Though she may have lost her last name on the trip over the pacific, Kairi looked every part the superstar worthy of making her debut appearance in the Tokyo Dome in her biggest bout back in Japan yet at NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 17.

Passing through a pair of grim reapers on her way to the ring decked out in full-on Pirate garb – with a spinning pirate ship wheel to boot – Kairi was presented like an absolute star, with the cheering crowd welcoming her back to the Tokyo Dome in a way that wasn’t allowed throughout the pandemic. Facing off against Tam Nakano, the former Goddesses of Stardom Champion alongside Natsupoi – aka the Cosmic Angels – Kairi hit with a brutal ferocity that WWE doesn’t even allow Rhea Ripley to deploy and proved that she’s every bit a worthy first holder of the IWGP United States Championship.

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Kairi fought back through Nakano’s best efforts to field a comeback, including a pretty buster that would make the Steiners proud, but in the end, the former Kabuki Warrior took control, hit a flying elbow off the top rope, and secured the win in her second match with the IWGP Women’s Championship. Now granted, her efforts were shortlived, as who but another former WWE Champion, Mercedes Mone’ – aka Sasha Banks – came out to cut the celebration short with a wrestling move, a biting promo, and a challenge for NJPW’s Battle in the Valley in September, but for a moment, Kari was able to celebrate her return to Japan with a win at the biggest stadium in the country. That is pretty cool nonetheless.