New Japan Pro Wrestling (former) ace and possessor of the most glorious haircut he and your mom could possibly share, Hiroshi Tanahashi, was recently featured on Japanese variety show Little Tokyo Life. Tana took the time to answer one of the most obvious but rarely asked questions in pro wrestling, posed by Johnny’s West bandmember Nakama: “I feel like there is enough time to dodge moves, like those from the top rope. So, why do wrestlers always just wait?”
Seriously, why just lay there? You know what’s coming when Okada goes up top. Why not just roll a little to the left? Tanahashi explains, with the English translation courtesy of The Lion Marks.
Actually, we can dodge, obviously, but we don’t. There is a beauty in getting hit. Pro-wrestling is a sport to show one’s strength, to show you can stand up and fight, even when you get hit. We wrestlers make a match more exciting by not dodging, and letting things get heated… We want the audience to empathize with the pain we’re feeling.
He went on to reference a quote from puro legend Antonio Inoki, saying “Take nine from your opponent, win in the tenth.”
While I still think it’s a bit ridiculous when wrestlers don’t try to at least struggle out of things like an exaggerated period of time stuck in a Pedigree position, this is a really interesting way to rationalize it the next time you see someone laying in the ring waiting to take a moonsault.