Former WWE star Ryan Sakoda has passed away at the age of 46.
The circumstances surrounding Sakoda’s death have not been made public at the time of writing. An obituary posted on the Fukui Mortuary website states that he passed away on September 2, 2021.
A private family viewing was reportedly held for Sakoda’s loved ones at Fukui Mortuary on an unknown date.
As per the obituary:
Ryan attended Glen A. Wilson High School and was an All-League linebacker. He fulfilled his childhood dream of becoming a professional wrestler with WWE under the name ‘Keiji’.
He also wrestled for NWA Zero One in Japan. He attended Cal State Long Beach and was a member of the Alpha Chi Phi fraternity.
At the time of his passing, it’s understood that Sakoda had been working at a restaurant in Disney’s Grand California Hotel.
Tributes have poured in for Tokyo-born Sakoda, who appeared in Zero1, Ultimate Pro Wrestling and MTV’s Wrestling Society X during his career.
Sakoda’s very first onscreen appearance for WWE on Raw was on January 6, 2003, which saw him appear a judge for Heavyweight Champ Triple H and Scott Steiner’s posedown under the pseudonym Charlie Chan.
By September 2003, Sakoda had been signed up to a developmental contract, and soon earned himself a place on SmackDown!’s main roster; acting as one of Tajiri’s henchmen in 2003 and 2004, alongside Jimmy Wang Yang.
WWE official and producer Adam Pearce wrote:
Godspeed, Ryan ‘Keiji’ Sakoda. Always a good brother to me and one of the first to welcome me when I first moved to CA. Rest well, my friend.
Fellow WWE star Paul London wrote:
Heart is hurting by the sudden passing of Ryan Sakoda. From our time in OVW to Smackdown he was always able to make me laugh like none other. His impressions hysterical & his smile contagious. Met Ryan in 2001 at UPW & he was always a friend. Grateful for the moments. R.I.P
As well as parents Ronney and Colleen Sakoda and siblings Kelley (Cliff) Ikeda and Brett (Shelly) Sakoda, Sakoda also leaves behind his nephews and nieces: Kaylee; Brendan; Cammy; and Nicholas.
The nephew of Jimmy and Akemi Sakoda, Gary and Irene Sumida, and Ray and Carolyn Funatsu, Sakoda reportedly also ‘had many cousins’.
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