FEATURE: Fanart Friday - Squared Circle Edition

Step into the ring with your favorite pro wrestlers on this week's Fanart Friday!

Fanart Friday returns, and it's got a new move specially designed for you. Last week, we saluted our men and women in uniform, but this week we're focusing on a different kind of taxing profession: PRO WRESTLERS! This week's theme was suggested by CR user trigunkwan, and I'm glad a lot of you were excited for it--pro wrestling is still a big part of Japanese pop culture, finding its way into anime, manga, video games, and more!



Yeah, we all know pro wrestling's fake, but it's impressive to see the lengths people will go to in the name of not breaking kayfabe--essentially, breaking character. In terms of performance art, wrestlers may be cheesy and over-the-top, but I've got tons of respect for the work they put into choreographing--and then surviving--these titanic throwdowns. Let's get it on!


DISCLAIMER:  None of the art presented is the property of myself or Crunchyroll.  All characters and series are tm and © their respective creators and corporate owners.  All art is the creative property of their respective artists.  Any artists who wish to have their work removed from this article may contact me, and appropriate action will be immediately taken.



by ug

Why not start with the wrestling anime, Kinnikuman? The toys first appeared in America as M.U.S.C.L.E., then later Ultimate Muscle brought the recent Kinnikuman Second series to American TV. Kinnikuman's one of the classics of anime and manga, and revels in its craziness.



by scrotumnose

Of course, in a series full of stealthy (and not-so-stealthy) ninja like Naruto Shippuden, it's a real shock to see somebody like the Raikage Ay (and his brother Killer Bee), who both use high-powered wrestling techniques! Ay is fond of full-arm lariats and power bombs, so it was kind of a miracle that a twig like Sasuke made it out of their fight alive. Also, "scrotumnose" is an awesome screen name.



by Jove

Can't believe I got to type "by Jove" in a totally non-sarcastic way. Anyways, a reader asked for Tenjho Tenge's Saga Mask, but I wasn't able to find any actual fanart of him--thankfully, we have this burly cosplayer picking up the slack!



by Giga-Leo

I prefer more straight-up physical wrestling involving power moves and trading finishers, but I also have a soft spot for gimmick wrestlers like Papa Shango. His whole schtick was the lights turning out, and his opponent was on the ground with black voodoo goo on their faces, but he also had a slingshot suplex called the Voodoo Driver.



by よりすけ

Y'know, it's weird--I love pro wrestling characters, but I'm actually a very casual fan of pro wrestling, only watching the occasional big event like Wrestlemania. Tekken's signature grappler King uses more pure wrestling technique as opposed to flashy power moves, but he does have a few cool tricks like a moonsault and a kickass DDT.



by Kにぃー

The new Kalos Pokemon are popular as hell, especially the Fighting-types! While you get a straight-up kung-fu panda with Pancham, lucha libre hawk Hawlucha here seems to be more popular!



by かずえ

Don't worry, Zangief, your lariat is so cool that fireballs pass right through it, and your EX Flying Power Bomb has armor, so you can just charge right through and give the rest of your Street Fighter co-stars a big hug! Yes, I doled out a lot of 'Gief Grief in the early days of Street Fighter IV, but I've had to move to Cammy and Makoto in the last few installments.



by 加賀

Dammit, every time I look for School Rumble art, I find all these lovey-dovey couples pics instead of the characters being the total derps that they are. Anyways, Karen Ichijou (in the back) is part of the school's wrestling club, which she tends to use on poor bosom-loving Kyousuke (the guy in the front).



by いいぺん

For those of you who can't tell from the anime style, this is the showdown between The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin at Wrestlemania 17! This part of WWE (then WWF) history took place while I was in high school, where friends got me back into watching wrestling.



by ButcherBOY

Dude, Tina, if you put on more clothes then it'll be easier for me to include you in Fanart Friday. Tina Armstrong, her father Bass, and kinda-sorta-best-friend Lisa/La Mariposa make up the pro wrestlers of Dead or Alive, but Tina is pretty obviously the most popular one.



