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Sareee-ISM Chapter 2: A Pro Wrestling Dream Team

Saree sits on the ring apron and smiles at the camera

From on the ground in Japan, here’s a special preview of the second produce show promoted by Sareee, complete with words from the joshi superstar herself.

[except for official show graphics]

Following the success of Sareee-ISM Chapter 1, a complete sellout with a high streaming rate, Sareee is ready to do it again. This time, at Sareee-ISM Chapter 2, she is giving fans the best of the Western and Japanese styles by forming a pro wrestling dream team with the former IWGP Women’s Champion, KAIRI

While in Japan, I had the opportunity to speak with Sareee about Sareee-ISM Chapter I and choosing KAIRI as her partner for this latest round.  

“It had been a while since I last wrestled in Japan … wrestled Chihiro Hashimoto,” Sareee reflects. “Unfortunately, I was not victorious in my triumphant return match, but not being able to win fueled me.  I have now made it my personal goal to defeat Hashimoto in our next encounter.”

Sareee is speaking of the main event of her first produce show. Aside from the headline match not ending in her favor, the card was a resounding success on all counts. “That night, I was able to use all of the knowledge I gained here in Japan and overseas,” she tells me. “And I am very happy with the results and success of Sareee-ISM Chapter I.” 

Loss aside, the overall experience of the first Sareee-ISM show was all the encouragement she needed to want to do it again. But why only a four-match card?

“I believe that in pro wrestling, quality outweighs the quantity of the matches ,” said Sareee. “Fans pay to watch the best pro wrestling.”  And ain’t that the truth!

A higher number of matches doesn’t necessarily translate to selling more tickets. However, I would say that teaming with KAIRI will certainly help. Smiling, Sareee explained that “for the second show, I wanted to show the fans the best of both worlds [Western and Japanese styles of pro wrestling] and I can only do that with KAIRI; we are the only ones that can do it!”  While their respective experiences were very different, both Sareee and KAIRI worked tirelessly to incorporate their deep-rooted joshi training into their sports entertainment wrestling while under the WWE umbrella.

Headlined by the tag team match featuring Sareee and KAIRI, Sareee-ISM Chapter 2 will stream live worldwide via Friday August 4, 2023, 7:00 p.m. JST/6:00 a.m. EST/3:00 a.m. PST. 

The match card is one you will not want to miss:

Opening Match
Chi Chi vs Ibuki Hoshi

Second Match
Kaoru Ito & Kohaku vs Jaguar Yokota & Kizuna

Semi-Main Event
Miyuki Takase vs Mio Momono 

Main Event
Sareee & Kairi vs Arisa Nakajima & Takumi Iroha

I didn’t need much convincing to watch this show But, if you’re still unsure, Sareee has a message for you:

“I hope that all fans around the world stream this second chapter, where the beauty of Strong Style is showcased by the wrestlers that came before me, and the future of Joshi. This match card is a dream come true, from America to Japan, WWE/NXT to Sareee-ISM, KAIRI and I want to show you the best of pro wrestling of both worlds.  Thank you for your continued support! I look forward to the day we can meet again!”

And stay tuned for Part II of this interview, where Sareee and I talk about her typical day … and I share what it was like to watch her train with her mentor, Kauro Ito!

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Beyond the pages of Pro Wrestling Illustrated, here is the extended version of our written conversation with freelance joshi standout Miyuki Takase, which formed the basis of our “One To Watch” feature in the October 2023 edition of PWI magazine. Our special thanks to Mr. Haku for his assistance with conducting and translating the interview.

Miyuke Takase: PWI One To Watch

PWI: What are some of your earliest memories of wrestling? Who were the performers that drew you to the sport?

Takase: I actually began wrestling with zero knowledge; I didn’t know the rules, the history, or wrestlers. The first wrestler that caught my attention as being cool, after I debuted, was Rina Yamashita. I wanted to become a cool wrestler like her. Years removed, I think I can safely say that I had an eye for talent from the outset!

PWI: Who trained you? Where and when was your debut?

Takase: My debut match was on January 15, 2017, at Shinkiba 1st Ring. The wrestler that taught me how to bump was Leon, from JWP (currently PURE-J). Initially, we only trained a few times a month at a Judo dojo that didn’t even have a ring. Eventually, we were allowed to train at dojos of other promotions, and Leon as well as the other JPW wrestlers taught us everything from scratch, including bumps, basic throws, dropkicks, etc. From there on, a lot of wrestlers taught me a lot of things, and I am grateful to all of them.

PWI: Share a bit about your signature moves, move set, and finisher.

