Maki Itoh has taken social media by storm.
From her spat with Jim Cornette, her work in Tokyo Josh Pro and DDT (whcich you can check out at DDT Pro's WRESTLE UNIVERSE), to her tournament appearance in All Elite Wrestling, the success was unconventionally created for most Japanese stars in the U.S. Fightful reached out and spoke with Maki Itoh via a translator about her rise to wrestling fame and her newfound profile in the United States!
FIGHTFUL: You're a surging star in Tokyo Joshi Pro over the past couple of years. What are your goals there?
ITOH: "I‘ｍ still in the midst of becoming a true star, so the goal is to have matches that meet the fans’ expectations! I’m in a tag team with Miyu Yamashita right now, so I also want the Princess Tag Championship belts!"
FIGHTFUL: Did your time in LinQ prepare you for the attention you've received in pro wrestling?
ITOH: "Of course! Back then, I hated singing and dancing, but it all turned out well because they help me in my entrance performance now! I mean, other wrestlers don’t do it, right?"
FIGHTFUL: Is there anything specifically you do to stand out from the crowd, or is it your natural personality shining though?
ITOH: "I try not to go in areas that are already taken; you could say I choose the field in which I compete. For example, there are a lot of girls in Tokyo Joshi that smile and do their best, so instead I put my middle finger up. That kind of thinking has culminated into the character that I am right now, but it’s not like I’m forcing myself to be this way, so I guess this is my natural personality?"
FIGHTFUL: Your social media presence has gained you a great amount of attention. How important has social media been to your career?
ITOH: "Extremely important. My career would have ended without being discovered if it weren’t for social media."
FIGHTFUL: You made a trip to the USA in 2019, did you enjoy the experience?
ITOH: "It was so fucking fun! My popularity is only average in Japan, but it surprised me how popular I was in the US. That’s when it came to mind that I could be more fit to go international, and that is when it became my dream to go global. If it wasn’t for that trip, I may not have been asked to be on this interview!"
FIGHTFUL: How did you find out you would be a part of the AEW tournament, and how did it feel?
ITOH: "I heard from the higher-ups in Tokyo Joshi. I took the news quite calmly; it was so abrupt that it didn’t seem real. First things first, I contacted my parents. They were elated, and that is when it finally hit me and made me happy."
FIGHTFUL: Do you hope to do any more work for AEW when the world goes back to normal?
ITOH: "Certainly! I’ve been keeping a lot of simps waiting, so I have to do my best so that I get to appear again!"
FIGHTFUL: Are you interested in joining the Dark Order!?
ITOH: "It sounds interesting, so why not. But PAY ME BITCH!"
FIGHTFUL: How have you felt about your quick rise to fame in America?
ITOH: "It hasn’t really hit me yet; right now it feels like just the internet is buzzing about Maki Itoh.
If we go back to filling venues with crowds, if I get to be there in person, and if the roof blows off when I ask, 'Who is he cutest in the world?' and the fans respond with 'Itoh-chaaaaaaaan!', then I might cry from joy!"
Thank you to Maki Itoh and Tokyo Joshi Pro for making this interview possible, to see more of their work, check out WRESTLE UNIVERSE!