The Queen’s Gambit: Emi Sakura and Building a Faction

Emi Sakura Faction
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It’s been said that the might of a monarch is only as great as those that serve her. Over the past few days, All Elite Wrestling star Emi Sakura has taken to Twitter to post cryptic messages. These referred to potential “soldiers” to join her. In fact, there has been considerable buzz that Emi Sakura, the woman who left Gatoh Move Pro Wrestling and ChocoPro behind en route to America, may very well lead her own faction. This begs the question, what would said faction look like? More specifically, who may join Sakura in her conquest?

The idea of a faction led by Emi Sakura should come as little surprise to those familiar with her career. Even before the formation of Gatoh Move in 2012, she developed a solid reputation as a trainer, building up many stars that wrestling fans may know in America and abroad. In last year’s AEW Women’s World Championship Eliminator Tournament, she was often accompanied by her proteges, who weren’t shy about interfering on her behalf. This allegiance of sorts can be seen today, as Sakura’s loyal servant, Lulu Pencil, has taken to attacking “Her Highness’s” opponents behind the referee’s back. If anyone can successfully build a royal faction, it would be Emi Sakura.

An Emi Sakura-led faction may take shape sooner than later, especially if her goal is to win the AEW Women’s World Championship. Who would be part of it, however? The members of this group would need to bring their own strengths to the table. Moreover, it would be essential that they remain loyal to “The Killer Queen” in Sakura. In an effort to visualize this faction, here are a few names to consider.

Potential Members of an Emi Sakura-Led Faction

Lulu Pencil Emi Sakura
Photo / All Elite Wrestling

Lulu Pencil – The Loyal Servant of Emi Sakura

When building an Emi Sakura-led faction, there are few names as integral as Lulu Pencil. Though casual AEW viewers may simply know her as the on-screen servant to Sakura, clumsily retrieving her crown and robe, Lulu Pencil’s relationship with “The Queen” runs far deeper. For proof of this, look no further than Gatoh Move’s YouTube wrestling show, ChocoPro. Watching through the show’s short history will illustrate their partnership, as Sakura not only joined Lulu Pencil, forming Pencil Army, but instilled knowledge and confidence in the pink overalls-wearing freelance writer. Thus, it made sense that when Sakura took a one-way trip to America, Pencil Army’s commanding officer went along for the ride.

As evidenced on AEW Dark: Elevation in recent weeks, Lulu Pencil isn’t hesitant to become physically involved in Sakura’s matches. With that said, she isn’t known so much for her physical prowess as she is for her tactical mindset. When she faced off against physically superior foes on ChocoPro, Lulu Pencil relied on her wits, utilizing her environment to her advantage. The loyal Lulu Pencil’s approach may seem unorthodox, but given her propensity to think outside of the box, she would make for an invaluable addition.

Riho Hikaru Shida Emi Sakura Proteges
Photo / All Elite Wrestling

Riho and Hikaru Shida – The Prized Graduates of Her Highness

In addition to being an accomplished professional wrestler, Emi Sakura’s reputation as a trainer can’t be denied. For nearly two decades, Sakura has taken it upon herself to craft future generations of wrestlers, some of whom are known to AEW fans today. One such name is Riho, the inaugural AEW Women’s World Champion. In the early days of the promotion, the two engaged in a feud in which the student was able to overcome the teacher. Riho has been largely MIA from AEW, working in Japan this month. Once Riho makes her way back stateside, one may expect her to join Sakura’s ranks, bringing her trademark “High Speed” offense to the group. It could also afford Riho with the momentum she needs coming out of the gate.

Another Emi Sakura protege is Hikaru Shida, the third AEW Women’s World Champion. To say that she is a cornerstone of the company’s women’s division would be an understatement. Shida represented the company as its women’s titleholder during the uncertain COVID-19 pandemic, which speaks volumes about her loyalty. However, as of late, Shida encountered something of a standstill in her career; this was highlighted by her inability to pick up her 50th win in AEW against Serena Deeb on the October 6 edition of AEW Dynamite. It wouldn’t be farfetched to assume that, in her case, strength exists in numbers. Along with Riho, the experienced Shida would bode well in an Emi Sakura-led faction.

