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WWE如何将美式职业摔角“秀”给中国?

更新时间:2016-12-27 10:32:44 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

‘Suplex’ in Chinese? Professional Wrestling Tries a Big New Market
WWE如何将美式职业摔角“秀”给中国?

SHANGHAI — Wang Bin looked down. A man wearing a blue skintight unitard writhed at his feet. Mr. Wang grinned. This was the moment he had been waiting for.

上海——王彬朝身下看去。一名穿着蓝色弹力紧身衣的男子在他的脚边翻滚。王彬笑了。这是他期待已久的时刻。

So, too, had Cheng Shi. When Mr. Wang lifted the writhing man and slammed him to the floor for a three-count, it completed Mr. Cheng’s dream of watching a professional wrestler — battling in that most American of fake spectacles — who hailed from China.

这也是程石一直期待的时刻。当王彬把曲卷在其脚下的人拉起来,然后把他猛劲摔在地板上,再数到三时,程石的梦想实现了,他观看了一名来自中国的职业摔角手参加这种最美国式的假打表演。

“I feel very proud and excited to see him onstage tonight, and so do all the fans,” Mr. Cheng, a 21-year-old student who makes fan videos for a Chinese audience, said before the match. He pointed at the screen of his smartphone to indicate the thousands of people watching him on his live broadcast. “We are very, very excited.”

程石是一名为中国观众制作摔角粉丝视频的学生,今年21岁。他在比赛前说,“今晚能在擂台上看到他,我感到非常自豪和激动,所有的粉丝也有同感。”他指着他的智能手机屏幕,屏幕上可以看出有数千人在观看他的现场直播。“我们非常、非常激动。”

Looking for eyeballs and new money sources, World Wrestling Entertainment — the company that brought Hulk Hogan and Dwayne (The Rock) Johnson into American living rooms — has grand ambitions for a bigger but much more difficult market. It has started a new service live-streaming Chinese-language matches and commentary. It is also combing China’s provinces for more beefy talent like Mr. Wang.

为了寻找眼球和新的金钱来源,曾把霍克·霍肯(Hulk Hogan)和绰号“岩石”的德威恩·约翰逊[Dwayne (The Rock) Johnson]带入美国客厅的世界摔角娱乐公司(World Wrestling Entertainment,简称WWE),对一个更大但更困难的市场野心勃勃。公司已开始了一项配有中文评论的赛事播放实时流媒体的新服务,也正在中国各省寻找像王彬这样的健壮人才。

China presents formidable challenges. Entertainment names like Netflix and Rupert Murdoch have taken aim at China’s population of 1.4 billion. Wrestling’s cartoon violence and sometimes salacious story lines could attract unwanted attention from the government. And while it has its fans, American-style wrestling-as-scripted-entertainment is largely unheard-of among mainland Chinese.

中国市场对公司来说是一个巨大的挑战。像Netflix和鲁伯特·默多克(Rupert Murdoch)这样的娱乐公司都已看准了中国14亿的人口。摔角卡通片般的暴力和有时带有色情色彩的故事情节可能会吸引到意外的政府关注。虽然摔角有自己的粉丝,但是,作为按照剧本编排的娱乐,这种美式摔角在中国大陆还基本上没有观众。

“There is no presence of product over here,” said John Cena, the square-jawed wrestler and action movie star who has learned to speak some Chinese as part of the push. By tackling the language, he added, “I’m kind of a vehicle to leverage what we’ve done.”

“在这里还没有以产品的形式存在,”约翰·塞纳(John Cena)说,作为市场开拓努力的一部分,这位方下巴的摔角手兼动作电影明星已经学会了一些中文。他补充说,通过解决语言问题,“我可以说是一个工具,为我们所做的事情起到杠杆作用。”

Wrestling’s answer is to go local — and digital. It has teamed with a video-streaming company to reach fans though computers and mobile devices.

摔角的中国市场解决方案是本地化,以及数字化。公司已与一家视频流媒体公司合作,通过计算机和移动设备直接与粉丝接触。

It has also geared up efforts to introduce a new audience to the suplex, the body slam and the drop-kick. W.W.E. has hired four full-time social media directors in Shanghai to maintain local-language social media accounts for its wrestlers and executives. It is also hosting viewing parties, like one this month in the Chinese city of Guangzhou, in which locals devoured pizza and cream sodas while watching a pay-per-view wrestling match and playing the W.W.E.’s latest Xbox video game.

