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Mr. Nishida’s awesome alter ego

Jordan Langmore

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Mr. Nishido's awesome alter ego

A TALE OF TWO TOSHIOS: The reserved Mr. Nishida conducts his class at Mac. Photo by Jordan Langmore. The less calm Nishido in his role as a wrestling manager behind star wrestler, Akira Tozawa. Photo courtesy of Mr. Nishida.

Reconciling the disparity between the two pictures of Toshio Nishida featured here seems like a difficult (if not impossible) task.

Mr. Nishida is McCallum’s Japanese teacher, and unknown to many of his current students, he was once a professional wrestling manager. Being a professional wrestling manager is a bit different than being a high school wrestling manager. The pro wrestling manager has to dish out and receive a bit more violence.

Observing Mr. Nishida, the teacher, one sees little indication that he could thrive in the rough and tumble world of pro wrestling. He tends to his class with a calm and reserved style and keeps his former life beyond the classroom a mystery.

So it must come as a complete surprise for his students to learn that Mr. Nishida’s former career involved fighting in a ring with and against several exceptionally muscular professional wrestlers in stadiums full of rabid pro wrestling fans.

Mr. Nishida grew up in Japan with a father, brother and friends who were wrestling fans. As a result, he naturally developed a love of the sport as he grew up. When he moved to Texas, he began attending local wrestling shows, where he was introduced to several Japanese wrestlers. Because he shared a mutual language and culture with these wrestlers, he befriended them, and Mr. Nishida began to make connections in the professional wrestling business.

He came to manage a number of Japanese wrestlers competing in the United States. Being a manager in professional wrestling is a more exciting and violent job than being a manager of another sport. Mr. Nishida said that he and his Japanese wrestlers played the role of “the bad guys.”

Mr. Nishida added that it was his job to introduce the fight and to make it exciting. He shows me a video of himself jumping into the ring with one of his companions and getting knocked down while his partner held off two opponents.

“They hit hard,” Mr. Nishida said, “but you have enough physical conditioning that it’s not that big of a deal.”

One of the wrestlers Mr. Nishida came to meet through his career was an ambitious fighter named Akira Tozawa (pictured above). Tozawa got into wrestling with the dream of getting into the WWE, and last March, it was announced that his dream would be fulfilled.

According to Mr. Nishida, a strong personality is the key to a successful career in pro wrestling. When I asked him what he thought made Akira Tozawa special he said: “He has a very good personality, he’s very polite, and he always tries to get to know people; a very outgoing personality.”

Mr. Nishida has abandoned the violence of the ring for the more peaceful confines of his classroom. But while he isn’t working in the pro wrestling, he maintains his lifelong passion for wrestling by attending shows and meeting local wrestlers.

He remains in contact with his former fighting partner, friend and now wrestling star, Akira Tozawa.

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Mr. Nishida’s awesome alter ego