ShuPro 2020 Wrestlers to Watch: Nagisa Nozaki

Image taken from Weekly Pro-Wrestling #2050

She entered the world of pro wrestling at age 15, joining NEO in the twilight of joshi pro wrestling when there were hardly any new debuts; she is tall with slender arms and legs and unparalleled looks. There are certainly lots of hopes pinned on Nagisa Nozaki the pro wrestler, who is someone that will carry the future of joshi pro wrestling on her back.

However, the first time she won a title was in February of 2018 when she won the WAVE tag team titles with Yuki Miyazaki, and the first time she won a singles title was at the end of last year. Although she did take some time away from the ring, in fact it took her fourteen years to win her first title.

The moment that changed the outlook of Nozaki, who previously didn’t seem to be interested in titles, was becoming a fully official member of the WAVE roster in April of last year. Amidst her peer Misaki Ohata retiring and Rina Yamashita, who many thought would be the ace, leaving the promotion, she decided “I will be Regina di Wave champion at the start of Phase 2 of WAVE.”

Ultimately, Nozaki lost the three way match for the Regina di Wave title [at the end of the Catch the Wave tournament] and she was powerless to prevent the title going to the outside enemy, Takumi Iroha. Following that WAVE faced a continuous series of challenges.

Iroha, who vowed “I will conquer WAVE,” beat all of the WAVE wrestlers one after another, and even Ryo Mizunami, who had kept supporting WAVE, left the promotion. At the point that Nozaki was the only hope left, she came to carry all the hopes of the fans.

“In our pre-title match bout I lost in three minutes and I felt defeated, but right before my title match Miyazaki-san came up to me and said ‘good luck!’ and hugged me. At that point the fear left me, and I was filled with confidence!”

After that, she had the resolve that “whatever happens I’ll keep getting my shoulders up,” and she fought to the bitter end – finally, using her instincts as a wrestler, she dropped Iroha with her original Dorumiru sleeper hold, and she had her first ever Regina title belt wrapped around her waist. That was a majestic sight.

In August the last of WAVE’s homegrown wrestlers HIRO’e will retire and WAVE, that previously boasted of having the a world class roster in joshi prowrestling, will be down to just four wrestlers.  However, Nozaki’s aim as a pro wrestler hasn’t changed one bit.

“I was brought up on watching wrestling from a young age, but there was no one around me that I could talk to about it so from the very beginning my goal hasn’t changed, I want ‘to be someone that lets others know about pro wrestling.’”

When the new WAVE gets a full house, they close the show with a ‘Big Wave’ that the fans make [a Mexican wave], but at Korakuen Hall unoccupied orange seats stand out amongst the fans, so in 2019 there weren’t many opportunities to do that.

So that means now it’s even more important for the champion Nozaki to show her true abilities. With her gaze set on the future, Nozaki wrote two characters to indicate her ambition – ‘increasing numbers’.

“I was surprised because I thought that holding the belt my reaction would change a lot, but the very fact that I won the belt means that there are things that I can do, and it has to be linked to increasing numbers. At any rate, in order to first increase the number of fans, I want WAVE to become a promotion that makes people think ‘I want to see them right now’”.

As the champion in tough times, this coming year is the final challenge of her twenties. This is the time when the pro wrestler Nagisa Nozaki will show her potential!

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