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WWE’s Kairi Sane wants to make women feel strong

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Kairi Sane became the inaugural Mae Young Classic winner after defeating Shayna Baszler in the final match of the tournament last night in Las Vegas.

I had the chance to speak with her about winning the tournament, her world famous elbow drop, and the differences between working in front of a Japanese crowd versus and American crowd.

Note: The interview was done through a translator

Me: What went through your mind as you stood in the ring as the first-ever winner of the Mae Young Classic?

Kairi: “I was very proud of myself to be there as one of the finalists. It was surprising that I made it so far. I felt nervous, but it was such a happy day for me.”

What made you want to peruse a career in professional wrestling?

“To help become a professional athlete, what’s been very important for me is my audience. They are there for me, watching me perform and I want to give them courage, challenge and then my vitality if possible, especially in this tournament.

My female fans, they touch my heart all of the time and I want to give them the message that women are strong.”

Your elbow drop has become world famous, how did you come up with such a unique variation of a move that’s been around forever?

“I’ve been doing this for about six years now and at first the diving elbow drop did not work. I got injured and it wasn’t my finisher at first, but the move was important to me. I wanted to win using my elbow, so now it has become my form. It’s my favorite thing to do when I perform.”

What are some differences between working in front of an American audience as opposed to a Japanese audience?

“I have to say American fans make me happier. I love their reactions. It’s very exciting and fun. It’s as if they’re fighting together with me.”

How has the world of acting helped you in the world of wrestling?

“It’s relevant because when I perform as a professional athlete, it’s very important to me that I encourage my audience and fans by giving them the vitality I have. I believe that’s my role. For example, my facial expressions will show if I’m happy and having fun or if I’m disappointed. I want to make sure that my audience sees those expressions.”

Twitter: @ScottDargis 

WWE’s Roman Reigns announces his cancer is in remission

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The “Big Dog” is back!

Those are the words WWE superstar Roman Reigns – real name Joe Anoa’I – delivered to the world on Monday Night Raw. Back in October, Reigns announced that he was going to be stepping away from the ring due to the return of ­leukemia, a disease that he had once battled into remission 11 years ago.

After four months away from WWE, Reigns returned to the roaring support of the WWE Universe to announce that his cancer is once again in remission and that he’ll be returning to the ring.

WWE: Roman Reigns announces leukemia has returned

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Leati Joseph Anoaʻi, known around the world as WWE superstar Roman Reigns, revealed to the world on Monday night that his leukemia has returned and he’ll be stepping away from the ring for a period of time to be with his family as he undergoes treatment.

Anoaʻi began his promo on Raw by stating “my real name is Joe, and I’ve been living with Leukemia for 11-years and unfortunately it’s back.”

He tearfully told the crowd that he was going to be away from WWE for an unknown period of time, which meant he would be forced to relinquish the WWE Universal championship. He then shared the story of when he was diagnosed with leukemia at the age of 22. Anoa’i said he was able to “very quickly” put it in remission.

As Anoa’i continued his moment with the audience that embraces him on a weekly basis with a thunderous, but not always positive … to say the least … response, he said that he didn’t want anyone to feel bad to him. Anoa’i’s connection with WWE’s audience is unique, so it took them a moment to put away their dislike for the character Anoa’i portrays and show appreciation for the human being that has been thrown a life curveball.

A loud “Thank You Roman” erupted after he told the fans that they had helped his dreams come true. Anoa’i said this wasn’t a retirement speech and that he would be back as quickly as possible. Anoa’i then carefully laid the belt in the ring and was embraced by Jonathan David Good (Dean Ambrose) and Colby Lopez (Seth Rollins).