In Weekly Pro-Wrestling #2079 Suzu Suzuki was interviewed in the wake of her ICExInfinity Title match victory at Ice Ribbon’s final Yokohama Buntai show on August 9th.
How does a seventeen year old envisage being a champion: “I want to use Suzu Suzuki’s personality to energize this title. I want to do things that no one can imitate.”
ShuPro: Can you take us back to how you became interested in wrestling?
Suzu: I didn’t start with watching joshi wrestling, my way in was men’s wrestling. Then I got really into deathmatches, and I wound up at Big Japan Pro Wrestling to watch deathmatches. That’s where I saw (Risa) Sera-san wrestling a deathmatch against one of the BJW wrestlers, and got into Ice Ribbon.
SP: Was Ice Ribbon the first joshi pro wrestling you knew about?
Suzu: Yep. I was really shocked that even though they were women they were doing deathmatches and wrestling men. It was like, “even though they’re women they are wrestling.” And from there I got more and more interested in wrestling myself.
SP: Did your family or friends like wrestling?
Suzu: Absolutely no one I knew was into wrestling. Sometimes in the evening the TV would be on and I’d see Kenta Kobashi-san’s Fortune Dream shows. That was my entryway into wrestling.
SP: So you ended up being a lonely wrestling fan?
Suzu: Yeah (haha). I didn’t have any friends that I could talk to about wrestling. I bored them to tears telling them loads of stuff about it. So I remember feeling sad at some points. (Haha)
SP: It’s quite rare that young women see wrestling and think that they want to try it themselves.
Suzu: Right. Cos it looks like it’s going to hurt. (Haha) But even though I thought it would hurt, I also wondered what it would feel like to run the ropes. Or if it would hurt to take a bump. I was curious.
SP: Was there anything else that you had wanted to do as a job?
Suzu: I’m the type to jump from one interest to another, and change my mind a lot. I wanted to be a singer, a doctor, an astronaut… it’s like I changed my dreams every six months. (Haha)
SP: But you actually made serious moves to become a pro wrestler?
Suzu: First I searched for ways to get into the business. Ice Ribbon runs a joshi wrestling circle, so I decided I would go and figure out if I really wanted to do it or not.
SP: To do that you left your hometown of Miyazaki [a prefecture in south eastern Kyushu, approx 1,000 km from Tokyo] and travelled to Tokyo?
Suzu: Initially I went to Tokyo and attended the circle, plus I got to stay in the dorm too. That’s when I made my mind up, and as soon as I graduated from middle school I set off again for Tokyo. There was no stopping me. (Haha)
SP: How did your parents react?
Suzu: Surprisingly my parents were keen for me to give it a shot, so I felt good. They said if it didn’t work out I could just come home. I’m so grateful for that.
SP: How was it when you actually joined?
Suzu: Watching wrestling and doing wrestling were totally different, the gap was huge. I was like, how does it hurt this much to take a bump!? When I was a trainee I had loads of setbacks, and I remember asking the president lots of times, “please let me go back to Miyazaki.” But after a while I realised the potential of the human body, it took me about half a year.
SP: That was the time when your peers were enjoying life as high school students.
Suzu: When I looked around me, I saw people going to school and hanging out. That seemed fun, but I’m glad I left school after middle school and entered the world of wrestling straight away. Because I’m doing things that normal kids can’t experience. The positive thoughts about becoming a pro wrestler outweigh the negative ones.
SP: When you started wrestling were there any alternatives to Ice Ribbon?
Suzu: Since I became aware of joshi wrestling I saw lots of different promotions, but Ice Ribbon was the one that suited me the most. I always felt like I wanted to come here. At the time it was the promotion best known for having deathmatch wrestlers. Ice Ribbon was my only choice.
SP: It seems like you made your decision to become a wrestler and didn’t look back, are you normally like that?
Suzu: Yeah. Once I’ve decided something I go forward regardless of the consequences. (Haha)
SP: It’s been one year and seven months since your debut. When you look back at your career so far, how do you feel?
Suzu: On paper one year and seven months probably seems short, but to me it feels like I’ve had ten years’ worth of experiences. Between my debut and now I feel like I’ve gone through more than anyone else.
SP: You’ve constantly been expected to go above and beyond your abilities haven’t you? Did you feel pressure? Or was it enjoyable?
Suzu: I used to be the type who enjoyed pressure, but as the title matches piled up I wasn’t sure what to do. After my second title challenge in June (at Yokohama Radiant Hall on the 13th) I broke down in tears in the ring. But I opened up in a good way because of that breakdown. Now I’m enjoying the pressure. I’m thinking about how I’m going to shape Ice Ribbon going forwards as the champion.
