While World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) continues to make progressive strides toward gender equality with its announcement of a women’s Royal Rumble, Japanese wrestling remains regressively patriarchal, as evidenced by the disgraceful lack of a Wrestle Queendom event.
New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) hosted its annual Wrestle Kingdom event this week, to the delight of die-hard fans worldwide (97 percent of whom claimed they stayed up late to watch it live but instead ended up falling asleep and watching it via gifs on Twitter the following day).
Equal-rights activists picketed outside the Tokyo Dome, demanding that a corollary “Wrestle Queendom” event be held, but the outcry seems to have fallen on deaf, cauliflowered ears.
Japanese pro wrestling (or “puroresu,” as pretentious American fans just adore calling it in online forums) has long been a sport dominated by men, except for that one time a nine-year-old girl battled Kenny Omega (which was widely lauded as a progressive step for both women and children in wrestling).
Longtime wrestling journalist Dan Mutzler writes that “when it comes to gender equality, Japan is way behind the US, where both male and female wrestlers have equal opportunity to wear skimpy spandex outfits and play-fight for the amusement drunkenly hooting nincompoops.”