Photo / Twitter @Mei_gtmv

Looking Toward the ChocoPro Faithful

The idea of a core ChocoPro member joining Emi Sakura’s ranks in AEW may be tricky. Keep in mind that ChocoPro’s core group is limited in numbers, meaning that taking any piece from the proverbial puzzle could have a negative impact. Regardless, Gatoh Move has shown its resilience over the years, even when members moved onto other promotions or stepped away from professional wrestling entirely. Furthermore, any name from Gatoh Move could feasibly work in an Emi Sakura-led group. The endlessly energetic Chie Koishikawa, colorful powerhouse Yuna Mizumori, and high-flying striker Baliyan Akki are a few names that spring to mind.

With that said, if there could only be one ChocoPro member to join Emi Sakura in AEW, it would have to be Mei Suruga. The always mischievous “Apple Girl” has been nothing short of prevalent across Japan. Not only is Suruga a consistent performer for ChocoPro, as one-half of its Asia Dream Tag Team Champions alongside Akki, but word is that she can also be seen in Tokyo Joshi Pro-Wrestling. Additionally, in this year alone, she made her AEW debut during the aforementioned eliminator tournament. “Mei-chan” already has experience in the company on an international scale; making her stateside AEW debut under Sakura’s rule would be a logical next step.

Nyla Rose
Photo / All Elite Wrestling

Nyla Rose – The Powerhouse of The Queen

Now it’s time to think outside of the box and beyond those Emi Sakura has a personal connection with. One such name to consider is “The Native Beast” Nyla Rose, the second-ever AEW Women’s World Champion. In addition to being a dominant former champion, as well as an agile power-based wrestler, she had a few run-ins with Sakura and even Lulu Pencil. For proof of this, look no further than social media. Rose took part in multiple Twitter interactions with Lulu Pencil, in particular, including hyping up the latter to become physically stronger by eating more meat.

Nyla Rose has made it no secret that she aims to regain the AEW Women’s World Championship. She seems to be on the right track and it doesn’t hurt that she has the savvy Vickie Guerrero by her side. However, as mentioned earlier, strength exists in numbers. Given the physical prowess that Rose boasts already, one can only imagine how much stronger she can become with Sakura and her legion at her side. Sakura may wish to look within AEW for allies and Rose is one such name to keep in mind.

Daniel Garcia
Photo / All Elite Wrestling

Daniel Garcia – The Prodigal Son

There has been perhaps no AEW star as vocal about their support for ChocoPro as Daniel Garcia. Inside of the ring, Garcia is no-nonsense, utilizing a combination of technical savvy and strike-based offense to deliver pain to his opponents. In fact, Garcia’s subdued demeanor has made him a stark yet entertaining contrast to his more boisterous, animated “fathers,” 2point0. Outside of the ring, Garcia graciously expressed an interest in competing for ChocoPro, even receiving presents from the show from Lulu Pencil herself. Though “ChocoPro USA” may be a long-term venture, who’s to say the “son” of 2point0 couldn’t find allies in Sakura’s legion in the meantime?

At 23 years old, Daniel Garcia is another potential faction member that adds youth to the group. This makes him ideal for Sakura’s legion, especially given her tried-and-tested mentoring capabilities. Garcia’s recent performances against such names as Darby Allin and CM Punk exemplified great potential. In other words, Garcia is on the cusp of greatness. Could he find this while working alongside “The Queen?” She may find that “Red Death” himself is a solid long-term addition.

Stay tuned to the Last Word on Pro Wrestling for more on this and other stories from around the world of wrestling, as they develop. You can always count on LWOPW to be on top of the major news in the wrestling world, as well as to provide you with analysis, previews, videos, interviews, and editorials on the wrestling world.  You can catch AEW Dynamite Wednesday nights at 8 PM ET on TNT and AEW Dark: Elevation (Monday nights) and AEW: Dark (Tuesday nights) at 7 PM ET on YouTube. AEW Rampage airs on TNT at 10 PM EST every Friday night.