Ryan Sakoda

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Ryan Sakoda
Sakoda in 2010
Born(1972-12-31)December 31, 1972
Tokyo, Japan[1]
DiedSeptember 2, 2021(2021-09-02) (aged 48)
Hacienda Heights, California, United States[1]
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s)Charlie Chan[1]
Keiji Sakoda[1]
Keiji Sakota[2]
Quick Cook Lee[2]
Ryan Sakoda[1]
Ryu Sakoda[2]
Billed height1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)[1]
Billed weight110 kg (243 lb)[1]
Billed fromTokyo, Japan
Trained byBill Anderson[2]
Jesse Hernandez[1][2]

Ryan Keiji Sakoda (December 31, 1972 – September 2, 2021) was a Japanese American professional wrestler. He was best known for his appearances in WWE and later Ultimate Pro Wrestling as a part-time trainer for the wrestlers, as well as working in the independents under his real name.

Professional wrestling career[edit]

Early career (1998–2003)[edit]

Before coming to WWE, Sakoda had a successful stint in the NWA Zero-One promotion in Japan, stemming from his appearances for Ultimate Pro Wrestling. During this time Sakoda often filled in as an instructor at UPW's Ultimate University, while wrestling as part of the faction Team Emblem with Japanese superstars Masato Tanaka and Shinjiro Otani.

World Wrestling Entertainment (2003–2004)[edit]

On January 6, 2003, Sakoda made his first onscreen appearance for WWE on Raw as a judge for World Heavyweight Champion Triple H and Scott Steiner's pose down under the name Charlie Chan.[3]

In September 2003, Sakoda was signed to a developmental contract, it wouldn't be long before Sakoda was brought up to SmackDown!'s main roster. He along with Akio made their WWE debuts on October 19, 2003, at No Mercy. Sakoda aligned himself with Akio, forming the heel tag team Kyo Dai, the yakuza-style henchmen of Tajiri.[4]

In August 2004, Sakoda was released from his WWE contract.[3]

Return to Independent Circuit (2005–2007)[edit]

After WWE, Sakoda returned to UPW in March 2005 as a part-time trainer and part-time auto sales executive at Worthington Ford. He made his return to full-time in-ring competition in 2007 with MTV's Wrestling Society X. Wrestling as an independent in the local mall circuit until his death, Sakoda had been working as a server for Disney at one of their Grand California Hotel restaurants.[5]

Personal life[edit]

Sakoda filed a class action lawsuit against WWE, alleging that wrestlers sustained traumatic brain injuries while wrestling for them and that the company tried to conceal that information. The suit was litigated by attorney Konstantine Kyros, who has been involved in a number of other lawsuits against WWE. In March 2016, the suit was dismissed as frivolous by Judge Vanessa Lynne Bryant.[6]


Sakoda died on September 2, 2021, at the age of 48.[7][8] His death was not announced until September 27.[9]

Championships and accomplishments[edit]


  1. ^ After the title was vacated, Samoa Joe and partner Keiji Sakoda's reign was stricken from the promotion's records.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "OWOW profile". 22 May 2023.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h "Cagematch profile".
  3. ^ a b Gamble, Andrew (2021-09-28). "Former WWE star Ryan Sakoda dies aged 48". mirror. Retrieved 2021-10-19.
  4. ^ Martin, Adam (October 19, 2003). "Full WWE No Mercy (SmackDown) PPV Results - 10/19/03 - Baltimore, MD". Wrestleview. Retrieved October 19, 2021.
  5. ^ "Former WWE star Ryan Sakoda passes away". WON/F4W - WWE news, Pro Wrestling News, WWE Results, UFC News, UFC results. 2021-09-27. Retrieved 2021-09-28.
  6. ^ Bieler, Des (July 19, 2016). "Dozens of wrestlers sue WWE over CTE, effects of traumatic brain injuries". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved July 20, 2016.
  7. ^ Johnson, Mike (September 27, 2021). "FORMER WWE & ZERO-ONE STAR RYAN SAKODA PASSES AWAY". PWInsider. Retrieved October 19, 2021.
  8. ^ Batesville, Inc. (September 2, 2021). "Ryan Keiji Sakoda - Obituary". Fukui Mortuary. Retrieved October 19, 2021. {{cite web}}: |first= has generic name (help)
  9. ^ Davis, Paul (2021-09-27). "Former WWE star Ryan Sakoda passes away". Wrestling News. Retrieved 2021-10-19.
  10. ^ "EWF Heavyweight Championship history". Archived from the original on 2007-11-23.
  11. ^ "NWA Intercontinental Tag Team Championship history".

External links[edit]