Sumie Sakai was first exposed to American professional wrestling by a ladder match.
The current Women of Honor Champion Sumie Sakai has been wrestling since the late nineties and in an interview with Ring of Honor she revealed when she started her professional wrestling career she was not even a fan.
"I didn't know America had pro wrestling. I was not a pro wrestling fan. Once I began wrestling I grew to love it. One day my senpai Lioness Asuka told me that she could tell I love pro wrestling. It was very true when she said that to me. I got many chances to wrestle with so many famous wrestlers," said Sakai. "I was so happy that I made a goal to challenge for Lioness Asuka’s title. I won a very tough two-day tournament. Then I got the chance to challenge her at the Korakuen Hall main event. But I had broken my leg before the big day. I was so sad I thought I would quit pro wrestling," she continued.
But Sakai did not quit wrestling and she said that's because she discovered WWE from a friend.
"Around that time my friend showed me a videotape of the Dudley Boyz versus Hardy Boyz versus Edge and Christian ladder match. After seeing that match I really wanted to try going to America to study pro wrestling. I went to Killer Kowalski’s school to begin training American style," said Sakai.
The three teams Sakai mentioned had three different ladder matches against each other but two of those were technically TLC matches. All three of those matches happened in the couple years before Sakai came to the United States.
Sakai became Women of Honor Champion at Supercard of Honor XII by defeating two women in the semi-finals and finals of a tournament to determine the first-ever Women of Honor Champion.
The full interview with Sakai can be read at ROHWrestling.com.