Akira Tozawa has ditched his ninja gimmick.
On the 11/21 "WWE Raw" in Albany, New York, Tozawa confronted WWE Hall of Famer JBL a week after his loss to Baron Corbin, jumping on the commentary table before running away with JBL’s hat. The outside distraction allowed Drew McIntyre to nail a Claymore on Corbin for the pinfall victory. During his brief appearance, Tozawa was seen sporting his old gear, which he wore for several years before introducing the ninja costume at Backlash 2020.
Furthermore, Tozawa wrestled without his ninja gear in a match against Grayson Waller at the "WWE Main Event" tapings prior to the live "WWE Raw" episode.
Later in the night, Tozawa posted a close-up shot of an enraged JBL without his hat, as seen in the tweet below.
— Akira Tozawa (@TozawaAkira) November 22, 2022
Tozawa, a former 15-time WWE 24/7 Champion and 1-time WWE Cruiserweight Champion, had teased a character change last week when he posted a photo of his ninja gear along with the caption, "Thank you."
The veteran wrestler introduced the ninja gimmick at Backlash 2020 during a segment featuring The Street Profits and The Viking Raiders, appearing with a gang of fellow ninjas on motorcycles. He would subsequently become a mainstay in WWE’s 24/7 division, pursuing the title on a weekly basis alongside the likes of R-Truth, Tamina, Dana Brooke, Reggie, and several others. Tozawa’s transition from a serious cruiserweight to a comedy relief character was widely praised by fans on social media, with many comparing him to the legendary Tajiri, whom Tozawa idolized as a young wrestler. In fact, Tajiri & Tozawa were briefly tag partners on the "WWE NXT" brand in December 2016 and had a memorable match against DIY at a live event in Japan. It remains to be seen if Tozawa is once again presented as a serious competitor on the "WWE Raw" brand.