Welcome back to the next instalment of our profiles and dream matches series. Today, we’re highlighting yet another Joshi star in The Magical Girl, Yuka Sakazaki. If you’ve followed AEW or TJPW, then you are likely aware of just who the Magical Girl is. For those of you who haven’t, well that’s what I’m here for!
Yuka Sakazaki, born December 27, 1992, is a Japanese professional wrestler. She is signed to Tokyo Joshi Pro Wrestling, where she is a former Princess of Princess Champion and Tokyo Princess Tag Team Champion and is also signed to All Elite Wrestling (AEW). Believe it or not, she attended a training school with aspirations for comedy. She later switched this desire to wrestling.
From 2013 to the present day, she’s been a staple for Tokyo Joshi Pro Wrestling.
Sakazaki made her professional wrestling debut for Tokyo Joshi Pro Wrestling, winning a tag team match on December 1, 2013. In the summer of 2014, Sakazaki participated in the first Tokyo Princess Cup, defeating Kanna in the first round before losing to eventual champion Nonoko in the semifinals.
On June 4, 2017, Sakazaki defeated Yuu to become the Tokyo Princess of Princess Champion for the first time. In her first title defence, however, Sakazaki lost to Reika Saiki. Throughout September and October, Sakazaki and her tag team partner Shoko Nakajima participated in a tournament to crown new Tokyo Princess Tag Team Champions after the title was vacated in August by Marika Kobashi and Reika Saiki. The two won their first round and semifinal matches in the tournament and eventually defeated Maho Kurone and Rika Tatsumi in the finals to win the championship.
On February 3, 2018, Sakazaki and Nakajima lost the tag title to Neo Biishiki-gun (Azusa Christie and Sakisama). Later that year, Sakazaki again competed in the Tokyo Princess Cup, winning her first three matchups before losing to Yuu in the finals. On August 4, Sakazaki teamed with Mizuki in the one-day Yeah! Metcha Tag Tournament, which they won by defeating Hyper Misao and Shoko Nakajima, the latter of whom Sakazaki won the Tokyo Princess Tag Team Championship with. Three weeks later, Sakazaki and Mizuki defeated Maki Ito and Reika Saiki to win the vacant tag titles, marking Sakazaki’s second reign as champion. The two held the title for ten months until they were defeated by Neo Biishiki-gun.
On November 3 at an event for DDT Pro-Wrestling, Sakazaki defeated Nakajima to claim her second Princess of Princess Championship. Which she held for 428 days before losing the title to Rika Tatsumi on January 4, 2021. Obviously, these are just some major highlights from her time in TJPW.
Since 2019, she has also appeared sporadically for All Elite Wrestling (AEW).
In 2019, All Elite Wrestling (AEW) announced that Yuka Sakazaki would wrestle at Double or Nothing, competing in the six women tag-team match. She participated in a triple threat match at Fyter Fest on June 29, 2019, losing to Riho after Riho pinned Nyla Rose. On February 5, 2020, Sakazaki made her debut on Dynamite defeating Dr Britt Baker D.M.D. and being attacked by her after the match. After that, she stopped appearing for the promotion due to travel restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic.
On February 15, 2021, Sakazaki made her AEW return to participate in the AEW Women’s World Championship Eliminator Tournament. In the opening round of the Japanese side of the bracket, Sakazaki was victorious over Mei Suruga. She defeated Emi Sakura in the Japanese bracket semifinals on February 22 to advance to the next round, where she lost to Ryo Mizunami on an all-women’s B/R Live special on February 28. This would be her last match with AEW for the time being as she returned to Japan to work with TJPW. However, it was announced that starting in July of 2021, Yuka would be returning to the states to work with AEW. On a personal note, I am super excited for her return as I hope to get a chance to see her live and in person.
Yuka currently holds an 8.67 rating on Cagematch, which I feel is criminally underrating her. That said though, her 2021 rating to date is a 9.32 which I feel is a lot more accurate. She’s only been in the business for seven years but she has grown leaps and bounds during that time. One person on Cagematch said this of Yuka. “I personally do not understand why Yuka Sakazaki’s name does not often come up when people talk about the best female wrestlers in the world today; in my opinion, she is one of the greatest of all time and a complete wrestler. Her move-set is huge, combines speed, aerial and power attacks beautifully and her finishers are outstanding. She is great at selling as well. Her gimmick, while not my favourite, is unique and charming but I personally love when she switches to her angry, aggressive mode where she becomes absolutely brutal. Maybe some people do not take her seriously because of her normal comedic character but when she gets serious she is extremely good in the ring, and for anyone that does not think so I urge them to check out her big matches and title defences as champion.”
