By NOBORU TOMURA/ Staff Writer
February 21, 2023 at 17:43 JST
TOYOHASHI, Aichi Prefecture--Tassel-turning and cap-tossing just didn’t do it for a 22-year-old student here graduating from a university who wanted to go out with a "bang."
Instead, Harutaka Sugiura, a.k.a. Macho Gyarozu, organized a wrestling competition for university students on a running streetcar to mark the end of his college days.
Sugiura, who lives in Anjo, Aichi Prefecture, is a senior at Aichi University and heads a campus group called the university’s “Puroresu Doukoukai" (Professional wrestling club).
Sugiura thought a local streetcar, which Toyohashi Rail Road Co. operates, would be a fitting ring, and so he chartered one.
“I am deeply moved by my accomplishment, hosting Japan’s first ever streetcar pro wrestling competition,” he said.
Responding to his call, 13 student wrestlers from Aichi University, Keio University, Hitotsubashi University and Kyushu Sangyo University signed up for the event, billed as “Japan’s first-ever streetcar pro wrestling competition.”
The competition was held on Feb. 18 for 30 minutes while the streetcar traveled along a 4.8-kilometer route starting from Ekimae Station to Akaiwaguchi Station.
About 30 fans who bought tickets in advance filled the seats on the streetcar.
Every time the streetcar stopped at a station, a new wrestler boarded the train, with the one who remained until the end being declared the winner.
Fans enjoyed seeing competitors show off their special skills, such as a dropkick using the hanging straps equipped in the streetcar.
A student from Hitotsubashi won the title of being the first streetcar pro wrestling champion. The student won 100 packs of “Black Thunder,” a famous and popular chocolate bar made in Toyohashi.
It was Sugiura’s last day as a student wrestler.
“I hope my juniors will do it again next year,” he said.
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