Former WWE Champion Has Reportedly Signed New Deal, Could Return Tonight at SummerSlam

Kairi Sane is heading back to WWE!

Kairi Sane, a former WWE Women's Tag Team Champion and NXT Women's Champion, has signed a new deal to return to WWE according to a report from PWInsider. "The Pirate Princess" first worked in WWE from 2016-2021, eventually pivoting into an ambassador role for the company in her home country of Japan. She became a free agent in December 2021 and would return to the Stardom promotion months later. She'd go on to hold the IWGP Women's Championship and Artist of Stardom Championships before reaching free agency again in March. 

The report states Sane's return is "imminent, possibly as soon as this week," meaning it's possible she could pop up at SummerSlam tonight. Her former Kabuki Warriors tag team partner Asuka is the reigning WWE Women's Champion and is taking on both Charlotte Flair and Bianca Belair during the pay-per-view. Stay tuned for full coverage of the event!

Why Did Kairi Sane Leave WWE?

Sane explained in a 2022 interview with Japanese outlet Entame Next why she chose to leave WWE — "When I left Japan in 2017, I promised my fans that I would go on a long journey, but that I would come back grown up. I told that to President Rossy Ogawa (now Executive Producer). In the first place, my goal was to learn first-class professional wrestling, and I didn't really intend to live permanently in the US. I thought about retiring from wrestling. This is a personal story, but I lost my best friend to illness. I made a vow at her graveside and promised to make it happen: I was going to participate in WrestleMania. I wanted to make it happen for sure. Thanks to that, I was able to compete in three WrestleManias, had a title match with Asuka as Kabuki Warriors, became a champion in both NXT and WWE, and even received an award for the NXT overall competitor of the year."

"After I moved to the U.S., my personal life was secondary to my professional life, and I was flying around and competing four times a week without a break, but then the pandemic hit, and I suddenly had time to myself," Kairi said. "Then I took the time to do some introspection. I thought, 'Where am I going to go from here? I had a sense of accomplishment that I had fulfilled my promise to my best friend and that I had done everything I could in my three years with WWE, and after several consultations with WWE, I decided to leave."

WWE SummerSlam 2023 Match Card

  • Logan Paul vs. Ricochet
  • Cody Rhodes vs. Brock Lesnar
  • SummerSlam Battle Royal
  • Ronda Rousey vs. Shayna Baszler (MMA Rules)
  • Intercontinental Championship: Gunther vs. Drew McIntyre
  • World Heavyweight Championship: Seth Rollins vs. Finn Balor
  • WWE Women's Championship: Asuka vs. Bianca Belair vs. Charlotte Flair
  • Undisputed WWE Universal Championship: Roman Reigns vs. Jey Uso (Tribal Combat Rules)