Click here for this week’s full recap, or keep reading for some supplemental thoughts on Lord Tensai!
This is Lord Tensai. He’s a white guy who used to wrestle in WWE as Prince Albert, then in Japan as Giant Bernard. Now he’s back in WWE as Lord Tensai, with a face covered in Japanese symbols, a Japanese manservant and Asian Mist that he spits on his hand to rub in opponents’ faces, causing “impaired vision.” He’s also everything that I love about professional wrestling.
He skirts a fine line between homaging Japanese culture and wearing yellow-face, but personally, I think Lord Tensai is on the right side of things. I love that WWE is playing off the real-life background of the wrestler whose mama named him Matt Bloom, while also exaggerating his time spent in Japan to be some type of life-altering experience that netted him his very own Japanese assistant and the secret of my favorite wrestling move ever this week (Asian Mist, natch). It’s this hyperbolic style of reality that wrestling does best, and when it does it well, there’s kind of nothing better.
Also, it certainly doesn’t hurt that Tensai is absolutely incredible in the ring. What I like most about his work between the ropes is that it’s so different from what we see on a regular basis. Tensai doesn’t work like anyone else currently in the company, but it’s not just his impressive, fascinating, unique arsenal of moves (the aforementioned mist, running senton, face-claw) – there’s also something very different about the pacing of his matches, which can most likely be chalked up to the Japanese influence in his work. It’s an entirely different feel from what the rest of WWE’s FCW and/or OVW-trained roster brings to the table, and I’m thrilled that he’s back in the company.