is Ryo Mizunami? How did she get to AEW in the first place?
It all started back in 2004. Trained by the legendary Meiko Satomura, Mizunami made her debut on November 3. At Gaea Japan’s Iron Heart 2004 show, she lost to Carlos Amano. She spent the rest of 2004 and a good part of 2005 wrestling for the promotion.
For the next several years, she worked for Sendai Girls’ Pro Wrestling, Japanese Women Pro Wrestling Project, and IBUKI. However, she remained slightly under the radar during this time.
Mizunami’s career started to gain traction in 2009 when she joined Pro Wrestling Wave. She debuted at the Wave Golden Week Special, taking part in a battle royal for the DDT Ironman Heavy Metal Weight Championship.
On December 20, she defeated Misaki Ohata for the Princess of Pro Wrestling Championship. She held the title for 257 days, defending it against the likes of Aya Yuuki, and Kazumi Shimouma. Her reign came to an end on September 3, 2010 at the hands of Hiren.
The following month, she began teaming with Yuuki. They earned a chance at the NEO Tag Team Championships on November 13 at NEO Storm 2010. At the event, the duo won the titles from Ayumi Kurihara and Yoshiko Tamura. However, their reign ended 15 days later against Tanny Mouse and Yuki Miyazaki.
In January 2011, Mizunami entered a tournament for Sendai Girls’ Pro Wrestling. The winner received a shot at the Princess of Pro Wrestling Championship. In the first round, she defeated Miyako Morino. Then, in the semifinals, she beat Sakura Hirota. But sadly, she lost to Kagetsu in the finals.
Over the next several years, she continued to work for Pro Wrestling Wave and Sendai Girls’ Pro Wrestling. She also debuted for World Women Pro Wrestling Diana, Shimmer, DDT, and OZ Academy. She even faced the likes of Asuka, Io Shirai, Aja Kong, and Hikaru Shida.
However, she went on a title drought for quite some time. She had several chances, but failed to capture any gold. All that changed on August 7, 2016 at Pro Wrestling Wave’s Summer Fiesta ‘16. There, she and Ohata defeated Ayako Hamada and Yuu Yamagata for the Wave Tag Team Championships.
Then, on October 9 at Ice Ribbon’s Halloween Ribbon event, the duo won even more gold. They beat Hiragi Kurumi and Tsukushi for the International Ribbon Tag Team Championship.
During her title reigns, she also entered a tournament to crown a new number one contender to the Regina Di Wave Championship. This time she won it all, defeating Fairy Nihonbashi, Rina Yamashita, Ohata, and Yumi Ohka.
Her shot came on December 29. There, she defeated Yamagata for her first Regina Di Wave Championship. This meant that at the time, she held three titles all at once.
Ohata and Mizunami went on to hold both tag titles for 174 days and 168 days respectively. They lost the Wave Tag Team Championships on January 28, 2017 to Miyazaki and Ohka. They then lost the International Ribbon Tag Team Championship less than two months later to Kurumi and Tsukushi.
Even with both tag titles gone, she continued to defend the Regina Di Wave Championship. Her reign didn’t end until July 2 at the hands of Yamashita, totaling 185 days. She didn’t recapture the title until December 15, 2018, where she defeated Asuka. Sadly, she lost the title 14 days later to her former partner, Ohata.
Throughout the first half of 2019, Mizunami wrestled for various promotions across Japan. Then came May 25, when AEW held its first pay-per-view, Double or Nothing. Mizunami made her debut at the event, where she, Riho, and Shida defeated Kong, Emi Sakura, and Yuka Sakazaki.
On a recent live stream, she revealed that she considered retiring after the event. However, after the match, she decided to keep wrestling. She, as Baliyan Akki translated, admitted being at Double or Nothing reminded her how much fun wrestling was.
But this wouldn’t be the last time we saw Ryo Mizunami in an AEW ring. In February 2021, she was announced as a participant in the AEW Women’s World Championship Eliminator Tournament. She defeated Maki Itoh in the first round by submission. Then, she pulled off the upset by defeating Kong in the semifinals.
During B/R Live’s special on February 28, she advanced to the finals by defeating Sakazaki. Then, on the March 3 episode of Dynamite, she beat Nyla Rose to earn a shot at Shida’s AEW Women’s World Championship.
The two clashed for the title just four days later at Revolution. While she put up a good fight, she failed to beat Shida for the gold. They went on to team up with Thunder Rosa on the March 10 episode of Dynamite. There, they defeated Rose, Itoh, and Dr. Britt Baker D.M.D.
Whether she is with AEW or in Japan, Ryo Mizunami entertains fans wherever she goes. Her charisma is infectious, and her hard-hitting in-ring style is just as fun to watch. Whenever she does retire, she’ll certainly have had a long and successful career.