公司也在努力把德式背摔、抱举对手重摔,以及把对手摔下再踢上一脚的表演介绍给新的观众。WWE已在上海聘请了四名全职社交媒体总监,为其摔角手和高管们维护本地语言的社交媒体帐户。公司还主办了观看聚会,例如本月在中国城市广州,应邀前来的当地观众吃着披萨饼、喝着汽水,同时观看着按次付费的摔角比赛,玩着WWE最新版的Xbox视频游戏。

Success requires exposing Chinese audiences to a new type of entertainment — a choreographed drama in which the outcome is known, though its dangers and injuries are sometimes shockingly real.

公司要想成功需要让中国观众接触到一种新型的娱乐,一种结果事先就定下来的精心编制的打斗剧,虽然这种表演的危险和伤害有时令人震惊地真实。

“They’ve never really seen anything like us,” said Paul Levesque, W.W.E.’s executive in charge of talent and live events, who is also a partly retired wrestler better known as Triple H. “The athleticism is very real. The story lines and the theater part of it is where they had a hard time with the blurred line of that.”

“他们从未看到过像我们这样的东西,”WWE负责人才和直播节目的执行官保罗·莱维斯克(Paul Levesque)说,他也是以Triple H而闻名、半退休的摔角手。“这里面的运动能力是非常真实的。他们对其中的故事情节和戏剧部分有些困难,那是让表演和比赛的界限模糊的地方。”

To friends unfamiliar with wrestling, “I find that the shortest way to tell them is to say it’s an American version — a global version — of the kung fu novel,” said Jay Li, a longtime executive at multinational companies in China who in April joined W.W.E. as its general manager for greater China. “They get it immediately, because they immediately have a cultural connection and a mental image of what this is about.”

对于不熟悉摔角的朋友来说,“我发现,向他们解释的最简单的方法是说那是一个美国版的、一个全球版的功夫小说,”长期担任跨国公司中国区执行官的李杰(Jay Li)说,他以于今年4月作为大中华区总经理加入了WWE。“他们马上就明白了,因为他们马上就有了一种文化联系,以及这是怎么回事的内心形象。”

Sports — or something that looks like a sport — might be different. Sports enjoys thematic support from the government, which is big on hosting international events like the Olympics and promoting sports like soccer. China’s push to get soccer into schools and make the country a power in the sport has led companies to pay big sums for broadcast rights.

体育运动,或者看上去像体育运动的东西可能会有所不同。体育运动享受政府的专项支持,政府对举办如奥运会这样的国际比赛,以及促进如足球这样的运动高度重视。中国在学校推广足球、把中国变成足球强国方面的努力,已导致公司为争夺转播权投入大笔资金。

“Sports has historically been underdeveloped in China and online, and a lot of players are looking for ways to monetize that,” said Vivek Couto, a founder and a director at Media Partners Asia, an industry research consultant.

“体育运动在中国历史上一直不发达,在网络史上也一样,很多人都在寻找在这方面赚钱的方法,”维韦克·库托(Vivek Couto)说,他是行业研究机构“亚洲传媒合伙人”(Media Partners Asia)的创始人和董事。

Professional wrestling could use the eyeballs. Like other media companies, W.W.E. is grappling with the new world of cord-cutting, in which viewers drop their cable subscriptions and order shows, à la carte, via the internet.

职业摔角需要更多的眼球。像其他媒体公司一样,WWE正在努力应对有线电视需求剧减的新世界,人们正在退掉他们订购的有线电视服务,通过互联网来点播想看的节目。

International viewers offer one potential growth area. They make up only about a quarter of the paid subscribers on W.W.E.’s digital subscription service, which is one of the biggest contributors to the company’s bottom line.

国际观众为媒体公司提供了一个潜在的增长领域。国际观众只占WWE数字化服务付费订户的四分之一,而数字化服务是对公司收入贡献最大的服务之一。

As China shows, international growth isn’t always easy. In October, W.W.E. told investors it was still waiting to offer subscriptions directly to Chinese viewers.

