Tam Nakano opens up about knee injury, considered retirement

Photo Courtesy: World Wonder Ring STARDOM

Nakano considered stepping away from the ring. 

Dating back to early October, Tam Nakano has been sidelined with a knee injury. At the time of her injury, she was the World of Stardom Champion. A month later, the title was vacated and a new champion is going to be crowned on December 29th at STARDOM Dream Queendom. 

Nakano was the recipient of the Women’s Grand Prize (MVP) honor in the 2023 Tokyo Sports Awards. She was interviewed by Tokyo Sports and opened up about her knee injury. Tam was bedridden for a month and stated that the slightest of movements would bother her. 

There were points when she thought about wrestling and became emotional. After a month of wearing a knee brace, she felt like she could not move her knee much. She kept thinking about what people were saying about her on social media. It got to a point where she felt she could no longer take the criticism. 

I was bedridden for a month after injuring my knee. Even the slightest movement hurt so much that I couldn’t sleep at night, and I cried when I thought about pro wrestling. A month later, when I took off the brace on my knee, I felt like I couldn’t move. At that moment, everything that had been so tense suddenly snapped. Every day, I was told, ‘You’re not a champion. Give it back. Quit already!’ I kept having a press conference in my head where I kept refuting what people were saying about me on social media, and I thought, I can’t do this anymore.

Following up on that, Nakano said she thought about retirement. She called STARDOM Executive Producer Rossy Ogawa and expressed that she wanted to give the World of Stardom Championship back. She was scared to get in the ring and did not want to get hurt again, but she received a great deal of support from a lot of people. 

Yes (I thought about retirement). I called Mr. Ogawa and said, ‘Please let me give it back. I can’t continue. I want to quit.’ I was afraid to wrestle, I was scared of getting hurt and I seriously thought about quitting. But many people cared about me, and fans gave me warm encouragement.

Nakano went on to share that Nanae Takahashi reached out and took her to the beach. She also received support from Kairi Sane, who informed Nakano that she could speak to her about anything. She mentioned in the interview that Saori Anou and Natsupoi were supportive as well.

Recently, Nanae Takahashi contacted me and took me to the beach with her, and Kairi (Sane) also contacted me and said, ‘It’s okay. You can tell me anything you want…’ I really felt that STARDOM is an organization where everyone loves and supports each other.

As far as an update on her knee, Nakano said it’s improved to the point where she can go on about her every day life, but it still hurts to do deep squats. Tam added that she’s been training to strengthen her knees. 

It has improved to the point where I can go about my daily life (Nakano said about her knee). But it still hurts too much to squat deeply. So recently, I have been training at the gym in the morning and at night to strengthen my knee, so that I can hit kicks sharper than before.

During the chat, she expressed that she feels bad she was not able to give Suzu Suzuki a shot at the World of Stardom Championship. 

She hopes that when Suzu and Maika go one-on-one for the vacant title, Suzu comes out on top and then she’ll hopefully get to face a healthy Tam Nakano. 

About Andrew Thompson 8465 Articles
A Washington D.C. native and graduate of Norfolk State University, Andrew Thompson has been covering wrestling since 2017.