Takase: I’ve used the Kamikaze ever since my debut; it’s a move that Ricky Fuji gave me permission to use. I also use the Rolling Stone (spinning brainbuster), which Ricky Fuji named for me, too. Other than that, the fans might associate me with the backhand chop and lariat.

PWI: What are some of your biggest accomplishments and bouts to date?

Takase: Winning the “Catch The Wave” singles league (round-robin tournament), which featured a lot of participants with much longer careers than mine.

PWI: You’ve had some great runs as a tag team wrestler; what does tag team competition offer to you that is different from your work as a singles competitor?

Takase: I am attracted to the fact that you can accomplish things in a tag team that you cannot do alone. 1 + 1 can be more than 2, even 10 or 20. I also learn a lot from my partners; not just moves and techniques, but also about looks, presentation, etc. I also attempt to, and enjoy,  making my partner shine.

PWI: You show incredible ability to withstand pain and to come back against your opponent stronger and stronger as the match goes on. How do you explain this?

Takase: During my matches, I listen a lot to the seconds [wrestlers in Takase’s corner] and fans. I start my matches by depending on my momentum and willpower, but when the going gets tough, the fans cheering for me is what gives me infinite power; it gives me the will to get back up, telling myself that it’s not like me to give up just yet. The cheering sinks in deeper when my situation is particularly dire. The fans are my greatest strength and my treasure, so I am really happy that vocal cheering is back at shows.

PWI:  What are your goals for the future?

Takase: I want to have more matches overseas, meet wrestlers I haven’t met yet, and want many more people to get exposed to Japanese pro wrestling. I want to enjoy pro wrestling together with all of those people. One day, I want to bring together all of my favorite wrestlers and run a show outside of Japan!

Learn about freelance wrestling promotions in Japan, including NOMADS (cofounded by Miyuki Takase, Rina Yamashita, and others) via the video below from Karen Watches Wrestling:

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ACT Yasukawa wrestles

How Actwres girl’Z Continues To Shape Joshi Pro Wrestling


(*except where noted)

IN PRO WRESTLING, the desire for viewing alternatives may be at an all-time high. Fans and analysts consistently speak on the need for promoters and wrestlers to provide something truly different. And yet, in Japan, you will notice that most companies share a similar structure in their training and business models … and that is why Actwres girl’Z stands apart.

Sixteen years ago, AWG President Keiji Sakaguchi created one of the most innovative concepts in the industry: a school and promotion that specialized entirely in training actresses and idols in the art of pro wrestling. His vision was to appeal to a fan base not traditionally drawn to the world of wrestling. And he wanted to create an alternative that would open opportunities for women in the field. To his credit, President Sakaguchi has succeeded on both counts!

Actwres girl'z training ring

While in Japan, I was invited to attend an Actwres girl’Z training session, to get a better perspective of who these folks are and what they do. Immediately, what stood out to me was the shared work ethic and how welcoming the trainers were to prospective talent. That day, three new recruits participated in their first training session, and the rest of the team ensured they were properly integrated and included.

And that is what makes Actwres girl’Z so special: a group of women working together, building a space where everyone is welcomed regardless of their level of training; where the only requirement is to be willing to work hard and give it your best.

Act Yasukawa poses

Understanding that most of the newer recruits have actual jobs, the promotion is very flexible with its schedule, to ensure every member is able to meet their training commitments.  I believe ACT (Yasukawa) said it best during her interview: “All of us are professional actresses. Every expression, every move, we put our soul and heart to entertain the audience. The organization is still very new when compared to the other promotions, but there is so much potential and talent in every member; everyone has what it takes to become a superstar. And, when we do come out to the states as a group, I want the U.S. fans already looking forward to Actwres girl’Z.”

ACT Yasukawa wrestles

What distinctly separates Actwres girl’Z from all other Japanese joshi organizations is its ability to recruit and maintain new talent throughout the year. The strength of Actwres girl’Z lies in the system of building these budding performers into diverse professionals who wrestle and perform across various media. Aside from in-ring action, the talent make TV appearances, host radio programs. They participate in magazine and online interviews, modeling, live talk shows, and other individualized events. 

Since 2007, Keiji Sakaguchi has created opportunities: training, managing, producing, and transforming actresses, idols, models, and athletes. And, in doing so, he markedly changed the landscape of women’s wrestling in Japan, founding the platforms that launched some of the most recognized names in joshi, allowing them to thrive and even reshape the wrestling industry: Kairi Hojo (KAIRI), Saori Anou, Natsumi Maki (Natsupoi), Himeka, Tam Nakano, Miyuki Takase, SAKI, Rico Kawabata, Act Yasukawa, Yuna Manase, and Fuuka. Mr. Sakaguchi is responsible for the exchange program that allowed many of his young talent to wrestle in various organizations, where they established themselves as superstars.