正如中国所示,公司想在国际上增长并不总是容易的。今年10月,WWE对其投资者说,公司仍在等待能让中国观众直接成为其订户。

For now it works with a Chinese video company service called PPTV, which streams the company’s weekly flagship shows, called “SmackDown” and “RAW,” with real-time Mandarin commentary. (Suplex, in case you were wondering, translates as deshi beishuai, or “German-style back throw.”) PPTV subscriptions start at less than $3 per month, roughly a third of what W.W.E.’s own subscription service costs outside China, and include movies and other shows.

目前,WWE在与一家名为PPTV的中国视频公司合作,通过PPTV来流播公司每周一期的名为SmackDown和RAW的主要节目,并实时配有普通话评论。(如果你想知道suplex怎么翻译,它被译为“德式背摔”。)PPTV订户每月最低收费为20元(不到三美元),大约是WWE自己为中国以外订户提供服务收费的三分之一,其服务也包括电影和其他节目。

Much rides on Mr. Wang, W.W.E.’s first mainland wrestler. The company’s social media team works to make him a star — his verified account on the Weibo social media service recently featured videos of him training at W.W.E.’s huge facility in Orlando, Fla. Seven other mainlanders, six men and one woman, will relocate to Orlando in January.

很多期望都寄托在WWE的首位大陆职业摔角手王彬的身上。公司的社交媒体团队正在努力把他打造成一名明星,他在社交媒体微博上的验证帐户最近推出了他在WWE在佛罗里达州奥兰多的巨大场地进行培训的视频。其他七名大陆人,六男一女,也将在明年1月到奥兰多去。

Mr. Wang, a 22-year-old native of eastern Anhui Province, was an athlete after middle school, a member of the provincial rowing team. He later moved to Shanghai and took up sparring, and caught the attention of representatives from Inoki Genome Federation, a big Japanese wrestling and mixed martial arts promotion.

22岁的王彬来自东部的安徽省,中学毕业后当了运动员,曾是省赛艇队队员。他后来到上海去练散打搏击,引起了Inoki Genome Federation代表的注意,那是推广摔角和混合式武术的一家日本大型团体。

Mr. Wang spent three years in Japan before he was noticed by W.W.E. He signed a three-year development deal with the American company and started training in Orlando over the summer in preparation for his China debut.

在受到WWE的注意之前,王彬在日本呆了三年。他与这家美国公司签订了为期三年的发展协议,今年夏天在奥兰多开始培训,为他在中国的首次登台做准备。

When the moment finally arrived in Shanghai in September, Mr. Wang entered the arena to modern Chinese music. He gave the crowd a traditional Chinese, kung fu-style greeting, pressing his right fist into his left palm.

今年9月,那个时刻终于在上海到来时,王彬在中国现代音乐声中登上擂台。他把右掌合到左拳上,对人群抱以中国传统的功夫式问候。

His opponent, a wrestler named Bo Dallas, was booed by the Shanghai crowd before Mr. Wang tossed him to the mat, pinning him in a three-count on the second try.

他的对手是一个名叫博·达拉斯的摔角手(Bo Dallas),上海观众对他报以嘘声。之后,王彬把对手摔在了垫子上,并在第二次摔倒对手后将其压住了,直到数到三。

Mr. Wang doesn’t yet have a defined act or character, or even a flashy name. One of the oldest such personas in W.W.E.-style wrestling is the foreign heel, or bad guy; those include personas like Mr. Fuji, a Japanese villain played by Harry Fujiwara.

王彬还没有一个明确的戏或角色要演,甚至也没有一个炫耀的名字。WWE式摔角中最古老这类角色之一是外国浑蛋或坏人,包括比如像佐藤哈利(Harry Fujiwara)扮演的富士先生这种角色。

In an interview, Mr. Wang said he wasn’t a big believer in appealing to such nationalistic tropes.

在一次采访中,王彬说,他不大相信用这种民族主义老调来吸引人。

“People shouldn’t see you for your nationality or ethnic group,” he said. “It’s less about that and more about what you can do, personally, as a warrior and a figure in the ring.”

“人们不应该只看你的国籍或民族成分,”他说。“那不重要,重要的是你能做什么,你个人作为一个斗士、一个人物在擂台上能做什么。”

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