- text by Mugiko Ozaki
- translation by Dana Maier
You could say that it was Itoh's strength on the mic that let her rise to where she is now. But when it comes to wanting to use that mic less, she says it doesn't take any sort of extraordinary resolve.
"Moves and techniques and stuff like that, if I can do more then as I do them, I think I might wonder what kind of wrestler I am, I could lose myself. So I figured if that's the case, then not doing more is a good thing. There was actually a time, I'd thought I wanted to get to a point where I could do lots of different moves and stuff, but now I mainly just use headbutts and DDTs and Boston crabs.
I don't even do a single type of suplex. For example, if I threw like a really big foreigner like 'BAM' then I think the audience would get really hype about it, so I think it might be good to have maybe just one move like that. But I also don't really want to be adding to my core moveset. I want people to be able to see me and quickly get a sense of like 'that right there is Maki Itoh.'"
Itoh has a comical nature, but her chances to have more serious matches have been increasing.
"My comedy persona precedes me, but overseas maybe that wouldn't land so well. But I think drawing out a reaction like 'oh, she can actually move' is good too. I do think you can show your abilities to their fullest via comedy wrestling, but I think if that was all I ever did I would just get bored. I don't think I could do either without a little bit of compromise between them.
She first began thinking about going overseas during her trip to America in April 2019. During Itoh's entrance the audience was very excited, and her portraits sold incredibly well. The reaction of the overseas wrestling fans was huge, making them laugh had paid off. It was a different kind of fun than Japan. Itoh came back to Japan very quickly that time, but began studying English.
I wondered if at some point, she had actually started to want to move overseas?
"I'd want to do both at the same time. Overseas, I'd just be doing the third match every show or something like that. It would be the same situation as we were just talking about, if I was always doing that one thing, I'd find that boring too, so I don't want to do that either. What I want to do is keep progressing. In Japan I can keep challenging myself in more and more difficult situations, and overseas is where I can have my fill of just having fun, it's like every once in a while I get to switch it up and say 'oh I can do this sort of thing too.' If the fans can fall in love with me doing that and then I can bring that attention back to Japan, that's what I think would be the best."
3 / 4