If I have to explain to you what Wrestlemania is then clearly you’re not from planet Earth. Whether you watch pro wrestling or not, Wrestlemania season has been causing pop culture shock waves since the 1980s. The 31st annual Wrestlemania will take place in a matter of days now, with plenty of festivities leading up to it, including the Hall of Fame Ceremony.
While Wrestlemania is indeed an American (Western) pop culture extravaganza, this year is a little special because Japanese pro wrestling is getting some well deserved props. Not only do we have one of the hottest Japanese wrestlers performing at Wrestlemania, but the Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will recognize and immortalize the legacy of one of the greatest Japanese performers in the history of professional wrestling.
Let’s talk about the present and future right now: Hideo Itami. This Japanese grappling striker made his debut on NXT, WWE’s developmental program, and has quickly become a must see performer. Formerly known as Kenta, this man already has a well established repertoire in Japanese wrestling industry and is right up there with the likes of Hiroshi Tanahashi and Shinsuke Nakamura as one of the top Japanese wrestling stars today. Despite being considered as a “rookie” in the WWE, Hideo Itami is a true grizzled veteran. In fact, top WWE main event stars Daniel Bryan and even CM Punk emulated their wrestling style and even their finishing manoeuvres after Hideo Itami’s impressive and ever expanding move set.
The best moments of Hideo Itami’s WWE career are ahead of him, but at Wrestlemania 31 he will have the honour of being the first NXT developmental rookie to perform at the event. Hideo Itami won a tournament to earn a spot at the second annual Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal which will take place during the Wrestlemania 31 kick-off show. Being able to perform at the biggest wrestling show of the year, especially when he’s still in the developmental program, is a pretty cool thing. Being the seasoned veteran that he is, I’m certain Hideo Itami will impress the 70000+ fans in attendance, and the millions watching worldwide.
This year the WWE’s Hall of Fame will honour the career of Tatsumi Fujinami. In Japan, this man enjoyed the popularity of Hulk Hogan and carried himself with similar suave and class as The Nature Boy Ric Flair (Wooo!!). Fujinami was quite literally a dragon in the ring, evident by his deadly Dragon Suplex and the painful Dragon Sleeper hold, both now being widely used wrestling manoeuvres that Tatsumi himself innovated. Known as one of the greatest champions in history, Tatsumi Fujinami has held the prestigious IWGP Heavyweight Championship on multiple occasions, and has even captured NWA and WWE championship gold.
Wrestlemania has become almost like a religious holiday for the SnapThirty team, and we’ll be tuning in for an unforgettable experience.