Grappling Stars! Building a Wrestling Federation of Anime Characters

Fantastical heroes pitted against sinister foes in a gripping exhibition of theatre. One shall fall, where another rises to become a champion of the people. Colourful temperaments and attire, daring gusto in the face of a crisis, and a whole slew of catchphrases…

Am I talking about anime, professional wrestling, or a misspent Saturday night with an offbeat friend who plays the glockenspiel while wryly referring to themselves in the third person? Any of the above could be true, but for now, we’re focussing on the first two: the overlaps between anime and professional wrestling.

With so many bombastic dispositions on display, your favourite anime stars would fit right into the world of the WWE. A wrestling federation is only as good as your champions however, so you’ve got to be tactical when deciding who will brandish those belts of gold.

For World Wrestling Day, I brainstormed a few suitable candidates for some of this imaginary federation’s most coveted titles! I assure you, they’re theoretically very prestigious.

Are you ready? Let’s get sweaty!

Men’s champion: Genzo Shibata | Kemono Michi: Rise Up!

You couldn’t create a fictional anime wrestling federation without showcasing the mighty Animal Mask. To even attempt such scandal is to suffer a crushing German suplex into the dirt. My spine hurts just from getting out of bed, so I shan’t risk this punishment.

Genzo Shibata is precisely the kind of victor ludorum you want as the (baby)face of your company. He’s buff, courageous and passionate; friend to fauna big and small. He may be a bit clueless at times, and quick to jump to conclusions — as anyone who speaks ill of animals is soon to discover — but he’ll never back down from a chance to snuggle a strange beast.

Even better, he comes complete with a trusty canine sidekick, Hiroyuki, who assists him in the ring while looking too darned cute for words. If Genzo’s brash nature isn’t to your liking, you sure can’t argue with the marketability of a doggo!

Despite this, his reign will probably come to an untimely end the moment he’s distracted by a fluffy critter. Just wave a kitten in his face before nailing him with a cheap shot if you’re after that championship belt! …Or would that only make him stronger?

Kemono Michi: Rise Up!

Pro Wrestling and Animals in a Fantasy World!

Professional wrestler and animal lover Shibata Genzo is suddenly summoned to another world. Greeted by a princess, she requests to get rid of the evil beasts roaming in this world. Outraged that he was asked to kill monsters, Genzo German suplexes the princess. Unable to get back to Earth, he decides to live a peaceful life and manage a “monster” pet shop.

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Women’s champion: Rio Kazama | Wanna Be the Strongest in the World

In the same way an isekai anime that features a pro wrestler was a natural choice for one champion, I couldn’t pass up on this fan service hit for the next.

The protagonist of Wanna Be the Strongest in the World, Sakura Hagiwara, may be the fabled joshi queen capable of changing the industry, but for the champion of my federation I opted for someone tougher, meaner, and I daresay, a great deal more shameless.

Rio Kazama, to put it bluntly, does not have time for your nonsense. She will absolutely wreck your stuff, locking you in an array of submission holds that break your bones and your pride in equal measure. Indeed, she’s the one who set the wheels in motion for the plot of this anime in the first place, and in that sense, you could say she’s the true heroine, right?

…Nah, that’s a stretch more gratuitous than the ones Rio puts her foes in. She is a heel, through and through, and fans won’t know whether to cheer, boo or flee in terror. Idols best stay well away.

Wanna Be the Strongest in the World

Sexy idols step into the ring!

The eye-popping world of women’s professional wrestling is sweaty, sadistic, and savagely sexy. Famous Japanese pop idol Sakura Hagiwara is better suited for the dance floor than the wrestling ring, but this ravishing songstress is about to put her body to the ultimate test.

When she and fellow idol Elena are assigned to pose as wrestlers for a very special show, a vicious lady brawler by the name of Rio decides to teach the girls a lesson they won’t soon forget. Rio unleashes a flurry of ferocious attacks on Elena, contorting her divine female form into an array of very naughty positions. Shocked by the blush-inducing beating taken by her friend, Sakura vows to get her heavenly curves ready to rumble and redeem the good name of idols everywhere by becoming a bona fide diva of the pro-wrestling world!

