At a virtual signing for K & S WrestleFest on October 9, WWE Hall of Famer Jerry “The King” Lawler was asked about comments he made on commentary on an April 2020 episode of RAW on wrestler Akira Tozawa. As transcribed by POST Wrestling, Lawler first explained how the idea to make the comment came about, which was from him working with Mauro Ranallo on commentary for a WWE video game.
“I got to 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,” Lawler said. “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 am doing the WWE 2K Battlegrounds video game. I worked with Mauro Ranallo and he and I did the voiceover 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.”
Lawler then talked about the line he used about Tozawa, which he explains after RAW commentator Byron Saxton made a similar remark about a remove that Ranallo had while working with Lawler on the video game. According to Lawler, the line, which was later removed from certain broadcasts of RAW, wasn’t racist and that Tozawa even told him later that he didn’t consider it racist.
“So then one day I’m doing Raw and Tozawa is in the match,” Lawler recalled. “Tozawa does some kind of move and then we’re on live, you got to 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.’ 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? 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.’ Even Tozawa, the next week comes back and 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 got to be very careful. So I should probably not say ‘Mr. Fuji’ with an accent.”