Minoru Suzuki: “Don’t listen to what your parents or teachers think.”

(This article originally appeared in Japanese on Tokyo Sports under the headline “Minoru Suzuki: A wicked morning meeting with the innocent children at his old school.”)

Minoru Suzuki (49), known to pro wrestling fans as “the man with the worst personality in the world,” returned to his original elementary school, Hiranuma Elementary in Yokohama, on May 21. During his visit, he revealed one of the ideas behind his upcoming “Great Pirate Festival” event (June 23-24, at the Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse). This event celebrates Suzuki’s 30-year wrestling career.

Suzuki appeared as a guest at the school’s regular morning meeting, where he offered advice to nearly 600 students on how to make their dreams come true:

I knew I wanted to be a pro wrestler back when I was in junior high school. I told my dad, and my mom, and everyone in my neighborhood, and my teachers.

And they all said, ‘No way. It’ll never happen.’

If you really want your dreams to come true, you can’t listen to what your parents or your teachers think about them. Listen to people who made their dreams come true.

A pretty shocking message to the students, to be sure.

Suzuki encouraged the students to come to the Great Pirate Festival event, where they can see several athletes and performers who made their dreams come true. “It’s completely free, so I hope you and your folks’ll come,” he said, giving a poster to the school.

A student asked Suzuki if they could give him a chop; Suzuki happily obliged. “Alright, my turn next,” he said nonchalantly – to the student’s absolute horror.

It was Suzuki’s first time visiting the school since 12 years prior, when he attended the school’s 100th anniversary celebration. He said he felt the students’ positive responses indicated a resurgence in pro wrestling’s popularity. “I want to bring back the days when you’d go to school the day after a big match, and everybody’d be talking about it. ‘Did you see that?!’ I’d love to see a return to that era.”

On June 23, the 30th anniversary of Suzuki’s in-ring debut, he will face IWGP heavyweight champion Kazuchika Okada at the Great Pirate Festival. He hopes the event will introduce a broader audience to the joys of professional wrestling.