Alright, now that I’ve introduced you to Yuka Sakazaki, let’s dive into the meat and potatoes as it were and give you my top 5 dream matches for her. As was the case with Maki Itoh, these are just purely dream matches that I wish could happen someday. Of course, that implies that she could ever be in the ring with them due to the companies they work for currently.
5. Sarray (fka Sareee) – NXT
Our first dream match for Yuka Sakazaki is the artist formerly known as Saree, now known to the NXT universe as Sarray. Sarray is a ten year veteran with a techniker leaning though she is known for using the Japanese ‘Strong Style’. She’s a hard striker and is a credible opponent to many who are much bigger in size than her. She’s even been compared to the likes of Meiko Satomura and Aja Kong if that tells you anything. Another Japanese performer who is criminally underrated according to Cagematch, Sarray currently holds a meagre 8.5 rating on the site. I’m sorry but Sarray is easily in the top 15 women wrestlers in the world. She has a slight edge over Sakazaki in career length but these two could put on some really good matches if given the chance.
4. Dr. Britt Baker, DMD – AEW
At number four is another competitor who is massively and criminally underrated according to Cagematch (With a disgustingly low 5.9 rating), and that is the DMD herself, Britt Baker. Now I know these two have actually faced off before, with Sakazaki picking up the win but this is a feud that I would love to see more of once Yuka returns to AEW. Britt Baker dethroned Hikaru Shida for the women’s title back at Double or Nothing this year and has been a major player for AEW since she was signed. I don’t understand how you can watch a Britt Baker match and not rate her much higher than she is. The Pittsburgh PA native is -really- good in the ring as well as on the mic. Hell, she might be one of the best that AEW has on the roster. Britt is the kind of person who would make Yuka Sakazaki really shine in the ring and is someone who you can count on to deliver time after time
3. Kagetsu (Retired) – Stardom
Know what? This is a dream match article and if you can’t include some legends in them then what the hell are you doing putting together dream matches? Anyway, my number three is the legendary former leader of Oedo Tai, Kagetsu. Kagetsu is an absolute legend in the world of Stardom, having had a long and successful career. Hell, alongside HZK and Hana Kimura, she led Oedo Tai to a level of prominence that the stable has struggled to regain since she retired. It’s a damn shame she retired too, her one-off appearance at Hana Matane earlier this year showed that the 11 year vet could still go in the ring if she decided to return full time. Seeing her and Hazuki (HZK) in the ring again really made my inner fan go nuts and seeing this amazing performer against the young and talented Yuka Sakazaki would be a match that dreams are made of.
2. Lita (Retired) – WWE
At number two is Amy Dumas, aka Lita, the high-flyer who had a legendary rivalry with Trish Stratus back in the day for WWE. Only a veteran for seven years before she called it quits on a career, the high flyer would have had a great rivalry with Sakazaki. Both have the talent and the aerial aptitude for one hell of an entertaining match. A bonus for this is that Lita was obscenely good in the ring despite her significant lack of years between the ropes. What deficiencies either lady has in the ring, the other could have carried them for her. That’s how good of a match this could have been if we had the chance. Although, there is one high flyer that I would love to see face Yuka Sakazaki more, and she takes our number one spot today..
1. Starlight Kid – Stardom
At number one today is Starlight Kid. The young allrounder representing Oedo Tai and Stardom is just the kind of dream match for Yuka Sakazaki that should make any true wrestling fan scream in anticipation. Kid is one of the best performers that Stardom has to offer at this stage, and undergoing a dark transformation would make her good fodder for someone as ‘face’ as Yuka Sakazaki is. Let’s face facts here, Starlight Kid is without a doubt one of the best high flyers in the world today and she incorporates the Lucha style into her matches flawlessly. Not to mention that she embraces this so much that very few know anything about her life outside of Stardom. I absolutely love Kid and what she brings to the ring every time she is in it, so putting her in there against another up-and-comer like Yuka Sakazaki just makes sense. It needs to happen someday and with any luck, it just may…