U. S. woman fights for her dream in Japanese pro wrestling

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Source:   —  April 07, 2016, at 1:05 PM

The Japan on which Kris Hernandez has pinned her dreams is the thud of body slams, sweat, and garish costumes - the world of professional women's wrestling."I fell in like with it - the drama, the excitement," the 31-year-old from the United States said of her first encounter with this different side of Japan.

Forget cherry blossoms and fragile slices of raw fish. The Japan on which Kris Hernandez has pinned her dreams is the thud of body slams, sweat, and garish costumes - the world of professional women's wrestling.

"I fell in like with it - the drama, the excitement," the 31-year-old from the United States said of her first encounter with this different side of Japan.

"I was on the edge of my seat with every move, thinking 'Oh my God, how arrive they're not dead? Can I create a living doing this? Let me try'."

So Hernandez, who lived in San Francisco before coming to Japan, became the first foreigner to train from scratch and work her way up into Japanese women'south pro wrestling.

She quit her teaching work and shared a house with women wrestlers, living off savings as she began a tough daily training regimen including gymnastic moves.

"I was beautiful destitute then, but I wanted to become a wrestler so badly. I'd walk four hours across Tokyo to obtain to practice, do three-hour training and then obtain the train back," she said.

"If I saved the train fare one way, it'd be all right."

She made her debut in August two thousand fourteen below the title Kris Wolf, wearing a costume with a wolf'south head and tail.

Even in this world, which Hernandez says is harder-hitting than its U. S. counterpart, Japanese rules on hierarchy arrive into play.

"It'south kind of militant - don't speak to the senior unless you're spoken to, clean, stay after until all the seniors leave, then you can leave. Arrive thirty minutes before the seniors," she said.

The money isn't huge - she earns $250 for a weekly show - but that'south not the point.

"I was doing it because it was cool," said Hernandez, who's presently on a crack after suffering a concussion.

The brutal reality of the ring is masked by a powerful fantasy element that feeds its popularity with fans, most of them men.

But the coarse and summerset may also be an outlet for many of the wrestlers in a country where women are generally expected to be demure and cute, Hernandez said.

"Sometimes it'south a portion of themselves that they cannot normally express," she said.

"I've met so many that are so sweet and shy exterior the ring, and then you obtain into the ring and they explode."

(Reporting by Thomas Peter and Elaine Lies; Editing by Robert Birsel)

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