I've been a big on again/off again pro wrestling fan since 1989. I've always restricted myself to American wrestling, specifically WWF/E and, during the heyday, WCW and ECW. (Because of access when I was younger, and now time that I'm older) But this 69 seconds of video makes me realize I'm really missing out by not watching any Japanese wrestling. They're on a completely different level. And I'm not just talking about an NJPW WrestleKingdom 9 match between Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Kota Ibushi in the Tokyo Dome.
Comedy has always been a part of pro wrestling. American wrestling has tried (and WWE continues to try) to incorporate it, but usually it just falls flat. It's too corny, too scripted, too lowbrow, too forced, too awkward of a fit in the grand scheme of the show.
There's a promotion in Japan called DDT that specializes in adding comedic elements to wrestling and they're absolute wizards at it. A clip from DDT went viral earlier this year where one wrestler grabbed another's package, then that guy "flexed" causing tremendous pain to the guy holding it. That's pretty good comedy wrestling. This is transcendent.
This match features a wrestler named Makoto Oishi against one named Antonio Honda. (Honda is in the one-shoulder Andre the Giant/caveman tights.) Honda has Oishi pinned, the ref counts 1... 2... but can't bring himself to count to three. Why? Have a look...
Yep, suddenly the lights dimmed and we were all transported into the ref's inner monologue, showing us the lovely afternoon he had hanging out with Oishi set to absolutely perfect music. It's not clear if the ref and Oishi are in love or just really celebrating the spirit of friendship, but either way, the time they had prevents the ref from being able to count Oishi out.
And then, while Honda is in shock, Oishi quickly rolls him up and the ref counts the pin.
I don't just wish WWE would commit THIS hard to their comedy bits. I wish all of entertainment would. I wish Saturday Night Live committed this hard. I wish every Adam Sandler movie committed this hard. I wish I could commit this hard.
Anyway, I think it's time for me to buy in to Japanese wrestling. Or, at least, go out for ice cream with some of my friends.
This post was originally published on Monday, June 27, 2016 at 11:00:00 AM under the category Sports.