The 🤼 プロレス thread! Learning Japanese through pro wrestling

For a while I’ve been reading 週刊プロレス magazine and summarizing my takeaways in the extensive reading thread but I suppose I’ll move them over here, if only so I don’t have to keep tagging @fallynleaf !

It’s one more very tangible way pro-wrestling can help with learning Japanese (I remember Koichi in an article talking about kendo magazines as study material and that stuck with me), and this year it’s certainly helped me get used to reading (and skimming) non-fiction material pretty quickly - probably more than I realize. And getting to know both the voices of wrestlers I already care about, and glimpses of wrestlers I might want to follow more than I do has been pretty rewarding.

Plus there’s a maybe unearned pride in like, just subscribing to something and picking it up each week, like “HA see I OFFICIALLY can read - I have a SUBSCRIPTION” even if I am lagging behind still… I’m subscribed via Kinokuniya as a fun excuse to use more of what that store has to offer, but when that runs out I might be prudent and switch to the electronic versions.

My own interest in pro wrestling definitely started as “huh there’s a whole weird world out there I don’t know anything about, go figure” so if anyone enjoys these summaries even as mild idle curiosity I’ll selfishly be pleased - but mostly they’re just to help motivate me to churn through them!

週刊プロレス No. 2128

The issue opens with Kota Ibushi interview about his upcoming title shot in the Tokyo Dome :grimacing: this is the one he’ll have to drop out of due to a sudden illness, but as of yet it seems like there’s no indication of that.
He mentions that comparatively, Takagi is 波のない while he’s 波がある, I think meaning that Takagi is stable and controlled while Ibushi has big ups and downs, and boy he sure turned out to be right about that huh.

Tanahashi talked in his column about how the back pain from being put in a Boston Crab is nostalgic since that’s something young lions feel all the time. It sounds like to make up for dojo grads not really being able to go on excursion in the same way, they’re having series of matches with veterans, which is why Tanahashi got put in a Boston Crab recently.

Especially before I got into Stardom, I felt a lot of trepidation around all the “Cinderella” branding, because I wasn’t sure how seriously the company took the wrestler as athletes. Nowadays I’m much more confident that they are taken seriously that way, and I gotta admit - I’d be motivated to win a wrestling tournament for the chance to wear an elegant dress as much as the title shot.

Asked about how it felt to win the Cinderella tournament and wear the dress, Saya Kamitani talked about how it reminded her of her idol background in a positive way, because then no matter how hard she worked she was always put to the side but now finally she’s managed to take center stage. She also talks a lot about how in the singing/dancing/idol part of show business, it felt like she had to always be striving for perfection in an unhealthy way, but with pro-wrestling, showing flaws can be part of your appeal and so it sounds like she accepts herself a lot more. She also talks about how if it weren’t for Tam Nakano she wouldn’t have come across pro-wrestling, so she considers her 師匠, which informs why she’s chosen to challenge for Tam’s white belt rather than the red belt.

Kenoh talks about facing the Great Muta and how Muta’s strength is presence. He references a 1996 match of Muta’s vs. Hakushi where Hakushi was able to match Muta’s presence and go toe-to-toe with him, so Kenoh implies his secret plan to beat Muta is to do like Hakushi and write sutras all over himself. But then the interviewer points out in a column last year Kenoh apparently already revealed that same plan: 「ムタ戦が決まったら、四国八十八ヵ所を巡礼する。そしたら、体中にお経が浮き出てくるかもしれないぞ。名前は”拳使無双”だ!」 and reminds Kenoh that because of the pandemic it would be a bad time to make the Shikoku 88 temples pilgrimage.

There’s a big interview with Naomichi Marufuji about his recent NOAH title win - they talk about the match with Mutoh and whether or not Marufuji is a NOAH icon. He says something along the lines of like, he’s never going to surpass people like Misawa, Kobashi, or Mutoh, but now he knows it’s not about surpassing the icons of the past, but being your own star to the point that you’re that unsurpassable figure to the next generation of wrestlers.

The magazine’s hiring! So if you fit the description of 週プロで働きたいというやる気とプロレス愛に満ちた方, feel free to apply! :slight_smile:
The accompanying picture is kind of interesting:

I guess all those match recaps are written live in a dedicated press area? I never really thought about it before come to think of it…

Giulia in her column talks about that great match between Utami Hayashishita and Syuri (which I believe Giulia was on commentary for), and she heaps a lot of deserving praise on it, comparing them to greek gods. One part, about the beauty of emotion, I thought was especially well put:


She also says what she likes about Stardom is everyone pushing each other to be the best - for example, she thought she thought her match with Tam would get best bout, so now she’ll have to step up her game!

There’s a feel-good Andre the Giant story in the history column - who doesn’t love those?!
It sounds like Andre was a big star in Japan in the early 70s appearing in 国際プロレス, and when the promotion was in serious trouble of losing television rights due to low ratings (or something like that) in 1974, Andre came back to Japan for shows with them and took a much reduced payment for it out of gratitude to the promoter, Isao Yoshihara. Mighty Inoue is quoted here as saying about why Andre did that: 「彼は日本人以上に義理を大事にしていた男ですから。」

There’s an interview with Meiko Satomura about her NXT UK championship win. She describes it as a highlight of her career (though admits that she’s the type to forget about past achievements and focus on the now), and she talks about wanting to transition into coaching and raising the next generation of wrestlers.

Takumi Iroha talks about returning from injury soon, faster than expected! (in the present, she already has, but hey still nice to see).

There’s going to be a series of interviews with SEAdLINNNG wrestler Nanae Takahashi in the next few issues. I confess I mostly know her from her cute dog in that “wrestlers and their pets” column a while back, but it sounds like she’s had a really storied career, stretching back to AJW. This column talks about the last days of that promotion and how she decided whether to stay or go as it started to fold.

Rina Yamashita talks about Risa Sera, and how the latter’s deathmatch determination in the face of online criticism and the like is what’s produced this sort of deathmatch renaissance in Ice Ribbon. If there’s any two wrestlers I’d like to see wrestle more often than I get the chance to, it would likely be these two. Maybe I should look back into that Ice Ribbon niconico channel…

In Mutoh’s column, they make an interesting off-hand comparison between Japanese and American wrestling - talking about how generational rivals are a special characteristic of Japanese wrestling, where in America they tend to build up disposable wrestlers for feuds (I suppose alluding to how WWE tends to build around one big star like Hogan or Cena or Reigns and then build up and feed a cycle of lesser monsters to them) - Mutoh jokes that that wouldn’t be possible in Japan because even if you threw away a wrestler you’d have to recycle!