Hana Kimura and the pandemic of cyberbullying

Maybe you saw professional wrestler Hana Kimura in one of the Japanese puroresu shows in the past couple of years.  Perhaps you saw her in the recent Ring of Honor title tournament.  Or watched her in her many matches with the Stardom promotion.

How good was she?  Check out this move.  It hurts just LOOKING at it.

Ow.  Like, straight up ow.

Seriously, Hana Kimura could have been one of the most powerful professional wrestlers, male or female, we’ve ever seen.  With the growth of women’s wrestling – whether it’s the stars of the WWE, or the grapplers in AEW, or the all-women leagues like Shimmer, she could have been a mega-star.

She was even on the Netflix dating show Terrace House.  Put it on your Netflix queue if you haven’t done so yet.

So are we looking at Hana Kimura stomping through the WWE and capturing titles with dominating, submission-inducing seated Fujiwara armbars?

Sadly, we’ll never know.

This 22-year-old rising superstar took her own life.

She died … as a result of a massive and incessant and overwhelming cyberbullying attack.

According to Wrestling Observer reporter Dave Meltzer, Kimura had several cyberbullies attack her on multiple occasions, both from her wrestling days and from her appearance on Terrace House (apparently someone ruined one of her wrestling outfits by throwing it in the washer and dryer, so she slapped the guy’s head nearly off).

Dude was lucky he didn’t get a Fujiwara armbar for his idiocy.

Next thing you know, she’s got an army of cyberbullies and cyberstalkers on her.  They called her nasty, horrid names.  How dare she disrespect her housemates by taking off that man’s baseball cap?  How dare a half-Indonesian woman win a major Japanese puroresu championship?  And that was the mild stuff.  I don’t even want to translate the less savory slurs.

But as much as she tried to fight them off, the cyberbullies continued their onslaught.  To the level where, unfortunately …

22.  The poor girl was 22 years old.

Okay, let’s take a few moments here.

Professional wrestling is an interaction between the wrestlers IN the ring, and the fans OUTSIDE the ring.  You cheer for the good guys, you boo the bad guys.  But at the end of the day, the good guys and the bad guys all go to their homes.  They don’t live their personae outside of the pro wrestling world.  Trust me, the Undertaker does not have a coffin dealership near his house.  Neither Pentagon Jr. nor Fenix go to the local grocery store in their full mask and wrestling gear.  Trust me.  These are men and women who are actors and actresses in a combination sporting event / storytelling session.  They are PLAYING the roles you see on television.

By that same token, the activities in their personal lives are their own lives and their own dealings.  I get it.  Chuds who have problems with trans people give wrestler Nyla Rose shit, because how DARE a trans woman hold the AEW women’s wrestling title?  And those same chuds will crash down on pro wrestler Paige, bringing up every single twist and turn in her past like they’re checking off a checklist.  Ugh.  And don’t EVEN get me started on the wrestling subreddits r/wrestlewiththeplot and r/wrestlefap.  Grow up already.

And trust me, pro wrestlers go OUT OF THEIR WAY to interact with you, the fans.  You want to watch Billie Kay bake chocolate?  Here you go.  You want to watch pro wrestlers Xavier Woods and Ember Moon go head to head in a video game competition?  Gotcha covered.  They’ll pose for pictures, they’ll sign autographs, you can get them to do Cameo voice greetings, all of that.

But in the end, just remember.  These men and women have families.  They have loved ones.  Some of them have kids.  They have lives outside of pro wrestling.  And they don’t need shitheads screwing with their well-being.  They’re already taking chairshots to the back and turnbuckles to the face.  Prior to the pandemic, pro wrestlers traveled so often, their local newspaper was USA Today.

And they put up with a lot of shit.  Plenty of shit.  I already mentioned the Nyla Rose hate.  Or the creepy fans who try to freeze-frame a wrestling video because they heard that so-and-so’s boob popped out of her outfit.  Oh yeah, like they’ve never seen a boob before in their lives.  Grow up.

You know what?  I’m going to let someone else take the reins on this.  Meet Miroslav Barnyashev.  He was born in what was formerly the Soviet Union, in the country of Bulgaria.  He eventually moved to the United States, he found success as a professional wrestler, he got married, he became a naturalized citizen, all of that.  Oh yeah, you might also know him by his wrestling name, Rusev.

He recently posted a video on his Twitter page about cyberbullying, what pro wrestlers put up with, and how cyber-threats – anonymous crap on message boards, barely traceable threats to friends and family, all of that – should not be happening.  Not to wrestlers, not to ANYBODY.  Watch and learn.

You want someone else to talk about cyberbullying?  I’ll introduce you to Amanda Todd.  Or, better yet, I’ll let her tell you what she had to deal with in terms of cyberbullying and cyberstalking.

The old argument of “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me,” is utter horseshit.  That’s what people say when they want to minimize what the victim goes through.  You call someone a vulgarity online, and you hide behind some perceived anonymity, hoping that no one will find the IP address you left behind, or the real e-mail you used for your fake e-mail account.

Amanda Todd deserved better.  So did Hana Kimura.  So do thousands of other victims of cyberbullying and cyberstalking.

We only get one ride on this thing called life.

Don’t take it away from someone else.

You’re better than that.