During one of the WWE RAW episodes from the Performance Center in 2020, Jerry Lawler referred to a move by Akira Tozawa as a “ramen noodle moonsault” and was removed from the commentary team shortly thereafter.
During a virtual signing with K & S WrestleFest, Lawler addressed the negative feedback he received and the fallout from what he said…
“I gotta 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. 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 doing the WWE 2K Battlegrounds video game. I worked with Mauro Ranallo and he and I did the voice[over] 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.
So then one day I’m doing Raw and [Akira] Tozawa is in the match, right? And Byron Saxton — Tozawa does some kind of [move] and then we’re on live, you gotta 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’, right? 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? All of a sudden — 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,’ and even Tozawa, the next week comes back, says, ‘It’s nothing racist. I eat ramen noodles every week.’ But the next week I wasn’t on Raw anymore.” (quote courtesy of PostWrestling.com)