As I said time and time again (or once?), I like professional wrestling. In a sense, it can’t be helped because about 45 years ago, when I was a young kid, professional wrestling was one of the most popular entertainments of the time. We didn’t have the Internet nor video games so we played with real games like board games. We didn’t have wide variety of sports and we were too young to enjoy sports that require perseverance to enjoy them like Sumo wrestling. Baseball and professional wrestling were two major sports mainstreams of the time.
At that time, Japanese people enjoyed Japanese wrestlers beat the heck out of the American (or there were Middle Eastern villains for that matter) wrestlers. I heard that American people enjoyed American wrestlers beat the heck out of Japanese wrestlers.
Now I watched NTX Takeover. NXT is a minor league of WWE, World Wrestling Entertainment. I once stopped watching professional wrestling but when I went to the U.S. as a chaperone to my students and stayed in Kentucky, I happened to watch the Undertaker, the rookie at the time, in one of the WWE matches (WWF at that time) and I loved their story telling skills. I kind of watched WWE ate the corner of my eyes. Anyway, in this NXT show, both men’s and women’s champions were Japanese. A female champion was Asuka, who has two-colored hair that reminds me of some characters from modern manga. A male champion is Shinsuke Nakamura, a tall lanky fellow who is even taller than the opponent Canadian wrestler (Japanese people are considered small and agile but it is not so, either). But above all, what blew my mind was actually the fact that the fans in the arena were rooting for those two Japanese wrestlers than they rooted for their opponents. One is from Canada and the other from Texas. Asuka is a grey character but as for Nakamura, actually he is a good guy, not a bad guy, which was different from a score of years ago, when the Japanese wrestlers cannot be nothing but villains. He represents fans and the champion, Bobby Roode, plays a character built on Donald Trump. Roode in his interview declared, “NTX is about Bobby Roode, the glorious,” whereas Nakamura challenged and claimed, “NTX is not about Bobby Roode but it is about the fans.” Well, Asuka won and Nakamura lost, which might mean that he will be heading for the even larger stage, WWE after Tomorrow’s Wrestlemania because there is an equation that wrestlers who have succeeded in NXT are defeated when there is a WWE call-up, The rumor has it that legends like Goldberg and the Undertaker may retire after this year’s Wrestlemania. Wether be it true or false, WWE definitely needs a little pick-me-up).
Either way, as I watched young fans shouting the names of two Japanese “hero and heroine,” I thought to myself, “This is a new age. There are still many people who cannot help judging other people by the traditional criteria like their nationalities, their age, their sexual orientations, or all the other backgrounds but there are people who judge other people by who they are.”
I want all the borders gone. As a result of unexpected events, I am kind of stuck in a local city in Japan but I want to live with using English (I try to spend less time using Japanese and spend as much time using American English as humanly possible.
That’s the bottom line because S…. says so. (Do you know whose favorite line this is?)