Kazuchika Okada recently sat down with New Japan Pro-Wrestling to discuss his time in Mexico, and touched on a variety of topics, including the language barriers of wrestling, and more.
Check out some of the highlights below:
On potentially wrestling with a mask:
I think every wrestler has thought about it at least once. But I think it’d be really tough. The mask would restrict your vision.
On the other hand, it would be the ultimate flipping of the switch so to speak. Like watching Kamen Rider or Ultraman as a kid ‘transform!’. Of course, wrestlers can flip that switch without using a mask, but using one would really draw that clear line. Plus you could walk down the street and not get recognised (laughs).
On his memories of Mexico:
There was a real range. The tacos were delicious, though.
Over there they have a license system. You have to be licensed as a wrestler to have a match. No license, no wrestling, and if you forget to bring your license with you, you have to pay a fine. It’s strict. But the licenses cost money, so there are a lot of amateur luchadores who wrestle unlicensed.
On the language barriers he’s faced:
I can just about muddle through. I tried to study, but when i actually got over there, there wasn’t much time for anything but wrestling. Plus, I knew a few Japanese wrestlers in the area, too. What I would actually do to study was walk around the neighbourhood with a dictionary on me, and listen to the people on the street, then try and look up what they said.
On on the language barrier on America:
Oh, man, America was rough.
I didn’t have anyone to talk to. And I had computer problems. I had one old one, and one I bought special to take to America, and they both broke, within about a month of me arriving in the States.
It was hell. I didn’t know anybody nearby. The other wrestlers would only be around if they had matches. Every day I would be going to the gym by myself, going shopping by myself, and then going home, and that was it.