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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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The Mother of Chaos (And Reinvention)

The Mother of Chaos (And Reinvention)

Kasey Owens at Pro Wrestling: EVE, 2021. (PHOTO BY DALE BRODIE CREATIVE/EVE)

UNLESS YOU FOLLOW the U.K. and Irish wrestling scenes, chances are that the name Kasey Owens may not be on the tip of your tongue. But that all soon may be about to change. A contemporary of current WWE stars like Doudrop and Kay Lee Ray, Owens has worked her way up from the tiny Northern Irish wrestling scene to now find herself being showcased on the WWE Network through her regular appearances with Insane Championship Wrestling. Along the way, Owens has cast off labels and preconceived notions about who and what she could be—whether it was “The Girl” or “One Of The Twins”—and has consistently been able to reinvent herself, usually to great success.

“I had always been a fan of wrestling growing up,” said Owens. “I just didn’t really know how to get into the business. But, the more you want something, the more you will find a way to get that thing. And, when I heard about a school that was opening in Northern Ireland, I dove in, and, from there, it was a case of a lot of long car trips throughout Ireland, going to shows, just trying to learn and get better.”

Owens holds up the EVE International championship belt in the waning months of her two-year reign as champion. (PHOTO BY DALE BRODIE CREATIVE/EVE)

Owens hoped to step up her do by entering TNA’s British Boot Camp reality show in 2014, where, alongside her twin sister Leah, she had the chance to impress some of the most respected names in North American wrestling.

“It was mind-blowing,” she reflects. “Gail Kim was sitting right there, and she is one of my top five favorite female wrestlers of all time. So, there was a lot of fan-girling [on my part]. But, even though we got eliminated, it was such a great experience.”

After a stint in Japan, Owens moved to Glasgow, Scotland, and it was there that she really started working on her game (and herself), becoming a regular fixture of ICW. Being part of the promotion’s extraordinary growth is something that she is very proud to have experienced

“I started off helping with the ring crew, so I got an up-close look at the company going from smaller venues to bigger and bigger ones … and even just being a part of that was such a learning experience. I would say it was there, from 2016 onwards, that was really the growth of me as a wrestler with my storylines with Viper (Doudrop) and Kay Lee Ray. And I really focused on how I could stay relevant and keep growing as this company is growing. Then, last year, when I got the call to say we were going to be on the WWE Network, I was so excited. And it’s really changed how I approach wrestling, even in terms of being aware of cameras and ring positioning.”

Away from the WWE Network, Owens has become one of the main players in Pro Wrestling: EVE, where she is coming off a near two-year run as the promotion’s International champion—a title that she only lost due to an injury. When asked about what makes the all-women’s promotion so special, she pointed to it being not simply the quality wrestling but, rather, the entire ethos behind the endeavor.

“The Mother Of Chaos,” in full facepaint and at peak power, wears down Emersyn Jayne in the final round of a brutal gauntlet match. (PHOTO BY DALE BRODIE CREATIVE/EVE)

“They really get you involved in everything they do,” she said. “And the evolution of this KASEY character really started there. They treat every single woman as top-tier. No matter who you are in the ring with there, you are either teaching or learning. I feel like some companies don’t know what to do with women, and what I love about EVE is that they understand exactly what to do. It’s quite sad that outside of Japan, there aren’t more promotions like EVE. But you are unfortunately going to get that where some promoters still just aren’t fans of women’s wrestling.”

Whether or not some promoters care for women’s wrestling, Owens continues to hone her craft and make believers out of doubters. The transition from her early years to her current guise, dropping her surname and being known as “The Mother Of Chaos” KASEY, is a testament to her constant self-evaluation and knack for reinvention.

“My trip to Japan really made me realize I love that style,” she said. “I incorporated some of that into who I am now. But it’s taken me a good 11 years to get to this point. And, with the facepaint and my matches now, maybe I’m channeling some of the anger and frustration I had growing up.

I was bullied throughout school, so now I’m going to be the one to put a full stop on that. The buck stops with me. That’s what ‘The Mother Of Chaos’ is.”

With so much already behind her—and a career seemingly on the cusp of even bigger things—it’s fair to ask what’s next. Owens was reflective for a moment before answering.

“When I was sitting in the Ice Ribbon Dojo in Japan, my Father sent me a quote that said ‘Remember this life is not a practice’ … so I’ve taken that and just kept going,” said Owens. “There was a time when I thought about packing it all in, but I just can’t let this go. It’s not happening. The future is wide open, and I have friends in the U.S.A., so I know I always have somewhere to stay. But we will see how things go. The prognosis is that my broken ankle will be healed by April. So, watch this space … the future is wide open.”

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