Last Word With Adrian Gomez, Promoter of Middle Kingdom Wrestling in China

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It seems like sports entertainment is in all of the farthest reaches of the globe now. However, in the massive nation of China, this hasn’t been the case until recently. In that short timespan, Middle Kingdom Wrestling has been leading a Red Dragon revolution of sorts in the ring.

Adrian Gomez, the man behind MKW, had a great vision for what’s possible in a nation with a massive population and rich history like China. 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.

Founded in June 2015, Middle Kingdom Wrestling has made a slow climb to be a premier promotion. In essence, they have the opportunity to be the ‘WWE of China,’ the brand name that is most associated with the product. Especially if they acknowledge the culture, which Gomez has been respectfully happy to embrace.

That starts with the promotion’s name, even. The word “China” literally means “middle kingdom” in Chinese.

But it certainly doesn’t end there. Gomez has an overall vision for MKW that could open a lot of doors for the industry in this historical Asian nation. He believes Middle Kingdom Wrestling could be the company that links the Chinese audience to a whole new form of entertainment.

In an Exclusive Interview, Middle Kingdom Wrestling Promoter Adrian Gomez Offered His Thoughts on His Company and the Potential of the Industry in China

Gomez began by explaining to Last Word on Pro Wrestling how he ended up in China and where the roots of MKW took hold.

“I went to China in 2010, pretty much on a  whim, after watching it on a television show with Anthony Bourdain,” Gomez recalls. “It was actually in a city called Harbin, which is in Northeast China – which is very snowy and cold.”

“It was very fascinating, but I admit, I had never heard of the city before. But, it had a lot of Russian architecture, which looked very interesting.”

“So I just decided: You know what? I’m just going to go. I got a job as an English teacher, and that’s how I ended up over there.”

Gomez Says His Longtime Thoughts of Becoming Part of the Pro Wrestling Industry Began to Really Take Shape When He Got to China

“I had always had the idea of wanting to do something in wrestling,” he said. “I was a big fan of independent wrestling, and around 2005, I started going to local wrestling shows. Obviously, when WWE was in town, I would go there. But I always attended the local wrestling events.”

“I started asking the promoter(s) what it would take to run a wrestling. Basically, trying to get in his head. Also, basically, showing up early and seeing if they needed help setting up chairs or anything like that. Just trying to be there, and get myself more acquainted with people in the wrestling business.”

“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.”

“Once I got to China, despite all the culture shock and the excitement of being in a new country, I still had that wrestling bug inside me.”

Gomez Made Wrestling a Reality in China When He Launched Middle Kingdom Wrestling

“In early 2015, (launching the promotion) was my whole life,’ Gomez said. “That’s pretty much how it got started. 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 in China, the ball start moving quite a bit.”

Although They Will Bring In Talent From All Over the World, There’s Plenty of Homegrown Talent in MKW

Today, standouts like Black Mamba, Wangtao, The Slam, and others have developed their own style. It consists of a form of American wrestling, mixed with many aspects of Chinese culture. There is a kung-fu element to its storylines. However, Gomez says that the goal of the company is to provide a wide range of characters.

“The Chinese wrestlers that were initially introduced to me – quite a bit of them already had wrestling experience,” Gomez said. “So, they weren’t the most ‘green’ of guys. They had wrestled already a number of matches in front of a crowd for some other wrestling start-ups in China.” 

“There had been a few other companies (at the time), but they kind of fizzled out. So a lot of these guys already had experience with them. And also? A lot of the foreign wrestlers had also taken part in those start-ups.”

“I would say Black Mamba would be one of your top guys. Wangtao, a very young wrestler with lots of potential. They are both featured a lot. Junjie is another one who is very impressive. We also 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.”

Looking Back at How Far Middle Kingdom Wrestling Has Come, Gomez Is Optimistic About the Future

“We have come very far. In the first two years, we actually didn’t sell any tickets. We were doing shows in front of live audiences in shopping malls. Or, open shows at gyms.”

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 is wrestling-related and aimed at a Chinese audience.”

“My ultimate goal is for MKW to be a symbol of Chinese soft power that is worth exporting around the world.”

He Sees MKW Growing Into an Industry Leader in the Orient

Adrian Gomez believes that Middle Kingdom Wrestling can break down the wall that’s been built between sports entertainment and the nation of China. If his vision becomes a reality, it would be a melding of two equally great, but very different cultures. One that could open up a whole new world for both. That represents a veritable cornucopia of pro wrestling possibilities.

With a clear blueprint for the future, the patience of a leader, and a bright mind for business, it’s hard to bet against him. He sees the future on the horizon, and he knows it’s somewhere far off in the east.