SP: It’s quite rare to be the top champion of a promotion at seventeen years old, are you looking forward to forging your own path?
Suzu: I want to use my incomparable personality to energize Ice Ribbon and this title. I want to do things that no one else can imitate.
SP: You’re surrounded by seniors. You might get caught up in jealousy or complex feelings.
Suzu: I hope my winning the title made other people feel something. If there’s someone who got a shock and wants to challenge for the title then I’ll take them on any time any place. Come and challenge me. When Maya Yukihi (the former champion) won the belt she said, “there are no worthy challengers to this belt,” but I want to say, “that’s not true.” Now that Suzu Suzuki is the champion I hope interesting people will challenge me.
A seventeen year old’s hope for her peers: “I really want teenage girls come to watch wrestling. We’ll get you hooked for sure.”
SP: Now that you have reached the summit after one year and seven months will it be difficult to set up future goals?
Suzu: My story has been intense so far and I have to keep up that intensity. I think I can show a Suzu Suzuki that is 10,000,000 times more powerful than the current champion Suzu Suzuki.
SP: You have a determination to constantly improve don’t you. On that note, what is the image of an ideal pro wrestler?
Suzu: I want to become a wrestler who everyone knows as soon as they hear my name. Like, everyone knows who Antoni Inoki-san is, right? I want to be that famous. That, plus I want my matches to be high level and I want to be really strong.
SP: Unfortunately current joshi pro wrestling as a whole isn’t that well known, do you want to change that?
Suzu: That’s right. Just the fact that a youngster is champion is enough to attract attention, and I’m sure that someone’s eye will be drawn to an article on a seventeen year old champion. I want to broaden the appeal of joshi pro wrestling, and while I’m champion one of the challenges I will take on is to figure out how to get more people interested in it.
SP: As an aside, you said that you wouldn’t say no to any challengers, but are there specific opponents you would like to face?
Suzu: I want to take on anyone who says they want this belt, but sure there are people who I’d like to wrestle for the belt. I hope those people take an interest in this belt, I’m waiting.
SP: Does that include other promotions?
Suzu: Other promotions, my own promotion, non-humans, I’ll take on anyone.
SP: This is a bit of an awkward question, but are you aware of how your former dorm-mate Giulia is doing?
Suzu: Didn’t we become champions at the same time? And our careers aren’t that different, there’s only about a year difference. I’m aware of her in the sense that there’s no way I can be outdone by her.
SP: Do you want to fight her one day?
Suzu: Well… I said no one was off limits. As for that lot… I do feel like if it were possible a match as champion would be cool.
SP: You might say that no wrestler is off limits, but the circumstances might be.
Suzu: Exactly. (Haha)
SP: To get back to the main topic, it seemed clear that the company had big expectations for you when they gave you three title shots in a short amount of time.
Suzu: Now that I’m champion I imagine there are things that the company will say to me or request of me. I’m excited for that. (Haha)
SP: Do you have a message for Weekly Pro-Wrestling readers who may not be familiar with you?
Suzu: I am Suzu Suzuki, who became the Ice Ribbon top champion at seventeen years old. I’m sure there are lots of people who have heard the name joshi pro wrestling but never seen it in person and think, “can women wrestle!?” or “they’re just play fighting.” I’ve experienced it plenty. Those are the sort of people who I’d like to watch just a bit of joshi pro wrestling, just take a peek at Ice Ribbon. Because I am certain that once you do we’ll get you hooked on it.
SP: When you won the belt in Yokohama you had support from kids. A young champion could be a reason for young kids to watch pro wrestling.
Suzu: The support of kids is really helping me right now. And there were kids who drew me pictures to congratulate me on becoming champion. I really want those kids and teenage girls of my generation to watch pro wrestling. I want to emphasise that if they watch it once they’ll be hooked.
SP: It seems like recently the number of young women who watch wrestling has gone up, but the number of young women who watch joshi wrestling hasn’t really increased.
Suzu: Definitely. I think men’s wrestling and joshi wrestling have different appeal. But since I started off watching men’s wrestling I can say, “joshi wrestling is awesome!” I’ve always watched men’s wrestling so I get that feeling. But I want to get women saying, “I’m going to check out joshi wrestling,” even just one time.
SP: Do you want your existence to open up those doors?
Suzu: I want to become a broadcasting tower… or like an advertising billboard. I hope to be seen as an advertising billboard for joshi pro wrestling.