I have been moderately irritated by Jerry Lawler’s commentary on WWE for the past few months now, ever since AJ Styles returned to the company. But the 5 May 2016 edition of Smackdown just made my blood boil again, all thanks to Lawler. During the entrance of Karl Anderson, Luke Gallows, and AJ Styles, Lawler made a remark to his colleague Mauro Ranallo:
“Who cares about Japanese wrestling?”
I’m not sure whether Lawler’s comments are genuine, or if he is just playing the role of a heel commentator — someone who intentionally puts down the faces and supports the heels. Regardless, such remarks are borderline insulting, because there is one famous Japanese wrestler currently on NXT: Shinsuke Nakamura.
Look, if you don’t watch anything other than WWE, that’s fine (and very sad). But don’t insult the dedication and passion of the fans who have made YEARS of effort to follow other promotions. Every single one of the spectators in the arena who cheered Nakamura when he made his debut at NXT Takeover Dallas — you are insulting them, Lawler. Every wrestler on the WWE roster who has wrestled before in Japan (Styles, Anderson & Gallows, Finn Balor, Samoa Joe, Sami Zayn — even Hulk Hogan once challenged for the IWGP Heavyweight title in Japan back in the 1980s, for crying out loud), you are indirectly insulting their careers, Lawler.
I have been pondering for months now, on whether I should attend New Japan Pro Wrestling’s G1 Climax tournament in mid-August. I could watch the finals on live-streaming in the comfort of my bedroom, but nothing beats a live experience. I really want to watch a Japanese pro wrestling event live. Thank you Lawler, for finally pushing me over the edge with your ignorant comments.
I care about Japanese wrestling because I love pro wrestling. You should give it a try Lawler. Step out of your WWE bubble and have a taste of what you’ve been missing all these decades.
And thank you Mauro Ranallo, for your excellent commentary. I can tell that you too, are a huge fan of puroresu.