Wednesday, January 22, 2014


Check out the number of photographers and video cameras surrounding any major Japanese wrestling match, and you get the clear impression that promoters in Japan know how to stage AN EVENT. You also get a sense of the sport's importance to the fans and media. You get sharp, dramatic photos and video too, and that's a good thing because the spectacle of professional wrestling is nowhere more spectacular than in Japan.

Here we see Hiroshi Yamato, 5'9.5", 180#, in white, challenging Kai, 5'9.5#, 190#, for the AJPW World Junior Heavyweight Championship on August 12, 2012. These two wrestlers know when to be expressionless and when to emote like manga assassins. They mix "hard style" pro wrestling (stiff chops to the face and nostril-bursting kicks) with sumo-inspired throws and stances, USA-style sweat-drenched clenches against the corner ropes, and Mexican-style high flying. I love the high-pitched wails of the fans egging the wrestlers on.

Though close in size, Yamato and Kai strongly contrast in physique and attitude. Yamato is trim and nimble. Kai is round and unshakable. Yamato runs hot. Kai is cold and calculating. The match doesn't end without spilling a little blood. But for me there are the tight headlocks, the ring-corner punch-outs, and the lip-smacking pageant of Yamato's snow-white trunks and Kai's stout belly begging for a punch and a kick.

Gifs by Beautiful Stalker 

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