Throwing your life away with Maki Ito

(This interview was originally published in Japanese in the August 2018 issue of Ladys Ring.)

For this installment of Ladys Ring’s “Dangerous Women” series, we sat down for a candid interview with Maki Ito – the outspoken “idol wrestler” who has an army of Tokyo Joshi Pro Wrestling fans calling her name whenever she brings her unique presence to the ring. Interview by Junichi Sase.

Your wrestling career has a lot of people talking. When is it that you feel most like you’ve truly become a wrestler?

Back when I was an idol, all I did was sing and dance, week in, week out. But nowadays, working out – not to mention getting tackled and so on – has become more of an everyday thing for me. As an idol, I just felt blank. But now that I’m a wrestler, I’m constantly suffering. I’m finally feeling something! It’s like, “Ah, this is what it means to be a wrestler!”

Your wrestling career has roots back in 2013, when you participated in DDT’s Idol Lumberjack 4-Way at Ryogoku Sumo Hall as a member of LinQ. What did you think when you first got that offer?

I was completely on board! I had absolutely zero interest in pro wrestling, but it’s Sumo Hall, right? I’d never performed there before, of course, so I said yes for the chance to get on such a huge stage. Besides, it’s not like I did any actual wrestling in that match! Just headbutts.

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Count 2.99 — Episode 6

Count 2.99 is a great wrestling bar in central Osaka. The bar hosts a regular YouTube series where owner Koji Kitayama and Sean Bradley break down hot topics in the Japanese wrestling scene for an international audience. I get to help out by writing Koji’s subtitles.

In episode 6, they talk about Japanese fan reactions to Wrestlemania 34 (including Maki Ito’s) and issues with fans posting GIFs of matches on social media.

Check out Count 2.99’s YouTube channel for more if you dig it!