Scott Edwards spoke with Sareee, formerly WWE's Sarray, ahead of Sukeban's December show!
Edwards: To the excitement of many, Sareee-ISM Chapter III has been officially announced for January 16th. Outside of the main event, are there any wrestlers you’re hoping to add to the show this time around that haven’t appeared before?
Sareee: “I try to put together the best card and the best pro wrestlers that are available at the time of the event that fits into my Sareee-ISM concept.”
Edwards: Chihiro Hashimoto confronted you following your victory in Sendai Girls. She was able to defeat you in your return match at Sareee-ISM Chapter I and in our previous interview, you called her the toughest challenge. What should fans expect from this second matchup between you and her? Do you feel it’ll be a lot different because it’s not your first match back?
Sareee: “I thought she was my true rival and the toughest opponent, thats why I selected her to be my first opponent last time. But recently I am pissed because she called my that I am just a cute wrestler and has no skills. So this time, it will be completely different. I have been back in Japan for months and have readapted my Japanese pro wrestling and spirit back. I have much improved. I am also very pissed at her. It's a completely different situation. I will destroy her next time and win.”
Edwards: You stated in our prior interview that Sareee-ISM Chapter II was “meant to be.” Has booking Sareee-ISM shows given you a different appreciation for pro wrestling that you didn’t have before? Especially since you’re booking the show and wrestling?
Sareee: “Yes, it has. Now I have a promoter’s point of view and not just another pro wrestler. It can be very complex and difficult at times trying to put together an event consisting of all freelance and wrestlers from various organizations. But I want to do it for the fans. Want to put together the best possible and something that might be interesting for the fans to see.”
Edwards: It was announced that you’ve signed a multi-year deal with Sukeban here in America! What led to your decision to signing?
Sareee: “I wanted to perform once again in front of American fans. My second home.”
Edwards: What should fans expect from you in the promotion (Sukeban) moving forward?
Sareee: “Something different than Japan and something different from my previous work in America. I think it will be interesting. Another hidden part of me perhaps.”
Edwards: You’ve met many of these wrestlers before, but this is a different atmosphere for many of them. Is that part of the intrigue for you?
Sareee: “It should be interesting. I just want to do it and feel the atmosphere.”
Edwards: Thanks to your previous time in America, this opportunity in Sukeban won’t be completely new to you. How excited are you to return to compete in America?
Sareee: “I am very excited. It's the same Florida state. First Sukeban being there, so happy to be returning home. I have visited Miami many times when I was in Orlando before.”
Edwards: Can you tell us a bit about your experiences with Triple H and Shawn Michaels during your time with WWE? Is there anything you were able to learn from them that you’ve carried with you forward?
Sareee: “They were so nice and really respect both of them along with all the Coaches there. So much advice and learned a lot, especially for the Live TV events, I will never forget.”
Edwards: Reviving Zenjo was what you said was your main goal when returning to Japan. Can you tell us why you feel so connected with the Zenjo spirit and why you want to bring it back to the pro wrestling world?
Sareee: “My father took me to a Jyoshi pro wrestling event and was hooked since childhood. Many pro wrestlers who branched off from All Japan Women’s made their own organizations. But they all carried the Zenjo spirit their own way. I grew up watching it. I started my pro wrestling at Diana where many of the true Zenjo pro wrestlers were there and taught me. But now all my teachers are old and the Japanese pro wrestling is losing the Zenjo spirit and becoming more and more entertainment. I want to protect and keep the Zenjo spirit alive and bring it back.”
Edwards: Kaoru Ito is someone who’s been very important to your career and is a second for some of your biggest matches since your return to Japan. Can you talk about your bond and relationship with Ito as well as what it means to have her continued support?
Sareee: “She is like a mother to me inside and outside of the ring. I have learned a lot from her from the beginning of my career. I train at her dojo every day. Her advice continues to improve me as a pro wrestler.”
Edwards: In your recent trip to China, you wrestled against Tomoka Inaba of JTO in a match that hasn't been released to view worldwide. What was your impression of the young star, and would you be interested in facing her again?
Sareee: “I wrestled her in Japan years before I went to America. I felt that she has improved and she really got better. Her karate kicks hurt. One of the hardest kickers in the industry. She is still very young too. Yes, I would like to face her again. She is good, that's why I decided to make her an offer at Sareee-ISM Chapter 3 event.”
Edwards: You recently made your return to AJPW, a majority male promotion, in a special tag team match that many fans believe stole the show. Is there any difference in your mentality when you are wrestling on an all-women's show compared to when you step into a traditionally male wrestling company like AJPW?
Sareee: “Yes. I don’t want people to think I am just another female pro wrestler. I wanted to prove and show that girls can have fighting spirit too and can perform a great match.
Edwards: You've been appearing in many places since your return, and with your impending Sukeban debut, you don't seem to be stopping. Focusing on Japan, is there a wrestler in a company you are interested in competing against that you haven't yet gotten the chance to?
Sareee: “Giulia of Stardom for sure. We have commented through media a few times but unfortunately, it hasn’t happened yet.”
Edwards: You defeated Mika Iwata, although you didn’t challenge for the title. Is the Sendai Girls World Championship something you’d like to put on your radar now?
Sareee: “I held the title before, Any opportunities that I have, I am interested in.”
Edwards: Since you’ve come back to Japan, have there been any wrestlers who you didn’t initially have in your sights but after seeing them compete, you really want to face in the ring now? Anyone else you’d like to face that you haven’t had the chance to?
Sareee: “(Takumi) Iroha who is my rival from before. I would like to have a match with her.”
