The Future of Joshi series is an effort to highlight the best, young talent in Joshi pro wrestling for fans to keep an eye on in 2023 and beyond. Led by Scott Edwards, a number of Joshi podcasters, writers, and fans took part in hyping up the best young talent from the scene as 15 wrestlers will be highlighted as well as honorable mentions. Our next name in the series is Maya Fukuda of GLEAT!

Maya Fukuda

Watching someone learn on the fly is always entertaining. Watching someone gain their confidence despite having all the skills to be great is even better. That’s what we’ve seen over the last year with Maya Fukuda.

Ever since debuting in GLEAT, the 22-year-old has shown the makings of being a special talent but it’ll all depend on how this year goes. Fukuda, trained by Actwres girl’Z (AWG) before making her way to  GLEAT, has become the face of the promotion’s UWF division on the women’s side of things. The unfortunate part of this is that it’s all she has done, not competing in a non-UWF match since exiting AWG last March.

But it’s not something that will hold her back by any means. Hopefully, it’ll allow her to be all the more unique in her skillset with the hopes that one day she’s taking part in normal Joshi matches before 2023 is over.

Read why Ethan believes that Fukuda’s potential can reach the likes of a Syuri based on the style.

Maya Fukuda has gone through one of the most captivating journeys in recent memory around the Joshi wrestling scene. Ever since she joined GLEAT we could always visually feel her growth in self-confidence as well as her in-ring ability while we also got some rivalries along the way like Fukuda versus Chihiro Hashimoto, her senior Michiko Miyagi or her recent bouts against Mika Iwata.

If you combine such an epic journey in self-confidence with some of the best kick strikes that there are in the game, then you have one of the most exciting young women’s wrestlers in the entire planet, if you like people like Miyu Yamashita or Syuri then you will love what the Gumna karateka does inside of the squared circle.

There are plenty of young wrestlers to be excited about nowadays, but if you’re looking for someone that feels authentic and that truly loves the art of wrestling, then keep an eye out for Maya Fukuda! – Ethan Vieira (@Ethan__Vieira)

Check out more from Ethan about Maya Fukuda here.

To follow what Ethan had to say regarding the thoughts of liking Yamashita or Syuri and becoming a fan of Fukuda — if she stays with pro wrestling, she can be as special as either of them. That’s a heavy statement based on where they are right now as two of the best in the world. But if she develops and strives forward, anything is possible. The kicks are lightning fast and the grappling game continues to improve. She’s only had a handful of competitors not named Michiko Miyagi to compete against but as we’ve seen in those matches, they’re the perfect test.

Chihiro Hashimoto has forced Fukuda to her limits on more than one occasion and best highlights the changes Fukuda has made between her debut and her return to GLEAT. The match against Mika Iwata in October was another great test and arguably the match that helped her earn some confidence.

Maya Fukuda is an interesting case where you see a UWF-style kicker learning on the job with each of her matches. Maya keeps improving her selling and striking/grappling with each match in GLEAT. From when I first saw her I knew this would be a project for GLEAT of having her show up more and more for each match and the story of her way to her first win was very engaging to follow in 2022.

Maya is one year into her career and has already become the main part of the GLEAT roster going in 2023. It will be interesting to see how she does when she starts doing normal matches and not just UWF matches. – Sondre Bjorn (@SondreBjorn)

At G PROWRESTLING Ver. 39, Fukuda would face off with Michiko Miyagi once again. The last time these two had faced off, the 22-year-old was so close to earning her first win before coming up short in the end. At Ver. 39, she wasn’t going to fall. She was able to knock out Miyagi, earning the win that could help her turn the tide on her career and has. The work is paying off and it’s why she is on this list.

Admittedly, Fukuda is the most unique name on this list. She doesn’t have a long time in the business nor many wins. She wrestles a unique style in that the majority of her matches have the UWF stipulation. But the potential is there for greatness and it’s why keeping an eye on her as part of the Future of Joshi series fits so well.

2023 is the year she not only wins more but grows as a pro wrestler. And as GLEAT grows, she will all the more.

Keep your eyes on Maya Fukuda!

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