A former WWE writer has accused Vince McMahon of “cultural ignorance” and says that’s the main reason Japanese stars have struggled to find success in WWE.
Some of the most prominent names in wrestling history have been Japanese stars, with the likes of Rikidozan, Giant Baba, Antonio Inoki, and Mitsuharu Misawa all household names in their native land.
However, when it comes to WWE, Japanese stars haven’t always found success easy to come by. Indeed, only three Japanese-born wrestling stars have been inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame outside of the recent Legacy wing.
Names such as Tatsumi Fujinami, Tajiri, Taka Michinoku, Aja Kong, Genichiro Tenryu, KENTA, Asuka, KUSHIDA, and Shinsuke Nakamura have all competed in WWE rings to various degrees of success. The most successful Japanese star in WWE history is undoubtedly Asuka who can boast wins of the NXT, Raw, SmackDown, and WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships.
Speaking on his Wrestling with Freddie podcast, ex-WWE writer and Hollywood actor Freddie Prinze Jr. gave his take on why he feels Japanese stars have had limited success in the promotion:
“I have an honest answer, but I feel like when dirt sheets pull it from our podcast, it’s gonna come off like brutal and rough. The funny answer is… Oh well, it’s just super racist.”
Prinze Jr. went on to explain that he doesn’t think WWE is inherently racist but that former boss Vince McMahon had some cultural ignorance:
“It’s just a cultural ignorance. Vince always felt … if English isn’t their first language, the American fan is always going to look at them as a heel, and if they are a babyface, [McMahon] wanted them to be funny and goofy.”
Vince McMahon has been defended by WWE Hall of Famer Road Dogg for the ex-WWE boss’ penchant for banning certain words from WWE television.