AWG behind the scenes

In 2015, Actwres girl’Z’ event promotion and talent management saw the creation of its first branded group, called “Beginning.” Through TV and media exposure, many prospects applied and joined from all over Japan. By demand, Actwres girl’Z added another brand, “COLOR’S,” in 2019. [Editor’s note: Representatives of this group notably went on to compete in Stardom throughout 2022, as AWG alum SAKI continued the brand as a traveling unit of wrestling freelancers.]

Before long, both brands grew to their maximum capacity. And, in December 2021, Actwres girl’Z retired both brands, with a plan to renew and reinvent its system into more broadly appealing and acceptable style.  

In 2022, Actwres girl’Z relaunched and reorganized, splitting the company into “ACTRING” and “ACTwrestling”—distinct brands where the wrestlers are able to portray different roles and styles, showcasing their diverse abilities.

“ACTRING” is a theatrical experience, using the ring as a performance stage where plots and anime storyboards play a big role. Pro wrestling (moves & bouts) are incorporated into the scripted battle-act scenes. Actwres girl’Z performers play characters specific to ACTRING, with new shows premiering monthly.

In contrast, “ACTwrestling” is focused on solid pro wrestling shows with minimum staging and no elaborate setups. The stars perform as themselves (read: their joshi selves), and their goal is to connect with the fans while gaining Actwres girl’Z “points.”

Actwres girl'Z training

A promotion that runs under its own rules and regulations, ACTWrestling is creating a new and true form of sports entertainment … and a brand-new vibe.  At times, match cards are decided by fan votes and through the Actwres girl’Z point system. The Actwres girl’Z stars collect credit points by fan votes, individual ticket reservation sales, merchandise sales, participation in wrestling practices, number of media exposures, luck, etc. And their rankings help determine future show bookings.

AWG in the ring

Presently, the current Actresgirlz roster is made up mostly of newer and younger stars: Misa Matsui, Kouki, Sumikawa, Marino Saihara, Chika Gotoh, Natsuki, Naru, Chiaki, Iwai Kyoka, Marina Hamada, with many more to debut, under the mentoring and guidance of veterans Miku Aono, Act Yasukawa, Mari Sakamoto, Mii, and Yumi Agawa.

Now, international fans can experience the show across the promotion’s multiple outlets:

Streaming Service: Actwres girl’

YouTube Channel: GIRL’Z

Official Website: Actwres girl’

But that’s not all! Follow along with me on this website, as I take you through a journey of discovery—or, if you have been following AWG for a while, rediscovery—in a series of upcoming blog posts.  Stay tuned for individual spotlights on the roster members and so much more!

RESTRUCTURED AND REVITALIZED: How Actwres girl’Z Continues To Shape Joshi Pro Wrestling


Actwres girl'z training



Actwres girl'z exercise



新入生の多くが仕事をしていることを考慮し、団体側ではメンバー全員が練習に参加できるようスケジュールを柔軟に設定しています。 惡斗さん昔こう言った:「私たちは全員プロの女優です。表情も動きも、お客さまを楽しませるために魂を込めて演じています。この団体は、他の団体と比較するとまだ新しいのですが、メンバー全員に才能があり誰もがスーパースターになるために必要なものを持っています。そして、私たちが団体として全米に進出する時には、米国のファンの皆さんには、すでにアクトレスガールズを楽しみにしていてほしい」とのことです。

Actwres girl'z training ring



2015年、Actwres girl’Zは初のブランドグループ 「Beginning 」の誕生を見ました。テレビやメディアへの露出により、日本全国からたくさんの応募が来ました。ご要望にお応えして、Actwres girl’Zは2019年にもう一つのブランド「COLOR’S」を追加しました。








現在の所属メンバーは若手が多く含まれています:松井珠紗、皇希、澄川菜摘、才原茉莉乃、後藤智香、夏葵、なる、CHIAKI、岩井杏加など。練習生の方はベテランの指導のもとデビューを目指しています。そのベテランたちは:青野未来、惡斗、坂本 茉莉、未依と阿川 祐未となります。


配信サービス:Actwres girl’

YouTube チャンネル: GIRL’Z

公式ホームページ: Actwres girl’

しかし、それだけではありません!このシリーズでは、今後のブログ記事を通してみなさんを発見の旅にお連れします。 このブログでは、アクトレスのメンバーそれぞれの魅力に迫ります!

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Stardom’s Hazuki Talks “Tag Team 100,” WWE Divas, More

Hazuki vs. Mayu Iwatani

DESPITE HER YOUNG age (and two years missed due to early retirement), Stardom mainstay Hazuki has already created a glowing reputation amongst pro wrestling fans in all parts of the globe.

