Where it’s OK to be an A-hole: Inside Singapore’s weird world of wrestling (Video)

Life can be very stressful in Singapore, where some have taken to wrestling with their frustrations (literally) inside the ring to get away with being the worst versions of themselves. 

For our latest Coconuts TV special, we interviewed wrestlers and superfans to find out more about this brewing subculture in Singapore. Since its formation in 2012, the Singapore Pro Wrestling Federation has been attracting larger crowds — from dozens at its start to now hundreds.

One of them is Singapore’s first pro-wrestler Andreuw Tang — known as The Statement — who proudly claims himself one hell of a “trash talker” and “anti-hero.”

“I’m the bad guy that fans love to hate and the fans hate to love,” the 30-year-old tells Coconuts TV’s Jacqueline Raposo. “But it’s OK … I just want to make a statement on everyone’s mind. I want to be an asshole in real life, but I can’t do it, right? So I just do it inside the ring.”

Andreuw Tang aka The Statement.
Andreuw Tang aka The Statement.

Singapore’s first female pro-wrestler, 24-year-old Alexis Lee, enjoys inhabiting her dark, skull-faced character as she gets to be mean to people while coping with being a victim of bullying.

“In real life, you can’t be too much of a dick and an asshole, but in the ring, I just don’t care much,” she said. “Whatever it takes to win, I’ll try and do my best. Even if that means I might have to play dirty.”

Alexis Lee getting ready for the ring.
Alexis Lee gets ready for the ring.

Lee decided to join wrestling after a rough day with bullies at school.

“I just got home, and I got so pissed off one day,” Lee says. “I wanted to fight back my bullies. I just sat and watched wrestling [and said] ‘I’m going to do that’.”

Her other goal is to win the Queen of Asia title currently held by Japan’s Riho.

Aside from these mean wrestlers, Singaporeans here love to watch wrestling because of its local flavor – from the use of Singlish to the relatable narratives.

The audience at the wrestling event in Singapore.
The audience at a wrestling event in Singapore.

“[Wrestling] is one of the events where I truly see social cohesion. Where the Chinese, the Indians, the Malays, all get together and have a good laugh,” said G & B Comics store owner Bernard Ang, 38.

“For example, when you see one of the characters, Dr. Gore, when he comes to the ring in his medical outfit, there are fans chanting names of local hospitals like Khoo Teck Puat or Tan Tock Seng, then everybody just has a good laugh.”

Another fan we met at a wrestling event said: “It’s nice to see that it’s not only wrestling in Singapore but wrestling that’s not shy with its Singaporean roots. The flavor is there, there is a lot of Singlish, there is a lot of local slang in the storytelling and even in the actions itself.”

Watch the full mini-documentary:

 

Related story:
The quest for acceptance with Singapore’s LARPers

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