Jerry Lawler reflects on his comment about Akira Tozawa’s cannonball move.
Back in April of 2020 while WWE was taping their shows out of the Performance Center, Jerry Lawler joined the commentary team. There was a match ongoing between Akira Tozawa and Austin Theory and during the bout, Tozawa did a cannonball off the apron.
Lawler referred to the move as a ‘ramen noodle moonsault’ and the comment was met with immediate backlash. Lawler did address his comment on his podcast several weeks after the fact and he recently reflected on said comments during a virtual signing with K & S WrestleFest. Lawler questioned what was racist about what he said and claims that Akira Tozawa told him he did not view the comment as racist.
I gotta be careful though. This is so crazy. Just saying ‘Mr. Fuji’, if you’re trying to use a Japanese [accent], that’ll get you in trouble today. I mean that actually happened to me. That’s probably why I’m not on Raw right now. I did a lot of work with — and doing the WWE 2K Battlegrounds video game. I worked with Mauro Ranallo and he and I did the voice[over] on that game and I love working with Mauro. He was so funny. But he didn’t mean to be funny. I mean he’s always dead serious about everything and we’re watching — they had us in a little studio and this big screen had all of the fights, the action was going on and we’re having to call the action so to go with what we were seeing and you know how Mauro, I guess he had called New Japan Wrestling before and everything so he’s on it going, ‘Oh! Look at this spinning dragon, wizard flying’ and I kept looking at him then the next thing is, ‘Oh, there’s –’ I mean he would make up these crazy names. I even told him, I said, ‘Mauro, you’re making that up. You know you are.’ ‘Oh no King! That’s really the name of it.’ So he would do that so much that I thought it was funny. So then one day I’m doing Raw and [Akira] Tozawa is in the match, right? And Byron Saxton — Tozawa does some kind of [move] and then we’re on live, you gotta remember we’re on live and now Byron says, ‘Oh there it is! The spinning dragon’ something and I’m just thinking, ‘Oh, you made that up’, right? And so the next thing, he goes to the top of the rope and he flies off and I looked at Byron and I said, ‘Oh look, there’s a ramen noodle moonsault.’ What is racist about that? All of a sudden — I thought it was funny. That’s a ridiculous name, right? And all of a sudden, the internet blows up. ‘Oh, King’s a racist,’ and even Tozawa, the next week comes back, says, ‘It’s nothing racist. I eat ramen noodles every week.’ But the next week I wasn’t on Raw anymore. So I don’t know if that’s what happened but anyway, you gotta be very careful so I should probably not say ‘Mr. Fuji’ [with an accent].
Lawler was replaced at the Raw commentary desk by Samoa Joe in late April of last year. The 10/11 edition of Raw was reviewed here on POST Wrestling and to catch up on the audio/video review, click here.
If the quote in this article is used, please credit K & S WrestleFest with an H/T to POST Wrestling for the transcription.