STARDOM: An interview with Saya Kamitani | Sponichi Annex | Sports Nippon Shimbun | Part One | 4th February 2021 | From Idol to the Squared Circle. 

Here we have part one of Sports Nippon Shimbun’s ” Sponichi Annex ” interview with the self-proclaimed Future of Stardom, Saya Kamitani of Queen’s Quest. You can find the full interview, in Japanese & fully translated [if you use a translation tool] here.

Saya Kamitani transitioned from Idol to Professional Wrestler in 2018, she was previously a part-time member of AKB48 before making her in-ring debut on 10th August at Korakuen Hall against Momo Watanabe. Kamitani is preparing for a match against Utami Hayashishita at Nippon Budokan for the World of Stardom Championship before setting her sights on winning the Dream Cinderella tournament this year.

Saya Kamitani is 24 at the time of writing, being born 28th November 1996, having already achieved a championship in the shape of the Goddess of Stardom Championship with fellow Queen’s Quest member Utami Hayashishita.

“Standing in the ring makes me feel different. I express it as it is, without restraining what comes out of me.”

The interviewer describes her face as soft and smooth, giving the strong impression of a woman who dreamed of being an idol but that was not the plan for the young Saya.  On 17th January 2021, Kamitani announced her intention to challenge for the top title in the company, the World of Stardom Championship, also known as the red belt, in front of an audience in attendance at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo.

“I was heart-wrenching at that time. I have no single record. Sure enough, the audience was white. I was scared. I cried after going down the ring. I’m pretty weak, so I’m barely there. By the way, I feel like I’m doing it. But I can’t help just waiting. I believe in my potential and go get the red belt.”

The match was approved by management and set for 3rd March at Stardom’s 10th Anniversary Show which takes place at Nippon Budokan, Tokyo, Japan.  Facing off against Utami Hayashishita, who is just 22 and has already achieved Stardom’s top prize, is a daunting task for the former member of “Stardom ★ Idols”.

 “While I was aiming to be an idol for a long time, the manager asked me, ‘Isn’t it suitable for professional wrestlers?’ I decided to take on the challenge.”

With her hight at 5ft 6in and just over 8 stone Kamitani had the body and hight to succeed in gymnastics and dance, even training in street dance for 10 years, allowing her to have an advantage when she stepped inside the squared circle.

 “I’m glad that the height, which was a complex for an idol, was an advantage. The courage to stand in the ring, the standing figure, the gestures, the facial expressions, and the fact that the customers are impressed have some parts that are similar to idols.”

In December of 2019 Saya Kamitani won the Rookie of the Year tournament and followed it up with winning the Goddess of Stardom Championship on 26th July 2020 at the Cinderella Summer in Tokyo event, taking the vacated title that was previously held by Bea Priestley and Jamie Hayter of Oedo-Tai.

Her style in the ring is bolstered by a good ariel technique with the Phoenix Splash being her signature move, while her dropkick is strong looking and the use of the Boston Crab shows off her flexibility and ability to inflict pain on her opponent that is in the hold. But it’s not just about the strength you show in the ring, it’s also about how you connect to the audience, and Kamitani does just that.

“I am conscious of the silhouette of the body, the back, the hands, and the tip of the head. I am fighting with the opponent’s player in the ring, but the first opponent is the customer. I want to do professional wrestling while telling.”

This upcoming match is the culmination of the last few years of hard work that Saya Kamitani has put into her journey to become a professional wrestler. In there last encounter Kamitani lost to Hayashishita, will the same result happen this time?  

“There are some tricks I haven’t done before, so I want to warm them up and put them out on that day. I’m desperate now, and I haven’t been able to draw anything beyond that, but I can fly from various places. I want to be a champion who keeps the audience excited . ”The catchphrase is“ I am the future stardom. ”