Back Society » Sports » [Video] The Fiery Spectacle of Vietnam's Professional Wrestling Scene

[Video] The Fiery Spectacle of Vietnam's Professional Wrestling Scene

In skimpy shorts, menacing facepaint, and sometimes even impressive props, members of the Vietnam Pro Wrestling (VPW) club engage in energetic “battles” that incorporate flying acrobatics and dynamic feats of strength.

Professional wrestling is an established performance art in its birthplace in Europe. In the United States, the formation of the World Wrestling Entertainment company turned the spectacle into a lucrative industry. Elsewhere, Mexico and Japan have also seen successful localization of wrestling events into their own leagues.

Rocky Huỳnh (in yellow) during a match.

The performance art is very new to Vietnam, mostly because not many are aware of its existence, and some are still confused by its nature. According to Rocky Huỳnh, a founding member of VPW, local pro-wrestling enthusiasts use the term “đô vật biểu diễn” to emphasize the showmanship aspect of the events. Not to be mistaken with mixed martial arts (MMA), which is a competitive combat sport, fights in professional wrestling are choreographed in advance to ensure the safety of participants.

Rocky and his team members usually craft a script beforehand, including storylines like a long-standing “beef” between him and Sid Nguyễn. The narrative is high on melodrama, with a sprinkle of cheesiness, but it is successful in attracting new viewers. Combat moves are practiced thoroughly before fights to perfect their form to be as visually appealing as possible, and to minimize injury during actual matches.

The poster for the match between Rocky and Sid.

Rocky shares that when it was first founded, the club only had five members, but after two and a half years, he’s now training the fourth cohort of performers. VPW matches are highly entertaining and, until the pandemic, were usually filled with audience members soaking in the high-adrenaline kerfuffles.

Have a glimpse into the world of local professional wrestling below:

This video feature was created by Saigon Laca in collaboration with Saigoneer.