Kairi Sane’s WWE run should have amounted to much more success.
WWE said goodbye to one of its most important women’s performers in Kairi Sane. “The Pirate Princess” was showered with praise and a #ThankYouKairi movement. Still, it’s upsetting to see her go knowing that the WWE missed out on what could have been a special women’s star.
Kairi Sane had all the elements of a great singles babyface star, but couldn’t break out. It wasn’t her fault though as the WWE poorly booked her character. WWE Creative did nothing with the pirate gimmick, even though fans loved every moment of it, from her costume up to the saluting before the Insane Elbow. It was her thing and her thing alone. But like so many other instances of organic creativity, WWE ignored an aspect of Sane’s personality that made her so compelling.
So what do they do? They team her up with Asuka and make them the Kabuki Warriors. I didn’t like it at first, but it turned out to really work. It was funny, fresh, and provided well-needed heels in the Women’s Tag Team conversation. Let’s not forget they were tag team champs for 121 days, a new record for the division, breaking the old IIconics record for longest reigning tag team. That was their mark. That was their claim to fame. Sane had the turn she needed, but the breakaway as a singles star never came.
Kairi Sane: Poorly Packaged, Rarely Marketed
Sane was thrown into matches with Nia Jax without any storyline other than Jax trying to get to Asuka. Her matches against Jax were always met with the question of “where is this going?” I would have loved to see them do a program with her vs. Sasha Banks for the Raw Women’s Title. Even better, they could have started something between her and Bayley way earlier, and not on her exit. Why wait until she decides to head back to Japan to be with her husband to give her good matches? WWE logic that’s why. Sane was the person always there, just not out front. Between all her tag matches and injuries she kept her head up, smiled and enjoyed the ride. You can tell by her message to the WWE and fans:
She will be missed, but I know she’s happy to be heading back home. She will always have one of the best flying elbows off the top rope. I rank it up there with Macho Man. Her commitment to that spot was legendary. In a year where diversity is the top conversation, the WWE had two great Asian stars. But if she’s happy, hey, I’m happy. We all should be.