After returning to the ring and teaming with fellow Stardom vet Koguma to win the 2021 Goddesses of Stardom tag league tournament, this talented grappler out of Fukuoka, Japan, re-established herself as something of a tag team specialist. At the same time, the 25-year-old Hazuki remains a formidable challenger to any singles gold, memorably challenging Mercedes Mone for the IWGP Women’s title in a triple-threat at NJPW’s Sakura Genesis 2023.

Earlier this year, Hazuki was kind enough to answer some of our questions in writing via a translator. The exchange is included here.

FWC with partner Saya Iida ahead of a Stardom Triangle Derby match

PWI: Together with Koguma, you ranked #5 in the 2022 PWI “Tag Team” 100 list. How do you feel about FWC’s success and progress as a duo over that period?

HZK: I was extremely happy that FWC was ranked 5th in the world rankings, and I was even happier that we were ranked 1st amongst women. If we hadn’t made a comeback from our retirements, we wouldn’t have been in this ranking, so I’m really glad we made a comeback. FWC’s tag work is unmatched by any tag team, and it’s become our goal to aim even higher in the future.

PWI: Is your preparation for a big tag team bout different than for a singles match? If yes, how so?

HZK: Tag teams can make up for what each individual can’t do and help each other. When it comes to singles, it’s a battle of individual strength, so it’s different.

But, during the 5☆STAR Grand Prix tournament in 2022, I think everyone was able to see Hazuki’s individual strengths, and, because of that, I was able to think about how FWC should be as a tag team.

PWI: Do you have any interest in facing teams outside of Japan, perhaps from WWE, AEW, or IMPACT Wrestling?

HZK: I always want to fight with various tag teams. It’s difficult to make these matches, but I want to compete with various people around the world and see how good our tag team is.

As our tag name [Fukuoka Double Crazy] suggests, we are a crazy tag team in many ways, so we want to absorb various things from working with other tag teams and want fans to know more about our crazy nature.

PWI: You grew up a fan of WWE wrestlers Kelly Kelly and Nikki Bella. Do you think the so-called “Divas” era gets a bad rap, compared to the harder-hitting style we see in Japan or even WWE today?

HZK: Japanese pro wrestling and the Divas Era have different fighting styles, but I’m glad I fell in love with WWE and fell in love with the Divas division. Without it, I wouldn’t be who I am today.

Professional wrestling is interesting because there are various fighting styles, and, when I became a pro wrestler, I realized that even more.

Hazuki attempts to submit Momo Kohgo in trios action

PWI: While growing up and watching WWE, did you watch any WrestleMania shows/matches? If so, please share with us some of your favorites and what you most enjoyed about them.

HZK: I have been to see WWE Live Events in Japan. At that time, I was in the back rows at Ryogoku Kokugikan, so it was far from the ring. But I had made a John Cena sign and waved it around when he made his entrance.

When I was watching it on TV, I was interested in CM Punk and Randy Orton, and trying to adopt some of their styles to my own.

Hazuki vs. Mayu Iwatani

PWI: What do you think it is about these events, such as WrestleMania, Wrestle Kingdom, and Stardom Dream Queendom, that leaves fans with such lasting memories?

HZK: Professional wrestling is a job that lets us live our dreams. And so, we want to have an atmosphere that will make you excited, just by our entrances, before the match even starts. And we hope those emotions make your day better.

When I saw WWE live, even though they were professional wrestlers just like me, their auras were different, and I almost cried feeling like I was a fan again.

Now, it’s my turn to stand in the ring, so I’ll do my best every day to impress the fans and give them hope and courage.

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Act Yasukawa Looks To Hollywood

Act Yasukawa pose by Issa Marie

The Actwres girl’Z Star Brings Her “Evil Actress Spirit” To WrestleMania Weekend


THE “JAPANESE DRUNKEN Samurai” with the “Evil Actress Spirit” is headed to Hollywood, and you do not want to miss out on seeing her!

The former Act Yasukawa, better known for wrestling in STARDOM as a member of Oedo Tai, wants fans to meet ACT (pronounced AKUTO), the current incarnation of Yasukawa representing ACT Wrestling (popularly known as Actwres girl’Z, or AWG).  “I am ready for the fans to meet this current and revolutionized version, ACT, who is very different from the past version most fans are familiar with.”

Act Yasukawa competed by Issa Marie

In pro wrestling, fans and analysts continually talk about the importance of an alternative. They reason that it makes sense to provide a product that is more appealing to a different demographic. Yet, when you look at most promotions—specifically in Japan—you will notice that nearly all of them share a similar structure in their training and business models.

