Kevin Man has a little secret that he’s more than happy to share with the 150 or fellow fanatics gathered tonight in Chai Wan, but not with too many people outside this room.
About three times a year – if he’s lucky – Man gets to squeeze into tights, of either the long or far-too-short variety and trade his day job for the bright lights of the Dragon Gate Champion promotion, pounding opponents inside professional wrestling’s famed “squared circle” and, if all goes to plan, sending his fans into delirium when his arm is raised in triumph.
“But I also have a real job,” says Man, after tonight’s exertions. “We like to keep this side of our lives to ourselves.”
This past Wednesday night took us to the very fringes of the pro wrestling world as Hong Kong’s acolytes stage the first of a two-night Dragon Storm in Spring double header at Youth Square’s Y Studio and local fans – as much as the fighters – got their fix.
For most of the year, Hong Kong’s wrestlers mostly train, travel cross-border for bouts in China, or just dream of getting back under the spot light in front of the faithful.
And they are here tonight. Consider the normally mild-mannered school teacher who could be seen baying ringside with wild eyes.
He later admitted that his secret passion had been uncovered quite easily by students who now know each time their teacher comes to class having lost his voice that the wrestling must be on again.
WE LIKE TO KEEP THIS SIDE OF OUR LIVES TO OURSELVES.
It’s pure and very high drama mixed with spectacular athleticism as Hong Kong’s best take on various foes from Japan, all roundly booed on entering and leaving the ring.
It’s about as far as you can get from the bright lights – and the masses – of the WWE, but the global reach of the sport is soon revealed as a fans point to the shadowy figure of a scout from the biggest league there is in the sport, standing and watching on from high in the stands.
That Hong Kong’s very own Ho Ho Lun – first out on the fight card tonight – spent time in the WWE back in 2016-17 shows how pro wrestling continues to fulfill all kinds of fantasies.
Both Man and Lun have their colours lowered but another local hero in the veteran Jason Lee combines with Naruki Doi to get the three count from the referee in an epic against Yamato and U-T, thereby keeping the dream alive.
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