iNDIES, iNTERNATIONAL & THE uNDERGROUND - Jan 10, 2023: Middle Kingdom Wrestling
As pro wrestling in China becomes more and more prevalent, MKW is leading the way for the industry, as it expands to new horizons
For decades, the massive nation of China hasn't exactly been known for being a hotbed of professional wrestling. Despite being home to almost 1.5 billion potential fans, sports entertainment has barely gotten past the infant stages there.
That is, until now. Since 2015, Middle Kingdom Wrestling has been establishing itself as the premier promotion in the country. Promoter Adrian Gomez essentially moved his entire life there several years ago and began to lay the foundations for his dream of running his own company.
Since then, the wrestling organization and its parent company, Tanglang Media, have made major inroads in terms of not only presenting their product but marketing it worldwide. They continue to build their brand today, and Gomez looks to move even more mountains in 2023.
While many people in the West haven’t really been able to connect with the culture of the country, Gomez feels that professional wrestling could bridge that gap. It's even indicative of the promotion's moniker. The word 'China' literally translates to 'Middle Kingdom' in the native language. MKW also borrows a lot of its themes from ancient legends and the kung-fu culture.
Adrian Gomez had his original vision of Middle Kingdom Wrestling years ago
“I went to China in 2010, pretty much on a whim, after watching it on a TV show,” Gomez recalls. “It was actually in a city called Harbin, which is in Northeast China – which is very snowy and cold.”
“ Eventually, I started thinking about what it really would take to run a wrestling company. Still, I never got really all that serious about it then. But I did have that bug in me before I went to China.”
When that bug finally bit, Gomez not only had to secure stars and venues, but he also began exploring ways to stream MKW's shows on various platforms. While the company continues to grow, Gomez reflected on how things took off rather quickly.
"By May 2015, I started putting everything together. I opened a website. I started registering the company and doing all the things I needed to do to start promoting wrestling in China.”
“When the word got around that we were opening a wrestling company (here), the ball start moving quite a bit."
MKW is establishing homegrown talent, as Chinese athletes stake their claim as sports entertainment superstars
Billed as 'The Best Professional Wrestling in China', it's hard to argue with MKW over that tagline. Stars such as Black Mamba, The Slam, Wangtao, and several others are groundbreakers. They're writing a huge history of the business in the country.
"I would say Black Mamba would be one of your top guys. Wangtao is a very young wrestler with lots of potential. They are both featured a lot. Junjie is another one who is very impressive. We also have Mascaras, a Chinese wrestler who wrestles like a Mexican luchador.” “
Those are a few guys who stick out. Also, our current champion, ColdRay. He’s very impressive. I would say he really gets it, in terms of his promos and his facial expressions. That’s why we feature him so much because he’s such a great storyteller.”
In 2023 and beyond, MKW will focus on presenting its product to the world
The promotion has been a bit hamstrung over the last couple of years due to the COVID epidemic, as restrictions in China have been very tight. Still, Gomez says that as the clouds start to lift, he sees big things on the horizon.
"Right at the end of 2017, we realized we had built up a pretty big audience. And we were like, ‘Okay, let’s try to sell tickets now’. That eventually led to selling exclusive rights to the live streams of the show. That really helped to grow MKW. It’s helped us get our name out there even more.”
“I really believe that as wrestling continues to establish itself in China, we look to integrate both of them together. And we don’t just put on wrestling shows. We promote a lot of different things – art, music, slogans, that's wrestling-related and aimed at a Chinese audience.”
The story of professional wrestling is just being written now, and those scrolls are in the hands of Adrian Gomez right now. His company, Middle Kingdom Wrestling, stands at the ready to revolutionize wrestling in an important part of the world. Right now, people from all around the globe should be paying attention to what they do next.