And that is why AWG stands out. ACT wants to show the wrestling world the diverse talent that resides in the growing promotion, which, notably, differs from all others in one key way. “All of us are professional actresses,” she said. “Every expression, every move, we put our soul and heart to entertain the audience.  The organization is still very new when compared to the other promotions, but there is so much potential and talent in every member. Everyone has what it takes to become a superstar.  And, when we do come out to the states as a group, I want the US fans already looking forward to Actwres girl’Z.”

Act Yasukawa competed by Issa Marie

While that group trip hasn’t yet been realized, ACT is looking forward to the new experience of representing AWG over WrestleMania Weekend. “Previously, at Stardom, I traveled and wrestled as a member of Oedo Tai,” she recalls. “But this time, I am on my own, tagging with Aspyn Rose for the first time, as well as being a part of a four-way match against Brooke Havok, Kidd Bandit, and Billie Starkz. I have to prepare for the match, study their movements.  I am looking forward to it.” 

Indeed, with the latter four-way, Relentless Wrestling is starting off WrestleMania Weekend by giving us joshi fans a dream match we did not know we needed in our lives!

Act Yasukawa pose by Issa Marie

Speaking of dream matches, ACT is no stranger to them.  When asked to name hers, she could not settle on a single bout. “I have to say, it was Yuzuki Aikawa, August 19, 2012, Stardom 5STAR Grand Prix [tournament] match,” she said. “Or versus Kairi Hojo (KAIRI), on January 26, 2014, the Wonder of Stardom championship belt match. I cannot decide, because both bouts gave me a special impression that I will never forget.”

For the fans that will be introduced to her via her many appearances during WrestleMania Week, ACT has a personal message: “Hello everyone, I’m ACT from Actwres girl’Z. I am the ‘Japanese Drunken Samurai,’ by loving the Japanese culture and its sake, as I am called the ‘Evil Actress Spirit.’  Please enjoy meeting my different personalities, in and out of the ring. If you enjoy meeting me and my pro wrestling, I would also like you to know Actwres girl’Z through me.  Thank you very much!”

WrestleMania Week Schedule:

Act Yasukawa pose by Issa Marie

March 29

Pandemonium:  Pro Wrestling
5:00 – 7:30 pm PDT
Don Quixote Event Center

Relentless Wrestling
9:00 – 11:00 pm PDT
Don Quixote Event Center

March 31

WrestleCon (appearance/signing)
9:00 am – 2:00 pm & 3:00 – 5:00 pm PDT
Millennium Biltmore Hotel

April 1

WrestleCon (appearance/signing)
9:00 am – 2:00 pm PDT
Millennium Biltmore Hotel

April 2

WrestleCon (appearance/signing)

9:00 am – 2:00 pm PDT
Millennium Biltmore Hotel

Merchandise for Sale

Red USA-Exclusive T-shirts
Black USA-Exclusive T-shirts
4 different Act portraits
Two Shots (Cheki)
Act Yasukawa Lapel Pins
Actwres girl’Z Lapel Pins
Act Yasukawa Stickers
Additional Actwres girl’Z portraits

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Hyper Misao alternate Women's 150 cover


Hyper Misao alternate Women's 150 cover
PWI January 2023 alternate cover

PRO WRESTLING ILLUSTRATED recently unveiled the cover of our January 2023 “Women’s 150” issue, which features the top three Stardom wrestlers on our annual list, with a video announcement hosted by our friends at Church of Joshi.

In the past, we have created several alternate covers that we’ve released for exclusive digital download. The most popular of these, by far, was the 2021 Lulu Pencil cover, which lionized the #500 wrestler from that year’s PWI “500” ranking. Given Ms. Pencil’s sense of humor, charisma, and loyal fan base, there was quite a bit of interest in a cover bearing her likeness.

This year, in addition to Syuri nabbing the coveted number #1 spot, the “Women’s 150” saw another prominent joshi wrestler come in at 150: that being TJPW superhero, Hyper Misao.

Given our past history of creating alternate covers, there has been a call from social media users (like the one below) asking for an official variant featuring Hyper Misao.

Whether or not you have purchased your copy of our latest “Women’s 150” edition, you can download the alternate cover FOR FREE at the link below. The PDF file follows the exact same specs as our print mag, meaning you can easily affix it to the front or back of your magazine. Our many thanks to PWI Contributing Photographer, Issa Marie, who took the cover photo for this design, and our Art Director, Laura Brubaker, for bringing this cover to life.

Hyper Misao alternate Women's 150 cover
PWI January 2023 alternate cover