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Tag team champions: Red Blood Cell and White Blood Cell | Cells at Work!

White Blood Cell (aka U-1146 or Neutrophil) and Red Blood Cell (aka AE3803 or the one who gets lost all the time) make for quite the dynamic duo. He selflessly defends the body from fearsome viruses and bacteria, and she delivers important cargo after a detour or two. In a wrestling ring, they’d be… desperately outmatched as they’re microscopic. But if the fight ever came onto their turf, they’d be… well, half outmatched.

Certainly, Red Blood Cell is a hapless competitor, but as long as she never has to tag in, they’d do quite fine. She has the charisma and spirit to be a real hit on the mic, making up for White Blood Cell’s more rigid personality.

In turn, he will stop at nothing to claim victory, and with that in mind, it’s feasible that they’ll hang onto the gold for a long, long time. You’d have to put a few ground rules in place, of course; namely, he cannot wield his trusty knife, as it would result in far too many grievous injuries for his opponents.

That being said, in most cases titles don’t change hands in a disqualification. Could his trademark brand of stabbing actually prove to be a brilliant tactic? Or is he merely murdering everyone?!

Cells at Work!

This is a story about you. A tale about the inside of your body…

According to a new study, the human body consists of approximately 37 trillion cells. These cells are hard at work every day within a world that is your body. From the oxygen carrying Red Blood Cells to the bacteria fighting White Blood Cells, get to know the unsung heroes and the drama that unfolds inside of you!

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Lightweight champion: Shiro | Deadman Wonderland

From the moment you first meet her, Shiro is a lot to take in. She has a whimsical, childlike quality to her, offset by peerless athleticism and an air of mystery. Interpreting deadly situations as a wonderful game, her powers are just as enigmatic as her origin.

She has all of the makings of an unbeatable lightweight champion, practically impervious to damage and capable of acts of massive destruction. Best of all, she probably wouldn’t even be aware that she’s in a fight, whirling and pivoting in a graceful display of utter obliviousness. Look, if two invisible men can have a match (and yes that’s a thing that has happened in professional wrestling), Shiro being the lightweight champion isn’t that much of a stretch.

All you have to do is convince her that, whatever contest is going on, it will be wonderful fun, and the prize is a shiny golden belt. Failing that, some kind of snack will suffice, though ideally you wouldn’t want people to perceive one of your championships as less valuable than a red bean bun.

Deadman Wonderland

The most twisted prison ever built

Ganta is the only survivor after a mysterious man in red slaughters a classroom full of teenagers. He’s framed for the carnage, sentenced to die, and locked away in the most twisted prison ever built: Deadman Wonderland. And then it gets worse.

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Hardcore champion: Letty | Dragon Goes House-Hunting

I’ll be perfectly transparent: this one is solely for my own amusement.

Spend ten seconds with Letty the red dragon, and it will become apparent that he has no combat acumen whatsoever. In addition, he’s a coward and a crybaby who always seems to find himself in danger, and it’s quite likely he would have died several times over had Dearia not been by his side.

Perhaps inserting him into the chaotic world of hardcore wrestling would give him exactly the boost he needs, then; a style which employs the use of all kind of obscure weaponry to come out on top. The idea of a hulking dragon wielding rubbish bins and stop signs with all of the poise and mettle of the great Norman Smiley is enough to inspire bards from across the lands.

頑張って Letty! You can do it!! Just… stop hiding underneath the ring, we all know you’re down there, dude.

Dragon Goes House-Hunting

This Dragon is on the Hunt!

When a dragon fails to live up to the fearsome standards set for him, his family kicks him out. He embarks on a quest to find a new home but soon finds that life on the road is no place for a cowardly beast of legend. In a fantasy world full of elves, dwarves, and other mythical creatures, where everyone wants a piece of him – literally! – the frustrations of house-hunting reach a whole new level.

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This barely scratches the surface, and one practically quivers with excitement while imagining all of the potential for compelling angles, shocking heel turns and the occasional one-hour Broadway.

Which AnimeLab brawlers would you have as champions of your pro wrestling league? Let us know in the comments, and remember that removing the turnbuckle pads rarely works out as you’d hope… so don’t try it!!

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