WWE legend Tajiri- 'The popularity of pro wrestling has declined in Japan' (Exclusive)
They say that pro wrestling is a universal language, but truth be told, the art of pro wrestling interviews often hits many roadblocks because of certain language barriers. Thanks to Indian pro wrestler Baliyan Akki, who's enjoyed a stint in Japan and is hence fluent in the language, we at Sportskeeda are able to converse with legends from the 'Land of the Rising Sun'.
We were thrilled to be able to connect with 'The Japanese Buzzsaw' Tajiri, someone whom you may remember from his stints in both WWE and ECW, in addition to his fantastic career in Japan, of course. What we learned during the course of this interview is that when Tajiri isn't wrestling, he is a doctor!
When Tajiri is asked if now is the best time to be a pro wrestler, he offers a very interesting take:
"Well, it may be different elsewhere in the world. The popularity of pro wrestling has declined in Japan. In the '80s and '90s everyone was familiar with what was happening in the wrestling world. Not just pro wrestling fans. It was a spectacle for everyone. It was entertainment for everyone."
Tajiri believes that casual fans don't watch wrestling anymore. It's just a select group of hardcore fanatics:
"Now there are a lot of hardcore fans but the general population has been separated from wrestling."
Tajiri thinks that the wrestling landscape of today is very different, where there are fewer fans and more promotions competing for them. He offers his words of wisdom from his medical clinic:
"Yes, it is very hard to get new fans interested in wrestling now. There is a set amount of fans and everyone competes for them."
What Tajiri has learned from a career that has spanned many decades is that character is paramount when it comes to connecting with fans:
"Well, my focus was always my character. Everyone, everywhere understands characters. If you can showcase your character everywhere in the world and treat it with the utmost priority, people can connect with you. Yes, they can relate with you, understand and react to you."
Little wonder then, that Tajiri's longevity in the world of pro wrestling is the stuff of legend.