Edwards: The last time we spoke, you were getting prepared for your Beyond The Sea Championship match against Arisa Nakajima. That match has received praise from many fans, calling it the best match of the year. You both wrestled a very physical match and you ultimately were able to win. How did you feel after that match and winning your first championship since returning?
Sareee: “There are not that many pro wrestlers that can do what Nakajima can do. I was able to do it because it was her. It was definitely a hard, tough match.”
Edwards: Are you proud of that match?
Sareee: “I am more happy than proud. Happy that many fans who watched the match really liked it and praised it. I am very honored.”
Edwards: Do you believe Arisa Nakajima is a perfect opponent for you?
Sareee: “She is able to pull out my full fighting spirit side of me. So in a way. Yes.”
Edwards: Since defeating Nakajima, you’ve gone on to start tagging with her. It has led to some great moments, including your trip to Disneyland. How do you feel you and Nakajima are doing when it comes to becoming partners? Did the trip to Disneyland help you at all because the photos say otherwise?
Sareee: “We don’t trust each other but we are doing this well. SEAdLINNNG has a hard time finding opponents. All are so scared of us. We might not get along but share the fighting spirit in pro wrestling. A ticket to Disney was one of the prizes from a sponsor for winning the previous match with her. We both wanted to go with someone else but the SEAdLINNNG boss tricked us and ended up going together. We both like Disneyland but don’t get along with the different rides we like. SEAdLINNNG also tricked us at the recent event by letting us come out together with The Tokyo Disneyland Electrical Parade as our entrance music.”
Edwards: You recently mentioned that if you and Arisa Nakajima were to challenge Ayame Sasamura and Riko Kaiju for the Beyond the Sea Tag Titles you’d easily take them. Is that something you’re aiming for? The double Beyond the Sea crown?
Sareee: “Any titles I am interested in. With Nakajima, I was hesitant. But if we can connect, we will never lose and very confident that we will win. That will make me the second person to hold both Singles and Tag titles of SEAdLINNNG besides from Yoshiko.”
Edwards: Now that you’re Beyond The Sea Champion, is there anyone outside of Japan that you’d be interested in defending your title against? Or, for that matter, you’d like to face even if the title wasn’t on the line?
Sareee: “Definitely. If it can be permitted, Athena and Toni Storm of AEW. Tiffany (Stratton) from WWE. Ronda Rousey. Mandy (Rose). So many people out there.”
Edwards: If you could get one wrestler out of retirement to face in a match, who would it be?
Sareee: “Bull Nakano. She is a legend. Not only in Japan but worldwide too. One of the best from Zenjo.”
Edwards: You told me last time you were hoping to have a singles match against KAIRI following your tag match with her. You didn’t get to have that singles match before her return to WWE, but you did get to face her in AJPW in a tag team match. You talked a lot about forming that Dream Tag Team was a goal of yours.
How do you believe you guys worked as a team?
Sareee: “It was the first time ever to tag together but I thought it was a great tag team. I felt that we had been partners for years.”
Edwards: What did you like most about getting to wrestle against KAIRI, even if it wasn’t a singles match?
Sareee: “She was able to show her pro wrestling and I was able to show mine. She is tough. I enjoyed every second of it. I hope that one day we can have a singles match because I wasn’t satisfied with that and want to do so much more. I am sure she does too.”
Edwards: Are there any other “dream tag team partners” you have?
Sareee: “If Dream Tag Team, would love to try a tag team with my former enemy like Tiffany (Stratton) and Mandy (Rose) one day.”
Edwards: After signing with Sukeban to return in America and wrestling in China, are looking to wrestle in more countries in the future? If so, which ones?
Sareee: “I would like to wrestle in any country, anywhere, wherever there is an opportunity.”
Edwards: You talked a lot about Chi Chi and the bright future you believe she has. Since then, you’ve been able to team with her multiple times. Have you been able to help her out in learning? Do you feel she’s making strides in improvement? What do you like most about her as a prospect?
Sareee: “Chi Chi has only had several matches but she has improved so much in a few months. I have given her a few advice but I do it for any young wrestlers who come to me for advice. Always happy to help anyone in the pro wrestling industry. Chi Chi has a strong heart and that's what I really like about her. If it's in a tag match, she won’t tag herself out until she has done her revenge. She is cute but is really tough. Does have the fighting spirit inside of her.”
Edwards: What are you hoping to accomplish in 2024 now that you’ve been back in Japan for almost a year? Do you have any major goals for the new year?
Sareee: “Sareee-ISM Chapter 3 starts with a revenge match against Hashimoto. I really want to win this match. I have anger this time against her. As a promoter, Sareee-ISM I would like to continue to have more events with the concept of fighting spirit and Zenjo spirit, make the best match cards possible, and do an interesting event for the fans. More dream cards and matches.
As a pro wrestler. I would like to perform and have an exciting match and try to be the center of female Japanese pro wrestling. Also, continue to bring back the Zenjo and fighting spirit.”
A huge thank you to Sareee and her team for allowing us to put this second interview together with her during her busy schedule.
If you want to check out Sareee-ISM Chapter III on January 16th, here’s what you need to know:
You can order and view the show on Sareee’s website: sareeelive.com
Here’s a look at the full card for the show:
- Main Event “Sareee’s 2024 Starts with Revenge”: Sareee vs. Chihiro Hashimoto with a 60-minute time-limit
- Mio Momono & Riko Kawahata vs. Tomoka Inaba & Azusa Inaba
- Takumi Iroha vs. Miyuki Takase
- Kaoru Ito & Arisa Nakajima vs. Unagi Sayaka & Kurumi Hiiragi
- Jaguar Yokota & Aja Kong vs. Kizuna Tanaka & Chi Chi