by ナオユキ

Stupid Jaycee and her treehugger/fake Native American/suddenly lucha libre ass, there is no way that Armor King would let her take him down like that. Two of Tekken's other wrestlers, Armor King is the mentor of the current King, and Jaycee is formerly Julia Chang.



by DominicVelando

For those of you unfamiliar with MMA, this match between sometimes pro wrestler/sometimes mixed martial artist Kazushi Sakuraba and Royce Gracie, pioneer of the sport and winner of multiple UFC championships, is considered one of the best, most technical (and honestly most hilarious) matches in the history of professional fighting. While Gracie approached the match with his usual technical brilliance, Sakuraba went absolutely nuts, using flying attacks and putting on a show--all that was missing was a show of mic skills.



by BOS

I'm always a little sad that Street Fighter IV's El Fuerte isn't a total force of nature. He requires a lot of skill to play, and a willingness to get your ass kicked again and again as you learn the ins and outs of El Fuerte's high-flying style. To be honest, I just like lucha libre in general--I watch that, boxing, and soccer on the Spanish-language channels here, and I barely know any Spanish.



by nyoro

Y'know what, I know a lot of you like Wanna be the Strongest in the World, so I'm not gonna be too hard on it. I don't know what I expected, honestly, I just didn't think it would be so... hell, I don't know what word I'm looking for. I also expected the animation quality to be a little higher. Actually, let's just stop talking about this right now.



I mean, readers like it--a lot! This one came in the day after Fanart Friday was published, but I made an exception... partially because of how much love this series was getting in the comments.



by ホズン

The Undertaker is a fixture of wrestling, and I'll be sad when he steps down from his undefeated-at-Wrestlemania throne. I've heard nothing but good things about his last showdown with Shawn Michaels, so I'll check that out as soon as I can. Sadly, the thing I most remember about Undertaker is his "are we really going through with this?" face as he nearly killed Mick Foley in a 1998 cage match.



by にゃんた

"Asekusa" is the very appropriate Japanese name for Animal Crossing: New Leaf's Stinky, who is the absolute best neighbor ever in any Animal Crossing game. Give him wrestling stuff! He's a man's man!



by 虎杖 鷲

It's too bad that Tizoc didn't show up for King of Fighters XIII--the wrestler known as Griffon Mask in Japan first showed up in Mark of the Wolves, then teamed up with Terry Bogard and Joe Higashi in KoF '03. Even though he's only had two appearances, he's my favorite SNK grappler because he's so damn fun to use.



by [email protected]

I'm not as much of a frothing R. Mika fanboy as you'd think, although the rest of the Street Fighter fandom is clamoring for her return and she embodies a lot of things I like in one package. It was kinda cool to have a striking-based wrestler in Street Fighter Alpha 3 instead of the usual grappler-types like Zangief, T. Hawk and Darun.



by 塩三

Now, let's finish up with Hulk Hogan's rules to live by: say your prayers, take your vitamins, train, and never give up--you can't go wrong with that! I can't believe the guy was doing events until just last month!


And that's everything for this week! There's no way I could have included everybody--who are your favorite wrestlers, or wrestling-themed characters? Sound off in the comments!


Like I say every week, your work is always welcome here on Fanart Friday, regardless of your skill level or experience--just PM me a link to your work, and I'll make sure to include it in a future installment! For those of you artists who want to submit something, here are the next three installments of Fanart Friday:


-Next week, on NOVEMBER 22nd, we celebrate one of my all-time favorite video game series, and the launch of A Link Between Worlds, with a LEGEND OF ZELDA installment! THIS IS THE ONLY THEME I'M TAKING REQUESTS FOR THIS WEEK!

-Then, on NOVEMBER 29th, Black Friday, we dig into the darkest depths of evil with our favorite VILLAINS! The original Black Friday Edition took a look at villains back in 2011--who's the baddest of the bad?

-On DECEMBER 6th, we get ready for snowball fights and putting up Christmas decorations with another returning theme: WINTER WONDERLAND EDITION blows back into town!


Thanks again for dropping by to check out Fanart Friday--have a great weekend, and I hope all of you come by next week! Who here's picking up a PS4 today?

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